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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cookie! Cookie! Cookie!

I think if this platter was placed in front of "monster" he'd turn back into "cookie monster".

The official taste testers favorite cookie: Chocolate Chip

Here's the recipe!

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 (3.4 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour and baking soda, set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown.

My Favorite Cookie: Coconut Macaroon

I actually made two versions. One version contained sweetened condensed milk, I preferred the version without it.

3 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 package (14 ounces) sweetened flaked coconut (5 1/3 cups)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper (or coat generously with nonstick cooking spray).
In a large bowl, whisk together egg whites, sugar, and salt until frothy. With a fork, stir in coconut until moistened.
Drop mixture by packed level tablespoons onto prepared sheet (cookies will not spread). Bake until lightly golden, 25 to 30 minutes.

Holiday Lasagna

Not at all healthy or good for you (other than the taste-buds) this lasagna is delish! The homemade sauce is amazing and I will be duplicating for other recipes (non-lasagna related) in the future! I made it with and without the spinach. Both versions are fantastic! Enjoy!

Bon Appetit

Three-Cheese Lasagna with Italian Sausage

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup finely chopped peeled carrots
2 tablespoons minced garlic
8 ounces lean ground beef
6 ounces spicy Italian sausages, casings removed
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon golden brown sugar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
15 lasagna noodles (about 12 ounces)
2 15-ounce containers part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, squeezed dry
2 large eggs
4 3/4 cups grated mozzarella cheese (about 1 1/4 pounds)
Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and garlic; sauté until softened, about 12 minutes. Add beef and sausages to pan; sauté until cooked through, breaking up meat with back of spoon, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer until flavors blend and sauce measures about 5 cups, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Cool.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook noodles in large pot of boiling salted water until almost tender, about 7 minutes. Drain; cover with cold water.
Combine ricotta and 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese in medium bowl. Mix in spinach. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in eggs.
Drain pasta and pat dry. Spread 1/2 cup sauce over bottom of 13x9-inch glass baking dish. Place 5 noodles over sauce, overlapping to fit. Spread half of ricotta-spinach mixture evenly over noodles. Sprinkle 2 cups mozzarella cheese evenly over ricotta-spinach mixture. Spoon 1 1/2 cups sauce over cheese, spreading with spatula to cover (sauce will be thick). Repeat layering with 5 noodles, remaining ricotta-spinach mixture, 2 cups mozzarella and 1 1/2 cups sauce. Arrange remaining 5 noodles over sauce. Spread remaining sauce over noodles. Sprinkle remaining 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese evenly over lasagna. (Can be prepared up to 1 day ahead. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.) Cover baking dish with aluminum foil. Bake lasagna 40 minutes; uncover and bake until hot and bubbly, about 40 minutes. Let lasagna stand 15 minutes before serving.

Monday, December 21, 2009

2009 Christmas Cookie List

The final list is in! The final cookies have been decided! Here is the 2009 Christmas Cookie List. It's bigger than ever before!! The cookie menu will follow shortly!

1 - Truffles
2 - Coconut Cookies
3 - Rugalach
4 - Chocolate Sandwhich Cookies
5 - Cowboy Cookies
6 - Vienesse Hazelnut Butter Thins
7 - Cookie Rings
8 - Mexican Wedding Cookies
9 - Spritz Cookies
10 - Thumbprint
11 - Triple Layer Fudge
12 - Sugar
13 - Oatmeal
14 - Chocolate Chip
15 - Peanut Butter Cup
16 - Macaroons
17 - Hershey's Kiss

And that's a wrap!!! Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Cake!

For our office Christmas Party this year, I made a Coconut Cream Cake! It was so delicious! So decadent you cannot eat it all the time, but what the heck! It's Christmas!!!

Coconut Cream Cake:

1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1 (14 ounce) can coconut cream
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 cup flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.

In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, eggs, oil, water and coconut flavoring. Beat for 2 minutes and pour into 9x13 inch pan.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

In a medium bowl, combine coconut cream with sweetened condensed milk and stir until smooth.

Allow cake to cool completely. Poke holes into it in even rows using a large fork or chopsticks (larger holes work best). **Don't poke the holes through the cake or it will drain to the bottom of the pan! You want the cake to absorb all the liquid to be moist and yummy** Pour milk mixture over, allowing it to soak into the cake.

Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

In a large bowl, whisk cream until soft peaks form. Add sugar and continue whipping until stiff. Spread over cooled cake. Sprinkle top with flaked coconut.