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Ginger Spiced Molasses Cookies- More Christmas Cookies

Ginger spiced Molasses Cookies

Ginger spiced Molasses Cookies

Many of you I am sure have seen these before, the recipe may actually have appeared here more than once but these cookies are so good it’s worth sharing again and again. Spicy, chewy, moist and delicious I totally love this cookie and include it in every gift box that I make. This is a recipe from Food52, and these cookies are amazing. Don’t really need to say anymore, I have already said it and I don’t want to bore you. Try them, they are terrific!!

 Ginger Spiced Molasses Cookies

Makes 24 cookies

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (Optional I don’t use cloves)

3/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1/2 cup unsulfured molasses

1/3 cup finely diced candied ginger (optional)

granulated sugar for rolling

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, salt and cloves (if using) in a bowl and mix well. (Note:) if not using cloves increase another of the spices I increase cinnamon and ginger.
Beat butter and sugar together in bowl of electric mixer until light and fluffy, 3 minutes.
Add egg and molasses. Mix to combine well. Stir in dry ingredients. Stir in candied ginger if using. Refrigerate batter 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Roll dough into 1 1/2″ balls. Roll balls in granulated sugar. Arrange on baking sheets lined with parchment paper and gently flatten, just barely I use 2 fingers and lightly push on the dough. Bake in oven until set and crinkled on top, about 12 minutes. Remove and cool.

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The Cookies Of Christmas-Chocolate Kiss Thumbprints

 

Thumbprints

Thumbprints

Over the next few days I plan on posting recipes for cookies, specifically cookies that I will be including in my gift boxes this year. I have basically the same repertoire every year although sometimes I will skip some and add another just to change it up a bit.

I accidentally bought a bag of these lovely striped Hershey’s kisses, I thought they were the plain chocolate but when I opened one I was surprised to see this creamy white striped kiss. It is quite delicious and so pretty I was inspired to make these chocolate thumbprint cookies and top with a kiss, it will be added to my cookie gift boxes. I have no idea where I got these recipe, I have it written down and stored in a huge pile of recipes that I don’t know what to do with, I mean a huge binder of clippings and recipes I printed from the internet, hand written family recipes, some are decades old. My mantra is that one day I will scan and organize but years later it’s still sitting in my bookshelf with my cookbooks, unorganized. I tend to rotate certain recipes and I think it’s been a few years since I’ve made these, I love thumbprints, you can be creative with what to put in the indent, one year I put a maraschino cherry and drizzled with ganache, another year apricot jam (delicious with chocolate). They are such cute little bites and very easy to make.

Chocolate Thumbprints

Makes 36-48 cookies

2 cups all purpose flour

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup butter room temperature (soft)

1 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 egg

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4-1/2 cup sugar in bowl to roll cookies in.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat 1 cup each butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla; beat to combine. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and beat to combine. Refrigerate the dough for an hour before baking. It did not say this in the recipe but I find it works best when the dough has been chilled.

Pre heat oven to 350 degree’s. Use a small scoop (so they are uniform in size) and roll in your hands into a ball, place dough in the bowl of sugar and make sure its completely covered, place on parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Using your thumb make an indent on top of each ball. You can fit 1 dozen on a baking sheet, cookies should be at least an inch apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes no longer please, it really depends on your oven, when you remove them they will be soft,my first batch I kept in almost 10 minutes the second batch 8 minutes, I like them better when left in for 8 minutes. Remove from oven, let sit for 5 minutes on baking sheet and then place a kiss in the center of each cookies. Place on cooling rack. The kiss will soften but should retain it’s shape.

Cute

Cute

Orange Angel Food Cupcakes With Chocolate Orange Buttercream For Fiesta Friday #45

Angel Food Cupcake With Chocolate Orange buttercream

Angel Food Cupcake With Chocolate Orange buttercream

Tis the season for Holiday parties, potlucks and scratching my head wondering what to bring. This Sunday is my Block Association pot luck Holiday party and my neighbors  usually request dessert. This year I decided to make angel food cupcakes, light as a feather and flavored with orange, so seasonal right? The frosting is a chocolate orange buttercream and for just a little more orange I spread just a touch of orange marmalade on top of the cupcake before icing.  Because I have two parties I made a double batch and am bringing them to Fiesta Friday #45. Hard to believe this party has been happening 45 weeks, and it’s still going strong thanks to the amazing Angie@the novice gardener and as always there are amazing co hosts helping out and this week we have two fantastic co hosts Michelle@giraffes can bake andMB @Bourbon & Brown Sugar. Thank you for hosting and co hosting and I hope you like these cupcakes.

Cupcakes:

Makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/4 cup egg whites at room temperature

1 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp orange zest

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 cup cake flour

1/2 cup confectioners sugar

1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 325°. Set 12 jumbo foil muffin cups on a rimmed baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine the cake flour with the confectioners’ sugar. In a large bowl, combine the egg whites with the salt, orange zest and cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the whites are firm and glossy. Sift the flour mixture over the egg whites in 2 additions, folding gently until incorporated.
Spoon the batter into the muffin cups filling to the top. Bake for 15 minutes (checking on them starting at 13 minutes), shifting the pan from front to back, until the cupcakes are springy and golden. Transfer the cupcakes to a rack to cool. It’s important to use the foil lined they are more substantial and will hold up when the cupcakes start expanding. This recipe is from Grace Parisi and she says’ to set them on a baking sheet rather than in muffin tins.
The Buttercream:

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70%) broken into small pieces

1 tsp orange zest

4 egg whites from large eggs

1/2 cup +2 tbs granulated sugar

8 ounces unsalted butter cut into pieces at room temperature

Place chocolate and orange zest in microwave safe bowl, microwave for 30 seconds, stir and microwave another 30 seconds, it may need another 30 seconds to melt. Stir until all the chocolate is melted set aside to cool.

Combine sugar and egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water; whisk until the mixture feels hot to touch and the sugar is completely dissolved, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer the bowl to the mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat the mixture on medium-high until cooled, about 15 minutes.

Add the butter a piece at a time beating continuously until its all added, now add the cooled chocolate and beat until combined. Use immediately.

Spread a thin layer of the marmalade on top of the cupcake, pipe some of the chocolate buttercream in the middle. Enjoy!

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Homemade Labneh With Roasted Fruit, Walnuts And A Honey Thyme Drizzle

Labneh

Labneh

I love a challenge and when I heard that Chobani was asking home cooks to develop recipes for their “Made With Chobani” challenge I was inspired to create a recipe for them. I am a big fan of yogurt, I eat it every day and I am also a big fan of Chobani, it’s thick and creamy and delicious. I want you to know that I am NOT being compensated in any way for this, I am simply doing what I love to do, cook and meet a challenge and the opinion is completely my own. 

They said the recipe can be a meal, appetizer or dessert. I used Chobani plain yogurt (4% milk fat) to make a healthful dessert that is not just delicious but it would make a lovely light dessert for the holidays. I adapted a recipe for homemade Labneh from one I found on Food52, roasted some seasonal pears and some grapes, toasted some walnuts, drizzled all of this with a simple honey thyme syrup and garnished with pomegranate arils.

What is Labneh, well it’s very simple, it’s yogurt cheese. When I say simple I really mean it, all you need is a good quality yogurt, like the Chobani yogurt I used, some lemon juice and a pinch of salt. No cooking required you only need to mix the lemon juice and salt with the yogurt and strain through a piece of cheese cloth or muslin. Labneh can be used with either a savory or sweet dish. for a savory use of Labneh drizzle with some olive oil, sprinkle some sea salt, dukkah, zaatar, herbs whatever you like.  I used whole milk yogurt in my dish, it’s a bit of an indulgence for my Holiday Table but this cheese can be made with low fat or even “Zero” fat yogurt with the same creamy delicious results.

Labneh after 12 hours draining

Labneh after 12 hours draining

Homemade Labneh

Serves 6-8

12 Oz Plain 2% or 4% Fat Greek Yogurt

1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

pinch of sea salt

Mix yogurt, lemon juice and salt thoroughly. Place strainer over a bowl and drape with cheese cloth, place yogurt mixture into the cheese cloth and fold over so the yogurt is covered. Refrigerate 12-24 hours. At 12 hours the labneh will be somewhat firm and spreadable and at 24 hours it will be even thicker. It’s wonderful either way.

Roasted Fruit

Roasted Fruit

Fruit and Walnuts

4 ripe pears peeled, cut in half and cored ( I used bosc)

1 small bunch red seedless grapes (removed from stem) approximately 2 cups

1 tbs butter

2 tbs organic  sugar

1 1/2 cup walnuts

Pomegranate arils for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degree’s. Butter a rectangular baking dish and place pears and grapes in the dish. Sprinkle with the sugar and bake uncovered for 30-45 minutes, the fruit should be tender. Remove from oven. Place walnuts on baking sheet and toast in the oven at 375 for 15 minutes approximately, you will know they are done when you can smell the walnuts be careful and watch the nuts they can burn quickly.

Honey Thyme Drizzle

1/4 cup honey of your choice

1/4 cup juice from cooked fruit

2 sprigs thyme

pinch of sea salt

Add the honey, juice and thyme sprigs to a small saucepan and simmer gently for 15 minutes, remove thyme sprig and remove from heat. If your fruit does not give off 1/4 cup of juice substitute another type of juice or water . You will need approximately 1/2 cup of the syrup.

A bowl of goodness

A bowl of goodness

To Serve:

You can set out on a platter or serve on individual plates. A slab of labneh surrounded by the roasted fruit, toasted nuts and drizzled with the honey thyme syrup, scatter some pomegranate arils over the fruit before serving.

Light, festive and delicious

Light, festive and delicious

 

 

 

Chocolate Chip Granola Cookies For Just Another Cookie Monday

 

Chocolate Chip Granola Cookies

Chocolate Chip Granola Cookies

Just Another Cookie Monday, what is that you might ask well it’s the brainchild of Prudy@Butter,Basil and Breadcrumbs. When I got an email asking me to participate in this cookie extravaganza I didn’t even hesitate to say YES, of course I would love to. First of all anything for Prudy, one of my absolute Fave bloggers and a real sweetheart, secondly, who doesn’t love cookies and anything to spread the cookie love is a very good thing. I hope you all enjoy my recipe.

The season of giving (cookies) is almost upon us and I am starting to make my cookie dough in preparation for the gift boxes, Secret Santa and Holiday Parties that are planned. The other day I made a  lot of granola. Granola is one of my favorite things, and homemade is what I really like best. I was feeling creative and used my recipe for chocolate chip cookies and changed and adapted to include some granola. My homemade granola is full of really good stuff, almond meal (left after making almond milk) coconut, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, pecans and I toast until really crisp. The resulting cookies are really nice, chewy and crisp at the same time, a little salty (in a good way) and chocolatey.  They will make a really nice addition to my gift boxes. Head over to Prudy’s now for the recipe and see all the totally dreamy recipes she has for you.

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Happy Thanksgiving

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From Google Images via pinterest

I want to wish each and everyone of you that celebrate the Holiday a very Happy and absolutely delicious Thanksgiving. There is a lot to be thankful for and on this day of giving thanks I want to tell you all how much I love and appreciate all the support and kindness you show to me. Blogging is a fun and a creative outlet for us but where would I be without you or really where would we be without each other, your sweet comments and support mean the world to me. I know you are busy today cooking or traveling or maybe you are just relaxing. Whatever you are doing I hope your day is filled with love and happiness.

Thank you all for everything.

 

Suzanne and Nando

Ha!

Ha!

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Chicken Nuggets-A Thanksgiving Dog Treat Recipe

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Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog is a blog that is both inspirational and informative and when Sharon contacted me to ask if I would share a recipe for a dog treat I was more than happy to oblige.  For years Sharon selflessly cared for her beloved Sophie who due to a rare disease became paralyzed, read about Sophie here. You see Sharon’s blog is near and dear to me she offers so much to pet parents of Special Needs Pets, both cats and dogs. My Nando is Special needs having suffered from diabetes for the past 6 years, he is also blind and has been almost 6 years. With the holidays it’s always nice to give our fur babies a special treat and although Nando gets these every day they are special.

So here is my recipe for Doggie Chicken Nuggets. I had to make them with diabetes in mind, I have had Nando on a very strict diet since he was first diagnosed he gets lean protein, vegetables and barley.  These little bites contain ground chicken breast, coarsely ground vegetables, pumpkin or butternut squash, cheese and barley. They are low on the glycemic index and Nando loves them. Happy Thanksgiving to all pets and pet parents.

Chicken Nuggets

1 lb ground chicken ( I use breast meat) You can also use ground turkey breast
1 cup ground vegetables, I use parsley, spinach, carrot, kale and celery
1/2 cup cube pumpkin or butternut squash (steamed until tender)
1/2 cup cooked barley
1/2 cup grated cheese (your choice) I use cheddar a lot)
1 egg lightly beaten
small pinch of sea salt

Pre heat oven to 350
Cut your pumpkin or butternut squash into cubes and steam or oven roast until tender. Set aside.
Grind the vegetables in your food processor, pulsing until coursely ground (don’t pulverize)
Place chicken, vegetables. barley, pumpkin or squash, egg,cheese and pinch of salt in bowl and mix to combine.
On small sheet pan lined with parchment and lightly greased with olive oil place the chicken mixture and spread into a loaf. Bake for 30 minutes or until done. Let cool for about 20 minutes and then chop into bite size pieces. Store in refrigerator.

Nando

Nando

Fried Chocolate Hazelnut Ravioli For Fiesta Friday #43

Fried Chocolate Hazelnut Ravioli

Fried Chocolate Hazelnut Ravioli

If you need a quick dessert, really delicious, looks impressive and will get a lot of ooohs and ahhhhhs make these fried ravioli. You use wonton wrappers, nutella, deep fry, dust with some powdered sugar and there you have it. They taste amazing, really you have to try these. I used to watch Food TV and saw Giada De Laurentis make them, I am a big fan of nutella and fried dough so I felt that these had my name written all over them. Serve on their own with some coffee/espresso or with a bowl of gelato. It makes such a nice, easy and delicious dessert. Serving size is 2 according to the recipe but I can easily eat 4 of them.

I thought these delicious little bites would be really perfect finger food for Fiesta Friday #43 which is hosted by the super talented and very sweet Angie@The Novice Gardener and this weeks co hosts never left the party, I am so excited thatTracy @Scratch It and Stephanie @The Cozy Cook are still there to welcome everyone.

Fried Chocolate Hazelnut Ravioli

From Giada De Laurentis

Serves 8 (or if I am there 4)
16 wonton wrappers
1 egg, beaten to blend
1 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread (recommended: nutella)
Vegetable oil, for frying
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the wonton wrappers on the surface. Brush the edges of the wrapper lightly with egg. Spook 1 tbs of chocolate hazelnut spread into the center of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper diagonally in half over the filling and press the edges of the wrapper to seal. P,ace the ravioli on the prepared baking sheet.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Add enough oil to a heavy large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium high heat to 350 degrees.

Working in batches. carefully add the ravioli to the hot oil and cook until they are golden brown, about 45 seconds per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the ravioli to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Then, transfer the cooked ravioli to another baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven while you are frying the remaining ravioli. ( The fried ravioli can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool them completely, then cover and refrigerate. Before serving, place them on a baking sheet and rewarm in a preheated 375 degree oven just until they are heated through, about 7 minutes.)

Delicious

Delicious

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Cream Of Mushroom Soup

Hot soup

Hot soup

When Fall and Winter are here my thoughts turn to mushrooms, well not all the time but a lot. I told you that I joined this new CSA, Farmigo and I just picked up my second order. They had some beautiful mushrooms. I got Shitake and Oyster. I have been wanting a piping hot bowl of Cream of Mushroom soup.  I made enough for 2 servings but you can double or triple to make more. The earthy mushroom and sage and rosemary go so well together, the flavor of the herbs is very subtle, just a hint. This soup would be great added to casseroles, pasta or just eaten as is. I used as a guide the recipe for Cream of Mushroom soup from Balthazar on Food52. This soup is dedicated to all of those who are experiencing extreme cold, snow and ice stay warm and safe. A hot bowl of soup is just what you need. Enjoy with some good bread and butter, a salad and you have a wonderful meal.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

2 generous servings

1 1/2 lbs mushrooms (I used shiitake and oyster) cleaned, woody stems removed

1 small onion white or brown

2 cloves garlic

1 small stem rosemary

1 small stem sage

splash of olive oil

splash of white wine

3 cups broth (vegetable or chicken or mushroom broth)

1/4 cup half and half

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 tbs butter

salt and pepper to taste

mushrooms and herbs simmering in broth

mushrooms and herbs simmering in broth

In large heavy pot add olive oil and the stem of rosemary and sage, let it heat on Med/high until you hear the herbs sizzle. Now add the sliced onion and garlic. Sauce stirring until the onion and garlic soften but don’t let them brown. Add the mushrooms and let cook for approximately 10 minutes or until the mushrooms give off their liquid and it cooks down. Add a splash of white wine and continue cooking for another 5 minutes so that it is reduced to very little liquid. Pour in the broth and cook for 30-45 minutes, bring to a boil then turn heat down so that it is a strong simmer about Medium heat. Once everything is cooked. remove the rosemary and sage and spoon out the mushrooms, onion and garlic and place in blender or food processor, add 1/4 cup half and half and the butter and process or blend until smooth. Add back to pot and pour in the cream. Get it good and hot and serve immediately. Note: I did not puree all the mushrooms I wanted some pieces in the soup. I also have a confession to make. I wash my mushrooms, I know thats a HUGE no no, you brush the dirt off, well brushing them doesn’t satisfy me, I wash in cold water quickly, pat dry then air dry. I know this is frowned upon but I am not liking the odds of having dirt in my food by simply brushing the mushrooms I want them clean. I hope i didn’t offend anyone just needed to get that off my chest.

Cream of mushroom soup

Cream of mushroom soup

What Will You Serve For Thanksgiving?

Dressing or stuffing

Dressing or stuffing

Some of you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving but here in the US this is probably the biggest food holiday of them all, it’s also a time to remember how much we have to be thankful for. For me the Thanksgiving meal is steeped in tradition. Every year I make the same meal, I have tried adding something different but in the end, the best is always the tried and true recipes.

Do you try new recipes or stick to the tried and true?

Is it Potluck or do you do all the cooking?

What do you make, or do you go to someone else’s house for the meal?

I bake pies for friends, this year I am making apple, pumpkin and pecan for both my table and for my friends. I have will have 6-8 people over, family and friends.

How many will be around your table?

Photo by James Ransom

Photo by James Ransom

Thanksgiving 2014

Butter and herb roast turkey- compound butter under the skin and steam roasted

Dressing- cornbread and bread with a lot of other things. My signature dish.

Mashed potatoes- Yukon gold, sour cream and butter. I like super creamy smooth potatoes so I use a food mill.

Corn

Brussels Sprouts- I am going to make this recipe this year from my friend Bevi, it’s a Food52 contest winner

Gravy

Cranberry orange sauce (see recipe below)

Homemade potato rolls

Just out of the oven

Just out of the oven

Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie

For Dessert

Pumpkin Pie

Pecan Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Apple pie right out of the oven

Apple pie right out of the oven

Cranberry Orange Sauce

Ingredients
1 cup sugar
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice + 1 tsp orange zest
1 12-ounce package Fresh or Frozen Cranberries ( I always buy Ocean Spray)
Combine sugar and juice in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil; add cranberries, return to boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover and cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until serving time. Makes 2 1/4 cups. Optional- add the zest of 1 orange for a stronger orange flavor. I always make a double batch because I must have it for the leftovers.

The Wine

Can’t forget the wine, this year I have a magnum of Christian Bernard Select Black Gamay (A beaujolais), I also have Rioja, 2001 R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia,  Pernand-Vergelesses 2008, premier Cru Sous Fretille (Grand Vin du Bourgogne) I’ll pop the bubbly with dessert and serve coffee too. What are you drinking?

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