Nothing beats winter’s chill like a cookie, scone or candy paired with a hot cup of tea or coffee. They’re delicious and portable, perfect for visiting at the holidays or taking to the local sledding hill. (Not that we have any snow!)
Eggnog Fudge (Makes about 3 lbs.)
- 3/4 c. plus 1 tbsp. butter, divided
- 3 c. sugar
- 2/3 c. eggnog (soy is fine)
- 2 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream
- 1 (10 oz) pkg. white/vanilla chips
- 1 c. marshmallow creme
- 1 c. chopped walnuts (opt.)
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
Line a 13×9 pan with foil and butter with 1 Tbsp. butter. Set aside. In a large saucepan over med. heat, combine sugar, eggnog, cream and butter. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and cook mixture until a candy thermometer reads 238 degrees. Remove from heat and stir in chips, marshmallow creme, walnuts and vanilla. Spread into prepared pan. let cool to room temperature. Lift the foil from the pan and set the fudge on a cutting board. Cut fudge into 1″ squares. Store in the refrigerator.
Raspberry Twists (Makes 2 1/2 dozen)
- 1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
- 1/2 c. butter, softened
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 1/2 c. organic flour
- 6 Tbsp. raspberry jam
In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add egg yolks, mix until combined. Add flour gradually until incorporated. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator one hour before rolling. Divide the dough in half; roll each portion into a rectangle 12″x8″. Spread raspberry jam over half the filling widthwise. Fold the plain half over the filled half. Cut each rectangle into sixteen 1/2″ strips. Twist each strip three times and pinch the ends to seal. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets at 400 degrees for 15 minutes until golden brown. Cool.
- 2 c. whole blanched almonds
- 1 c. sugar
- 1/4 c. butter
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Heat almonds, sugar and butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, until almonds are toasted and the sugar is golden brown. (About 15 minutes.) The sugar will be syrupy. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Spread mixture onto an ungreased cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt if desired and allow to harden. Break into clusters when cool.
Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies
- 1 c. butter, softened
- 1 c. powdered sugar
- 2 tsp. real vanilla
- 1/8 tsp. salt (omit if using salted butter)
- 2 1/4 c. flour
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Add flour and salt. Chill dough for one hour. Roll out to 1/8″ thickness and cut into desired shapes. bake on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet for 8 minutes.
- 4 c. powdered sugar
- 3 tbsp. milk
- 1/8 tsp. vanilla
Mix powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth. If a thinner frosting is desired, add more milk 1 tsp. at a time. Tint as desired. (For best results use colored paste.)
It just wouldn’t be winter without soup!
French Mushroom Soup
- 1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 c. chopped onion
- 3 Tbsp. buter
- 8 c. water
- 2 Tbsp. instant beef bouillon
- 2 c. thinly sliced carrots
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 c. sherry
- chopped fresh parsley
Saute mushrooms and onions in butter over medium-high heat until tender. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in water and beef bouillon, cover and simmer about 40 minutes. Add carrots and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes more. Add seasonings and sherry. Increase heat just to boiling. Serve hot garnished with fresh parsley.
Week two suggestions are for sweet holiday cookies and desserts plus appetizers and a yummy risotto recipe!
Maple Cashew Cookies (Yield: 4 dozen)
- 1c. butter
- 1 Tbsp. Stevia powder
- 1 egg
- Tbsp. pure vanilla
- 2/3 c. unsalted cashews. chopped fine
- 2 c. organic all purpose flour
- 1/3 c. soft maple sugar
- 48 cashews, halved
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; blend. Stir in cashews carefully. Add flour to form a soft dough. Refrigerate 1/2 hr. Meanwhile, place maple sugar in shallow bowl and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll into 1″balls. Roll each ball in maple sugar to coat. Place on un-greased cookie sheet and press a cashew half into each. Bake 12 minutes until light golden at edges.
Cafe Mocha Brownies
- 3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
- 1 stick butter
- 1/2 c. hazelnuts
- 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. ground coffee (dark roast)
- 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 3/4 c. sugar or 2 tsp.. Stevia powder
- 2 lg. eggs
- 3/4 c. organic all-purpose flour
Grease an 8″ square pan and dust with cocoa. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Toast nuts in skillet over med. heat until fragrant, remove from heat and coarsely chop. Melt butter and chocolate over medum heat in small saucepan. Add coffee, cinnamon, vanilla, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat, add sugar and eggs, one at a time. Continue to stir until thickened and shiny. Add flour and all but 2 Tbsp. nuts. Spoon into prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle with reserved nuts. bake 30 minutes on middle rack of oven. Remove from oven, cool completely and cut.
Labneh (Yogurt Cheese)
- 1 tsp. Kosher salt
- 1 quart organic plain yogurt
- Assorted fresh herbs, minced
- 1 clove garlic minced
Stir the salt into the yogurt. Line a strainer with cheesecloth or muslin and place over a bowl. Spoon the yogurt into it, cover and refrigerate. After 5 hours check to see if the cheese is soft and spreadable. If not, check again every hour. Remove from refrigerator and discard liquid. Gently fold in minced herbs and garlic and return to refrigerator for 30 min. Serve with pita or fresh vegetables.
Honey Citrus Olives
- 1 each lemon, lime, orange; zested (colored part only), juiced and thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp. lime juice
- 4 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp. orange juice
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 2 tsp. grainy mustard
- 1/2 c. good quality olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 Tbsp. fresh oregano minced (1/4 tsp. dried)
- 2 Tbsp. fresh minced parsley (1/2 tsp. dried)
- 3 c. black and green olives
- salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in jar or bowl with a tight fitting lid. Refrigerate for 14 days, stirring occasionally. Serve at room temperature.
- 1 ripe 8″ Brie round (room temp. for 4 hrs.)
- 1 c. dried cherries
- 1 c. dried cranberries
- 1 c. Pinot Noir
- 2 whole star anise
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
Gently heat dried fruit in wine until softened and some of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat, let steep as it cools. Slice the brie in half and gently lift off the top using a long flat knife. Remove the star anise and cinnamon from the berries. Gently spoon half of the berries and liquid over the bottom half of the brie. Replace the top, cut side up and spoon the remainder over the top. refrigerate leftovers.
- 3 Tbsp. butter
- 1 small onion, minced
- 2 carrots, diced small
- 1 c. fresh pumpkin, cubed (may use winter squash)
- 8 c. vegetable stock, simmering
- 14 oz. Arborio rice
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 2 Tbsp. Romano cheese
Heat 2 Tbsp. of the butter in large heavy-bottomed pan. Add onion and cook until soft. Add pumpkin and carrot. Cook 6 minutes until tender, mashing slightly. Add the rice and stir until translucent. Ladle 1/2c. of simmering stock into pot, stirring well. With heat on medium, continue to add stock 1/2 c. at a time until rice is creamy and tender. (You may not use all of the stock.) Remove from heat and add the remaining butter, nutmeg, cheese and pepper to taste. Fluff throughout. Cover and let sit 5 min. before serving.
Week three has easy to put together snacks for last minute entertaining. No fuss, just delicious treats for you and your guests.
Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball
- 1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 c. butter, softened
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla
- 3/4 c. powdered sugar
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 3/4 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 3/4 c. crushed pecans
- Graham crackers
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy. Gradually add sugars, beating just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate 2 hrs. remove from refrigerator and place on waxed paper. Shape into a ball and refrigerate one hour. Roll in pecans, serve with graham crackers. Tastes like cookie dough!
Mixed Fruit Cheese Ball
- 2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
- 1 c. shredded chedar cheese
- 1/4 c. sour cream
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 1/4 c. raisins, chopped
- 1/4 c. dried apricots, chopped
- 1/4 c. dates, chopped
- 1/4 c. prunes, chopped
- 1 c. chopped pecans
- Assorted crackers, apple slices
In large bowl, beat cream cheese, cheddar cheese, sour cream and coriander until well blended. Stir in fruit. Shape into a ball and roll in pecans. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving. Serve with crackers and apple slices.
- 1 1/2 c. eggnog
- 4 Tbsp. flour
- 1/2 c. sour cream
- 1/2 c. whipping cream
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. rum extract
- Assorted fruit and pound cake cubes
In a saucepan, combine eggnog and cornstarch until smooth. bring to a boil; boil and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream. Cool completely. In a small mixing bowl, beat whipping cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold into eggnog mixture with rum extract. Cover and refrigerate at least 5 hours. Serve with fruit and cake cubes.
Artichoke Spinach Dip
- 1 can artichoke hearts, drained, finely chopped
- 1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
- 3/4 c. parmesan cheese
- 3/4 c. light mayo or plain thick greek yogurt
- 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients, spoon into a 9′ pie plate. Bake for 20 minutes or until heated through and bubbly.
- 20 squares (1 0z. each) semi-sweet baking chocolate, divided
- 1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
Melt 8 chocolate squares. Beat cream cheese with mixer until creamy, stir in melted chocolate. Refrigerate until firm. Shape into 36 balls. Place on waxed paper. Melt remaining chocolate. Use a fork to dip truffles and return them to tray. Decorate with finely chopped nuts or colored sprinkles. (May roll in powdered sugar or unsweetened cocoa to coat instead of melted chocolate.)
Just for Melanie at northerngardenersalmanac.blogspot.com:
- 1 stick margarine or butter
- 3/4 c. brown sugar
- 1 c. chopped nuts
- 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
Grease a 9×9 pan. Spread nuts on bottom. In a small saucepan, melt butter and sugar over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 7 minutes. Remove from heat and pour over nuts. Spread evenly using the back of a metal spoon. Immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips and cover with a plate for 1 min. Spread melted chocolate. Refrigerate until chocolate has set, about 15 minutes. Lift toffee from pan and set on cutting board, cut into squares.