Friday, December 30, 2016

Sugar Cookie Bake-Off

Since moving to West Palm Beach, our old stand-by sugar cookie recipe just hasn't seemed to work the way it used to, so this holiday season we tried a new one as well, one that had received a lot of high reviews online. The idea was to have the kids rate which one was better. Unfortunately, it wasn't an easy decision; everyone had a different opinion! 

I preferred the taste of our old recipe, yet liked the fact that the new one held it's shape better (which is a good quality for cut-out Christmas cookies). Others preferred the taste of the new one better, but liked the softer texture of the old one. Oh well, I guess we may have to do this experiment again sometime!

New one on the left - holds shape better. Old one on the right - softer texture. Both taste great.

Sugar Cookies from Our Best Bites (the "new" recipe)

1 cup real butter (no substitutions!) at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg (make sure to use a large or extra large egg)
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract (or other flavor of your choice, like vanilla)
3 cups flour, lightly spooned into measuring cups and leveled (don’t scoop it!)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in egg and extract and mix to incorporate.

In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until completely combined. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

When you’re ready to roll out dough lightly sprinkle flour onto your work surface and roll out dough with a rolling pin. Transfer to cookie sheet and bake at 350° for 8-12 minutes.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Microwave Caramels

Microwave Caramels

1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of sea salt, optional
1/4 cup chopped pecans, optional

Combine butter, sugar, corn syrup and milk in a 2-quart glass bowl. Microwave for 3 minutes, then stir. Microwave for 2 minutes, stir. Microwave for 2 more minutes, stir and add vanilla (and salt and nuts if desired). Pour into a buttered 8" square pan and chill for 20 minutes. Cut with a plastic knife.

These were actually pretty good. I don't think I took any pictures, but we tried rolling a piece of this caramel into a ball, sticking it on a pecan and drizzling it with melted chocolate and it made a delicious mini turtle. It was to see if this caramel recipe would work for making turtles that I actually tried it. (I just don't have success with caramels needing a candy thermometer.) I think it will, but we ran out of time to test that theory this year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Dad's Grilled Salmon

I'll have to make this some day to get a picture, but this is the way my father-in-law cooks his salmon.


2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestshire sauce

Brush over salmon which has been placed in a greased foil pan. Let sit for about 30 minutes. Then grill until done.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Pear and Feta Salad

When I saw the bag of pears sitting on the counter, I was inspired to look for a salad recipe using them and I found one - Pear and Feta Salad. It looked like it would be a great start for our dinner with the sister missionaries, and it was.

Combine or layer lettuce (we had butter lettuce in the fridge), sliced pears, candied walnuts (use a 2:1 ratio of nuts and sugar and heat them until caramelized in a frying pan, then cool) and feta cheese, then top with this salad dressing (mix all the ingredients in a blender for a minute or two):
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup olive oil