Family Favorites · Holidays

Kringla for Christmas…Almond vs. Anise

A Christmas tradition in our house is to make Kringla, typically flavored with Anise extract. My oldest daughter Megan, likes Kringla, but not the taste of Anise. Lucky for her, I was out of Anise extract and tried Almond Extract instead, and loved the results.  I had to double the amount of extract to make sure the Kringla actually carried the almond flavor.

Kringla…hot chocolate…Kolaches (cherry and chocolate)…family gathered in the living room late Christmas morning…what a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas.

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Our new tradition…Almond Kringla.

KRINGLA…ALMOND STYLE

I usually double the recipe and freeze several to enjoy long after the holidays are gone.

1 egg
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or more to suit your taste)
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 cups flour

  • Beat egg and sugar together. Add anise extract, melted butter, buttermilk and 1/2 of sour cream.
  • Mix 1/2 teaspoon baking soda with remainder of sour cream and let sit for about 5 minutes.
  • Mix together flour, baking powder and remaining 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
  • Mix together flour mixture alternately adding egg mixture and sour cream mixture. Dough will be very stiff and you will need to finish mixing with your hands.
  • Chill dough overnight.  Remove 1-2 cups of dough at a time so the dough remains chilled.  Take a small piece of dough (size of a small walnut) and roll into a ball and then into a pencil shape.  Shape the dough into a pretzel shape and place on a greased cookie sheet.
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  • Bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes on the bottom rack of the oven and then on top rack of oven for 2-3 minutes. Bottom of Kringla should be golden brown–tops may not be brown.  (I have found that every oven is different.  Mine tends to run hot so I decrease the amount of time on the bottom shelf to 3 minutes.)  In a convection oven, I’ve found 5 minutes on the middle shelf to be sufficient.
  • Cool and store in airtight container. Great warm with butter and a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.
Family · Family Favorites

Christmas Memories 2013

The hustle bustle of Christmas is over.  The decorations are still brightly shining and the memories are precious. To share but a few…

Big BAD Joe after he ate all of the Christmas Cookies (not so precious):

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Grandson Evan posing in front of the Christmas Tree (but terrified of my new Canon DSLR camera):

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Evan with Santa

evan and santa 2013

Believe, it or not, Evan really isn’t into crying unless he is scared so, just for the record, here’s a picture of the true Evan, happy and fun!

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Family photos taken September 2013 finally delivered by the photographer after our Christmas Cards and Newsletters were sent:

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Our family is blessed and we enjoyed spending time together. Now, on to 2014 and the adventures of a new year.

AULD LANG SYNE

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?

CHORUS:

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

New Favorite

White Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

Guests were coming for lunch on Saturday…what to make for dessert…

The Ghiradelli White Chocolate chips were calling my name.  Normally one thinks of White Chocolate with Macadamia nuts but why not pecans.  I baked these yummy cookies from the Ghiradelli recipe with delicious pecans.  They are slightly addictive so the remaining cookies are in the freezer for a quick dessert another time.

WHITE CHOCOLATE PECAN COOKIES

Yield: 5 dozen cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups unsifted flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups (11 oz. bag) white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Cream the butter and sugars until fluffy.
  • Add the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, and beat well.
  • Blend in the flour, baking soda and salt.
  • Stir in the white chips and nuts.

  • Drop by teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheets (or lined with parchment). Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Adapted from Ghirardelli Macadamia White Chip Cookies recipe on the back of the Ghirardelli Classic White Chips package

New Favorite

Pignoli…almond and pine nut decadence!

Italian Tony’s Market in the Denver area makes wonderful Pignoli.  Pignoli cookies are an Italian American confection, similar to a macaroon and topped with pine nuts. This week I was in search of a recipe I could make them at home. There were many wonderful recipes but this recipe was my final choice.  They were fantastic!

PIGNOLI COOKIES

12 ounces almond paste
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
4 egg whites
1 1/2 cups pine nuts

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with foil; lightly grease the foil.
  • Mix almond paste and granulated sugar in food processor until smooth.
  • Add confectioner’s sugar and 2 egg whites; process until smooth.
  • Whisk remaining 2 egg whites in small bowl.
  • Place pine nuts on shallow plate. With lightly floured hands roll dough into 1 inch balls. Coat balls in egg whites, shaking off excess, then roll in pine nuts, pressing lightly to stick to dough.
  • Arrange balls on cookie sheets, and flatten slightly to form a 1 1/2 inch round.

  • Bake 15 to 18 minutes (watch carefully because each oven and baking pan is different) until lightly browned.  Let stand on cookie sheet 1 minute. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Recipe from Allrecipes.com:  Pignoli Cookies 1

Family Favorites · New Traditions

Peppermint Buttons just in time for Christmas!

Peppermint Buttons are a relatively new family favorite, brought to us by former neighbor.  Several years ago Pam shared this recipe with us during one of my Holiday Cookie Exchanges (I must have another one some year soon).  It’s easy, refreshing, and soooo yummy.

Peppermint Buttons
Peppermint Buttons

PEPPERMINT BUTTONS

1/2 cup browned butter or margarine
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg white
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup flour
1/2 cup coarsely crushed hard peppermint candies

candy canes to crush
candy canes to crush
Crushed candy canes
Crushed candy canes
  • To browned butter, place butter in an 8 to 10 inch frying pan over medium heat until lightly browned, 5-10 minutes. Pour into a bowl and cool.
  • In a bowl with a mixer, beat butter with sugar until well blended. Then beat in egg white and vanilla.
  • In another bowl, combine flour and baking soda. Add to butter mixture. Stir then beat until well mixed. Stir in crushed peppermint candies.
  • Drop dough in 1/2 tsp portions 1 inch apart onto buttered cookie sheets.
Peppermint Buttons ready for the oven
Peppermint Buttons ready for the oven
  • Bake in 350F oven until tops of cookies begin to look slightly cracked and are deep golden, 8 to 10 minutes. If using more than 1 pan in oven, switch pan positions halfway through baking.
  • With a wide spatula, transfer cookies to racks to cool. If hot cookies start to break, slide a thin spatula under them to release, let stand on pan to firm, 2-5 minutes, then transfer to racks.
  • Yield: 120 1 inch cookies
New Traditions

Forgotten cookies…my kind of cookie recipe

Last fall I was attending a gal pal gathering and Forgotten Cookies were served.  How in the world have I gone through life without EVER tasting one of these.  They are melt-in-your-mouth delicious.  They also solve my cookie-baking dilemma of leaving them in the oven too long.

Wouldn’t this be a great recipe when your child remembers to tell you at 9 p.m. that you are supposed to bring cookies to school the next day?  Mix them up the night before, pop them in the oven, and TA-DA…they are ready for you in the morning. Hmmm…maybe breakfast that day, too, after all, it does have eggs…

Forgotten cookies, ready for you in the morning!

FORGOTTEN COOKIES

2 egg whites at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until they hold stiff peaks.
Stiff, beaten egg whites
  • Add salt and vanilla. Stir well. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips.
  • Cover cookie sheet with foil and grease with butter or margarine. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the foil. Put in oven then turn the oven off. Leave overnight in oven with door closed.
Forgotten cookie ready to be devoured