Friday, December 25, 2009

a trio of christmas cookies

We spent a wonderful Christmas Day in Hays, Kansas visiting with my family. The tree was festive and bright, loaded underneath with gifts from Santa (we never get too old!).

Out the window, snow frosted the neighborhood.

And, I was so excited when I opened up Pioneer Woman's cookbook!

All of the Christmas spirit put me in the mood to bake. I just love the smell of fresh baked cookies filling up the house! My family insists that these recipes are all winners...

Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies

My sister made these - she won first prize at the county fair with this recipe! Her secret is to throw in some chocolate chips as well.

  • 1 1/2 cups shortening
  • 1 2/3 cups packed brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 t. vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 t. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. ground nutmeg
  • 4 cups old fashioned oats

  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 3 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 7 oz. jar marshmallow creme
  • 1-3 T. milk

In a mixing bowl, cream shortening and brown sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg; add to creamed mixture. Stir in oats. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.

For filling, cream together shortening, confectioner's sugar, and marshmallow creme. Add enough milk to achieve spreading consistency. Spread filling on the bottom half of the cookies; top with remaining cookies. Yield: about 2 dozen.

German Chocolate Toffee Cookies

I made these because my husband loves toffee and chocolate. Instead of walnuts, we used pecans.

  • 1 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 package (4 oz) German sweet chocolate, melted
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 t. water
  • 2 t. vanilla extract
  • 6 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 t. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups English toffee bits or almond brickle chips
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

In a mixing bowl, cream butter, shortening and sugars. Beat in chocolate. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in water and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in toffee bits and walnuts. Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: 13 dozen (according to the recipe).

White Chocolate-Cranberry Biscotti

I saw these and thought of my mom (she loves dried cranberries). She had never had biscotti before and was a little wary - but now she's a convert!

  • 1/2 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup vanilla chips

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in cranberries and vanilla chips. Divide dough into three portions. On ungreased baking sheets, shape each portion into a 10 in. x 2 in. rectangle. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board; cut diagonally with a serrated knife into 1-in. slices. Place cut side down on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 2 1/2 dozen.

PS - The recipes for the German Chocolate Toffee Cookies and the White Chocolate-Cranberry Biscotti are from Taste of Home's Best of Country Cookies.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

apple crisp

I just love apple crisp. It's a relatively healthy dessert (considering), and it's incredibly easy to whip up in a hurry. It's the perfect dessert for when company comes over - it tastes great and leaves your home smelling wonderful. This is my mother's recipe, and it's my absolute favorite. Hope you enjoy it, too!

First, peel and chop up about four large apples. The recipe calls for Granny Smith, but my absolute favorite are Gravenstein apples - they just smell so apple-y! Place the chopped up apple in a pie pan or baking dish.

Then, mix together 1 cup flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and one egg (or the equivalent of one egg in egg substitute or egg whites). I find it best to use a fork or pastry cutter to mix the ingredients together - it will end up crumbly.

Sprinkle the topping mixture over the apples. Dot with butter or margarine (use as much or as little as you like) and then sprinkle with cinnamon (I sprinkle with a little more sugar, too). Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Serves 8.

Apple Crisp
  • 4 lg. Granny Smith apples
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • cinnamon and butter

Peel and cut up apples in a pie pan. Mix remaining ingredients with a fork. Sprinkle over apples. Dot with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Nutrition (assuming 3 T. Smart Balance margarine and whole egg): 222 cal, 4g fat, 1g sat fat, 26mg cholesterol, 248mg sodium, 45g carbs, 2g fiber, 30g sugars, 3g protein, 5% vit A, 4% calcium, 7% vit C, 5% iron.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

brunch bake

Sorry it's been a while since I've posted a recipe! Life has been crazy, what with birthdays, Christmas celebrations, and preparing for travel. Every time I do sit down, I write Christmas cards instead of playing with my blog. But, I'm least for now.

This recipe is a great, easy recipe for a weekend breakfast or brunch. It's pretty, incredibly filling, and a quick fix. It's also low fat!

First, arrange 8 oz. of refrigerated biscuits in a baking dish that's been sprayed with cooking spray. I used Grand's Reduced Fat Buttermilk Biscuits.

Then, mix together the following ingredients: 24 oz. egg substitute, chopped cooked turkey bacon (the recipe calls for about 7 oz., but I used much, much more), 1 cup of shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese, 1 cup of shredded reduced-fat  mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup of chopped fresh mushrooms, 1/2 cup of finely chopped onion, and 1/4 t. pepper.

Pour the mixture over the top of the biscuits.

Colorful, isn't it! Then, just bake it, uncovered, at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. It's beautiful and delectably delicious!!!

Brunch Bake
8 oz. refrigerated or homemade biscuits
24 oz. egg substitute
7 oz. cooked turkey bacon, chopped
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded reduced-fat (or soy) cheddar cheese
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded reduced-fat (or soy) mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 t. pepper

Arrange biscuits in a 13"x9"x2" baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. In a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; pour over biscuits. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Serves 12.

Nutrition (see note below): 212 cal, 11g fat, 4g saturated fat, 1g trans fat, 24mg cholesterol, 781mg sodium, 10g carbs, 0g fiber, 2g sugar, 18g protein, 5% vit A, 1% vit C, 15% calcium, 12% iron.

Note on nutrition - these numbers were calculated using regular refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (not reduced fat) and reduced-fat mozzarella and cheddar cheeses.

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