Sunday, December 23, 2012

Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

This is my first year really making Christmas cookies, and I have no idea why I waited so long. I didn't have too much confidence in my baking skills, but I think I pulled it off this year! You can substitute whatever kind of jam you would like, but raspberry is my favorite. Hope you enjoy these cookies!

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup salted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a medium. Bowl combine flour and baking powder. Mix well with a wire whisk. Set aside.

In a medium bowl with an electric mixer cream butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla and beat on medium until smooth. Add the flour mixture and blend at low speed until thoroughly combined. Dough will be firm.

Scoop tablespoonfuls of dough, roll into 1-inch diameter balls and place on parchment lined baking sheets 1 inch apart. Poke center of the cookie ball with finger. Place 1/2 teaspoon of jam in the center of each cookie ball.

Bake 22-24 minutes or until light golden brown. Transfer to a cool, flat surface. Makes approximately 4 dozen.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Italian Stuffed Peppers

If you are looking for a good stuffed peppers recipe, this is one to try!  The Italian flavors were a nice change from using rice as a filler with ground beef or turkey.  Using bolognese sauce with the frozen spinach worked really well.  Hope you enjoy these as much as we did!
1 lb lean ground turkey (or lean ground beef)
3 bell peppers
2 cups spaghetti sauce (I used bolognese)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 garlic clove, pressed)
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach (De-thawed and squeezed dry with paper towel)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese + 6 tablespoons to garnish over top of each pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Line baking sheet with foil (for easy clean up), coat with non-stick cooking spray.  Wash peppers and cut around the stem to remove.  Remove stems.  Cut peppers in half length-wise, and remove the seeds and ribs inside the peppers.  Set peppers on baking pan.  Meanwhile, cook ground turkey in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat.  Stir and break up the turkey while it's cooking.  When turkey is almost completely cooked through, add the sauce and seasonings to the pan.  Stir and continue to cook until the turkey is completely cooked (when it is no longer pink).  Add the spinach and Parmesan and stir until everything is well combined.  Scoop 1/2 cup of the turkey mixture into each pepper.  Sprinkle 1 tablespoon Parmesan over each pepper (or another low fat shredded cheese, such as mozzarella).  Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until cheese is melted, and lightly golden brown.  

Russian Tea Cakes

Like most of you, I started making holiday cookies this week.  Russian Tea Cakes are some of my favorite cookies, and this was my first time making them.  They couldn't be easier, and taste SO good!  It was hard to resist eating all of them at once.  Enjoy!
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
parchment paper
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake almonds in a single layer in a shallow pan for 6 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.  Cool completely (about 20 minutes).  Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Process almonds in a food processor 30 seconds, or until finely ground.

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.  Gradually add vanilla and 1 cup powdered sugar, beating well. (Dough will be crumbly)

Combine flour, salt, and almonds; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended.

Shape dough into 3/4" balls, and place 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.  Bake at 325 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes.  Transfer to wire racks and cool 10 minutes.  Roll cookies in 1/2 cup powdered sugar.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

S'more Krispy Treats

Thank goodness for Pinterest!  If you love s'mores, then you will love these bars.  They are just as easy as rice krispy treats to make, but a nice way to change it up.  I think next time I will add some more whole marshmallows when I am mixing everything together in addition to the melted ones.  Hope you enjoy these!
1/4 cup butter
1 (10 oz) bag regular marshmallows
1 box Golden Graham cereal
1-2 cups chocolate chips (I used half of a bag)

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add marshmallows and keep stirring until the marshmallows completely melt and you get a marshmallow sauce.  Remove from heat.  Add Golden Grahams and stir until they are all well coated.  You can chose to crush up some before adding them if you want some smaller pieces.  Next, stir in chocolate chips.  Grease a 9 x 13 pan and press s'mores down.  Once they are all pressed down and cooled, drizzle with some melted chocolate chips if you would like additional chocolate.

Bourbon- Cranberry Compote

I decided to change up my cranberry sauce this year, and I am glad I found this recipe.  My little cousin Jenna helped me prepare this, and I think she liked stirring the cranberries and listening to them burst.  I was able to make this the night before Thanksgiving, and refrigerated it covered.  Be sure to bring it to room temperature before serving, however!  Enjoy!
1 (12 oz) bag fresh cranberries
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup apple juice
1/4 cup bourbon (I used Jack Daniels)

In a saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, apple juice, and bourbon.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries begin to burst and the sauce thickens, 20-25 minutes.  Let cool before serving.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans and Spiced Maple Sauce

My family isn't huge on sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving, but I still bring them each year.  These are by far my favorite ones I have ever made!  They smelled incredible, and the spiced maple sauce was a great addition.  Enjoy!
2/3 cup roughly chopped pecans
3 lbs sweet potatoes, peel and cut into large dice
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons real maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Heat oven to 450 degrees F and arrange rack in the middle.  While oven heats, place pecans on a baking sheet to toast until they smell nutty and are slightly darker, about 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside.  Place sweet potatoes on baking sheet, drizzle with oil.  Season well with salt and freshly ground pepper, and toss to coat.  Roast until golden brown and tender when pierced with a knife, about 40-45 minutes.  Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  When it foams, stir in maple syrup and cayenne and let cook briefly, about 1 minute.  Serve sweet potatoes with a drizzle of maple butter and a scattering of pecans.