Friday, December 30, 2011

My Favorite Recipes of 2011

These recipes are the BEST ones I made this year, I think.  Every single one was a giant success with me, my husband and family.  They are the recipes I will make again and again! :) Here they are in no particular order...

1. Lemon Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce
2. Veggie Quesadillas

Sorry there's no pictures...boring I know.  But if you click on the links then you can see my awesome photography :)  Happy New Year and see you in 2012!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Favorite Christmas Cookies

Well my favorite Christmas cookies are probably not what you would call... a "classic" Christmas cookie.  You know- snickerdoodle, sugar, macaroons, etc. etc.

Those are all great (actually I don't recall ever trying a macaroon, so I wouldn't be a fair judge...), but nope.  My favorite cookie was first made last year on my Mom, sister and I's annual "Holiday Baking Day."  Basically we get together and make about a bajillion cookies all day long.  And then sit around and complain about how our stomachs and feet hurt and we don't want to see another cookie for the rest of the year (although that's a lie).  It is one of my favorite days of the year!

Yesterday was our baking day and I was most looking forward to these cookies: Ginger-Lemon cookies.  More specifically, they are a soft, ginger cookie that is amazing on its own, with a lemon glaze/frosting.  The two flavors are amazing together!  The first time we made them, I definitely was not expecting them to be THAT good.  They are one of my very favorite cookies, ever! They are so soft and moist and the lemon frosting is the secret weapon!

Ginger Cookies with a Lemon Glaze
Yields: 24 cookies
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup margarine, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture. Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. 
Lemon Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
4 teaspoons lemon juice

Mix together and after cookies are cooled, frost cookies.  If using sprinkles or other topping, decorate right after you frost it (before it slightly hardens and the topping will not stick to the frosting).

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cranberry-Orange Bread

This may well qualify as the WORST picture I have on this blog.  Oh my goodness I should just take it off.  You see, this bread gave me a little bit of trouble last week.  First time making this recipe of my grandmother's.  Instead of putting the bread in a large loaf pan, I poured it into two small loaf pans.  The batter was JUST about gone when the two pans were about full.  I knew I shouldn't pour any more batter into them, but it just didn't seem like I had enough to fill a third pan!!

Silly me.  They definitely over-flowed.  All over the oven racks and oven floor.  Luckily I noticed it before any real damage was done and put a baking sheet on the bottom rack to catch any remaining drippings.  Hence, the lack of this bread's beauty.  

BUT, it did not matter.  This is my new favorite bread.  Ever. It is SO good.  So incredibly moist and flavorful.  The orange juice and cranberries compliment each other so well! My family and hubby also raved about it.  Wow.  I want to make it again right now.  New. Favorite. Recipe.  Just make sure you don't over-fill the pans.  Yup.

Cranberry-Orange Bread
 recipe courtesy of my grandmother

2 cups flour
1 3/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup oil (I used vegetable)
1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tsp. grated orange peel

Preheat oven to 350.  Sift or finely mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.  Set aside.  In separate bowl, combine beaten egg, orange juice and oil.  Add to dry ingredients, stirring until moistened.  Stir in cranberries, walnuts and orange peel.  Bake in greased 9x5x3 pan for 50 minutes or until done.

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