18 November 2016

Vanilla Crescent Cookies

I was lucky enough to be in the Czech Republic during Christmas time. I got to experience the wonderful Christmas markets, Christmas traditions, Christmas carols and of course, the Christmas cookies. When I think of Czech Christmas Cookies these vanilkové rohlíčky (vanilla crescent cookies) are the first thing that come to mind.  I love these crispy little cookies so naturally I had to try and make my own and they are just as good as I remember.

Vanilla Crescent Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds (I prefer pecans)

In a large bowl, cream butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and egg. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in chopped nuts. Shape tablespoonfuls of dough into crescent shapes. Place 2" apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Gently toss warm cookies in remaining powdered sugar. Let cool completely on wire racks.

31 July 2015

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

So making this recipe I discovered that coconut macaroons are really easy. Also, they don't use a lot of ingredients, I basically made these cookies from left over ingredients.  I had bought some shredded coconut to make a pie crust for a key lime pie, and didn't use the whole bag.  Turns out I still had another opened bag of cocunt hiding in my cupboard left over from something else. Anyway, Hubby wanted creme brulee for dessert on Father's day. That used a bunch of egg yolks, leaving me with egg whites that I just couldn't bare to throw away.  So I did a search for recipes that used egg whites and saw coconut macaroons. This reminded me that I still had that coconut in the cupboard. That also reminded me that my mom had made some chocolate dipped macaroons a while back and that I had some chocolate almond bark in the cupboard that was left over from making chocolate covered strawberries.  See, cookies made from left over ingredients.  Anyway, the macaroons my mom made we're pretty tastey so I went to her pinterest board to see if I could find the recipe. She had a few different recipes pinned.  This one was the only one that was chocolate dipped. It was also one of the only ones that used eggs whites so I decided to give it a try.  Now, I didn't use semi-sweet chocolate like the recipe called for, since I had the almond bark, but I'm a big dark chocolate fan so I think I'd be willing to try the semi-sweet chocolate in the future.

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons
  • 1 14-ounce package sweetened shredded coconut (about 5 cups)
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature
Heat oven to 325° F. In a medium bowl, combine the coconut, egg whites, sugar, flour, salt, and vanilla. Drop packed tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart. Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until lightly golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. When cool, dip the bottom of each macaroon in the chocolate and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm, 20 to 30 minutes. Store the macaroons in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 7 days.

22 July 2015

Watermelon Jam

Okay maybe it's just me put I've pinned thousands of things onto Pinterest, most of which I will never try. But everyonce in a while I come across a pin that I have to try as soon as possible. The other day I was browsing pinterest and saw a pin for watermelon jam.  Mind blown. I've never heard of watermelon jam and I certainly never would of though putting watermelon in jam.  Well, I had a big watermelon on my counter that my 4 year old convinced me to buy. It had been sitting there a while and needed used up, so I decided to give the watermelon jam a try. It's delicious. It's like summer in a jar.  Now, here's the thing. I looked up recipes online and came across a few different ones.  It seemed like most recipes called for 1 package of pectin and a ton of watermelon, but people noticed it didn't always set up well.  Other recipes used special brands of pectin, some used liquid and some used 2 packages of pectin.  It was all a little confusing and not very consistent.  Basically I decided to consult the little jar of Ball Classic Pectin. The kind that lets you just use the pectin by the tablespoonful and came up with my own recipe.  The first batch I made, I doubled. Bad idea. It boiled over so bad eventhough I used  my largest pot. I was also a little short on sugar.  The next batch I made pretty much used up the rest of my pectin leaving just a tiny bit in the jar so I just dumped the rest of the pectin in making it a little bit more than 5 tablespoons..  While both batches set up, it seemes as though the second batch set up much better. I don't know if that litle extra bit of pectin did the trick or if it was actually using the right amount of sugar or if it was because it wasn't double, but it worked much better the second time around.  I should probably note that 5 tablespoons of pectin from the jar is a little bit less than 1 box of powered pectin. I believe it's supposed to be 6tablespoons to equal one box. I figure using a little extra pectin wont hurt the recipe, but  may actually increase your success. Also good to note, between the two batches I canned 17 half pints and I didn't even use an entire watermelon!

Watermelon Jam

  • 4 cups Watermelon puree
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 5 tablespoons Ball Classic Pectin (or 1 box powdered pectin)
  • 3 cups sugar

Start by preparing you boiling water canner and jars. 

Remove rind from watermelon and discard rind. Chop watermelon into smaller pieces and puree in blender until you have 4 cups watermelon puree.  Remove seeds (I didn't take the time to remove evey single one of the little white seeds that are still edible because it was a pain, but I did remove any seeds that seems larger or black).

Mix watermelon puree and lemon juice together in a large pot. Gradually stir in pectin. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil that can not be stirred down, over high heat, stirring constantly. Add entire measure of sugar, stirring to dissolve. Return mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil hard 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam (I don't usually skim foam off of my jam, but this recipe definitely needs it.)

Ladle hot jam into prepared hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.

Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude*. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours.

*1,000-3,000 ft add 5 minutes
3,000-6,000 ft add 10 minutes
6,000-8,000 ft add 15 minutes
8,000-10,000 ft add 20 minutes

15 June 2015

No Yeast Cinnamon Rolls

A few weeks ago we had a grumpy 4 year old with a double infection. When I asked him what he wanted for dinner, he said he wanted cinnamon rolls.  Since he seemed so miserable I was happy to comply especially since I had my eye on this no yeast cinnamon roll recipe from Recipe Girl.   THey were really delicous and they were quick. We're they as good as fluffy yeast cinnamon rolls that take hours to prepare. Not quite, but they were still yummy and perfect for cinnimon rolls that need to make a little faster.

No Yeast Cinnamon Rolls
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon

  • 2all-purpose flour plus more for rolling
  • 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk or buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick spray.
Prepare the filling: In a small bowl, combine the filling ingredients with a fork until a crumbly mixture is formed.
Prepare the dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Use a stand mixer with the cookie paddle or use a pastry blender to work the butter into the dry ingredients. Add the milk and the egg and stir to combine. Roll the dough out on a floured surface into roughly shaped large rectangle (about 1/4-inch thick). Sprinkle the filling evenly over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border all the way around. Carefully roll up the rectangle (the dough will be soft). Use a sharp knife to cut 12 rolls. Carefully place the rolls in the prepared muffin tin.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes. While the cinnamon rolls are baking, prepare the frosting: Combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar and milk/buttermilk in a medium bowl will an electric mixer to combine. Add a little more milk if you wish to have a thinner frosting. Spread the frosting on top of warm rolls or drizzle on top. Serve warm.

12 May 2015

Cinnamon Carrot Cake

This Easter we had a  nice dinner with my family. I volunteered to bring a carrot cake. The past couple of years I made this carrot cake cheesecake,  It's wonderfully delicious, but for some reason a regular carrot cake so much better (and a bit easier too)  This recipe came from my mother in law and was meant for a 9 x 13 pan, but  I decided to bake it in a bundt pan and just drizzle the frosting on.

Cinnamon Carrot Cake
  • 1 1/2 C. oil
  • 2 C. sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 C. plus 1 T. unsifted flour
  • 1 1/4 t. baking powder
  • 1 1/4 t. baking soda
  • 2 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. salt
  • 3 C. grated carrot
  • 3/4 C. chopped pecans
Cream oil and sugar. Add eggs. Sift dry ingredients. Add to wet mixture and mix well. Add carrots and nuts. Bake in greased and floured cake pan--375 for 45 minutes. Cool and frost with cream cheese icing.

  • 1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 1 lb. powdered sugar
Mix till smooth.
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