GINGERBREAD COOKIES with royal icing

This is a great recipe supplied by a wonderful chef/baker Jovana Boksen of Artistic Whisk! Easy recipe that makes a delicious cookie. Check out the video for full instructions of how to decorate with Royal Icing!

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, soften 3/4 cup brown sugar
3 3/4 cups AP flour
1/2 tsp. Baking soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
3/4 tsp. Cloves
1 egg
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp. Molasses

DIRECTIONS:
Cream together the soft butter, molasses, and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add in the egg until combined. Blend together all of the dry ingredients into a bowl until combined, then add it into the whipped butter sugar mixture. Mix by hand just until combined.
Wrap in plastic wrap and flatten out. Refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Flour your surface and roll out some of the dough until 1/8” thick. Cut dough into various hopes and place on parchment on cookie sheet. Refrigerate cookie shapes for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake cookies for 8 minutes, turn, then another 2 minutes. Allow cookies to cool.
ICING:
Powder sugar
Pasteurized Egg Whites (very little)
1/8 tsp. Flavoring (if desired) Almond extract, vanilla, peppermint, lemon, etc. Food coloring of your choice. (No set measurements, it is done by consistency of the final icing, either thick or thin depending on the purpose, such as borders or flood (fill). Watch video for more instructions.)

HOLIDAY BISCOTTI (PISTACHIOS & CRANBERRIES AND CHERRIES & PECANS)

Watch the video!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (I use King Arthur)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup pistachios, coarsley chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, soaked in Salted Caramel Crown Royal or favorite liqueur for at least 30 min. Then DRAIN

OPTIONAL: If making Cherries & Pecan version, substitute pistachios and cranberries with the same amount as pistachios and cranberries. Also if dipping in white chocolate, use Candiquik (you can buy on Amazon). Also, have any sprinkles you like if you want to have more decorations on the biscotti.*

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare large baking sheet with silicone mat or parchment paper.

Place the flour and baking powder in a bowl and whisk to blend, set aside.

With an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl, blend well. Beat in eggs 1 at a time.

Add the flour mixture and beat until blended. By hand, fold in the pistachios and cranberries.

Form the dough into a 10-13 inch long 3 inch wide log on the baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (this will help with spreading).

Bake in 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes, keep a close eye on it. Bake until light golden. Let cool for 30 minutes.

Place log on cutting board and use a serrated knife to cut the long into 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet and bake the biscotti again until it’s pale golden, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer the biscottis to a rack and cool completely.

*If you want to dip in white chocolate, follow the directions on the package of Candiquik. Dip half of the biscotti into the melted chocolate, shake off excess chocolate. Place the biscotti on the baking sheet for the chocolate to set. Sprinkle with the sugar crystals. Refrigerate until the chocolate is firm, about 30 minutes.

Makes great gifts for friends, just place 4-5 biscottis in a festive plastic bag and seal with a tie.

CHICKEN LAZONE with fettuccine

Using cream to make this easy restaurant quality meal at home is definitely worth the effort! Flavorful and tender chicken over creamy fettuccine, what more could you want!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 pound fettuccine
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 6-8 fresh sage leaves with stems
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for topping

SPICE MIX RUB:

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil

DIRECTIONS:

In a bowl, combine salt, pepper, dried thyme, dried rosemary, smoked paprika, Italian seasoning and dried basil. Stir to combine.

Rub chicken breast with olive oil on each side., Coat the chicken throughly with spice mix rub.

Add 2 tablespoons of butter and 3 tablespoons olive oil to a large skillet over medium high heat. Once the butter has melted, add chicken breast and cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side. Flip the chicken only once to allow it to sear. Remove chicken from pan and set aside on a plate cover with foil.

Add pasta to large pot of boiling water season with salt and cook according to package directions. Drain well.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic and sage. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in heavy cream and cook until slightly thickened, for about 4-5 minutes. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Remove and discard sage leaves.

Stir in pasta and gently toss to combine. Add the chicken back to the pan and top with some cream sauce from the pan. Sprinkle grated parmesan on top and garnish with parsley. Serve immediately. Serves 4

chocolate chip, pecan, pumpkin bread

Why not step it up a notch! No more boring pumpkin bread, adding chocolate chips and pecans will elevate this classic seasonal bread! I doubled the recipe in order to make individual “Thanksgiving” gifts for some family and friends!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 3/4 cups AP flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin purée, canned
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips, more for topping (1 T flour to coat chocolate chips)
  • 1 cup pecan pieces, more for topping

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray, set aside. (Note: I doubled the recipe and made 8 (6 in.) loaf pans as gifts).

In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie space, and salt together until well mixed. Set aside. In another medium bowl, whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together until well combined. Set aside. In another small bowl, whisk the pumpkin, oil and orange juice and blend. Add the pumpkin, oil and orange juice into the egg and sugars, and whisk until well blended.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently mix together using a rubber spatular or a wooden spoon. Do not over mix. Toss the chocolate chips in 1 tablespoon of flour to coat. Gently fold in the chocolate chips and pecans into the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle the a handful of chocolate chips and pecans on top. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes, making sure to loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil halfway through to prevent the top from getting too brown. The bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes our clean. Allow the bread to cool completely. Makes one large loaf pan or 4 small 6 in. gift loaf pans.

PECAN PUMPKIN PIE WITH MAPLE WHIPPED CREAM

Why have two different pies for Thanksgiving when you can have one that blows away any other pie out there! Try this Pecan Pumpkin Pie recipe and impress your family & friends.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 store-bought pie crust

Pumpkin Layer

  • 3/4 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 egg

Pecan Layer

  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons dark maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup pecans, halved
  • 1/3 cup pecans, chopped

Maple whipped cream

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powder sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the pie dough into a 9 inch pie pan. Prick the bottom of the pie crust with a fork. Place pie weights or dry beans around the bottom of the dough and place in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven, remove the weights and set aside. Lower the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, with a whisk, mix together the pumpkin purée, sweetened condensed milk, sugar, salt, pumpkin pie spice, ground ginger and egg. Make sure it’s well combined. Set aside.

In another medium bowl, mix together melted butter, corn syrup, maple syrup, sugar, eggs and salt. Mix well and then add in the 3/4 cup halved pecans. Set aside.

Pour the pumpkin pie mixture into the pre-baked pie shell then sprinkle the top with 1/3 cup chopped pecans. (This helps creates a barrier so the pumpkin pie and pecan pie fillings stay separated.) Carefully, ladle the pecan pie filling over top of the pumpkin layer, be careful not to mix the layers.

Place the pie on a sheet tray and bake for 1 hour.

For the whipped cream, whip cream in a stand mixer until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar, maple syrup and salt. Whip a little more until well mixed.

Serve the pie topped with the maple whipped cream.

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