Thursday, December 31, 2015


Happy New Year!!!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, December 21, 2015


Hermits filled with Raisins!
Are you looking for a homemade cookie to share during this Christmas season that is baked in one cookie pan???  A cookie that is easy to prepare & is ever so yummy???  Think raisins, molasses, ginger & cloves.  It's ingredients say Christmas!!!  Ah, Hermits!  At this time of year we see the commercially packaged brands sold in grocery stores.  Oh, forget purchasing a package!  Bake your own Hermits that are filled with Raisins!

Use your electric mixer, because the dough is stiff.  After making the dough, add the Raisins into the batter using a large spoon.  Then divide the dough into thirds.  Make a large log from each third of dough.  Place the logs in a cookie pan- one in the middle & the other 2 on each side.  Then, flatten each log.  Top each log of dough with the beaten reserved Egg Yolk.  The Egg Yolk gives the Hermits the glossy topping after baking. 

Top flattened logs with Egg wash before baking.
After baking cool for about 15 minutes.  Then, cut each log into slices on a diagonal.  I toss the end pieces, because they can become crispy after cooling. 

After cooled, cut in slices on a diagonal.
Store in an airtight container.  Quite often I place 4 Hermits in a freezer bag to defrost & enjoy in January.  It's quite the treat finding them on a cold snowy day!

  Oven:  375°F     Time:  23- 25 Minutes

3/4 Cup solid Crisco Shortening
1 and 1/2 Cups Sugar
1/4 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
1/2 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 1/4 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 logs of dough on cookie pan, flatten.  Leave 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. 
Hermits are just the best!  They are another fave family cookie!  Bake a batch this week to share with your family & friends.  They are just so good & taste oh so much better than the commercially packages brands.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Best Sour Cream Christmas Sugar Cookies

Sour Cream Christmas Sugar Cookies
It's time!!!  Time to bake a batch of Sour Cream Christmas Sugar Cookies!!!  Find your Nutmeg & Sour Cream along with colored sugars, your rolling pin, rolling mat & fave cookie cutters.         

These cookies are oh so yummy & light because Sour Cream is an ingredient.  It's the time of year with much to do & the "2 day steps" in making these cookies makes it ever so easy!   

On Day 1 the dough is prepared & refrigerated.  I wrap it in plastic wrap & also foil wrap before refrigerating.  Day 2 is baking day!  After baking & cooling, these yummy cookies can be packaged/ labelled/ placed in your freezer.  Now, that's an extra plus!  It's great to have delicious Christmas cookies just waiting in the freezer to share with your Christmas guests!

What cookie cutter will be used next???
These Sour Cream Sugar Cookies are just the best!  Now, I also decorate a few hearts & bells with purple & green sprinkles.  It's a sweet reminder & memory of baking & including the hearts & the bells in my son's & daughter- in- law's Welcome Bags (for their wedding guests) using their wedding colors.  For their special occasion, 4 batches of batter was prepared/ refrigerated and then baked the next day.  The cookies were placed in my freezer, then defrosted when needed to package & place in the Welcome Bags for their overnight guests.

For the Welcome Bags!
***I use Unsalted Butter & Fat Free Sour Cream when making the dough.  If/ when these cookies are prepared with Margarine, the dough is sticky & difficult to roll out.  

One day this week my kitchen will have the great aroma of Nutmeg as the pans with these cookies will be baking!  Surprise your family & friends this year with the best tasting Sugar Cookie:  Sour Cream Christmas Sugar Cookies!  The recipe is below.  Have FuN decorating!!!     

Sour Cream Christmas Sugar Cookies
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
Cookie Cutters


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.  
Oh yes, there's always sampling going on in my kitchen!  Hey, a taste test is an important part of baking cookies! 

Put Sour Cream on your grocery list & bake a batch of these Sour Cream Christmas Sugar Cookies!!!  Don't forget the sprinkles!!!


Monday, December 7, 2015

Festive Chicken Salad Platter

Festive Chicken Salad Platter
Cold Salad Platters are the best!  They taste especially good when it's the beginning of December in New England & you've enjoyed grilled Chicken the day before.  December could bring any surprising weather for us, but Saturday brought temps in the low 50°'s F & we enjoyed grilled chicken for dinner.  There were a few slices remaining- Yum!

At this time of year when the produce purchased in grocery stores is not as fresh or tasty as our local summer produce, a ripened Pear tastes so good!  One was in our fridge!     

It was perfect timing for a cold salad platter the next day!  It was just e-a-s-y!  Salad Greens served with chunks of grilled Chicken & also fresh Pear chunks.  A few unseasoned cooked Green Beans were added in.  Colorful Craisins,  yummy Pecans & a little Feta Cheese was sprinkled on top.  Balsamic Vinaigrette drizzled over it.  This dressing has become our fave. 

What a yummy dinner salad!  It was made from "leftovers" & staples in my pantry & fridge!    
We may be enjoying these two entrees again this month.  If it's comfy outdoors to grill during the dinner hour, we surely will.

Balsamic Vinaigrette  

1/2 Cup Olive Oil for salads & marinades
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
Dash Black Pepper

Optional:  1 Tablespoon Raspberry Jam or Jelly

***Salad Dressing Mixing/ Shaking Container

  1.   Place Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar in shaker container.
  2.   Add dash of Black Pepper.
  3.   Optional:  Add 1 Tablespoon Raspberry Jam or Jelly.
  4.   Place cover on container.
  5.   Shake, shake, shake & shake again. 
  6.   Drizzle over salad.
  7.   Enjoy!
Note:  If adding optional Jam or Jelly, shake container until Jam or Jelly is dissolved.

I store my Balsamic Vinaigrette in my fridge.  About 1/2 hour before using again, I place on my counter,  so it comes to room temperature.  Shake, shake, shake until blended together & enjoy again.