Friday, December 30, 2011

Holiday Goodness

Now that I am getting back into the swing of things after a crazy busy holiday season, cooking and blogging are at the top of my list of things to do.  For Christmas I got a new Le Creuset Dutch Over, and I couldn't be more excited.  I have never had one before, and I have been researching lots of new recipes to try.  One of my New Year's resolutions is to try harder recipes.  I haven't been one to bake too often, so I am going to try my hand at more of that as well. 

I know I am behind on posting all of my holiday recipes, but I am going to go ahead and post them all together anyways because some of them aren't holiday specific.  Enjoy!

Alton Brown's Cranberry Sauce


1 pound fresh cranberries, approximately 4 cups
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup 100% cranberry juice, not cocktail
1 cup honey


Wash the cranberries and discard any that are soft or wrinkled.  Combine the orange juice, cranberry juice, and honey in a 2 quart saucepan over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the cranberries and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst and the mixture thickens.  Do not cook for more than 15 minutes as the pectin will start to break down and the sauce will not set as well.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Carefully spoon the cranberry sauce into a 3 cup mold.  Place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours and up to overnight.  To unmold and serve, immerse bottom of mold in hot water for 10-15 seconds and turn upside down on a plate or serving dish.  If necessary, carefully run a warm knife around the edge of the mold.

Cinnamon Sugared Pecans

Just a warning, you definitely can't just eat a couple of these.  This was my first time making them, and we all loved them!
1 large egg white
3 cups pecan halves
1/3 cup cinnamon and sugar
2 teaspoons good vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
For cinnamon and sugar mixture:
Use 1 tablespoon cinnamon to 1/4 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Whisk the egg white in a cup.  Pour the egg white over the pecans, stirring until they are coated.  In a small bowl, stir the cinnamon, vanilla, sugar, and salt together.  Add the cinnamon sugar mixture to the nuts, a little at a time, while stirring.  Spread the coated nuts on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes without stirring.  Use a spatula to remove the nuts from the hot baking sheet immediately.  Allow to cool thoroughly before storing in a tightly closed container.  Store in a cool place.
Pretzel Hugs
My brother is one of the pickiest dessert eaters, which is weird coming from our family, but these he loved.  They couldn't be easier to make, and everyone will enjoy them.
2 bags of Hershey Hugs
1 pound bag of waffle pretzels
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Unwrap Hugs.  Line baking sheet with wax paper, for easy removal.  Lay one pretzel down and top with a Hug.  Bake for 2 minutes, until they are glossy and soft.  Remove from the oven and let sit one more minute, allow more time to soften.  Top each Hug with another pretzel pushing down gently until it sticks.  Place baking sheet in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to allow them to cool.