Holidays/Special Occasions

12 Days of Cookies Day 7: Lemon-Poppy Seed & Oat Linzers

Written on December 18, 2013 at 9:00 am , by

Today’s 7th day of cookies is brought to you by two fruity sandwich cookies that are pretty to look at, easy to assemble and are sure to be gobbled up super fast! What are you waiting for? Get sandwiching!

 

Lemon-Poppy Seed Sandwich Cookies

2 sticks butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 egg yolks

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. coarse salt

2 tsp. lemon zest

1 tbsp. poppy seeds

lemon curd

1. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium until pale and fluffy, 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. Beat in the yolks and vanilla until just combined.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and salt, then combine with the butter mixture on low speed until just incorporated. Mix in the lemon zest and poppy seeds.

3. Halve the dough, form into 1.5-inch-diameter long logs, tightly wrap in parchment paper and chill 2 hours.

4. Trim off the ends, then slice the logs into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Transfer cookies to cookie sheets.

5. Bake at 350 degrees until golden, 17 to 20 minutes. Cool cookies on racks.

6. Spread half of the cookies with 1 tsp. lemon curd each. Top with the remaining cookies

 

Oat Linzers

2 sticks butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 egg yolks

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 cup flour

1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, finely ground in a food processor

1/2 tsp. coarse salt

any flavor jam

1. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium until pale and fluffy, 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. Beat in the yolks and vanilla until just combined.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, oats and salt, then combine with the butter mixture on low speed until just incorporated.

3. Halve the dough, flatten into disks, wrap in plastic and chill 1 hour.

4. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out cookies with a 3-inch star cookie cutter. Transfer the cutouts to cookie sheets.

5. Using a 1-inch round cutter, cut holes in the centers of half the cookies. Chill 15 minutes

6. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Cool cookies on racks.

7. Spread each of the whole cookies with 1 tsp. jam. Dust the cutout cookies with confectioners’ sugar, the place on top of the jam-topped cookies.

Related Links

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Healthy Holiday Lunch with Top Chef Richard Blais

Written on December 17, 2013 at 12:00 pm , by

During the winter months, it can be hard to maintain a healthy diet while still indulging in all of our favorite holiday treats. Top Chef Richard Blais and Alli hosted a luncheon at the Andaz Hotel to show that eating well during the holidays is manageable, without sacrificing on flavor and your favorite holiday recipes. Chef Blais has recently lost over 60 pounds by maintaining an active lifestyle and balanced diet, and his demonstration proved that you don’t have to be a top chef to eat and cook healthfully.

Chef Blais shared some helpful tips on how to avoid gaining weight during the holidays as he prepared a healthy and fantastic lunch. He started with a raw beet salad with jicama, apple & mustard dressing, explaining that the term “salad” shouldn’t sound boring: it shouldn’t signify just leafy greens, but rather “any combination of fruits and vegetables, tossed in a flavorful vinaigrette.” Blais also shared a tip that’s all too familiar to Rachael Ray readers, that your vegetable stems are just as delicious to eat and fun to cook with as the vegetables themselves.

 

 

Next, Chef Blais moved on to a beautiful rack of lamb with date syrup and Swiss chard. He wanted to make something alternative to the traditional turkey, while staying true to holiday flavors. He explained how to add flavor without adding fat, by incorporating spices and herbs to make a dish more savory. He also shared how to liven up a dish with an element of citrus, but if you’re looking to get a citrus flavor without the acidity of an actual orange, lemon or lime, adding the zest will do the trick.

 

 

Finally, Chef Blais demonstrated how using a whipped cream canister can cut calories by adding volume to desserts, and thus helping with portion control. He made a whipped buttermilk and Greek yogurt parfait with lavender honey, clementines and puffed rice cereal, and shared how adding flavors we normally associate with sweet (such as vanilla, cinnamon and lavender) without adding an actual sweet element is a great way to add flavor without making a dish unhealthy, too.

 

It was a truly inspiring and delicious afternoon with Chef Richard Blais that left me feeling full and satisfied without that lingering holiday guilt. I hope to use some of his helpful tips in my own cooking all year round!

 

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12 Days of Cookies Day 6: Sesame Crescents

Written on December 17, 2013 at 9:00 am , by

We’re halfway through our #RRCookieCountdown! You’ve probably had or seen crescent cookies before, but the addition of toasted sesame seeds adds the perfect nutty accent and crunch. You’re guaranteed to win “Most Creative” at your holiday cookie swap!

 

 

Sesame Crescents

2 sticks butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 egg yolks

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups flour

1/2 tsp. coarse salt

1 cup toasted sesame seeds + more for rolling into dough

1. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium until pale and fluffy, 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. Beat in the yolks and vanilla until just combined.

2. In a medium bowl,  whisk the flour and salt, then combine with the butter mixture on low speed until just incorporated. Mix in sesame seeds on low.

3. Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill 1 hour.

4. Form 1 tbsp. dough into a 2-inch crescent shape. Rolls in toasted sesame seeds and transfer to a cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Chill 15 minutes.

5. Bake at 350 degrees until golden, about 20 minutes. Cool cookies on racks.

Related Links

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12 Days of Cookies Day 5: Orange-Cream

Written on December 16, 2013 at 11:09 am , by

With flu season coinciding with the holidays, it’s important to get your vitamin C fix. You may be thinking about chugging a glass of orange juice, but don’t orange-cream cookies just sound so much better? So here’s the plan: Whip up these tasty morsels, then scarf down the leftover orange you used for zest before you indulge your sweet tooth in these citrus sweets.

 

 

Orange-Cream Cookies

2 sticks butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 tsp. orange zest + more for garnish

seeds from 1 vanilla bean

2 egg yolks

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. coarse salt

1. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium until pale and fluffy, 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. Beat in the yolks and vanilla until just combined.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and salt, then combine with the butter mixture on low speed until just incorporated. Mix in the orange zest and vanilla bean.

3. Halve the dough, form into 1.5-inch-diameter long logs, tightly wrap in parchment paper and chill 2 hours.

4. Trim off the ends, then slice the logs into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Transfer cookies to cookie sheets.

5. Bake at 350 degrees until golden, 17 to 20 minutes. Cool cookies on racks, spread with Easy Icing and sprinkle with zest.

Related Links

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Rachael Ray Cookware Gift Guide Pick #2

Written on December 16, 2013 at 11:00 am , by

 

Gift Pick #2: Rachael Ray 3 Piece Lazy Tool Set in Orange

Rachael Ray’s tools are built to make your time in the kitchen just as fun as it is efficient. This bright orange set contains a slotted spoon, a lazy spoon and tongs, all built to last through the toughest of cooking challenges. As the tools can resist up to 500 degrees of heat, you can feel comfortable resting them on the edges of hot cookware, which is made even easier with their built in side notch. The nonstick material is dishwasher safe and makes for easy cleanup. So easy! Purchase a set of these spoons here.

Be sure to check out our entire 2013 gift guide here and pin your favorite ideas from our Pinterest board!

12 Days of Cookies Day 4: Mocha Nut Balls

Written on December 14, 2013 at 9:00 am , by

Day 4 of our #RRcookiecountdown brings a recipe that resembles snowballs, but tastes a heck of a lot better! These nutty, cocoa-y, crunchy balls of goodness are best served aside a warm mug of cocoa or coffee. Bonus: The powdered sugar coating will give you an excuse to lick your fingers!

Mocha Nut Balls

2 sticks butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 egg yolks

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups flour

2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp. instant espresso powder

1/2 tsp. coarse salt

1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans

1. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium until pale and fluffy, 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. Beat in the yolks and vanilla until just combined.

2. In a medium bowl,  whisk the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder and salt, then combine with the butter mixture on low speed until just incorporated. Mix in pecans on low speed.

3. Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill 1 hour.

4. Form 1 tbsp. dough into a ball; transfer to a cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Chill 15 minutes.

5. Bake at 350 degrees until cookies are firm, about 20 minutes.

6. When cool enough to handle, roll in confectioners’ sugar. Roll in sugar again just before serving.

Related Links

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12 Days of Cookies Day 3: Cornmeal Thumbprints

Written on December 13, 2013 at 9:00 am , by

Happy Friday! To start your weekend off right, we’re giving you our recipe for Cornmeal Thumbprint Cookies. Fill these cookies with your favorite fruit jam or preserves, or get creative and try fillings like Nutella, peanut butter or even marshmallow fluff. The snowy sky is the limit!

Cornmeal Thumbprints

2 sticks butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 egg yolks

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 cups flour

1/4 cup finely ground cornmeal

1/2 tsp. coarse salt

1. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium until pale and fluffy, 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. Beat in the yolks and vanilla until just combined.

2. In a medium bowl,  whisk the flour, cornmeal and salt, then combine with the butter mixture on low speed until just incorporated.

3. Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill 1 hour.

4. Roll 1 tbsp. dough into a ball; transfer to a cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Chill 15 minutes.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and use your thumb to create an imprint in the center of the cookies.

6. Return to the oven and bake until golden, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven; press each cookie again.

7. Cool cookies on racks, then fill with jam.

 

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12 Days of Cookies Day 2: Chai-Spiced & Spicy Peanut Brittle

Written on December 12, 2013 at 9:00 am , by

Day 2 of our #RRcookiecountdown is all about sugar and spice! And it’s oh so simple. Both of these cookies are easily rolled into logs and sliced into cookie discs. Try one (or both) of these sweets when the weather outside is frightful.

 

 

Chai-Spiced Cookies

2 sticks butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 egg yolks

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. coarse salt

1 tsp. ground cardamom

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium until pale and fluffy, 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. Beat in the yolks and vanilla until just combined.

2. In a medium bowl,  whisk the flour, salt, cardamom and ginger, then combine with the butter mixture on low speed until just incorporated.

3. Halve the dough, form into 1.5-inch-diameter long logs, tightly wrap in parchment paper and chill 2 hours.

4. Trim off the ends, then slice the logs into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Transfer cookies to cookie sheets and sprinkle with gold sanding sugar.

5. Bake at 350 degrees until golden, 17 to 20 minutes. Cool cookies on racks.

 

 

Spicy Peanut Brittle Cookies

2 sticks butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 egg yolks

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. coarse salt

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

3/4 cup chopped peanut brittle

1. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium until pale and fluffy, 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. Beat in the yolks and vanilla until just combined.

2. In a medium bowl,  whisk the flour, salt and cayenne, then combine with the butter mixture on low speed until just incorporated. Fold in chopped peanut brittle.

3. Halve the dough, form into 1.5-inch-diameter long logs, tightly wrap in parchment paper and chill 2 hours.

4. Trim off the ends and roll logs in turbinado sugar. Slice the logs into 1/4-inch-thick rounds and transfer cookies to cookie sheets.

5. Bake at 350 degrees until golden, 17 to 20 minutes. Cool cookies on racks.

Related Links

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Rachael Ray’s Cookware Gift Guide

Written on December 10, 2013 at 12:00 pm , by

As you’re checking off your gift list, make sure you’ve covered everyone on your list: Including the foodie! When it comes to home cooking, you can never have too many pots, pans, utensils and cooking accessories. So this year, pick up a few of Rachael Ray’s best-selling kitchen tools, and give your friends a reason to make YOU a home-cooked meal!

 

Gift Pick #1: Rachael Ray 14 Piece Cookware Set

This gift is ideal for someone who’s just moved into a new home or needs to restock their kitchen. It includes all of the pans needed to equip your kitchen with the most-used cooking pieces, like sauce pans, stock pots and skillets. With deep sides, you’ll make the most of each pot and will have plenty of room for one-dish meals. The pots are hard-andonized, which means they’re exceptionally durable, heat quickly and evenly and reduce “hot spots” that can burn foods. They’re also dishwasher and oven safe with nonstick interiors and rubberized handles that can withstand temperatures up to 350 degrees. These pots are everything a home cook could need, and more. You may want to pick up an extra set for yourself! Purchase the set here.

 

Be sure to check out our entire 2013 gift guide here and pin your favorite ideas from our Pinterest board!

12 Days of Cookies Day 1: Buttery Holiday Cookies

Written on December 9, 2013 at 11:24 am , by

Christmas time is upon us, and what better way to count down the days than with cookies? Over the next three weeks, we’ll be sharing 16 different cookie recipes. The best part? They all start with the same base dough, so you can mix and match flavors as you please! Holiday baking just got a whole lot easier.

 

 

For our inaugural #RRcookiecountdown post, we’re sharing the recipe for our Buttery Holiday Cookie dough that’ll be the base for the rest of your doughs. But don’t worry–if you want to stop here, the dough is just as delicious by itself or covered in frosting!

 

Buttery Holiday Cookies

2 sticks butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 egg yolks

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. coarse salt

1. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium until pale and fluffy, 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. Beat in the yolks and vanilla until just combined.

2. In a medium bowl,  whisk the flour and salt, then combine with the butter mixture on low speed until just incorporated.

3. Halve the dough, flatten into disks, wrap in plastic and chill 1 hour.

4. Working with 1 disk at a time, roll dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out cookies, transfer to cookie sheets and chill 15 minutes.

5. Bake at 350 degrees until golden, 17 to 20 minutes. Cool cookies on racks. Decorate with Easy Icing and sprinkles.

Easy Icing

In a medium bowl, stir 2 cups confectioners’ sugar with 3 tbsp. whole milk and 3 tbsp. melted butter. Thin with a few drops of water to desired consistency.

 

Be sure to check out our Holiday Cookies Pinterest Board for enough recipes to last throughout the new year! We’ll be pinning and instagramming all season long.

Related Links

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