Friday, December 14, 2012

Holly and Eggnog Tart and a Fun, Fun Giveaway!

 Today, I wanted to make a dessert that would utilize my contributions to the 2012 Deck The Halls Giveaway, and give you a great recipe that would be perfect for Christmas dinner.  Every Christmas I make a special dessert for our special meal. Usually it is a decadent cheesecake topped with chocolate ganache and cherries. This year I wanted to change it up a bit, so I will be making this decadent Holly and Eggnog Tart. Do you notice a theme here? But, no worries! Because it is a special occasion dessert, I don't think there are calories! ;)  My contributions to this fun giveaway include a Wilton Tart Pan, a Wilton Pastry Mat, and some Wilton Mini Cookie Cutters. Here's my recipe, and then the giveaway!!!!!

Holly and Eggnog Tart

Crust
 2 cups Flour
2/3 cup Shortening
2 teaspoon Sugar
2-4 tablespoons Water
1 egg
Red  and Green Food Color

Filling
 (adapted from Pillsbury)
 1 envelope Unflavored Gelatin
1 1/2 cups Eggnog
1 cup Confectioners Sugar
1/4 cup Butter, softened
2 8oz. Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Mix all your crust ingredients except for the water.
I mixed with a food processor, but a fork will work also.
Add the water a tablespoon at a time, and mix well in between.
I ended up using 4 tablespoons. Roll the dough out to the
size of your tart pan.
Pick up the dough and place it into your pan. Press 
the dough close to the sides all around.
Take your rolling pin and roll over the top of the tart pan.
This will release all the dough around the top.
If some of your sides seem thick with dough, 
push the dough into the sides again, and then roll the rolling pin
over the top to remove any excess.
With your extra dough, cut out 12 holly leaves and 
make 12 small round balls of dough~3 for each 
cluster of holly leaves.
Make some egg wash by adding a little water
to a beaten egg. Brush the edge of your crust with the egg wash.
Then brush the bottoms of the leaves and the balls with the egg wash.
and arrange them on the crust.
Now split the egg wash between two small bowls.
Use food color to make one bowl red and one bowl green.
With a small brush, paint the leaves green and the balls 
red. for the berries.
Place parchment paper or foil crumbled up
 under the center leaf to hold it up until
it is done baking.
If you don't use the paper or foil, the leaves will be droopy.
Bake for 9-11 minutes. Cool completely.
Once the crust is cooled remove the paper. There will
be marks in the crust where the paper was, but don't
worry because you will be covering it up.
As your crust cooks and then cools, start on your filling.
Pour 1/2 cup of eggnog into a small sauce pan, 
and sprinkle the unflavored gelatin over it.
Let it stand for 1 minute to soften the gelatin.
After the minute, cook the eggnog on medium until the 
gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine the confectioners sugar, 
cream cheese, and butter. Beat until light and fluffy.
Gradually add the nutmeg, vanilla, gelatin mix, and the rest 
of the eggnog. 
Beat on high until smooth. 
Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
You want the filling to to feel thick when you stir it.
 Fill your cooled crust with the filling.
Refrigerate for 4 hours before serving.
Cut and enjoy!

and now......
2012 Deck the Blogs Giveaway!!




Welcome to the 2012 Deck the Blogs Giveaway hosted by Dreaming All Day with co-hosts Pint Sized Baker, The Freshman Cook and This Gal Cooks. We have also teamed up with Pick Your Plum to make this giveaway even more awesome with a $75 box worth of PYP goodies!! Needless to say, we are all super excited to offer all of these amazing prizes to 5 lucky winners, and want to wish everyone a wonderful Christmas/Holiday season from our families to yours and more importantly, we sincerely want to thank you for taking the time to visit our blogs, and read/view our social media posts over the past year!!

5 lucky winners will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter to win the following prizes!!

  1. $75 Pick Your Plum Box 2. $25 Williams-Sonoma eGiftcard 3. 1 Dozen Cake Pops made by Pint Sized Baker herself! 4. (1) Wilton Pastry Mat, (1) Wilton Tart Pan, (1) Mini Holiday Cookie Cutter Set 5. (2) Jars of Jam from Stonewall Kitchen


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Fudgy Chocolate Surprise Cookies and a Cookie Swap!

 There is just something about a cookie swap that I love!! This cookie swap was put on by Julie of White Lights on Wednesday, and it was so much fun! We were assigned someone to send a recipe to, and we received a recipe from someone else. Then we made the cookies from the recipe we received, and how lucky am I !!! The recipe I received is for cookies called Chocolate Surprise Cookies and it was sent to me by Pam Henderson of Pamela's Heavenly Treats. Stop by and checkout her yummy deserts! These Chocolate Surprise Cookies are incredible and are full of chocolatey goodness! Pam must know I have a slight chocolate addiction! You are going to love them!! They will make the perfect addition to your holiday baking list!!

Chocolate Surprise Cookies
2 1/2 sticks Butter, softened
2 cups Light Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
3/4 cup Cocoa
2 cups Wheat Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together your butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, mix together your cocoa, flour,
and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the wet
ingredients and mix well. Put your dough in wax
paper and roll it into a log. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Then cut
slices from the log, and roll the slices into balls.
Roll the balls of dough in sugar.
Bake for 10 minutes, then let cool.
Enjoy!

Thanks for joining me today!!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cookie Swap Candy Cane Puffs!

It's time for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap reveal!
This is the 2nd year for the cookie swap, and it has just been so much fun. 
Thank you to Julie from The Little Kitchen and Lindsay from Love and Olive Oil
for putting it all together. I so appreciate it!
The best thing about this years cookie swap is that it was also
a benefit for Cookies For Kids' Cancer, and  OXO matched every donation
by participants of the swap!! How cool is that! 
Great cookies and a great cause!
So here is what I sent!
Candy Cane Puffs
(adapted from Pillsbury)

1/2 cup Butter, softened
1 cup Powdered Sugar
1 Egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 teaspoon Peppermint Extract
2 1/2 cups Flour
pinch Salt
2 cups Almond Bark
10 Candy Canes, crushed 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. 
Prepare your baking sheets by spraying them with
cooking spray, or use parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Scrape bowl down.
Beat in your egg, vanilla, and peppermint.
Beat in your flour and salt.
Wrap your dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
After the hour, shape the dough into 1" balls
 and bake for 10-12 minutes. 
Let cool on cooling rack for 30 minutes
Melt the white almond bark, and dip the top of each cookie
into the melted bark.
Place crushed candy cane on the top of each cookie.
Enjoy!

A huge thank you to all the people I received cookies from:
Beth from Jersey Bites, who sent me some incredible, full of flavor,
Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies,
and Betsy from @BetsyLife, who sent me delicious, sunshiney
Lemon Sandwich Cookies!
Yummy, Yum Yum to both of you!!
 (I know I am missing one, but I know it will be here shortly!!)

Thanks again to everyone who had a hand in making this Cookie Swap happen!
I can't wait until next year!!

Here where we are partying!!!:
Wicked Good Wednesdays
Tasty Thursday 



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Pizzelles!

I know everyone has a cookie that means Christmas to them. This Pizzelle is mine. I used to make this cookie with the lady who lived across the street from me when I was a little girl. Every year before Christmas I would get to go over to her house, and we would spend 2 entire days making cookies. We would listen to Christmas music and tell stories.  It was just me and her. She created an incredible memory for me. We always made these pizzelles. I can remember stacks and stacks of them when we were done. I don't know why we made so many but every minute at her house was magical to me. So when I bite into a pizzelle, I am immediately transported back to snowy winter afternoons in a warm, comfortable  kitchen in Ohio, with the smell of anise and butter in the air, and the feeling of being loved. Maybe this cookie will evoke those feelings for you.

Christmas Pizzelles
6 Eggs
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1 cup Butter, melted
2 tablespoon Anise Extract
3 1/2 cup Flour
4 teaspoon Baking Powder
Milk Chocolate Chips, melted
White Almond Bark, melted
crushed Candy Canes
You will need a pizzelle maker to make these cookies.
I got mine a few years ago after the holidays.
When you use it, make sure to spray the mold area
with pan spray, and to preheat the pizzelle maker.
Beat your eggs, and
add your sugar a little bit at a time.
Beat until smooth.
Add butter and anise. Mix together.
Sift your flour and baking powder and add it to the mix.
Mix well.  Dough will be sticky.
Drop 1 tablespoon of batter onto your pizzelle baker.
The first few cookies will probably be hit and miss
as far as the placement of the batter and the cooking time.
It is just something you have to experiment with.
See what I mean? :)
It ended up that the best placement for my
batter was slightly off center, and only cooked for 20 seconds.
Let cool.
The almond bark, chocolate, and candy canes are not
part of a traditional pizzelle, but I wanted to do
something different, and I think it looks pretty!

Sprinkle the candy cane over the bark or chocolate.
Let dry.
Enjoy!



Monday, December 10, 2012

Merry Krispie Bars!

Here is a quick, oh, so good, festive bar to make for the holidays. It seems like everyone likes these. There is just something about them that makes people smile! Maybe it's the perennial favorite rice krispie treats, or maybe the milk chocolate, the candy canes, or perhaps it's the red and white peppermint M and M's. But whatever the reason, I hope they make you smile too!
Merry Krispie Bars
2 tablespoon Butter
4 cups Peppermint Mini Marshmallows
5 cups Rice Krispie Cereal
Milk Chocolate Chips
White Almond Bark
25-30 Peppermint M and M's
25-30 Green Holiday M and M's
2 Candy Canes, crushed
25-30 Candy Cane Kisses, quartered

Spray a 13x9" baking dish with pan spray. I also spray
a spatula or spoon to use in the mixing. Set aside.
Melt your butter over low heat and 
add the mini marshmallows to the pot. Stir until they
are completely melted. After I made these treats, I decided
that white marshmallows would be great also. 
The peppermint marshmallows did not add a lot of flavor,
 but you could add some peppermint extract if you wanted to!
Take the pot off of the heat,
and mix in the rice krispies.
Pour the rice krispies into your prepared pan.
Spread the rice krispies into the pan so they are evenly
distributed, and  firmly condensed. Let them set up.
Melt the milk chocolate chips, and frost the rice krispies
with a thin layer. I used about a 1/2 cup of chips.
Take some of your melted white almond bark, and drizzle it 
over the chocolate. Cut the Candy Cane Kisses into 1/4's 
and then drizzle them over the chocolate and bark. I used 
20 kisses, but I only sprinkled about 5 of them here. Add
 it according to how much you like the candy!
I then added some more of the white almond bark, 
and then added more chopped up Candy Cane Kisses,
some red and white peppermint M and M's and then I 
added the green ones for a burst of color.
 I sprinkled on 2 chopped and crushed candy canes.
Cover and let set up overnight.
Cut into bars and serve!

Merry Krispie Bars!
Thanks for joining me !


Don't forget about the Treats Card giveaway!
Tomorrow is the last day!

Here are the parties we wouldn't miss!:
Marvelous Mondays!
Crazy Sweet Tuesday! 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Candy Cane Popcorn!!

Every Christmas I make a lot of gift baskets filled with food. I stuff them with cookies, candies, and nuts, and sometimes I add sauces, like BBQ or hot fudge. The process of putting it all together, deciding what recipes to make, and how to package the goodies is a source of great joy to me. When I see how happy recipients of the baskets are, it really is a present ~ for me! This year I have an abundance of glass jars (remnants of my biscoff obsession) that I wanted to put to good use. I wanted something that would look pretty and taste great. That's how I came up with this Candy Cane Popcorn!
Candy Cane Popcorn
16 cups popped Popcorn
12 squares of Vanilla Almond Bark
20 Candy Canes
Pop your popcorn and chop up your almond bark.
Let it melt slowly, stirring and using low heat.
Meanwhile, line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
 Crush your candy canes into small pieces.
Pour your popped corn in to a large bowl. 
You will need a large bowl for extra mixing room.
 Add your melted  almond bark. Mix thoroughly.
Distribute the wet popcorn between the two
baking sheets.
Sprinkle with your crushed candy canes.
Let dry.
Here is a close up to see how it sticks to the
popcorn with the help of the melted bark.
To make the jars I tied bakers twine around the lid,
 stuck a mini candy cane in the bow, and.....
 decorated the top of the lid.
They will be the perfect addition 
to the gift baskets!

Thanks for joining me today!

I will be partying at these fun spots!:
Wicked Good Wednesday