Thanksgiving Recap!

I need to apologize off the bat for not taking any pictures. I have a lot of excuses, but at the end of the day, I really just forgot. So in lieu of my own photos, here’s a list of the odds and ends I baked last week with links to the recipes:

Pumpkin Bread: First time trying this specific recipe. It turned out great! Perfect flavor and not too sweet (btw, I subbed the ginger for pumpkin pie spice so it was a pretty standard pumpkin flavor), plus I added walnuts for a little crunch! Not to brag, but my dad did say he preferred it over my mom’s cranberry nut bread. Just sayin…

Chocolate Cake: This is the traditional birthday cake recipe. We had a few birthdays to celebrate from the past few weeks so we turned the Wednesday dinner before Thanksgiving into a little birthday dinner. I probably make this recipe at least 4 times a year, I wonder why (you can do the math).

Ricotta Cookies: These are quickly becoming a family favorite. They are soft and vanilla, with a colorful icing. I’ll probably be making another batch in the next few weeks.

Double Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies: I pinned these a while ago from one of my favorite blogs. They were easy to make and very tasty. I was a little sloppy with the drizzle icing, but it tasted good!

Almond Biscotti: A standard for my holiday baking. They aren’t an ooey gooey crowd pleaser, but it’s the perfect evening snack with your tea when you have a big meal in the afternoon, or mid afternoon snack with your coffee during your holiday shopping.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars: These are a crowd pleaser every time, and are a must have during our family’s Thanksgiving. Easy and delicious!

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats: I know I just made these a couple weeks ago, but my mom had some extra marshmallows that she wanted me to use up. So I made them again, and guess what, they were still delicious!

Gingersnaps: I made these for my mom to use in her molasses gingersnap ice cream. I know it sounds weird, but it’s awesome! These gingersnaps are the perfect flavor and texture, spicy and crunchy!

Energy Balls: I don’t think I’ve blogged about these yet but I’ve made them a few times. They’re a quick no-bake snack that is pretty healthy. I make a bunch and stick them in the freezer, and they mysteriously disappear rather rapidly in my house…

Pumpkin Cheesecake: I’ve made this before in individual ramekins, but this was the first time in 9 inch cake form. It turned out great with the exception of the crust. I tried to sub gingersnap crumbs for graham cracker crumbs in the crust recipe, and it turned out a little too tough. I think the gingersnap crumbs were too fine, so when I packed them down they turned into a very solid crust. Other than that though, it was the perfect dessert for our New York Post-Thanksgiving Chanukah latke fest!

This list is not counting the savory things I made fore the main event! At the end of the week I didn’t understand why I was so tired, but after writing out this list, I sort of get it.

What did you bake this Thanksgiving?

Off Season

This past December I posted several of my favority Christmas cookie recipes, but I did not actually document every cookie I made. Each year I try to make a mix of traditional family favorites, and new recipes we are less familiar with. One of those new recipes this year came from a good friend of mine.  My friend Elizabeth over at Food-Ramblings brought some of her ricotta cookies over to my house one night to snack on while we watched TV.  After giving them a try, I knew I had a new cookie recipe to try. When Christmas rolled around, my family definitely concurred.  At one point my brother and his girlfriend were rationing the ricotta cookies in the little box of cookies I gave them to bring home.

The great thing about these cookies is that they are a good neutral.  They have a light, fresh taste with a small dollup of easy frosting: perfect!  Last week I was asked to make a few cookies for a “coffee break” event at my school and I thought these would be a perfect addition to the cookie tray.  Since they are more plain in flavor, they work really well as a compliment to coffee and tea, but they are also tasty enough to stand on their own. Needless to say, these were a big hit at the coffee break! It’s proof that they work twelve months a year!cookie tray

Ricotta Cookies

Yeilds about 80 cookies depending on size (halve the recipe for a more managable amount), from Food Ramblings

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese (basically a whole small container)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder

Frosting

  • 2 Tbs butter, melted
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbs milk (I actually used almond milk and it worked great)
  • 1 Tbs vanilla
  • food coloring (I have made these in pink and green)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Use an electric mixer to cream together the butter, ricotta, and sugar.  Once that mixture is uniform, light, and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time.  Then add the vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the flour and baking powder.  Slowly add the flour and baking powder mixture to the wet mixture.  Mix until combined but try no to over mix.
  4. Portion the cookie dough out with a small ice cream scoop or teaspoon.  These cookies are (in my experience) made pretty small, and they do puff up a little when they bake.  Place the small balls of cookie dough on a parchement lined cookie sheet and bake about 12 minutes until they are just looking set and ever so slightly golden brown.right out of the oven
  5. While the cookies are cooling, whip together the frosting ingredients.  Make sure the cookies are completely cool before you frost them. Otherwise, they frosting will just slide right off.delicious

 

Do you have any Christmas cookies that you like to make year round?

Cookie Tray

So I volunteered to make some cookie trays for a “coffee talk” at school. After some self inflicted hemming and hawing on my part, I put together a list of five different cookies to include on the trays. I thought since it’s for a coffee and tea break, I should include simple cookies that pair well with a hot beverage.  The event was late morning so it needed to be things that weren’t too sugary, but past the breakfast pastry stage.  This immediately brings me to shortbread or similarly dry cookies like biscotti.  I’ve already made the standard shortbread several times for things at school so I thought I would add some variation.

With those considerations in mind, I decided to make Cream Cheese Walnut Cookies, Ricotta Cookies, and Double Chocolate Walnut biscotti (to add some chocolate to the mix).  Then since it was near purim, I felt compelled to make Hamentashen.  And to roundout the tray I added some small brownie squares.

Voila!cookies!yum

Over the next couple weeks I’ll be posting the recipes for the Cream Cheese Walnut Cookies, Ricotta Cookies, and Double Chocolate Walnut Biscotti.  Get Excited!