Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cranberry White Chocolate Muffins

  This Christmas season has been one for brunches....and I'm loving it! Brunch is one of my favorite meals. I like making food for brunches, but I really like to eat all the delicious food that I normally don't take the time to make for breakfast. =)
  My Aunt had one for Mom's birthday, which was the fourth one I have been invited to in the past month and I have one more look forward to on Christmas Eve day. Anyway, I have been using these brunches as a good excuse to try new recipes.....I wanted to make something sort of Christmas-y for this one so when I saw these muffins I knew they were what I was going to make. The combination of tart cranberries and sweet chocolate was wonderful I thought. They are also quite quick and easy to mix up and bake. {which is a plus of course!}

Cranberry  White Chocolate Muffins 
yield: 18 muffins

 2 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted & cooled
2 eggs
1 cup cranberries, fresh or dried {I used fresh}
1/4 cup white chocolate chips {I added a few extra}

In a mixing bowl beat together eggs milk and melted butter. Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Add to egg mixture and beat until blended.  Stir in the  cranberries and white chocolate chips. Fill paper lined muffin tins and bake @ 350* for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm. 

I sprinkled some silver sugar on top before baking to give them a bit of pop.

  Everyone who ate one commented on how they enjoyed them, but we had such a big variety of food that not many got eaten, but I was fine with that =) Was able to bring them along home and for us to enjoy....Daren had tried one before I took them to the brunch, {just to make sure they were edible ;)} and he really liked them so he was glad to see some come back. =)


And suddenly there was with the angel a 
multitude of heavenly host praising God, and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace,
good will toward men." 
~St. Luke 2:13&14

Christmas blessings to you all!
♥ Sheila   


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Gingerbread Waffles

  I don't always cook breakfast; in fact, more often than not, we just have a bowl of cereal or yogurt etc...but I was in the mood for something a little more and I had seen this recipe somewhere not too long ago. Thought they had to be delicious so I decided to give them a shot. Oh goodness! and were they ever!! We both thought they were amazing....they just may become our Christmas morning tradition.

Gingerbread Waffles
 yield: around 14 waffles
  4 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
1 cup buttermilk
3 cups flour
2 tsp ginger
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
whipped cream & fresh fruit, optional *

With mixer beat the eggs until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar, molasses & buttermilk & mix until well blended. 
Sift together flour, spices, salt, baking soda & baking powder. Add to the egg mixture & stir until smooth. Stir in butter. Cover & refrigerate overnight or cook immediately in a waffle iron until golden brown. Serve with whipped cream and fresh fruit if you like.
* I didn't have whipping cream on hand so we used mascarpone cheese that I had mixed a small amount of honey in, fresh fruit & also a little drizzle of maple syrup
  I just made a half recipe for us and we had plenty. Stuck the leftover ones in the freezer for a quick breakfast in the future. Pop them in the toaster until heated through...almost as good as  fresh-made. =)

For a Child will be born to us
a Son will be given to us...
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Eternal Father, 
Prince of Peace.
~Isaiah 9:6

Blessings of love & peace!
♥ Sheila      

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Christmas Cookie Exchange

  Every year around Christmas time Mom and her four sister's get together for a brunch and cookie exchange....This year Grandmother has a quilt in so all the daughters and granddaughters went to my grandparent's house on Tuesday to have a brunch, help on the quilt and exchange cookies. I always look forward to this!  Spending  the day with family is always nice and it is also such a great way to get a good variety of cookies without baking them all yourself. =) 
  We usually bake two dozen for each family unless they only want one dozen. This year  with the five sisters and two married granddaughters we each needed to bake 12 dozen cookies. I most always like to try new recipes for the exchange {probably not the smartest thing I know, especially if they don't turn out very well, but so far I've had good luck} I had found two recipes that were similar, but I couldn't decide which one to go with so I ended up making both....it worked out good I thought.
  So for the first kind....are any of you fans of Starbucks Peppermint Mocha? These cookies are inspired by this delightful seasonal drink.....

Peppermint Mocha Blossoms
 yield: Approx. 4 dozen
 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tbsp instant espresso powder*
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp peppermint extract
3 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
about 1/2 cup sugar to coat cookies
approx. 4 dz candy cane kisses, unwrapped 

Cream together butter, sugar and espresso powder until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, then add the extracts. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to the creamed mixture until the dough comes together. Drop the cookies into a bowl of sugar and coat. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake @ 350* for 9-10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes then press a kiss into the top of each one. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
* I had a hard time finding this so I just used instant coffee, but ground it very fine, almost a powder 

  The second kind I made are one of my and Daren's favorite cookies, but with a twist......{after Daren had tried one and I asked his opinion, he said they were good but that he prefers the original version=) }

Peppermint Chocolate Crinkles
yield: approx. 4 dozen
 1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 (1 0z.) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp peppermint extract
2 cups + 2 tbsp flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Mix together oil, chocolate and sugar, beating well. Add eggs one at a time beating after each addition, then mix in the extracts. sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the first mixture. Chill dough several hours or overnight. Drop into powdered sugar and roll to coat well. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake @ 350* for 10-12 minutes. Do not over bake! 
 Instead of the usual cinnamon heart; press a peppermint gem into the center of each cookie when they come out of the oven. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

  I must say I was ready for a little break from cookies until I got these all baked, on plates and ready to go.....

The cookies all plated and ready to hand out
   May we never forget the true Reason for the Season!

♥ Sheila

Monday, November 28, 2011

Buttery Rosemary Crescent Rolls

  A belated Happy Thanksgiving to you all! Daren's family was together at his parent's house yesterday afternoon for lunch and everyone brought a dish to help out with the meal. I love to bake bread so I had offered to make that. 
  I wanted to make an herb-y type of bread for something different. I searched for awhile to find a recipe for what I had in mind and never did find exactly what I was looking for, but found a few that gave me some ideas to go by. I ended up making the Crescent Rolls that we served at our wedding and then just tweaked them to get the end results I was hoping for. 

Buttery Rosemary Crescent Rolls
 Yield: 24-32 rolls
 1 tbsp yeast
2 tbsp warm water
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp salt
2 cups warm milk
6 cups flour
3/4 cup butter, softened

Dissolve yeast  in warm water. Add milk, sugar, egg, salt and 3 cups flour. Mix well {I mixed them in my Kitchen-aid and it was great! } Add butter and rest of flour. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Divide dough in half. On a floured surface roll each piece into a 12" circle. Cut into 12 or 16 pie shaped wedges. Stretch the wedges a bit wider wider and longer. Roll up from the wide end. Lay on greased cookie sheet point side down. Let raise 1 hour. 
Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with a little course salt and fresh or dried rosemary. Bake @ 350* for 15-20 minutes. Brush with more melted butter and let cool.
mmmm...fresh-from-the-oven bread
   Since this made 32 rolls and I was to fix for 30 or so people I thought I would probably need a little more.....so I baked a loaf of French Bread on Saturday night and then Sunday before we went to his parents I beat an egg and brushed it on top of the baked loaf of bread. I then layed some sprigs of fresh dill  across the top and brushed a little more egg wash over it to make sure they stuck. Bake @ 350* for about 5 minutes or until the egg wash is no longer runny. I was in a hurry and forgot to take pictures of the finished product :/ so the description will have to do this time.....It did look really pretty =)

Enter His gates with thanksgiving
and His courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His
For the Lord is good and His love
endures forever;
His faithfulness continues through
all generations.
~ Psalm 100:4&5   

Blessings, =)
♥ Sheila  

Monday, November 21, 2011

Grilled Mac 'n Cheese

  Need a quick & easy supper idea? Thinking soup & grilled cheese, but you would like to change it up a bit? Then try this yummy comfort food grilled between two slices of bread! I had one of these when Daren & I were in Charleston, S.C. this summer. We had stopped at a cute little restaurant for lunch and they served a lot of fun things like this. I thought the sandwich was really great, just hadn't tried to make them yet...
  Since it was sorta rainy this evening & I didn't have lots of time to fix anything too fancy, I decided it would be a good time to make these. They were easy peasy and oh-so yummy! =) We were eating a gooey, melty, cheesy sandwich with homemade tomato soup in no time.

Grilled Mac 'n Cheese
Prepare the mac and cheese to suit your taste. I cooked & drained
the macaroni then added sharp cheddar cheese, a little Velveeta,
some milk, pepper & chili powder. Stir over low heat until 
the cheese is all melted.
I then spread a little mayo on
four slices of bread. Spoon the mac 'n cheese onto two slices of bread.
And since I'm a cheese lover I added some slices of
the sharp cheddar cheese on top of the macaroni.
Put a slice of bread on top
and place into a skillet that has had butter melted in it. Mash the sandwich
with something heavy while it is grilling on the first side. When
it has browned to suit you, flip and grill the other side to your specs.
Remove from the skillet slice in half and your ready for that 
first warm, cheesy bite. yummmm!

  I must say after eating this I was kinda wishing that I was back in Charleston...If you've never been there I would definitely say it should be on your list of places to go. Our stay there was much too short, and we're hoping to go back at some point. It really is an amazing place to visit!
Praise be to the Lord, to God our
Savior, who 
daily bears our burdens.
~Psalm 68:19

♥ Sheila 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

  Yes, I just love cupcakes...and when I saw these I knew that I had to make them! They were so cute! =)  I needed a snack to take to an apple butter boiling at my parents on Saturday and thought these would be perfect. I had to make a quick trip to the store that morning to get candy canes and then I got busy baking.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes
yield: 12 cupcakes

 1 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until smooth & creamy. Add eggs and vanilla beating until fluffy. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Mix in on low speed alternately with the milk; beginning and ending with the flour. Fill paper lined tins and bake @ 350* for 25 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
2 cups 10x sugar
1/4 cup shortening
2 tbsp+2 tsp milk 
1 1/4 cup mini marshmallows
3 peppermint candy canes*
Beat sugar, shortening and milk until smooth. Spread on the cupcakes. Top with 8-9 marshmallows. With a serrated knife cut the unwrapped candy canes into 2" pieces. Unwrap and tuck a piece into each cupcake.

* I couldn't find regular size  candy canes so I just used mini ones. I cut off the curved part and crushed it up and sprinkled it over the icing before topping with the marshmallows. Gave them a bit of a mint flavor that was quite yummy =)

**I also made a recipe and a half because I wanted some to take to our church fellowship meal on Sunday. Hence the more that 12 cupcakes that you can see...

I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For He has clothed me with garments
of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe 
of righteousness....
~ Isaiah 61:10a

Much love =)
♥ Sheila