Monday, November 29, 2010

Shutterfly Holiday Card Preview 2010

I just love http://www.shutterfly.com/.  They have the best selection in photo cards anywhere.  This is my third year in a row using their services.  And I would like to say I have never been disappointed.  It is so easy to create your holiday cards and the price is right.  I also ordered a cute magnet for our fridge and a cute mouse pad - I was able to add these items to get my order to $25.00, so I received free shipping.  I actually got more for my money and free shipping to boot.

Here is the photo card I made this year for the holidays.  What do you think?  I love it and I was able to include our two fur friends also.

Merry Christmas Everyone! 


Family Story Christmas Card
Shop Shutterfly for elegant custom Christmas photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.

Daisy Sour Cream Spritz Cookies w/ a hint of spice Recipe

Spritz cookies were a new venture for my Holiday baking after meeting my husband.  He had grow up with these delicate and beautiful creations.  As his mother aged, she stopped most of her baking and gave me her old Mirro brand cookie press - it had been used A LOT - but still worked.  The recipe she used was from the Mirro recipe book that came with the cookie press. 

I enjoyed the recipe but wanted to try something new back in 2005.  I went online searching for a different kind of Spritz cookie.  I found a recipe on Allrecipes.com, but made some adjustments to make the recipe my own and suit my "spicy" tastes.   

I was also lucky to find a new to me Mirro Cookie press at a yard sale (I LOVE yard sales!) a few years ago.  It was in great condition, so that is what I am currently using - but I saved the old one, of course.  It is sad to think that the Mirro company is no longer.  They made such nice and sturdy products. 

Just a note before you get to my recipe - You have to try and use Daisy Sour Cream!  If you never have, trust me, one you do, you will NEVER go back to another brand.  There is No comparison to the fresh taste and texture of Daisy.  They are an excellent company with wonderful customer service. 

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup Daisy Sour Cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together butter and sugar.  Beat in egg yolk, Daisy sour cream, and vanilla.




In a different bowl - mix flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and baking soda.  Stir flour mixture into butter mixture. 




Put the dough into a cooking press and press the cookies out onto ungreased baking sheets.  Add colored sugars or edible glitter onto the cookies before baking.



Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 12 minutes, until golden colored.  Cool 5 minutes on sheet before moving to wire rack to finished cooling.



The best part is smelling these cookies as they are baking.  They smell like Christmas.....


German Anise Cookie Recipe - Anise Hats Thanks Gooseberry Patch

I received a wonderful and unexpected Surprise in the mail this past week from Gooseberry Patch. Let me explain - I believe around a year ago I submitted a recipe on the Gooseberry Patch website Gooseberry Patch. If I remember right they were having a contest of some sort for traditional recipes that have been handed down. I submitted a great recipe for German Anise Cookies that my Grandmother shared with me years ago. The reason I asked for it was that my mother was talking about these great cookies that she use to eat as a girl and hadn't had them for a very long time. She didn't have the recipe but believe her mom - my Grandmother would.



Well I emailed my Grandma in 2006 and asked about it. This is what she said (I have included photos from the double batch I just made) : "You can buy these cookies anytime in Germany - small little fancy bag for $2 or $3 Quite expensive.

German Anise Cookies (They are touchy but once you figure them out it works).

2 med.size eggs 1 cup white sugar 3/4 tsp.Anise extract 1 cup flour

In small bowl beat eggs on high speed for 4 minutes




 ..Gradually add sugar ...beating on high for 10 min. until thick



 ... Add extract and beat in flour on low speed ..



Drop cookie from a rounded teaspoon on greased cookie sheet .



Let stand to dry overnight 10 to 12 hr.. Do not refrigerate ....Bake at 350 (on top rack) for 10 to 12 min.





I spray my cookie sheet lightly and wipe off excess ....I also leave mine set out in the sunroom for about 8hrs. during the day and bake in evening...I bake mine on a air tray and remove them from the tray as soon as I take them from the oven ..

They always taste the same but sometimes they do not get like a pillow top [shiny].

Good luck ..I have had good ones and not so good ..Herta says room temp for the eggs .. You will have to experiment . Love Grandma"


I am sooooo excited the recipe was selected for the German Anise Cookies to be included in the upcoming cookbook "Sunday Dinner at Grandma's" published by the Gooseberry Patch.



I love Gooseberry Patch and can't wait for this great family recipe to be enjoyed by others! The best part is they will give me a discount if I order five or more of the books - so if any family members are interested - just let me know and I will get the order placed. It sounds like the cookbook is due out the end of December.

Did I mention that I am so honored and excited. This is just great to have the family recipe to be saved for our generations and others to enjoy.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy List for the week!

My first Giveaway! tops my Happy List for the week.  Don't forget to sign up for your chance to win :).  I love King Arthur products.  I think my husband is going to be getting me some new baking supplies for Chirstmas this year - yeah!!!

It was great Thanksgiving here - we all enjoyed turkey and stuffing!  The only sad part was my parents couldn't make it out - they were iced in - but the positive note is they are safe and sound at there house.

I am happy to say, other that for my husband's gift  - I AM DONE WITH CHRISTMAS SHOPPING!!!!  What a relief that is and I was able to save alot of money this year.  I found a ton of excellent sales.

I am going to make this a short happy list - because I have to go start making my spritz cookies!  God I love them!

MyHappyListButton

Friday, November 26, 2010

King Arthur Vanilla Sugar Cookie Mix and Edible Glitters Giveaway - Making Snowflake Cut-out cookies with my boys.

I am so excited that King Arthur Flour has given my boys and I the opportunity to try out some of their great products and also Giveaway some of the items I tried out!  I have been a King Arthur Flour patron online and at our local Safeway store for many years.  I love the diversity of the baking items they carry.  All of the items I have used have been of the highest quality. 


King Arthur Flour sent me out four bottles of edible glitter (green, silver, red, and blue), their famous Vanilla Sugar Cookie Mix and a set of five Snowflake Cookie Cutters - The cookie cutters are very sturdy and uniquely shaped ranging from 1 3/4” to 5”.  Each cutter is coated in blue and white for extra strength and style.  They came nicely packaged for gift-giving in a clear acetate box.

My boys so were excited to give the Vanilla Sugar Cookie Mix a try.  My six year old and two year old had so much fun making the dough (which you only add 1 egg and some butter to the mix).

Working hard at unwrapping the butter.
 
Gabriel is anxiously waiting to do his part by adding the King Arthur Mix in with the butter.  It was a sunny day in our kitchen.


Here is Gabriel's big moment to add the first addition of the King Arthur Mix.


The hardest part for the boys was to wait while to dough chilled in the fridge.



Now for the big event --- Rolling out the two bundles of chilled dough---time to try out the new Snowflake cookie cutters.






The cookie cutters were easy to use and clean up (hand wash only).  The dough was simple to work with and Oh so tasty.  It was very buttery and rich with the perfect sugar cookie texture.

We all add a blast decorating the baked cookies (I will share my recipe for the sugar cookie frosting in a later blog).  The glitter was beautiful and the bottles had an easy shaker top to make dispensing on top of the cookies very easy. 






Here are a few I decorated.

The best part of the day spent making these wonderful King  Arthur Cookies was the time with my boys and watching their excitement through every step.

Ok, now for my first Giveaway on my blog.....


The Giveaway:




King Arthur is so graciously helping me host a giveaway! One winner will be receiving  4 Food-safe, unflavored edible glitters, each in a 1/4-ounce jar and one Vanilla Sugar Cookie Mix which makes appox. 3 dozen cookies.


 Here is how to win!

Open to US residents only age 18 or over. You must complete the Mandatory Entry to be eligible. This giveaway will close on Dec 3rd, at MIdnight MST Time.  Please leave a separate comment with email for each entry that you complete.

Mandatory Entry - Please go over to King Arthur and look around. Come back here to Fishful Thinking and let me know what product you would love to try or have tried!

Bonus Entries:
Follow Fishful Thinking Blog on Google Connect (one the right side of my blog).

Follow King Arthur Flour on Facebook.

Leave on Message on Facebook that Fishful Thinking sent you.

Follow King Arthur Flour on Twitter.

Sign up for the King Arthur Flour e-newsletter (bottom right of page).

Check out King Arthur Flour Blog - Baking Banter and tell me which post you liked best.

Write up your own post about this giveaway along with live links to Fishful Thinking Blog and to King Arthur Flour and post it on your blog (leave link).

Tweet about the Giveaway: You can copy and paste the following Tweet over on Twitter once per day.
Copy and Paste Tweet:

You can #win @KingArthurFlour Cookie Mix and Edible Glitter on @busch0218 blog! http://t.co/ShtzaqP Ends 12/03 Midnight MST #giveaways

Please leave a separate comment with email for each entry that you complete -PLEASE!

Happy Holidays!
Thank you prizey.net for promoting my 1st Giveway - what on honor to recieve the Editor's Pick!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

One Well Worn Pot and Spoon makes Grandma Marge's Famous Peanut Brittle. A Recipe that doesn't stick in your teeth!

This recipe is one of the most special that has been passed down from my husband's mom (Marge) to me.  She passed this recipe and all the necessary equipment to make the perfect batch of this buttery, delicious peanut brittle.  The best part is it doesn't ever stick in your teeth. 

With the recipe, the well worn and loved pot and spoon - came alot of responsibility.... Responsibility that I am excited to be in trusted with.  It is my job to make sure loved ones get there batch of the brittle every holiday season.






Every year when I start to make this peanut brittle...standing at the stove (or this year sitting on a bar stool with my leg elevated)...I can envision Marge doing this same love task, over and over and over every year.  The difficult part is when I look at the hand written recipe card....



....and read her special note on the top corner



....as you can see it tell me to call her before starting the peanut brittle.  She always would share her special knowledge.

My biggest tip is to have everything ready on the stove top before starting this recipe.




If you notice in the above photo - I have the butter cut up in cubes to help it incorporate quicker and better.  The baking soda and salt in one small cup together.  The Pyrex measuring cup in full of water (I use it to add the candy thermometer in before I add the butter and baking soda/salt.  Otherwise the hot sugar is difficult to get off later.) 

Ingredients:

2 cups granulated white sugar
1 cup white syrup (corn syrup)
1 scant cup water
2 cups raw peanuts
2 teaspoons of baking soda
2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Boil first 3 ingredients over medium heat to soft ball stage.



Add peanuts.


Cook until light brown (hard crack), stirring constantly.



Remove from heat and continue to stir while adding add baking soda, salt and butter.




Do not over stir the baking soda/salt and butter in, otherwise you will knock all of the air bubbles out of the brittle and it will be hard.
Pour out onto 2 buttered cookie sheets - DO NOT STRETCH OUT!!! 



By not stretching the brittle it helps keep the texture, light and airy.  Which you will see - makes it not stick in your teeth. 

Happy Holiday's everyone.  We miss you so much Marge - it has been almost 7 years since you left this world - and there isn't a day that goes by that we don't think about you.

Keep on eye on my blog.  The King Aurthur Giveaway is only a few days away from starting!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

In Loving Memory - You would have been 7 Today!

You will never be forgotten KK (KayLynn).  Today you would have turned 7 years old.

Our entire family misses you each and every day.

Take an extra moment of your day and give your children a hug and a kiss - enjoy and savor that moment - you never know when the Lord may call.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Browned Butter Shortbread Recipe

I found an excellent recipe back in 1999, in a Good Housekeeping Holiday Best magazine for Browned Butter Shortbread.  This is a recipe that I tore out and saved.  I have been making it from year to year around the Holidays.  My husband always asks if I will me making it.  The answer this year was "Of Course!"



Browned-Butter Shortbread

Ingredients:

12 Tablespoons unsalted Butter (1 1/2 sticks), slightly softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

 Directions:

In a heavy 2-qt saucepan, melt 6 tablespoons butter over low heat.  Cook butter 8 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until butter solids at the bottom of the pan are rich brown color and butter has a nutty aroma. (Be careful not to over brown butter, it will have a bitter flavor.) Pour browned Butter into small bowl. 




I made a triple batch so that is why the measurement is more.  Look at all the tasty brown bits.
 Refrigerate until almost firm - about 35 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl with a mixer at medium speed, beat sugar with cooled browned butter and remaining 6 tablespoons softened butter until creamy.




With your hands - mix flour and salt into butter mixture just until crumbs form. (Do not over work dough - shortbread will be tough.) Pat shortbread crumbs into ungreased 9-in round tart pan/standard round cake pan/or tart pan. 



With a fork, prick dough in many places.



Bake shortbread 40 to 45 minutes, until browned around the edge.  Let cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes.

Remove shortbread from pan to cutting board.



While still warm, cut shortbread into 16 wedges. 



Cool wedges completely on wire rack.  Store coolies in tightly covered container. 

It is so important to brown some of the butter first as it helps give the Shortbread a deep, rich flavor. 
NO substitutions allowed - it has to be Butter!

Make sure you cut the shortbread when it is warm.  If you wait too long - it will break and crumble.

I love the smell of the butter browning in preparation for this tasty, crumbly, rich and buttery treat.  The aroma it creates as it bakes is the best!