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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas 2010

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Flashback Friday ~All I Want for Christmas



What a difference a year makes! A year ago all Randy wanted for Christmas was his two front teeth...er...two good ankles I mean!! He was pretty happy to get his little scooter to tool around the house though :-)


In honor of my honey I am featuring Cinnamon Bun cookies that I have made the past couple of years for my goodie plates. He's pretty fond of them and anything that has cinnamon as a main flavor.



Cinnamon Bun Cookies

from www.recipegirl.com

VANILLA COOKIE DOUGH
½ cup (2 ounces) powdered sugar
¾ cup (1½ sticks, 6 ounces) unsalted butter
½ tsp salt
1½ tsp vanilla extract
1½ cups (6¼ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

MIDDLE:
1 large egg white
1 Tbs water
¼ cup granulated sugar
1½ tsp ground cinnamon

ICING:
½ cup powdered sugar
2 Tbs heavy whipping cream
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp ground cinnamon

1. Prepare dough: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the sugar, butter, salt and vanilla. Add the flour, stirring to make a cohesive dough. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.

2. Roll the dough: Transfer chilled dough to a lightly floured piece of parchment or waxed paper. Roll it into a 9×12-inch rectangle. In a small bowl, whisk together egg white and water until foamy. Brush onto rolled out dough. In another small bowl, whisk together sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle it evenly over the dough. Starting with a long edge, carefully roll the dough into a log, sealing the edge (if dough sticks to parchment, gently use a metal spatula to guide it off of the paper). Wrap in plastic wrap or parchment, and freeze until firm.

3. Bake the cookies: Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two cookie sheets. Remove the dough from the freezer and unwrap it. Using a sharp knife, gently cut it into ½-inch slices. Transfer them to the prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Remove them from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool.

4. Ice the cookies: Sift or strain the powdered sugar into a medium-sized bowl to remove any lumps. Whisk the cream into the sugar to make a smooth icing. Drizzle or spread icing onto cookies (or serve alongside in a bowl for dipping).

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

I skip the icing...they are good without it.

Happy Christmas Eve Eve to you!

If you have a Flashback you'd like to share, add your link below!



I'm joining in for Foodie Friday over at Designs by Gollum. Check it out HERE.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Make These Chai Spice Girls ~I'm that little voice



Have you ever come across a recipe that just called your name? Chai Spice Girls has been calling mine ever since I came across it. Just the name alone made me smile. And the thought of yummy chai tea latte wrapped up in a cookie sealed the deal. I'm glad I listened to that little voice. These cookies are GREAT!

I think the recipe would have been great without my tiny tweak to it, but my addition of Chai Tea Latte Mix to the icing and dough brought out the spices and made it really special. Hopefully you have it at your local grocery store. I find it near the teas, coffee and cocoa mixes. Great for a winter day or anytime!


I got the idea for the cutout heart from one of those little Betty Crocker booklets you get at the checkout stand. I thought it was a sweet idea and it put a little finishing touch on the spice girls



Chai Spice Girls
Adapted from Better Homes and Garden recipe found HERE

Ingredients
  • 2 spiced chai-flavored tea bags
  • 1 tablespoon Chai Tea latte powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1-1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbsp. molasses
  • 1 recipe Powdered Sugar Icing - see below

Directions

1. Remove tea bag contents (3 teaspoons); discard bags. In medium bowl combine tea, flour, and pumpkin pie spice; set aside.

2. In large mixing bowl beat butter on medium to high 30 seconds. Add sugar; beat until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks and molasses. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can; stir in remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Cover and refrigerate about 3 hours or until easy to handle.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper. On lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough at a time until 1/4-inch thickness. Cut dough with 4-inch gingerbread girl cutters.

4. Bake 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheets 2 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool completely. Decorate with Powdered Sugar Icing. Makes 18 to 20 cookies.

5. Powdered Sugar Icing: In medium bowl combine 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons Chai Tea Powder 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 4 teaspoons milk. Stir in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until piping consistency.

6. To Store: Layer cookies between waxed paper is covered airtight container. Store at room temperature up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.



There's still time to make some!! The dough is very very forgiving. I have to add this note...and hopefully it won't sway any of you from trying these, but the icing tastes very much like the icing on Brown Sugar Cinnamon Poptarts which happen to be my favorite flavor of Poptarts.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Flashback Friday ~First Day of Summer?


This coming week is the first of winter although it feels like its been around for a while! So I thought I would flash back 6 months to the beginning of official summer to give us something to look forward to weather wise.


This morning here is in the 20s. And I bet this bee whereever it is, is freezing his little toosh off.


But when June rolls around we will have roses in bloom


Peonies popping


The dogwoods will already be fading


And we will have a whole summer of daylilies to look forward to


For now we do have some reminders of summer. Why is it that oranges scream summer, but we get the best ones in the winter. Like this pretty one that came in my organic fruit/veggie box this week.


For another flashback how about a recipe I've been using for about 10 years now to make Pralines. My grandmother had another great recipe that didn't use milk but this one is very good too. I think it may have originally come out of Southern Living. These made it into my goodie plate this year and most years.

Pralines

1 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 T butter
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped pecans

Coat a length of wax paper with spray. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to boil stirring constantly until temperature reaches 220°. Remove from heat and beat by hand with a wooden spoon 4-6 mins or until it begins to thicken. Work quickly at this point and spoon out individual pralines by the tablespoon full. If you don't work fast enough the sugar will begin to crustalize and they won't be as pretty but will still taste great.

If you have a flashback to share add your link below.

I'm joining in with Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum this week HERE and Flaunt your flowers at Tootsie Time HERE

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Winter White


Today my friend Kathleen over at Cuisine Kathleen is hosting a White Christmas event. She said anything white goes. She is an expert at tablesetting so I am sure you will see some beautiful tablescapes over there along with a lot of other brilliant white linked posts. Click HERE to pop over there. She even has a give away going on!

I'm not that good at setting a fancy table, so I'm showing a something fluffy and white. Kind of like these precious snowmen that came in my mail this week from a special friend.


I spent part of the evening making my grandmother, MaMa Nezat's No Fail Divinity. As white as white can be flecked with yummy pecans. I have never seen a recipe quite like hers, with the edition of the marshmallows, so maybe that's what makes it no fail. It's also sweet and fluffy and so good you won't know when to stop.

MaMa Nezat's No Fail Divinity

Ingredients:

4 cups sugar
1 cup light karo syrup
3/4 cup water
pinch of salt
2 egg whites
8 large or 32 small marshmallows
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups chopped pecans

Cook sugar, syrup, water and salt to soft ball stage. In the meantime beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add 1 cup of cooked syrup to beaten eggs along with marshmallows, keeping the mixer going the whole time. Cook remainder of syrup to hard ball stage..this wont take long so keep an eye on the temp. Keep your mixer going this whole time. When syrup has reached hard ball stage, add slowly in a stream to egg white mixture as it continues to mix. Add vanilla and pecans and stop mixing. Beat by hand with a wooden spoon until mixture dulls and is no longer shiny. Move quickly at this point and drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper.

This was one of my grandmother's recipe and her Christmas goodie spread wasn't complete without it. She liked to tell the story of how she got this recipe in trade from one of her kid's teachers when the teacher admired some fudge my grandmother had shared.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Flashback Friday ~Away in a Manger


When I heard that Happier Than a Pig in Mud blog was hosting a Nativity event I knew exactly what I wanted to share. For several years I was on the search for a Nativity scene that was similar to the one i grew up with under my parents Christmas tree.

Of course I knew I wouldn't find the exact one, but I wanted a little wooden manger with mossy grass and an angel that hung from the top. The angel was the key for whatever reason. I just think its the sweetest part of the scene besides the baby Jesus!

My parents still put that same Nativity under their tree so I had them send me a picture. I forgot to ask where they originally got it, but its been around as long as me (42 years) and then some. So I will just venture to say its a least 50 years old. Funny, I had never noticed the paint swipes....


Well last year I was at Tuesday Morning and my search finally came to an end. While its missing the three kings and a cow and an ass it does have my moss and hanging angel!



I would love to keep it under my tree, but wouldn't you know it...Jigs thinks the moss tastes pretty good. Who me????


I shudder to think of what they might use to preserve it, so I've got it set up on my kitchen counter instead. The Nativity linky party is not until December 14th, but I plan to link up when the time comes. Be sure to check the others out HERE. Look at the pretty logo for the party.



I haven't yet started my holiday goodie making, but I did go grocery shopping after work for all of the baking supplies I'll need. Here's a Flashback to a cookie I make every year. I know many of you reading this have made them too and why not! Peanut butter and chocolate can't be beat.

Peanut Butter Blossoms



Ingredients

1 3/4 c Flour
1 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 T Milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 bag chocolate kisses

Directions
Grease cookie sheets. Set oven to 375°. Sift flour, baking soda and salt. Cream shortening, peanut butter, 1/2 cup sugar and brown sugar. Stir in egg, milk, and vanilla. Blend well. Stir in flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time. Form 1 1/2 inch balls and roll in remaining sugar. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Bake about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and top each cookie with an unwrapped kiss and bake 2 minutes more. Cool for a minute and remove to cooling racks. Makes 3 dozen - so you may as well double it!

If anyone has a Flashback of any kind they'd like to share add your link below.


I'm joining in over at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday. Check it out HERE.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Flashback Friday ~Old Timey Christmas




For today's Flashback I'm showing some of my older Christmas decorations. I love the tradition and memories surrounding the Christmas season and this Santa is all part of that for me. It and its identical brother hung on my parents tree when I was growing up and it seemed old to me then. Maybe vintage 50s or 60s? Mom if you're reading...let me know. This is always one of the first I hang on my tree and its front and center. I have to imagine it was made in Japan..he looks very fit and trim and has slightly Asian eyes. I think he's beautiful!



I don't have many antiques and these would be more like "vintage" than true antique. But I do love old things. Glass ornaments always call my name when I see them at garage sales. I picked up a few sets of mini ornaments over the years.


I hardly ever hang them...just look at them every year when I pull the Christmas stuff down. This year I decided to put up a little mini tree on my kitchen island so I was able to use a few. This one has really thick glass and is my favorite shade of pink.


And don't you just love the rainbow colors in these?


This is one I hang on my big tree. I think I picked this one up at an antique show quite a few years ago.



And this last one is much more recent...and handmade, but its a vintage family heirloom all the same. Made by Chase, my stepson...isn't he the cutest little guy, missing eye and all. Chase is going to be 28 this month by the way :-)



I'd love to see your Holiday flashbacks or any other flashbacks you have to share. Add your link below!


Happy December!!!
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