Sunday, December 7, 2008

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
Source: My Kitchen Cafe which she adapted Slight from the Dec. Issue of Martha Stewart Living.

In her post she stated "Like most Martha Stewart recipes, the instructions are a tad fussy and it takes some time to chill/freeze all the different components of the dough, but in the end, it was worth it."

Makes 6 dozen (um, not so much - I barely got 3 dozen out of the recipe)

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 ounces (5 tablespoons) butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
8 large candy canes or 30 peppermint candies, crushed
2 pounds white chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used about 8 ounces white chocolate and the rest white almond bark, since that is what I had on hand - it worked great)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed for 1 minute. Reduce speed to medium-low, and add egg, then yolk, beating well after each addition. Beat in peppermint extract. Slowly add flour mixture, and beat until just incorporated. Shape dough into 2 disks, wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days).

Roll out 1 disk of dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. Using a 2-inch round cutter, cut out circles, and place 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Roll and cut scraps once. Freeze cookies until firm, about 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining disk.

Bake until cookies are dry to the touch, about 12 minutes. Transfer parchment, with cookies, to wire racks, and let cool. (Undecorated cookies will keep, covered, for up to 3 days.)

Sift crushed candy, and separate larger pieces from dust, reserving both. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl in the microwave (don't overheat or the chocolate/almond bark will sieze!). Dunk cookies into melted chocolate. Using a fork, press lightly on the cookie until completely submerged in the chocolate. Pick up the cookie with the fork, let excess chocolate drip off, and gently scrape bottom against edge of bowl. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets, and sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of either candy pieces or dust on top. Repeat, sprinkling half the cookies with pieces and the rest with dust. Refrigerate until set, up to 3 hours.

***I've not tried making these yet, I'm hoping to try them out tomorrow during Natasha's nap.

Holiday Morning Buns

I made these tonight when I got home from work at 5pm. So simple and fast! I popped them in the freezer and am going to bake them in the morning so that Tash and I can have nice warm buns for breakfast! As the recipe says, it's perfect for Christmas morning.

Holiday Morning Buns
Source: My Kitchen Cafe

3 1/2 cups (14 3/4 ounces) all-purpose Flour + 1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) cornstarch
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons (7/8 ounce) sugar
2 to 2 1/4 cups heavy cream

7 tablespoons butter, melted, OR 2 5/8 ounces milk
Cinnamon and sugar for rolling (I just mixed my own together)

Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan, line with parchment, and grease the parchment. Parchment isn't absolutely necessary, but it makes it easier to get the bubbly, sugary buns out of the pan once they're baked.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add 2 cups of the cream all at once, then toss and stir the mixture till the dough comes together. If necessary, add additional cream to make the dough cohesive. Gather the dough in your hands and knead it a few times to make sure there are no dry spots.

Place the cinnamon sugar in a small, shallow bowl or pan; or in a plastic zip-top bag. Break off pieces of dough about the size of a ping pong ball, or about 1 1/8 ounces. Dip each piece in melted butter or milk, then roll or shake in the cinnamon-sugar to coat. Place the cinnamon-coated dough balls into the pan of your choice in a single layer; they'll be touching one another, which is just fine.

Cover the pan with plastic, and place in the freezer overnight, or for up to a week or so. If freezing longer than overnight wrap the entire pan in plastic wrap, then in foil. Next day, remove the pan from the freezer, and let the buns rest at room temperature while you preheat your oven to 350°F. The buns don't need to thaw.

If you're baking the buns immediately (not frozen), bake them for 45 to 50 minutes, till the buns in the center are cooked through. You can assess this by taking a toothpick and actually digging into the center bun to take a look; it should look totally baked, not doughy. If the buns have been frozen, bake them for 65 to 70 minutes, testing for done-ness as instructed above. Tent them with aluminum foil after 45 minutes of baking. (I actually forgot the "tenting" step and the buns didn't get burned - phew!)

Remove from the oven, and serve immediately. Dust with confectioners' sugar, if desired, right before serving.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Turkey or Veggie Chili

This is the best chili recipe I have found yet! Simmers in the slow cooker all day, or on the stovetop at the last minute. Easily turns into fabulous veggie chili by simply omitting the turkey and increasing the beans. Add veggies you like, or omit ones you don't like. There is lots of flavour, but its not very hot (my 3yo and 10mth old love it).

1lb ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1c carrots, chopped
1c mushrooms, sliced
1c frozen corn
2 lg cans mixed beans (drained and rinsed)
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
1 can chopped chilis
4Tb chili powder
1tsp garlic powder
1tsp oregano
1tsp cumin
1tsp paprika
1tsp pepper
1tsp salt
1c water (start out with much less, use more if needed depending on how runny or chunky you like your chili)

1. Brown turkey and onions.
2. Add to crockpot. Add rest of ingredients. Simmer on low all day.


1. Brown turkey, onions and green pepper in large pot
2. Add rest of ingredients and simmer 45min