Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Cake Family Christmas

'Twas the morning of Christmas, when all through the house came the fragrance of breakfast
onion and bacon casserole and a boozy fruit cake made a tasty repast.
Mom's breakfast casserole. Photo by JDHH

Monday, December 26, 2011

Roquefort Date Pecan Cheese Balls

These roquefort date pecan balls are super fast and easy to make but taste like a gourmet's dream. Perfect for a dinner party or as part of a cheese platter at your New Year's Eve party these delicious little bites will became a staple in your hors d'oeuvres repertoire.

Thanks to an awesome giveaway hosted by Natasha over at 5-Star Foodie and sponsored by the folks from Ile de France I was fortunate enough to be one of the winners of a super cheese giveaway. I squealed with delight when the package arrived containing brie, roquefort, camembert, goat cheese and crackers. Poor Thom was despondent when I informed him that he was not permitted to simply scarf down all the cheese immediately but perked up a little when I promised him tasty, tasty cheese hors d'oeuvres.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gingerbread Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting - The Foodie Days of Christmas

This tender gingerbread layer cake has just the right amount of spice. The dark, rich molasses and ginger flavors are perfectly balanced with the luscious cream cheese frosting. At this time of year is there really any such thing as too much gingerbread? Whether you're into cookies or cake, tis the season to bake!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sugar Cookie and Gingerbread Snowflakes - The Foodie Days of Christmas

Like most kids I loved cutting out sugar cookies at Christmas time and decorating them with brightly colored sprinkles. As my love for cooking and baking grew I branched out into various flavorings, such as orange and almond, and started using melted chocolate as an accent. I always made the same recipe which was passed from one Mom in our neighborhood to another and finally on to my Mom. Each year I made dozens upon dozens of cookies; no matter how many we gave away as presents there was always a heaping tray of decorated sugar cookies on Christmas Day. Eventually we had all had too much of a good thing and I stopped making sugar cookies. This year however, inspired by some beautiful snowflake cookie cutters I purchased, I decided to make roll out cookies once more.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Apple Cranberry Walnut Bread - The Foodie Days of Christmas

This is not your grandmama's fruit cake. This is a delicious, fragrant fruit bread absolutely bursting with sweet apples, tart cranberries, and rich walnuts. When I was a child, and all the way through high school, every year when Winter Break rolled around my mother and I would make several mini loaves of fruit bread to give as gifts to my teachers. This fruit bread makes a fabulous breakfast toasted in the oven and spread with cream cheese or as a perfect mid-afternoon snack sliced plain with hot tea. It's a wonderful treat to bring to friends who may be hosting you for the holidays or to serve at a holiday brunch.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fruit & Nut Chocolate Bark and Kids Christmas Bark - A Family Sunday Recipe

Chocolate bark is one of those classic Christmas treats that's easy to make, fun to decorate, and always popular with both kids and adults. When I was a child my grandmother loved Cadbury's Fruit & Nut bars. I couldn't understand why... raisins? Almonds? No, no, no! At most all you needed was krispie puffs in your chocolate bars! Now that I'm an adult I completely understand the allure of rich, roasted nuts and chewy sweet dried fruits. I just wish Grammie was still here to have some of my own homemade fruit and nut chocolate bark with me! Here are two versions sure to satisfy all generations around your holiday table.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Chocolate Chip Peppermint Pinwheel Cookies - The Foodie Days of Christmas

Chocolate and peppermint go hand-in-hand with the Christmas season like stockings hung by the fire and twinkling lights on the Christmas tree. Between peppermint bark, peppermint hot cocoa, and chocolate covered peppermint cremes this flavor combination is on everyone's list of favorite holiday treats. And I love it! Smooth, rich chocolate and cool, refreshing peppermint. The combination evokes both the comforting richness of holiday foods as well as the fresh, crisp winter air. These cookies offer a great balance of tantalizing flavor to platters of gingerbread men and sugar cookie stars.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

DingDingDing! We Have a Winner!

Thank you so much to all the lovely folks who entered the Oh Cake and Survival By Design giveaway. The winner is: Julie from Sugarfoot Eats! Julie writes a wonderful blog laden with yummy homestyle good eats. I hope you'll check her out and follow along!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Orange-Cinnamon Candied Almonds - The Foodie Days of Christmas

Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year. Our neighborhood gets all decked out with garlands and lights strung across Hanover Street. Businesses hang pine-scented wreaths with festive gold and red trimmings. We always take a walk around Boston to enjoy the decorations while getting pink-cheeked with the cold. It's possible I married my husband for his incredible ability to have warm hands - even in December. I love simple pleasures amidst the craziness of the the season like a movie matinee and a bowl of clam chowder at the Union Oyster House with Thom or finding the perfect new Santa ornament for my Aunt's collection of all things Saint Nick.

Photo Williams Sonoma
I get so excited to pick out gifts for friends and family. I'd love to be a personal shopper, actually. Over the last few lean years I've had to cut back on gift giving; More and more of my gifts are homemade... a scarf crocheted for Dad, sweet and spicy pecans for friends, or a handmade ornament for Mom. But I still have so much fun trying to find the perfect, special gift for loved ones. I love wrapping presents; picking out paper, ribbons and tags that will make the package as thoughtfully presented as the gift was planned.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cookielove - Fleur de Sel Caramel Cookies

I have loved caramels since I was an itty-bitty child. Rich, luscious, sweet, creamy caramel. Heavenly! The first time I tasted sea salt caramels I knew the little girl in me was all grown up. I have been a salted caramel devotee ever since. It was only natural then, when this month's #lovebloghop theme of cookies was announced, that I began thinking about how to create a salted caramel cookie.

Fleur de sel literally translates as "flower of salt." It is a hand-harvested French sea salt with a high mineral content that is often slightly grey in color. If you do not have, or cannot find, fleur de sel you can substitute any fine sea salt instead. These cookies do have a lot of steps, but the end result is oh so worth it. Fortunately for my waistline these cookies can be frozen and baked off just a few at a time. If you've never made caramel before I suggest checking out this great tutorial by David Lebovitz before getting started.