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Freezing Fresh Peaches (Without Peeling!)

Freezing Peaches 2

It is peach season here in northern Maryland. I have visited two orchards in the past week and I am making my way through a bushel of fresh-picked peaches. Some have made their way into jams, peach butter, frozen peach yogurt, and lots of fresh peach juice running down chins.

Even after all of this canning, I still have more peaches than we can eat our way through before they go bad. So the remaining peaches are going into the freezer to be pulled out all winter when we need a little reminder of summer.

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This is a super simple method for freezing peaches: no blanching, no peeling, no slicing. And I like them so much better than canned peaches.

All you need are two ingredients: fresh peaches and Fruit Fresh (a fruit preservative, mostly consisting of ascorbic acid).

Freezing Peaches 3

To prepare peaches for freezing: wash peaches, cut in half and remove pit, place cut side up on a foil-lined tray, sprinkle with Fruit Fresh, turn cut side down, and place in freezer. When peach halves are solid, place in Ziploc bags and return to the freezer.

Freezing Peaches 1

The kids’ favorite thing about these frozen peaches comes when you are ready to eat one. You can remove as few or as many peach halves as you want from the freezer. Place the peach half on a plate or in a bowl and microwave for about 20 seconds, or until no longer solid (You can also leave them in the fridge or at room temperature until thawed). To remove the peel, simply pinch the center of the peel and lift- the peel slides off in one perfect piece! So much easier than trying to peel the peaches before freezing!

Freezing Peaches 5

I enlisted a much cuter hand model to help with this demonstration.
Thanks Julia!

Freezing Peaches 6

Freezing Fresh Peaches

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Freezing Peaches 2

Ingredients:

Fresh ripe peaches
Fruit Fresh (fruit preservative)

Preparation:

  1. Wash peaches and cut in half.
  2. Remove pit, but do not peel peaches.
  3. Place peach halves cut side up on a foil-lined tray.
  4. Sprinkle cut side with Fruit Fresh.
  5. Turn peaches cut side down, and place tray in freezer.
  6. After peaches have frozen solid, place them in a Ziploc bag and return to freezer.
  7. When ready to use, microwave peaches for about 20 seconds and the skin will easily slide off.

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Chorizo Stuffed Eggplant Parmesan

Sausage Stuffed Eggplant Parmesan 5

Chorizo sausage, fresh mozzarella pearls, spicy marinara: all stuffed into an eggplant shell and topped with melted Parmesan. Perfect on its own, or served with a side of pasta.

Sausage Stuffed Eggplant Parmesan 2

Be sure to use medium sized eggplant. The skin on large eggplant is too thick to eat unless cooked for much longer than this recipe.

Sausage Stuffed Eggplant Parmesan 3

I love  chorizo sausage in this, but you could also use a mild or spicy Italian sausage. I also use a spicy marinara sauce (like Arrabiata), but you can use whatever your family prefers.

Sausage Stuffed Eggplant Parmesan 5

Chorizo Stuffed Eggplant Parmesan

Sausage Stuffed Eggplant Parmesan 5

3 medium eggplant (do NOT use large eggplant)
2 cups marinara sauce (I use a spicy variety, like Arrabiata)
Olive oil cooking spray
salt & pepper
1 lb chorizo sausage
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp Italian seasoning
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp fresh ground pepper
8 oz fresh mini mozzarella pearls (or ½” cubes)
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Cut eggplant in half lengthwise. Use a tablespoon-sized measuring spoon to hollow out centers of eggplant halves (don’t discard eggplant insides). Spread about 1 cup of marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9×13” baking dish. Place eggplant halves in the baking pan. Spray the eggplant halves with olive oil cooking spray (or brush lightly with olive oil) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Coarsely chop eggplant insides and set aside.

In a large skillet, cook chorizo over medium-high heat until browned; drain grease (place chorizo in a paper towel lined bowl to remove excess grease). Return chorizo to the skillet with the chopped eggplant, onion, and garlic. Stir in Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Cook until eggplant is soft, about 5-7 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.

Add the mozzarella pearls to the sausage mixture in the skillet and stir gently. Quickly (before the cheese melts) spoon mixture evenly into the 6 eggplant halves. Top the filled eggplant boats with remaining marinara sauce.
Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh Parmesan and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

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Sugar-Free Blackberry Cheesecake Mousse

Blackberry Cheesecake Mousse 2

A light, refreshing sugar-free dessert perfect for summer evenings. You can use any fresh berry (raspberry, strawberry, blackberry). It is sugar free, low-carb, and keto friendly.

Blackberry Cheesecake Mousse 1

RECIPE:

Sugar-Free Blackberry Cheesecake Mousse

Blackberry Cheesecake Mousse 1

12 oz fresh blackberries (about 2 cups)**
¼ cup water
¼ cup granulated low carb sweetener (I used erythritol)
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
¼ cup powdered low carb sweetener (I used a monkfruit/erythritol blend)
¼ tsp liquid stevia
1 Tbs vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
Additional fresh blackberries for garnish

Combine blackberries, water, and granulated sweetener in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, crushing blackberries with a potato masher or spoon. Strain blackberry mixture through a fine mesh sieve, pressing with a spoon to strain all of the pulp. Set strained mixture aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, powdered sweetener, stevia, and vanilla. Beat with a mixer for 3-4 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Beat in cooled blackberry mixture. Taste and add additional sweetener, if needed.

In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold whipped cream into the blackberry mixture.

Spoon mousse into 8 small ramekins and refrigerate until slightly firm (1-2 hours). Garnish with fresh blackberries, if desired.

NOTE: you can also use other berries like raspberries or strawberries.

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Sesame Crusted Tuna Steaks

Sesame Crusted Tuna Steaks 1

Fresh tuna steaks are a fast and delicious dinner that even fish-haters around here approve of. Fresh tuna steaks are coated in sesame seeds, quickly seared, and served with a spicy Asian dipping sauce. Tuna steaks are best served rare, so be sure you have all of your sides ready before starting to cook the fish.

The main ingredients in the dipping sauce are soy sauce, lime juice, and chili paste. The strong flavors pair well with the mild fish. You can adjust the spice level to the taste of your family.

Preparing the tuna steaks is super simple. Mix together some white and black toasted sesame seeds, and generously coat all sides of the tuna steaks. Cook for 2 minutes in a hot cast iron skillet, and you are done. Be sure and serve immediately, so that the tuna steaks don’t dry out.

Sesame Crusted Tuna Steaks 3

The best place to buy sesame seeds is an Asian market. You can buy large bags of white or black seeds relatively inexpensively.

In addition to the dipping sauce, I served the tuna steaks with a Thai Cucumber Salad and Green Chili Cilantro Rice.

Sesame Crusted Tuna Steaks 2

Recipes:

Sesame Crusted Tuna Steaks

Sesame Crusted Tuna Steaks 1

4  fresh ahi tuna steaks, about 1” thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper
½ cup each black and white toasted sesame seeds
4 Tbs oil

Dipping Sauce:
¼ cup soy sauce
1 lime, juiced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbs sesame oil
10 drops liquid stevia (or 1 Tbs brown sugar)
2 tsp ground chili paste (adjust to taste)
2 Tbs chopped cilantro

Prepare dipping sauce: Stir together all of the sauce ingredients and set aside.

Pat tuna steaks dry. Season both sides of the tuna steaks with salt and pepper. Place sesame seeds in a wide bowl and dip tuna steaks in seeds, pressing seeds onto all sides of the tuna steaks.

Heat oil in a cast iron skillet until very hot. Add tuna steaks to hot pan. Do not crowd pan; cook in batches if necessary.  Cook for 1 minute on each side. (Adjust cooking time if steaks are thicker, or if you want them cooked more than rare). Remove to serving platter. Cut tuna steaks diagonally into slices and serve immediately with dipping sauce.

Thai Cucumber Salad

4-6 small pickling cucumbers, sliced
½ of a small red onion, thinly sliced
½ cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup rice vinegar, unsweetened
¼ cup fresh lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs sesame oil
10 drops liquid stevia (or 1 Tbs sugar)
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
¼ tsp dried crushed red pepper flakes

Mix sliced cucumbers, onion and cilantro in a bowl. Stir together remaining ingredients. Pour over cucumbers.

Green Chili Cilantro Rice

Green Chili Cilantro Rice

1 can (1 ¾ cup) chicken broth
1 can (4 oz) diced mild green chilies, undrained
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs olive oil
½ tsp salt
1 cup Basmati rice (or other long grain variety rice)
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Combine broth, green chilies, garlic, olive oil, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Stir in rice, cover, and simmer over low heat for 20-25 minutes, or until rice is cooked. Stir in chopped cilantro.

This can also be cooked in a rice cooker: combine all ingredients except cilantro in rice cooker and cook according to directions; stir in cilantro.

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Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Egg Noodles

Chicken Noodle Soup 1

One thing my kids like me to make after making Homemade Chicken Bone Broth is Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Egg Noodles. You can make it in a pot on the stove, or it is quick and easy to make in an Instant Pot pressure cooker.

The hardest part about the noodles is the cutting. They should be fairly thin and left for at least 30 minutes (up to a couple of hours) to dry. This recipe makes A LOT of noodles. I use about half in this recipe of soup, and then freeze the remaining raw noodles to use another day.

Homemade Noodles 1

I use a round pizza cutter to cut the noodles. Separate them slightly and move them around occasionally so that they can dry all around before cooking.

Homemade Noodles 2

Once your noodles are made, the soup takes about 30 minutes to cook in an Instant Pot, or closer to an hour in a regular pot.

Chicken Noodle Soup 2

RECIPES:

Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Egg Noodles

Chicken Noodle Soup 1

Egg Noodles:
2 cups flour
½ tsp salt
1 egg + 3 egg yolks
1/3 cup milk
1 Tbs butter, melted

Soup:
2 Tbs butter
1 large onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 quarts (8 cups) chicken stock or bone broth
1 Tbs lemon juice
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried oregano
⅛ tsp poultry seasoning
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
Salt, to taste (amount will depend on saltiness of stock, about 1 tsp)
2 cups uncooked egg noodles (half of the recipe above)
2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
2 Tbs fresh parsley

Noodles:
In a large bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Make a well in the center. In a separate small bowl, stir together the egg, egg yolks, and milk. Add egg mixture and melted butter to the well of the dry ingredients. Mix until mixture forms a rough ball, adding additional milk, if needed. Knead for about 5 minutes, or until dough is smooth. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8” thickness. Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut into thin lengths about 1-½ inches long. Separate slightly so that dough can dry on all edges. Let sit, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes, ideally 2-3 hours. Move dough around occasionally so that the noodles can dry on all sides before cooking.

Soup
Instant Pot Directions:

Add butter to Instant Pot and turn to Saute setting. Add onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until onions are just softened. Stir in broth, lemon juice, dried seasonings, and salt/pepper.

Place lid on Instant Pot and cook on Soup setting for 7 minutes. Let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, and then QPR (quick pressure release).

Remove lid and change setting to Saute. Add the noodles and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes, or until noodles are just barely cooked through. Stir in shredded chicken and heat through. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Stovetop Directions:
Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, or until onions are softened. Stir in broth, lemon juice, dried seasonings, and salt/pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the noodles to the pot and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes, or until noodles are just barely cooked through. Stir in shredded chicken and heat through. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Homemade Egg Noodles

  • Servings: Makes 4 cups uncooked noodles
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Homemade Noodles 2

2 cups flour
½ tsp salt
1 egg + 3 egg yolks
1/3 cup milk
1 Tbs butter, melted

In a large bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Make a well in the center. In a separate small bowl, stir together the egg, egg yolks, and milk. Add egg mixture and melted butter to the well of the dry ingredients. Mix until mixture forms a rough ball, adding additional milk, if needed. Knead for about 5 minutes, or until dough is smooth. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8” thickness. Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut into thin lengths about 1-1/2 inches long. Separate slightly so that dough can dry on all edges. Let sit, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes, ideally 2-3 hours. Move dough around occasionally so that the noodles can dry on all sides before cooking.

Bring water or broth to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer. Slowly stir in noodles. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until al dente. Exact cooking time will depend on the thickness of the noodles.

To Freeze: After drying noodles, arrange in a single layer on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet. Freeze until solid. Transfer to a freezer bag and return to freezer. DO NOT thaw noodles before cooking. Add frozen noodles directly to simmering broth to cook, adding about 1 minute of cooking time.

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Instant Pot Chicken Stock/Bone Broth

Instant Pot Chicken Bone Broth

Making your own Chicken Stock or Bone Broth is simple and inexpensive using an electric pressure cooker, or Instant Pot.

You can start with raw or cooked chicken carcasses. I usually serve 2 rotisserie baked chickens (Yes-the precooked ones from Costco) to my family for dinner one night, and then use the 2 carcasses to make bone broth the next day.

If you are using a raw chicken with all of the meat still on the bones, cook for 60 minutes, then remove chicken from bones and set meat aside. Return bones to Instant Pot and cook again for another 60 minutes.

I freeze the bone broth in 1 or 2 cup containers to use in recipes later.

What’s the difference between chicken stock and chicken bone broth? In terms of preparation and cooking: just time cooked. In terms of taste and nutrition: bone broth is deliciously rich with all of the nutritional benefits of bone marrow. When refrigerated, the bone broth will become slightly gelatinous. I always go for the extra time and make bone broth.

Up Next: Chicken Noodle Soup made from homemade bone broth:

Chicken Noodle Soup 2

RECIPE:

Instant Pot Chicken Stock/Bone Broth

  • Servings: Makes about 12 cups
  • Print

Instant Pot Chicken Bone Broth

1-2 chicken carcasses, cut up **(See Note)
1 onion, quartered
1 carrot, cut into quarters
1 stalk celery, with leaves, cut into quarters
4 whole cloves of garlic
2 bay leaves
2-3 sprigs of fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, parsley, sage, etc.)
1 Tbs kosher salt
1 tsp whole peppercorns
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
Approximately 12 cups of water

Place cut chicken into pot of the Instant Pot. Add vegetables, herbs, seasonings, and vinegar. Fill with water to 1” below the Max line (in my Instant Pot, this is the 4L line).

Place lid on Instant Pot and close valve. Cook on High Pressure:
-Cook on high pressure for 60 minutes for chicken stock
-Cook on high pressure for 120 minutes for bone broth

Allow pressure to release naturally (NPR) for at least 30-60 minutes.

Cool slightly, and then strain bones and seasonings from broth. Divide into containers and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.
Note on chicken: You can use raw or cooked chicken carcasses. I usually serve 2 rotisserie baked chickens to my family for dinner one night, and then use the 2 carcasses to make bone broth the next day. If you are using a raw chicken with all of the meat still on the bones, cook for 60 minutes, then remove chicken from bones and set meat aside. Return bones to Instant Pot and cook again for another 60 minutes.

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Hearty Beef Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup 1

As a polar vortex takes hold of the country, there is nothing more comforting than a bowl of hearty beef minestrone soup and warm homemade bread.

Chock-full of tender ground beef, vegetables, beans, and pasta, this soup is very filling and is especially good topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Minestrone Soup 3

Some of us here are avoiding pasta these days, so I sometimes cook the pasta separately and let people add it to their soup when they dish it up.

This soup also freezes wonderfully. So make a big crock-pot full and set some aside to eat another day. The one thing you need to do when freezing this soup is to freeze the soup WITHOUT the pasta stirred in. Freeze the cooked pasta separately and add the pasta when you reheat the soup. If you freeze the pasta in the soup, it will be mushy when you reheat it.

Minestrone Soup 4

For a delicious bread to serve with your soup, try one of these recipes:

Whole Wheat Bread, or Rolls:

Whole Wheat Bread

Crescent Dinner Rolls:

Crescent Rolls 2

 

RECIPE:

Hearty Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup 3

2 Tbs olive oil
1-2 lb ground beef (use 2 lb for a thick soup)
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups beef broth
1 can white beans, drained
1 small can (6oz) tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Kitchen Bouquet or beef bouillon base
½ tsp fresh ground pepper
1 large carrot, diced
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cups finely shredded cabbage
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 cup small pasta shapes
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

In a large pot, brown ground beef in olive oil; drain excess fat. Add onion and garlic to the pot and cook until tender. Add broth, beans, tomato paste, bay leaf, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, carrots, celery, and cabbage. Bring to a boil; simmer 30 minutes. Add zucchini and cook 10 minutes. Add pasta and cook about 10 minutes, just until pasta is tender. Add additional water if soup is too thick. Remove bay leaf. Taste and add additional salt, if needed. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

To cook in crock pot: Brown ground beef, onions, and garlic as above. Place in crock pot. Add remaining ingredients (except for Parmesan) and cook on low for about 8 hours. Turn to high heat, add pasta, and cook until pasta is tender, about 30 minutes.

To freeze soup: Prepare as above, but do not add pasta. Place in freezer containers and freeze. Cook pasta separately in water. Drain, cool, and freeze pasta separately. Add cooked pasta to soup after thawing and reheating.

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Top Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies Recap

After an extensive process of nominations and voting, these are the cookies that our family voted as their favorites. It is not an exhaustive list, and the voting may have been skewed by the child who hates anything chocolate. Tomorrow I will share a few Honorable Mentions and some favorite Christmas candies.

Merry Christmas and Happy Baking!

DAY 1: Christmas Cherry Pecan Cookies

Christmas Cherry Pecan Cookies

DAY 2: Lofthouse Style Soft Sugar Cookies

Lofthouse Cookies 3

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

ninjabread-men-3

DAY 4: Russian Teacakes

Russian Tea Cakes 2

DAY 5: Sugar Cookies

Snow Capped Christmas TreesStained Glass Sugar CookiesSugar Cookies 2Sharp Edges Sugar Cookies

DAY 6: Chewy Molasses Cookies

Chewy Molasses Crinkles

DAY 7: Andes & Rolo Cookies

Andes and Rolo Cookies

DAY 8: Scottish Shortbread

Scottish Shortbread (12)

DAY 9: Old-Fashioned Coconut Macaroons

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DAY 10: Chocolate Dipped Orange Shortbread Cookies

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DAY 11: Raspberry Almond Linzer Cookies

Raspberry Almond Linzer Cookies (7)

DAY 12: Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints

Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints 1

 

 

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Top Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Chocolate Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints 1

DAY 12: Chocolate Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

Four of my five children voted this cookie as their favorite all-time Christmas cookie.

I like to make these cookies with a homemade caramel filling. With a candy thermometer, the caramel filling comes together quickly and turns a good cookie into a fabulous one!

You can also make the filling with melted packaged caramels. If you want to take the “easy” route and buy a bag of Kraft Caramels, that recipe can be found HERE.

Here is my tip for getting a good deep pocket for all of that amazing caramel: Use the back of a rounded measuring spoon and press it into the center of each cookie. I use a ½ teaspoon measuring spoon on the raw cookie dough before baking:

Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints 2

Then I use  a 1 teaspoon measuring spoon on the hot, baked cookie. (The cookies do spread a little when they are baked, leaving a larger opening). This is a good alternative to actually using (and burning) your thumbs.

Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints 3

ORIGINAL BLOG POSTS:

      (2017): Chocolate Caramel Thumbprint Cookies with Homemade Caramel Filling

     (2009): Chocolate Caramel Thumbprint Cookies with Filling made from Packaged Caramels

RECIPE:

Chocolate Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints 1

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs, separated
1/4  cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups finely chopped pecans

Homemade Caramel Filling (recipe below)

Glaze:
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs corn syrup

Prepare Cookies: Combine butter, sugar, egg yolks, milk and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Beat until light and fluffy. Add flour, cocoa powder and salt. Beat until well combined. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place egg whites in a small bowl. Place finely chopped pecans in a bowl. Set aside. Roll dough into balls. Dip balls into egg white and then into pecans. (I find this easier if I make a whole baking sheet worth of dough balls, then dip them in egg/pecans). Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Make a small indentation in the center of each cookie with the back of measuring spoon (I use a ½ teaspoon) or your thumb.

Bake at 350°F for 12 minutes, or until cookies are set.

While cookies are still hot, press center again (use the back of a round 1 teaspoon measuring spoon). Cool.

Prepare Caramel Filling (recipe below).
Spoon small amount of warm caramel into centers of baked cookies. Carefully remove cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Prepare Chocolate Glaze: Combine bittersweet chips, butter and corn syrup in a small bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave for another 20-30 seconds if not melted. Let cool slightly. Pour chocolate into a small Ziploc freezer bag. Poke a hole in the corner of the bag (a bamboo skewer makes a perfect sized hole). Drizzle chocolate over the cooled cookies. Cool until set.

To store: refrigerate or freeze cookies in individual layers; then store between layers of waxed paper in the refrigerator or freezer. They can also be stored at room temperature, but if you stack them, they will stick together.


Homemade Caramel Filling

1 cup unsalted butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups brown sugar (light or dark)
1 cup light corn syrup
2 Tbs heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp sea salt

Combine butter, sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar, corn syrup and heavy cream in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Place a candy thermometer on the side of the pan. Reduce heat to medium low, maintaining a low but continuous simmer, until caramel reaches 235°F (soft ball stage), stirring occasionally. This will take about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt.

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Top Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Raspberry Almond Linzer Cookies

Raspberry Almond Linzer Cookies 4

DAY 11: Raspberry Almond Linzer Cookies

The votes for the top two favorite Christmas cookies in our house were very close. These were the runner-up.

My linzer cookies are not a traditional European linzer cookie which usually has an almond flour based dough that is spiced with cinnamon and fruit extracts. The traditional cookie also comes out crispy rather than soft. (I am almost always in the soft cookie camp.) I use one of my sugar cookie dough recipes to make these, but roll the dough thinner than I do for regular sugar cookies. As long as you don’t overbake them, these cookies stay soft and tender after baking.

These cute cookies are also a great addition to a wedding cookie table.

Linzer cookie cutters usually come in a set. This is a Christmas set, but there are also other fun varieties. To keep the dough from sticking to your center cookie cutter, dip it in flour before each cut (tap on counter to remove any excess flour). A toothpick is a good way to get out the center piece of dough.

Raspberry Almond Linzer Cookies (1)Raspberry Almond Linzer Cookies (8)

Save those tiny centers. They make great tiny sugar cookies!

Raspberry Almond Linzer Cookies (2)

Warm the jam in the microwave for 10 seconds and stir until smooth. Frost a bottom cookie with the almond frosting and top with a small dollop of seedless raspberry jam. Place a cut-out cookie on top and press down slightly.

Raspberry Almond Linzer Cookies (3)

This recipe makes a lot of cookies. I will usually use half of the dough to make Linzer Cookies and the other half to make regular sugar cookies.

ORIGINAL BLOG POST (2009): Raspberry Almond Linzer Cookies

RECIPE:

Raspberry Almond Linzer Cookies

Raspberry Almond Linzer Cookies 4

Cookie Dough:
3 cups sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
About 7 – 7 ½ cups flour
¾ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Filling:
1 cup butter, softened
2 Tbs heavy cream or milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 lb (about 4 cups) powdered sugar
12 oz jar seedless raspberry jam, about 1 ½ cups

 

For Cookies: In a large mixing bowl, beat together sugar, butter, sour cream, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Mix in 4 cups of flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat in enough remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough. Chill for 20 minutes to 1 hour for easier handling.

Roll dough fairly thin, about 1/8 inch thickness. Cut cookies with a linzer cookie cutter or use small round cookie cutter and smaller designed cookie cutter to make tops and bottoms.  Be sure to cut out even numbers of cookie tops and bottoms.

Bake at 375°F for 5-6 minutes; do not brown. Cool completely on a wire rack before filling.

For Filling: Combine butter, cream, vanilla and almond extracts in a large mixing bowl. Beat with a mixer until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar. Frost the bottom side of each solid cookie (without the cut-out) with a small amount of frosting.

Heat raspberry jam in the microwave for about 20 seconds to make it easier to spread. Use a small spoon to place about ½ tsp raspberry jam in the center of the frosting on each cookie.

Place top cookie (with cut-out design) over filling and jam. Store in refrigerator.

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