Mama’s Pickles

Mama's Pickles

T is the kind of 3-year old who loves pickles.  He’s the kid who requests them for breakfast, lunch, snack, or dinner.  He’s the kid at the summer cookout who will be holding a pickle in one hand and a chocolate chip cookie in the other.  When I made my own pickles for the first time last summer, T was elated and started to refer to them as “Mama’s Pickles.”  The name stuck in our house and homemade dill pickles henceforth were known simply as Mama’s Pickles.

garden

One of the vegetables that I have planted in my garden this summer are pickling cucumbers (in addition to Marketmore cucumbers.)  The cucumbers have really taken off and are climbing all over my garden fence and the other plants.  I’ve already harvested quite a few of them so I knew it was time to make my first batch of Mama’s Pickles for the season, this time with my own homegrown pickling cucumbers!

Cucumber_plant

This recipe is very flexible and you can cut the cucumbers whichever way you see fit (spears, slices, whole, etc.)  T prefers “stick pickles”…his terms for pickle spears, so that is how I cut them for this first batch.  Feel free to halve this recipe or double as you see fit.

pickle ingredientsprepping pickles

Mama's Pickles
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch fresh dill
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
  • 6-8 pickling cucumbers, washed and ends cuts off
  • 6 cups water
  • ¾ cup distilled white vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Gather three to four clean mason jars and put a couple sprigs of the dill and some of the pressed garlic on the bottom of each jar. Next, slice the cucumbers up into spears, slices, or keep them whole depending upon your pickling preference. Place the cucumbers into the mason jars.
  2. In a large bowl with a spout or measuring cup, mix together the water, vinegar, and salt. Stir until the salt is fully dissolved. Pour the vinegar mixture into each mason jar until it fully covers the cucumbers. Place a few more sprigs of dill and more of the pressed garlic on top (if desired.) Screw on mason jar covers.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 2 days. Then, enjoy for breakfast, lunch, or dinner if you have the same love of pickles as my little guy!

Source: Slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats

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Greek Quinoa Salad

Greek Quinoa Salad

I have to admit that I have had a hard time getting on the quinoa bandwagon.  I think the issue was that I was eating it plain and only seasoned with salt and pepper…boring, bland, blah!  I’ve recently come to the realization that quinoa is much better when you incorporate it with lots of fresh, flavorful ingredients.

With all the recent reports about the high amounts of arsenic in rice, I’ve been attempting to keep our family’s rice intake to a minimum.  Quinoa is certainly a great substitute because it is a great source of protein, iron, and fiber.  Quinoa is also a great sub for pasta as well.

I was originally planning on making a greek orzo salad to go along with Giada’s Tzatziki Salmon recipe last night.  I realized that I had no orzo in the pantry and thought it would the perfect opportunity to sub in some quinoa.  I found a Bobby Flay recipe for Greek Quinoa Salad and adjusted it a bit to my preferences.  I was so pleased with the results!  I think this greek quinoa salad will definitely be making it’s way into our side dish rotation.  I’m so psyched to finally say bring on the quinoa!

Greek Quinoa Salad

Greek Quinoa Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: salad
Cuisine: Greek
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Skip the rice or pasta and try quinoa for a healthy, but delicious substitute!
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and cooked according to the package
  • ½ hothouse cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 cup kalamata olives, cut in half or kept whole (whatever is your preference)
  • ½ cup crumbled feta (or use more or less based on your preference)
  • 2 green onions (green parts only), sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Instructions
  1. Cook the quinoa according to the package's directions. Once cooked, place quinoa in a medium-sized serving bowl and allow to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, start to make the Greek dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, red wine vinegar, dried oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper. Slowly add in the olive oil and whisk together at the same time so that it emulsifies.
  3. Add the dressing to the cooled quinoa and mix until incorporated. Add in the cucumber, tomatoes, olives, feta, green onions, and parsley and continue to stir until all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving

 

Source: Adapated from Bobby Flay

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Mason Jar Iced Coffee

Mason Jar Iced Coffee

M and I actually got to spend over three whole days together this week while visiting our parents’ in Syracuse.  The stars aligned for our schedules to match up because I was able to find a plane ticket that I didn’t need to take out a small loan for and M had a free week because it was school vacation week for T.

Mason Jar Iced Coffee

Mason Jar Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee

Mason Jar Iced Coffee

Mason Jar Iced Coffee

As always, my mom had special meals and treats planned for us, but one of our favorite afternoon pick-me-ups (which I am learning is very necessary with two active babies running around) were the mason jar-brewed iced coffee.  She had made two different types made with regular coffee and a caramel flavored coffee.  The mixture of the strong smooth coffee with the rich caramel flavor, the creamy half and half, and sweetness of the condensed milk was the perfect combination.

Mason Jar Iced Coffee

Mason Jar Iced Coffee
Author: 
Recipe type: drink
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
 
The perfect afternoon pick-me-up!
Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup ground coffee, flavored if you prefer
  • Cold water
  • Half-and-half or milk
  • Sweet condensed milk
Instructions
  1. In a 1-quart pitcher or mason jar add in ⅔ cup of ground coffee. (We used caramel-flavored coffee). Fill with cold water and set on the counter for 12-24 hours.
  2. After the coffee brews, line a mesh sieve with cheese cloth and a coffee filter. Place over a 1-quart measuring cup. Start off spooning the grounds at the top of the jar into the filter. Slowly pour the coffee through the filter until all the liquid passes through the filter, cheese cloth, and sieve.
  3. While the remaining coffee is filtering, rinse out the pitcher or mason jar.
  4. Squeeze the remaining coffee out of the filter. Pour the filtered coffee back into mason jar. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  5. To serve:
  6. Fill glass with ice. Pour in the coffee, followed by a few tablespoons of half and half or milk and then 1-2 spoonfuls of sweetened condensed milk. Stir together and serve with a spoon. Add sugar or sweetener if your prefer your drink sweeter. Enjoy!

sisterk (2)

Double Chocolate Guinness Ice Cream

Double Chocolate Guinness Ice Cream

Even though it’s snowing today (ugh ugh ugh), I still wanted to make a batch of this Double Chocolate Guinness Ice Cream in anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day.  I found this recipe in David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop ice cream cookbook and knew I had to make it for this weekend.  My husband and I both love Guinness, chocolate, and ice cream and this recipes incorporates all three!

Double Chocolate Guinness Ice Cream

This ice cream recipe incorporates milk chocolate and Guinness in its base flavor.  The milk chocolate balances well with the Guinness and neither one overpowers the other in terms of flavor.  I kicked the chocolate flavor up a notch by adding in mini chocolate chips towards the end of the mixing process to add a bit more chocolate goodness.  Plus, as K has mentioned before, the best part about cooking with Guinness is that there is always a bit left over to have a little sip for yourself!  If you are looking for a slightly different St. Patrick’s Day recipe this year, I highly recommend this Double Chocolate Guinness Ice Cream.

I’ve been so focused on organizing and working on a few house projects since the new year that I haven’t prioritized making new recipes and blogging about them.  I’m hoping  to share a few more of my favorite recipes that I’ve made recently soon.  It was a lot of fun to finally get back into it!  Now that baby N is almost 9(!) months old, I feel like things are finally starting to get a little easier around here…until he starts walking anyway!

Double Chocolate Guinness Ice Cream

Double Chocolate Guinness Ice Cream
Author: 
Recipe type: ice cream
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup whole or 2% milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup Guinness (the rest is for you to sip!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Place the milk chocolate chips into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer over the top.
  2. Mix together the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan and warm over low heat. Whisk together the egg yolks in a medium-sized bowl. Pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the entire mixture back into the saucepan.
  3. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon. I recommend using a thermometer and removing the mixture from the heat when it reaches between 170-175 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Pour the custard through the strainer over the milk chocolate chips, then stir until the chocolate is melted. Once the mixture is smooth, whisk in the cream, Guinness, and vanilla. Stir until cool over an ice bath.
  5. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Add the mini chocolate chips in the last few minutes of the mixing process.

Source: Slightly adapted from The Perfect Scoop* by David Lebovitz (*Disclosure: This link is an affiliate link.)

Looking for more St. Patrick’s day recipes?  Try these below!

DIY Shamrock Shake

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Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes Filled Chocolate Ganache and Topped With Cream Cheese Frosting

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Chocolate Chip Soda Bread

st_patricks_day_chocolate_chip_soda_bread

Corned Beef and Cabbage

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Taco Dip

Taco Dip

It’s been awhile since my last post and I decided to dive back into things with an easy recipe.  I’m far too often guilty of trying to come up with new and creative (and often complicated) recipes whenever we have guests visit.  However, with the birth of baby N, there are just not enough hours in the day to make every recipe that I would like to make.  I’ve come to the realization that it’s perfectly acceptable most of the time to just stick with easy, classic recipes.  This recipe for taco dip can be whipped up in no time at all!  If you are on the search for an easy recipe to add to your menu for this Super Bowl Sunday, this one has your name all over it (in cheese!)

taco dip

K actually posted this recipe for taco dip back in 2011, but we are trying to redo any of our old posts that did not have pictures or just have really bad pictures.  If you search through some of our archives, you can definitely see some of these photos for yourselves (I’m looking at you blurry iPhone photos of burnt lamb sliders…I’m not going to even link to it I’m so embarrassed.)  One of the many side benefits of working on our blog is that it has definitely honed our photography skills.  While I definitely still need to learn a lot more, blogging has definitely served as a catalyst to learn much more about photography.

taco dip

I accidentally bought the multi-grain version Tostitos scoops at the grocery store, however I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked them.  Serve this dip with any type of tortilla chip you prefer.  You could also mix up this recipe a bit by adding more layers…diced green chills, sliced black olives, or black beans would all be interesting options to add.

Taco Dip
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 8 oz. block of light cream cheese
  • 16 oz. light sour cream
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning (or try 2 tablespoons homemade taco seasoning)
  • 1 jar of salsa
  • Shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 2 small or 1 large tomatoes chopped
  • Shredded Mexican cheese
  • Tortilla chips
Instructions
  1. Allow the cream cheese to come to room temperature. Once the cream cheese is softened, combine with sour cream and taco seasoning until smooth (you can mix it together by hand or mix with an electric stand mixer using the paddle attachment.) Spread the mixture out onto a 9×13-inch or an 8×10-inch pan evenly. Let it set by refrigerating it for an hour.
  2. After an hour or right before you are ready to serve it, use a spatula to spread the jar of salsa evenly over the top of the cream cheese/ sour cream mixture. Next, put the shredded iceberg lettuce on top (you can use as much as you want, I put on about 1½-2 cups), followed by the chopped tomatoes. Finally you sprinkle the shredded cheese on top of everything until it is well covered (about 1½ cups).

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Shrimp Scampi with Garlic Toasts

 Shrimp Scampi with Garlic Toasts

Another food tradition we enjoy in our family is serving lots of appetizers on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.  It can be a bit hectic to prepare these apps with a full house so I am always looking for shortcuts to cut down on prep times.  Campbell’s asked us to share a holiday recipe using one of their skillet sauces or slow cooker sauces.  I decided to try out their Scampi Skillet Sauce to make an appetizer: Shrimp Scampi with Garlic Toasts.  This appetizer dish offers all the flavor of traditional shrimp scampi on a bite-size baguette…perfect for holiday entertaining!

shrimp scampi skillet sauce

I tested this recipe out with some guests that dropped by and it was approved by all (including the kids!)  The baguette slices can be toasted and rubbed with garlic ahead of time.  You could also clean and chop up the shrimp to have it all ready to be sautéed.  Whether you are planning your Christmas menu or looking ahead to New Year’s Eve, definitely consider adding this appetizer to your holiday!

Shrimp Scampi with Garlic Toasts

Shrimp Scampi with Garlic Toasts
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 french baguette
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound thawed shrimp, peeled, de-veined, and with tail removed
  • 1 package Campbell's Scampi Skillet Sauces
  • ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, sliced (optional, for garnish only)
Instructions
  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees (F). Cut baguette into thin slices and place on baking pan. Bake for five minutes on each side or until lightly golden
  2. Remove toasted baguette slices from oven and rub both sides with cut garlic, then set aside.
  3. Rinse shrimp and pat dry with paper towel.
  4. Pour olive oil into large skillet pan and heat to medium high.
  5. Meanwhile, chop shrimp into small pieces. Once oil is hot, add shrimp to pan, and cook until shrimp turns pink
  6. Once shrimp is cooked, turn heat to low and and add Campbell's Scampi Skillet Sauce. Cook until thoroughly warmed.
  7. Remove shrimp from oven, and spoon shrimp mix on top of garlic toast.
  8. Place on serving tray, sprinkle with chopped parsley, and garnish with lemon slices and.

 

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Disclosure: This post brought to you by Campbell’s Dinner Sauces. Weekend-worthy dinners with only weekday-level effort needed! Learn more at http://www.campbellsauces.com/

Easy Pecan Sticky Buns

Easy Pecan Sticky Buns

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association and The Mom It Forward Blogger Network.  All opinions are our own.

One of our favorite holiday traditions is enjoying warm sticky buns after opening presents on Christmas morning.  We are usually ravenous by the time we get to breakfast on that special day and these easy pecan sticky buns hit the spot every time.  This recipe is great because you can prepare it ahead of time and bake it right before serving.  This recipe calls for puff pastry (found in the freezer aisle) and unsalted butter (from the dairy aisle).  These easy pecan sticky buns just might become a Christmas tradition for your family too!

Quick Sticky Buns

While you are planning your holiday menu over the next week, don’t forget to shop the freezer and dairy aisle.  Both aisles offer such a great variety of foods that can be used for special holiday meals and treats. For more holiday recipe ideas, check out the Easy Home Meals Pinterest boards or the Easy Home Meals website, sponsored by the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association.

Sticky Buns from Frozen Puff Pastry Dough

Easy Pecan Sticky Buns
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
Sticky Buns
  • 12 tablespoons (1 and ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ⅓ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ¾ cup pecans
  • 1 package (17.3-ounces/ 2-sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
Filling:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • ⅔ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup raisins
Instructions
  1. Using the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the 12 tablespoons butter and ⅓ cup brown sugar with the paddle attachment. Use a small ice cream scoop to place the mixture in each of the 12 muffin cups. Add the pecans evenly among the 12 muffin cups.
  2. Meanwhile, flour a surface and unfold 1 sheet of the puff pastry with the folds going left to right. Brush the entire sheet with the melted butter. Leaving a 1-inch border on the puff pastry, sprinkle each sheet with ⅓ cup of the brown sugar, 1 and ½ teaspoons of the cinnamon, and ¼ cup of the raisins. Starting with the end closest to you, roll the pastry up tightly around the filling, finishing the roll with the seam side down.
  3. Cut off ½-inch off the ends of the roll and discard. Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces. Place each cut bun (spiral side up) into a cup of a standard-sized muffin pan.
  4. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry to make 12 pecan sticky buns in total.
  5. Cover muffin pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving day.
  6. On serving day: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the muffin pan on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch. Allow to cool for 5 minutes only and flip the buns onto the parchment paper (use a spoon to scoop out any remaining filling and pecans and pour onto the buns). Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa

Holiday cheers!

k & m

3 Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies

Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies {from 2 Sisters 2 Cities}

Today’s 12 Cookies of Christmas countdown post is brought to you by Kraft.

A Little Help For The Holidays From Kraft

Christmas is less than a week away and it’s time to get serious about Christmas preparations!  When I saw this Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookie idea on Pinterest, I knew I had to make these little guys.  These reindeer are so stinking cute and peanut butter cookies are a family favorite in our household.  They also reminded me of K’s Black Cat Cookies and I had fun making those for T this past Halloween.  Whether you are baking for kids or grown-ups, these reindeer cookies will be sure to bring a smile to their faces.

Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies {from 2 Sisters 2 Cities}

I was able to save a little bit of money this holiday season by picking up some Planters Peanut Butter at Target.  Kraft is currently offering a number of coupons for exclusive use at Target to make your holiday entertaining a bit easier. ( Save up to $20 on participating Kraft products, only at Target.)  These Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies will be the hit of your Christmas party!

Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies {from 2 Sisters 2 Cities}

Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies
Author: 2 Sisters 2 Cities
Recipe type: cookie
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 36
Ingredients
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup Creamy Planters Peanut Butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and ¼ cup all-purpose flour.
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • chocolate-covered pretzels, cut in half (for the antlers)
  • mini brown M&Ms (for the eyes)
  • regular-sized red M&Ms (for the nose...you could also use brown M&Ms if you prefer non-Rudolph cookies!)
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar using the paddle attachment. Next, add in the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla and mix together until combined. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the baking soda, flour, and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the electric mixing bowl and mix until fully incorporated. Once all the flour mixture has been added, chill the dough in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare baking sheets with parchment paper. Once dough has chilled, use a mini ice cream scooper to scoop out small balls of dough. Place the ball of dough on the cookie sheet and gently flatten it with your hand. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until edges turn slightly golden.
  3. Remove cookies from oven and immediately add the chocolate-covered pretzels as antlers, two mini brown M&Ms for eyes, and red M&M for the mouth. Carefully transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Source: Reindeer Cookie idea from Bakergirl and Peanut Butter Cookie recipe slightly adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Here’s the rest of our 2013 Cookie Countdown in case you have missed any!

4 Oatmeal Chocolate Mint Cookies
5 Sprinkle Cookies
6 Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Cutouts
7 Chocolate Hazelnut Coins
8 Italian Lemon Drops
9 Chocolate Toffee Crackers
10 Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
11 Christmas Snickerdoodles
12 Chocolate Raspberry Thumbprints

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From shopping for gifts to planning family dinners, it’s hard to keep up with all your holiday to-do’s. This year, Kraft is helping out with great weeknight meals and entertaining ideas to make the season a little bit easier. Plus, Kraft is offering up to $20 in coupons, redeemable exclusively at Target, to make food shopping easier and to help you have a happy holiday season.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kraft. The opinions and text are all mine.

7 Chocolate Hazelnut Coins

Chocolate Hazelnut Coins (from 2 Sisters 2 Cities)

Oh my gosh…I have been having the worst time following recipes lately!  I was making a cookie recipe earlier in the week and I could not figure out why the dough was so dry.  I re-read through the recipe and realized I forgot to add three eggs and two sticks of butter…think that could have been it?  Fortunately, the dough was still salvageable as I was still able to mix them in.

I had another mishap yesterday as I was trying to make these Chocolate Hazelnut Coins.  The cookies were all baked and I was drizzling the chocolate on.  I went to read the directions to figure out what point to garnish them with hazelnut and then I realized the hazelnuts were supposed to be baked into the cookie…oops!  I also burnt the the dark chocolate while I was melting it on the stovetop.  I used the microwave for my second attempt and it turned out much better.

I was going to scrap these and make them again today with the hazelnuts added to the dough this time, but everyone who has tried them so far really likes them with hazelnuts as the garnish.  You could also use walnuts in a pinch.

This recipe is a refrigerator cookie- you refrigerate the dough for an hour or so, slice them, and bake them.  If you are looking to get some cookies prepared ahead of time before Christmas, you could easily whip up this cookie dough and store it in the fridge until the 25th gets closer.  Or, you can bake them the same day and just freeze the finished cookies.  Or you could just eat them right away.

So, here is my recipe for Chocolate Hazelnut Coins in which hazelnuts serve as a lovely garnish.  If you are looking for a recipe where hazelnuts are incorporated into the cookie dough, check out the lovely source link below!

Chocolate Hazelnut Coins (from 2 Sisters 2 Cities)

Chocolate Hazelnut Coins
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 and ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cups finely chopped hazelnuts, lightly toasted
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped or dark chocolate chips (1-2 cups)
  • ½ teaspoon shortening
Instructions
  1. Add the butter to a bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and salt and mix until thoroughly combined. Then, add in egg and cocoa powder. Use a spatula to clean off sides of bowl and continue to mix all ingredients until once again combined. Add in the flour in ½ cup increments and mix until incorporated.
  2. Lay out 2 large sheet of plastic wrap. Divide dough in half and place on top of each sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap the plastic wrap around dough and roll into an 11-inch log. Repeat for other half of dough. Refrigerate the two dough logs for 1 to 2 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut the dough into thin slices (about ¼".) I was able to get about 25 cookies from each log, so there will be ~50 cookies in total. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until cookie tops are firm. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on a wire rack.
  4. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and shortening together in the microwave in 30-second increments (I used a Pyrex glass.) Stir after each increment until melted. Place cooled cookies on wax paper and use a spoon to drizzle melted chocolate on top. Before chocolate hardens, sprinkle on chopped hazelnuts. Allow chocolate to set and then serve, store in an airtight container, or freeze.

Source: Adapted from BHG.com

I’ve also shared my cornbread baking mishap…what holiday baking blunders have you ever made?

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9 Chocolate Toffee Crackers

Chocolate Toffee Crackers (from 2 Sisters 2 Cities)

I have seen this recipe for Chocolate Toffee Crackers so many times on Pinterest and I have been wanting to make it for such a long time.  It goes by a lot of different names- Christmas Crack, Chocolate Saltine Toffee, Sweet & Saltines, Saltine Toffee Candy, etc.  I knew I could not refer to this recipe as Christmas Crack as my son picks up on everything we say lately.  I really do not want a note from his nursery school asking why T made “crack” with his mother over the weekend.

{Side story: we made a joke about having raccoon and coyote steak this past summer while we were having a regular (cow) steak dinner.  T still requests raccoon and coyote steak to this day…it makes me snicker out loud when I think about him telling his teachers that his favorite meal consists of raccoon and coyote meat.}

Anywhoo…it’s a super easy recipe to make.  I once again attempted a cookie recipe while T & N were both awake.  I even made this one during the “witching hour”…basically anytime between 4:30-7:30pm in our house.  I let T add the nonpareil sprinkles to the top of the chocolate toffee crackers as they were cooling.  He was grabbing them by the fistful and throwing them on top.  We had a fun time making this recipe, but I tell you, my kitchen may never be the same after I brought out those nonpareil sprinkles.  I’m trying very hard this holiday season to let go of my need for everything to be clean all the time and to just have fun making memories with the kids!

Chocolate Toffee Crackers (from 2 Sisters 2 Cities)

9 Chocolate Toffee Crackers
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • cooking spray
  • 40 saltine crackers
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • nonpareil sprinkles or any other type of decorative candy (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a jelly roll pan with foil and spray it with cooking spray. Lay down a single layer of 40 saltines on the foil surface.
  2. Meanwhile, melt together the butter and brown sugar in a medium-sized sauce pan. Allow it to reach a boil, then lower the temperature and allow it to simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir the butter & sugar mixture occasionally and remove from the heat once it has thickened.
  3. Stir in the vanilla to the saucepan and pour the mixture over the crackers on the jelly pan. Use a spatula to spread the mixture over any crackers that are dry. Put in the oven and bake for 3-4 minutes, or until it gets bubbly. Remove pan from oven.
  4. Sprinkle chocolate chips over crackers evenly. Allow the chocolate chips to melt for a few minutes and use a spatula to smooth it out over the crackers. Then, sprinkle on nonpareil sprinkles or any other decorative candy (this step is optional). Place the pan in the fridge for 30-45 minutes or until chocolate is hard. Break up into pieces and serve. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Source: Adapted from Trisha Yearwood and Averie Cooks

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