Apr 30, 2011

Cherry Shortbread Cookies

Ruth from has Once Upon A Feast has graciously allowed me to post two of the recipes from her cookbook. The first is a delicious, tender Cherry Shortbread Cookie. Enjoy and please pick up either the CD or the Ebook by Ruth -- it is truly worth every cent!

Cherry Shortbread Cookies 
Makes 4 Dozen

1 cup butter (room temperature)
¾ cup brown sugar
1 egg yolk
¼ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp almond extract
2 cups flour
maraschino cherries cut in quarters and patted dry

1.Preheat oven to 325°F/170°C.

2.Cream butter and sugar for five minutes. Beat in egg yolk and extracts and gradually add flour.

3.Knead dough just until soft and pliable (a minute or so). Do not over knead the dough.

4.Form into balls about the size of the top of your thumb (tip to first knuckle) and flatten with the bottom of a glass*. Press the cherry piece into the center of the cookie.

5.Bake for 10-12 minutes in center of oven. The cookies should be dry on top but NOT brown on the bottom.

6.Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes before storing.

Ruth's Tips and Variations:
-Rub the bottom of the glass over left over flour on the board and shake off the excess before you flatten the ball of dough.
-I usually use parchment paper on my cookie sheets. No need to grease the pan.
-Do not let cookies brown at bottom

Party buttons can be found here. I'm linking up to:  

Homemade Eggnog

I just had to try out the recipe for Homemade Eggnog that Nic at bakingsheet posted about. She picked a great one: Very little cleanup, basic ingredients and it comes together super fast. My only alteration would be to use less vanilla extract, as it seemed a bit too sweet to me, but isn't that what people love about eggnog anyways?

Note: You can buy pasteurized eggs still in-shell if you are worried about Salmonella.

Homemade Eggnog
Makes 2 large or 4 small servings.

2 eggs, room temperature
4 T. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (my alteration)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg, plus more for garnishing
2 c. low fat milk
2 oz. brandy (optional)

1. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until light in color and sugar is dissolved. Whisk in vanilla, nutmeg, milk and brandy, if using. Strain into a small pitcher and chill. Pour into glasses and sprinkle with additional nutmeg.

Source: Bakingsheet

Apr 29, 2011

Fried Oreos

I call them an Oreo pancake, while another said they were more like an Oreo donut. Can we just agree to call them tasty?

I scaled back the original recipe -- This will be good for (I am guessing) about 12 Oreos. Eat these with caution! As I found out, too many will make you sick. I would plan on 2-3 per person to be safe.

Fried Oreos
Makes several servings

12 Oreo cookies
1/2 cup pancake mix
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 tsp of oil

Oil for frying

1. Preheat deep fryer to 375 f degrees. Combine pancake mix, milk, eggs and oil. Mix until there are no lumps. Chill in fridge, covered, for 30 minutes.

2. Dip Oreos into batter, making sure both sides are covered. Gently drop in oil. Flip after approx. 10 seconds and cook for another 15 seconds. (Times are approximated -- You oil may be too hot and cook faster, or it might be not hot enough, and take longer -- try to avoid the 'too cool' situation)

3. Drain on paper towels for a minute, dust with powdered sugar and eat while still warm -- don't let them get cold or they are gross!

Source: Adapted from Allrecipes.com

Apr 28, 2011

Fuzzy Navel

Fuzzy Navel
Makes 1 serving

1 1/2 oz. Peach Schnapps
6 oz. OJ

1. Fill a highball glass with ice. Add peach schnapps and OJ. Stir.

Source: Not sure where I got this exact recipe but it is a well known cocktail

Apr 27, 2011

Hard Lemonade

Hard Lemonade
Makes 1 serving

2 parts fresh lemonade (Sweetened if you like it that way)
1 part vodka

1. Cut lemon in half. Run open edge along rim of tall glass then dip in sugar. Fill glass with ice. Add vodka then lemonade. Stir and enjoy.

Source: Not sure where I got this recipe. Trying to track it down.

Apr 26, 2011

Limoncello Milkshakes

Limoncello Milkshakes
Serving sizes vary, adjust ingredient amounts accordingly

1 Pint Vanilla Ice Cream, approx.
2-3 shots Limoncello, depending on how boozy you want it
1/2 c. milk, approx.
1/2 to 1 cup ice, approx.

1. Blend all ingredients thoroughly, adjusting ingredient amounts to suit your thickness/thinness preferences and tastes.

Souce: Not sure on this, might be Nigella or I might've come up with it.

Apr 25, 2011

Amaretto Squeeze

Amaretto Squeeze

Makes 1 serving

1 part Amaretto
1/2 Lemon

1. Pour amaretto into a normal glass, then squeeze the juice out of half a lemon. Add a few ice cubes.


Apr 24, 2011

Blush Champagne Cocktails

For a pretty twist to traditional cocktails, try using a blush champagne. Seen above are a Blush Sunrise (left) and a Blush Can-Raspberry Cocktail.

Apr 20, 2011

Limoncello Cheesecake Squares

If you find yourself wanting to make a dessert for your family or a party and you want something a little different than the typical run of the mill party food, try out these delicious Limoncello Cheesecake Squares. Purchased almond biscotti is crumbled in a food processor to make a quick crust.

Limoncello liqueur is widely available for purchase these days, and a simple Google search will provide many homemade recipes if you are that daring. I, however, am not that daring.

Leftover Limoncello liqueur is so tasty when poured over ice, poured over vanilla ice cream, or blended in a milk shake.

Limoncello Cheesecake Squares
Makes 12-16 servings

Nonstick cooking spray
8 ounces purchased biscotti, either plain or almond (or any flavor that sounds good to you)
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1 (12-ounce) container fresh whole milk ricotta, drained, at room temperature
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup limoncello liqueur
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the bottom of a 9 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Finely grind the biscotti in a food processor. Add the melted butter and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest, and process until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom (not the sides) of the prepared pan. Bake until the crust is golden, about 15 minutes. Cool the crust completely on a cooling rack.

2. Blend the ricotta in a clean food processor until smooth. Add the cream cheese and sugar and blend well, stopping the machine occasionally and scraping down the sides of the work bowl. Blend in the limoncello, vanilla, and remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon zest. Add the eggs one at a time, and pulse just until blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

3. Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. Place the baking pan in a large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the baking pan. Bake until the cheesecake is golden and the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour (the cake will become firm when it is cold).

4. Transfer the cake to a rack; cool 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. Cut the cake into squares and serve.

Source: Giada De Laurentiis

Korean Hamburgers

Korean Hamburgers 
4 servings

For the burgers:
1 lb ground beef
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 tablespoons chopped green onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 dash black pepper

4 hamburger buns
1 Tbsp. butter
Any other fixin's you like - I add sliced avocado. If you are feeling adventurous, you could try adding to the avocado some grilled portobello mushrooms, pickled ginger and goat cheese. I know that sounds crazy but the best burger I've ever had was a burger that tasted like this one with these toppings. It was phenomenal.

1. Mix burger ingredients thoroughly. Shape into 4 patties. Grill or fry as usual.

2. Spread butter evenly over hamburger buns. Toast in a toaster oven or in a griddle. Add hamburgers and toppings and serve.

Source: Food.com

Apr 19, 2011

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies

Warning: Potential snarfage if you make this recipe. Very soft, moist, tangy and delicious. They taste just as good, if not better, by the second and third day.

It is important to note that a stand mixer should be used for this recipe. If you don't have access to one, use a bowl and a wooden spatula. Avoid using a hand mixer at all costs. After reading the reviews of this recipe at Food Network, hand mixers were known to burn out after trying to mix the following ingredients.

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies
Makes about 24

1 (8-ounce) brick cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (18-ounce) box moist chocolate cake mix
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
*I added about 1/3 cup of semisweet chocolate chips to the original recipe*

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl with a stand mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg. Then beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the cake mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls. Roll the chilled batter into tablespoon sized balls and then roll them in confectioner's sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes. The cookies will remain soft and "gooey." Cool completely and sprinkle with more confectioners' sugar, if desired.

Source: Paula Deen

Linking up to: 

Apr 15, 2011

Chocolate Marshmallow Surprise Cookies

Martha Stewart's Surprise Cookies. The cookie itself is chocolaty and moist. On top is gooey marshmallow with a smooth topper of chocolate frosting. Make them. Love them.

Chocolate Marshmallow Surprise Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
12 large marshmallows, cut in half horizontally

1. Preheat oven to 375°. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, milk, and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Add reserved flour mixture; mix on low speed until combined.

3. Using a tablespoon or 1 3/4-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto ungreased baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies begin to spread and become firm, 10 to 12 minutes.

4. Remove baking sheets from oven, and place a marshmallow, cut-side down, in the center of each cookie, pressing down slightly. Return to oven, and continue baking until marshmallows begins to melt, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

5. Spread about 1 tablespoon of frosting over each marshmallow, starting in the center and continuing outward until marshmallow is covered.

Chocolate Frosting
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Place confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk in butter and cocoa powder. Add milk and vanilla, and whisk until well combined.

Source: Martha Stewart Kids magazine

Apr 14, 2011

Apricot Coolers with Cherry Ice Cubes

Apricot Coolers are a delicious surprise that quench your thirst and look doubly cute with cherry ice cubes.

Apricot Coolers with Cherry Ice Cubes
Makes several servings

1 (46 oz) can apricot nectar, chilled (I bought single cans, about 11 oz. each)
1 (12 oz) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 (32 oz) bottle lemon-lime flavored soda, chilled
Cherry ice cubes (if desired)*

1. In a large nonmetal pitcher or punch bowl, combine apricot nectar and lemonade concentrate; mix well. Just before serving, add carbonated beverage. Serve over ice cubes. Makes 22 (8 oz) servings.

2. I made a much smaller batch (1/4 of original recipe) and kept the apricot/lemonade mixture in a tupperware until ready for use. I then filled a glass with ice, added apricot/lemonade mixture to fill 1/3 of glass, then topped it off with 2/3 part of soda.

*To make cherry ice cubes, place a maraschino cherry in each section of ice cube tray. Fill halfway with water; freeze until firm. Fill try with water and freeze completely.

Source: Not 100% sure but I believe an Ann Lund cookbook

Apr 13, 2011

Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

I really, really love the flavor of chocolate, cream cheese and sour cream. The tangy flavor of the dairy really plays well with the chocolate. This delicious recipe comes from Martha Stewart. It is put together quickly, trust me the hardest part is letting it chill in the fridge afterwards. Ready for the recipe?

Retro Glazed Meatballs

Grape jelly meatballs are a classic party appetizer, and for good reason. They are easy to make and are delicious!  You want to make sure to use a nice quality meatball for this. If you go with a lower quality brand it wont hold up in the slow cooker.

I made a batch of these for a Christmas party several years ago. They are a great recipe if you have to bring in food to work. Just pack up your crock pot, three ingredients, and you are set.

Retro Glazed Meatballs
6-8 servings

1 (12 ounce) jar grape jelly
2 (12 ounce) bottles chili sauce
3 lbs. frozen, pre-cooked meatballs

1. Mix jelly and chili sauce in a saucepan over med-low heat. Stir until combined.

2. Add frozen meatballs to a slow cooker. Pour jelly sauce over meatballs, stirring to coat the meatballs.

3. Cook on high for 2 to 3 hours or on low for 5 to 6 hours, stirring occasionally.

Recipe from Allrecipes

Apr 11, 2011

Szechuan Noodles With Spicy Beef Sauce

Many thanks to Holy Cannoli Recipes for this delicious recipe. It was a favorite in my house and with all the picky eaters in my family that is a big accomplishment.

Apr 9, 2011

Lemon Gooey Bars

In two words: Super Yum. The bars have a chewy lemon bottom with a sweet, creamy topping. The bars are more sweet than tart, so if you prefer a more tart flavor, be sure to read the recipe below for additions you can make.

Lemon Gooey Bars
Makes one 9x13" pan, about 18 bars

1 lemon cake mix
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg

1 Tablespoon Vanilla extract
2 eggs
8 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup butter, melted
3  3/4 cup powdered sugar
*If desired, you can add the zest of one lemon, or a 1/2 tsp of dried lemon zest. This will make the bars more tart

1. Preheat oven to 350-f degrees.

2. For the crust, mix together the dry cake mix, butter, and 1 egg.  Mix well. The mixture will be thick. Press into a greased 9×13 baking pan and set aside.

3. For the filling, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla extract, eggs, and melted butter. (If you are using any zest, add it now) Mix together well and add powdered sugar. Mix until the powdered sugar is fully incorporated.

4. Spread filling over crust and bake for 38-42 minutes, until lightly brown and when gently shaken the center will only slightly jiggle.

5. Cool and cut into small bars. (I let my bars chill in the fridge for a bit before cutting) Cover and store leftovers in the fridge.

Source: Adapted from Lynn's Kitchen

Linking up to:  

Bacon Almond Dip

Bacon Almond Dip
Makes 4-6 servings

1/2 package bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup diced onions, sauteed until translucent
1/2 to 3/4 cup mayo (I used less, just enough so the dip held together)
salt and pepper if desired

1. Mix all ingredients. Let sit in fridge for a bit to enhance flavors. Serve with butter crackers.

Apr 8, 2011

Blueberry Jell-O Salad

I'm off to clean but I'm leaving you with a very retro dessert recipe. I had this a few weeks back and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. Enjoy!

Blueberry Cream Jell-O Salad
Makes one 9"x13" pan, about 18-24 servings

2 (3 oz.) packages grape jello
2 cups hot water
1 can of blueberry pie filling
20 oz can crushed pineapple
1 small container cool whip
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1. In a large bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Cool for 10 minutes. Stir in pie filling and pineapple until blended. Transfer to a 13-in. x 9-in. dish. Cover and refrigerate until partially set, about 1 hour.

2. Top with cool whip, then sprinkle with pecans. Cover and chill until firm.

Adapted from a recipe at Taste of Home

Apr 4, 2011

Blogging - How do you handle linking up for blog parties?

Blog parties. Love them or hate them, they are a great way to showcase your blog posts and generate traffic to your website.

If you haven't participated in them before, many bloggers have created weekly round ups that you can submit posts to and your link is then displayed on their blog. It is simple to do, but there is one problem. There are so many out there!

I am torn with how to handle this. Part of me wants to add a compilation of links at the end of each post. The downside is that it takes a lot of work to add that info in each and every time, not to mention it tends to really clog up your blog posts if submit posts frequently.

Links or buttons on each post
  • Pros: Providing links at the end of each post makes it easier to direct your readers to the hosting website.
  • Cons: A huge list of links at the end of each post can make the blog look messy and cluttered. More work is required to craft the list for each day you participate in a party. Don't get my started on all those buttons!
An option to avoid the blog clutter is to do a stand alone page (see example here) that you provide a link to at the end of your post directing your readers to the parties you normally submit to. I am considering this, but what do you think, is it not enough?  I've also seen blogs that provide links in their sidebar, organized by days of the week.

Master list of parties or links in the sidebar
  • Pros: A permanent page would allow you to set it up once, then forget about it. The blogs listed might get more exposure in the long run from a permanent page, as opposed to getting lost in the clutter at the end of blog posts.
  • Cons: Afraid that a master list would come across as me being lazy or rude to the folks hosting the link party. Your submitted link may be removed from their party.

So how do you handle it? Is it required to link up to each and every party, or do you think it is all right to provide a link to a 'master list' of sorts with a list of the blog parties you regularly participate in?

Peachy Dew Cocktail

Apr 3, 2011

Apple Cider Shake

Craving a delicious, non alcoholic beverage? How about one that tastes like delicious apple sherbet? This is the one. This Apple Cider Shake is a flavor explosion that hits just the right spot. 

Apple Cider Shake
Makes 1-2 servings

1 scoop vanilla ice cream
Splash of OJ
7 Up or similar soda (to thin drink to your consistency liking)
Apple Cider

1. Mix ingredients in a blender. Adjust according to your tastes. I added more than just a splash of OJ, and thinned the mixture out with apple cider and soda until it was satisfactory. YUM!

Source: Not sure where I got this recipe from. I can't seem to track it down. I will update the source if I can find it.

Linking up at Sweet As Sugar Cookies and Skip To My Lou.