Sunday, December 14, 2014

Holiday Vanilla Pudding Cake Cookies - SRC

As a bonus this month, the Secret Recipe Club is having a cookie carnival!  Nice!  Who doesn't need a few more cookie recipes to add to their holiday baking list?  Nothing says the holidays for me like baking cookies. One of my earliest baking memories is baking Spritz cookies with my Mom, green Christmas trees with red sprinkles.  Today I still use the cookie press from my childhood.  What's your favorite Christmas baking memory?

For this special Cookie Carnival, I was assigned Mom's Test Kitchen. The blogger behind this great blog is Jaime.  A little bit about Jaime, she says, I’m a child of God (who requires ALOT of forgiveness),wife to an automotive genius, momma to a Princess that changed my life
daughter to some pretty alright parents."  You can read more about her story here!  You'll find lots of great recipes on her blog as well, drop by and check it out, you won't be sorry!!!

I did a quick search and immediately found my choice for the Cookie Carnival, Holiday Vanilla Pudding Cake Cookies.  What I loved most about these cookies is how easy they are.  My dream is to write a cookbook of nothing but easy recipes, you know when you need that quick dessert for company that's dropping by at the last minute or that quick dinner when you just don't feel like cooking?  Maybe someday!  These cookies are perfect for last minute treats for the office or how about cookies for Santa?  This recipe would be great to make with the kiddos!

Holiday Vanilla Pudding Cake Cookies
Recipe Courtesy of Mom's Test Kitchen
1 box (16.25 ounces) white cake mix
1 box (3.5 ounces) vanilla instant pudding & pie mix
2 eggs
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons milk
red & green decorating sugars

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, dry vanilla pudding, eggs, butter and milk – it will be VERY thick
  3. In a small bowl, combine equal amounts of the red & green sugars. You can also do two separate bowls of each color & make all red or all green cookies. Or do a little of each & go for a tye-die look :)
  4. Scoop the dough into tablespoon sized balls. Roll the dough in the decorating sugars, being sure to fully coat the dough. Place the coated dough on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cookies are set.
  6. Cool for just a minute or two on the baking sheet and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

    Sunday, December 7, 2014

    Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies - Secret Recipe Club

    It's Secret Recipe Club  time and this is a bittersweet post for me.  Ever since starting in SRC in May 2011, I've been a member of group B.  Our leader was looking to move a few bloggers around and I volunteered.  No SRC for me in January, Group B is taking January off.  Beginning in February, I will be a member of SRC Group C.   I wanted to say a big thanks to our SRC B leader, Camilla.  She works tirelessly to make sure we all have our assignments and there are no orphans each month.  Thanks, Camilla for all you do!

    Now on to the real focus of this post, my assigned blogger and chosen recipe!  This month I was assigned,  Pale Yellow.  Tracy says she an "Informal science educator/curriculum specialist,science teacher by day, baking blogger by night, former Michigander, current Rockaway Girl".  She has two pet turtles, how fun it that?  Even more fun, her former coworkers, with whom she had shared all of her delicious baked goods, bought her a Kitchen Aid mixed.  Wow, those must have been the best baked goodies!!! 

    Speaking of baked goodies, Tracy's Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies caught my eye.   I am obsessed with brown butter!  Brown butter adds such a depth of flavor to recipes, sweet or savory.  Brown butter is easy to prepare.  Just don't look away, the butter can quickly go from delicious brown to burned.

    These could be my new favorite bar cookie recipe.  As usual, I sent them to Tim's office.  I could have eaten the whole pan. 

    Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
    Recipe Courtesy of Pale Yellow
    Yield – 20 bars
    3/4 cup unsalted butter
    3/4 cup packed brown sugar
    1/4 cup sugar
    1 egg
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    2 teaspoons cornstarch
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 cups flour
    10 ounces dark chocolate chips
    fancy sea salt for sprinkling
    1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and generously grease a 9 x 13” pan.  Cut parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan.  Grease the paper as well.
    2. Add the butter to a medium saucepan and heat until browned.  The butter will smell nutty; stir the whole time.  Let cool for 5-10 minutes.
    3. Whisk the sugars into the butter and then whisk in the egg and vanilla.
    4. Stir in the cornstarch, soda, and salt.  Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to combine.  Stir in the chocolate chips.
    5. Press the dough evenly on the bottom of the pan and sprinkle with sea salt.
    6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top begins to brown.
    7. Let cool completely before cutting into squares.

    Monday, December 1, 2014

    Sparkling White Cranberry Sangria

    We celebrated Thanksgiving in Palm Springs with my son and his girlfriend, Lily.  Palm Springs temperatures in the upper 70's and low 80's were  perfect for this beautiful glass of sangria.

    We couldn't find plain white cranberry juice, so we chose to go with White Peach Cranberry juice.
    The combination was perfect for this cocktail.  The sweetness of the peach made up for the 1/4 of sugar we didn't bring along.  Lily brought along some cinnamon sticks to add to the sangria.  They added a nice hint of spice that paired beautifully with the other flavors in the sangria.

     I may will not be waiting for summer to try this cocktail again.

    Sparkling White Cranberry Sangria
    Adapted from The Kitchen

    Serves 6 to 8

    1 cup rum, like Selvarey or another high-quality white rum
    1 cup diced red apple
    1 cup diced green apple
    1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
    1 bottle Chardonnay, un-oaked or lightly oaked, chilled
    1 cup white peach cranberry juice, chilled
    Cinnamon Sticks
    2 cups club soda, chilled
    Lemon twist for garnish
    In a large pitcher, combine the sugar and rum and stir to dissolve. Add the apples, cranberries, Chardonnay, and white cranberry juice. Refrigerate overnight.
    When ready to serve, add the club soda and stir to combine. Pour into ice filled glasses and scoop in some of the fruit. Top each glass with a lemon twist.

    Saturday, November 22, 2014

    Slow Cooker Corn and Potato Chowder

    What's your favorite kitchen appliance? Mine is the Slow Cooker.  I just read an article about a new slow cooker that can be turned on and off via your smart phone.  This may go on my Christmas list.

    After a busy day at work, especially those occurring on Monday's, nothing is better than coming home and dinner is ready.  Corn Chowder is one of my favorite soups.   When I saw this recipe, I was thrilled to find a recipe designed for the slow cooker!

    The original recipe calls for heavy cream.  I learned a trick (I think from Pioneer Woman?) to add cornmeal as a thickening agent, no heavy cream needed.  Equally as rich with much less calories and fat.

    Slow Cooker Corn and Potato Chowder
    Adapted from Mama Loves Food!

    • 8 ounces (1/2 pound) bacon, cooked until crispy and crumbled
    • 2 1/2 pounds Russet potatoes (approximately 5 medium sized potatoes), NOT peeled, diced in 1/4 inch cubes
    • 8 cups (about 2 pounds) kernel corn
    • 1 medium/large sweet yellow onion, finely chopped
    • 1 cup chopped celery
    • 6 - 8 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
    • 32 ounces (4 cups) chicken stock
    • 1/2 cup cornmeal
    • salt & pepper
    1. Combine all ingredients except cornmeal in the slow cooker.
    2. Cook on low for 10 hours or high for 6 hours.
    3. Blend about half the soup using an immersion blender or just scoop it into your upright blender then return to slow cooker).
    4. Mix 1/2 cup cornmeal with a cup of the broth from the soup, stir into soup and cook on high for 15 - 20 minutes.  This acts as a thickening agent, no cream needed.
    5. Salt and pepper to taste.

    Tuesday, November 11, 2014

    A Special Veteran

    On this Veterans Day as, we pause to remember and thank our Veterans. I'd like to pay tribute to my late Father who served in Pearl Harbor!

    Sunday, November 9, 2014

    Lime Mad Madelines - SRC

    It's my favorite Monday of the month, Secret Recipe Club reveal day!  If you're not familiar with Secret Recipe Club, you can read all about it here!  It's so much fun.  I am proud to be a member.  For the month of November, I was assigned Jane's Adventures in Dinner.  Jane's blog is one of those, you could spend hours looking through.  She has so many wonderful recipes and beautiful photography. Jane lives in Canada, in addition to having a fabulous blog, she loves to cook and drink wine! 

    Do you have any baking pans that you rarely use?  When browsing to decide my post for this month's Secret Recipe Club, I was reminded that I do, my madeline pan.  Actually the problem is, I need a larger kitchen (are you reading Tim?), a few of my specialty baking items are stored in a big tote in the garage.  I often forget to use them. Sounds logical doesn't it?  Reminded of my pan in the garage by Jane's recipe for Lime Madelines, I decided to give that pan some use!

    If you're looking for a just slightly sweet yet delicious cookie, give these a try.  Perfect to serve with afternoon tea or a dish of ice cream.  This recipe goes together quickly and results in a beautiful treat.

    Sunday, October 19, 2014

    Red Cabbage Slaw

    Do you have a go to cole slaw recipe? I do, this one!  I think I made it at least 5 times this summer.  When my CSA basket contained a beautiful head of red cabbage, I decided to branch out and find a new recipe.   This recipe was so easy using my newest kitchen "toy", a Vitamix.  I've been eying them for a couple of years and finally took the plunge.  For those of you who are QVC shoppers, you'll know what I mean when I say it was on easy pay.  Those purchases never seem to sting quite as bad or at least so I tell myself.

    What beautiful colors and great flavors!  The cranberries and nuts make a delicious addition to this tangy cole slaw.

    Red Cabbage Slaw

     1 small head red cabbage, thinly sliced and chopped
     1/2 cup grated carrot
     1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used greek yogurt)
     1/4 cup dried cranberries
     1/4 cup chopped walnuts
     1 tablespoon milk, or more as needed
     1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
     1 teaspoon white sugar, or more to taste

    1. Combine cabbage, carrot, mayonnaise, cranberries, walnuts, milk, cider vinegar, and sugar in a bowl; stir well. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 4 hours.