Monday, December 31, 2012

Turkey & Black Bean Chili

I love chili and it's always an easy meal for a crowd, like maybe if you're hosting some friends tonight before enjoying a few tasty beverages to ring in the New Year.  I made this chili a few month's ago when our friends Felise and Nick came over for dinner.  Felise asked for the recipe and I thought that I'd already posted it, but alas, here I am two months later finally getting around to it.  We make this chili often and I love the black beans with the turkey, plus all the veggies and spicy flavor.  Like all chilis, you can adjust the intensity of the spice and heat based on the heat of your chili powder, or just use a little less.  Served up with corn bread or chips and topped with cheese or sour cream, you and your friends will enjoy this chili to line your belly for a night of fun!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Cranberry Orange Muffins

Stretch, stretch, yawn, stretch.  Don't hate me because I have the whole week off.  It's just one of the perks from working in higher education.  Besides, since I was able to sleep in a little, I made you these lovely muffins.  It's a peace offering of a light, spongy crumb, dotted with tart fresh cranberries and infused with orange flavor for a perfect breakfast bite to wake up your mouth and get your day going.  Because even if you have to go to work today, I want you to be happy.  And waking up to these tasty muffins will definitely make you happy.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Pulled Pork and BBQ Pork Sandwiches

Dave and I love barbeque.  Specifically, I love the vinegary barbeque flavor of North Carolina pulled pork.  Sandwiches are always a big with us, so when I saw a recipe showing me how to use my crock pot to roast a pork shoulder for the purpose of making my own pulled pork sandwiches, I was smitten.  I'll share with you a few other recipes from this flexible pulled pork over time, but this sandwich was the first one that caught our eyes.  Juicy, flavorful pork just falls apart and begs to be paired with a tangy sauce and piled high on a toasted bun.  If you're having a low key New Year's gathering but still want to serve the traditional pork meal for luck, this is a great alternative to a big sit down roast with trimmings.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I hope you have had the pleasure of gathering with friends and family this holiday season, sharing memories, joy and hopefully delicious food.  I consider it a gift that you visit my blog and want to see the recipes of the tasty things I've shared with those I love.  Food is truly a gift from the heart that warms the soul when made with love, and I'm so glad to be able to share it with so many more people than fit around my kitchen table through this blog.

Wishing you a bright, happy and safe holiday!

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

Monday, December 24, 2012

Red Velvet Shortbread Cookies

Twas the day before Christmas and all through the kitchen,
There was nothing to be stirred and the baker was itchin'.
The cookies were shipped to friends and family in tins,
But what to do now with leftover ingredients?
Cookies were nestled snug in the jar,
But what about something special for those near and not far?
With cocoa and sugar waiting for some mixing,
And chocolate with sprinkles ready for the fixin's.
A sweet shortbread cookie, a red velvet munchy,
Dipped in white chocolate and sprinkles and a little bit crunchy.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Enchilada Casserole

It's all about the simple stuff right now. Who has time to worry about dinner when there are presents to be wrapped (and bought), decorations to be hung, and carols to be sung?  And who has time to worry about dinner when there are cookies and other holiday sweets to eat?  Well, since cookies do not constitute dinner (apparently, according to my husband), you may find yourself in the position to cook an actual meal. So may I recommend this quick and hearty casserole with Mexican flavor and lots of pasta?  I love the sweetness of the corn coupled with the spice from the enchilada sauce, chiles and chili powder.  Plus, it's cheesy pasta, so you've got to love that.  I pulled this together in just over 30 minutes for a quick meal, complete with a salad I made while the casserole baked, before I had to run out for errands.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mini Crescent Dog Wreath

Are you busy this week?  Yeah, I thought so.  Me, too.  Lot of parties and events to go to?  Always.  Need to make something to take to said parties?  Of course you do because you are a good party guest.  Want to make it easier on yourself?  Yeah, I figured.  How about an adorable, festive, tasty, two-ingredient appetizer garnished with easy veggies and served with your condiment of choice?  You're welcome because everyone loves crescent dogs, and this is simple to make and so adorable that people will think you spent way more time that you did.  In less than 10 minutes, you can have this assembled, let it bake for another 12 minutes while you freshen your make-up and in less than a half hour total, you're out the door and on your way to enjoy your friend's party with a appetizer that everyone will love.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Snickerdoodle Bread

The acceptable way to eat cookies for breakfast!  Turn them into bread!  Pure genius and absolutely delicious.  I love the crunchy cinnamon sugar top and the tender crumbed studded with cinnamon chips throughout.  A perfect addition to a holiday breakfast.  Or wouldn't it make a lovely teacher gift or hostess gift?  Who doesn't love a crunchy cinnamon sugar coated treat to pair with coffee or tea first thing in the morning? Served slightly warmed or room temperature, you'll wonder what other cookies you can turn into an acceptable breakfast good (I know I've been churning out some ideas).

Friday, December 14, 2012

Hot Cocoa Cookies

So what do you do if you love hot cocoa but it hasn't gotten chilly enough to whip up the warm beverage?  (By the way--don't rub it in lucky ducks who aren't waking up to cold mornings and frosty windows.)  The answer: make these tasty cookies with a bit of cocoa mix, mini chips and marshmallow bits.  Yes, they sell the marshmallow bits found in hot cocoa mix by the jarful (squee!).  They can be hard to find, but totally worth it, especially in these cookies.  The cookies have a slightly chocolatey flavor and the lovely mix-ins just make me smile.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mint Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mint and chocolate are one of my favorite combinations, and this time of year I just can't get enough.  So when I saw this recipe and its abundance of peppermint extract and loads of chocolate, I needed to make them.  Lots of chocolate flavor with a cut of mint and crunchy enough to make these the perfect mate for a glass of milk, as well as perfect for holiday sharing.  Which is exactly why I chose this recipe to share with the 2nd Annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Exchange.  Like last year, I shared a dozen of these cookies with each of three different food bloggers and in return, I received three lovely packages, each containing a dozen cookies from three other food bloggers. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

White Chocolate Topped Gingerbread Cookies

Sweet, spiced, soft gingerbread is quintessential to the holidays.  But this year, rather than roll out, cut out and decorate my gingerbread, I thought this recipe for a tender cookie topped with a little unexpected white chocolate.  The mild white chocolate flavor pairs well with the cinnamon and spice of the cookie, but I do which the chips would have filled the cookies like a thunbprint, rather than bake up and spread a bit.  Regardless, the flavor is there and the cookies are a delicious alternative to the labor-intesive rolled cookies.  And the result is still a pretty, festive brown cookie with a little white decorative topping, just like the traditional little men of the flavor.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Brownie Covered Oreos

These are so sinful that I don't even care that they combine a store bought cookie and a prepackaged mix.  It's a busy time of year and every once and a while we just need to accept the shortcuts as they come, say thank and indulge in this chocolatey, fudgey goodness.  My only regret with these was that I didn't use Double Stuf Oreos.  I like that the Oreos still have a firmness to them and gently yield to the fudgy brownie, with a pop of the sweet filling inside.  Is there really anything else to say?  Let me sum up: an Oreo, dipped in brownie batter and baked up to yummy, fudgy goodness.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Fruit Cake Cookies

I know fruit cake gets a bad rap as a dense, badly flavored brick of a cake that no one wants to eat, but these cookies take what's good about it--fruit, nuts and flavor--and turn it into a soft, chewy cookie that you'll want to enjoy.  I was surprised by the lightness of this cookie and thoroughly enjoyed all the different bits of fruit scattered in each bite.  This is how fruit cake was meant to be enjoyed--on soft, chewy cookie at a time.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Funfetti Cut-Out Cookies

Now how fun and festive are these?  And besides being awesome due to sprinkles, they taste like cake.  Because they are made with a cake mix.  Hey, if you're going to make as many cookies as I do, sometimes you need to praise small favors that come in the form of a prepackaged mix.  The cookies are soft and full of cakey flavor, speckled with fun holiday sprinkles.  Rolled out into whatever shapes you like, these cookies are perfect for the holidays or can be customized for any celebration.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Polish Kolache

Growing up, my Mom wasn't a big holiday cookie baker (yeah, I'm still trying to figure out where I got the bug) since she spent so much time making chocolate into a variety of treats.  But one cookie she always made time to prepare were these kolache.  I would sit across from her at the kitchen table while she worked this dough by hand and then rolled out dozen upon dozen of these fruit-filled gems.  About ten years ago I decided to try my hand at these and failed miserable.  My dough wasn't the flaky, pastry-like dough Mom created but more, unfortunately, of a tough, overworked shortbread.  I gave up, determined to try again later but over the years never felt confident enough to try or altogether forgot about them.  Of course, I have to make them if my family is going to enjoy them now, so I pulled out the recipe and got to it.  The simplicity of this dough, flaky and just a touch of sweetness, allows you to pair it with whatever pastry filling makes your heart sing.  My family is traditionally used to raspberry and apricot, and I used both here, but Mom also used to make a nut filling and lukvar or prune filling, which only she, my grandfather and my brother liked.  My brother tried to get me on board with the prune fulling for that this year, but I took a pass.  I was already taking a risk with trying this recipe unguided.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Marbled Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

This week I'm bringing you a weeks worth of cookie recipes to help you prepare for any cookie swaps, holiday parties, or just getting geared up for Santa's midnight snack.  And I'm starting off with one of my favorite new recipes for this year.  I will never tire of finding a new way to enjoy this flavor combination.  And I particularly like this version because they are so pretty.  Swirled up and loaded with peanut butter and chocolate flavor, these cookies are a new take on one of my favorite cookies to make--the slice and bake.  Whip up two cookie doughs, roll them up together and slice into discs to make and interesting cookie.  I love to make swirled cookies and they always make it onto my Christmas cookie list, and these did not disappoint me by taking one of the coveted spots on this year's list.