Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Favorites of 2012-Looking Back!

The Favorites of 2012 

                          Roast Stuffed Pork Loin    Green Slime Filled Cupcakes

                          Pear Cranberry Upside-Down Cake   Banana Oat Muffins


                      Layered Zucchini             Lemon Ice Cream



                      Strawberry Cupcakes         Lemony Shrimp

                   Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes  Orange Yogurt Cake

I want to wish all of friends a safe and Happy New Year and a Prosperous 2013! 

As you can see I ahv had a few problems with Word! I am about to throw my computer through the window, but I restrained from doing so.  I have been trying to correct this post for over 5 hours to no avail. Hopefully things will be better in 2013!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cranberry Orange Walnut Coffee Cake with Greek Yogurt

I have made some version of this coffee cake for over 30 years.  It's not Christmas, until I make it, and was late in making it this year. Over the years this recipe has been adapted, and this year I added fresh chopped cranberries and orange zest to the cake batter. The fresh cranberries and orange zest added a  tangy cranberry orange flavor in addition to the crunchy walnuts and the sweet cinnamon sugar filling. The Greek yogurt adds moistness to the cake. This is a great coffee cake served warmed or at room temperature.

This cake also freezes well, if you have some left. You can serve this cake for brunch as well.

This is a picture of my antique molded glass cookie plate this year. Starting left to right, I have Cinnamon Oat Triangles, Mom's Fudge  Date Rum Rice Krispie BallsPeanut Butter Blossoms,  and Chocolate Peppermint Crinkles. 

 Cranberry Orange Walnut Coffee Cake with Greek Yogurt                     

 Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook Circa1967


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sift before measuring
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 12 oz pkg fresh cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


Cream butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Blend in the Greek yogurt. Sift flour, baking powder, soda, and salt into another bowl; blend into the creamed mixture, mixing well. Fold in chopped cranberries

Spread half of the batter in a greased and floured 9-inch square pan, or bundt pan. Mix nuts with 1/2 cup of sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle half of the nut mixture over the batter.. Spoon remaining batter evenly over the nut sugar mixture; spread carefully.

Bake at 350° for 40-50 minutes, until pick, inserted in middle, comes out clean.  Cool in bundt pan 10-15 min. then remove pan and put on rack.  Serve warm. Glaze, if desired and decorate.  Enjoy!

Vanilla Glaze
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 to 2 Tbsp low-fat milk
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled 

Combine powdered sugar, milk, butter, and Vanilla extract in a small bowl. Place wire rack with cooled cake over a piece of wax paper; drizzle cake with glaze; let set before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.

I linked up my recipe to Brandie's The Weekend Potluck #147

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Chocolate Peppermint Bundt Cake for #BundtaMonth

I love chocolate and peppermint, especially at Christmas. I always have a Starbucks Peppermint Mocha at least once. ( I usually don't go to Starbucks). And I always have candy canes around the house. I had to make a dessert for our neighborhood Christmas party, so when I saw Laura@Tutti Dolci's Chocolate Peppermint Bundt Cake  I knew what I wanted to make.  Of course I brought Gingerbread Cupcakes, but I also needed something else. Something like a rich, moist, chocolaty cake with peppermint, and a glaze with crushed candy canes on top to dress it up for a party.

Well, as you can imagine, the cake was a big hit. If you are looking for a great chocolate dessert with great peppermint flavor, then this is the dessert for you, and it is easy to make. The moistness comes from my favorite, Greek Yogurt.  Bundt cakes always look so pretty.  You can hop on over to Tutti Dolci, say Hi to Laura, and get this wonderful recipe.

This will be my last post until next week.  We having not one, but two "Christmases", one this Saturday, and the other one Sunday with different menus.  Needless to say, I have many things to do.  I want to wish you and all of you a Merry Christmas, and Peace.

I linked up this recipe to Lora @Cake Duchess #BundtaMonth.  Stop by and say Hi!

l linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #47
 Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Chocolate Peppermint Crinkles

I have finally joined on the peppermint party, maybe a little late.  I wanted to make Gina's Chocolate Crinkles, because they are so good. Such a coincidence that her post for these cookies last year was titled  "Chocolate Crinkles for the Grieving" for an Uncle who had past away.  Little did I know that there would be a horrific event in Connecticut, that has shaken our nation, and so I made these cookies for comfort. I was home by myself Friday, as the events in Newtown unfolded. Shaken to my core, the only "person" I could hug was Bailey, the Wonder dog.  I kept thinking that my kids who are grown adults in their 30's, were so fortunate that they never had to face any crisis like Newtown, and could go to school unscathed. Now the world is a very different, scary place at times. Remember your good times, and hug your kids and your dog today. Good will overcome the bad.

I did decide to change up  the Chocolate Crinkles by adding the Peppermint Kisses. After the Crinkles baked, I didn't realize, that because the Peppermint kisses weren't milk or dark chocolate,  so they would melt into the cookies, like the ones in these pictures. I had to add another kiss on top of the melted, so those cookies have a double dose of Peppermint. when I ran out of Peppermint Kisses, I added the Dark chocolate Mint kisses, which, worked perfectly.

Caveat: If you use the Peppermint Kisses, wait about three minutes, until the cookies have set a bit, before adding the kisses

Now, these cookies look better. These cookies are a chewy chocolate cookie topped with the cool peppermint, so good and perfect for the season.

Chocolate Crinkles  Adapted from SP Cookie Queen


1/2 cup + 4 tbsp. vegetable oil

12 tbsp. cocoa powder

2 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. vanilla

2 tsp. baking powder

1 cup powdered sugar

1 package Peppermint or Dark Chocolate Mint Kisses


  1. Mix the oil, cocoa and granulated sugar
  2. Mix in one egg at a time until well combined.
  3. Add vanilla. Sift the flour.  Add flour, baking powder and salt into mixture, mix until well combined. 
  4. Chill the dough at least 3-4 hours.
  5. Oil your hands and take rounded teaspoons full of dough and roll into a ball, and then roll the balls in powdered sugar.  Place balls onto a parchment lined baking sheet, 2 inches apart.
  6. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 10 minutes for chewy cookies
  7. When cookies are done, Cool on cookie sheet 2 minutes. Remove to cooling rack; After three minutes, place a kiss in the center of the cookie, and press down. lightly.
  8. Continue to cool on rack, until candy is set.
***Makes 36 cookies

Cooks Note: I made smaller 1” cookies, and I got about 48 cookies.

l inked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #47
 Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Roast Stuffed Pork Loin with Marsala Sauce.

We had company for dinner last weekend, and Scott made this amazing pork roast. I used to have a subscription for Cooking Light several years, but then I dropped it.  I just renewed my subscription a couple of weeks, so when the December issue arrived, Scott  saw this recipe for this pork roast and knew that he had to make it. We have been together for 12 yrs, but never made a pork roast.  We always had either pork tenderloin or pork chops. I was able to find a lean center cut pork loin roast, and Scott trimmed of some of the fat on the roast. This roast does have various steps, some of which are time consuming, but well worth it, and makes a gorgeous, impressive, presentation. Perfect for a holiday dinner party or your Christmas dinner.  We might have made this for our Christmas dinner, but we have family members that don't eat pork or beef.  As a hostess, How do you handle all of these dietary restrictions? It seems like it is getting more and more difficult to plan a family dinner.

 The roast has a stuffing of bread crumbs. and cherries or dried cranberries fennel, and fresh sage and thyme  The roast is then butterflied, pounded thin, and the stuffing is placed inside the roast, rolled up, tied with twine, then browned on the stove top. and roasted in the oven. A finishing sauce is then made with more fresh herbs, shallots, pan drippings and Tawny Port Wine  We used Marsala, because we didn't have Port. We also used dried cranberries, because I couldn't find dried cherries. Those are the only changes we made to this wonderful recipe, except for the finished internal temp of the pork.  Scott did several of the steps earlier in the day, so he wouldn't be so crunched for time later in the day,  He prepared the roast, all the way to the browning on the stove top. and then refrigerated the roast until roasting time. Now the recipe says roast to an internal temp of 138 degrees F, which we thought was too low.  He went to 165F, and the roast was tender and perfect. Enjoy!

Roast Stuffed Pork Loin with Tawny Port Sauce by Cooking Light
  • 1 cup tawny port
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped fennel bulb
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup sourdough breadcrumbs, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups no-salt-added chicken stock (such as Swanson), divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 (3-pound) boneless pork loin, trimmed
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 2 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 shallot, peeled and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons water
1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Combine port and cherries in a small saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 4 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Drain cherries in a sieve over a bowl, reserving cherries and port.

3. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add fennel and onion; cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are almost tender, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Combine fennel mixture, cherries, and breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Melt 1 tablespoon butter. Drizzle the melted butter and 1/4 cup stock over bread mixture, and toss. Stir in 2 teaspoons chopped sage, chopped thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

4. Cut horizontally through center of pork, cutting to, but not through, other side using a sharp knife; open flat, as you would a book. Place pork between 2 sheets of plastic wrap; pound to an even 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small, heavy skillet. Brush 1 1/2 teaspoons oil over inside of pork; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread bread mixture evenly over pork, leaving a 1/2-inch border around outside edges. Roll up pork, jelly-roll fashion, starting with short side. Secure at 2-inch intervals with twine. Brush outside of pork with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil; sprinkle all sides of pork evenly with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

5. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add pork to pan; cook 8 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Place pork on a roasting rack coated with cooking spray; place rack in a roasting pan. Pour remaining 2 1/4 cups stock in bottom of roasting pan. Roast pork at 400° for 45 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in center of pork registers 138°. Remove pork from pan; let stand 15 minutes. Cut crosswise into 12 slices.

6. Place roasting pan over medium-high heat; add reserved port, thyme sprigs, sage leaves, and shallot; bring to a boil. Cook until liquid is reduced to 1 cup (about 10 minutes). Combine flour and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to port mixture, stirring with a whisk; cook 5 minutes or until port mixture begins to thicken. Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter, stirring until butter melts. Strain sauce; discard solids. Stir in remaining 1 teaspoon chopped sage, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Serve sauce with pork.

I want to give a special Thanks to my dear friend Gina for the goodie box that I received  on Wednesday.  As you can see Gina and her elves ahve been working overtime baking all of these wonderful cookies and spreading her cookie love. I ate two the Chocolate Crinkles as I opened the box.  The angel is beautiful on my tree. Hugs, Gina!

I linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #46
 Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Crostini with Goat Cheese, Honey, and Toasted Almonds

I have a new love, and it's Goat Cheese.  This tangy tasting, creamy textured cheese is perfect for spreading on warm bread, and adding all sorts of toppings. I used Goat Cheese for my Crostini with Figs, Caramelized Onions and  Apples on Goat Cheese.  When I needed an easy flavorful appetizer when we were having company last weekend, I turned to my new love, Goat Cheese. This time I had crostini, but  I sprinkled toasted sliced almonds over the warm Goat Cheese and drizzled the local honey over the tops of the almonds.  This combination was so good with warm cheese, the crunchy almonds, and the sweet honey for just a touch of sweetness.  Sometimes the the simplest things are the best, and that is certainly true in this case. This appetizer is even healthy with the toasted almonds, and the local honey. I am eating local honey all year round now,so hopefully my allergies will be better in 2013.  If you need a quick, flavorful apppetizer for a holiday party or family gathering, this is the one to make.

Crostini with Goat Cheese, Honey, and Toasted Almonds
1 baguette of French bread, cut in 12 kitchen slices
3 oz  Goat Cheese, Chevre from Trader Joe's
1/2 c toasted almonds toast in a dry pan over medium heat till brown
1/4 c honey

  1. Spread French bread pieces on baking sheet and toast in 400F oven till lighly brown, about 4 -6 min.  Watch carefully so they don't burn. Remove from oven
  2. Spread Goat Cheese over warm toasts.
  3. Sprinkle with toasted almonds
  4. Drizzle with honey and serve  

I linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #46
 Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!

    Monday, December 10, 2012

    Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cinnamon Butter Cream Frosting

    I must confess that I had never made Gingerbread Cake before this weekend. I had made Gingerbread cookies before, but not the cake.  We were having company over the weekend, so I wanted to make Gingerbread Cupcakes.  You see last Christmas I got the cute little cupcake sleds, and wanted to use them. Aren't they so cute?  Getting back to the  Gingerbread cupcakes, they turned out so well.  I didn't  want an overpowering ginger flavor, so I used an unsulphered molasses.  The recipe I used also had a tablespoon of chocolate cocoa, which gave a richness to the gingerbread flavor, without tasting really full of chocolate.  I made these for my friend's birthday, who isn't a fan of chocolate, and the cupcakes got rave reviews. Topping the cupcakes, I made a Cinnamon Butter Cream Frosting, which complemented the Gingerbread Cake. I didn't want a frosting that was competing with the  flavor of the Gingerbread. This Cinnamon girl loved the frosting.

    I found this wonderful recipe on Cupcake Project, and it is the perfect Gingerbread Bread cake recipe.  The cupcakes rose nicely and didn't fall, and they were light and tasty. If you love Gingerbread, you'll love this recipe, and your kitchen will smell like Christmas in your kitchen, as they are baking.  Get your Christmas elves busy in the kitchen, making these fantastic cupcakes. Enjoy!

    Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cinnamon Butter Cream Frosting

    Makes 12 cupcakes- Pre-Heat oven to 350 F

    • 5 T unsalted butter, softened
    • 1/2 C white sugar
    • 1/2 C unsulfured molasses
    • 1 egg
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 1 1/4 C all-purpose flour
    • 1 T cocoa powder
    • 1 1/4 t ground ginger
    • 1 t ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 t ground allspice
    • 1/2 t ground nutmeg
    • 1/4 t salt
    • 1 t baking soda
    • 1/2 C hot milk  

    1. Cream 5 tablespoons of the butter with the white sugar.
    2. Add the molasses and the egg and egg yolk.
    3. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt.
    4. Dissolve the baking soda in the hot milk.
    5. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until just combined.
    6. Stir in the hot milk mixture.
    7. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.
    8. Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when touched. 

      Cinnamon Butter Cream Frosting

      6 T butter, softened

      2 c powdered sugar

      1 t cinnamon

      1/4 more or less of milk I used Almond milk

      Beat butter with mixer until light and fluffy. Combine powdered sugar and cinnamon in separate bowl. Gradually add in powdered sugar mixture to butter, and beat until creamy and well combined. Add in milk until desired consistency. 
    I linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #46
     Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!

    Friday, December 7, 2012

    Date Rum Rice Krispie Balls

    I got this yummy recipe from my friend Joanna.  She has made these no bake for many years, and they are so good, that I had to make them. They have dates, Rice Krispies, and nuts which are then rolled in coconut. I have had a sinus infection, so I have been a bit under the weather, but I felt good enough to make these little babies yesterday.

    First you cook the chopped dates, sugar, and butter in a pan, bringing to a boil. Then you add a beaten egg, milk and vanilla. (I added the rum. That was my idea to change them up a bit)  Return to a boil for 2 min. Remove from heat to cool. Once cool, you add the Rice Krispies and chopped nuts.  Roll in coconut and voila, you have tasty little bites of dates, nuts, and coconut, all in one So easy, so delicious, and  no baking! Enjoy!

     I just can't believe that Christmas is less than 3 weeks away, yikes.  I'm way behind.  Are you ready for Christmas? I haven't done Christmas cards yet, baked that many cookies, or finished shopping.  I made fudge yesterday too, which was a total disaster. I added the chocolate chips to the butter, sugar, and evaporated milk, before it cooked.  I'm not sure that I can salvage it or not. The fudge is pretty hard and grainy.  Any idea on how to use hard fudge.  Maybe I can turn it into fudge sauce or any any other ideas?

    Date Rum Rice Krispie Balls  From my friend Joanna
     Makes about 36

    Cook over low heat stirring constantly until mixture boils:
      1/2 cup butter or margarine
      1/2 cup white sugar
      1/2 pound dates  

    Mix together:
      1 egg, beaten
      1 Tablespoon milk
      1 tsp. vanilla
      2 T Dark Rum
    Add to date mixture and boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Cool

    Add 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
        2 cups Rice Krispies

    Form into 1” balls and roll in fresh coconut. Refrigerate until serving time.

    I linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #45
     Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!

    Wednesday, December 5, 2012

    Cinnamon Raisin Oat Triangles

    Believe it or not, I found this recipe in my magazine clippings from 1990, and I'm just making it now. That must tell you how organized I am, or not.  This recipe interested me because the first word in the recipe was cinnamon. and I love cinnamon, on anything, in anything.  This recipe also has oatmeal and raisins, so it can't be that bad for you, right?    I would have used dried cranberries, but I've made several recipes with them lately, and I still have a few more to make.  I just think that the craisins would make them more festive. There is also a layer of preserves and raisins, so I used orange marmalade, which went well with the cinnamon and raisins. I gave them a drizzle of vanilla glaze, and added a few M and M's for color. These bars are so good, with a crispy crust, chewy raisins, oatmeal topping, and sweet jam.

    These bars came together quickly.  You make the Crumb topping, reserving one cup, press in the pan, and bake for 10 min. Then spread the jam or marmalade over the baked crust, and sprinkle raisins over the jam, and sprinkle the reserved topping over the raisin layer. Decorate as desired. Enjoy!

    Cinnamon Raisin Oat Triangles Adapted from

    2 c. rolled oats
    1 c. flour
    3/4 c. brown sugar
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    1/2 tsp. baking soda
    3/4 c. butter, room temperature
    1 c. raisins or craisins
    1/2 c. apple jelly, or apricot jam or orange marmalade

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and soda; mix well.  Cut in butter into dry ingredients until pea sized pieces with pastry blender or in food processor.. Remove 1 cup crumb mixture, set aside. Pat remaining mixture into a greased 9" square baking pan.  Bake for 10 min. Remove from oven.

    Carefully spread jam or marmalade over the partially baked crust. Sprinkle raisins over layer of jam. Sprinkle reserved topping over the raisin layer. Bake 30 min, or until edges are golden brown.

     While warm, cut into 9 (3") squares diagonally to make triangle. Cool in pan and drizzle with icing

    Vanilla Icing

    1/2 c. powdered sugar
    2 tsp. milk
    1/2 tsp. vanilla

    Blend all ingredients together to make a thin icing. Drizzle over triangles

    I linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #45
     Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!

    Sunday, December 2, 2012

    #nutlove Cranberry Orange Nut Bread

    It's Love Bloghop time again.  This month the theme for Love Bloghop is nuts, or ##nutlove. December is the perfect time for #nutlove, with all of the holiday baking.  Join in on the #nutlove fun linking up any nut recipe  from the month of December 2012.  Don't forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #nutlove event.  The twitter hashtag is #nuthlove:)

    I love nuts of anykind, and  use a lot of them during my holiday baking. It wouldn't be Cheistmas with our Nut Bread.  This nutty loaf brings back many childhood memories of Christmas Eve.  We always had Nut bread with cream cheese and pineapple. Even though, it was always bought at at bakery, it was wonderful to me and my cousin. Once I was married and really started baking, I made my own Nut Bread with a recipe for Orange Nut Bread from my Better Home and Garden Cookbook, circa 1969. It had teh double oranfe flavoe from orange juice and and orange zest, along with the crunchy walnuts.

    Over the years I have tweaked the recipe adding cranberries, but now I add craisins, for an additional flavor.  who doesn't love cranberry and orange together?  For the nuts, I use walnuts, because those are my nut of choce. By the way, I have over 25 black walnut trees on my property, which are really a nuiscance to keep picked up. No, we don't harvest those nuts, such a mess, but I still love to bake with them. during the holiday season, I will be baking Craisin Walnut Coffee Cake with Greek Yogurt, Raspberry Walnut Bars, and making Spiced Walnuts, (recipe to come.)
    Cranberry Orange Nut bread

    2 1/4 cups flour
    3/4  cup sugar
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    3/4 cup orange juice
    1 tablespoon grated orange peel
    2 tablespoons canola oil
    1 egg, well beaten
    3/4. dried cranberries
    3/4 cup chopped nuts

    Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

    Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in orange juice, orange peel, oil and egg. Mix until well blended. Stir in cranberries and nuts. Spread evenly in loaf pan.

    Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely. Wrap and store overnight. Makes 1 loaf.

    Here is a list of my amazing co-hosts.

    Evelyne | Cheap Ethic Eatz  | cethniceatz
    Helena | Rico sin Azucar| @ricosinazucar
    Kimberly | Badger Girl Learns to Cook | @Bdgergrl
    Serena | Teaspoon of Spice | @tspcurry
    EA Stewart | The Spicy RD | @thespicyrd
    Susan Palmer | Girl in the Little Red Kitchen | @littleredkitchn
    Jackie S. | Vegan Yack Attack | @Veganyackattack
    T.R. | No One Likes Crumbley Cookies| @TRCrumbley
    Sheila | Pippi’s In the Kitchen Again | @shlylais 

    I linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #45
     Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!

    Friday, November 30, 2012

    Door County Cherry Cranberry Rum Pie

    For the past several years, Scott has made Door County Cherry Rum Pie for Thanksgiving, and they have been perfect.  This year was a different story. I had to buy the frozen cherries at a local grocery store, but I only bought one container, 28 oz, which I thought was enough.  It turned out that we didn't have enough cherries, so he added a cup of raw cranberries. Also, in previous years he had cooked the cherries with cornstarch  on the stove to thicken the filling, but this year, he didn't.   He just added sugar, cornstarch and rum  to the cherries and cranberries, and  put that filling in the pie shell.  It turns out that the cherries I bought were already sweetened, and he didn't realize that until he had already added the sugar. The pie baked beautifully and tasted so good, but the filling never got thick, so the fruit wouldn't stay in the crust, once it was cut. He even made cute little pastry cut outs of a cherry and cranberries. The pie was gorgeous, before it was cut:) The cherry cranberry filling was tart, but still sweet enough. but the consistency was not as good, too runny. Needless to say We ate anyway, with scoops of French Vanilla Ice Cream!  This festive pie would be beautiful addition to any Holiday table.

    The moral of the story is that next time he makes this pie, he will cook the cherries and flour, and sugar, to thicken, on the stove, and stir in the raw cranberries at the end of cooking, to keep them whole, and then pour in the pie shell and bake.  Sometimes, Life is just not a bowl of cherries:)

    Door County Cherry Cranberry Rum pie
     Make pie rust and refrigerate until ready to use.  He used Michelle at Brown Eyed Baker's Recipe for Perfect Pie Crust.

     32 oz or about 4 cups of tart cherries drained reserve  juice
     3/4 cup reserved Cherry juice
    1/4 c dark rum
    1 c sugar
    1/3 c unsifted flour
    1/8 tsp salt
    2 Tbsp butter
    1 c raw, whole cranberries
    1 egg yolk (for egg wash)

    What to do
    1. Combine sugar, flour, and salt.  Stir into reserved cherry juice and rum. Bring to  a boil, stirring.
    2. Reduce heat, and simmer for 5 min, till thickened. 
    3.  Stir in butter and cranberries and refrigerate. 
    4. Roll out half of pastry on well floured surface, and place in 9" pan. Trim pastry even with pan and fill bottom crust with cooled cherry pie filling
    5. Roll out the other half of the pasty into an 12" circle
    6.  Place pastry circle on top of your cherry filling. Cut a few large slits on the surface to allow steam to escape. Crimp edges as desired. Brush with egg wash.      
    7. Bake 30-35 Min., until pastry nicely browned. Cool on wire rack.  Serve warm.  Enjoy!

    I linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #44
     Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

    Birthday Cupcakes for Anna, Vanilla Cupcakes, Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting, and Lots and Lots of Sprinkles

    Anna, the Granddaughter of my my friend, Carolyn, recently turned seven. When I asked her what she wanted me to bake for her birthday, she said white cupcakes,  chocolate  frosting, a lots of sprinkles.  Well, that exactly what she got, only I made Vanilla Cupcakes, Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting, and lot and lots of sprinkles. When you are seven, sprinkles are very important, right Anna? Sprinkles are for the inner kid in all of us, and make any baked good more festive, even with hot chocolate.

    I don't know about you, but I have lots and lots of different sprinkles in my pantry now Ever since cupcakes and cake pops have been the rage, there are so many baking bloggers,  The baking sections in the craft stores have exploded with many options to tempt us bakers. There is  edible glitter, gold dust, a myriad of cupcake liners and carriers, and much, much, more. Back in the day, there was only red and green colored sugar, and that was only used at Christmas, but not anymore. Food and Baking Bloggers are supporting the economy. Do you agree?

    Anna reading with Emma and Grandma 

    Vanilla Cupcakes Adapted from Crazy About Cupcakes by Krystina Castella
    1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1 tsp vanilla
    2 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup milk
    1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pans with liners.

    2. With an electric mixer on medium speed beat the butter until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and vanilla, and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.

    3. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.

    4. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk until combined.

    5. In a small bowl with a clean mixer on high speed,  beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. With a rubber spatula stir a little of the whites into the batter to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites until combined. Do not over mix.

    6. Fill the cupcake liners three-quarters full. Bake for about 15–20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan

    Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting for 24 cupcakes

    1 stick butter, room temperature
    1/2 cocoa
    4 c. confectioner's sugar
    1/4 c. milk, more or less

    1. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy
    2. Add cocoa and 1c. sugar to butter mixture and beat until incorporated
    3. Add half of the milk and remainder of sugar and beat until incorporated.
    4. Continue to add milk until you get desired consistency
    I linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #44
     Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!

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