Butter Pecan Cookies

This Butter Pecan Cookie is a light flaky crispy cookie and is perfect to complete the Christmas cookie platter, or to bring to any family or even non family gathering.  It will be uniquely yours.  It will never look exactly like anyone else’s cookie platter.

I remember as a child the cookies that were always baked right before Christmas. Those buttery, crispy, pecan cookie from years past.  This cookie is perfect by itself or dipped in a cup of hot chocolate, or in my case a cup of creamy hot coffee.

This Butter Pecan Cookie is a light flaky crispy cookie and is perfect to complete the Christmas cookie platter, or to bring to any family gathering.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Prepare the cookie sheet, I line the sheet with tin foil and spray with non-stick stray.

Ingredients:
2 sticks/ 1 cup butter, softened
1 cup canola oil
1 cup regular sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
2 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract or paste ( you can also use pecan flavoring)
4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cream of tartar
2 cups pecans, chopped
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Additional ingredients used for decorating the cooled cookies
1 cup dark chocolate chips melted with 1 tsp coconut oil ( I microwave 15 seconds, stir, 15 seconds, etc. until melted)
1 cup  pecans, finely chopped
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In mixing bowl, beat butter and oil for 1-2 minutes. Add regular sugar, beat, add powdered sugar, beat.
Add eggs one at a time, beat between adding eggs.
Mix dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients about 1 cup at a time.
Beat between additions.
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The choice is yours to either cook the cookies now or refrigerate first.  If you need them right away simply use a scoop or spoon, grab some dough, roll them in a ball, roll in some regular sugar, or not, up to you and place on the cookie sheet, squish down with a flat bottom cup until they are about 1/4 ” thick.  This will most likely create the most uniform cookies.
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Bake at 325 degrees for 12-15 minutes, take out of oven, they should have a slightly golden tint around the bottom edges.  Let cool for 1-2 minutes before you take off the pan.
Let cool completely before you either sprinkle the chocolate out of a plastic bag with a tiny little hole cut into the corner or just spoon chocolate over one end and then sprinkle chopped nuts onto the chocolate.
This Butter Pecan Cookie is a light flaky crispy cookie and is perfect to complete the Christmas cookie platter, or to bring to any family gathering.

If you don’t have the time to cook all the cookies, feel free to get a piece of plastic wrap and roll the dough into a log.  Refrigerate for up to 3 days.  These are great as slice a bake cookie.  They do take a few more minutes to bake-most likely 14-16 minutes.

This recipe makes about 4 dozen cookies- kind of depends on the size of the cookies you make.

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Nutty Baklava

Baklava is so decadent and heavenly.  Nutty, sweet, gooey, crunchy all at the same time.

MeasuringSunshine-Baklava is so decadent and heavenly.  Nutty, sweet, gooey, crunchy all at the same time.

Homemade baklava  is so much better than store bought in my book.  You have so many choices in the ingredients you can put in the baklava.  You can use your favorite nut, I have used walnuts, almonds and Brazil nuts.  The type of honey, type of cinnamon or other  spices.

You will need:

9×13 baking pan
1 package of frozen filo dough-defrost in refrigerator 2 days before making baklava
1 lb. of nuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, almonds, or pretty much any other nut you would like to use.(chopped finely)
1 cup melted butter give or take- have extra butter on hand if needed
1 Tbsp of cinnamon, and any other spices you might want to add. (I will also use fresh nutmeg, powdered clove, you can also use pumpkin pie spice)
Honey syrup- recipe follows

Syrup ingredients:
1 cup honey
1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup water
2 cinnamon sticks or 1 tsp of cinnamon

Bring to boil ,lower temperature and simmer for 15 min. Stir during cooking process.  After the 15 minutes turn off heat and let cool.

To put together the baklava:
Brush bottom of 9 x 13 pan with some of the melted butter.  Add layer of filo, brush with butter, add layer of filo, brush with butter, do this 4 more times.  Add layer of chopped nuts and cinnamon.  Add 5-6 more layers of the filo brushed with the melted butter.
When you have used all the nuts and cinnamon- add 7-8 layers of the butter filo to finish off the top.

Put pan into freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Pull pan from freezer, get a very sharp knife and cut long diagonal cuts through the dough.  When you have completed the cuts it will look like a pan of diamonds.
Bake for about 1 hour- it will look nice a golden color.
Take out of oven.  Pour syrup gently over the top of the baklava.  I normally pour about half and wait 5-10 minutes and then pour the remaining syrup over the top.

NuttyBaklava-MeasurningSunshine-Baklava is so decadent and heavenly.  Nutty, sweet, gooey, crunchy all at the same time.  You have so many choices in the ingredients you can put into it.

Tips:

Make sure filo is completely thawed.
Keep filo covered with damp towel while working with it.
Either precut filo to fit the pan or just fold the filo to fit. ( this is what I do- just adds additional layers of buttery filo.)
Freezing pan after layering will help to firm up the layers before you cut them- this is not required.
Let sit for several hours for syrup to soak it completing and baklava is cooled.
Some people leave baklava out for several days, I however, will usually store covered in the refrigerator.

Easy Wonton Soup Recipe

This wonton soup was easy to make and so delicious.  My favorite soup is Won-ton soup and I can never get enough of it.  After doing a little research……. and by research I mean that I went to my favorite Chinese restaurant and ordered the won-ton soup. I wrote down everything I could identify so I could attempt it my self.

easy wonton soup is easy and healthy . It has shrimp and homemade wonton.

This soup is better than my favorite Chinese restaurant soup, why? The ingredients are fresh and crisp and I was able to add more of my favorite ingredients. The aroma in the kitchen as you make it is so delicious your mouth will water.  This soup is so healthy and by adding more or different ingredients you can make it even more so. It turned out so amazing……..if I do say so myself.

I have to admit I was pretty scared to try this.  I’ve never made homemade won-tons before, and I was just a little nervous about it.
I went to the grocery store to decide what I wanted to put in my soup and even though I couldn’t find fresh snow peas it did turn out great.

You will need:

1 package won-ton wrappers- 12 oz.
For the won-ton filling:
2 chicken breasts- about 1 lb.
one bunch of green onions-you’ll only need 2-3 for the filling
4-6 gloves garlic-I will most likely put more in next time- but I am a garlic-oholic.
3 slices of fresh ginger- I peeled the ginger and cut 3 thin slices off of it.  (You really need to like ginger-or add less)
2 stalks of celery
2 mushrooms- any kind will work
1 tbsp of soy sauce

For the broth:
3-4 chicken broth containers(low sodium)- I used 48 oz containers.
1 bunch bok choy-wash and chop(not too small)
3 stalks of celery- sliced thin
3-5 carrots- slice thin disc’s
1 slice of ginger- this is only going into the pot until it boils-then you need to fish it out.
1/2 can of baby sweet corn-found in the oriental section of the grocery store, or you can use the whole can-up to you.
1/2 lb of shelled shrimp
3 mushrooms-sliced- I think this could use a couple more.

Okay………….. get everything out and ready to work on.

Filling:

Get the food processor and add the mushrooms, celery, green onions, garlic and ginger-chop until small but not pureed.  Chunk the chicken up and add to the processor-chop. While its whirling around-add the soy sauce.  Done.

Get a cutting board and dust with a little flour- very little.  Get a little bowl and put some cold water for dipping fingers into.
Get one wrapper- lay flat- dip fingers in water and dampen all edges- I have to admit- I was not very careful- the whole thing pretty much got damp.  Add 1/2 tsp-ish into the middle, fold in half. Squish the edges together, point the top edge toward you.
homemade chicken wontons, quick, easy and delicious
Roll towards and then fold in half into the middle.
homemade chicken wontons, easy and delicious

Not a very good picture but I had icky fingers and I was only using one hand.
Warning- do not stack on top of each other, they will all stick together.
Meanwhile- open the broth and add to a big pot- start heating on medium high.  Chop the celery, carrots,slice the mushrooms, and 1 glove garlic and slice 1 disc of ginger and add to the broth.

Finish making the won-tons, set aside while you chop all the other ingredients. Clean and prep shrimp.
healthy wonton soup ingredients, fresh, healthy and delicious.

When the broth is boiling- add the won-tons and stir gently.
Then after a couple of minutes(about 4 min.) add the other ingredients to the pot.
simmering wonton soup, healthy, easy and delicous
Bring to boil again and boil for 4-6 minutes- then turn down to simmer for a couple more minutes.

If you look really carefully at the bowl you will see one of the first won-tons I wrapped- they looked like a little envelopes.  Not pretty, but they did stick together.

Easy wor won-ton soup recipe, healthy, fresh and delicious

 

 

Best Sugar Cookies

This is the best sugar cookie recipe, its soft yet crunchy, a perfect cookie for decorating.
I’ve made these cookies every Christmas since 1984 with my kids and then with the grandkids.
I love those community cook books, this one has been adapted from a 4H cookbook.
( The recipe was called “Polly’s Mother’s Christmas Cookies” the recipe was donated by Joice M. Beatty, Napa, Ca.)
Best sugar cookies, homemade cookies with homemade butter-cream frosting. good for holiday baking and gift giving.
You will need:
1 cup butter
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup of milk ( I use half and half)
2 large eggs
optional items to add:
1 tablespoon vanilla paste- for the light colored cookies-if you use the paste and not extract-remember you will see little dark dots in the vanilla cookies and the buttercream.
1/3 cup dark baking chocolate powder- for the chocolate cookies.
I usually make a batch of both and later you will see why I decided to do this.
Best sugar cookies, homemade cookies with homemade butter-cream frosting. good for holiday baking and gift giving.
Now this is a little different so read the recipe carefully.
Mix the softened butter together with the flour and baking powder. ( Weird right?)- add the chocolate to the dry ingredients here.
It will look a little like pie crust- crumbly
Separately, mix the sugar, milk and eggs and vanilla in a bowl.
Add the sugar mixture to the dry ingredients and mix together.
When it basically is one big ball of dough, wrap it in plastic wrap or whatever you choose to use and put into the refrigerator overnight.
This is required for this dough.  The least amount of time it can be in the refrigerator would be somewhere around 6-8 hours.
Best sugar cookies, homemade cookies with homemade butter-cream frosting. good for holiday baking and gift giving.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
This dough gets pretty stiff so while you are gathering the rolling pin, and all the cookie cutters take it out of the refrigerator and let sit at room temp.

Add flour to the cutting board and to the rolling pin and start rolling the dough.  I usually cut the dough into smaller more manageable pieces.
Roll dough to 1/4″ thickness.  If they are thicker they will be softer cookies, and you will need to bake longer.
I put foil on the cookie sheet and spray with non-stick spray.
Space the cookies at least 1″ apart, they will puff a little.

Cook for 10-12 minutes.  10 minutes they will be softer, 12 minutes crunchier.  They will not be brown, except maybe a little on the edges if you cook them the full 12 minutes.

If they are brown then the oven is too hot or you cooked them too long.

Here is the reason I make both vanilla and chocolate.
Best sugar cookies, homemade cookies with homemade butter-cream frosting. good for holiday baking and gift giving.
After I’ve cut all the other shapes I roll out into rectangles both the leftover vanilla and chocolate and then place one on top of the other and roll. Cut into slices and flatten to 1/4″.  Bake the same as the other cookies.  These cookies are softer.

For all those that don’t want to make the buttercream frosting and do all the decorating.  This cookies is still perfect if you just add colored sugar or sprinkles before baking.

I have to thank my daughter for taking most of these pictures for me, they turned out awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ginger Molasses Holiday Cookies

These cookies are spicy, sweet, crunchy and full of ginger and molasses.
Kids like these cookies but adults love, love, love them.
I break these cookies into pieces while drinking a cup of coffee.
These are always the first cookies gone off the Holiday Cookie platter.

ginger molasses cookies-These cookies are spicy, sweet, crunchy and full of ginger and molasses. Kids like these cookies but adults love, love, love them.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees

ginger molasses cookies-These cookies are spicy, sweet, crunchy and full of ginger and molasses. Kids like these cookies but adults love, love, love them.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup shortening
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups flour
1 and 3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger(dry)
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
In a bowl, add about 1/2 cup sugar and a little of all the spices used above- this will be for rolling the dough in before baking.
Candied Ginger

ginger molasses cookies-These cookies are spicy, sweet, crunchy and full of ginger and molasses. Kids like these cookies but adults love, love, love them.

In the mixing bowl add butter and shortening- these should be soft.
Add the sugar and cream together.
Add the egg, beat.
Add the molasses, beat.
Dump the flour, baking soda and all the spices in and blend until all flour is incorporated.
(If I don’t have one of the spices I just add more of each of the others.  I feel that you can never have too much cinnamon or nutmeg.)
You can bake now or refrigerate until you want to bake for the next day or so.
Scoop 1 tbsp. of dough and roll into a ball- roll in a mixture of sugar and some more of the spices used in the recipe.
Place balls on foil lined cookie sheet that you have sprayed with non stick spray.
Squish the cookies down with the bottom of a cup or glass until they are about 1/4 inch thick.
We always seem to have candied ginger in the house because a little goes a long way.  That said, I am totally addicted to the candied ginger on top of these cookies.
Chop a bunch of  the candied ginger and sprinkle on top of the cookies. The cookies will spread so be generous with the ginger.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, leave on the cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

Make a cup of coffee – sit and enjoy.