Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What next?

What next cooking gals? Some ideas to give us structure in the coming year:

1) pick an ingredient each month and we all make a new recipe using it and post it
2) pick a new recipe and we all have to make it
3) put a call out for types of recipes you'd like to make in 2009

Or, is this not really flowing with everyone's schedules etc? Let me know...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Recipes for candy canes?

Any recipes that use candy canes?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Favorite Holiday Candy

I have always, always been intimidated by making my mom’s English Toffee recipe. Like going on seven years of putting off because I thought it would be too hard to make. Turns out, it is quite easy!

English Toffee
2 sticks butter
1 cup sugar
¼ c water
½ t salt
3 squares of semi-sweet chocolate or 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

Cook butter, sugar, water and salt in heavy bottomed pan. Stir constantly to keep from turning to dark until candy thermometer reaches the hard crack (HC) stage. This took about 20 minutes or so.* When it reaches the hard crack stage, pour into an ungreased 9 x 13 pan. Freeze until cool.

Melt chocolate chips and spread over cooled toffee. Sprinkle with nuts and freeze again to harden. Break up with your hands or a butter knife. My mom always stores these in the freezer.

*I made this last night and brought it into work to test on my co-workers. I now realize I could have waited another minute or so to cook the toffee so it would have been a little more brown and crunchy. The toffee I made last night it pretty chewy. Tasty, but chewy.

Monday, December 8, 2008

A holiday fav..cupcake, not cookie!

* Original recipe yield 2 dozen regular sized cupcakes or about 4 dozen mini

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/3 cup white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line muffin tins with paper cups or lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, egg, 1/3 cup sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt until light and fluffy. Stir in the chocolate chips and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, 1 cup sugar, cocoa, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Make a well in the center and add the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Stir together until well blended. Fill muffin tins 1/3 full with the batter and top with a dollop of the cream cheese mixture. * I tend to add more then a "dollop" because there's always plenty of the creamcheese mixture and its my favorite part of the cupcake!

4. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook.

New Holiday Recipes

Every year I make at least one holiday cookie, bar or bread. I never stray from the recipes of my childhood (my Aunt Carol's chocolate peanut butter balls, my Grandma June's lemon bread, a mint chocolate fudge recipe from my mom). Last year I got crazy sick on the weekend I was going to make treats, so this year I'm making up for lost time AND making something new.

Next weekend I'll be making lemon bread (and freezing some to take to my dad), but I'll also be trying two recipes from the new Everyday Food magazine. I'll be giving these two a try:

Chocolate Gingerbread Bars
Icebox Cookies

I'll let you know how they turn out. Photo from Martha.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Favorite Holiday Cookie - Kolochi

I've never actually made these before but they're my fav cookie. My mom sent me this recipe and I'm not sure if they're the best instructions...

4 cps flour 1 cup Crisco
1 pkg yeast 4 egg yokes
1 tsp salt ½ pt. light cream
¼ lb butter or margarine

Mix yeast with 2 cups flour. Add other 2 cups flour and salt. Add butter, Crisco and egg yokes. Mix thoroughly. Add cream. Mix thoroughly until dough does not stick to hands. Let stand in refrigerator 3 hours. Roll dough out thinly in confectionary sugar and then add filling (below).


1 lb. finely ground walnuts
1 tbs. butter (soft but not melted)
½ cup sugar
2 tsp milk

Mix and spread on thinly rolled dough. Roll up the dough (like a jelly roll, into a spiral) and cut into 1 inch cookies. Bake 15 minutes in 350 degree oven. (Watch your first batch and adjust baking time accordingly)

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Well, I broke our computer with all the pictures from our trip (and darn it, I have a special food related post from our trip). We have to order a new one, so I won't be posting much. Camby, thanks for keeping the blog going while I was gone.

Anyone have any holiday requests? Anyone have a chocolate mint martini recipe?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

New favorite cookie

Ok so here I finally go with a cookie recipe.. Honestly I can't say its my favorite holiday cookie because we've never had it before on a holiday, in fact I've only ever had the cookie once in my life but damn was it a GOOD cookie! I think in the one taste I had, it may have become the best cookie I ever tasted and will hopefully become a holiday staple for me going forward! In case you're wondering how I had it once, it was at a wine tasting event and the cookies were prepared by one of Pittsburgh's top pastry chefs who was nice enough to share her recipe with my Mom so here it is:

Italian Baci

9 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
pinch salt
1/3 cup dark rum

Whip together above ingredients and set aside.
* If you want chocolate almond baci add 3 cups crumbled almond paste to whipped yolks. (I would recommend adding the almond paste because it was devine with it included!)

Melt together 30 oz. bittersweet semisweet chocolate, 6 oz. unsweetened chocolate, and 6 oz. unsalted. Fold melted & whipped mixtures together. Stir in 1 7/8 cups all purpose flour, and 2 1/4 tsp. baking powder. Chill dough. After dough has chilled, use melon-scoop and drop about an inch apart on parchment paper to bake.

Bake 8-10 minutes at 325 - watch carefully as you don't want to overbake.