Archived entries for holiday food

Your Grandma’s Chirstmas Wreath Recipe

This is probably the most nostalgic holiday cookie of all time. For me, these glorified rice crispy treaties conjure up memories of 80′s grade school holiday parties.

These were never part of my family’s holiday cookie list, which is why I call this cookie “Your Grandma’s Christmas Wreath Recipe” because although my Grandma didn’t make these, yours did! Lets get green and sticky!

Your Grandma’s Christmas Wreath Cookies

  • 1/3 c. butter or margarine
  • 4 c. marshmallows  (10 ounce bag)
  • 1 teaspoon green food coloring
  • 6 c. cereal of your choice
  • red cinnamon candies

In a saucepan, melt butter over low heat.  Melt marshmallows into butter, stirring occasionally to keep from burning.  Mix in green food dye. Remove from heat.

Mix melted marshmallows into cereal.

Spoon cereal mixture onto baking trays lined with parchment or wax paper.  Using your fingers, shape cookies into wreath shapes.  Lightly coat your fingers with water to help shape the wreathes and keep the marshmallows from sticking to your fingers.  I suggest having a small dish of water near your work station.

Place wreaths in fridge until hardened.  Place in an air tight container layered with wax paper to keep from sticking together.  Good for up to 1 week.

Oatmeal Lace

Nothing fancies up a Christmas party like a little lace!  These delicate crispy confections are the perfect blend of cookie and candy.  Eat up!


Oatmeal Lace
makes 6 dozen

  • 1 1/3 c. butter, melted
  • 3 c. rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • parchment paper

Preheat oven 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowls, combine oats, sugar, brown sugar, flour and salt.  Add melted butter, egg, and vanilla extract.  Mix until blended.

Line baking sheets in parchment paper.  Drop rounded tsps of batter 3 inches apart on parchment.  Bake for 5-8 minutes until lightly browned on edges.  Remove from oven.  Allow to cool for 1 minute.  Place tray in freezer for 5 minutes until cookies harden.

Place cookies in an air tight container and store in refrigerator or freezer.

 

 

Heirloom Maple Meltaways

Have you ever wondered if you would have had what it took to survive out on the homestead? Well, imagine yourself stoking the wood fire in your log cabin kitchen stove. You’re preparing to make your holiday cookies. You go to gather your ingredients. You may have fresh cream butter you just whipped up from your morning milking.  But, oh, no! Where is your processed granulated sugar? You forgot to plant a crop of sugar beats! Where is your Mexican vanilla, not to mention your cream of tartar?

Well, never fear. Here is a recipe, with only just 4 ingredients you would probably have in your food stuffs: butter, maple syrup, flour and salt. If you want to be real old timey, you can grind some wheat berries to get fresh milled flour. (A coffee grinder works well if you don’t have a flour mill). So get out your gingham apron and enjoy a taste of the good ol’ days.

Heirloom Maple Meltaways

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour-whole wheat pastry flour works great!
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Cream butter and maple syrup. Mix flour and salt. Mix together with butter.

On a cookie sheet lined with parchment , drop dough balls by the tablespoonful 2 inches apart. If you want, top with a whole shelled nut.

Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Keep cookies chilled for best texture. They can get crumbly at room temperature.

Acorn Squash Custard In A Half Shell

Nothing hits the spot on a crisp autumnal day like pumpkin pie. However, sometimes you don’t have a pumpkin, you’ve got a squash. And sometimes, you’re lazy and don’t feel like making pie. So, here’s a way to skip the pastry and get right down to business. Squash custard in a half shell.

Acorn Squash Custard in Half Shell

  • 2 c. roasted squash (about 3 large acorn squash)
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 c. milk

Cut squash in half and scoop out as much squash from shell as possible.  Place in roasting pan and roast at 400 degrees for 30-60 minutes.

Using a food processor or mixer, process squash until smooth.  Add sugar, eggs, spices, and milk and process until smooth.

Pour custard mixture into squash shells. If you have extra, you can just pour into baking ramekins. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.  Turn temperature down to 350.  Bake for additional 30 minutes or so until the centers test clean with a toothpick.

Eat up!

Elmo Cupcakes!

Elmo is toddler crack.  I’ve never been the biggest fan.  I find his high pitched baby talk annoying of enough but add to that his way of always referring to himself in the 3rd person, and I just want to punch him in his red furry face.  HOWEVER, my daughter, Thora, cannot get enough of him.  I tried, and failed to keep her away from him.  But its pointless.  She LOOOOVES ELMO!  Ok, fine.  At least Elmo is not as bad as Baby Bear.

Saturday was Thora’s second birthday and I decided to make her supremely happy by combining two of her favorite things: cupcakes and Elmo!  I’m not going to take credit for this idea (its been done many times before) but it was a fun project, so I thought I would share my how-to. Everything about these cupcakes are red, from the red velvet cupcakes, to the red royal icing and the red cupcake holders.  Get ready to have red hands for the rest of the week.

Elmo Cupcakes
makes 32

Red Velvet Cupcakes:

  • 2 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 (1 ounce) red Food Color
  • 2 tsp vanilla

 Royal Icing

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar (optional)
  • 1 ounce red dye for icing

Elmo decorations

  • small marshmallows for eyes
  • black food color or cake gel for eyes
  • orange peanut m&ms for nose
  • oreos for mouth
  • Red food color for icing
  • pastry bag and large star tip

To make the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix dry ingredients and set aside.  Using an electric hand or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together.  Add eggs one at a time into mixture, beating after each one.  Mix red food dye into milk.  Add milk, sour cream and vanilla, beat into mixture.  Gradually add dry ingredients, beat until mixed.

Place red cupcake holders into pans.  Fill cupcake holders 2/3 way full.  (An ice cream scoop works well for this.)

Bake for 20-25 minutes until cupcakes test done.  Allow to cool on wire rack.

Make Royal Icing

Beat egg whites until firm peaks form; about 5 minutes.

Add sugar, tartar and lemon.  Beat.  We want a firm frosting.  You may want to add more sugar or egg white to get the right consistency.  Add red dye to get the color desired.  I used the frosting dye because it is more like a gel and will not add extra moisture to the frosting.  If you are using the liquid dye, you will need extra sugar to make up for the added moisture.  Keep covered until needed.

Assemble Facial Elements

Eyes: Separate a small amount of frosting into a small bowl.  Add black dye and mix.  Apply a small dot of black frosting to the center of marshmallows to create the eye.

Noses: Separate out orange peanut m&ms and set aside.

Mouth: Spin off tops and bottoms of Oreos. Remove cream filling.  Cut mouths in half.  I actually cut them a bit smaller and discarded the excess.

Assemble Cupcakes

Spread a bit of frosting on top of each cupcake as a base layer.  Dip eyes, nose and mouth in frosting and place onto cupcake.

Spoon red frosting into pastry bag with the large star attachment and pipe onto cupcake around facial elements.  Pull away at sides to accentuate Elmo furry face.

DONE!  Now let your kiddos enjoy stuffing their faces with Elmo’s face!

Party Pleaser: Pomegranate Punch

Want to turn your regular old hum drum party into the most sophisticated soiree of the day? Well, its easy. Here’s our top 1 ways to get your party popping!


Photo courtesy of Flickr user Brooklyn Farmhouse

1. MAKE POMEGRANATE PUNCH!

There, that was easy. Almost as easy as making this delicious punch which pairs delicious and healthy pomegrante juice with a fresh and tasty infusion of simple syrup steeped in mint and fresh ginger. Delish! Here’s the how-to.

Pomegranate Punch
Serves about 12

1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. water
12 slices peeled fresh ginger (about 1/8 inch thick)
2 1/4 c. fresh mint
6 c. pomegranate juice
3/4 c. apricot nectar
2 1/2 c. seltzer
Garnish: fresh mint
Optional: Alcohol- vodka or champagne

Make simple syrup:  Bring sugar, water, and ginger to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Add mint. Let stand for 30 minutes. Strain. Let cool.

Assemble punch: Stir together mint syrup, juice, and nectar in an ice-filled punch bowl. Add seltzer. Garnish with mint and ice.

Optional: Add alcohol. As much as you want.  Be warned though! This punch is sooo damn tasty, it hides the taste of alcohol very well. I mean VERY WELL. You can get very bedrunken. Just warning you. Ok, on to the hints.

Hint: Make a decorative ice ring! The night before your party, take a decorative bunt or coffee cake pan and fill with water.  Allow to freeze until a bit slushy, 1 hour or so depending on the amount of your water.  Put a few mint leaves or pomegranate seeds into the slush to suspend in ice.

Christmas Pomegranate Bars

Every year I try to make a few new kinds of Christmas cookies to add to my tried and true. Sometimes I find amazing new cookies to add to my repertoire, and sometimes they’re a stink out. This year, I decided to try my hand at Martha Stewart’s Apricot Windows recipe. I put my own twist on them by using my homemade Pomegranate jelly.

While I wouldn’t describe these as a stink-out, as they are easy and very tasty, I learned through trial and error that if you don’t cut them while hot (not listed in the directions) you end up with a broken mess.  So here’s the recipe with a few of my own additions.

Christmas Pomegranate Bars

  • 4 1/2 sticks butter
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 1/3 c. cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 c. jam or jelly of your choice, I used Pomegranate
  • pastry bag with large round or star shaped tip

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment and generously grease sides; set aside.

Using a hand or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile, mix dry ingredients and set aside.  Add eggs one at a time to creamed butter mixture, beating until smooth after each addition.  Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and beat until thoroughly combined.

Remove 1 3/4 cups of the dough; use it to fill a prepared pastry bag. Fold the end over to keep dough from drying out; set aside.

Spread the remaining dough into the prepared pan as evenly and smoothly as possible. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Remove pan from oven, and transfer to a heat-proof surface. In a small bowl, whisk jam until smooth.  Spread jam on top of baked crust in an even layer. Using the prepared pastry bag, pipe parallel lines of dough spaced approx. 1 inch apart over the jam. Pipe perpendicular lines of dough at 1-inch intervals over first lines. Place in oven, and bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack.  Allow to sit for a few minutes to cool slightly, but while still warm, cut into bars. Store in an air tight container for two weeks or so.

Enjoy!

A New Take On Gingersnaps: Chewy Choco Gingersnappers

I love gingersnaps and of course nothing is more christmasy then a good ginger cookie. But if you find yourself getting bored with the same old gingersnap, why not try this delicious chocolatey take on the original. I guarantee you’ll love it!

Chewy Choco Gingersnappers
makes 4 dozen

  • 1 c. butter (2 sticks)
  • 2 Tbs fresh grated ginger
  • 1 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 1 c. molasses
  • 3 c. flour
  • 1 Tbs ground ginger
  • 2 tsp cininamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 Tbs cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbs boiling water
  • 16 0z. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4- 1/2 c. granulated sugar

Directions:

Make Dough: In a mixing bowl or using a stand mixer, cream butter and fresh ginger together until whipped, 2-4 minutes.  Add brown sugar and beat until mixed. Add Molasses, beat until mixed.  In a bowl, mix together dry ingredients and spices up until boiling water.  In a small bowl, mix together boiling water and baking soda.  Add half of flour mixture into sugar and butter; mix.  Add boiling water with baking soda and mix.  Add remainder of dry ingredients; mix. Add chocolate chips and mix.

Chill Dough: Separate dough into four balls and wrap each dough ball in plastic wrap.  Chill in refrigerator until firm: for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Assemble Cookies: Remove one dough ball, leaving the others to chill in the refrigerator.  Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on baking sheets lined in parchment paper about 2 inches apart.  Chill completed trays while rolling out other dough balls; about 20 mintues.  Roll chilled balls in sugar.

Bake cookies: 8-10 minutes until surfaces begin to crack.  Remove and chill on wire wracks.

Store in air tight container for 2 weeks.  Best served warm!

 

Our New Christmas Favorite: Lemon Cranberry Sandwiches

These delicate cookies are my absolute new favorite holiday treats!  The light sugary wafers with a bold dash of cranberry are topped off with a very lemony cream center.  What could be better!  Lets get baking!

Lemon Cranberry Sandwiches

  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 1 c. shortening
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 c. flour
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c. dried cranberries

    Filling

  • 2/3 c. butter, softened
  • 2-3/4 c. confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1 Tbs lemon zest

Make dough: In a large bowl, cream the butter, shortening and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, cream of tartar, lemon peel and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in cranberries. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Bake Cookies: Roll dough into 1-in. balls. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten with a glass dipped in sugar. Twist glass after flattening to keep cookie from sticking.  Bake at 350° for 12-14 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Assmeble Cookies: In a small bowl, combine the filling ingredients; beat until smooth. Spread on the bottoms of half of the cookies; top with remaining cookies.

Think Outside the Box: DIY Food Gift Wrapping Guide

With the Occupy movement  really shifting focus to shopping local and boycotting large corporations this holiday season, I’ve had more requests then ever on good DIY foodie xmas pressies.  The number one most important thing when giving homemade gifts is the packaging.

Creative Packaging: Think Outside the Box


An Asian dumpling steamer makes a great cheap (and useful) container for this peppermint cheesecake via BHG.com

Creating little packaged recipes with ingredient mixtures is a great idea but can really flop if you don’t create an appealing appearance.  Sometimes the best thing to do is start with a container, and find the right food/recipe to fit inside.  Here are six great ideas for packaging.

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1)  Re-purpose A Useful Kitchen Item For A Creative wrapping:

Hit the thrift stores, vintage shops, or restaurant supply stores and explore the non-container container.  I love the idea of using an Asian steamer as a cake box as pictured above.  Vintage scotch glasses on a vintage platter make an excellent presentation for our Scotch Rosemary Biscuits.


Photo via BHG.com

This vintage casserole makes a sweet container for Chocolate Raisin Oatmeal cookie mix.


Via CountryLiving.com

And of course, an antique or thrifted tin is the classic container!

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2)  Recycle old condiment jars or cans

Scrub off the paper label on an old mustard, spice or olive jar and replace with a hand made label.  Great for custom spice mixes, or marinated goat cheese or olives. Try to find jars with no writing or images on the lid.

Or camouflage jars with old pickle or jam jars with printed lids with cute fabric swatches or paper circles and attached with ribbon or string.

I love Martha’s idea to bake muffins in a washed out tin can and wrap top with decorative paper and string!

Hide the logo on this mixed nut container with decorative paper for these quick and delicious nut clusters.

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3) Purchase cheap bulk jars

Pick up a few of these bulk spice jars ($4) to make this Fish Poaching kit (via CountryLiving.com).

Substitute the tins in this suggestion from CountryLiving.com for homemade tea mixtures with this bulk spice jar ($1.95) from Crate and Barrel.

Of course canning jars make affordable containers at about $12-$15 for a dozen.  You can give away preserved food or just use the jar as a container (just make sure to tell the person when you give the gift if it is not preserved).  Make a custom label and wrap with a ribbon, or another decorative object.

Check out our list of preserved foods as gift suggestions!

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4) Envelopes Make Great Containers

Purchase bulk plastic candy bags as cheap as 50 bags for $1.39 to wrap your cookies, candies or these cute cheddar herb bread mixture via BHG.com.

Follow this tutorial from Martha to make your own paper envelopes from cardstock.

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Fill your own tea filters (100 for $4.99) with a custom tea blend.

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5) Fill Up On Candy Boxes!

Another great tutorial from Martha shows you how to make this great slip out box!

You can also purchase cute pre-made fold-able boxes from Baley’s Boxes or Papersource.

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6) Wax Paper Rolls:


via CountryLiving.com

Wrap rolls of frozen cookie dough in wax paper and tie off at ends.  Make your own creative labels to finish off the design.

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Resources:

Gift Idea slideshows:

Recipe ideas:

Gift wrapping:

 

 



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