Frosty Snowball Cookies

December 21, 2008

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I really haven’t done much cooking or baking this holiday season. The main reason being…I’m pregnant! 11 weeks today. And while I’m very excited about it, I haven’t had the desire to cook or bake anything in the past few weeks. We’ve been eating a lot of sandwiches and quick meals because I’m just too tired and nothing really sounds good anyway. But I did want to bake some treats for some friends of ours so I mustered up the energy the other night. One of the things I baked were these snowball cookies. I’ve had the recipe saved for a while and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to bake them. It’s an easy recipe and they’re really good!

Frosty Snowballs

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
Green, pink, and purple edible cake sparkles or colored sugar
Directions:
1. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the granulated sugar; beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in water and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour and the chopped pecans.

2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

3. Bake in a 325 degree F oven 20 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool completely.

4. In each of three bowls place 1/3 cup of the sifted powdered sugar. Add a different color of edible cake sparkles or colored sugar to each bowl. Gently roll and shake cooled cookies in desired powdered sugar mixture. Makes 36.

*I didn’t have any colored sugar so I just used confectioner’s.

Source: Unknown


Hosting My First Thanksgiving

November 28, 2008

I’m back and just in time for a Thanksgiving post. This was my first year hosting Thanksgiving and let me tell you, I was so excited. I’ve always wanted to host turkey day at our house, but we normally go to my in-law’s. But this year, they were out of town and we weren’t able to go to my parents’ so they decided to come here. So my first Thanksgiving was a small one; just me, my husband, and my parents.

My family likes pretty traditional foods for Thanksgiving so I decided I’d play it safe and just make everyone’s favorite foods so there would be no misses. After browsing through lots of recipes I finally settled on the ones I would use. After a lengthy (and expensive) trip to the grocery store I was finally ready to get started. Thankfully, I got off work early on Wednesday so I could get a head start on the prep work. My parents came in Wednesday night so my mom helped me a lot on the actual day. And the verdict? Everything turned out great! But if I learned one thing from hosting my first Thanksgiving it would be that it’s a lot of work! I am so much more appreciative of my great-grandmothers, grandmother, my mom and mother-in-law who have planned and hosted Thanksgiving for many more people than I did for many years now. I would love to host again, but I think I might have to go into training beforehand next time. ; )

On the menu this year:

Garlic and Citrus Brined Turkey

For the brine
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 orange, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
3 bay leaves
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 gallon water

For the turkey

1 8-10 lb turkey
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1-2 Tbsp olive oil

Dissolve the salt and brown sugar in 1 gallon of water. Place the turkey in a large stock pot or brining bag. Pour the brining solution over the turkey. Add the sliced oranges, lemons, garlic and bay leaves to the brine solution. Refrigerate over night or place in a cooler with ice. Before cooking the turkey, rinse it well inside and out and pat dry with papertowels. Rub the turkey inside and out with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook as desired.

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And yes, that is canned cranberry sauce…the only kind my family and I like!

Dressing

2 cups prepared cornbread, crumbled
2 cups Pepperidge Farm herbed stuffing mix
8-10 crumbled crackers (saltine or club will work)
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced onion
2 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter (1/2 stick)
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
chicken broth (about 3-4 cups, enough to make the bread mixture moist)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Begin my sauteing the onions and celery in a little olive oil until soft, about 8 minutes. In a large bowl, combine cornbread, stuffing mix, celery, onion, butter, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper. Add chicken broth until the mixture is very moist. It will be just slightly soupy but the bread will absorb the liquid. Place in a greased 9×13 baking dish and bake 35-40 min.

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Sweet Potato Casserole
(my mother-in-law’s recipe)

3 cups sweet potatoes, cooked until tender (should be easy to mash) about 4 med potatoes
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine or butter, melted
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients together and pour into a baking dish.

For the topping:

1 cup pecans
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup), melted
1/2 cup flour

Mix all dry ingredients and sprinkle over casserole. Pour melted butter over the top. Bake at 350 for 30-35 min. The top should be bubbly and have a golden crust.

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Jiffy Apple Pie

3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped into 1/2″ pieces
1 box Jiffy yellow cake mix
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick butter

Preheat oven to 325 F. Place chopped apples in an 8×8 baking dish. In a bowl, mix dry cake mix, cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle the mixture over the apples. Slice the stick of butter into thin slices and place all over the top of the cake mixture. Bake for 35 min or until the top is golden and bubbly.

 

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This apple pie is obviously not a traditional apple pie. It’s best served warm as a dessert topping for vanilla ice cream. Yum!

Classic Pecan Pie

  • 1 cup Karo® Light OR Dark Corn Syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon Spice Islands® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) pecans
  • 1 (9-inch) unbaked or frozen** deep-dish pie crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla using a spoon. Stir in pecans. Pour filling into pie crust.
  3. Bake on center rack of oven for 55 to 60 minutes. Cool for 2 hours on wire rack before serving.
  4. **To use prepared frozen pie crust: Place cookie sheet in oven and preheat oven as directed. Pour filling into frozen crust and bake on preheated cookie sheet.
  5. RECIPE TIPS: Pie is done when center reaches 200°F. Tap center surface of pie lightly – it should spring back when done. For easy clean up, spray pie pan with cooking spray before placing pie crust in pan. If pie crust is overbrowning, cover edges with foil.
  6. NUTRITION TIP: To reduce calories, substitute new Karo® Lite Syrup for the Karo® Light or Dark Corn Syrup.
  7. High Altitude Adjustments: Reduce sugar to 2/3 cup and increase butter to 3 tablespoons. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

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My only complaint from the whole Thanksgiving dinner was that my pecan pie didn’t set. It’s the first one I’ve ever made and I followed the directions exactly, and it just didn’t set in the middle. I’m not sure why, but I’ll definitely be making another one in the future and hopefully will have better luck with that one.

Along with this we also had green beans and rolls.

Celebrating Easter!

March 23, 2008

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Happy Easter everyone! I love Easter because it means that Spring is here. It also means yummy desserts. Each year, we spend Easter with my in-laws, going to church and eating lunch. I’m always in charge of the desserts. So this year, I decided to make decorated carrot cake cupcakes since my nieces were here and banana pudding because that’s my father-in-law’s favorite. Both were very delicious and the kids had fun picking out which cupcake they wanted to eat. They thought aunt Nay Nay did a pretty good job on the cupcakes! : ) I used the Solid Gold Carrot Cake recipe that I made a while back for the cupcakes.

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I only make banana pudding on special occasions for my father-in-law because he loves it so much. Every time I do make it, it reminds me of when I was a kid because my grandmother used to make it all the time. She made it for church dinners and family get togethers all the time. Mine isn’t nearly as good as hers was but it was still pretty darn tasty. Everyone seemed to love it.

Banana Pudding

2 packages Jello vanilla or banana flavored pudding (you can use instant or cook and serve)

1 box vanilla wafer cookies

4 medium bananas, sliced

8 oz whipped topping

Begin by preparing the pudding as directed on the box. Put a layer of pudding in the bottom of a serving dish. Add a layer of vanilla wafers, a layer of sliced bananas, and then a layer of pudding. Repeat all layers ending with a layer of the pudding. Top with whipped topping and crushed vanilla wafers. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

*Banana pudding is better the next day!

Here are the kids Easter egg hunting. They actually hid the eggs for us to hunt after they found them all. Thank goodness there are no pictures of that!

More Holiday Baking

December 22, 2007

As if my holiday baking list wasn’t long enough already, it got even longer yesterday. My sister-in-law called to see if I would be willing to help her do some baskets for a couple people. I said I would, but in my mind I was thinking “how in the world am I going to get this all done??” I still had some last minute Christmas shopping to do last night, I have several gifts that need to be wrapped, not to mention we still have guests staying with us. But I’m a trooper and the kind of person that hardly ever says no, so I figured I would find a way to do it. After I got home from my last minute shopping, which wasn’t quite the nightmare I invisioned, I got right to baking. My contributions to the baskets are mini pumpkin bread loaves and these cranberry, white chocolate chip, oatmeal cookies that I saw on Annie’s Eats. Well, three hours later my mini loaves were done and I had cookies, cookies everywhere! Seriously, this recipe makes a lot of cookies, but they are so delicious. If I hadn’t needed so many cookies I probably would have frozen half the dough. These might just be my new favorite cookie!
Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Ingredients:
3 eggs, well beaten
1 cup dried cranberries
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 ½ cup flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup white chocolate chips
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine eggs, dried cranberries and vanilla and let stand for 1 hour, covered with plastic wrap.Cream together butter and sugars. Add flour, salt, cinnamon and soda to sugar mixture. Mix well. Blend in egg-cranberry mixture and oatmeal. Dough will be stiff. Fold in the white chocolate chips. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto un-greased cookie sheet or roll in small balls and flatten slightly on cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until
lightly browned.
Source: Unknown

It’s the Holiday Season!

December 21, 2007

The holiday baking has begun. Yes, I am getting started very late this year. I’ve been so busy running around trying to get my house ready for guests, Christmas shopping, gift wrapping, holiday partying, etc etc. I just realized a couple days ago, I have so much baking to do!! I’m running out of time and fast! So anyway, I did a little bit of it tonight. As soon as I saw this recipe on Annie’s Eats, I knew I wanted to give these a try. I made the dough on Tuesday, covered it and put it in the fridge until I had time to roll it out tonight. I let it sit out for about an hour before working with it. These turned out so great! I used a frosting recipe I’ve used before and made a few different colors with food coloring. The decorating was made easier with this decorating set that my friend Elly sent me for Christmas. I love it and I love this recipe!

Ella’s White Sugar Cookies
Ingredients:
1 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 ½ t. almond extract
1 t. vanilla
1 t. salt
2 ½ c. sifted flour

Directions:
Cream butter. Add powdered sugar. Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour. Chill dough until firm. Roll to ¼” thickness on well-floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters. Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375° for 8-10 min. Cookies should not brown. Frost and decorate when cool. Yields ~40 cookies.

Source: a family friend of Annie’s (Donna)

FROSTING

1 teaspoon real vanilla1 stick real butter4 cups powdered sugar1 Tablespoon cream or whole milk

Cream butter, milk and vanilla together.Slowly add powdered sugar to butter until desired consistency. Ifyou'dlike, add liquid food coloring for festive cookiesWhen cookies are cooled, slather this heavenly frosting. For moretexture and color, press the top of the cookie in sprinkles, coloredsugaror just eat plain!

Source: Joelen from Joelen's Culinary Adventures (I believe this came from a co-worker of hers)

Cupcakes for Everyone!

October 31, 2007


Tomorrow is Halloween so I thought I’d bake some cupcakes to take to work for my co-workers. Of course I forgot half the stuff I needed when I went to the store yesterday so had to run by the store on my lunch break today. Wouldn’t you know I couldn’t find any cupcake liners on the baking aisle which is one of the things I had forgotten yesterday. I looked high and low and finally found the last two packs in the back of a shelf. One was Barbie and the other these giant foil liners. Well I didn’t have time to go anywhere else so I bought the foil ones and a pack of Halloween colored sprinkles. Since I was making the frosting, I thought about making different colors to write words and make different designs on the cupcakes. But I knew they’d just get scarfed down in a matter of seconds so I decided to just stick with the sprinkles. They turned out pretty good. My husband and I were the willing taste testers since everyone knows you can’t take food to work without testing it first. : )

For the cupcakes:
(I totally cheated and used a boxed mix)

1 box yellow cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)-prepare as directed on the box.

Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and fill each liner about half full with cake batter. Bake as directed. Let cool completely.
Makes 24 regular sized cupcakes or 16 jumbo ones.

For the frosting:
(I used the recipe I used for a chocolate cake I made)


Chocolate Frosting

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup margarine, melted
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large bowl, beat margarine and cocoa together until combined. Add milk and vanilla; beat until smooth. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until desired consistency is achieved. Adjust with more milk or confectioners’ sugar if necessary.

*After reading the reviews on the website I got the recipe from I made a couple alterations. I used 3 cups confectioners’ sugar and 3/4 cup cocoa powder. It made a great frosting!
Frost cupcakes and decorate as desired.

Original source for the frosting recipe: All Recipes

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