Monday, December 19, 2011

Thin Mint Cookies

My second batch of Christmas cookies. These are reminiscent of the Girl Guide mint cookies and are very addictive. Be sure to cut them thin or they will turn out hard instead of crispy.

From Baking Bites, makes 2 dozen cookies

2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon peppermint extract

10 ounces dark chocolate
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon peppermint extract

In the bowl of the stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. With the mixer on low, add the milk, vanilla extract and peppermint extract. Gradually add in the dry ingredients.

Divide the dough in half and roll each half into a 1-1/2 inch diameter log. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for an hour until the dough is very firm.

Preheat the over to 375 F. Remove the dough from the freezer and slice the dough into rounds no more than 1/4 inch thick. Place the rounds onto a parchment or Silpat lined cookie sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes or until the cookies are firm at the edges. Allow the cookies to cool completely.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Add the peppermint extract. Dip each of the cookies into the melted chocolate and allow to set on a wire rack.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Baked Ricotta Dip

I made this for a Christmas potluck and it was a huge success. Unfortunately I din't manage to get any photos.

Adapted from Inspired Edibles

500 mL container ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons Kalamata olives, finely chopped
3 tablespoons sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 teaspoon hot chili pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil (or oil from sun dried tomatoes)

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Add all of the ingredients to a bowl and mix to combine. Transfer the ingredients into an oven proof dish.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until cheese mixture is warmed through and starts to bubble around the edges.

Remove from oven and drizzle with olive oil. 

Serve warm with an assortment of crackers, bread and vegetables.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Pumpkin Risotto

This is the first recipe I made from my home-grown, home-made pumpkin puree. It could also be made with pureed squash.

Adapted from Chef In You, serves two

1 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 onion, finely chopped
1 cup arborio rice
1 cup pumpkin puree
5 to 8 cups of vegetable stock or water
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
4 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for garnish
Balsamic vinegar, for garnish

Melt the butter in a sauce pan over low heat. Add the garlic and onions and saute until soft. Add the rice and saute until the grains are translucent, about 2 minutes.

In the meantime, warm the vegetable stock or water in another saucepan. Ladle 1/2 cup of warm stock in to the rice and stir well. Continue adding stock, 1/2 cup at a time, every time the rice absorbs the liquid, while stirring constantly. Continue cooking and adding stock until the rice is tender. With the last of the stock, add the pumpkin puree.

Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese, nutmeg and pepper. You can also add another tablespoon or more of butter if you desire a creamier risotto.

Top with additional parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar. Serve immediately.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sugar Cookies with Eggnog Frosting

It is officially the Christmas baking season!

Nothing says Christmas like eggnog so I couldn't resist this recipe. Soft fluffy sugar cookies topped with rich eggnog frosting... these cookies are heavenly...

Adapted from Authentic Suburban Gourmet, makes three dozen cookies

6 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1 cup butter, softened
2 cup sugar 
3 eggs 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sour cream

1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
4 cups icing sugar 
6 tablespoons eggnog 
1 teaspoon nutmeg

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add the vanilla and sour cream. Beat at low speed until combined.

Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until just combined, scraping down the bowl as needed. The dough will be very sticky. 
Divide the dough in half and flatten each half into rectangles. Wrap each rectangle with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator overnight or until firm.

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat liners.

Dust the dough and countertop with flour. Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Using a 2-1/2 inch round cookie cutter or a glass, cut the dough into circles and transfer the circles to the baking sheet. 

Bake for 7 minutes or until starting to turn golden.

To make the frosting, 
cream together the butter and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar until incorporated. Add in the eggnog, 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is achieved. Add the nutmeg and beat to combine. 

Frost the cookies using a knife or spatula. Refrigerate overnight to allow the frosting to set and the flavours to develop.



Saturday, December 3, 2011

Pumpkin Puree

I was quite surprised to return home after a five week vacation to find that the tiny pumpkins from our garden had turned beautifully orange and were showing no signs of rot. So I decided to try making my own pumpkin puree. Now I just need to decide what to make with it...

From Martha Stewart

One or more fresh pumpkin

Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut off the pumpkins stem and cut in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds with a spoon. Place the pumpkins on a large baking sheet, cut side down. Roast for about one hour or until tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Pull the skin off the pumpkin or scoop out the inside flesh. Place the pumpkin flesh inside a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Line a colander with a double layer of cheesecloth. Transfer the pumpkin puree into the cheesecloth. Allow to drain for at least four hours or until firm.

Store the prepared puree in the refrigerator or freezer.


Tip: Instead of cheesecloth you can use paint strainer bags that can be purchased from your local paint store. They are typically plastic which means they can be easily washed and reused!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...