Tag Archives: holidays

Last-Minute Gift for Bakers… Plus, A Cookie Decorating Party!

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Christmas is approaching fast. Really fast.

That may not be news to any of you, but the fact that Christmas is only about a week away is hitting me pretty hard at the moment. Let’s just say that I have a friend (just a friend, definitely not me) who has barely started getting ready for Christmas yet. This crazy lady hasn’t finished buying gifts, hasn’t wrapped a thing, and hasn’t even thought about baking yet. Yup, what is she thinking?

Anyway, enough about my friend.

Today, I wanted to share a fun idea for any bakers on your list. It’s perfect if you are still looking for something at the last minute like me… Errr…. Like my friend! It will all arrive from Amazon.com via Prime shipping. Is free 2-day shipping with Amazon Prime not the best thing ever? That friend I was telling you about? Sometimes she orders shampoo from Amazon so she doesn’t have to run to the store. True story.

(Legal stuff… No, they aren’t paying me to say that… I pay for my own Prime membership. But, my links are Amazon affiliate links.)

Back to the gift idea… Continue Reading

Maple Nut Coffee Ring

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Red Star Yeast.  As always, all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

I already confessed to the fact that I have started doing some holiday baking… And, I’m back again today with another great holiday recipe from Red Star Yeast.

When it comes to planning food for the holidays, I love to mix it up and try new things.  While I don’t suggest trying a new recipe when you have 12 people joining you for Thanksgiving dinner later in the day (of course, I have never done this… I’m just saying!), I think that a combination of new recipes with some traditional favorites is perfect for entertaining.

I came across this Maple Nut Coffee Ring in the amazing recipe archives on the Red Star Yeast site. (Side note – If you haven’t checked out the recipe section on their site, you are missing some fabulous recipes!) I knew that it would be perfect for my holiday entertaining this year.  The recipe is pretty simple (even if you’re not a seasoned baker), and it yields not one, but two beautiful coffee rings. It’s not overly sweet (you can skip the glaze for more of a “bread” recipe or go with a thicker cream cheese frosting for something a bit more decadent), so it is pretty versatile.  You could serve it for breakfast or brunch with some fresh fruit and eggs.  You could serve it as a mid-afternoon snack with some coffee or tea for hungry guests. It could also be dessert after your holiday meal.  And, if you dress it up on a platter with some fruit or candy (I chose to dress mine up with some fresh cranberries), it makes a lovely homemade gift!

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Because the recipe makes two coffee rings, you can make one for now and save one for later.  Simply shape the coffee ring on the baking sheet and wrap it securely with plastic wrap (before the second rise).  Pop it in the freezer until you’re ready to bake.  Then, simply let the coffee ring come to room temperature and rise before baking as directed.

Looking for more ideas for holiday baking? Be sure to check out some of the bread recipes from my archives (don’t miss these pumpkin sticky buns!), as well as Red Star Yeast on Facebook and Twitter.  You’ll also find lots of great ideas on Pinterest… I’ll be sharing my favorites on my Pinterest boards, and I know Red Star Yeast is always on the lookout and sharing fantastic recipes on their boards, as well!

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Maple Nut Coffee Ring
Makes 2 large coffee rings, serves 20 – 24
(Recipe from Red Star Yeast, used with permission)

For the bread:

  • 5 – 5 1/2 cups bread flour, divided
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons Red Star Active Dry Yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup shortening
    (Jen’s Note – I used softened butter)
  • 2 eggs

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring (optional)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

In a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer), combine 2 1/2 cups of bread flour, yeast, sugar, and salt.  Mix well.

Meanwhile, heat the water, milk, and shortening/butter to 120-130°F.  You can do this in a saucepan or just pop it in the microwave for about one minute (my personal preference). The butter or shortening does not need to melt.

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Pour the liquid mixture into the large mixing bowl.  Add the eggs.  Blend on a low speed until the flour is moistened.  Then beat for 3 minutes at medium speed.

By hand, gradually stir in the remaining flour to make a firm dough.  Knead on a floured surface until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Place the dough in a lightly greased/oiled bowl, turning to grease the top.  Cover and let the dough rise until it tests ripe.

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While the dough finishes rising, prepare the filling.  Combine the brown sugar, walnuts, cinnamon, and maple flavoring (if you’re using it) in a small bowl.

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Punch down the dough and divide it into two equal pieces.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out each half to an 18 by 12-inch rectangle.  Spread with half of the maple syrup and sprinkle with half of the filling.  Starting with the longer side, roll up each half of the dough(similar to cinnamon rolls or a jelly roll).  Pinch the edges and ends to seal.  Place each half of the dough in a ring shape, seam-side down, on a greased cookie sheet. (A cookie sheet lined with parchment or a silicone liner will work, too.)

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With scissors, make cuts 1 inch apart through the top of the rings to approximately 1 inch from the bottom.  Alternate cut slices, bringing one into the center and toward the outside of the ring.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until an indentation remains after lightly touching.

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While the bread rises, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Bake the bread for 20 – 25 minutes, until golden brown.

Serve warm or cold. If desired, glaze with your favorite powdered sugar glaze (or even this maple cream cheese frosting!).

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For a quick glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon softened butter
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons warm milk or water

Blend until smooth and pour over cooled coffee ring. Enjoy!

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My Kitchen Addiction Disclosure – This post was sponsored by Red Star Yeast.  Though I have been compensated to write this post, all opinions expressed are my own.

White Chocolate Cranberry Brownies

This blog post was supposed to be a recipe for a fabulous pumpkin cheesecake with a luscious apple topping. I had it all planned out and spent my precious free time one evening baking the cheesecake. I was careful not to over-mix the filling and I let it cool in the oven for two hours to avoid any cracks. When I took the cheesecake out of the oven, it looked perfect. It seemed too good to be true… And, it was.

I carefully covered the cheesecake and transferred it to the refrigerator to chill overnight.  The next day, we were having friends over for pizza night, and I was planning to serve the cheesecake for dessert.  In the afternoon, I planned to cut a slice of the cheesecake for photo purposes (I knew our friends wouldn’t mind if a piece was already missing). I waited for nap time and I had everything all ready to go.  I sliced into the cheesecake only to discover that the center wasn’t done. The edges were luscious and perfect, but the center was a gloppy mess.

In an attempt to save some of my hard work, I cut off the edges of the cheesecake since they were perfectly fine. Then, I figured I’d better make another dessert. I pulled out a go to recipe for one bowl brownies that I knew I could make even if the baby woke up from her nap. The recipe is one that I got from a box of squares of unsweetened baking chocolate years ago. I don’t remember the brand anymore. But, it’s a good recipe. It yields brownies with the perfect texture (according to me).  They are chewy and a bit fudgy without being too over the top.  And, they always yield a nice crackly top, just like the box kind.

The cheesecake may have been a flop (though, we did enjoy eating the edges that I cut off), but the brownies weren’t. The next afternoon, as I was snacking on one of the leftover brownies, I started to thinking… I love brownies, but I’m not always in the mood for chocolate. So, I decided to play around with the recipe a bit.  If brownies could be made from melted chocolate, why not melted white chocolate? And, when I think of white chocolate (especially this close to the holidays), I can’t help but to add some cranberries into the mix.

The resulting white chocolate cranberry brownies turned out to be another success.  And, much like the standard brownies they were based on, the recipe is fast and simple.  You an mix them up in a single bowl in just a few minutes.  And, in no time at all, you’ll have chewy white chocolate flavored brownies studded with cranberries that just beg to be eaten. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have trouble letting them cool before you cut into them!Continue Reading

Challenge: Holiday Recipes (Kitchen Bootcamp November/December)

I cannot believe that October is over already. Between waiting for our little baby to arrive and then adjusting to life with a newborn in the house (and, we’re still working on that part!), October just breezed right on by. November is here, and it’s time for a new Kitchen Bootcamp challenge!

In the last week or so, there is a chill in the air that I hadn’t detected before. The days are getting shorter and it is dark by dinner time each night.  Fall is definitely here, and I am reminded that the holidays are right around the corner.  Thanksgiving is just a few short weeks away, and then the Christmas season is in full swing.  I know our holidays are going to be quite different this year, but I’m excited to start creating some new memories.  And, of course, I’m excited to start working on a few new holiday recipes.

So, I thought it would be fun to do another two-month Kitchen Bootcamp challenge focusing on holiday recipes.  It’s a bit of a different challenge since I’m not choosing a specific chapter in The New Best Recipe. We’re all busy this time of year, and I know that it can be difficult to add another thing to the agenda.  If you’re anything like me, you’ll be in the kitchen trying a handful of new things for the holidays.  Don’t you just love gathering new recipes and working on a menu for Thanksgiving dinner?  Or perhaps you can’t wait to find the perfect new cookie recipe to try for a holiday cookie swap? Well, that’s what I’d love to hear about for this month’s challenge!

If you’re looking for some inspiration, I’d definitely recommend checking out some of the recipes in The New Best Recipe.  If you’re nervous about making a turkey for Thanksgiving, check out the Poultry chapter (chapter 7) for all the information you need for turkey, gravy, and stuffing.  Need dessert inspiration? You’ll likely find the chapters on Cakes (chapter 19) and Pies and Tarts (chapter 20) to be quite helpful. The Vegetables (chapter 4) and Appetizers (chapter 1) chapters may also be particularly helpful if you’re looking for side dishes or snacks for hungry guests.  The book is a great resource for all kinds of recipes!

Of course, even if you don’t have a copy of The New Best Recipe, you are more than welcome to participate in the challenge. Feel free to use whatever sources you have on hand. The point of the challenge is to try something new, and you can be as creative as you’d like!

Since we’ll all be sharing some great holiday recipes that others may want to try, I’d like to post the roundup on Thursday, December 20th.  So, in order to have your blog post included in my roundup, please submit it (including a photo, if you would like a photo included) by Wednesday, December 19th.

Please Note – The links to The New Best Recipe provided in this post are Amazon affiliate links.  If you purchase this cookbook (or another item) after  clicking on my link, I receive a small percentage of the sale price, which helps to keep My Kitchen Addiction up and running. Thanks!

Peppermint Marshmallows (WFMW)

Still looking for a last minute homemade gift idea? I’ve got you covered!

Ever since I tried making these chocolate marshmallow bunnies from A Farmgirl’s Dabbles for Easter, I’ve wanted to make them again. If you’re tried making homemade marshmallows before, you know what I’m talking about.  And, if you haven’t made homemade marshmallows, take my word for it and give them a try.  They are nothing (I repeat nothing!) like the chalky and spongy things you find at the grocery store.  They are perfectly fluffy and light… And, they are pretty addictive.

I have always been a peppermint fan, and I especially love peppermint treats for Christmas.  If you pair the peppermint with some chocolate, I am a happy girl. I’d been thinking about making some homemade cocoa mix, and I knew I’d need some marshmallows to go with it.  So, naturally, I decided to make some peppermint marshmallows. Of course, I haven’t yet gotten around to making the cocoa mix.  But, the marshmallows are fabulous on their own. Dipped in dark chocolate, they are a lot like a fluffy version of a peppermint patty.

You can easily make a big batch of these marshmallows in one afternoon… And, most of that time is just letting the marshmallows cool and set up in a pan on the counter (i.e. you can also be wrapping presents, cleaning the house, etc.).  I’d just recommend that you package them up as soon as possible after making them.  Otherwise, you’ll run the risk of snacking on them and not having any left for gifts! Not that I would have any experience with that…

works for me wednesday at we are that familyContinue Reading