No-Chill Cutout Cookies

Cook’s notes: This recipes used to be posted on the Penzeys site, but it is no longer there. Luckily, I had an arcIMG_2702.jpghive copy of this recipe, which makes buttery, delicious cookies. The original author said, “These cookies are especially quick and easy because you don’t have to chill the dough before rolling.” I doubled the vanilla in this recipe. No frosting is needed. And of course, the number of cookies depends on the shape you cut. I got well over 50 moon cookies.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

Heat oven to 400°F.

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and the vanilla, mix until well blended.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder then gradually add to the butter mixture and blend well. Form the dough into a smooth ball. (Add a little water if needed.)

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 1/8 to 1/4 inch. Cut out with cookie cutters and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Fill each cookie sheet with cookies of equal size to ensure even baking.

Bake for 6 minutes (a bit longer for thicker cookies), but they shouldn’t brown at all. Remove from cookie sheets and cool on wire racks.


Pumpkin Pie Spiced Milk

pumpkin-vintage-color-1475656833nqoCook’s notes: Used plant-based milk and cut the sugar. Use any kind of milk you like: 2% cow, whole milk, almond milk, etc. Makes a wonderful holiday drink.

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Milk

  • 1 cup coconut milk (in a carton, not canned)
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (recipe below)

Heat the milk in a mug (60 – 90 seconds in microwave). Stir in sugar and spices. Blend well and serve warm.

Pumpkin Pie Spice from Dessert for Two. Blend together and keep in a small jar:

  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Adapted from Kid-Friendly Chai Tea | Horizon

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

IMG_2199Cook’s notes: I posted a version of this recipe several years ago that used two kinds of syrup (Peppermint Hot Cocoa, Syrup Version). This version includes two kinds of chocolate. The maple syrup seems to intensify the chocolate flavor. If you don’t have maple syrup, use either 1 Tablespoon honey or 4 teaspoons white sugar (you need to use 1/3 more sugar than maple syrup). Guittard does not add milk to their chips, but if you need certified vegan chips, I recommend the Enjoy Life brand.

1 cup almond milk
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (Droste Dutch Processed Cocoa)
1.5 Tablespoons extra dark chocolate chips (such as Guittard)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract

Microwave the almond milk in a glass measuring cup for 2 minutes on High.

Place the cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and salt in a mug. Add a splash of  hot almond milk; stir until chocolate chips are melted and the chocolate mixture is thick and smooth.

Add the remaining hot milk, maple syrup, and peppermint extract. Stir to combine.

Top with whipped cream and serve hot.



Best Recipe: Cinnamon Skillet Pecans

2 cups raw pecans

2 cups raw pecans

Cook’s notes: You can use pecans, almonds, cashews (or a mix of nuts) in this recipe. I’d also like to try these with the Chai Spice Mix. I like that this small-batch recipe only makes 2 cups of nuts, which is just enough to enjoy without being too tempting.

I made these pecans for a friend’s birthday, and this was her reaction: “Deliciously addictive. I love ‘em! Lots of flavors going on with slightly sweet at the beginning, then salty, and a little heat kick at the end…. I am enjoying these nuts tremendously. Thank you so much!”

Spice mix:
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups pecan halves
1 teaspoon sugar, plus a little more for sprinkling

Make the spice mix: Combine salt, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice in a small bowl.

Melt the butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low heat; stir in the the spice mixture. Stir in the pecans, and cook for 3 minutes.

Sprinkle the pecans with the sugar. Continue to toast the nuts, stirring often, until the color of the nuts deepens slightly, for a few more minutes (6 to 8 minutes total). Transfer the nuts to a bowl and sprinkle with a little more sugar. Spread the coated nuts on a plate to cool.

Adapted from The Frugal Girl (reduced sugar; reordered ingredients)

Chai Spice Mix

Cook’s notes: I adore this spice blend and have made it several times. It’s different from a lot of cinnamon blends. The cardamom is an interesting flavor.

The original author of this recipe says, “Use this spice mix in hot cocoa, chocolate cake, muffins, banana bread, or granola. Substitute it for the spices in pumpkin or apple pie. Or use it in chocolate bark” (link). It would also be delicious on spiced pecans.

2 Tablespoons cinnamon powder
2 Tablespoons ground cardamom
2 Tablespoons ground ginger
1 Tablespoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons allspice powder
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground pepper

Mix all spices together in a small bowl. Store at room temperature in a sealed container.

Beer Gravy

Cook’s notes: I used an IPA ale for the gravy to go with chicken and rice. This could also be served with “bangers and mash” (sausage and potatoes such as the oven-roasted version).

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 cup onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic cloves (jarred)
4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup beer
1 cup vegetable stock

Melt the butter with the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and continue cooking another 5 minutes, until onions start to soften.

Add flour and stir, cooking another 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk in the stock and beer. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until thickened.

Taste and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Source: Adapted from a set of recipes on Today Food.

2012 Holiday Party Mix: Nutlacker Sweets

Cook’s notes: A terrible pun, yes indeed. This year’s “White Christmas” mix has no nuts but plenty of flavor. This is easy to make, and the recipe makes enough for you to give a generous amount to several people.

No nuts, but lots of crunch

No nuts, but lots of crunch

2 bags (12-oz each) white chocolate chips
12 oz bag dried cranberries
14 oz bag dark M&Ms
4 cups multi-grain Cheerios
3 cups Rice Chex
3 cups small waffle pretzels

In a microwave-safe large bowl, heat chips on medium power for 1 minute. Stir. Add 1 tsp olive oil into the bowl and stir again. Heat the chocolate for another 30 seconds on medium; stir well until chips are completely melted and smooth. If required, continue to heat the chocolate on medium at 30-second intervals, stirring well each time.

Add mix-in ingredients to the melted chocolate. Stir to mix well with a rubber spatula, being sure to completely coat all ingredients. Spread mixture onto parchment paper to cool, separating the mixture into individual pieces or bite-size clusters (the easiest way to do this is by hand, wearing food-safe disposable gloves). When chocolate is set, store mix in an airtight container.