Iced-in in Texas!

Dear Sis,

Not a spot of ice or snow during my entire two week visit to PA, but I arrive home to the desert of Texas to find we have had an ice storm that has been the cause of countless accidents and road closings.

Texas Ice

We need to go grocery shopping, but we are putting it off until the ice that lines the sidewalks and roads melts away.  Until then we’ll have to eat leftovers from the lovely meal chef Josh made for my arrival home.

Chicken Stew

Jello

Love,

b

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Great Grandmother’s Nut Roll

Dear Sis,

Nut Roll

Nut Roll
Yields 3
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Dough
  1. 1/4 c milk
  2. 1/4 c sugar
  3. 1/4 c butter
  4. 1/2 t salt
  5. 1 T yeast
  6. 1/4 c water, warm
  7. 1 - 2 c flour
  8. 1 egg
Filling
  1. 2 c walnuts, crushed
  2. 1 c milk
  3. 1/2 c sugar
  4. 1/4 c butter
  5. 1/4 t salt
Dough
  1. Scald milk. Stir in sugar, butter, and salt until melted. Cool to lukewarm.
  2. Dissolve yeast in warm water.
  3. Work flour and egg into scaled and yeast mixtures. Grease dough. Rise 1 hour.
Filling
  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over med heat. Cook until thick cool.
Assembly
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Divide dough into thirds. Roll into 1/4 inch thick rectangles. Spread with filling, keeping 1 inch away from edges. Roll. Pinch ends closed and place seam side down on baking sheets. Bake 15 - 20 minutes. Cool. Slice and serve.
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/

Extra Filling

I remember watching Great Grandma make nut roll when I was about 5 years old.  I sat in a kitchen chair drawling and coloring while she kneaded and stirred.  When she placed the rolls in the oven she used the leftover filling to make us a yummy snack.

Love,

b

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Solstice Dinner 2014

Dear Sis,

Here are the recipes from this years winter solstice dinner … an Asian Buffet.

Appetizers

Fruit Kabobs

Beef Kimbap

Beverages

Hot Chia Tea

Boil 12 gently crushed cardamon pods, 8 whole peppercorns, 8 whole cloves, 4 inches ginger, sliced, 4 cinnamon sticks, 3 whole allspice, 2 T brown sugar, 2 star anise, 1 vanilla bean, sliced down the middle, 1/8 t nutmeg in 4 cups water over med-hi heat. Reduce; simmer covered 15 min.  Add 4 black tea bags and steep 5 min. Strain and cool. Chill up to one week.  Makes 4 cups chia concentrate.

(Mix with equal parts water or milk to make chai tea.)  Combine concentrate with 4 c milk in a slow cooker over high heat.  Serves 8.

Source Recipe:  Chai Tea | Gimme Some Oven

Desserts

Apple Cream Crumb Pie

Cran Cake Roll

Cranberry Cake Roll

Prepare filling the day before: Combine 2 1/3 c fresh cranberries, 1 c sugar, and 1/4 c water in a saucepan. Boil; reduce to a simmer; 5 – 6 min till berries pop.  Mash and strain, reserving juice.

Return juice to saucepan.  Add 2 T cornstarch dissolved in 2 T water.  Boil; cook stirring 2 min until thick.  Chill.

Allow 9 egg whites to stand at room temperature 30 min. Grease a jellyroll pan.  Line the pan with parchment. Then, grease parchment.

Preheat oven to 350.

Add 1 1/2 t vanilla, 3/4 t cream of tartar, and 1/4 t salt to whites. Beat to soft peaks.  Beat in 1 c sugar, 2 T at a time until stiff.  Fold in 3/4 c flour, 1/4 c at a time. Spread over prepared pan.  Bake 15 – 20 minutes.

Cool 5 minutes.  Roll into a powdered sugar dusted tea towel and cool on a wire rack.

Source Recipe: Cranberry Cake Roll | Taste of Home

Japanese Cheesecake

Lemon Meringue Pie

Raspberry Pie

Entrees

Sriracha Beef & Broccoli Stir Fry

Ginger Garlic Green Beans

Orange Chicken

Vegetable Lo Mein

Cook 1 pgk. lo main according to package instruction.

Saute 1 stalk diced celery, 2 diced carrots, 4 oz diced mushrooms in 3 T sesame oil.  Stir in 1/4 c soy sauce and 1 T brown sugar.  Add noodles and stir until well combined.

Love,

b

 

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Mulling Sticks

Dear Sis,

Mulling Sticks

Cider Mulling Sticks

Combine 2 c sugar, 2/3 c light corn syrup, and 3/4 c water in a heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved.

Bring to a boil and cook without stirring to 300 degrees.  Add  1 t cinnamon and 1 dram cinnamon oil.  Pour between 2 dozen square silicone molds.  Place cinnamon sticks into hot candy and adjust as needed so that cinnamon sticks are upright when the candy hardens.  Makes 2 dozen.

Source Recipe: Cinnamon Mulling Sticks

Directions: Steep in hot apple cider for a yummy treat!

Love,

b

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Holiday Sweets 2014

Dear Sis,

These are the recipes for all the yummy treats we made this season!

Apple Cider Caramels

Apple Cider Caramels
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Ingredients
  1. 4 c apple cider
  2. 1 c heavy cream, divided
  3. 3/4 t cinnamon
  4. 1/4 t ginger
  5. 1/8 t allspice
  6. 1/16 t cloves
  7. 1/16 t nutmeg
  8. 1 1/2 c sugar
  9. 1/3 c light corn syrup
  10. 2 1/2 T water
  11. 1/2 c butter, diced
Instructions
  1. Reduce cider to 1/2 c over med-high heat. Cool.
  2. Butter a square pan. Line with 2 sheets parchment; one in each direction. Butter paper.
  3. Whisk together 2/3 c cream, reduced cider, and spices; set aside.
  4. In a heavy bottom saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, remaining cream, and water. Cook over med-low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Then stir occasionally, until mixture reaches 234 degrees.
  5. Remove from heat. Whisk in cream mixture and butter until melted. Return to med-low heat, stirring occasionally until mixture reaches 250 degrees.
  6. Pour into prepared dish. Rest at room temperature 1 hour. Chill until set.
  7. Cut into rectangles. Wrap in waxed paper. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Notes
  1. Yield depends upon cutting style.
Adapted from Cooking Classy
Adapted from Cooking Classy
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/

Comments: Caramels have been part of my holiday sweets trays for years.  This year I tried something different for fun.  This flavor packed bites are good, but the family agrees that somethings are best unchanged.  Back to the old recipe next year!

Baklava

Baklava
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Ingredients
  1. 1 (1 lb. pkg.) phyllo dough, thawed in the fridge overnight
  2. 3 c walnuts
  3. 1 c pistachios, shelled
  4. 1/4 c sugar
  5. 1 t cinnamon
  6. 1 c unsalted butter, melted
  7. 3/4 c honey
  8. 3/4 c sugar
  9. 3/4 c water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Process nuts, sugar, and cinnamon in a food processor until fine; set aside.
  3. Brush butter into 9x13 dish. Layer as follows, brushing butter between every 2 phyllo sheets: 24 sheets phyllo, 1/2 nut mixture, 12 sheets phyllo, second 1/2 nut mixture, remaining sheets phyllo. Slice diagonally. Bake 45 minutes.
  4. To make syrup, bring honey, sugar, and water to a boil, stirring periodically, especially before sugar is fully dissolved. Reduce temperature and simmer 10 minutes. Pour over baked baklava. Cool at room temperature.
  5. Slice and place in parchment liners.
Notes
  1. Yield depends upon style of cutting. If in doubt about size, small is better.
Adapted from The Kitchn
Adapted from The Kitchn
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/

Comments: This is the same recipe that was a hit at the Bridal Tea back in August and at the Wedding in September.  I think it has earned its place among my annual holiday pastry collection.  


Caramel Crispy Shortbread Bars

Preheat oven to 350. Line a square pan with parchment.

Cream together 6 T butter, 1/4 c sugar, and 1/4 t vanilla.  Cut int 1 c flour.  Press into prepared pan.  Bake 15 min.  Cool.

Melt 1 (11 oz) pkg. caramels and 1/4 c butter in 1/4 c milk.  Fold in 2 c crisp rice cereal.  Spread over shortbread.

Cream together 1 c melted milk chocolate chips and 3 t heavy cream.  Spread over caramel rice layer.  Sprinkle with sea salt.  Stand until set. Cut into squares.  Place in parchment liners.  Yield depends upon style of cutting.

Comments: These bars are good, but they are a one-winter-wonder.  I have higher expectations for holiday pastry.

Source Recipe: Caramel Shortbread Bars – Life Love and Sugar


Cherry Hazelnut Fudge

Preheat oven to 250.  Toast 1/2 c chopped hazelnuts for 20 min. Cool.

Line a square dish with foil.  Grease with butter.  Heat 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk, 8 oz bittersweet chocolate, 1 c chocolate hazelnut spread, 3 T butter, 1 t vanilla, and 1/2 t salt over a double boiler.  Stir until smooth.

Remove from heat.  Fold in toasted hazelnuts and 1 (8 oz. pkg.) dry cherries chopped.  Pour into prepared pan.  Cover and chill until set 3 – 4 hrs. Cut into squares and place in parchment liners.  Yield depends upon style of cutting.

Comments: My new annual chocolate fudge recipe:)

Source Recipe: Cherry Hazelnut Fudge | Tide and Thyme


Chocolate Chip Cookies

Comments: While preparing the cookies for the Wedding, I went on a hunt for the perfect nut-free chocolate chip cookie recipe and found it.  I have made it for nearly every occasion since and it is always a crowd pleaser.  The holiday pastry collection is just another place that this recipe will come to use year after year. 


Almond Cutouts

Cinnamon Almond Snowflakes
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Ingredients
  1. 2 c powdered sugar
  2. 1 c unsalted butter
  3. 4 eggs, divided
  4. 2 t vanilla
  5. 1/4 t almond extract
  6. 1/4 t salt
  7. 1/2 t baking powder
  8. 3 1/2 c unbleached flour
  9. 1/4 c sugar
  10. 1 t cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Cream together sugar and butter. Beat in 2 eggs and 2 yolks, one at a time, vanilla, and almond extract.
  2. Combine dry ingredients and stir into creamed mixture 1/2 c at a time. Chill.
  3. Preheat oven to 350.
  4. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness and cut snowflakes. Arrange on baking sheets
  5. Brush with egg white and dust with a mixture of 1/4 c sugar and cinnamon. Bake 10 minutes.
Notes
  1. Yield varies upon cutout size.
Adapted from Mama Miss
Adapted from Mama Miss
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/

Cran Citrus Coconut cookies

Cranberry Coconut Citrus Cookies

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream together 2 c sugar, 1 1/2 c butter, zest of 1 orange, and 2 t vanilla.  Stir in 1/4 t salt1 t baking powder and 3 1/4 c flour.  Fold in 1 1/2 c each dried cranberries and coconut flakes.  Place rounded spoonfuls on baking sheets and bake 8 – 10 minutes.  Makes 4 dozen cookies.

Comments: This cookie joined the holiday baking list in 2013.  It is a great twist to a traditional sugar cookies.  

Source Recipe: Family Ever After… Cranberry Coconut Citrus Cookies


Gingersnaps

Gingersnaps
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Ingredients
  1. 1 c sugar
  2. 1/2 c unsalted butter
  3. 1/3 c molasses
  4. 1 egg
  5. 1/4 t cloves
  6. 1/2 t salt
  7. 1 t cinnamon
  8. 1 t ginger
  9. 1 1/2 t baking soda
  10. 2 1/4 c flour
  11. 1/2 c Turbinato sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cream together sugar, butter, molasses, and egg.
  3. Stir in dry ingredients except Turbinato sugar.
  4. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in Turbinato sugar before placing on baking sheets. Bake 13 - 15 minutes.
Adapted from Domino Sugar
Adapted from Domino Sugar
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/

Comments: My first solstice I used many cookie starter recipe variations.  This one sticks even after most of the others are fallen to the wayside.  All the dietary changes have caused me to appreciate a cookie that packs a punch without being really sweet.  I am in the market for a new gingersnap recipe, but this one still has the job for now.


Pinwheels

Jam Pinwheels

Cream together 8 oz cream cheese and 1 c butter.  Add 1/4 t salt and 2 c flour.

Preheat oven to 375. Roll dough 1/4 inch thick.  Cut into 2 inch squares and score corners.

Heat jam (apricot or raspberry) and spoon 1 t jam into the center of each pastry.  Fold over edges. Bake 10 min.  Coll on wire racks.

Comments: This cookie joined the holiday baking list in 2013.  It is such a mild fruity delight that I also made it for the Wedding.  Definitely an annual family favorite that adds color and diversity to our cookie arrangement without sprinkles or food color:)  

Source Recipe: Pinwheel Cookies – Create and Babble


Macadamia Cran Wh Chocolate Chips

Macadamia Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yields 60
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Ingredients
  1. 1 c brown sugar
  2. 1 c unsalted butter
  3. 3/4 c sugar
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 1 t cornstarch
  6. 1t vanilla
  7. 3/4 t baking soda
  8. 3/4 t salt
  9. 3 c flour
  10. 1 1/2 c macadamia nuts, crushed
  11. 1 c white chocolate chips
  12. 1 c dry cranberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cream together sugars, butter, eggs, cornstarch, and vanilla.
  3. Combine dry ingredients. Stir into creamed mixture.
  4. Fold in nuts, white chocolate chips, and cranberries.
  5. Drop spoonfuls onto sheets. Bake 16-18 minutes. Stand on sheets until cookies sink. Cool on wire racks.
Notes
  1. Makes 5 dozen.
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/

Comments: This cookie joined the holiday baking list in 2013.  Daddy #1 and Daddy # 2 are equally obsessed with these cookies.  I don’t think I’m allowed to stop making these!  Another recipe where the source link is no longer valid:(

Macaroon Kisses

Macaroon Kisses
Yields 48
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Ingredients
  1. 1/3 c unsalted butter
  2. 3 oz cream cheese
  3. 3/4 c sugar
  4. 1 egg yolk
  5. 2 t almond extract
  6. 2 t orange juice
  7. 1/4 t salt
  8. 2 t baking powder
  9. 1 1/4 c flour
  10. 3 c + sweetened coconut flakes
  11. 48 chocolate kisses, unwrapped
Instructions
  1. Cream together butter, cheese, sugar, yolk, almond extract, and orange juice.
  2. Stir in dry ingredients. Fold in 3 c coconut flakes. Chill dough.
  3. Preheat oven to 350.
  4. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in additional sweetened coconut flakes.
  5. Bake on ungreased sheets 12 - 14 minutes. Press kiss into each cookie center. Cool 1 minute on sheets before removing to wire racks. Cool until chocolate is set.
Notes
  1. Makes 4 dozen.
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/

Comments: I got this recipe from a close friend years ago and I’ve been making it ever since, and not just around the holidays.  

Mallo Cups

Mallo Cups

Marshmallow Fluff: Beat 2 egg whites and 1/4 t cream of tartar in a stand mixer until foamy.

Combine 2/3 c light corn syrup1/2 c sugar, and 1/4 c water to a saucepan over med heat.  Boil 5 min; stirring occasionally until 240 degrees is reached.

With mixer on med speed, gently pour hot syrup into whites.  Add 1/2 t vanilla and1/4 t salt.  Increase to high and beat until stiff peaks form; 5 min.  Store in fridge.

Line 4 dozen mini muffin tins with parchment.

Melt 3 c milk chocolate chips.  Stir in 3 T coconut oil until melted.  Spoon 1 teaspoonful chocolate into each lined cup.  Sprinkle half of 1/3 c unsweetened shredded coconut.

Spoon with 1 teaspoonful of marshmallow fluff into each lined cup.  Sprinkle remaining coconut between cups.

Remelt chocolate and spoon over marshmallow layer.  Garnish with additional unsweetened shredded coconut.

Comment: Yum… not too sweet, but very savory!  A new addition… I think.

Source Recipe: Homemade Mallo Cups | How Sweet It Is

Snowballs

Maple Pecan Snowballs
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 c + 6 T unsalted butter
  2. 1/4 c brown sugar
  3. 2 maple syrup
  4. 1 t vanilla bean paste
  5. 1/4 t salt
  6. 2 c flour
  7. 2 c pecans, crushed
  8. powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Cream together butter, sugar, syrup, vanilla bean paste.
  2. Stir in salt and flour. Fold in nuts. Chill 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 325. Roll into 1 inch balls. Bake 20 minutes. Cool to luke warm. Toss in powdered sugar.
Notes
  1. Makes 4 - 5 dozen.
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/

Comments: Butterballs, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Cookies… whatever you call them… not all recipes are created equally.  This recipe was used at both the Bridal Tea and the Wedding and it is the best I’ve tried so far!!!  Sadly, the site from which I got this recipe is not longer active.


Maple Walnut Truffles

Preheat oven to 250.  Toast 1 c crushed walnuts for 20 min. Cool.

Cream together 1 1/2 c powdered sugar, 1/4 c butter, 1 T maple syrup, 1 t vanilla, and 1/4 t maple extract.  Fold in walnuts.  Chill 30 min.

Shape 1 inch balls.  Melt 16 oz dark chocolate.  Dip balls and set on parchment lined sheets.  Top with additional crushed walnut.  Stand until set.  Makes 3 dozen.

Comments: My mother adores these candies, but sadly my taste buds don’t agree.  Too sweet and lack luster for my preference… another one-winter-wonder.

Source Recipe: Maple Walnut Truffles – Crazy for Crust


Mint Oreo Truffles

Mint Oreo Truffles

Process 1 (15.25 oz) pkg. Mint Oreos with 1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese.

Form 1 inch balls.  Freeze.  Dip in milk chocolate and drizzle with green candy coating. (4 doz.)

Comments: My cousin Meghan made these for the Wedding. I am a huge fan of homemade, but these quick and easy candies are oh so delicious.

Source Recipe: Mint Oreo Truffles – Sallys Baking Addiction

Oat M&M Chips

Oatmeal M&M Cookies
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Ingredients
  1. 1 c brown sugar
  2. 1 c unsalted butter
  3. 1/2 c sugar
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 1 T vanilla
  6. 1/2 t salt
  7. 1 t baking soda
  8. 2 c flour
  9. 2 1/2 c old fashion oats
  10. 2 c red & green M&Ms
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cream together sugars and butter. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla.
  3. Combine salt, soda, and flour. Stir into creamed mixture. Add oats.
  4. Fold in candies.
  5. Drop spoonfuls onto sheets. Bake 10-11 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/

Comments: Fun and festive, but missing something.  I’ll work on it. 

Peanut Butter Butterscotch Bars

Peanut Butter Butterscotch Bars
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Ingredients
  1. 1 c brown sugar
  2. 1 c unsalted butter
  3. 1 c + 1/2 c creamy peanut butter, divided
  4. 1 c sugar
  5. 4 eggs
  6. 1 T vanilla
  7. 1/2 t salt
  8. 1 c old fashion oats
  9. 2 c flour
  10. 1 (11.5 oz pkg.) butterscotch chips
  11. 1/2 c powdered sugar
  12. 1/4 c - 1/2 c milk
Instructions
  1. Grease and flour a 9x13 pan. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cream together sugars, butter, 1 c peanut butter, and vanilla.
  3. Combine dry salt, oats, and flour. Beat into creamed mixture. Spread into prepared pan.
  4. Top with butterscotch chips. Bake 25 minutes.
Frosting
  1. Combine 1/2 c peanut butter and powdered sugar. Thin with milk, 1 T at a time. Spread over hot bars. Cool before slicing and placing in parchment liners.
Adapted from Avery Cooks
Adapted from Avery Cooks
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/

Comments: This recipe was another Wedding first, that got added to this years winter arrangement.  

Mint Bark Brownies

Peppermint Bark Brownies

Preheat oven to 350.  Line a square baking pan with parchment.

Melt 1/2 c butter and 4 oz each semisweet and unsweetened baking chocolate.  Whisk in 3/4 c sugar and stir until smooth.  Then whisk in 2 eggs, 3/4 t vanilla, and 1/4 t peppermint extract.  Stir in 1/2 t salt, 2 T cocoa, and 2/3 c flour.  Pour into prepared pan.  Bake 25 – 30 min.  Cool.

Topping: Melt 6 oz white chocolate and 1 1/2 T coconut oil.  Spread over brownies. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes.  Chill until 30 min – overnight.  Cut into squares and place into parchment liners.  Yield depends upon style of cutting.

Comments: I love the concept, but I think next time I will put the topping over a different brownie recipe. 


Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cookies


Reeces Peanut Fudge

Reece’s Peanut Butter Fudge

Line a square dish with parchment.

Melt 3/4 c creamy peanut butter over low heat, stirring.  Add 3 1/2 c white chocolate morsels.  Stir until smooth.  Spread into prepared pan.  Press 1 c Reece’s Cup minis into the fudge.

Stand 4 hrs – overnight.  Cut into squares and place in parchment liners.  Yield depends upon style of cutting.

Comment: Amazing! …another recipe where the long way is not always better. 

Source Recipe: Peanut Butter Reese’s Cup Fudge – Something Swanky

Love,

b

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