Thursday, December 30, 2010

"Black" Russian Tea Cakes

I usually make the almond version of these (Mexican wedding cookies/Russian Tea cakes) but wanted to make a chocolate version for my chocoholic husband. They came out melt in your mouth yummy so I really thought you all would enjoy the recipe too!

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • Confectioner's sugar
In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar together until light & fluffy.
Add the egg, milk and vanilla and mix until well combined.
In another bowl combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt & baking soda.
Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet mixture.
Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat over to 350 degrees.
Shape cold dough into 1" balls.
Place on ungreased baking sheets about 2" apart.
Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

Remove to wire racks and allow to cool completely.

You can roll the cooled cookies in confectioners sugar, but I like to place them all in a paper bag with the confectioners sugar and shake them to coat. I find they get a better coating that way!

Recipe makes about 6 dozen cookies.
Enjoy with a nice hot cuppa!


Cocoa Powder

Monday, December 27, 2010

Cranana Nut Bread

We got wollopped by the blizzard over the past 24 hours! While my boys ventured outside to dig us out, I ventured into the kitchen to see what I could get in to. I decided to make a quick bread.

Yeah, I know. I did tons of baking last week for the holidays, but when you have Bananas that look like this, you just gotta do something with them!

My little helpers say "We don care if da bananas iz black Mama. We will still eat dem!

I think the puggies plump enough, so I'm baking with the bananas.
OK! I confess! I gave them each a little piece of banana before I mashed the rest up.

The original recipe I have calls for raisins, but I'm out of raisins and wanted to use up an opened bag of dried cranberries and some walnuts, so it's now

Cranana Nut Bread

  • 1 2/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2-3 large over ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix cracker crumbs, flour sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
Beat eggs, milk, and oil in a medium bowl until well blended.
Stir in Bananas
Add to flour mixture; stir until just blended.
Stir in cranberries and walnuts.
Spoon into a greased 9"x5" loaf pan.
Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes.
Remove from pan and allow to cool completely

Yeah, right. Like they'll wait that long..'specially after shoveling snow!

This recipe bakes up such a beautiful tall loaf, and the graham cracker crumbs add such a great aroma and taste! I really hope you'll give it a try!


Bananas on FoodistaBananas

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Stöllen

For as long as I can remember, breakfast on Christmas morning at our house my Mom's Christmas Stöllen. Mom didn't make any this year, so I stole her recipe and made it myself! So here's my "Stolen Christmas Stöllen" recipe:

  • 2c unsifted flour
  • 1/2c sugar
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1 pkg yeast
  • 1c milk and 1/2c butter (heat together until blended and let cool)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2Tbs lemon rind
  • 1/2c raisins
  • 1/2c halved glace cherries
  • 1/2c citron (sliced thin)
  • 1/4c dark rum
  • 3c unsifted flour (or more)
  • Butter (I used about half a stick here)
  • Powdered sugar
In a large bowl, stir together 2c flour, sugar, salt & yeast.
Add cooled butter/milk mixture to flour mixture
Add eggs and lemon, mix well

Combine fruit with the rum
Blend into batter

Add additional flour until the mixture cleans the bowl.
Turn dough out onto floured board and kneed until smooth & elastic (not sticky)

Place dough in a greased bowl, turning once so that grease is on top
Cover with a clean towel and let rise
Punch down and kneed briefly
Shape into loaves, fold over, almost in half
Place loaves on greased baking sheet
Cover and let rise a second time

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes
*now comes the BEST part*
While still hot, rub loaves with butter!!!

Allow to cool completely
When cool, dredge with powdered sugar

Happy Christmas Everyone!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Brownie Overload

Seriously! Tuesday, I made 4 different brownie creations for my holiday treat platters! My husband is a certifiable chocoholic, so he is in chocolate heaven this week!

The first brownies I made were Butterscotch Brownie Pinwheels. Make your favorite brownie batter and bake it for about 10-15 minutes in a thin layer (I used an 11x17x1" pan) You don't want to over bake these because they'll crack when you try to roll them (like I did my first try)

While it's still warm, you will then want to turn it out onto a clean kitchen towel that has been dusted with powdered sugar. Then roll it up, jelly roll style, starting with a long side and let it cool completely wrapped in the towel on a wire rack

It looks like a baking crime scene, no?

Carefully unroll the cooled brownie. Melt a 12oz bag of butterscotch baking chips with 2Tbs butter and spread this melted mixture into the cooled brownie. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts onto the butterscotch and then roll it back up. Let cool and set up again and cut it into 1/4" pinwheels

Next, I made "Merry Cherry Brownies"
Make a double batch of your favorite brownies and swirl this filling into the pan:

  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped red or green maraschino cherries
  • 2 teaspoons red or green maraschino cherry juice
  • 1 egg

These are so tasty!

The next thing I did was rather twisted...I baked up a batch of brownies and dipped them into 24oz of melted semi sweet chocolate!

I couldn't leave well enough alone, so I added some holiday sprinkles on top! Talk about decadent!

I had one batch of brownies left over, so I sliced 'em up and dipped them into the same holiday sprinkles that I used on the chocolate covered ones

I have a feeling I'm going to have a lot more to shimmy the next time I have a belly dance performance!

Peace Out!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Old School

One of the greatest gifts I ever received was a collection of recipes from my husband's Grandmother and Great Grandmother. Both of them had passed away long before he and I got together , so I never got to meet them. His Grandfather gave them to me one afternoon, just because. You would have thought he had given me the stars out of the sky! Every so often I break one out and give it a try. This holiday season is no different. My youngest son's fiance, Jenn, was here visiting us while she's on break from college last week and earlier this week. While he was at work Monday she joined us in the kitchen to make two of his favorite cookies. He loves gingerbread cookies, so we tried out Nana's Ginger Cookies recipe

I love having the original recipe in her handwriting!

When I see "Oleo" in the ingredients list, I get giddy!

I get that way about molasses too, so this recipe was a twofer!

The dough made the whole house smell like the holidays before I even started baking it!

All rapped up for a chill!

And they baked up perfect! Crisp on the outside, tender on the inside!

Another favorite cookie of Nick's is Hamantaschen. The recipe that I have for these is over 20 years old. I got it from a customer and friend of mine who's nails I did for 10+ years when I was a nail tech on LI in NY. I've tweaked it over the years (as you can see) and made it my own.

This dough is so tender and tasty! I've also used it for regular sugar cookies, added chocolate chips to it for chocolate chip cookies, and made thumbprint cookies from it!

It gets wrapped up for a chill as well!

Jenn did a fantastic job filling and folding them! You would think she's been making them for years!

They bake up great every time, and are usually the first cookies gone from the cookie platter!

It was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon! I'm so lucky and blessed to be gaining her as a daughter!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Truffles and "Crack"

When I got home from the Cookie Walk on Sunday I was inspired to make a batch of Oreo Truffles and "Christmas Crack". I know most of you know this treat as Chex cereal "Reindeer Food", but my scrapbooking friends and I find it so addictive that we call is crack. I wasn't going to make the Oreo truffles, but someone made them for the cookie walk & my husband said "you're gonna make those, right?"

So, here are the recipes:

Reindeer Food/Christmas Crack

1 Box of Corn Chex cereal
1 large package of M&M's
1 regular bag of mini pretzels
1 large jar of salted peanuts
24 oz white candy coating (or white chocolate chips)

Mix all the ingredients except for white chocolate/candy coating in a very large bowl. Melt white chocolate/candy coating and quickly pour into mixture & mix together. Quickly dump out onto waxed paper and spread it in a thin layer and let it cool completely. Once it is cool, break into pieces and store in an airtight container. You may want to work this in 2 smaller batches.

Oreo Truffles


18-oz. pkg. chocolate sandwich cookies with white filling, finely crushed

8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

24oz semi sweet chocolate chips, melted


In large bowl combine crushed cookies and cream cheese. Beat with mixer on low speed until well blended. Form teaspoon sized balls by hand. refrigerate until set up. Dip balls in melted chocolate; place on baking sheet covered with waxed paper. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. To store, cover and refrigerate. Makes 30ish truffles.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cookie Walk!

Yesterday, a bunch of the volunteers and I from the Pug Rescue of New England did a bake sale fundraiser called a "Cookie Walk". We all baked up a mess of treats and sold them for $5 a pound with all the money raised going to the rescue. There were also some raffles for some great prizes including 2 hand made quilts! Since I make so many cookies, I opted to fill the box I bought with other kinds of treats! Here's my 2lb box o' booty:

I choose to make just one type of cookie for this event, but I made 16 dozen of them!
I made "Jelly Gems"'s a take off on the Raspberry Thumbprint cookies found on the Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie mix pouches.

Jelly Gems
(Makes 8 dozen)
3 pouches Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups butter (softened)
Strawberry Spread (or any fruit preserve, jelly, jam or spread you like)
1 cup Powdered sugar
up to 3 Tbs milk

This particular brand of Strawberry Spread was so good, I had to ask my husband to stop eating it so that I could use it for the cookies!

~Heat oven to 350F degrees
~Mix all ingredients together until dough forms a ball
~form tsp sized dough balls
~place on cookie sheet
~make a thumbprint indentation in the center of each cookie
~place 1/4 tsp of fruit spread into the dent
~bake 10-15 minutes

~allow cookies to cool completely
~mix 1 Tbs at a time of milk to powdered sugar until you get a good drizzling consistency
~drizzle icing onto cookies
~allow icing to set before you pack the cookies up for gifting

LOTS of baking going on this week, so I'll have lots to share with you!