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Showing posts from December, 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.

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. Enjoy! An InLinkz Link-up

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!

Cherry Almond Cookies

These tender Cherry Almond Cookies are a favorite every year at Christmas. They are pictures above with the cherries. 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!

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 t

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 .

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!

Merry Christmas!

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

Grinch Cake

The family had a Grinch afternoon where we watched the Grinch (the Cat in the Hat version) and made a Grinch cake together. The cake was a basic yellow cake mix with two mashed bananas added. Otherwise you just make it the way the box says. You can add green food coloring to the batter after it is in the pan but I thought it was unnecessary as the frosting covers it up for the most part.  I mixed in real chocolate jimmies with the frosting and also added extra on top. The kids had a tricky time pronouncing "Grinch" and kept calling him the "Grunch."  It was really cute! Recipe from Oh Bite It!

Christmas Tree Pudding Cups

My original plan for these Christmas treats was to make a little Christmas tree farm. When I spotted the candy holiday characters I added those in as well. I had planned on using some Oreo cookie crumbs (blitz them in a food processor briefly) as the 'dirt' under the trees, but somebody in the house ate all the Oreo's, so I had to improvise. I added some chocolate frosting to the tops of the cups just to fill them to the brim. Add a marshmallow peep, perhaps a few sprinkles and a festive candy character and you are set! I have seen this set of candies at Joann's and Michaels. They were $2 cheaper at Joann's for those of you still shopping.

Eggnog Panettone Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce

Are there any other Panettone fans out there? I wanted to try out a recipe to use up some panettone so I adapted a recipe from One Stitch Two Stitch . For my recipe I combined both panettone and eggnog. If you would prefer, you could use heavy cream instead of eggnog. Alternatively, you could use a raisin bread or cinnamon bread with the eggnog too. It is very adaptable. I have included the recipe for the vanilla sauce. It thickened up a bit too much for my liking, so I would probably go with a sprinkling of powdered sugar next time around.

Gingerbread Log Cabin

It is day four on the gingerbread log cabin project, and I think we are finally done. 

Cranberry Pork Chops

We don't make many pork chops at our house. I haven't quite mastered the art of cooking pork chops so they are perfectly done so I am a bit hesitant to try it. I decided to be brave and try out this recipe from The Cooking Mom and it turned out delicious.  Do you have a preference for pork chops with the fat trimmed off or still on? I've heard that there is more flavor if you cook the chops with a bit of fat still on it, but it is such a hassle to cut up that in the future I will go with all the fat trimmed off. Are there any pork chop experts out there? Please share your tips for cooking a perfect pork chop in the comments.

Chocolate Eggnog

Chocolate and eggnog. It might not be a combination that immediately sounds like it works, but trust me it does. This drink will vary in sweetness depending on the brand of eggnog you buy, as well as how much chocolate syrup you add. I buy a slightly thinner and not too sweet style of eggnog, and I took it easy with the chocolate syrup. It wasn't overly sweet, rather it was just right. Many thanks to Mostly Homemade Mom for the recipe.

Country Club Chicken

A few notes about this dinner. First off, it is very tasty. Tender chicken is baked in a bacon, onion and mushroom sauce, with diced apple and white cheddar. Second - I will do a few things different the next time I make this. I think a penne or similar size noodle might be preferable to a spaghetti noodle for this, as the sauce was quite thick and doesn't work that well with thin noodles. Third - It does use a canned soup, which I know some people hate. Go ahead and make a from scratch condensed mushroom soup if you like, but personally I don't mind cream of mushroom soup. Other varities of condensed soups from a can I find pretty gross tasting, but mushroom is one I can get on board with. I used a golden mushroom which is why there is a yellow hue to the sauce in the picture, but I think next time I make this I will stick with regular ol' plain condensed mushroom. That's all I got. Enjoy!

Chocolate and Peppermint Bundt Cake

Last weekend I posted a recipe for a Chocolate and Peppermint Bundt Cake over at Mom Spark. Head on over to check it out!

Christmas Tree Fruit Display

This weekend I posted over at Mom Spark for a festive Christmas Tree Fruit Display . Head over to check it out!  The kiddos made their own smaller trees. It was a fun project for the family.

Chocolate Dipped Orange Slices

If you are a fan of overpriced jelly sticks covered in chocolate, try out this simple two ingredient recipe. I have tried a few different brands of candy orange slices and my favorite is the Great Value brand from Walmart. I think it has the best orange flavor, more so than Brach's brand. For the chocolate, I used chocolate almond bark which I find melts much smoother, faster and easier than regular chocolate chips. I hadn't used 'almond bark' chocolate until the past year but I love it for dipping cookies or candies. Chocolate chips can be a bit temperamental and thicken up but the chocolate bark stays nice and smooth. Many thanks to Blissful Roots for the inspiration for this recipe.

Perfect M&M Pudding Cookies

M&M Cookies, while not exactly a traditional choice for a cookie tray, are tasty and loved by many. Using  red and green mini M&Ms gives them a holiday touch. In a pinch I have used cheesecake flavored instant pudding in place of the vanilla and it turned out delicious. Enjoy!