Monday, December 7, 2009

Candy Cane Cookies

My FAVORITE Christmas cookie! These are fun for the kids to make too!

1/2 C Butter, softened
1/2 C shortening
1 C powdered sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 C flour
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Red food coloring

Mix dough in order, EXCEPT for food coloring. Divide dough in half, color one half with the food coloring. Make a 1 inch ball from each color dough. Form into a toosie roll (short and fat). Then lay them side by side together, and roll to form the swirl, until they are about 4-5 inches long. Carefully transfer to cookie sheet, forming the crook in the cane. Bake for 9 minutes at 375. Let cool on sheet 2-5 minutes before moving. (they will break if you move them too soon.)

Tips: The white tends to dry out faster than the red, so if you double the batch keep a damp paper towel over the white to keep it moist. You can also decrease the almond to 1/2 tsp in the red side (when making 2 batches, 1 of each color) to compensate for the extra liquid you will be getting from the food coloring.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Very Vanilla Cake

This is a recipe from Nigella Lawson, who is a wonderful cook because she makes it look like you can do it, too. And I did.
2 Sticks soft butter, plus enough to grease your bundt pan
1 1/2 Cups sugar
6 eggs
2 1/3 Cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Cup plain fat free yogurt
4 tsp vanilla extract
confectioner's sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 and put cookie sheet in at same time. Butter or spray (use A LOT) bundt pan. Cream butter and sugar in mixing bowl until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, along with 1 TBS flour for each egg. Fold in rest of flour and baking soda. Add yogurt and vanilla. Pour mixture into greased pan and spread evenly. Place cake pan on preheated cookie sheet and bake 45 to 60 minutes, until cake rises and is golden. After 45 minutes, insert knife to test; if it comes out clean, it is done. Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Gently pull cake away from pan edges, then turn out cake. Let cool, then dust with confectioner's sugar (it tastes great and hides all blemishes). For my son's birthday, we had it with strawberries and whipped cream. Pure heaven.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Italian Chicken

4 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cube butter
1 package Zesty Italian seasoning (this is found in the salad dressing area, near the ranch dressing packets. Make sure to get Zesty, not just plain Italian.)

Melt butter and add chicken. Sprinkle seasoning over chicken. Cook in crockpot for 6-7 hours on low setting or 3-4 hours on high.

In a saucepan melt 8 oz cream cheese or 8 oz sour cream and one can of cream of chicken soup. Pour into crock pot over chicken and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Serve over noodles, rice, or mashed potatoes.

Pretzel Salad

First Layer-Pretzel Crust
2 cups crushed pretzels
3/4 cup butter
3 T sugar

Mix together and press in the bottom of 9x13 pan. Bake in 350 oven for 10 minutes. Cool.

Second Layer-Creamy Filling
Cream together 8 oz cream cheese, softened, and 1 cup sugar. Then blend in 12 oz Cool Whip. Spread over pretzel crust. Chill.

Third Layer-Jello and Fruit
Dissolve large package raspberry jello with 2 cups hot water. When dissolved add 2 9-ounce packages frozen raspberries. When it starts to set, spread on second layer and chill.