Thursday, December 25, 2008

Crockpot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

I saw this recipe on the Crockpot Ladies website and tried it last night. I have altered it a little to my liking. I made it her way and I wanted it a little more cheese and creamy. So, I adjusted it a little. I say make it to taste.

1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 (9-ounce) bag baby spinach, chopped (If you buy it already chopped and frozen you don't need as much. I did and I felt it was more spinach then it needed.)
1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup mayonnaise or 3/4 cube cream cheese
3 T jalapeno slices, chopped

I used a 4-quart crockpot. Drain and chop artichoke hearts, and add to the crockpot Scrunch the spinach and chop it the best you can---mostly try to get the long stems off if you can or use frozen chopped spinach. Add to the crockpot. Add mayo or cream cheese, sour cream, and chopped jalapenos. Top with 3/4 cup each shredded mozzarella and Parmesan.

Cover and cook on low for 2 hours, or high for 1. Stir. The spinach should begin to welt if you are using fresh spinach. If it hasn't, cook some more. When the spinach is totally wilted, take the lid off and add the other 3/4 cup of each cheese, and let it melt while the lid remains off. The spinach will have created some liquid that doesn't really need to be in there.

Serve with your favorite chips, sliced veggies, or bread cubes.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cherry Chocolates

These babies are my absolute favorite Christmas treat. Actually they are my absolute favorite treat ever. A little history...
This recipe is my Aunt Wendy's creation, and she is known all around town for them. Every year she brings my family a big plate of them and we all hide a few in the freezer for our selves, I remember my parents hiding them in their closets and me digging them out :). I definitely went through with drawls when I moved out east. I finally got her to share her recipe a few years ago and since then nothing can compare. For real. They are a little tricky to make, as all candy is but once you get the system (making the fondant) you will be SO glad you did.

Cherry Chocolates
3 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 Tbl. white Karo Syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond
1/4 c. butter (no margarine)

Mix together everything but butter and flavorings. Stir over medium heat ONLY until sugar dissolves. Cook to softball stage. To test, drop a teaspoon of mixture into cold water and mold with fingers, if mixture holds together softly in water then flattens when pulled out, its cooked. Do not over cook or it will turn to sugar very easily. Remove from heat, stir in butter and flavorings and pour onto a buttered platter. Let cool. Beat with a wooden spoon until it turns white and to a creamy thickness. (takes awhile)
Pour into a Tupperware bowl and refrigerate up to 2 weeks or until ready to make chocolates.

18 maraschino cherries chopped small
1 c. chopped pecans
Melted chocolate for dipping (good brand)

Mix cherries and pecans into the fondant. Rolls into small balls, you may have to refrigerate to harden enough to roll in chocolate. Melt chocolate in microwave in 20 seconds increments or WARM oven at 200. Any hotter oven will result in chocolate turning white and flaky. Dip fondant into melted chocolate and freeze or refrigerate until eaten.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Peppermint Marshmallows


1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. cornstarch
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 1/3 c. sugar
2/3 c. light corn syrup
1/2 c. crushed peppermint candy canes (about 6)
1/8 tsp. salt

*Tip: to crush your candy canes, break them up in large pieces, then seal them in a Zip Loc bag. Put your bag on a sturdy cutting board and use a hammer to smash them into a powder. The finer the powder, the better.

1. Into a small bowl, sift together powdered sugar and cornstarch. Line a 9×13″ pan with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Sift 2 Tbsp. of the powdered sugar mixture into pan and tilt to coat all sides. Leave excess in pan.

3. Place 2/3 c. water in a large bowl and sprinkle with gelatin. Let soften 5 minutes.

4. In medium, heavy-bottom saucepan, heat sugar, corn syrup, candy cane, and salt over medium heat until completely dissolved (about 7 minutes).

5. Pour into bowl with gelatin mixture and beat on high speed with electric mixer until light and fluffy (10-15 minutes).

6. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Smooth top and dush with powdered sugar mixture. Let sit at room temperature for 2 hours.

7. Lift from pan with foil. With a small, wet cookie cutter, cut shapes and dip sides in sugar mixture. Cut up remaining marshmallows into small, irregular pieces (these are the ones I let my kids and husband eat!). Or, using a wet knife, cut into 6 large squares and dip sides into powdered sugar mixture. Then cut each of those squares into 9 pieces and dip in sugar mixture.

8. Store at room temp, loosely covered.

9. Put three in a cello bag, tie with a ribbon, and gift them along with a jar of hot chocolate mix.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Big & Soft Sugar Cookies

My good friend Crystal shared this recipe with me & they turned out wonderfully. I have tried a couple recipes for sugar cookies in the past & haven't liked them because the cookies were to hard or crumbly. These were perfect! Happy holiday baking!

½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream (don't use light or fat free)
3 ¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

In a mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg, vanilla and sour cream, mix until well combined. Mix in the dry ingredients. Refrigerate the dough overnight. Roll out thin and cut with cookie cutters. Bake at 350 degrees for 11 minutes.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Blackberry Lemon Buttermilk Cookies

Another fab recipe from My Kitchen Cafe. (Check her latest cookie entry here. OH MY!) I adjusted these babies a bit with a tad more lemon and fresh blackberries and man they were delicious!

For Cookies:

3 cups flour

Zest of 1 lemon (2-3 teaspoons)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 sticks butter, softened

1 1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk

For Glaze:

1 1/2 c powdered sugar

3 Tbs well shaken buttermilk

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 TBS lemon juice

Set oven to 350 degrees and grease 2 baking sheets. Whisk together flour, zest, soda, and salt. Set aside.

Beat together butter and sugar in large bowl until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add vanilla. Mix in flour mixture and buttermilk alternately in batches at low speed until smooth. Chill dough in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Drop level tablespoons of dough about 1 1/2 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake 12-15 minutes until cookies are puffed and edges are golden. Transfer to racks.

Whisk together all glaze ingredients and brush tops of warm cookies. Add blackberries to the top and cool until glaze is set.

Posted by Picasa