Cranberry Brie Appetizer Bites  

Full Disclosure here: This is not my recipe. I got from one of those recipe videos that are all over everyone’s Facebook/Instagram feeds. I don’t remember which one, but it was definitely either Tasty or Delish.

Either way, these are so yummy! I made them as a Thanksgiving appetizer, but you could use them for Christmas. Or New Years. Or any random Tuesday for that matter. They are super easy and really tasty.

You just need a wheel of brie cheese, a tube (or two; I’ll explain in a minute) of crescent roll dough, chopped pecans, and prepared cranberry sauce. Rosemary is optional.

In the video, they used a sheet of crescent roll dough without any perforations to make the triangles into crescents. I can’t find that particular item in any stores near me, so I bought two tubes of the dough with the perforations and just sort of “mushed” everything together to create my own solid sheet of dough. Then I cut the dough into small squares to fit into a mini muffin tin. My mini muffin tin has 24 spaces so I made 24 squares and placed a square of dough into each cup.

Then, cut the brie into the same amount of cubes and placed them into the cup on top of the dough.

I topped each one with a small spoonful of prepared cranberry sauce. I made my own (recipe here), but you can use your own recipe or buy canned. Make sure it is the whole berry sauce though, not the jellied. Finally, sprinkle the chopped pecans on top of each one.  The video also topped each one with a few rosemary leaves, but honestly, I couldn’t taste any rosemary, so you could probably leave it off.

After you have assembled everything, bake at 375 for 15 minutes.

Serve warm or at minimum room temp.  We had some leftover and they are not quite as good cold from the fridge.

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White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

To me, white chocolate and cranberry are food soul mates. They just belong together. And they make for perfect Christmas treat bedfellows. You can make just about any dessert white chocolate-cranberry and not only would people love it, but it would look super festive on any table or cookie tray.
 

These are just a twist on a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe which I usually adapt from Nestle.

Fun Fact: The chocolate chip cookie was invented by a woman named Ruth Graves Wakefield in 1938. She owned a restaurant called the Toll House Inn. During WWII, soldiers from Massachusettes (where the Toll House Inn was located), shared the chocolate chip cookies from their care packages with other soldiers. Soon they were requesting them from their families who then inundated Ms. Wakefield with requests for her recipe! After her recipe became so popular, she contacted Nestle and struck a deal: they would print her recipe on the back of all their chocolate bars (she originally used a chopped up bar of chocolate and they used to include a chopping tool with each bar) and she would get a lifetime supply of chocolate. When Nestle started producing chocolate chips for the purpose of cookies in 1941, they printed her recipe on each bag. The recipe you see on the bag now is Wakefield’s original recipe.

Now, on to the recipe:

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

1 cup butter, softened

¾ cup brown sugar

¾ cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup dried cranberries

½ bag of white chocolate chips

In a bowl, cream together your butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. One at a time, add your eggs and vanilla.

 

In a separate bowl, combine your dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt. A little at a time, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until well combined.

Finally add in your white chocolate chips and cranberries until evenly dispersed in the dough.

 

You can then drop by spoonful onto a lined baking sheet and bake. I, however, love to use an ice cream scoop. It makes for a bigger cookie and they always come out perfectly soft and loaded with whatever mix-ins you are using in your cookie.

Either way, bake at 375 degrees for 9-11 minutes or until done.

 

Let cool as long as you can hold out and then devour.

Cranberry Goat Cheese Spread (the sequel)

I’ll just start by saying this, out loud, right now: I could eat this stuff with a spoon! Straight out of the bowl. Who needs crackers to get in the way? No crackers makes it carb-friendly, right??

I’ve made a spread/dip similar to this before, but I thought this was different enough to warrant it’s own post. And to avoid confusion, I call this one “Cranberry Goat Cheese Spread” instead of “Goat Cheese Cranberry Spread”. See? Not confusing at all. We’re all on the same page, right?

The differences in the spreads are the ratio of goat cheese to cream cheese is reversed in this one and I used fresh cranberry sauce instead of dried cranberries. I think it makes all the difference.

It’s super easy and a great appetizer. And it looks really festive when you pair it with fun Holiday-themed Wheat Thins! Or, you know, just a spoon.

Cranberry Goat Cheese Spread

8 oz goat cheese with honey (this is the food of the gods, let me tell you. I find this easily at Trader Joe’s. If you can’t find anything like this, just add some honey to the spread. Maybe a tablespoon? Start there and taste test…)


4 oz whipped cream cheese (the whipped kind makes it easier to mix together)


A couple sprinkles of ground cinnamon

½ cup cranberry sauce (you can use homemade, leftover, from the can… whatever you want)

In a bowl, mix together the goat cheese and cream cheese. Then sprinkle in your cinnamon and add your cranberry sauce and mix until the whole thing is well combined.

 

Serve with Wheat Thins or whatever cracker you want.


See what I mean? So simple, but so delicious! You and your guests will devour this!

Slow Cooker Cranberry Roast

Pot roast is such a classic dish, right? I love a good pot roast. With the tender meat, the savory gravy, the roasted vegetables. And it’s perfect cold weather food, which despite what you may think, we do actually get some of here in Southern California! Like right now for example. The air is thick with fog and it is 66 degrees! Laugh all you want, but that’s cold here.

Anyway, a classic pot roast is an American variation on a French dish called boeuf a la mode (which does not mean “beef with ice cream” thank goodness) with German and Jewish immigrant influences. The French immigrants brought to the US a method of cooking called a l’etouffee or Braising. This method takes a typically tougher piece of meat and cooks it in a liquid low and slow to tenderize it. German immigrants to Pennsylvania brought over sauerbrauten, and Jewish immigrants had their own versions. America, being the melting pot that it is, borrowed from the immigrant cultures for what we consider classic pot roast, but they are all roughly the same: braised meat in a gravy-type sauce with vegetables.

I make pot roast somewhat often, but I have to confess that I’ve never made one in the oven! I always use my slow cooker. And why not? It always comes out perfect.

Like I mentioned before, I love a good traditional pot roast, but this one is made with a bit of a twist. Trust me, though, it’s a delicious twist! And it could not be easier. It’s only 3 ingredients!

3 pound roast (I’m not going to lie, I use whatever is cheapest in the meat department)

2 packages onion soup mix

1 can jellied cranberry sauce (not the kind with whole berries; the kind that still looks like the can when you take it out.)

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Put the roast in the slow cooker. Sprinkle the onion soup mix on top. Add the cranberry sauce.

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Cook on low 8-10 hours.

You will think that you need to add liquid, but you won’t. Trust me.

Serve with a side of whatever veggies you want. Normally with a pot roast, you cook the meat and the veggies together, but with the addition of the cranberry sauce, I haven’t done that with this recipe yet. I usually just make something separate

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White Chocolate Cranberry Biscotti

This is the last post for my Christmas movie series and I really hope you guys enjoyed it. I know I am so weird about my love for all things Christmas, so thank you for letting me share this.

And even if you skipped over my Christmas movie gushing, I hope you at least enjoyed the recipes I created!

All of the movies I talked about go back to this original post of the common themes or plot points found in TV Christmas movies. I took each category and expanded on it and created some recipes that went with it. Well, here’s a bonus category I like to call “The Ones No One Else Remembers.” These are movies I remember fondly from my childhood that no one else seems to remember. Or at least they don’t get as much attention as some of the other more famous childhood favorites (I’m talking to you, Charlie Brown).

When I was a kid, we had a VHS tape (‘member those?!) on which we recorded off the TV (omg, remember doing that?!? I feel like I’m really aging myself here) a boatload of Christmas movies. On it where the classics like Charlie Brown Christmas, Frosty the Snowman, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, that sort of thing. There were also a few that I remember loving, but most people don’t remember at all:

  • A Mouse, A Mystery, and Me (1987): Alex is a mystery-writing mouse who teams up with his friend and a little boy (who may have been an orphan, I don’t quite remember) to help track down Santa, who the little boy believes was kidnapped. The three sleuths go on a little Christmas Eve adventure and uncover other crimes in the meantime. I remember thinking this movie was very cool because it was live-action, except for the mouse who was animated. Also, fun fact: the mouse was voiced by the one-and-only Donald O’Conner. I recently discovered that you can watch this whole movie on YouTube. It is very 80s, you guys, but totally reminds me of my childhood.
  • ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas (1974): This is a Rankin Bass animated movie about a clockmaker named Joshua, a mouse and the mouse’s son Albert who prints an anonymous letter in the town newspaper saying that Santa doesn’t exist. He signed the letter “all of us” even though it was just him. Santa sees the letter and is offended, refusing to come to the town. Joshua, a clockmaker, decides to build a clock that will sing Santa a special song as he flies past their town on Christmas Eve, hoping it will convince him to stop. Albert goes to explore the clock and ruins it, ruining Joshua’s reputation and the plan. Father Mouse reminds Albert what Christmas is all about and Albert goes to fix the clock himself, getting Santa to come to the town and saving Christmas for everyone. They still show this one on ABC Family. Beware, the song the clock sings will be stuck in your head for the rest of your life.
  • A Muppet Family Christmas (1987): I always loved this one because it had all the Jim Henson characters in it: The Muppets, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, and Muppet Babies. Fozzy is driving all his friends to his mother’s farm in the country. Due to storm conditions, all the other Jim Henson friends join him there. It really is a great Muppet movie that gets overshadowed by A Muppet Christmas Carol (which is a great one as well).  I haven’t seen this movie since I was a kid, but I recently discovered this whole movie is on YouTube as well.

White Chocolate-Cranberry Biscotti

1 stick butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 bag white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries

In a mixer, combine the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Then add the flour and baking powder. After it is all combined, add the white chocolate chips and the cranberries and mix until combined and the mix-ins are evenly dispersed throughout the dough.

Divide your dough in two and form two discs. They should be sort of rectangular-ish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes.

After the discs have baked, take them out of the oven and let them cool a bit before cutting them in to strips (your biscotti shapes). Turn the oven down to 325 degrees and bake these again for 10 minutes on each side.

For some reason this batch of biscotti turned out very crumbly and easily broken. I’m not quite sure why. They are still very delicious and excellent with coffee.  I figure out a less breakable recipe, I’ll be sure to update!