Tag Archives: vanilla

Vanilla Flavoring

This is a very simple and wonderful little recipe. I found it on SparkRecipes and as soon as I have a free moment I am planning on making my own. I love that it’s homemade and I’m sure it will taste awesome! I’m doing simple recipes this week as I’m still very tired from work. I am hoping everyone will bear with me during this transition. I am not forgetting my loyal readers!

Photo is for illustrative purposes only!

 

 

INGREDIENTS
2 vanilla beans
8 ounces vodka

DIRECTIONS
Split the vanilla beans in half lengthwise. Scrape the seeds from the bean using a knife, and place both the seeds and the beans in a glass jar with a lid. Warm the vodka to 100-120 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour the warmed vodka over the beans and allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, seal the jar. Store at room temperature for one week, shaking the jar every other day. Strain the mixture, then store in a sealed container. Flavoring will keep for a year, but chances are you’ll use it up before then.

Brownie Holi-Pops

Well tomorrow is Christmas Eve! Wow where did the time go to? As a kid Christmas could not get here fast enough and now many years later, ok decades later, Christmas appears as if out of nowhere! It was just Halloween! My house is decked out, inside and out, and it is certainly festive looking! The weather is cooler, in the 50s and 60s so it’s not so hot that we do forget it’s winter here in south Florida. And I am still sticking with my no dieting till after the New Year. Weight Watchers can wait a little longer for me!

So here I am putting together the last “cookie” blog for the  year. These cookies are actually brownies, but also a lollipop. But hey, I’m using it anyway. I am not really a big brownie fan. Never was. Love making them but not eating them. The only ones I truly LOVE are my friend Debbie’s. They are little bitty ones and she puts frosting on them! I swear they must also have some kind of booze in them or something. They are so moist and just down right addicting! I could eat a dozen no problem! But these are not those. Sorry. I will have to get her recipe another time! These are just too cute not to include them and the kids will love them also. I have not actually made these as of yet but I think I will soon!

I actually got this recipe from Land-o-Lakes. Aren’t they just adorable!

BROWNIE MIXTURE:
¾ cup LAND O LAKES® Butter, divided

3 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened baking chocolate, divided

1 cup sugar

¾ cup all-purpose flour

2  eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup powdered sugar
COATING:
16 ounces vanilla or chocolate flavored candy coating (almond bark)
40 lollipop sticks
DECORATIONS:
Holiday nonpareils, jimmies, sprinkles and/or decorator candies. Your choice!

DIRECTIONS:
1. Heat oven to 350°F.

2. Combine ½ cup butter and 2 ounces chocolate in 2-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until melted (3 to 5 minutes). Add sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla and salt; mix well.

3. Spread batter evenly into greased 8-inch square baking pan. Bake for 23 to 27 minutes or until brownies just begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely.

4. Melt remaining ¼ cup butter and 1 ounce chocolate as above.

5. Finely crumble cooled brownie into large bowl. Add butter mixture and powdered sugar; mix well.

6. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls; place onto waxed paper-lined jelly roll pan. Cover with plastic food wrap; refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours or overnight).

7. Melt candy coating according to package directions; keep warm.

8. Remove 1/3 of balls from refrigerator; insert lollipop sticks. Dip balls into melted coating, swirling or tapping off excess; press coated balls into desired decorations. Push lollipop stick into craft foam or place coated balls onto waxed paper. Repeat with remaining balls. Let stand until coating is set.

Makes 40 pops

Festive Cherry Drops

I found another really tasty cookie from the great people at Land O Lakes. This recipe uses maraschino cherries, and yes, I can hear some of you saying how bad they are for us. Yes I know. But we’re not eating the whole jar and it just makes these cookies burst with flavor! For one time of the year just enjoy them. Sometimes I think we’d all be better off not knowing “what is bad for us”. Life is short. Enjoy!

This recipe also has a chocolate drizzle on it. So cool looking! If you prefer you can change the chocolate morsels for the drizzle to white chocolate and make it a white drizzle instead. Still really delicious! Remember no calorie counting till next year!! (Though I did look at the calorie content for one of these delicious bites and it’s a scary 160 calories PER COOKIE!) Like I said, no calorie counting till next year. This is also a pretty easy recipe to make. Drop cookies are always pretty simple.

Photo is courtesy of Land O Lakes.

INGREDIENTS:

½ cup sugar

½ cup butter, softened

1 egg

½ teaspoon vanilla

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 (6 ounce) jar (½ cup) maraschino cherries, well-drained, chopped

DRIZZLE:

2/3 cup real semi-sweet chocolate chips (or white chocolate)

2 teaspoons shortening

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350º.

2. Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add egg and vanilla, continue beating until well mixed. Reduce speed to low, add flour and baking powder. Beat, scraping the bowl often, until well mixed. Add the cherries and stir into dough.

3. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls (use a regular teaspoon not a measuring spoon) onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire cooling rack. Cool completely.

4. Place chocolate chips and shortening in small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH, stirring occasionally, until melted. (30-45 seconds). Drizzle cooled cookies with melted chocolate. Let stand until chocolate is set.

Makes about 3½ dozen cookies

Butter Cookies

Christmas cookies wouldn’t be complete without the usual butter cookie. Some cookies are formed using a cookie gun or cookie cutters. This recipe mainly uses cookie cutters but if you want to use your smaller cookie maker go right ahead. These cookies are also frosted! They are easy to cut out and easy to make. Win win! Decorate them with colored sugars, sprinkles or anything you wish to make them festive!

I remember when we were kids there was a wonderful lady on our street who used to make the most incredible butter cookies. We’ve tried to recreate them over the years but they were just never the same. I will always think of her though when I make or eat butter cookies. Why is it when we try and recreate a recipe from childhood it just never quite tastes the same.

I found this recipe from Land O Lakes Butter. They called for “all-natural” eggs in the recipe but just use a regular egg. No big deal. Unless you don’t have to worry about money and can afford those fancy “all-natural” eggs. Also remember to make the dough ahead of time. It should be refrigerated 2-3 hours at least before cutting into cookie shapes.

COOKIE INGREDIENTS:

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 egg

2 tablespoons orange juice

2½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

FROSTING INGREDIENTS:

3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup butter softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1-2 tablespoons milk

food coloring if desired

DIRECTIONS:

1. Combine 1 cup butter, sugar and egg in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until it is creamy.

2. Add the orange juice and vanilla and mix well. Reduce speed to low. Add flour and baking powder. Beat until well mixed.

3. Divide dough into thirds. Wrap each in plastic food wrap and flatten slightly. Refrigerate until firm, about 2-3 hours.

4. Heat oven to 400º. Roll out dough onto a lightly floured surface, one-third at a time, to 1/8-1/4-inch thickness. Keep remaining dough refrigerated. Cut with 3-inch cookie cutters. Place 1 inch apart onto ungreased cookies sheets. Sprinkle with colored sugar if desired.

5. Bake for 6-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

6. If using the frosting combine powdered sugar, 1/3 cup butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla in small bowl. Beat at low-speed, scraping bowl often and gradually adding enough milk for desired spreading consistency. Tint with food color, if desired. Frost and decorate cooled cookies as you wish!

– If you use a 4 to 5-inch cookie cutter the recipe will make about 2 dozen cookies

Macaroons in Paradise

Well here it is again, almost 7pm and my blog is still not ready for today. But here we go. I found this recipe on Food Network back in 2008. It is one of Alton Brown’s recipes and it is full of calories and downright deliciousness. The cookies are definitely NOT on the diet list. But like I’ve said before it’s the holidays and no calorie counting till the new year. The cookies are also very rich and sweet so be careful eating them. They are very addicting. Not only are they addicting but they are really easy to make also.  Easy and decadent!


INGREDIENTS:

2 (7 to 8 ounce) packages sweetened shredded coconut

2 ounces sweetened condensed milk

Pinch kosher salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 large egg whites at room temperature

5 ounces granulated sugar

12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

1 ounce vegetable shortening

2 ounces finely chopped dry-roasted macadamia nuts

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Combine the coconut with the sweetened condensed milk, salt and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a hand mixer) with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to whip the whites until medium peaks form, 6 to 7
minutes.

4. Gently fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture. Scoop tablespoon-sized mounds onto a parchment-lined half sheet pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately transfer the parchment with the macaroons to a cooling rack. Cool completely before topping.

5. Fill a 4-quart pot with enough water to come 2 inches up the side, set over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Combine the chocolate chips and shortening in a small metal or glass mixing bowl and set over the simmering pot. Stir occasionally until melted, then remove from the heat.

6. Dip the cooled cookies in the chocolate mixture, sprinkle with the chopped macadamia nuts and place on parchment paper to set, about 30 minutes.

Makes about 42 cookies

Pecan Petites

One of my favorite cookies from a cookie exchange was from my friend Aimee. These cookies melted in your mouth! There was no way you could eat just one! Or two or three…They are delicious round balls of yumminess!

This recipe is also very easy to make. Easy is good. This way you can make more than one type of cookie! The recipe originally called for margarine but I don’t like using margarine. So using butter is a great alternative.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup butter/margarine

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 cup chopped pecans

Confectioners’ sugar

DIRECTIONS:

1. Cream butter or margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in vanilla.

2. Add flour, mix well. Stir in the pecans.

3. Shape rounded teaspoons of dough into balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake at 325º for 20 minutes. Cool slightly, roll in confectioners’ sugar.*

*If you want to make them festive for Christmas roll them in red or green sugar crystals.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

Chocolate Mousse Bars

All you chocolate hounds out there this one is for you! Chocolate Mousse is always seen as such a decadent dessert and it usually is but my recipe will use the sugar substitute sucralose (Splenda). Sucralose is one of the few substitutes that you can use exactly as you would sugar. It may even be sweeter! I can only use sucralose because aspartame gives me migraines. So no “Blue” in my house! Only “yellow”!  Aspartame can’t stand up to the heat of baking either so that is another reason to use sucralose. If you are really weird about using ‘fake’ sugar by all means use the real stuff. I will never know! And I won’t think any less of you! But if you use the sucralose and are counting points for  Weight Watchers for any reason, the bars are only 4 points each and regular sugar makes them 5 points each. Not much of a difference so it’s up to you!

Photo is for illustrative purposes only!

INGREDIENTS:

6 extra-large egg whites

1¼ cup sugar or sugar substitute

1 tablespoon canola oil

1½ cups unsweetened baking chocolate, melted

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1½ cups nonfat plain yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat the oven to 350º. Spray an 8″ square baking pan with cooking spray.

2. In a large mixing bowl whip the egg whites until frothy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until fluffy.  Meanwhile, stir the oil into the melted chocolate. Add this mixture to the egg whites and blend.

3. With a mixer on low, sift in the flour and cocoa powder and fold together. Beat until fluffy. Add the yogurt and vanilla; beat until uniformly combined.

4. Scrape the batter into the pan; smooth the top. Bake until the batter feels firm to the touch in the center, but a toothpick comes out coated with the batter, about 30-35 minutes.

5. Remove the pan to a wire rack to cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 1 hour.

Makes 16 bars

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