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Cinnamon Mascarpone Cutout Cookies

For a food blogger that primarily blogs sweets, I am seriously lacking in the cookie department. Sure I have dozens of great cookie recipes here on my blog, but nothing compared to some of my blogging friends. 

This time of year, cookies seem to be the highlight. So I figured I better fix my little cookie problem, and come up with some fun new recipes to share with you guys before Christmas is over (in 6 days.....)

Cutout cookies are my favorite, I love any form of butter or sugar cookie on the planet. However, I like my cookies naked. I prefer not to have them covered in sprinkles or frosting. They are great as is. This particular recipe is now one of my favorites. They are just slightly sweet, a touch of cinnamon and they melt in your mouth. Perfect to pair with frosting if that is your thing, but if you are cookie nudist like myself enjoy them all on their own.

Cinnamon Mascarpone Cutout Cookies
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (extra if needed) 
1/2 tsp salt 
1 tbs ground cinnamon
1 cup granulated sugar 
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup vegetable shortening 
1/4 cup unsalted butter 
6 oz mascarpone cheese, room temperature

In a mixing bowl sift flour, salt and cinnamon together. Set aside. 
In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment cream sugar together with egg yolk, shortening, butter, and mascarpone. 
Mix in vanilla extract. 
Mix in flour mixture until it comes together as a dough. It should be just barely sticky to the touch. If too sticky, add in more flour. 
Cover bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours. 
Divide dough in half and roll each portion out on a well floured surface until it is about 1/8-1/4 of an inch thick.
Cut  using desired cookie shapes, re-roll scraps and repeat process. 
Place cookies on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. 
Bake for about 7 minutes, or until the bottoms start to become a light golden color. Bake times may vary depending on the size of your cookie cutter and how thick you rolled the dough. 
Allow cookies to cool before decorating. 
(yields about 3 dozen depending on your cookie shapes and thickness)



Maple and Rosemary Braised Chicken Thighs and a WUSTHOF giveaway!

Chicken thighs are not used often enough in recipes. I find more uses for boneless skinless chicken breasts than I do any other portion of the chicken. Which is a shame considering all the flavor is within the dark meat of the bird! 
Not only does it taste better, dark meat is generally much cheaper to purchase per pound so we use it a lot in our weekly meal planning. 
In this particular recipes, I braised the chicken thighs with bacon, onions, rosemary, and garlic in a bottle of craft cider, as well as grade B syrup. These are great served with a roasted root vegetable and some brown rice. 

Maple and Rosemary Braised Chicken Thighs

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 tbs olive oil
4 slices of bacon, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 12 oz bottle of your favorite sweet craft cider
1/3 cup grade B maple syrup 
1 tbs fresh rosemary, roughly diced
1 tbs cornstarch 
1/2 cup diced roasted pecans (optional) 
Salt and Pepper
Additional rosemary sprigs for garnish

Heat olive in a large fry pan over medium high heat, and salt and pepper both sides of the chicken thighs. 
Place thighs in pan and fry until each side is browned (don't worry about cooking through yet).  Should take about 3 minutes per side.

Remove chicken from pan and place on a plate, set aside. 
Add chopped bacon, onions, garlic and rosemary to pan and sauté over medium high heat until onions are translucent and the bacon is crisp. About 6 minutes. 
Sprinkle onion bacon mixture with cornstarch and quickly stir evenly coating them. Once they become slightly pasty, slowly pour in cider continuously mixing. 
Bring the mixture to a boil.
Once it starts to thicken, place thighs back in the pan, drizzle with maple syrup. 
Cover pan and reduce heat to medium/low. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the thighs are tender. 
Sprinkle with roasted pecans and garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs. (Optional)
Serve over rice. 
Now... how to enter in the WUSTHOF giveaway!

As a special holiday gift to our readers, I'm teaming up with WUSTHOF and a group of fabulous bloggers to offer this exciting prize to one lucky reader!

It's the brand's 200th anniversary this year, and that the company continues to craft all of its cutlery in Solingen, Germany, where the company was established in 1814. The family-owned and family managed company is led by 7th generation Wüsthofs who maintain a laser focus on providing chefs and avid cooks the best quality knives available in the world

To enter, follow the directions on the Rafflecopter widget below. Be sure to comment below telling me what you'll be chopping and dicing with your new knives if you win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The White Russian

My younger years (not that long ago) consisted of quite a few nights filled with too much drinking (as many collage aged kids do) and as a result of some bad drink choices, I can no longer tolerate most hard alcohol.

As time passes, I slowly (at sloth speed) have been able to add some drinks back into my life. Beer for instance, turned my stomach for so many years, now? I am obsessed. Not in a, you need to join AA kind of way, I just have fun sampling new things and finding local brews.

Whiskey, depending on the drink, I can now tolerate, gin has never left my side, and now I can drink vodka, and Kahlua.

Rum and tequila  however, keep away. Just a whiff of it and I am running to the nearest bathroom.

Now that the nights are cold, the Christmas tree is up I have been enjoying rich classic drinks like White Russians. Now, I know most of you know how to make them, however I could not pass up the opportunity to blog about such a simple treat.

How to Make the Best White Russian 

1.5 oz vodka ( I use Grey Goose) 
2 oz Kahlua 
2.5 oz heavy cream (you can use half and half if you want to cut calories) 

Fill a glass with ice, top with vodka and Kahlua.
Pour cream over the top and allow it to swirl together. I like to keep it as is, the top is rich and creamy as you near the bottom each sip gets a bit stronger. 
*Additional add ins:
Cut Kahlua in half and sub in Baileys
Drizzle caramel or chocolate syrup in the drink
Use flavored vodka, like caramel, whipped cream, toasted marshmallow