Monday, December 31, 2012

Gruyère Fondue with Caramelized Shallots


Gruyère Fondue with Caramelized Shallots

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/4 cups thinly sliced shallots (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (or more) dry white wine

  • 14 ounces grated Gruy(re cheese (about 3 1/2 cups packed)
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • Generous pinch of ground nutmeg

  • 1 sourdough baguette, cut into 1-inch cubes

Melt butter in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add thinly sliced shallots and sauté 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low; sprinkle shallots with sugar, salt and pepper. Sauté until shallots are caramelized, about 15 minutes. Transfer shallots to small bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups wine to skillet; boil 1 minute.
Pour wine into heavy medium saucepan; set over medium-low heat. Toss cheese with flour in medium bowl to coat. Add half of caramelized shallots to wine; add cheese mixture by handfuls, stirring until cheese melts and is smooth before adding more. Thin with more wine if mixture is too thick. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Transfer cheese mixture to fondue pot. Set pot over candle or canned heat burner. Top fondue with remaining caramelized shallots. Serve with bread cubes.

Christmas Cranberry Sangria

Christmas Cranberry Sangria

 For the Sangria:
1 Large Orange, Sliced
1 Large Apple, Chopped
1 Large Pear, Chopped
12oz Bag of Fresh Cranberries
2 Cinnamon Sticks
2 Vanilla Beans
1 ½C Bottles of Red Wine
2C of Sparkling Cranberry Soda
½C Brandy
½C Sugar
1T Vanilla

1. Add orange slices, apples, pears, cinnamon sticks and cranberries to the bottom of a big pitcher. Pour wine, cranberry soda, brandy, sugar and vanilla extract over top. Scrape vanilla beans out of their pods and add to the mix. Then throw the entire empty vanilla beans in. Mix with a giant spoon to really combine everything.
2. Place in the fridge for about 1 hour before serving. Taste to determine if you’d like more sugar, and if so – add it! Spoon some of the fruit into glasses before pouring, then add ice and sangria on top.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Hot Sausage Sandwich

Hot Sausage Sandwich

Italian sausage
French Bread
Pizza Sauce
Monterey Jack Cheese

Form the sausage into patties, cook through. Remove from pan and let some of the oil drain out. Cut a loaf on French bread length-wise in half. Spread bread with pizza sauce. Place slices of cheese on the bread. Next place the sausage patties. Top with cheese. Cut the sandwiches in between the sausage patties. Wrap individual sandwiches in foil. Bake in low temperature oven (250) until hot. Serve with your favorite soup or salad.

Lobster Bisque

Lobster Bisque 
Makes 6-7 cups; can easily be doubled

2 lobster tails (10 oz. each), split in half
4 cups water
1 Tablespoon sea or kosher salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups dry white wine
3 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup unsalted butter plus 1 Tablespoon
1 cup fennel, chopped
1/2 cup shallot, chopped
1 cup fresh tomato, peeled, seeded, diced
2 Tablespoons brandy
2 Tablespoons raw white rice
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 bay leaf
1 thyme sprig
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

You will need 2 lobster tails (about 10 oz. each). It's alright to use frozen tails if fresh are not available. Make sure they are completely thawed out. Split the tails in half with a sharp knife starting at the fan and slice the knife down and through the meat.
Devein the split tail. Look for the vein along the edge of the shell, between the shell and the meat.

Steam the lobster tails, shell-side down (the shell protects the meat from the intense heat of the steam) in 4 cups salted (sea or kosher) water. Using a regular steaming basket works perfectly. The salted water imparts a minimal but not insignificant taste to the bisque; you will use this water later as a base. Steam the tails for 5-7 minutes and reserve the steaming water for the stock.

When cool enough to handle, remove the tail meat with a fork to pull out the steamed tail meat in one piece. Chill the lobster meat until ready to use.

Sauté lobster shells in 2 Tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat for five minutes to release the flavors.

Deglaze the pan (with shells present and scraping bits at the bottom) with 2 cups dry white wine (Chardonnay works well), 3 cups chicken stock and reserved lobster water from the steaming of the tails. Simmer until reduced to 6 cups; about 45 minutes. Then strain the shells from the stock.
While the stock is simmering prepare the rest of the ingredients. You will need a cup of diced tomatoes, peeled and seeded. The easiest way to peel tomatoes is to place them in boiling water for about 45 seconds. The skin will instantly pull away. Cut the tomato in half and scoop out the seeds and dice.

Sauté fennel and shallot in 1/4 cup unsalted butter, about 5 minutes.

Stir in strained lobster stock, diced tomato, brandy, raw white rice, tomato paste, paprika, cayenne, bay leaf and thyme sprig; simmer 45 minutes. Remove bay leaf and thyme sprig.
You do not need an immersion blender to make this...a regular blender works fine and is what I always use to puree the final liquid. I wanted to try using my immersion blender which worked fine but left the final liquid a little thicker. The blender version is a bit smoother.

Let's talk safety and pureeing hot liquids -- Pureeing hot liquids can be dangerous because steam causes pressure to build inside the blender. It's crucial to puree in batches and work from a low to a higher speed.

When using the blender, I puree in two batches and return the bisque to the pot.

Stir in heavy cream and fresh lemon juice to finish off the bisque.

When you are ready to serve the bisque, sauté the lobster meat in 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter over medium-high heat, just until warmed through. Slice tails into the size of your choosing for serving and arrange in bisque. Serve immediately.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Crème Brûlée French Toasts

Crème Brûlée French Toasts
Makes 6 servings

1 loaf unsliced white bread, brioche or rich bread of your choice
1 1/3 cups whole milk
2/3 cup heavy cream
4 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier or another orange liqueur or 1/4 teaspoon orange zest
1 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2/3 cup granulated sugar

Cut bread into 1 1/2-inch thick, generous slices; a 9-inch loaf should yield 6 slices. Whisk together milk, cream, eggs, sugar, salt, liqueur, and vanilla extract, if using. If using a vanilla bean, halve it lengthwise and scrape the pulp into a small dish. Whisk vanilla bean with one tablespoon of custard, then whisk in another and a third tablespoon, then pour the vanilla bean-custard mixture back into the main batter. This avoids having vanilla bean clumps that don’t disperse in your batter. Don’t you hate that?

Preheat oven to 325. Arrange bread slices on the smallest rimmed tray that will fit them in one layer (encourages maximum absorption) pour custard over slices. Allow them to absorb the custard for 30 minutes, turning the slices over at one point to ensure they’re soaking it up evenly. [Do ahead: You can also soak them overnight in the fridge. No need to flip them if so.]
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer custard-soaked slices to prepared sheet, arranging them with a smidge of space between each to avoid making one French mega-toast. Flipping them halfway through if you wish, bake French toast slices for 30 to 35 minutes, until a slim knife inserted into the center of a slice and twisted ever-so-slightly does not release any wet custard. Keep warm until ready to serve.

To caramelize the tops: Either leave toasts on their baking sheet, or transfer to a serving platter. Have ready a small offset spatula and a potholder or trivet to rest your caramel pot on.
Melt remaining 2/3 cup sugar in a small, heavy, completely dry saucepan over moderate heat, stirring with a small spoon or fork until fully melted and the color of honey. Move it over to the potholder or trivet you’d set up and working quickly, spoon one generous tablespoon caramel over your first slice of toast, spread it thinly and evenly with your offset spatula and repeat with the remaining toasts. Because your caramel will continue to deepen slightly in color (veering towards almost-too-toasty) as you work, it’s best to work quickly but carefully. Let no fingers or forearms be harmed in the melted sugar’s path and should a single drop land on the counter or on your towel or on the rim of the plate, do not swipe it. Just leave it until it cools.
[Hot water will melt all hardened caramel and make your clean up job easy. Simply soak your pot/spoon/spatula and all will melt off.]
Serve with fresh berries and if you’re feeling extra fancy, loosely whipped cream. We don’t find that it needs any maple syrup.

Alternative top-caramelizing method: A really obvious question here would be “But would the broiler work?” The method would be to sprinkle each toast with 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar and let the broiler do the torching for you. However, my broiler doesn’t work. Never has, so I cannot test this. But, if it’s anything like my attempt (explained in the post) to use a blowtorch, I’m not feeling overly confident about it because the unevenness of the toasts leads to edges singeing before the sugar fully melts. But if you try this method, please report back in the comments as to how it went. I’m sure plenty of folks would prefer to avoid melting sugar.

Taco Pie


Real Taco Pie

Do you have leftover potatoes and no taco shells or tortillas? Then this is your recipe! I always have leftover mashed potatoes and now I know a way to use them! I love this because it is so simple, different, but tastes absolutely delicious!

1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup milk
1 package taco seasoning mix
2 1/2 cups mashed potato flakes (you could also use left over mashed potatoes and omit the butter and milk)
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup salsa
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Sour cream, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sauce pan, melt butter. Add milk and 2 tablespoon taco seasoning. Remove from heat and add potato flakes until incorporated. Press mixture into the bottom of a 10-inch pan.
2. Bake for 7-10 minutes until it just BARELY turns golden brown.
3. In a medium skillet, cook beef and onions until beef is browned and cooked through. Drain. Add Salsa and remaining taco seasoning. Cook until bubbly.
4. Pour into crust. Bake for 15 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.
5. Let cool for 5 minutes. Top with cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes. Cut and serve with sour cream.

Saturday, December 22, 2012



Compliments of John Priest
You need a 10 1/2 x 15 1/2 jelly roll pan ( cookie sheet with edges) greases--
6 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup dark Karo syrup
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 stick of Butter
2 cups of walnuts
2 cups of Angel Flake Coconut

Mix brown sugar, milk and syrup bring to rolling boil until it makes a semi hard ball when dropped in cold water, approx.25 min
Remove from heat, add butter and vanilla. Let cool approx.14-15 min. Then beat until creamy. Add coconut and nuts - mix all together and pour into pan.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Old Bay Bloody Marys

Makes 2 drinks

For the drink:
4 oz. vodka
16 oz. tomato juice
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Juice of one lemon
2 tbsp. olive juice
2 tbsp. horseradish
1 tsp. hot sauce
Freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. Old Bay, plus extra for the rim

For the garnish:
2 stalks of celery
A few olives
Two lemon slices

What to do:

Combine all the ingredients—minus the vodka—in a pitcher. Taste and adjust seasoning to preference.

Run a lemon along the rims of each glass. Then dip each rim in a dish filled with Old Bay seasoning.

Fill glasses with ice, pour 2 oz of vodka in each, and finish with the Bloody Mary mix. Garnish with lemon slice, olives and celery.

Cranberry Ginger Fizz Cocktail

Cranberry Ginger Fizz Cocktail
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
4 cocktails
A gorgeous cocktail for the holidays and beyond!

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 1/2 orange, cut into slices
  • 1 1/2 cups dry gin - Bombay Sapphire, Beefeater or Tangueray suggested
  • 1 cup chilled Ginger Ale
  • 4 mint springs
  1. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a medium saucepan, stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; pour off all but one cup of syrup, reserving any extra for another use.
  2. Heat the syrup to a boil and then reduce heat to medium. Add the cranberries and simmer for 2-3 minutes until they just begin to burst. Remove from heat and let cool in syrup.
  3. Place 2 Tablespoons drained cranberries and 6 Tablespoons cranberry syrup in a large pitcher; add the lemon wedges and orange slices.
  4. Using a muddler or wooden spoon, vigorously mash the fruit.
  5. Stir in gin and let steep for at least 5 minutes.
  6. Strain into a medium pitcher.
  7. Fill 4 glasses with crushed ice and 1/4 cup ginger ale.
  8. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and then pour half the cranberry mixture into the shaker and shake vigorously for 10 seconds, strain liquid into two glasses. Repeat.
  9. Mound additional ice on top of each glass and garnish with 3 candied cranberries and a mint sprig

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Spiced Eggnog Bundt Cake


Spiced Eggnog Bundt Cake

For the Cake
1 cup of butter, softened
3 cups of sugar
6 large eggs
3 cups of sifted cake flour
3/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of eggnog
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 tablespoon of dark rum or brandy (optional)
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon 
3/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of ground allspice 
1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
1 cup of sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon of heavy cream or whipping cream
(I made a little extra glaze to drizzle on when serving)
Grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan. It is important to use the larger pan or you will have issues with the cake falling (trust me on this one. I speak from experience!)  If you have a large angle food cake pan that would probably work too.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed for about 2 minutes or until creamy.
Gradually add sugar, beating 5-7 minutes.
Add eggs, one at a time mixing just until yoke is incorporated.
In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.
Add to butter and sugar mixture alternating with eggnog starting and ending with flour mixture. 
Stir on low speed just until blended after each addition.
Stir in vanilla and if desired, rum.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan.

Stir the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves in the remaining batter.
Spoon spiced batter over plain batter and swirl together using a knife.

Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool in pan for 15 minutes on a wire rack.
Remove from pan and cool on rack.

Combine sifted powdered sugar and heavy cream.

Transfer cooled cake to a plate and pour glaze over it.

If you are like me, you will be too impatient to wait for the cake to cool completely.  If you find yourself in this predicament, you can pour the glaze over the cake while it is still warm and using a spatula, spread it over the entire cake.  After it hardens, you can use any remaining glaze to drizzle over cake when serving.

Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits.

Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits.
(This IS the recipe)

1 pack buttermilk biscuit mix (I used Bisquick, about 1 1/2cups)
1 1/2cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp oregano (you can omit or use less)
3/4 tsp garlic salt
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Spray cooking sheet with non-stick spray.
2. Put biscuit mix, cheese and milk in a bowl and mix well to form a sticky dough.
3. Using spoon, drop lumps of dough onto cookie sheets 1.5in apart. Bake for 10min.
4. In a bowl, melt butter and mix with oregano and garlic salt.
5. When the timer goes off, take them out and brush with butter mixture and bake 5min at 400F and another 5-6min at 350F.
6. Transfer into a plate and serves immediately.

Maple Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

Maple Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
Makes 8

3/4 cup (191 grams) brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
3/4 cup chopped pecans
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter, melted

3 cups (381 grams) all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons (38 grams) sugar
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (250 ml) buttermilk
6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup (83 ml) maple syrup
2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons (45 ml) maple syrup
1 to 2 teaspoons (5 to 10 ml) milk
1 cup (125 grams) confectioners’ sugar

To make the filling: Combine all of the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add the melted butter and stir with a fork until the mixture looks like wet sand. Set aside.

To make the dough: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees (220 C). Brush a 9-inch cake pan with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the buttermilk, syrup, and 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, and stir until just combined. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead until smooth (it will still be very soft and a little sticky, but will be smoother and less lumpy). Place in a lightly floured bowl, cover, and chill for 20 minutes.

Once chilled, flatten the dough into a rectangle about 12 X 8 inches. Pour 2 tablespoons of the melted butter on and spread around with your fingers. Pour the filling over the dough and spread it evenly over the top, leaving about a 1/2 inch or so border around the outside edge. Press the filling down to pack it on top of the dough.

Starting on the long side of the dough, roll the side up, pressing as you go, to create a tightly rolled log (be gentle, as this will likely stick to the counter a bit). Pinch the seam closed and lay the log seam side down. Cut into 8 even pieces, and transfer each roll to the prepared cake pan. Brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Bake for 20 to 23minutes, until golden brown.

To make the icing: In a medium bowl, cream the butter and add the sugar. Mix until the sugar and butter start to come together a bit. Add the syrup and whisk well, until the mixture is smooth. If it is too thick, add a teaspoon or so of milk to loosen it up.

Allow the cinnamon rolls to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. Pour the icing over the rolls. Serve warm.

These will keep in an airtight container for about 3 days.

English Toffee


English Toffee

2 cubes butter (must be AA grade. Lesser grades of butter have water in them and the
                        candy will separate.)
1 cup sugar
5 T. water
1 t. vanilla
Chocolate – use good quality, your favorite
Nuts – any kind you wish.
Put the butter, sugar and water in a frying pan and turn the heat up high. Don’t turn it down. Stir the whole time. It takes about 10 – 15 minutes to make. Cook it until the color turns caramel. You can see little puffs of smoke coming from the caramel-colored bubbles. Take it off the heat and add the vanilla.
Pour the candy over the sliced almonds or chopped walnuts. I have a marble slab that I pour the candy on, but you can use a cookie sheet set on a bread board. The candy gets so hot, I wouldn’t put the cookie sheet directly on Formica. It might burn through. If you want the candy covered with chocolate, sprinkle pieces on top while it’s hot and let it melt. Spread it out.
Cool, break it into pieces and enjoy. Plan on making several batches. My kids can eat it faster than I can make it.
Pouring Toffee onto nuts.

After the toffee cools, break it into pieces.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mom's Fluffy Peanut Brittle

 Mom's Fluffy Peanut Brittle

2 cups sugar
1 cup corn syrup

Cook until mixture appears syrup-like. Add 1 pound raw peanuts. Cook, stirring constantly until mixture reaches hard crack stage (300 degrees). Remove from stove and add 1 Tbl. baking soda. Beat with wooden spoon until baking soda is combined. Pour mixture out onto a greased cookie sheet. When cold, break brittle into bite size pieces.

Beer Bread

Beer Bread
3 cups flour (sifted)
3 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoonsalt
1/4 cup sugar
1 (12 oz) can beer
1/2 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix dry ingredients and beer. Pour into greased loaf pan. Pour melted butter over mixture. Bake 1 hour, cool slighty and remove from pan. Cool at least 15 minutes before slicing.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Grandma's Gingersnap Cookies

Grandma's Gingersnap Cookies

Original recipe makes 5 dozen 

  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup dark molasses
  • 1/3 cup cinnamon sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Sift the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a mixing bowl. Stir the mixture to blend evenly, and sift a second time into another bowl.
  3. Place the shortening into a mixing bowl and beat until creamy. Gradually beat in the white sugar. Beat in the egg, and dark molasses. Sift 1/3 of the flour mixture into the shortening mixture; stir to thoroughly blend. Sift in the remaining flour mixture, and mix together until a soft dough forms. Pinch off small amounts of dough and roll into 1 inch diameter balls between your hands. Roll each ball in cinnamon sugar, and place 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until the tops are rounded and slightly cracked, about 10 minutes. Cool cookies on a wire rack. Store in an air tight container.


2 sticks butter
2 c. peanut butter
1 box powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 slab paraffin wax
1 bag (12 oz.) chocolate chips
Melt butter on low flame. Add peanut butter and vanilla. Stir in powdered sugar. Take out of pan and set aside for 30 minutes. While cooling, make chocolate mix. Make balls of dough. With a toothpick dip balls in chocolate mixture. Set on wax paper.

Saturday, December 15, 2012





  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 1 cup to 2 cups chopped dried fruit, chocolate or other flavored chips, nuts, or a combination, optional
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or the flavoring of your choice
  • 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup half and half or milk


  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons sparkling white sugar or cinnamon sugar, optional

Tips from our bakers

  • For a less traditional, slightly sweeter scone, increase the sugar in the dough to 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces).
  • Scones are best served warm. They're delicious as is, but add butter and/or jam, if you like. To reheat room-temperature scones, place on a baking sheet, tent lightly with foil, and warm in a preheated 350°F oven for about 10 minutes.
  • Why freeze the scones before baking? Because 30 minutes in the freezer relaxes the gluten in the flour, which makes the scones more tender and allows them to rise higher. It also chills the fat, which will make the scones a bit flakier.
  • To make free-form rather than wedge-shaped scones, increase the half and half or milk to 3/4 cup. Using a large ice cream scoop or spoon, dollop the scone dough in 1/3-cupfuls onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the scones in a preheated 375°F oven for about 30 minutes.
  • These simple scones are a wonderful blank canvas, awaiting your palette of chips, nuts, or fruit. Some of our favorite combinations are butterscotch chips and pecans; chocolate chips and dried cherries; and diced crystallized ginger and diced dried peaches.
  • Flour is like a sponge; it absorbs liquid during humid weather, and dries out in dry weather. In summer or when it's hot and humid, use the lesser amount of milk or half and half in this recipe; during winter, or when it's very dry, use the greater amount. Either way, start with the smaller amount, and drizzle it in till the dough is the correct consistency.


1) In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
2) Work in the butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly; it's OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated.
3) Stir in the fruit, chips, and/or nuts, if you're using them.
4) In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla or other flavor, and half and half or milk.
5) Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together.
6) Line a baking sheet with parchment; if you don't have parchment, just use it without greasing it. Sprinkle a bit of flour atop the parchment or pan.
7) Scrape the dough onto the floured parchment or pan, and divide it in half. Round each half into a 5" circle (if you haven't incorporated any add-ins); or a 6" circle (if you've added fruit, nuts, etc.). The circles should be about 3/4" thick.
8) Brush each circle with milk, and sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar or cinnamon sugar, if desired.
9) Using a knife or bench knife that you've run under cold water, slice each circle into 6 wedges.
10) Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit; there should be about 1/2" space between them, at their outer edges.
11) For best texture and highest rise, place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F.
12) Bake the scones for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they're golden brown. When you pull one away from the others, it should look baked all the say through; the edge shouldn't look wet or unbaked.
13) Remove the scones from the oven, and cool briefly on the pan. Serve warm. When they're completely cool, wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to several days.

Slow Cooker French Onion Soup

Slow Cooker French Onion Soup
A super easy way to make french onion soup that tastes like you slaved over the stove for hours!

 I love french onion soup, but it takes too much time to caramelize the onions for me to make it on a week night. That was the case until I tried making it in the slow cooker. The onions caramelize perfectly while I am at work and when I get home I just have to heat the broth and melt cheese on the bread. I think this is the only way I will make French Onion Soup from now on!
3 large onions(or 6-8 small)
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups beef broth
1/2 cup red wine
4 slices French bread, 1 inch thick
4 oz Gruyere cheese

Slice onions as thin as you can. The thinner they are, the softer they will get as they caramelize all day.
Place onions, olive oil, sugar, and pepper in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours until nice and caramelized.

Add broth and wine. Cover, turn to high, and cook for 30 minutes until heated through.
Before serving, cut French bread or baguette into slices. Fill oven safe soup bowls to the top, then cover with slice of bread and a slice of cheese. Set under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Be careful when serving as bowls will be hot!

Bourbon Pecan Cake

Bourbon Pecan Cake
 2 c. candied cherries or dried tart cherries(I use combo or dried cranberries and dried sweet or tart cherries)
2 c. golden seedless raisins
2 c. bourbon(I use part flavored bourbon like cherry or honey)
2 c. softened butter
2 c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 c. granulated sugar
8 eggs, separated
4 c. pecan halves
5 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. nutmeg
Combine cherries, raisins and bourbon in a large bowl; cover tightly and let stand in refrigerator overnight. Drain fruit and reserve the bourbon. Place butter in a large bowl and beat with electric mixer at medium speed until butter is light and fluffy. Add sugar; add egg yolks gradually, mixing as you add until well blended.Combine 1/2 cup flour with pecans; sift remaining flour with baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Add 2 cups flour to cream mixture and mix well. Add the reserved bourbon and remainder of flour alternately. Beat well after each addition. Beat egg whites until stiff, fold gently into batter. Add drained fruit and pecans.

Grease two 10-inch tube pans or loaf pans and line bottom with waxed paper. Pour batter into pans, place in a preheated 275 degree oven. Bake 2 to 4 hours if using tube pan, or 1 1/2 hours if using loaf pan. Remove from oven and cool in pans. Remove from pans after cakes have cooled completely and wrap in a cheesecloth saturated in bourbon. Wrap again in foil or plastic wrap and store in tightly covered tins in refrigerator. Best if made a month ahead of time.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd
  • 3 lemons
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • pinch salt
  1. Peel the lemons with a vegetable peeler. Add the zest to the bowl of the food processor. Pulse until the sugar is very finely minced. The oils will come out and flavor the sugar. Add the butter to the food processor. Add the butter and cream until it comes together. Add the eggs one at a time, with the machine running. Add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until the mixture is pale yellow.
  2. Add the mixture to a saucepan. Cook over low heat until it thickens. You need to stir the whole time, it takes about 10 minutes. You will know that it is ready when you dip a wooden spoon into the lemon curd, drag your finger across, and if the line stays, it is thick enough.

Dulce De Leche-Chocolate Bars

Dulce De Leche-Chocolate Bars

Yield: 48 bars
Prep   50 mins Bake  350°F   12 mins  to  18 mins Start to Finish  3 hrs 10 mins


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 14 ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
  • Pinch salt
  • 10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4 ounces white chocolate, melted
  • Red and green food coloring
  • Red and green mini M&M candies
  • Red and green fruit leather


Make crust:: 1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F; place rack in center. Line a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with parchment paper, allowing paper to extend on two sides.
2. In a mixer bowl, beat together butter and confectioners' sugar on medium speed until light, about 2 minutes. Beat in extract, then flour and salt until combined well. Press along bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of prepared pan. Bake until just golden brown around edges, 12 to 18 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Make filling:: 3. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, milk and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened and a deep caramel color, about 15 minutes. Pour over crust and spread evenly; refrigerate until completely cool, about 1 hour.
4. Melt semisweet chocolate; let cool slightly. Using a spatula, evenly spread over filling (for swirled top, see below). Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour. Using a knife, score chocolate layer into 1-12-inch squares.
For swirled top:: 5. Divide white chocolate into three parts. Tint one part red and one part green. Leave remaining part white. Dollop red, green and white chocolates over semisweet layer. Using a toothpick, gently swirl together colors.
For decoration:: 6. Using white chocolate, adhere candies to squares, making holly or wreaths. Using a small, clean paintbrush, make a snowman out of white chocolate; decorate with candy.
7. Let stand until set, about 20 minutes.
8. Run a sharp knife under hot water; dry. Following score marks, cut into squares. Wipe knife after each cut (run under hot water and dry as needed). (Can be made ahead. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 1 week.)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Dutch Letters Recipe

Dutch Letters Recipe 


  • 1 can (8 ounces) almond paste
  • 1 cup Imperial Sugar® / Dixie Crystals® Granulated Sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • DOUGH:
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups cold butter
  • 1 cup ice water
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 teaspoons water


  • In a large bowl, beat the almond paste, sugar, egg and extract until smooth. Divide into four portions. On lightly floured waxed paper, roll each portion into a 12-in. x 1/2-in. rope; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour and salt; cut in butter until crumbly. Gradually add water, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball. Divide into four portions.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion into a 14-in. x 6-in. rectangle. Place one almond paste rope in the center of each rectangle. Moisten long edges of dough; fold over filling. Press seam to seal; tuck in ends.
  • Transfer seam side down to greased baking sheets; form each into an S-shape. Whisk egg white and water; brush over dough. Using a fork, prick tops at 1-in. intervals to vent.
  • Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks. To serve, cut into 2-in. pieces. Yield: 28 pastries.
  • These "S"-shaped super flaky butter pastries filled with almond paste and topped with crunchy sugar are popular in both Iowa and Holland during the Christmas season. Here's a recipe that will let you make and enjoy them all year round. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Chocolate-Mint Evergreen Cookies

Chocolate-Mint Evergreen Cookies

  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon mint extract
  • 5 drops green food coloring
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Colored sugar, nonpareils, sprinkles and dragées, for decorating
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees . In a double boiler, melt the chocolate.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar at high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Mix in the egg, vanilla and salt at medium speed. Mix in the flour, in 2 additions, at low speed, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Transfer two-thirds of the dough to a bowl.
  3. With the mixer on, mix the mint extract and food coloring into the remaining dough.
  4. Transfer the mint dough to a 2-inch cookie press fitted with a tree-shaped disk. Press out onto a cookie sheet, using 1 click of the press; refrigerate. Wipe out the mixer bowl and cookie press.
  5. Using the mixer, mix the melted chocolate into the reserved dough at low speed until almost incorporated. Add the cocoa and mix at low speed until blended. Transfer the chocolate dough to the cookie press fitted with a ribbon disk and press onto 2 baking sheets, using 2 clicks of the press, to form ovals. 6. Using a small spatula, transfer the chilled tree shapes onto the chocolate ovals. Top with the colored sugar and candies and bake until set, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to racks to cool completely.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New Orleans Gumbo


New Orleans Gumbo


  • 1 cup oil or lard
  • 2 cups cut up chicken breast
  • 1 1/2 lbs. andouille sausage, ham or chorizo
  • 4 cups chopped onions
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 2 cups chopped green pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups chopped green onions
  • Cooked rice
  • Joe’s Stuff (cajun seasoning)


  • 1
    Season and brown chicken in oil over medium heat until cooked through. Add sausage to pot and saute with chicken. Remove both from pot.
  • 2
    Max a roux* with equal parts of oil (must be free of food particles to avoid burning so clean the pot well) and flour to desired color. Add onions, celery and green pepper. Add garlic to mixture and stir continuously. After vegetables reach desired tenderness, return chicken and sausage to pot and cook with vegetables, stirring frequently. Gradually stir in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for an hour or more. Season to taste with Joe’s Stuff seasoning or other cajun seasoning.
  • 3
    Approx. 10 minutes before serving, add green onions. Serve over rice or plain, accompanied by french bread.
  • 4
    *Roux: The lighter the color the thicker the end result. I try to make this roux a medium brown color-not too light, not too dark.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower Recipe

Roasted Cauliflower Recipe


  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely minced
  • Lemon juice from half a lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese


1 Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut cauliflower into florets and put in a single layer in an oven-proof baking dish. Toss in the garlic. Sprinkle lemon juice over cauliflower and drizzle each piece with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. If the oven hasn't reached 400°F yet, set aside until it has.
2 Place casserole in the hot oven, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is lightly brown. Test with a fork for desired doneness. Fork tines should be able to easily pierce the cauliflower. Remove from oven and sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
Yield: Serves 4.

Holiday Meatballs

Holiday Meatballs
2 # lean ground meat (turkey or beef)
1 C. corn flake crumbs
1/3 C. dry parsley
2 eggs
2 T. soy sauce
1/4 t. pepper
1 t. garlic salt
1/3 c. ketchup
2 T. minced dry onion

Mix these ingredients together thoroughly. Shape into balls and bake on cookie sheet. Bake uncovered 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.

1- 1# can cranberry sauce (smooth or chunky)
1- 12 oz. bottle of chili or cocktail sauce
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. lemon juice

Mix in a saucepan, heat and stir until smooth. Place meatballs in a warming server or electric skillet, pour sauce over the meatballs and let simmer.Meatballs can be prepared ahead and frozen.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fresh Cranberry Jello Salad

Fresh Cranberry Jello Salad


- 1 package fresh cranberries, washed and sorted
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 cups orange jello
- 2 cans mandarian oranges, drained and cut into small pieces
- 1 cup chooped nuts
- 1 can crushed pineapple, undrained


1. Grind Cranberried in food processor/grinder, stir in the sugar to blend. Set aside.

2. Dissolve jello in boiling water, cool until mixture begins to thicken.

3. Add cranberry mixture. Add oranges, nuts and pineapple. Stir well, pour into lightly oiled 8 cup mold.  Chill overnight. Unmold.

Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Cranberry Sauce Recipe

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups (1 12-oz package) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • Optional Pecans, orange zest, raisins, currants, blueberries, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice.


1 Wash and pick over cranberries. In a saucepan bring to a boil water and sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add cranberries, return to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 10 minutes or until cranberries burst.
2 At this point you can add all number of optional ingredients. We typically mix in a half a cup of roughly chopped pecans with or without a few strips of orange zest. You can add a cup of raisins or currants. You can add up to a pint of fresh or frozen blueberries for added sweetness. Spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice can be added too.
3 Remove from heat. Cool completely at room temperature and then chill in refrigerator. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.
Cranberry sauce base makes 2 1/4 cups.

Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie

Beat together:
3 eggs
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/3 c. butter (melted)
1 cup dark corn syrup.

Mix well. Gently fold in 1 cup pecans. Pour into pastry shell.  Bake until set and pastry is golden brown.  Bake at 375 for approximately 40-50 minutes. *You may want to cover the top of the pie with foil to prevent excessive browning of the pecans. Cool. Serve warm or cold.

No Fail Pie Crust

No Fail Pie Crust

3 c. Flour
1 1/2 t. salt
Mix and cut in 1 1/4 cups of shortening (I use Crisco butter sticks)

Beat-then stir into flour:
1 egg
1 T. vinegar
5 T. cold water

Roll out onto floured board, adding flour frequently to prevent sticking. Carefully place in pie tin and flute. (The less you manipulate the crust, the flakier it will be.)

Make two double crusts.

Chocolate Cheese Pie

Chocolate Cheese Pie

1 package of cream cheese softened (8 ounce)
1 package of cream cheese softened (3 ounces)
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. Hershey's Cocoa
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. chilled whipping cream
8 inch packaged crumb crust (I use chocolate)
Cherry Pie filling (to drizzle over the top when serving

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and sugar: beat well. Blend in cocoa, scraping the sides of bowl and beaters. Add eggs and vanilla, blend well. Pour in whipping cream. Mix well. Pour into crust. Bake 40-50 minutes.  Cool at room temperature. Cover and chill several hours or overnight. Garnish with pie filling.  Enjoy...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cranberry Turkey Brine

Cranberry Turkey Brine

 Prep Time: 13 minutes 


  • 2 quarts cranberry juice
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 cup salt (1 1/2 cups Kosher or coarse salt)
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 12 cloves garlic, unpeeled and lightly smashed
  • 4 springs fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 6-8 bay leaves


Combine ingredients and place in a large pot. Add turkey to pot, making sure that brine covers turkey. If not, add more water to mixture. Brine for 1 hour per pound. Thoroughly rinse all the brine from the turkey, inside and out, before cooking. Otherwise there will be a salty flavor to the turkey.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Slow Cooker French Onion Soup

Slow Cooker French Onion Soup
3 large onions(or 6-8 small)
3tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups beef broth
1/2 cup red wine
4 slices French bread, 1 inch thick
4 oz Gruyere cheese
Slice onions as thin as you can. The thinner they are, the softer they will get as they caramelize all day.
Place onions, olive oil, sugar, and pepper in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours until nice and caramelized.
Add broth and wine. Cover, turn to high, and cook for 30 minutes until heated through.
Before serving, cut French bread or baguette into slices. Fill oven safe soup bowls to the top, then cover with slice of bread and a slice of cheese. Set under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Be careful when serving as bowls will be hot!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Slow Cooker, Apple Cinnamon Steel-Cut Oatmeal

Slow Cooker, Apple Cinnamon Steel-Cut Oatmeal             Servings: 7 (3/4-cup) servings
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2-1/2 to 3 cups chopped)
  • 1-1/2 cups fat-free milk (or substitute non-diary alternative like almond milk)
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (or substitute maple syrup or other desired sweetener)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into 5-6 pieces (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Optional garnishes: chopped nuts, raisins, maple syrup, additional milk or butter
Coat inside of 3-1/2 quart (or larger) slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all ingredients (except optional toppings) to slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on low for approx. 7 hours (slow cooker times can vary). Spoon oatmeal into bowls; add optional toppings, if desired. Store leftovers in refrigerator. Freezes well.

To reheat single servings: Put 1-cup cooked oatmeal in microwave proof bowl. Add 1/3 cup fat-free milk. Microwave on high for 1 minute; stir. Continue cooking for another minute, or until hot.

Recipe can be doubled in 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Increase cooking time 1 hour.

Old-Fashioned Soft Pumpkin Cookies

Old-Fashioned Soft Pumpkin Cookies
I found the recipe years ago at

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick) softened
1 cup 100% pumpkin (you can find cans of this in the pie-filling section of the grocery store)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
Glaze (see below)
Optional: 1/2 cup chocolate chips or nuts.
Preheat oven to 350. Grease baking sheets.
Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and set aside. Beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Drizzle glaze over cookies.
For Glaze:
Combine 2 cups powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter and 1 tsp vanilla in small bowl until smooth.