Archive for December, 2011

I’ll start by saying this is 100% not Weight Watchers friendly.  I don’t think I mentioned, but before the holidays I finally achieved lifetime status (yay me!) after hitting my goal back in October (it took so long to hit lifetime because there was a few weeks in October I couldn’t make it to weigh in).  That combined with a medicine that I’m on that is making me lose too much weight (where were you this time last year crazy medicine!) I was/am not highly cognizant of the points values of the food I was ingesting between December 17 and 31st.  But everyone deserves a treat now and then, so I hope that you enjoy if you are following WW.  In terms of the recipe itself, I followed it basically to the letter because I had never, ever made waffles from scratch before.  For the eggnog sauce, I used the low-fat eggnog I had made previously and reduced the amount of butter and sugar that was originally in the recipe.  I made a half serving of the sauce and only used 2 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp sugar.  The recipe, as written for a half serving, called for 1/4 cup of butter and 1/2 cup sugar.  I’ve adjusted the measurements below from my scale down.  If you’re looking to make a full portion for the source recipe, 1/2 cup of butter should replace 1/4 cup of butter and 1 cup of sugar should replace 1/4 cup of sugar.

Gingerbread Waffles
(Sources: Annie’s Eats and Dine & Dish)
Made 6 Waffles

2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. grated nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves
4 large eggs
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup milk
½ cup low-fat sour cream
3 tbsp. molasses

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.  Whisk to blend.  In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, butter, milk, sour cream and molasses and whisk to blend well.  Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and whisk to combine until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.

Preheat a waffle iron.  Fill waffle wells and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Cook until crisp and golden.  Serve immediately.

Eggnog Syrup
About 6 Servings

1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. eggnog
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Melt butter in a medium-sized sauce pan over medium-low heat. Mix in sugar until well combined, then mix in the eggnog and bring heat up to medium-high heat. Whisk continually until mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat

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So I love me some eggnog.   Unfortunately, I think it has to be up there with everything on the “this is why you’re fat” website.  So I searched for a “better” alternative.  Unfortunately, everything in the store that has the “light” label on it was also not really acceptable.  When nothing in the store satisfies, make it yourself, I always say.  I found this recipe on the Food Network’s website.  It originally called for vanilla bean, which I could not (and didn’t really have the patience to) find.  I thought it came out pretty good, B thought it was a little orange-y tasting for his tastes and as a replication of the out of carton version of eggnog.  When I make in the future (that is, tonight to enjoy with some bourbon) I’m going to use less orange peel.  Enjoy!

Low-Fat Eggnog (Adapted from Food Network)
6 servings (1/2 cup), 3 Weight Watchers Points Plus per serving

2 cups nonfat milk
2 large strips orange zest
1 large strip of lemon zest
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Bourbon (optional)
Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish


Combine 1 1/2 cups milk and the citrus zest in a medium saucepan. Add the vanilla extract to the saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, egg yolk, sugar and cornstarch in a medium bowl until light yellow.

Gradually pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly, then pour back into the pan. Place over medium heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon in a figure-eight motion until the eggnog begins to thicken, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the remaining 1/2 cup milk to stop the cooking. Transfer the eggnog to a large bowl and place over a larger bowl of ice to cool, then chill until ready to serve.

Remove the orange and lemon zest and and strain into pitcher and/or glasses. Spike the eggnog with bourbon (or white rum if preferred), if desired, and garnish with nutmeg.

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Holiday Biscotti!

For Christmas this year I decided to try my hand again at biscotti.  I had tried to make pumpkin pie and anise ones for Thanksgiving but they did not turn out as well as I would have hoped.  This time around they were much more biscotti-like (which was good because I was giving them as gifts).  I made two different types: anise biscotti adapted from this recipe and a holiday biscotti adapted from a Giada de Laurentis recipe.  The one big problem I found was that the holiday biscotti recipe was simply too wet to form into good logs.  As a result, I used a combination of methods: I added more flour and kneaded by hand and also refrigerated the dough to try to get it to be more malleable. Also, B suggested that the anise biscotti could be more “anisey” so if you like that flavor increase the anise seed/extract in the recipe.

Holiday Biscotti
This recipe made around 60 biscotti cookies (I can’t remember the exact number)

4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cup dried Craisin cherries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer (I used my stand mixer), beat the sugar, butter, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl to blend. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the flour mixture and beat just until blended. Stir in cherries.

Form the dough  into a 13-inch long, 3-inch wide log on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until light golden, about 40 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.

Place the log on the cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log on a diagonal into 1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake the biscotti until they are pale golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely.

Anise Biscotti
This recipe made around 60 biscotti cookies (I can’t remember the exact number)

12 oz (3 sticks) butter
1 3/4 cups white sugar
6 eggs
1 tsp anise extract
2 tsp anise seeds
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F ( 165 degrees C ).

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time; beat until fluffy. Stir in the anise seed, anise extract, and vanilla extract. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; Add them to the egg mixture. Stir with a spoon and as the dough comes together, Knead by hand.

Divide the dough into 4 parts. Roll each piece into a log about 15 inches long. Place logs onto cookie sheets, 2 to a sheet, the long way. Flatten the logs out until they are about 3 inches wide with a slight hump going down the middle. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, loaves should be firm. Cut the loaves into diagonal slices 1/2 inch wide, place the slices onto the cookie sheets and return to the oven. Toast on one side, then turn them over to do the other side. This will take about 5 to 15 minutes on each side depending on how crisp you want the biscotti.

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Holiday Season…

So I have a lot of baking/cooking planned for the next few days but I haven’t done much in the past few weeks (beyond my go-to dish for B’s family’s Italian feast – layered taco dip.  Which I’ve never shared and probably won’t because I don’t want the family to see how easy it is and potentially think I’m less awesome.)  Here is a list of things planned (links and posts forthcoming):

Anise Biscotti
Holiday Biscotti (Adapted from: Giada de Laurentis)
Eggnog Cupcakes (Adapted from: Annie’s Eats and Food Network)
Gingerbread Cupcakes (Adapted from: Emeril Lagasse)
Mini Chocolate Cupcakes with peppermint icing
Brie en croute
Fancy Grownup Mac and Cheese (Adapted from: Pioneer Woman)

Hopefully these will be successes and not flops.  That remains to be seen!

Happy Holidays to whoever reads this (hi mom!).  I’m off to make potato latkes (with matzoh meal and not flour, of course)!

Margot has the holiday spirit!

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