Come On Up To The House

December 24, 2020
by Ashley
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Snowball Cookies

This version is what Paul’s mom used to make at Christmas time each year. As we were discussing our favorite family traditions, he mentioned these cookies. So here is our version.

Snowball Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups finely chopped walnuts

1 cup powdered sugar, for coating

Directions

Heat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl. Add vanilla and beat well.

Add flour and walnuts. Mix well.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Place on a silpat covered cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake for 18 – 20 minutes or until very lightly browned. Cool 3-5 minutes; roll in powdered sugar while still warm and set back on the cookie sheet to cool completely.

December 23, 2020
by Ashley
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Lemon Truffles

These are new truffles to us. We love lemon and these are perfect little bits of citrus.

Lemon Truffles

1 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 lemon, zest only
3 tbsp heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp lemon extract

1/4 cup powdered sugar

In a small sauce pan, heat the butter, lemon zest and whipping cream up just before simmering, when the mixture is bubbling at the edges of the pan. Turn off the heat and add the extract and white chocolate chips. Stir until chocolate has melted.

Transfer mixture to a small Pyrex mixing bowl and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

Roll out 3/4 inch balls from mixture and place back onto a lined cookie sheet and let cool in the fridge to firm up completely.

Roll out in powdered sugar and store in a closed container in the refrigerator.

December 22, 2020
by Ashley
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Peanut Butter Truffles

Christmas candy making started in full swing yesterday! These are some of our favorites

Peanut Butter Truffles

3 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
10 oz dark chocolate chips

Cream together the butter, peanut butter and sugar. Roll into 1 inch balls and refrigerate until firm.

Melt the dark chocolate chips either with a double boiler or in the microwave. If using the microwave method (my preferred) don’t walk away. Only heat 30 seconds at a time and stir until all of the chocolate is melted.

Carefully dip the truffles into the chocolate using a fork to remove them and let them sit on a silpat lined cookie sheet to firm up. I put mine in the fridge or freezer to harden and then transfer to a container. Store in the refrigerator.

December 21, 2020
by Ashley
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Coconut Truffles

I love coconut and these are super easy to make. Only 3 ingredients!

Coconut Truffles

3 cups sweetened coconut
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
12 oz dark chocolate chips

Mix together the coconut and sweetened condensed milk into a small mixing bowl. Once the mixture starts to hold together, create small 1 inch balls and place on a lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate until firm.

Melt the dark chocolate chips and carefully dip each ball into the melted chocolate removing them with a fork. Place the truffles back onto the lined cookie sheet and refrigerate to harden. Store the truffles in the refrigerator.

December 17, 2020
by Ashley
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Salted Caramel Truffles

1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 cups dark milk chocolate chips

Heat the butter, sweetened condensed milk and brown sugar in a sauce pan until thickened. Stir constantly to prevent burning. Turn off the heat. Mix in white chocolate chips and stir until chocolate has melted. Add in salt and stir. Pour into a Pyrex bowl and refrigerate for 3 – 4 hours or until firm.

Heat dark chocolate chips until melted. Dip each ball into the chocolate to cover, removing with a fork. Place each truffle on lined baking tray and place back into the refrigerator to harden.

Store finished truffles in the refrigerator.

December 12, 2020
by Ashley
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Gingerbread Houses

For many years now, we have created and decorated Gingerbread Houses. It started off as a simple project that we were going to do, and had friends come over to share in the fun. I make the Gingerbread several days ahead of time, to give it time to cool and harden. I have created four smaller houses as well as two larger houses.

This isn’t MY recipe. It is the one I use that has worked well. I have made it at least for three years, and keep coming back the same recipe. Having it here on my blog will ensure that I can find the recipe again and again.

Gingerbread Houses

6 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
4 tsp ground ginger
4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves or allspice
1/2 tsp salt
12 tbsp butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup dark molasses
1 tbsp water

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Using stand mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy and well blended. Beat eggs, molasses and water in until well combined. Beat half of the flour mixture into the molasses until smooth. Stir in remaining flour. Knead with dough hook until well blended. If dough is too soft, add a little more flour. Wrap dough in plastic and refridgerate at least two hours, to overnight. You can make upto 3 days ahead of time. Let sit at room temperture for at least 10 minutes before rolling out.

Print or draw the following pictures. Mine are not usually to scale if I print them. My roofline is more like 4 inches rather than 6 1/2″. I do this in order to get more small houses, but if you are looking to make one or two larger homes, go by scale.

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Preheat oven to 350°F, with the oven rack in the middle. Have several cookie sheets ready, preferably ones that you know will not warp in the heat of the oven. Use silpats or parchment paper to cover baking sheets. Cut the dough in half. On a silpat, flour lightly and roll out one half of the dough with a rolling pin until it reaches a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Place pattern on dough and cut with a sharp knife or dough cutter. Carefully transfer to prepared baking sheet and when the baking sheet is full, bake. Bake 11-15 minutes for the large pieces, 6-8 minutes for the small pieces. Rotate the cookie sheets half way through the baking for even browning.  Transfer pieces carefully to racks to cook. Finish cutting pieces and cooking. I can usually get 1 large house and two smaller houses out of this recipe. One year I even managed 4 small houses, but some of the pieces were a little thin. I even cut trees, gingerbread men and doors per kid.

Gingerbread house cut outs

I made royal icing to construct the gingerbread houses. I also pasteurize the egg mixture to make sure no one gets sick if any icing has been snuck.

Royal Icing

2 large egg whites
2 2/3 cup powdered sugar, divided

Whisk together until smooth the egg whites and 1 1/3 cups of the powdered sugar. Microwave the egg white powdered sugar mixture for several seconds (it takes me over a minute usually) until the mixture reaches a temperature of 160 degrees, but not higher than 175°F. I check with a thermometer to make sure I reach the correct temperture. Add the remaining 1 1/3 cup powdered sugar and mix until you reach stiff peaks.  Use a damp towel over bowl of icing if you aren’t using immediately.

I premade each house in order for them to be solid and ready for the kids to decorate the day before. I make more frosting for decorating and usually put the frosting in a small individualized cup for each person to keep it separate.

Gingerbread houses 2015

December 11, 2020
by Ashley
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Lamb Meatballs with Curry

Ingredients

Lamb Meatballs

  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tbsp olive oil to cook

Indian Curry Sauce

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 can diced tomato
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Instructions

Place ground lamb along with all of the other ingredients under that heading into a bowl and mix well using your hands. Using wet hands, form into 1 inch balls.

Heat a Dutch oven with olive oil. Sear the lamb meatballs until browned. Remove meatballs and set aside.

In the Dutch oven, heat 2 tbsp butter. Add shallot and sauté 2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook another 2 minutes. Add the turmeric, garam masala, fennel speeds and the entire can of tomatoes. Cook 1 minutes. Add in the coconut milk and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add the brown sugar and kosher salt as well as the lamb meatballs back into the sauce. Simmer another 10 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.

Serve with basmati rice.

November 27, 2020
by Ashley
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Chana Masala

We found this great vegetarian curry dish that we have made several times to go along with Saag or tikka masala.

Ingredients

  • 4 medium cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1-inch knob ginger, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp black mustard seed
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seed
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 (14-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

Directions

Combine garlic, ginger, 1 tbsp lemon juice and 1/2 tsp kosher salt in a small food processor and process until you create a fine past. Set aside.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add Mustard seed and cumin and cook until they sputter and spit for a few seconds, and become aromatic. Add onion and baking soda and cook until onions are turning brown (3 – 4 minutes). Add 1 tbsp water to deglaze the pan and continue to cook. Repeat again with the 1 tbsp of water until the onions are a deep brown color. About 10 minutes

Add in garlic, ginger and chili paste and stir to combine. Then add in coriander, black pepper, turmeric and 1 tsp garam masala. Stir until fragrant.

Add in the can of tomatoes and crush them. Add in the two cans of drained chickpeas and cilantro along with 1/2 cup of water.

Bring to a simmer and cover slightly with a lid. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until liquid has reduced into a thick stew; 30 minutes.

Stir in remaining garam masala and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt.

Garnish with cilantro.

November 21, 2020
by Ashley
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Good Old-Fashioned Pancakes

I love this recipe from Allrecipes so much, I have used it for years. I am totally afraid that at some point I might go to try to find it, and it will be gone. So here it is, in my own recipe list so I can come back and make them over and over again.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp white sugar
1 1/4 cup milk (many times we use almond milk)
1 egg
3 tbsp melted butter

Mix all ingredients until smooth in a large bowl.

Heat your griddle and scoop 1/4 cup of the batter per pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

I usually double this recipe so I can freeze them for a fast and easy breakfast for my kids.

November 21, 2020
by Ashley
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Apple Cider Donuts

Our recently discovered love for cider donuts helped me to find this recipe on the Damn Delicious blog. I had a ton of fresh pressed apple cider left over and was either going to throw it away or do something with it. We are just not good about drinking cider or juice.

Apple Cider Donuts

3 cups apple cider
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg
6 tbsp melted butter
2 eggs

2 cups canola oil, to fry

1 cup sugar
3 tsp cinnamon

Pour 3 cups of apple cider into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer (without a lid) until reduced to 1 cup of liquid. This took me about 1 hour.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon.

In a large, 4 cup Pyrex, whisk together the melted and cooled butter, eggs and reduced apple cider.

Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture and stir until just moist. Cover and set in the fridge until you are ready to use. At least 1 hour.
At this stage, I froze the dough in order to make them on another occasion. If you are going to make within a day, you can leave the mixture in the fridge.

Lightly flour a slip at and roll out the dough into 1/2 inch’s. Use biscuit cutters to cut rounds and doughnut holes.

Heat the 2 cups of canola oil in a Dutch oven to 375 degrees F. While the oil is heating, mix up the cinnamon and sugar.

Working in batches, cook the donuts until golden and crispy. 1 minute per side. Transfer to a paper towel lined baking sheet and let sit for 30 seconds. Then roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat.