This is the Horde. Below are our Recipes. Thanks for sharing our Kitchen

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Eggnog Nutmeg Sugar Cookies

I decided I wanted to try a few new cookies this year. As we give about 90% of the cookies we make away as gifts, I wanted to add something new.

First up this year was the Eggnog Nutmeg Sugar Cookie. I usually buy the Better Homes and Gardens Christmas cookie magazine every year, and it didn't disappoint. I find one or two recipe that become a classic.

I find the icing on this one a smidgeon sweet so I may to play with it a bit for our own tastes. The recipe called for 3-4 tablespoons of eggnog in the icing. I increased it about 6 tablespoons for easier spreading and a thinner layer.

My daughter (aged 9) and spent the afternoon in the kitchen making these.


½ of a vanilla bean split in half lengthwise or 2 tsp vanilla (I used the seeds of the whole vanilla pod)

1 ¼ cups butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 ½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg or ½ tsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp salt

1 egg

1 tbsp dairy or canned eggnog

3 ¼ cup all purpose flour

Eggnog Icing

Coarse sugar (optional)

  1. Using the tip of a sharp knife, scrape pulp from the vanilla bean pod and set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high for approx 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, nutmeg and salt. Beat until combined, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, eggnog, and vanilla pulp or vanilla until well combined. Beat in the flour slowly until well combined. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill 1 hour.

  2. Preheat oven to 375 F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the dough balls to ¼ inch thick. Using fluted round 3 inch cookie cutter, cut out dough. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper ½ inch apart. Bake in preheated oven for approx 8 minutes or just lightly browned. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Spread cookies with Eggnog Icing and sprinkle with sugar if desired. Makes approx 24 cookies.

Where I deviated (as I always do). I used a whole pod of vanilla seeds, and I like my sugar cookies thin and smaller. I rolled mine a little thinner that ¼ inch, and found baking them for 5 ½ minutes PERFECT! Oven temps vary so keep an eye on them. My first batch I put in for 7 minutes and they nearly burned. I used a smaller cookie cutter about 2 inch diameter which yielded about 75 cookies.

Eggnog Icing. In a medium bowl, stir together 3 cups powdered icing sugar with ½ tsp vanilla. Stir in enough eggnog to make and icing of spreading consistency. The recipe called for 3-4 tablespoon of eggnog. I used approx 6 tablespoons.

To store: Layer cookies between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container: cover. Store and room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Introducing Peppermint Nivek Dream Cookies

Thanks to those who sent in suggestions for the new cookie I created and posted

The name is a combo of a couple so our honoured winners are JenJellyBeans and Alleghany.

Thanks JJB for the laugh, and thanks Alle for flipping it into something we can use. You two are awesome.

You will both be getting a set of awesome cookie cutters from my favorite Kitchen obsession store!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Totally Fun Gingerbread

The Kids had a ball doing these.

For icing I used the same icing as I did for the Sugar Cookies see recipe here and decorator gels I bought at Golda's...NOT a good idea. They work really well but don't dry well's taking forever to set. This morning some are still sticky.  The icing is fine, just don't use the gels.

3 cups Flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2/3 cup butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg

Stir together, flour, ginger, soda, cinnamon, salt, cloves and set aside.
Beat butter, add brown sugar, molasses and beat until combined. Add in the egg and mix well. Add in the flour mixture slowly and mix until just combined.

Divide dough in half, cover, and refridgerate for about an hour or so. Roll to 1/4 " thick on floured surface and cut out your various cookies.

Bake at 375 for 6-7 minutes. Lightly greased cookie sheets or parchment papered.

Have fun painting them with the kidlets. That's all I got for you at the moment. Have a few more I"m going to try this week I think. All of these recipes freeze really well.

Chocolate Ganache Snowflake Cookies

These cookies make a fabulous gift sure to wow. Sugar cookies (regular and chocolate) sandwiched with Chocolate Ganache.

Use regular sugar cookie recipe posted below. "Ultimate Sugar Cookie" recipe

Split dough in half Refrigerate half the dough and mix 1/2 cup cocoa powder into remaining half.

Refrigerate after completely mixed.

Chocolate Ganache

1/2 cup whipping cream......warm it on the stove until it just starts to bubble. Add 4 oz bittersweet chocolate (baker's) and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool.

Fill cookies and sandwich them together. Yummy.

I used two different sizes of snowflakes and made bite size ones with the center cutouts. Just make sure you use a solid cookie on the bottom...LOL. You can use any kind of shape you like, but I'm fond of the snowflake

Ultimate Sugar Cookie

This is a fantastic basic sugar cookie. They taste fabulous and are wonderful for decorating.

Sugar Cookie Base recipe
1 cup butter (softened)
1 cup Sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cup flour
Beat butter on med-hi for 30 seconds or so. Add Sugar, baking powder, salt. Beat it up, add egg and vanilla until combined and smooth. Beat in flour until well combined.
Divide dough in half cover and refridgerate for 1-3 hours. Preheat oven to 375. Roll dough to 1/8/ or 1/4 inch (your preference) and place on ungreased cookie sheet.
I use parchment paper on my cookie sheets for these. (Almost forgot...when rolling the dough..make sure the surface is floured well, and the rolling pin. If you notice it starting to stick...sprinkle some more flour on the top of the dough and/or rolling pin.)
Bake for 8 minutes or edges are set. First batch I put in for 8, subsequent batches only 7 minutes.
3 cups icing sugar
2-3 tabls milk
1 tsp vanilla Combine in mixer. is where I deviated. That was wayyyy too thick, so I added milk a tablespoon at a time until it reached a consistency I liked. Added the food colouring. (gels/not the stuff from the grocer) and painted it on using cheap dollar store paint brushes. I use the gel based food colourings as it gives a much stronger colour. For the pink I only used one drop of red (and even that was a bit much...I didn't have any pink left). For the red it was only two or three drops, green two drops and such) For this one you can always use a Royal Icing as well. It's easy and dries hard 2 cups of icing sugar 3 tbsp of water That's it....good for painting or smoothing. I used this one for the gingerbread men but thinned it out a little more. (just add water a 1/2 tsp at a time until you get your consistency)

Coconut Rum Meringues with Lime

I made these as I had egg whites left over from the biscottis (vanilla ones...not the chocolate ones posted) and wanted to use them up.

You can substitute Ameretto for the rum and eliminate the lime for a different taste (really really good)

2 egg whites
1 tblsp coconut rum or 1/4 tsp coconut flavouring
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup flaked coconut
1 tsp finely shredded lime peel

Place egg whites in medium bowl...let stand at room temp for 30 min preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or foil..set aside Add coconut rum, vanilla, and cream of tartar to egg whites and beat with electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar beating on high speed until stiff peeks form.

Gently fold in coconut and lime Drop 1 inch mounds of coconut mixture from a teaspoon 1.5 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake both sheets on seperate racks in oven about 10 minutes or mounds are set. Turn off oven and let cookies dry in oven with door closed for 30 minutes.

Makes about 36. Transfer to wire racks and let cool. Stor in airtight container at room temp for about a week or freeze up to 3 months.

Bittersweet Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti - excellent

These are a fabulous recipe that have become a standard Christmas cookie in our house. I don't even like biscotti but this one is delish. Makes a wonderful homemade gift to anyone. I always package them up and include the recipe.

Bittersweet Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti.
1/3 cup butter (softened)
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 2/3 cup flour
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, chopped
4 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped

Chocolate dip
6 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped
2tsps shortening.

Preheat oven to 375 - lightly grease cookie sheet. (I generally always use Pam or parchement paper)

Beat butter on mdm/hi for 30 seconds, add brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and cocoa powder and finally beat in the flour until well combined. Add in hazelnuts and chocolate pieces (4 oz) and mix well until thoroughly blended. Divide the dough in half.

On a floured surfave shape each into a roll (however long...around 9-10 inches) so they are about 1.5 inches in width. Place rolls 4 " apart on prepped cookie sheet for and slightly flatten the rolls so they are about 2 inches wide.

Bake for 20-25 minutes can cool on cookie sheet for 45 minutes. Reduce temp in oven to 300 Once cooled....cut each roll diagonally into 1/2" thick pieces. Cut carefully with a serrated knife. Place back on cookie sheet flat.

Bake at 300 for 8-10 minutes and then turn them all over and bake again for another 7-9 minutes until moisture is removed. Transfer to wire rack and cool for about an hour.

Dip Instructions.
You can use the microwave and melt the 6 oz of chocolate and shortening on 1/2 power for 1-2 minutes but I prefer to do it on the stove.

If you don't have a double boiler what I do is use a metal mixing bowl and small saucepan. Pop some water in the saucepan and place the metal mixing bowl on top. Turn on the element and get the water boiling in the saucepan with the metal bowl and chocolate pieces in place. Keep stirring until melted and combined with the shortening.

Dip the end of the biscotti into melted chocolate and place on waxed paper or parchment paper and let stand until it's well set.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Help Me Name my New Cookie, Contest. White Chocolate Peppermint Candy Cane Cookies

I've been working on this recipe for a few days. Originally my thought was to put a twist on the traditional peppermint bark with a cookie base.

I would love to hear some creative suggestions for the name of this delightful new cookie. Please post comments with some suggestions. The winning cookie name will win a set of Christmas cookie cutters.

I thought, instead of bark, how about a white chocolate ganache with some peppermint extract and topped with crushed candy canes. Well....the white chocolate ganache didn't turn out so well. I forgot that white chocolate doesn't have the same composition as regular chocolate and a straight conversion from my basic chocolate ganache left me with a runny mess. I ended up more than doubling the white chocolate so I have whacks left over. That's okay though since my family ate over 40 of my cookies already!! So much for gifts....grrrr.

I also had to tint the white chocolate red/pink as it went a little too yellow during the process and didn't look nice. It tastes fabulous though!

The end result is wonderful combination of flavours. A crisp white chocolate sugar cookie, a layer of white chocolate ganache and crushed candy canes to top.

I'm going to split this into ingredients and instructions for each section respectively.

White Chocolate Sugar Cookie (source
2 ¼ cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
6 oz. white chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In small saucepan over low heat, melt the white chocolate and set aside.

In small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt (so they're well combined) and set aside.

In large mixer bowl beat butter and sugar until creamy. Blend in egg and vanilla extract. Beat in melted white chocolate.

Gradually beat in flour mixture until soft dough forms. Shape dough in ball; flatten to 3/4" thickness.

Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate 15 minutes* until firm.

On lightly floured surface, roll out dough to desired thickness. Bake until edges are golden (approximately 7 minutes). Let stand 2 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets and cool completely.

*Note: You MUST be able to roll and cut the dough after the 15 minute refrigeration time, or it will set up too much and won't roll out well.

White Chocolate Peppermint Ganache
18 oz pure belgian white chocolate, broken into small pieces
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp butter
1/2 tsp pure peppermint extract (or more to individual taste)

Place broken up white chocolate in a medium metal mixing bowl. Be sure the bowl is clean and very dry.
In a small saucepan place the cream and butter into pot bringing to a simmer over medium heat. Once simmered pour over chocolate. Let sit while the chocolate melts (a few minutes), stir until smooth. Add the peppermint extract and thoroughly combine.

Let cool to room temperature. Once the heat has dispensed you can cover with plastic wrap.

You will need approx 4 larger size candy canes to top. Crush them in a plastic bag with a meat mallet (that's what I do)

Assembly Instructions.
Once the ganache is cooled and set it should be spreadable and remain smooth. Spread evenly on cookie to desired thickness. A little more than 1/8" works well. Sprinkle crushed candy canes over the top of the cookie. Spread the cookies out over a parchment paper on cookie sheets and allow to completely set. You will find the ganache will set further and harden a little more. This is good!!

This recipe yields approx 75 medium sized diamond shaped cookies. Store in layers between waxed paper in an airtight container. Based on past experience these should freeze well for up to 3 months.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Colourful Peppermint Meringues

It's Christmas cookie time!! The kids and I always make all kinds of different cookies and make gifts of them for teachers, their agent, dance instructors, neighbours etc.

Picked up the Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookie edition again this year and found a few in there I'm testing this year. I have several from years ago that have become classics. I'm also inventing a new cookie. Working on it in my head and will experiment today as well.

Here is the first cookie tested this year. It's colourful and nice and light. I piped these out of an icing bag using a large star tip. The instructions say to bake at 200 F for 90 minutes. I placed 1/2 the batch in the oven and the other half in my convection oven at 225 F for 60 minutes. The convection oven ones turned out better (no browning or colour change at all)


3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pure peppermint extract
3/4 cup sugar


Preheat oven to 200F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl combine egg whites, cream of tartar, salt and peppermint extract. Whip on medium high speed until soft peaks form. Slowly add the sugar (about a tablespoon at a time), beating on high until stiff peaks form.

With a small clean paintbrush, paint stipes of red food colouring paste on the inside of a large (18") icing bag. Using a large star tip on the end. Very carefully spoon the meringue into the bag. Pipe 2" stars onto prepared cookie sheets about 1 inch apart.

Bake in preheated oven for 90 minutes or until meringues appear dry and firm to a light touch. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. I slide the parchment off the cookie sheet and onto the wire rack until the cookies are cool enough to remove without sticking, then let cool completely.

Store in layers seperated by waxed paper in an airtight container. Can be frozen up to 3 months.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bacon and Egg Pastries with Cheddar

I know I've been remiss to post anything of late. My camera is not functioning well.

However. I have been busy experimenting a bit in the kitchen. I bought my mom a Breakfast book this past weekend as she and my dad run a bed and breakfast.

This one turned out very well. I actually made it for dinner tonight. It was quick and easy, and the kids LOVED it!! The recipe called for ready made pie dough. Feel free to use it. I will also include a recipe for a simple pie dough. I'm hoping to find another one as Christmas nears but this one worked well for it's purpose today.
Butter (for greasing)
1 lb, prepared, basic pie dough
all purpose flour for dusting and rolling
2 tbsp dijon mustard
12 lean bacon slices, diced, cooked, and drained well
12 small eggs
salt and pepper
1 cup grated old cheddar cheese
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 12 cup muffin pan (deep)
Roll the dough out to a 1/4 inch thickness, on a lightly floured counter and cut out 12 circles (I used a a large drinking glass and rolled a little thinner to expand them. (approx 5 inch diameter). Use the dough to line the individual muffin cups, gently pleating the sides as you ease them in.
Brush 1/2 tsp of dijon mustard into each of the prepared muffin cups. Distribute the bacon evenly throughout the cups.
Break the eggs into a bowl. Gently spoon each of the yolks into each cup. Spoon egg white into each cup filling approximately 2/3 of the way full. Don't overfill. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with shredded cheese.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the egg is set and cheese is golden brown. Serve warm and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Excellent and quick.
Pastry Dough (source:
Ingredients for one double-crust 9 inch or 10 inch pie:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup (a stick and a half) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1/2 cup of all-vegetable shortening (8 Tbsp)
6-8 Tablespoons ice water (please note I only used 2 tbsp Ice water)

1 Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Add the butter and pulse 4 times. Add shortening in tablespoon sized chunks, and pulse 4 more times. The mixture should resemble coarse cornmeal, with butter bits no bigger than peas. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons of ice water over flour mixture. Pulse a couple times. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready. If the dough doesn't hold together, keep adding water, a tablespoon at a time, pulsing once after each addition, until the mixture just begins to clump together.
2 Remove dough from machine and place in a mound on a clean surface. Divide the dough into 2 balls and flatten each into 4 inch wide disks. Do not over-knead the dough! Dust the disks lightly with flour, wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate for at least an hour, or up to 2 days before rolling out.
3 After the dough has chilled in the refrigerator for an hour, you can take it out to roll. If it is too stiff, you may need to let it sit for 5-10 minutes at room temperature before rolling. Sprinkle a little flour on a flat, clean work surface and on top of the disk of dough you intend to roll out. Using a rolling pin, apply light pressure while rolling outwards from the center of the dough. Every once in a while you may need to gently lift under the dough (an icing knife works great for this) to make sure it is not sticking. You have a big enough piece of dough when you place the pie tin or pie dish upside down on the dough and the dough extends by at least 2 inches all around.
4 When the dough has reached the right size, gently fold it in half. Lift up the dough and place it so that the folded edge is along the center line of the pie dish. Gently unfold. Do not stretch the dough.
5a If you are only making a single crust pie, use a pair of kitchen scissors to trim the dough to within 1/2 inch of the lip of the dish. Tuck the overhang underneath itself along the edge of the pie dish. Use your fingers in a pinching motion, or the tines of a fork to crimple the edge of the pie crust.
5b If you are making a double crust pie, roll out the second disk of dough. Gently place onto the top of the filling in the pie. Use a kitchen scissors to trim the overhang to an inch over. Fold the edge of the top piece of dough over and under the edge of the bottom piece of dough, pressing together. Finish the double crust by pressing against the edges of the pie with your finger tips or with a fork.
6 Use a sharp knife to cut vents into the top of the pie crust, so the steam has a place to escape while the pie is cooking. Optional Before scoring, you may want to paint the top of your crust with an egg wash (this will make a nice finish).

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Foccacia Bread and Pizza Recipe

I was hoping to post a cool Halloween Cauldron Cake today but sadly it never got made. We had to cancel our Halloween party due to the flu my youngest contracted.

Pizza was requested for dinner tonight so I'm posting my version of Pizza for you instead.

A friend of mine passed along a Foccacia Bread recipe years ago and while I rarely make it to use as bread (sometime pannini) I do use it as my base for Pizza dough. I make my dough in a breakmaker under dough setting.

Foccacia bread

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp chopped or minced garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 pinch ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup water
1 tbsp parmesan cheese
1 tbsp bread machine yeast
Bake in oven for 8 minutes at 425 degrees F.
If you make the bread without pizza toppings, place dough on greased baking sheet, and pat it down to 1/2 thick rectangle, brush the top with olive oil and spring parmesan cheese and cup of mozzarella cheese. Preheat oven.

For Pizza I take the dough and usually divide it into two. I allow it to rise for about 1/2 hour, and then form the round dough bases on a well floured surface. I place two Pizza Stones in the oven for about 10 minutes while preheating and working on the pizza's themselves. Preheat oven to 425 F when you start to make the pizza's.

Spread some cornmeal on the pizza stone and transfer the pizza onto the stone. Bake for approx 11-13 minutes.

Roll your dough to approx 1/4 inch thick. Pinch around the sides to ensure the ingredients don't slide out. Spread pizza sauce on the dough

Pizza 035

Add ingredients as desired. I use cooked chicken, pepperoni, green and red peppers, and mushrooms, and course plenty of mozzarella cheese. Please note, I usually double the recipe above and divide into three for our family. I also substitute one third of the white flour for whole wheat, and use both regular mozzarella and soya mozzarella for a bit of a healthier option.

Pizza 038

Sprinkle more cheese over the top of the ingredients.

Here is the pizza all baked up. Note the dough rises quite a bit so making it as thin as you can prior to baking will give you a thinner crust.

Pizza 041

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