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Snowball Cookies: a Christmas favorite

December 18, 2009 Comments off

My mother began making these cookies when I was a pre-schooler.  Since then, I have noticed them labeled as Russian Tea Cakes, Mexican Wedding Cakes, Swedish Wedding Cookies–and these are only a few of the many monikers this popular cookies carries.

Regardless of the name, Snowball Cookies remain popular year after year, and adapt to the most casual or formal of settings.  Whether you are planning a Christmas Eve dessert bar for dozens or several tins of cookies for gifts, snowball cookies are sure to please.  This recipe will make about 30 cookies.

Snowball Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup butter
1/2 cup Powdered sugar
Pinch Salt
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped fine
1 tsp Vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups Flour
1/2 cup Powdered sugar, sifted

Method

Put butter and powdered sugar in a mixer with a paddle attachment, and cream together til smooth. Add a pinch of salt and vanilla extract; mix.

Slowly add the flour until the dough comes together. Fold in the chopped toasted pecans, mixing well. Let dough chill for 1/2 hour in fridge.

Roll the dough into small balls and place on a parchment lined or sprayed baking sheet. Bake at 350 F until cookies are golden brown-about 12 minutes. When done, remove from oven and let cool. After the cookies have cooled, roll them in sifted powdered sugar, completely covering each cookie.

Editor’s Note: We have been told that the original recipe for these cookies came from a 1960s publication of a Betty Crocker cookbook.

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Cranberry Lebkuchen

December 11, 2009 Comments off

This German cake has many variations, but I especially like using cranberries at Christmas.  The dessert can be left as a cake or cut into bars, which makes it easy to serve during the holidays.  Make up several batches and keep them in tins or give as gifts!

Cranberry Lebkuchen

Ingredients

1 1/3 cups honey
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons butter
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup blanched almonds
1 cup dried cranberries
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice

Icing Ingredients

1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter, softened

Method

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch square or round pan and line with waxed paper.  In a large saucepan over low heat, stir the honey and granulated sugar together. Add the butter and stir until melted. Remove saucepan from the heat.  Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add to the honey mixture. Stir in the almonds, cranberries, and spices, mixing well to combine. The mixture will be sticky.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan; level and smooth the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick or tester inserted in the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a rack.

Icing Method

If desired, decorate the top of the cake with almonds in a star pattern (this is optional). In a small bowl, mix together the confectioners sugar, lemon juice, and butter with a wooden spoon until blended and smooth. Ice the cake while it is still slightly warm.

This cake can be cut into bars, if preferred. If cutting into bars, use a square pan and you may want to cut the the cake before icing it, so icing will drizzle down sides of bars.

Store the cooled cake in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Roasted Pumpkin Soup

October 18, 2009 Comments off

This lovely recipe is from Spa Cucina, Del Mar, California

Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Soup

3 cups pumpkin, steamed and cubed
32 ounces vegetable or  chicken broth
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
Dashes of nutmeg, cinnamon, marjoram, basil

Peel pumpkin’s outer skin just like any hard squash, i.e., butternut; cut into chunks and steam until tender.  In a soup pot, sauté onions and garlic with oil until onions are clear. In a blender, puree all ingredients together EXCEPT  1 cup reserved squash and the yogurt. Return the puree to soup pot and gently whisk in yogurt and remaining pumpkin. Serve hot with crusty bread. Services 4-6.

*Note:  We love to add a dash of grated Ginger to our version of this recipe — for an added bite.*

http://www.spacucina.com

Ghoulish but Good Halloween Beverages

October 11, 2009 Comments off

Having a Halloween party?  There’s still time to round up the supplies to create some ghoulish-but-good adult beverages which will definitely set the mood!

Here is our favorite Halloween beverage.  Mix up a few  for your guests–it’s sure to be a hit.

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Brain Hemorrhage

1/2 – 3/4 oz. Peach Schnapps
Float 1-2 Tbl. of Baileys on top
Drop 1 tsp of grenadine through the Baileys.

The drink looks horrific, but it tastes wonderful!

For some ghastly but good recipes, check out this list at Drinknation:

http://www.drinknation.com/theme/Halloween

 

 

Photo:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kb-a/56178949/