Super Sugar Cookies

Halloween Sugar Cookies

 
Super Sugar Cookies
 
2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cups sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
Icing from recipe below
colored sugar, sprinkles or gel to color icing
 
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
 
In a small bowl, combine the flour and salt and stir together.
In a larger mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until well blended.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat on medium speed until well mixed.  Lower speed, and scraping down the sides, gradually add the flour mixture until just combined.  Do not overmix.
Gather the dough into a ball, then flatten slightly and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. 
When chilled through, roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface to a 1/2-inch thickness.  Cut dough into desired shapes with cookie cutters and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. 
Bake for 12-15 minutes, watching carefully from the 12 minute mark so as not to brown.  Immediately transfer the cookies from the baking sheet to a cooling rack to cool.  Cool completely before decorating with the icing.
 
Cookie Icing
 
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon almond extract
 
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix until smooth.  Divide into smaller bowls to color different colors with liquid or gel food colorings.  Sprinkle with colored sugar or candies while still wet.  Allow to set before serving. 

Crostini, plain and simple

Crostini, plain and simple Crostini, plain and simple
 
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Pizza Fondue

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This make a great appetizer for sure, but I’ve long served it as a quick dinner for my girls.  I’ve paired it in the picture with crostini but it’s also great with garlic bread as a dipping tool!  The recipe calls for mozzarella cheese and one thing I want to point out is that mozzarella can be a salty cheese, so choose wisely, or at least know how it tastes before you put it into this recipe.  If you make it and it turns out too salty, try adding a little more cheddar.  Other add-ins could be those that you’d put on to a pizza, such as sliced olives, diced pepperoni, green peppers etc., so whether you try this for dinner or a game-day appetizer table, you can make it your own.
 
                                                                         Pizza Fondue
 
1 pound ground beef
1 Tablespoon oregano
24oz jar marinara sauce
16oz grated cheddar
10oz grated mozzarella cheese
 
In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef until well done.  Add the marinara sauce and oregano and mix well.  Stir in both cheeses and stir until the cheeses melt.  Keep warm in a chafing dish if serving as an appetizer.  Serve with crostini or thin slices of garlic bread.

Truffle Twice-Baked Potatoes

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Truffle is all the rage right now, and working for a store that sells artisan cooking oils and vinegars I find that people either love it or hate it.  I am a lover of it, but oddly enough I didn’t know this until I did, in fact, start selling it.  If you don’t like the flavor, skip it in this recipe, as I did for the first 20 plus years I made it for my family!  Also, as with most of my recipes, feel free to add bacon bits, green onion,  sun-dried tomatoes…you get the idea.  I’m a “whats-in-the-fridge-today?” kind of gal. 
 
                                              Truffle White Cheddar Twice Baked Potatoes
 
4 large Russet potatoes
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup milk, warmed
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
2Tablespoons  Truffle extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup Parmesan Scrub the potatoes clean and then bake in a 425 oven for an hour until done. Let cool 10 mins, then slice in half lengthwise. Scoop out the insides of each half, leaving a small amount around the side to form a wall. Place potato in a mixing bowl and add the rest of ingredients, except the Parmesan. Mix until well blended and fairly smooth. Spoon the mixture back into the shells and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. You can drizzle with your choice of melted butter or extra Truffle oil at this point, then bake for another 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve hot.

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