Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Oreo Cheesecake Truffles

I got this recipe last year from my friend Maria on Facebook but finally made them this year. They are super easy and super rich and even yummier when frozen. Nuts! Now how am I supposed to make them last???

A friend and I made these this week with peppermint and peanut butter Oreos. The mint ones were not quite minty enough, I would probably throw in some peppermint extract. The peanut butter ones were really good all on their own!!!

Here’s all you need to make ‘em…

First crush one package of Oreos (not Double Stuf) in your food processor into fine crumbs.

oreo balls 01 oreo balls 03

Then add all the crumbs to one softened package of cream cheese. Mix until completely combined.

oreo balls 02oreo balls 04Chill the dough for at least an hour. Remove and roll into small 1” balls. Place back in fridge for at least an hour.

oreo balls 05Dip balls into melted chocolate (or white chocolate). Chill until firm. Keep in fridge or freeze for longer storage.

oreo balls 06oreo balls 07

Egg Nog Logs

Every year I make a new Christmas cookie along with all the oldies. This year I had to try my friend Annalise’s recipe for egg nog cookies. The past few shaped cookies I have made have turned out to be quite labor intensive and/or difficult. This one was perfect because I have always been good at making snakes, worms and ropes with clay! Actually, it is the only thing I can make out of clay… :o)

Unfortunately we were snowed in without any egg nog. Fortunately, one can always improvise. So I am going to share my tweaked version since I don’t know how the original ones turn out. But I do know that these were FANTASTIC! They may become a new “oldie”!

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 large egg

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 teaspoons rum flavoring

Mix flour, nutmeg and salt in a bowl. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and flavorings. Slowly mix in the flour until smooth.

Roll into 1/2” diameter ropes and cut into 3” pieces.

eggnog logs 01

eggnog logs 02

Bake on greased or parchment paper lined baking sheets at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until barely a golden brown.

Remove and let cool completely before frosting. 

Frosting:

3 tablespoons butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon rum extract

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1/8 teaspoon allspice

2-3 tablespoons milk (or use egg nog and omit the spices and rum extract)

nutmeg, for sprinkling (optional)

Mix butter, vanilla, rum extract, powdered sugar,spices and milk in mixing bowl with electric mixer until very smooth. This icing will be thick.

Frost cooled cookies with icing and sprinkle with nutmeg if desired.

eggnog logs 03

These are amazing with a cup of coffee on a cold winter day!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Microwave Popcorn

When our dog refused to eat the microwave popcorn that fell on the floor, I began to question exactly what was in that greasy, fake-buttery goodness that she turned her nose up to??? Well, I figured it couldn’t be good… Then I saw a post on my Google Reader about making your own microwave popcorn. So I did a bit of research and gave it a whirl…

It makes a bit of a mess in the microwave but you can put a plate down to help with that. I’ve made it with both butter and oil but prefer the butter. As long as you don’t like it swimming in it, I thought it was buttery enough. But don’t forget the salt!

Here’s how you do it…

#1- Take one brown paper lunch bag and pour in 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels and 2-3 Tbsp butter or oil.

popcorn 01 #2- Fold over the top 2 or 3 times to seal the bag.

popcorn 02#3- Place in microwave (on a glass plate if desired). Cook on high for 2-3 minutes, or until pops are about 2 seconds apart. (My microwave takes about 3 1/2 minutes)

popcorn 03#4- Remove from microwave and carefully open (the steam will burn!).

popcorn 04#5- Dump popcorn into large bowl, sprinkle with salt and enjoy with your favorite flick!

popcorn 05

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Christmas Baking

I always do my Christmas baking the week before Thanksgiving. That way we can enjoy our tradition of eating Christmas cookies and reading the Christmas story from Luke in the candle/tree light the day after Thanksgiving. It also makes holiday parties and entertaining WAY less stressful and WAY more enjoyable! And they freeze up great and are always ready (even last minute)!

We have the ones we make every year and then we try to add a new one every year, too. Here’s the list along with the links to the recipes…

#1- Thumbprints: These cookies remind me of my grandma and is a great way to use that mint jelly I made.

thumbprints 01[3]

#2- Orange Biscotti: Dipped or drizzled with dark chocolate, these are the best dunked in a cup of coffee or cocoa!

orange biscotti 01#3- Gingerbread: The boys always help decorate these and they turn out different every year.

gingerbread cookies  02#4- Mexican Wedding Cakes:  We called these Russian Teacakes growing up.

mexican wedding cakes  02#5- Chocolate-dipped chocolate chip:  Chris’ favorite cookies are chocolate chip. So I make these just for him… Well, he does have to share. :o)

chocolate dipped chocolate chip  01#6- Cookie stamp cookies:  I took a class and made these cookie stamps when I was pregnant with Andy and we’ve used them every year since.

cookie stamp cookies  01#7- Cranberry orange nut bread: This was my great grandma’s recipe and it is delicious and a holiday must!

  cranberry orange nut bread 01#8- See’s Fudge:  This is foolproof recipe that is so good either plain or with mini marshmallows (nuts optional).

see's fudge  01#9- Eggnog Cookie Logs:  This is the new one for this year. My friend Annalise posted it on her blog and we’re going to try it!

nutmeg eggnog logs

Berry Cordial

I have this memory in my mind of the Christmas my grandma made berry cordial. I’ve always wanted to and decided to finally give it a try this year for the holidays. Fortunately I thought of it before December! You do need to start this well in advance of when you would like it…

But it is super easy and and is sweet and warms you all the way down. Perfect for cold winter evenings!

1 cup sugar

1 quart (4 cups) berries (blackberries, raspberries or strawberries or a combination)

1 quart of vodka or brandy

Pour sugar into a 1 quart canning jar. Fill the remaining space with berries, but do not pack down.

Pour vodka or brandy over berries so that they are completely covered.

Place lid on jar. Let jar stand in a cool, dark place for 2 months, shaking the jar every week. The sugar should dissolve and the vodka or brandy should become colored. If the sugar doesn’t dissolve when you shake it, open and give it a stir with a spoon.

Strain through a metal sieve and then through a coffee filter. Pour into a glass bottle and store in fridge.

cordial  01