Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cranberry Pomegranate Brushetta

This Bruschetta is packed with flavor, delicious crunch, sweet, salt, orange zest, and all these ingredients screams Christmas. This is a beautiful and bright, fresh appetizer. Besides being delicious as a bruschetta topping it’s also fantastic spooned over a block of cream cheese or a log of goat cheese. Add a sprinkle of finely chopped fresh parsley and you’ve got a appetizer that is perfect for the holidays. Serve this with crisp crackers. 
Oh, and if you’re looking for a way to dress up every-day chicken this crimson relish will do the trick. Use it as a festive, healthy topping for grilled or pan-seared boneless chicken breasts. With fresh cranberries, pomegranate arils, honey, ginger, orange zest and a splash of heat it’s sweet, and bursting with amazing flavor. I am so glad I found this recipe and will be making this time and time again..

  • For the cranberry-pomegranate relish:
  • 1 pound fresh (or frozen) cranberries, washed
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger, don't worry about chopping it too fine at this point
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
  • zest from one orange, reserve a bit for garnish
  • ¾-1 cup pomegranate arils, plus reserve a few for garnish
  • finely chopped fresh  parsley, for garnish
  • For the crostini:
  • 1 thin, good quality baguette, sliced about ¼ inch thick
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened 
  1. Place the cranberries, ginger, sugar, honey  in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse on and off several times till cranberries are coarsely chopped. Don't process too much.
  2. Add parsley and pulse a few more times. Not too much, you want parsley bits to be visible and mixture to be a bit chunky.
  3. Transfer to a storage container and add pomegranate arils* and orange zest. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or till ready to use.
  4. For the crostini, preheat oven to 350˚F. Line 2 sheet pans with foil or parchment paper, if desired for easy clean up.
  5. Place baguette slices on prepared pans. Brush lightly with oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and a grind of pepper.
  6. Bake for 14-18 minutes or until golden, rotating pans halfway through baking time.
  7. To assemble bruschetta, whisk cream cheese until creamy. Spread about ½-1 tablespoon on each crostini. Top with a scoop of the relish. Garnish with a bit of orange zest, if desired.

Andes Mint Chocolate Chip Fudge

This delicious Ande Mint Chocolate Fudge has been a tradition in my holiday baking for years. One word to describe is amazing. with an easy fudge base. In the middle is a layer combining melted white chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, peppermint extract, and a drop of green food dye. Then the perfect sweet crunch of Ande mint chips and mini chips. Top it all off with a coating of pure melted chocolate. Simply melt chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk together. Pour into a pan and that's it. The bottom firms up great, and the center melts in your mouth. It is a slice of heaven.


  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate baking chips
  • 1 teaspoons peppermint extract 
  • 2 drops green food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon shortening
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips and or Andes Creme De Mint Baking Chips


  1. Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper. Spray paper with non-stick spray and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips with 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk, stirring occasionally. Spread melted chocolate mixture into pan and chill for 5-10 minutes.
  3. In another saucepan, melt white baking chips and remaining condensed milk, stirring until completely smooth. Remove from the heat and add peppermint extract and food coloring. Spread mint layer over chilled chocolate layer. Chill for 5-10 minutes as you make the final layer.
  4. Melt remaining 1 cup of chocolate chips with 1 tsp shortening in the microwave in 30 second increments. Stir until completely smooth. Spread over chilled mint layer. Top with mini chocolate chips and/or Andes baking chips. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or until fudge is completely set, at least 2-4 hours 
  5. Cut into squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to two weeks. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Peanut Butter Blossoms

These easy peanut butter blossom cookies melt in your mouth, with a peanut butter dough, then placing a hershey kiss in the center of the cookie, melts just slightly and roll in some sugar for an extra little sweet crunch.

You can even if desired add a little drizzle of icing and sprinkles to make them a little more special.These make 48 cookies, perfect for a cookie exchange, and I think everyone should have these delicious little bites of heaven on your cookie table every holiday..


  • 48 Hershey Kisses Brand Milk Chocolate Candy
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup Reese's Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Additional granulated sugar(optional)


    1. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.
    2. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.
    3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.
    4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Makes about 48 cookies.

    Italian Anise Cookies

    These Anise a Italian Cookies are super delicious soft, puffy cookies with a hint of anise flavoring in the frosting. These cookies are on my table and cookie trays every year. I love how they bake up with such a light color, then dipping the tops into a lightly coated anise icing.

    This is another family recipe I have been making for years. This dough makes so many cookies, it is perfect for a cookie exchange..

    For The Cookie Dough:
    1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
    2 sticks margarine
    4 large eggs, beaten
    1/4 cup milk
    3 teaspoons vanilla extract (or you can add 3 teaspoons of anise  for a strong anise flavor, I use the vanilla in the cookie dough )
    4 cups all-purpose flour
    7 teaspoons baking powder
    8 ounces cream cheese, softened 
    Glaze (see below)

    Ingredients For The Glaze: 
    1/2 box powdered sugar
    2-3 teaspoons milk
    1 Tablespoon anise extract

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

    2. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and margarine until a crumbly mixture forms.
    3. Add the beaten eggs, cream cheese, milk and vanilla, mix until mixture is sticky. 

    Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 5-7 minutes until cookie is set at a very light color. These cookies should not be brown, only very slightly around the edges. They come out white. 

    Bake 8-10 minutes or until the bottoms are a light golden brown. Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool. 

    To Prepare the glaze:

    1. In a medium bowl whisk or beat the powdered sugar, milk and anise extract in a small bowl until smooth.

    After the cookies are completely cooled dip the tops of the cookies in the glaze, and while the glaze is still wet, sprinkle on the nonpareils. Let set on parchment or wire cookie rack  until glaze hardens.

    Store cookies airtight at room temperature up to 2 weeks. 

    Saturday, December 13, 2014

    Peppermint Bark

    Well this peppermint Bark is the ultimate Christmas goodie of all times. With layers of smooth and silky quality white and semi sweet chocolate then topped off with the crunch of candy canes. The perfect gift for giving, and to snack on during the holidays. I always put these on my cookie trays. I love the look and the taste of these beauties.

    You will only need  a few ingredients white chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, candy canes,  and peppermint extract. There are not many ingredients so use good ingredients. Do not use chocolate chips. You want good quality chocolate such as Lindt or Baker's which make these silky smooth. Believe me and make these and write these on your recipe cards forever, you will love them. 

    The easiest way to do this is to chop up the chocolate and melt separately, and layer them on top of one another. Make sure you let the layers cool completely in between layering. There are three layers of chocolate; a top and bottom layer of white chocolate. Then top off with crushed candy canes. 

    Ingredients :

    12 ounces good quality white chocolate bars, divided , broken into pieces
    6 ounces good quality semi sweet chocolate bars, broken into pieces
    1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable or canola oil.
    3-4 candy canes, broken into small pieces, crushed not to finely, just small pieces 

    1. Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch or 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper and smooth out any wrinkles then set aside. 
    2. Two ways you can melt the chocolate. You may use a double boiler over just barely simmering water or you may use the microwave. The double boiler is easier, but the microwave is a little more convenient for most people, so these directions are for a microwave. Thats what I used. If you have a double boiler, you probably know how to use it! And you can use it for this chocolate melting. 
    3. It is very important to melt the chocolate  it in small batches and stir frequently. Chocolate seizes so fast, so easily. Melt 1/2 teaspoon of oil with 6 ounces of the white chocolate in a small glass bowl. I recommend a glass bowl because you can see if there is any seizing on the sides. Melt in 15 second increments, stirring vigorously with a rubber spatula after each increment, until completely melted and smooth. Make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl with the spatula to avoid scorching. Once melted, stir in 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract. Pour melted white chocolate into the prepared baking pan, spreading with an offset spatula into a thin smooth layer. Place the baking pan in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or the freezer for 15 minutes; or until completely set, this may take longer than 20 minutes. Up to 30 minutes.
    4. Place the semi-sweet chocolate and 1/2 teaspoon of oil into a smaller glass bowl (or the double boiler if using that). Melt in 15 second increments, stirring vigorously with a rubber spatula after each increment, until completely melted and smooth. Make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl with the spatula to avoid scorching. Once melted, stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract. Pour all of the semi-sweet chocolate over the hardened white chocolate layer. Spread into a smooth layer. Place the baking pan back in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or the freezer for 15 minutes; or longer until completely set, maybe 20-35 minutes. Once hardened, remove from the refrigerator.
    5. Place the remaining white chocolate and 1/2 teaspoon oil in a small glass bowl and melt according to the melting directions in previous steps. Pour over the hardened bark layers and spread into a smooth layer. (This layer will not have peppermint extract.) Sprinkle with crushed candy canes to crush, I usually use the food processor or place the candy canes in a sealed ziplock bag and bang down hard with a rolling pin until crushed.
    6. Refrigerate the bark until completely hardened. Once hardened, remove from the pan and peel off the foil or parchment. Break into pieces as large or as small as you want or cut into bars. To do so, remove from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature to slightly soften for 10-15 minutes. Use a very sharp knife and cut. Store bark in the refrigerator. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. The bark can be left at room temperature but may get a little soft.

    Friday, December 12, 2014

    Double Chocolate Chip Pomegranate Cookies

    These amazing chocolate cookies are so moist and tender yet crisp on the outside, then with every bite a burst of delicious fresh Pomegranate's. I started making these last year and they were a huge hit. These combinations of flavors work perfectly, great for cookie exchanges and your cookie platter on the Christmas dessert table, a must make. Enjoy!!


    1/2 cup, 1 stick butter, softened
    1/2 cup vegetable shortening
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    3/4 cup brown sugar
    2- 2 1\2 cups chocolate chips ( 1 bag)
    1 cup fresh pomogranate seeds
    2 eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 cups flour
    3/4 cup cocoa powder
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    3/4 teaspoon salt


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, set aside non greased cookie sheets
    2. In a large mixing bowl cream butter, shortening, both sugars, vanilla, eggs. Then beat on medium high speed for about 3 minutes. Until very creamy
    3. In a seperate large bowl whisk together flour, focus, baking soda, and salt.
    4. Slowly add to the mixing bowl with the butter mixture and mix until incorporated.
    5 Fold in the chocolate chips, and pomogranate seeds gently.
    6. Scoop dough into small balks into a un greased cookie sheet bark for 9-11 minutes or until set.

    Chocolate Mint Brownies

    These minty filled brownies are amazing topped with a delicious chocolate icing, these have been my favorite recipe for many years, you just can't eat one. They have the perfect amount of a thick brownie covered in a slightly minty filling, which is my favorite part, and topped of is the best chocolate flavor. I hope you all enjoy these all our family has for many years.
    This recipe I received from my cousin Judy, who made them one year,, and I had to have this recipe. Now for many years, these have been a tradition in my family. Thank you Judy for a wonderful and delicious recipe that we all love.


    For the brownie layer:

    1 cup sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1/2 cup softened butter
    4 large eggs
    1 cup flour
    1( 16 ounce) can Hershey Syrup

    Ingredients For the Mint Frosting:

    3 cups powdered sugar
    1/3 cup creme de mint liquor
    3/4 cup softened butter
    Green food coloring, several drops to make a medium mint color

    Ingredients For The Chocolate Icing:

    1 cup plus 1Tablespoon chocolate chips
    6 Tablespoons butter, soft

    Directions For The Brownie Layer:

    1. In a large bowl beat all ingredients then pour into a greased or parchment lined 15x10x1 jelly roll pan (large cookie sheet) or you can use a 13x9 baking dish for a thicker brownie. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. If you are using the smaller baking dish you need to bake a little longer start checking after 30 minutes, then every 5 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
    2. Cool completely in pan. Then start making the mint frosting.

    Directions For The Mint Frosting: 

    1. In a large mixing bowl beat all of the ingredients together, frost all the bars evenly. Place in the freezer for about 15 minutes or until firm.

    Directions For The Chocolate Icing:

    1. In a double boiler or microwave melt chocolate chips and butter, stirring and checking  every 30 seconds until completely smooth. Let icing cool slightly then spread over the mint icing. Place in refrigerator for about 10 minutes to set. Take out of refrigerator and cut into bars. Serve in an airtight container and enjoy.

    Thursday, December 11, 2014

    Red Velvet Seven Layer Bars

    These Red Velvet 7 layer bars have so many delicious layers starting with a soft layer on the bottom of red velvet, then crunchy layers of pecans, white and semi sweet chocolate chips, coconut. These blend of flavors are amazing. These bars are oozy, gooey layers of goodness and pure heaven. These defiantly will be on your christmas cookie list forever. I am so glad I found this recipe, tried it and now is on my to make list for the holidays. Who doesn't like red velvet, today everything can be made with it, from cookies, brownies, pancakes, the list goes on, all I know is I can eat red velvet goodies everyday..Enjoy..


    • 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
    • 3/4 cup  granulated sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 Tablespoon liquid red food coloring
    • 1 and 1/3 cups  sweetened shredded coconut*
    • 1 cup  semi-sweet chocolate chips*
    • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
    • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
    • 1 cup chopped pecans


    Set your oven rack to the center position and preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line the bottom and sides of a 9x13 baking pan, line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on all sides. Set aside.
    Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl until combined. Set aside.
    In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the granulated sugar and beat on medium high speed until fluffy and light in color. Beat in egg and vanilla on high speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Beat in the food coloring until combined. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. The red velvet dough will be quite thick and sticky.
    Using a rubber spatula, spread dough in an even layer into the prepared baking pan. It's very sticky, so take your time pushing it to each corner of the pan. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave the oven on.
    Sprinkle the coconut over the cookie layer, followed by the chocolate chips, then the white chocolate chips. Pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the top. Sprinkle with pecans. Bake until set, about 25- 27 minutes. Cool on a rack for at least 2 hours before cutting into squares. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

    recipe and photo source

    Wednesday, December 10, 2014

    Gingerbread Men Cookies

    The traditional cookies of the holidays are the Gingerbread Men. These delicious cookies have the perfect amount of spices, nice and soft on the inside and a little crisp on the outside, and when decorated they are just so darn cute.

    Gingerbread men have been on my list every year to make. This recipe I found happens to be so easy to make. You will love to see these little guys on your Christmas table and they are great for your Christmas cookie baking swaps and make great gifts also.  The dough was easy to roll, and by cutting the shapes and freezing for a few minutes before placing onto your cookie sheet, your gingerbread men do not get to warm by your hands. 
    A fine tipped squeeze bottle made piping on the royal icing so simple and they stored perfectly soft for 5-6 days in an airtight container. This is a recipe that should be put into your cookie cookbook for years to come. 


    3 cups all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 Tablespoon ground ginger
    1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
    3/4 cup brown sugar
    1 large egg
    1/2 cup molasses
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract


    To make the dough:
    In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves until well blended.
    In a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, brown sugar, and egg on medium speed until well blended. Add molasses and vanilla. With your mixer on low speed, gradually stir in dry ingredients until blended and smooth.
    Gather dough with your hands into a ball and divide dough in half. Shape each half into a round disk and wrap each half in plastic. Refrigerate up to 4 days. Let dough come to room temperature before using.
    To roll and bake:
    When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
    Roll each portion of dough 1/4-inch thick between two sheets of waxed paper. Cut out shapes with cookie cutter. Remove excess dough from around the cookies , and transfer wax or paarchment paper sheet to the freezer. Freeze for 10 minutes, then remove shapes to your lined baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. This makes transferring the cookies while keeping their shape much easier!
    Bake 1 sheet at a time for 7-9 minutes. Let cookies rest on baking sheet for 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Once cookies are completely cool, decorate as desired.
    To decorate with royal icing:
    Make royal icing by combining 1 Tablespoon meringue powder with 2 cups powdered sugar and 3-5 Tablespoons water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat icing until smooth and matte, about 5 minutes. Add more water to thin, if necessary. Separate icing into batches and tint with food coloring. Using piping bags or squeeze bottles with fine tips, pipe icing onto cooled cookies.
    Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

    Tuesday, December 2, 2014

    Red Velvet Christmas Snowflake Cookies

    These beautiful delicious snowflake cookies are moist and tender on the inside, with the beautiful red color and then piping on a delicious royal icing make them beautiful to look at on your table for Christmas. These cookies are the perfect gift to wrap up and give out to friends and family.

    Just looking at these cookies reminds me of snow and the holidays. They will brighten up your holidays. I love anything red velvet, cookies, cakes, these are our favorite tradition for the past few years since I found this recipe. They will not disappoint you. Make sure to add this recipe to your Christmas cookie list, and you will be making these every year. Enjoy..

    • 1 cup butter
    • 1½ cups powdered sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1-2 tablespoon red velvet (emulsion food coloring)or you can use Wilton red food coloring 
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 tablespoon dark chocolate cocoa powder
    • ¼ cup melted chocolate chips 
    • 3 cups flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 tablespoon dry buttermilk ( in the baking isle)
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    1. Cream butter and sugar. Add egg, mix in red velvet emulsion food coloring ,vanilla, cocoa, and melted chocolate. Blend in flour baking powder, dry buttermilk, and salt. Mix until dough pulls away from paddle and begins to form ball. Roll out on floured surface. Cut into desired shape with cookie cutter. About 1/2 inch in thickness. Bake on Parchment lined baking sheet at 400 degrees for 6-9 minutes.

    For The Royal Icing Ingredients:

    2 lbs confectioner’s sugar
    ⅓  cup meringue powder
    ¾ cup water
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1.Place Sugar and Meringue Powder in mixer with whisk attachment and mix it so it’s blended.
    Add ¾ cup water and vanilla extract and mix on medium low until it’s combined about 3-5 minutes. Them turn mixer on high and mix until it’s stiff and fluffy.

    2. After cookies are completely dry, pipe the icing on with a number 2 icing tip.
    Allow icing to dry before stacking or wrapping the cookies about 8-10 hours.