Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cranberry Pecan Bread

We did Christmas breakfast after opening presents. My son made his usual fabulous quiche (best ever I think) and I brought this to have for a sweet treat.

(adapted from Cooks Illustrated)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2/3 cup buttermilk
6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg, beaten lightly
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups craisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x5" loaf pan; dust with flour, tapping out extra, or use Pam. Stir together the orange zest, orange juice, buttermilk, butter, and egg in a small bowl. Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients with a spatula until just moistened. Gently stir in the cranberries and pecans. Do not overmix. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees. Continue to bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 to 45 minutes longer. Cool in the pan 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool at least 1 hour before serving. The bread can then be wrapped and stored at room temperature for several days.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

My Christmas Wish To YOU
By Catherine Pulsifer
If I could wish a wish for you, it would be for peace and happiness
not only now, but for the whole year through!
I wish that there always be food on your table.
And that you always remember those less fortunate.
May you always take time to share,
and thank those who share with you.
I wish for time, so you may reflect on the blessings that you have,
and that you express your love to those who are dear to you.
May you never feel lonely, because there are those who care.
That you realize: you are special, you are unique,
you make a difference, not only at Christmas, but all year!
I wish for your thoughts to be positive ones,
that you never quit, that you never give up,
and that you continue to learn.
I wish for the love, peace, and joy of Christmas be yours always.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cookie Exchange 2009

My friend Trudy hosted a cookie exchange at her house this year. We had to bake 8 dozen of a cookie to share with the other bakers. We had a nice assortment of goodies all packed so nice. Below is a picture of the table with all the cookies. I also took a couple of appetizers so we could have something besides sweets to eat. Trudy and I both had made a Rachel Ray appetizer from one of her magazines in the past, Corny Bites. These are really good and easy to throw together. I also took the cranberry/horseradish over cream cheese that I posted at Thanksgiving time. Trudy has the most beautiful Christmas tree with hundreds of ornaments she has collected. We had such a good time sharing baking stories and played a right/left game for a door prize. We think the next time we do this we might do an 'Appetizer Exchange'. I think that's a great idea as a change from the normal cookie exchange.

Here's the table of cookies:

Here are the cookies I made.


1 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla 2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 package (3 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup flaked coconut

TOPPING: (optional -- I didn't do this)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup confectioners sugar

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Shape into 1 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Make a deep indentation in the center of each cookie. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until the edges just start to brown. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. For the filling, beat cream cheese, sugar, flour and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Add pecans and
coconut; mix well. Spoon 1/2 tsp. into each cookie. For topping, heat chocolate chips, butter and water in a small saucepan until melted. Stir in sugar. Drizzle over cookies.


1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
1 large egg
1/2 cup frozen corn kernals, defrosted
48 scoop shaped tortilla chips
Chopped chives or cilantro for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cream cheese, pepper jack cheese, egg, and corn together. Place a teaspoon in each scoop. Bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with chives or cilantro.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Banana Cookie Bars

Time to begin taking treats to work for the holiday season. I went in search of something new to make and keeping in mind ingredients I had on hand. I used the handy Blog Search and found a couple of entries for this recipe. One at Genesis of a Cook and also at Anna's blog at Cookie Madness. These are a little twist to the normal Magic Cookie Bars.


1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp. salt1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioner sugar
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
2 bananas, mashed
2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup pecans
2/3 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Spray the paper with Pam. In a large bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, beat butter and confectioner sugar until creamy. Add dry mixture. This will be a very stiff dough. Press mixture into prepared baking pan and bake for 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix together condensed milk and bananas together until smooth. Once the crust has baked for 15 minutes, take out and pour the banana mixture over it. Combine the chocolate chips, pecans and coconut together in a bowl and sprinkle over the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely, roughly around 10-15 minutes. Then, chill in the fridge for about an hour. To chill quicker, place in the freezer for 25 minutes.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

We had a birthday breakfast celebration at work yesterday for a coworker. I went in search of a coffee cake recipe to make. I just love Besides getting great recipes, you have other cooks who have posted reviews and made comments about changes they made. According to the group who ate this, it was a good cake.


1 cup butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan. In a large bowl, cream together 1 cup butter and white sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the sour cream and vanilla. Mix in 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt. Spread 1/2 of batter in the prepared pan. This batter is really thick and this is a bit of a challenge, but just work with it and it.

Prepare the filling: In a medium bowl mix 1/3 cup flour, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and cinnamon. Sprinkle cake batter with 1/2 the filling. Spread second half of batter over the filling, and top with remaining filling.

Bake 35 minutes in the preheated oven or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.