Posted on

Our Favorite Christmas Cookie Recipes

Thumbprint Cookies

PRINT RECIPE

1 pkg.  (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened

3/4 cup  (1-1/2 sticks) butter, softened

1 cup  sugar

2 tsp. Nielsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon vanilla

2-1/4 cups  flour

1/2 tsp.  baking soda

1 cup  Chopped Pecans

1-1/4 cups fruit preserve (we like Stonewall Kitchen’s Holiday Jam)

HEAT oven to 350°F. Beat cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add flour, baking soda and pecans; mix well. Refrigerate 30 min.

SHAPE dough into 1-inch balls. Place, 2 inches apart, on baking sheets. Indent centers.

BAKE 10 min. Fill each cookie with about 1 tsp. preserves. Bake 8 to 10 min. or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets 2 min. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

PRINT RECIPE

Ingredients

1/3 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon Nielsen Massey vanilla extract

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup white baking chips

Directions

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, salt and baking soda; gradually add to butter mixture and mix well. Stir in cranberries and chips.

Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 1 minute before removing to wire racks. Yield: 2 dozen.

Gingerbread Men Cookies

PRINT RECIPE

3 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup butter

1 large egg

1 cup molasses, warmed

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons warm water

Combine dry ingredients.

In large bowl, cream the butter, sugar, beat in the egg, beat in the molasses.

Dissolve the baking soda in the warm water and add the wet ingredients.

Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Cover and chill for several hours.

Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly grease baking sheets.

On floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness.

(If you like softer, thicker cookies you can roll dough thicker)  Using cookie cutters,

cut out cookies and place 1 1/2 inches apart on cookie sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until dry-looking and firm to touch.  Don’t over cook, edges do

not need to be brown.  Let cool before frosting.

Royal Icing

3 T. Meringue powder

4 c. powdered sugar

6 T. warm water

Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks (7-10 minutes at low speed with a high powered mixer)

*Icing must be kept in airtight containers prior to use

Glaze for Decorated Cookies

2 1/4 c. powdered sugar, sifted

2 T. corn syrup

2 T. milk (may need to add 1 t. more)

Food coloring (optional)

Mix all ingredients and frost cookies.

*Glaze will dry with a film on top.  Keep air tight prior to use

 

Posted on

Beef & Arugula Roll Ups

The party season is fast approaching, and it has us thinking about our favorite appetizers. Over the past several years, we’ve tested dozens of appetizer recipes. We know, it’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it.

When you’re entertaining, consider these helpful tips as you plan your appetizer menu:

  • Choose recipes that some or all of the preparation can be done ahead of time.
  • Choose appetizers that can be served at room temperature.
  • A cheese platter is always a good idea. Think of it as an edible centerpiece. We like to include three different types of cheeses, assorted nuts, fresh grapes, crackers, and a garnish of fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme.
  • Allow 8 – 12 appetizers per person for cocktail parties.

This recipe for Roast Beef Roll Ups  was one of our most requested catering menu items. It requires absolutley no cooking and can even be made the day before. It is lovely served on a rustic wooden serving board and paired with a hearty Cabernet Sauvignon.

Happy cooking,
The Gourmet Gallery Chefs — Karyn, Jo Ann, Rachel

Beef and Arugula Roll Ups

Makes 24 Roll-ups

PRINT RECIPE

1 lb Seasoned Roast Beef, thinly sliced
4 oz soft cream cheese, Chevre, or shaved Parmesan
2 tablespoons French Dijon Mustard
3 cups fresh arugula
1 red bell pepper sliced in thin strips
Salt & Pepper

PREPARATION INSTRUCTIONS

  1. On a clean work surface, spread each slice of roast beef with a thin layer of  cheese and mustard.
  2. Season with a little salt and pepper.
  3. Lay two to three pieces of arugula and a slice of red bell pepper at one end of each slice of roast beef.
  4. Gently roll up the beef, beginning at the end with the arugula. Secure with a toothpick.
  5. Keep refrigerated until serving. Can be made 1 day ahead.
Posted on

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Even a dish as simple as mashed potatoes has room for improvement. Here are the “10 Commandments of Mashed Potatoes” to guarantee perfect, fluffy mashed potatoes every time.

1. DO USE THE RIGHT POTATOES: Yukon golds or Russets
2. DO CUT YOUR POTATOES THE SAME SIZE: start them in cold water, and bring to a simmer until they are cooked through.
3. DO NOT ADD YOUR FLAVORINGS AT THE END: add garlic and herbs in the pot with the milk or cream
4. DO EMBRACE THE TANG FACTOR: add cream, buttermilk, crème fraîche.
5. DO NOT LOSE THE FLUFF: drain the potatoes and put them back in the pot without a lid after they have boiled. Cook them just for a couple minutes on medium-low, shaking the pot, until all the excess moisture is evaporated.
6. DO NOT ADD COLD LIQUID: Make sure the milk or cream you add to your potatoes is HOT.
7. DO NOT SKIMP ON THE SEASONING: Salt the water you are cooking your potatoes in.
8. DO USE A POTATO MASHER OR RICER.
9. DO NOT SERVE A NAKED MASH: top with butter, crispy shallots or chives.
10. DO WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE: peel & cut potatoes the day before, cover with water and keep in fridge. Assemble your milk/cream/butter mixture in a small saucepan and refrigerate that, too. That way, all you need to do on is boil, drain, and mash on the day of your holiday meal.

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Makes 8 servings

PRINT RECIPE

INGREDIENTS
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 2″ pieces
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 2″ pieces
Kosher salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter; plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
Special equipment: A potato ricer

PREPARATION
Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water by 2″. Generously season with salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, 10–15 minutes. Drain and transfer potatoes to a baking sheet; let stand until dry, 10–15 minutes. Set pot aside.
Meanwhile, heat cream, milk, and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; season with salt and pepper.
Pass potatoes through ricer into reserved pot. Mix in warm milk mixture, then sour cream; season with salt. Serve topped with pepper and more butter.