Saturday, December 22, 2018

Magic Pecan Cookie Bars
























I know..... it's one of those photos that stops you in your tracks and makes you stare at it for a few minutes until you feel that tiny bit of drool escape from your mouth.  It's one of those photos that you can almost taste before you make it.  It's one of those photos that make you run to the store to get the ingredients when you weren't planning on it. It's one of those recipes that you make for your friends and family but end up hiding it in a secret place for yourself.  And it's one of those recipes that when you taste it, you can only come up with "D" words.....delightful, delicious, decadent, and divine!

Magic Pecan Cookie Bars

Crust

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chocolate graham cracker crumbs 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Layers

1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 ¾ cup shredded sweetened coconut
3/4 cup sliced pecans
12 oz. sweetened condensed milk 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a slight overhang for easy removal and spray with cooking spray; set aside. 
























In a large bowl, mix together the butter and brown sugar until creamy, using a hand mixer.  Add the vanilla and egg and mix until combined. Next, add the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt and mix until fully combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Press dough evenly into the bottom of your prepared baking pan.  Bake for 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with almost all the mini chocolate chips. Reserve about ¼ cup. Next sprinkle coconut and pecans.  Then drizzle the sweetened condensed milk over the top and sprinkle with reserved ¼ cup of mini chocolate chips. 

























Return to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Then lay a sheet of aluminum foil over the pan to prevent the coconut from burning.  Rotate the pan and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until set. 
























Allow to cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes and then refrigerate for another two hours. Bars must be cold when you cut them or they will run and not hold their shape. Once cold, cut into squares.  























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Saturday, December 15, 2018

White Chocolate Bark with Nuts and Cranberries
























I love this stuff!  I love passing by it and breaking off just little pieces so I don't feel like I am eating too much of it.  Then I notice the tray is empty and I have to make more so I don't feel so guilty. Sometimes I make it with a few drops of peppermint extract for a real holiday taste!


White Chocolate Bark with Nuts and Cranberries
​​
16 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries or Craisins
1 cup  pistachio nuts, shelled and chopped fine
1 cup of cashews
























In bowl over saucepan of hot water, melt chocolate, stirring occasionally. Stir in cranberries and pistachios.  Pour onto foil-lined or parchment lined baking sheet; using a knife or rubber spatula spread  into 12- x 9- inch rectangle. Drop in cashews randomly.
























Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until hardened. Break into pieces.






















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Sunday, December 09, 2018

♥ STRAWBERRY MINI CAKES


























This little cakes are just the right size for that pop in your mouth deliciousness.   Perfect Christmas treat!

Strawberry Mini Bundt Cakes
 1 cup of flour
3 eggs
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of milk
1 stick of butter
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 tablespoon of lemon zest
1/3 cup of sliced strawberries (or much as you wish)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray bundt pans with baking spray and set aside.

In a bowl mix your sugar, eggs and soft butter. Add the flour slowly to the mix followed by the milk and lemon zest. Lastly, fold the strawberries into your batter.


Pour batter into your mini molds, bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Decorate them with powdered sugar and extra strawberries on top! 

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Pecan Meltaways























I loved these cookies growing up. I can’t remember a Christmas without them. My Mom would make them every year and they were always our traditional cookie that we would leave out for Santa. Every year she would hide a single Hershey’s kiss inside one of these cookies and we would get to pick which one we wanted. Whoever got the kiss when they took a bite would get to open one present early. I love these things. They literally melt in your mouth.



Pecan Meltaways



1 cup finely ground pecans
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a food processor, pulse pecans with 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar until nuts are very finely ground. Add butter and vanilla, and process until smooth. Scrape down the bowl frequently.
























Add in the flour and continue to blend until dough forms. With floured hands, shape dough by rounded teaspoon full into small balls.  

  
Place cookie dough balls one inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 16 - 18 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly browned and cookies are light golden.

































Transfer cookies to wire rack. Cool for 3 minutes, then roll cookies in remaining confectioners' sugar and place back on wire rack to cool. When cookies are completely cool, roll in sugar once again. Repeat with remaining dough and sugar.

 

























Cookies can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.







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Raspberry Pecan Thumbprint Cookies


























I love this little cookie.  They are easy to make and easy to love.  They are on my holiday table every year but who says they are just a holiday cookie?  I make them all year round and fill the centers with different jellies to change them up a bit. They call for a few simple ingredients you've likely got on hand, they're super-easy to make whenever you want a delicious cookie! 

Raspberry Pecan Thumbprint Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
3 large egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all purpose flour 
2 teaspoons cornmeal
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup finely chopped pecans 
½ cup raspberry jam


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  With electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla.

In a bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, nuts and salt and gradually add to butter mixture until blended (dough will come together). 

Pinch off the dough and roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on parchment-lined cookie sheet. Press centers of each down with your thumb or end of wooden spoon and bake for 16 to 18 minutes.  Spoon 1 teaspoon jam into each indentation.

Cool on rack for 1 minute, then cool completely.


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Thursday, November 22, 2018

♥ Classic Autumn Pumpkin Roll

























So I have been making pumpkin rolls this week to give away to friends and neighbors and to freeze for the holidays. Everyone loves them and they really are easy to make. I changed it up a little this time and instead of sprinkling nutmeg and cinnamon on top, I added these tiny little shavings of white chocolate curls for the top of the whipped cream. I used my small grater for that. If you look close you can see them.
Classic Autumn Pumpkin Roll

For the cake: 


 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup Pumpkin (I use Libby's pure pumpkin)

To make the creamy cream cheese filling:

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
Powdered sugar, if desired

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 15 x 10 x 1-inch jelly-roll pan and then line it with parchment or waxed paper. Then grease and flour paper and set aside. Arrange clean thin, damp cotton kitchen towel on counter. Do not use a regular dish towel that might leave impressions or fibers in your cake. Make sure towel is only damp and not wet.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Combine eggs and sugar in large bowl and beat until thickened. Add pumpkin and mix well. Stir in flour mixture. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until center springs back when lightly touched. Immediately loosen cake from edges of pan; invert onto prepared towel. Remove pan; carefully peel off paper. Roll up the cake in towel while hot, starting with 10-inch side. Cool completely on wire rack.

Next, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar and beat until completely smooth and light. Add the vanilla extract and mix briefly to combine.

Carefully unroll the cake. Spread the cream cheese filling evenly over the surface of the cake. Re-roll the cake, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. When ready to serve, place the pumpkin roll on a serving platter and dust with powdered sugar. Garnish with whipped cream if desired.


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Homemade Dinner Rolls (Yeast Rolls)


























These are just about the best dinner rolls you will ever have! Soft and light and fluffy and they rise so nicely. Easy to make and the house smells heavenly while they're baking!

Homemade Dinner Rolls (Yeast Rolls)

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm water (111 degrees)
2 packages active dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup solid vegetable shortening like Crisco
1 cup cold water
1 egg, well beaten
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large bowl, add a pinch of sugar to the warm water. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve yeast. Beat in the remaining sugar, salt, shortening, cold water, and egg until well blended.

On low speed, beat in 2 cups of flour and beat for 2 minutes. Beat in enough of the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, to make soft dough. Place the dough in a well-greased bowl and turn to coat the dough. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled in size, about 90 minutes or so. Punch the dough down and refrigerate for 2 hours. The dough will almost double in size. 























Grease 2 (9-inch) cake pans. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Pull off pieces of the dough, about a 1/4 cup each and shape into 24 rolls. Place 12 rolls, sides touching in each of the 2 prepared pans. Brush with butter. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size again.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake the rolls until well browned on the top, about 15 minutes. Transfer the pan to wire racks to cool for 5 minutes.

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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Apple Cranberry Sausage Dressing
























I still make my Mom's dressing after all these years.  There are hundreds of other dressings I could make but there is something about tradition and the fact that this dressing made her the super star every holiday!  It was the dish that brought out all the oooohs and ahhhhs.  She was well known for this dish and everyone loved it. And so I carry on the tradition and will make it for years to come.  In memory of my Mom, I present her.....

Apple Cranberry Sausage Dressing 

6 cups bread cubes
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
5 stalks celery, chopped including leaves
1 pound bulk breakfast sausage (I use Jimmy Dean Sage Flavored)
2 tablespoons fresh sage, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 Fuji or Gala apple, cored and chopped small
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup apple cider
1 1/2 cups chicken stock (or more as needed)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.


Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 7 - 10 minutes until light golden brown. Transfer to a large bowl.



Add sausage to a large skillet over medium heat, stirring to break up clumps. Cook until browned. Using a slotted spoon, remove cooked sausage and add to bowl with bread. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of fat from skillet and add 2 tablespoons butter.  Add onioncelery and garlic and saut√© for 4-5 minutes until softened. 


























 Add herbs and seasonings and cook for two more minutes. Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper if needed.  

Pour the mixture over the bread in the bowl and toss until bread cubes are moistNext de-glaze the skillet using the apple cider, stirring the bottom of the skillet to lift bits of onion and celery and garlic. Pour over bread and vegetables. Toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. 

Mix in the chopped apple and the dried cranberries. Mix again making sure everything is combined. Pour into a buttered 13 by 9 by 2 inch glass baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes until golden brown and slightly crisp on top. 











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