Friday, January 9, 2009

Christmas Meringues

Or in this case, POST Christmas Meringues.
YES...all these delectable, very HOLIDAY-ISH recipes are coming AFTER the holidays. I'm really organized and efficient that way.
But on the bright side~ here is a good way to use up all those extra candycanes that came off your tree and are cluttering every jar on every table in every room of your home.
These cookies are so delicious and SO light...and so guilt-free. Just my kind of cookie.
Not to mention, they have the added benefit of requiring FEW ingredients and ones that are almost always on hand. I love recipes that have all those things combined. They make me feel happy, whole, and comfortable.

2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
2 peppermint candy canes, crushed
In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy.
Sprinkle with salt and cream of tartar; beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form, about 7 minutes.
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased foil or paper-lined baking sheets; sprinkle with the crushed candy.
Bake at 225 degrees F for 1-1/2 hours. Turn off heat; leave cookies in the oven with the door ajar for at least 1 hour or until cool.
Store in an airtight container.
I usually make two batches at a time. Then, eat them all up in a day. (I'm kidding about that last part. Sortof.)
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Homemade Peppermint Schnapps

Who knew you could make your own booze?!? Well, I did.

Matt is the hard cider connoisseur and master beer brewer, and I've even tried my hand at wine making (though with not the greatest results~but, the wine was made from WEEDS for goodness' sake!) but never have I gone so elegant as to make schnapps.

(My goodness, after I post this everyone is going to think me a lush...)

This Christmas I handed out bottles of this homemade peppermint schnapps to a lucky few. At least, they will think themselves lucky only if they do not find this recipe...

the amount of corn syrup is positively sinful.

This is an easy recipe, but everyone will think you incredibly smart and talented...I am REALLY good at foolin' people.

2/3 cup sugar
4 cups corn syrup
4 cups vodka
4 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
~Combine sugar and corn syrup in saucepan over medium heat.
~Heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves.
~Remove from heat, add vodka, and stir well.
~Allow to cool in pan, covered.
~Add peppermint extract to mixture and pour into a sealable bottle.
If making for a gift, make a pretty label, wrap some peppermint ribbon or tie on a few peppermint sticks to make it really festive.
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Some Sweets: Two in One

Most years for Christmas, I enjoy making mounds upon mounds of various Christmas candies and cookies. I deliver them to neighbors, the mailman, family and of course, Matt's work. This year I took it easy and made less than a HANDFUL of goodies-but enough of each to still share the love.

Oreo Truffles~ the recipe everyone already has...

1 (16 ounce) package OREO Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, divided
1 (8 ounce) package PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
2 (8 ounce) packages Semi-Sweet chocolate chips, melted
2 T. white chocolate chips
Promptly eat several oreos. Hand over oreos to begging children also, lest you be unfair. THEN~
Crush remaining 36 cookies to fine crumbs; place in medium bowl. Add cream cheese; mix until well blended. Roll cookie mixture into 42 balls, about 1-inch in diameter.
Dip balls in chocolate; place on wax paper-covered baking sheet. (Any leftover chocolate can be stored at room temperature for another use. PS. Anytime I have leftover dipping chocolate, I find something to dip or drizzle. This time was raisins...and oh la la---I liked them almost as much as the oreos. Almost.)
Put the white chocolate chips in a sandwich baggy and pound away your frustrations. OR let little fingers pound until crushed with rolling pin or itsy kitchen drawer hammer. Both are great for pounding.
Sprinkle white chocolate crumbs on top of dark chocolate truffles~BEFORE they cool.
Ta-Da! Who knew four ingredients could be so elegant?!?
Now-for a recipe NOBODY has...
Peanut Butter Fudge.
When I got this fudge recipe years ago, I decided right then and there I would be devoted to it for the rest of my life. I no longer try other peanut butter fudge recipes. These are just too good. And for the record: Matt thinks so too.
Put 2 c. sugar and 2/3 c. milk into saucepan and boil to softball stage (or 235 degrees)
Remove from heat.
Add 1 c. EACH marshmellow fluff and peanut butter and then 1 t. vanilla. Stir well and pour into a greased 8x8 pan.
Cool. Slice. and E.N.J.O.Y.
PS. For my brittle recipe, go HERE.
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Simplest Crock Stew....ever

This here is one of those recipes I never EVER would have tried if I glanced at the recipe card instead of tasting it firsthand.

My mother-in-law made it and it was so delicious I asked for the recipe...then she gave it to me and I about had a heart attack.

SURELY, it COULDN'T be that simple. SURELY-a recipe like that couldn't produce the wonderfully melded stew I was consuming at present. But it could! And DOES!

2-3 large sized potatoes, sliced
2-3 medium carrots, sliced
1 can of peas, drained (or frozen-like I use)
3 medium onions, sliced
1 1/2 pounds ground beef, browned
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 10 ounce can tomato soup
1 10 ounce can water

Brown the beef while you are slicing the veggies. Then layer first six ingredients in order listed into your handy dandy crockpot.

Mix a can of tomato soup and a can of water and POUR over everything. Season with salt and pepper if you like.

THEN~ the hard part. Turn the crockpot on low and leave it alone. For 6-8 hours. (Or turn it on HIGH for 2-4)

What a simple meal! And very delicious. But don't take MY word for it...
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