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Archive for December, 2010

Gingerbread cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting

During the holidays, you need a break from the chocolate and the candy and the peppermint. I didn’t want to be bothered with decorating cookies this year (I had too much cooking/shopping to do,) so I chose gingerbread cupcakes instead of cookies. These were really good, but the spice was a little strong for me when I tried them warm from the oven. Once they were cooled and frosted, everything had a good balance. The lemon went well with the gingerbread flavors. I used a different recipe for the cream cheese frosting with lots of lemon juice/zest.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting (All Recipes)


  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup hot milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter or line with paper liners a 12-cup muffin tin.
  2. Cream 5 tablespoons of the butter with the white sugar. Add the molasses and the egg and egg yolk.
  3. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt. Dissolve the baking soda in the hot milk. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in the hot milk mixture. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared tin.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 minutes or until slightly springy to the touch. Allow to cool a few minutes in the pan and remove to a rack to cool.
  5. To Make Frosting: Cream the 2 tablespoons butter and the cream cheese together. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar until fluffy. Add the lemon extract and beat. When the cupcakes are cool, frost the tops with the frosting and serve.



Mint chip cookies

My dad and Jacob don’t like minty desserts, but when I saw these Guittard mint chips on sale, I had to buy a bag. I looked around for a recipe that actually called for these chips instead of Andes mint chips. I found a winner on the Baked Perfection blog, and she actually got the recipe from the bag itself! I loved the brownie quality of the cookies, and the chips gave the perfect amount of mint. I cooked my cookies for 8 1/2 to 9 minutes.

Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies (a.k.a Polka Dot Cookies)

recipe from Guittard


2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups Guittard Green Mint Chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In top of double boiler over low heat, melt the semi-sweet chips and butter, stirring constantly until smooth. Set aside to cool. In small bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In large bowl, beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla until light. Blend in melted chocolate then dry ingredients. Stir in green mint chips and chill for 10-15 minutes or until stiff. Drop by well-rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes; cookies will be soft inthe centers but will firm up as they cool. Yeilds approximately 4 dozen cookies.

Baked potato soup

The key is to not cook this soup too long after adding the sour cream and cheese. The first time I made this the soup boiled a little too long and it lost some of it’s creaminess. I tried again, and didn’t cook it as long, and was rewarded with a delicious bowl of soup. I prefer my potato chunks to be pretty close to mashed potatoes, so it’s important to cook them at least an hour. I must have had big potatoes, because I ended up adding a little more milk to the soup once I stirred in the potatoes. I sauteed 1/2 of a chopped onion in the butter before adding in the flour, and threw some chopped potato skins in with the mashed potatoes/potato chunks. Some other recipes include chicken broth, garlic, and herbs, so that might be interesting to try some other time.

Baked Potato Soup

4-5 russet potatoes
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
½ cup all-purpose flour, divided
6 cups 2% milk
2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup green onions, chopped
1/3-½ cup light sour cream

For topping:
Sour cream
Shredded cheddar cheese
Chopped green onions
Bacon pieces

Preheat the oven to 400° F.  Prick the potatoes with the tines of a fork.  Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour.  Remove from the oven and let sit until cool enough to handle.  Scoop the insides of the potatoes into food processor, discarding the peels.  Pulse until the pieces are broken into small chunks.

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, melt the butter.  Add ¼ cup of flour to the pot and whisk into the butter.  Cook, whisking constantly, until golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Whisk in the milk and the rest of the flour.  Cook until thick and bubbling, about 6-8 minutes.  Mix in the potato chunks.  Whisk in the salt, pepper, and cheddar cheese and stir until the cheese is melted.  Remove from the heat, stir in the green onions and sour cream.

Serve immediately.  Garnish with sour cream, cheddar cheese, green onions and bacon as desired.

Spaghetti pie

I found this recipe when trying to use up random ingredients, so I really tried to combine recipes to make it as good as possible. I think I made some great choices! The spaghetti layer was moist, the creamy layer was tasty, and the beef and sauce was really good. Jacob thought it was a lot better than he expected it to be. It sliced and could be removed from the pan easily.

I wanted to use up leftover homemade marinara sauce, but it wasn’t enough for the 1 lb of beef. So I followed (and included) the recipe for the meat sauce portion. I left a “crust” of spaghetti that wasn’t covered by the layers, but that part ended up getting weird and crunchy. I also had to bake longer because I assembled everything ahead of time and then baked it from the refrigerator.

Spaghetti Pie (Combo of Spaghetti Pie II and III on All Recipes)

Serves 6


Spaghetti layer:

  • 6-8 oz spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Creamy layer:

  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 4 oz softened cream cheese
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • Italian seasoning

Beef layer:

  • 1 lb ground beef (I used a little less)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • S&P
  • 1 (14.5) oz can diced tomatoes (fire-roasted is nice)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp white sugar (brown is nice too)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Leftover marinara sauce (I had about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup or so shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Cook and drain spaghetti. Stir in margarine, parmesan cheese and eggs, while spaghetti is hot. Form spaghetti mixture into a crust in a buttered 10 inch pie plate.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  3. Mix together ingredients for creamy layer and spread over spaghetti crust.
  4. In a skillet cook the beef, onion, and garlic. Drain off the fat and stir in the undrained tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and oregano. Heat through. (I simmered for a while, maybe 20 minutes)
  5. Spread the beef and tomato mixture over the creamy layer. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the top.
  6. Bake covered at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 minutes. Bake for 5 minutes longer, until warm and bubbly.

Jalapeno cheddar sausage balls

I saw this recipe on a coupon for Jimmy Dean sausage and I thought it sounded awesome. I made these tonight and they were nicely moist and it was a really good combo of flavors. I used pickled jalapenos and they were a little bit spicy. I could have handled more spice actually. They only took a little more than 10 minutes to get to 160.

Zesty Sausage Cheese Balls


  • 1 pkg. Jimmy Dean® Hot Pork Sausage Roll
  • ¾ cup all-purpose baking mix
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • ¼ cup seeded, finely chopped fresh jalapeño peppers
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix all ingredients in large bowl just until blended. Shape into 36 (1-inch) balls.

2. Place in 2 lightly greased baking pans.

3. Bake 12-14 minutes or until done (160°F).

4. Serve with toothpicks, if desired.

Cook’s Tips Stove-Top Variation: Do not preheat oven. Mix ingredients and shape into balls as directed. Cook half the sausage balls in large skillet over medium heat 15-17 minutes or until done (160°F), turning frequently. Remove from skillet; place in single layer in shallow pan to keep warm. Repeat with remaining sausage balls. Serve with toothpicks, if desired.

Make Ahead: Sausage balls can be shaped ahead of time and frozen. When ready to serve, heat oven to 375°F. Place frozen balls on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 16-18 minutes or until done (160°F).

Note: It is easiest to mix the sausage mixture using your hands. Mix just until the dry ingredients are incorporated.


18 servings (2 balls each)

Hawaiian rolls

Oh wow, these were perfect. They were sweet and fluffy and I know I’ll be making them many many more times. I used the bread machine to mix the dough, so I can’t take credit for the texture. But I will never risk making these any other way, because they are that good. I’m so glad I made a full batch for once! I left out the coconut and started with 3 cups of flour. I ended up adding about 2 big tbsp after 5 minutes mixing though. I made 15 rolls, and they were pretty big. A little bigger and some of them could have been buns! I rubbed a little fake butter on top of the rolls when they came out of the oven. Oh yeah, and I only used 3 tbsp butter in the dough, only because I didn’t have 4.

Hawaiian Dinner Rolls Recipe (Polynesian Kitchen)

Source: Taste of Home 


* 1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, undrained
* 1/4 cup warm pineapple juice (70° to 80°)
* 1/4 cup water (70° to 80°)
* 1 egg
* 1/4 cup butter, cubed
* 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
* 3-1/4 cups bread flour
* 2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
* 3/4 cup flaked coconut


In bread machine pan, place the first 10 ingredients in order suggested by manufacturer. Select dough setting (check dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or flour if needed). Just before final kneading (your machine may audibly signal this), add coconut.
When cycle is complete, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Cover with plastic wrap; let rest for 10 minutes. Divide into 15 portions; roll each into a ball. Place in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan.
Cover and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes or until doubled. Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Yield: 15 rolls.


We couldn’t celebrate Hanukkah without making latkes! I think our technique needs a little tweaking, but these were really good. Our mix was pretty watery, especially because it sat out for a while. Our latkes took too long to cook, possibly because of the water. I didn’t follow Kittencal’s suggestion of soaking overnight, because it didn’t seem necessary. I will continue to look for tips to make flawless latkes.

Kittencal’s Crispy Potato and Green Onion Latkes


  • 2 lbs red potatoes, peeled
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons flour (or use matzo meal)
  • 2 -4 teaspoons seasoning salt (or to taste, or use white salt to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper (or to taste)
  • 4 -6 green onions, finely chopped (use as much as you like I use lots!)
  • 3 -4 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped (good to add in!) (optional)
  • oil (for frying)


  1. Grate the potatoes using a the coarse side if the grater or use a food processor.
  2. Place into a large bowl and cover with cold water.
  3. Allow the grated potatoes to soak for at least a minimum of 8 hours or even up to 2 days.
  4. Using your hands firmly squeeze handfuls of the grated potatoes to remove as much liquid as possible, then place in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Add in egg, flour, seasoned salt and pepper; mix well with a wooden spoon, then add in the green onions and parsley (if using).
  6. Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat.
  7. Place a heaping tablespoonful of the potato mixture into the hot skillet and using a fork, flatten slightly (the edges will be uneven!).
  8. Sprinkle with more salt if desired.
  9. Place only a few pancakes in the pan, careful not to over crowd.
  10. Cook until golden and crisp on both sides adding in more oil if needed).
  11. Repeat with remaining potato mixture.