Monthly Archives: December 2011

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

 I’m just going to post a short post today, just in time for New Years!

I made this fantastic dip for my family’s Christmas Eve get-together this year, and it was a hit. I thought that by doubling the recipe I would have some left over to take pictures of, but it was seriously gone within minutes. This is great for a party, with tortilla chips, crackers, or some nice crusty bread to dip in it. It keeps nicely in a crock-pot on its lowest heat setting. I’m just giving you the single recipe, but definitely make more than you think you will need!

Spinach Artichoke Dip

8 oz cream cheese

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

3/4 cup frozen artichoke hearts, thawed

1 package chopped frozen spinach, thawed

1 clove fresh garlic, finely minced

dash of cayenne or red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste


To prepare in a crock-pot:

Place all ingredients in the crock-pot set on medium heat. Allow cream cheese to melt. Once cream cheese is soft, mix all of the ingredients together. Lower heat to lowest setting.

To prepare in the microwave:

Place cream cheese in a microwave safe bowl. Heat cream cheese in 1 minute increments, until warm, and soft enough to mix. Add all other ingredients to the bowl, mix well. Add mixture to crock-pot on low heat to keep warm.


Hot Chocolate Cookies

Before I share my recipe today, I need to take a moment to vent. First, on Sunday, I had a fantastic dinner planned. I had spent the afternoon preparing, and one of the things I was making was a fantastic roast beef. Well it was almost ready to eat when the Pyrex dish just shattered in the oven! Glass was everywhere, all over the oven, kitchen, and of course, my roast. Instead of my roast beef, we had a precooked, store bought chicken.

To make matters worse, I went out to my car yesterday to go to work, and someone had hit it, and didn’t bother to leave a note. People have it out for my car around the holidays. Last year someone broke in my window right before Christmas, this year, a hit and run. It doesn’t do much for the holiday spirit!

But enough complaining, now on to some cookies!

These cookies would be great to put out on a plate for Santa on Christmas Eve. These cookies are fantastic warm from the oven, but once they are cool, they really do taste like hot chocolate! The original recipe called for hot chocolate mix, but I usually don’t use a mix to make hot chocolate, so I didn’t have any one hand, and used cocoa powder instead.


Hot Chocolate Cookies

Adapted from Baking Serendipity

2 sticks salted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows, toasted

Cream butter and sugars until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time and vanilla and beat until combined. In a separate bowl, combine flour cocoa powder, salt and baking soda. Add to wet ingredients in 3-4 parts, stirring well to make sure it is incorporated.

Toast mini marshmallows under the broiler on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil (for easy clean-up). Fold toasted marshmallows and chocolate chips into dough.

Drop cookie dough by the tablespoon onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 9-11 minutes. Let cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack.






Iced Lemon Cookies (12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies)

Welcome to the final week of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies! I can’t believe that it is already over, and I especially can’t believe that there is barely a week left until Christmas.  Sorry about posting a day late, but I’ve got a ton to do over the next few days to get ready for Christmas.

The last cookie recipe I am sharing is possibly my favorite cookie from the last few months. This cookie makes a nice change from all of the heavy chocolate, mint, and caramel that people bring out during the holidays. The lemon flavor is very refreshing, and the icing adds a nice tangyness to the cookie, keeping it from becoming overly sweet. These are slice and bake cookies, which makes them incredibly quick and easy to make last minute.

Iced Lemon Cookies

Adapted from Authentic Suburban Gourmet

2 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
1 C. (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
3/4 C.sugar

Juice of half a lemon
3 T finely grated lemon zest
1 t. vanilla extract
4 large egg yolks

1 1/4 C. powdered sugar
3 T (or more) fresh lemon juice

Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, sugar, lemon zest, juice,  and vanilla in a large bowl, occasionally scraping down sides, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg yolks; beat just to blend. Reduce speed to low; add flour and salt and beat, occasionally scraping down sides, just to blend. Divide dough in half; roll each half into a 10″-long log about 1 3/4″ in diameter. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 1 hour or up to 2 days.

Arrange racks in lower and upper thirds of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Unwrap 1 dough log. Using a sharp, lightly floured knife, cut log into 1/4″-thick rounds. Transfer to prepared sheets, spacing 1″ apart.

Bake until cookies are firm and golden brown around edges, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool for 1 minute, then transfer to wire racks and let cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough log.

Whisk sugar and 2 tablespoons juice in a small bowl, adding more juice by 1/2-teaspoonfuls if too thick. Use a piping bag and drizzle icing over cookies. Let stand until icing sets, about 10 minutes.

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Chocolate Chip Banana Cookies (12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies)

Welcome to the 11th week of 12 weeks of Christmas Cookies!

For this weeks cookie I decided to share another banana recipe. The last banana cookies I shared seemed to be pretty well received even though its not the most conventional Christmas flavor. Due to some Thanksgiving mispurchases, I ended up with a ton of over ripe bananas that were just perfect for baking with this weekend. These cookies didn’t turn out quite how I was hoping, but it was a happy mistake. Instead of turning out like a traditional chocolate chip cookie, they ended up more like muffin tops, which was fine with me!

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Baking Bites
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup mashed banana (1 medium)
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, or mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla extract and mashed banana. Stir in flour mixture, then mix in the chocolate chips (or chocolate chunks) until well-distributed in the batter
Shape dough into 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls and place on baking sheet, leaving about 3 inches between cookies to allow for spread.
Bake for 11-14 minutes, until cookies are a light golden brown.
Allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 32 cookies.

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Brown Sugar Fudge (December Crazy Cooking Challenge)

Welcome to the December Crazy Cooking Challenge!

This fudge is probably the best thing that has come out of my kitchen. Ever. I decided to make an old fashioned fudge recipe for this challenge. The easy, quick style of fudge is fine, it works in a pinch, but that kind of fudge is just missing something special. Maybe its that shatter-y crisp sugar crust you have to  break through before you get to that smooth creamy center, or the satisfying feeling of turning a syrup into something so much better.

The flavor of this fudge was more like maple than caramel. This fudge would be great with nuts, especially walnuts. This is an easy recipe to make, even though it does involve cooking the sugar to a high temperature. The work comes in once the syrup has cooled and its time to beat it. It took me at least 20 minutes of beating to get it to the right point, although thing did speed up once I started using a  wooden spoon! You will need a candy thermometer for this recipe.

Brown Sugar Fudge

The Life and Loves of Grumpy’s Honeybunch


2-1/2 cups light brown sugar
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons corn syrup
3 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the ingredients in a sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a boil. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches 234 degrees, the soft boil stage.  Remove the syrup from heat, add the butter , and without stirring, let cool until it reaches 110 degrees. Once it has cooled to 110 degrees, beat the syrup with a wooden spoon until it starts to loose its gloss. Once it begins to loose it gloss, and has a thick consistency, pour it into a foiled, greased pan to set. Once set, cut into squares and enjoy!



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Chocolate Cookie (12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies)

Welcome to week 9 of 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies! With less than a month until Christmas, it’s time for cookie swaps and office parties. The best thing you can have for those situations is a super easy, versatile cookie. This chocolate cookie recipe is a great base for a ton of different additions, in fact it’s the same base I used for the mint chocolate chip cookies I posted earlier in the week. These make a great bite size cookie that would be perfect to serve along with all the other goodies what will be around at parties, and people will appreciate the fact that they are small.

Make sure to check out the other post this week!

Some suggestions for flavors:

  • 2 cups of chocolate chips
  • 1 cup of mint chips, 1 cup choco
  • late chips
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips, 1 cup walnuts
  • 2 cups peanut butter chips

Chocolate Cookie Base

2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped Andes Mints

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl stir together flour, salt, and baking soda. In the bowl of a mixer, cream together butter and both sugars. Add eggs, va

nilla and cocoa. Gradually stir flour mixture into butter mixture and mix until combined. Stir in add ins, distribute evenly.
For full size cookies drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets and bake about 10 minutes. Cool on a baking rack. For bite size cookies scoops tablespoon sized balls of dough, cut in half and round edges slightly, bake for 6-8 minutes.

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