Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Sister's Pepper Jelly

Aren't these pretty? They look like Christmas ornaments. My sister likes her pepper jelly with just a hint of jalapeno, so this is perfect if you like yours on the milder side. It's great on crackers with cream cheese, or just by itself. My sister and my mom made these and shared them (and the recipe) with me.

Judy's Pepper Jelly
(printable recipe)
2/3 cup chopped sweet peppers (green or red)

1 small jalapeno pepper

2 3/4 cups apple cider vinegar

5 1/2 cups sugar
1 pouch Certo liquid pectin
food coloring if desired
1 tsp. butter or margarine

  • Put first four ingredients into a large kettle. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Remove from heat and strain through cheesecloth to remove solids. Add 1 pouch Certo liquid pectin, food coloring (red or green...about 9 drops) and 1 teaspoon butter.
  • Return to kettle and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  • Pour into sterilized jars and process 5 minutes in a boiling water bath.
Makes 5 (half-pint) jars

Friday, November 13, 2009


Filberts... Hazelnuts... They're the ones that always go begging in the nut bowl when all of the other mixed nuts have disappeared. (The almonds always go first.) For some reason, I've never been terribly fond of hazelnuts in their unaltered form. Nutella, though, is another story entirely. It's a creamy, nutty, chocolatey treat that gives a great hazelnut flavor to these cookies.

Nutella Pecan Cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup Nutella hazelnut spread
2 large eggs from happy hens
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans or filberts, coarsely chopped (I used pecans)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Melt butter in small saucepan over med. heat. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate until melted.
  • Place sugar in large mixing bowl. Add butter-chocolate mixture and beat until well combined.
  • Sift together flour, baking soda and salt
  • Beat Nutella, eggs and vanilla into sugar mixture until well combined.
  • Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in pecans.
  • Roll tablespoons of dough into balls and place onto parchment covered cookie sheets.
  • Bake 12-14 minutes or until set and slightly crisp. The longer cooking time gets you crispy cookies. If you want chewy ones, take them out earlier...even when they don't look quite done.
  • Cool slightly before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Chocolate Cappuccino Cookies

These cookies made my whole house smell like chocolate, coffee, cinnamon and vanilla. What more could a girl want? I only made a half batch, but I'm wishing I had made more. Want a closer look?

Don't you want a glass of milk right now? I know you do. Go ahead and make these puppies. You won't regret it!

Chocolate Cappuccino Cookies 
(adapted from a Hershey's recipe found in Southern Living, September 2001)

(printable recipe)
2 cups butter or margarine, softened
4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar (I used dark, because that's what I had)
4 large eggs from happy hens
2 teaspoons vanilla (just because I love vanilla)
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup Hershey's Cocoa (I mixed regular and dark, mostly regular)
1/4 cup instant coffee granules (I used instant Espresso)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

1 (10 oz.) package Hershey's Cinnamon Chips

  • Beat butter at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add brown sugar, beating well. Add eggs, vanilla and instant coffee granules, beating until blended.
  • Combine flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Gradually add to the butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended. Stir in cinnamon chips.
  • Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto parchment covered baking sheets.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 5 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Yield: 8 dozen

Who Would Do Such a Thing?

See this disturbing Jack-o-Lantern?
Can you guess who carved this spooky scary face?

This horrible nightmare inducing face with the eerie lopsided eyes?
Try and guess.
Give up?
Scroll down.


A little more...

Here it is again in case you've forgotten what it looks like.

Did you guess?

The culprits: Looking innocent, as usual...

Aren't they talented? I think if they had had more time, they might have added the mouth.

I wonder what would happen if I gave them a typewriter?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Say Cheese!

Sunday was Homecoming at church. We traditionally have a covered dish lunch following the service, but I always have trouble deciding what to bring. When I saw this recipe in an old Southern Living magazine (that I just happened to pick up at the thrift store on Saturday) I knew I had to make it. I love to play with food. (Ask my sister if you don't believe me.)

Pumpkin Cheese Ball

(adapted from a recipe in the October 2002 issue of Southern Living magazine)
1 lb. shredded cheddar cheese
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
1 (8 oz.) tub chive-and-onion cream cheese

2 teaspoons paprika

one half teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1 broccoli stalk

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 tblsp. mayonnaise -I used Baconnaise (Thanks, Rita!) to add a little smoky flavor
  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl until blended. Cover and chill until mixture is firm enough to be shaped.
  • Shape mixture into a ball to resemble a pumpkin. (I wrapped it in plastic wrap to make the initial shape.) Smooth entire outer surface with a non-serrated knife. Make vertical grooves using fingertips.
  • Cut broccoli stem and press into top of cheese ball.
  • Serve with crackers or apple slices.
This made a huge cheese ball. I think that if I make this again, I will half it and just use the tub of chive and onion cream cheese. I might also experiment with adding more paprika...I thought my pumpkin was a little pale!
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