2011 Recap and a Happy New Year!

      My Dear Blog Friends,

The year nears it’s end and it is common for the food bloggers to make a top list of their favorite post of the year.

Crunchy Creamy Sweet’s first post was up in August – which is pretty late in a year, too late in my opinion to make a list of my top recipes. Don’t get me wrong, I could go on and on about my favorite cookies, this amazing jam, or this divine sauce. icon smile 2011 Recap and a Happy New Year!

I decided to focus on what new this year brought me. It’s a lot of it and it’s amazing!

In June of this year, we welcomed our Baby Boy into the Family. He is so precious! Loves to giggle watching his Big Sisters making silly faces. icon smile 2011 Recap and a Happy New Year! It finally allowed my Amazing Hubby to get some boy’s stuff ( think cars and bikes icon smile 2011 Recap and a Happy New Year! ) and me to add blue to our favorite colors!

We celebrated our oldest Daughter’s birthday with a big bash this year. A lot of the treats I made for the party ended up being my first posts on this blog. I still kick myself for not taking the picture of the cake, which was Rapunzel’s tower from “Tangled” and it looked amazing!

I started Crunchy Creamy Sweet shortly after and what a great experience that’s been! I am very grateful for all of you who read it. You might think that triple digit number would be something to brag about, but for me every Follower / Fan is special and I thank you today for clicking the “Like” or “Follow” buttons. I notice each and every one of you. I try to respond to every comment you post. You encourage me to bake more and share it here, in my little sweet piece of the blogosphere.

Thank you: Serena ( my very first follower! ), desperatehousewifeinholland, Fran, Warren, Jennifer, Delightful Sweet Treats, Tina, Divine Dinner Party, Ramona, Christine, Chef Dennis, Kelly, Erin, Une Recette Une Minutte, S.V., Jay, Angie, Suzi, Teena Mary, Kim Bee, Renkli, Maggie and Lizzy!

Thank you Kim and Ann for keep coming back and leaving comments! Hugs!

Thank you to all the readers via e-mail!

And those who just happen to stumble upon my blog!

I hope you will have a wonderful time tomorrow, wherever you are, clinking the glasses toasting the New Year. May the New Year bring happiness and joy to your life! And lots and lots of sweetness! ( I will try to take care of that anyways icon smile 2011 Recap and a Happy New Year! ).

Happy New Year!

C2D708DA70A2E148FFF417590A8C35AE 2011 Recap and a Happy New Year!

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Dec new+087a Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

After all those fancy, decorated cookies, I decided to make a shaggy, rustic looking, easy cookie you can enjoy this season.

Winter is not exactly here yet. The temperature was in the 60s for the last couple of days, no snow in forecast for another week or so.

But when the white fluff will come – I will be ready. With those cookies on a platter. icon smile Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

This is an easy cookie ( 4 ingredients and 15 minutes tops to prepare ) for peanut butter lovers and gluten-free bakers.

You can definitely relax while making this one. No perfection needed.

Oh, and did I say they are gluten-free?

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
original recipe from Joy the Baker

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line your baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine peanut butter and sugar. Add egg and soda. Mix until everything is combined. Scoop the dough with a teaspoon and roll into balls. Place them all on your prepared cookie sheet. Flatten the balls with a fork.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool in a sheet for a minute or two before placing them on a cooling rack.
Easy – peasy!

Dec new+090a Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

This cookie will satisfy your peanut butter craving.

For chunky version, use the chunky peanut butter or add some chopped peanuts.

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Enjoy!

C2D708DA70A2E148FFF417590A8C35AE Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Decorated Sugar Cookies

Dec new+211a Decorated Sugar Cookies
It’s a Christmas Tree cookie!

       I have mentioned in an earlier post, that this year my Daughters, Audrey and Vivienne, are decorating cookies for the first time. I want to share their creations. I am totally in love with those cookies and proud of my Girls! icon smile Decorated Sugar Cookies

Dec new+212a Decorated Sugar Cookies

             I showed them the technique on one cookie and they made a batch of beautifully marbled sugar cookies!

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Vivi marbling the icing. icon smile Decorated Sugar Cookies

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Audrey, creating the most beautiful cookies ever!

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       Please, do not mind the plates – they are their favorites! icon smile Decorated Sugar Cookies

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         I used Bridgett’s from Bake at 350 recipe for sugar cookie and a orange chocolate snap recipe from Weelicious.

Dec new+266 Decorated Sugar Cookies

     I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas! I will be back next week to start of a special series of recipes icon smile Decorated Sugar Cookies And they will be Crunchy, Creamy and Sweet!

xoxo,

C2D708DA70A2E148FFF417590A8C35AE Decorated Sugar Cookies

Nutmeg Scones with Cranberry Orange Butter

Dec new+184a Nutmeg Scones with Cranberry Orange Butter

You know by now I love cranberries. ( Hence the jam and pop tarts. ) When I saw the recipe for a cranberry butter – I might have done my happy dance. icon smile Nutmeg Scones with Cranberry Orange Butter And that’s how a homemade butter lead me to bake something I have never baked before. ( Is it weird? ).

I got to think, what would go well with the butter? It would have to be freshly baked so the butter can melt on top. Mmmm… And that’s when I realized I have never made scones before. I have lots of experience making biscuits ( drop and cut out ), but not scones. Let me tell you, those fluffy goodies are so fast and easy to make, you will be enjoying them in no time. Or…. you can do what I did and prepare the dough the night before, shape it and cut into scones. Then place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate overnight. Trust me, it will make you jump out of bed in the morning to bake them! Hmm, this would be a great Christmas morning addition to your breakfast, don’t you think? You do the work the night before and in the morning you enjoy the gift-unwrapping while your scones are baking. icon smile Nutmeg Scones with Cranberry Orange Butter

I added nutmeg, as a spice we are enjoying this time of year. But feel free to add any spice you are favoring.

Nutmeg Scones
adapted from Pinch my Salt

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into tablespoon pieces
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 large egg

In a large mixing bowl, whisk all dry ingredients together ( flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, salt and nutmeg ). Add butter and cut it in using a pastry cutter. Add buttermilk and egg and stir gently until just combined. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface, divide into two parts. Flatten each one into a disk, about 1/2 inch thick. Cut in half and then each piece in half again and again. You should have  8 scones. Place them all on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat for the second disk. Now you should have 16 scones nicely placed on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet into the refrigerator, preferably overnight, or at least 30 minutes. When ready, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Bake the scones for 13 – 15 minutes for the 30-minute refrigerated ones, or 15 – 18 minutes for the overnight refrigerated ones. Cool on wire rack.

Dec new+187a Nutmeg Scones with Cranberry Orange Butter

Now let me rave about the butter for a moment. Oh, melt-y goodness! It’s full of flavor, it’s full of fragrance and makes you happy just watching it melt on your freshly baked goods. The flavor combination seems to be a match made in heaven! Baker’s heaven icon smile Nutmeg Scones with Cranberry Orange Butter . The taste of orange really comes through, unexpectedly really. You would think the cranberries would totally take over. You can see them in the butter. You take a bite and BAM! Orange! icon smile Nutmeg Scones with Cranberry Orange Butter I would recommend making my cranberry jam for this butter ( why wouldn’t I? It is the best jam ever! ) It has chunks of cranberries and that is the main flavor here after all.
Simply put – you have to try it!

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Cranberry Orange Butter
adapted from Taste of Home

1/2 stick ( 1/4 cup ) butter, softened
2 – 3 Tbsp cranberry jam ( find my recipe here )
zest of 1 orange
1 – 2 Tbsp powdered sugar

Fluff the softened butter with a fork. Stir in the jam and orange zest. Add the powdered sugar and stir all until combined. Spread over freshly baked scones or refrigerate until you are ready to use it.

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Enjoy!

 

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

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In case you do not have enough Christmas cookies on your to-bake list, you might want add this one.

In case you feel like something is missing and you just had a plate-full of sugar cookies, you might want to think about this one.

I will make it easy for you – just make this one.

Picture+878a Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Nothing against sugar cookies! Don’t get me wrong. But sometimes you just need a chocolate cookie that melts in your mouth and you instantly relax. icon smile Chocolate Crinkle Cookies And who doesn’t need to relax for a short moment during this crazy busy holiday time?

So this is my gift to you ( sorry, no stand mixers to giveaway here:) ) – a chocolate-y moment of bliss. Enjoy!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book Bridal Edition

1/3 c butter, softened
1 c brown sugar, packed
2/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 egg whites
1/3 c sour cream
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
about 1/4 to 1/2 c powdered sugar, sifted ( place in a small bowl, for rolling )

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter for about 30 seconds. Add sugar, cocoa, soda and cinnamon. Beat until all is combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add egg whites and sour cream and beat again. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. At this point you can cover the dough and refrigerate for about 3 hours, so it’s easier to handle. I might have waited about 30 minutes ( impatient me, but how can  you blame me – it’s chocolate cookies we are talking about here! icon smile Chocolate Crinkle Cookies ). Drop a teaspoon of the dough into powdered sugar and roll into a ball. Place on a greased or parchment paper lined baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Edges of the cookies should be firm. Transfer all onto a wire rack and let cool.

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Enjoy!

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Linking up to here.

Cranberry Banana Bread

Dec new+135a Cranberry Banana Bread

       Let me just say, the aroma of this bread is out of this world! You can smell it while it’s in the oven and I guarantee you that it will be hard to wait for it to cool down. ( By the way, don’t you just hate when something like this bread smell so delicious and you have to wait for it to cool down? ).

       I used a butter rum flavoring oil in making this bread. You can simply use vanilla extract, but after making the eggnog truffles, the idea of using the same flavoring was irresistible to me.

       This is a very easy recipe, as you will see. No special techniques or equipment needed. Not even a mixer!

Cranberry Banana Bread
adapted from Joy the Baker

3 overripe bananas, mashed
1/3 c butter, melted
3/4 c packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 drops butter rum flavoring ( or 1 tsp rum extract )
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 cup cranberries ( cut the bigger ones in half )

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease the loaf pan. In a large mixing bowl, using a wooden spatula, add and combine the ingredients as listed above. Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake 1 hour or until the toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely and invert onto a cutting board.

       Pair it with your morning coffee or afternoon tea and you will be filled with coziness and comfort.

       Comfort baking is something I will be doing a lot this season and this recipe is perfect for Winter time.

Enjoy!

C2D708DA70A2E148FFF417590A8C35AE Cranberry Banana Bread

Eggnog Truffles

Dec new+011a Eggnog Truffles

Remember the fire red tree I posted about here? The leaves are raked, the branches bare, the magic is gone. Now it’s just a memory. Until next year.

But there is new magic coming. The magic of Christmas time. The red and green decorations are out, garlands found their place on the fireplace, and I am planning our Christmas dinner menu.

This time is also a time of baking. And lots of it! This year, even more than the last, my Girls are helping me with this task. Audrey is 5 and Vivienne is almost 3, so they can cut out the cookies, frost them and add some sprinkles. Last year they mostly watched me, but this year I could step away and watch them. icon smile Eggnog Truffles

There are also the evenings when they go to sleep and dream about the cookies they just made, and the St. Nick that “came down the chimney with a bound”. That’s when my Husband and I sit in front of the fireplace and enjoy classic Christmas movies. Like “Wonderful Life”.

As a baker, I wanted to make little treats we could enjoy. Eggnog truffles seemed like a prefect choice. They are so easy to make, smell delicious and just melt in your mouth. Those little gems are so sweet and creamy – it makes you happy! icon smile Eggnog Truffles

Eggnog Truffles

12 oz. ( 1 pkg. ) white chocolate chips
4 oz.  ) 1/2 pkg. ) cream cheese, softened
1 cup of powdered sugar
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp rum extract or 2 drops of butter rum flavor
1 Tbsp vegetable shortening

In a medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar, nutmeg and extract and beat until blended and smooth. Melt 8 oz. of white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl or over a double boiler. Add to cream cheese mixture. Beat until all is mixed together. Cover with a plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Scoop out the mixture with a teaspoon and shape into balls. Transfer onto a baking sheet lined with a waxed paper. Place in refrigerator. In the meantime, melt the remaining chocolate chips and the tablespoon of shortening. Stir until smooth. Dip one ball at a time, using a fork. Place back on the tray. At this point you can sprinkle it with additional nutmeg or cookie sprinkles. You want to do this before the chocolate will harden. Repeat for every truffle. Place the sheet back in the fridge for 1 hour, so the truffles and chocolate can set. Store in the fridge.

You can also roll each truffle in coconut instead of dipping them in melted white chocolate.

Dec new+040a Eggnog Truffles
Dec new+049a Eggnog Truffles

I love the eggnog taste of those truffles. Both versions are equally pleasing. They also look pretty festive – perfect for the holiday season. You can keep them in the fridge and treat your guests at any time.

I will be making more truffles this season. That’s for sure.

Enjoy!

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 Eggnog Truffles

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