Thursday, December 31, 2009

Holiday Peanut Butter Cut-Out Cookies

This is the first baked cookie recipe that Alyssa made entirely by herself. They turned out fabulously!

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1 cup REESE'S Peanut Butter Chips
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 vanilla extract
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda


1. Combine butter and peanut butter chips in saucepan; cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until melted. Pour into large bowl; add brown sugar, egg and vanilla. Beat well. Stir in flour and baking soda. Refrigerate 15 to 20 minutes or until firm enough to roll.

2. Heat oven to 350°F.

3. Roll dough, a small portion at a time, on lightly floured surface or between 2 pieces of wax paper, to 1/4-inch thickness. (Keep remaining dough in refrigerator until ready to use.) Using cookie cutters, cut into desired shapes; place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until almost set (do not overbake). Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Garnish with CHOCOLATE CHIP DRIZZLE. About 3 dozen cookies.

CHOCOLATE CHIP DRIZZLE: Place 1 cup HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Chocolate Chips or HERSHEY'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips and 1 tablespoon shortening (do not use butter, margarine or oil) in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM (50%) 1 minute; stir. If necessary, microwave at MEDIUM an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chips are melted when stirred.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hershey's Secret Kiss Cookies

Alyssa made these cookies for us. They are absolutely delicious!

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
1 bag (6 oz.) HERSHEY'S KISSES Milk Chocolates
Powdered sugar

Beat butter, granulated sugar and vanilla in large bowl until fluffy. Add flour and walnuts; beat on low speed of mixer until well blended. Cover; refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until dough is firm enough to handle.

Remove wrappers from chocolate pieces. Heat oven to 375°F. Using approximately 1 tablespoon dough for each cookie, shape dough around each chocolate piece; roll to make ball. (Be sure to cover each chocolate piece completely.) Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are set but not brown. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. While still slightly warm, roll in powdered sugar. Cool completely. Store in tightly covered container. Roll again in powdered sugar just before serving. About 3 dozen cookies.

Skillet Tuna Noodle Casserole

If desired, sprinkle individual bowls of this casserole with crushed Ritz or Saltine crackers before serving.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 ounces white button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin
1 onion , minced
Table salt
8 ounces egg noodles (3 cups)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup frozen peas
2 (7-ounce) foil pouches solid white tuna, flaked (or use drained canned tuna)
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
Ground black pepper
Lemon wedges (for serving)

1. Melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, onion, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook until the mushrooms are browned, about 15 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.

2. Sprinkle the noodles into the skillet. Pour the broth and cream over the noodles. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are tender, about 10 minutes.

3. Stir in the peas, tuna, mushroom mixture, and parsley and allow to heat through, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, passing the lemon wedges separately.

Serves 4 to 6

Chocolate Peppermint Scones

Bart made this for us shortly before Christmas--it was a delicious, festive breakfast!

Recipe from: Taste of Home

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup cold butter
3/4 cup (6 ounces) vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 cup 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate baking chips
1 tablespoon coarse sugar
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
1/4 cup crushed peppermint candies

In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt, buttermilk, egg and extract; add to crumb mixture just until moistened. Stir in chocolate chips.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead 10 times. Divide dough in half; transfer each portion to a greased baking sheet. Pat into a 6-in. circle. Cut into six wedges, but do not separate. Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 400° for 18-20 minutes or until puffed and tops are cracked. Remove to wire racks; cool slightly. Drizzle with melted chocolate and sprinkle with peppermint candies. Serve warm (although these are also good leftover).

Yield: 1 dozen.

Cranberry-Walnut-Orange Muffins

Just in case you stocked up on cranberries this past fall and have some in the freezer you need to use!

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar, less 1 tablespoon
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups plain low-fat yogurt
1 1/2 cups chopped cranberries, fresh or frozen
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Vegetable cooking spray or additional unsalted butter for muffin tins

1. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Beat butter and sugar with electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add orange zest to butter-sugar mixture. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in one-half of dry ingredients. Beat in one-third of yogurt. Beat in remaining dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with yogurt, until incorporated. Fold cranberries and walnuts into finished batter.

3. Spray twelve-cup muffin tin with vegetable cooking spray or coat lightly with butter. Use large ice cream scoop to divide batter evenly among cups. Bake until muffins are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Set on wire rack to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove muffins from tin and serve warm.

Makes 1 dozen large muffins.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Eggnog Cookies

I decided to try a new recipe for the holidays. So to please my Eggnog Loving family I found this recipes. It's like a soft sugar cookie, only with eggnog flavor. Everyone loved it except for me, but then again, I don't like Eggnog! So if you like Eggnog, you'll probably like this recipe too.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon rum extract
dash of nutmeg
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup eggnog

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, vanilla and rum extract. Combine nutmeg, flour, baking soda and salt together; add to creamed mixture alternating with the eggnog and mix well. (If the mixture is too thick you can add a bit more eggnog.) Drop by rounded tablespoons onto greased cookie sheets. Flatten down cookies just a bit. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the pan for a couple of minutes and then move to cooling racks to cool completely and then frost.


2 tablespoons butter, softened
3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup eggnog

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well. If the frosting is too thick add a bit more eggnog or if it is too runny add a bit more sugar. It should be spreadable. Frost the cookies and sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon sugar.

Rolo Turtles

1 small package square shaped pretzels
1 package Rolo candy
1 package pecan halves (toasted), or other nut

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and place pretzels individually on to form one layer. Place one Rolo candy on each pretzel. Bake in preheated oven for 4 minutes or until the candies soften. Immediately after removing them from the oven place one pecan half on top of each candy and squish down to flatten out. Cool for 20 minutes and then place uncovered in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to set. Transfer to a decorative serving plate.

If you don't like pecans use a different type of nut or push down an M&M on top. I used macadamia nuts.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Peanut Brittle

3 cups sugar
1 ¼ cups corn syrup
1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound raw Spanish peanuts (I measure out 4 cups)

In a small bowl, combine the salt, soda and vanilla. Set aside until ready to use. Butter a 17 x 12-inch cookie sheet and set aside on a cooling rack.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in a heavy 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil and sugar is dissolved. If sugar crystals form on the side of the pan, wipe them off, or cover with a lid until they dissolve, then remove the lid and continue boiling. Put thermometer in saucepan. Cook to 232°F. Remove thermometer. Stir in the raw peanuts and continue cooking, stirring to keep from burning. Cook until the syrup is a beautiful golden brown, stirring constantly.

Add the butter and stir to combine. Remove from heat, and add the salt, soda, and vanilla mixture. Stir well. (The brittle will foam.) Spread onto buttered cookie sheet.

After the candy begins to cool slightly, use a buttered knife to “score” the candy into squares. After the candy cools completely, invert onto a sheet of waxed paper or parchment paper, and break it into the squares you scored earlier. Most will be in squares.


4 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
¾ cup water
¼ teaspoon salt
3 egg whites, room temperature, stiffly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup broken nuts, if desired

Combine sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt in a heavy 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil and sugar is dissolved. If sugar crystals form on side of pan, wipe them off or cover with lid unto they dissolve then remove the lid and continue boiling. Reduce heat and cook without stirring until temperature reaches 248°F., or firm ball stage.

When candy reaches 240°F., beat egg whites until stiff, but not dry (be certain that the utensils and bowl are grease-free). When candy mixture reaches 248°F., slowly pour it in a fine stream over egg whites, beating constantly with electric mixer, slowly pour it in a fine stream over egg whites, beating constantly with electric mix at medium speed (this is a 2-person job if you’re using a hand mixer; a stand mixer is much easier to use by yourself).

Continue beating until mixture begins to lose its gloss and a small amount dropped from a spoon holds soft peaks. The secret to smooth, velvety divinity is plenty of beating. Take a little taste—when it feels velvety on the tongue and the raw syrup taste is gone, it’s ready.

Mix in the vanilla. You may fold in chopped nuts if desired. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper. You may place a nut on top of each candy, if desired.

Makes about 8 dozen pieces.


• To make a pastel divinity, add 20 drops of food coloring to the uncooked syrup.
• It is recommended that you test your candy thermometer before use each time. Place in a saucepan with boiling water. Water boils at 212°F., so adjust the temperature in the recipe up or down as required.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Root-Deer

Bart made these to take to his home-teaching families. Isn't he great at crafts?

IBC root beer (or other root beer in individual-size bottles)
Brown pipe cleaners
Wiggle eyes
Red and/or black pom-poms
Jingle Bells

Following picture, use a hot glue gun to create reindeer. To make the antlers, we twisted one whole pipe cleaner around the top of each bottle. Then we cut a pipe cleaner into fourths, and used two of these pieces on each side of the whole pipe cleaner that was twisted around the top.

Coconut Scones with Coconut Glaze

4-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 cups shredded coconut
3 sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon coconut extract
2 cups pecans, finely chopped

For the Glaze:
4 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 cups confectioners' sugar

Make the scones: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line 2 or 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, granulated sugar and shredded coconut in a bowl. Beat in the butter with a mixer on low speed, then raise the speed to high and beat until the mixture is in coarse crumbles.
Whisk the coconut milk, eggs and coconut extract in another bowl, then stir into the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in the pecans; do not over mix.

Scoop 2-to-3-inch mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheets (a large ice cream scoop works well for this). Sprinkle the tops with sugar and bake until golden brown, 15 to 17 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze: Whisk the coconut milk, coconut and vanilla extracts and 1 cup confectioners' sugar in a bowl until smooth, adding more sugar as needed to thicken. Drizzle over the scones while still slightly warm.

Strawberry and Chocolate Oat Scones

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
¼ cup dark brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
½ cup chocolate chips
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
About 1 cup chopped fresh strawberries (or substitute 1/3 dried cranberries or dried cherries)

Heat oven to 400°F.

Combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in food processor. Pulse to mix. Add butter pieces and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Remove mixture from food processor and place in large bowl. Stir in chocolate chips. Set aside.

In small bowl, combine buttermilk, egg, and flour. Mix well.

Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients; stir with fork or Danish whisk just until dry ingredients are moistened. Gently fold in strawberries. Do not overmix.

Drop dough by ¼ cup portions 2 inches apart onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until very light golden brown.

Makes 10 to 12 scones.

Brûléed Oatmeal with Baked Apples

2 apples (Granny Smith, Baldwin, or Honeycrisp)—peeled, cored, and cut into wedges ¼ inch thick
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
4 cups (32 ounces) whole milk
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups (6 ounces) rolled oats
½ cup (3 ½ ounces) firmly packed light brown sugar

To make the baked apples, position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl, combine the apples, lemon juice, melted butter, and brown sugar and stir to evenly coat the apples. Spread the apples on the prepared sheet and bake until the liquid is bubbling and the apples are tender and glazed with the brown sugar mixture, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and keep warm. Preheat the broiler (grill).

Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the milk and salt to a gentle boil, about 3 minutes. Stir in the oats. Reduce the heat to medium and cook uncovered at a gentle boil, stirring frequently, until the oatmeal is soft and the milk is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Adjust the heat as needed to keep the oatmeal boiling gently. Remove from the heat.

Divide the hot oatmeal among 4 shallow baking dishes about 6 inches in diameter, spreading it evenly in the dishes. Evenly sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar over each serving. Using a spoon or your fingers, gently press the brown sugar into a uniform layer.

Arrange the baking dishes on a baking sheet and place in the broiler about 6 inches from the heat source. Broil (grill) until the topping melts and bubbles vigorously, about 3 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet halfway through baking to ensure uniform browning, and watch carefully to prevent the topping from burning. Place each baking dish on a serving plate. Top with the warm apple splices and serve at once.

Recipe Source: Williams-Sonoma: Essentials of Breakfast and Brunch

Apple Berry Breakfast Crisp

4 cups thinly sliced peeled apples (about 4 medium)
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries or sliced strawberries
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or instant Clear-Jel
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

1 cup old fashioned oats
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 8-inch baking dish with nonstick baking spray.

For filling, combine brown sugar, flour or Clear-Jel and cinnamon in large bowl. Stir to mix well. Stir in apples, blueberries and juice concentrate until fruit is evenly coated. Spoon into baking dish.

For topping, combine oats, brown sugar, margarine and flour in medium bowl; mix until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over fruit.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve warm.

Makes 9 servings.

Tip: For a delicious dessert, serve warm with vanilla frozen yogurt or ice cream.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

S'mores Sandwich Bar Cookies

Alyssa has been really wanting to make cookies, so today we made these together. She was hoping to have enough to deliver some Christmas treats to our neighbors, but we ended up eating them all. Oh well--they were simple to make so we can make another batch for our neighbors!

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 (1.55 oz. each) HERSHEY'S Milk Chocolate Bars (we used 7 3/4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips instead)
3 cups miniature marshmallows

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 8-inch square baking pan.

Beat butter and sugar in large bowl until well blended. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt; add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Press half of dough into prepared pan.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Sprinkle chocolate bar sections, marshmallows and bits of remaining dough over baked layer.

Bake 10 to 15 minutes or just until lightly browned.

Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. 16 bars.

Cheeseburger Pasta

We love pasta dishes! This meal was great. We think it would also be fun to serve crumbled bacon over it.

1 pound penne pasta
1 to 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 cans (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes
1/4 cup dill pickle relish
1/4 cup prepared mustard
1/4 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons steak seasoning (such as Montreal steak seasoning)
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Chopped green onions, for serving

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomatoes, relish, mustard, ketchup, steak seasoning and seasoned salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

Drain pasta; add to meat mixture.

Sprinkle with cheese. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand until cheese is melted. Garnish with green onions.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Favorite Dinner Rolls

This is the recipe from the Lion House cookbooks. I added the 20 minutes autolyse time--it really seems to help and it is a very simple thing to do. I had trouble describing how to make the Parkerhouse rolls--but I'm sure you all already know how to do that.

2 tablespoons yeast
2 cups (16 ounces) warm water
1/3 cup (2 3/8 ounces) sugar
1/3 cup (2 3/8 ounces) vegetable shortening (butter-flavor is good)—or use 1/3 cup (2 5/8 ounces) butter or margarine
2 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup nonfat dry milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
5 to 6 cups (21 ¼ ounces – 25 ½ ounces) all-purpose flour
Melted butter (about ½ cup)

In a large bowl, mix yeast and water and let stand 5 minutes. Add sugar, shortening, salt, dry milk, egg, and 2 ½ cups of the flour. Beat together until smooth (beating 2 minutes at medium-high speed). Cover and let mixture rest for 20 minutes. After mixture has rested, gradually add remaining flour until a soft dough is formed.
Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Alternatively, you can knead dough in a large standing mixer. Knead for about 4 minutes in mixer on low. Place dough in greased bowl; cover and let rise until dough doubles in bulk. Punch down.

To make Parkerhouse rolls, roll dough out onto counter about 3/8-inch thick. Cut with round biscuit cutter. Remove cut shapes and reroll remaining dough. You may need to let the dough rest before re-rolling if it doesn’t roll easily.

Prepare a half-sheet baking sheet by greasing or spraying with Baker’s Joy. Line with parchment and spray lightly again.

Slightly stretch out each dough round into an elongated oval. Dip top side of bottom half of oval into melted butter. Place into prepared pan, folding top half over onto buttered half. Gently press cut edges to seal. Repeat with remaining dough, placing rolls quite close together. Placing each new row of rolls close to the last row helps prevent the tops from opening up during rising and baking.

(To make crescent rolls, divide dough into thirds. Roll out one third of dough into a circle; cut into 12 pie-shaped pieces. Starting at the wide end, roll up each piece into a crescent. Place on greased baking sheet with point on bottom. Repeat with remainder of dough. Brush tops with melted butter.)

Butter plastic wrap and use to cover rolls. Let rolls rise until double in size. Bake at 400°F. for 15 minutes. Serve warm with honey butter or cran-raspberry butter if desired.

Makes about 3 dozen rolls.

Cran-Raspberry Butter

We make this butter every Thanksgiving to serve with our rolls. It is absolutely delicious!

1 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce (we prefer to use homemade, but canned will work)
½ cup raspberry preserves
2 cups butter, softened
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl; beat on high for 5 minutes. Mixture should be creamy. Spoon into a dish; cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Makes 3 ½ cups.

Honey Butter


½ cup (4 ounces) softened butter
¼ teaspoon vanilla
1 egg yolk
1 cup (12 ounces) honey

Whip butter; add vanilla and egg yolk. Gradually whip in honey until light and fluffy.

Makes 1 ½ cups.