They’re not too sweet, a little chewy from the cranberries, soft, and crumbly like your traditional butter cookie. Without a doubt it’s easy to lose track how many you’ve eaten in one sitting. I swear they magically appear in my hand, I’m not sure how it happens.
I love things during the holidays for a classy look on some dessert options but not much has stopped me from making these during any other time of the year in the past. If you’re in the mood for any kind of cook at any time of year, no one can tell you no and stop you! Just a fair warning, you’ll probably want to double up the recipe. You’ll see why! 🙂
WHITE CHOCOLATE CRANBERRY BUTTER COOKIES
Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
Combine the flour and baking powder in a large bowl and set aside.
Cream the sugar and butter in your stand or hand held mixer then add the egg and extracts until well combined.
Gradually add the flour mixture to the sugared butter and beat until just combined. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl, especially the bottom.
Add the chopped white chocolate chips and cranberries. Use a large spoon to fold everything together in the cookie dough.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a medium (1.5 tablespoon) cookie dough scooper to scoop each butter cookie onto the baking sheet. Use the back of a teaspoon and flatten the center of the cookie with an imprint.
Bake at 350 F degrees for about 10 to 12 minutes. Let them sit a few minutes to cool before removing.
Oh man, you guys are gonna love this one! But first let me confess how I’ve been spelling Shepherd’s Pie as “Shepard’s Pie” for a while now and no one ever corrected me! As I got started typing up this food blog entry I thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to double check the spelling. Glad I did! I’m kinda hoping I’m not alone in this LOL! Okay, so seriously I’m not exaggerating. You-guys-will-LOVE-this! This makes a big batch and depending on the size of your family, you could have the best tasting leftovers for DAYS.
This is truly a Shepherd’s Pie because I use ground lamb. Trust me, I tried ground beef the first time and it’s not the same as the best Shepherd’s Pie you’ve ever had wherever that may be. It must be lamb. Not half lamb, ALL ground lamb. If you’re hesitant to try lamb because you think it’s funky, let me reassure you that if you’re going to try ground lamb for the first time or give it another chance, this is the absolute way to go. I’m not just saying that, promise. Now that has been established, if you insist using ground beef or any other red meat by all means go for it… I do believe that changes it to a Cottage Pie though. This is important to know in case you do some traveling.
If you’re looking to make this meal low-carb, you just simply replace the mashed potatoes with your favorite cauliflower mashed potatoes recipe. There are tons of different recipes out there you can choose from but personally, I would just make my cauliflower mash the same way I would as my usual Red Skin Mashed Potatoes recipe. Just keep your eye on the amount of liquid when making them to get the right texture you want your cauliflower mash to be. As for using real potatoes, I keep the skin for extra fiber, vitamins, minerals, and all that jazz but feel free to peel them. Keeping the skin saves on time too!
You’ll see that I use quite a bit of Worcestershire sauce than your typical recipe. I have reasons! Any time I’ve used a few dashes or a few teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce to a recipe, I can’t taste it! It does nothing! Hardly at least. I want a big punch of flavor because that’s what comfort food is about. So just a heads up, start off not using salt at all. Maybe use half the amount of Worcestershire sauce to start, do a taste test. You can add more towards the end and also add salt to taste. It’s the only way you’re gonna master what you believe is the best Shepherd’s Pie!
One last thing, you can make this a day ahead. Just put the meat at the bottom of the baking pan, top with the mashed potatoes. When you’re ready to bake it, just pull it out of the fridge, top it with the cheese and bake. Some times I’ve made the meat filling ahead so that all I need to do was make the mashed potatoes or vice versa. It works in all ways.
Saute the carrots and onion with the olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Once the onions start to become softened after a few minutes, add the garlic. If the pan is starting to get dry, add a little more olive oil.
Add the ground lamb, rosemary, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper. Using a wooden spoon break up the ground lamb into small pieces letting it brown through.
Once the lamb is nearly cooked through add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, flour, and half of the vegetable stock. Stir every thing really well. Let the stock cook down most of the way and add the rest. Stir frequently, reduce the heat and let everything simmer for about 5-7 minutes.
Add the peas and salt to taste if needed. Turn off heat and set aside.
Place the cubed potatoes in a large pot, fill with water until it's about an inch above the potatoes. Bring to a boil and stir every so often.
Strain the potatoes once they're softened. Turn off the heat. Place the pot back on the stove and add the butter. Pour the strained potatoes on top of the butter, add the pepper, milk, and half of the vegetable stock. Mash the potatoes to your desired consistency.
Add more milk and/or stock as needed to avoid the potatoes from drying. Stir. Add more salt and pepper to taste as well.
Place the meat filling evenly in a 9" x 11" (or 9" x 13") baking dish.
Then, top it with an even layer of the mashed potatoes.
Top the mashed potatoes with an even layer of the shredded sharp white cheddar cheese.
Bake at 400 F degrees for about 15 minutes or until everything is bubbling and the top is golden.
Here’s another peach recipe I recently went crazy over. Buying a half bushel of peaches from The Peach Truck over at the Nashville Farmers Market was one of the more fun things I’ve done this year. Shhh, don’t judge! I’m a simpleton. And I must say, cooking with bourbon is a new thing for me, which I’m loving! It must have something to do with living in Tennessee the last few years, hmm I dunno. I think it’s important to share that you don’t have to like bourbon to enjoy this dessert. The bourbon mixed with butter and sugar truly gives a very caramel-like flavor. And it just pairs so well with peaches. I wouldn’t want peaches any other way in a crumble!
You don’t have to be a baker to make a crumble. Trust me, I’m not a baker! You can easily put this together very quickly; in fact I think cutting the peaches is the longest part LOL. It’s so worth it though! So the fun part, you know… all the ways you can enjoy a crumble. Of course you can eat as is, piping hot. Yet it’s amazing straight out of the fridge too. Serve it over ice cream if you dare. I pretty much learned from my Father that you can put anything yummy on ice cream LOL. And I know this may sound strange but, this is good over toast or an English muffin. It’s not too far from a jam! All I’m saying is, this won’t last long when you make it. Prepare to have to make it again. Enjoy!
BOURBON PEACH CRUMBLE
Place the peaches in a 9” x 9” baking dish.
Put the bourbon, vanilla extract, butter, and arrowroot powder in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat, stir until it comes to a boil. Add the brown sugar, lower temperature to low-medium, whisk while it simmers for about 3 minutes. Let cool.
In a food processor add the all purpose flour, sugar, 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, chilled butter, cinnamon, and salt. Make sure the butter is cold and cut in small cubes. Pulse everything about a dozen times until everything resembles coarse meal.
Drizzle the bourbon butter mixture over the peaches and sprinkle the crumble on top evenly.
Bake at 375 F degrees for about 25 minutes or until everything is gold brown on top.
Celebrating National Chocolate Cake Day, I decided to go a bit different from the traditional chocolate cake by complimenting chocolate with the worlds most loved stout, Guinness. If you’re a chocolate lover, and I don’t just mean milk chocolate… you will love this recipe! You don’t have to like Guinness to enjoy this recipe BUT these cupcakes are meant for taste buds that can appreciate a deep, dark chocolate flavor. So, if you’re ready for decadence, brace yourselves and go all out. I decided to pair it with a salted caramel frosting instead of the popular Bailey’s and/or Jameson frosting that a lot of people are doing. Personally, I find the salted caramel does an equal justice to the Guinness and chocolate.
The recipe typically calls for two sticks of butter but if you happen to find yourself making dry cakes; what I do is use half butter and half grapeseed oil. You can use any oil that you prefer but grapeseed oil yields the least flavor so the Guinness and chocolate aren’t competing with the flavor of the oil. When decorating the cupcakes feel free to be creative. I like keeping things simple and so all I did was sprinkle a little cocoa powder and edible gold dust on top. You can find edible gold or silver dust in the baking isle of an arts ‘n crafts store like JOANN’s, Michaels or Hobby Lobby, even Amazon.com. Have fun and HAPPY NATIONAL CHOCOLATE CAKE DAY!
GUINNESS CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES
In a saucepan, melt the butter, add the Guinness, cocoa powder, and brown sugar. Whisk everything until smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Add the flour, sea salt, granulated sugar, and baking soda into a bowl of a standing mixer on low.
Pour the Guinness mixture in three parts beating everything until everything is just combined. Increase speed without getting flour to fly out of the bowl.
Add the eggs and plain Greek yogurt with the last part of the Guinness mixture, beat on medium until smooth.
Pour the batter into the cupcake pan ¾ of the way.
Bake at 350 F Degrees for about 20 - 25 minutes. Poke the center with a toothpick. If it comes out mostly clean then your cupcakes are done.
SALTED CARAMEL FROSTING
In a small saucepan melt the butter, dark brown sugar with the heavy cream, salt, and vanilla extract until the brown sugar dissolves. Let it come to a light boil for only a minute and then remove from heat to cool.
Pour the salted caramel into a mixing bowl and pour a little bit of powdered sugar at a time. Start the mixer on low speed at first and bring it up to medium speed.
Mix approximately 2 cups of powdered sugar until you get a nice thick fluffy consistency. Add a little more powdered sugar if needed.
Use a heaping teaspoon to place a dollop of the frosting on top of the cupcake and use the back of the spoon to swirl around in circles until you have it spread out evenly.
Garnish the top with cocoa powder and/or edible gold dust, sprinkles, whatever you prefer to decorate with.
This recipe is a result of having a super ripe banana, leftover buttermilk and a craving for pancakes. So, I pretty much took my Lemon Berry Pancake Muffins recipe and tweaked it to make this happen. It is yet another super easy recipe that requires no standing in front of the stove. Although if you do prefer your traditional shaped pancakes, this will still work just fine. But, lets face it… I suck at making the perfect pancake, which is why I leave the work up to the oven, haha. Plus, they’re all equally warm, ready to serve. And guess what? If you’re out of eggs, you can still make pancakes happen! Enjoy.
BANANA BUTTERMILK PANCAKE MUFFINS
Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl with a whisk.
In another bowl whisk the buttermilk, melted butter, olive oil, vanilla extract, and mashed banana together.
Add half of the dry ingredients and mix well. Then add the last half of the dry ingredients and whisk until everything is smooth. If the pancake batter is too thick add another splash of buttermilk or milk to loosen it up.
Spray the inside of the muffin tin with cooking spray making sure you cover the bottom and sides. Pour the batter about 3/4 of the way in each muffin tin and bake for about 15 - 20 minutes.
Serve warm or room temperature with your favorite berries.