Sugar Cookies

We all have those moments that make Christmas morning special. For some, it’s smelling fresh cinnamon rolls baking in the oven. For others, it’s hearing classic Christmas carols as the gift giving begins. In my childhood, it was frantically searching through black trash bags of discarded wrapping paper trying to find the one piece of a toy you accidentally threw out.

On a more serious note, my mom is an excellent baker and always prepared at least six or seven different types of Christmas cookies every year. I don’t know how she did it! This year I got one done, next year I’ll try for two. Baby steps.

-2 3/4 cups flour
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
-1 cup butter, softened
-1 1/2 cups white sugar
-1 egg
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  Heat oven to 375. Combine the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.

2. In another bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and the vanilla. Gradually stir in the flour mix. Roll rounded teaspoons into dough balls and place onto an ungreased cookie sheet. (You really need these to be dough balls, they flatten out quite a bit when baking so if they aren’t firmly round you’ll end up with super thin and flat crisps.)

3. Bake for 9 minutes, then let stand for 2 minutes before removing from pan.

Source: All Recipes

Sesame Spinach Spread

Less than 2 weeks left of 2016.

Everyone’s scrambling to make their list of resolutions for 2017 so I wanted to share a secret for the fastest way to make your New Year’s Resolution List. Ready? OK.

Step 1: Find your list of “New Year’s Resolutions for 2016”.

Step 2: Cross off “2016” and write “2017”.

Step 3: Admire your list of resolutions for 2017!

Enjoy this spread as you admire your list.

-1 cup sour cream
-1 cup chopped scallions
-1 teaspoon garlic salt
-1/4 teaspoon pepper
-1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
-1 package (10oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained
-1 can (8oz) sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped

1. Mix together the sour cream, scallions, garlic salt, pepper, spinach, and water chestnuts. Stir in half the toasted sesame seeds. Garnish the top of the spread with the remaining toasted seeds.

Source: Keebler Toasteds Crackers

Herbed Baked Eggs

There’s a few iconic names in the culinary world: Julia Child, Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay….and Ina Garten. If you’ve ever watched Ina’s show on Food Network Barefoot Contessa you’ll see she’s the epitome of The Hamptons but damn, girl doesn’t shy away from butter or calories so she’s OK in my book.

This Ina recipe is such a flavorful breakfast, and in her words “How easy is that?”… Yes, it’s easy too! I typically serve this with bacon and biscuits. Ina would probably say serve this with “good bacon” which I’m assuming means go to your closest local farm and talk to the farmer about sourcing bacon from a pig that’s out at pasture. But between you and me, I’m OK with using Smithfield here.

-1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
-1/4 teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary
-1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
-6 eggs
-2 tablespoons heavy cream (or light cream is OK too)
-1 tablespoon butter
-salt and pepper

Now, there are two ways to do this. Refer to Ina’s recipe if you want to cook each egg in individual dishes, my version bakes them all together and you portion out the eggs after they’re cooked.

1. Heat the broiler. In a pie pan, put the butter and cream, place under broiler for about 3 minutes then remove. Meanwhile, mix together the thyme, garlic powder, parsley, rosemary, and salt and pepper.

2. Crack the 6 eggs into the pie pan, being careful not to break the yolks and trying to keep each yolk evenly spaced so it’s easier to portion out when serving (meaning so no one is getting a helping of 4 yolks while someone winds up with nothin’ but egg white). Sprinkle the herb mixture over top then the Parmesan cheese. Return to broiler and cook for 7-8 minutes until the whites are cooked.

Source: Ina Garten

Dark Chocolate Brownies

Move over milk chocolate, my palate prefers a chocolate of the darker kind.

This is the richest most decadent brownie you’ll ever try. Dark chocolate cocoa and dark chocolate morsels pair perfectly to create a brownie that is worth every calorie. You’re welcome!

-3/4 cup butter, melted
– 1 1/2 cups sugar
-3/4 cup flour
-3/4 cup dark chocolate unsweetened cocoa powder
-3 eggs
-1 cup dark chocolate chips

1. Combine the melted butter (make sure it has cooled a bit or it will scramble the eggs!!), flour, sugar, cocoa, and eggs. Stir until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

2. Line a 9×9 baking pan with parchment paper. Pour batter in smooth until even and bake for 30 minutes.

Source: Shugary Sweets