Glazed Double Berry Sugar Cookie Bars

 

Glazed Double Berry Sugar Cookie Bars

Glazed Double Berry Sugar Cookie Bars

Russ saw me making these bars the other day, grinned and said, “I LOVE baking season!”. Lol. He certainly does. Him, the boys, and I admit to a fondness for it myself. It’s funny; the rest of the year, I’m not as big on making cookies. I’m more of a quick bread, yeast bread sort of baker The whole plopping cookie dough down, or cutting, shaping, etc, drives me nuts. I shamefully confess that my attention span is that of a four year old in many ways and standing or sitting still to get something repetitive done isn’t a favored pastime. But at Christmas I’m all about the cookies.

The standing long enough to shape or roll though is exactly why I love bar cookies πŸ˜€ I get the dough in a pan, top with whatever if that is part of it, bake, cut, eat. What could be easier, right? These are delicious. Not really the type you’d put on a cookie tray though, so don’t use them for that. These are the ones you put out with the rest of the desserts. They are large, hearty bars, meant to be eaten with a fork.

Kind of still on topic, do you have your tree up yet? This is the first time in my life I’ve ever had a real tree. I grew up with fakes ones, used them my whole life, but Russ decided this year that he wanted aΒ  real one. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I think I had this vague expectation that the house would suddenly smell all Christmasy and piney. But *sobs* it doesn’t. It’s like having a fake tree in the house, but we have to keep it watered. It IS prettier than the fake tree we had, though. That one had seen better days and I’m pretty sure the mice had attacked it when it was stored in the garage.

Back to the cookies *as she rushes from one topic to the next like a crazed caffeine fueled toddler*, these are fantastic and as I said, perfect for the holiday dessert mix. The crust and topping are similar to a cakey sugar cookie, filled with a sweet and tangy mixture of berry pie filling and chocolate chips. Sugar cookie, fruit, chocolate. Do I even NEED to say more? Seriously; make these. They are wonderful, plus the fact that they use canned pie filling pushes them into the easy category as well, which is always a plus, especially this time of year. *I adapted this from a recipe on the BHG site*

Glazed Double Berry Sugar Cookie Bars

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup shortening, room temp
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract, divided
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 21 ounce cans of your favorite pie filling- I used cherry and strawberry (you won’t use all of the second can)
  • 1 cup semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • Glaze-
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond (or vanilla) extract mixed with
  • 2 teaspoons half and half or milk (you may need a touch more cream to get the consistency glaze you like; start with this)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large bowl, on low speed, beat together the butter and shortening. Add in the sugar, baking powder, salt, vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of the almond extract and beat well.
  3. Still using the mixer on low *unless you enjoy being covered with flying flour*, carefully beat in 2 cups of the flour. Get a heavy wooden spoon and use that to mix in that last cup of flour.
  4. Scoop out and set aside 1 1/2 cups of the dough. Press the rest into the bottom of a 15×10 inch baking pan. I find the easiest way to do this with sticky dough is to dump it all in the pan, then lightly flour my fingers to press the dough in, repeating the flouring as needed.
  5. Bake the dough at 350 for 12 minutes. it will be just starting to turn a pale brown at the edges.
  6. While it bakes, stir the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract into the pie filling.
  7. After taking the crust out, carefully spread with desired amount of pie filling. I used about 1 1/2 cans. One can isn’t enough; two is a bit too much. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top, then dollop spoonfuls of the remaining cookie dough evenly over the fruit filling.
  8. Continue baking at 350 for 35 to 45 minutes or until the top is a light golden brown.
  9. Let cool for an hour, then glaze. The glaze is easy peasy. Just whisk together the glaze ingredients, adding more milk if you want it thinner and drizzle desired amount over the pan of bars. When totally cool, slice into squares.

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Glazed Double Berry Sugar Cookie Bars

Glazed Double Berry Sugar Cookie Bars

 

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28 Delicious Thanksgiving (and Thanksgiving Leftovers) Recipes for 2016

Thanksgiving 2016 2

It’s that time again; time for the annual Thanksgiving post. After almost 6 years of blogging, I have accumulated quite a few recipes that work in this category, so I have to cull some out so as to not end up with a post with 50 different additions. πŸ˜›

Let’s start with entrees. Because…turkey…ham. Yummy. πŸ˜€

This Orange Marmalade Brown Sugar Glazed Ham is my absolute favorite way to make a ham. The ham turns out so moist and tender with such a delicious sweet/salty flavor you’ll keep coming back for.Orange Marmalade Brown Sugar Ham-001This Sesame Soy Turkey Breast is fantastic if you’re a cook who’s willing to leave the traditional box a bit on Thanksgiving. This glaze can also be used on a whole turkey, a chicken, game hen, you name it.

Sesame Soy Turkey Breast

Sesame Soy Turkey Breast

I know that a lot of families like to serve a pasta dish as one of the main dishes so I’m including our favorite, this Cheesy Sausage And Meatball Pasta Bake. This makes a LOT, so it’s perfect for Thanksgiving, when a lot of people are there, with everyone getting as little bit of each dish.Cheesy Meatball And Sausage Pasta BakeLet’s move on to appetizers; those little bits you put out to keep everyone from storming the kitchen begging for food. πŸ˜›Β  One of my favorite easy dips (and when I say easy, I mean it) is my White Trash Dip. I know; such a classy name, lol. But it is great for appeasing the hungry mongrel hordes and quick to throw together, which is always a plus on Thanksgiving.
White Trash Dip
I have adored Boursin Cheese for years, but man, that stuff is expensive for the small amount you get. So I started making my own years ago. This is soooo good and always a hit. It’s creamy, great with veggies like celery sticks as well as crackers. If you have any left over, it also makes a great stuffing for chicken breasts.

Creamy Homemade Boursin Cheese Spread

Creamy Homemade Boursin Cheese Spread

Ahhhh, side dishes. What would Thanksgiving be without 50 side dishes to serve with the turkey and ham? One of my all time most popular posts here at From Cupcakes To Caviar is my Insanely Cheesy And Creamy Mac And Cheese. This makes a HUGE pan of mac and cheese, so it’s perfect for the holidays.Insanely Cheesy And Creamy Mac & CheeseYou can’t have turkey without mashed potatoes, right?
I was never a mashed potato fan until I made up these Ultimate Buttery Sour Cream And Onion Mashed Potatoes. I totally love these. They are creamy, buttery (boy, are they buttery) and with a subtle tang from the cream cheese.

Ultimate Buttery Sour Cream And Onion Mashed Potatoes

Ultimate Buttery Sour Cream And Onion Mashed Potatoes

If you want to go a little different, you can’t beat these Herb Roasted Potatoes And Root Vegetables. The potatoes and veggies get all crispy on the outside and all soft and tender inside. So, so good.

Herb Roasted Potatoes And Root Vegetables

Herb Roasted Potatoes And Root Vegetables

I was never a cold pasta salad sort of a person until I made up this Chilled Caprese Tortellini Salad a few years ago. It’s great during the holidays for people who may want something a little lighter (and with no meat in it, lol) but still full of flavor.Chilled Caprese Tortellini Salad
I have a major thing for Winter squashes. To me, they stand so far above the ubiquitous Summer squashes. I took one of my favorites here and stuffed it to come up with Squash Stuffed With Sausage, Pears And Cranberries. This is a fantastic addition to the holiday meal or a great light entree on it’s own.

Squash Stuffed With Sausage, Pears And Cranberries

Squash Stuffed With Sausage, Pears And Cranberries

You can’t have Thanksgiving dinner without cranberry sauce, right? While I admit to a secret love for the kind that slithers out of the can with a loud plop, I also love homemade cranberry sauce and make a large batch every year. My Spiced Spiked Cranberry Sauce is a perfect foil for all the rich dishes you’ll be serving. The brandy is completely optional so don’t let that turn you away from it. Spiced Spiked Cranberry Sauce

Now we come to the breads. I’m not normally a big one for breads, but hot and fresh on the holidays? I tend to go for them more at that time. And these Angel Biscuits have become a family favorite. Since they have baking powder in them as well as yeast, they are fairly foolproof, which is great for the less experienced cooks out there.

Angel Biscuits

Angel Biscuits

The rolls I have been making for years are these Oatmeal Yeast Rolls. They are so fluffy and soft; perfect hot spread with butter or later as a mini turkey sandwich (Yes, I know this is a bad photo. The post is an old one, when my photography skills were sub-par, to say the least. The rolls however, are amazingly good)

Oatmeal Rolls

Oatmeal Rolls

I love to make a few loaves of bread for Thanksgiving as well as rolls. They are so good with dinner and make fantastic sandwiches the next day. I particularly love to make my Loaded Baked Potato Bread, The flavors in it go wonderfully with a turkey sandwich!

Loaded Baked Potato Bread

Loaded Baked Potato Bread

Here in the south, a lot of people like to make cornbread to go with dinner, even on the holidays. My Sweet Cream And Honey Cornbread is a favorite. It’s fluffy, not at all dry like so many cornbreads can be, with just a touch of sweetness.

Sweet Cream And Honey Cornbread

Sweet Cream And Honey Cornbread

Then, of course, we have the part of dinner that everyone looks forward to; dessert! And man, you know I have some desserts to share with you! I have to start with the classics, of course, so here is my favorite- my Decadent Extra Creamy Pumpkin Pie. This one is posted with a really good cornmeal crust, but you can use your favorite crust. Just make sure it’s a deep dish one. Decadent Extra Creamy Pumpkin Pie In A Cornmeal Crust
That pumpkin pie tends to be my husbands favorite. Mine however will always be Pecan Pie. I love it slightly warmed with heavy cream poured over it. So bad for me, but so delicious!Deep Dish Pecan Pie

The last few years, my favorite pecan pie has had to vie with this Cranberry Apple Cake. I can’t say enough good things about this cake. It’s absolutely delicious and I can’t imagine the Thanksgiving meal without it now. It’s sweet, tangy, crispy, just a wonderful dessert that I look forward to all year.

Cranberry Apple Cake

Cranberry Apple Cake

If you want a classic (not to mention, heavenly chocolate goodness πŸ˜€ ) you’ll want to make this wonderful Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Icing This is a favorite with pretty much all age groups, and even those people who say Thanksgiving should be all about the pies. I’m not even normally a cake person and I love it!

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Icing

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Icing

If you want to do a different apple dessert, my Worlds Best Apple Spice Cake With Creamy Vanilla Butter Sauce would be a great choice. It’s easy to throw together the day before you need it and then just warm up the sauce when ready to cut and serve. Again, I’m not huge on cakes, which is why if you see me posting one, you know it MUST be good.

Worlds Best Apple Spice Cake With Creamy Vanilla Butter Sauce

Worlds Best Apple Spice Cake With Creamy Vanilla Butter Sauce

Or maybe you prefer a classic apple dessert? I find myself going for this Old Fashioned Apple Crisp all year round, but it’s a delicious choice on Thanksgiving!Old Fashioned Apple Crisp 2

I have a couple of desserts for you that are a bit more elegant, plus not as heavy. The first is one I love; my Elegant And Easy Lemon Almond Cake. This cake is light and filled with the flavor of almond and lemon; perfect for the family members who want a little something for dessert, but don’t want the heavier sweets.

Elegant & Easy Lemon Almond Cake

Elegant & Easy Lemon Almond Cake

The other one is one of my more recent creations- these Skillet Pears With Autumn Spiced Caramel Sauce. These are wonderful if you have a smaller gathering. The pears end up tender and juicy and the caramel sauce is fantastic.Skillet Pears With An Autumn Spiced Caramel Sauce 9

So, what to do with leftovers once Thanksgiving is over? When you tire of just making a plate of leftovers, I have some things you can do with some of them. If the title says chicken, obviously you can sub in that leftover turkey staring you in the face.

We love Mexican food in my house. Yes, I know that much of what we all call Mexican food has been totally Americanized, but it’s still delicious, so who cares? One of my family’s favorites are these Cheesy Chicken (Turkey) And Chorizo Enchiladas. They have the perfect mix of creamy, spicy and cheesy. I make them all year round, but they are a perfect way to use up leftovers.Cheesy Chicken And Chorizo Enchiladas 2

Everyone makes soup after Thanksgiving. But I have one here that doesn’t need to have you simmering stock for hours on end. I can eat a boatload of my Quick And Easy Turkey, Bacon And Cheese Chowder. This is comfort food at its best and it doesn’t have to cook for hours.Quick & Easy Turkey, Bacon & Cheese Chowder

Along the Mexican lines again, I almost always make a pan of White Chicken (Turkey) Enchiladas in the week after Thanksgiving. These are soooo darn good and everyone scarfs them down.

Creamy, Cheesy White Chicken Enchiladas

Creamy, Cheesy White Chicken Enchiladas

You may still have some turkey left even after those (I know I will; I always buy too much!) so my Cheaters Easy Chicken (Turkey) And Dumplings never fails me. It’s warming, comforting and filling and tastes great!

Cheaters Easy, Creamy Chicken & Dumplings

Cheaters Easy, Creamy Chicken & Dumplings

If you have leftover cranberry sauce (and you know you will), make a loaf of my Pumpkin Cranberry Bread. It’s an easy way to use up some of those leftovers and it makes a yummy breakfast or light snack.Easy Pumpkin Cranberry Breadthanksgiving

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Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

I can hear it now- “here she goes with another damn apple recipe!”. Yep. Sue Me. Another apple recipe πŸ˜› Actually, please don’t sue me. It would lead to a long drawn out court battle that the media would pick up on and things would come to light that would embarrass us both like my bad habit of eating ice cream in bed and then letting the partially eaten pint melt when I fall asleep and that habit of yours where…well, let’s just leave it as you really need to start closing your window shades at night. Just sayin.

I promise; I’ll move past apple recipes here soon (then I’ll annoy you with cranberry and/or citrus ones πŸ˜› ). But when this one popped into my mind after trying to use up some cranberry sauce, I knew I had to share it. You’ll thank me for this the weekend after Thanksgiving when you have a huge bowl of cranberry sauce in the fridge and you’ve already eaten 12 “day after Thanksgiving” sandwiches covered in that same sauce.

I love the way this turned out. It is rather like fruitcake, in that there is just enough batter to hold the fruits together and man, is it ever full of fruit, but without the dried and candied fruit peel. Not that I personally have any issue with those. I’m a fruitcake fan from way back. I can eat my weight in fruitcake, be it homemade or store bought.

This is wonderfully moist, full of both cranberry sauce and dried cranberries as well as a ton of diced apples. Add in some orange zest and warm spices and this is such a quintessential Fall and Winter style quick bread. It’s easy to throw together, with the most “difficult” part being dicing the apples (I’ll add a tip for how I do that quickly in the recipe instructions). And it makes your house smell SO good while it’s baking. This is the typical quick bread, in that it is even better the second and third days than it was when freshly baked.

You know the drill! <3

Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange oil or orange extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 14 ounce can cranberry sauce (or 1 3/4 cup homemade)
  • 1 1/2 cups finely diced, cored apple (about 2 mediumish apples; don’t worry about peeling) *note at bottom
  • 1 1/3 cups chopped, toasted pecans
  • Glaze-
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 10 inch loaf pan. If you don’t have a ten inch, use a 9 inch and a mini loaf pan or a couple of spots in a muffin tin. Just don’t try to load all of the batter into a 9 inch pan or it will overflow.
  2. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, spices and orange zest in a small bowl.
  3. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer on low speed, beat together the butter, sugar and extracts until light and creamy. Add in the eggs and beat until just mixed. Add in the cranberry sauce and beat just until mixed.
  4. Using a large spoon or rubber spatula, add in the flour mixture all at once. Without stirring, dump theΒ  apples and pecans on top, then mix the batter (use a wooden spoon or spatula, not the mixer) together just until mixed and there are no flourly streaks in it. I say again, as I have before, do NOT overmix quick breads of muffins of you end up with tough bread with tunnels in it.
  5. Bake at 350 until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean, with no moist batter, just a few crumbs, about 45 to 55 minutes, depending on what pan(s) you used. If you put some in a muffin tin or mini loaf pan, make sure to check those sooner, at about the 30 minute mark.
  6. Let cool in the pan for five minutes or so, then use a butter knife to loosen from the sides and invert onto a rack to finish cooling. When cool, whisk together the glaze ingredients in a small bowl and drizzle over the top of the loaf.

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Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

*Note- I’ve found that the easiest way to get a nice dice on fruit is to simply not try so hard. I used to stand over them and painstakingly finely dice each piece of apple. Now, I core them, give them a rough chop, then lay a large knife horizontally over the fruit and rock it back and forth, using the knife to scoot the pieces back into the pile as needed. It gets them diced in a minute or so and no backache from bending over a counter trying to make each piece perfect.

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Sesame Soy Turkey Breast

Sesame Soy Turkey Breast

Sesame Soy Turkey Breast

Ok, who stole 2016? Yes, yes, I know, I’ve done a lot of whining lately about being glad the hot Summer is past and that the cooler weather and my favorite season, Fall, is here. And I stand by those whiny moments.Β  It’s just that today, I was suddenly cognizant of the fact that it’s almost November. Freaking NOVEMBER! Wth? I mean, I knew it was this late in the year, logically. I’m that person who starts looking at Thanksgiving and Christmas pins on Pinterest in August, because it’s fun to mentally prepare my menu. it just didn’t really hit me until it occurred to me that I could probably go ahead and post this so that it was up in time for people to use on Thanksgiving. This year has gone abnormally quickly.

I made this turkey breast a couple of weeks ago and we absolutely loved it. The recipe is lightly adapted from one I found in Food & Wine magazine last year.Β  I’m similar to what I guess most of you are and make my turkey the same way every time because, tradition. But this was a nice twist that I may even be willing to make on Thanksgiving and definitely will use other times of the year because we eat turkey more than just one day a year here, since we love it. My differences from the original are that they used a whole turkey, I used the breast, they melted and then re-chilled the butter mix and spread it under the skin and I left it melted and used it as a baste to make it easier, plus different cooking temps and minor diffs in seasoning.

Sesame Soy Turkey Breast 2

The skin on this gets nice and crispy and if you’re feeling ambitious, you could butterfly the breast and have it 1) cook even faster and 2) have all the skin get crispy rather than have the inevitable bottom skin staying kind of soggy. The flavor here is fantastic; a perfect mix of salty, a subtle sweetness, the richness of sesame oil and butter and a bit of bite from the seasonings. I served this with brown rice, but this would go just as well with noodles or Thanksgiving potatoes.

You know the drill…Β  πŸ™‚

Sesame Soy Turkey Breast

  • 5 to 7 lb turkey breast, rinsed, innards removed, and turkey patted dry
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 -1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger (please make sure it’s fresh. It loses quality if it has been stored in the cabinet for too long)
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (use more or less of this according to your heat tolerance)
  • 1 can (14 ounces) good quality chicken broth
  • Sesame seeds and sliced green onions for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 400 and line a 13×9 inch baking pan with foil. If you butterfly the breast, you’ll need to use a larger pan plus adjust cooking time.
  2. Make sure your turkey is dry, add to pan and sprinkle it with the salt and pepper.
  3. Melt the butter, then add in the next 7 ingredients (everything but the broth). Stir well to combine and dissolve the sugar and spices.
  4. Using a pastry brush, baste the whole breast with the butter mixture.
  5. Roast at 400 for fifteen minutes, then turn heat down to 375 and add the chicken broth to the bottom of the pan. Baste with more of the butter mixture and continue doing that every fifteen minutes.
  6. Roast turkey until it is golden brown and crispy and has an internal temperature of 165f, about one and a half to two hours, depending on size and whether or not you butterflied it. Be sure you’re not touching the bone when testing. Leave in the pan, very lightly covered with foil, for at least fifteen minutes to allow the turkey to continue to rise in temp and to prevent losing all the juiciness by cutting into it too soon.
  7. You can either serve the breast with the drippings, as we did, or use them to make a gravy. If you have leftover basting sauce, you can use it as a delicious dipping sauce for the turkey. Just make sure to bring it to a boil and let boil for one minute to prevent any cross contamination.
  8. Slice thin and garnish with sesame seeds and green onions.

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Sesame Soy Turkey Breast 3

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Easy Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur

Easy Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur


I’m not a big drinker when it comes to alcohol. A beer or a glass or two of wine every few weeks and the occasional vodka and lime-aid when I’m feeling nostalgic (my stepmother loved them back in the day), but straight hard liquor and I don’t get along. Except in my younger days, when we were all stupid about booze, I’ve never understood the drinking to get drunk idea. I mean really… who LIKES a pounding headache and hanging over the toilet for hours? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

One thing I do love however, is sweet creamy drinks. Kahlua and cream? I’ll take one! Baileys Irish Cream, straight up? Yep. It’s a weird “I love this in the middle of Winter” thing for me. The problem is affording the bottle. So, years back, I looked for and found about 900000 recipes for it. While it’s not exactly like Baileys, it’s a nice substitute when you either can’t afford the real thing or want something fresher and giftable. This can be poured into small flasks or bottles to make great stocking stuffers for the adults on your list. I’ve worked on this for years and now have it the way i like it. Feel free to change up some of the basics to appeal to you; less alcohol, more if you like a stiff drink, less or more chocolate of coffee, etc, etc, etc.

You also can’t get much easier than this recipe. Technically, you use a blender to mix it all up. but if you don’t have a blender, you could conceivably do this using a whisk. Just make sure you gets the eggs fully incorporated by adding liquids slowly and mixing well. Not matter how it’s done though, this takes five minutes. Tops. And the reward for that time is a really delicious creamy drink!

You know the drill… πŸ™‚

Easy Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur

  • 1 cup middle of the line whiskey (preferably Irish Whiskey if you want to be authentic. I have also used brandy at times to change it up. You could even use run if you’re feeling froggy)
  • 1 14ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup (something like Hersheys; the kind you would use in milk)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon coconut flavoring
  1. Pour all ingredients into a blender.
  2. Cover and blend. See how easy that was?
  3. Keep stored, covered, in the refrigerator. Best served cold.

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Easy Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur 2

Ultimate Buttery Sour Cream And Onion Mashed Potatoes

Ultimate Buttery Sour Cream And Onion Mashed Potatoes

Ultimate Buttery Sour Cream And Onion Mashed Potatoes



Confession time again. As they say confession is good for the soul, my soul should be doing great by now, ehh? So here goes.

I don’t normally care for mashed potatoes. I know they are one of the American iconic dishes, they use potatoes and Lord knows I love potatoes and they are a traditional side dish to so many meals, especially Thanksgiving. But they just aren’t usually a favorite. I think it’s a textural sensory issue more than anything.

But with these potatoes, I may have to make an exception. While I’m sure I’m not the first person to ever think of it, a month or so ago, it popped into my head that as much as I love sour cream and onion potato chips, why not try it in mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving? So I did a smaller test batch to try it out and I am so very definitely making them this way for Thanksgiving dinner, sensory issues be darned.

These mashed potatoes are creamy and buttery with just enough sour cream and onion flavor to make it interesting. If you want a stronger flavor profile, add a couple of ounces more cream cheese. These are rather like a loaded baked potatoes, but creamy. Oh, so good. They are quick to pull together and as with any mashed potatoes, if you want to make these for the holiday dinner, just make them the day before, cover tightly with foil, refrigerate, then heat them in the oven or even a slow cooker the next day. This can be easily doubled, tripled, quadrupled, quintupled, sextupletted… ok, I’ll stop now. Sorry.

These are NOT diet food, so don’t go read the recipe and faint, please. πŸ˜€

You know the drill… get to cookin!

Mrs. Cupcake, who is going to go eat some more potatoes.

Ultimate Buttery Sour Cream And Onion Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 1/2 pounds russet or Yukon gold potatoes (about 6 to 7 medium potatoes)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp, divided
  • 4 ounces (half a container) whipped sour cream and onion cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • one green onion, thinly sliced
  1. Wash, peel and cube the potatoes. Place in a pot; cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then turn down to medium and let cook until a fork easily pierces through a larger chunk. Remove from heat, drain into a colander and set aside for a minute.
  2. In the same pot, combine half of the butter (1/4 cup), cream cheese, milk, salt (use the smaller amount first. You can always add more salt, but you can’t take it back out) and pepper. Place over the still warm burner and let sit just long enough to take the chill off of the milk, about 2 minutes or so.
  3. Dump the potatoes into the pot and mash well. Then use a beater to whip them into a state of frenzied creaminess. See how easy that was?
  4. Spoon into your serving dish; dot with the remaining butter (if you don’t use it all, that’s fine), sprinkle with the sliced green onion and ground black pepper. Enjoy!!
  5. If you want to make them ahead of time, just spoon them into an oven safe serving dish, cover and refrigerate. Set them out the next morning, a couple of hours before dinner, then about 30 minutes before dinner, heat them (covered if you don’t want them to brown, uncovered if you do) in a 350 oven until hot all the way through.

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Ultimate Buttery Sour Cream And Onion Mashed Potatoes

Ultimate Buttery Sour Cream And Onion Mashed Potatoes

 

Elegant & Easy Lemon Almond Cake

Elegant & Easy Lemon Almond Cake

Elegant & Easy Lemon Almond Cake



Twas the week before Thanksgiving and all over the internet, were recipes for pumpkin and pecan and chocolate and all sorts of heavy desserts….

Yes, I’m well aware that that didn’t rhyme at all and didn’t even have a decent rhythm to it, but by the time I typed out “Twas the week before Thanksgiving”, my brain had died out. I tend to take thinking minute by minute, obviously.

Seriously though, I figured I would give all of you a recipe for something a little lighter, something citrusy and not bogged down with 5000 calories. Mind you, if you’re anything like me, it just means one MORE dessert to eat during the holidays, not one DIFFERENT dessert. There is no way I can turn down my pecan pie or pumpkin pie or berry pie. So, I join the throngs of Americans who spend the later hours of Thanksgiving sleeping under a table somewhere, fork in hand, whipped cream smears on my chin and a happy smile on my face.

This cake is so easy to throw together and it really is such a nice change from the heavier things this time of year. The cake itself is moist, with a mild taste of both almond and lemon, along with the gentle crunch of sliced almonds on top. I got the original recipe from the cookbook “Luscious Lemon Desserts”. I changed it in that it didn’t have the almonds on it, I used lemon oil rather than lemon extract, which I don’t care for as it adds a bitter flavor to foods in my opinion, I added more vanilla as well as almond extract in the cake andddddd added a couple tablespoons of actual lemon juice to give it a very mild tartness. All in all, this was delicious and something I can see making year round.

You know the drill…. πŸ™‚

Elegant & Easy Lemon Almond Cake

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon oil (if you absolutely have to sub lemon extract, use 1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup almond paste, room temp
  • 1/4 cup (half stick) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup thin sliced almonds
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a greased 8 inch cake pan with parchment paper, then grease and flour the paper (or use a flour/oil combination baking spray). Sprinkle the sliced almonds evenly over the bottom of the pan.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In another small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the milk, lemon juice, lemon oil, and extracts
  4. In a large bowl, beat together the room temp almond paste and the butter. If it doesn’t beat well at first, do what I did- get a potato masher and mush the dickens out of it. It worked great. πŸ˜€ Beat in the sugar until fluffy.
  5. Once the sugar, butter and almond paste are nicely blended, beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well blended.
  6. Alternate adding in the flour mix and the milk mixture, starting and ending with the flour (flour, milk, flour, milk, flour), beating just until well mixed each time.
  7. Spoon the batter carefully over the almonds in the pan, then spread it evenly.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan, on a rack for fifteen minutes, then carefully turn it out onto a plate to finish cooling.
  9. When cool, sprinkle the top generously with powdered sugar and cut into wedges to serve.

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Elegant & Easy Lemon Almond Cake

Elegant & Easy Lemon Almond Cake

 

Creamy Homemade Boursin Cheese Spread

Creamy Homemade Boursin Cheese Spread

Creamy Homemade Boursin Cheese Spread



I am a Thanksgiving appetizer junkie.Β  By the time I finish cooking the actual meal, I am so filled up on appetizers that I have no interest in dinner. Of course, the taste testing I just HAVE to do *innocent smile* as I cook doesn’t help either. Mind you, none of this stops me from loading up a full plate just in case. I then eat three bites, cover the plate and become a total turkey pig a few hours later.

But nothing matches appetizers for me. I love small bites, love being able to pick and choose from nibbles of fun finger foods. One thing I particularly love is cheese. Combine that with what all of you know is one of my downfalls, something creamy, and I become a total glutton. Many years ago, I saw a recipe somewhere or another for Boursin cheese and just had to give it a try. The rest is history. Now I make it each Thanksgiving and Christmas. The original recipe has changed much over the years and I don’t even make it as per the recipe anymore.

This cheese is so darn good! If you love creamy spreads, you’ll love it. It goes great on crackers, veggies, and one way I love to use it to stuff chicken or pork chops with it. I’m a total peasant myself; this cheese spread and some Ritz crackers and I’m in heaven. Add in a glass of wine and yeah, baby, I’m good! πŸ˜€

This goes together so quickly you’ll think you missed a step. The most time consuming part; all of three minutes or so, is finely chopping the green onions and the garlic. Such a workout. :-p Then just put it into a pretty serving bowl, set out crackers and others dippers and watch your family and guests go crazy for it. You’re welcome. πŸ˜€

You know the drill….. <3

Β Creamy Homemade Boursin Cheese Spread

  • 2 8 ounce packages cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/4 cup good quality Parmesan Cheese (not the grated stuff you sprinkle on spaghetti)
  • 3 tablespoons finely minced green onion (about 1.5 green onions should do it)
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon Fine Herbes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (do NOT use more without taste testing. This is a simple mixture and easy to over salt)
  1. Β In a medium bowl, combine the butter and cream cheese. Beat well on medium speed until creamy and fluffy. Scrape bowl once, and beat for another minute or so.
  2. Add in all the rest of the ingredients. Beat well to combine. Give it a small taste test for salt and seasoning. Keep in mind the saltiness of any dippers you may use before adding more salt to the cheese.
  3. Spoon into a serving bowl; smooth top. Serve immediately or refrigerate until about half an hour before serving time.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

Creamy Homemade Boursin Cheese Spread

Creamy Homemade Boursin Cheese Spread

 

Maple Butter Pecan Pie

Maple Butter Pecan Pie

Maple Butter Pecan Pie



I’m totally ready to get started with Thanksgiving and Christmas recipes. Hopefully, you’re totally ready to get those recipes, cause it’s probably the vast majority of what I’ll be posting for a while. πŸ˜€

I sometimes think to myself that I wouldn’t be as enamored of the holiday season if it fell in Summer. I mean… “let’s go grill out some chicken for Thanksgiving dinner” or “how about we make some nice cold ice cream to serve on Christmas”?? Those just don’t have the same ring to them, even though I’m well aware that it’s only on this half of the world that is deep into Autumn and Winter when Thanksgiving and Christmas hit. But I’m one of those people who gets sad if it isn’t bitter cold on both days. I want cozy, homey, preferably snowy. Plus, cooking a large meal in the oven and making the house a sauna when it’s not cold out kinda sucks.

I already have two pecan pies up here on the blog. But one can never have too many pecan pies, am I right? I rather like pecan pie, obviously. My husband isn’t fond of it. Yet I let him stay around anyway. Go figure.

I wanted to change up this years pecan recipe for the blog. So when I saw this in an old cooking magazine I have, I had to give it a try. I absolutely love real maple anything and I knew from the ingredients in this that it would be good. It came with it’s own pie crust recipe, but I forgot to get some photos of it, so I’ll post that separately next time I use it. Meanwhile, just use your own favorite 9 inch pie crust; even a store bought one is fine if you swing that way.

This was a delicious pie. Nice glazed looking pecans on top (the recipe called for pecan halves, but I prefer chopped. You do you.), a filling that wasn’t overly goopy nor overly sweet, but has a subtle maple edge to it. It IS pecan pie however; don’t go into this not expecting very sweet πŸ™‚ I love to serve my own piece of pie simply; just the pie, gently warmed, with a small puddle of heavy cream poured over it. Serve this with strong tea or coffee or a glass of milk for the kiddos.

You know the drill… <3

Maple Butter Pecan Pie

  • 9 inch pie crust
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups toasted pecan halves (I used more like just 1 cup because I prefer a higher ratio of filling to pecans)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten (have them standing by in a large measuring cup)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 400. Line a 9 inch pie pan with the pie crust; crimp as desired. Gently cover the crust with foil, making sure to press it snugly onto the sides. Dump about a cup or so of either dry beans or uncooked rice onto the foil (you can let these cool afterward and save them in a ziploc bag to use the same way again); spread evenly. Bake the crust for about 15 minutes; until it is set, but not browned at all. Remove from oven, take the foil off and turn the oven down to 325 degrees.
  2. In a medium pot, combine the brown sugar, maple syrup, corn syrup and salt. Cooking, stirring frequently, just until warmed and the sugar has melted.
  3. Slowly drizzle some of the warmed sugar mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly. You want to temper the yolks, but not scramble them by adding hot liquid to it too quickly. Do it nice and slow. When you have about half the sugar mix incorporated into the eggs, whisk the eggs into the pot containing the rest of the sugar mix. Stir in the butter and vanilla extract.
  4. Sprinkle the pecans over the bottom of the crust. Carefully pour the sugar/egg mixture on top of the pecans.
  5. Bake the pie at 325 for 35 to 45 minutes, until the filling is puffed (it will settle back down as it cools) and just off center looks set. It’s ok if there is still some jiggle right in the middle. That will firm as it cools.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

Maple Butter Pecan Pie

Maple Butter Pecan Pie

Cranberry White Chocolate Amaretto Oatmeal Cookies

Cranberry White Chocolate Amaretto Oatmeal Cookies

Cranberry White Chocolate Amaretto Oatmeal Cookies



I have a confession to make. *Takes a deep breath and sobs* No Amaretto was harmed in the making of this post. I lied!!! It’s just almond extract!!! *Throws myself at the mercy of the courts…. and cookie eaters. But, in my defense, how would Cranberry, White Chocolate and Almond Extract have sounded as a title? It needed excitement, pizzazz, oomph! Amaretto is exciting! Fine, maybe not so much, but you get my drift. So, when you make these cookies, just don’t tell anyone that the almond flavor is from almond extract and not amaretto. It will be our little secret. You, me and the 3 other people who actually read my blog. :-p

Now on to my whining weather report. WHAT HAPPENED TO AUTUMN!!!!??? It disappeared!! It’s the first week in November and I had to turn the A/C on last night because it was too hot in here to sleep comfortably. Who turned off the cold?! It is NOT, I repeat, NOT supposed to be 80 degrees during the day in November; not even in Kentucky. And other states that allow that nonsense need to stop it right now.

Because I said so.

On that note (as I watch two of my three readers back away slowly), let’s move on to the cookies.

I loved these. And they got the kid approved thumbs up too, which is always nice. One would think that any kid would give a thumbs up to cookies, but nope, not mine. With me having been baking all of their lives (heck, most of MY life) and running a food blog, they are more particular and have higher standards than the “normal” children. There is nothing more humorous than getting a verbose critique from a seven year old- “These are good momma, but they could be chewier/sweeter/crunchier”… whatever the specific food should be.

These have a nice nutty flavor from the toasted almonds. I deliberately toasted these a little browner than I usually do because I wanted a nuttier flavor. It worked wonderfully. So when you toast the almonds, get them to a nice medium brown color. Just make sure to give them a stir in the pan once to make sure they brown evenly. The cranberries added a nice tartness to the cookies and the white chocolate a creamy sweetness. Since these have oats and cranberries in them, feel free to eat them for breakfast. They’re good for you *coughcough*! Honest Injun! Even with the tablespoon of almond extract in these, the almond flavor is still fairly mild, so go ahead and add a teaspoon more if you want an extra punch of flavor.

You know the drill… πŸ™‚

Cranberry White Chocolate Amaretto Oatmeal Cookies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Β 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon (add an extra teaspoon if you want more almond flavor) almond extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups oats (if you REALLY want to punch up the flavor, toast your oats for about 6 minutes or so at 350. Just make sure to stir once and also to let them cool COMPLETELY before adding them to the dough.)
  • 1 12 ounce package white chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1 cup sliced almonds, toasted at 350 until medium brown
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two cookie sheets.
  2. In a large bowl, at medium speed using a hand mixer cream together the butter, the brown sugar and the sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Scrape the bowl down and add the eggs and egg yolk. Stir in the vanilla extract and the almond extract. Beat just until blended.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to the butter mixture. Stir in (use a nice heavy wooden spoon) the oats, cranberries, white chocolate and toasted almonds. Make sure to dig down there to the bottom of the bowl and stir so that you don’t have parts of the dough with no add ins in it.
  5. Make rounded tablespoons of the dough and place about 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 12 to 14 minutes; 12 if you want slightly chewier, 14 if you want crispier.Β  If, by chance, the dough is too soft to work with, cover the dough and throw it in the fridge for maybe 30 minutes, then proceed.
  6. Let cool on the pan for 2 to 3 minutes to give them a chance to firm up, then transfer to a rack to finish cooling.
  7. FYI- this dough freezes well. I made just part of the batch and have the rest frozen to use closer to Christmas.
Cranberry White Chocolate Amaretto Oatmeal Cookies

Cranberry White Chocolate Amaretto Oatmeal Cookies

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.