Thursday, December 29, 2022

Best Recipes of 2022


I always look forward to this post at the end of the calendar year, but I also sort of dread it. I love looking back at all the recipes I tried this year, but it's SO HARD to narrow it down to eight! 

However, you know that if I went to all this trouble, these eight are really, really fantastic. There's no recipe that makes it to the blog that I wouldn't make again and again, but these eight are the real stand outs. They each have a significant WOW factor and are ones that I couldn't not include in my list of favorites. 

I hope you'll add a few of these to your "Make in 2023" list. (2023, what on earth???) And when you make these, please let me know what you think!

Here they are, linked to the original post, in no specific order.

Sourdough Waffles

Turtle Thumbprints

Red Curry Ramen with Pork

Bailey's Brownies

Korean Beef Sloppy Joes

Mini Meringues with Lemon Curd

Spinach Stuffed Chicken

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Bread

Monday, December 19, 2022

Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

It's Christmas week! There's still time to make some goodies, and if you live in the Upper Midwest, you may find yourself housebound this week due to the frigid temps coming in. Brrr!!!! Perfect for turning on the oven and doing some baking.

Back to cookies. These little shortbread cookies are SO easy. And so good. 

Just 6 ingredients come together (and quickly) and then you refrigerate the dough for a few hours or overnight. Then they're read to slice and bake!

They aren't too sweet, so they are a nice contrast to other cookies that may be in your arsenal... and they're so pretty with the orange and red. 

Enjoy! And Merry Christmas!

Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
zest of one orange or tangerine 
1 heaping cup fresh cranberries
2 cups flour
1 tsp. vanilla 

Finely chop the cranberries and set aside. In a food processor, cream the butter, sugar, and zest together until well combined. Add the flour and extract, and pulse about 10 times, then run the machine briefly, just until the dough comes together into a lump or lumps. Add the cranberries and pulse just until they are distributed, but don't over process - you don't want pink dough! (or maybe you do, but you do want cranberry chunks - not sauce!) If you don't have a food processor, you can still do the above with a mixer. 

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and bring together with your hands until it is no longer crumbly. Form the dough into a 10-12 inch log. The longer your log the smaller your cookies will be. Wrap the log in plastic, using the plastic to smooth out the dough and help form your log. Twist the ends tight to seal.

Chill the dough for at least 3 hours, or overnight. 

Slice the dough into 1/3 inch slices and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, two inches apart. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, or slightly longer if you like your cookies crisper. They will be pale on top and just turning golden on the bottom. Cool for a couple of minutes on the baking sheets and then carefully transfer them to a cooling rack. 

Monday, December 12, 2022

Eggnog Brownies

I think my love of bars is well known around here. While cookies are fun, I really prefer bars, mostly for the simplicity of making them. One pan, done. Not endless scooping out and baking on different trays. Boy I sound like scrooge. There's nothing wrong with cookies, but I like making bars, and it's nice to have something different on a tray to give away or serve. 

As a bonus, with these delicious "brownies," you can have an excuse to finally use the nutmeg pods you have in the cupboard! I got a kick out of grating those pods for a fun garnish on the eggnog brownies, but if you don't have any, you can simply sprinkle with some nutmeg.

I do love nutmeg, and I love baking with it, so these eggnog brownies were perfection in my book. A fudgy base with an eggnog laced icing - they are so good. 

Eggnog Brownies

3/4 cup butter
8 oz. white chocolate
1/2 cup eggnog
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. rum extract
2 1/4 cups flour

2 cups powdered sugar
4 Tbsp. eggnog
grated nutmeg for garnish

In a glass bowl, microwave the white chocolate, butter, and eggnog about 90 seconds, stirring every 30 seconds until melted and smooth. Mix in the sugar, eggs, salt, and rum extract. Stir in the flour just until incorporated then spread evenly into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with fudgy crumbs. Do not overbake. Let cool completely.

For the glaze, in a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and eggnog until smooth. You want a thick, glue like consistency. Add more eggnog if too thick. Spread over cooled brownies, and sprinkle a bit of nutmeg on top, or grate from nutmeg pods. Store in the refrigerator.

Monday, December 5, 2022

Turtle Thumbprints

Oh boy. If you need an impressive treat for your cookie plate this month, look no further than these Turtle Thumbprints -- a chocolate cookie dough, studded with pecans and then filled with a caramel center. Yum!

Thumbprint cookies always have a slightly higher "putz factor" (technical term) than regular drop cookies but they are worth it. (And way less putz than cut out cookies in my opinion. Don't bother searching for cut out cookies on this blog, ahem.) 

You'll dip chocolate balls in egg white, then in chopped pecans 

and then place them on a baking sheet before making the indents with the back of a teaspoon.

After baking you'll fill those indents with caramel,

and then marvel at their beauty

before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

These are complete stunners, not only to look at but also to eat. Anyone who loves chocolate, pecans and/or caramel, will go crazy over these cookies! In fact, you probably want to double this recipe - the recipe as written will make about 12-16 cookies but they will go fast!

Turtle Thumbprints

1 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg, separated, plus 1 egg white
2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
14 soft caramels
3 Tbsp. heavy cream

Combine flour, cocoa, and salt in a medium bowl. 

With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolk, milk, and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture until just combined.

Refrigerate dough until firm, at least 1 hour.

Whisk egg whites in a small bowl until frothy. Place pecans in another bowl. One at a time, roll dough into 1-inch balls, dip in egg whites, then roll in pecans. Place balls 2 inches apart on parchment or silpat-lined baking sheets. Using a teaspoon measuring spoon, make an indentation in center of each ball.

Bake at 350 until set, 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, microwave caramels and cream in bowl, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Once cookies are removed from oven, gently press existing indentations with teaspoon measure. Fill each with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon caramel mixture. Cool 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool completely.
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