So about two and a half weeks ago, I decided I need to bake an extravagant assortment of Christmas cookies. I probably spent upwards of 24 hours in the kitchen over the course of the weekend, and I started to update this blog...and then completely forgot to finish it. But now that the cookies have been distributed from here to the East Coast, I figured I should at least publish the recipes I used in case anyone wants to replicate any of these delightful treats! I cannot take credit for creating any of the recipes but I'd like to think I have a good eye for picking out a recipe and executing it to its best potential.
Molasses Sugar Cookies - one of my all time favorites. Super important to chill the dough over night. Even after you roll the dough in the sugar prior to baking, I refrigerate again.
Holiday Biscotti - Pretty holiday colors with cranberries & pistachios, dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with colored sugar.
Snowballs - Otherwise known as Russian Tea Cakes or Mexican Wedding Cookies. A favorite when I was a kid!
Super Gooey Chocolate Drops - These are best fresh - slightly unbaked so they stay gooey.
Rugelach - My first attempt at these - NOT easy. The dough was very sticky and required a lot more flour before rolling out. Getting the dough super thin was also a challenge but the chocolate, raspberry and pecan filling was much more prominent when the dough was thinner. I will definitely try making these again, I think they have great potential! Plus you can do whatever combination of fillings that you like.
Chocolate Peppermint Surprise cookies - I actually ripped a page out of my Rachael Ray magazine to make these but someone else beat me to typing it up. A lot of work and MESSY - I was covered in white chocolate by time these were done. I didn't think the chocolate cookie recipe was anything special but the mint inside and the white chocolate on top made these pretty darn good. I got a lot of positive reviews on these!
Cranberry Orange Cookies - My mom really loves these so I had to make some to bring home. I used pecans instead of walnuts. Nice combination of tart and sweet with the drizzle on top.
Here's the whole assortment, along with a few white chocolate covered Peppermint Joe-Joe's.
After a long baking weekend and entirely too much time on my feet, I still had enough energy to cook up a really good Sunday dinner. Rebecca was kind enough to whip up a batch of her homemade pasta to serve with a new recipe for Brussels Sprouts and my own rendition of Chicken Picatta, which I hadn't made in years.
These Brussels Sprouts were seriously the most delicious sprouts I'd ever eaten. Very simply roasted but the lemon dressing with Romano cheese made these so good you'd regret ever feeding your vegetables to your dog as a kid. Although I tested the recipe out on my parents and niece & nephew and the kids still wouldn't try them. I blame my mom for telling them "they're like little cabbages!" as if that would entice the kids to eat these based on previous bad experiences. But seriously, if you haven't liked them before, this recipe could change your mind.
Then there's my Chicken Piccata recipe. I've attempted to write it down several times but I don't measure anything so here's sorta what I did:
I used 2 chicken breasts; butterflied and then smacked the crap out of them until 1/4 inch thick. The chicken was salted & peppered, and then I used a small sifter to coat them lightly in flour on both sides. Heat up some butter and olive oil (tablespoon-ish of each) in a skillet. When hot, add the chicken and cook until browned on one side, flip and cook through completely. Remove from pan and then add the juice of 2-ish lemons, a few ounces of white wine (I think I used Chardonnay), and whisk it all up to get all the tasty bits from the pan. Then using the sifter, add in a little flour to thicken the sauce. Taste, add more wine/lemon/butter as necessary - actually this time we added a bit of the pasta water because the lemon & wine combo had a bite to it. Once the sauce is thickened, add the chicken back in the pan. Serve with tasty homemade pasta and brussels sprouts!
Oh and this past weekend I baked some Snickerdoodle Cupcakes and decorated them like Rudolph! I didn't take any pictures of the process but here's one of the disgruntled Rudolphs with slightly googly eyes. The eyes are white chocolate chips with a dot of gel frosting...pretzel antlers, and a Chocolate Cinnamon M&M for the nose.