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Eggnog Blondies with Brandy Spiked Eggnog Buttercream

13 Dec

Is Christmas really just 12 days away?!  Holy holly berries…I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited!

Tree up and decorated?!  Probably not.

Halls decked & stockings hung by the chimney with care?  Ummm, not quite.

Presents wrapped & ready to go?  Uhhh….

Alright alright, despite having just about nothing done in preparation for Christmas,  I’d definitely say I’m in the spirit, though!

I’ve got a list and I’m in the process of checking it twice.

And seriously, the holiday baking?  Totally!  Plus, check out this cute red ramekin I received as a birthday gift from my momma! 😀

The eggnog craze continues.  I promise the next recipe I post will contain neither egg nor nog, for fear of losing all of you out there who expect festive holiday flavor variety.  I get it, I really do.  It’s just that once I get inspired by a flavor, the wheels start turning and basically end up bull-dozing every other flavor in site.  Bear with me for the time being, or if you are a die-hard eggnog lover like myself, enjoy the ride while it lasts!

 

These blondies are a perfect blend of cookie and cake…the melding of a brownie and, well, not a brownie. Obviously there’s frosting. Not just any frosting, though, this stuff has got a little kick to it, while still being alcohol-shy friendly. I recently read an article reviewing which particular type of alcohol makes for the best-tasting eggnog.  The contenders were Brandy, Rum, and Whiskey, and since Brandy came out on top, that’s what I decided to use, obviously!  To be fair, you really can’t detect the Brandy in it much, so if you feel compelled, maybe pour yourself a glass of spiked nog to go with them? It’s just a suggestion, I mean, there are a lot of holiday gatherings to get through!

Super simple to mix up and throw in a pan to bake without the hassle of sheet after sheet of cookie balling and baking…swipe on a little frosting once they’ve cooled, and voila!…And really, who couldn’t use a time-saving recipe during the holidays, am I right? Maybe if I’d had more of these cookie cake bar blondies in my life I’d have a tree by now, and maybe even gifts under it? Whoa, whoa, I’m not THAT on top of it!

Eggnog Blondies with Brandy Spiked Eggnog Buttercream

Ingredients:

For the Bars-
* 3 Cups All-purpose Flour
* 1 tsp Baking Soda
* 1 tsp salt
* 1 tsp nutmeg (I didn’t have it at the time, but would have added this!)
* 3/4 Cup Butter-flavored Shortening
* 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
* 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
* 1/2 Cup Eggnog, any type
* 2 Large Eggs
* 1 tsp Brandy or Rum (If you don’t want to use alcohol, or don’t have any on hand, Vanilla extract would work)

For the Buttercream-
* 3 Cups Confectioners Sugar
* Dash of Salt
* 7 Tbsp Margarine or Unsalted Butter
* 3 tsp Eggnog
* 2 tsp Brandy or Rum (Again, if you want to make this whole shebang non-alcoholic, just use Vanilla extract or more eggnog instead)
* 1 tsp Ground Nutmeg
* Clear crystal Sprinkles (Optional, (but not really!) for topping)
* Red & Green Holiday Sprinkles (Optional, (but not really!) for topping)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350*F. Line a 9 x 13″ pan with parchment paper, if you have it.

Cream together the shortening, brown sugar and white sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or by hand!). Beat in the eggnog, eggs one at a time, and the brandy or rum.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, mixing between additions.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes. Check for browning on top after 15 minutes, and cover with foil if it’s getting too brown. Bake another 5-8 minutes, depending on your oven (Mine took 23 minutes). Pull out of oven and allow to cool in the pan.

For the frosting, cream the margarine or butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Gradually add in about 2 cups of the confectioners sugar and the salt. You’ll get a pebbly grainy texture, which is fine. Add 2 tsp of eggnog and continue mixing. Add in the last 1 tsp of eggnog, and then add in the remaining 1 cup of confectioners sugar. Mix in the 2 tsp of Brandy or Rum. Depending on how thick or thin you like your buttercream, you can add a little more confectioners sugar if you think it’s too thin, or a little more Brandy and/or eggnog if you think it’s too thick. Mix in the ground nutmeg.

Allow blondies to fully cool before slicing into squares while in the pan, and then spreading on the frosting. Top with holiday sprinkles!

I’d love to hear what others have to say about alcohol choice in their eggnog!  Which do you prefer?  I feel like Rum is the most traditional, but I’m not exactly sure where that feeling is coming from, especially since at the drop of a hat I totally went with the reviewer’s suggestion and used Brandy in these bars instead!  To each their own?  Everyone’s different.

Serve. Eat. Repeat!


Happy Holidays!

Chewy Holiday Snickerdoodles

5 Dec

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Finals! Finals! Finals! Finals!

Thought I was going to say the holidays, right?  Much mistletoeing and hearts glowing when loved ones are near?

You were expecting a little of this, perhaps:

 With the kids jingle belling
And everyone telling you “Be of good cheer”
It’s the most wonderful time of the year
It’s the hap-happiest season of all
With those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings
When friends come to call
It’s the hap- happiest season of all

Not so much.  More likely a little rendition that goes a little something like this:

With the sleep-deprived yelling
And professors telling you “Get into gear”
It’s the most stressing-of-times of the year
It’s the hap-happiest season of all
With those sporadic sleepings and long TA meetings
When tests come to call
It’s the hap-happiest season of alllllll 😉

I agree, it needs a little work!

Ok, ok, I’m done funneling my negative feelings about finals into innocent, unsuspecting Christmas carols for now, but no promises I can hold off forever!  In my defense, an 8:00am Tuesday final is not exactly what I’d consider the ideal holiday morning, but I suppose if I can get through that, I can survive any amount of Christmas shopping swarms in the mall come next week!

Let’s talk cookies.  Cookies are not finals.  Cookies are sweet and delicious and sometimes chewy, and never ask me questions that I have to answer via short answer or scantron.  These cookies in particular are cinnamon-sugar studded, crispy on the outside, perfectly dense and chewy on the inside, and have never judged me based on whether or not I know what co-factors regulate the cell cycle, and for that I much prefer them.  I feel like this line of thinking is probably exactly what causes people (totally hypothetically) to stuff 10 cookies in their face at a time in attempts to block out a bad day, or the impending doom of finals….right?  Or maybe cookies are just dang good.

Chewy Holiday Snickerdoodles

(Slightly adapted from How Sweet It Is)

Ingredients:

* 1 cup butter flavored shortening
* 1 cup sugar
* 2 eggs
* 2-4 Tbsp milk, any type, as needed
* 2 tsp vanilla extract
* 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 3 tsp cinnamon
* 1/4 cup sugar + 2 Tbsp cinnamon for rolling

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350*F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.

Beat together the shortening and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until fluffy. Beat in eggs, vanilla, and 2 Tbsp milk.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a separate bowl.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing along the way. Add a bit more milk to make the dough come together if it’s too dry.  Wrap up and refrigerate the dough at least 1 hour.

Use a cookie scoop to make dough balls, and then roll them in the cinnamon sugar mix. Arrange on cookie sheet, and bake about 14-16 min. depending on your oven, until golden brown. Allow to sit on the pan a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Cinnamon-sugar rolled dough balls….

Mixed with a little oven time….and voila!

I rolled a portion of the dough in cinnamon sugar mix, part of them in red Christmas sprinkles after the cinnamon and sugar mixture just for a fun pop of color…

And part of them in clear crystal sprinkles for classy, wintery-looking cookies.

Wrap these puppies up pretty, because really, who doesn’t love the gift of cookies during the holidays?

Classic Pumpkin Pie

26 Nov

If the last thing you want to see right now is a pumpkin pie, and the last thing you want to to do right now is follow a pumpkin pie recipe to make a pie…then turn away now!


If you’re still on board with the whole make more pie since the pie from Thanksgiving was so amazing idea, however, then you’ve come to the right place!

As I mentioned before in my Thanksgiving Recap, pie was abundant, but didn’t include much in the way of pumpkin until the next morning.  My brother’s fiancee, Becky, is obviously pretty die hard, even during the holidays- she had to go in to work on Black Friday, while most of the rest of the world was either fighting off crowds at Best Buy, or continuing to digest Thanksgiving dinner from the night before.  Before she left, though, she whipped up this classic pumpkin pie!
There’s nothing much new about this particular pumpkin pie since the filling is the result of the tried and true Libby’s recipe on the back of the pumpkin puree cans, but a pie is always set apart by its crust, which she made from scratch.  It was basically a hit, so here it is!

Libby’s Classic Pumpkin Pie

This recipe is for one pie, with a single, bottom crust.  The recipe on the Libby’s canned pumpkin is for 2 pies.
Probably one of the simplest of all pies, but always a Thanksgiving favorite, for sure!  I bet if you’re a pumpkin purist you could use your own stewed pumpkin, or you could probably use this recipe with canned butternut squash or sweet potato puree even, if that’s what you have on hand!

Ingredients:

* 3/4 Cup Sugar
* 1/2 tsp Salt
* 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
* 1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
* 2 Large Eggs
* 1/2 of a 29 oz can of Libby’s Canned Pumpkin
* 1 Can Evaporated Milk
* 1 Store bought, or Homemade pie crust (see below for crust ingredients + how-to)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425*F.

For the crust-

1.5 cups flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 cup shortening, 1/4 cup butter and 2-4 tbsp of cold water.

Mix flour and salt, blend in the fats with a pastry cutter, then add water until the dough just forms a ball (don’t add too much H20 and don’t overwork the dough once the water is in. Otherwise the pie crust will be tough.)  Roll out the dough on a floured surface until slightly larger than the size of your pie pan.  An easy way to transfer the dough to the pan is to roll it up on your rolling pin, lift it up, and unroll it over the pan- voila!  Now use your fingers to crimp the edges and make it pretty (or if it’s not quite perfect, do what I do and call it rustic 😉

For the Filling-

Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves in a small bowl.
Beat eggs together in a separate bowl, and stir in the pumpkin and sugar and spice mixture.
Slowly stir in the evaporated milk.

Pour into your pie shell, and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350*F and bake for another 40-50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack thoroughly. Serve at room temperature, or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Flaky crust + custardy pumpkin = fall.  There, I said it.  Pumpkin pie doesn’t JUST have to be for Thanksgiving anymore…you can make it any time you want, I promise!

It’s actually pretty nice featuring someone else’s recipe for a change and not having to do the work…thanks, Becky!! =)

…Any chance I can get guest posts out of anyone else?!  Just asking 😉