Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lemon Icebox Cookies........Week 5 of The 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies

After my rich and decadent holiday dessert last week, I wanted to make  something a little lighter this week.  I'm not sure if you can call a butter cookie "lighter" but it sounds good to me.

Ice Box Cookies (aka Refrigerator Cookies) are basically shortbread cookies that are usually rolled into logs, refrigerated and then sliced and baked.  This dough made 3 logs.  I sliced and baked 2 of them 1 day and then used the 3rd one the next day.  This dough can be frozen for up to 2 months which is perfect to make ahead of time.  You can then thaw out the dough and bake it around the holidays.

These cookies were not "pucker your lips" with lemon flavor.  They had a hint of lemon and were on the crunchy side.  Very good butter cookie that went perfect with a cup of hot tea.  

Make sure to check out the blog hop below for more cookie and treat ideas.

Lemon Icebox Cookies
Recipe by Southern Living


1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt


Beat butter and sugars at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add grated lemon rind and lemon juice, beating until blended.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt.  Gradually add to butter mixture and beat just until blended.

Divide dough into 3 equal portions.  Roll each portion to a 12 inch log and wrap in wax paper.  Place in refrigerator and chill 8 hours.

Cut each log into 1/2 inch slices (about 28 slices) and place on lightly greased baking sheets.  

Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Remove to wire racks to cool.  Store cookies in an airtight container.

Note:  I made the cookie dough in the morning and placed the dough logs in the refrigerator.  Later that day, I sliced and baked the cookies.  Fresh cookies for an evening treat.

What surprise hides inside?

Lemon Icebox Cookies!!!

Mom's Cooking Club Lesson:  Part of the fun of giving cookies and holiday treats is the packaging.  I got these cute Holiday Take Out containers at Michaels last year.  Your local craft store will have so many ideas.  Make it festive, make it fun!  


Monday, October 24, 2011

Honey Chicken Stir Fry

There is nothing more satisfying than making Stir Fry dishes at home.  Don't get me wrong, I love Chinese take out but when you can make delicious dishes like this at home, skip the take out and serve your family a healthier, tasty meal.  

Chicken is a regular staple in my house.  But, I'm always wanting to try different chicken recipes.  Different flavors and cooking methods is what keeps things fresh and interesting.  Honey Garlic Chicken is one of my family's favorite  Chinese take out meals.  I found this Honey Chicken Stir Fry recipe on the food website Tasty Kitchen.  We all really enjoyed this dish.  I increased the recipe to  6 servings for the 4 of us and there was just enough left over for my husband to take for lunch the next day.  

***There are so many recipe resources and places for inspiration.  For more chicken recipe ideas, check out Reader's Digest chicken recipe section.***  

Honey Chicken Stir Fry

Servings: 6


4 large egg whites
2/3 cup cornstarch or flour (I used cornstarch)
3/8 cup olive oil (I used about 1/3 cup total)
1 1/2 - 2 cups broccoli florets
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups sugar snap peas (snow peas can be substituted)
1/8 cup soy sauce (I used 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 - 2 lbs thin sliced, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup honey
salt and pepper


Prepare and slice vegetables.  Place 4 egg whites in a small bowl and beat lightly. In another small bowl or plate, add cornstarch.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Add vegetables to skillet and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Saute vegetables for about 5 minutes until softened.  Add soy sauce and garlic to veggies and stir until coated, about 1 minute.  Remove veggies from skillet and set aside.

Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces, season with salt and pepper.  Heat the same skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil to coat pan.  Dip chicken pieces in egg whites and then lightly dredge in cornstarch.  Add chicken to the skillet in batches and let brown 2-3 minutes, then flip and brown other side.  When chicken is cooked, remove to plate and continue in batches until all the chicken is cooked.  Add some more olive oil to pan with each batch.

Once all the chicken is cooked place the chicken and the vegetables back in skillet.  Add honey and mix thoroughly to combine.  Taste and season with salt, pepper, additional honey or soy sauce, if needed.  Serve with rice.  (I used Jasmine Rice)

(Click here to print original recipe). You can change the serving size to your needs.

Disclosure:  This is a compensated post from Reader's Digest to highlight their chicken recipe site and to share their link with my readers.  All writings are my own thoughts and opinions.

Saute some healthy vegetables...broccoli, red pepper and sugar snap peas


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson:  This dish has a couple of steps to it but you can make it easier on yourself. Cut your vegetables, measure your liquids and have your chicken cut up and coated before you begin the cooking process.  I try to have everything in the order I'm going to use them.  Stir frying is a pretty quick  cooking method so prepping ahead is always a good idea.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Snickers Brownies.......Week 4 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies

Ever since I made these Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Bites, I've been obsessed with adding candy to my baked goods.  I was going to make Snickers Cookies (yes there is such a thing), but due to time constraints, I needed to do something that would be be quicker.  So, I googled Snickers Brownies and found this recipe by My Baking Addiction.  

How do I describe these?  Decadent. Rich. Chocolaty. Fudgy. 

Was it a good idea to add Snickers Bars to brownies?


I know this is a little different for a Christmas treat but I don't think anyone would mind if these showed up on your cookie platter this year.   

Snickers Brownies

yield | 12 brownies


4 ounces unsweetened chocolate; coarsely chopped
3/4 cup butter, unsalted
1 ½ cups white sugar
3 eggs; lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
12 Fun Size Snickers Candy Bars; cut into fourths (I used 10 Snickers)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Microwave chocolate and butter in large bowl at medium (50% power) for 3-4 minutes or until butter is melted.
3. Whisk until chocolate is melted. Stir in sugar. Add in eggs, extract and salt. Gradually add in flour and stir until just combined.
4. Spread ½ the batter into prepared pan. Add an even layer of Snickers and cover with remaining ½ of brownie batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes; do not over bake.
5. Remove to cooling rack. Cool completely before cutting.

The hidden special ingredient in these brownies.  All I can say is WOW!

Lining the pan with foil makes it easy to lift out of the baking pan and cut into squares.

It's Week 4 and I'm working my way through the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies.  See the blog hop below for more shared holiday treats.


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson:  Snickers candy bars have been around a long time.  They were introduced by Mars, Incorporated in 1930.  A candy bar that stays around for 81 years has to be pretty special.  Roasted peanuts, nougat, caramel and milk chocolate.....Snickers!



Thursday, October 13, 2011

Molasses Cookies......Week #3......12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies

Molasses Cookies!!!!  These are a wonderful Christmas cookie.  But they are the ultimate Fall cookie.  This spice cookie uses cinnamon, ginger, cloves, molasses and dark brown sugar.  What a perfect flavor combination.  The smells that will fill your kitchen will put you in a happy mood.  They are chewy with a light sugar coating.  I really can't stop thinking about these cookies.  A great idea for your Christmas cookie platter but an even better idea is to make them now for your Fall baking.

Molasses Cookies
Recipe by Joy of Baking

Yield: about 3 dozen cookies


2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1/3 cup unsulphured molasses (I used Grandma's Original Molasses)
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated white sugar (for garnish)


1. In a large bowl, sift or whisk the flour, baking soda, salt and spices.
2. Beat the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. (about 2-3 minutes)
3. Add the oil, molasses, egg and vanilla extract and beat until mixed.  
4. Beat in the flour mixture until well incorporated.  Cover and chill the batter until firm. (about 2 hours or overnight)
5. After the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper.
6. Place 1/2 cup white sugar in a small bowl.  Add more sugar if needed.  Roll chilled dough into 1 inch balls.  Then roll the balls of dough into the sugar, coating them all around.  Place on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart.  With the bottom of a glass, flatten the cookies slightly.  
7. Bake for about 9-10 minutes or until the tops of the cookies have crinkles and will look a little underdone.  Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.  Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

These cookies are so addicting.  I bet you just can't eat one.

More cookie recipes are below in the blog hop.  Keep checking back as additional people join.  You will have plenty of ideas and recipes for your Holiday baking this season.


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson:  What is molasses?  It's the dark, sweet, syrupy byproduct that you get with the extraction of sugars from sugarcane, sugar beets and grapes.  It is created when the juices from these products are processed.  There is sulphured and unsulphured molasses.  Sulphured molasses has been treated with sulfur dioxide as a preservative.  Unsulphured molasses, which is used in these cookies, has a lighter, cleaner sugar flavor.    


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Bites.....Week 2 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies

Is it a brownie?  Is it candy?  It's a combination.  Candy inside a brownie bite.  Oh my!  This is some serious goodness.  It's Week 2 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies.  This week I decided to make brownies instead of cookies.  There's plenty of room for a variety of goodies on your holiday cookie tray.    

 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are one of my favorite candies.  One of my favorite desserts are brownies.  Put the 2 together and I'm pretty much in heaven.  These are super easy to make and fun too!  

Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Bites
Recipe by Savory Sweet Life

Yield: Approx. 40 Brownie Bites


3/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
40 miniature Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, unwrapped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray mini cupcake pan(s) with non stick spray. In a medium bowl, mix melted butter, sugars and vanilla.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Add flour, cocoa and salt.  Mix until combined.  Fill each cupcake section with batter, slightly more than halfway.  Do not overfill.  Place a peanut butter cup in each cupcake hole, pressing it down until it is almost level with the batter.  Bake in preheated oven for 15-18 minutes or until done.  Cool the brownie bites for 5 minutes before removing from the cupcake tin.  

Note: Thanks to Alice from the blog Savory Sweet Life for this recipe.

(Go here to print recipe)

My daughter, Marissa, unwrapped all the candy for me and placed then in the batter.  What a great recipe for your kids to help make.

See the blog hop link below for some more wonderful cookie/treat recipes from other bloggers.


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson:  I had a hard time getting out some of the brownie bites.  Some broke as I tried to remove them.  I may have overfilled the muffin cups.  Next time I will use mini muffin liners.  I think that will solve the problem.  But no worries....we enjoyed eating the warm broken ones.  They didn't go to waste.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn

Welcome to October....can you believe it? This is one of my favorite months.  The weather is getting cooler, there's a briskness in the air, cooking my favorite fall foods like soups and stews, fall baking, getting ready for the upcoming holidays.  The first one is Halloween.  We always decorate our front yard for Halloween.  I love sitting on my front porch and giving out candy to all the kids.  

Do you like to have adult Halloween parties?  Here is a Halloween inspired menu from the Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club.  This month's theme focuses on Halloween....the spooky, orange or black.  

I made this "Devilishly Devine Peanut Butter Caramel Corn" which is in the October issue of Cooking Light Magazine.  Making caramel corn is so easy and so addicting to eat.  This one is a little different with the peanut butter and almonds but definitely a yummy treat.  A great little party snack.  

Click here for the original recipe on

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn
Slightly adapted from Cooking Light


Cooking Spray
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 regular-size bags of microwave popcorn, popped
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup light-colored corn syrup
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
2. Spray a jelly-roll pan with cooking spray (better idea would be to use parchment paper and spray the paper with cooking spray)
3. Microwave popcorn according to package instructions.
4. Place popped popcorn in large bowl or pot.  Add almonds.
5. Combine sugar, syrup, butter and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes, stirring occassionally. Remove from heat. Add peanut butter and vanilla.  Stir until smooth.  
6.  Spread popcorn with almonds on a large baking sheet.  Drizzle peanut butter mixture over popcorn and toss well.  
7.  Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Cool before breaking apart and placing in sealed container.  

Note:  Everytime you stir the popcorn, more pieces will be coated and the caramel will get harder.

(Print here for recipe)

The rest of our Spooky Halloween Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club menu is below.  Click on their links for more recipe details. 

Mary Ann (Meet Me in the Kitchen) - Sweet Potato and Black Bean Empanadas
Sandi (Whistlestop Cafe Cooking) - Devilish Eggs (Deviled Eggs w/Smoked Salmon and Herbs)
Val (More Than Burnt Toast) - Roasted Squash Soup with Turkey Croquettes
Jerry (Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants) - Dracula's Revenge (Baked Penne with Sausage and Garlic)
Roz (La Bella Vita) - Chocolate Spiderweb Cookies

This popcorn keeps well in a plastic container.  Great for opening up and grabbing a handful.  And another.  And another.


Mom's Cooking Club Lesson:  I did not use parchment paper on my baking sheet.  I sprayed it with cooking spray.  My popcorn did stick some when finished baking.  I just used a spatula to get most of the popcorn off the pan.  If I would have used parchment paper, I'm sure it would not have stuck as much on the pan.  The lesson.....use parchment paper.

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