Christmas Cookies 2011

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Merry Christmas! 

Christmas Fudge-A-Thon (Recipe)

A versatile and creamy fudge recipe.


1 1/2 Cups Sugar
2/3 Cup (5 fl oz.) Evaporated Milk
2 Tbsp. Butter
1/4 tsp Salt
2 Cups Mini Marshmallows
1 2/3 Cup Chocolate Chips (OR, Dark Chocolate Chips, White Chocolate, Butterscotch or Peanut Butter Chips)
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Optional - 1 Cup Walnuts or Pecans Roughly Chopped (or Dried Fruit, Candy, Crushed Cookies, Etc)
Optional Toppings - Sprinkles, Nuts, Melted Chocolate, Crushed Candies, etc.

Line a pan with parchment paper or foil. 8x8 inches is a great size.

1. Combine sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt in a heavy medium sauce pan. Bring to a full roaring boil over medium heat, time for five minutes, stirring constantly.
2. Stir in chocolate chips, marshmallows, vanilla, and optional nuts, remove from heat. Stir quickly until everything is blended together and all the marshmallows are melted. Pour into prepared pan. Top with any optional toppings you like. Lightly press down on larger toppings like nuts to set them into the fudge. For melted chocolate, spoon some on top of hot fudge and use a tooth pick to swirl the fudge and chocolate together.
3. Refrigerate fudge for 2-3 hours, or until firm. Remove from pan, and remove parchment paper. Cut into bite sized pieces.

Store in between layers of parchment paper in an air tight container.

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Cranberry Cream Cheese Snickerdoodles (Recipe)

A Quick and Easy, Almost-Homemade Cranberry Cream Cheese Snickerdoodle Recipe.

1 Package Snickerdoodle Cookie Mix.
4 Tbsp. Butter
5 Oz. Cream Cheese
1 Tbsp. Water
1 Egg
1 1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries.

1. Soften butter and cream cheese. Preheat Oven to 360 Degrees Fahrenheit (F). 
2. Open cookie mix, set aside cinnamon/sugar package, pour mix into a large bowl.
3. Add butter, cream cheese, water and egg to cookie mix, and mix until smooth. Fold cranberries into the dough.
4. Coat rounded tablespoons of dough in the cinnamon sugar mix and drop onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-9 minutes. Cool for 2-5 minutes on the cookie sheet, and carefully transfer cookies to a cooling rack.

Failed-Fudge Double Chocolate Truffles

These Double Chocolate Truffles are the result of a delicious fudge that wouldn't set correctly. It was too soft for fudge, even though it had a smooth texture and great flavor. I rolled it into balls, dipped them in semi sweet chocolate, and let them firm up in the refrigerator. The failed fudge turned into lovely truffle filling.


White and Milk Chocolate Peppermint Bark (Recipe)

2 Cups White Chocolate Chips
1 Package Andes Peppermint Crunch Candies, chopped into small pieces.
3-3/12 Cups Chocolate Shavings/Chips
1 tsp. Vanilla
Red Sugar Crystals (Optional)
1. Lay wax or parchment paper down on a large baking sheet with an edge.
2. Melt white chocolate chips in a double boiler. When melted, remove from heat and stir in half of the andes peppermint candies. Spread in a thin even layer on the baking sheet. Let chill in the refrigerator for a few minutes while you start the next step.
3. Melt chocolate in a double boiler. When completely melted, remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour chocolate on top of the white chocolate/peppermint layer. Sprinkle on the remaining peppermint andes candies and optional sugar crystals on top of the bark, while chocolate is still hot.
4. Chill for 2-3 hours in refrigerator, cut or break into small pieces and enjoy!

DSC_0368 This is a party sized batch of bark or great for a few gifts, to make less cut all ingredients in half.

Ten Pounds of Chocolate

A ten pound slab of semi sweet chocolate. 
Chocolate Shavings.
Thanks, Mom!

Make Croutons at Home (Recipe)

Croutons are so easy to make at home, and always taste better than the store bought kind! Here are some simple instructions on how to make your own.

Start with your choice of bread, cut it into cubes.
Put a tablespoon or two of butter (or Olive Oil) into a pan, let it get hot and arrange your bread cubes in the pan. Season liberally with your favorite herbs and spices, parmesan cheese, sesame seeds, etc. Anything you like.
Cook on Medium High heat until the bottom of the bread cubes start to brown. If they are starting to stick add another small tablespoon of butter, then mix the cubes up in the pan to coat them with the seasonings.
Continue to let them cook until they are brown and crispy on both sides. Watch them closely and shake the pan often - They can burn quickly if you're not paying attention.
Now they are ready to snack on, put into salads or soups, or on top of Macaroni and Cheese.

Our Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Homemade Croutons, before going into the oven-

Hot and Ready to Eat!

English Ale Macaroni and Cheese

English Ale and caramelized onion macaroni and cheese, topped with sesame seed croutons and bacon. Marinated roasted pork loin, and seasonal mixed steamed vegetables.

Three Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

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Quick and Easy Three Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies! Find the recipe here. I baked these cookies about a minute less time than the recipe said, because I like my cookies soft and chewy.

Ribs Two Ways

Ribs two ways. A Vinegar based BBQ Sauce on the left, from North Carolina. And a Dry Rub on the right from Fette Sau in Brooklyn, NY. 
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Grilled Chicken.
Time to Eat!