Category Archives: Winter/Christmas

Cranberry Pecan Muffins

I’ve been so glad to see fresh cranberries at the grocery store these past few weeks! I just had to make something with fresh cranberries and muffins seemed like a good idea. I added some orange extract to give these muffins a subtle orange flavor. You could also add some orange zest if you wanted to.

These muffins bake up with nice rounded tops and have lots of cranberries and pecans in every bite! These are great for a Thanksgiving or Christmas breakfast or brunch, or for anytime in the fall or winter, for that matter. They also make a nice snack or dessert if you’re wanting something a little less sweet. You could probably substitute dried cranberries for the fresh, but I’ve always made these with fresh–I like their slightly sweet, tart flavor!

CRANBERRY PECAN MUFFINS by NancyC

Makes 24 muffins

  • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pure orange extract
  • Optional: 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped fresh cranberries (or substitute dried cranberries)
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line 24 muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.

In large bowl, blend flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In medium bowl, mix milk, butter, orange extract, and eggs. Add this mixture to the flour mixture, stirring until just combined, then fold in chopped cranberries and pecans and stir until evenly distributed in batter (be careful not to overmix). Batter will be thick!

Spoon batter into the lined muffin cups. Bake at 350˚F for 22 to 25 or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool muffins in pans for a few minutes, then remove and cool completely on wire rack, or serve warm.

Do you have your Thanksgiving menu planned out? Are you making anything with fresh cranberries for your special meal?

Sharing at Weekend PotluckMeal Plan MondayFiesta Friday.

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Easy Corn Casserole

It’s not often that you find a recipe that is wonderful comfort food, inexpensive, and easy to make–like this Easy Corn Casserole. Friends have told me about this recipe and I also did a search in the web comparing recipes, and most of them have these ingredients in common: a can of corn, a can of cream-style corn, corn muffin mix, butter, and sour cream. Most recipes call for anywhere from one to three eggs, but some don’t. Since this kind of casserole is so widely made, I guess you could call this a well-loved comfort food classic.

When I made mine, I decided to use two eggs, and it turned out really well. This is a creamy, full-of-corn casserole that has a delicious corn muffin-like crust on top. A perfect side dish for a big meal. If you’re looking for something to add to your Thanksgiving menu or any holiday meal, this would be a great dish to add! It makes a 9×9″ pan, or about 6-8 servings, but you can easily double it and bake it in a 9×13″ pan for a larger crowd.

EASY CORN CASSEROLE

Makes a 9×9″ pan, or 6-8 servings

  • 1 (15-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (14.75-ounce) can cream style corn
  • 1 (8.5-ounce) box Corn Muffin Mix (I used Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream, light sour cream, or plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten (you can omit eggs for a denser casserole, or you can use 1, 2, or 3 eggs)

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Lightly grease an 9×9″ baking pan with butter or cooking spray; set aside.

In large bowl, combine the corn with the cornbread muffin mix, then add melted butter and sour cream. Add in the eggs, mixing everything well. Pour into prepared 9×9″ baking pan.

Bake at 350˚F for 45 minutes, or until casserole is set. Remove from oven and serve while hot or warm.

I’ve also seen some recipes that just use an 8-ounce can of corn and an 8-ounce can of cream corn, with 1 or 2 eggs and 1/4  or 1/2 cup butter. One even used plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. So, there are lots of variations on this recipe! Have you ever made corn casserole as a side dish for any of your meals?

Sharing at Happiness is HomemadeMeal Plan MondayWeekend PotluckFiesta Friday.

Jumbo Ginger Molasses Cookies

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I like these gingery molasses cookies so much, I think I will make them every fall and winter! I first made them during this past Christmas season and think they’re a great cookie to munch on during the cold weather. They’re flavored with lots of ginger and some cinnamon and cloves. They’re slightly crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. And they are one big cookie! Big enough to satisfy any sweet tooth.

They’re very buttery, too–rich and buttery. And after you roll the cookie dough into balls, you also roll them in coarse sugar–I think the coarse, sparking sugar coating really makes them look special! Molasses cookies have never been a huge favorite of mine, but I really like these, so if you’ve never made molasses cookies before, you may want to give these a try!

JUMBO GINGER MOLASSES COOKIES by NancyC, adapted from Taste of Home

Makes 26 to 28 cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup coarse sugar

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

In large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and molasses; set aside.

In medium bowl, blend the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt; gradually add this mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and mix everything well.

Shape cookie dough into 2-inch balls (I used an ice cream scoop to scoop the dough, then rolled it into balls) and roll in coarse sugar. Place 2 1/2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets (or baking sheets lined with parchment paper). You’ll be able to fit about 6 cookies on each baking sheet. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until tops are cracked. Let cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Do you like gingery, spicy, molasses-flavored cookies? What kinds of cookies do you like making during the winter months?

Sharing this recipe at Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Inspire Me Monday.

White Chocolate Peppermint Scones

white-chocolate-peppermint-scones-nancycI like making at least one peppermint-flavored recipe each year for the holidays. This year, I decided to try scones. These White Chocolate Peppermint Scones have crushed candy canes both in the batter and sprinkled on top. White chocolate chips are mixed into the batter too. They might be a little too sweet for early in the morning, but they’re perfect for a holiday brunch, a holiday tea, or a dessert –with a scoop of ice cream on top…make that peppermint ice cream! 🙂

WHITE CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT SCONES by NancyC

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup crushed candy canes or peppermint candies
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

PEPPERMINT GLAZE:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Half & Half
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 Tablespoons crushed candy canes for sprinkling on top
  • Optional: 1/2 Tablespoon coarse sugar for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In large bowl, blend the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the cold butter using a pastry blender until the flour/butter mixture is crumbly. Stir in the crushed candy canes and white chocolate chips.

In medium bowl, mix yogurt, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Blend yogurt mixture into the flour mixture, stirring until clumps of dough form (dough will be a little sticky).

Sprinkle some flour over the dough in the bowl to make it less sticky, and with floured hands, knead a few times and shape dough into a ball. Place dough on your parchment-lined baking sheet and pat into an 8-inch circle, about 3/4-inch thick. Use a knife to score into 8 wedges, then bake at 375˚F on your center oven rack for 18 -20 minutes, until golden. The scones may puff up as they’re baking, but they’ll settle down as they cool.

Cool scones for at least 20 minutes, or cool completely, and then add the glaze and topping.

To make glaze, mix powdered sugar, Half & Half, and peppermint extract until smooth. Drizzle glaze over scones with a small spoon, then sprinkle some crushed candy canes over the glaze. Let glaze set, then cut scones into wedges where scored, and serve.

Peppermint-flavored goodies are great for the holidays–they’re so fun and festive. Plus, it’s a great way to use those extra candy canes. Have you made any peppermint recipes this year?

Wishing you a blessed and joyful Christmas!

Linked to Fiesta Friday.

Jumbo Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I start thinking about making recipes with cranberries as soon as the fall season comes around. Cranberries, whether they’re fresh or dried, are such a classic autumn and holiday ingredient. It just wouldn’t seem like Thanksgiving or Christmas without cranberries, would it? And because these cookies have dried cranberries, along with white and semi-sweet chocolate chips, they’re perfect for making this time of year when the days are chilly, evenings come earlier, and cookie baking and giving are in full swing.

These cookies are big, thick, and chewy–the kind of cookie you want to have when you’re sitting in a big, comfy chair with a mug of hot cocoa, wrapped in a warm blanket and maybe watching a favorite movie or reading a good book. Did I mention that these cookies also have oatmeal in them too? It always makes me feel a little better when a cookie has oatmeal in it–somehow, cookies with oatmeal just seem a little healthier, don’t they?

JUMBO OATMEAL CRANBERRY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES by NancyC

Makes about 18 cookies

  • 3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • parchment paper, for lining cookie sheets

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

In large bowl, blend butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well; set aside.

In a medium-size bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda, and salt. Add half of this flour mixture to the egg/butter/sugar mixture and mix well; then add in the rest of the flour mixture and mix all ingredients well.

Fold in the dried cranberries, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and white chocolate chips; stir until these are evenly distributed in batter.

Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls, 2 inches apart, onto parchment-lined cookie sheets (if dough is too sticky to work with, refrigerate it for 5 to 10 minutes before putting on cookie sheets). You should be able to fit 6 cookies per sheet. Bake at 350˚F for 12 to 13 minutes, or until very lightly brown (do not overtake, or cookies will be dry). Cool on cookie sheets for 1 minute, then move to wire rack to cool completely.

Baking cookies is a great thing to do when it’s cold outside–it makes everything so cozy inside! Do you like making cranberry-flavored goodies this time of year too?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday.