Saturday, December 22, 2012

Baked Sweet Potatoes

I was in the produce section and I had the desire to experiment with some things that I hadn't cooked with before. I picked up some yams and sweet potatoes. If you are interested in the difference between yams and  sweet potatoes click here. I didn't know the difference but it seems like what everyone calls sweet potatoes is really yams. Correct me if I'm wrong. Regardless, I picked up both, but this recipe really is for yams. I haven't tried it with my sweet potatoes.
So this is a simple "recipe" that my sister shared with me that she learned from Rachel Ray. If you're tired of baked potatoes this is a great way to change it up. I'm pretty sure it's healthier for you too. We ate these with a side salad and it filled us up completely.

Baked Sweet Potatoes

Several whole raw yams
Olive Oil
Coarse sea salt

Scrub potatoes until completely clean. Poke with fork several times and every side of potato. Place on baking sheet and baste each potato with olive oil. Top generously with coarse sea salt. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes at 425 degrees.

Texas Road House Style Cinnamon Butter

1 cube of butter (at room temperature)
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Beat together and mash into your baked potatoes for a delicious meal.

My favorite Sugar Cookie Recipe

I think I've mentioned my neighbor Martha. She is the one that taught me to make cookies. My cookie mentor if you will. This is her sugar cookie recipe and I just don't think there is one out there that is better. These turn out semi thin but still super soft. That's how I like them. I guess with sugar cookies it's really just a matter of preference. I have seen so many recipes floating around pinterest and other places saying that their's is "the BEST sugar cookie recipe," but I'm not convinced there is a "best" when it comes to sugar cookie recipes. So if your interested, this is the one I like most of all.

Martha's Soft Sugar Cookies

Mix together:
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cup shortening
3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
3 tsp vanilla
Sift together and add to above mixture:
8 to 10 cups flour
3 tsp soda
6 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt

Roll and Cut then bake on greased baking sheet for 8 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees

Butter Cream Frosting

1/4 cup butter
3 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp salt
4 Tbsp Milk
1 capful of Almond Extract

Peppermint Brownies

WARNING: Do NOT make these if you are trying to lose weight. They are SOOOO good and SOOO bad for you, but I promise you will not be able to eat just one.
We were given a plate of these by some friends in the ward. They were so yummy, I decided I wanted to make some and share with others too. I found the recipe through pinterest and made some.... but forgot to share them.... OOPS! Like I said before, my pants are definitely feeling tighter and I know these are to blame. Totally worth making if you are aiming to impress. 
My favorite part of this recipe was the brownie, because with the altered ingredients it did not taste like a boxed brownie mix. Naturally that is probably because of the added calories, but regardless,... delicious!
This recipe is best the next day too. I didn't think the frosting tasted quite right when I made it, but the next day it had set a little bit and it was so much better. 

Peppermint Brownies

1(18.3 oz) box Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie Mix
2/3 cup butter, melted (10 2/3 Tbsp)
1/4 cup milk
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 recipe fluffy peppermint Buttercream Frosting (recipe below)
1/3 cup crushed peppermint candy canes, for topping

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a mixing bowl combine brownie mix, melted butter, milk, eggs, and peppermint extract and using a wooden spoon, stir until combined. Pour mixture into a greased 8x8 inch (I think mine was 9x9 inch) glass baking dish and bake for 50-55 minutes. Allow to cool completely then frost and sprinkle with crushed candy cane. 

Fluffy Peppermint Buttercream Frosting

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp heavy cream (I used milk... tasted great)
1/2 tsp peppermint
I also added one drop of red food coloring to make it just a little bit more festive.

Using an electric mixer, whip butter on medium high until very pale and fluffy, about 6-8 minutes, occasionally scrapping down the sides of the bowl. Add rest of the ingredients and continue to whip for about 3-4 minutes until fluffy, again scrapping sides of the bowl. 

Holiday Treats

I love Christmas because I can share everything that I bake. Not that I can't on any other day, it's just with Christmas I have an excuse to bake so much more! But the honest truth is I haven't done near as much baking as I wanted to do. And really I haven't done near as much sharing as I should've done either. Perhaps that's why my pants are feeling much tighter. I did try a couple of new recipes that I loved.
I wish I would have taken a picture of this first cookie that I made because they looked a lot different than these. They were bigger and a lot lighter than the picture shows. I also added green and red sprinkles at the end which made them super festive. The cookie turns out really chewy not like the ginger snaps you buy at the store, but they were so good. I especially liked the added touch of the white chocolate. If you are going to make and share these cookies, I suggest making them a day ahead of time. They were much better the second day when the chocolate was a little bit more set. I also saved some of the dough in the fridge and they cooked up better after the dough had been refrigerated a day or two.

Vanilla Dipped Ginger Snaps

2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups canola oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup molasses
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking soda
3 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
Additional sugar for rolling
2 packages (10 to 12 ounces each) white baking chips
1/4 cup shortening
In a large bowl, combine sugar and oil. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in molasses. Combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
Shape into 3/4-in. balls and roll in sugar. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes or until cookie springs back when touched lightly. Remove to wire racks to cool.
In a microwave, melt chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Dip cookies halfway into the melted chips; allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper; let stand until set.