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Holiday Baking


There's something about this season that makes me want to bake... I don't know... maybe the delicious treats that my co-workers have been bringing, or the Christmas cartoons that are airing on TV... or maybe thes December 2012 edition of my Food Network Magazine! ;-)

Anyway, I was really not in the mood to cook, and all I can think of is baking some cookies. Coincidentally (or not!), I have some sugar cookie dough in the fridge that are just begging to be made. So I told hubby that I want to bake some cookies, and he shocked me by saying, "Well, I'm also not very hungry. How about we have cookies and coffee for dinner?" I kid you not, at that moment I thought I heard angels singing and I was reminded of why I love hubby so much. :-)

So we ditched our earlier dinner plans of nachos and instead had the sweetest, unhealthiest dinner you can possibly think of. As we were eating, hubby said "It's great to be an adult! We can do and eat whatever we please!" Ah, ain't life grand sweet? 

By the way, I made several kinds - plain sugar cookies, frosted sugar cookies, and Snickerdoodles. Take your pick!

Snickerdoodles action!
On a separate note, I want to thank you guys for always being there. I know I haven't been posting a lot lately - I just can't seem to find time between my school work and a shop. And of course, there's this little matter of having a family to take care of. And a mini-farm to run. Yep, never a dull moment.

And I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

What you need:

1 pkg (1 pound) sugar cookie dough (I used Pillsbury)

For the Snickerdoodles: 

1 1/2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For Sugar Cookie Frosting:

1/2 cup confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons evaporated milk
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon vanilla

What to do:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut cookie dough into 1/2 inch rounds.  Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Prepare the Snickerdoodles first. In a small bowl, combine granulated sugar and cinnamon. Mix well. Take several pieces of cookie dough rounds to make Snickerdoodles (I made 6) and roll them in the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Then place them on a separate cookie sheet for baking.

Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for around 12 minutes. Once baked, place on a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the confectioners sugar and evaporated milk until smooth. Add the corn syrup and vanilla, then beat with an electric mixer until you reach your desired consistency. You may add more milk or sugar depending on how thick you want it. Set aside.

When the cookies have cooled down, start decorating! Using a spatula or even a fork, spread the frosting on top of the cookies. Top with your candy sprinkles of choice. Enjoy!

Tips, Trick and Tweaks:

1. When frosting cookies, make sure they are cooled down - or the frosting will just melt or slide away. No bueno.
2. Work quickly so the frosting doesn't dry out!
3. I used "slice and bake" cookies, but feel free to make yours from scratch. :-)

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Soul Sweet 'Taters

Happiness on a dish!
This was the dish I made for our Thanksgiving dinner a few days ago. I am thankful for family and friends that visited, which resulted for a merrier celebration and less dishes to cook (for me, at least!)

Fair warning - this dish is addictive! It is like a side dish and dessert rolled into one! The creaminess of the sweet potatoes combined with the crunch of pecans and brown sugar is sure to send you to tater heaven!  I am telling you - it was gone so fast, I didn't even get the chance to have seconds!

This recipe is from the November 2012 edition of Food Network magazine, from one of my favorite bloggers Ree Drummond. Tweaked, of course, for my family who has a horrible case of sweet tooth (or teeth, for that matter!)

What you need:

4 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 3/4 pounds)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/4 cup pecans
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cover each potato with foil, then place them on the oven rack and bake for about 45 minutes.

When the potatoes are done cooking, let cool for about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove foil then slice them open lengthwise and scrape off the flesh with a spoon into a large bowl.  Increase the oven temperature to 400°F.

Time to cool off!

Add the white sugar, milk, eggs, vanilla and salt to the bowl with the sweet potatoes. Using a potato masher, mash the mixture until combined and slightly lumpy.

Lumpy and bumpy? Yessiree!

In a separate bowl, mash the brown sugar, pecans, flour and butter with a fork until thoroughly combined. The mixture should resemble a crumble.

Yes, my dear friend. That is the pure deliciousness.

Spread the sweet potato mixture in 1 14-cup oval-shaped baking dish and sprinkle the crum mixture on top. Bake for about 30 minutes.

This was how it looked like before going into the oven

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. Pecans would be the best nut for this job, but I imagine walnuts would also do good. 
2. When sprinkling the top with the crumbles, make sure you cover it evenly - for even yuminess!
3. Instead of 1 cup of milk, try 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup heavy cream! 

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