Category Archives: Desserts

Top Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Russian Teacakes

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DAY 4: Russian Teacakes

These are a nostalgic cookie for me. My mom made these for Christmas EVERY year, and we ALWAYS got to help rolls the balls of dough in the colored sugar.

The real reason I am doing a “best of” series this year is so that I can go back and look at pictures of my littles who are not so little anymore. And how they liked to help in the kitchen, just like I did as a child. They still like to cook, but are much more independent now. (This one just started high school.)  Photo circa 2009:

Russian Tea Cakes 2009

These are also called Mexican Wedding Cookies, but those usually only come rolled in white powdered sugar. We love the festive colors of Christmas.

Russian Tea Cakes 1

Rows of cooling cookies just make me happy!

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ORIGINAL BLOG POST (2009): Russian Tea Cakes


RECIPE:

Russian Tea Cakes

Russian Tea Cakes 2

1 cup butter, softened
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
2 ¼ cups flour
¾ cup finely chopped pecans
Red & Green granulated sugar or Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt on low speed of a mixer for 1 minute. Add flour; mix just until combined. Stir in nuts. Roll into 1” balls. If using colored sugar, roll balls in sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 9-11 minutes, until firm to touch, but not brown. If using powdered sugar instead of color sugar, roll cooked cookies in powdered sugar while still warm.

Makes 5-6 dozen cookies

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Top Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Swedish Peppar KaKar

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DAY 3: Swedish Peppar KaKar (soft, mild gingerbread)

These are not your average gingerbread cookies. They are so much better! The traditional gingerbread flavors are all there, but there is only a little bit of molasses, which gives them a very mild flavor. Bake them for just a short time, and they are soft and wonderful.

Ninjabread Men 1

These cookies are fun to make with these ninja cookie cutters. You can get fancy with the icing, but I usually just pipe a few details.

Mini gingerbread 1

We also love to use our tiny gingerbread man and angel cookie cutters for these. They are only about 1 ½-inches tall. But be careful, they are very addictive. And when you can pop a whole cookie in your mouth in one shot, it is easy to talk yourself into “just one more.”

Swedish Peppar KaKar

You could pipe an icing around the edges or to make faces on these as well, but they are great just on their own. We end up with enough other cookies filled or topped with frosting that it is nice to have a less sweet, but super flavorful “plain” cookie.

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My 2009 gingerbread helpers! I wish I could still get them to cooperate like this in the kitchen.

ORIGINAL BLOG POSTS:
(2009): Mini Gingerbread Men/Angels
(2013): Ninja-bread Men

RECIPE:

Swedish Peppar KaKar

ninjabread-men-3Mini gingerbread 2

(soft, mild gingerbread cookies)

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp salt
½ cup butter
¾ cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp molasses

Combine dry ingredients; set aside. Cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Blend in egg and molasses. Add dry ingredients; mix well. Add a little bit more flour (up to 1/4 cup), if necessary, to get a dough that is soft, but not sticky.

Chill dough for 1 hour. Roll to about 1/8” and cut into small gingerbread men and angels (or ninja-bread men).

Bake at 350°F for 6 to 8 minutes for small shapes (8-9 minutes for larger cookies). Don’t overbake, or they will become crispy instead of soft. Cool.

Decorate with Royal Icing, if desired.

Makes about 60 mini gingerbread men or 30 ninja-bread men.

Royal Icing

2 Tbs meringue powder
scant 1/4 cup water
½ lb powdered sugar
½ tsp light corn syrup

Combine the meringue powder and water. With the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, beat until combined and foamy. Sift in the powdered sugar and beat on low to combine. (Do NOT skip the sifting!)

Mix in the corn syrup. Increase speed to med-high/high and beat for about 5 minutes, just until the icing is glossy and stiff peaks form. (You should be able to remove the beater from the mixer and hold up and jiggle without the peak falling.) Do not overbeat.

To store for later use: cover with plastic wrap touching the icing and refrigerate.

NOTE: This makes “stiff” icing which is perfect for piping details. If you want to flood (totally frost) your cookies first, double the recipe above. Reserve some stiff icing to outline and pipe details. To fill in your cookies, first tint the remaining icing with food coloring.Then add water to your icing a teaspoon at a time, stirring with a rubber spatula, until it is the consistency of syrup. Outline the cookies first with stiff icing, then flood the center with the thinner icing. Wait several hours until icing has completely hardened before piping on additional details over the flooded icing.

(Royal Icing from Bake at 350)

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Top Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Lofthouse Style Soft Sugar Cookies

Lofthouse Cookies 4

DAY 2: Lofthouse Style Soft Sugar Cookies

Lofthouse Cookies: those pillowy-soft cookies in the grocery store with a frosting that hardens just enough to be able to stack them. The homemade version are even better. And much easier to make than rolled and frosted sugar cookies.

Lofthouse Cookies 1

To frost them, simply hold them in your hand and dip them upside down into a bowl of icing. Shake on some candied sprinkles, let them set for an hour and you are ready to go. You can use different flavored extracts (vanilla, almond, orange, peppermint, etc.) for different flavored frostings.

Lofthouse Cookies 5

ORIGINAL BLOG POST (2014): Lofthouse Style Soft Sugar Cookies

RECIPE:

Lofthouse Style Frosted Christmas Cookies

  • Servings: about 3 dozen
  • Print

Lofthouse Cookies 1

Cookies:
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 ½ cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Beat butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix into butter and sugar in mixing bowl. If the dough is too sticky to roll into balls, refrigerate dough for 30-60 minutes.

With hands, roll dough into 1” balls for small cookies, slightly larger for larger cookies. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Flatten dough balls slightly with the palm of your hand.

Bake for 7-9 minutes. Do not overbake.

Glaze Frosting:
6 Tbs butter
½ cup heavy cream
1 lb (about 4 cups) powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla (or ½ tsp almond, ½ tsp orange, or ¼ tsp peppermint) extract
3-4 drops gel food coloring
Candy Sprinkles

Place butter and cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for about 60-90 seconds, until butter melts. Use a whisk to mix in powdered sugar. If you are making more than one color or flavor of frosting, divide frosting into separate bowls. Stir in extract (if you want to use white icing, use a clear vanilla or other flavored extract). Mix in food coloring.

Dip tops of cooled cookies in warm glaze and place on a sheet of waxed paper. Sprinkle immediately with candy sprinkles (the glaze starts to set fast: dip one cookie, then add sprinkles, then dip another cookie, etc). If glaze gets too thick, heat in microwave for 15-20 seconds. Allow glaze to set on cookies for about 1 hour before storing cookies.

To freeze: Freeze cookies in single layer and then place in container and store in freezer. Thaw cookies in a single layer.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

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Top Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Christmas Cherry Pecan Cookies

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DAY 1: Christmas Cherry Pecan Cookies

Happy December and the first day of No Empty Chairs’ Tenth Annual “Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies”. This year, I am reaching back into the blog-files to share twelve of our family’s very favorite Christmas cookies.

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First up is a shortbread style cookie studded with candied cherries and pecans. This is a great make-ahead dough that you can pull out and slice anytime. Bake just a few at a time, or a whole batch.

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Roll the dough into a log and it can be stored in the fridge or freezer until you are ready to bake.

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Use a sharp knife to slice dough into rounds that are about 3/8” thick.

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ORIGINAL BLOG POST (2011): Christmas Cherry Pecan Cookies

Christmas is a wonderful season to both spend time with family and loved ones and to reach out beyond our normal sphere of influence. See below for ideas on how you can light the world in all areas of your life.

#LightTheWorld

Light the World 2018

 

RECIPE:

Christmas Cherry Pecan Cookies

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1 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 ½ cups flour
1 cup pecan halves
2 cups red and green candied cherries, halved

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Cream butter and powdered sugar; blend in egg and vanilla. Mix in flour and then add pecans and cherries. Chill dough for 1-2 hours. Shape into 2  logs with about 2” diameter. Roll in waxed paper or plastic wrap. Chill for at least 3 hours. Cut into slices about 3/8” thick and bake for 13-15 minutes. Do not let cookies brown.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

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Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecake with Candied Pecans and Salted Caramel

Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecake 3

A delicious make-ahead dessert for Thanksgiving or other fall parties. This cheesecake starts with a lemon gingersnap crust and is filled with swirled layers of pumpkin and vanilla cheesecake.

To send it over the top, the cheesecake is garnished with candied pecans and then salted caramel is drizzled over individual slices. Even my cheesecake-averse daughter asked for this to show up on the Thanksgiving menu again this year.

The Lemon Gingersnap Crust is made from these cookies:

Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake with Butterscotch Sauce 3

Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecake 2

For detailed information about baking a cheesecake in a water bath, see this post: Creamy Citrus Cheesecake

Just before serving, arrange the candied pecans around the outside edge of cheesecake. The pecans will get soft if they are put on the cheesecake and refrigerated too far ahead of time.

Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecake 1

Don’t skip the salted caramel. It really makes this an extraordinary dessert. And if there is any leftover, it is perfect for drizzling on ice cream, waffles, or just about anything.

Salted Caramel Sauce

Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecake with Candied Pecans and Salted Caramel Drizzle

Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecake 3

Lemon Gingersnap Crust
1 (7 oz) pkg Carr’s Ginger Lemon Cremes
½ cup pecans
2 Tbs butter, melted

Process cookies and pecans in a food processor until finely ground. Add melted butter and mix. Press into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a 9” springform pan. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes while preparing filling.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Layer
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 Tbs flour
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp allspice
⅛ tsp each ground nutmeg and ground cloves
pinch of salt
2 whole eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients with an electric mixer until smooth. (You can also substitute 1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice for the other spices)

Vanilla Cheesecake Layer
2 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened
¾ cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 whole eggs plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients with an electric mixer until smooth.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Wrap springform pan in a double layer of foil. Place springform pan in a larger roasting pan.

Pour half of pumpkin filling into crust.  Slowly pour half of the vanilla filling over top of the pumpkin batter. Use a knife or spatula to gently swirl. Repeat with remaining pumpkin and vanilla batters. Swirl again.

Fill roasting pan (not springform pan!) with very hot (almost boiling) water to about 1-2 inches deep.

Bake cheesecake in the water bath for about 80 minutes. (Cover top of cheesecake with foil if it begins to brown before it is set.) When it is cooked, the cheesecake will have puffed significantly, and the middle will still be slightly jiggly, but not soupy. Remove pan from water bath and run a sharp knife around the sides, but do not remove ring.

Cheesecake Topping Layer:
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbs sugar
½ Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract

While cheesecake is baking, combine sour cream, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla in a small bowl. Pour over hot (cooked) cheesecake and let stand at room temperature for 60 minutes. Cover cheesecake pan (do not remove sides) with plastic wrap, taking care not to touch the surface of the cheesecake. Chill for at least four hours, preferably overnight.

Candied Pecans:
½ cup brown sugar
1 Tbs water
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
3 cups pecan halves

Place a large piece of parchment paper or non-stick foil on the countertop.

Combine sugar, water, salt, and cinnamon in a skillet. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a full boil. Stir in pecans. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes. Spread pecans on parchment paper/foil. While still hot, use 2 forks to separate pecans into a single layer so that pecans are not touching. Cool completely.

Just before serving, arrange candied pecans around the outside edge of cheesecake.

Salted Caramel Drizzle:
1 cup sugar
6 Tbs butter, softened and cut into tablespoon-sized chunks
½ cup heavy cream
1 tsp flaky or coarse sea salt
1 tsp vanilla (and/or seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean)

Place sugar in a medium to large saucepan (mixture will bubble up and expand as cool ingredients are added to the hot pan, so use a large pan). Cook over medium heat until sugar just begins to melt. Stir gently, trying to keep sugar crystals off of the sides of the pan. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar melts completely and is a medium amber color (about 350°F if you use an instant-read thermometer). Reduce heat to low and quickly whisk in butter chunks, stirring constantly.

Stir in cream, stirring constantly until smooth. Stir in salt and vanilla. Pour caramel immediately into a glass jar or heat-safe bowl to cool. Do NOT scrape sides or bottom of the pan with a spatula. If you do, you are likely to get sugar crystals into your nice smooth caramel. If the caramel has formed crystals while cooking, you can pour it from the pan through a fine sieve into the jar to remove any crystals before cooling.

Caramel can be kept in a covered jar at room temperature for several weeks.

Drizzle  individual slices with Salted Caramel.

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Sugar-Free Strawberry Cheesecake

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This sugar-free strawberry cheesecake may have just jumped onto my list of all-time favorite desserts, even those full of sugar.

This is a no-bake cheesecake that is easy to put together. Made with fresh strawberries, it is a fabulous summer dessert that won’t heat up the kitchen.

It is light and airy, not dense like a baked cheesecake. I sweetened it with stevia and erythritol, but you can easily substitute real sugar. But for those watching their carb and sugar intake, this is a wonderfully satisfying dessert. My kids don’t even miss the sugar!

Sugar Free Strawberry Cheesecake 4

I made it in a 9” springform pan, and it completely filled the pan for a nice tall cheesecake. You could make it in a little bit larger pan instead if you don’t want quite as thick of slices.

I garnished the cheesecake with some whipped cream and fresh berries. A wonderful light and summery dessert.

Sugar Free Strawberry Cheesecake 3

RECIPE:

Sugar-Free Strawberry No-Bake Cheesecake

Sugar Free Strawberry Cheesecake 6

Crust:
¾ cup whole almonds (roasted and salted)
¼ cup whole pecans
¼ cup rolled oats
3 Tbs butter, melted
10 drops of liquid stevia

Filling:
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup erythritol
½ tsp liquid stevia
½ cup cool water
2 (1 oz) packages unflavored gelatin
1 quart (4 cups) whole strawberries, hulled
1 cup heavy cream

Garnish:
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs cream cheese, at room temperature
½ tsp vanilla extract
5 drops liquid stevia
Whole strawberries, and/or other berries (raspberries, blackberries)

Crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place almonds, pecans, and oats in a food processor; blend until finely ground. Add butter and stevia  and pulse until combined. Lightly spray 9” springform pan with baking spray (I like coconut oil spray for this). Press crust mixture onto bottom of pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool completely.

Filling:
In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sour cream, vanilla, erythritol, and stevia and beat again until smooth.

Place cool water in a separate bowl; sprinkle gelatin over water. Let sit for 5 minutes, or until gelatin has softened. Microwave for 15 seconds, or until gelatin has dissolved.

Place strawberries in a food processor. Blend until very finely chopped (mixture will be slightly liquidy). Add gelatin mixture to food processor and pulse until mixed. Add chopped strawberries to cream cheese mixture and beat until smooth. Taste mixture and add additional sweetener, if needed.

In a separate mixing bowl, whip 1 cup cream until stiff peaks form. Fold into filling.

Pour mixture over cooled crust in the springform pan. Refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours or until firm.

Garnish:
Combine cream, cream cheese, vanilla, and stevia in a mixing bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Pipe onto top of chilled cheesecake and garnish with fresh berries.

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Chocolate Covered Strawberries Cake

Chocolate Covered Strawberries Cake 1

Last week, we attended a Boy Scout fundraising auction. I made a few items to contribute, including this Chocolate Covered Strawberries Cake. It is a 4-layer chocolate cake filled with Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream icing. And garnished with chocolate covered strawberries.

There were sooo many delicious looking desserts at the auction. Not a good time to be on a low-carb diet.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries Cake 3

Since I didn’t actually get to cut and eat this cake, I don’t have an inside picture, but it looks similar to this Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cake:

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cake 5

except that I added sliced fresh strawberries in between the layers with the icing:

Chocolate Covered Strawberries Cake 2

 

RECIPE:

Chocolate Covered Strawberries Cake

Chocolate Covered Strawberries Cake 1

Ingredients (recipes below):
Chocolate Layer Cake
Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Chocolate Ganache
Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Chocolate Layer Cake
2 cups flour
½ cup regular cocoa powder
½ cup Dutch process cocoa (or Hershey’s Special Dark)
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¾ cups (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 2 9” cake pans; line bottom of pans with parchment paper. Grease paper and then dust entire pan with cocoa powder.

Combine flour, cocoa powders, baking soda and salt. Mix with a whisk. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars for 5 minutes. The mixture should be very pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat just until smooth.

Divide batter into prepared pans and bake for 28-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, remove parchment paper and cool.

Cooled cake layers can be wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen until you are ready to assemble them. (For this cake, if you are freezing the layers: cut each layer in half before freezing to make 4 layers).

Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing
1 ½ cups egg whites (about 12 large egg whites, or use pasteurized egg whites that come in a carton)
2 ½ cups sugar
pinch of salt
3 cups unsalted butter (6 sticks), at room temperature**
1 Tbs vanilla extract
about 1 ½ cups Strawberry Puree (see recipe below)
about 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries (set aside for cake assembly)

In the top of a double boiler, stir together  egg whites, sugar and salt. Bring water in bottom of double boiler to a low simmer; cook until the temperature of the egg whites reaches 160°F and sugar is completely dissolved (rub mixture between fingertips-it should not feel gritty). Mixture will be foamy and not a uniform consistency.

Transfer the egg white mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. With the whisk attachment, whip until meringue is completely cooled and glossy peaks form, about 10 minutes. DO NOT ADD BUTTER UNTIL BOTH THE BOWL AND FROSTING ARE COMPLETELY COOL. Switch mixer attachment from the whisk to paddles. Add butter 1-2 Tablespoons at a time until incorporated. Mixture may appear curdled at times. Continue beating until butter is fully incorporated and frosting is fluffy and smooth.  This will take about 10 minutes.  Add vanilla and beat smooth. Add strawberry filling and beat until frosting is a uniform color.

**BUTTER NOTE: butter should be at room temperature soft, but not overly soft. If the butter is too cold, it will not incorporate well into the meringue, and you will have butter chunks. If the butter is over-soft, it will cause the icing to curdle while beating-this is okay, it isn’t ruined: it will just take longer (more beating) for the frosting to become smooth. If icing still won’t set, place in the fridge for 20 minutes, and then beat again.

Strawberry Puree:
2 cups whole fresh strawberries, hulled
2 Tbs sugar

Process strawberries in a food processor until very finely chopped, but not completely liquefied. Mix in sugar.

Chocolate ganache:
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (about ½ cup, slightly heaping)
½ cup heavy cream
2 Tbs corn syrup

Place the chopped chocolate into a small bowl and set aside. In a Pyrex measuring cup or microwavable bowl, combine the heavy cream and corn syrup. Heat for 30-45 seconds; stir. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate. Let sit for one minutes, then stir until smooth.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries:
Fresh strawberries
Chocolate and vanilla melting chocolates

Melt chocolate and vanilla melting chocolates in separate bowls. Dip strawberries in melted chocolate and place on waxed paper.

Place remaining melted chocolates in Ziploc bags and poke a hole in one corner of each bag. Drizzle strawberries with contrasting chocolate.

Let chocolate harden completely before placing on cake.

Cake Assembly:
Completely cool cake layers. Cut each layer in half to make 4 layers. Prepare frosting and ganache.

Place waxed paper strips along edges of serving plate. Place one cake layer, cut side up, on the serving plate. Waxed paper strips should cover the exposed part of the plate, but not be too far under the cake layer. Spread cake with a layer of strawberry icing. Press sliced fresh strawberries into icing. Top with another cake layer. Repeat with frosting and remaining cake layers. Ice entire cake with a thin crumb coat of icing. Refrigerate cake for 2o minutes to set slightly (optional). Create a smooth finish with remaining icing over entire cake (top of cake should be completely flat).

Drizzle cake with ganache, letting it drip down the sides. Refrigerate cake.

Decorate top and base of cake with chocolate covered strawberries.

Storage:  Store cake in refrigerator.

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Clotted Cream (in an Instant Pot)

Clotted Cream 3

Clotted cream is a delicious British condiment. Perfect for topping scones, muffins, cornbread, bagels: anything that you might put butter, cream cheese, or whipped cream on. Or try a dollop on oatmeal with fresh fruit for a wonderful breakfast treat.

Clotted cream’s texture and taste lie somewhere between whipped cream and butter. So: the best of both worlds.

Vanilla Scones 3

Clotted cream is made by heating cream and keeping it at a low temperature while the fat solids separate from the thinner milk and whey. Maintaining a consistent low heat for a long time is the perfect job for an Instant Pot.

The hardest part of making clotted cream is finding heavy cream that is NOT ultra-pasteurized. Most grocery stores in the US do not carry cream that isn’t ultra-pasteurized. (You can use regular pasteurized cream, but not ultra-pasteurized. The cream will not clot the same.) I bought mine at a local farmer’s market. Some Whole Foods stores also carry it.

**Save the thinner milk/whey that is left after separation to use in other recipes where you would use milk.

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RECIPE:

Clotted Cream (in an Instant Pot)

Clotted Cream 3

4 cups heavy cream, not ultra-pasteurized

1. Pour cream into the Instant Pot and close lid (use glass lid if you have one).
2. Set Instant Pot to Yogurt and then Boil (press the Yogurt button, then press Adjust until it says Boil).
3. When the Boil cycle finishes, use a thermometer to check that the cream has reached 180°F. Repeat step if cream has not reached 180°F.
4. Return lid (glass) to pot and press Keep Warm button. Leave at Keep Warm for 8 hours.
5. Turn off Instant Pot and set insert on a cooling rack. Cool to room temperature. Do not stir.
7. Cover with glass lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8-12 hours. Do not stir.
8. Remove from fridge. The clotted cream will have thickened and risen above a layer of milk/whey.
9. Use a spoon to scoop out a small section of clotted cream from the side of the pot, and place in a bowl. Carefully pour off the milk/whey at the bottom of the pot (keep to use in other recipes that call for milk or whey). Scoop the remaining clotted cream out into bowl. Stir back in a little whey if you want a thinner texture.
10. Store clotted cream in the refrigerator or freezer. For a softer texture, remove clotted cream from refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving.

 

Yield: about 2 cups clotted cream

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Vanilla Scones

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For our Scottish themed book group meeting, I made a variety of different Scottish foods, more of which I will share here shortly.

Scottish (or English) scones are a light, tender biscuit that can be adapted to many different flavors. Scones can be a savory food or a dessert. Or breakfast, or a snack, or just about anything you want them to be.

These vanilla scones, while not sweet themselves, are more of a dessert food. Especially if you serve them with Clotted Cream (or whipped cream) and jam. They also make a great base for Strawberry Shortcake.

I served them with a Homemade Clotted Cream (made in an Instant Pot) and Homemade Red Raspberry Jam and Cinnamon Pear Jam.

Vanilla Scones 3

Scones can also easily be frozen either before or after baking.

To freeze before baking: Prepare scone dough. Cut out scones and place on a baking sheet lined with foil. DO NOT brush with egg wash. Freeze until firm. Place into Ziploc bag or freezer container and store in freezer. Place frozen scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone mat. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Brush tops of scones with egg wash. Bake at 400°F for 16-18 minutes.

To freeze after baking: Prepare and bake scones. Cool completely and place on a baking sheet lined with foil. Freeze until firm. Place into Ziploc bag or freezer container and store in freezer. Place frozen scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone mat. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Bake at 300°F for 10-12 minutes.

RECIPE:

Vanilla Scones

Vanilla Scones 1

2 cups flour
2 Tbs sugar
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
6 Tbs unsalted butter
½ cup buttermilk
2 Tbs heavy cream
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped (optional)
Egg Wash: 1 egg + 1 Tbs cream

Clotted Cream and Jams, to serve

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut cold butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. **SEE NOTE BELOW

In a separate bowl or Pyrex measuring cup, mix together buttermilk, 2 Tbs cream, egg, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean seeds. In a small bowl, mix together egg wash and set aside.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in buttermilk mixture. Use a rubber spoon to gently mix, until most of the dry ingredients are mixed in.

Turn dough out onto a flour coated surface and pat and/or roll dough to about 3/4” thick. Use a scone or biscuit cutter to cut into rounds. Place on prepared baking sheet. Gently reroll scraps to make additional scones.

Brush tops of scones with egg wash. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve scones with clotted cream and jam.

**NOTE: To easily cut butter into dry mixture, freeze one stick of butter for 30 minutes. Fold back the paper wrapper to the 6Tbs mark and use the coarse blades of a cheese grater to grate the butter directly into the dry ingredients. Use a rubber spatula to fold butter shreds into mixture.

Yield: about 12 scones

**TO FREEZE SCONES:

Scones can be frozen either before or after baking.

To freeze before baking: Prepare scone dough. Cut out scones and place on a baking sheet lined with foil. DO NOT brush with egg wash. Freeze until firm. Place into Ziploc bag or freezer container and store in freezer. Place frozen scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone mat. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Brush tops of scones with egg wash. Bake at 400°F for 16-18 minutes.

To freeze after baking: Prepare and bake scones. Cool completely and place on a baking sheet lined with foil. Freeze until firm. Place into Ziploc bag or freezer container and store in freezer. Place frozen scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone mat. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Bake at 300°F for 10-12 minutes.

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9th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies Recap

Here is a list of the twelve cookies from this year. I hope that you all enjoy the rest of this Christmas season with family and friends.

Scroll to the bottom for links to the previous 8 years of cookies.

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DAY 1: Almond Toffee Sandies

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies_thumb[2]

DAY 2: Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

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DAY 3: Brown Sugar Cinnamon Squares

Roasted Spiced Pecans_thumb[1]

DAY 4: Roasted Spiced Pecans

Chocolate Thumbprints_thumb[2]

DAY 5: Chocolate Thumbprints with Homemade Caramel Filling

Chewy-Pecan-Cheesecake-Cookies_thumb[3]

DAY 6: Chewy Pecan Cheesecake Cookies

Almond-Butter-Cookies-1_thumb2

DAY 7: Glazed Almond Butter Cookies

German-Lebkuchen_thumb2

DAY 8: German Lebkuchen

Lemon-Cake-Mix-Cookies_thumb2

DAY 9: Lemon Cake Mix Cookies

Salted Caramel Bars_thumb[2]

DAY 10: Salted Caramel Bars

Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Cookies 2_thumb[3]

DAY 11: Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Cookies

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread 2

DAY 12: Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

Lots More Christmas Cookies and Treats:

1st Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2009)

2nd Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2010)

3rd Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2011)

4th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2012)

5th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2013)

6th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2014)

7th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2015)

8th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2016)

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