Friday, December 23, 2011

Gingerbread Pancakes

This is my final featured recipe for my 12 Days of Baking Series. I will be making these tomorrow morning as part of a large Christmas breakfast. I have had fun baking so much over the past month, but I have to tell ya, my waistline and I are ready for a break! I hope you've enjoyed it and hope you've tried out a recipe or two. Thanks for reading and have a very Merry Christmas ya'll!!!

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love baked for me...

Gingerbread Pancakes

3 eggs
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup brewed coffee
2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ginger
1 tablespoon nutmeg
4 tablespoons melted butter

In a large bowl, mix eggs and brown sugar until well combined. Add buttermilk, water and brewed coffee and stir to combine. In another bowl sift together all of the dry ingredients. Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture and stir until combined. Stir in the melted butter.

Heat griddle or skillet over medium-high heat and add batter. Cook until bubbles form around the edge of the pancake, then flip. Cook on the second side until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Southwestern Breakfast Casserole

We start our Christmas celebrations bright and early on Christmas Eve morning (tomorrow..yikes!) Our tradition is to open gifts and then have a big breakfast before our 5 other Christmas celebrations over the next 48 hours (yes, we really have 6 Christmases in 48 hours)...

I always make this casserole and it is always a crowd pleaser. This is also a standby for me throughout the year if I'm making breakfast for a crowd.

I'm making this tomorrow morning, so I'll post pics later when I get a chance.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love made for me...

Southwestern Breakfast Casserole

1 dozen eggs
1 16 oz carton sour cream
4 cups monterrey jack cheese
1 lb hot sausage
4 oz chopped green chilies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown and drain the sausage and set aside. Beat eggs with sour cream, green chilies and cheese and add in sausage. Pour into a lightly greased 9 by 13 baking dish. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until eggs set.

Serve with salsa and warm tortillas.

Crockpot Candy

I wanted to post this recipe earlier, but I never actually got around to making it. This past week has been crazy busy! This is usually on my list of Christmas treats to make, but as I said, time just got away from me. Sorry about no pics, but I promise this is easy and well worth trying out!

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love made for me...

Crockpot Candy

16 oz salted peanuts
16 oz unsalted cashews (or unsalted peanuts)
1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips
1 4oz German chocolate baking bar
1 package almond bark

Layer the nuts and chocolate in the listed order above in your crockpot. Turn on low for 3 hours. Spoon out onto wax paper and let cool and set.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Santa's Little Helper

Poor Jack, I sometimes forget he's a real boy and not a dress-up doll... But he's so adorable and it's so much fun to take cute pictures of him! One day he'll appreciate the cute pics of himself as a baby, right? Okay, well probably not, but hopefully his wife will enjoy them!

My mom insisted on this one...I was reeeeeaaaalllll nervous!

Guess who got their two bottom teeth for Christmas?

Pretty lights...


Hey, I like this rocking horsey!

Happy little elf!

Sugar Cookies

Yesterday my Mimi and I spent the day making Christmas sugar cookies. This is a tradition she and I, along with my Aunt Margaret and cousins, did when we were growing up. It has always been one of my favorite Christmas memories. I hope to share this experience with Jack when he gets a little older. It will make all the hard work of making the cookies worth it to see him have fun decorating them!

I discovered that the whole sugar cookie making experience is quite an undertaking and pretty exhausting when you're the grown up. It's way more fun to be the kid who just gets to do the decorating. Not even halfway through frosting I was ready to settle for a few dozen non-iced cookies. Luckily, Mimi pushed through and finished the job up for me. Then later my mom and I added details and prettied them up. I was aspiring to make my cookies as beautiful as my friend Monica's, but that didn't really happen. She says she's been doing this for a long time, so hopefully I'll get better at it with more practice. Even though I wasn't able to do it, I will share her secret to her fabulously beautiful sugar cookies.

I made the White House Sugar Cookies that I shared at Halloween, so I'll just link you to that recipe. But this time I used Royal icing instead of the egg white frosting.

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love baked for me....

White House Sugar Cookies

As I said earlier, my friend Monica makes the most professional looking frosted sugar cookies. She shared her secret with me, and it's piping the outside with Royal icing and then flooding them with Wilton's Color Flow icing. The meringue powder makes the icing dry hard and glossy. I wasn't able to make it to the craft store to buy the meringue powder, so I'll share the Royal icing I used, but I will also link you to the Color Flow icing as well. 

Royal Icing

  • 6 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 8 tablespoons warm water
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract 
  • food coloring
Mix confectioner's sugar with water and almond extract. Pour white icing into separate bowls and color as desired. 

Mimi shared a wonderful secret to make rolling the cookies out easier. Roll the dough out between parchment paper. This made rolling a snap!

Some of my favorites. Add a glass of milk and we're ready for Santa!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Monkey Bread

My mom hosted a beautiful breakfast for the ladies in my family this morning and I decided to make some monkey bread. It was my first time making it, but it will not be my last. It was super easy, super tasty and really fun to eat too :-) I did a search on Pinterest for monkey bread and there were hundreds of pins, but I chose this one because I thought it was the prettiest. Good reason right?

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love baked for me...

Monkey Bread

You'll Need:
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/2 cup melted butter - equal to one stick butter
  • 3 10 ounce packages of buttermilk biscuits
- Preheat oven to 350. Sprinkle nuts in bottom of Bundt pan. In a side bowl or shallow dish, combine the sugar and the cinnamon. Cut each biscuit section into quarters & roll each section in the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Layer pieces in the bottom of the pan , building rows until all pieces are layered.  Combine melted butter and brown sugar and pour mixture over the dough. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and puffy. Cool pan for 10 minutes. Invert bread onto cake stand and serve.

And a couple of pics from my mom's breakfast spread...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day 7- Kraft Fantasy Fudge

This was my first, and possibly last time to make fudge. I followed the recipe on the back of the marshmallow creme jar, thinking it would be a snap, because well, the directions were simple enough. But.. I had the bright idea to switch out one of the ingredients, and I think that may have contributed to this fudge's pain-in-the-rear status. It called for a can of evaporated milk, but I usually replace recipes that call for evaporated milk with sweetened condensed milk (to richen the flavor). This time, I don't think it was the best idea. While it worked, and the fudge tasted good, it was extremely hard to bring to a boil, which made it difficult to completely melt the sugar, therefore the fudge ended up with a bit of a grainy texture.

So...if you have an easy fudge recipe (I think I've even heard of making it in the microwave???) PLEASE let me know and I will try it next year!

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love baked for me....

Kraft "Fantasy Fudge"

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 small can (5oz) evaporated milk
  • 12 squares Baker's semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 jar jet-puffed marshmallow creme
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Bring sugar, butter and evaporated milk to a full rolling boil on medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and marshmallow creme, stir until well melted. Add nuts and vanilla. Pour into 9 inch pan and let cool completely. 

**note, I do not recommend substituting sweetened condensed milk for the evaporated milk!**

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gingerbread Cheesecake Bites

Today's recipe comes from a pin I found on Pinterest. Like yesterday's treat, these are super easy and only 4 ingredients! I won't be able to bake this weekend, but be sure you check back next week for more recipes, including some of my favorite Christmas breakfasts, easy crock-pot candy (great for gifts), and more!

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love baked for me...

Gingerbread Cheesecake Bites

  • 30oz roll Pillsbury gingerbread cookie dough
  • 4 oz cream cheese (softened)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Roll gingerbread cookie dough into balls (about 2 tsp each) and place in mini muffin liners. Create a well in the cookie dough using the back end of a mini rolling pin. Place the rolling pin in powdered sugar first to prevent sticking. Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla in mixer. Put cream cheese mixture in a piping bag (or ziplock like I did) and fill each with a teaspoon or so of the mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Peppermint Oreo Truffles

This time last year I hosted a cookie exchange for my fabulous friends. I'll never forget that day. Afterall, it was the day I was introduced to Oreo balls, and a girl doesn't soon forget a day like that now does she? I really wish I was having another cookie exchange this year, but unfortunately, with so much going on, it just didn't work out. So... I thought I'd make Oreo balls as one of my 12 days of baking. I decided to put a little holiday spin on them by adding the peppermint garnish. I got the idea from Starbuck's peppermint brownie cake pops. These. Are. So. Easy! And only 4 ingredients... Enjoy!

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love (non) baked for me...

Peppermint Oreo Truffles

  • 1 package double stuffed Oreos
  • 1 package vanilla coating (you could also use white chocolate)
  • 4 oz cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy
Chop Oreos finely in a food processor. Mix cookies with the softened cream cheese. (I started with a spoon, but honestly it's easiest to hand mix.) Roll into 1 inch balls and freeze for 15 minutes. Melt vanilla coating according to package directions, dip chilled Oreo balls in coating. Sprinkle with peppermint candy and let the coating set. Refrigerate.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bourbon Balls & Bourbon Cheesecake Brownies

My husband has been asking me to bake him something with a little kick. This month's Southern Living featured a section of desserts for bourbon lovers, which was right up his alley. Both desserts got his stamp of approval :)

On the third day of Christmas my true love baked for me...

Bourbon Balls

  • 1 box vanilla wafers, finely crushed
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • Powdered sugar for rolling
1. Crush vanilla wafers in food processor. Separately, chop pecans in food processor.
2. Stir together the first 4 ingredients in a large bowl until well blended.
3. Stir together bourbon and corn syrup until well blended. Stir together bourbon mixture and wafer mixture. Shape into 1-inch balls; roll in extra powdered sugar. Cover and chill up to 2 weeks.

These no-bake treats are like dessert and after dinner drinks rolled (literally) into one. They certainly pack a punch and would be great to take to a holiday party. Just be sure kids know they're for adults only!

And on the fourth day of Christmas my true love baked for me...

Bourbon Cheesecake Brownies

  • 4 (1oz) unsweetened chocolate baking squares
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour (or use the nifty Pam for baking like I did) a 9 inch square pan. 
2. Microwave chocolate squares and butter in a large microwave-safe bowl on high 1-2 minutes or until melted and smooth. Whisk in brown sugar and 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar. Add 3 eggs, 1 at a time, whisking just until blended after each addition. Whisk in vanilla, salt, and 1 cup flour. Spread half of batter in prepared pan.
3. Beat cream cheese until smooth; add 2 tablespoons flour and remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, beating until blended. Add bourbon and remaining 1 egg, beating until blended.
4. Pour cream cheese mixture over brownie mixture and top with remaining brownie batter. Swirl together.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely. 

*Note* My hubby asked for these to be served cold, so I cooled them in the fridge and they were really good that way!

These brownies seemed cakey at first (because I tested them before they were completely cooled), but after I tried them again when they were refrigerated, they were dense and rich and divine! There is a very subtle bourbon flavor that gives them a little something extra. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Perfect Gingerbread Muffins

On the second day of Christmas my true love baked for me...

Perfect Gingerbread Muffins

Dry Ingredients:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Scant teaspoon baking soda (a little less than a tsp)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Wet Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup melted shortening
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Sugar in the raw
Mix all wet ingredients in mixing bowl, sift all dry ingredients into the mixing bowl. Beat until smooth. Pour into muffin liners or greased muffin tins. I filled mine to the top so they would be large. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes. Sprinkle with sugar in the raw just before the muffins set. 

These muffins are super moist and tasty. Plus, bonus, they make your house smell wonderful and Christmasy! Enjoy!