Monday, December 31, 2012

Countdown to 2013-Most Viewed Recipes

Today is the day in Countdown to 2013 hosted by Finding Joy in My Kitchen to post our most viewed recipes.

Far and away the most viewed recipe on the blog in 2012.  Easy, quick and versatile.  Perhaps that is why.

The number 2 most viewed.  This is a great cookie for the lemon lover.

This came in at number 3.  I was a little surprised since I can not get meat to photograph well.  This recipe, however, makes a nicely seasoned roast.

This dessert is very near the top of hubby's most favorite recipes for 2012.  I love to cook with apples.

This was the first post for 12 Weeks of Christmas Sweets  All of the recipes I posted were based on this cookie mix.

This completes my countdown posts for 2012.  Here are links to the other countdown posts in case you want to check them out.

Thanks so much to all my followers and others who have visited my blog this year.  I so appreciate all of you.  Have a happy and safe New Years Eve.  I will see you in 2013.

I am linking to Countdown to 2013.

Countdown to 2013-Desserts

Yesterday we celebrated our family Christmas.  Due to family logistics, we almost always have to pick another day besides the 25th to celebrate with our kids and grandkids.  I did not get back to finishing this post on desserts.  Since the linky is still open over at Finding Joy in My Kitchen, I have decided to go ahead and finish it.

It is no secret that desserts are my passion, so here are a few I posted this years that I especially liked.

These are my absolute favorite peanut butter bar cookie, and the recipe was the first recipe I posted in 2012.  I had lost the recipe book that these were in for several years (Oh yeah, I can manage to do that.).  I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was when I found the book so I could make them again.

I make these often when rhubarb is in season.  They almost make me want to grow my own rhubarb.  This is a unique recipe that people really seem to like.  They can be cut into larger squares and served as a dessert.  I had to use green rhubarb to make these.  They are much prettier when made with red rhubarb.

This is the dessert I created this year using my favorite no-machine ice cream recipe that takes sweetened condensed milk and whipping cream.  I try to make one new no-machine ice cream dessert each year.

This is a recipe I created for Improv Cooking Challenge which was very well received by friends and family.  It is a bit of a different way to use up zucchini.

Of course, with me being Cookie Monster's grandmother, you knew there would be lots of cookie recipes on the blog this year.  This is more candy, than cookie, I think, but oh so good.

I don't make many pies, but this one was a winner.  It is so nice to be able to make a fresh fruit pie during the winter.

That is a few of my favorite dessert recipes posted in 2012.  There are, of course, many more on the blog.

I am linking up to Countdown to 2013 over at Finding Joy in My Kitchen.

I will be back later with the 5 most viewed recipes of 2012.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Countdown ti 2013-Snacks and Appetizers

It is day 4 of Countdown to 2013 hosted by Sno White over at Finding Joy in My Kitchen.  I don't have many posts in either category, but I did post a few dip recipes.

This is a post to make homemade dip mixes.  There are recipes for Onion/Cheese, Curry, Bacon and Taco Dip Mixes here.

A tasty dip made with my perpetual green onions.

The homemade version of this popular cheese is less expensive, cheaper, and the herbs and seasonings can be adjusted for personal taste.

The sandwiches can be cut into smaller amounts and served as hot appetizers.

Love ranch dressing, love dill.  Putting them together gives me the best of both worlds.  

Remember there is still time to join in tomorrow and post your list of desserts from 2012.  

I am linking up to Countdown to 2013.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Countdown to 2013-Main Dishes

The subject for day 3 of Countdown to 2013 hosted by Sno White over at Finding Joy in My Kitchen is main dishes.  Since I only cook three nights a week due to my job, I tend to make roasts, casseroles, and one-dish meals so that hubby will have leftovers to fix on the nights I work.  Here are several recipes I shared in 2012.

Pork tenderloin is a pork cut that I use often.  I served this for our Valentine's Day dinner.  It is a take-off of the apricot jam, Catalina dressing and onion soup chicken recipes.  Hubby liked it a lot.

Sirloin tip roast is a beef cut that frequently appears on our table.  This recipe makes a very flavorful roast.

This was for Crazy Cook's Challenge and was based on a recipe from Plain Chicken.  It was a fun and different way to serve spaghetti which was enjoyed by all who ate it.

The original version of this recipe was my favorite meat loaf when I was a child.  Now that I am using the Chinese 5-Spice I like it even better.

I like to make oriental food at home.  Don't know why I don't have more posts of it.  This is my adaptation of a recipe from Soupbelly.

Since we had our turkey dinner the night before, this is what my hubby and son got on Thanksgiving.

My new favorite pork tenderloin recipe, and the best meat photo I have taken all year.

Going back through my posts for 2012 reminded me of many recipes that I need to make again.

There is still time to join in the Countdown to 2013.  Tomorrow is Snack and Appetizers and Sunday is Desserts.

I am linking to:  Countdown to 2013 


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Countdown to 2013-Soups/Breads

Day 2 of Countdown to 2013 hosted by Sno White over at Finding Joy in My Kitchen is Soups and Breads.  Since we have homemade soup for lunch at least 80 per cent of the time, I posted several soups recipes in 2012.

Low calorie and inexpensive this is a hearty soup even though it contains no meat.  It is among my hubby's favorite soups so I make it at least once a month.

This may be my favorite potato soup.  It uses browned breakfast sausage and make a ton so I am good for lunches for several days after I make this one.

This is a very hearty soup with barley and lots of veggies.

This was a post for Secret Recipe Club, and the original recipe came for It's Yummy to My Tummy Blog.  This may be my new favorite soup.

I didn't havet many bread recipes on the blog this years, but here are several recipes I posted that go great with soup.

Homemade crackers are great fun to make and go great with almost any soup.

Any of the Chex type cereals can make a nice change from bread cubes to use as croutons in soups or salads.  If rice or corn are used the croutons are gluten free.

Pita chips are very fast and easy to make at home, and any flavoring desired can be used.

Come back tomorrow for main dishes.  You can join us any day you like and post your own best recipes for 2012.  Just click on the graphic at the top of this post for the schedule.

I am linking to Countdown to 2013 and these other great parties.

Countdown to 2013-Breakfast

I hope that everyone had a wonderful day of family, food and fun, and that Santa was very good to you this year.

For the remainder of the year I am joining Sno White over at Finding Joy in My Kitchen to countdown to 2013 by linking to some of my posts in specific categories.  Today’s subject is breakfasts.

Since there are just the two of us, and hubby does not usually eat breakfast, I posted only a few breakfast type dishes this year.  However, I am sharing what I did post.

I do eat oatmeal for breakfast quite often, and I love to eat this one.

This is good any time, but it does make a nice drink to have in the morning with some toast.  If you don't have the syrup on hand, you can use a flavored creamer instead of the plain one.

Oh how I love recipes with versatility.  Both this recipe and the next one have that aspect to them.  These are great to have on hand to warm up for a quick breakfast or lunch.

This is great for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  It can be a side dish, meatless main dish or cooked meat can be added.

I had this with some toast for breakfast a lot when fresh rhubarb was in season.  I have some rhubarb in the freezer.  Think I will have to use a batch to make this.

This is a use for fruit juice that may have been drained from canned fruit to use the fruit in another recipe.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Greetings




Saturday, December 22, 2012

Teresa’s Tropical Bars

I named this recipe Teresa’s Tropical Bars to honor my friend and coworker.  She is my taste tester and cooking muse.   When I take something for her to try, she will make a comment like, “I wonder what it would be like if?”.  I am then off and running with whatever she suggested to see what would happen.

When I took the Salted Mixed Nut Bars for her to sample, she wondered what the cookie might be like with white chocolate chips and coconut.  I then began to think about a cookie with other tropical things besides coconut.

The result is this recipe which features a shortbread-like crust with a toffee topping embedded with dried pineapple and papaya, broken banana chips, coconut, chopped macadamia nuts and almonds.  A tribute to the tropics.

I give a range for the cookie mix because, if I am using the last of the mix, I usually just use the amount that I have, although I would not use less than the 2 1/2 cups.  Use of a larger amount of mix will just make the crust thicker.

I used a package of dried pineapple and papaya that I found at the Dollar Tree.  It measured about 3/4 c. chopped.
Teresa’s Tropical Bars
2 1/2 to 3 c. Holiday Cookie Mix
1 pkg (11 oz.) white chocolate chips
1 c. light corn syrup
1/4 c. butter
2 T. water
1/2 t. coconut extract (opt.)
3/4 c. of a combination of chopped dried pineapple and papaya
1/2 c. broken dried banana chips
1/2 c. coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
1/2 c. slivered almonds
1 c. flaked coconut

Measure cookie mix into a foil-lined 10x13-inch jelly roll pan.  Pat out to cover the bottom evenly.  Bake at 350 degrees 10 minutes or till light golden brown.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool 5 minutes.  Sprinkle pineapple, papaya, banana chips and nuts over crust evenly.  Sprinkle coconut over the top.  Set aside.  Place  white chocolate chips, corn syrup, butter and water in a medium sauce pan.  Cook and stir over medium heat, melting chips and butter and bringing to a boil.  Boil and stir 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in coconut extract if using.  Quickly pour over mixture in jelly roll pan, spreading as evenly as possible.  Return to oven and bake 10-12 minutes.  Place pan on rack to cool.  Cut into 48 bars.

Linking to these great parties:
Weekend Potluck
Strut Your Stuff
I'm Lovin' It
Weekend Bloggy Reading
Saturday Nite Special

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Finds

This is the last Friday Finds for this year.  Next week I will be participating in the Countdown to 2013.  Would love to have you join us over at Finding Joy in My Kitchen.  You can stop by for a day or join in all week.

Today, I am back to sharing recipes posted by bloggers who attend Online Blogcon.  I am having such a good time going through this list and discovering lots of new blogs.

Jesuis Almentageuse 

These wonderful looking confections are made of sweetened condensed milk, cocoa, and a little butter with some sprinkles on the top.   A great last-minute sweets idea.

Candy Girl

I think this is going to be the next new pork tenderloin recipe I try.  Recipes for one-dish meals are so great to have.  However, I must tell you to go check out the recipe for Pecan Pie Cheesecake!

The Freshman Cook

This is a recipe idea I had not seen.  Dried apricots are my favorite dried fruit.  This would be a wonderful gift paired with some homemade crackers.

The Domestic Rebel

With four different mint/peppermint candies, this must be the ultimate mint lovers treat.  My mouth loves this blog, my hips not so much.

Kitchen Meets Girl

I don't drink coffee, but I think this would be a great gift for someone who does.  Ashley also suggests using it with cocoa or pouring it over oatmeal.  Sounds like a fantastic idea.

As always the photos were taken by and are the property of the owners of the respective blogs represented.

That is going to conclude my Friday Finds for 2012, but I look forward to finding many more in 2013.    I am linking up to Friday Favorite Finds over at Finding Joy in My Kitchen.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Chocolate Graham Marshmallow Drops


This is my favorite no-bake cookie/candy/confection whatever you want to call it.  I must confess that I posted the non-chocolate version last year as part of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats 2011.

In that post I said to make a chocolate version simply use chocolate graham crackers.  That certainly works.  However chocolate graham crackers are not that easy to find in my area any more; and if found, are usually the brand names ones which are more expensive.

When chocolate and marshmallows were the ingredients for December’s Improv Challenge, hosted by Kristen from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker, I decided to develop a chocolate version using regular graham crackers and cocoa.  So today, I present Chocolate Graham Marshmallow Drops.

As I said in my original post the recipe came from Better Homes and Gardens magazine many, many years ago, and I have never seen it anyway else since.

I takes about six double graham crackers to make the 1 1/4 cups.  Be sure that the eggs are at room temperature.  Place them in a bowl of warm water for 10-15 minutes if you did not remember to remove them from the refrigerator.

Chocolate Graham Marshmallow Drops
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens magazine
1/2 c. butter or margarine
1 c. sugar
2 T. cocoa
2 well beaten eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 1/4 c. graham cracker crumbs
2 c. mini Marshmallows
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1/2 c. flaked coconut

In heavy saucepan, melt butter.  Stir in sugar and cocoa and mix until well combines.  Remove from heat.  Add well beaten eggs slowly, stirring constantly.      Return to heat; cook and stir over medium heat till mixture is thickened and bubbly.  Remove from heat; let stand 25 minutes at room temperature, stirring once or twice.  Add vanilla and stir.  Add graham cracker crumbs and mix well.  Blend in marshmallows, nuts, and coconut.  Drop from teaspoon onto waxed paper.  Let set.  Makes 3 1/2 doz.

January's Improv Challenge is bananas and nutmeg.  If you would like to join in next year for this fun link up, you can get all the details on Kristen's Improve Page.  You are not committed to participate every month.

Linking to Improv Challenge

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Frugal Fruit Syrup

Welcome to my new followers and "Hello" to my other readers.  I hope that you are having a wonderful Christmas season.  Thank you for taking the time from your busy lives to read this blog.  It is much appreciated.

Yesterday I was a guest poster over at CJ’s blog, Morsels of Life.  The recipe, Peachy Pear Dream Bars, requires drained, canned fruit.  I was left with fruit juice to do something with so I decided to make some fruit-flavored syrup for pouring over pancakes, waffles, etc.

This is not so much a recipe as a formula since it depends on how much fruit juice there is to work with.  I had about 2 cups of drained fruit juice from the two cans of fruit I needed.  The syrup needs twice as much sugar as liquid so this would require 4 cups of sugar.  Heat the juice and sugar together until the sugar is dissolved.  Measure to see how much liquid there is.  Return to saucepan.  Dissolve 1 T. cornstarch for each cup of liquid in a little water.  Add to the sauce and bring to a boil.  Boil a minute or so until syrup thickens.  Cool and keep in the refrigerator.  Keeps for a long time.  For fruit/maple syrup add 1/2 t. or more maple extract.

 I want to thank CJ again for allowing me to guest post on her blog.  Check out the Morsels of Life for great recipes like Cheddar Bacon Potatoes, Taco Seasoning, Chicken Yakisoba, and English Toffee Cookies.  Be sure to stop by on Fridays for Five Friday Finds.  You'll be glad you did.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Salted Mixed Nut Bars

If the Peppermint Crunch Bars posted on Thursday were for the peppermint lover, this Saturday Sweet is for the nut lover.

More a candy than a cook, Salted Mixed Nut Bars consist of a shortbread-like base with a topping of mixed nuts embedded in a butterscotch toffee candy.

The original recipe for these bars came from a Pillsbury Bake-Off.  I have adapted the recipe to use the Holiday Cookie Mix for the base.  You can probably tell by now that the mix can be used in any recipe that calls for a shortbread-like base.

This is another versatile recipe that can be changed up at will.  Any combination of nuts or a single nut can be used.  Salted nuts can be used or unsalted nuts with some salt added.  The chips can be almost any flavor.  Peanut butter chips with salted peanuts is one option.  Chocolate chips with almost any nut is another.

Don’t be afraid to use corn syrup.  It has nothing to do with high fructose corn syrup.

Salted Mixed Nut Bars
2 1/2 c. Holiday Cookie Mix
3 c. mixed nuts of choice
1 (11 oz.) pkg. butterscotch chips
1 c. corn syrup
1/4 c. butter
2 T. water
1 1/2 t. kosher salt

Measure cookie mix into a foil-lined jelly roll pan.  Pat the mix out in the pan into an even layer.  Bake at 350 degrees 10 to 12 minutes or till golden brown.  Remove from oven and let set  5 minutes . Spread nuts over base in a single layer.  In a medium saucepan combine butterscotch chips, corn syrup, butter and water.  Cook and stir over medium heat, melting the chips and butter and bringing to a boil.  Boil and stir 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in salt.   Quick and evenly pour mixture over the nuts spreading as evenly as possible.  Return pan to oven and bake 10-12 minutes.  Place pan on rack to cool completely.  Remove from pan and cut into 48 bars.

Linking to these great parties:
Weekend Potluck
Feature Friday Linky Party
Strut Your Stuff
Seasonal Inspiration
I'm Lovin' It
Weekend Bloggy Reading
Saturday Nite Special
Sunday Show and Tell
Sweets for a Saturday

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday Finds

It seems to be a mostly cookie week here in Grandma Loy's Kitchen so this is Friday Finds, the cookie edition.  Enjoy

Cooking for the 7 Dwarfs

This looks like a wonderful take on the more common 7-layer bar.  Well it is really 5-layers, but will be a great treat anyway, I think.

The Brown Eyed Baker

These are just too cute, and what a great no-bake projects to do with kids.  I may just have to borrow someone's children to do this with.

What's Cooking, Love?

For me, peppermint is the quintessential flavor of the season.  This cookie is crammed with two different kinds of peppermint candy.  What could be better?

Chocolate, Chocolate and More 

This is just the way I like to eat cheesecake, a little at a time.  This one uses a cake mix as a base, and I can think of some fun flavorings to add to the cheesecake layer.

The Monday Box

Mallomars are one of the few purchased cookies I really like.  I must give this homemade version a try.  This cookie was part of The Great Food Flogger Cookie Swap.  Visit Love and Olive Oil to see part one of the cookie recipe roundup 

Loves Food Loves to Eat

I have a recipe for Chocolate Waffle Cookies that is so much fun to make.  I am going to make these and include them in my Christmas cookie trays this year.  This is another cookie that was part of The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.  Visit The Little Kitchen to see part two of the cookie recipe roundup.

I now have more cookie recipes than I can make if I bake a new one every day for a year. Mmmm, just might give that a try.

As always the photos were taken by and are the property of the owners of the respective blogs represented.

I am linking to Friday Favorite Finds over at Finding Joy in My Kitchen.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Lime Meltaways-Christmas Cookie Swap

This is a two post day.  Looks like cookie week here at Grandma Loy's Kitchen.

Yesterday I posted the recipe I used for The Great Food Blogger Christmas Cookie Swap.  Today I am posting a recipe for Christmas Cookie Swap.  This swap was different in that each participant was to send a cookie recipe to someone and receive a cookie recipe from someone else.  They were then supposed to make the recipe and either blog about it or send an email to one of the hosts.  This swap was hosted by Julie Espy at White Lights on Wednesday and these bloggers.

Mom's Test Kitchen
Carrie @ My Favorite Finds
Deb @ Cooking on the Front Burner
Carrie @ The Frugal Foodie Mama
Michelle @ Michelle's Tasty Creations
Kim @ The Sunflower Supper Club
The recipe I received came from Megan Patent-Nygren.  I am not sure if she has a blog.  (Megan if you do, please put it in the comments.  Thanks.)

This recipe stretched me just a bit.  In all my long years of baking, I have never made anything lime flavored.  Don’t know why, just haven’t, so this was a new flavor cookie for me.  The cookies don’t contain any egg so would be good to make for someone with egg allergies.

I either did not wait for the cookies to cool down long enough or I shook them too vigorously when coating them with the powdered sugar as I had several break.  After that I put the powdered sugar in a pie pan and just rolled the cookie in it.  I think my cookies aren't as heavily dusted with sugar as they were meant to be.

These were fun and different to make and would be a welcome addition to any cookie tray assortment.

Here is the recipe straight from Megan’s email: These are our favoritists at our house.  They can be found on page 121 of Martha Stewart's Cookies (2008).  Also found at
Lime Meltaways
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
Finely grated zest of 2 limes
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
(The only adaption I make is to use salted butter and leave out the added 1/4 tsp. salt.)
  1. Put butter and 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add lime zest and juice and vanilla, and mix until fluffy.
  2. Whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt in a bowl. Add to butter mixture, and mix on low speed until just combined.
  3. Divide dough in half. Place each half on an 8-by-12-inch sheet of parchment paper. Roll in parchment to form a log 1 1/4 inches in diameter, pressing a ruler along edge of parchment at each turn to narrow log. Refrigerate logs until cold and firm, at least 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove parchment from logs; cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Space rounds 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake cookies until barely golden, about 13 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool slightly, 8 to 10 minutes. While still warm, toss cookies with remaining 2/3 cup sugar in a resealable plastic bag. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 weeks
 I sent a recipe for Chewy Butterscotch Brownies to Aimee at Like Mother Like Daughter.

I am linking up to Christmas Cookie Swap.  Click the links below for some great cookie recipes.

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats-Peppermint Crunch Bars


Here we are at the last week of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats 2012 hosted by Brenda over at Meal Planning Magic.  It is sort of sad to see this end, but  I appreciate all the great recipe ideas that have been shared.

This will be the last cookie made with the Holiday Cookie Mix posted here, but I will post more recipes here next Thursday and on Saturday sweets until Christmas.

Peppermint is the quintessential Christmas time flavor, so this one is for the peppermint lover.  These pretty pink bars have a cookie base, a white candy-like middle and a topping of cookie dough and crushed peppermint candy.

A package of 30 mini candy cane is the perfect amount for this recipe.  I prefer them to the regular size candy canes as the mini ones are easier to crush.  I leave them in their little packages and crush them with my metal meat mallet  (it just takes two or three whacks), then cut the packages open and pour the candy into a measuring cup.  This makes for easy clean-up. 

The topping will shrink somewhat and there will be some seepage of the middle layer to the top around the edges, but I haven’t yet figured out how to prevent that.  These cookies are unique and delicious and still very much worth making.

To control ingredients and save money, I usually make my own Sweetened Condensed Milk.  So far, I have not had any failures when using it in recipes.  It is necessary to plan ahead when making the milk, so I keep a couple of cans of commercial sweetened condensed milk in the pantry as I have a tendency to bake on the spur of the moment.

The recipe came from Best of Country Cookies, 1999 and was submitted by Martha Kerr from Abilene, Texas.  I adapted it for use with the Holiday Cookie Mix.

Peppermint Crunch Bars
3 1/2 c. Holiday Cookie Mix, divided
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk (or make your own)
1 pkg. (11 oz.) vanilla or white chocolate chips
1/2 t. peppermint extract
2/3 c. crushed peppermint candy

Measure 2 c. of the cookie mix into a foil-line 9x13-inch pan.  Press out into a even layer.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes.  Meanwhile place condensed milk and vanilla or white chocolate chips in a micro-safe bowl.  Microwave on high 1 minute, remove from microwave and stir well.  Microwave 1 more minute.  Remove from microwave and stir until smooth.  Stir in extract.  Spread over baked crust.  Combine 1 1/2 c. cookie mix and crushed peppermint candy and sprinkle over the top.  Return to oven and bake 18 to 22 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.  Cut into bars.  Makes about 36 bars.

Be sure to check out the links to find great recipes to help you with your holiday cooking.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Shortbread Rocas-The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012


Today is recipe reveal day for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap hosted by Love and Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen.  For the swap you send a dozen cookies to three different bloggers and receive a dozen cookie from three different bloggers.

I sent my cookie to Lori at Vakiener Accro,Ashley at Cookie Monster Cooking, and Maria at Best of the Best. Before I get to my Shortbread Rocas recipe, I want to share the wonderful cookies that I received.

These came from Morgan at Being the Secret Ingredient.  She sent them in a Glad Ware container so I got a little useful bonus gift.

These wonderful little gems came from Chris and Amy at A Couple in the Kitchen.  They came in this cute little metal box which is also a useful bonus gift.

These great oatmeal cookies came from Lou and Esi at Lou & Esi

Now on to my recipe.  I may have pushed the envelope just a tad with my cookies as I used purchased cookies as the base.  For many years I have made the so-called Cracker Toffee/Cracker Almond Roca using either saltine or graham crackers.

For a while now I had been wondering what I would get if I used shortbread cookies as the base instead of crackers.  I decided to use this idea for the cookie swap.  I guess they were a success, at least at our house.  My hubby, who likes shortbread cookies, wouldn’t stay out of them.  I will be using these in my cookie gift platters this year.

Any square shortbread cookie can be used.  The packages I purchase from the Dollar Tree contain 34 cookies.  I am not sure how many cookies are in Lorna Doones which can be purchased at the grocery store.

It takes 40 cookies to fill a jelly roll pan so what I usually do is line the pan with foil and then fold the foil back close to the cookies to make a false side.  This keeps the sugar/butter mixture corralled next to the cookies.

Personally I prefer the Rocas without the chocolate, but I did use the chocolate topping on the cookies I sent.  I like milk chocolate if I do use it, but many people prefer the semisweet.

To make the cookies prettier, I removed the excess candy from the cookies.  This can be done with a sharp knife.  I wouldn’t bother to do this for any we are having at home.

Shortbread Rocas
1 pkg. square shortbread cookies
1 c. butter (must be butter)
1 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
1 t. almond extract (opt.)
1 pkg. (12 oz.) semisweet or milk chocolate chips
3/4 c. chopped, toasted almonds

Line a jelly roll pan with foil and place shortbread cookies in the pan in rows.  If cookies do not fill the pan, fold the excess foil back next to the cookies.  Put butter and brown sugar in a small sauce pan.  Watching carefully and stirring often, bring the butter/sugar mixture to a full rolling boil.  Stirring, boil the mixture for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the almond extract.  Pour the mixture over the shortbread cookies.  Quickly spread evenly with a heat-proof spatula.  Place pan in a 400 degree oven and bake for 5 minutes.  Remove pan from oven and quickly sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top.  Return the pan to the oven for 1 to 2 minutes until chocolate chips begin to melt.  Remove pan from oven and gently and evenly spread the chocolate over the top.  Sprinkle the almonds over the chocolate and gently press them in with a spatula or your hand.  Let cool to room temperature.  Cut apart between the cookies.  If desired, remove excess candy from the sides of the cookies with a sharp knife.  Makes 34 cookies.

To get links to the recipes for all the cookies in the swap, visit Love and Olive Oil or The Little Kitchen on Friday, December 14.  They will be linked up there.

If you missed the swap this year, but would like to get in on the the fun, you can sign up here to be notified when the swap comes around again.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Be a Good Cookie Oxo Spatula

This year I once again am participating in The Great Food Bloggers Cookie Swap.  This year, being part of the swap required making a small donation to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.  All donations are being matched by Oxo up to a total of 100K.  Oxo also sent each swap participant a free “ Be a Good Cookie” spatula.

When I purchased a copy of America’s Test Kitchen "Holiday Cookies", I found a little side-bar review about the spatula.  It was very highly recommended by the Test Kitchen.  I, myself, found it a great little addition to my kitchen and will probably be buying a second one.  The spatula has a very thin blade that works great for sliding under cookies.

Because the spatula costs only $6.99 and part of the proceeds go to such a good cause, I am suggesting that you “Be a Good Cookie” and treat yourself to one of these handy little tools this holiday season.

Here is a little sneak preview of the cookies I created and made for the swap.  Come back tomorrow for the recipe.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...