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Pecan Pie Bars and 19 More Christmas Cookie Recipes

19 Dec

Looking for some holiday cookie baking inspiration to carry you through to the new year? Here is a repost from last year with a full range of recipes. The pecan bars (recipe below) have become a seasonal regular and should not be relegated to this single time of year.

Pancakes

Next up, the winner of the great pancake debate, just in time for the holiday break.

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2013 Christmas Cookie Recipe Repost

Christmas CookiesHere we are, at the annual pinnacle of eating pleasure. Festive images of sweet and savory delights at every turn. Thoughts surface of treats-past as the traditional once-a-year favorites draw delicious memories.

But it’s also when the schedule gets so packed on every level that the thought of digging in and creating wonders of the season can set you over the edge. Yet, it must be done. How can a year go by without the Frosted Sugar Cookies, Dede’s Coffee Cake or Christmas Eve Lasagna?

Although you’ve likely got your own collection of December regulars you must satisfy yourself and others with, I will share as many of mine as I can before the big day closes in. Maybe you’re ready to let one of yours go, at least for this year, and are willing to make room for some novelty in the repertoire.

These Pecan Bars are my new one. Date Bars, you’re not forgotten, but these are irresistible with a crunchy, shortbread crust and buttery pecan topping. Not too time consuming either.

Pecan Bars

And for a whole variety of Christmas Cookie recipes, from Russian Tea Cakes and Chocolate Mint Sandwich Cookies to Orange Shortbread Cutouts and Black and Whites, check out the link below. I’ve had the pleasure of attending an annual cookie extravaganza where the reliable favorites and stylish newbies are baked and shared. There’s much to inspire bringing in the new.

Christmas Cookie Exchange

CLICK for RECIPES

 

Pecan Bars Dipped in Chocolate

Yield: 12-16 Bars

INGREDIENTS

For the Shortbread Crust

  • 1 1/2 sticks cold, unsalted butter, cut in 1/2 -inch dice
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed, light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Pie Filling

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed, light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • 2 heaping cups of whole pecans, roughly chopped

For the Chocolate Dip (optional)

  • 8 ounces good quality dark chocolate, chopped (try Trader Joes “Pound Plus” Dark Chocolate)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vegetable or canola oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan with parchment paper (or foil) leaving some excess hanging over the ends. (This is important, otherwise the bars won’t come out of the pan)
  3. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process all the ingredients for the crust together until the mixture begins to form tiny lumps, about 30-45 seconds.
  4. Pour this mixture into the prepared pan and using your hands or a big spatula, evenly press the shortbread crust into the bottom of the pan.
  5. Bake in the middle of the oven until golden, about 18-20 minutes.
  6. While the shortbread crust is baking, prepare the filling.
  7. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, brown sugar, honey, cream and salt. Bring to a simmer and allow to bubble, stirring occasionally, for about 1 minute.
  8. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and pecans.
  9. Pour the pecan filling into the hot shortbread crust and spread as evenly as possible.
  10. Bake in the middle of the oven until bubbling evenly all over, about 12-15 minutes. Cool completely.
  11. Lift out of the pan using the overhanging parchment or foil and cut into bars.
  12. To dip in chocolate, prepare a large baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. Melt 6 ounces of the chocolate and the oil together in a glass container that is wider than it is deep and heat in the microwave in 15-20 second increments stirring after each round. When the chocolate is just melted, add the remaining 2 ounces and stir until completely smooth and glossy. Dip the bars into the chocolate allowing the excess to drip off. Place on the prepared baking sheet to cool and firm up.

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Recipe adapted from Just a Taste

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Thanksgiving Leftover Sauté with Poached Eggs

30 Nov

Hopefully you haven’t polish off all of the stuffed Tupperware containers yet. Brighten up that last long weekend morning with poached eggs on leftover sauté. This particular blend combines stuffing, sweet potatoes and creamed spinach with a bit of crumbed, cooked bacon sprinkled on top. But almost any leftover combo will work. Place an egg on top for an irresistible breakfast. Or lunch.

You can find general recipe directions at the bottom of this post although I recommend sautéing your ingredients in melted butter in a frying pan. Enjoy!

Thanksgiving Leftover Eggs

 

Thanksgiving Feasting Favorites

24 Nov

Although tradition dominates the Thanksgiving feast, leaving little room for variation much less something entirely new, here are a few favorites and tips to stir up inspiration prior to the big week ahead.

COOKING THE BIRD

For a turkey deep in flavor and a moist, yet firm consistency, try following the award-winning Judy Bird technique inspired by the roast chicken made famous by the late Judy Rodgers at Zuni Cafe in San Francisco. (See my post here about the chef, her philosophy and restaurant and her recipe for Salmon with White Beans, Bacon and Red Wine.)

NOTE: I do not follow Step 7 and start the bird in the oven breast side down.

Sage and Bay Salt Dry Brine
Sage and Bay Salt Dry Brine

The turkey is dry brined for three days although I have done it for much less with equally good results. Here is a tasty dry brine recipe.

APPETIZERS

Ellen's Nuts
Ellen’s Nuts
Rustic Bakery Meyer Lemon and Chickpea Spread
Meyer Lemon and Chickpea Spread, recipe from Rustic Bakery
Baked Rosemary Beet Chips
Baked Rosemary Beet Chips, by Minimalist Baker
Crab Cake Bites
Crab Cake Bites, from Savory Simple
Artichokes
from The Real Deal Marin

 ACCOMPANIMENTS

Tyler Florence Mashed Potatoes
Tyler Florence Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes
Savory Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Creamed Pearl Onions
Thomas Keller’s Creamed Pearl Onion, via Smitten Kitchen
Ina Garten Spinach Gratin
Ina Garten Spinach Gratin via The Food Network

STOCK and GRAVY

How to Make Stock, A video tutorial with simple instructions from Mario Batali on Food 52.

How to Make Gravy, from The New York Times Cooking

DESSERT

Although no dessert would be shunned, Apple Pie is a must. If you have any doubt, read this, and you may get lured into making it a regular closer to your feast too, if it isn’t already.

    Butter Pie Crust, from Epicurious

    Crust Tipsfrom Joy the Baker

    THE Apple Pie, inspired by Kierin Baldwin

    Ala Mode, a basic vanilla ice cream recipe

    Best Apples for Piefrom Baking Bites

LEFTOVERS

Thanks Benedict on Stuffing Cakes with Sage Hollandaise, by Giada De Laurentiis
Thanks Benedict on Stuffing Cakes with Sage Hollandaise, by Giada De Laurentiis
Turkey Tetrazzini
Turkey Tetrazzini, from The Real Deal Marin 
Loaded Turkey Panini
Loaded Turkey Panini, from Pinch of Yum

 (This is a good framework that you can alter based on what you have leftover.)

If you try one of these recipe, please let me know what you think in the comments section below. Or take a photo and post it on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #realdealmarin.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Summertime

23 May

Click the image for recipes.

SUMMER STRAWBERRY MUFFINS

Strawberry Muffins

 JUICY SLIDERS

Juicy Sliders

Grilled or Baked Herb Chicken with Green Aioli

Herb Chicken with Aiolias a Main Dish

Herb Chicken with Aioli Appetizeror an Appetizer

The Best of the Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie

Chocolate Chip Cookie

 Creamy Homemade Ice CreamCreamy Homemade Ice Cream

Italian Sausage, Spinach and Pasta Soup

1 Jan

For some ease and enjoyment this post-holiday or any time, here is a go-to hearty soup that can well serve as a meal.

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Pecan Pie Bars and 19 More Christmas Cookies Recipes

20 Dec

Christmas CookiesHere we are, at the annual pinnacle of eating pleasure. Festive images of sweet and savory delights at every turn. Thoughts surface of treats-past as the traditional once-a-year favorites draw memories of comfort.

Continue reading

Thanksgiving: Recipes, Gadgets and Food News

26 Nov

Wordle

EAT

TURKEY

Local Diestel Ranch birds do have that idyllic image tied in. But being fed a 100% vegetarian diet milled right there at the farm and slowly raised in the Sierra Nevada Foothills does increase the price tag.

Diestel

Click on image for more information

Check out this interesting breakdown of what it costs to bring that turkey from farm to feast. A true bargain.

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Friday Food: Links to Recipes, Restaurants, Gadgets, News and More

16 Nov

Wordle

Below is a weekly list of ideas for what to cook, where to eat, things to consider and actions to inspire. If you have something to add to a future Friday Food list, please share it in the comments section below. Enjoy the weekend.

EAT

Cowgirl Creamery Cooks               

Want to innovate the cheese platter this holiday? Check out this appealing new book by Sue Conley and Peggy Smith of Cowgirl Creamery, two cheese makers based out of Pt. Reyes who share recipes and what it takes to become a cheese pioneer. 

Cowgirl Creamery Cooks

Click on Image for Ordering information

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Classic Chicken or Turkey Tetrazzini

1 Nov

This recipe has a steady spot on the dinner rotation and for good reason. It’s easy to prepare, contains no unusual ingredients and even though chicken tetrazzini might have a gut-buster reputation, can be altered to the lighter side.

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Juicy Sliders

3 Jul

Juicy SlidersBurgers are a summertime staple and have come a long way from the overly cooked patties on a parched white roll that I remember from childhood. We had no turkey, buffalo or elk options. Or lamb or goat which one of my favorite restaurants, Marin Sun Farms in Pt. Reyes, has on their spring menu.

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