Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from At Home In Alaska!!
I wish all my readers and blogging friends a safe and very happy holiday season!!

~Enjoy~
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Molasses Spice Cookies

Molasses Spice Cookies

Molasses Spice Cookies

The weather forecast is calling for 7 to 10 inches of snow to fall in our area this weekend, and since it appears that approximately 5 inches has already fallen, it seems like the perfect time to just stay indoors and do some Christmas cookie baking.

This weekend I’m going to be whipping up a big batch of these delicious Molasses Spice Cookies, for my office’s annual Christmas cookie exchange that we will be holding on Monday. Molasses Spice cookies are one of my all-time favorite holiday cookies; with their soft and chewy texture, and sweet yet spicy flavor. My favorite way to enjoy them is alongside a big scoop of Spumoni ice cream, but either way, with or without the ice cream, these cookies are truly delicious and are a classic Christmas cookie in my book.

I originally posted this recipe on my blog back in 2009, but I think this is one of those recipes that is definitely worth repeating.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

~Enjoy~
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Molasses Spice Cookies (from “Favorite Brand Name Recipes: 100 Best Holiday Cookies” cookbook)

1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 cup granulated brown sugar* or granulated sugar
*Granulated brown sugar is brown sugar that has been processed to have a light, dry texture that is similar to regular granulated sugar. It can be found in the baking aisles of most supermarkets.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease cookie sheets.

Beat granulated sugar and shortening about 5 minutes in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add molasses and egg; beat until fluffy.

Combine flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt and mustard in medium bowl. Add to shortening mixture; beat just until blended.

Place granulated brown sugar in shallow dish. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in sugar to coat. Place 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets.

Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cookies stand on cookie sheets 2 minutes. Remove cookies to wire racks; cool completely.

Makes about 6 dozen cookies

Note: It has been suggested that, since oven temperatures can fluctuate, these cookies may turn out better for some of you if the oven temperature is turned down to 350 degrees, and the cookies are baked for approximately 12 minutes. Otherwise, the cookies may become too dark.

Whipped Shortbread Cookies

Whipped Shortbread Cookies

Whipped Shortbread Cookies

It’s Christmas cookie baking time again, and this season I’m kicking off my holiday baking with these cute little Whipped Shortbread Cookies. These crisp, light, melt-in-your-mouth little cookies are a cinch to make, and they only require four ingredients, plus decorations; if desired. They freeze well too, so you can enjoy some now, and save the rest for your holiday cookie platter.

One of the things I love about holiday baking, or any baking for that matter, is how warm and cozy it makes my kitchen feel. This time of year, when the weather is especially chilly, the extra warmth from the oven makes a wonderful, additional heating source.

I hear from various news reports, that many of my readers in the lower 48 states could really use some extra warmth. Many areas are currently in the grips of major ice storms, and are experiencing very chilly temperatures. Some places even have temperature readings well below zero degrees. We are sitting at a balmy 34 degrees right now, but we had ice storms blow through here twice in the past couple of weeks that closed schools and played havoc with driving conditions, so I can truly sympathize with what those states are currently going through.

Here’s hoping that the weather improves for those areas soon. Have a wonderful day everyone!

~Enjoy~
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Whipped Shortbread Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
decorative sprinkles

Directions:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream butter and powdered sugar together until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour and cornstarch, beating until well blended.

Dust hands lightly with additional cornstarch, and roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place dough balls 1-inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Press down lightly with a floured fork. Top with sprinkles.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes on cookie sheets, then remove cookies from pan and place on wire racks to cool completely.

Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies.

Happy Holidays!!

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Happy Holidays from my family to yours!!

~Enjoy~
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Festive One Bowl Brownies

Festive One Bowl Brownies

Festive One Bowl Brownies

We’re getting down to the wire… Christmas is only two days away!!! I hope everyone is almost finished with their Christmas shopping, gift wrapping, and holiday baking. I still have some sugar cookies that I need to frost today, but after that, I’m declaring my holiday baking DONE!

If you’re looking for one more treat to add to your Christmas cookie/dessert platter, you may want to consider whipping up a batch of these Festive One Bowl Brownies. These moist, fudgy brownies are very quick and easy to make. So much so that, since I had a little time to kill while my sugar cookie dough chilled in the refrigerator, I decided to do some multitasking and make a batch to add to my holiday platter. I was able to prepare the brownie batter and bake the whole batch while my sugar cookie dough was still chilling out in the refrigerator. In fact, the brownies were finished before the sugar cookie dough was even ready to roll out.

The brownies turned out perfect, and I just love how the colored morsels sprinkled on top adds a splash of holiday cheer to them. These brownies will certainly brighten up my holiday platter.

Well, I think it’s probably time for me to head back to the kitchen. I don’t think there is any chance that those sugar cookies will frost themselves, so I guess I’d better get to it. :)

~Enjoy~
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Festive One Bowl Brownies

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 (10-ounce) package Nestle Toll House Holiday Morsels

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, butter, vanilla and eggs. Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt all at once and stir until just combined. Fold in half of the Nestle Toll House Holiday Morsels. Pour batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the brownies cool for a couple of minutes, then sprinkle the remaining morsels over the top. (you want the morsels to melt slightly, but not completely)

Lift the brownies out of the pan with the foil and cool completely on a rack.

Cut into squares and serve.

Classic Creamy Fudge

Classic Creamy Fudge

Classic Creamy Fudge

I was having a conversation with some friends recently, and the topic turned to baking. We started talking about what goodies we were going to make, or had already made for Christmas, and I mentioned that I was going to be making a batch of fudge soon. My friends looked at me with wide eyes and began remarking on how hard it is to make fudge, and how time consuming it is. It took me quite a while to reassure them that making fudge was not as laborious a task as they thought it was.

Take this Classic Creamy Fudge recipe for example. From start to finish, it took me about 15 minutes to whip up this rich and creamy confection. (not including refrigeration time) Very few pots and pans were used, a candy thermometer was not needed, and cleanup was a breeze.

Exactly the type of recipe we could all use about now, considering Christmas is less than a week away. :)

~Enjoy~
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Classic Creamy Fudge

2/3 cup non-fat dry milk powder
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with foil. Butter the sides and bottom of foil.

Mix the dry milk powder and water together in a small bowl. Transfer the milk mixture to a medium saucepan. Add the sugar, butter, and salt to the saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Turn heat to low, and stir in the marshmallows, chocolate chips and vanilla extract. Stir vigorously for 1 or 2 minutes, or until the marshmallows are melted.

Remove from heat and pour into prepared baking pan; refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm.

Lift from pan and remove foil. Cut into pieces.

Store in refrigerator.

Spiced Spritz Cookies

Spiced Spritz Cookies

Spiced Spritz Cookies

I have got a busy cookie baking weekend ahead of me, and I’m starting it all off with these Spiced Spritz Cookies – Christmas Cookie #3. Now I ask that you please try not to laugh too hard at my spritz cookies; I’m not very skilled with a cookie press. Just kidding. Feel free to go ahead and laugh… I did. :)

I love spritz cookies, but I sometimes find that they can be a little lacking in flavor. This recipe includes ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves, which adds tons of flavor to the cookies.

Later on today, I’ll be baking up a big batch of Eggnog Snickerdoodles (Christmas Cookie #4) for the annual office cookie exchange on Monday. Of course, I’ll have to be sure to make extra to add to my own Christmas cookie platter, or my family will never let me hear the end of it. (They are one of my family’s favorite holiday cookies)

If you’d like to view the recipe for the Eggnog Snickerdoodles, you can find it here.

Well, I think it’s about time for me to head on back into the kitchen.

Tis the season to be busy, fa la la la la, la la la la.

~Enjoy~
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Spiced Spritz Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

With an electric mixer, beat butter, egg, powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour, mixing until blended.

If desired, divide dough into sections and color each section with food coloring. (one section could be green, one red, etc…)

Push dough through cookie press onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, or until cookies are set.

Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Makes approximately 48 cookies.

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