Easy and Delicious – Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

There is no better time than the present to spread some JOY! Thanks to our friends at King Arthur Flour, I did some baking this weekend. In our Convent, Sr. Elizabeth loves to bake chocolate chip cookies, and if you’re lucky enough to be walking through the kitchen when she’s baking, she’ll always stop and give you the one “that didn’t come out quite perfect.”

With children home from school and spouses trying to work remotely, why not take some time to make a batch of these yummy cookies and enjoy the smiles they’ll bring. Another side benefit are the wonderful smells that come into your kitchen. In these uncertain times, warm cookies fresh from the oven warm hearts as well!

(Note: If you use a digital scale to measure the ingredients, they will come out perfectly!)

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Easy and Delicious - Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
SERVINGS
50cookies
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
cookies
COOK TIME
12-13minutes
PREP TIME
12minutes
READY IN
45minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line 4 cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
  2. Beat together the butter and sugars until smooth.
  3. Beat in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.
  4. Whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and add to the butter mixture in the bowl.
  5. Mix until everything is incorporated (no need to over mix), scraping the bottom of the bowl.
  6. Stir in the chocolate chips
  7. Using a 1" cookie scoop or ice cream scoop, drop a dozen cookies on each sheet pan in rows of 3 - spreading evenly apart.
  8. Bake at 325° for 12 to 13 minutes or until golden brown on the edges. Remove from the oven, cool on the sheet pan for another couple of minutes (they will continue baking slightly)and then carefully slide the parchment with cookies to the counter to cool. This recipe will make 50 cookies.

Springtime Borscht

Recently, another Sister and I shared our borscht recipes and memories! Like any well-loved food, memories play a part in its enjoyment. Our experiences of eating borscht are different but surprisingly parallel. Sr. Monica spent two months living at a Convent in Estonia when it was still part of the USSR. She has vivid memories of being there as the coup occurred when Gorbachev was still in power. I remember it too, because I was in Poland at the time, singing with our choir, Gloriae Dei Cantores. We had no way to communicate with our Sisters in Estonia since cell phones and e-mail were unavailable to us in 1991. We relied on prayer for their safety.  Often, a particular recipe is a vehicle for comfort, even solace. We have had difficult times in the past, but we know God’s love is available to us. We offer this heartwarming recipe to you, along with our prayers for a healthy spring.

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Springtime Borscht
SERVINGS
8
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
1hour
PREP TIME
4.5hours
READY IN
5.5hours

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Put the meat in a crockpot with 8 cups cold water, red pepper flakes, bay leaves and 1 Tbsp salt. Set on high for 4 hours. Cook until fork tender. Remove meat and strain and reserve the broth. Set aside
  2. While the Beef is cooking, wrap beets in foil and place in a 400 degree oven—roast for 1hr. until fork tender. Cool slightly, but while they are still warm, remove the top, bottom and skin with a pairing knife (skins should come off easily if properly cooked) and either grate or julienne the beets. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large stockpot and add 4 Tbsp olive oil and 2 Tbsp. butter and sauté onion for 2 min. Add diced potato and sauté another 5 min or until beginning to soften. Add the grated carrot, cabbage and garlic and 2 Tbsp vinegar and sauté for 5 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to med/low and add the beets, 2 Tbsp sugar and 2 Tbsp tomato paste. Mix thoroughly and add the reserved strained broth and extra 2-3 cups beef broth. (I used' Better than Bouillon' Roasted Beef Base)
  5. Simmer and cover until vegetables are tender. Add the diced, cooked Beef and 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill. Remove from heat and leave covered until flavors meld. Add 1/4 tsp pepper (If desired), and salt to taste. Adjust flavors to taste (you may want to add a bit more vinegar or sugar)
  6. Serve warm or cold with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of fresh dill.

Magi Sugar Cookies

“O Star of wonderStar of night, Star with royal beauty bright…Guide us to thy perfect light.”  How wondrous the Star that leads the Magi to the Infant Christ!  And as we continue to celebrate this season so filled with awe and beauty, it lends itself to more creativity as we prepare treats for the many Yuletide events—(or for any festive occasion!)

 

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Magi Sugar Cookies
SERVINGS
24-36cookies
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
cookies
COOK TIME
15minutes
PREP TIME
2 hours 15minutes
READY IN
2 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Beat the butter and sugar in mixer bowl until light and fluffy; add egg and flavorings and beat until smooth.
  2. Reduce mixer speed to low, and after sifting flour, baking powder and salt together, add slowly until just blended.
  3. Divide dough in half, forming 2 disks, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, until firm, or longer if need be. It will need to be pliable to be able to roll out.
  4. Using a sprinkling of flour, roll out dough to about an 1/8’ thickness. Cut out your desired shapes; place on baking sheet and bake for about 15” or until slightly golden. Let cool for a few minutes before glazing them.
  5. In a medium size bowl, mix by hand, the sifted confectioners’ sugar, milk, corn syrup, salt, and flavorings until smooth and well blended. Depending upon the colors you’re using, divide glaze into separate dishes, adding colors
  6. Holding the cookie, gently lay it on top of the glaze, so that surface is covered. Set aside for a few minutes and then decorate with colored sprinkles of your choice, before glaze sets too firmly.

No-bake Mini-Cheesecake Parfaits

Advent is truly a wondrous time—so full of beauty, expectancy and hope.  It’s also a time of expressing love and gratitude to those we work with all year long!  Here’s a wonderfully simple recipe to serve at any kind of Christmas gathering, with minimal preparation, and with a delicious and lovely result!

 

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No-bake Mini-Cheesecake Parfaits
SERVINGS
12
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
10
PREP TIME
20
READY IN
40

Ingredients

Instructions

Filling
  1. In electric mixer, with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, heavy cream and sugar until smooth. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla; continue beating until light and fluffy.
  2. Add a layer of graham cracker crumbs to the bottom of shooters. (For a richer “crust”, mix in 4 tablespoons melted butter first)
  3. Top the layer of cracker crumbs with cheesecake filling, spooning a slight indentation for strawberry topping
Strawberry Topping
  1. Combine chopped berries, cornstarch/warm water mixture, sugar and lemon juice. Bring to gentle boil and allow to simmer until thickened, about 5 Minutes, adding food coloring if desired.
  2. Allow to cool, about 10 minutes (or faster in refrigerator)
  3. Spoon topping onto parfaits and serve, or refrigerate if desired

Note: Best served in 2 1/2 oz glass shooters!

Recipe adapted from "Just a Taste". - See the original recipe at the justataste.com website

Cranberry Orange Gingersnap Pie

I’ve had my eye on this recipe for quite a while now and decided to whip it up for Thanksgiving. I added a bit of orange zest to the original recipe because I love the combination of those flavors. The pie is like a little jewel, bursting with flavor and color. Sweet and tart at the same time. The curd on its own would be wonderful in many other ways as well. I hope you enjoy it this Holiday season. Blessed Advent!*

*Recipe adapted from The View from Great Island. See the original recipe at: https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/cranberry-pie-recipe

 

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Cranberry Orange Gingersnap Pie
SERVINGS
10
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
20
PREP TIME
20
READY IN
2hours, 40 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Set oven to 350 F
  2. Put the gingersnaps in a food processor and process until they are fine crumbs or place in a ziplock bag and crush with a meat hammer. (this should be a heaping cup) Add the pecans and sugar and process again until everything is finely ground (or finely chopped the pecans and add to the fine crumbs with the sugar.) Add the butter and combine.
  3. Pat the crust into a 9 inch pie plate, and up the sides. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  4. Put the cranberries, 1 cup of the sugar, and 1/4 cup water to a simmer in a saucepan. Lower the heat and simmer the cranberries, uncovered, for about 15 minutes until they've popped and the mixture is quite thick. Let cool slightly and then puree until completely smooth (I did this in a blender)
  5. Whisk the puree, the eggs, yolks, salt, lemon juice and 1/2 cup sugar together in a saucepan and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, this will take about 10 minutes or so. It can burn easily, so keep a good eye on the mixture and don’t keep your heat too high.
  6. Push the curd through a mesh strainer, using the back of a spoon to get it all through.
  7. Let the curd cool for a few minutes and add the room temperature butter in, bit by bit, while you stir to melt it. Add the mandarin zest.
  8. Pour the curd into the pie crust and smooth out evenly. Chill the pie until it is firm, about 2 hours or so.
  9. Decorate with sugared cranberries if you like. To make sugared cranberries, roll damp cranberries in granulated sugar and let dry.

*recipe adapted from The View from Great Island. See the original recipe at: https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/cranberry-pie-recipe

MAMA’S FLUFFY MAPLE CAKE

It’s too easy to lose track of the origin of some of the many wonderful recipes that we all love–but have no idea where they came from!

One of our Sisters, known for her love for cooking and her creative culinary skills, has a great intro to one of her favorite recipes… that lives on to this day!

“My mother, who came to this country as a young girl, first obtained a job doing housework for a wealthy family on 5th Ave, N.Y.  The lady of the house had a special liking for a tall, moist, three-layered cake from a nearby bakery—with a creamy custard filling, generous swirls of maple-flavored frosting and lavishly sprinkled with finely chopped walnuts. My mother soon cultivated a taste for this culinary wonder also—and developed her own recipe for the cake by taste and instinct.”

And now, through the years, it’s been passed on to us, with modifications and adjustments, and continues to be the quintessential dessert for the right occasion.

 

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MAMA’S FLUFFY MAPLE CAKE
SERVINGS
8-10
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
1hour
PREP TIME
1hour
READY IN
2hours

Ingredients

Instructions

Cake
  1. Lightly grease and flour (3) 8 inch cake pans
  2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt
  3. Cream together butter and sugar; add vanilla
  4. Beat in egg yolks and add milk alternating with flour mixture; mix well
  5. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into cake batter
  6. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until cakes tests done, using a toothpick
  7. Cool before filling and frosting
Filling
  1. Scald milk and let cool slightly
  2. Beat eggs and whisk into milk
  3. Place milk back on medium heat and whisk in sugar, flour, cornstarch mixture
  4. Slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add butter, vanilla and banana flavoring
  5. Allow to cool and thicken before filling cake
Fluffy Maple Frosting
  1. Melt brown sugar in the water and bring to a boil.
  2. Gently continue boiling for about 15”, until it reaches the soft ball stage, about 240 degrees.. The thickness should be similar to maple syrup.
  3. Beat egg white until stiff. While continuing to beat, slowly pour in brown sugar mixture. Add in maple flavoring to taste; continue beating until cool, and it appears to be of a spreading consistency.
  4. Fill and frost cake; cover with chopped walnuts
  5. The cake holds well in refrigerator.