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December Recipes

SALTED CARAMEL TURTLE

THUMBPRINT COOKIES 

1       Cup All-purpose Flour

1/3    Cup Cocoa Powder

1/4    tsp. Salt

1/2    Cup Unsalted Butter (softened)

1/3    Cup Granulated Sugar

1/3    Cup  Packed Light Brown Sugar

1       Large Egg (seperated)

1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

2       Tbsp. Buttermilk

1 1/4 Cups Pecans (finely chopped)

15     Caramels (such as Kraft)

2 1/2 Tbsp. Heavy Cream

          Coarse Sea Salt

3        oz. Milk Chocolate (chopped, or semi-sweet chocolate chips)

2        tsp. Shortening

In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder and salt, set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium-high speed until slightly pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in egg yolk (set egg whites aside in a bowl in the refrigerator) and vanilla extract. Blend in buttermilk. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Shape dough into a ball and drop onto a sheet of plastic wrap, flatten dough into a 6-inch disk then wrap with plastic wrap and chill 45 minutes, until slightly firm (or up to 1 day. If chilling longer than a few hours, I’d recommend letting the dough rest at room temperature a bit so the dough isn’t too firm and cracking when making indentations).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove egg white from refrigerator and whisk vigorously until frothy. Place finely chopped pecans in a bowl. Shape dough into 1-inch balls then working with one at a time, drop into egg white and roll to evenly coat, then lift and allow excess egg white to run off and immediately place in bowl with chopped pecans and roll to evenly coat (if necessary, you can gently press into the nuts to help them stick). Transfer to parchment paper lined baking sheets and make a deep indentation with thumb in the center of each dough ball. Bake in preheated oven until set, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven, then using the bottom of a rounded teaspoon, gently press down on existing indentation (to create more space for caramel). Cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the topping:

Place caramels and cream in a microwave safe bowl. Heat mixture in microwave on HIGH power in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth. Spoon caramel into indentation in cookies and sprinkle tops with a small pinch of sea salt.

Place chocolate and shortening into a separate microwave safe mixing bowl. Heat mixture on 50% power in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth. Pour into a piping bag or ziplock bag and cut tip off corner. Drizzle over cookies. Allow to set then store in an airtight container. 

Makes 2 dozen cookies.


REINDEER CUPCAKE

1     Devil’s Food Cake Mix

3     Eggs

1/2  Cup Oil

2     tsp. Vanilla Extract

1     Cup  Milk or Buttermilk

1/2  Cup Sour Cream

Frosting:

1     Cup Butter

1/3  Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

2     to 3 Cups Powdered Sugar

2     Tbsp. Milk

Mini Pretzels - for Antlers

Nilla Wafers - for Muzzles

Brown M&M’s - for Noses (a few red for Rudolph)

White Mint M&M’s - for Eye

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners.

2. Sift cake mix into a small bowl and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, combine eggs, oil, vanilla extract, milk and sour cream until smooth.  Stir in cake mix.

4. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 16-20 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.

5. Let cool.

6. Chocolate frosting: Beat butter. Add cocoa powder, 2 Cups powdered sugar and milk. Slowly add more powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency.

7. Prep reindeer “faces” by using frosting to stick brown M&M’s on Nilla Wafers (some red for Rudolphs if you want). Melt down a few chocolate chips, put in a small plastic bag, snip off the tip to make a mini piping bag and “dot” little eyeballs on the white M&M’s to make eyes.

8. Frost cupcakes. (See photos) Place Nilla wafers with M&M’s on cupcakes, then place pretzels above. Use a little frosting to stick on 2 eyes and there you go!


CHRISTMAS TREE BROWNIES

1    Box Brownie Mix (prepared  as directed on box)

2    or 3 Drops Green Food Color

2/3 Cup Vanilla Frosting (from 16-oz container)

Betty Crocker™ Decorating Decors red and green candy sprinkles (or mini candy-coated chocolate baking bits)

Miniature Candy Canes (2 inch, unwrapped)

Heat oven to 350 degrees F (325 for dark or nonstick pan). Line 9-inch square pan with foil so foil extends about 2 inches over sides of pan. Grease bottom only of foil with shortening or cooking spray.

Make brownie mix as directed on box for 9-inch square pan. Cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove from pan by lifting foil; peel foil away. To cut brownie into triangles, cut into 3 rows. Cut each row into 5 triangles. Save smaller pieces for snacking!

Stir food color into frosting. Spoon frosting into small resealable food-storage plastic bag; partially seal bag. Cut off tiny bottom corner of bag. Squeeze bag to pipe frosting over brownies. Sprinkle with decors.

Break off curved end of candy cane; insert straight piece into bottoms of triangles to make tree trunks.


PEPPERMINT HOT CHOCOLATE SLOW-COOKER PUNCH

8 Cups Whole Milk

1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk

3 Cups Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips

1/4 Cup Creme De Menthe

1 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract

1 tsp. Peppermint Extract

1/4 tsp. Salt

Sweetened Whipped Cream

Crushed Candy Canes

Pour the milk, the sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, creme de menthe, vanilla, peppermint extract and salt into a 7 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours or until combined, whisking vigorously halfway through to help chocolate melt.

Switch to warm for serving. Set out whipped cream and crushed candy canes for topping. Serves 12. 


APPLE CIDER PUNCH

1/2 Gallon Apple Cider

1 Qt. White Grape Juice

1 Bottle Sparkling Apple

Cider

8 oz. Orange Juice

8 Star Anises

3 Golden Delicious Apples

Ice

In a punch bowl or large picture, combine apple cider, grape juice, sparkling cider and orange juice. Add the star anises. Wash and cut thin slices from the apples and add to the punch bowl.

To serve, fill tumblers with ice. Garnish each tumbler with a staranise and an apple slice. Serves 16.


KIDS FRUIT PUNCH

2 pt. Fruit Sorbet

1 Liter Fresh Fruit Juice

2 Liters Lemon/Lime Soda

Pour one liter of fresh fruit juice (orange, grapfruit, strawberry etc...) into a large punchbowl. Add 2 liters of your favorite lemon/lime soda. Scoop in a pint of your favorite fruit sorbet (raspberry, orange or lime are all great flavors) and serve. Serves 12.

Tips:

Calculate Your Consumption:
Guessing how much your holiday guests will consume doesn’t have to be a chore. Plan on guests’ drinking a couple of glasses within the first hour and then a glass every hour after that.

Regulate the Temperature:
Keep punches cold by placing the bowl in a bigger bowl filled withice or a block of carved ice, and use those cut glasses that come with the punch bowl as they’re designed to keep your hand from warming the drink.


GARLIC PRIME RIB

1 10 lb. Prime Rib Roast

10 Cloves Garlic (minced)

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

2 tsp. Salt

2 tsp. Ground

Black Pepper

2 tsp. Dried

Thyme

Place the roast in a roasting pan with the fatty side up. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme. Spread the mixture over the fatty layer of the roast, and let the roast sit out until it is room temperature, no longer than 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Bake the roast for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce the temperature to 325 degrees F, and continue roasting for an additional 60 to 75 minutes. The internal temperature of the roast should be at 135 degrees F for medium rare. Allow the roast to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving so the meat retains its juices. Serves 10 to 12.


BACON-WRAPPED HOT DOG BITES

9 Slices Bacon (cut in half)

6 Hot Dogs (cut into thirds)

1/3 Cup Brown Sugar (packed)

1/4 tsp. Ground Red Pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the bacon slices into half. Cut the hot dogs into thirds. Wrap each piece of hot dog with one piece of bacon. In a shallow dish mix the brown sugar and the red pepper. Roll each wrapped hot dog piece in the brown sugar and pepper mixture to coat evenly. Place seam side down (or secure with tooth picks) on a foil lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake 22 to 24 minutes or until bacon is crisp and golden brown, turning after 12 minutes. Serves 18.


CRANBERRY CHEESE BALL

1 8 oz. Tub Cream Cheese Spread

1 pkg. Shredded Cheddar Cheese

1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries

2 Tbsp. Port Wine

1/2 Cup Pecans (chopped)

1/4 Cup Maple Flavored Pancake Syrup

Mix cream cheese spread, cheddar cheese, cranberries and wine until blended. Refrigerate 1 hour. Shape into ball and roll in the chopped nuts. Place on serving plate and drizzle with syrup before serving. Serves 16.


 

CROCK POT CHICKEN

WITH GARLIC BROWN SUGAR GLAZE

1    Large Chicken (cut into serving pieces)     

1    Cup Brown Sugar (packed) 

2/3 Cup Vinegar 

1/4 Cup Sprite or 7-up Soda    

2    or 3 Tbsp. Garlic (minced)

2    Tbsp. Soy Sauce

1    tsp. Black Pepper

Place the cut up chicken pieces into the crock pot. Mix all the remaining ingredients and pour over the chicken. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Serve over rice or noodles. The sauce can be thickened after cooking with a little cornstarch if desired.  Serves 6


CHEESY PASTA-VEGETABLE SOUP

3    Cups Chicken Broth 

1    Cup Gemelli Pasta (uncooked)

1    (12 oz.) Bag Frozen Broccoli, Cauliflower & Carrot Mix 

1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder

1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

2    Cups American Cheese (shredded)

In a 3 quart saucepan, heat the broth to boiling over high heat. Stir in the pasta; cook 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente. Reduce heat to medium, stir in the frozen vegetables and garlic powder; cover and cook 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally until crisp-tender. Stir in the heavy cream and cheese; cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until cheese is melted and soup is heated through. Serves 4.


SLOW COOKER SPANISH BEEF STEW

1     lb. Beef Stew Meat

1/2  Cup Spanish Onion (chopped)

2     Cloves Garlic (minced)

2     Cups Red Potatoes (chopped)

1     14.5 oz. Can Diced

1     12 oz. Jar Sofrito*

1/2  Cup Pitted Green 

       Olives (cut in half)

       Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Cook beef in hot skillet until completely browned, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Transfer beef to a slow cooker, retaining some of the beef drippings in the skillet.

Return the skillet to the heat. Saute the onion and garlic in the hot drippings until softened, about 5 minutes; add to the beef in the slow cooker.  Stir potatoes, diced tomatoes, sofrito and olives into the beef mixture. Cook on low until beef and potatoes are fork tender, 4 to 5 hours. 

*Note: Sofrito is a fragrant blend of herbs and spices used to season countless dishes, such as stews, beans, rice and occasionally meat. In most cases, sofrito is the foundation upon which the rest of a recipe is built. In Spanish cuisine, sofrito consists of garlic, onion, paprika, and tomatoes cooked in olive oil.