Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mini Cinnamon Rolls

I noticed a very different feeling this year on Christmas morning. First of all, Kay slept in. Then when she did get up, we sat around for a little bit, made cinnamon rolls and then she opened her gifts in a very relaxed manner. That was when I realized the excitement-filled Christmas mornings were over. Then I thought of my parents and realized that even after Kay has kids, we probably won't be any closer to the excitement than they are. It was a little depressing but then Kay opened her MP3 player and got just as excited as she was with her puppet theater at 4 years old!

Also, we haven't reached the point yet where she insists on taking a shower and doing her hair and make-up before opening gifts (a phase that I remember going through)!

These cinnamon rolls are very easy. Bill and I used to have them way too often when we were first married. For some reason I quit making them and just thought of them again about a month ago. Kay really liked them (who wouldn't) so we decided to make them for Christmas breakfast.

This is an old Pampered Chef recipe. We use the same frosting (I mean vanilla syrup) as we used for the chocolate waffles but make it a little thicker.

Mini Cinnamon Rolls

2 tubes of refrigerated crescent rolls
1/2 cup margarine
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Separate the dough into 8 rectangle pieces and roll the seams together. Mix the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon together and spread the mixture on the dough. Roll each rectangle of dough going the long way. Cut each roll into 8 pieces and place into a deep dish baking pan so that the swirl design is facing up. Place the pieces close together. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Top with frosting of your choice.

Kay: These remind me of Cinnabons but you can make these at home and you don't have to eat a big roll. Mine looked like a Christmas tree when I put it on my plate.

Mom (Dana): It doesn't get any easier than this. Bill and I used to eat the whole pan ourselves so we were a little bothered to now have to share with Kay!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Chocolate Truffles

We were able to enjoy our holiday get-togethers with family in spite of the weather's attempts to ruin it! We've had terribly cold temperatures, severe wind storms, and inches of ice covering everything. Our neighbors across the street lost power last weekend and again yesterday (they still don't have power) but we have been lucky to keep ours. On Christmas Eve, my family walked on about 2 inches of solid ice to get to our door.

Yesterday, the temperatures rose into the 60's which melted all the ice but the warm weather came with terrible winds. Today it is back to being cold again but at least the roads are clear.

We celebrate Christmas Eve with my family and always have various dips and salads instead of a formal sit-down meal.

Kay and I went through all our recipes for the day but decided that our favorite was the chocolate truffles so that is the one we are sharing! The picture at the beginning of this post shows two kinds of truffles. The chocolate covered ones had a clementine filling and were also good but Kay prefers the others, so that is the one we are posting.

Chocolate Truffles

200 grams dark chocolate (we used half 70% and half 85%)
100 grams coconut milk
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
toppings of choice such as cocoa powder, ground nuts, coconut, crushed graham crackers, sprinkles, etc.

Chop the chocolate. Heat the coconut milk until just beginning to bubble. Pour the coconut milk over the chocolate and stir until chocolate is melted. Stir in the vanilla.

Allow to cool several hours in the refrigerator.

Roll the chocolate into balls and then in the topping of your choice.

Kay: These are so good. I really liked the sprinkle ones we made. I couldn't even tell there was coconut milk in them. I didn't like the clementine truffles.

Mom (Dana): Instead of the vanilla extract, you could change the flavor by adding any other extract that appeals to you. I think mint would be really good although I haven't tried it.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Chex Mix

We made chex mix last night for Kay to take to school today for their holiday party. But we woke up to everything covered in ice like this:

School was cancelled, we started vacation a day early, and we now have enough snacks to last us at least a week! We took advantage of this extra day and started to bring up some of our holiday decorations. Luckily we still have power. The neighbors across the street aren't as lucky and we are still nervous because our power lines look like this:
So if you are having weather like us, kick back and eat snacks! What else can you do?

Chex Mix

2 cups rice chex-like cereal
2 cups corn chex-like cereal
1 cup small pretzels
3 tablespoons canola oil
6 tablespoons honey or agave nectar (we used a combination of both)

In a small bowl, mix together the oil and honey until mixed.

In a large, microwave-safe bowl, combine the cereal and pretzels. Pour the honey mixture over the cereal and stir to coat.

Place the bowl in the microwave for 3 minutes, stirring every 1 minute and then one additional minute stirring every 30 seconds. (Watch closely so it doesn't burn.)

Pour the mixture onto wax paper to cool.

Kay: This is really good. Right now I'm chasing my dog around the house so I think it makes me hyper!

Mom (Dana): I always mean to make this more often and keep small bags of it around for snacks. We would have loved to have told you what Kay's friends thought of it but oh well!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ginger Cookies

At 3:30 on Saturday, I was fine. At 3:31 I came down with a horrendous cold. It really did happen that fast. Bill and Kay have been battling colds since September but I've somehow managed to avoid catching them - until now. I knew it was too good to last!

Kay is at school right now but I really wanted to record what she did last night. As I was dieing on the couch, she asked me if ginger was good for colds. I think I said yes.

An hour later, she had made these cookies AND cleaned up the kitchen! These cookies are the delicious result of teaching her to follow a recipe!!!

She used the recipe in Vegan with a Vengeance (have I mentioned how fantastic every single dessert is in this book?) but she rolled them in cinnamon sugar instead of demerrara sugar. I can tell they are very good even with my cold-ravaged taste buds.

Ginger Cookies

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 cup canola oil

1/4 cup molasses

1/4 cup soy milk

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

cinnamon sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and spices. In a separate large bowl, mix together the oil, molasses, soy milk, sugar and vanilla. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and combine well. Roll into 1 inch balls, flatten into a 1 1/2 inch diameter disk, press the cookie tops into the cinnamon sugar and place 1 inch apart, sugar side up, on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake 10 -12 minutes. Let cool slightly and transfer to a cooling rack.

The recipe says it makes 24 cookies but Kay got 55 out of this recipe.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Brazilian Coffee Cookies

I made these cookies for the first time several years ago. Kay was playing in the snow with the little boy next door (he isn't little anymore!) and I took a plate of cookies out for them. Kay came in a few minutes later and said "Johnny really loves those cookies!" I always think about him when I make these. For some reason, these have become one of our traditional Christmas cookies.

The recipe comes out of this book (copyright 1963):

After years of hinting, I finally got this book from my mom including all the cut out dessert recipes she had stuck between the pages. It was my favorite book growing up mainly because it has pictures of the various cookies along the bottom of the pages like this:

I remember searching through it and deciding on the most fantastic cookie only to have my mom say "those look too hard, find something else"! At the time I thought she was so unfair but when I got the book I found myself saying the same thing to Kay.

This is a nice easy cookie though. Any instant coffee works well in this. Those coffees in the little cans called International Coffee or something like that work really well because you can get different flavors. Sometimes I add mini chocolate chips to make them extra special. I was just thinking tonight that chopped up chocolate covered coffee beans would probably be unbelievable!

I had to take this picture for Ms. Mac. Look at my poor daughter ruining her health with one of these coffee cookies! Kay loves the taste of coffee but it makes her bounce off the walls so her intake is severally restricted!

Brazilian Coffee Cookies

1/3 cup shortening

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1/12 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon milk

2 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons powdered instant coffee

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix shortening, sugars, egg, vanilla, and milk until fluffy. Stir dry ingredients together. Add to sugar mixture and mix thoroughly. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Flatten to 1/8 inch thickness with greased bottom of a glass dipped in sugar. Bake for 8 minutes.

Kay: I love these. I really like the coffee from Gloria Jean's. I go crazy even when my grandma gets me the low caffeine.

Mom (Dana): These would also make really good sandwich cookies with chocolate in between. (I must really have a sweet tooth going tonight!).