Saturday, November 28, 2015

Spice/Gingerbread Men Cookies

Are you anything like me when it comes to gingerbread men cookies?  Do you look at them, smile, it brings back such memories doesn't it?  Pick one up, take a bite and then think to yourself; "ugh, I wish it had better taste".  Do you?  Am I the only one?  
Well on my mission to make those cookies at least to me edible, I've experimented over the years, and have tried tons of recipes.  With some tweaking here, and some tweaking there.  I have found, what is it that Goldilocks says?  Oh yes, "one that is just right"!

These cookies are softer, and just bursting with spice flavor.  They look pretty and fill your "cookie platters" with just the right whimsical touch!  The dough is perfectly forgiving and is very easy to work with so everything comes together quickly.

 Ready for the recipe?  Here we go!

Prep time: 35 minutes
Bake time: 18-20 minutes
Yield: 24 - 3" inch cookie cutters

1 egg
2 Tbsp honey
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp packed dark brown sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp round nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp salt

-Preheat oven to 325F

-Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

-Beat the egg with honey and set aside.

-In food processor, combine flour, baking powder and your spices.  With processor running, add in your butter, sour cream and brown sugar.  Process in 30 second increments.  Pulse in the reserved egg mixture until dough forms.

-Divide dough in half; wrap and refrigerate 1 piece.  On lightly floured surface, roll out remaining dough to 1/8' thickness.  Using cookie cutters, cut out shapes and place on baking sheets.  Place 2" apart.  

-Bake 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool 5 minutes and transfer cookies to cooling racks to cool completely.

Decorate with your favorite frosting and watch them disappear with gusto!

Till next time!
Dishin with Didi

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Make Ahead Homestyle Mashed Potatoes

Go ahead, dig in!  I cannot even begin to tell you how delicious these mashed potatoes are.  

The recipe was actually given to me about 25 years ago by one of my patients.  What piqued my interest is it was a Monday and she was making the mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving on Thursday.  I needed to know more...
Since then I have tweaked the ingredients to just add you know, more flavor.  I love this recipe because you can make it up to 1 week in advance.  There is a secret ingredient in this casserole that allows the mashed potatoes to taste exactly like you had made them that day.  What's the secret ingredient you ask?  The egg.  I know!  Trust me, I love old tried and true recipes. 
These mashed potatoes will not be gummy, clumpy or taste old, I pinkie promise.  I actually was mad at myself when I made this particular batch because my mixer which I usually use to whip them into creamy puffs of perfection at the end, was packed away due to the kitchen remodel.  The daylight was diminishing fast, and I had no time to go looking thru the boxes.  So alas, even though they tasted AMAZING, they were not the puffs I normally make.  I think once the kitchen is done, I will make another batch and take pictures just so you can see!

This is perfect for the holidays or to make on a weekend for a side with a weeknight meal.  Because let's face it, we are being pulled in a million directions anyway, having the mashed potatoes ready, that just need baking?  Well that is a win win in my book.

Ready for the recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 30-35 minutes
Yield: 8-10 servings

5lb of potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 oz of cream cheese, room temperature, cubed
1 stick (1/2 cup), cubed + 2 tbsp butter,
1 small onion, grated
1-3/4 - 2 cups half & half creamer
1 egg, lightly beaten **SECRET INGREDIENT**
1/2 tsp paprika *optional*
1 tsp salt (season according to taste)
1/2 tsp white pepper


-Boil your potatoes till tender, drain and return back into the same pan you just boiled them in.  Why dirty another pan I say?

-Add in the cream cheese and the butter, start mashing.  If by somehow a couple of cubes of potatoes end up mysteriously in your mouth.  Do not panic.  Just quickly look around to see if someone witnessed it.  Phew, that was a close one!

 -Add in your grated onion, salt, pepper, and half and half.  Mash, whip and incorporate all ingredients.  Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

-About 10 minutes later, add in the beaten egg.  Incorporate once more and using your favorite and ultra pretty casserole dish, pour your potato mixture into the casserole dish.

-Melt the 2tbsp of butter and pour evenly over the top.  Sprinkle the paprika if using over the top of the butter.  Cover and place in fridge till ready to use.

-Day of using;  Preheat oven to 350F
Half an hour before you are to bake the mashed potatoes, take out of fridge and bring to room temperature.  Bake for 30-35 minutes till nicely golden and slightly bubbling around the edges.  Let cool for a few minutes and serve.

 Get ready for accolades and requests for "your mashed potatoes" from here on out!  Trust me!

Till next time!

 Dishin with Didi