Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Chocolate Peppermint Thumbprint Cookies

Prep Time: 15 min
Bake Time: 9 minutes
Frost Time: 5 minutes

Grade: ??
Make Again: ??
Recipe Source: Everyday Food (December 2011)

The online version of the recipe is not available yet.

These are not bad cookies, but I felt they were a little dry, and my first thought was I wouldn't make them again. I really love chocolate mint so like the taste of them overall, but I didn't love the texture. Everyday Food has come up with lots of great mint recipes so this doesn't really fill a gap in the recipe collection.

However, the picky eater did really like them and gave them an A+. This was after they were frozen and defrosted. I liked them when I ate them later also, so I may end up using this recipe again after all. 

The Espresso Snowcaps recipe that I reviewed a few years ago is a similar chocolate cookie for the holidays, and I really love that one, so that might be my first choice most years, but this one may come into rotation again in the future.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Pumpkin Prailine Pie

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Chill Time: 50 minutes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 35 minutes
Topping Time: 10 minutes

Grade: B+

Make Again: Probably not

Recipe Source: Cook's Country (October 2006)
Recipe Source: Best of ATK 2008

This recipe is currently available on the Cooks Country website, but probably won't be forever, so print it out if you want to try it. 

This tasted good, but I guess pumpkin pie is not my favorite. The biggest complaint I have with the recipe was I could not make it as pretty as it should have been. The sugar on top didn't caramelize and after sitting in the fridge all day (which they said was OK) the outside topping liquified a bit. The topping did taste very nice though and I liked that in combo with the pumpkin.

Also, I'm not great at pie crusts, so mine ended up a bit tough, although I thought it tasted quite good.

If I wanted to make a pumpkin pie again, I might try this once more. However, if I was just going to make a pie, I would go with another type. I would like to get better at pies someday.

Monday, December 26, 2011

December Favorites

This is a little late since December is just about over, and of course, most of these recipes are good for the holidays. I'm not going to skip it though, since I do want to categorize all my favorites for the future.

~ Tortilla Pie (different than the veggie version with Black Beans from an earlier month) 
~ Baked Pasta and Chicken Sausage
~ Strata with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Sausage 
~ Giant Ginger Cookies (I make them smaller)
~ Chocolate Espresso Snowcaps
~ Peppermint Bark
~ Chocolate Mint Brownies
~ Chocolate Peppermint Cake
~ Cranberry Scones (not on blog) 

Still want to try:
~ Pastistio
~ Goat Cheese Quiche with Hash-Brown Tart
~ Coconut Cookies

Parker House Rolls

Prep Time: 20 minutes total
RiseTime: 3+ hours 
Bake Time: 30 minutes  

Grade: A-
Make Again: Maybe

Recipe Source: Everyday Food (November 2011)  

These rolls are nice but they took too long to rise (at least according to magazine times). Reading the reviews, it appears everyone had trouble with the rise. The iPad version of the recipe said 1t of yeast, but the website says 1 packet (2 1/4 t.). At the time I thought it was because my kitchen was cold, so I heated my oven to 200 for a while and then put the dough in there for the final rise.
It has been a while since I made the CI version of these, but I think I probably like that version better. I should make them again soon and compare and pick which recipe I want to keep. 

The effort is small. Well, as long as you have a mixer with a dough hook. 10 minutes of the prep is kneading in the mixer. The only real effort is rolling out the rolls into balls and putting in the pan. The recipe called for brushing the tops with 4 T. total of butter (2 before, and 2 after.) As usual, I cut that in half. You still get the buttery top though, which is nice. The recipe also calls for a sprinkle of salt on the top after final brushing of butter and that was a nice touch. 

The rolls are pretty baked in the 13x9 pan. They all end up nice and uniform, which I liked. These would be good to serve for a Christmas dinner, and not too much effort.  However, I would try the recipe from the website instead of magazine and read the reviews first. Cook's Illustrated version or Cook's Country are probably a more reliable choice.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Honey Frosting

Prep: 9 minutes
Bake: 40-45 minutes (start checking at 25 for half recipe)
Cool: 1+ hour
Frosting: 5 minutes

Grade: A-

Make Again: Yes

Recipe Source: Everyday Food (November 2005)

This cake is good. My version was a little bit dry. I made a half recipe in a bread pan and it ended up being done quickly, but that was my fault. I froze the cake then frosted it a day or two later. I didn't love the frosting at first. It was not very sweet. Perhaps a better honey would have worked better. I ended up adding a Tablespoon or so of powdered sugar to sweeten a little, which helped. Still not terribly sweet, but it worked well with the cake. My picky eater liked it, probably because the frosting wasn't too sweet. The combo of spice cake plus the frosting ends up being good and a little bit unique, since it is different than other cream cheese frosting.

I made this a month ago and we just finished the frozen leftovers this week. The cake froze nicely. It is a nice not too sweet dessert.