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Turkey Enchiladas



 Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States and many of us will be gathering around the table with family and friends to have our traditional meal of Turkey with all the fixings and side dishes that our families enjoy. For dessert there will be pumpkin pie and other favorites. Over the next few days we might wonder what to do with the leftover turkey. Here is one idea for those leftovers.

  • Flour or Corn tortillas
  • Shredded cooked turkey
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Refried or whole beans (black, ranch or pinto)
  • Enchilada or Ranchero Sauce

Take one flour or corn tortilla at a time and fill with shredded leftover turkey, a little shredded cheese and refried or whole beans.  Fold and place seam side down in a casserole dish side by side. Cover with your favorite sauce and more cheese.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until sauce bubbles well and cheese melts.

I used green enchilada sauce and flour tortillas because that is what I had on hand. Corn tortillas would lend themselves well to this recipe. A red ranchero sauce instead of the green enchilada sauce would be a moce alternative.You could also substitute your favorite salsa in place of the sauce for this simple turkey leftover dish. If you only need a quick meal for one, place ingredients in your choice of tortilla and heat in the microwave.


Happy Thanksgiving! We at MGCC are very thankful for all of you!

Linguini with Turkey and Sun Dried Tomatoes


After our family gathering on Thanksgiving weekend, I, like many of you, 
had leftover turkey in the fridge.
Here's what I did with it for supper last night.
  • linguini noodles to serve 4
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 a medium sized onion, sliced stem to root
  • 1 stalk celery sliced
  • 1/2 a yellow pepper cut into strips
  • 1 large clove garlic sliced into strips
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes (in oil) drained and cut into strips
  • 1 1/2 cups cut up cooked turkey
  • 2 tablespoon butter (I used leftover garlic butter)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • Parmesan cheese.

  1. Cook noodles to package directions until al dente.
  2. Drain and set aside.
  3. While noodles are cooking, saute vegetables in olive oil until soft but not browned.
  4. Add sundried tomatoes and turkey to the vegetables and set aside.
  5. Make cream sauce by melting butter, blending in flour and then adding milk.
  6. Cook, stirring often until thickened.
  7. Add  thyme and salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Add noodles to the saute' pan with the vegetables.
  9. Pour the cream sauce over the noodles and vegetables and toss to moisten.
  10. Add grated parmesan cheese  (be generous!) and serve.

Southwest Turkey (or chicken) Soup

Warm up a cold winter day with a bowl of steaming soup chocked full of healthy and satisfying ingredients...with a little kick of spice. I used homemade turkey stock for the base, and left over turkey. 
You can easily change up and use chicken or even a vegetable stock, adding a few more veggies and beans and omit the meat altogether. That's the beauty of many soups....use a recipe for a guide and make it your own by adding what you have on hand. Freezes well in large glass mason jars or freezer containers. Leave a little room in jars for expansion if freezing.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 cups turkey stock, or alternative of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1 113g (14oz) green chilies
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 540 ml (19 oz)can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups cooked rice, brown or white
  • 2 cups turkey, chopped fine, or use chicken or extra vegetables in place of turkey
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Place oil in a large soup pot and heat. Add onions and garlic. Saute for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add stock and water to pot. Stir in tomato soup. Bring to a slow boil.
  3. Add remaining ingredients. Stir and turn down to a medium/low.
  4. Cook soup for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Adding salt and pepper as needed. If you want it spicier, add more seasoning powder.

Turkey Pot Pies in Puff Pastry


Maybe you still have some left over cooked turkey in your freezer to try these for a ladies' lunch. These fancy turkey puffs are something my mom made for our engagement party and stand out in my memory because she rarely made something from a package. I think the recipe may have been on the Tenderflake Patty Shells box and must have looked good to her. I do not have that original recipe, but have re-created it according to memory and taste. 

Ingredients for 6 shells:
  • 1 pkg Tenderflake Patty Shells (frozen)
  • 1/3 cup onion, chopped fine
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 tsp better than bouillon or 1/2 bouillon cube (chicken)
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups cooked turkey, cubed
  • 1 cup petite peas, steamed 
Method:
  1. Bake patty shells at 400 F for about 20 - 25 minutes, until nice golden in color. Gently remove lid and remove any layers inside that appear wet. Discard them. Leave shells on cooling rack.
  2. In saucepan, cook onion in butter until soft. 
  3. Over low/medium heat, stir in flour and then slowly add milk, a little at a time, stirring to make a white sauce. Add chicken bouillon seasoning.
  4. Stir in turkey and peas. This filling should be a thick consistency. If needed, add more turkey.
  5. The shells are best if served fresh on day of, filled with hot filling and warmed in oven for 5 minutes. Filled patties can be reheated if served next day.

Easy Turkey Pot Pie

This is an easy to make Turkey Pot Pie. I used our leftover turkey and turkey broth that was frozen from our Thanksgiving meal. You of course can substitute chicken if that's what is in your freezer.

Ingredients:
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Cup Onion chopped
  • 2 potatoes peeled and diced
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 Cups turkey Stock
  • 3 Cups turkey bite size pieces or shreds
  • 16 ounce package of frozen peas with carrots, thawed.
  • 1 prepared package of pie crust 
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 egg for egg wash beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large saute pan saute chopped onion and potatoes in melted butter till onion is translucent.
  3. Sprinkle flour over mixture and mix well and continue cooking for at least 2 minutes.
  4. Add all the turkey stock at once and heat to a boil.
  5. Add turkey and vegetables and mix well.
  6. Taste and season as needed.
  7. Empty the whole mixture into a 9 x 12 prepared casserole.
  8. Cover with the prepared pie crust. You might need to manipulate the crust to fit the dish.
  9. Brush the crust with the egg wash and place in preheated oven.
  10. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until crust is golden brown.


Turkey Vegetable Chowder

Although we are entering spring according to the calendar, it feels more like winter around here and so we are still enjoying our winter soups and fresh breads. I got this recipe for turkey chowder from a friend of mine many years ago, when she still had five children to cook for and this was one of their family favorites. What's not to like about it? It has become one of our family favorites as well and so I will pass it along for you to try.



Turkey Vegetable Chowder
  • 2 turkey legs
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery (with tops), chopped
  • 4-5 potatoes, cubed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 can cream-style corn
  • 1 can corn whole kernel corn
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • chopped fresh parsley for garnish
  1. Put turkey legs in a large stockpot with ten cups of water. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until turkey is very tender. Using slotted spoon, remove turkey legs and set aside to cool.
  2. Add onion, potato, carrots and celery, salt, pepper, and basil...and simmer for about 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Cut turkey into bite sized pieces (discarding skin and bone) and add to the soup pot along with the corn.
  3. Using a wire whip, combine flour and milk and stir mixture into soup. Add grated cheese and cook, stirring constantly, until soup returns to a boil. Cook several minutes longer to melt cheese and thicken slightly. Sprinkle with parsley.

Notes: I buy turkey drumsticks in the frozen meat section of the grocer...and prefer the smoked turkey drumsticks. They are more pricey, but give the soup a bit a smokey flavour. I have also used turkey leftovers to make this soup. Fresh basil is a wonderful addition.


Buche de Noel with Mushroom Meringues


This simple to make chocolate cake roll is gluten free and whips up in no time. 
The instructions may look daunting but if you read through them you will see that they are easy to do.


You can serve this dessert simply by filling with whipped cream and dusting the top with powdered sugar or you can go all out and cover it with buttercream, garnish with chocolate bark and meringue mushrooms.


The meringue mushrooms are best made on a dry day and we haven't had many of them around the west coast so when we had a cold spell this last weekend I was delighted to make up a batch of meringues. 



Buche de Noel (Yule Log)

  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • powdered/confectioners/icing sugar for dusting tea towel
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.  
  2. Line a 10 X 15 inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper.  
  3. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar until they are thick and pale.  Sift in the unsweetened cocoa powder, vanilla and salt and continue to beat until combined.
  4. With clean beaters,  beat egg whites in a large bowl with cream of tartar and slowly add 1/4 of the sugar.  Beat until stiff peaks form.
  5. Add a spoonful of the egg whites to the beaten egg yolk mixture and stir.  Add another spoonful and stir again.  This lightens up the batter.  Carefully fold the remaining egg whites carefully into the egg yolk mixture.
  6. Spread batter into prepared pan and bake 15 minutes.  Cake should spring back when lightly touched. 
  7. While the cake is baking, dust confectioner's/powdered sugar.  Flip the warm cake onto the powdered sugar and carefully remove parchment paper.
  8. Roll up from the long side.  Don't roll tight and be gentle.  Cool.


Filling for the Buche de Noel
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 packages whipping cream stabilizer (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Whip together whipping cream and powdered sugar with the whipping cream stabilizer if you are using it.  If you don't have access to whipping cream stabilizer, you can use a heaping teaspoon of instant vanilla pudding but then eliminate the vanilla extract. Add in vanilla extract when soft peaks form.
  2. Gently unroll cooled cake.  Spread whipped cream evenly over cake and roll up again using the tea towel to help.
  3. Place seam side down on a platter.  Keep in mind that you will be cutting off a little piece of one end of the roll off to form a branch on the side.
Buttercream Frosting
  • 3/4 cup softened butter
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 cups powdered/ confectioners/ icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • a bit of milk 
  1. Cream butter in a large bowl.  Sift together cocoa powder and icing sugar into the bowl.
  2. Beat together, adding vanilla and a bit of milk to make a spreadable consistency.
  3. Spread over the Buche de Noel.
  4. Cut a 3 or 4 inch piece of the cake roll off on a diagonal and place it on the side of the cake to make a branch.
Chocolate Bark
  • 1 cup chocolate chips or chocolate bar
  1. Melt slowly over low heat in a small pot or melt in the microwave, stirring every 15 seconds. 
  2. Spread the chocolate over parchment paper and chill until it hardens.
  3. Roll the parchment paper with the chocolate into a tube.  Unroll.  You should have bark like chocolate bark.
  4. Place chocolate bark all over the log.
  5. Sift with icing sugar.




Mushroom Meringues

  • 2 egg whites
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • cocoa powder
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Beat egg whites in a large bowl with cream of tartar until foamy.  Add sugar a little bit at a time until stiff peaks form.
  3. Place a large hole piping tip into a piping bag. Fill with meringue.
  4. Pipe out meringue imagining the size of the mushroom cap you want to achieve.  Don't lift the tip until it is the size you want.  Stop pressure on the bag and lift up the tip.  After all the caps have been piped, use a damp finger to pat down the point.
  5. To make the mushroom stems.  Pipe stems, lifting the tip as you apply pressure.   Sift a tiny bit of cocoa powder over mushroom caps before baking. 
  6. Place in the oven.  Turn oven off after one minute and then leave in oven 2 hours.



Once meringues have cooled, cut a bit off the top of the stem.


Melt a bit more chocolate and spread the bottom of the mushroom cap with melted chocolate.



Put the stem on and allow to cool.  

Decorate your Buche de Noel with the mushrooms and use a bit of fake greenery to complete your masterpiece.  (mushrooms should remain at room temperature, so add them just before putting the Buche de Noel on display to serve)

Refrigerate until serving time.  



Crockpot Stuffing

My sister-in-law always cooks her stuffing in the crockpot and shared her recipe with me. I combined it with the recipe that I have been making for decades and have found it to be a great way to prepare stuffing for a crowd. The steam keeps the stuffing moist and piping hot until serving time.

 

  • 1 loaf of firm white bread, cut into 3/4 inch cubes (about 10 cups of cubes)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1-2 cups chopped celery
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons poultry seasoning (or 1 1/2 teaspoons sage and 1 teaspoon thyme)
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (add more if you prefer a very moist stuffing) 

  1. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Cook onion and celery until veggies soften...stirring frequently.
  2. In large mixing bowl, combine bread cubes, seasonings and onion mixture. Add enough broth to moisten. Transfer to slow cooker and cover.
  3. Cook on high for 1 hour. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 4 hours.
  4. Serves 10.
Notes:
I always double the recipe (using 1/2 whole wheat bread and half white)...just the right amount for my crockpot.  You can also stuff the turkey and cook the remaining stuffing in the crockpot. When it is time to carve the turkey, add turkey stuffing to crockpot; combine well and keep piping hot until dinner time.

Coffee Table Munchies


Just a quick idea for a healthy coffee table snack. Begin with one kind or a variety of shelled or un-shelled nuts such as walnuts, hazelnuts or pistachios.  Add an assortment of dried fruit such as cranberries, apples, apricots, banana chips and mango. Depending on how large your platter and the people who will be around, you may like to throw in some pretzels or candy. I like the look of star anise and cinnamon sticks in the mix, just for looks of course. And that's it for today. Enjoy!

Antipasto Platter


Recently I was asked to bring an appetizer to a baby shower.
Being in the middle of kitchen renovations, I was looking for something
I could make in the limited space of my camper kitchen.
This Antipasto platter was a good solution.
It would also be a great make-ahead starter for a summer barbeque.
You can come up with your own additions or substitutions but here is what I used on this platter.

  • 1 jar pickled asparagus
  • 1 package mini sweet peppers (can be found at Costco and most large supermarkets)
  • 1 package herbed soft cheese (like Boursin)
  • Several varieties of dry salami - I used Wine salami and Bagged salami
  • Fontina  or other Italian cheese cut into 1"x1"x 3" sticks
  • canteloupe melon balls
  • sliced proscuitto (Italian smoked  ham)
  • cherry tomatoes
  • several varieties of olives from the deli
  • Small balls of Bocconcini ( fresh mozzarella)
  • Fresh herbs made into a mini bouquet and lettuce for garnish
  1. Roll  a slice of salami around each pickled asparagus spear
  2. Halve and remove seeds from mini peppers Leaving the stem if possible.
  3. Stuff each pepper half with herbed soft cheese
  4. Wrap each melon ball in a slice of proscuitto and secure with a toothpick
  5. Arrange all items on a large serving platter and garnish.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving

Whipped Shortbread


Love these little shortbread cookie nuggets! Pop one in your mouth and it just melts. You cannot stop at one..I know, I've tried! I've been making them for a number of years for Christmas and they never disappoint.
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  1. Whip butter and icing sugar together until creamy.
  2. Slowly add in the flour, then turn your mixer to the whip setting.
  3. Whip mixture for 6 to7 minutes scraping sides occasionally. Longer length of whipping time results in lighter shortbread.
  4. Use a cookie press if you have one, or you can use a small cookie scoop or teaspoon and place cookie dough on parchment lined pans. You may decorate with sprinkles, coconut, or pieces of cherries. I prefer to leave them plain.
  5. Bake in a 275º oven for 30 minutes.
  6. They freeze well.

Green Beans with Cranberries and Walnuts



This recipe is a lovely compliment for your Christmas dinner. The citrus brightens the flavor of frozen green beans and gives them a fresh taste.
Serves 6-8
  • 1 kg frozen green beans
  • 3 cloves of garlic, slivered
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • handful of dried cranberries
  • 1 cup of toasted nuts, chopped (walnuts were my choice)
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  1. Roast the green beans and garlic drizzled with olive oil  at 425 for about 20 or minutes or until they begin to turn color.
  2. Toss with the lime zest and juice, add cranberries and toasted walnuts. Serve on a platter. 


Bacon-wrapped Cocktail Sausages


During the holiday season, we have many occasions to serve appetizers. Here's a tasty number that is simple to prepare and a great addition to the appetizer buffet table.


  • 1 package cocktail smoked sausage links (500 g or 1 pound)
  • 1 lb bacon, any kind 
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, not packed  
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F degrees.
  2. Spray 9x13 inch oven-proof pan with cooking oil.
  3. Open package of bacon and cut the entire slab into thirds.
  4. Wrap a third of a slice of bacon around each cocktail sausage.
  5. Place each bacon wrapped sausage in pan, crowding them together to fit in pan.
  6. Spread brown sugar over entire surface.
  7. Bake for 40-45 minutes, basting with 'drippings' several times to dissolve the sugar.
  8. Cook until sugar is completely melted and bacon is thoroughly cooked.
  9. Remove cocktail sausages to serving platter, using toothpicks to serve as appetizers.
Serves 10.

We enjoyed these tasty little morsels at our MGCC Christmas party over the weekend...along with so many other wonderful eats and treats.
  

 If you need an idea for a festive way to serve cheese...


...here's a simple one!

We have had a good time getting to know one another these past few years...
but at our Christmas party we realized that we don't know each other all that well after all.

We played a MGCC trivia game...
the object being to find someone in our group (or their spouse) 
who could answer to each of the statements.

It took awhile...
and we needed a few clues...
and eventually Kathy came up with all the correct answers.
I'll post the game below...
just in case you wish to get to know us a little better.

1.     I once fell into a manure pit. ~ Julie

2.     I drove a dump truck short distances for my dad before I started  school at age 5. ~ Harv (Bev)

3.    I played in a band at Disneyland.  ~ Kathy

4.     I fear water more than I fear heights. ~Anneliese

5.     I rode an Enduro bike with Jake brakes. ~ Marg

6.     I coached football. ~ John (Betty)

7.     I once had a sea lion come to visit me in my backyard on July 1st…it swam up the drainage ditch. ~ Elmer (Judy)

8.     I once kayaked through the Cayes and jungles of Belize for over 2 weeks, camping each night. ~Bev

9.     The first job I took was assisting the town drunk hitchhike.  He told me that he would get a ride easier if he had kids with him. He paid me a few coins for standing with him.  ~Terry (Lovella)

10.   I ran a leg with the Olympic torch in the 1984 Olympics. ~Greg (Ellen)

11.   I had a blood transfusion at birth. ~ Betty

12.   My first car was a 4-door ‘47 Mercury flathead V8 with suicide doors and a honeymoon shifter 3-speed. ~ John (Marg)

13.   I weighed in at 13 pounds when I was born. ~Herb (Anneliese)

14.   I speak three languages and two dialects fluently. ~Tony (Charlotte)

15.   I was attacked by a snowflake eel while snorkeling in Hawaii. ~Judy

16.   I skipped the second grade and was always younger than my classmates. ~ Ellen

17.   I designed and made the prototype for fiberglass floats for Conair water planes. ~Vic (Julie)

18.   I used to play accordion. ~Scot (Kathy)

19.   I have travelled to 21 countries. ~Charlotte

20.  I was once the fastest runner of all the girls in my school and competed in the Provincial Games. ~Lovella

Who knew?

Enjoy the weekend...
and these last few days before Christmas!



Caramel Popcorn Twists

My sister Norma told me that I had to try this recipe..'addictive' she said. Is that good I wondered:) But I couldn't pass it up and decided to go for it. I bought a bag of popcorn twists and started cooking!
It is 'addictive' just like she said! Share with others and consume in small amounts (if you can)..it's all good:)

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 lb butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • I tsp baking soda
  • 1- 175 g bag of popcorn twists.
Directions:
  1. Pour popcorn twists into a large roaster pan and set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, bring to boil the butter, sugar and syrup. Cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add baking soda, this will foam up and the mixture will thicken. Allow the foam to cook down slightly and remove from heat.
  4. Add vanilla and stir.
  5. Pour caramel mixture over popcorn twists and stir until well mixed.
  6. Bake in 225º oven for 50 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and pour on a large pan to cool.
  8. When cool break apart and store in a covered container.

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

The other day I was having coffee with Terry's aunt Wendy and she told me about the cookies she had brought to her cookie exchange. . .I just had to try making some like them, they sounded like they would be as pretty as they would taste.


Chocolate Peppermint Drop Cookies

  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 farm fresh egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup hot coffee. . or water
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons crushed candy canes
  1. Cream the butter with the sugar.
  2. Add the egg and the vanilla and beat well.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the hot coffee and the cocoa and stir until no lumps remain.
  4. After it has completely cooled, add to the sugar mixture.
  5. Combine the dry ingredients and add to the creamed mixture.
  6. Add the chocolate chips and the crushed candy canes.
  7. Drop by a small ice cream scoop onto a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.
  8. Bake for about 8 minutes for little cookies at 350. The shiny spot in the middle of the cookie should have gone dull. . .but don't wait longer than that to remove them from the oven.
  9. Melt 1 cup each of chocolate chips and white chocolate chips.
  10. Put the melted chocolate in a zip loc bag or cake decorating bag and cut a small hole in the corner to squeeze the chocolate onto the cookie as shown.
  11. Sprinkle a little bit of crushed candy cane on top of each cookie while the chocolate is still melted.
Yield: 3 1/2 dozen small cookies

Peanut Butter Blossoms


When my children were young, during the Advent season, they could each pick there favorite Christmas cookie and bake with me. I found baking separately with them more helpful than having them all in the kitchen with me at the same time (it is my turn to crack the egg, how come she always gets too) and I think they did too, and it builds lasting positive memories for everyone. Our son usually picked this recipe. Now he would much rather just eat the cookies than help me bake them.
  • 3/4 cup softened butter or margarine
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cup flour sifted with
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • extra sugar to roll the cookies in
  1. Cream butter, peanut butter and sugars well.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla, beat again.
  3. Add the flour mixture and mix well.
  4. Chill for 30 minutes.
  5. Form round ball from about one inch.
  6. Roll balls in sugar and place on un-greased baking sheets.
  7. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes. (I do 10).
  8. When they come out of the oven, immediately place a chocolate kiss, rose bud or macaroon on top. They will melt and then when cooled completely they have become one with the cookie and stay in place.

HAPPY BAKING





Peppermint Pretties


This is one of those recipes that 'happened by mistake'...and has become an annual favorite.  We were served these tasty little peppermint morsels at a Christmas open-house many years ago.  The hostess kindly gave out the recipe. I thought I had copied it out wrong since the butter was missing...so I added half a cup of butter. The cookies were delightful and I have made them every Christmas since.  I later discovered that there really was no butter in the original version...but I'm sticking to my updated recipe.  Everything tastes better with butter.  Right?  These freeze well and taste great straight from the freezer.

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream (whipping cream)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Cream softened butter and sugar.
  2. Add cream, egg and peppermint extract; beat until smooth.
  3. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Chill dough for at least one hour.
  5. Roll out to about 1/4" thick and cut with tiny cookie cutters.
  6. Bake at 350°F for 5-6 or until bottoms begin to brown.
  7. Drizzle with peppermint frosting. (For pale green icing add food colouring.)
  8. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes, if desired.
 Peppermint Frosting:
  • 1/4 cup soft butter
  • 2 cups icing sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  1. Beat softened butter until smooth and creamy. 
  2. Add powdered sugar, milk and peppermint extract. Beat until smooth.
  3. Add a little more milk if necessary in order to drizzle the icing.
Yield: 10 dozen 1 1/2" cookies.


*Tip ~ Put icing into a Ziploc bag, snip the corner and drizzle over the cookies.

Have you done any Christmas baking yet? 

PS From all of us to all of you who are celebrating Thanksgiving today...Happy Thanksgiving!

Fruitcake Scones


I like fruitcake..am I in the minority? I do have my favorite fruitcake though which I bake for Christmas. I also loved the green glaced and red marashino with nuts in these scones. A perfect addition to a Christmas brunch.
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup glazed green cherries, diced
  • 1/4 cup red marashino cherries, diced
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup almonds, sliced
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  1. In a medium size bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until it's like coarse crumbs.
  3. Fold fruits and nuts into the flour mixture until coated.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together eggs, cream and extracts.
  5. Add wet ingredients to dry just until blended.
  6. Turn dough out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, knead just until dough comes together in a ball. 
  7. Flatten dough into a pie shaped circle, approx 1 inch in thickness and cut into 12 wedges or more depending on the size of pieces you want. 
  8. Bake in a 400º oven for 15 to 17 minutes or until lightly browned.
  9. Serve plain with butter, cream cheese, or devonshire cream. Or drizzle with icing and sprinkle with sliced almonds.

Glazed Honey Cookies


Some of you may recognize this Christmas cookie. Our moms and grandmothers went to some work mixing up their large recipes of spiced and glazed cookies, but once they were done and stored away in a cool place, they kept for a long time. In fact, I find they taste better as they age and they do not take up freezer space. Although a recipe for honey cookies with a quick glaze method has already been posted, I'm sharing this one for variation (it does not have baking ammonia) and gives you the option of a boiled glaze. This recipe is cut in half already to make it more user friendly. It still makes 8 dozen.
Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cups butter, room temp
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cups sour cream
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground star anise
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves or allspice 
Glaze
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 egg whites
Method:
  1. Beat butter, gradually adding sugar, then honey, eggs and sour cream, beating well after each addition.
  2. Mix baking powder, soda and spices into some of the flour and add to wet ingredients
  3. Continue adding flour 1 cup at a time (this can be done in a kitchen machine with a dough hook) until mixed thoroughly. Dough will be on the soft side, like a cookie batter.
  4. Pat top smooth with spatula and refrigerate overnight or up to a few days.
  5. Lightly grease and flour aluminum cookie sheets. Tilt cookie sheets and tap end to distribute the flour evenly.
  6. Divide dough into quarters. Dust rolling mat or counter with flour. Taking one quarter portion at a time, using both hands, roll into a thick, 24 inch long roll, then cut into 1 inch slices and roll each slice into a ball.
  7. Bake at 375° F for about 12 minutes on upper rack of oven - no lower than center of oven. Check bottom of cookie for light browning before taking out of oven. You don't want to over bake them but you also don't want the top to sink.
  8. Cool on wire racks.
Glazing
  1. Line cookie sheets with wax paper.
  2. In a medium sized glass bowl, beat egg whites with hand mixer until almost stiff. Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, between low and medium heat, bring sugar and water to boil, stirring often. When sugar has completely dissolved, liquid clears up and bubbles even while stirring, set timer to 3 minutes. Continue cooking at most one minute until you see only bubbles throughout, as you stir. Liquid should drip off the spoon like syrup. (soft ball stage)
  4. With mixer on, slowly pour hot syrup into beaten egg whites and beat for about 3 - 4 minutes until thick and glossy when you lift the beater.
  5. Now, be ready to work quickly without distractions, because the glaze can dry on you. Scoop some glaze up in your left hand fingers to coat bottom of cookie and hold it in place. Scoop some more with your right hand fingers and coat top, smoothing with index finger. Cover the entire cookie with a thin layer of glaze and slide onto wax paper, not touching other cookies.
  6. Allow to dry on wax paper for several hours - may need to leave overnight if still tacky when you lift them.
Assessing glaze texture:  

I thought I'd show you the goal of what the glaze should look like. When it's cooked the right amount of time it goes on easy, and dries smoothly.


If the glaze is cooked too little it will be easy to coat, but take a long time to dry into a hard icing. If you have undercooked the glaze, you will notice that it does not thicken as you beat it with the egg white.  You may redeem it by adding a tablespoon of cornstarch and keep beating a few minutes more.


If the glaze is cooked too long, it will dry quickly as you are glazing the cookies. It may end up being  grainy, making it impossible to achieve that smooth finish. It helps to moisten your hands. The taste will still be good, just not as easy to work with. It may me easier to start again, cooking a minute less on your next try.

Raisin Apple Braids


These would make a nice gift for your neighbours. 
 Depending on the size you want, you can divide the dough to make 3 or 4 braids. I photographed them as Christmas gifts but of course you can make them any time of year and freeze the extras if you like. The recipe comes from the 1968 Pillsbury Bake Off Breads Cook Book.

  • 6 1/2 - 7 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 eggs
Raisin Apple Filling
  • 2 1/2 cups peeled, finely chopped apple
  • 1 cup chopped raisins (I use sultanas. rinsed well through a sieve)
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (opt.)
  1. In large mixer bowl, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, salt, and dry yeast.
  2. In 4 cup glass measuring cup, microwave milk and butter until milk is warm and butter has begun to melt. (or warm it in a saucepan on the stove)
  3. Add warm milk to mixing bowl and mix on low
  4. Add slightly beaten eggs and continue to mix until well moistened.
  5. Mix for 3 minutes.
  6. Change to dough hook and then add remaining flour to make a stiff dough.
  7. Continue to mix or knead by hand for 5 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.
  8. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease top.
  9. Cover and let rise in a warm place until light and doubled in size. (I usually do this in the oven which I have warmed to 170 degrees and then turned off.)
  10. Line 2 cookie sheets (with edges) with parchment paper.
  11. Prepare Apple Raisin Filling: In saucepan, combine all filling ingredients except pecans. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil at least 5 minutes, stirring frequently or until it thickens somewhat. Cool
  12. Punch down dough and divide in half. (or into 3 sections)
  13. Roll each section into a rectangle and place on cookie sheet.
  14. Spread centre third of each rectangle with Raisin Apple Filling (see picture below).
  15. Using a pizza cutter, cut dough diagonally at 1 inch intervals on both sides of filling.
  16. Fold opposite strips of dough over filling, crossing in centre. (see picture below)
  17. Seal ends of each braid.
  18. Cover and let rise in warm place until light and doubled in size.
  19. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  20. Remove to racks and cool.
  21. Ice and decorate as desired.





German Gingerbread Cookies


Ah! All I had to do was take a whiff of the spices that go into these cookies and I was transported into something that spelled Weihnachten! Leise Rieselt der Schnee may as well have been playing in the background. This is a recipe I stopped making once our kids got older, but it's fun to bring it back with little ones around again.  

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup butter, soft
  • 1/4 cup Crisco
  • 1 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons Lebkuchen or Spekulatius Gewuerz*
  • 1 teaspoon ground star anise
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* These gingerbread spices can be purchased (as a pkg) from a European Deli. In Chilliwack  you can find Abstwinder Lebkuchen Gewuerz at Hofstede's Country Barn, imported from Calgary. The spices are a combination of coriander, cinnamon, cloves,anise, nutmeg, star anise, fennel, cardamom. In Abbotsford you can find Lebkuchen Gewuerz at the Windmill Deli.



Method:
  1. In mixing bowl cream butter and Crisco. Add eggs and honey, beating in well.
  2. Stir in combined dry ingredients. Using a kitchen machine such as a Kitchen Aid with a hook attachment is helpful.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for 5 days to let flavors blend.
  4. Preheat oven to 350° F and prepare baking sheets by greasing - or line with parchment paper.
  5. Let dough sit at room temp for about 15 minutes. Divide into three parts.
  6. Lightly dust work surface with flour and work dough into a flat round shape by turning and using the heel of your hand. Roll out, using a fine dusting of flour, to dinner plate size. About 1/3 inch thickness. Cut with desired cookie shapes. 
  7. Bake for 9 minutes or until lightly browned underneath. Ice or decorate with Boiled Icing.
  8. Store in airtight container in cool place. The cookies just get better as they age. 
  9. Yield: 24 large gingerbread men plus approximately 20 regular sized cookies, such as star shapes.
Boiled sugar-meringue icing ( make 2 times for 4 dozen cookies)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 egg white
  1. In a medium glass bowl, beat egg white until soft peaks form when you lift beater. Set aside.
  2. In saucepan, over low / medium heat, bring water and sugar to a boil, while stirring.
  3. Once it keeps boiling, even while stirring, set timer on 3 minutes.
  4. Keep stirring, while liquid becomes totally bubbly, making sure sugar does not harden on sides of pot. Stir until it begins to feel slightly syrupy, about 2 - 3 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat. Slowly, pour into beaten egg white, while mixer is going. (I hold a hand mixer with my right hand and pour hot liquid with my left.) 
  6. Beat for about 2 minutes, until glossy and stiff. Fill piping bag if you wish to outline, or spread by teaspoons onto cookies, using the back of the spoon to smooth. Sprinkle with sugar sprinkles while wet. Allow to dry until hard. (several hours or overnight)
Hint: this icing can dry quickly, so cover any icing left in the bowl with a wet tea towel. If icing becomes slightly crusty, add a tsp of water and beat with mixer for a few seconds.






Butter Tarts

Before Christmas I love sitting down with my mom's book of 
hand written recipes to decide which ones I'll be making.
Every year without fail I make these butter tarts.
Each pretty pastry shell is filled with golden raisins
and topped with brown sugar buttery goodness.

Ingredients for filling:
  • 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup golden raisins, plumped
Method:
  1. Beat very soft butter, brown sugar and egg together until creamy.
  2. Add salt and vanilla.
  3. Pour boiling water over raisins. Allow to stand for 5 minutes. Drain well.
  4. Do not add to filling. Once you have the pastry shells made, place raisins into each shell. This will keep them uniform.
Pastry: this is Lovella's favorite pastry recipe that came from our friend Dorothy, but you can use your favourite pastry recipe. 
  • 5 cups flour
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 pound lard
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • water
Method for Pastry:
  1. Measure flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into a large bowl.
  2. Cut in cold lard until you lard is broken up into pea sized pieces.
  3. In a glass measuring cup beat 1 egg well. Add vinegar and then enough cold water to make 1 cup.
  4. Pour water mixture over flour mixture and stir, incorporating all the dry ingredients. Use your hands to pull the dough together into a ball. 
  5. Sprinkle some flour on your counter or pastry mat. Roll out 1/3 of the dough fairly thin. Using a cup or fluted cookie cutter, but out rounds and place into lightly greased tart tins.
  6. To ensure that each tart gets the approximately the same amount of raisins, I spoon the raisins into the bottom of each unbaked shell. (About 5-8 raisins, depending on the size of your shells.
  7. Pour the butter tart filling over each raisin filled shell.
  8. Bake at 375º for 18-20 minutes. Let rest in pan for 5 minutes then remove to cooling rack.
This filling recipe makes 2 dozen tarts. I often double or triple the recipe as they freeze well for several months. You will have left over pastry. Shape into discs or line a pie plate or two. Wrap well and freeze.

Toffee Drops


Years ago my friend Debbi, who also happened to be my son's teacher at the time, shared this recipe with me. Our family loves these and it's made every Christmas by at least one of us.
It is a super simple easy recipe and can be put together quickly. What takes the longest is unwrapping the toffee pieces! This toffee used to come in a bar but I can't find those anymore.

You will need:
  • 2 cups of Special K cereal..you can use rice krispies.
  • 16 pieces of toffee..I use Mackintosh's toffee.
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter
What you need to do:
  1. Chop toffee pieces, add to cream and butter in a microwave safe bowl.
  2. Melt in microwave for 1 1/2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds just until mixture is smooth. 
  3. Stir into special k cereal and mix well.
  4. Drop by spoonfuls on a parchment lined pan. You have to work quickly before the mixture hardens.
  5. Let cool and store in a covered container in a cool place. Who am I kidding, I doubt they will make it that far!
  6. Yields: 1 dozen