Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year Everyone!

Hope everyone had a very nice Christmas and holiday! Here are some pictures I'd like to share with you of my 3 sons, little granddaughter, a Jello Poke Cake and cookie platter! Of course all the cake and cookies are gone!

I'm looking forward to posting more recipes in the coming year and wish all of you a very happy and healthy new year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Kathy's Italian Cookies and a Merry Christmas to Everyone!

Has everyone finished their baking yet? I know I haven't. I still have one more batch of cookies to make and I am done. Have to put the frosting on my poke cake too!... I came across this recipe and knew my cookie tray would not be complete without it. I'm so glad I made these and I will be making them in the years to come for Christmas also. As soon as I tasted them I knew what I had been missing...authentic Italian cookies. This is not a sweet cookie. This cookie gets its sweetness from the glaze. You can make these any time and change up the flavors and colors on the glaze also. I didn't do a really red or green glaze because I don't think it would have looked too appetizing and I thought a pink one would be really pretty. These kind of look like they would be more of an Easter than a Christmas cookie. You can also make these into little balls instead of rings.

What are your plans for the holidays? I'll be spending part of Christmas at home here and part of it down in Richmond. I'm so glad we are not getting the snow that was first reported....maybe a dusting. And if we don't get that I'll be really happy. I don't ever, ever miss having snow!!!!! Have a very Merry Christmas everyone!!!!!

3/4 cup butter
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

Cream butter and sugar thoroughly; add eggs, vanilla and 2 tablespoons of orange juice. Combine flour and baking powder and gradually add to creamed mixture.

Knead dough on lightly floured board for about 5 minutes. Using tablespoons of dough, roll 6 inch lengths; press together to form rings. Let stand on ungreased cookie sheets at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes or until lightly golden.

To Make Icing: Combine 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar with enough orange juice to make a thin glaze. Dip each hot cookie into the glaze and top with sprinkles immediately. Cool on racks.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Restaurant Style Beef and Broccoli

Has everyone finished with their Christmas shopping yet? I am done! All I need to get yet are some gifts bags and boxes and that's it for me. The big tackle ahead is which cookies to make this year. I think I will make 4 different kinds and a Jello Poke cake. I LOVE Jello Poke cakes!!! With the red and green layers they just spell Christmas to me. They are usually a cake that everyone loves too. And also simple, a word that I am growing fonder of by the day!!!

I also wanted to let eveyone know that my Tate's Bake Shop giveaway has ended and the winner was Jacquie. Congratulations Jacquie! I hope you enjoy the cookies and cookbook!

This is a recipe that I made about a week ago. I just had a craving for beef and broccoli and checked on one of my favorite go to sites - allrecipes! This a definitely a 5 star recipe. I used round steak like the recipe suggested but next time I will use a leaner cut that is not quite as tough. Round steak is fine but I think flank or sirloin sliced real thin would be great! Hope you give this a try......

Before I get to the recipe though can you let me know what cookies you will be baking for the holidays? I'm curious to find out which ones people are choosing. There are just sooo many choices. Thanks!

1/3 cup oyster sauce
2 teaspoons Asian (toasted) sesame oil
1/3 cup sherry
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3/4 pound beef round stead, cut into 1/8 inch thick strips
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, or more if needed
1 thin slice of fresh ginger root
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1 pound broccoli, cut into florets

Whisk together the oyster sauce, sherry, soy sauce, sugar and cornstarch in a bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Place the steak pieces into a shallow bowl and pour the oyster sauce mixture over the meat, stir to coat well and marinate for at least 30 minutes in refrigerator.

Heat vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over medium high heat and stir in ginger and garlic. Let them sizzle in hot oil for about 1 minute to flavor the oil and then remove and discard. Stir in the broccoli and toss and stir in the hot oil until bright green and almost tender, 5 to 7 mnutes. Remove the broccoli from the wok and set aside.

Pour a little more oil into the wok, if needed, and stir and toss the beef with the marinade until the sauce forms a glaze on the beef and the meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Return the cooked broccoli to the wok and stir until the meat and broccoli are heated through, about 3 minutes.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cranberry Pistachio Cookies and my 300th post!!!

We've gotten our first good taste of winter today. Although it's been bitterly cold here we didn't have snow until today. And I don't like it one bit. Ugh! The driving gets crazy around here and the stores get packed with people acting like they will be snowbound for weeks even if we only have 1 inch of snow on the ground. Anyone who has ever lived in Virginia knows how panicked people get around here. The only thing that I do enjoy is baking when I'm stuck inside the house. I was planning on making these as part of my Christmas cookie tray. I had a test run with these today and they are wonderful and easy, easy, easy!!! You can even add some green food coloring to make them look a bit more festive, too. The recipe comes from Betty Crocker's Christmas Cookies booklet. I'm still quite a bit shocked too that this is my 300th post! Who would have thought I would have 300 recipes to share?????

Just a reminder that my giveaway ends tomorrow night at midnight so please leave a comment on that post for a chance to win!!!

1 pouch (1lb. 5 oz) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1 box (4 serving size) pistatchio instant pudding and pie filling mix
1/4 cup Gold Medal all purpose flour
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 eggs
1 cup dry roasted salted pistachio nuts, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, pudding mix and flour. Stir in butter and eggs until soft dough forms. Add nuts and cranberries; mix well.

Using small cookie scoop or teaspoon, drop dough 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Press with fingers to slightly flatten.

Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Store cooled cookies tightly covered at room temperature.

*I HIGHLY recommend buying shelled pistachios. I used pistachios I had to shell myself...never again. I would also recommend using more cranberries than just 1/2 cup. I would use 1 cup next time.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tate's Bake Ship Giveaway!!!

I am very excited to be hosting this Tate's Bake Shop giveaway. Tate's Bake Shop is located in the town of Southampton, NY which is located on Long Island. I used to live on Long Island and have never stopped missing it. There's nothing like the beaches on Long Island nor anything as great as their bake shops. It is a good thing I don't live there anymore because I know I would be visiting Tate's all too frequently! Tate's has been featured in Rachel Ray's Everyday magazine along with articles in The New York Times and the Boston Globe. Their cookbook has a forward in it by Ina Garten.

Let me say this.....they are as good as any of these articles state. The chocolate chip cookes were gone in a flash. My youngest son, who only really likes soft, chewy cookies loved these. And Tates are the crispy kind. They almost start to melt in your mouth after the first bite. Tate's sent me a box of chocolate chip, a box of white chocolate macadamia nut and a box of oatmeal raisin cookies. All are excellent. They also sent me their cookbook which has a wonderful selection of cakes, cookies, scones and muffins. All are very straightforward recipes with no strange ingredients that you need to buy and then use only once. I'm impressed!!!

To enter this giveaway you only need to leave me a comment. If you are the winner Tates will send you the same package they sent me. Three boxes of delicious cookies and a wonderful cookbook. For an extra entry, please become a fan of Tate's Bake Shop on Facebook and leave me another comment stating you've done this.

Tate's Bake Shop is also offering a 15% discount using the code "cookie" which will be valid on orders until December 31st. This contest is opened only to US residents.

I would also like to include some of Tate's Bake Shops cookies on my Christmas cookie tray. Please help me decide which one to try first from their cookbook. Which one would you like to see me post?

1. Double Chocolate Almond Cookies
2. Double Chocolate Mint Cookies
3. Chocolate Jumbles

I will pick the one with the most votes and post it.

This giveaway will end on Friday at 11:59 pm est. I will announce the winner on Saturday.

Good luck everyone!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Raspberry Brownies

Here are brownies that are absolutely delicious!!! My husband surprised me with these since I love just about anything with raspberry. He played around with these a bit and added coconut to some and chocolate chips to another batch and also added a teaspoon of raspberry extract that really added so much to it. This is a great recipe that I highly recommend. As you can tell from the picture he also turned these into blondies! He also used a white chocolate glaze instead of semi sweet chocolate. This comes from the magazine Holiday Cookies by Land O Lakes Recipe Collection.


1 cup butter
4 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened baking chocolate
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam


1/4 cup whipping cream
4 (1 ounce) squares semi sweet baking chocolate

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Place butter and unsweetened chocolate in medium microwave safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH (100% power) for 1 minute; stir. Microwave 30 seconds; stir until smooth; set aside.

Combine sugar, eggs, vanilla and almond extract in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until well mixed. Add melted chocolate mixture; continue beating until well mixed. Spread batter into greased 13x9 inch baking pan.

Stir jam until smooth. Drop tablespoonfuls of jam evenly over batter. Swirl jam through batter using knife. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until set and brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Cool completely.

Place whipping cream in 1 quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat just until cream begins to boil (1 to 2 minutes). Add semi-sweet chocolate; remove from heat. Stir with wire whisk until smooth. Spread over brownies.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Snickerdoodle Bundt Cake

Boy has it been cold here the past few days and is there any better way to beat the cold than bake? Here's a wonderful Bundt cake that I made a while back and have been meaning to post for the longest time. I love snickerdoodle cookies and when I saw this was a Bundt cake I knew it would be a success. They are so easy to make. The flavors in this cake are great and I plan to make this one again. The bottom of the outside has such a nice crispy texture from the cinnamon sugar. If you like snickdoodles, you will love this.

I also wanted everyone to know that within the next week or so I will be having a give away!!! I haven't had one in quite a while and I am looking very forward to this one. In the meantime, enjoy this cake after you do some heavy duty Christmas shopping! (This recipe comes from Night Baking).

Cinnamon Sugar

2 tsps cinnamon
1 cup sugar


2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 stick butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
2 tsps vanilla
1 cup sour cream

Stir together the cinnamon and sugar and set aside. You'll use this for dusting the pan, the center swirl and for sprinkling over the batter before baking.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Measure the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.

Beat the butter on medium speed for one minute. Add the granulated sugar and beat for three minutes. It will be very light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl, add the brown sugar and beat for two more minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute after each. Mix in the vanilla. Add the flour alternately with the sour cream. Scrape down the bowl once more and give it a final few seconds to fully combine.

Now, prep the 9 cup (or larger) Bundt pan. You can grease the pan with butter or shortening, but I used cooking spray with flour. Spray the pan thoroughly, including the center tube so the cinnamon sugar will stick and the cake won't. Gently dust the inside of the pan with the cinnamon sugar mixture, using about 1/4 to 1/2 cup. Sprinkle a few tablespoons around the bottom then gently turn the pan, shaking the sugar around to coat it. Add more as needed. Shake out any extra into the bowl and reserve.

Spread half the batter into the prepared pan. I dolloped it in a few scoops and then gently evened it out with a rubber spatula. Be careful not to rub the cinnamon sugar off the sides of the pan. Sprinkle 1/3 to 1/2 of the remaining cinnamon sugar evenly onto the batter. Top with the remaining batter and smooth it out. Finish by sprinkling on any remaining cinnamon sugar. If you've run out just mix up 1/4 cup sugar with 1/2 tsp cinnamon.

Bake for 55 - 65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes. Place a wire rack on top of cake and invert a rimmed cookie sheet on top of it. You're going to invert the pan to take the cake out, but if you don't use a cookie sheet you'll end up with cinnamon sugar all over the floor and counter. Cool completely.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Anise Pound Cake

I came across this recipe in a magazine called Easy Desserts that comes from the publishers of Fine Cooking. What caught my attention was the word easy. Long complicated recipes with tons of ingredients just do not appeal to me. Easy usually spells success too! I love the flavor of anise. I remember having Stella D'Oro anisette toast cookies (if you're Italian you'll know exactly what I am talking about) as a child at my grandparents house and just love them to this day. I'm also very partial to pound cakes and enjoy making them as much as I enjoy eating them. When I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it - right away! This is really, really good as long as you enjoy anise. The flavor is there. You can't miss it and I love it. The only thing that I did differently than what the recipe called for was try and grind the anise in a small chopper. Doesn't work well. You are supposed to grind them down to fine in a grinder, which I don't have. The difference probably is that you can see them in this cake, where if you use a grinder you wouldn't see them. Doesn't matter to me, I love the cake just the same.

2 tablespoons anise seeds
1/3 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 5 in loaf pan and dust with flour. Place the anise seeds in a small skillet and toast over medium heat until fragrant, 2 or 3 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and grind fine. Set aside.

Combine the sour cream, eggs, egg yolk and vanilla in a glass measuring cup and lightly beat. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

Combine the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary.

With the mixer on medium-low speed, pour the egg mixture into the bowl in a slow stream, stopping the mixer once or twice to scrape down the sides.

Turn the mixer to low speed and add the flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the ground anise to the batter and then mix for 30 seconds on medium speed.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake the cake until it is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, invert it onto a wire rack and then turn it right side up on a rack to cool completely. Slice and serve.