Orange Christmas Cookies

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange rind
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

Icing

  • 1 tablespoon grated orange rind
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Cream butter and sugar together. Mix egg into the sugar mixture thoroughly. Add vanilla and orange rind, beat until fluffy.  Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add in small bits to sugar mixture, alternating with buttermilk.  Mix well after each addition. Drop small teaspoons onto cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. 

Meanwhile, mix confectioner’s sugar, 3 tablespoons butter together until smooth. Pour 3 tablespoons orange juice and 1 tablespoon orange rind into the sugar and butter mixture, mix well. Frost cookies while warm.

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg

Filling

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 drops (or more) red food coloring
  • 1/2 cup crushed red-and-white-striped candy canes or hard peppermint candies (about 4 ounces)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk flour, cocoa, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended. Beat in egg. Add dry ingredients; beat until blended. Refrigerate dough 1 hour.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop out dough by level tablespoonfuls, then roll into smooth balls. Place balls on prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart. Using bottom of glass or hands, flatten each ball to 2-inch round (the cookies should be very thin, edges will crack). Bake until cookies no longer look wet and small indentation appears when tops of cookies are lightly touched with fingers, about 11 minutes (do not overbake or cookies will become too crisp). Cool on sheet 5 minutes. Transfer chocolate cookies to racks and cool completely.

For filling:
Using electric mixer, beat powdered sugar and butter in medium bowl until well blended. Add peppermint extract and 2 drops food coloring. Beat until light pink and well blended, adding more food coloring by dropfuls if darker pink color is desired. Spread 2 generous teaspoons filling evenly over flat side of 1 cookie to edges; top with another cookie, flat side down, pressing gently to adhere. Repeat with remaining cookies and peppermint filling.

Place crushed candy canes on plate. Roll edges of cookie sandwiches in crushed candies (candies will adhere to filling). (Cookie sandwiches can be made ahead. Store in single layer in airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days or freeze up to 2 weeks.)

Easter Chocolate Bird’s Nests

Ingredients

* 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
* 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out dough
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
* 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
* 1 cup heavy cream
* 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
* 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
* 6 dozen candy-coated chocolate eggs

Directions
1. Heat oven to 350°; line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; mix on low speed just until a stiff dough forms, about 2 minutes. Transfer dough to a piece of plastic wrap, wrap tightly, and chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

3. Place chocolate, heavy cream, and espresso powder in a medium heat-proof bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, stirring occasionally, until chocolate has melted. Remove bowl from heat, and set the chocolate ganache aside to cool, stirring occasionally.

4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out chilled dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2 1/4-inch-round cookie cutter, cut out 24 cookies; place them on lined baking sheets. Chill cookies until firm, about 20 minutes.

5. Bake cookies until set, about 14 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. Spread coconuton an ungreased baking sheet; bake just until dry, about 12 minutes, being careful not to brown. Let coconut cool; transfer to a small bowl.

7. When the ganache has cooled to room temperature, whisk until it becomes stiff enough to pipe. Transfer ganache to a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch-round tip, and pipe around perimeters of cookies. Dip each cookie, ganache-side down, into coconut. Fill “nests” with candy-coated chocolate eggs, 2 or 3 eggs per nest. Store cookies in an airtight container, refrigerated, up to 3 days.

Streusel-Topped Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients

* 3 1/4 pounds sweet potatoes
* 3/4 cup sweeted cranberries, chopped
* 1/4 cup tart dried cherries, chopped
* 1/2 cup half & half
* 1/3 cup maple syrup
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
* optional: 1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring
* 2 eggs

Streusel:
* 2/3 cup chopped pecans
* 1/2 cup[ brown sugar
* 2 tablespoons flour
* 1/4 cup melted butter
* 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

Heat oven to 350. Bake sweet potatoes until easily pierced with a fork, about 45-60 minutes. Peel and put pulp into a bowl. Add cranberries, cherries, half and half, maple syrup, salt, cinnamon and eggs and beat with a mixer until smooth. Spoon into 13×9 sprayed pan.

Mix streusel ingredients in a separate bowl. Sprinkle sweet potatoes with streusel and bake for 30 minutes at 350.

Maple Glazed Carrots

Another yummy Thanksgiving treat from the Williams-Sonoma Thanksgiving Cookbook (complements of Thad’s Recipe Collection)

Ingredients

* 3 lbs carrots, peeled and cut on the diagonal into 1 inch pieces (or just use baby carrots)
* 5 cups chicken stock
* 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
* 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
* salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the carrots, stock, maple syrup, and butter. Bring to a brisk simmer and cook, uncovered, until the carrots are tender, about 30 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the carrots to a dish. Raise the heat to high and cook the liquid in the pan until it has reduced to about 1 1/4 cups and is syrupy, 30-40 minutes longer.

Return the carrots to the pan. Add the vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Golden Mashed Potatoes with Leeks and Sour Cream

Ingredients

* 4 lbs large Yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled and scrubbed (or Russets, peeled)
* Salt and freshly ground pepper
* 1/2 cup unsalted butter
* 4 leeks, including tender green parts, finely chopped and well rinsed
* 1 cup sour cream at room temperature
* 1 cup milk, heated to a simmer

Directions

Cut the potatoes into large, uniform chunks. Put the potato chunks in a large saucepan and add water to cover and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, cover partially, and cook the potatoes, stirring once or twice, until the potatoes are very tender, about 40 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks, cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until tender and lightly browned, 12-15 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.

Return the potatoes to the saucepan and place the pan over low heat. With a potato masher, mash the potatoes thoroughly. Stir in the leeks and their buttery juices. Add the sour cream and stir well. Add the hot milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and stir vigorously until light and fluffy.

Remove the pan from the heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Taken from Thad’s Recipe Collection, which was in turn taken from the Williams-Sonoma Thanksgiving Cookbook.

Stuffing with Sausage

Ingredients

* 1 pound sourdough round, cut into bite size pieces
* 1 pound ground bulk pork sausage
* 4 tablespoons butter
* 2 cups onions, chopped
* 1 cup celery, chopped
* 2 tablespoons parsley
* 1 teaspoon sage
* 1 teaspoon thyme
* 3/4 teaspoons salt
* 1/2 teaspoon pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
* 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1/3 to 1 cup chicken broth
* 1 to 2 eggs, beaten (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400?.

Toast bread pieces until golden brown. Reduce heat to 350?.

In a large saute pan over medium high heat, brown sausage. Drain and remove from pan.

Melt butter in saute pan, then add onions and celery. Saute until tender. Remove from heat and add parsley, sage, thyme, salt, pepper, nutmeg and cloves. Stir in the bread cubes and sausage. Toss well. Stir in broth and eggs a little at a time until lightly moist but not packed together.

Place in a shallow, greased baking dish. Bake at 350? for 35 to 40 minutes, until top has formed a crust and stuffing is heated through.

Joy of Cooking

Roasted Winter Squash Soup

Ingredients

* 4 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 medium onion, diced
* 1 celery stalk, diced
* 1 carrot, diced
* 1 cinnamon stick
* 8 cups chicken broth
* 5 cups squash (about 2 medium squash; ether butternut, acorn, hubbard or Delicata)
* 1 tablespoon curry powder
* 1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground
* 1 tablespoon honey
* 3 tablespoons sherry
* salt and pepper
* 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
* 1/2 cup creme fraiche
* 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions

Preheat oven to 375?. Cut the squash in half, remove seeds, brush with olive oil and bake for 40-45 minutes. Allow squash to cool slightly and scoop out the flesh. Set aside.

Roast pumpkin seeds for 15 minutes.

Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Saute onion, celery, carrot and cinnamon stick until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken broth, roasted squash, curry, nutmeg, and honey, whisk together. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove and discard cinnamon stick. Add sherry. Remove from heat and puree the mixture. Return to heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Mix the chopped cilantro with the creme fraiche until smooth. Serve soup with creme fraiche and pumpkin seeds.  Goes well with pork tenderloin or quiche.

Peanut Blossoms

Ingredients

* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 1/2 cup shortening
* 1 egg
* 2 tablespoons milk
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 1/2 cup peanut butter
* 1 3/4 cups flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 bag hershey kisses

Directions

Preheat over to 375?.

Cream together sugars and shortening in a large mixing bowl. Add egg, milk and vanilla and mix well. Add peanut butter and mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix together flour, soda and salt. Mix the flour mixture into the peanut butter mixture slowly and thouroughly.

Roll the dough into balls 1 inch in diameter. Roll the dough balls in sugar and place on a baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes. Top each cookie with a hershey kiss after baking. Let cool.

Grandmo’s Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

* 2 cups butter
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 cup powdered sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 4 cups flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
* colored sprinkles

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cream together butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and cream of tartar. Mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture slowly and thoroughly.

Roll the dough into balls 1 inch in diameter. Place on a cookie sheet. Flatten with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar. Shake sprinkles on top of cookies. Bake 8 minutes.