Colorful Crinkle Cookies

Colorful Crinkle Cookies ~ The Way to His Heart ~ Colorful and festive, this recipe makes 6 doz. perfect for cookie swaps and parties!

We are nearing the end of December and cookie making season and I’ve only made one batch so far this year! Granted, I’ll be making a bunch of candies this week and one more special batch of cookies for Santa. These cookies were a lot of fun to make since they were easy, although sticky to form into a ball. My daughter loves anything that requires food coloring which made it fun to make with her.

I chose to make these cookies this year to kind of steer away from the chocolate laden cookies. Now that she is in school and having lots of parties, I want to send in something sweet for the kids without being a complete mess and sugar high for them! These are pillowy and soft and have a nice, gentle flavor. The recipe also make a lot, 6 dozen, so they are great for cookie swaps and parties! Don’t worry though, the recipe and be halved easily.

Colorful Crinkle Cookies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstartch
  • 2 boxes (18.25 oz. each) French vanilla cake mix
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (12 Tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 tsp red food coloring
  • 1/2 tsp green food coloring

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper

In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch, set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the cake mixes, eggs, and melted butter. Beat with an electric mixer until thick and well blended.

Divide the batter into thirds. Stir the red food coloring into one third and the green into another third. Leave one third white. Working with one color of batter at a time, divide each into 24 balls about 1 1/2″ across. Roll the balls in the confectioners’ sugar mixture to coat. Transfer to a prepared cookie sheet, place the balls about 2″ apart. Repeat with the remaining batter.

Bake until the cookies are puffed and lightly browned around the edges, 9 to 10 minutes. Let cool for several minutes before transferring the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough.

Yields 6 dozen cookies.

Source: Parents Magazine, December 2013

Duchess Potatoes

Duchess Potatoes ~ The Way to His Heart ~ Turn simple mashed potatoes into more than just a side dish, but a centerpiece on your holiday table! These easy potatotes can be made in advance!

It’s that time of year again. When I’m going through the holiday dinner menu and trying to figure out how to make everyone’s favorite dishes, while still trying to switch things up enough for me. There are so many beloved recipes that it’s difficult to change them and still make everyone happy. So, I set out on this task while also looking for easy things to make. Lots of people make Christmas dinner difficult but I have other dinners I can do that with, Christmas is about trying to hang out with the kids and family as much as possible.

I found a few different potato recipes and I believe we have settled on these for our dinner. Either way, I wanted to share these with you because they are so elegant and will turn your regular mashed potatoes into more than just a side dish! These Duchess Potatoes are very rich, yes you have to add all of those egg yolks! I used golden potatoes so I had a more creamier flavor which was divine. The wonderful thing about these potatoes is they can be made in advance. Just pipe them the day or night before and put them in the refrigerator. When you are ready to bake, just brush the egg wash on and pop them in the oven. All of your real dirty work will be over by the time guests arrive!

*If you decide not to make these in advance, I still advise chilling the piped potatoes before applying the egg wash as it’s easier to do so.

Duchess Potatoes ~ The Way to His Heart ~ Turn simple mashed potatoes into more than just a side dish, but a centerpiece on your holiday table! These easy potatotes can be made in advance!

Duchess Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs Russet Potatoes, peeled and boiled until fork tender
  • 8 whole egg yolks
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tsp salt, more or less to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 whole egg

Pre-heat oven to 375 F. Lay boiled potatoes on a baking sheet and place into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until slightly dried on the surface.

Remove the potatoes from the oven and process through a ricer or food mill. Allow to cool in a bowl for about 5 minutes. Add egg yoks, butter, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and 3/4 cup cream. Stir with a spatula to combine. Taste and make sure the potatoes have been adequately salted.

Transfer to a large pastry bag and pipe through a large star tip in a circular/upward spiral motion.

Mae an egg wash by mixing 1 egg with 1/2 cup heavy cream. Lightly brush the piped potatoes with the egg wash. This part is easier if you chill the piped potatoes for half an hour or so beforehand.)

Bake at 375 until golden brown around the edges, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Source: The Pioneer Woman

 

Cranberry Bread

Cranberry Bread ~ The Way to His Heart ~ A perfect quick bread for breakfast or an afternoon snack. Studded with cranberries, it's quite festive and works well for the holidays

At this stage of the season, most people are in the thick of baking cookies and other sweet treats. This year, I’ve decided not to make so many candies, cookies and cakes. Now, don’t get me wrong, there will be cookies and candies and one or two cakes, but there wont be as many. I really love making quick breads and my family loves having them in the house. They are great for breakfast, snacks, and perfect for a little treat in the lunchbox! I’ve actually decided to do some quick breads for gift giving this year as well. Who doesn’t love getting cute little quick breads festively wrapped?

This Cranberry Bread is wonderful because there is a great blend of tartness and sweetness. The turbinado sugar adds a wonderful crunch as well. I love using cranberries in the kitchen throughout the year, but there is something so festive about them this time of year. This could make a wonderful gift or even an easy make ahead bread for Christmas or Thanksgiving morning breakfast!

 

Cranberry Bread ~ The Way to His Heart ~ A perfect quick bread for breakfast or an afternoon snack. Studded with cranberries, it's quite festive and works well for the holidays

 

Cranberry Bread

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted plus more for pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan and cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 12 oz cranberries
  • 1 Tbsp turbinado sugar, for optional topping

Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Butter and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine butter, egg, and milk. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and whisk to combine.

Rinse cranberries and lightly dry and sprinkle flour lightly over them. This will insure that the cranberries distribute evenly throughout the bread rather than sink to the bottom. Fold cranberries into batter.

Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle turbinado sugar on top if desired. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, about an hour. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let bread cool for 30 minutes. Invert onto rack and immediately turn right side up to let cool completely.

Serves 8

Slightly adapted from Martha Stewert

Texas Chili

Texas Chili ~ The Way to His Heart ~ Slow Cooker

Much to my daughter’s dismay, my husband and I have been in chili mode for the past couple of months. My husband loves making it and as I’ve gotten older I appreciate it a lot more. It’s easy to make, so warm and comforting, you can have leftovers for days, and it can be pretty inexpensive as well. I call that winning.

My husband really wanted to start making chili with nice chunks of beef, rather than our go to ground beef or just beans. I found this recipe and we gave it a go and loved it. It has such a great balance of spices and depth. While true Texans will say this isn’t a classic red because it contains beans, we were okay with the beans. It’s more filling and I don’t have to make a pot on the side and dirty up more dishes. We like beans so much, we actually added more beans since we felt the original recipe had a poor bean to meat ration.

What I really liked about this recipe is that every time I make it, I can go straight off the recipe. There isn’t too much “to taste” going on. It’s pretty perfect just the way it is. That means I can phone it in, throw everything in the slow cooker and do bus duty, gymnastics drop offs, etc. and come home to a great meal. It’s getting colder out there, so stay warm with some of this great chili.

Texas Chili ~ The Way to His Heart ~ Slow cooker

Texas Chili

Ingredients

  • 3 onions, minced
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
  • 3 (15-ounce) cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup Minute tapioca
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp minced canned chipotle chili in adobo sauce
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar, plus extra as needed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 (5-pound) boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 scallions, sliced thin

Microwave onions, chili powder, tomato paste, oil, garlic, cumin, and oregano in bowl, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker.

Stir beans, tomato puree, broth, tapioca, soy sauce, chipotles, sugar, and bay leaves into slow cooker. Season beef with salt and pepper and nestle into slow cooker.

Cover and cook until beef is tender, 9 to 11 hours on low or 5 to 7 hours on high.

Let chili settle for 5 minutes, then remove fat from surface using a large spoon. Discard bay leaves. Season with salt, pepper, and sugar to taste. Sprinkle with scallions and serve.

Adapted slightly from Slow Cooker Revolution, America’s Test Kitchen