Monday, November 30, 2009

Ten Two Studios Christmas Countdown

Can you believe the year's gone by so fast? Starting tomorrow, Lisa Vollrath's doing her annual Countdown to Christmas. That's a new printable sheet you can download every day through Dec. 25. All she asks is that you put a link to the countdown on your blog or website.

Also check out the Ten Two Studios front page for daily eye candy from members of the design team! Here's one of the things I've been experimenting with - Tunnel ATCs using the Festive Elements sheet.
Holiday Tunnel ATCs

Thursday, November 26, 2009

What I'm Baking

Happy Thanksgiving! So where did November go? Beats the heck out of me! I thought I'd share the recipes for the two desserts I made this week:

Wisconsin Whoppers

These are giant oatmeal-peanut butter-chocolate chip-cranberry cookies.

2/3 cup (1-1/3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/4 cups packed light brown sugar (I usually reduce this to 1 cup)
3/4 cup white (granulated) sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups peanut butter
6 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 cups dried cranberries (6 oz. package of Craisins)
about 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I don't really measure this!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

With mixer, cream butter in a large bowl until light-colored, about 1 minute. Gradually beat in sugars then scrape down sides of bowl. Cream until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. (OK, I really don't beat it quite as long as the recipe says because I'm impatient.)

Beat in eggs, one at a time; beat 1 minute more after final addition. Add vanilla extract and peanut butter and beat until blended, 1 minute. Add oats and baking soda, beating only until blended, about 30 seconds. If you don't have a heavy duty Kitchen Aid and are just using a wimpy handmixer like I do, switch to a sturdy spoon after adding the oats and stir until the oats have all been coated with peanut butter.

Stir cranberries and chocolate chips into creamed mixture until evenly distributed.

For "whopper" size cookies, use 1/4 cup measure to spoon out dough onto cookie sheets. Flatten cookies to 3-inches in diameter with bottom of a glass tumbler that is dipped frequently in water. (Or just use your hands!) Or just spoon out whatever size cookies you usually make. Space cookies about 2 inches apart.

Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool about five minutes on baking sheet before moving to wire rack. (They are very crumbly when they first come out of the oven.)

Makes 2 to 4 dozen depending on size.

Original source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (A copy of their version, which is slightly different, can be found here) Did you know that Wisconsin is the top cranberry-producing state?
Zesty Orange Pumpkin Tart
Easy peasy pumpkin pie! (Another recipe from the Journal-Sentinel)

You'll need a ready-made unbaked pie crust for a one-crust pie in a 9 or 10" pie pan (unless you're one of those masochists who likes to make your own pastry ;o)
Pie Filling:
1 can (16 oz.) solid-pack pumpkin (not the already seasoned pie filling)
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup orange marmalade
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (see note below)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl combine all the filling ingredients and blend until smooth. (Orange peel in the marmalade will cling to your mixer blades! :o) Pour into your pie-crust lined pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the filling comes out clean. Let cool before serving. Serve with REAL whipped cream. None of that non-dairy whipped topping stuff!

If you don't have 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice on hand, you can substitute 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground ginger, 1/4 tsp. ground allspice, 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg.

I recommend using a pie crust shield to protect the edges of your crust from burning. I usually put it on about 15 minutes into baking. Otherwise you can use strips of aluminum foil, which are a BIG pain!

Have a great holiday weekend!
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