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It is cookie time! Heath Bar Cookies

It is that time of year when cookie recipes flood the internet.  Everyone has their version of the 12 Days of Cookies or something similar with the Christmas Season upon us.  I made thee last week when I was home on vacation for our Thanksgiving Holiday. 
 
 

 

These are the easiest cookies to make.  A refrigerator, slice and bake cookie that taste like a Heath Bar.  The dough can be made ahead and after it’s required refrigeration, quickly sliced up and baked as needed.  You could even make these and freeze the dough for baking at a much later time. I know that there will be other cookie recipes to follow in the next few weeks, these will definitely be the easiest to make.

Heath Bar Cookies 

Ingredients

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, room temperature
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup Heath toffee bits

Instructions

Cream butter and sugar together. Add in the egg and extract and mix until well combined.
Stir in flour, mixing until fully incorporated. Fold in Heath toffee bits.
 
 
Divide dough in half and place on top of a sheet of plastic wrap. Form the dough into a log about 6 inches long and 1.5 inches in diameter. Wrap each log with the plastic wrap and refrigerate dough rolls for 1-2 hours or until nice and firm.
 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove plastic wrap from rolls and cut into ¼ inch slices.Place slices about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.
Bake for 8 minutes or until lightly browned. allow to cool on minute on pan and remove to wire rack to complete cooling.
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The best chocolate chip cookies ever!

When our daughter came home to go to a football game and tailgate with her cousins, This weekend she asked me what should I bring to the tailgate?  My reply was to check with her Aunt who coordinates the food part of the tailgating.  The response was “Have her bring her Chocolate Chip Cookies!”.
Her cookies are delicious and probably the best Chocolate Chip Cookies out there.  They actually got there start with my mother and the Betty Crocker Cook Book. This was probably the one cookie recipe my mom used out of a cookbook that was a family recipe passed down.  Our daughter started making them about 5 years back and would take them to school and  basketball practices as a treat for the girls.  Then she decided to enter them in the State Fair Cookie competition when she was about 15.  No prizes there, but it could of been that it was so hot the day we took them over the chocolate was melting on the plate.  I have to admit they are delicious.  You can’t eat just one. And, they were a big success at the tailgate.  We know that because the container came home empty and we heard that her cousin was walking around and passing them out.  But don’t worry, we took a handful out before she left for our own private stash. 

Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookies – 1970’s recipe

Ingredients
2/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 1/2  cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts
2 (6 ounce) packages semisweet chocolate pieces (She used Chunks)
Directions:
Heat oven to 375° degrees.
Mix thoroughly shortening, butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla. Blend in remaining ingredients. 
Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto un-greased baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until light brown. Cool slightly before removing from baking sheet.
NOTE: If using self-rising flour, omit soda and salt.
SPECIAL NOTE:  Too keep them soft, place a piece of bread in the container.  It works!

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Dessert anyone? How about four of them?

Easter dinner at our house revolved around the desserts.  Two things came into play- my Mom was coming for dinner and she loves anything lemon and I had given up sweets for Lent so I wanted something chocolate.  My hubby also likes choices.  One or two desserts are not enough for him and    we also had extra company just for dessert so we needed the selection.  As soon as I pinned my chocolate recipe, my niece sent a text asking when her Uncle was going to make it.  She immediately got the dessert invite!  So we grew from 8 people for dinner to 12 for dessert. 
The Lemon cookies and the cheesecake bars were made on 
Friday  by me.  The chocolate and the coconut desserts were started on Saturday night and finished up before dinner on Sunday. None of our dessert selections disappointed us and with plenty of leftovers we will be savoring Easter for days.
Cheesecake Lemon Bars from 

Lemon Ricotta Cookies

  No Bake Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake 

Coconut Cream Pie 

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Lemon cookies – Can’t wait to make again!

Oh, I can’t wait for hubby to make these again.  I think they have become my favorite cookie he has ever made.  A couple of weeks ago I met my 2 sisters at my mother’s house to clean out some closets, cabinets, and prep for her new carpets and floors.While it was a necessary job to get done with little time, and finding stuff you have no idea why she kept them,  it turned out to be a good morning bonding with the “Gray girls”.  I left our house before 9 to make Pilates class, then I drove directly out to mom’s house.   My sisters had started, and I quickly jumped in.    4 hours later , I packed up the cleaning supplies and headed home to find these lovely lemon cookies waiting for me on the counter, alongwithdinner plans and yes, the wine was included . 

They were soft,sweet and just melted in your mouth.  I used restraint when eating these cookies because I was trying to be good and lose a little of the holiday weight gain and I wanted to make them last.  So I thought that by the following Wednesday there would be at least a couple left to take out to my mom, who loves anything lemon.  When I opened the pantry and grabbed the cookie dish, it was empty. Who leaves an empty cookie dish in the pantry?  

I think it’s time to fill it back up again….don’t you


Lemon Krinkle Cookie

Ingredients
1  15.25 oz package lemon cake mix ( for moist cake)
2 eggs
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup lemon infused olive oil
2 tablespoons finely shredded lemon peel
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Granulated sugar
Powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a large bowl stir together cake mix, eggs, flour, oil, lemon peel, lemon juice, lemon extract, and vanilla until combined. (Dough will be soft.)
  2. Place granulated sugar in one bowl and powdered sugar in another bowl. For each cookie, drop 1 tablespoon of the dough into the granulated sugar; toss to coat with sugar (dough will have a soft ball shape). Toss dough in the powdered sugar to coat. Place balls 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet.
  3. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until edges are light brown. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes.Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool.
Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens

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Christmas time is the best time!

Christmas is a very special time of year in our house.  First and foremost is the celebration of the birth of  the baby Jesus.   The music and the readings at Mass at this time of year are beautiful.   I love Christmas Day  when the trumpet joins in with the choir.  Such a blessed and joyous time of the year!
 
 
It also the time to gather with friends and family. We have plans for dinners with our peeps, cocktails with friend’s, post Christmas party with family to keep the spirit of the holiday the whole season through.   Our first gathering of the season was my niece’s  2nd annual cookie exchange last night. While it was a small gathering with two of my niece’s,  my daughter, my two sisters,  one of my sister in laws, my neighbor “Giada from across the street”, my great niece, great nephew and a friend of my niece (the host), all cookie types were well represented.
I remembered that last year there were an over abundance of butter balls so I dug back deep in the recipe file for some classic  pecan tassies.  This was a recipe I received when I had a Pampered Chef party and purchased the mini muffin tin.  I learned a very important lesson preparing for this exchange –  don’t try to save time and double the batches.  If you need more than the recipe calls for take the time and make separate batches.
 
We found these great boxes at a local kitchen store and packed each one with 8 cookies.  My recipe only makes 24 cookies so the 3 batches gave me 9 sets, 6 for exchanges and the rest for eating! 
 
It was a great party and the cookies are going fast.  The boys got into them as soon as they got home. 
 
 

Pecan Tassies

Ingredients

 
 
Tart Shells
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour
Filling
2 tbsp butter or margarine, melted
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1   egg
1 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup pecan halves, finely chopped
 Powdered sugar (optional)

Directions

 

Preheat oven to 350°F. For tart shells, beat butter and cream cheese in bowl until well blended. Add flour; mix until a soft dough forms.

Using Small Scoop, shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place balls of dough into ungreased cups of Mini-Muffin Pan. Dip Mini-Tart Shaper in flour; press into dough with even pressure until dough rises slightly above rim of pan.

For filling, place butter in Small Batter Bowl; microwave on HIGH 30 seconds or until melted. Stir in brown sugar, egg and vanilla. Finely chop pecans using Food Chopper; add to batter bowl and mix well.

Using Small Scoop, fill each tart shell with level scoop of filling (do not overfill). Bake 17-20 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from oven; cool in pan 3 minutes. Remove from pan to Stackable Cooling Rack; cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

Yield: 24 servings of 1 tart
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German Christmas Traditions revisited

German Lepkuchen

 
 
 

 

My mom grew up in the depression, the youngest of 5 children.  She tells stories of working around the house helping my Grandmother, of sleeping on cots on the porch at their camp, ice skating down the Street at the pond and going off flying with her older brother nights after dinner.  She tells of playing a game of Monopoly that would go on for days, of war ration coupons and hand me down clothes.  The family had deep German roots and a hard work ethic.  My grandfather ran a local furniture store with his sisters which was not the most prosperous with a family of five children at home to feed and cloth and you split the earnings with your siblings.  I never got to meet my grandfather because he passed away two years before I was born, but I do have a few memories of my grandmother. 

I loved going to her house and playing with the milk box outside her side door, or playing underneath the evergreen in the front yard.   A few years ago my mom gave me her recipe box with my grandmothers recipes.  With our interest in cooking she thought we would enjoy looking at some of the old basic recipes and some of the great German cookies and Christmas treats from her past.  I have found that there is little detail and measures like “a pinch” or “dash”.  Grandma passed away soon after my 6th birthday, but her memories live on.

The one recipe my mom has talked about for years is her mother’s Lepkuchen.  She remembers sitting on the floor with a big wooden bowl between her legs, stirring, and stirring the heavy batter.  When I decided to make these cookies for my mom’s 87th birthday, I enlisted my son for the stirring.  This is a very heavy batter and makes a ton of cookies.  When you do make them you hold off on the frosting until you are almost ready to serve them.  Of the two recipes I found one said “will hold for 2 to 3 months un-frosted” and the other said “indefinitely”.

Lepkuchen

1/2 pint of molasses
1/2 pint of white corn syrup
1lb. Dark brown sugar
1 lb almonds in shell}     3 cups chopped meats (nuts)
1/2 lb Brazil nuts }
1/4 lb citron, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup brandy
1tablespoon of baking soda, mix in flour
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
6 to 7 cups of flour – bake sample cookie to see if more flour is needed.  Should not be too porous.

Let dough chill.  Take out in small amounts, roll and cut into rectangles or squares.

Dough is very sticky if it warms up.  Bake at 350°, about 9 minutes.  Very hard when cool, store in large container.  Frost with confectionary frosting when needed.  The frosting will soften the cookies overnight.  The unfrosted cookies will keep up to 3 months.

Ok, so you read this and said what goes where?  That is what I thought, but figured wet ingredients together and then dry ingredients , mix together. 

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Care package delivered

This past weekend it was “family weekend” at our daughter’s school.  In anticipation of this trip I whipped up a few of her favorite treats.  I also did some shopping, gathered supplies and packed up some remaining clothes that she wanted.  It was our first real experience as parents of a college freshman and I think we did ok.
As soon as I finished work on Friday I quickly got home to help pack up the car and get on the road.  Hubby and our son we’re putting the finishing touches on their packing.  
Our departure was about 15 minutes later than planned.  I was excited to see her since it had been 3 weeks from our last visit.  Each time has gotten a little longer between visits.  We had a two hour and 15 minute ride to her dorm, but that turned into a three and one half hour trip with two separate construction zones and nothing going on.  
We finally arrived and showered her with gifts and treats.  On every happy girl and one beautiful weekend.  
So along with her favorite cookies I made my Rosemary Hummus and our favorite snack food- Spaghetti Pretzels.  This recipe was discovered a few years back while on a local wine trip with our foodie friends.  They served them with a local red wine and as we were leaving the winery I quickly memorized the recipe.  
              
Spaghetti Pretzels

20oz. Bag of pretzels 
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 package of Spaghetti Suace mix ( McCormicks)
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
2 tablespoons red wine

Mix all ingredients together  and pour over pretzels in a roasting pan and bake on a low oven (250 degrees) for 1/2 hour.
This recipe was first blogged in October 2013 for our college visit trip to UConn.  I really think the extra flour in these cookies makes them taste better than the standard Toll House Cookies.  

Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookies – 1970’s recipe

Ingredients

2/3 cup  shortening
2/3 cup butter, softened
cup  granulated sugar
cup  brown sugar, packed
eggs
teaspoons  vanilla
3 1/2  cups  flour
teaspoon  baking soda
teaspoon  salt
cup  chopped nuts
2 (6 ounce) packages  semisweet chocolate pieces

Directions:

Heat oven to 375° degrees.


Mix thoroughly shortening, butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla. Blend in remaining ingredients. 

Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto un-greased baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until light brown. Cool slightly before removing from baking sheet.

NOTE: If using self-rising flour, omit soda and salt.
SPECIAL NOTE:  Too keep them soft, place a piece of bread in the container.  It works!