Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 10 of 2010


I wanted to share some of my favorite recipes from 2010.  It was hard to choose my top ten but these are recipes that I have made several times throughout the year.  When I looked back at my posts from 2010, I realize that my food is not fancy at all.  It is comfort food.  It is simple and easy food.  It is good, delicious food.  It is me.

Thank you for everyone that has visited my blog this past year and has taken the time to leave me comments.  I truly appreciate all my visitors and all your kind words.  I'm looking forward to sharing more recipes in 2011.

Mom's Cooking Club Lesson:  Don't forget to go back and look at the recipes you made in 2010.  Put your "keeper" recipes in a binder so you can remember all your favorite ones.  Make them again in 2011.   

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cracked Sugar Cookies........12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies: Week 12

I had to include a sugar cookie on my last recipe for the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies.  As much as I love cut out sugar cookies, it is very time consuming.  So, I went with an easy drop sugar cookie with a unique cracked top.  A little crunchy with a light sugary coating on the outside makes for a really good sugar cookie. 

Cracked Sugar Cookies
Recipe slightly adapted from Allrecipes & Savory Sweet Life

Yield: 24 cookies


1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 cup butter, softened
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Turbinado (coarse) sugar or granulated sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets or use parchment paper.

2. Cream together sugar and butter. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla.

3. Add flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Stir.

4. Form dough into walnut size balls and roll in sugar of choice.  Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Don't flatten. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until tops are cracked and just turning color.  Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before moving to a cooling rack.  

Note:  I rolled half the sugar cookie dough in coarse sugar and the other half in granulated sugar.  The ones with the coarse sugar had a little extra crunch to them.

It's been alot of fun participating in these cookie posts the last 12 weeks.  With the linky blog hop attached each week, I now have a ton of cookie recipes to try.  And so do you!  Check out the other cookies/treats I made the last 12 weeks:

Cracked Sugar Cookies


Mom's Cooking Club LessonGift/Packaging Idea - These cookies are for Santa.  So, place on a cookie plate and leave out with a tall glass of milk.  Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Chocolate Walnut Fudge.......12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies: Week 11

How about some chocolate fudge on your cookie trays this year?  You have to have some chocolate around the holiday season and what better way than with homemade fudge.  Quick and easy to make which is perfect during the last hectic weeks of Christmas.      

Chocolate Walnut Fudge
Recipe by Anne Thornton from Food Network


2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup chopped nuts, optional, (recommended: toasted, salted walnuts)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


In a heavy bottom saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate chips with the sweetened condensed milk and the salt. Remove from the heat, stir in the nuts, if using, and the vanilla. Spread evenly into a foil-lined 8 or 9-inch square pan. Chill for 3 hours, or until firm. Remove the fudge from the pan and place onto a cutting board. Remove the foil from the bottom of the fudge and cut into squares. Store, covered, in the refrigerator or freezer.

Note:  I used chopped walnuts but did not toast them.  I stored my fudge in the refrigerator.  I recommend eating the fudge at room temperature. 


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson Gift/Packaging Idea -  Package your fudge in a cute box or container.  You can get boxes like the one above at Target, Michaels or a variety of craft and kitchen stores. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mandel Bread (Mandelbrodt)...........12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies: Week 10

This is a special cookie to me.  It's a family recipe by my grandmother and one that represents my Jewish heritage.  Since Hanukkah started last week, this is the perfect time to share this cookie from my childhood and culture.  Mandel Bread is a twice baked cookie similar to Italian Biscotti.  It has a cinnamon sugar topping.  Walnuts and/or chocolate chips can be added.

I have never made Mandel Bread until now.  I left that up to my grandmother and my oldest sister, Maxine.  My sister makes them every holiday season and I look forward to getting my fill whenever I get the chance to visit.  Well, now that I have finally made these cookies on my own (what took me so long), I can enjoy one of my favorite childhood cookies any time of the year.  And now, I can continue the tradition and pass on this family recipe to my daughters.

My grandmother (affectionately known as Motha) passed away many years ago but she was in the kitchen with me as I made her Mandel Bread.  Don't forget the family recipes and traditions this holiday season.  And maybe try some new recipes from other cultures as well.  

Mandel Bread
Recipe by my grandmother, Annette Sussman


3 large eggs, well beaten
3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 - 3 cups flour ( I used closer to 3 cups)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1 cup walnuts, chopped
semi-sweet chocolate chips, optional


1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all the ingredients through salt in a mixer or my hand.  Fold in walnuts or chocolate chips, if using.  Place dough in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or overnight.  Divide dough into 3 or four equal parts and place in bread loaf pans.  Spread dough evenly into pans.  I use my hands for this.  Depending on how many you use, you will have 3 or 4 pans of dough.  The dough will be 1 or 2 inches high but it will rise some when it cooks. 

Bake for 20 - 25 minutes.  It should be crisp and a little golden brown.

Cut cookies into slices while still warm and still in loaf pans.  Sprinkle tops of Mandel Bread with mixture of cinnamon and sugar, divided evenly between pans.

Place loaf pans back in oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes.  Cool before removing slices from pan.  Store in airtight container.

Variation:  Add 1/2 cup or more chocolate chips to batter instead of nuts or with nuts.  I divided the dough in half and placed chopped walnuts in one and chocolate chips in the other half.


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson Gift/Packaging Idea:  Place one or two pieces of Mandel Bread in a clear treat bag wrapped with a pretty ribbon.  Place in a large coffee or cappuccino cup with matching saucer.  For something extra special add a gift card to your local coffee shop.   

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Vanilla-Bourbon Pumpkin Tart - Holiday Dinner Party with the Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club

Vanilla Bourbon Pumpkin Tart

It's holiday time.  Time for dinner parties and get-togethers.  How about a Holiday Dinner Party, Cooking Light style?  This month the Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club got together to celebrate the season.  I made dessert.  Basically a pumpkin pie but kicked up a couple of notches.  The bourbon, spices and cream cheese gave it really good flavor.  A special dessert for a special time of year.  Here is the rest of our menu:

Sandi (Whistlestop Cafe Cooking) - Turkey Scallopine with Apricots and Ginger
Helene (La Cuisine d'Helene) - Creamy Artichokes
Mary Ann (Meet Me in the Kitchen) - Cauliflower Caviar with Frizzled Prosciutto
Val (More Than Burnt Toast) - Wild Rice Dressing with Chestnuts & Cranberries
Jamie (Mom's Cooking Club) - Vanilla Bourbon Pumpkin Tart

Click on each blog's link to see more details of the other recipes.

Vanilla-Bourbon Pumpkin Tart
Recipe by Cooking Light



3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 5 cookie sheets)
1 tablespoon finely chopped pecans
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Cooking spray


1 cup (8 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 (15-ounce) can unsweetened pumpkin
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons bourbon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

Remaining ingredients:

1/3 cup cold heavy cream
2 teaspoons powdered sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. To prepare crust, combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl. Drizzle butter over crumb mixture; stir with a fork. Firmly press into bottom and 1 inch up sides of a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 8 minutes or until lightly browned; cool on a wire rack.

3. To prepare filling, beat cream cheese, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add pumpkin and eggs; beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Add bourbon and the next 5 ingredients (through ground allspice); beat 1 minute or until combined. Pour cheese mixture into prepared pan. Place pan in a large roasting pan; add hot water to pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until center barely moves when side of pan is tapped. Cool completely on wire rack. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Place cream and powdered sugar in a small bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form. Serve sweetened whipped cream with tart.

Pumpkin Tart


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson:  This tart is made in a springform pan in a hot water bath.  The hot water bath is used to keep the tart from cracking.  If you use the water bath method make sure you wrap aluminum foil tightly around the bottom and sides of the springform pan.  You don't want any water to seep in.
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