Even though I never make the same meal for Christmas dinner, there are some standbys that must be served. These cookies are one of them. I started making these eggnog cookies when the girls were very little. We use to add pretzels on the top for antlers. To be honest half the time the pretzels fell out or broke and basically made this mama very frustrated. So we started leaving off the antler but the girls were happy with the big red nose. These are basically a freezer cook and you could change up the flavor or roll it into a tub and slice off as wanted. Feel free to play with cookies but do think of me when you have one. After all Clarice is Rudolf’s girlfriend ;-)
Rudolf Reindeer AKA Eggnog Cookies
Make 2 dozen
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar ¼ cup brown sugar 1 ³⁄₄ cups all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour ½ tsp. baking powder 1 large egg
¼ tsp vanilla paste or 1 tsp vanilla extract ⅟₄ tsp. salt 1 TBL. rum or rum extract ¼ tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
Candied cherries, halved
Pre-heat oven 350◦F (or a ½ hour before baking.)
In an mixer cream butter with sugars, until fluffy (2-3 minutes). Then add rum, nutmeg, egg, vanilla and salt. Mix well. In a separate bowl sift together flour and baking powder, add to butter and mix well. You want a soft dough, you can roll.
Shape into 1 inch balls and set on a cookie sheet covered in a piece of parchment paper. Add half of a cherry to center of the ball, push down to make a nose. Set pan in freezer for an 1 hour. At that point to can bake them or transfer them to a container for the freezer. Bake for 10-13 minutes, until edges are starting to get golden. Cool on wire rack.
1. If your dough is too dry, try adding a bit of milk or rum. If your dough is too wet to hold a shape slowly mix in a ¼ cup of flour.
2. Yes fresh grated nutmeg is so much better.
3. These freeze beautifully for about 3 months if well wrapped. Just bake them off frozen. They will only take a minute or two longer to cook.
I am busy (or should I say lost) decorating my home this week for Christmas. I am quite excited about this years theme (hint, think black) and will share soon. But until then I thought I would share my latest kitchen project.
I bought this clock for my French kitchen. I love the filigree sides (and the screaming deal too) but the wall around it was bare. It is a awkward space and everything I tried just did not work right. Until I was looking at one of my silver trivets.
They are aged, look like something from a 100 years ago, very French and I love the way you can see the cutout pattern against the pale yellow wall. A winner!
My favorite is the frame made from a tart pan. It had warped and rusted so I could not use it anymore. David drilled a small hole to hang it. I used some old music paper given to me by a good friend (thank you ;-) It gives that typography feel that my chalkboard wall on the other side of the kitchen has.
The plates, trivets and cake mold balances the clock and picks up the the touches of black in the room I want. Between what I owned and $3.37 cents I had to spend, I would say it is a frugal choice too. A big French, Victorian polka dot wall. It works for me!
I am so, so excited the Gatherings Winter Issue, Celebrating Scandinavia is out. I am over the moon about this issue. My submission is about New Nordic cuisine, a hot new food trend.
I created a lunch perfect for a cold winter's day based on the tenets of New Nordic cuisine: Potato Apple Soup with Rye Crumbs and Lox, a Quick Pickled Beets and Fennel salad and Smoked Salt Gingerbread Cookies with Strawberry Jam, gluten free and vegan.
I have to tell you this is only my second photo shoot ever but my first in someone else home and someone I had never met before! It is very strange to go through a persons cabinets you do not know. But I knew I was in for a life changing moment when I drove up to this small French estate on the water. The girls and I just ohhhed and awwwed. It was a fun shoot. Annetta and I work well together and she took breath taking photos. Over all it is an experience I will never forget. I have to give a big shout out to Auberne` and Chloe, they worked hard and were perfect assistants. Thank you girls. Now I am looking forward to the spring issue, I already know what I want to do! You can purchase a copy here!
I have had several request for our Thanksgiving menu, so here you go. Sadly I do not have recipes because I just make it up ;-) Like the new stuffing we are going to try this year: GF bread stuffing with caramelized cabbage and onions. I will add some bacon, fresh chestnuts and sage. Also I have already changed the greens to a salad with pomegranates, persimmons and brie with a pomegranate glaze vinaigrette. I will let you know how it was! If you have any question about anything, just write me and I will help the best I can. So what are you making for this Thanksgiving?
This year I made Thankfulness cups. I bough 99 cent IKEA mugs and an oil sharpie pen. On one side of all the cups it says Thankfulness, the other side has a quote unique to the person. Auberne`-Cuppa, my mother-cup runneth over, my sis-start your day, Chloe-shimmy for, hubby a mug full and me-Hem Your Blessings, You draw on the mug, set them on a cookie sheet and put the cups in a cold oven. Then turn on oven to 350, let the cups sit for 1 hour. Then turn off the oven and then let the cups sit in the oven another 1/2 hour. That is it and a perfect Thanksgiving keepsake!
I do not know you but even though I make pies year around, Thanksgiving is all about pies to me. Christmas is more about decadent mousses or frozen treats, Easter is about fruit and Thanksgiving is pies! I will admit I am a bit lazy about my pies. I throw the crust in the pan and do a quick crimped edge. Which is fine for everyday but I think I need to bling up my pies a bit for the holidays. If you feel the same way, here is some fun ideas for the top of your pie!
I often post on FB what I am cooking or doing. It is a quick, easy way to connect with everyone and I am hoping what I am doing will inspire someone. Well the other night I mention what I had made for dinner, a roasted pumpkin, garlic, kale quiche w/ smoked mozzarella. It was amazing, also I baked a GF cranberry walnut cake. I got several request for the cake recipe. Honestly this is an overnight breakfast cake I have been making for years because it is healthy and not to sweet. As you can see, it makes a fine cake for dinner too. You can make it with regular flour or GF flours, really anything, except one flour and that is coconut flour. Since coconut flour absorbs ½ it weight, you would have to change the recipe completely (which could be done but not today). I am constantly changing the flavors by using different fruits (dried, fresh or frozen), spices, chocolate, nuts, etc. This version is a cranberry walnut and I was not thinking of this when I made it, but it would be a good breakfast cake on thanksgiving morning!
Cranberry Walnut Cake Makes one 8" round cake (but a shallow cake)
1 ½ cup gluten free flour blend or regular flour or whole wheat pastry
1 cup almond flour 2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp salt 1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
Wet ingredients ½ cup coconut sugar or brown sugar 2 egg 1 cup milk (or more. Some GF flour can soak up liquid a bit. You want a thick batter you can almost pour, so add some more milk or water if needed) ⅟ᴣ cup melted coconut oil or melted butter or mild favor olive oil ⅟₈ tsp vanilla paste or 1 tsp vanilla extract
Topping 1-2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries 1 cup toasted walnuts, I actually soak and then dry my walnuts in a dehydrator. Then I use them as is and do not toast. ½ cup or so coconut sugar
Pre-heat oven 350 ◦F
Sift all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk wet ingredients together in a small bowl. Add wet to dry and mix batter together. Grease a round 8” pan (you can do a square brownie pan too). Pour in batter. You may need to spread it out a bit. Sprinkle cranberries over the cake, then the walnuts. Lastly generously sprinkle sugar over the cranberries/walnuts. Remember the cake is not very sweet and the cranberries are pretty sour, so this topping of sugar is how you sweeten those cranberries. I just grabbed a couple of fistful of coconut sugar out of the bag, dusted it over the whole cake until it got a good sprinkling.
Bake 25-35 minutes until the cake is cook in the center. It is a little hard to tell with all the toppings. Look for the center to have risen like the sides. Let cool 10 minutes or moreand then enjoy.
You can put this together the night before and bake it off for a breakfast cake. Just mix the cake together, cover the pan and put it in the fridge. In the morning when the oven has pre-heated, bake uncovered. You can use frozen fruit the night before. If you see water from the fruit the next morning, do not worry, you cake will bake fine.
Well my computer is fixed (sort of, do not ask :-O ). I wanted to share this simple vignette I did because it is that, simple. Just some candles (the kind that are battery operated. There are times when I really appreciate those battery operated candles!!) and two black feathers off an old hat. I did feel like there was a bit too much space, so I added one of my necklaces. I love to look at pictures of lush tablescapes, filled to the brim with goodness and creativity but it can leave one feeling ... well lacking. I am finding I have less and less time to create dramatic tablescapes in my home. Sometimes I just want quick, easy and simple. It does not take a lot to make ones home look beautiful xox
PS. The pretty tray is from Ikea, $9.99. It is huge too, what a deal! Got to love Ikea!
Akkk, my lap-top is broken and I am limping along on my hubby's veryyyyy old one. I cannot access my camera, so I am taking a blog break. I will spend my time working on yummy recipes for you and hopefully be back next week. Eat something good for you mind and your body (and think of me) xox
So you have your pumpkins cooked and ready to use, your crust is waiting to be baked and your spices are fresh, the last thing is the filling!
Again pie filling is really about preference. I do not think there is a bad recipe but more simply someones preference. I know I prefer my simply, rich pumpkin pie. There are two tips I want to share with you about the filling.
Pumpkin pie filling freezes beautifully. I make double batches and freeze them individually for future use. I know on Thanksgiving morning it is lovely to pull out the filling, let it defrost, fill a pie crust (probably out of the freezer too) and bake it off. One less step on a very busy day.
Most fillings can be baked without a crust if it has egg in it. This is also a great way to make this dish gluten free. I suggest though you bake the filling more like a custard. Cook it in a lower temp oven 300F in a bain marie. It will create a much silkier custard. You can make these in the morning and set them in the fridge. Just pull out the custards a good 1/2 hour before you enjoy them.
I have enjoyed writing this series. If you have a any tips or recipes to share, please do!
An important part of pumpkin pie is spices, whether it is a lightly or heavily spiced, all cinnamon, spices add character to your pie. Just like the kind of pumpkin you use, the quality of your spices are important too!
1. First the most import thing about spices is freshness. Those volatile oils in spices get lost quickly when ground.
2. Buy in small amounts. If you are lucky to have a store with a bulk section, make the most of it. Look for a store with a good customer base that means the turnover is fast. You do not want to buy ground spices that have been sitting around for a while. Also avoid those little bottled in the baking section. You have no idea how long it has been since they were ground. I have read it can be a good year. And heavens to Betsy do not buy those giant bottles at places like Costco, unless you can split it with a few friends or use it up in 6 months. I say ground spices last 6 months. After 6 months, I toss it. Another reason to buy a small amount. If you do not use it, you are not throwing away much money.
3. Ideally one should buy their spices whole and ground as needed. As I said freshly ground spices have a depth of flavor that is lost very quickly. For example nutmeg, I NEVER buy ground nutmeg. Fresh ground nutmeg has a peppery quality that is amazing in savory dishes but that quality is lost pretty fast. Nutmeg grinds easily with a microplane. Pepper is something else I only buy whole. A mini spice grinder (or coffee grinder) is a good investment and not that expensive.
Even though keeping your spices fresh may seem fussy, think of all the work you have put inot thta pie. One more small step will give you such a satifying result!
I hope you found cooking and pureeing your pumpkin, as I
mentioned in tip #2 easy? It is a bit time consuming. Still down the line when
you are cooking and need some pumpkin, you will be glad that all you need to do
is pull it out of the freezer. Now before you can bake your pie you need a
I find people have
strong opinions on the subject of pie crust. It is usually based on what they
had as a child. I had butter crusts, like pate brisee. I was not raised on lard
crust and find their flavor and texture a bit odd. BUT that is me and we do not
have to agree on this. Everyone should suit their own palate. As much as I love
butter crusts, I have been into oil crusts. I love them for several reasons.
super easy to make.
everything in the pie pan, mix it, and spread it out, all in the same pan I
bake with. No extra dirty bowls.
anyone who is vegan.
If you use a
good, buttery tasting olive oil it will add a wonderful depth of flavor to you
pie. My favorite buttery oil is Zoe.
You can make
whole wheat, gluten free, grain free or plain old white flour versions.
Even though I am making a lot of oil crusts, I try to keep some rolled
out pate brisee in the freezer too. If you are in a real
pinch, Trader Joes makes a really good pie crust. You will find a box of two in
the freezer section!!
Image from pie 101, you can print up your own if you want, there is a link!!
So now that you have purchased your beautiful cooking
pumpkin, how do you cook it? Well first admire it a day or two, then …
How to cook a pumpkin for pumpkin pie? Well there are a lot
of ways to cook it and most of them will work. I know I have tried most of them
but this method is the simplest and quickest way to cook a pumpkin. Especially
if you are going to cook several at one time. You might as well get them all
done at once!
Pre-heat oven 350◦F. Cut your pumpkin in half. Take a large
pan with sides (a jelly roll pan works great) and pour water about ½ inch
deep. Set pumpkins in water, cut side down. Bake anywhere from 1 hour to 1 ½ hours.
When you can pierce the flesh with a knife and feel it is soft, it is done.
Pull out pan and let the pumpkins cool until you can handle them.
A food processor works best, but you can use a blender or immersion stick. Take one half of you pumpkin, holding the skin side very gently
scoop out the seeds/gunk and throw away (or you can save the seeds). Then gently scoop out the flesh into
the processor, making sure not to get the skin. Then puree for a minute or two,
Pureed pumpkin freezes beautifully. I fill little sandwich
baggies with 1 cup scoop. When those have frozen, then I put them all into
large freezer bags. You can thaw this pumpkin for your pie. You can also throw frozen
pumpkin in things like stew or chili. Very easy and most importantly, you have
avoided peeling that pumpkin, a very tedious step!