Monday, April 30, 2012

Crispy Cinnamon Coins

These are icebox cookies that I made back in December for my cookie exchange.  The recipe comes from Sweet Pea's Kitchen.  I had asked her for permission to post this recipe and it took her a while to get back to me.  I then promptly forgot to post the recipe.  She got the recipe from a cookbook called Cuisine Cookies for the Holidays.  The cookies were very delicious.  I would recommend buying your cinnamon chips around the holidays or try The Prepared Pantry's website.  They carry just about anything you might want or need for baking purposes.    

Crispy Cinnamon Coins
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Minced zest of ½ lemon
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cinnamon chips, coarsely chopped
Turbinado sugar, for rolling


1.       In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy.  Add the granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in the egg, cinnamon, salt, vanilla and zest.  Add flour and mix until just combined.  Fold in cinnamon chips.  Divide the dough in half.
     Generously sprinkle a work surface with Turbinado sugar.  Shape each half of dough into an 18-to 20-inch long rope and roll in the sugar, adding more sugar as needed to prevent sticking.  Wrap each piece in a large sheet of plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.  (The colder the dough, the easier it will be to slice).
           Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Unwrap 1 piece of dough and slice into ½ inch thick slices, spacing 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining pieces of cookie dough.  Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes, or until crisp and golden.  Let cool on the baking sheets 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Yields:  80 (1-inch) cookies
Prep. Time: 1 hour 20 minutes (including chilling)

From Sweet Pea’s Kitchen


The Creative Cook

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Cherry Ice Box Cookies

Here is another recipe for slice and bake cookies.  I tried them early this time so I could decide if I want to make them for my Cookie Exchange in December.  I liked these cookies but next time I would use dried cherries rather than maraschino cherries. I thought that the cookies were too soft and crumbly with the maraschino cherries.  This recipe comes from the Mr. Food website.

Cherry Ice Box Cookies
Makes 48 cookies


1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (16 ounce) jar maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped (dried cherries)
1 cup finely chopped nuts
1/4 cup red decorator sugar (optional)


1.  Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.  Gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating well.  Add egg and vanilla, beating well.

2.  Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to butter mixture, beating well.  Pat cherries between paper towels to remove excess moisture.  Stir cherries and nuts into dough; cover dough, and chill 2 hours.

3.  Shape dough into 2 (1-1/2 inch by 8-inch) logs.  Roll in decorator sugar, if desired.  Wrap logs in wax paper and freeze 2 hours or until firm.  (Store in freezer up to 6 months, if desired.)

4.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Unwrap frozen dough and slice into 1/4 inch thick slices, using a sharp knife.  Place on lightly greased cookie sheets.  (Do not let thaw.)

5.  Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool 1 minute on cookie sheets.  Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.


The Creative Cook

Saturday, April 28, 2012


I made this chili for my boys last week.  We loved it.  The layers of flavor in this chili are amazing.  I definitely suggest that you try it.  I left out all the seeds from the chilis so my chili was not hot at all.  It was just flavorful.  If you want it to be hot, then leave in the chili seeds.  

The Best Chili You Will Ever Taste

Servings: 6-8

2 teaspoons flavorless oil (canola or safflower)
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. lean ground beef
¾-1 lb. sirloin beef, cubed
1 (14-1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 can dark beer
1 cup strong coffee
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
1 can beef broth
½ cup brown sugar
3-1/2 tablespoons chili sauce
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon salt
4 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans
4 chili peppers, chopped


1.       Heat oil.
2.       Cook onions, garlic and meat until brown.
3.       Add tomatoes, beer, coffee, brown sugar, tomato paste and broth.
4.       Add spices.  Stir in 2 cans of beans and peppers.
5.       Reduce heat and simmer for 1-1/2 hours.
6.       Add 2 remaining cans of kidney beans and simmer for another 30 minutes. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mrs. Wakefield's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mrs. Wakefield’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe is adapted from the original Toll House Crunch Cookie Recipe that appeaed in the 1949 edition of Ruth Wakefield’s Toll House Tried and True Recipes.  Like the very first batch, these cookies omit the nuts in favor of more chocolate.  Makes about 5 dozen cookies.


2-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (room temperature)
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten (room temperature)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon hot water
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups (18 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips


Sift flour together with salt and set aside.

Cream together butter and sugars.  Add the eggs, mixing until combined.  Dissolve baking soda in hot water and add alternately with flour mixture.  Add vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Cover and refrigerate for 36 to 48 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Scoop out rounded tablespoonfuls of refrigerated dough.  Roll between hands into a ball.  Place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and press ball down to flatten.  Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool cookies on the pan for 2 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Buffalo Style Chicken Pizza

I made this pizza for my boys on Friday night. They both approved. In fact, they asked me to make it again. That is high praise from the boys.




3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cooked and shredded (approx. 2 cups)

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 ounces hot sauce (Frank’s)

8 ounces blue cheese salad dressing

1 (16 inch) prepared pizza crust

8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, melted butter and hot sauce. Mix well. Spread blue cheese dressing over crust, then top with mixture and sprinkle with shredded cheese.

3. Bake in a preheated oven until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly, about 10 to 15 minutes. Let set a few minutes before slicing.


The Creative Cook

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

New York Cheesecake

This recipe comes from a blog called It is a good cheesecake recipe. I just don't understand why you need to add butter to it. I did use the butter but it seemed unnecessary to me. I would definitely recommend that you absolutely make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature. I also recommend cooking this or any cheesecake in a water bath or Bain Marie. It definitely helps prevent cracking. Supposedly, the addition of flour and/or cornstarch also help prevent cracking. I was under the impression that cold air would cause the cheesecake to crack so I figured that leaving it in the oven the extra hour after it was turned off would help. I have to tell you that my cheesecake cracked anyway. That is why I would take the time to use a water bath next time I make this cheesecake. I am not sure that I would use the butter next time. Also, please take the time to read the tips that I included from various blogs at the end of this post. They are very informative and helpful tips on making cheesecake. I learned a very simple way to fix the cracked cheesecake that I also included for your information. The fruit toppings both came out very nice. I did not make a crust for this cheesecake. It was great without it. This cheesecake was a big hit at my Easter dinner.

New York Cheesecake


2 cups sour cream, room temperature
1 lb. ricotta cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, melted
1-1/2 cup sugar
16 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
3 Tbsp. flour
3 extra large eggs, room temperature
1 Tbsp. vanilla
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. lemon juice


1. Combine sour cream and ricotta cheese in a large mixing bowl. Beating at low speed, add butter, sugar and cream cheese.

2. Increase speed to medium and add flour, eggs, vanilla, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Beat for 5 minutes.

3. Pour into a buttered or greased spring form pan. Wrap the bottom of the spring form pan with aluminum foil. Place the spring form pan into a roasting pan. Add water to roasting pan filled halfway to the top. (Ban-Marie)

4. Bake in preheated 325F oven for 1 hour, then turn off oven and leave in closed oven for one hour longer. Cool on rack.

Optional Crust:

1/3 cup butter, melted
1-1/2 cup cinnamon graham cracker crumbs

Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter; press evenly on bottom of 9 inch pie pan.



1-1/2 pints (3 cups) blueberries

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon cornstarch


Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat.

Bring to a simmer, and cook until berries break down, about 4 minutes.

Let cool, then refrigerate, covered, until cold (or up to 3 days).



1 package (12 oz.) frozen raspberries

1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla


In a small saucepan, stir together cornstarch and sugar.

Add water and 1 cup of the frozen raspberries. (Set remaining berries aside.) Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until mixture begins to boil. Cook mixture for an additional minute, then remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Let stand until cooled. Stir in remaining berries and chill for at least 1 hour. Spread sauce over cheesecake before serving. Any remaining sauce can be served on the side.


The bain-marie comes in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and types, but traditionally is a wide, cylindrical, usually metal container made of three or four basic parts: a handle, an outer (or lower) container that holds the working liquid, an inner (or upper), smaller container that fits inside the outer one and which holds the material to be heated or cooked, and sometimes a base underneath. Under the outer container of the bain-marie (or built into its base) is a heat source.

Typically the inner container is immersed about halfway into the working liquid.

The smaller container, filled with the substance to be heated, fits inside the outer container, filled with the working liquid (usually water), and the whole is heated at, or below, the base, causing the temperature of the materials in both containers to rise as needed. The insulating action of the water helps to keep contents of the inner pot from boiling or scorching.

When the working liquid is water and the bain-marie is used at sea level, the maximum temperature of the material in the lower container will not exceed 100 degrees Celsius (212 F), the boiling point of water at sea level. Using different working liquids (oils, salt solutions, etc.) in the lower container will result in different maximum temperatures.

Unmolding from the Pan:

  • To unmold the cake from a springform pan, first run a thin bladed knife around the edge to loosen the crust from the sides of the pan. Open the clamp and expand the sides of the pan and release the bottom. Carefully slip the tip of a sharp knife between the crust and pan bottom, slip the cake off the pan bottom and onto a serving plate.
  • To unmold the cake from a cheesecake pan, the pan needs to be slightly heated to release the cake. First run a thin bladed knife around the edge to loosen the crust from the sides of the pan. Dip the pan into a bowl or sink of very hot water that reaches about ¾ of the way to the rim, and hold in place for 10 to 15 seconds. Dry the pan with a towel, and then invert it onto a plate that is covered with plastic wrap. If the cake doesn’t come out, dip and try again. Or, instead of dipping in hot water, place the pan over a stovetop burner at medium heat and rotate the pan so that the entire bottom becomes slightly heated, taking about 5 to 10 seconds. Once it drops out of the pan, quickly invert the cake onto a clean serving plate, right side up.


  • Cheesecake can be difficult to slice because the creamy filling sticks to the knife. Dental floss is one of the best-kept secrets in a cheesecake kitchen. Take a long strand of unflavored dental floss, either waxed or unwaxed, stretch it taut, and gently press it through the cake. Don’t pull the floss back up through the cut you have made, instead pull it out when you reach the bottom. If the floss does not cut through the crust, finish cutting with a thin, sharp knife.
  • If using a knife instead of dental floss to slice the cake, use a sharp straight-edge knife. To make clean slices, warm the blade in hot water, dry and slice. Clean and dry the knife after each cut. As you cut, pull the knife out from the bottom of the cake to keep the surface smooth.

Hints to Prevent Cheesecake from Cracking

  • Do not overbeat the cheesecake batter. Incorporate as little air into the batter as possible. The ingredients must be well blended, but excessive beating creates too many air bubbles which cause the cheesecake to puff up too much during baking, and then crack as the cheesecake settles when cooling.
  • Let the filling rest about 5 minutes before pouring into the pan to allow air bubbles to rise to the surface.
  • Before baking, run the point of a sharp knife between the cheesecake and the side of the pan about ½ inches down. This will help prevent cracks as the cake bakes and cools.
  • Open the oven door as little as possible while baking, especially during the first 30 minutes. Drafts can cause a cheesecake to crack.
  • Bake in a slow oven. 325 degrees F is ideal, and no higher than 350 degrees F. If the oven temperature is too high the surface of the cheese cake will dry out, forming cracks.
  • Do not over bake. Cheesecakes continue to bake during the cooling process. Over baking can cause the cheesecake to crack.
  • Do not use a knife or toothpick to check for doneness as this may cause the cheesecake to crack.
  • After removing from the oven run a thin knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cheesecake. This allows the cake to contract away from the sides of the pan as it cools, helping to prevent cracks.
  • Allow plenty of time for the cheesecake to cool. Plan on making cheesecake at least 1 day ahead of serving. If a warm cheesecake is rushed into the refrigerator, the cake will contract dramatically, causing cracks. Allow the cake to cool completely to room temperature, and then chill in the refrigerator at least 12 to 24 hours before serving.

If your cheesecake cracks even after you have taken all the above precautions (as mine did), I recommend you try this: Let cheesecake cool in the refrigerator over night. Take it out in the morning and press together the cracks with clean fingers. Then get a butter knife and a bowl of warm water. Dip the knife in the water and scrape the flat side of the knife over the top of the cheesecake. If you are lucky, the cheesecake will look like it has never been cracked after you do this process. It worked for me. Good luck.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Citrus-Glazed Carrots

This is another recipe from Wegman's that I made for Easter. It was very good.

Citrus-Glazed Carrots

Serves: 4


1 bag (16 oz) baby cut carrots

2 quarts cold water

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

4 tablespoons Triple Fruit Spread (Apricot, Peach & Passion Fruit) (or substitute any citrus fruit spread or marmalade)

2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley


1. Cover carrots with cold salted water in medium sauce pan; heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer 6-7 minutes until carrots are tender. Drain well

2. Melt butter in large skillet on medium. Add jam, whisking until smooth. Add drained carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, 1 – 2 minutes, until glazed. Season to taste with salt and pepper; sprinkle with parsley.

Sesame Pasta Chicken Salad


Servings: 10


¼ cup sesame seeds

1 (16 ounce) package bow tie pasta

½ cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup light soy sauce

1/3 cup rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

3 tablespoons white sugar

½ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

3 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast

1 cup frozen baby peas

1 cup shredded carrots

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/3 cup chopped green onion


1. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add sesame seeds, and cook stirring frequently until lightly toasted. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain pasta and rinse under cold water until cool. Transfer to a large bowl.

3. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine vegetable oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, sesame seeds, ginger, and pepper. Shake well.

4. Pour sesame dressing over pasta and toss to coat evenly. Gently mix in chicken, cilantro and green onions and vegetables.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Roasted Asparagus with Parmigiano-Reggiano

I had family over for Easter this year. It wasn't a large crowd but I still had to make some side dishes. I had ordered a ham from Honeybaked Ham so I didn't have to actually make the main dish. My mother made a chicken, a potato dish and some other great dishes to serve, as well. I've been getting asked for asparagus and seeing recipes for asparagus quite a bit recently. I am not a fan of asparagus but that doesn't mean I won't cook it for others. It wasn't hard to make. In fact, I would go out on a limb and say it was easy. The recipe is from a flier I got from Wegman's. They are using all Wegman's brand products but that isn't necessary. I used whatever brand I had available to me. I also went on youtube to find out exactly how to trim asparagus. It was fairly easy. I doubled the recipe and it went very quickly. I should have tripled it.


Makes: 2 Cups

1 bunch (about 1 pound) asparagus, trimmed

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

1. Arrange asparagus in single layer on baking sheet; drizzle with olive oil, rolling to coat.

2. Roast about 10 minutes, until asparagus is tender. Remove from oven.

3. Season generously with salt and pepper; sprinkle evenly with cheese. Return to oven. Roast about 5 minutes, until cheese begins to soften and brown.


The Creative Cook

Friday, April 6, 2012

Melt in Your Mouth Chicken

I found this recipe in As soon as I saw it, I knew it would be a favorite of my husband's. He is such a big fan of mayo. I can't explain it but I just knew he would love this chicken. I was right. He did love it. My son, on the other hand, wasn't overly fond of it. I thought the chicken was very tasty, juicy and tender. My husband even asked if I would make this again. I told him he had to convince his son to give it another chance. It is a very easy dish to make, so I don't mind making it again.


Servings: 4


4 boneless chicken breast halves

1 cup mayonnaise

½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1-1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder


1. Mix mayonnaise, cheese and seasonings.

2. Spread mixture over chicken breast and place in baking dish.

3. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.