Merry Christmas everyone.
You may be watching the parades or working in the kitchen or opening presents or all of the above on this Christmas morning.
I hear ya!
There is flour on my cheek and in my red hair folks.
And powdered sugar all over my black granite countertops!
My hands smell like oranges and I have sugar glitter now adorning my blue chambray big shirt and one particular piece of glitter unintentionally above my left eye that I cannot for the life of me remove. Have you ever had that happen? It sticks like glue!
I’d like to tell you that I have been slaving in the kitchen all morning long.
But that would not be true.
I have been cooking and baking, that is true…but slaving?
I am keeping it simple…and other than cleaning up as I go, things are good.
Here is my story for these pretty Christmas mini strawberry cheesecakes!
I bought a box of cheesecake mix, followed the directions and then plopped it into muffin tins and chilled in the fridge.
Then I opened a jar of pre-bought strawberry glaze and carefully coated the top of the little cheesecakes, added a washed whole strawberry dipped in the glaze and popped them back into the fridge.
How simple is that?
And sooooo so pretty!
I saw something similar in my supermarket and I thought…I can do that!
And I did it much cheaper too!
Today for our late afternoon/early evening dinner, I am making a Dickens Dinner…or at least close to it. I decided a goose or duck would be a bit greasy so I settled on game hens. I also received a few tips from my dear friend across the Pond.
I will post my recipes later.
But if you are looking for something to make that is fun for all and fairly easy to make, Just keep reading.
Now, the following recipes do take a little more effort but not much.
The first recipe is from my favorite sister-in-law, who lives in New Mexico and it is Orange Bizcochitos.
The second recipe is Gingerbread bars…..so yummy and easier than gingerbread cookies.
The third recipe is Mini Mincemeat pies which are on my menu today.
The fourth recipe is a quickie recipe for 12 sugar cookies…the perfect amount for my hips this time of year. 🙂
Enjoy! Relax! And enjoy your family and friends.
AND don’t forget the reason for the season!
The birth of Jesus, our Lord and Savior!
Have a great and blessed day.
- 1 cup lard
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 Tablespoons Orange liquor (or 1 tablespoon orange flavoring)
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
- zest of 1 large orange (do not grate any of the white pith, it is very bitter)
- 2 Teaspoons Anise Seed
- 3 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- And my sister-in-law adds 1 large pinch of LOVE
- In large mixing bowl combine and cream the lard and the sugar until smooth using an electric mixer
- Add the egg, orange liquor or flavoring, vanilla, orange zest and Anise and Mix well, set aside
- For the dry ingredients, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder and then add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. If the dough appears too dry, add 1 tablespoon or orange juice or brandy.
- Form the dough into two round discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for at least 1 hour.
- Roll out each disc to approximately 1/4 inch thick and cut with your desired cookie cutter.
- Place cookies on cookie sheet and add cinnamon/sugar (or just plain sugar to a small, very fine strainer) and sprinkle a little over each cookie.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes in preheated oven at 350 degrees.
- Allow cookies to rest on cookie sheet for 2 minutes after removing from the oven and then place on a wire rack to cool.
- Can I tell you that my sister-in-law is an excellent cook and baker of all kinds of wonderful Mexican foods and these cookies from New Mexico are no exception...they are simply delish!
- 2 cups + 2 Tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
- 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 13 by 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray, set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda and salt and set aside.
- Using your electric (stand mixer works well here), fit it with the paddle attachment and blend the butter, brown sugar and molasses until combined. Add in egg and the vanilla. With mixer set on low speed slowly add in flour mixture and mix until combined.
- Pour dough into prepared baking dish and spread and press into an even layer...you might need your hands.
- Bake in preheated oven until bars have baked through, about 14 - 17 minutes (do not over-bake). Remove pan from oven to a wire rack, allowing the bars to cool.
- Cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add in powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until light and fluffy. To get the desired consistency, add more powdered sugar if needed or if too thick, add a little bit of milk.
- Spread frosting over cooled bars and cut into squares and serve.
- I like to store my bars in the fridge to keep the cream cheese frosting nice and firm if they last that long.
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 10 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 3 1/4 teaspoons grated orange peel (I use zest)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons (or more) orange juice
- 3/4 cup purchased mincemeat from jar
- 3 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 egg, beaten to blend (for glaze)
- *Mix flour, 6 tablespoons powdered sugar, 2 1/2 teaspoons orange peel and salt in processor. Add butter; process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk egg yolk and 2 tablespoons orange juice in small bowl. Add to processor; blend until moist clumps form, adding more juice by teaspoonfuls if dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Chill 30 minutes.
- Butter eighteen 1 3/4-inch-diameter mini muffin cups. Mix mincemeat, crystallized ginger, cinnamon, remaining 4 tablespoons powdered sugar and 3/4 teaspoon orange peel in small bowl. Roll out dough on floured surface to 17-inch round. Using 2 1/2-inch-diameter cookie cutter, cut out 18 dough rounds. Press 1 round into bottom and up sides of each muffin cup. Using 1 3/4- to 2-inch-diameter cookie cutter, cut out 18 more dough rounds (re-roll dough if necessary). Fill crust in each muffin cup with 1 heaping teaspoon filling. Brush edges of smaller dough rounds with some of egg glaze. Place 1 round atop filling in each muffin cup, glazed side down, pressing dough edges to seal. Cut small X in center of each pie.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush pies with remaining egg glaze. Bake until crusts are golden, about 20 minutes. Using small knife, cut around pies to loosen; turn out onto rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover pies and remaining glaze separately and chill before baking.
- *You can use a pie dough crust if you don't want to prepare the dough recipe above...or you can use your own pie dough recipe but add a bit of sugar to the dough for original mincemeat pies.
- 2/3 cup flour
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 3/8 cup (6 tablespoons) butter flavored shortening
- 3/8 cup (6 tablespoons) sugar
- 1/4 of one egg (about a tablespoon)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons milk
- Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda in a bowl and set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar together. Add egg, vanilla and milk and mix well and add dry ingredients, and stir with a spoon until almost combined.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and press together into a ball.
- *Roll out with a rolling pin, cut out shapes and transfer to a baking sheet.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom.
- Decorate or frost if desired
- *Re-roll scraps, cut out more cookies and place on the baking sheet, until all the dough is used.