Archive for December, 2012

New Year’s Eve, 2012




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I thought I would do a recap this year, and show you what recipes you looked at the most. I want to thank all of you for reading along and checking out the recipes!

10. Cinnamon Lover’s Scones
Cinnamon Lover's Scones

9. Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

8. Biscoff Truffles
Biscoff Truffles

7. Kolachi Cookies
Kolachi Cookies/ Bake, Run, Live

6. Coconut Filled Brownie Cookies
Coconut Filled Brownie Cookies/Bake, Run, Live

5. Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting
Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting/ Bake, Run, Live

4. Krave Puppy Chow
Krave Puppy Chow/Bake, Run, Live

3. Daring Bakers’ Banana, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Chip Bread
 Banana, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Chip Bread/ Bake, Run, Live

2. Brownie Filled Chocolate Chip Cookies
Brownie Filled Chocolate Chip Cookies/Bake, Run, Live

1. Purple Ombre Cake
Purple Ombre Cake/ Bake, Run, Live

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The December 2012 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by the talented Marcellina of Marcellina in Cucina. Marcellina challenged us to create our own custom Panettone, a traditional Italian holiday bread!

Chocolate and Orange Panettone

“Panettone is a type of sweet bread loaf originally from Milan (in Milanese it is called “paneton” Milanese dialect (pronunciation IPA: /paneˈtuŋ/)),[2] usually prepared and enjoyed for Christmas and New Year in Italy,southeastern FranceBrazilPeruMaltaGermany and Switzerland, and is one of the symbols of the city of Milan. In South America, especially in BrazilArgentinaUruguayVenezuelaColombiaPeru and Chile, it is a Christmas dinner staple and in some places replaces roscón de reyes/bolo rei (King cake).” (Source)

What a fun challenge to end the year! Despite my best intentions to complete the challenge earlier in the month, I procrastinated and just finished making my panettone a few days ago (though I made the candied orange peel a few weeks ago- that counts for something, right?!).    However, I’m going to say that it ended up being perfect timing, as I was able to share some of it with Nick’s parents on Christmas Eve, and wth my parents on Christmas morning.

If you have a baking to-do list like I do (it’s currently 107 items long!), and panettone is on that list, I highly recommend the recipe that Marcellina gave us to use. I used the panettone recipe and the recipe for candied orange peel. Both recipes are easy to follow, however, I will say that both recipes take time. This just means that you need to plan a little more when making them! Marcellina let us choose our own “add-ins” for the panettone, so I went with candied orange peel (yup, already mentioned that!) and 70% dark chocolate. If you visit Daring Bakers‘, you will see what the rest of the participants used to flavor their panettone!

For the recipes, please visit the Daring Bakers’ link, as Marcellina has some really great detailed information (and pictures). For the panettone papers, I found mine on Amazon, as my local cake/candy store doesn’t carry them.

Chocolate and Orange Panettone

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December 26th is National Candy Cane Day!

Ok, I’m deviating a little on the food item today. Instead of using candy canes, I am using Andes peppermint crunch baking chips. They look and taste like candy canes, so I’m going with it!

While the cookies are not a true shortbread cookie (there is an egg in this recipe), they still have a similar texture. They are also loaded with peppermint chips, which makes them very festive looking! If you can’t find the peppermint chips, you could always use the regular Andes mint chips. It’s a different mint, but still tasty! Oh, not a mint person? You could try adding chocolate covered toffee pieces…yum!

One year ago: Cinnamon Lover’s Scones

Peppermint Crunch Cookies
Adapted from Mr. Food

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1- 10 oz. bag Andes peppermint crunch baking chips
1 tablespoon sugar to sprinkle on cookies

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Add in the egg, vanilla bean paste, and salt. Stir in the flour until well combined (this will take a couple of minutes). Mix in the peppermint baking chips.

Using a medium-sized ice cream scoop, scoop out the dough and place the cookies onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Space the cookies about 2 inches apart and gently flatten with the palm of your hand. Sprinkle a little sugar on top of each cookie. Bake in a preheated oven for 14-15 minutes, or until the tops are set and the cookies are a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, move the cookies onto cooling racks and let cool completely. Enjoy!

Made with love, not calories!

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Merry Christmas, 2012

http://techjost.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Merry_Christmas_2012-Wallpapers-650x520.jpg (Source)

I wish all of you a wonderful holiday- filled with happiness and joy, and surrounded by loved ones.

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Christmas Eve, 2012


Cookies are ready for Santa’s arrival!

002 Cookies for Santa

Cookies pictured for Santa: World Peace Cookies, Red & Green Swirl Cookies, Nut Ball Cookies.

Nick will be checking NORAD (they have an app!!!) tonight, to keep me updated on Santa!

Does anyone else check on Santa’s flight?

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I mentioned recently that I was on the lookout for White Chocolate Peppermint M&M’s.

Well, I found them!

I have to admit that I am not a big fan of white chocolate. It’s ok, and I’ll eat it, but it isn’t my first choice.

That said, the M&M’s have a really nice flavor and I think it actually works well with the white chocolate.

Chocolate bark is a favorite holiday candy. It’s easy to make and can be made with a lot of flavor combinations. I thought that the peppermint M&M’s would be a nice addition to peppermint bark, by adding crunch, color, and of course, additional peppermint flavor!

007 Peppermint M&M Bark

Peppermint Bark

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon peppermint extract (do not use peppermint oil)
2 cups white chocolate chips
1 bag White Chocolate Peppermint M&M’s, chopped

Line a jelly-roll pan or sheet pan with silpat or wax paper. Set aside.

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips in 30 second intervals (stirring after each one), until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Stir in the peppermint extract. Evenly spread the chocolate onto the prepared pan. Refrigerate for 10 minutes, or until the chocolate has set.

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the white chocolate chips, using the same process as before. Once the chocolate is smooth, evenly spread this over the semi-sweet chocolate layer. Sprinkle on the chopped White Chocolate Peppermint M&M’s. Refrigerate for 10 minutes or until the chocolate is set. Break into pieces and enjoy!

008 Peppermint M&M Bark

Made with love, not calories!

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I’m not a big pie lover. I’ll eat it, but if given a choice between pie or cake, I’ll choose the cake.

I have one exception.

Toll House Pie. *Note: there are recipes out there that call this pie: Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie. Don’t be fooled- it might have a different name, but it is still a Toll House Pie!

If I need to make a pie for an occasion, this is what I make. Every time. I know the recipe by heart, and I always know that I have the ingredients on hand.

What is a Toll House Pie? It’s like eating a chocolate chip cookie, but in pie form. What’s even better? Serving it warm, when the chocolate chips are all melty- oh, and with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream! I made one of these for Thanksgiving (along with a few other desserts) and I had 3 pieces leftover. I ate a piece for breakfast for the next 3 days. So it might not have been the healthiest thing to eat for breakfast, but I started each day with a smile :)

006 Toll House Pie

Toll House Pie
Recipe from Very Best Baking

1- 9 inch unbaked pie crust (homemade or store-bought)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Set your pie dish on a jelly-roll pan (this will help in case the butter bubbles over…it shouldn’t, but it’s better to be safe!). In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together the sugars and flour. Add in the eggs and whisk to combine (the mixture will be thick). Pour in the melted butter and slowly whisk until all the butter has been incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips, then pour the batter over the pie crust. Bake in a preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean (well, it will have chocolate on it, but it shouldn’t have batter on it!) and the top is set. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes, then serve warm. Enjoy!

1. The original recipe also calls for 1 cup chopped nuts, but I leave them out.
2. You can make this pie ahead of time, and while it is delicious at room temperature, I would highly recommend heating it before serving (I do 10-12 seconds in the microwave for each slice). There is something special about this pie when the chocolate is warm!!!

001 Toll House Pie

005 Toll House Pie

I’m linked to Chocolate, Chocolate & More!, Addicted to Recipes, Buns In My Oven, Tidy Mom, The Frugal Girls, Crazy for Crust.

Made with love, not calories!

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December 17th is National Maple Syrup Day!

For all of the desserts that I have been making this month, I thought I would go a little healthier with this food holiday. I decided to make Maple Granola. Nick and I like eating granola with our yogurt, and while I like the brand that we buy (Bear Naked), I have always wanted to make my own. This is an easy recipe that you can customize to your own tastes. Use different nuts- or a combination, you could use extra-virgin olive oil (as the original recipe calls for), or you could use different dried fruit!

005 Maple Granola

Maple Granola
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

3 cups rolled oats (also called Old-Fashioned)
1 cup dried unsweetened coconut chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
1/3 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients except the dried cranberries and raisins. Mix until everything is well combined. Spread evenly onto the prepared pan. Bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. After 40 minutes, add in the cranberries and raisins and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Enjoy!

001 Maple Granola

007 Maple Granola

Made with love, not calories!

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Earlier this morning, I posted a recipe for World Peace Cookies. Not only did I enjoy eating them, but I shared them with 3 other bloggers.

005 World Peace Cookies/ Bake, Run, Live

I signed up to be a part of this years Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap! Lindsay from Love & Olive Oil, and Julie from The Little Kitchen, organized this wonderful event. And what an event it is! According to an earlier e-mail that the participants received, there are 575 people that signed up to be a part of the cookie swap! Each person was assigned 3 people and we had to send each of them 1 dozen cookies. While getting cookies in the mail is always a great thing, this event was more than just that. Each participant donated money to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, and at an earlier count, we raised over $2,300!!

The following are 3 lovely ladies that received a dozen World Peace Cookies from me. I also included a cute kitchen towel that said “Peace”.

Nicole from Life’s a Batch
Aimee from Shugary Sweets
Chung-Ah from Damn Delicious

Now- on to the cookies I received!!!

Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012

From Renee at Casa del Kuchen. Renee sent me a dozen Cranberry Orange Cookies!

026 Great Food Bloggers Cookie Swap 2012

From Adam and Joanne at Inspired Taste. Adam and Joanne made Double Chocolate Cookies!

005 Great Food Bloggers Cookie Swap

And from Amanda at The Fancy Lady Gourmet. Amanda made these beautiful Gingerbread Shortbread Cookies!

If you are interested in any of these recipes, please click on the blogger’s links. Everyone that participated is posting the cookie swap cookie recipe today!!

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