Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Apricot Cream Cheese Thumbprint Cookies

So I promised in previous posts to give more cookie recipes, and I have eaten my share of cookies this week but have not had time to post them.  Christmas was wonderful and we got to spend some great time and food with our family over the past week.  We celebrated 4 holidays in the last week that included 1st birthday apple cake, Mom's birthday Lemon Meringue pie, and Christmas pumpkin pie, not to mention all of the dinners and breakfasts that we shared each day.

Before the holidays were in full swing I went to a cookie swap that was wonderful!  I took Apricot Cream Cheese Thumbprints that were super yummy.  I will definitely add them to my "usuals" list....

Apricot Cream Cheese Thumbprints adapted from "Tried and True Cookies"

Makes 7 dozen
Prep: 15 minutes
Cooking: 15 minutes
Total time: 2h. 30 min (for chilling time)

1 1/2 c softened butter
1 1/2 c sugar
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
4 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 c apricot preserves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar and cream cheese until smooth.  Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in lemon juice and zest.  Add flour and baking powder and stir mixture until just combined.  Cover and chill until firm, about an hour.

Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into balls, place them 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet, or silpat.  Use your finger or thumb to make an indentation in the middle of each ball and fill with apricot preserves.

Bake 15 minutes or until edges are golden.  Allow to cool for a couple minutes before moving them to wire racks.

I halved this recipe to make 3.5 dozen, then wished I had just made them all and put some in the freezer for later.... they are WORTH IT!


Coming up: apple cake

Lemon Meringue pie

and maybe a few more treats...

I wish you enough!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cookies: Gingerbread Men

It's that time of year when baking smells so yummy and it's nice to hang out in a toasty kitchen, especially if you can bake with your favorite people.  I am making a bunch of cookies this year, AND going to my FIRST cookie swap.

So here is my first cookie post and there are bound to be more...stay tuned and enjoy them warm from the oven!  When I think of christmas cookies the first one that comes to mind is gingerbread, so here it is, first...

Soft Gingerbread Men and Women (and bats)

from Tried and True Cookies with a few changes

Makes: 3 dozen
Prep: 25 minutes  (+3 hours when letting the dough cool in the fridge)
Cooking: 10 minutes/batch

3/4 c Molasses
1/3 c packed brown sugar
1/3 c water
1/8 c butter, softened
3 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger

Directions: In a large bowl mix together the molasses, brown sugar, water and butter until smooth.  Add flour, baking soda, allspice, ginger, cloves and cinnamon and stir until all of the dry ingredients are absorbed.  Cover dough and chill for at least 3 hours.  You can make this the day ahead if needed.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  On a lightly floured surface roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut into desired shapes.  Place cookies 1 inch apart on un-greased cookie sheets or Silpat.

Bake 8-10 minutes.  Cool on wire racks.

What's better than warm cookies and good friends?

I wish you enough!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Irish Soda Bread by Colleen

This is the first guest post on Marisa Makes and I am super excited to try this recipe myself.  As I blog today I have gingerbread man cookies in the oven and am snacking on homemade yogurt, more on those later.  

Thank you Colleen for sharing such a personal memorable recipe with us!

"It is Christmas baking time.  My favorite thing to made around the holiday's is my Gram's (Mary Leavitt) Irish Soda Bread recipe.  I don't remember making it with her, she died when I was 8, but I love spending the day baking it and thinking about her.  She was a woman born before her time.  I am told she read my uncles' college class books, the entire dictionary and wrote a lovely poem for me on the day I was born.

As you probably know,  Soda Bread was created as a way to make bread without yeast.  Traditionally it uses flour, bread soda, salt, and buttermilk.  The milk contains lactic acid and raises the bread when combined with the baking soda.

I usually make a few short cuts: 
I melt the butter slightly instead of cutting it into the flour mixture.  
Instead of buttermilk, I use regular milk and add a bit of vinegar to it.
I also make two loaves from one recipe, especially since I was planning on giving them away as presents or hostess gifts.  (I only bake it for about 40 minutes)"

"This is the original recipe as my mom put in my recipe book."

Irish Soda Bread
From the kitchen of Mary Leavitt
Preparation time: 30min

4 c of sifted flour
1tsp salt
1/4 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp caraway seeds
1/4 c butter
1 c raisins
1 1/3 c buttermilk
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda

Place dry ingredients in large bowl:
4 c of sifted flour
1tsp salt
1/4 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp caraway seeds
cut in 1/4 c butter
add 1 c raisins

In another bowl:
1 1/3 c buttermilk
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda

Mix dry ingredients then add wet ingredients to dry and mix.
Turn out onto floured board and knead gently just to mix, and not excessively (usually a bit sticky)
Place on cookie sheet or 8 in round casserole dish

Put a cross on the top of the bread using a sharp knife (good luck and blessings)

Bake at 375 degrees for 50 min.  Cover with foil and bake 10 more minutes.
Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then turn out.

"This is a great brunch addition, serve cold or warmed with butter and honey.  Yum!"

 Thank You Colleen!

I wish you enough!

Sunday, December 5, 2010


One of our favorite at-home date nights is a movie and homemade sushi.  We haven't done it in months at least.  In fact I can't remember the last time, so we brought it back with style the other day.

Sushi and "The Informant"

I took some photos of the process and it really isn't that hard.  But I do notice we get better and better as we roll.  Time wise, it took us one-hour to prep the ingredients and roll the rolls.

To start cut your ingredients into long thin pieces and take out the sauces you want to flavor the rolls with.  We made these with avocado, bell pepper, carrot, cucumber, tofu, shrimp, smoked salmon, and cream cheese.

 Start with the seaweed rough side up.

Cover with sticky rice and flip over.

 Place ingredients and sauces or spices on edge closest to you.

Get a good grip on ingredients to hold in place and begin rolling.

Roll close edge over until it touches the seaweed on the opposite side of ingredients.

Complete the roll.

Top with avocado, Old Bay, sesame seeds, or other spices.

 Tofu, Cucumber Roll with Spicy Citrus Sauce

Smoked Salmon, Chives, and Cream Cheese, topped with Avocado

I would recommend watching "The Informant."  It has to be your type of movie to enjoy it so check out the reviews first.  

I wish you enough!