Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My Absolute Favorite #1 Savory Recipe of 2013

Pineapple BBQ Jalapeno Poppers. From one of my favorite food blogs, Jo and Sue. They are spicy, sweet --oh forget it, there are no words for how good these are. I asked my mom what her #1 favorite recipes were for both sweet and savory. We both picked the same two recipes!

My Absolute Favorite #1 Sweet Recipe of 2013

Perfect Fudgy Milk Chocolate Brownies.  No frosting, no nuts, just simple, sweet perfections. I asked my mom what her #1 favorite recipes were for both sweet and savory. We both picked the same two recipes! Check back later today for the savory reveal.

JamHands.net 25 Best Recipes of 2013

2014 will soon be here. The past year has gone by so fast. We've had a lot of tasty recipes here at Jam Hands over the past year. I wanted to share my favorites with you folks. Here are my top 25, in no particular order. Enjoy!


25. Pineapple BBQ Jalapeno Poppers

22. The Best Ever Broccoli Salad with Dried Cranberries

21. Crispy Fries with Bacon and Blue Cheese Sauce

 20. Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Cinnamon Sugar Croutons

 19. Old Fashioned Ham Salad

 18. Artisan No-Knead Bread

 17. Mexican Street Corn

 16. OMG Mac & Cheese

15. Cheddar & Chive Pumpkin Cheese Ball


 14. Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding

 13. Cranberry Eggnog Bread

 12. Perfect Fudgy Milk Chocolate Brownies

 11. Chocolate & Orange Butter Cookies

 10. Non Traditional Irish Soda Bread

 9. Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Cookie Dough Frosting

 8. Brown Butter Caramel Mocha Cookies

 7. Our Most Favorite Ever, Ever, Ever Chocolate Cake and Frosting

 6. Nutella Cream Cheese Turnovers

 5. Pineapple Upside Down Cake

 4. Artisan Chocolate & Orange No-Knead Bread

 3. Coconut Orange Cake

2. Strawberry Poke Cake

1. Carrot Cake Cheesecake

Monday, December 30, 2013

Chocolate Pinwheels

Another classic Christmas recipe from the Betty Crocker's Cooky Book. This version takes Ethel's Sugar Cookies and tweaks the recipe just a bit to make delicious Chocolate Pinwheels.

Yule Log Cake (Bûche de Noël)

This Yule Log cake isn't just for decoration. It is fantastically delicious. I wasn't sure what to expect but I was blown away by how light and delicious this dessert is. Great for Christmas when you have had a big dinner and want something that isn't too heavy for dessert. Make this a new Christmas tradition at your house, it is amazing!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Cherry Almond Cookies

My cherry cookies are looking a little rough in these photographs. That's because I forgot to take pictures the day I made them and this was on day 3 or 4 of them bouncing around a cookie tin. Sorry for that! The good news is I will have to just remake them for prettier pictures later.

My mom always made them as sliced cookies and rolled the roll of cookie dough in chopped walnuts that had been colored green with food dye. I'm not sure where that came from, it's just always how she made them. Many thanks to Spice Gals for this recipe. They were very tasty cookies. Enjoy!

Holiday Punch

Punch is something that I consider mandatory for parties. Does anyone else feel that way? I love it. Typically punch recipes make a ton, they are delicious, and they are very adaptable so if you have random juices in your freezer or fridge, they tend to taste great no matter what you use.

This recipe for Holiday Punch comes from Dessert Now, Dinner Later. I actually added a bottle of cranberry-apple juice to this just to stretch it. Next time around I will make it with just the called for ingredients to get just the pineapple and tropical punch flavors.

Cinnamon Chip Snickerdoodle Cookies

Another cookie that made an appearance this Christmas were these Cinnamon Chip Snickerdoodles. They were supposed to be chewy and soft, but I think I made my cookies too small because they weren't either of those things.

Don't get me wrong, they were tasty, but big, chewy and soft snickerdoodles they were not. I did like the cinnamon chips in the dough, so I would probably try these again, a half batch, and see if I can get them to be a better texture if I make them larger sized. For the recipe, please visit Averie Cooks.

Ham and Cheese Puff Pastry Pinwheels

It's a bit hard to see the ham in these Ham and Cheese Pinwheels but it is indeed there. I love puff pastry. I am of the opinion that it beats out crescent rolls every single time. Pinwheels are easy party food that come together quickly.

These pinwheels can be made the day before, just wrap it tightly with cling wrap and let it chill in the fridge until you are ready to slice and bake. I kept mine simple since it was for the kiddos, using just ham and cheese but you could add a Dijon style mustard if you wanted for more flavor. I skipped the egg wash to save time, but if you want your to look pretty, go for it. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Gumdrop Fudge

I loved and hated this recipe. The taste was great but the fussiness of fudge almost had me chucking it in the trash before I had it all cut up. The recipe had been reviewed as oh-so-easy as it was made in the microwave. That should have been my first red flag.

I had read that it could be hard to cut through the gumdrops in this fudge and I thought to myself, oh really how hard could it be? Pretty damn hard is the answer. In the picture above you may notice a piece of fudge that has a white piece in it. To clarify, that is not a white chocolate chip, it is a piece of gumdrop. I bought a box that had red and green tops with white bottoms.

Not only was it pretty hard to cut, which by the way required washing my knife after every single cut to get a clean cut, it was also pretty hard to get it to release from the tin foil. The consistency even after refrigerating overnight was extremely soft. After cutting the fudge I dropped the pieces into small paper liners and let them sit on the counter. After several hours uncovered they had lost their stickiness and were able to be picked up and eaten.

So in the end, I was wishing I had gone with my tried and true Creamy Dreamy Fudge instead of the fussy gumdrop. The good news was that even though it was a giant pain, the fudge was well received and loved by all the kiddos.

I think if I ever try this again I will go with a different recipe that is more of a traditional cook on the stove top style of fudge like the one posted at Shugary Sweets. The consistency of that fudge looks much better my microwave version. Anyhow, live and learn! For those brave enough to try, the recipe follows.

Sausage and Cream Cheese Pinwheels

These little pinwheels are great party food. I'm hesitant to say 'guy food' because food is food, but the fact is all the guys at the holiday party were going crazy over these. You could add in seasonings if you like but it is delicious just the way it is.

I am not a big fan of crescent dough so next time I would use puff pastry and possibly maple sausage since I have experienced many times the deliciousness that is maple + sausage + cream cheese.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Chocolate and Orange Butter Cookies

My two favorite cookies this Christmas were the Snowball Cookies (no nuts) and these Chocolate Orange Butter Cookies, courtesy of Clawson Live. Be very careful not to over bake. My oven is very temperamental so I had to adjust both the temp and the time. Knowing your oven is half the battle when it comes to baking! If baked properly they will be tender, rich and delicious.

I will be making these again to get better pictures. I would have rolled them in powdered sugar but I already had two other kinds of cookies rolled in powdered sugar so instead I melted chocolate chips with cream and put that on top. If you love chocolate and orange and a deep chocolate flavor, you will love these.

Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Cookies

Another classic from the 1963 Betty Crocker's Cooky Book. These cookies aren't overly sweet. You could just sprinkle a bit of sugar on top before baking if you like, but we went with a basic powdered sugar glaze and sparkling sugar.

Chocolate Crinkles

This recipe, along with many that we made this Christmas, comes from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book, published in 1963. They were good but I would probably try other recipes just to see if I liked the texture better on another recipe. Other people in my family liked them much more than I did so it is probably just a preference thing. It is a classic recipe with a great star rating so I'm chalking this one up to just me being weird about the texture of my cookies. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

A few quick pictures of our Christmas party. Have a wonderful Christmas!