Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Cookie Recap

My plan for today's post was Christmas Brunch, I even have a teaser on the side of the screen to lure you in.  Unfortunately, I've changed my mind.  I'll still give you the recipe link to the Eggnog French Toast-just ask in the comment section of this post, but I really think that one post doesn't do this brunch justice.  This brunch is very special to me and I feel it should be a special holiday edition much like the cookie series, so my apologies, but I hope you understand.

I hope you have enjoyed Baking for the Boys Christmas Edition, Inside the Cookie Box.  It is so nice to share favorite recipes, especially those you enjoy during this time of year.  I'd also like to wish everyone a safe, happy and healthy holiday season.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Inside the Cookie Box-Spice Cookies

OK.  I'm breaking the silence on my Monday cookie post.  Only to inform you about this cookie.  It is the most requested recipe from my repertoire.  So yes, I've saved the best for last.  I clipped this recipe when I was in high school, so I've had it for a long while.  Every holiday season I whip it out of the recipe box (it makes quite a bit) for cookies swaps or parties, and every year I'm asked for the here it is!!!

They have a warm, gingery spice flavor and are so soft on the inside.  I think that is why people LOVE them, because they look look a ginger snap, have a crunchy exterior from being rolled in sugar and a surprisingly soft interior.  I bet you, like me, you'll make these every year.

***From the "Inside the Cookie Box" edition.

Spice Cookies
Yield: about 6 dozen
1 ½ cups unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
½ molasses
4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt

1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add molasses; mix well.
2. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Chill overnight.
3. Shape into ¾ oz. (1/2 inch) balls; roll in granulated sugar.
4. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 7-8 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool for 2 minutes before moving to a wire rack.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Meatloaf, smeatloaf, double-beatloaf. I hate meatloaf."

Actually, I don't hate meatloaf at all.  My sister and I always loved that line from A Christmas Story and I'm sure we were guilty of chanting it just as my mother placed the meatloaf on the table.  It seems that people either love meatloaf or hate it, never do I hear, "Eh, its tolerable..."  Well, I have found one that is definitely lovable!

This meatloaf is truly great and has become our meatloaf of choice.  For years I had made Ina Garten's Turkey Meatloaf and decided to give this one a try.  Sorry Ina, this one has defeated you.  There is heat from the Srichacha and sweetness from the brown sugar in the topping, mushrooms give a nice texture and moistness and best of all (and like Ina's) it is a lighter version of meatloaf because it is turkey.  It is seriously good, so homey and perfect for chilly winter's night.
Spicy Turkey Meat Loaf with Ketchup Topping
yield: 8 servings

1 tablespoon butter
2 cups chopped onion
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup low sodium chicken broth
1 ½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha chile sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 ½ pounds ground turkey breast
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ cup ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 350°
2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, mushrooms, and garlic to pan; cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool 5 minutes.
3. Combine mushroom mixture, panko, and next 8 ingredients (through egg) in a large bowl; stir well to combine. Shape turkey mixture into a 9 x 5-inch rectangle on a foil lined pan coated with cooking spray.
4. Combine ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, and nutmeg in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Spread ketchup mixture evenly over top of meat loaf; bake for 40 minutes, or until a thermometer registers 160°. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Inside the Cookie Box-Sugar Cookies

You can never go wrong with a Sugar Cookie.  So simple, delicious and perfect to decorate for the holidays

Sugar Cookies
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder

1. Combine butter, sugar, egg, milk and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Combine flour, salt and baking powder in bowl. Mix well. Stir into creamed mixture slowly until mixed well. Chill dough thoroughly.
2. Roll small portions at a time on a well-floured board. Cut out cookies.
3. Sprinkle cookies with sanding sugar and bake at 375° for about 8 minutes.

***For more cookies from "Inside the Cookie Box" click here.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The One That Almost Got Away (Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins)

I have to admit, nuts would make them more attractive...but the hubs does not like nuts!  Oh well!
This is a love story...about me...and a muffin.  Starbucks pumpkin cream cheese muffin to be exact.  I rarely walk in to a Starbucks, it really is a rare occasion.  But one brisk morning I found myself shoving my sons stroller into the store patiently awaiting for Pottery Barn to open...I had arrived an hour early, walked around the shopping center and finally found a warm place to nest.

And then, there it stood across the table from me...a pumpkin cream cheese muffin.  Oh my goodness-it was delicious and I was in love.

So I went home and tried to make my own version.  I scratched my recipe down on a tiny piece of paper and shared it with my family.  They loved it.  But then...I lost the recipe.  Earlier this summer to my delight I found it...and then, lost it AGAIN!  I thought it just wasn't meant to be...

One day as I was digging through my bakeware cabinet I saw a tiny piece of paper wedged between two tart pans.  The muffin and I were reunited again!  I was so excited (so was the hubs) that I made the muffins immediately.  They are just so darn good!  I mentioned that I was going to take the rest of them to work and The Hubs' face clearly stated, "I don't think so!"  They are that good-we ate the whole batch...with the help of The Baking Toddler, of course.

To learn more about making the perfect muffin go here!
A perfect breakfast treat!
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
yield: 1 dozen

4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 T. butter, room temperature
½ t. vanilla extract
3/8 c. powdered sugar

1 ½ c. flour
1 ½ t. cinnamon
¾ t. nutmeg
½ t. cloves
½ t. ginger
¼ t. allspice
½ t. salt
½ t. baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
½ c. + 1/8 c. vegetable oil
1 c. canned pumpkin
Pumpkin seeds or Walnuts for the topping

1. Lightly pan spray the tops of a regular sized muffin pan. Line pan with muffin cups. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Cream the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar in a small bowl. Place twelve ½ tablespoon mounds on a parchment lined tray and place in the freezer until firm.
3. Sift the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, allspice, salt and baking soda into a medium sized bowl.
4. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and canned pumpkin until smooth.
5. Gradually fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture using a large spatula until just combined.
6. Spoon batter into muffins cups, about ¾ full. Pull the cream cheese out of the freezer and gently roll each mound into a ball. Place the cream cheese balls into the center of the batter and lightly press down. Top with seeds or nuts, if desired.
7. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes
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Monday, December 6, 2010

Inside the Cookie Box-Snickerdoodles

My youngest sister's favorite cookie-Give theses cookies ample room on the cookie sheet-they spread quite a bit.

makes approx. 20 cookies

2 ¾ all purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
½ t. salt
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 ½ c. plus 2 T. sugar
2 large eggs
2 t. ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. Put butter and 1 ½ cups sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in eggs. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture.

2. Stir together cinnamon and remaining 2 Tablespoons sugar in a small bowl. Shape dough into 20 (1 ¾ oz) balls; roll in cinnamon sugar. Space 3 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

3. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden, 12-15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dr. Pepper Sausage

Dr. Pepper Sausage with Garlic Green Beans and Carrots
I love the new Blogger feature that displays your most popular posts.  In fact, I was quite surprised to find my One Box of Puff Pastry, Dinner and Dessert for Six post is number one-but it deserves it.  And I really enjoy seeing the posts climb and fall daily, lets me know that there is someone out there enjoying my blog.

One post that has been climbing up steadily is my Dr. Pepper Peanut Brittle.  Since that seems to be popular lately, I'm going to share another Dr. Pepper recipe with you!  Dr. Pepper Sausage.  It is easy and good.  Please forgive the recipe because its one of those "a pinch here/a pinch there" kinda recipes!

Dr. Pepper Sausage
4 servings

1 lb. smoked sausage
1-20 oz. bottle of Dr. Pepper
BBQ sauce (I love Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce)
  1. Slice sausage in 1/4 inch rounds or on the bias, and saute in a pan over medium high heat until browned.  Remove sausage and place on a paper lined tray.  Pour and lightly wipe out the grease in the pan and place back onto burner.
  2. Pour 10 oz. of Dr. Pepper into the pan and bring to a boil.  Swirl pan frequently until the Dr. Pepper has reduced and has a thick and syrupy consistency.
  3. Add sausage back to the pan and coat with the reduced Dr. Pepper.
  4. Add as much BBQ sauce as you'd like.  I like mine pretty saucy!
  5. Drink the rest of the Dr. Pepper with your meal!  :)