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Peanut Butter and Chocolate Marshmallow Bars

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Marshmallow Bars

I counted 21 total different kinds of holiday cookies that I baked or ‘formed’ these past couple of weeks. Can you believe that? I didn’t think it was a lot of cookies but after looking at all of them, I was pretty impressed. I actually […]

Mixed Bean Soup with Fresh Herbs

Mixed Bean Soup with Fresh Herbs

Are you like me who makes a quick list before heading into a store? I’ve been that way for some time and my lists that I keep during the week add up. These lists though allow me to make my driving routes and get into […]

Glazed Italian Cookies

Glazed Italian Cookies

Butter. Sugar. Flour. Baking Soda. Baking Powder. Eggs. Extracts. Those are the basic ingredients that I have been dealing with for nearly three weeks, among a few others such as Cocoa powder, salt, and more butter. My cookie game is on point, at least I thought it was until I decided to come up with this glazed Italian cookie that I thought was going to fail, but I was completely wrong.

Most every time we frequent our favorite Italian grocery and deli, Glorioso’s we tend to visit their baked goods area and pick up a good dozen of their cookies. Everyone in the family loves them. They are great alone, and a perfect snack with an afternoon coffee, so I decided to come up with a batch that I was hoping would come close, and I did a pretty darn good job.

Glazed Italian Cookies Recipe
Glazed Italian Cookies Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 whole eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 6 tsp baking powder
  • 5 cups all purpose flour, possibly more
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp lemon extract
  • parchment paper, optional but recommended
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 2-4 cups of powdered sugar
  • 5-7 tbsp milk
  • colored sprinkles, optional

This is a great cookie dough recipe and you can adjust your extract accordingly whether you want vanilla, almond, lemon (preferred), or other to your taste.

Keep in mind that you need to be care when adding the lemon extract as it can be a bit ‘chemical’ tasting if you go too far. You can always zest a lemon and add that in for an extra kick as well.

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet, or two with parchment paper.

Get a mixing bowl ready as your main mixer, then another bowl for sifting some dry ingredients. There is something about sifting that I really love. I’m not sure what it is. Maybe it is the fine powder coming out of it, or maybe it was a memory of being a kid and seeing my elders use them in baking, not sure.

Glazed Italian Cookies
Glazed Italian Cookies

To the mixing bowl, add in the butter and sugar. Put the mixer on medium-low and begin creaming the butter. During this time sift your flour, baking powder, and salt. Crack your eggs into a separate bowl to prevent any shells from getting in the batter.

Add the lemon extract to to the butter and sugar, then start slowly adding in the eggs, one at a time. Once all of your eggs are nicely mixed into the butter, slowly begin adding the flour. Mix on medium until you have a nice batter. Stop and scrape down the sides, and mix some more. Add more flour if needed to form a nice, thick and somewhat sticky dough.

I placed all of my dough into a piping bag, but you can use your hands and form these into 2 inch log shapes if you want. I placed mine in a gallon sized ziplock, clipped off the corner to the size I was going form, and piped strips onto the parchment paper.

Once all of your dough is used, place into the oven for about 9-11 minutes until golden brown.

While the cookies are baking, make the glaze. Take the melted butter, powdered sugar, and milk and whisk in a mixing bowl. Mix, feeling free to add a bit more sugar or milk until you have your desired consistency.

Once the cookies are baked, remove them from the oven and transfer them to a wire rack. Let these cool for about 30 minutes before adding the glaze. I simply add the same parchment paper under the cooling rack to catch excess glaze.

Take a cookie strip and cut them into bite sized pieces. Dip each piece into the glaze, the put on the rack. Repeat. Sprinkle your decorations if you desire, and let the glaze set. I let these sit out overnight, then bagged them for later use.

When my wife and daughter came home, they said something along the lines of ‘Oh boy, what are these!?’, then upon biting into them they knew right away where I was headed, and that was the Italian cookie. Addicting, but well worth it, these Italian glazed cookies will be a real hit, especially this time of year. Enjoy!

Toffee Saltine Bars with Chocolate and Nuts

Toffee Saltine Bars with Chocolate and Nuts

We have been waking up for a few weeks now with part of our kitchen counter top covered in holiday baking ingredients. It is now starting to dwindle down which is great because to be honest, I’m a bit tired of looking at all of […]

Christmas Cookies – Pretzel and Hershey Kiss Bites

Christmas Cookies – Pretzel and Hershey Kiss Bites

It is holiday season, and one thing that I probably would never thought I would really get into from a cooking experience is baking cookies. I think that ‘time’ is currently on my hand and when I heard my wife and daughter talking about making […]

Pork Loin Jerky Recipe and a Holiday Slate Cheese Board

Pork Loin Jerky Recipe and a Holiday Slate Cheese Board

I’m a big fan of good jerky. Do you find that it is typically a ‘guy’ thing to eat jerky? For whatever reason it seems that I rarely see a woman get excited to tear into a bag of jerky, but when a guy sees that jerky is available well then it seems like it is a whole different ball game. I know from my experience that seems to be the case, and hence why I tend to make my own. I just think that when looking at the cost, and ingredients for that matter, that jerky can be expensive. Not only that but I do not even know what a lot of those ingredients are in the jerky! Recently there were pork loins on sale and as I was purging one of our large freezers for a good thaw and cleaning, I decided to pull a couple of pork loins out to be used as sandwiches, but then quickly thought of trying out making jerky with the lean pork. Glad I did because this pork loin jerky was money well spent.

Pork Loin Jerky Recipe
Pork Loin Jerky Recipe

Let’s get started on this simple pork loin jerky recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb pork loin, trimmed of fat, cut into 1/2 inch medallions with the grain
  • 1 tbsp worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 dashes of liquid smoke, hickory flavor
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

First start by cutting the pork loin. I like to have mine almost slightly frozen so that it is way easier to slice, and you get really even slices.

Mix all of the everything but the pork in a bowl. Mix it really well. I like to use kitchen safe disposable plastic gloves when mixing so if you have them, strap them into place. Make sure all of the pork is completely marinated in the pork, and gently massage if possible. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator overnight to marinate, or at least four hours.

Next is the food dehydrator. Make sure the grates are cleaned and everything is ready to go. take the bottom rack and start laying pieces of the pork around the tray. Keep in mind some dehydrators are different shapes so the racks may be rectangular. If you are baking, Google ‘how to make jerky in the oven’. Do not crowd or overlap any of the pork pieces.

Continue with the pork on the remaining dehydrator racks. Stack the racks accordingly, cover, and turn on the dehydrator. For the most part you are done and simply have to wait about 5 hours for the pork to be jerky.

Pork Loin Jerky Recipe
Pork Loin Jerky Recipe

Once the jerky is done (it should be completely dry, but not like a shoelace as you still want to be able to easily eat through it), take them off of the rack (they will be slightly hot) and let cool before storing them. Once cooled, I like to keep half and then vacuum seal the rest. I learned the hard way some time ago when making a batch of jerky that when I placed them into a ziplock bag that the moisture got trapped and when pulling some out of the refrigerator, only a couple of days later, they were covered in mold. No bueno.

The end result is a really great pork jerky. Heck you would probably not even know it was pork if it wasn’t for the medallion cut! The light smokiness was all due to the liquid smoke, and trust me a little goes a long way. My taste testers came out of their rooms with excitement, and sure enough the pork loin jerky was a hit. The pork jerky makes a great holiday snack and can go well with an array of holiday servings, and in my case cookies and cheese.

The board I like to serve holiday appetizers on is this slate cheese board from Brooklyn Slate Company (comes with a nice maple cutting knife, chalk, bag, and you can even get it engraved). The cheese board actually elevates the low brow jerky into a more stunning presentation. Having the jerky on the board, alongside some funky cheese and some homemade cookies only resulted in a couple of slices of cheese being left, only after minutes of setting it out on display. The slate board that attracted so many quickly became a hit. I did not even get to use the chalk to write little notes on the board such as ‘pork jerky’, ‘manchego’, and ‘pecan pralines’. Next time. There is always next time.

Brooklyn Slate Cheese Board
Brooklyn Slate Cheese Board, @hometonest #hometonest, #slatecheeseboard #charcuterie #gifts

Happy holidays everyone (I know it’s early but my schedule is so random nowadays)! If you are looking for a unique appetizer to share, or a great holiday vessel to serve on, give these two a shot. They are both well worth it!

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