Friday, December 31, 2010

Top Ten Recipes of 2010

Happy New Year!

Here are the top ten recipes of 2010, by number of page views. This list is really close to our ten favorite recipes of 2010 as well!

Some recipes and runners-up from 2009 that were popular this year are:

Here's to a great 2011! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Soft Gingersnaps

Who doesn't love gingersnaps?! Especially around the holidays! These are the best gingersnaps I've ever had! They are FULL of spice and flavor, and so soft!

Stew's dad said he didn't like gingersnaps, but once he tried these, he changed his mind!

Soft Gingersnaps
[recipe adapted from two peas and their pod]

3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup molasses (I use Brer Rabbit's Full Flavor Molasses—SO GOOD!)
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp salt (if using salted butter, use slightly less salt)
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Pinch of nutmeg (can use fresh)
White sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 375º. With a mixer, combine butter and brown sugar until smooth and creamy, a couple minutes. Add in the egg and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined. Add in the molasses. Mix until the molasses is combined with the other ingredients. With the mixer on low, slowly add flour, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Mix, scraping sides, until flour is combined.
Form the dough into tablespoon-sized balls. Roll the dough in white sugar. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone liner. Can press cookies down slightly (I never do, they flatten enough on their own).
Bake for 8–10 minutes, NO longer than 10 minutes (or else they won't be soft). Let the cookies sit on the baking sheet for a couple minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

I froze some dough last week, and I'm thinking it's already time to take it out of the freezer so I can bake more!!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Chocolate Candy Cane Crunch Cookies

I forget how GOOD these cookies are when I only make them around Christmas time! The crushed candy canes melt on the outside of the cookies, making them not only delicious, but beautiful and festive too! They taste similar to Girl Scout Thin Mints, or Mint Oreos, but WAY better because they are homemade! These are the perfect cookies to make for company!

Promise me you'll make them—they are one of my top favorite holiday cookies!!

Chocolate Candy Cane Crunch Cookies
[adapted from two peas and their pod]

1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa
10 candy canes, crushed

Preheat oven to 375º. Line baking sheets with parchment or silicone liners. Blend sugar, brown sugar and butter together in a bowl. Add eggs and vanilla and blend well. Add flour, soda, cocoa and mix until thoroughly distributed.
Pour crushed candy canes onto a plate or shallow bowl. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and roll into crushed candy canes, so all sides are covered. Place two inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
Bake for 7–10 minutes, slightly longer for crunchier cookies. Let cool for 3 minutes on pan, then move to cooling racks.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Maggie's Butternut Squash and White Bean Soup

In October, I went to my friend, Holly's house for a girls' night. We each brought a recipe to share and Holly made pumpkin cookies and this amazing butternut squash soup. She got the recipe from another good friend, Maggie (here's the link to the original recipe).

[Sorry, this picture really does not do the soup justice!]

I was a little afraid to eat it, since I was still in my first trimester and only eating really bland foods, but once I did, I was glad I didn't pass it up! It is the perfect fall/winter soup. There is a hint of cinnamon and cloves, which enhances the sweet butternut squash. The beans add a great texture, and the bacon is the salt (don't leave this out!). The soup was spicier than I expected—a pleasant surprise—but could easily be taken down a notch by reducing the cayenne pepper. It goes perfectly with a nice salty breadstick or roll!

Maggie's Butternut Squash and White Bean Soup

6 slices bacon (I used turkey bacon)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups peeled and chopped butternut squash (a medium to small squash should work, I had a lot leftover)
4 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground red pepper (this is a small amount, but the soup was almost too spicy for me)
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 cup whipping cream (I used fat-free evaporated milk, and a whole can because I didn't want it to go to waste)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano (I used 1 tsp dried)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 15-oz cans Great Northern white beans, rinsed and drained
3 Tbsp unsalted pumpkinseed kernels, toasted (optional)

Cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving about 2 teaspoons of bacon drippings (or if you're using turkey bacon, just add olive oil to the pan). Crumble the bacon and set aside. In a large pot, add onion, celery and garlic to bacon drippings. Cook about 3 minutes until tender. Add squash; cook 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1/4 cup chicken broth and stir until the liquid almost evaporates. Stir in the remaining broth, cumin, red pepper, cinnamon and cloves (and oregano if using dried). Bring to a boil. reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes or until squash is tender. Stir in cream, oregano, salt, pepper and beans. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Sprinkle each serving with bacon and pumpkinseeds (if desired). Makes about 6 portions (1 1/2 cups each).

*Another yummy way to take down the heat a little is adding sour cream to the bowl.