Tag Archives: desserts

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

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DAY 7: Glazed Almond Butter Cookies

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DAY 8: German Lebkuchen

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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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Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie 2

I have been a less-than-faithful blogger the last several months. Being a single mom during the week for the last eight months (since my husband accepted and started working at a job 250 miles out of town) has really taken a toll on blogging. Plus trying to get a house ready to sell and move. It is scary how much junk you can accumulate when you stay in one house for 14 years. And how many little repair jobs you can ignore. And how you once thought wall paper was a really good idea.

But I hope to get in a few more posts before I am swamped with last minute moving details and the craziness of unpacking in a new house. I am excited to start cooking in this new kitchen in about 6 weeks! This photo is the sole reason that I agreed to purchase a house that I have not seen yet. In a neighborhood I have never been to. If I get this room to play in, who really cares what the rest of the house looks like?!

New Kitchen

Last weekend was our annual church youth camp fundraiser. Along with some Rocky Road Cookies and Snickerdoodle Bars,  I made a couple of these Chocolate Peanut Butter Pies to auction off. And there just may have been enough “extra” filling that couldn’t possibly have fit into the pie crusts and had to be saved in a small bowl at the back of the fridge where no one could see it.

RECIPE:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie 2

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
——–((inspired by Zoe Bakes)

Crust:
6oz chocolate wafer cookies (about 2/3 of a Nabisco 9oz package)
5 Tbs salted butter, melted

Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 can (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream

Chocolate ganache:
¼ cup heavy cream
2 oz (about 1/3 cup)  semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
¼ tsp vanilla extract

Whipped Cream Topping:
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbs cream cheese, softened
2 Tbs powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract

Candied Peanuts:
½ cup salted dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
2 Tbs sugar

Crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Crush chocolate wafer cookies in a food processor or blender until finely ground. You should get about 1 ½ cups of crumbs. Melt butter in a medium bowl in the microwave. Stir in chocolate wafer crumbs. Press into 9” pie plate. Bake for 5 minutes (not longer or it will taste burnt). Cool completely before filling.

Filling:
With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, peanut butter, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, beat 1 cup heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Stir in half the whipped cream to lighten the batter, and then fold in the remaining whipped cream. Pour into cooled crust. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least one hour.

Chocolate Ganache:
Place ¼ cup cream in microwave safe measuring cup or bowl. Heat for 45 seconds. Stir in chocolate chips. Let sit for one minute, then stir again until smooth. Let  cool until slightly thickened. Spoon the ganache over the chilled peanut butter filling, spreading almost to the edge of the filling. Return pie to refrigerator. Chill until ganache has completely set.

Whipped topping:
Combine 1 cup heavy cream and softened cream cheese (must be very soft, or your topping will be chunky!) in a large bowl. Beat until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until stiff. Spread over top of cooled ganache, spreading almost to the edge of the ganache. Chill pie until firm, about 1 additional hour. (The cream cheese in this topping will stabilize your whipped cream and help it keep its shape even over several days.)

Candied Peanuts:
In a medium skillet (I like to use my cast iron skillet), stir together the chopped peanuts and sugar.  Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar begins to melt. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar is completely melted and begins to caramelize, about 2 minutes. Pour the nuts onto a piece of foil or parchment paper  to cool. Sprinkle top of pie with candied peanuts just before serving.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Peanut Butter Snowflake Cookies

PB Snowflake Cookies

DAY 4: Peanut Butter Snowflake Cookies

A Christmas version of the traditional Peanut Butter Kisses cookies. I love the fun molded chocolates for different holidays!

Dove Chocolates

RECIPE:

PB Snowflake Cookies

Peanut Butter Snowflake Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
Dove Snowflake Chocolates

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cream butter, peanut butter and sugars. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda and baking powder.

Roll dough into  balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Immediately press one unwrapped snowflake chocolate into each cookie; cool.

 

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Twelve (More) Days of Christmas Cookies: Cream Cheese Cut-Out Cookies

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DAY 7: A nice alternative to regular Sugar Cookies, this dough can be rolled flat and cut into shapes with cookie cutters, or rolled into logs and cut into circles (super fast and easy!). For decorated “log-rolled cookies”: either roll the entire log in sprinkles before slicing, or slice and then top with sprinkles (press sprinkles into dough slightly).

I made these during the summer, so they don’t look very Christmassy, but with some fun Christmas sprinkles (I love the large variety packs that they sell at Target and other stores with the shaped sprinkles-trees, gingerbread men, holly, snowflakes!), they are an easy way to add fun sugar cookies to your Christmas Cookie Plate.

I also like to use this recipe when I am using cookie cutters with an imprint on the top (one that shows on the face of the cookie). Frosting covers up all of those great details. For those cookies, I mix sprinkles directly into the dough. Chill and roll out like regular sugar cookie dough and cut out with your cookie cutters. That way you get the imprint on the face and some festive sprinkles throughout the cookie.

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RECIPE:

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Cream Cheese Cut-Out Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
About ¼ cup “sprinkles” candies

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Beat butter and cream cheese with a mixer. Beat in sugar, egg and vanilla. Add half of the flour and the baking powder; mix well. Beat or stir in remaining flour and sprinkles (**For round cookies, don’t mix in sprinkles; see note below).

Chill dough for 1-3 hours. Roll to ¼” thickness. Cut out with cookie cutters. Bake at 375°F for 8-10 minutes. For a soft cookie, be sure not to overcook! Cool on a wire rack.

**For round cookies: Do not mix sprinkles into dough. Divide dough in half and roll into logs. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill dough. For sprinkles on outside edges: roll entire log in sprinkles, then cut into slices and bake. For sprinkles on top of cookies: Cut logs into slices; top with sprinkles. Press sprinkles into cookies slightly; bake as directed above.

 

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS COOKIES (2010) RECAP:
DAY 1: Raspberry Crumb Bars
DAY 2: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
DAY 3: Chocolate Nutella Cookies
DAY 4: Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
DAY 5: Almond Macaroon Brownies
DAY 6: Trail Mix Cookies

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Twelve (More) Days of Christmas Cookies: Almond Macaroon Brownies

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DAY 5: An easy way to dress up a boxed brownie mix!

Brownies topped with a coconut and almond cheesecake layer: thick, rich and delicious. As a real nut-lover, this recipe is one of my favorites.

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RECIPE:

091110 013-1

Almond Macaroon Brownies

1 brownie mix for 9×13” pan PLUS ingredients for preparing (usually water, oil and eggs)
1 cup coarsely chopped almonds, toasted
16 oz (2 pkg) cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp almond extract
2 Tbs. flour
1 pkg (14 oz) flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Prepare brownie mix according to box directions. Add half of almonds to brownie batter. Spread in two greased 8×8” pans (or one greased 9×13” pan: see NOTE below).

With a mixer, beat cream cheese, butter and sugar. Beat in 2 eggs, vanilla and almond extracts and flour. Stir in coconut and remaining almonds. Carefully spread over brownie layer. Bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes (50-60 minutes for 9×13” pan) until center is completely cooked (cover with foil if top layer starts to get too brown). Cool completely before cutting.

NOTE: I usually bake this in 2 square baking pans because the center will set faster. You can use a 9×13” pan instead, but be sure the center is completely cooked before removing from oven.

 

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS COOKIES (2010) RECAP:
DAY 1: Raspberry Crumb Bars
DAY 2: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
DAY 3: Chocolate Nutella Cookies
DAY 4: Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies

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Thanksgiving Meal Prep Planning

For me, an enjoyable, stress-free Thanksgiving is all in the advance planning. Best plan: pot-luck meal where you have limited cooking responsibility! But it is still possible to have a low-stress day and prepare the entire meal yourself. With one oven. Here is our menu this year, and the plan for getting it done with the least amount of Thanksgiving Day chaos.

Our Thanksgiving Menu:

Herb Brined Roast Turkey

Gravy

Rolls

Cranberry Sauce

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Roasted Garlic Stuffing

Green Beans with Bacon and Almonds

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Mushrooms

Pumpkin Pie

Cherry Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

Thanksgiving Gameplan:

  • Monday (or earlier):
    • Make rolls; parbake and freeze
    • Cube bread for stuffing, set out on trays to dry; roast garlic for stuffing and potatoes, refrigerate (see Roasted Garlic Stuffing for full recipe)
    • Eat all of the leftovers in the fridge so you have room for all of your advance preparations and Thanksgiving leftovers! Keep eating leftovers Tuesday and Wednesday until your fridge is empty; no more leftovers? Order pizza.
  • Tuesday:
    • Prepare brine (see Turkey Timetable below)
    • Prepare Make-Ahead Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes; refrigerate
    • Make cranberry sauce; refrigerate
  • Wednesday:
    • Add turkey to brine (see Turkey Timetable)
    • Chop vegetables for stuffing; place in Ziploc bags; refrigerate
    • Prepare veges for Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Mushrooms (this is a new recipe I’m trying this year from Kalyn’s Kitchen. It sounds great, but does require a lot of oven space and time, so I am going to try to roast it for half the time on Wednesday, refrigerate, and then finish on Thursday)
    • Cook bacon and toast almonds for the Green Beans with Bacon
    • Make pies
  • Thursday:
    • Prepare stuffing. Cook for 30 minutes in oven. Transfer to crock pot. Keep warm on lowest heat. **Do this before putting the turkey in the oven
    • Prepare and roast turkey (see Turkey Timetable)
    • Remove mashed potatoes from fridge; place in covered casserole dish; let potatoes come to room temperature (I am going to reheat the potatoes in the oven; you could also reheat them in a crock pot on low for several hours)
    • Remove sweet potatoes from fridge and place on baking sheet;cover and let come to room temperature.
    • Remove rolls from freezer. Place on a baking sheet and cover with foil or plastic wrap.
    • Sit and enjoy family for the next hour or two while the turkey cooks!
    • When turkey is done: remove from oven and let rest for at least 30 minutes.
    • As soon as turkey comes out of oven: mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes go in the oven
    • Make gravy; keep warm on low heat
    • Steam green beans; stir in bacon and almonds (see Bacon Beans for full recipe)
    • While you are preparing beans, have someone else begin to carve the turkey, and kids begin to put food on the table
    • Remove potatoes and sweet potatoes from the oven. Bake rolls for 5-7 minutes, until hot and golden brown.
    • Relax and enjoy!

Thanksgiving Turkey Timetable:

  • Tuesday evening: Prepare brine. Cover and let it sit overnight.
  • Wednesday morning: Add turkey to brine; Let it sit in a cool place (below 40°F) for 12-24 hours (I usually go with close to 24 hours)
  • Thursday (Thanksgiving!):
    • 4 hours before you plan to serve the meal: Remove turkey from brine. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes
    • 3 1/2 hours before eating: Prep turkey and put in the oven. Roast until cooked through (about 2 1/2 to 3 hours total)
    • 30 minutes before eating: Remove turkey from oven and let rest for 30 minutes.
    • Serving time: Carve and serve turkey.

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