Sunday, December 27, 2009

Coconut Chocolate Covered Cherries

I really enjoy these coconut chocolate covered cherries! So much that I just make them at Christmas. I  do recommend chilling the coconut mixture for at least 30 minutes or more before wrapping it around the cherries, for easier handling. I usually buy an extra jar of maraschino
cherries to replace the cherries that loose the stems. I have added this recipe to my favorite   
  Christmas candy list

Coconut Chocolate Covered Cherries
1/2 cup butter, softened
3-3/4 cups confectioners sugar
½ cup condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract ( I added this ingredient)
2 cups flaked coconut
2 cups finely chopped walnuts
2 jars (16 ounces each) maraschino cherries with stems, well drained and patted dry
2 packages (11-1/2 ounces each) milk chococlate chips
1 tablespoon shortening

~ In a large bowl, beat butter and confectioners; sugar until well blended and smooth.
~ Gradually beat in milk and vanilla until thoroughly mixed and mixture is well blended and creamy.
~ Fold in coconut and walnuts. I found that chilling the coconut mixture for about 30 minutes or more, makes wrapping it around the cherries much easier.
~ Rub a little butter on your hands, shape 2 teaspoonfuls of coconut mixture around each cherry, Forming a ball. I used two level measuring teaspoons so the covered cherries are uniform in shape.
~ Place on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet.
~ Cover and refrigerate for 1 at least hour or overnight.
~ Melt chocolate chips and shortening in a double boiler until all chips are melted and mixture is smooth.
~ Dip chilled coconut coated cherries into chocolate.
~ Place on waxed paper; let stand until set.
~ Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
~ They will keep for about one month, But never last that lond at my house.
~ Yield: about 5 dozen.

Recipe Source: Taste of Home

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Fruitcake Cookies

This is a Christmas cookie recipe that my family enjoys. Its a festive cookie that gives you the taste of fruitcake in bite-size portions. They can be made ahead and frozen. My daughter Ashley really liked this cookie alot.

Fruitcake Cookies
1 cup butter,softened
1-1/2 cups sugar (I reduced this to 1-1/4 cups)
2 eggs
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon (I did not use)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped pecans (I used english walnuts, because thats what I had)
1 package ( 8-oz ) chopped dates
( 8-oz ) candied cherries, halved (I used extra cherry halves to top each cookie or you could use walnut halves)
( 8-oz ) candied pineapple , diced

~In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.
~Beat in eggs.
~Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt: add to creamed mixture and mix well.
~Fold in the pecans, dates and fruit.
~Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2-inches apart onto greased baking sheets.
~Bake at 325 degrees F. for 13 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. remove to wire rack to cool.
~Yield: 8 dozen. 

Recipe Source:This recipe came from a Country Woman Christmas 1998 craft and cookbook

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

This recipe seems to be getting good reviews, so I wanted to give it a try. Any recipe that I can make in advance is always a plus. I made mine about 5 days before Thanksgiving and froze it in ziploc freezer bags, I doubled my freezer bags for extra protection against leakage. My family and I really enjoyed it! I did not use the thyme, and I refrigerated the broth overnight, to make removing the surface fat easier, as suggested in the recipe. Then I thawed it in the refrigerator 2 days before Thanksgiving as recommened in the recipe, reheated it on medium heat and added about 6 tablespoons of my turkey drippings to the gravy after removing the fat, for a little extra flavor. It was a little thinner than I normally like my gravy to be, I will probably try a little more flour, to thicken it a little more next time I make this. But I loved the make-ahead convenience and it has a great flavor. I have added this to my favorite recipes.

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy
 4 medium turkey wings, (about 3 pounds)
 2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
 1 cup water
 8 cups chicken broth
 3/4 cup chopped carrot
 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (Dana's Note: I did not use the thyme)
 3/4 cup flour
 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

~Heat oven to 400 F. degrees. Have ready a large roasting pan.
~Arrange wings in a single layer pan; scatter onions over top. Roast 1-1/4 hours until the wings are browned.
~Put wings and onions in a 5 to 6 quart pot. Add water to roasting pan and stir to scrape up any brown bits on bottom. Add to pot. Add 6 cups broth (refrigerate remaining 2 cups), carrot and thyme.
~Bring to a boil reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 1-1/2 hours.
~Remove wings to cutting board. When cool, pull off skin and meat. Discard skin; save meat for another use.
~Strain broth into a 3-quart saucepan, pressing vegetables to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard vegetables; skim fat off broth and discard. (If time permits, refrigerate broth overnight to make fat-skimming easier.)
~Whisk flour into remaining 2 cups broth until blended and smooth.
~Bring broth in pot to a gentle boil. Whisk in broth-flour mixture and boil 3 to 4 minutes to thicken gravy and remove floury taste. Stir in butter and pepper. Serve or pour into containers; refrigerate up to 1 week or freeze up to 3 months.
~Planning Tip: If frozen thaw 2 days in refrigerator. Reheat in saucepan, whisking often.
~Note: On Thanksgiving after the turkey is cooked and removed from the roasting pan, you can skim the fat off the pan drippings and add the drippings to the heated gravy.

Recipe Source: This is recipe comes from Woman's Day Magazine

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Crockpot Chicken and Dressing

I wanted to try this recipe as soon as I found it on Southern Plate. Christy of Southern Plate has a wonderful site, filled with great Southern recipes. Please visit her site and see for yourself. Christy said this recipe is her grandmother's recipe. My family really enjoyed this dressing, and I liked the convenience of cooking it in my crockpot. I also baked my cornbread, and cooked my chicken and hard boiled egg in advance. I liked the addition of chicken and hard boiled egg, that made it deliciously different. It was very moist. No one could resist topping it off with some warm turkey gravy. My husband seemed to especially enjoy it. He took leftovers to work. It was still moist and delicious reheated. This is on my Thanksgiving menu again for next year. Thank you so much Christy, for sharing your grandmother's wonderful recipe!

Crockpot Dressing
2 pans cornbread, round or square
2 hotdog or hamburger buns
2 hard boiled eggs
Stick of butter, melted
4 boneless chicken breast, boil until done ( I used 3, because mine had three in a package)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cans chicken broth
2 tablespoons sage (I used 1-1/2 tablespoons) used 1-1/2 tablespoons)
Frozen or fresh chopped onion, 1 medium onion

~ Crumble cornbread into a large bowl. Tear hotdog or hamburger buns into small pieces and place in bowl with cornbread.
~ Chop eggs.
~ Add to bowl, hard boiled eggs, onion, sage and melted butter.
~ Add one can cream of chicken soup with both cans of chicken broth. Stir well until well combined.
~ In crockpot spread 1/2 can remaining cream of chicken soup. Top with 1/3 dressing. Top dressing with half of chicken, shredded. Repeat with another layer of dressing, remaining chicken and spread other half cream of chicken soup on top. Cover and cook on low 3 to 4 hours.

* Recipe Source: Southern Plate *