Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Gift Bags

I made Christmas Gift Bags for Levi's family and extended family this year.  It was a huge project but, as always, a lot of fun.  Here's what I made:

55 jars of Homemade Hot Fudge
over 100 Caramel and Chocolate covered Pretzels
Cranberry Orange Cookies

I made extra Hot Fudge for friends and Levi's co-workers.  I've posted my Mom's famous Hot Fudge recipe at the end of this post.  It's amazing.
I made 16 gift bags in total.

Mom’s Own Hot Fudge Sauce


1 can evaporated milk (13 oz)
1 cup sugar
1 package semisweet chocolate chips (12 oz) or 2 CUPS
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons butter


1. Heat evaporated milk and sugar over medium heat until mixture almost starts to boil, stirring from
time to time. (If it boils over it will be a big mess!)
2. Add chocolate chips and stir constantly until boiling. Cook until the chocolate is smooth and thicker.
3. Take off the heat and add vanilla, almond extract and butter. Stir everything smooth.
4. Pour into jars and let cool with lids off. Cover tightly and refrigerate.




Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Party

This year I had a small Christmas Party with some friends.  I served Cranberry Orange bread, Sugar cookies, my Mom's famous Christmas Pudding, Hot Fudge Sundae's, and fruit.  
Here's the Cranberry Orange bread.  It was pretty easy to make, but I wasn't crazy about it.  I got the recipe from America's Test Kitchen: The Baking Edition.

I didn't make these.  Being 8 1/2 months pregnant, I was trying to lighten up my load.  I got these cute cookies at Kneaders.  Sadly, they looked better than they tasted.

Here's my Mom's Christmas Pudding!  It was my first time making it, and I was delighted with the turnout.  This is a Molasses cake with Craisins.  It's served with a creamy butter sauce.  It's a  rich dessert, but SO GOOD!  The recipe is at the end of this post.

Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce
And that's away.

Mom’s Own Christmas Pudding

1 ½ cup boiling water
1 ½ cup chopped craisins
¾ cup molasses
2 eggs
3 tablespoons butter
2 ¼ cup flour
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon salt

Creamy Sauce or Hard Sauce (below)

Pour boiling water on craisins; stir in butter and let stand for 5 minutes.
Mix flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
Stir cranberry mixture, molasses and eggs into flour mixture.
Pour into well-greased 8-cup mold. Cover tightly with a lid.
Place the mold into a large pot; pour boiling water into the pot until it is
half way up the mold. Cover the pot.
 Keep water boiling over low heat until a wooden pick inserted into the
center of the pudding comes out clean, about 2 hours.

Remove the mold from the pot and let stand 5 minutes; unmold. Serve warm
with Creamy Sauce or Hard Sauce.

Creamy Sauce:

Beat 1 ½ cups of powdered sugar and 1 ½ cups of softened butter in a medium
saucepan until smooth and creamy. Stir in 1 ½ cup whipping cream. Heat to
boiling, stirring occasionally. Note: This can boil over so watch it!

Hard Sauce:

Beat 1 ½ cup softened butter in a medium mixing bowl on high speed until
smooth, about 5 minutes. Gradually beat in 3 cups of powdered sugar and 2
teaspoons of vanilla. Refrigerate 1 hour.



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The impossible cookies made possible!

I have a favorite cookie that I have never been able to successfully make.  The recipe comes from a dear friend, Maggie.  She is quite possibly the most loved woman in South Dakota.  While I was home for Thanksgiving, I had a special cooking lesson with her.  She did all the work while I carefully observed every step, and took detailed notes.  Thanks to her great lesson, I think I've finally got it down!  The cookie is a Cranberry Orange chew.  They are perfect for the holidays.  I plan to make them for my holiday gift baskets this year.  They really are to die for!

Butter, sugar, and orange peel creamed together.
This is how the dough should look after mixing, before you add the Craisins. 
Here is the fabulous cookie maker, Maggie!


Cranberry Orange Chews


Grated orange peel from one orange
3 cubes of butter
2 cups of sugar
2 tsp of vanilla
1/4 tsp of salt
1 tsp of baking powder
3 1/4 cups of flour
1 1/2 cups of dried cranberries or craisins (Maggie likes to use the orange flavored ones)
1 1/2 cups of flaked coconut


Finely grate one orange.  Maggie says to get the orangest orange that you can find.  Next, cream together butter and sugar in a standing mixer.  Beat for about 2 minutes, but not too fast!  Add the orange peel and vanilla.  Next mix in salt and baking powder.  Then add the flour.  Mix very slowly for about 5 minutes, until it looks like pie crust.  Add the dried cranberries and coconut while slowly mixing.

Place the rack on the upper middle setting, and preheat the oven to 350.  Pack the cookie dough into a 1 1/2 inch cookie scoop.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  Makes 47 cookies.  Eat when almost cooled, if you can resist!

Maggie gave me a very important tip to making these cookies's don't rush the process!  She says to take your time, and have fun.  



Saturday, December 4, 2010

Thanksgiving Dinner

I come from a family of 6 women who love to cook!  Thanksgiving is always a big deal to us.  We each had different assignments in the kitchen.  Here's what we made...

We started with making the best thing first... PIES!  We made a total of 7 pies... apple, mixed berry, cherry, pecan, blackberry, and two pumpkin.