Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Cookie Countdown: Lemon Meringue Pie

Not very Christmas-y but it was a request so here is today's recipe!

  • Prepare a pie crust (either use a premade one or make one or throw together a quick graham cracker crust). Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix 1/2 cup sugar, 4 tsps cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold water in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boi, stiring constantly. Boil for one minute until mixture thickens then remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • Beat 3 egg yolks (set whites aside for use later) with a fork and set aside in a small bowl. In another saucepan, mix 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/3 cup cornstarch and 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil over medium hea, stiring constantly, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Pour half into the egg yolks, mix, then pour back into the rest of the sugar mixture. Add in 3 tbsp butter, 2 tsp grated lemon peel, 1/2 cup lemon juice, and 2 drops of lemon food colouring.
  • In the bowl of a mixer, whip the 3 egg whites. Slowly add in the first sugar mixture which should now be cooled. Whip until stiff peaks form.
  • Pour lemon filling into the crust then top with the egg whites. Make sure the egg white meringue is spread right to the edges of the pie crust to keep the filling from shrinking during baking.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until the meringue is light brown. Cool for 2 hours, cover and refrigerate.

I put up my Christmas wreath! Waiting for John to get home tonight and then tomorrow we're going to go get a tree!
I also wrapped gifts....I'm getting excited!

Only 16 days to go!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Cookie Countdown: Chocolate Cranberry Lemon Squares

Sorry today is a 2-for-1 but only because yesterday's post failed to actually be posted.
But I'm still on track so I'm happy.
Today I stopped into Sugar Mountain to get my usual mix of chocolate covered everything and I was inspired when I saw the chocolate covered cranberries.
Cranberries are very holiday-esque so I figured I'd bring them home and bake them into some kind of cookie.
Instead I found a lemon square recipe and figured lemon and cranberry go very well together....why not?
Also, my square pan is in the sink and I'm too lazy to wash it so I baked it in a round cake pan.

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix together 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup butter, and 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Press into a squares pan and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Beat 1 cup sugar, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp baking powder, and 2 eggs together for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Mix in 2/3 cup chocolate covered cranberries. Pour into crust.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Cookie Countdown: Banana Eggnog Cake

**I DID bake this (and write this post) yesterday but closed my computer before I remembered to click publish. Oops!

Since I bought a carton of eggnog for those cupcakes I figured I should make the most of it and use it in as much baking as possible.
Sorry this isn't going to be a long post but I'm busier than expected today and barely found time this morning to whip up this banana cake and pop it in the oven!

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a bowl cream together 1 1/4 cup sugar with 1/2 cup butter. Add in 2 eggs. Mash in 3 ripe bananas.
  • Stir in 1 tsp vanilla and 1/2 cup eggnog. Mix in 2 1/2 cups flour and 1 tsp baking soda. Pour into a lightly greased cake pan and bake for about an hour.
  • Let cake cool then drizzle with eggnog icing (see post from a few days ago for the eggnog cupcakes icing) and some chocolate shaving.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Cookie Countdown: Easy Pull-Apart Cinnamon Rolls

Let it be known that I love to bake and make things from scratch.
Unfortunately there isn't always time to do so.
In times of little time, recipes that are fast and easy come in handy.
Much like the oreo brownies, this recipe is easy and requires very little work but produces something delicious that your guests will love.
These would be especially good for breakfast on Christmas morning.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Open a can of cinnamon rolls (I used Pilsbury Grands - the big boys) and separate the rolls. Cut each roll into four pieces.
  • Arrange the pieces in a lightly greased cake pan so that they're gently touching. Brush the tops with melted butter and top with chocolae sprinkles. Bake for 16-20 minutes.
  • Let cinnamon rolls cool for several minutes then spread icing (it should come in the purchased cinnamon roll tube) on top. Serve warm and let guests pull off bite-sized peices of cinnamon roll to enjoy.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Cookie Countdown: Honeycomb Brittle

Wrote my first and last exam of the holiday season!
Wasn't great but wasn't terrible.
I'll know when they post the final marks - ready for this? - on Christmas.
That's cruel.
I won't be checking on Christmas morning. I'll be too busy loading up my new ipod (coughJOHNcough) or driving around in my new car (coughMOMDADcough).
The car might be wishful thinking.
Especially considering my dad needs a new car for himself. I'm not poking fun (I swear) but there are too many things about that old Volvo that crack me up. The Gandalf-style stick that props the trunk up and keeps people from being decapitated, the clothes hanger antenna, the fact that the drivers side seat belt no longer adjusts so my dad slides under it to get in, and the other day my dad crushed his thumb in the sun roof. He has 2 pins in it and a cast.
Poor guy.

Anyway, today's recipe is fast and easy (don't make the same mistake I did - I'll explain) and makes a great gift!

  • Coat a 12-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. ***Don't use wax paper, it will not come off the bottom of the brittle.
  • Bring 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/4 cup honey, and 1/4 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-high. Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reaches 300 degrees. ***Then remove from heat, do not let sugar burn as I did on my first batch.
  • Remove from heat, and whisk in 1 tbsp baking soda until combined and mixture bubbles. ***Whisk like crazy. Don't do what I did and stop whisking to check the next step in the recipe. I promise you the mixture will bubble over and go everywhere. Your cupboards, counters, and floors. And this brittle is a witch to scrub off. We're talking an hour of scrubbing it off every surface. Gently pour mixture onto baking sheet without spreading. Let cool. Break into pieces.
The best way to clean the hardened sugar out of the pot (and every other dish/utensil you accidently slop it all over) is to take it into the bathroom, turn on the tub's hot faucet and power wash them. I kid you not. It's super fast.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Cookie Countdown: Tea Cookies (22 Days to go!)

You'll have to excuse the fact that this is a repeat offender recipe.
In my defense I baked up a batch for John as he's away for work this upcoming week and requested these AND I have an exam tomorrow so I can't be baking every second of the day.
Except that I am and I'm finding a lot of other things to do rather than study.
But as soon as I post this I'm back to studying!
I only have the one exam so I have no excuse.

  • In a bowl, cream 1 cup butter and 1 cup sugar together. Mix in 1 egg and 1 tsp vanilla.
  • Mix in 2 1/2 cups flour and the tea inside 8 tea bags of whatver tea you'd like to use. Stir to combine. Wrap cookie dough and put in the fridge for at least an hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once chilled, roll out dough on a floured surface and cut out in circles.  Bake for 7-10 minutes then allow cookies to cool before enjoying.
To fancify (yep, a word) this recipe for holiday gift-giving, find a specialty tea store and grab some different flavoured teas to make the cookies more unique. If you have a David's Tea anywhere nearby they have a ton of flavours. Yesterday I had a chocolate chili chai tea! Pretty good.

Tomorrow you get a recipe PLUS a how-to on cleaning dried brittle off your kitchen cupboards, floor, and counter.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas Cookie Countdown: Eggnog Cupcakes (23 days to go!)

Eggnog is the ambassador drink of Christmas.
Do you drink it at any other time of the year?
If you do, then ... keep it to yourself cause we're talking Christmas now.

With eggnog being only for Christmas I set out to find a recipe that would incorporate eggnog into the ingredients.
I found a really easy recipe for eggnog cupcakes.

(recipe from

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl combine 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup sugar and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes or until well combined and fluffy.
3. Add 2 eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each one. Add in 1/2 tsp vanilla and mix well.
4. In another bowl combine 1 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
5. Add 1/2 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, followed by half of 1/2 cup eggnog

6. Mix until just combined then add the remainder of the flour mixture and the remainder of the eggnog and rum. Mix until combined, scraping the sides if necessary.
7. Pour batter into 12 lined cupcake tins and bake for 18-20 minutes or until the cupcakes spring back when pressed.
8. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and allow to cool completely on a wire wrack before frosting.

Frosting Directions

1. Beat 1/2 cup butter until soft, add in 2 cups confectioners sugar one cup at a time.
2. When frosting starts to become stiff, slowly add in enough eggnog (about 1/8 cup) to bring about a spreadable consistency.
3. Pipe or spread the icing on to the cupcakes, sprinkle with cinnamon and place a cinnamon stick in the cupcake for garnish.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas Cookie Countdown: Apple Crumble Pie (24 days left)

Day Two!
The challenge is still going strong!
Day one: Oreo brownies
Day two: Apple Crumble Pie.
If you like apples, raisins, cinnamon, pie or crisp (or both, in this case) then this is the desert for you.
This recipe is Martha Stewart's Apple Crumb Pie 

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make crumb topping: In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup flour, 6 tbsp butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Work with fingers until large clumps form; freeze.
2. On a lightly floured piece of wax paper or parchment paper, roll dough into a 14-inch circle. Carefully fit into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate, gently lowering dough into bottom and sides of pie plate without stretching (you will have a 2-inch overhang all around). Refrigerate.
3. Place 2 tbsp lemon juice in a large bowl. Peel, core, and slice 8-10 apples 1/8 inch thick, transferring them to the bowl as you work. Add 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 cup raisins, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 cup flour, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; toss to combine. Transfer apple mixture to pie crust, pressing in firmly. Fold dough overhang over filling, pleating it as you work your way around pie; press dough firmly against filling.
4. Bake 45 minutes, then sprinkle apple filling with crumb topping. Continue to bake until golden and bubbling, 30 to 45 minutes more. Cool at least 6 hours before serving.
Then enjoy a delicious apple pie and apple crisp all in one!
24 days to go!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Cookie Countdown: Oreo Brownies (25 days to go!)

And it begins!
The Christmas Cookie Countdown Challenge.
The first recipe is not a cookie.
Neither is the second recipe (heads-up).
I think I'd get real sick of cookies within a week if I made 25 different types.

I got this idea from a fellow blogger (in this post here - my stuff doesn't look nearly as good as the picture in her blog) and the combination of two things I love was enough to make me decide then and there that this would be on the list.
I chose to go with a quick and very simple way of making this.
If you've got time click on that link and follow the recipe but if you need to throw together an easy desert fast, bake this up and let a scoop of ice cream melt over the brownies, straight from the oven.

(Seriously it's the easiest 3 steps you will ever follow)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix together a brownie mix as directed on the back of the box. Generally this will call for water, oil, and an egg.
2. Pour half of the brownie batter into a loaf pan then top with oreo cookies. Cover with the remaining brownie batter and smooth it over the cookies.
3. Bake brownies for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted into the brownie comes out clean.

Didn't I tell you it'd be easy?
Plus people love brownies and oreos so put them together and give it to them and no one's going to question how you made them.
Now to start planning for the Bad Christmas Sweater Party!
Now in it's 6th year!