Saturday, December 14, 2013

OT: Favorite Holiday Recipes: SPICED PECANS

My sister, Lala Corriere, shared this recipe with me in 2004. It remains one of our favorites.


2 cups water
2 cups plus one teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
3 cups vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine water, 2 cups sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne in medium size heavy saucepan. (I use the same dutch oven I use to make peanut brittle.) Heat over medium high heat. Cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until the mixture becomes slightly thick. About 10 minutes.

Add the pecans and cook for about 5 minutes more, stirring frequently. Drain the pecans in a colander.

Heat the oil to 360 degrees in a deep frying pan. Carefully add the pecans and fry until they are a deep mahogany color, about 4-5 minutes, stirring often. Remove quickly with a slotted spoon an drain on parchment paper. laid out so they won't stick to each other. (This means you're gonna need a LOT of parchment paper.)

Combine the salt and remaining cayenne and sugar, along with the cinnamon. Sprinkle on top. Let cool.

Can be stored in an airtight container for up to one week.

It's all better with friends.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


One of the cool things with this recipe is that you aren't taking up stovetop or oven space to make it.

Never Dry Crockpot Dressing

1 cup butter or margarine, melted (You can get away with using a little less, but heck, it's the holidays!)
2 cups chopped onion (I usually add a tad more, but then we love onion in our food.)
2 cups chopped celery
1/4 cup parsley (fresh or dried)
2 cups canned mushrooms, drained (I use fresh sliced.)
2 eggs, beaten
3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups chicken broth, or enough to moisten well
13 cups dry bread, cubed (I can never find unseasoned, so it takes about two of the Italian loaves from the bakery.)
1 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
2 tsp salt
2 tsp sage
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp marjoram

Melt butter or margarine in LARGE fry pan and saute onion and celery until soft. Mix with remaining ingredients and toss well. Pack in large crockpot. Cover. Cook on high for 45 minutes, then turn to low and continue cooking for 6-8 hours. 

Oh . . . the aroma!!!!!!

It's all better with friends.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

OT: Favorite Holiday Recipes: SUGAR COOKIES

Sugar Cookies

3 cups flour (I substituted 1 1/2 cups with soy flour... it cuts the carbs a little, as if that would make                                          any difference this time of year)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 large egg
1 Tbsp whole milk (why don't they sell this in those little containers???)
1 tsp vanilla extract

I have to say, this is one of those recipes that makes me fall in love with my KitchenAid stand mixer all over again.

Combine flour(s), baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

Beat butter and sugar in a separate bowl (or in your stand mixer) on low speed until combined, increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat on medium until combined. Beat in milk and vanilla.

Slowly beat dry ingredients into wet on low speed. (This is when I had some interesting flour-cloud effects in the kitchen. It didn't really bother me, and actually made me feel productive in a messy kind of way.) Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the dough begins to clump. Scrape dought into plastic wrap. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

I made three different types of cookies with this recipe. All of them call for 375 degree ovens.

In brief:


Roll out on confectioner's sugar and use your favorite holiday cookie cutters. Bake the cookies, on parchment, 11-13 minutes (until just beginning to turn golden on the edges) and thoroughly cool.

Put some chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate) in a bowl and microwave in short segments (20-25 seconds), stirring after each, until just melted. Using the back of the spoon, spread the melted chocolate over roughly half of each cookie, then sprinkle with either crushed peppermint candy or shredded coconut.


Do the confectioner's sugar thing, and cut out 2-3" rounds with a cookie cutter or glass. Make an even number. Set them out on parchment and sprinkle with whatever you'd like. I used chocolate sprinkles because I'm a chocolate kind of girl and those are what I had on hand. Bake them the same as above.

Once they're cooled, turn the cookies over and spread half of them with marshmallow fluff or cream, and the other half with your favorite jam or preserves and sandwich them together.


Roll the chilled bowl into 1-inch (or smaller) balls, then roll each ball in beaten egg white, then in finely chopped peanuts and pretzels. Put them on your parchment lined cookie sheet and make an indentation in the middle of each with your thumb. (You might have to reconnect bits of the dough if it splits.) Cut chewy caramel candies in half, and put one-half in each indentation. This will need about 20 minutes to bake, until just brown around the edges.

It's all better with friends.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

OT: Some Favorite Holiday Recipes: PEANUT BRITTLE

One of my favorite people has asked me to post a few of my favorite recipes. So, Donna Fasano, the next few posts are for you!


Basic Recipe:

1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp water
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup white corn syrup
3 Tbsp butter                                                                                  
1 pound shelled peanuts (salted, raw, roasted, it                                                                                      doesn't seem to matter)

Butter two baking sheets and set them nearby.

Combine the soda, water, and vanilla in a tiny bowl and set aside.

Combine sugar, 1 cup water, and corn syrup in large saucepan. (I use a rather large dutch oven pan.) Attach your candy thermometer. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the candy thermometer reaches 240 degrees. (This step can seem like it takes ages and ages. And it pretty much does. I've found that, at least in my mind, the heat comes up a little faster if I set the lid on the pan as much as possible, given that the thermometer and wooden spoon I'm using to stir stick up quite a bit.)

Stir in butter and peanuts. Tip: I have my peanuts ready to dump, with the butter waiting happily on top of them. (Don't be discouraged when the temperature falls. It will build much faster this time.) Stir constantly until the thermometer reaches 300 degrees. Be diligent! The mixture can easily burn during this step. (However, I will take a moment or two while this is going on to stir my soda mixture and keep it fairly well blended. But then, I'm anal.)

Remove from heat immediately and add the soda mixture. Pour half of the candy in each pan and spread thin, working very quickly (this can be quite the trick, and you might want to enlist some help, though it's not entirely necessary). Allow to cool.


Add some jalapeño powder to the soda mixture, increasing the liquid bits just a little.

Add some cinnamon to the soda mixture, increasing the liquid bits just a little.

It's all better with friends.