Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pecan Sandies

These little cookies go by all sorts of names, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Sand Tarts, Snowballs, but we have always called them Sandies in our house. Another traditional cookie on the Christmas plates each year.

PECAN SANDIES

1 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup pecans, chopped fine

Mix all ingredients. Chill dough for 3-4 hours. Roll into 1 inch balls. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes until lightly browned. While still warm roll in powdered sugar and let cool. I always roll them a second time before storing.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Almond Joy Cookies

I helped my son make some cookies to take to his coworkers last weekend. This is a cookie he has made for a couple years now and is a staple on his Christmas cookie list.

ALMOND JOY COOKIES

1 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla
4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 packages semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
2 cups chopped almonds

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray cookie sheets or use parchment paper. Combine dry ingredients, set aside. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugars together. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients until mixed well then stir in chocolate chips, coconut, and almonds. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake 10 minutes or until light brown. Cool on a rack.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hidden Valley Oyster Crackers

I went to a boat parade last evening. The boats were so pretty all decorated with lights and Christmas carols playing. My friends who hosted the party have a beautiful home and had a wonderful spread of food but I couldn't go empty-handed so I took these little crackers along. Easy little something to take along.

HIDDEN VALLEY OYSTER CRACKERS

16 ounces plain oyster crackers
1 package Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil

You can add any kind of seasonings you like. Dill and lemon pepper are often used. Or you could add anything you like.

Mix all ingredients in a roasting pan and place in a 250 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove and stir and put in for an additional 10 minutes.

German Chocolate Cake

I was asked by a coworker to bake a German Chocolate Cake for her husband's birthday. The edges of my layers were not pretty, so instead of doing the traditional layering of the icing I just covered the whole thing.


GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot coffee or boiling water
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare three 8 inch cake pans with Pam or butter and line with parchment paper. Melt chocolate and cool to room temperature. In a separate bowl mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl combine the coffee and buttermilk. In another bowl beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and continue beating until fluffy (about 3 to 5 minutes). Add the eggs one at a time mixing well after each. Add the vanilla extract and beat to combine. Add the coffee/buttermilk mixture with the flour in 3 additions beginning and ending with flour. Mix only until ingredients are well combined. Fold in the melted chocolate.

Divide the batter evenly among the three prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for about 30 - 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 20 minutes. Cool the cakes completely before frosting.

COCONUT PECAN FROSTING:

1 cup chopped toasted pecans
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
3 large eggs slightly beaten
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, milk, egg yolks, and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil and thicken. Remove from heat. Add pecans and coconut. Mixture will thicken more as it cools. Spread on cake.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Snickerdoodle Blondies

Time to start making goodies for the office. I have been looking for things to make this year and haven't been really inspired yet. Making snickerdoodles into bars has been an idea floating around for a while so I thought I'd give it a try. These are not too bad, but I think the real deal snickerdoodle cookie is much better.

SNICKERDOODLE BLONDIES

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray and/or line a 9×13 inch pan. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt and set aside. In another bowl beat together the butter, brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time. Add vanilla. Mix until smooth batter. Stir in the flour mixture until well blended. Spread evening in prepared pan. Combine the granulated sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle on top. Press into the batter a little bit. Bake 25 to 30 minutes at 350 until light brown. Cool and cut into squares.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Coconut Cream Pie




Just getting around to posting this pie I made for Thanksgiving. I also made one for work yesterday for a birthday. When I got ready to make the pie for work I realized my pie plate was still at my son's house. So I made 1-1/2 recipes of this and put the crust in a 9 x 13 pan. Looked different, but tasted the same. I had no complaints. This pie cuts beautifully and goes together in a flash truly. Tastes like something you would get at a restaurant with little or no fuss.

OLD FASHIONED COCONUT CREAM PIE

3 cups half and half or milk
2 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour or cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cup sweetened coconut, toasted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 (9 inch) pastry, baked
1 16 oz. Cool Whip, thawed.


Prepare your pie dough. Bake crust per usual and set aside. Combine half-and-half, eggs, sugar, flour and salt altogether in a heavy sauce pan. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in 1 cup of the coconut and the vanilla extract. Pour into pie shell and chill 2 to 4 hours, or until firm.

Top with Cool Whip and with remaining 1/4 cup of coconut.