Candy Cane Blossoms

It’s that time of year again. Time to hang up all the Christmas lights, and put up the Christmas tree, buy presents for loved ones and friends.  We were thankful for nice weather here and was able to do that when it was 45 degrees outside. My family is kind of boring about the Christmas gifts and all they ever want are gift cards. There’s nothing really wrong with that because you end up getting what you want. I’ve told my family this before but that’s all they want still. Oh well. Why can’t they ever want something fun like a new set of pots and pans, bake ware, spoons and spatulas, a diamond ring… etc.??

My favorite part about Christmas is baking cookies. Last year, I purchased a tiny catalog and it had probably 50 different cookie recipes in it to try. I think I baked about 10 of the recipes in that book. Since pinterest came around, I’ve been finding lots of cookie recipes to try on that website. This was one of them. I love those little peppermint Hershey kisses and when I saw this recipe, I wanted to make them right away. I didn’t have a bag of the kisses lying around at the time, until this weekend. The recipe says to wait 2 – 3 minutes before the cookies have cooled to place the peppermint kisses on them, but if you put them on right away and eat them they become all melted and gooey. I kind of like that. That’s why some of the peppermint kisses in the picture look like they’ve collapsed.

Candy Cane Blossoms Ingredients from Baked Perfection

recipe from Hershey’s
1 bag Hershey;s Kisses brand Candy Cane Kisses
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons milk
Red and Green colored sugar
Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove wrappers from candies (approx. 35)
Beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and egg in large bowl until well blended. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add alternatively with milk to butter mixture, beating until well blended.
Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in red and/or green colored sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 8 – 1o minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cookies is set. Remove from oven; cool 2 to 3 minutes. Press candy piece into center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Yields approximately 35 cookies.

Spicy Macaroni and Cheese

I was watching the Best Thing I Ever Made on Food Network this morning and saw Sunny Anderson make her mac and cheese. It looked so good, and I knew I had all the ingredients to make it besides the pepper jack cheese. Even without the pepper jack cheese it was awesome. The cayenne pepper gave it just the right amount of heat. The thing I liked most about this recipe, was the fact that it didn’t require making a roux. A roux is a mixture of equal parts butter and flour. Then you would whisk in the milk, but this recipe just required mixing a bunch of ingredients together into a bowl. The mac and cheese was rich and creamy, and it’s easy to half the recipe for just one person.

Speaking of Food Network… I don’t mind all those competition shows like Chopped, Cake Wars, and Restaurant Impossible, but do they honestly need to show the same episodes over and over again? I would rather see more cooking shows and they seem to be cutting those off at 11am CST on the weekends. Please Food Network, add more cooking shows to your line up because I get sick of watching the re-runs. Because of that, I am now a fan of Big Bang Theory. :)

I cut this recipe in half and if using 1% milk and low fat cheddar cheese and low fat colby cheese the nutrition info is as follows. It came out to 3 servings. (without croutons)

Calories 208 | Fat 5.74g | Carbohydrate 22.34g | Fiber 0.9g | Protein 15.97g

Ingredients from Sunny Anderson

  • 2 cups elbow pasta, cooked until almost al dente
  • 8 ounces Cheddar, 1/2 cubed, 1/2 shredded
  • 8 ounces Colby cheese, cubed
  • 8 ounces Monterey pepper jack cheese, cubed
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup finely grated onions
  • 4 slices bread
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Special equipment: 2-quart baking dish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, toss together the pasta with the cheese cubes and pour into the baking dish.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, dry mustard, nutmeg. Add the sour cream, egg, heavy cream, half-and-half and onions. Pour over the pasta and cover with the shredded Cheddar. Bake uncovered until the top is just beginning to brown, about 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the bread into crouton-size squares. In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter, add the bread cubes and toast until golden. Sprinkle the bread cubes on top of the macaroni and cheese and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes more.