Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Portion of Main Street (Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas)
by Norman Rockwell

courtesy of Norman Rockwell Museum
Stockbridge, MA

I wish you
Happiness, Peace and Good Health!

Enjoy your families, friends & yummy food!

Friday, December 20, 2013

~Christmas Sugar Cookies~

Christmas Sugar Cookies
Refrigerated dough!  That phrase catches our eyes these days.  It's the season of much to do and not enough time.  Rather than purchase a tube/ pouch of refrigerated dough and bake o.k. cookies, take out your mixer and use the recipe below to bake these absolutely delicious nutmeg flavored Christmas Sugar Cookies!

Did I mention that Sour Cream is an ingredient here?  It is.  Fat Free Sour Cream works very well in this cookie recipe that I've been using for over 30 years.  

On Day 1 the dough is prepared and then wrapped and placed in the fridge,  On Day 2 take your refrigerated dough out of your fridge and find your cookie cutters, colored sugared sprinkles, rolling pin & rolling mat and the fun begins. 

Day 2 - Rolling out refrigerated dough!   (File Photo)
These are the best Sugar Cookies that I've ever tasted.  Yes, my friends, I've tasted many over the years.  :)  It's the only sugar cookie for my fam & I!  The hint of Nutmeg is a surprise and a great flavor in this rolled out cut out cookie.

An added plus is that after baking & cooling they can be packaged and placed in the freezer.  Bake these early and freeze until needed.  However, remember that a taste test is always needed when baking cookies.  With the wonderful aroma of nutmeg in your home there are sure to be taste testers to be found quickly.

Christmas Sugar Cookies
     printable recipe card  (click here)

Oven:  375°F
Yield:  About 5 dozen, depending on size

4 Cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 Cup unsalted Butter, softened
1 and 1/2 Cups Sugar
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Sour Cream (can be Fat Free)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Colored Sugars for Decorating


   Day 1-
  1.  In large bowl with electric mixer beat Butter and Sugar until light and fluffy. 
  2. Add Egg, beat.
  3. Add in Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt and Nutmeg.
  4. While beating on Low, slowly add Flour, 1 Cup at a time. 
  5.  Add in Vanilla and Sour Cream. Beat on Medium until well combined. Dough will be stiff
  6.  Remove dough from bowl and place on plastic wrap, wrap dough. 
  7. Place wrapped dough on aluminum foil and wrap well.
  8.  Refrigerate overnight.
   Day 2-
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2.  Unwrap dough and cut into four parts. 
  3.  On well floured surface, roll dough to 1/4" thickness. Use cookie cutters. 
  4.  Place cookies on pan/sheet 1" apart. (Maybe 12 cookies to a sheet.) 
  5.  Sprinkle with colored sugars. 
  6.  Bake 10 - 11 Minutes. Bottom of cookies will be a light golden brown. 
  7. Remove with spatula to wire cooling racks.  
  8. When cool store in airtight containers.
These sour cream sugar cookies will be enjoyed by all after the first bite.  Just save a few to enjoy yourself!  :)



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas Hermits

Cloves!  Ginger!  Cinnamon and Molasses!  What a great combination in a dessert recipe.  The wonderful aroma in my kitchen was followed by tasting these ingredients... plus Raisins in a Hermit!  Oh Yum!  This is a great tasting cookie!

If you are searching for an easy to bake cookie recipe to share during the upcoming holidays, this is the recipe for you!  Hermits are a long time family fave.

This cookie is baked in a large cookie pan.  The stiff dough is separated into thirds.  Make a roll (log) with each third of the dough before placing in the cookie pan.  Flatten the roll - making sure the flattened rolls do not connect in the pan.  Then top each roll with the beaten reserved Egg Yolk.  This gives the Hermits the glossy topping after baking.

Before placing in oven.
 After baking, cool 15 minutes before cutting into slices on the diagonal.  The ends are usually very crispy, so I do not save them.

Ready for the taste test!
This is a delicious cookie to share with family & friends at Christmas!  However, no need to wait until this time of year.  Bake a batch to enjoy and to share any time.  They are soooo gooood!  

Hermits       printable Recipe Card
     Oven: 375°F     23- 25 Minutes

¾ cup solid Crisco Shortening
1 and ½ Cups Sugar
¼ Cup Molasses
2 Tablespoons Water
2 Eggs – (Reserve about 1 teaspoon for coating)
1 Cup Raisins
3 Cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Ginger
½ teaspoon Ground Cloves 

  1. Using mixer, beat Shortening, Sugar, Molasses & Water. Beat until creamy.
  2. Reserve about 1 teaspoon of Egg with a little Yolk. Add Eggs & beat.
  3. Now add Baking Soda, Spices & Flour. Flour is added ¼ cup at a time and mixed into batter,  Otherwise you will be peering through a white mist. :)
  4. Fold in Raisins using big spoon or spatula.
  5. Spray PAM on a large cookie pan.
  6. Divide dough into three pieces. Make three rows of dough on
    cookie pan, leaving about 1½ ” border on each end. Dough is very sticky.
  7. Coat top with reserved Egg – use back of teaspoon to spread.
  8. Bake in preheated 375°F oven for 23- 25 minutes (25 minutes in my gas oven).
  9. Cool 15 minutes & cut into diagonals. I throw away end pieces- too hard after cooled.
  10. Remove from cookie pan and store in a container after cooled.
This cookie containing Ground Cloves, Ginger & Cinnamon is delicious!  The Christmas baking has started!


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Time for Take Out!

African Violet blossoming! Woohoo!
Last night we had Take Out!  It was a day filled with "catching up" after the FuN & the visiting during Thanksgiving Weekend.  Time has just sped on by me!  A trip to Costco, to the grocery store and other little side trips.  Those things do happen.  So, when dinner time rolled around, the easiest solution was definitely take out.

Take out of the freezer and defrost, that is!  :)  A meal containing Turkey sounded so good and there were 2 Ziploc Freezer containers of Turkey a la King just waiting.  It was the day to remove one container from the second shelf.  Turkey a la King freezes very well!  Every year, without fail - on the third day after Thanksgiving Day, I cut the remaining slices & pieces of turkey into smaller bites to use while making a double or triple batch of Turkey a la King.  

I use my Chicken a la King recipe - replacing the cooked Chicken with roasted Turkey.  Click here for recipe.  It's always best to remember the "food safety rule" of enjoying the delicious freshly roasted Turkey entree and then eating the remaining pieces of Turkey within 2 - 3 days after roasting.  

Sure, Turkey Pot Pies can be made & enjoyed, but easy works so well for me, especially after a family holiday.  The mix of veggies & Turkey in a thick white sauce served over toasted bread is so yummy!  No need for any fuss of any kind.

(Turkey a la King -  File Photo)
After dinner the remaining portions are cooled and placed in Ziploc 2 Cup Freezer containers.  Label & date and into my large freezer they go.

On a busy night, defrost & heat.  If using a covered vented sauce pot, heat on Low heat on the stove (with a little extra milk added).  Stir while defrosting/ heating.  Serve over toasted bread.

**This is a great time of year to purchase the Ziploc Freezer containers on specials at the grocery stores.  They are very handy!