Cookie Exchange Time

I am so ready for Wednesday’s Cookie Exchange at work!

I made no-bake Bourbon Street Pecan Balls and Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies.

The Bourbon Street Pecan Balls is a recipe from Rachael Ray…I saw the link for it on the 12 Days of Cookies that my friend Jan sends to me every year. 🙂 (Day 6 looks awesome! I’m going to have to try that one too!)

Ingredients: (makes 3 dozen cookies)

4 Cups pecans
2 Cups crushed Nilla wafer cookies
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
4 Jiggers of bourbon (I used 1/2 cup)
3 TBSP light corn syrup
butter for fingers

Roughly chop 4 cups pecans in a food processor (I hand cranked in nutgrinder), then remove 2 cups and set aside. Finely grind the remaining 2 cups in food processor.

Combine the finely ground pecans, vanilla wafers, powdered sugar, bourbon, and corn syrup. Coat fingers with butter and roll about 1 tsp of mixture into a ball. Roll the balls in the remaining chopped pecans.

Put into refrigerator until serving time.

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The Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies came from Mennonite Girls Can Cook…yes they can, indeedly-doodley!

Ingredients: (makes 3 dozen)

1 Cup butter (butter! not anything else!)
1/2 Cup powdered sugar
1-1/2 Cups flour
1 tsp Pure Vanilla
1/2 Cup gound hazelnuts
chocolate for drizzling, optional

Heat oven to 350F.

Cream butter and sugar well.
Add vanilla.
Add flour and ground nuts and mix well.
Roll teaspoons of dough into small balls.
Place 2″ apart on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Flatten to 1″ (and they really mean it! I found out after the second round what a difference it makes!) in diameter, using the flat bottom of a glass dipped in sugar. (I used white mixed with red and green sugar)
Bake for 8 minutes. Transfer to wire rack for cooling.
Drizzle with melted chocolate.

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Lucy wanting a belly rub.

Peppermint Candy Biscotti and German Hazelnut Cookie Recipes

Not sure how many of you visit the blog Mennonite Girls Can Cook ~ they have awesome recipes over there to try.

Over the snowy weekend I made two of their cookie recipes ~ German Hazelnut Cookies and Peppermint Candy Biscotti

Peppermint Candy Biscotti, Peanut Brittle, German Hazelnut Cookies

The hazelnut cookies are a great shortbread like cookie with yummy chocolate. Very easy to make.

GERMAN HAZELNUT COOKIES
1 cup hazelnuts finely chopped
1 cup sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour

Beat butter and sugar together until light.
Add egg yolk and vanilla.
Blend in flour and hazelnut.
Form into 1″ balls and make an indent on the center with a wooden spoon.

Bake on a greased baking sheet @ 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Cookies should look light in color.

Fill the center with melted semi-sweet chocolate.

I’ve never made biscotti before, not so hard actually! Was quite easy ~ and they are VERY YUMMY INDEED! Am going to make more of these.

PEPPERMINT CANDY BISCOTTI
1/2 cup soft butter
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup crushed peppermint candies
14 ounces vanilla candy coating (I used Raley’s White Chocolate Chunk Chips)
several drops red or pink food coloring (I didn’t use the food coloring, no need…very pretty without it)
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
additional crushed peppermint candy to decorate

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F
2. Combine the soft butter and sugar in a large bowl.
3. Beat until creamy.
4. Add the eggs and continue beating until well mixed.
5. At low speed . ..add the dry ingredients and then the crushed candy.
6. Divide the dough into four pieces and with floured hands .. make each piece into a 9 by 1 1/2 inch log.
7. Place the logs 3 inches apart on a cookie sheet. (I put them on parchment paper…makes taking them off the cookie tin VERY EASY!)
8. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until the tops are cracked and they just begin to brown.
9. Remove from the oven and cool 10 minutes.
10. Reduce oven temperature to 325 F.
11. Carefully remove and slice each log into 1/2 inch slices with a serrated knife.
12. Arrange pieces back on the the cookie sheet cut side down.
13. Continue to bake for another 12 – 14 minutes turning once until light golden brown. and crisp on both sides. Remove to cool on wire racks.
14. Place candy coating in a saucepan and melt very slowly. Remove from heat.
15. Stir in food coloring and peppermint extract.
16. Dip each Biscotti part way into the warm coating and sprinkle with crushed candy canes and allow to set on a wire rack.

And last but not least…here is my Grandma McDonald’s Peanut Brittle recipe that my mom adapted to our high altitude (4500-4700 feet). Since it’s in the picture I’ll post the recipe again.

GRANDMA McDONALD’S PEANUT BRITTLE
Mix together in a large pot the following and bring the mixture to 240F (this is high altitude degrees)…250F for lowlanders.
3 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Water
1 Cup White Syrup

Add 1-1/2 pounds of Raw Peanuts and STIR CONSTANTLY to 290F (high altitude degrees)…300F for lowlanders, then take off heat.

NOTE!!!! Have a large lipped cookie tin (I use one that is about 22″ long) all buttered up ready for the next step.

Stir in:
1/4 tsp of salt
1 TBSP butter
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 tsp Baking Soda

Spread mixture onto the greased cookie tin and let cool. Break when cooled.

Rhubarb Orange Almond Cake ~ Mennonite Girls Can Cook Recipe

Last week I promised the department next door to me, here at work, a dessert for helping me out so much…so went looking for a new recipe to try. I narrowed it down to a Rhubarb recipe as that was one of the few things they ALL liked.

Not sure how many of you have found Mennonite Girls Can Cook…they are AWESOME! That is where I found a rhubarb recipe that was posted 20 July 2008 in Desserts.

RHUBARB ORANGE ALMOND CAKE

4 stalks fresh rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (I cut enough for 4-5 cups)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temp
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup ground almonds
Finely grated peel of 1 small orange (I used a medium size…love orange zest)
2 Tbsp of orange juice (just use your orange that you grated)
1/4 cup blanched sliced almonds

(PICTURES ARE OF A DOUBLE BATCH)

Preheat oven to 375F.

Grease a 9″ springform pan and line the base with parchment paper. (I lined with parchment and then sprayed the pan with flour Pam).

Place cut rhubarb in a bowl and cover with 1/4 cup of the sugar, mix and set a side.

Grate peel and juice the orange…set a side.

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Mix butter and remaining 3/4 cup sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy.

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Add eggs and beat until fluffy.

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Stir in orange zest and juice. Then gently fold in the dry mixture into the butter mixture.

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Stir in sugared rhubarb and then pour into your prepared springform pan.

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Spread batter evenly in pan then sprinkle with sliced almonds.

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Bake for 25 minutes in a 375F oven. Reduce the oven temp to 350F and bake for another 20-25 minutes or until the cake is FIRM. Let set in pan for 10-15 minutes then slide knife around edges and remove from pan.

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Serve warm or cold.

The first time I made it I drizzled powdered sugar/orange juice frosting over the top of the cake. The second and third time…just ate the cake as is. This is one the BESTEST CAKES YOU’LL EVER MAKE!

A New Chicken Recipe to Try! Mushroom Stuffed Chicken in Puff Pastry.

Over at Mennonite Girls Can Cook they posted a Stuffed Chicken Recipe the other day…it looked deeeelish, so I made it last night. The recipe comes from that cutie-patootie chef, Jamie Oliver.

Stuffed Chicken with Mustard Wine Sauce

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 box puff pastry
2 cups mushrooms finely chopped (I ended up with about 3-4 Cups)
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat parsley (I used my Italian Parsley from my garden)
1-1/2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic (HAHAHA! 5 cloves for me)
1/2 tsp salt
3 grinds of fresh pepper (used more than 3 grinds, we love pepper)

Preheat oven to 400F.

Thaw your pastry puff, if frozen.

In a pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute mushrooms and garlic for 5 minutes. Add freshly chopped parsley, salt and pepper, and continue to saute for about 8-10 minutes. Set aside and cool.

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Score Chicken breast with a knife making a pocket. Stuff all chicken breasts with mushroom mixture. (I added a slice of Olive Oil & Rosemary Rubbed Asiago cheese from Raleys that was on sale the other day…I had it and it sounded good to add, so I did!)

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Roll out each puff pastry sheet to about 18×8 and cut down the middle making a total of 4 pieces. Place one breast on each pastry and roll up.

Place the breasts onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

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Beat one egg and brush the outsides of each roll. Bake in 400F oven for 35-40 minutes.

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While your chicken is baking start making the mustard wine sauce in a small pan.

MUSTARD WINE SAUCE

2 heaping (very heaping) Tbsp of whole grain prepared mustard (I used Raley’s brand Spicy Mustard with Horseradish)
1-1/2 cups of white wine (patooey…I love red wine, I didn’t get to do the one for you one for me thing)
1/2 cup of cream

Combine the first two ingredients in a small sauce pan and cook over medium heat, allowing the wine to reduce by 1/4. Turn to simmer and add cream. Allow to simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

I didn’t allow my sauce to reduce, me thinks…as it was a bit runny. BUT IT WAS DELICIOUS!

We had the stuffed chicken, green beans sauteed in olive oil and garlic, and apple sauce.

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Friendship Award

Friendship Award

Friendship Award

My friend and fellow crafter gave me a Friendship Award for my blog ~ 🙂 Thank you DONNA!

Pass it on to five other bloggers and include the “award” photo and the following pre-written text:

“These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to those bloggers who must choose at least 5 more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.”

Hmmm…not really sure where this originated (I wouldn’t say it’s cleverly-written, but I like the intent and will make up my own Friendship reasoning!) ~ but here goes my five blog picks!

1 ~ NEVADA OUTSIDE ~ I pick Kurt for his love of Nevada and her wilderness! What better friend for our lovely state?

2 ~ APRIL'S ATELIER ~ because April is a GREAT FRIEND! 🙂 Love you!

3 ~ DIOSA DOMESTICA De La LOCURA ~ Well, Penny is one of my new Crazy Friends. 🙂 Life is certainly more interesting knowing she’s out there in this great big world!

4 ~ MENNONITE GIRLS CAN COOK ~ I’m sorry…but what says friendship more than a bunch of ladies that share their favorite recipes with you?! And for GOODNESS SAKES! There is a WHOOPIE PIE COOKIE recipe today!!!

5 ~ BLAZE DANIELLE ~ Blaze is a sweetie who shares her artwork with the rest of us.