Merri Ann’s Crockpot Potatoes

This crockpot mashed potato recipe is the recipe that Merri Ann used for holiday dinner mashed potatoes. It’s a combination of several recipes that she found online with her own simple seasoning.All you do is throw the ingredients into the crockpot and walk away. You’ll have creamy crockpot mashed potatoes with minimal effort. Crockpot Mashed Potatoes: A One-Pot Meal Most recipes called for Yukon Gold potatoes but we used russets. She used seven pounds of potatoes which maxed out a large crockpot. The recipe below is scaled back to five pounds of potatoes. We mashed them right in the crockpot. …

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Sweet Potato Pie

We often substitute sweet potato or yam puree for pureed pumpkin. In many recipes, we can’t tell the difference and neither can the guests. Make this sweet potato pie, and it might become the new holiday favorite. Sweet Potato Pie vs. Pumpkin Pie Pictured above is a slice of set potato pie and a slice of pumpkin pie. Can you tell the difference? Sweet potatoes tend to be lighter and less dense than pumpkin. The flavor differs slightly. This sweet potato pie has a beautiful tawny color—a little lighter than pumpkin. And frankly, it’s easier to stick a couple of …

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Chocolate Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

This pumpkin swirl cheesecake has a delightful swirl of chocolate, and as we all know, pumpkin and chocolate are a pair you just can’t resist. It’s easy, scrumptious, and perfect for the holidays or all year round. The chocolate requires an extra step but otherwise, this is as easy as most other cheesecakes. Ingredients 1 2/3 cups graham cracker crumbs 3 tablespoons granulated sugar 6 tablespoons butter, melted 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup granulated sugar 1 16-ounce can pumpkin (about 1 3/4 cups) 4 large eggs 1/2 cup whipping cream 3 tablespoons cornstarch 1 teaspoon …

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Four Unforgettable Things You Can Make with Cocoa

It’s amazing what good quality cocoa can do for your recipes. It will make them richer, tastier, and more chocolatey. It’s almost like the difference between good European chocolate and old holiday candy–you can easily taste the difference in quality. Get the Cocoa Recipes Click on any of the links below to jump to the recipe: Gourmet Hot Chocolate Chocolate Whipped Cream Chocolate Whipped Cream Frosting Hot Fudge Sauce Made with Cocoa What Cocoa Butter Can Do for Cocoa Look for cocoa that is at least 14% to 16% cocoa butter. Most grocery store cocoa is 8% to 10%. The …

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Sweet Potato Pie with Pecan Streusel

This sweet potato pie is a happy alternative to pumpkin pie and still tastes just as good, if not better. When tasting it, before hearing the ingredients, some even called it a pumpkin pie on steroids. It uses sweet potatoes, cinnamon, ginger, and butter rum flavor instead of the typical pumpkin pie filling and a pecan streusel and is just fantastic. What You’ll Need for the Sweet Potato Pie: Three medium-large yams or sweet potatoes Fresh ginger Pecan pieces butter rum flavor Just-add-water pie crust mix A deep-dish, nine-inch pie pan A pie crust shield A pastry blender or knife …

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Festive Fruit and Oat Refrigerator Cookies

These festive fruit and oat refrigerator cookies are the perfect semblance of a fruit cake wrapped into a tasty cookie, and they’re perfect for the holidays because you can make the dough ahead of time and leave it in the fridge until you need it. This cookie is a winner. A Refrigerator Cookie that Doesn’t Spread We wanted a cookie that wouldn’t spread too much so that we could decorate the edges of the cookies. We used oatmeal and confectioners’ sugar for that. (We love oats in cookies anyway and the cornstarch in the confectioners’ sugar reduces spread.) The granulated …

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How to Paint Cookies with Food Colors

The Fun Way to Decorate Cookies When I was a child, my mother made sugar cookies for the holidays. We frosted them and sprinkled them with decorations in different colors. We looked forward to it every year, the bright cookies and that chance to be creative with different colors. It was a happy time. So fun!Painting cookies is more fun than decorating cookies with frosting and sprinkles, and even adults get hooked. The kids are sure to have a blast. Time to be artistic! Let your creative side go wild as you paint patterns, pictures, and even delicate scenes on …

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Vanilla Spritz Cookies

These vanilla spritz cookies are the classic pressed cookies.  They’re sweet, buttery, and hold their shapes well. Make them in dozens of pretty shapes.  Sprinkle them with decorations.  Have a ball with your kids and grandkids. What Are Spritz Cookies? Two of the most common ways to make formed cookies are with a cookie cutter or a cookie press. Holiday cookies are more commonly rolled-out sugar cookie dough, cut into shapes, and decorated. The sadly less common option is using a cookie press to make these delicious spritz cookies. Most spritz cookie recipes are a bit different than your typical …

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Chocolate Spritz Cookies

This is a chocolate variation of the classic spritz cookie. The rich chocolate flavor pairs nicely with the typical buttery sweet flavors of spritz cookies. And they’re so easy to make too! If you like chocolate, you’ll like these pressed cookies. Spritz Cookies: The New Holiday Cookie Most spritz cookie recipes are a bit different than your typical holiday cookie because it needs to be crisp enough to hold up the shape. And you just can’t have a good spritz cookie without the buttery and sweet flavors. To make the spritz cookies, you simply make the dough, load it into …

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Cherry Spritz Cookies

This is a cherry variation of the classic spritz cookie. It’s a simple recipe that makes pretty, pink, pressed cookies.  You’ll need some cherry flavor, red food coloring, and maybe some maraschino cherries for decoration.  These are fun cookies to make. How to Make Spritz Cookies Classic spritz cookies are crisp, buttery, and sweet to easily keep their shape. Simply make the dough, load it into a cookie press, and press the cookies onto the pan. They always turn out beautiful, but they’re also super easy. Consider Spritz cookies as your new go-to holiday cookie. Get your cookie press here. …

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Easy Meal: How to Make a Shepherd’s Pie

There are lots of recipes online for various potato casseroles.  The most famous of the potato casseroles may be a Shepherd’s Pie.  It’s a great way to use those leftover potatoes. Here’s how to make a Shepherd’s Pie: Sauté ground meat and onions in a heavy, oven-proof skillet.  Season to taste. Add a can of stewed tomatoes, leftover gravy, or make a new gravy in the pan. Add some veggies.  Green beans or corn are typical. Cover with mashed potatoes.  Top with grated cheese and a sprinkle of paprika. Bake at 350 degrees until heated through and the cheese is …

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Very Simple, Very Good Brownie Pops

We were making blondies, batch after batch, testing mixes and making blondies faster than customers in the store could eat them.  These were fancy blondies: Peanut Butter Cup, Raspberry Sour Cream, and Caramel Nut Blondies. At the end of the day, we had batches left over.  Rather than throw them out, we looked for something to make with them.  I remembered seeing a picture on a calendar of square brownie pops on a stick.  They had cut brownies into rectangles and then dipped them in frosting.  That seemed like a good idea.  We cut the blondies into squares, stuck popsicle …

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What Thanksgiving is Really About

“It seems like everyone has ten pounds of trouble in a five pound bucket,” someone once observed. Some days, it may seem like that.  It’s really not so. I think it’s the other way around — we have far more to be grateful for then we have trouble. But as the song says, you have to “Count your many blessings.” That’s what Thanksgiving is for. This year I actually stopped and made a list. That was a nice experience. Sometimes we need to be reminded how far the good things outnumber the bad. I’ll share my list with you — …

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My Favorite Apple Pie

When the warm summer nights turn crisp and clear, I find myself in an apple pie mood. And it can’t be just any apple pie; it has to be my favorite apple pie–a great mound of a pie crusted with cinnamon and sugar. Under that buttery crust will be sweet-tart apples infused with the richness of sour cream and quality cinnamon. The apples have to be good apples, fresh and crisp and sweet. I like them on the tart side, maybe some pippins or jonathans. I love cranberries and so I’ll throw in a generous handful to become rubies in …

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Neapolitan Cookies and More

You can tell that we had fun with these cookies. We made Neapolitan Cookies—but with one part chocolate, one part almond, and one part cherry—but think of it as a method, not a recipe. By changing flavors and colors, you can make any combination you desire. Use your imagination. Make circles, stripes, swirls, or squares. These make great kids cookies, great holiday cookies, and great party cookies. How to Make Neapolitan Cookies You can make a variety of shapes, colors, and flavors with this basic recipe–from shamrocks to Christmas cookies. In the accompanying pictures, we made tri-colored cookies with chocolate, …

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How to Ship Cookies

Loved ones away from home always appreciate cookies. It tells them that you care. You invested time and effort, not just money. It reminds them of home baking from days gone by. Choose sturdy cookies to ship. Wrap cookies loosely and individually in plastic. Package them in small containers. If you want to ship a lot of cookies, use several smaller containers and place them in a bigger box. Cushion the smaller boxes in packing “peanuts” or crushed newspaper. If you frost cookies, make the frosting firm so that it won’t smear. The addition of meringue powder will make you …

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Swedish Rice Pudding

This elegant rice pudding is topped with a delicately browned meringue. This is a popular Christmas pudding from Sweden. The Swedish tradition is to insert an almond in the dessert. The person that gets the almond will be married in the coming year. Some Swedish pudding recipes include cinnamon either mixed in the pudding or sprinkled on the top sometimes in the shape of a cross. Other recipes include orange zest or lingonberries. Ingredients 4 cups milk 2 tablespoons butter 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup uncooked rice 5 large egg yolks 2/3 cup granulated sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 5 …

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Christmas Cookie Wreaths

We’ve invited a guest baker this week–our friend, Nancy Rogers, the proprietor of Nancy’s Kitchen and Abby’s Recipes.  We asked her what her favorite holiday cookie recipes are.   This is one of two that she recommended. Visit The Cookie Center Free articles and recipes | Free E-books | Tips | Tools | Ingredients Christmas Cookie Wreaths 3/4 c. butter 1 (16 oz.) bag marshmallows 7 c. corn flakes Green food coloring Blue food coloring Red hots Melt butter in pan. Add marshmallows and stir until melted. Add food coloring until mixture is a nice “holly” green. Remove from heat and …

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Baked Rice Pudding Recipe

This is a marvelous rice pudding recipe, really a custard pudding that includes rice. The eggs set while baking just as in a custard dessert or pie. We like this pudding with dried cranberries or craisins. Not only do the cranberries give the pudding a little zip, the cranberries make for a very attractive presentation. If you are looking for a Christmas pudding recipe, add this one to your arsenal. This pudding is a great way to use leftover rice. Check out the wholesome ingredients in the recipe. Ingredients 4 large eggs 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract …

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Baked French Toast with Caramel Sauce

This makes a scrumptious breakfast or brunch, perfect of the holidays or for guests.  It’s not difficult and chances are, you can make it from the ingredients you have on hand.  The dish can be assembled and stored in the refrigerator for up to three days in advance and then just pop it in the oven on your busy morning. Ingredients 1/2 cup butter 2 tablespoons corn syrup 1 cup brown sugar 8 slices white bread 5 large eggs 1 cup cream 1/2 cup milk 1 teaspoon vanilla flavor 1 teaspoon butter rum flavor (or use a second teaspoon of …

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