Christmas Cookies- Guest Post Alert!

cookies-and-cream-cookie

Remember when I was talking about how important cookies are to Christmas? Yeah, it was only yesterday!

                                

Well… I did a guest post for my gal pal Sarah over at Events by Sarah Elizabeth all about Christmas cookies… And I even list some great recipes done by other food bloggers!! Go on over by clicking here! You just may see your recipe there, too!

Cookies and Cream Cookies

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Guess what I did last night? I used a cookie as the base for another cookie. 


Waah? Yeah. I know. Three levels above awesome.


What can I say it’s Christmas time? So you gotta do all that you can for Santa! 


Know what else I did??? I made an entire cookie batch (enough for about 2 dozen + cookies), but I only put 5 cookies into the oven! And didn’t throw out the rest of the batter!


How on Earth did I manage to do that? I froze the rest of it, to save for later… closer to when I’ll hear those little hooves on my roof and Santa needs some cookies to recharge! 


NOTE: To do this little time-saving trick, you roll the dough into small balls (as you would just before putting the dough onto a prepared cookie sheet), except you place it into a freezer safe, airtight container to bake at another time! The baking temperature will remain the same, but you will have to add a few minutes to your baking time!


Do this with this cookie! With any cookie! (except for a cake-like cookie batter!).


I know. It just made my day, too. 


And consequently, Santa’s. 






Cookies and Cream Cookies
Yields: 2 dozen plus cookies

Ingredients: 
3/4 cup salted butter, melted
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 TBS vanilla
1 extra large egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups Oreo cookies, crushed

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease it.
2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. Cream together the butter and sugars until well combined and beginning to fluff a little! Add the vanilla and egg, mixing until combined.
4. Add sifted flour mixture to the wet ingredients.
5. Fold in crushed Oreos until well combined.
6. Form the dough into tablespoon sized balls and place onto prepared baking sheet.
7. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes.

Peppermint Straciatella Gelato

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What makes Christmas so great, other than the yummy foods, is the funny childhood memories of Christmas that each of us possesses.

As I was driving home last night along the winding, yet picturesque Kelly Drive, Winter Wonderland came on the radio. I was singing along, and found myself reminiscing, as I remembered how I misunderstood the lyrics to that song as a little kid..

“…Later on, we’ll perspire,
As we dream by the fire
To face unafraid,
The plans that we’ve made,
Walking in a winter wonderland.”

It completely makes sense within my mind.. If I were sitting by the fire canoodling with my husband, there is a 100% chance I’d be sweating and it wouldn’t be pretty sight. In fact, we’d both be sweating. Not something you’d picture for a romantic setting.

I guess this confusion runs in the family. As a little girl, my mother also misunderstood the lyrics to We Wish You A Merry Christmas:

“Oh, bring us a piggy pudding;
Oh, bring us a piggy pudding;
Oh, bring us a piggy pudding and a cup of good cheer.”

(Sorry, Ma! It’s too cute, I had to!)

Piggy pudding might be a questionable item. Unless it were in the form of a bread pudding, not a sweet pudding, with- say– bacon or pork roll, then I’d be all over that like wiz on a cheesesteak.

Don’t ya just love Christmas?

Peppermint Straciatella Gelato
Yields: 6 to 8 Servings

Ingredients:
2 cups whole milk
5 large egg yolks
2 TBS pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup granulated sugar
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
2 tsp canola oil
½ tsp kosher salt
10 peppermints, crushed

Directions:
1. In a medium sized bowl, combine egg, sugar, and salt. Stirring until well combined.
2. Heat milk and vanilla in saucepan over medium. Bring to a light simmer. Reduce heat to low.
3. SLOWLY add the egg mixture to the milk (don’t add it too quickly unless you want scrambled eggs!) and make sure to not like the milk boil. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until a candy thermometer reaches 170 degrees. Voila! You have your custard base!!!
4. Remove from heat and add cream. Refrigerate overnight.
5. In a microwavable bowl, combine chocolate and oil. Melt the chocolate and set aside.
6. Using an ice cream machine, add the custard mixture, and crushed peppermints. Process for approximately 25 minutes.
7. After 25 minutes, pour in the melted chocolate mixture and process for another minute.
8. Serve immediately and ENJOY!

OH GingerSNAP! Ice Cream

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This recipe needs no introductions. It is just too fabulous for words.

I had leftover gingersnap cookies that just beckoned to be made into something. And I love taking risks. And this is what happened.

But, if I must use words to describe this recipe: My husband and I fought over licking the ice cream machine bowl.

…’Nuff said. 



Gingersnap Ice Cream
Yields: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 cup half and half
Pinch of salt
3 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup crushed gingersnap cookies

Directions:
1. For the Custard Base: In a medium saucepan over low to medium heat, combine the sugar, vanilla, half and half, milk and yolks. Please be diligent to make sure that it doesn’t boil and turn into scrambled eggs! Cook until the mixture thickens. Allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for 3 hours up to overnight.
2. Using your ice cream machine, add the custard base, spices, and crushed gingersnaps. Process for 25 minutes. Place into a freezer-friendly container. Freeze for 3 to 4 hours before serving.

No Bread Crab Cakes with Avocado Sauce

Crab-Cake

There is nothing more disappointing than to take a bite of a beautifully sculpted crab cake to find that it contains hardly any crab! And worst of all, it is mostly comprised of a filler, and (if it gets any worse) the filler is breadcrumbs. Instant. Belly. Poofage. 

It almost makes you want to unloosen your belt just thinking about it.

This is the best time of year. It’s full of parties. And pies. And cookies. And eggnog. Before you know it, the pounds creep up and your pants no longer fit. Do yourself a favor and give yourself (and your belt) a break in between the parties by making these breadless crab cakes for dinner tonight.

For my dinner, I skipped the traditional mayonnaisey tartar sauce usually served with crab cakes and topped these suckers with a creamy avocado sauce.

Holy potatoes!!!. It was yum central.

No Bread Crab Cakes with Avocado Sauce
Yields: 4 servings


Ingredients for Crab Cakes:
1 pound lump crab meat
1/4 cup garbanzo beans/ chickpeas, mashed in a food processor
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1/3 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 TBS Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 egg whites
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Ingredients for Avocado Sauce:
1 avocado, pit removed, and scooped out from skin
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions for Crab Cakes:
1. In a saute pan over medium, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and peppers, cooking until softened (About 3 minutes).
2. Add together all of the ingredients (including cooked vegetables) in a medium sized bowl, using a fork until well combined.
3. Cover and place into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
4. After 30 minutes has passed, make patties using 3/4 cup of the refrigerated crab mixture.
5. Heat oil in a saute pan over medium, add each patty, cooking 4 to 5 minutes on the first side, flip and cook 3 to 4 minutes on the other.
6. Place on paper towels to remove excess oil.

Directions for Avocado Sauce:
1. In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients.
2. Yup. It’s that easy- done one step. And done by modern machinery. But I want to make you feel as if you accomplished more, therefore, I will say for the second step to pat yourself on the back.

Sweet Potato Pie with Gingersnap-Graham Cracker Crust

sweet-potato-pie

There is nothing quite like the time period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. The air just has a certain spark to it. (And a certain chill, brr!).

This time of year requires you to eat pie. And to eat it constantly. I mean, there are just too many delicious pies out there to go neglecting, ya know?

It’d just be plain rude. And this is the time of cheer and good will, and loving thy neighbor, therefore no rudeness is allowed, and you must consume as much pie as possible, and give your neighbor some pie, too.

:)

Yum. It is oh so very worth every extra pound.

Sweet Potato Pie with Gingersnap-Graham Cracker Crust
Adapted from: Better Homes and Gardens
Yields: 8 servings

Gingersnap-Graham Crust
Yields: 1 pie crust

Ingredients:
1& 1/2 cups finely crushed gingersnaps (about 20 cookies)
1 cup finely crushed graham crackers (about 14 squares)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
½ cup salted butter, melted

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9 inch pie plate.
2. In a large bowl, combine the gingersnaps, graham crackers, and sugar. Stir in melted butter.
3. Spread the crumb mixture evenly upon the bottom and sides of the pie plate.
4. Bake for 5 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before adding filling.

Sweet Potato Pie

Ingredients: 
2 cups mashed, cooked sweet potatoes (About 2 large)
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
Dash cloves
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup half-and-half or light cream
½ cup finely chopped pecans

Directions: 
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, combine sweet potatoes, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and cloves.
3. Add the lightly beaten eggs, combine lightly with a fork just until just combined. Gradually stir in half-and-half until well combined.
4. Pour filling into pie shell. Cover the edge of the pie with foil.
5. Bake for 30 minutes.
6. Top the pie with pecans. Bake an additional 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

You’re the Butter to My Bread- Flavored Butters

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It’s time to rethink the way you butter your bread. Be careful, I am about to blow your mind!

On top of that boring old roll you spread, hold on, wait a minute… Flavored. Butters.

So simple! But so complex! And so… buttery! Mind = blown.

Serve one flavored butter, or six flavored butters, with your Thanksgiving dinner to give those boring rolls some extra pizzazz!




Bourbon Butter
Yields: 6 to 8 servings


Ingredients: 
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
1 TBS + 1 tsp bourbon

Directions:
1. In a bowl, using a fork, diligently combine all of the ingredients. Place into a ramekin and cover it, or roll into a log in waxed paper and tie the ends, and store in the refrigerator to harden for approximately 4 to 6 hours before serving.
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Pumpkin Butter
Yields: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients: 
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
2 TBS pumpkin puree
1 tsp brown sugar

Directions:
1. In a bowl, using a fork, diligently combine all of the ingredients. Place into a ramekin and cover it, or roll into a log in waxed paper and tie the ends, and store in the refrigerator to harden for approximately 4 to 6 hours before serving.

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Garlic & Herb Butter
Yields: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients: 
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1 TBS chopped fresh parsley

Directions:
1. In a bowl, using a fork, diligently combine all of the ingredients. Place into a ramekin and cover it, or roll into a log in waxed paper and tie the ends, and store in the refrigerator to harden for approximately 4 to 6 hours before serving.

Wyebrook Farm Steer Roast & Apple Cider Braised Cabbage

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This weekend, I was so happy to attend Wyebrook Farm‘s Steer Roast. Wyebrook Farm is located off of the picturesque and winding Route 82 in Chester County, Pennsylvania. 
It was so good to get out of the busy city, and head out home for a beautiful autumn day full of delicious beef.  
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Wyebrook Farm, allow yourself to become acquainted. It is well worth the learning. At the crossroads of progressive and old-fashioned farming, Wyebrook Farm provides the consumer a great alternative to purchasing meats by skipping the grocery store. Huh, that’s odd. But, wait, isn’t that what my grandparents did? Yeup! This is a farm that is doing something in this time that seems so extraordinary, yet in the broader scope of time, they are doing what always was done! In 2012, they will be having a market open on their premises! Very cool stuff!! 
Oh, and did I mention they produce the healthiest of meats by skipping artificial fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, hormones, and/or antibiotics. Amazing. 
What would a steer roast be without some good eats?
They served small sliders and apple cider cabbage, both of which were out of this world. I was so excited about eating the cabbage side dish (perfect for Thanksgiving, ahem, ahem), that I went home and instantly tried to recreate it! 
Here are some photos of the day (scroll down below for the cabbage recipe!): 

Apple Cider Braised Cabbage
Inspired by: Wyebrook Farm Steer Roast
Yields: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients:
1/2 of a head of savoy cabbage, chopped
1/3 cup apple cider
1 TBS apple cider vinegar
1 TBS butter

Directions:
1. In a medium sized pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the cabbage and cook until softened (approximately 4 to 5 minutes).
2. Add the cider and vinegar, stirring until well combined (approximately 3 minutes).
3. Reduce heat to low and cook until the juices reduce or about 10 minutes, stirring to make sure the cabbage does not over brown.