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Vanilla Scones

Vanilla Scones 1

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.

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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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7th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies Recap

Here is a quick recap of the twelve new cookie recipes for this year. Time to head to the store to restock on flour, sugar and butter.

Merry Christmas and Happy Baking!

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DAY 1: Pecan Sandies

 Oatmeal-Pumpkin-Chip-Cookies-1_thumb[1]

DAY 2: Oatmeal Pumpkin Spice Chip Cookies

 Chocolate Peppermint CookiesThin Mints 2

DAY 3: Homemade Thin Mint Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars 2

DAY 4: Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Caramel Christmas Chex Mix

DAY 5: Caramel Christmas Chex Mix

Texas Sheet Cake Cookies 2

DAY 6: Texas Sheet Cake Cookies

Cake Mix Snowball Cookies 1

DAY 7: Cake Mix Snowball Cookies

 Cranberry Orange Bread 1

DAY 8: Cranberry Orange Bread

  Buckeye Brownie Cookies

DAY 9: Buckeye Brownie Cookies

 Marshmallow Blondies

DAY 10: Butterscotch Marshmallow Blondies

Candy Cane Snowball Cookies

DAY 11: Candy Cane Snowball Cookies

 Christmas M&M Cookies

DAY 12: Christmas M&M Cookies


I hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas season, a season full of lasting memories made with family and friends as we celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world.

A Savior is Born

#ASaviorIsBorn

Need more cookie inspiration? Try the links below for some of our family’s other Christmas favorites:

First Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2009)

Second Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2010)

Third Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2011)

Fourth Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2012)

Fifth Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2013)

Sixth Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2014)

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Scottish Shortbread

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Welcome to the Fifth Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies. Twelve days of cookies and treats perfect to share with friends and family or for a delicious holiday table of your own.

DAY 1: Sometimes simplicity makes for the best cookies. There is nothing fancy about this shortbread. Just good, quality ingredients that combine to make a cookie that melts in your mouth. A perfect companion to a cup of homemade hot cocoa.

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For a fancier treat, dip half of each cookie in melted dark chocolate.

RECIPE:

Scottish Shortbread

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2 cups butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbs vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
4 ½ cups flour
OPTIONAL: 6 oz dark chocolate (about 1 cup chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Make sure that butter is very soft, but not melted. Cream butter and brown sugar with a mixer for 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla and salt. Gradually add flour, mixing well.

Lightly sprinkle flour on a pastry board or mat. Gently press dough into a rectangle ½” thick (about 10”x 12”). Cut dough into 1” strips lengthwise and then into 2-3” wide rectangles. Prick each cookie with a fork about 4 times.

Use a thin metal spatula to transfer unbaked cookies to an ungreased baking sheet, leaving a small space between cookies. Bake at 325°F for 20-25 minutes. Do not brown. Cool on a wire rack.

OPTIONAL: Melt chocolate and pour into a narrow bowl or cup. Dip half of each cooled cookie in the melted chocolate. Place on parchment paper or wax paper to harden.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

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More cookies to tempt your taste buds:

First Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2009)

Second Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2010)

Third Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2011)

Fourth Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2012)

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Fourth Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies Recap

A Recap of our Fourth Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies


Happy Baking!

Ginger Dulce de Leche Cookies1_thumb

DAY 1: Dulce de Leche Ginger Cookies

German Chocolate Cake Cookies1

DAY 2: German Chocolate Cake Cookies

Pumpkin Cookies1

DAY 3: Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies

PB Snowflake Cookies

DAY 4: Peanut Butter Snowflake Cookies

 

Snickerdoodle Bars1

DAY 5: Snickerdoodle Bars

 

Almond Joy Cookies2_thumb

DAY 6: Almond Joy Cookies

Butterscotch Cinnamon Chip Cookies2

DAY 7: Butterscotch Cinnamon Chip Cookies

 

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DAY 8: Hot Cocoa Cookies

Buttermilk Cookies2

DAY 9: Chocolate Buttermilk Cookies with Peanut Butter Chips

 

Oatmeal Apple Cookies 1

DAY 10: Oatmeal Apple Cookies

 

Chocolate Orange Cookies 3

DAY 11: Chocolate Dipped Orange Shortbread Cookies

White Chocolate Cherry Pistachio 1

DAY 12: White Chocolate Cherry Pistachio Cookies

Our family’s wishes to yours for a healthy and happy
Christ-centered Christmas season!

Want more cookie ideas? Try these:

First Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2009)

Second Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2010)

Third Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2011)

 

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Autumn Spiced Fall Leaf Cookies

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Leaves are starting to change here in Pennsylvania, so it seems only right to reflect the changes outside with some multi-colored fall leaf cookies made with delicious warm autumn spices.

These cookies are actually easier to make than regular sugar cookies, because you don’t need to frost them. Colorful dough with a shiny glaze makes them beautiful all on their own. And much less sweet than a traditional sugar cookie.

I used a brown sugar cookie dough from Bake at 350 that is spiced with wonderful fall flavors like cinnamon, ginger and allspice. I like this dough for making these leaves because the dough doesn’t lose its shape as it cooks, so the cookies keep their sharp edges and leaf “veins” etched into the top.

To make multicolored leaf cookies:

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Separate cookie dough into four portions. Place in Ziploc bags. Add gel food coloring (I like the Ateco brand)  to bags and knead until dough is a uniform color.

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To make multicolored leaves, place small balls of different colored dough on a floured pastry mat. Press with hands to flatten and fill in spaces. Roll gently with a rolling pin to flatten evenly. Make sure that the seams between the different colors are all sealed.

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Cut out leaves with cookie cutters and place on parchment paper or silicon mat lined baking sheets.

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Use a sharp paring knife to draw veins into dough.

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Baking leaves plain will result in a rustic, matted look to the leaves:

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For a shiny finish on your cookies, brush with a glaze (add a little almond or orange extract for a great flavor) before baking:

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As you re-roll the dough, the colors take on more of a tie-dyed or marbled look.

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These cookies are great fun for kids, and really taste great.

RECIPE:

Leaf Cookies (8)-2

Spiced Brown Sugar Cut-Out Cookies
(recipe from Bake at 350)

3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
½ cup sugar
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350˚ F.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and spices with a whisk to mix. (The amounts of spices given make a mildly spiced cookie. For a more pronounced flavor, increase spice amounts)

Using an electric mixer, mix the sugar, brown sugar and butter.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.  Beat in the egg and vanilla.  On low speed, beat in the dry ingredients just until incorporated.  Dough will be stiff.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to about ¼-inch thickness.  Cut out dough with cookie cutters and place on baking sheets.  Bake for 9-12 minutes, depending on the size of your cookie cutter. Decorate as desired.

Yield: about 3 dozen cookies using a 3” cookie cutter

To make Fall Leaves:

Leaf Cookies (2)-1

Additional ingredients:
Gel food coloring (I used red, green orange and yellow)
Glaze:
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
2 Tbs ClearJel or cornstarch
2 Tbs water
1 tsp almond or orange extract

Prepare cookie dough and divide into four portions. Place in Ziploc bags. Add gel food coloring (I like the Ateco brand) to bags and knead until dough is a uniform color. Place small balls of different colored dough on a floured pastry mat. Press with hands to flatten and fill in spaces. Roll gently with a rolling pin to flatten evenly. Make sure that the seams between the different colors are all sealed. Cut out leaves with cookie cutters and place on parchment paper or silicon mat lined baking sheets. Use a sharp paring knife to draw veins into dough. Baking leaves plain will result in a rustic, matted look to the leaves.

For a shiny finish on your cookies, prepare glaze: combine 1/2 cup each water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; boil 2 minutes. Stir together ClearJel or cornstarch and 2 Tbs water; stir into pan a little at a time until glaze just begins to thicken. Return to a boil and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in almond or orange extract. Brush lightly onto raw cookie dough (after cutting out and placing on baking sheets). Bake as directed above.

(Fall leaves inspired by HGTV, as seen on Pinterest)

 

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Blackened Fish Tacos with Cilantro Dressing

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I wish I could say that fish tacos are a favorite meal in our house. Unfortunately, I have a few fish-haters who refuse to like any kind of seafood. Even when, as in this case, the fish is extremely mild, “unfishy” and full of flavors they already enjoy. But I love them, so I continue to cook them for those of us who appreciate a change from your standard ground beef taco. The others eat the beans and cabbage drowned in the delicious cilantro dressing.

In the summer, I would add fresh homegrown tomatoes to these tacos. After growing my own tomatoes, however, I have a real aversion to grocery store tomatoes. They are always mushy or mealy, regardless of how red and beautiful they appear. So I will wait for summer to add them.

I like to use Cotija cheese in these tacos. Cotija is a firm mild cheese with a texture similar to feta, but without the saltiness. It crumbles easily with your fingers. Cabbage is also a must in fish tacos. The crunchiness of the cabbage makes a great contrast to the soft texture of the fish.

I serve these with a creamy cilantro dressing. It is full of cilantro, and just barely spicy. You can adjust the heat by varying the amount of jalapeno and Sriracha sauce in the dressing. I often make a double batch of the dressing and use it later as a salad dressing or raw vegetable dip.

RECIPE:

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Blackened Fish Tacos with Cilantro Dressing

4 firm white fish fillets (halibut, cod, snapper)
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp Ancho chili powder
1/8 tsp chipotle chili powder
2 Tbs oil

Corn or Flour tortillas
Shredded green cabbage (about 2 cups)
Tomatoes, diced
Cotija cheese, crumbled
1 can black beans, drained and mixed with 1 Tbs lime juice

Cilantro Dressing:
1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 green onions
1 fresh jalapeno
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
2 Tbs diced mild green chilies (about 1/2 of a 4 oz can)
2 Tbs fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 – 1 tsp Sriracha chili sauce (adjust to taste)
1/2 tsp kosher salt


Prepare cilantro dressing: Place all dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Refrigerate for about one hour. Use any leftover lime juice to mix with a can of drained and rinsed black beans.

Remove fish from refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking. Mix dry spices in a small bowl. Pat fish fillets dry and rub spices onto both sides of fish fillets.

Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Place fish fillets in the hot skillet and sear until cooked through (do not crowd pan; cook in 2 batches if necessary). Depending on the thickness and variety of fish, it should take about 3 minutes per side. Check for doneness with a fork: fish should flake easily, but not fall apart. Remove from pan and let fish rest for 2-3 minutes. Use a fork to separate fish into 2-3 pieces.

Serve fish strips in warm tortillas with shredded cabbage, tomatoes, Cotija cheese, black beans and cilantro dressing.


Makes 8-10 tacos

 

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Third Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies Recap

Here’s a recap of this year’s
Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies

Happy Baking!

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DAY 1: Christmas Cherry Cookies

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DAY 2: Blueberry Crumb Bars

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DAY 3: Cherry Shortbread Squares

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DAY 4: Chinese Almond Cookies

12-12-10 013-1 DAY 5: Chocolate Covered Pretzels

100711 006-1 DAY 6: Nanaimo Bars

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DAY 7:Sugar Cookie Bars

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DAY 9: Chocolate Walnut Puddle Cookies (Gluten Free)

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DAY 10: Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

1205112 021-1  DAY 11: Cranberry Orange Pinwheels

120511 002-2 DAY 12: Candy Cane Kisses Cookies

Enjoy a wonderful sugar-laden faith-filled Christmas season!

Still need more cookie ideas? Try these:

First Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies(2009)

Second Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2010)

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Cranberry Orange Pinwheels

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DAY 11: Cranberry Orange Pinwheels

Traditional flavors of Christmas, all swirled into a bite-sized cookie. Buttery orange dough swirled with chopped fresh cranberries and pecans. A delicious cookie for the grown-up cookie plate.

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RECIPE:

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Cranberry Orange Pinwheels
—————–(from Better Homes & Gardens)

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 tsp grated orange peel
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cranberries
1 cup pecans
1/4 cup packed brown sugar

In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and orange peel until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill dough about 1 hour or until easy to handle.

For filling, in a food processor combine cranberries, pecans, and brown sugar. Cover and blend or process until cranberries and nuts are finely chopped; set filling aside.

Roll half of the dough between pieces of waxed paper (or plastic wrap) into a 10-inch square. Spread half of the filling over dough square to within 1/2 inch of edges; roll up dough. Moisten edges; pinch to seal. Wrap in waxed paper or plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Chill for 4 to 24 hours.

Cut rolls into 1/4-inch slices . Place slices 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 375°F oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet for 3 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

Makes about 60 cookies

 

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Maple Cookies

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DAY 8: Maple Cookies

A simple maple flavored cookie. No frills; just a quiet, unassuming cookie.

RECIPE:
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Maple Cookies
———-(from AllRecipes)

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup real maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tsp maple extract (optional)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups all-purpose flour
Granulated or raw sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease cookie sheet or use silicon baking mat.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar. Add the egg, syrup, vanilla and maple extract (if using). Mix until well blended. Stir together the flour, salt and baking soda. Stir into mixture until well blended. Shape into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar. Place on cookie sheets about 2 inches apart and flatten slightly.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

Makes about 60 small cookies.

 

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Roasted Garlic Rosemary Beets

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Beets are a controversial vegetable in our house. Until recently we were split pretty evenly between beet lovers and beet haters. This recipe, however, has made some converts to the beet-loving camp. There are still 2 hold-outs, but that may be due more to stubbornness than actual taste preferences. One child hardly put enough in her mouth to actually taste it before declaring it gross.

Beets are one vegetable that grew really well in my garden this year. I had to fight the deer for the beet greens, but even without their tops, the beets grew undisturbed by the menagerie of wildlife in my backyard these days. I love how prominent the stripes are in the raw beets!

Roasted fresh beets are a whole different animal than those sweet canned things. Add some garlic and rosemary and I think they are divine.

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The cooked beets, unfortunately, don’t look as brilliantly beautiful as the raw ones, but they sure taste great!

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RECIPE:

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Roasted Garlic Rosemary Beets
——————-(from Guilty Kitchen)

3 large beets, peeled
2 small sprigs fresh rosemary, minced
3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
2 Tbs olive oil
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cut beets into wedges (each beet should make 8 wedges). In a large bowl, stir together beet wedges, minced rosemary, sliced garlic and olive oil. Grind in some fresh salt and pepper and toss to coat.

Place in a shallow baking dish and cover with foil. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until beets are tender. Remove from oven and let stand for a few minutes before serving. Taste; add additional salt and pepper, if necessary.

 

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