Monday, December 10, 2007

Not just cookies: Mini Mac and Cheese

My co-worker found this recipe in Food and Wine and gave it to me for the Holiday Open House my Husband and I hosted yesterday. Everyone loved these, they were gone within minutes of coming out of the oven. They were so easy, I made them before everyone one came, refrigerated them and then popped them in the oven when it was time.

Credit to Food and wine for both the picture and the recipe.

1/2 pound elbow macaroni
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for brushing
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (1 packed cup)
4 ounces deli-sliced American cheese, chopped
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
Preheat the oven to 425°. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the macaroni until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain, shaking off the excess water.
Brush four 12-cup, nonstick mini muffin tins with butter. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the Parmigiano; tap out the excess.
In a large saucepan, melt the 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter. Whisk in the flour over moderate heat for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and cook, whisking, until boiling, about 5 minutes. Add the cheddar and American cheeses and whisk until melted. Off the heat, whisk in the egg yolk and paprika. Fold in the macaroni.
Spoon slightly rounded tablespoons of the macaroni into the prepared muffin cups, packing them gently. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmigiano on top.
Bake the mini macs in the upper and middle thirds of the oven for about 10 minutes, until golden and sizzling. Let cool for 5 min­utes. Using a small spoon, carefully loosen the mini macs, transfer to a platter and serve.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Cranberry Jumbles

Ok, so this is a really bad picture of these cookies, Sorry! Anyway... another new cookie. I wanted something with a little fruit, since the only other fruit type cookie I do is the raspberry jelly ones. These are healthy with craisins and whole wheat flour. It called for shortening but in my effort to go transfat free, I used butter and it worked well. I also have been using egg beaters instead of real eggs.

(From 100 Best Cookies of 2007)

1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
1 egg slightly beaten
2 tablespoons of orange juice (or substitute cranberry juice)
1 cup craisins
1/2 cup slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large mixing bowl stir together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda,and cinnamon. Cut in butter, until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Sire egg and juice into flour mixture, stir in cranberries and almonds. Drop dough into rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake in preheated oven for 12 - 14 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool

Orange glaze

Stire together 1 cup of powdered sugar and enough orange juice to make a frosting of drizzling consistency.

Drizzle orange glaze over cookies. Let dry before storing.

Chocolate Mint Snow Top Cookies

These are a new recipe this year My family will actually be really suprised, since I usually make cookies that are like this but have no mint flavoring! My husband proclaimed them good, while munching a few.

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 taspoons of baking powder
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
6 tablespoons f butter, softened
1 cup of granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspooon mint flavoring
Powdered sugar
Combine flour, baking powder, set aside. In a saucepan melt 1 cup of chocolate chips. Beat butter with mixed on medium speed. Beat in granulated sugar, until combined. Beat in melted chocoloate, eggs, vanilla, and mint flavoring. Stire in flour mixture and remaining chocolate chips. Wrap dough in waxed paper and refrigerate until firm.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll balls in powdered sugar. Place balls about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 -12 minutes or until tops are crackled

Monday, November 26, 2007

Black and White Cutouts

From the Great American Cookie Cookbook. (Publications International Lid., Lincoln, IL, 2001)

I used these as sugar cookie cutouts this year, because I like the way the cream cheese gives them depth. They are meant to be dipped into chocolate. I did both

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

1 cup of butter
1/2 cup sugar
3 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1 1/2 teapoon of vanilla
3 cups of all purpose flour

Combine butter, sugar, cream cheese, egg and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add flour, beat until well mixed. Refrigerate dough at least two hours.

Roll out dough to 1 1/4 inch thickness on lightly floured surface. Cut into whatever shape you please Bake for about 7 minutes or until lightly brown on the bottom. Cool completely.

Tip: I always use parchment paper to cool cookies on. I hate the metal cooling racks, the cookies fall through those and break. I don't cook the cookies on parchment paper. I just use really good cookie sheets.

If you care to dip into chocolate, melt your favorite chocolate with a bit of canola oil. Freeze cookies before dipping, which ensures they don't break. Dip about 1/3 of cookie into the chocolate and lay to dry on parchment paper on cookie sheet. Put in freezer to set the chocolate faster.

I plan to frost most of the cookies. For frosting I use milk and confectioner's sugar and food coloring to a not pastey not drippy mixture. I paint them with a new paintbrush (small one found at hardware store) and then let dry for serveral hours.

Toll House Caramel Bars

These are another tried and true favorite among friends and family. I love them because they are so easy and so rich they are just enough cut into 2 inch squares.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1 cup of packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup of butter melted
2 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips
1 jar (12 ounces) of caramel sauce (I usually use a high end brand from Whole Foods, it is thicker)
2 1/3 cups of flour
2 cups of old fashioned oats

In one bowl combine 2 cups of flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and oats. Stir in buter.

In a separate bowl, mix 1/3 cup of flour with jar of caramel sauce TIP: Coat rubber spatula and bowl with flour or it is a mess.

Reserve 1 cup of that mixture and press the rest into a 13 x 9 greased and floured baking pan.

Cook for about 10 minutes or until it is lightly browned. Remove from the oven

Spread jar of caramel sauce on top evenly. Then sprinkle chocolate chips on top of caramel sauce. Crumble the rest of the oats/flour mixture on top. Bake for about another 20 minutes, until top brown and caramel bubbles.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Peanut Butter Blossoms

I am one of those odd people who isn't a fan of chocolate and peanut butter. I never eat Reeses peanut butter cups. My friends and family, however, rave about these cookies. Again they are are tried and true family favorite and one I could never remove from the rotation. This year I tried to go transfat free with my cookies, these are an exception. I didn't think they would work without the shortning.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (My grandmother swore everything should be cookied at 350.)

1/2 cup shortening.
1/2 cup of peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
2 tablespoons of milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups of all purpose flour
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
Hersey kisses
In large bowl beat shortening and peanut butter with electric mixer. Add the 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Beat until combined. Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla. Beat in the flour.
Shape dough into 1 inch balls Roll balls in the 1/4 cup of granulated sugar. Place balls 2 inches apart on a ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned. Immediately press a kiss in the center of each cookies.

Russian teacakes

These are a family favorite. I don't remember a Christmas without them. Some people call them Mexican wedding cookies.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


1 cup of butter

1/2 cup of confectioner's sugar

2 1/2 cups of flour

3/4 cup of walnuts, finely chopped

Beat butter, confectioner's sugar and vanilla. Beat in walnuts and flour.

Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Bake 10 minutes until firm (they will be slightly brown on the bottom). Immediately after removing from the oven, roll completely in confectioner's sugar.

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Sticks

These are one of my favorites. I am a sucker for shortbread, and being dipped in choclate doesn't hurt. I have included my tips for making these cookies successful. The first year I made these was a diaster until I learned these tips.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1 cup of butter

1/2 cup of confectioner's sugar

2 cups of flour

1/2 cup of Nestle mini chocolate chips

Beat all ingredients, except chips. Stir in chips.

Shape heaping Tablespoons of dough into 3" think logs. Place on non stick or lightly greased cookie sheets.

Bake until the bottoms are lightly browned. Remove from cookie sheet and place on waxed paper, carefully, to cool.

Freeze overnight or longer.

Melt a half bag of milk chocolate chips in a double boiler) Dip each stick into the chocolate about 1/3 the way up. Immediately place on waxed paper. Chill to solidify chocolate.

My first blog entry

Hello, My name is Kyla. I have been baking Christmas cookies for well over 20 years! I took over the Christmas baking from my family as soon as I was able, but really got going in highschool. I now bake over 12 varieties and usually double each kind. I have a few tried and true favorites and add a few new ones into the the mix every year, sometimes they stay and sometimes they don't.

I never thought I would create a blog, but after being asked to share my cookie receipes and pictures, here I am! Pictures and cookie receipes comng soon!