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Cherry Christmas Cookies

Recipes By December 20, 2015 Tags: , , , , 3 Comments

These are called Cherry Christmas Cookies only because I make them at Christmas and they are red and white. They actually have more of a scone consistency, than a cookie.  If you want to make them into scones, just form the dough into larger balls and then, of course, call them scones. Whether they are called cookies or scones, they taste delicious.

*Cherries and almonds go well together – if you feel adventuresome, substitute almond extract for the vanilla and then toss in a half cup of chopped almonds.

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Cherry Christmas Cookies (or Scones)

Bake 350 degrees. Recipe makes about 3 dozen small cookies.

  • 1 small jar maraschino cherries (without stems), drained and chopped
  • 2 T. flour

Put chopped cherries into a bowl and toss with the flour. Set aside.

In a larger mixing bowl – cream together:

  • ½ cup butter (softened)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 oz cream cheese (softened)

Then beat in:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 T. buttermilk (or use 2T. regular milk and ½ tsp. apple cider vinegar)

Stir in:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp.  baking soda

Then gently stir in cherries (the dough will have some red streaks).

* you will also need a small bowl with granulated sugar for rolling.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls.  Roll in granulated sugar. Place about 2 inches apart (although they don’t spread much) on a parchment covered cookie sheet. Bake for 11 -14 minutes. Until the bottoms are lightly golden brown (see picture).  I turn one over to check before taking them out of the oven.  Cool on wire rack.

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Easy Almond Snow Ball Cookies

Recipes By December 5, 2015 Tags: , , , , , 1 Comment

A powdered sugar story:

My husband loves Russian tea cakes (aka Mexican wedding cookies).  Several years ago, my new daughter-in-law, full of excitement and energy, decided to host a Christmas cookie baking day. This has since become an annual event, more on that in another post.  She was very enthusiastic and as she organized the event, the participants were presented with several rules. The one I will discuss here is – Only Christmas Cookies Allowed. Since I usually make Russian tea cakes around Christmas time, my husband, looking forward to his annual allotment, was a bit concerned. Russian tea cakes….Mexican wedding cookies….they don’t sound very Christmas-y.  What to do?  I decided to cleverly rename them Snow Ball Cookies – the renaming worked (meaning they were allowed) and that is what they are now known as in my house (especially around Christmas). No one ever discusses the fact that under the powdery disguise of a snowball cookie lives a Russian tea cake. Ahhh…the things we do for love.

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Here is the recipe for Almond  Snow Ball Cookies

I mix my dough by hand. I do not use a mixer because the dough comes out too fine, which makes it harder to form it into balls.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar (plus more in a small bowl used for rolling)
  • 2 tsp. almond extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ tsp. salt

In a large mixing bowl –  cream the butter and sugar, add the almond extract and cream together a little more.  Add the flour and salt.  Stir well.  Make sure to scrape all the flour off the bottom of the bowl and incorporate it into the mixture.

Roll dough into balls (I usually get about 2 ½ dozen out of this batch).  Place on parchment covered cookie sheet and bake for about 16-18 minutes.  Gently check the bottom of a cookie to see if it is lightly brown. If it is then they are done.

Let them cool for a minute then gently toss them, one by one, in powdered sugar.  Allow them to set for a few minutes – then toss again.  Tip: after the first power sugar covering but before the second, put another batch of cookies in the oven.resized-snow-cookies3

Once they are completely cooled – store them in an air tight container or freeze them.

*you might as well make a double batch – they are that good.

Yum!

What special cookies do you make for Christmas?

This post linked to Treasure Box Tuesday at memoriesbythemile.com and Creative Muster at flusterbuster.com

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Marvelous Apple Muffins

Recipes By October 31, 2015 Tags: , , , , No Comments

Muffins are a wonderful food for both adults and kids. They freeze well, transport well and are easy to make. A batch can be whipped up in just a few minutes, usually with ingredients on hand. You can even substitute ingredients, if necessary – muffins are very cooperative and forgiving.

I still have apples left over from apple picking the other day. I didn’t want them to go to waste, so I decided to make a batch of apple muffins. I have been making these delicious muffins for years. They are incredibly moist. You could add some chopped nuts or raisins if you desire.

Apple Muffins

Makes 12 regular sized muffinsresized-apple muffins

  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cups rolled oats (I used old fashioned oats)
  • 6 Tbs. sugar
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup almond milk or regular milk
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 2 Tbs. butter – melted
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg – beaten
  • 1 ½ cups apples – peeled, cored and grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Stir together flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl.
In small bowl stir together milk, orange juice, melted butter, vanilla and egg.
Make a well in center of flour mixture and add wet ingredients, stirring just until moist. Fold in apples.
Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups.
Bake for 15 – 18 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
*I use a toothpick to test for doneness.
Adapted from a recipe found in Live Right September 2008 (shoprite.com)

 

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Delicious Apple Crisp

Recipes By October 15, 2015 Tags: , , No Comments

I went apple picking with my granddaughter and her great-grandmother, Gigi, who was visiting us last week.  It is the thing to do when the leaves start turning beautiful colors and the morning air gets a little cooler.  We got carried away and came home with pounds and pounds of apples.  Gigi, after assessing the mountain of apples on the table, asked if I had an apple crisp recipe.  In fact, I do and it’s a good one.

How to make an easy apple crisp:

  •  4 to 6 apples (peeled, cored and sliced
  •  8 graham cracker squares (2 ½ inches each) finely chopped (I suggest putting them in a sealable    gallon plastic bag and gently smashing  them with a rolling pin)
  •  ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
  •  ½ cup rolled oats
  •  ½ cup flour
  •  1 tsp. cinnamon
  •  ½ tsp. nutmeg
  •  ½ cup butter (melted)

Fill baking (microwave safe) dish ¾ full of sliced apples.  Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, oats, flour and spices.  Add melted butter and mix well.  (*I mix all the ingredients in the same bag as the graham cracker crumbs.  Then add the melted butter to the bag and mix.  It saves washing another bowl.)  Spoon mixture over the sliced apples.

Microwave:  Cook on High for 12-15 minutes or until apples are tender.  *If your microwave doesn’t rotate automatically, then turn the dish half way through.

Oven: preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for 30 minutes or until apples are tender.

Cool slightly.  Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Makes 6-8 servings

resized-apple crispPost linked to Tuesday Talk and Thursday’s Favorite Things over at All That’s Jas

 

 

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Pickles – the Food of Generations

Grandpas Garden, Recipes By September 2, 2015 No Comments

My family loves pickles. From my oldest granddaughter all the way up to her grandpa.  Are they picky about their pickles? Why, yes they are!  Not just any old pickle will do. So, I was a bit nervous when I decided to take on the role of Pickle Chef and make pickles from the cucumbers in my garden. Since I didn’t have all the equipment to actually process them with a heat bath, I decided to make the refrigerator kind.

I purchased an entire case of quart canning jars from Walmart, I noticed (afterwards) that some places actually sell them individually. However, since these pickles won’t be canned (put under heat and pressure), any jar that you have in your cabinet should work.  Like old jars from pickles you bought at the store!  Make sure to thoroughly wash any jar that you use, including the new ones you just bought.

The ingredients:

  •       3 ½ cups of water
  •       1 ¼ cups white vinegar
  •       1 Tablespoon regular sugar
  •       1 Tablespoon regular salt
  •       4 cups cucumbers (cut into spears or slice
  •       2 cloves of garlic (whole, but pealed)
  •       Fresh dill (4 or 5 sprigs or individual stalks)

 

In a sauce pan stir together water, vinegar, salt and sugar.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and let it cool down completely.

Meanwhile, fill your jar with cucumber spears, dill and garlic.

Pour cooled vinegar mixture over cucumbers in the jar.  Put on lid and refrigerate for at least 3 days.  *adapted from a recipe found on Allrecipes.com

Tips and Hints:

  • Fresh dill seems delicate and turns bad quickly.  I suggest you use it the same day you buy it.  Gently rinse it when you get it home and let it drain.
  • The original recipe called for 2 heads of dill, this confused me. Since the dill divides naturally into individual stalks (sprigs) I translated it into that measurement.  I added dill on the top and to the bottom of the jar.
  • If you are impatient and want your vinegar water to cool faster, stick it in the refrigerator.
  • I let my prepared pickles set in the frig for a week before we tried them.
  • If you want a little kick then add a sliced jalapeno pepper or dried red chile pepper to the jar.

The result:  Everyone liked them, from the granddaughter to the grandfather and everyone in-between.  I even gave a jar away to friends. That’s confidence!

Enjoy!

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Pumped-up Oatmeal Cookies

Recipes By August 28, 2015 Tags: , , No Comments

My granddaughters are staying with us this weekend. In anticipation of their arrival, I decided to make some cookies. That is what grandma’s do, right? I wanted something healthy, but still tasty. I came up with these “pumped up” oatmeal cookies.

Using the Quaker Oats Vanishing Oatmeal Cookie recipe here , I added and subtracted a few things.

I wanted a variety of dried fruit to go along with the raisins, so I decided to add dried cranberries, dried blueberries and dried cranberries infused with cherry juice. I used a generous cup and a half of mixed dried fruit instead of a single cup of raisins. The dried cranberries I used were from Ocean Spray, but other kinds would work just as well. The dried blueberries came from Trader Joe’s. They also carry a berry mix that included strawberries, cherries and blueberries. I didn’t purchase it because I just wasn’t sure how the dried strawberries would taste. Maybe I’ll try it next time around.

To compensate for all the dried fruit, I reduced the sugar by ½ cup. I added more vanilla and cinnamon. You can never go wrong by adding more cinnamon. I buy it in bulk, so I always have plenty. Then I put in an extra cup of oatmeal (increasing it from 3 to 4 cups).

Here are the ingredients:

      • ½ cup ( 1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
      • ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
      • ¼ cup granulated sugar
      • 2 eggs
      • 2 tsp. vanilla
      • 1 ½ cups flour
      • 1 tsp. baking soda
      • 2 tsps. cinnamon
      • ½ tsp salt
      • 4 cups uncooked oatmeal (I used old fashioned oatmeal but you can also use quick cooking oats )
      • 1 1/2 cups mixed dried fruit (dried cranberries, dried blueberries, cherry flavored cranberries, raisins)
      • Handful of chocolate chips
      • Heat oven 350 degrees

In large bowl, cream butter and sugars.   Add eggs and vanilla, stir well. Mix in flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add oatmeal and mix well. Stir in dried fruit and chocolate chips.

Drop dough by spoonfuls onto an ungreased or parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, until they are just turning golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

These cookies are delicious.

Enjoy!

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