Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Appledoodle Cookies




When my husband says in between bites of these cookies that this recipe could rival his favorite cookies, I know it's a keeper.  He loves apple pie and snickerdoodles, so when I saw this recipe - making them was a no-brainer.

The cookies are soft and the granny smith apples add a perfect amount of tartness.  If you want extra depth of flavor, I made some with butterscotch chips and liked the result.  It was a slightly sweeter cookie, though.

This recipe makes 2-3 dozen cookies.

3/4 C butter, softened
3/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 small box (3.4 oz) vanilla or cheesecake instant pudding (leave it unprepared)
2 1/4 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of nutmeg
1 C peeled, finely chopped apple
1 C butterscotch chips (optional)

1/3 C sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Cream together the butter and sugars.
Add the egg and vanilla.
Stir in the instant pudding, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg.
Fold in the apples and butterscotch chips.
Refrigerate for 45-60 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the 1/3 C sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon in a separate bowl.
Roll the dough into 1-2 TBSP balls and roll in the cinnamon and sugar mixture.
Place about 2" apart on the baking sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Allow the cookies to cool completely on the pan before transferring them.
Store them in an airtight container.

This recipe is adapted slightly from www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Orange Cranberry Pound Cake




Orange and cranberry are classic holiday flavors.  This bread definitely delivered the two!  The original recipe called for a glaze, but honestly, I found the bread to be sweet enough on its own.  I do have to warn you that the cranberries can seem really tart if you are not a big cranberry fan.  If you love the sweet and tart contrast though...this bread is amazing!

This recipe makes 2 large loaves.

1 C butter
1 3/4 C sugar
2 heaping TBSP orange zest
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 C buttermilk
2 1/2 C fresh cranberries
2 3/4 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350.
Grease and flour two bread pans.
Cream together the butter, sugar, and orange zest for 3-5 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time, stirring the mixture for 1 minute each time you add an egg.
Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl.
Add the dry ingredients alternating with the buttermilk to the butter mixture until just mixed.
Gently stir in the cranberries.
Bake for 40-60 minutes (depending on how your oven cooks) until a toothpick comes out clean and the edges are starting to brown.
Let the loaves cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes and then finish cooling on wire racks.

This recipe is adapted slightly from www.chef-in-training.com.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Candy Cane Sugar Cookies




These cookies are a fun "twist" on the typical sugar cookie.  I chose not to frost them because I didn't want to cover up the cuteness of the red and white but you could put a glaze over the top if you do not like plain sugar cookies.

I made two batches of my favorite sugar cookie recipe (here).
Using red food coloring, I dyed one batch to the color I was looking for.
After the required chilling time, I rolled out the dough into thin logs and twisted them together.



I then shaped them into candy canes and placed them on the baking sheets and baked according to the sugar cookie directions.
Be aware that the cookies flatten slightly so you don't want the logs of twisted dough to be too huge...otherwise you will end up with large red and white dough blobs!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Homemade Potpourri Gift Bags





This is an incredible smelling stovetop potpourri perfect for the holidays.  I usuually have cinnamon sticks on hand to simmer with similar spices, but I LOVED the addition of the orange and cranberries.
Bagging up the contents (without the water, of course) and including a cute tag with instructions for use makes a great neighbor, co-worker, friend gift for the holidays, too!

1 orange
4 cinnamon sticks
1/2 C fresh cranberries
1 TBSP whole cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

Quarter or slice the orange.
Place all ingredients into a small saucepan.
Fill the pan with just enough water so that all of the ingredients are covered.
Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat so the potpourri simmers.
Add more water as necessary.
I keep mine on the stove for about a week (the orange starts to not look too pretty anymore, but it is still fulfilling its purpose of making my house smell amazing!) and keep adding water as needed.

This is slightly adapted from www.iheartnaptime.net.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

One Pan Parmesan Noodles




I cannot say enough good things about this pasta dish.  It is easy, creamy, and pairs well with so many different things.  Our favorite way to enjoy it is with grilled, salt/peppered chicken strips and veggies.  It would make a fantastic side dish as well if you were to eliminate the protein and serve it with another main entree.

This recipe makes 2-4 servings.

1 TBSP olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 C chicken broth
1 C + extra as needed milk (I use 2%)
8 oz. uncooked fettuccine or spaghetti noodles
1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese
1 TBSP dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat.
Stir in the garlic and keep stirring for 1-2 minutes.
Add the chicken broth, 1 C milk, noodles, and salt and pepper.
Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer the noodles until they are cooked through.  It will take about 18-20 minutes.
Stir in the Parmesan cheese and add enough milk to get the desired sauce consistency.  Salt and pepper to taste again if it is needed.
Stir in the parsley.
Serve warm as a side dish or as a part of a main dish with a protein or veggies.

This recipe is adapted from damndelicious.net.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Mickey Mouse Cupcakes




I have seen ideas like this floating around and decided for my son's birthday to make cute little Micky Mouse cupcakes that he could share with his cousins!

I used my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe and made cream cheese buttercream frosting and topped each cupcake with Oreo cookie ears.  The icing is swirled on with a basic icing tip (really...any tip will do - the consistency of the icing is what is important...it has to be stiff enough to hold up but soft enough to swirl) and after I placed the ears in the icing, I put the cupcakes in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to help keep the cookies in place for serving.

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