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Ingredient: sugar

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Squares

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Squares

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Ridiculously Good! Raspberry Almond Chocolate Chip Squares
Easy and attractive, these are good crowd pleasers. It is also a nice way to use up several complimentary flavors of jam, if you have a few half-eaten jars cluttering up your fridge.
Cuisine Staff Lunch
Servings
Ingredients
Cuisine Staff Lunch
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Combine the flour and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Cut in the butter until crumbly.
  3. Add in the egg and the almond extract. Mix well.
  4. Leave 1 cup of this mixture in the bowl and press the rest into a lightly greased 9X13 pan.
  5. Spread the jam over the pressed dough.
  6. Take the chocolate chips and sliced almonds and mix in with the reserved dough.
  7. Sprinkle this mixture over the jam layer in the pan.
  8. Bake at 350°F for 35-45 minutes. Let cool completely
  9. Slice into squares and enjoy!
Recipe Notes

This recipe was found at http://howdoesshe.com/ridiculously-good-raspberry-almond-chocolate-chip-squares/ and slightly adapted by me.

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Buttermilk Scones

Buttermilk Scones

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Buttermilk Scones
This recipe was given to me by a long time friend, back in our "newly married-let's have a tea party" days. I've made it for baby showers, wedding showers, and plenty of breakfast and brunch occasions. I have included some flavor variations at the end, but the original cranberry white chocolate version is the one I'm sharing here.
Servings
dozen small scones
Ingredients
Servings
dozen small scones
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
  2. Put dry ingredients into a bowl or the bowl of a food processor. Stir briefly to combine.
  3. Using the food processor or two knives, cut in the the 6 Tbsp. of butter. Pulse or chop until mixture forms coarse crumbs. If using a food processor, move the mixture into a mixing bowl.
  4. Gently stir in buttermilk, egg, and vanilla. Only mix until combined. Sometimes I have to add a bit of extra buttermilk at this point (about 1 Tbsp. or so).
  5. Fold in cranberries and white chocolate chips.
  6. Scoop scones onto prepared baking sheet--I use my standard sized cookie scoop and end up with about 2 dozen scones.
  7. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes, or just until scones become firm and begin to turn golden around the edges.
Recipe Notes

Flavor variations: (Use these in place of the cranberries and white chocolate)

Mocha: 1 tsp. instant coffee granules and 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Toffee: 1/2 cup toffee baking bits, sprinkle scones with brown sugar before baking

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Chocolate Crinkles

Chocolate Crinkles

November 2016 in Review, and Christmas Cookie #11

A favorite photo…

A few highlights…

  • A 90th birthday party for Grandpa Train
  • A second story for the treehouse
  • Thanksgiving road trip to Salt Lake, San Francisco, and back again

And a cookie recipe to go with it!

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Chocolate Crinkles
I got this recipe from my sister-in-law and have loved it ever since. Katya requested "just plain dark chocolate cookies" this year, and these always fit the bill.
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Mix oil, cocoa, and sugar well in a large mixer bowl.
  2. Blend in one egg at a time until mixed well. Add vanilla.
  3. Gradually blend in flour, salt, and baking powder.
  4. Chill dough for several hours (overnight is best).
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease several cookie sheets.
  6. Use a cookie scoop or teaspoon to shape dough. Roll dough in sugar (either granulated or powdered) and place on prepared sheets.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-14 minutes, until set and tops begin to crack. Don't overbake. These are best soft!
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Gumdrops

Gumdrops

October 2016 in Review, and Christmas Cookie #10

A favorite photo…

 

A few highlights…

  • The tree house begins
  • Family Fun night with all of us dressed in flamenco style

And a cookie recipe to go with it!

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Citrus Gumdrops
These are the Christmas treat that Nathan requests the most. When they turn out correctly, they make a lovely green and red addition to a cookie plate or a popular gift item. The temperatures are tricky, however, and I have had plenty of failed batches amidst the successes.
Course Candy
Servings
pieces
Ingredients
Course Candy
Servings
pieces
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Line a loaf pan with aluminum foil, covering bottom and sides completely. Spray lightly with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the 1 cup sugar and the corn syrup. Cook over medium-high heat until boiling, stirring often with a wooden spoon for 3 minutes to dissolve sugar. Carefully clip on a candy thermometer.
  3. Cook over medium heat (mixture should boil at a moderate, steady rate over the entire surface), stirring occasionally, until the thermometer registers 280 degrees F (soft-crack stage), about 7 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in another heavy bottomed saucepan, combine juice, pectin, and baking soda. Mixture will be foamy. Bring to boiling over medium heat, stirring often. This should take about 2 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and set aside.
  5. When sugar mixture in first pan has reached soft-crack stage, remove from heat. Remove candy thermometer. Return pectin mixture in second pan to boiling.
  6. Gradually pour the hot sugar mixture into the boiling pectin mixture, stirring constantly. This step should take 1-2 minutes. Don't rush! Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 more minute.
  7. Remove saucepan from heat. Pour candy mixture into prepared loaf pan. Let stand until firm--overnight is best.
  8. While candy cools, make the flavored sugar. Place 1/2 cup sugar and the zest of the lime or grapefruit in a food processor. Pulse several times to combine well. Transfer flavored sugar to a bowl or lidded Tupperware.
  9. When candy has set, use foil to lift it out of the pan. With a wet knife, cut candy into strips and then cut each strip into cubes. Toss squares in the flavored sugar to keep them from sticking together.
Recipe Notes

The gumdrops (if they turn out) keep well for several weeks.

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Candy Cane Thumbprints

Candy Cane Thumbprints

June 2016 in Review, and Christmas Cookie #6

A favorite photo…

 

A few highlights…

  • Nathan turns 11
  • Super fun vacation Bible school with an international missions theme
  • Katya finishes Suzuki Piano Book 1
  • Summer backyard barbeques begin
  • Extended family comes for a weekend to watch Beauty and the Beast on stage

And a cookie recipe to go with it!

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Candy Cane Thumbprints
I got this recipe from a fellow pastor's wife at a cookie exchange many years ago. Even though there is no chocolate involved, they still end up as one of my favorites each Christmas! I always double the recipe when I make it, and then freeze half of the finished cookies for eating later in the month.
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Peppermint Filling
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Peppermint Filling
Instructions
  1. Beat butter for 30 seconds. Beat in sugar and salt and cream well. Add egg and vanilla.
  2. Mix in flour until well combined. Cover dough and chill for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned just around the edges.
  4. Immediately after removing cookies from the oven, use the back of a rounded measuring spoon or a melon baller to make an indent in the center of each cookie. Allow to cool completely.
  5. While cookies are cool, mix peppermint filling ingredients together. DON'T ADD THE CANDY CANES! Whip everything else well to form a soft, fluffy icing that holds its shape.
  6. When cookies are cool, spoon filling into indents and then sprinkle crushed candy canes over the top.
Recipe Notes

Cookies can be stored at room temperature for several days, or frozen for up to 3 months.

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Peppermint Swirls

Peppermint Swirls

May 2016 in Review, and Christmas Cookie #5

A favorite photo…

 

A few highlights…

  • School year ends
  • A family wedding with lots of festivities
  • Visit to St. Louis, complete with a backyard Senegalese meal and lots of good family time

And a cookie recipe to go with it!

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Peppermint Swirls
These pretty mint swirls are fun to make with kids, since they can help with the rolling and swirling. They make a colorful addition to Christmas platters. The recipe originally came from Light and Tasty magazine.
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and extracts. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
  2. Divide dough into thirds. Stir red food coloring into one portion of dough; stir green food coloring into another portion. Leave remaining dough plain. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Divide each portion of dough into four equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 12-in. rope. Place a red, a green and a plain rope next to each other. Cut through all three ropes at 1-in. intervals, forming sets of three differently colored doughs. Repeat.
  4. Roll each set of doughs into a ball; place balls 3 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten to 1/8-in. thickness with a glass dipped in additional sugar. Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
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Sugar Cookie Bears

Sugar Cookie Bears

April 2016 in Review, and Christmas Cookie #4

A favorite photo…

 

A few highlights…

  • Buddy Bear turns 10
  • Spring piano recital

And a cookie recipe to go with it!

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Sugar Cookie Bears
This sugar cookie recipe is the one my mom used every year for Christmas cookies. It is easy to work with, stays soft, and tastes really good. This year, the fun part was turning the sugar cookie dough into cute little bears!! (As an added bonus, that meant I didn't have to frost them when they were done.) You can find the link to the original bear instructions at the bottom of this recipe.
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Cream shortening, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and sour cream together. Mix well.
  2. Add flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda until evenly combined.
  3. Divide dough into 4-5 pieces. Place each piece onto a sheet of waxed paper. Cover with an additional sheet of waxed paper and roll to 1/4-1/2 inch thick. (Thicker cookies use more dough, but stay soft longer and are sturdier). Chill for 1 hour or up to 2 days.
  4. Lightly grease cookie sheets. Use a bear shaped cutter to cut out the dough and transfer the shapes to the sheets. Gently press a whole nut into the center of each cookie. Fold the arms securely over the nut. (If the arms fall off, just press them back on!) Use a toothpick to poke in eyes and a nose.
  5. Bake bears at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until set but just barely beginning to brown. Let cool on sheets for a few minutes before moving.
  6. Store in airtight container at room temperature. Cookies should stay soft for a week or more.
Recipe Notes
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Cream Cheese Almond Bars

Cream Cheese Almond Bars

March 2016 in Review, and Christmas Cookie #3

A favorite photo…

 

A few highlights…

  • Katya turned 8
  • Spring break with family in San Antonio, TX
  • Favorite Easter traditions (especially of egg dying)
  • An especially good women’s retreat with our church

And a cookie recipe to go with it!

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Cream Cheese Almond Bars
These are one of Than's annual favorites. They should be kept refrigerated, but keep well for a week or more. They get a little messy when you cut them into small servings, but I do it anyway because they are deliciously rich.
Servings
small bars
Ingredients
Crust Ingredients
Filling Ingredients
Frosting Ingredients
Servings
small bars
Ingredients
Crust Ingredients
Filling Ingredients
Frosting Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Crust: Cut butter into dry ingredients. Press into a 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.
  2. Filling: Mix sugar and cream cheese until well creamed. Beat in eggs and almond extract until fluffy. Pour over hot crust as soon as it comes out of the oven. The layer of filling might look a little thin, but it really is enough! Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Cool completely.
  3. Frosting: Cream sugar and butter together well. Add milk and almond extract and mix until fluffy and easy to spread. Adjust consistency with more powdered sugar or milk as needed. Spread evenly onto baked, cooled bars. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and press them gently into the frosting. Cover and chill to set.
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Apple Cider Caramels

Apple Cider Caramels

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Katya’s favorite fall treat has now been made 4 times this season!  It turns out that these cider caramels are pretty popular, and the more we hand out as gifts the more requests we get.  Katya helped me make the first batch, learning a lot about both the waiting and the rushing that goes into home candy making.  Katya left the cooking of subsequent batches up to me, but both she and Nathan had a wonderful time handing out these delectable treats to teachers and friends.  Yum!

(And no, there are no leaves in the caramels–the photo shows Katya licking off the caramel spoon in one hand while doing a wax-leaf dipping project with the other.  Crazy kid!)

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Apple Cider Caramels
These delicious homemade caramels have a slight spiced cider flavor that makes them particularly special. The temperature of candy making is always a bit tricky, but even if they turn out harder than desired they can be broken apart with a mallet and enjoyed just the same.
Course Candy, Dessert
Servings
pieces
Ingredients
Course Candy, Dessert
Servings
pieces
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Pour cider into a medium saucepan and boil on high for 15-20 minutes or until cider is reduced to 1/3 cup. Keep an eye on it--it goes from thick to burned pretty fast!
  2. Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper. Coat with a bit of cooking spray or rub with the butter wrapper to grease. Set aside.
  3. While the cider is boiling, get out a second saucepan. Pour 1/3 cup whipping cream into a glass measuring cup. Add enough water to make 1/2 cup. Pour that into the empty saucepan. Add sugar and corn syrup. Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Insert candy thermometer and simmer until the syrup reaches 234 degrees. (At my altitude, it is actually 222 degrees).
  4. While sugar mixture heats, keep pouring the apple cider into a clean glass measuring cup until it is only 1/3 cup. When it has reduced enough, pour it into that measuring cup and let it cool. While it cools, stir in remaining 2/3 cup cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Mix well.
  5. When the sugar mixture has reached temperature, remove it from heat and slowly whisk in the cider cream mixture. Add the cubed butter and stir until everything is melted and mixed.
  6. Return the pan to low heat and re-insert the candy thermometer. Cook, stirring frequently, until the temperature reaches 248 degrees (236 degrees at my altitude). This part can take a really long time--sometimes 20 minutes or more!
  7. Remove the mixture from the heat and pour into the prepared pan. Careful, it is a bit tricky to pour! Let the caramels cool completely at room temperature. It takes several hours, so try just leaving it overnight.
  8. Hopefully the caramels are soft enough that you can use kitchen shears to cut them into long strips, and then cut them into 1/2 inch squares. You can try to individually wrap them in squares of waxed paper, or put them into mini muffin papers which is much easier!
Recipe Notes

Recipe from Our Best Bites: http://ourbestbites.com/2010/11/apple-cider-caramels/

Sometimes my caramels set up unusually hard, and I have to break them into bite-sized pieces with a kitchen mallet.  Sometimes they are a bit soft and when I put them in the mini muffin papers they gradually take on the shape of their container.  Either way, they taste good and are totally worth the work!

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Praline Meringue Puffs

Praline Meringue Puffs

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If you decide to host a tea party for an American Girl doll’s birthday, you need to make cream puffs.

If you make cream puffs you will have to use several egg yolks for the perfect pastry cream.

If you use egg yolks for the pastry cream, you will have egg whites left over.

If you have egg whites left over, you will need to make meringue cookies.

If you make meringue cookies, you will want to try a new kind.

If you try a new kind of meringue cookies, someone will ask you for the recipe.

If someone asks you for the recipe, you better post it on the blog.

And all that from a little doll’s tea party!

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Praline Meringue Puffs
These meringue cookies are super sweet and satisfyingly nutty. They are more on the chewy side rather than the crunchy side, a good thing for many (even though it disappointed Nathan!) They give good praline flavor without the need to actually crystallize the pecans.
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or foil.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, place the pecans and pulse 3-5 times until the pecans are coarsely chopped. Add the flour, 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, and the salt. Pulse once or twice more to combine.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy and opaque. Increase the mixer speed and beat until whites begin to form soft peaks. Gradually beat in the white sugar until the whites form glossy peaks. Gradually beat in the remaining 1/3 cup brown sugar and the vanilla. Continue beating until the meringue is stiff and smooth when rubbed between the fingers.
  4. Lightly fold the pecan mixture into the meringue mixture just until evenly incorporated. Don't mix too much or the meringue will deflate.
  5. Use a small cookie scoop or two spoons to drop the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets by heaping tablespoonfuls. Space about 1 inch apart.
  6. Bake all the cookies at the same time. Bake for about 10-12 minutes if you want chewier meringues, or rotate the sheets at 10 minutes and bake an additional 10 minutes (total of 18-20 minutes) for crunchier cookies. Cookies are done when they are lightly colored all over.
  7. Let cookies cool completely on parchment or foil before attempting to remove. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month.
Recipe Notes

This recipe came from The All-American Cookie Book by Nancy Baggett.

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