Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

Chocolate covered cherries are one of my most favorite candies, especially the ones from a local chocolate store.  When I saw this recpe for chocolate covered cherry cookies, I knew I had to give these a try this year.  Wow, they are amazing!  These are basically made the same way as the classic thumbprint cookies, except these have a chocolate cookie base.  Instead of jam or chocolate, you fill the thumbprint with a maraschino cherry, and top it with a chocolate ganache that is thinned with some of the liquid in the maraschino cherry jar.  These will be added to my cookies I make yearly list as they were that good!

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies
Source: From Tasty Kitchen

1-½ cup All-purpose Flour
½ cups Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
¼ teaspoons Salt
¼ teaspoons Baking Soda
¼ teaspoons Baking Powder
½ cups Butter, Room Temperature
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1 whole Egg
1-½ teaspoon Vanilla
1 jar (10 Oz.) Maraschino Cherries, Drained, Reserve Juice
1 package (6 Oz.) Semisweet Chocolate Chips
½ cups Sweetened, Condensed Milk

In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and soda. Blend well and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat together butter or margarine and sugar on low speed until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat well.

Gradually add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture; beat until smooth and well blended.

With hands, shape dough into 1-inch balls; place on an ungreased baking sheet. Press down the center of the dough with your thumb.

Drain maraschino cherries well, reserving juice. Place a cherry in the center indention of each cookie.

In small saucepan, combine chocolate pieces and sweetened condensed milk. Heat over low heat until chocolate is melted. Stir in 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of the reserved cherry juice.

Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the topping over each cherry, spreading to cover the cherry. If frosting seems too thick, thin it with a little more cherry juice.

(I was worried that I read my original recipe wrong when it told me to put the frosting on BEFORE baking. I thought it would melt and run all over. But I did as it said and it is amazing! This super-silky chocolate frosting does not melt or run anywhere! It seals in the cherry beautifully!)

Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes, or until done. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 3 to 4 dozen cookies.

Enjoy!

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Peanut Butter Blossoms

I’m not sure if this is true everywhere, but around here, you won’t find a cookie tray anywhere that doesn’t include these classic Christmas cookies.  In fact, if you want to buy Hershey Kisses,  don’t try and buy them the weekend before Christmas, because you won’t find the plain ones anywhere!  I had to buy 2 of those plastic candy cane things that have the Hershey Kisses in them just so I could make these (and it cost me twice as much!).  I make these every year per the husband’s request, as these are his absolute favorite.  I’m lucky that we have any left at this point!  I love this recipe because the peanut butter cookie is so soft, unlike some others I’ve tried or eaten where the cookie is more crunchy.

Peanut Butter Blossoms
Source: From Hershey’s

48 HERSHEY’S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Granulated sugar

Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.

Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. About 4 dozen cookies.

White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies

Every year I go on a major Christmas cookie baking spree and usually make at least 6 different kinds.  I have a few that I make every year, and then I like to try some new recipes as well.  I seem to have run out of time, so I didn’t make nearly as much as planned, but I am so glad I found time to make these white chocolate and cranberry cookies, which is one of the new recipes I tried this year.  These are delicious!  The husband would have eaten the entire batch if I hadn’t stopped him.  I think they are so festive with the red cranberries and white chocolate chips.  If you are still looking for a last minute Christmas cookie recipe that is easy to make, I would give these a try!

White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies
Source: From Allrecipes

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon brandy
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and brandy. Combine the flour and baking soda; stir into the sugar mixture. Mix in the white chocolate chips and cranberries. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. For best results, take them out while they are still doughy. Allow cookies to cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheets before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

CEiMB: Beef Taco Salad with Chunky Tomato Dressing

I am not a big salad eater, but I am a huge fan of taco salad, so I was excited about this week’s CEiMB recipe for Beef Taco Salad with Chunky Tomato Dressing.  Let me tell you, we really enjoyed this!  Even the toddler ate this, and he’s never eaten salad before (although he is a tomato junkie, so he mostly ate it because of all the tomatoes).  The only thing I was nervous about was the dressing, but the lime vinagrette with the tomatoes was fantastic, and complemented the flavor of the beef nicely.  We will definitely have this again, especially since I had dinner on the table in about 20 minutes.  Quick, tasty, and healthy…you can’t beat that!

A big thanks to Peggy of Pantry Revisted for picking another great Ellie recipe.  You can find this recipe on page 77 of Ellie Krieger’s So Easy or on Peggy’s blog.  You can check out the CEiMB blogroll to see how everyone else enjoed this one. Up next week, Baked Beans with Ham.

Chicken Chili with Black Beans and Corn

Well, if you watch the news at all, you’ve certainly heard of all the snow that has fallen throughout the Great Lakes area.  Unfortunately, we live right in the “snowbelt” not far from Lake Erie, and we’ve been pummeled with snow over the last several weeks.  In fact, last I checked a few hours ago, we had 18 inches of snow in our front yard.  This is after we got 18 inches last week that mostly melted before this storm hit.   Needless to say, I am very much over all of this snow!  So, when I was thinking of what to make for dinner on Sunday night to combat the cold and snow, this soup/chili was the perfect fit!  This was very delicious and will be made time and time again during what appears to be a miserably cold winter here.  In fact, this will replace what was my favorite chicken tortilla soup recipe.  YUM 🙂

Chicken Chili with Black Beans and Corn

Source:  Adapted from Elly Says Opa!

2 medium (about 12-14 oz. total) chicken breasts, cooked and shredded or cubed
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15 oz.) can fire-roasted diced or fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
2 Tbsp. Ancho chili powder
1 Tbsp. cumin
1 qt. low sodium chicken broth
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup corn
your favorite garnishes (we used light sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese)

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, then stir in the garlic. After about a minute, add the tomatoes, chili powder and cumin. Reduce the heat slightly and cook the mixture together for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

(At this point, use an immersion blender to smooth out the soup if you don’t want chunks of tomato). Add the chicken broth to the pot, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Then and add the chicken and black beans. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the corn and simmer, uncovered, just a few minutes until the corn is tender. Adjust seasonings if necessary.

CEiMB: Beef Stroganoff

Stroganoff is one of my favorite foods, so I was very excited when Liz of The Not So Skinny Kitchen selected Beef Stroganoff as this week’s Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe.  The husband is not a fan of stroganoff, mostly because he hates sour cream and mushrooms.  I was hoping that we would like this one since it used Greek yogurt and had onions as well.  Unfortunately, he was not a fan at all.  Both the toddler and I enjoyed this, even though I mostly overcooked the beef, and the sauce never thickened up for me.  Eh, you win some and lose some in this house.  I may give this another go if the husband is out of town for work, which is when I make my favorite Chicken Stroganoff recipe.

You can find this recipe over on Liz’s blog, or on pages 120-121 of Ellie Krieger’s So Easy.  Check out the CEiMB blogroll to see how everyone else did with this one.  Next week, we’re making Beef Taco Salad with Chunky Tomato Dressing.  I am very excited about this one as it is a recipe I’ve debated selecting!

Goulash

This is one of my favorite comfort food meals.  My mom made goulash all the time when I was little.  We were watching Food Network together a few years ago and we both saw this recipe and wanted to try it.  She made it for the husband and I when we first came home from the hospital with the toddler, and I fell in love with it.  This makes a ton of food!  We usually have it for dinner 2 night, plus a lunch somewhere in there as well.

Bobby’s Goulash
Source: Adapted from Paula Deen

2.5 pounds lean ground beef  
1 large onions, chopped
3 cups water
1 (29-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (29-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp Italian seasoning
3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 tsp each garlic powder and black pepper
1 tsp seasoned salt
2 cups dried elbow macaroni

In a Dutch oven, saute the ground beef over medium-high heat, until no pink remains. Break up meat while sauteing; spoon off any grease. Add the onions to the pot and saute until they are tender about 5 minutes. Add 3 cups water, along with the tomato sauce, tomatoes, garlic, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, soy sauce, garlic powder, black pepper, and seasoned salt. Stir well. Place a lid on the pot and allow this to cook for 20 to 25 minutes.

Add the elbow macaroni, stir well, return the lid to the pot, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaves and allow the mixture to sit about 30 minutes more before serving.