#FantasticalFoodFight: Shortbread Cookies

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Good morning, everyone.

I think I have a problem.

I’ve joined another blogging group! Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes decided to start up this new food party when The Secret Recipe Club came to a close. Maybe she has a problem too!

But it’s not a bad problem.

Who ever decided problem had to have a negative connotation?

Anywho.

The solution to our problem? Cook/bake, eat, and write. It’s always nice when problem has a simple solution.

This month everyone is baking shortbread cookies!

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My mom loves to bake cookies and I knew it’d be the perfect activity to do with Firecracker when she came to visit. We did a Salted Caramel Shortbread cookie and he loved to help cut out the fun Christmas shapes and sprinkle the salt on the caramel frosted buttery cookie.

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Don’t let the tears fool you, Treat enjoyed his cookie, too! Firecracker decided that he didn’t like the caramel on the cookie so we decorated them in a variety of methods. Stars and reindeer received full caramel treatment, trees got a drizzle, and the wreaths were left plain.

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This recipe makes approximately 4 dozen cookies, depending on cookie cutter size.

Salted Caramel Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3 sticks butter, softened
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 C flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 bag (14 oz) caramels, unwrapped
  • 2 tbsp milk

Steps:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in the vanilla until incorporated then add the flour in stages until a smooth dough is achieved.
  2. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Roll out dough to 1/4″ thickness on a floured surface. Cut out shapes using cookie cutters, place on a baking sheet an inch apart. Keep any unused dough in the refrigerator while working.
  5. Bake cookies 14 minutes, until lightly golden. Place on cooling racks.
  6. Combine caramels and milk in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave 1-2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth. Spoon caramel onto cookies, spreading to the edges. If caramel gets too hard, simply reheat.
  7. Sprinkle cookies with Kosher salt while the caramel is still warm. Return cookies to a cooling rack.
  8. Store cookies in an airtight container, use wax paper to divide the layers.

*This recipe is adapted from http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/salted-caramel-shortbread-cookies/9716f0d7-ce05-4740-b402-f80a95daeff5*

Salted Caramel Shortbread Cookies for #FantasticalFoodFight from Sew You Think You Can Cook

To see all of the other Fantastical Shortbread Cookies click here:  

If you would like to join our Fantastical Food Fight, you can learn more on our informational page.

Poppy-Seed Cake (Makowiec)

Today’s recipe comes from Rose Petal Jam: Recipes and Stories from a Summer in Poland. I received this beautiful cookbook for Christmas last year.

Poppy-Seed Cake | Sew You Think You Can Cook | http://sewyouthinkyoucancook.com

We were invited to a party for the Opening Ceremonies of the Summer Olympics with the request to bring a cultural dish. Unfotunatley, we weren’t able to make it due to a long day at work for my husband.

Yea, remember the Games? Did you forget that happened this year?! Not going to lie, I kinda did, too. But I wasn’t able to watch much of them due to my current time zone combined with those little children of mine.

Anyway.

I knew I wanted to bring a Polish dish and decided on trying this Poppy-Seed Cake.

This cake uses a LOT of poppy seeds.

It’s probably a good thing I ended up not sharing this cake at the party because with my luck one of the guys would’ve been randomly drug tested the next day. I was seriously nervous about the poppy seed concentration when I thought my 2 year old was acting a little loopy. If you’re concerned about your intake of poppy seeds, check out this article, which provides a guideline to poppy seed consumption limits.

I had some dilemmas with the recipe, though. And actually, the photographs I’m sharing with you today are from my second attempt. Attempt number 1 is in my freezer, as it’s still quite edible, just far from beautiful.

The recipe called for a pound of poppy seeds. Do you have any idea how many poppy seeds make up a pound!?! I’m still finding stray poppy seeds in the corners of my kitchen!

My food processor couldn’t break down the tiny seeds into a paste, so I recommend getting a spice grinder and working in batches. Because my poppy seed texture wasn’t quite right, I had a lot of extra liquid which caused seepage out of the cake roll.

I had so much left over filling that I decided to simply try again! The second time I (sorta) followed a different method for the cake I found on YouTube.

I would honestly suggest halving (or quartering!) the filling recipe, but I’m leaving it as written.

Poppy-Seed Cake (Makowiec)

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 1 lb poppy seeds
  • 3 C milk
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1 C superfine sugar
  • 1 C chopped walnuts
  • 1 C slivered almonds
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 egg whites, beaten

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2/3 C superfine sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 C whole milk, warmed to 105-110 deg F
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 4 C bread flour
  • 2/3 C golden raisins
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Ingredients for the glaze:
  • 3/4 C powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • milk, as needed

Steps:

  1. Heat poppy seeds and milk in a pot over medium low heat for 10 minutes. Cover and let sit over night.
  2. Drain the seeds, place in a food processor, and pulse until they form a paste. Add the sugar, nuts, zest, and extract, and pulse a few seconds. Remove to a bowl and fold in the egg whites.
  3. Allow yeast to proof in the warm milk, 10 minutes.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar. Mix in the egg yolks, stirring until combined. Add the milk and yeast. Add some of the flour and mix. Switch to the dough hook and slowly add the remaining flour and the raisins. Knead until the dough forms around the hook.
  5. Roll out the dough on a floured surface into a large rectangle. Spread the filling over the dough and roll lengthwise. Place cake on a parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet. Cover and let rise an hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Brush cake with the egg. Bake 45 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, make the glaze: Whisk together the powdered sugar, almond extract, and milk until smooth and runny. Pour over cake while still warm.

Poppy-Seed Cake (Makowiec) | Sew You Think You Can Cook | http://sewyouthinkyoucancook.com

#BundtBakers: Winter Wonderland

4ae7b-bundtbakerspostIt’s that time of month for me to share a bundt cake with you alongside #BundtBakers. #BundtBakers is a group of bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bundts with a common ingredient or theme. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient. This month Laura of Baking in Pyjamas picked a festive theme of “Winter Wonderland” that allowed our imaginations and personalities to shine through our baking.

When I think Winter Wonderland I’m picturing white, glittering snowy hills dotted with snow capped evergreen trees. Maybe some people skiing.

I wanted to pick a cake that was white, yet still seasonally appropriate. And I thought of eggnog.

Eggnog and cranberry, it turns out, is a match made in heaven. And this cake is exquisite for your holiday table.

Cranberry Eggnog Bundt Cake for #BundtBakers from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Sorry – there’s no time for a story today. As I was wrapping presents I remembered I had less than two hours to get this post finished (aka started… and finished)! Then I realized I had to marinate a whole chicken for tomorrow’s dinner, and book a rental car for our vacation before the 30% off deal expired. Now I’m standing at my computer shuddering at the pile of dishes in the sink and the mound of packages awaiting some pretty paper! (For the record, I LOVE wrapping presents, so I’m itching to get back to that task.)

Cranberry Eggnog Bundt Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 C fresh cranberries, chopped
  • 2 C flour, divided use
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/3 C sugar
  • 1/3 C vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 C eggnog, plus more for glaze
  • powdered sugar, for glaze

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heavily grease a bundt pan.
  2. In a small bowl, toss the cranberries with 2 tbsp flour.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In another large bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar. Mix in the oil and vanilla. Add half of the dry ingredients, then the eggnog, and then the rest of the dry ingredients, mixing to combine after each addition. Fold in the cranberries.
  5. Pour cake batter into prepared bundt pan. Bake 50-60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in the pan for an hour before unmolding onto a cooling rack.
  6. Make glaze: Whisk powdered sugar and eggnog until a desired consistincy is reached. Option to add a little vanilla extract, too.

*This recipe is modified from Abby at http://www.manilaspoon.com/2015/12/cranberry-eggnog-espresso-chocolate.html*

Cranberry Eggnog Bundt Cake for #BundtBakers from Sew You Think You Can Cook

You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about #BundtBakers, can be found on our home page.

And don’t forget to take a peek at what other talented bakers have baked this month:

Amaretto Winter Bundt Cake from Making Miracles

Candied Fruit Bundt Cake from I Love Bundt Cakes

Chile Hot Chocolate Mocha Bundt Cake from All That’s Left Are The Crumbs

Coconut Snowball Mini Bundts from Food Lust People Love

Cranberry Eggnog Bundt Cake from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Cream and Rum Bundt Cake from La Mejor Manera de Hacer

Holiday Gingerbread Bundt from Living the Gourmet

Orange Blossom Bundt Cake from Bizcocheando

Orange Cranberry Bundt Cake from Tartacadabra

Peppermint Pine Forest Bundt Cake from Baking in Pyjamas

Rainbow Christmas Wreath from A Day in the Life on the Farm

Spicy Gingerbread Bundt with Caramelized White Chocolate Ganache from Brooklyn Homemaker

Tropical Winter Wonderland Bundt Cake from Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice

Food Bloggers Recipe Swap: Shredded Beets with Citrus Vinaigrette

It’s my first time posting in the Food Bloggers Recipe Swap and I’m pretty excited.

I probably should have just waited until the new year to begin participating, but I was just too excited!

There’s been a lot going on here, as I’m sure in most people’s homes, the past two months. I’m now feeling the crunch to Christmas (and that is in no way a bad thing) and have been neglecting a lot of my blogging responsibilities, frantically scrambling to pull together a post the night before it’s due to go live.

I’ve been enjoying the bit of a break though, and have revived my cross stitch hobby. Christmas time always does that to me. I’ve also just begun a new friendship and have enjoyed getting out of the house and killing time at the mall talking to another adult human being during the day.

Somehow this week though, I’ve got to find time to pack for our holiday vacation, wrap the kid’s presents, send those Christmas cards, and order a few final gifts. My mother-in-law is coming into town tonight so I’m hoping I’ll be able to sneak in some of that holiday cheer while the kids are otherwise preoccupied. (hint hint, Tilly!)

What does any of that have to do with Food Bloggers Recipe Swap?

Well, nothing really. Except that by opting in for December, I committed myself to being assigned a blog, finding and recreating a recipe from that blog, and then sharing it with all of you, my dear readers. Much like the Secret Recipe Club which has sadly come to an end.

The main difference between this group and that is the posting leniency. As long as I get my post completed by the end of the month, life is peachy! I don’t think the assignments are a secret either, and should I choose, I could search through the assignment list and figure out who is digging through my recipe index, but I won’t spoil the surprise. 🙂

For my first month, I was assigned Love and Cilantro written by Danya. Danya grew up in Jamaica and now lives in Canada where she attends culinary school. I envy her bravery to switch up her life and live out her dreams. I often think about going to culinary school, maybe after the kids are in elementary school?

Danya’s blog is relatively new, just over a year old if my calculations are correct! With a shorter recipe selection than some blogs I’ve scoured you’d think my decision would be fairly simple. Think again! I’d narrowed it down to Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast (which will still probably happen), Asian Salad, and the Raw Beet Salad I ultimately picked. Oh wait! There’s this beautiful Greek Chicken she shared on Sunday, too, dang – too late!

I’m really happy with the Beet Salad, though. I mean, I love beets, so why wouldn’t I like this salad!? I don’t often work with beets raw and it was fun to do so. The vinaigrette the shredded beets are tossed in is perfectly balanced – the lemon mellows out the orange and the white balsamic is a fun new ingredient to my pantry. I didn’t have chives so very thinly sliced a scallion.

I think this salad would make a beautiful addition to your holiday table this month – the bright color and flavor would brighten your plate wonderfully!

Shredded Beets with Citrus Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch beets, peeled and shredded
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 C white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp agave (or honey)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1-2 scallions, thinly sliced (or 4 chives)

Steps:

  1. Place shredded beets in a bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the citrus, vinegar, oil, mustard, and agave. Season to taste with S+P. Toss beets with as much dressing as desired. Garnish with scallion/chives.

*This recipe is adapted from Danya at http://loveandcilantro.com/orange-beet-salad/*

Shredded Beets with Citrus Vinaigrette for Food Bloggers Recipe Swap from Sew You Think You Can Cook

 

#FoodieExtravaganza: Maple Syrup

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The Foodie Extravaganza is a monthly party hosted by bloggers who love food! Each month we incorporate one main ingredient or theme into recipes to share with you. We take turns hosting and this month it’s my turn!

December 17th is National Maple Syrup Day and I challenged the crew to bake with, cook with, or make a beverage with maple syrup. (For some international bloggers who can’t find maple syrup, they’ll be joining the fun with honey as a substitute.)

With the hectic holiday season, I managed to forget to make something for this event. Before I scrambled to add extra maple syrup to my grocery list, I scrolled through my camera to see if I had anything that would satisfy my call for this maple syrup extravaganza.

Happily enough, I did! Unhappily enough, the photos made want to curl up into a ball and hide. Alas, that’s just the way it is.

I made this turkey breast in January. (Hey, at least it was January of this year!) In January we were living in Ohio. It was cold. I assume it was snowing. And it most definitely was dark at an unacceptable early hour. Those are the excuses I give for the awkward glare of the glaze. It’s a bummer, too, because as I pulled it out of the oven, my husband (and I remember this vividly) declared that it was almost too pretty to eat and that it belonged on the cover of a magazine.

This Rosemary Maple Glazed Turkey is perfect for your holiday table and pairs nicely with Roasted Pears and Parsnips.

Rosemary Maple Glazed Turkey Breast

Ingredients:

  • 1 turkey breast, 4-6 lb
  • 4 onions, halved
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 6 stalk of rosemary
  • 2 C chicken stock
  • 2 C balsamic vinegar
  • 1 C maple syrup

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Season the turkey breast with S+P, inside and out. Stuff the cavity with 2 onions, 2 cloves of garlic, and 1 stalk of rosemary.
  3. Arrange the remaining onions, garlic, and 2 stalks of rosemary in the bottom of a roasting pan. Place the prepared turkey on top. Pour the stock into the pan.
  4. Roast turkey for 2 – 2 1/2 hours (or according to turkey instructions) until an internal temperature of 165 degrees F is reached.
  5. Make the glaze: In a small saucepan over medium heat bring vinegar, syrup, and remaining rosemary to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to reduce 30 minutes, stirring often.
  6. Brush the glaze over the turkey every 30 minutes. Reserve any remaining glaze and keep warm for serving with the finished turkey.

*This recipe is adapted from Erin at http://www.5dollardinners.com/real-food-holiday/*

Rosemary Maple Glazed Turkey Breast for #FoodieExtravaganza from Sew You Think You Can Cook

And don’t forget to check out all these other maply recipes:

Basbousa – Egyptian Semolina Cake from Sneha of Sneha’s Recipe

Bangin’ Breakfast Potatoes from Rebekah of Making Miracles

Gluten-Free Maple Chestnut Cookies from Caroline of Caroline’s Cooking

Maple Pecan Bars from Nichole of Cookaholic Wife

Maple Sugar Cookies from Sue of Palatable Pastime

Maple Walnut Vinaigrette from Tara of Tara’s Multicultural Table

Momiji Tempura from Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Overnight French Toast Casserole from Elaine of Cookin and Craftin

Roasted Maple Glazed Carrots from Wendy of A Day in the Life of the Farm

The Back Forty Cocktail from Stacy of Food Lust People Love

If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you! If you’re a spectator looking for delicious tid-bits check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board! Looking for our previous parties? Check them out HERE.

#SundaySupper: Eggnog Recipes

December is National Eggnog Month. No big surprise there.

I’m not the biggest fan of the drink. I tend to be sensitive to nutmeg – though I am getting much better about it!

I’ve used it in baking twice before. Once in cookies for #FoodieExtravaganza, and once in my #BundtBakers cake that will be debuting later this month. I quite enjoy eggnog as an ingredient. I haven’t tried it in a savory application, yet, and was hoping a Sunday Supper member might have figured out a way, but all the offerings are on the sweet side of the specrum. Be sure to scroll past my recipe to see all the sweet, delicious recipes!

That remaining eggnog in my fridge was begging to be used in pancakes and we went right ahead and did just that! By happy circumstance, today’s #SundaySupper eggnog event was announced shortly after that. Thanks to Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventure for hosting this festive event.

These eggnog pancakes were a huge hit with my kids. I don’t think I’ve seen Firecracker eat so much in one sitting in quite some time!

Eggnog pancakes with cranberry syrup would make for a perfect Christmas morning breakfast.

Eggnog Pancakes with Cranberry Syrup

Ingredients for pancakes:

  • 2 C flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 C eggnog
  • 1/4 C vegetable oil

Ingredients for syrup:

  • 1 C fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 C real maple syrup
  • 1 tbps butter

Steps:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, eggnog, and oil.
  3. Combine wet ingredients into dry.
  4. On a hot buttered griddle drop 1/4 C of batter into pancakes. When bubbles form and start to pop flip the pancakes and cook until golden on both sides.
  5. Make the syrup: Combine cranberries, syrup, and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until cranberries have burst and the syrup thickens. Serve with pancakes.

*This recipe is adapted from Jocelyn at http://www.grandbaby-cakes.com/2014/12/eggnog-pancakes/*

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Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

Thursday Thoughts #19

Thursday Thoughts

 

Please consider this Thursday Thoughts an open letter to help me find my lost ornaments!

The day after Thanksgiving is always decorating day in my home. Decorating for the first time in a new home always brings some challenges. Decorating for the first time with two toddlers to get into things adds extra challenges!

We live in a townhome so there wasn’t any outdoor decor to do, unfortunately. It was also raining all weekend (what?!) so the only outdoor space I do have freedom to decorate, our balcony, still hasn’t been tackled.

We did put up the tree, string it with lights, and waiting patiently for Treat to wake up from a long nap before pulling out the ornaments.

I opened up the box my husband brought up from the garage and handed Firecracker the first ornament of the year – a fun Auburn snowflake – which he happily put on the tree. I handed my husband Treat’s First Christmas Ornament from last year to assist the one year old in hanging.

As I dig further into the box I recognize that these ornaments are all from the Snowman Tree my family surprised me with 3 years ago. This box is not THE ornament box.

5-10 minutes passes and my husband comes back upstairs with a saddened expression. He can’t find the box. And he looked in every single box down there.

With a knot in my stomach and tears falling down my face I traced his footsteps and had to agree with his inventory check. It’s the hardest I’ve cried in a long time.

Ornaments spanning 6.5 years of married life, 2.5 years of parenthood were in that box. But those weren’t the ornaments giving me pain. I’ve already reordered Firecracker’s First Christmas Ornament. The ornaments that plague my dreams were those that had belonged to my grandfather, those that I had made as a child, those that my husband made as a kid.

It’s time now for my children to be the ornament makers and continue to make happy memories for us to relive every year we trim the tree.

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My husband’s advent calendar that he loved a little boy was also in that box. We were looking forward to starting that tradition with the boys this year. My mother-in-law says she has extras from her mom though, so that heart-string didn’t get completely cut.

The silver lining, if I can find it, is that the cross-stitch stocking my grandfather started for me was not in the ornament box. My grandfather passed away in ’96 and my mom took it upon herself to complete the stocking. A task that took her over ten years, I’d finally received my stocking in 2012.  My husband also had a cross-stitch stocking from his childhood that I believe his mom did. Those two stockings are hanging by our fireplace. When it’s time to pull down the Christmas decorations following our final holiday season in CA, those stockings will not be boxed back up; they’ll be put with the other items we will move ourselves. (It’s a good thing our handmade stocking from my mother-in-law are down in Florida with my parents!)

My last hope is for a bit of Christmas magic. All I can do is cross my fingers and toes that some other family received our box of ornaments by mistake and that maybe they haven’t noticed it until they go to decorate their tree. I hope they contact the moving company and figure out a way to get a hold of us. I’m going to call and see if there’s some sort of Lost & Found at the storage facility where our things were held after arriving in the Los Angeles area. I know it’s a long shot, but had I discovered a box of some other family’s holiday memories I would do everything I could to try and find them.

If you have my box, the ornaments are stored using my DIY storage solution – check it out here! If you just want to get me the few I’m seriously missing I’d be forever thankful. There’s a balding styrofoam Santa with a beard, a cute little blue elf with knitted long orange hat, two Silver Bells from the year 2015, a flat foam gingerbread with pipe cleaner handle, and a laminated fingerprint reindeer.

Update: My mom scrolled through her phone’s photos and found this one from 2012 of our tree. That Santa head in the lower center is the one I really want back!!!

Please help us find our missing ornaments!