Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

To all of my dear family and friends:

On a wonderful Christmas Eve
I wish to you a teaspoon of excitement,
a tablespoon of success,
a cup of creativity,
a pint of comfort,
a quart of good fortune,
and a gallon of friendship.

May your bread rise high,
your cookies never crumble,
and may your kitchen be filled with friends,laughter, and love.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas is too busy!

Between work, shopping, wrapping, sleeping, and baking I haven't had time to post. On Sunday I went on a baking binge and made gingerbread cookies and white chocolate covered peanut butter and crackers. Last night my sister and I whipped up a batch of oreo balls.

Here's the recipes!

I got the recipe for the gingerbread cookies from Elise and her Simply Recipes blog. You can visit her and spend hours going through the recipe archives.

Gingerbread Man Cookies Recipe Simply Recipes:
3 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter (room temperature, softened)
1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
Optional raisins, chocolate chips, candy pieces, frosting
Royal Icing
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 3/4 cup confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)


1 In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and spices. Set aside.

2 In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Mix in eggs and molasses. Gradually add the flour mixture; combine on low speed. (You may need to work it with your hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.) Divide dough in thirds; wrap each third in plastic. Chill for at least 1 hour or overnight. Before rolling out, let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. If after refrigerating the dough feels too soft to roll-out, work in a little more flour."

3 Heat oven to 350°. Place a dough third on a large piece of lightly floured parchment paper or wax paper. Using a rolling pin, roll dough 1/8 inch thick. Refrigerate again for 5-10 minutes to make it easier to cut out the cookies. Use either a cookie cutter or place a stencil over the dough and use a knife to cut into desired shapes. Press raisins, chocolate chips, or candy pieces in the center of each cookie if desired for 'buttons'.
4 Transfer to ungreased baking sheets. Bake until crisp but not darkened, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Let sit a few minutes and then use a metal spatula to transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate as desired.
Makes 16 5-inch long cookies.

While visiting Simply Recipes, take a look at her Royal Icicng recipe. It is by far the best cookie-decorating icing I've ever used. Once I made the icing, I transferred it to a zip-loc bag and cut a *tiny* bit off the corner. It works great for these cookies!

I first heard of oreo balls from a distant cousin of my husband. She made these wonderful bites of heaven for a family get-together and she just told me how she made them. I went home and tried them the very next day! I love these so much that I made 300 of them for my wedding reception.

1 package oreos
1 8 oz package cream cheese
1 package white almond bark

1. In a food processor, grind oreos until fine.

2. Add cream cheese to oreos and mix. I usually use my hands on this part to make sure that the cream cheese in totally incorporated into the oreo crumbs.

3. Roll mixture into balls and place on cookie sheet. The size is up to you. I like to make mine about 1". Place cookie sheet in freezer for 30 minutes.

4. Melt almond bark in a double boiler over the stove or in microwave. Dip balls into almond bark then shake off access. I just use a fork, that way the extra almond bark drips off easily. Lay balls on wax paper until almond bark hardens. Store in freezer. Best served cold or frozen.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Today I wanted to share with you some of my food blog heroes. I have chosen the three food blogs that I follow the most: Erin Cooks, The Pioneer Woman Cooks, and Joelen's Culinary Adventures.

I love the way that Erin Cooks blogs about food. She also gives a lot of stuff away. When I read her posts, I feel like I acutally know her. She has great recipes and I have tried many of them.

The recipes that Pioneer Woman shares are awesome. She uses a wide range of ingredients and she takes really good pictures...good enough to make my mouth water.

I "met" Joelen through the What's Cooking discussion board on The Nest. I was so intrigued by her and her recipes. She's very involved hosting food events in the Chicago area. Her blog is easy to follow and many of the recipes are multi-cultual. She gives me courage to try new recipes.

I encourage you all to take time to follow these three ladies and their blogs. They have great cooking knowledge to share.

Until next time.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Lemon Cornmeal Cookies

I was weary about making these cookies, unsure about cornmeal in a cookie. But I thought I'd give them a try. I found this recipe on and I've been pleased with all of the recipes I've tried from this site. Here's the recipe:
1 cup all-purpose flour (about 4 1/2 ounces)
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 large egg
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine flour and the next 4 ingredients (through ground ginger); stir with a whisk. Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Scrape sides of the bowl occasionally. Add egg; beat well. Beat in grated lemon rind. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, and beat at medium-low speed just until blended.

3. Spoon about 1 1/2 teaspoons batter 2 inches apart onto 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until lightly browned and almost firm. Remove from oven. Cool on pans for 2 minutes or until firm. Remove from pans. Cool completely on a wire rack.

I really like these cookies, and I will definately make them again. The lemon flavor is subtle, and the cookies are soft. Maybe next time I'll make some ice cream sandwiches with these and some french vanilla ice cream.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Take 2

I have been away from blogging for too long. I love to blog but lately I just haven't had time. Here's my second attempt to keep this up and running. I thought I would go old school today and share a good old-fashioned chocolate chip cookie recipe. This recipe comes from the Kitchen Aid instruction booklet that came with my mixer.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups all purpose flour
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

*I use mini chocolate chips. I also add 3 cubes of chopped white almond bark.

Place sugars, butter, eggs, and vanilla in bowl. Mix on low for 30 seconds. Stop and scrape bowl. Mix on medium for another 30 seconds. Scrape bowl.

Mixing on low, gradually add baking soda, salt, and flour to sugar mixture. Mix on low for 2 minutes. Scrape bowl. Add chocolate chips and almond bark. Mix on low 30 seconds.

Drop by small spoonfulls onto greased baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and cool on wax paper.