Posts Tagged by valentines day

Easy as Pie Crust Cookies

Pie-Crust-Cookies

To me, the best part of the pie is (usually) the crust. No stone throwing, please. I’ve embraced my *cough* uniqueness and I’m comfortable admitting this.  I also don’t mind telling you that I’m the same way with pizza crust.  I think I got it from my dad… I’ve been staring at a package of leftover refrigerated pie crust in my fridge and have succumbed to it’s calling.  Yes, it really does say my name every time I open the refrigerator. Really. Time to bake.  I thought about Pie Crust Cookies – the ones where you just roll balls of dough in cinnamon sugar and bake them – but wanted to add a little extra to this batch. I’m also pretty smitten with cookie cutters and wanted to haul out the hearts!

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These Pie Crust Cookies are all dressed up for Valentine’s Day and I’ll be bringing them to my dad – my very first Valentine! My second favorite way to make these is with cranberries and fresh rosemary.  We made these at Thanksgiving.

Pie-Crust-Cookies-Thanksgiving

Chocolate chips work really well and pair wonderfully with dried cherries – or by just themselves! Apricots and almonds would be yummy, as would some crushed pistachios and orange zest. How about a savory version – crumbled bacon and shredded cheddar?  Chopped pepperoni and grated Parmesan?  Gasp! What about crushed up Butterfingers?  Oh my gosh – I’m calling my dad right now!  OK, right after I run to the store for more pie crust. Have any ideas for flavor combinations?  I’m ready!

To make this version of Pie Crust Cookies:

Pie Crust Cookies

Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 14 minutes
Total time 29 minutes
Meal type Appetizer, Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dried fruit, finely chopped (I've used dried cranberries, cherries, raisins and apricots. Use what you enjoy or have on hand!)
  • 1/3 cup chopped nuts of your choice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (We use turbinado, but any kind of sugar will work)
  • basic egg wash or cooking spray
  • extra sugar to sprinkle on top

Directions

Step 1 Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Unroll one of the pie crusts onto waxed paper or parchment paper.
Step 2
Spread dried fruit and nuts evenly across the crust.
Step 3 Sprinkle the 1/2 cup of sugar evenly across the crust.
Step 4 Unroll the remaining pie crust and lay it on top on the first one, lining up the edges as best you can. It doesn't have to be perfect.
Step 5
Place another sheet of waxed paper or parchment paper on top of your pie crust sandwich and roll the two layers together until they become one. It will thin out, but be certain there's a pretty good seal.
Step 6 Cut out into whatever shapes you like and place on a baking sheet. If the two layers of crust separate, simply pinch them back together. These don't spread much, so they can be fairly close together.
Step 7
Use an egg wash or some cooking spray on the tops of the cookies and sprinkle each one with some additional sugar.
Step 8
Bake for 12-14 minutes on 375 degrees. These are done when they are golden brown. Remove from pan to a cooling rack.
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Have a Fondue Party at Home

Fondue-Party

Our family used to have fondue a lot. It was a 70’s thing to do. We had the fancy copper pot, the cool can of blue fire and all those awesome fondue forks.  I always used the one with the baby blue handle. Back then, we only ate cheese fondue.  It didn’t matter…I love cheese.  There were five of us, all gathered around the kitchen table, dipping breads and sausage in a pot of molten cheese and it was amazing! The only rule was that if you “lost” anything in the cheese, you had to do the dishes.  Take my word for it…you don’t want to be the one who has to clean the fondue pot.

Fondue, an alpine favorite that gets its name from the French word for “melt,” involves eating food that is dipped or cooked in a shared pot on the table. It is a Swiss tradition: The original cheese fondue, according to legend, was invented in 16th-century Zurich by a cook who had nothing but cheese and bread in the kitchen. It has evolved into a more elegant dish, made with ingredients such as Emmentaler and Gruyère cheeses, and white wine.

We got together to celebrate my mom’s birthday and, hallelujah, she asked for fondue! We went all out and did a three-course fondue meal.  First course, the traditional Swiss Cheese Fondue. Definitely Dad’s favorite. We had an assortment of fondue pots and 32 fondue forks, but all told, we had three electric and one Sterno pot and we made two pots of each course – one for each end of the table.

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Swiss Cheese Fondue 

2 cloves garlic, minced after Step 1.
6 ounces dry white wine
1 tsp. lemon juice
3 C. Swiss cheese, shredded and tossed in 1 Tablespoon flour
1 C. Gruyere cheese, shredded and tossed in 1 Tablespoon flour
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
Pinch nutmeg and a pinch black pepper

1. Rub garlic clove all over the inside of the fondue pot. (This might seem odd, but it really helps the flavor.)

2. Mince all of the garlic and simmer the garlic, wine, and lemon juice over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.

3. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the cheeses, and blend well until melted and creamy.

4. Add mustard, pepper and nutmeg.

Dip assorted breads, meats, and veggies in the cheese. We diced French bread, sour dough bread, smoked sausage and green apples. Pretzel bites and pre-cooked veggies like cauliflower and broccoli are good, too.

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Coq au Vin

The next course is Coq Au Vin – a flavorful broth that you cook meat and veggies in. This is the longest course as the meat takes some time to cook in the broth.  It’s so yummy, though!

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup Burgundy wine
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 green onions, sliced

1. Heat vegetable stock in fondue pot until it begins to simmer.
2. Add all other ingredients, bring to simmer.

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Place individual pieces of desired meat or veggies on fondue fork and put in pot until correct temperature has been reached. Seafood generally takes a minute or so to cook while beef/chicken/pork will take longer. Be sure your selection is thoroughly cooked.  We served steak, chicken, mushrooms, tiny potatoes (pre-cooked) and cheese tortellini (the refrigerated kind.) We also had a variety of sauces to dip in.  We used a store-bought Barbeque Sauce, Plum Sauce and a Teryaki Dipping Sauce.  We also made Gorgonzola Port Sauce and Green Goddess Sauce using recipes inspired by the Melting Pot. Word of caution – don’t eat the meat/potato/whatever right off the fork. After being in the broth for so long, the fork will be very hot and burn your mouth. (No, you shouldn’t ask me why I know this.)

Fondue-Party-6

Gorgonzola Port Sauce

1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cups sour cream
2 oz Gorgonzola Cheese
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic, chopped
1/4 oz port wine
1/2 oz milk

Combine all ingredients except the Gorgonzola in a mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly using a whisk. Add the Gorgonzola and blend well. Cover and refrigerate.

Green Goddess Dip

8 ounces cream cheese, cut into chunks
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons finely sliced chives

In a microwave-safe container, microwave cream cheese and milk for 2 to 4 minutes, whisking after each minute, until cream cheese melts and mixture is smooth. Stir in sour cream, onion, parsley and chives. Refrigerate until cold.

Chocolate Fondue 

Best for last. Best for last. Best for last. Did I say BEST?!?!  Chocolate Fondue.  Heads Up! Don’t eat so much in the first two courses that you have no room for CHOCOLATE FONDUE!  

(Adapted from The Melting Pot cookbook)

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INGREDIENTS: (You might like to think about doubling this recipe right from the get go!)

8 oz. milk chocolate in chips
2 T. heavy cream
2 T. chunky peanut butter

Combine chocolate and cream in fondue pot.  Heat on medium-low until chocolate is melted, stirring constantly.  Add peanut butter and stir until blended.  Keep fondue warm over low heat for serving. Serve with fresh strawberries, bananas, cheesecake, Rice Krispies Treats, marshmallows, pound cake and brownies for dipping.

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 Fondue is a super fun family meal, and also is really nice for a romantic dinner.  I’m planning to skip the first two courses and head straight for the Chocolate Fondue for Valentine’s Day this year!

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