Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Best Christmas Cookie Ever! Hungarian Nut Horns

This recipe is a family tradition of mine and my family. We make it only around the holidays and only a few times! My husband loves this cookie and looks forward to the first batch I make each year which is normally about Thanksgiving. I average about 3 batches a year. The amount of confectioner sugar needed makes this a very messy creation! Oh, but so well worth it to have this delicate cookie melt in your mouth. Especially warm from the oven!

One of my favorite memories is of last year when my oldest, Marilyn Deville, helped me to roll this cookie out. My floor was covered in confectioner sugar shaped tiny feet. I was an idiot and had her wearing BLACK pants...yep stupid me. So to say the floor, me, and my kid looked as if we had a good romp in the snow! It was so well worth it especially to see the faces of my family when they walked in the door and had a batch of cookies waiting for them!

Ok, so enough of my reminiscing! Onward with the recipe so that you can make your own memories and fill those hungry tummies!

Hungarian Nut Horns

4 cups Flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 pkg (or 1 Tbls) Yeast
1 1/2 cup real butter (3 sticks)
1/2 cup sour cream
3 egg yolks beaten (save the egg whites!)

Combine all ingredients and mix in mixer with bread hook until mixed and smooth. Set aside.

3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/2 finely chopped pecans
1 tsp vanilla

Beat egg whites until stiff using the whisk attachment. Add sugar gradually while mixing. With a spoon stir in vanilla and nuts.

Divide Pastry into 4 parts. For each of the parts do the following:

-Using confectioners sugar instead of flour roll out the pastry using a pastry cloth and rolling pin. Or just keep the rolling pin nicely coated in sugar as you roll out the pastry!
(Use as much confectioner's sugar as necessary to keep the dough from sticking)
-Roll the pastry out into a 11"x15" rectangle....spread 1/4 of the filling over the pastry and spread it out evenly.
-Cut the pastry into 1" strips and then slice the strips in half. Roll each strip carefully into little rolls and place on a lightly greased pan. (Or cut 16 wedge shapes. Rolling the pastry from the large end to the point for the "Horn" look.)
-Bake at 400 for 12-20 minutes until just done. A light browning on top.
-Remove from the oven and IMMEDIATELY roll each horn in confectioner's sugar. Wait a few minutes and roll them a second time in the sugar.

Yes, a very messy and time consuming cookie....but egad it is so well worth the work! Just remember to enjoy the process and enjoy these delicious creations!
Dottie ^_^

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Twisted Chocolate Covered Cherries

Tis the season for Chocolate covered cherries! But, not the ones from the grocery store! I have found that homemade ones are much better and add that personal touch this time of the year calls for! They create a delicious orgasm in the mouth that is unbelievable! Or so I've been told from the lucky few who have had the chance to try out my Twisted Chocolate Covered Cherries! As well as my own personal opinion! I have to be careful as to how many of these I keep in the house or I am in biiiiiig trouble!

Now you are probably thinking, how in the world do you make them! Enough jibber jabber spill the beans! Which I shall be more then happy to do! I've put together a lovely simple straight forward video to show you how to make them. Then as you read on I'll have more detailed instructions as well as some wonderful pictures of gifting ideas! So please sit back and be prepared to smile and laugh. For I do rather think I'm a rather silly girl!

Basic Truffle Recipe
12-16 oz bag of chocolate chips or melts
1/3 cup Heavy Whipping Cream

1. In a double boiler melt down chocolate and cream until it is a smooth texture similar to icing.
2. Place in the refrigerator until it is moldable to create balls out of.
3. Make lots of great chocolate balls and freeze!

Now instead of doing steps 2 and 3 remember you are rolling your cherries while the chocolate is still hot! Much easier! I have tried to mold the chocolate around the didn't work so well to say the least.

 If you were paying attention you would have noticed that I had made mention of the different chocolates I was using.
Dark Chocolate, Semi-Sweet, and white chocolate chips are what I use for the actual candy. Also Melts. They are what you find in the crafting aisles and craft stores. They are already colored and ready to go! They are white chocolate based and very easy to work with!

Right now you will notice that the Almond Bark chocolate is rather inexpensive. Not sure what I'm talking's that inexpensive block artificially flavored chocolate. Don't use it for this! It isn't meant to have things added to it. Get some for sure though! It is great for doing an easy drizzle over the candies as well as for pretzels! Just melt it in the double boiler after everything is set and ready to go!

Things Needed
Double Boiler (as simple as a large pot and a glass bowl that fits snugly)
12-16oz bag of chocolate
1/3 cup favorite alcohol or heavy whipping cream
1 large jar of cherries (drain but save the juice!)
1 large spoon
1 small spoon
rubber muffin pan
wax paper
a cookie pan that will fit into the freezer

White chocolate is the easiest to work with! I would suggest beginning with that. I used St. Brenden's Irish cream in the video and it was amazing! Just try using your favorite alcohol!

One thing to keep in mind while working with the dark and semi sweet chocolate it doesn't blend as well. I ended up adding a total of 2/3 cup of cherry schnapps as well as a splash of the cherry juice.

If you are using just plain heavy whipping cream a 1/3 cup is plenty and it will blend just fine. Try adding different flavors such as peppermint, almond, or just plain vanilla as well.

Add the chocolate and 1/3 cup cherry schnapps to the double boiler.
Once it melts completely add another 1/3 cup of schnapps.
Stir it in fully and add 1 Tablespoon of cherry juice that you had drained earlier.
You want the texture to be smooth and a medium thickness similar to an icing.
Add a little juice at a time until you have the desired texture.

The trick to covering the cherries is keeping the chocolate moving and coating the cherry over and over.
Make sure you put a thick coat. Come on who doesn't like chocolate!

One of the things I've found is that if you place the wax paper on the pan it makes it much easier to get the cherries to the freezer! Egad did I figure that out the hard way! I used plates as well to use my smaller freezer.


This is my favorite part! Especially since my hubbs decided to surprise me today with peppermint sprinkles!!! I'm so excited about these and will be using them soon!
On that note, part of the fun is finding unique sprinkles and decorating items!
I've tried a few techniques out so far. These aren't the only ones available.

Easiest: Pressing the sprinkles into the chocolate when it is still soft and warm. Before you put them in the freezer.

Medium: Using icing. The icing doesn't stick to the chocolate very well. But it does work.

Hardest: If you don't have time to decorate before you need to freeze them...I do suggest this instead of the icing!

Melt down some chocolate adding nothing to it.
You won't need much, so begin with a little bit. You can always add more as you go.
I suggest tearing a small piece of wax paper, so that you can put a dollop of chocolate on it.
I used my a dumb butt. ;)
If you have the patience use tweezers to dip individual sprinkles into the chocolate to place onto of the cherries.
No, patience? I understand. Instead place a small dollop on top of the actual chocolate cherry and dip it into the sprinkles. Or place individual sprinkles on the dollop in a pretty design!
I still had this box lying around and decided to show how
easy it can be to transform it into something nice!
Try adding ribbon or even just wrapping paper!
But remember it's what's on the inside that matters!

I love this! Just a simple clear cellophane bag
and ribbon! 

This is great just to have on the table!
Pretty and creative.
As well as delicious!

Who doesn't like a bag of chocolate!

Pretty tins are easy and can be inexpensive!

There are so many options and possibilities! All I've done is given you a light frame work to work with. Take this and expand with it! Create these delicacies for your next get together and wow family and friends a like!
Good Luck!
Dottie ^_^

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Peek at something wonderful!

Everything will be ready to post tonight! Tuesday 11-22-11! In plenty of time for thanksgiving!)

Tis the time for chocolate covered cherries! Some of you have had the sweet pleasure of actually being able to try some of sweet creations! Lucky You! I am putting together a video blog to  demonstrate how to make them! As well as additional information and tricks. It is taking me much longer then I thought it would because the video needs a tad bit of editing. So I'm hoping to be able to post the video as well as pictures tomorrow! They will be available both here as well as facebook and probably youtube! I'll have links to everything posted here when I finally get my act together!

Thanks for being patient with me! This is absolutely well worth the wait!
Dottie ^_^

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Oh me oh my...could it be? Oh yes it is! Crispin a gluten free cider!

Yes! You read it right! This delicious
Hard Apple Cider is AMAZING!!!!!

It took me by storm! Overriding all thought process to my brain cells. All I could think of was...WOW...Hot damn what a great cider! It is lighter then most ciders. But the flavor...-catches breath at the remembered flavor- goes beyond words!

It was so light, so fresh! It tasted as if I had just bitten into a freshly picked green apple! The smell of this cider entices you to breathe deeper of this fresh intoxicating scent. The scent itself is much lighter and fresher then most. The body so light and smooth as it slides over your taste buds and down your throat. The lingering flavor, believe it or not, is just as rememberable and delicious as the cider itself.

This is on my must try list! One of my top 10 I would think!
For all of my Vegan Readers! MUST TRY!
This Cider will definitely have a special place on my shelf this holiday season!
Dottie ^_^

Cathedral Window Cookies

This recipe was passed down to me from my mom. As well as beining one of my favorite childhood recipes that we would make every Christmas for family, friends and our teachers when we were in school! Now I make them for my children, friends and family! I remember certain details from those times, such as the giant green plastic bowl I would mix the chocolate and marshmellows in. Or the look of the kitchen covered in chocolate, flour, powdered sugar and huge smiles as we would look at the beautiful cookie covered plates! Now, keep in mind there were about 4 kids and my poor mom supervising us all in one small kitchen!!! Wonderful fun times and the munchies were always well worth it!

So now that you are impatient to see what I'm talking about let us proceed!

Cathedral Window Cookies
1/2 Stick real butter
12 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
-Melt these together in 1 quart pitcher in the microwave for 4-5 minutes, stirring once after 2 minutes.

2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
-beat together in a separate bowl, then add to the pitcher of chocolate.

10.5 oz colored mini marshmellows
3/4 cup chopped nuts
-put these in a large mixing bowl and pour in chocolate mixture. Stir well.

Confectioner Sugar
Plastic Wrap

You will be making two rolls of Cookies

Lay down two long pieces of foil. (about 15 inches long)
Then Lay a piece of plastic wrap on top of the foil the same length.
Sprinkle Confectioner's sugar evenly all over the wrap.
split mixture in half.
Place half on the wrap.
Using the plastic wrap form a roll about 1.5-2 inches round.
Close the wrap and then seal the foil around the roll and refrigerate or freeze.
After the roll is completely cold and more solid unwrap and slice into 1/4-1/2 inch slices.
These cookies freeze well and keep well.
Always nice to keep some in the freezer during the holidays for a quick easy treat!

Dottie ^_^

Monday, November 14, 2011

Easy Chicken Noodle Soup!

I love easy to make items! Especially since I have two kids, a hubby, and I work full time! With the cold weather heading into Georgia it's time to pull out my soup making skills! A few things I especially love in my kitchen are my Kitchen Aid mixer, my large crock pot and my small crock pot! These items are great time savers and well worth investing into!

Simple has a tendency to bring out those flavors in food that we miss when we make complex delicious meals. I actually put this recipe together when I had a bag of fresh carrots and a bag of fresh celery just sitting in my fridge that needed to be used and fast! Now keep in mind this is just a really basic down to earth soup. Simple. But, don't forget you can add more things to it to add complexity and your own personal touch!

For a small Crock Pot.

Boil 3 boneless chicken breasts
Adjust vegetables to taste:
8 oz frozen carrots
8 oz frozen celery and onion mix
Generous sprinkling of each:
  Garlic powder
  Onion powder
  Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning

Place the vegetables in the bottom of the Crock Pot.
Pour some of the chicken stock you just made over it.
Go ahead and turn the crock pot on high.
Shred the hot chicken with two forks (or fingers if you are brave enough!) and add to the pot!
Add your seasonings and any additional veggies or other choice bits!
Add the hot chicken stock carefully to the crock pot til it is full.
Carefully stir and leave it alone til Dinner time.

When you are ready to eat, use Chicken Ramen Noodles. The easiest way I've found to cook them is in the microwave.

Use a quart dish half full of water.
Break the ramen into quarters and add to the water.
Set the seasoning packets to the side.
Microwave for 6 minutes.
Do Not Drain.
Carefully pull the dish out, stir the noodles and dish them into 2-4 bowls.
Add the seasoning packets evenly between the bowls.
Pour your delicious soup over the noodles and stir blending everything.
Add more of the ramen noodle water if you run out of broth!

                           (hehehe....that is my half eaten bowl. I didn't
                                              think to take a picture
                                         until I was halfway through!)

Serve with Saltine crackers and enjoy!
Dottie ^_^

Friday, November 11, 2011

Holiday Party Drink List and Shopping List!

I understand how hectic the Holidays can be! Between Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years....that could easily be three large gatherings of people who love to eat and drink! OH MY!!! So between the menu planning, the Christmas shopping, the decorating and cleaning for the mother in law... hehehe... When do you actually have time to think of creative fun new drinks? Well, that is what you have me for!

I have actually been working on this drink list for a few weeks. Unfortunately I have not been able to test these out myself. BUT! I will post another blog of my personal favorites that I have used and created. This list is to give you the most bang for your buck, while keeping a nice variety. I hope you are able to find some drinks here that will work for you. Not finding what you want? Go to the link below. It's where I found most of these awsome ideas!

Shopping List-Alcohol
Sour Apple Schnapps
Pomegranate Schnapps
Peach Schnapps
Vanilla Vodka
Plain Vodka

Hot Damn
Peppermint Schnapps

Creme De coca- dark
Irish Cream

Shopping List- Mixers
Ginger Ale
Sour Mix
Cranberry Juice
Orange Juice
Lemon-lime Soda
Apple Cider
Hot Chocolate
Half and Half

1 part Sour Apple Schnapps
1 part Vodka
1/2 part Sour Mix

Sour Apple Madras
1 Part Sour Apple Schnapps
1 Part Vodka
1 Part Cranberry Juice
1 Part Orange Juice

Hot Apple Toddy
3/4 Part Sour Apple Schnapps
3/4 Part Vanilla Vodka
Hot Apple Cider

Sparkling Apples
1 Part Sour Apple Schnapps
4 Part Vodka
small splash of grenadine

Sour Apple Fizz
3/4 Part Sour Apple Schnapps
3/4 Part Lemon Lime Soda

Apple Pie (shot)
1 Part Hot Damn
1 Part Sour Apple Schnapps
2 Part Vodka

Candy Apple
1 Part Sour Apple Schnapps
1 Part Peach Schnapps
1 Part Cranberry Juice

Red Ginger Fizz
1 1/2 Part Pomegranate Schnapps
1 Part Vodka
3 Part Ginger Ale

1 Part Peach Schnapps
1 Part Vodka
1 Part Pomegranate Schnapps

1 1/2 Part Pomegranate Schnapps
1 Part Vanilla Vodka
1/2 Part Lemonade

Sparkling Pomenade
1 Part Pomegranate Schnapps
1/2 Part lemonade

Fuzzy Nut
1 Part Amarretto
1 Part Peach Schnapps
Hot Chocolate

Damn Good
1 1/2 Part Hot Damn
1/2 Part Amaretto

Fire And Frost
1 Part Hot Damn
1 Part Peppermint Schnapps

Cool Cappuccino Mint
1 1/2 Part Peppermint Schnapps
4 Part Chilled Coffee

Choco Peppermint Shake
1/2 Part Creme de coca-dark
1/2 Part Peppermint Schnapps
1 Part Vanilla Vodka
2 1/2 Part half and half

Chocolate Martini
1 Part Creme De Coca- dark
1 Part Vanilla Vodka
1 Part Irish Cream

Now, you have the Drink list, the shopping list and life seems a little easier. Well, take a deep breath and ready yourself. Here are a few great ideas to make serving your guests easy, simple, and where you aren't stuck behind the bar making drinks all night!

Lemonade: To save money. Buy the powdered lemonade and make a gallon to keep in the fridge. It's very simple and easy to make more during the party without fuss!

Soda: Try buying the store brand. Such as Kroger, Ingles, and Publix. Their brands are pretty comparable to the "real deal".

Apple Cider and Hot Chocolate: Buy a few boxes of each. Use a coffee pot for hot water! It will keep it hot and easily accessible for everyone without having to keep an eye on the stove....just the water level!

Shots: Try making a large batch of each individual shot. So that all you have to do is pour each into a shot glass! No measuring and no mess! You can keep the large mix in the fridge til it's time to pour! Just be sure to label each and what is in each one!

As a good host or hostess, try having drinks available as people walk in the door. Be it a small shot to start people off...such as the Apple Pie to warm them up as they come in from the cold!

Then a nice display of drinks on the counter next to the munchies! Be sure to label everything so people know what they are drinking and that their is alcohol in the drinks. As well as having a cooler or a designated spot for drinks for the D.D.'s!

I'm full of ideas! Need some? Contact me! I'll be more then happy to listen to what you want to do and give you any advice I might have. Or just throw some ideas out there for you! Keep an eye on my Facebook page for updates and Holiday Tips!

Dottie ^_^

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Deep Dish Chicken Pot Pie!

Growing up I was never a fan of those frozen chicken pot pies. You know the ones. Those tiny things you toss in the microwave and they come out slightly tough and well I need not go on! It was only recently that I got the inkling to try making it myself. What a delightful dish this was to make! So simple and easy...and simply tummy filling! Anyone can make this. All it requires is that you are able to read, layer, and follow a few easy instructions. Excited? I hope so, because I'm EXCITED to share this with you!

Deep Dish Chicken Pot Pie

2-3 large chicken breasts
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/2 cup Mayo (be careful...start off with a 1/4 cup then gradually add the mayo to taste!)
Season to taste using: Paprika, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Tony Chachere's Creole Season
a light sprinkling of Celery Salt
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables (make sure it has potatoes, carrots, and celery)
1 bag frozen bell peppers
3-4 slices of American Cheese
1 lb shredded mixed cheese
Crust: follow the recipe below!

Boil the chicken until cooked thoroughly.
Pull the chicken apart in small pieces and fill the bottom of a casserole dish.
Mix the Cream of Mushroom, mayo and seasons all together and set aside.
 (Be sure to taste it first!!! Adjust things as needed!)
Layer the frozen Vegetables and bell peppers on top of the chicken. You most likely won't use all of the bag. Just tie them back up and put them in the freezer for next time!
Spread the Cream of Mushroom mixture on top of the vegetables evenly.
Slice the American Cheese in half and place a layer of that next
Then Layer the shredded cheese next. Once again you might not use the entire bag.

The Crust
If you have a favorite biscuit recipe then by all means use that! Just bake the casserole according the the directions on that recipe.

2 cups Flour
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or shortening
1/2 cup milk

Cut in the butter until the flour is crumbling. Slowly add in the milk stirring. Add additional milk until the mixture is well blended.
Now two choices.
 Either roll out the dough and place it over the casserole as you would a pie. Tucking the edges inside the dish.
Or pull clumps of the dough and place them next together on top of the the casserole until it is fully covered. You should use all of the dough.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Bake for 20 minutes at first. Continue to bake the casserole until the crust is lightly brown and fully cooked.

Not sure what you are doing? Message me on Facebook, email or twitter! Or call your mama or even your mom-in-law! It's how I learned all my great baking and cooking skills! And who I call when I have questions! Have fun and play around with the ingredients! Add more to it! Change the seasonings up! Cooking is about exploring and finding out new things! But more then anything, it's about the joy of creating something delicious!
Dottie ^_^

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Different Side to Tuna

I love a thick slice of tuna steak! Grilled to perfection and seasoned just perfectly! But, that is for a later blog. Now because I am unable to have this delicacy on a regular basis, I have created quite a delicious tuna "steak" substitute. Lightly seasoned and easily cooked, this uses most things you have in your pantry on a regular basis.

Tuna "Steak"

2 small cans Tuna (drained of course)
1 egg
1/2 cup Panko- Japanese style Bread Crumbs (or just your preferred style bread crumbs)
Generous sprinkle of McCormick Steak Seasoning.
2 cap fulls of Dale's Steak Seasoning

Mix everything together. Add the bread crumbs last.
Adjust seasonings to taste...don't be afraid to add your favorites!
Adjust the bread crumbs as desired. Either more or less.
Make small or large patties and cook thoroughly on the skillet! (until each side is a soft golden brown)

If you make a larger patty, try it on a hamburger with a slice of cheese.
The smaller patties make a great finger food.
I can actually get my two kids (2 years and 1 year old, the oldest being a picky eater) to eat these!
Don't be afraid to try your favorite sauces for dipping either!
I hope this recipe meets with approval and happy taste buds! Be creative and add other things!
Dottie ^_^ 11/5/2011