i will fully admit to loving how it gets dark so early this time of year. but even inside a diehard winter fan like myself there resides a small spark of desire for the return of the light and warmth of the sun.
the cloth is texas sun by rainy kimbrough (rav link) and will be part of a solstice gift for some dear friends.
It's time for our top five list again and we thought it only fitting to dedicate it to all those scrumptious treats which soon await us as the holidays make their arrival. Yum! Isn't this a fabulous time of year for eating?!
1. cocoa streusel cheesecake bars (from the penzey’s christmas 2003 catalog) i can’t tell you how yummy these are!! and so easy to make! i make some every year for the holidays and for other various times when i need an easy yet impressive dessert.
1 3/4 C flour 1 1/2 C powdered sugar 1/2 C cocoa powder 2 sticks butter (cold) 1 8oz pkg cream cheese (softened) 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk 1 egg 2 tsp vanilla extract
preheat oven to 350 deg combine flour, sugar, an cocoa. cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. reserve 2 cups for topping, press remaining mixture into ungreased glass 9x13 pan. bake crust for 15 min while it’s baking - beat cream cheese until fluffy. gradually beat in condensed milk until smooth. add egg and vanilla - mix well. pour over crust, sprinkle reserved cocoa mixture over top. bake for 25 min, until bubbly. chill, cut, and store in refrigerator.
2. scalloped corn (from claire’s wonderful family friend renee) i had this one year when i went home with clarie for thanksgiving and loved it so much i insisted that renee give me the recipe right then and there. i recommend doubling the recipe so that you can have warmed up leftovers the next day. yum!!!!
1 can whole kernel corn 1 can creamed corn 2 eggs 2/3 C evaporated milk 1/4 C butter 2 tsp minced onion 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 tsp pepper 2 C crushed soda crackers
drain and save liquid from whole kernel corn. beat eggs in large bowl. stir in corn, 1/4C liquid, cream-style corn, milk, melted butter, salt, and pepper - mix to blend. fold in crackers. bake at 325 deg for one hour, or until set. serves 6.
3. christmas braid bread (from the angry chicken’s blog) this bread is fun to make and smells divine while cooking. i usually make two loaves and give one to our lovely neighbors. you can find the recipe online here
4. turkey noodle casserole (from food network/rachel ray) this is a delicious way to use up any turkey leftovers you may have lying around after the big meal. i think it was from when rachel ray had her 30 minute meals show, but it always takes me longer than that, but really it’s so yummy it’s totally worth it! you can find the recipe online here
5. seasoned pretzels (from my knitting friend april) my friend april brought these pretzels to a rav-meetup last year and they were so fabulous we could not stop eating them. i think they’d be the perfect snack to tide the family over during an extended gift-opening session or whilst waiting for the big dinner to come out of the oven!
1. Cornbread dressing. Nothing says thanksgiving to me more than cornbread dressing. I could forget the rest: we have phased out the green bean casserole, I can take or leave the potatoes, even the turkey is negotiable. Just don’t mess with my cornbread dressing! And yet every year my mom taunts me with suggestions of making changes to the recipe. Add sausage? Jalapenos?!! Has she no shame? This is one recipe I do not deviate from:
The day before make (or buy) some cornbread, break it up into chunks and dry it in the oven.
Also dry out 4-6 pieces of bread
Butter a 9x12 glass baking dish
sautee 3 cups of diced onion and 3 cups of diced celery with 1 tbs olive oil and 1/2 lb butter (mmmmmm butter)
Pour sauteed veg over the dried bread in a big bowl and mix it with your hands breaking up the bread into smaller pieces
put mixture in the 9x12 and bake covered in foil for 40 to 60 minutes.
2. Chipotle Cranberry sauce. Like regular cranberry sauce (boil cranberries, water and sugar) just add chipotle raspberry sauce.
3. Torrone -Italian nouget that only comes out at Christmas
4. Panettone -a light bready christmas cake. My favorite is the chocolate hazelnut flavor
5. Dark chocolate cranberry something or other. This is a new tradition. Last year I made cookies, this year I made bread. I was inspired by Melissa's zucchini bread recipe and a whole bowl of leftover cranberry sauce (apparently everyone loved the chipotle variety and had no room for the plain stuff). [Here is the link to MLM's zucchini bread post http://knittingsandwich.typepad.com/sandwich/2010/01/chocolate-chip-zucchini-bread.html
And here is my list (you can tell from my lack of included recipes that I'm not as much of a holiday baker as I am a holiday eater):
1. Mom's German christmas cookies. Though she is Portuguese, my mom has been making the most fabulous Christmas cookies since marrying a German. They are chocolatety and nutty and spicy and wonderful! Christmas wouldn't be Christmas at our house without them.
2. I totally second Melissa's scalloped corn nomination! My favorite part of the Thanksgiving spread (and I get to have Thanksgiving with the Renée original!)
3. mulled wine. mmm, need i say more?
4. peppermint cheesecake. this one i actually do make but i can't seem to find the recipe anywhere (sorry!) i promise to post it as soon as i find it.
5. angel food. it's pure sugar but man is it good!