Sweet Treats

Recipe—Craisin White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (AKA Santa’s Favorite)

Craisin White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

One of my favorite things about Christmas is all the traditions that go along with it. Gingerbread house building, baking, listening to Christmas music, hanging the stockings, you catch my drift. There is just so much magic in the month leading up to Christmas. Well, ever since my son with 10 months old we have taken him for annual photos with Santa. They are all framed and sit in chronological order (have a mentioned I have OCD tendencies before? LOL) along the entertainment center leading up to Christmas.

Santa

This year he is 10 years old and he still wanted to go take a pick with Santa. With COVID I didn’t think we could make that happen but sure enough, we found a place that was doing physically distanced photos by appointment only. Yay! Anyways, ever since my son could talk he would make sure to ask Santa what kind of cookies he wanted us to leave out for Christmas, it never fails, he ALWAYS says oatmeal. Now one thing I will fess up to is that I despise raisins! I cannot eat them! Even as an adult I will pick them out of trail mix. I refuse to contaminate a good oatmeal cookie with raisins! However, I do love me some craisins. So, ever since that first time Santa said he wanted oatmeal cookies, this recipe made it into the baking rotation. These are delicious, buttery, and just the right amount of chewy and sweet. To me, these cookies are the cookie of Christmas and I guarantee you they are Santa approved!

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c + 6 tbsp butter, softened
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 c oats uncooked
1 c craisins
11 oz white chocolate chips

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugars until creamy.
  • Add eggs and vanilla to the butter mixture.
  • Gradually start to fold in the flour ingredients into the butter mixture.
  • Add oats, craisins, white chocolate chips and mix well.
  • Drop dough by the spoonful onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 8–10 minutes or until light golden brown.
  • Allow cookies to sit on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cutting board or cooling rack.
Sweet Treats

Recipe—Glazed Lemon Cookies

We are on Day 4 of 5 of my Christmas Cookie Week! That’s right, this week I will be posting 5 of my favorite Christmas Cookie recipes!

Glazed Lemon Cookies

We have the cutest little lemon bush in our back yard and it holds a special place in my heart as it was a housewarming gift from some of our friends when we built our house 6 years ago. Every year come December, it never fails, the lemons are ready for picking. For that reason, these glazed lemon cookies have become a staple in our holiday cookie rotation. They are so soft and light and I just love the zestiness the fresh lemon brings to them. While I love making these around the holidays they are also perfect for spring or summer.

Note: I recommend placing some paper towels or wax paper under the cooling rack before taking the cookies out of the oven. When you do the glazing you will get some drippage and the paper towels or wax paper will help to catch that excess sticky goodness that make cleanup so much easier.  

COOKIE INGREDIENTS
2 1/4 c flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c butter, softened
1 1/4 c granulated sugar
zest from 2 lemons
2 eggs
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

GLAZE INGREDIENTS
1 c powdered sugar
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt.
  • In a large bowl beat together the butter, sugar, and lemon zest on medium-high speed for 3 minutes.
  • Add the eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla to the butter mixture and continue to beat until evenly incorporated.
  • Gradually add in the dry ingredients until combined.
  • Form small balls with the dough and place at least 2 inches apart on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 8–10 minutes or until they just start to get a light golden color on the bottom.
  • Allow cookies to sit on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
  • Once the cookies have completely cooled, whisk together the powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice to make the glaze. (You want to be able to drizzle the glaze so add a tad bit more lemon juice or water if needed to thin it, or more powdered sugar if you need it thicker.)
  • Transfer the glaze to a transfer to a piping bag with a very small opening or a Ziploc bag. (If using a Ziplock bag, you will want to cut a small tip off one corner.)
  • Drizzle the glaze back and forth over the cookies.
  • Allow the cookies to rest for at least an hour so the glaze has time to set.
  • Enjoy!
Sweet Treats

Recipe—Cherry Chip Shortbread Cookies

We are on Day 3 of 5 of my Christmas Cookie Week! That’s right, this week I will be posting 5 of my favorite Christmas Cookie recipes!

Cherry Chip Shortbread Cookies

If you have been following me for a while now, you know fruit and chocolate are kind of my thing. Bananas and chocolate, strawberries and chocolate, cherries and chocolate… you catch my drift. Add in the melt in your mouth buttery flavor of a shortbread cookie, and you have one of the best tasting cookies ever! Not only do they taste amazing but they are also so pretty! I love the pops of red that the cherries add.

If I will give you any advice about this recipe, it is to double the recipe. One batch for you, and one batch for sharing. They really are that good!

INGREDIENTS
1 c butter, softened
1/2 c powdered sugar
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 c maraschino cherries, chopped and patted dry
1 c chocolate chips

STEPS

  • In a large mixing bowl beat together the butter, sugar, and vanilla.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and salt.
  • Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until it is all combined.
  • Gently fold in the cherries and chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
  • Lay out a long strip of plastic wrap and form the dough into a log in the middle of it. I try and make my log about 2” in diameter.
  • Wrap the log up in the saran wrap and chill in the fridge for an hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 350º.
  • Once the log has firmed up, remove it from the saran wrap and cut it into approximately 1/3” slices.
  • Place the slices about 1” apart on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Bake the cookies for about 10–12 minutes or until they just start to turn golden around the edges.
  • Allow the cookies to cool for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
Sweet Treats

Recipe—Butter Pecan Thumbprint Cookies with a White Chocolate Carmel Center

We are on Day 2 of 5 of my Christmas Cookie Week! That’s right, this week I will be posting 5 of my favorite Christmas Cookie recipes!

Butter Pecan Thumbprint Cookies with a White Chocolate Carmel Center

This is probably my most requested holiday cookies and definitely one of my faves. If this cookie is in my house, I will eat it. All self control goes out the window. This is a little more advanced than some of my other cookie recipes just because of the number of steps, but they are so worth it! The primary cookie part is not overly sweet, it has a delicious buttery roasted pecan flavor and where the real sweetness comes in is that creamy white chocolate caramel center. These cookies are a total show stopper. They look so pretty and are perfect for the holiday season!

Note: For this recipe I recommend you put the white chocolate caramel sauce into the center of the cookies using a piping bag or Ziploc. I usually just use a quart size Ziploc and cut the corner of the bag off once I have the sauce in it. I find this to be easiest for me and then I can just toss the sticky bag when I am done. However, you can also use a spoon to fill the cookies with the sauce if that is easier for you. The sauce will be very hot on your hands when it comes off the stove which is why I let mine sit to cool for a few minutes before transferring it to the bag. The sauce will harden up as it cools.

INGREDIENTS
1 1/4 c butter, softened
1 1/2 c pecans, chopped
2/3 c powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 c flour
3/4 c caramel sauce (the kind you would put on ice cream sundaes)
1 1/2 c white chocolate chips

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Stir together the chopped pecans and 1/4 cup of the butter.
  • Spread the nut and butter mixture evenly on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Bake the pecans for 10–15 minutes making sure to stir them around half way through.
  • Remove the roasted pecans from the oven and allow them to cool.
  • While the pecans are cooling, using an electric mixer, beat together the remaining 1 cup of butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until nice and smooth.
  • Mix together the flour and roasted butter pecans.
  • Gradually add the flour and pecan mixture to the butter and sugar mixture until well combined.
  • Roll the dough into 1 1/2″ balls and place about 2” apart on parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Bake the cookies for 10 minutes and remove from oven.
  • Using your thumb, or something of a similar size (I use the end of a cocktail muddler but the back of a teaspoon would work too) make a deep indentation into the center of the cookie.
  • Place the cookies back into the oven to continue baking for another 6­–8 minutes.
  • Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and allow to cool.
  • In a small sauce pan, heat the caramel sauce over medium low heat.
  • Gradually add the white chocolate chips while stirring with a small whisk or fork allowing them to fully melt. Make sure you do not burn the sauce!
  • Once the chips are fully melted and your sauce is a nice smooth consistency, remove the pan from the heat.
  • Allow the sauce to cool for 5-8 minutes and transfer to a piping bag or Ziploc bag. (If using a Ziplock bag, you will want to cut a small tip off one corner.)
  • Pipe the white chocolate caramel sauce into the center of each cookie making sure not to overfill them.
  • Allow the cookies to rest for an hour so that the filling will fully set.
Dinners

Recipe—Herb Roasted Chicken

I would say 95% of the time when I am cooking chicken I am working solely with the breast. Boneless skinless breasts seem to be the quickest and easiest to work with, but you pay a little bit more for the convenience factor. However, there isn’t really anything special or fancy about a plain chicken breast. On occasion I really do enjoy cooking a whole chicken. It just seems much more impressive to roast the whole thing. While the ingredients are incredibly simple in this recipe, it is the most fabulous and flavorful chicken you will ever have. I’m not one to typically sit there and eat the skin off a chicken but when I am carving up this chicken I can’t stop eating it once I start. The skin has just the perfect amount of crispiness and more flavor than you can imagine. You are lucky if there is any skin left on your piece of chicken by the time it makes it to the table. It is that good! Once you make this recipe you will understand. I guarantee this will be the best roasted chicken you will ever have.

Note: The most complicated part of this recipe is brining the chicken, which really isn’t complicated at all, people just think it is. If you aren’t familiar with brining I will bring you up to speed. Brining a chicken is when you soak it in salt water for a good amount of time. Giving it this “salt bath” ensures your chicken will be moist and juicy and it also allows the salt to soak into the meat, which really enhances the chicken’s natural flavors. I personally feel it makes a huge difference in the taste. In my opinion, brining is the difference between a good chicken, and a great chicken.

INGREDIENTS
3–4 lb chicken
1/2 c kosher salt
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

STEPS

  • Remove the neck and giblets from the chicken and place it in a large pot.
  • Pour the kosher salt over the chicken and fill the pot with water until it is submerged.
  • Cover the pot with the lid and place in the fridge for 4–8 hours.
  • Remove the chicken from the pot, rinse with cold water, and pat dry.
  • Place the chicken on a rack in a shallow roasting pan breast side down. (If you do not have a rack just place it in a large baking dish.)
  • Preheat the oven to 375º.
  • Combine the melted butter and garlic in a small bowl.
  • Combine the basil, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper in a second small bowl.
  • Use a basting brush or your hands to lather the chicken in half of the garlic butter.
  • Sprinkle half of the herb mixture over the chicken.
  • Flip the chicken over so that it is now breast side up.
  • Repeat with remaining butter and herb mixture.
  • Roast the chicken uncovered for 1.5–1.75 hours or until cooked through. (I like to baste mine every 20–30 minutes.)
  • Allow the chicken to sit for 5–10 minutes and then transfer to a cutting board to be carved.
Dinners

Recipe—Buttery Lemon Dill Salmon

A couple times a year I like to complete an 11-day cleanse. It is just a way to flush out all these impurities and reset my digestive system. The weight loss is a huge perk too (Down 8 lbs! Wahoo!). For some reason during this last round I was craving salmon! And I mean REALLY craving it, like every day! I was daydreaming about a big slab of salmon covered in butter, lemon, and dill. I knew that would be one of the first dinners I would prepare for myself once I was done with the cleanse. This recipe did not disappoint. The fish was super moist and all the flavors and buttery goodness really seeped into the meat. I was shocked when even my 3-year old son devoured a huge chunk of the tasty fish. This recipe for oven baked salmon is ridiculously easy to make and super quick to get on the table. It also makes for a beautiful presentation. This may just be on the menu at my next dinner party.

INGREDIENTS
1 salmon filet (1 1/2–2 lbs)
2 tbsp butter, softened
1/4 c white wine
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp lemon pepper
1/2 tsp dried dill
lemon slices (optional)

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 425º.
  • Pat the salmon dry and place it in a greased baking dish.
  • Rub the butter all over the fish.
  • Combine the wine and lemon juice in a small bowl and stir.
  • Pour the liquid over the fish.
  • Sprinkle the salt, lemon pepper, and dill over the fish.
  • If you are using the lemon slices place over the top of the fish.
  • Bake the fish for 20–25 minutes or until the fish flakes off easily with a fork.