Best vanilla frosting

2 sticks softened butter

4 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup cream

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp almond extract

Beat butter until fluffy.

Add powdered sugar one cup at a time

Add in salt

Add in cream and extracts. Beat at high speed until fluffy and light. It will take an ivory color.

Chocolate chip cookies

3 cups AP flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

2 sticks butter (softened, not room temp)

1 1/4 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs (room temp)

1 Tbsp vanilla

1 cup chocolate chips

Mix flour, salt and baking soda into a bowl

Beat butter until fluffy.

Add brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Remember to scrape the bowl.

Add one egg at a time until incorporated

Add dry mix in three parts. Increase the speed of your mixer to not over strain the motor.

Beat in vanilla last.

Fold in chocolate chips by hand.

Scoop cookie balls into a bowl or container. Separate with parchment paper for easier removal.

Refrigerate for at least two hours (I often do this over night).

Heat oven to 350

Place parchment paper over cookie sheet.

Place cookie balls about two inches apart and smash cookie balls down to atleast a half inch thickness. This will ensure your cookies will not have over baked edges with a raw middle.

Place cookie sheet into the oven and immediately drop the temperature to 325. Ovens lose heat when opened and beginning at a higher temperature keeps the oven closer to the desired temperature. Otherwise, it begins cooking at a lower temperature and you get a less than perfect bake.

Bake about 12 minutes depending on your oven.

Remember to raise the temperature between batches. If using a convection oven, remember to adjust the oven temperature if it doesn’t do it automatically.

Cool cookies on the cookie sheet for at least two minutes before moving to cool on a cooking rack if you can.

Chocolate pudding pie

3 cups whole milk

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 cup corn starch

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

3 Tbsp butter

Whisk all ingredients except butter into a saucepan. Whisk constantly at Med high heat until thickened. Once thick, remove from heat and whisk in butter. Pour into container or pie crust. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours

Blondies

12 Tbsp butter melted

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs room temp

4 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup of chocolate chips and mini m&m’s or cranberries and white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350

Melt butter in a medium sized bowl.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl

Mix in brown sugar and when fully mixed in add eggs one at a time.

Pour in dry ingredients and vanilla into butter mix.

Fold all together

Measure out the add ins (chocolate chips, nuts or fruit)

Grease a 9×13 pan. Pour batter into the pan

Bake for 22-25 minutes until the top is shiny.

Cool then cut out of pan.

When making cranberry bars, sprinkle chocolate chips on top immediately after removing from the oven. Let sit for ten minutes then spread melted chocolate across the top like a frosting. You can top it with chopped cranberries and chocolate chips

Best shredded chicken

5 chicken breasts, skinned and trimmed

5-7 large garlic cloves

1 Tbsp salt

Water

Place chicken breast in a large pot, stock pot if you’ve got one

Cover chicken with water (an inch above chicken)

Put in garlic and salt. Boil

When water is reduced to half, remove chicken and chop into four pieces width wise. Chicken should be easy to shred

Remove all but half a cup of the boiling water. Return chicken to pot and stir to shred the chicken

Easy hot water pie crust

Long ago there was a time of failed pie crusts that hurt my ego and… well… my feelings. Sadly, I did not realize that the rough pastry crust that is commonly used for pies isnt the only option. Enter in the wonderfully easy hot water crust. It’s stable, EASY, and can be used immediately without chilling. This crust is so great, you can even patch it! Yeah!!! Crazy! The best thing is you end up with a tasty, flakey but sturdy pie crust. This is a common method used in Britain that for whatever reason didn’t quite catch on here. We use this method often as an emergency dinner to use up left overs and I didn’t prepare pie crust beforehand. It’s the best way to make hand pies or pasties.

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

10 Tbsp unsalted butter

2 tsp salt

3/4 cup boiling water

Mix salt and flour to integrate. Blend in butter. (I don’t worry about keeping the butter chilled as it will be melted down with the water) pour all the boiling water and quickly mix with spatula or wooden spoon. Once incorporated, turn onto a clean surface and knead the dough until you get a smooth ball. May be a bit greasy. Don’t worry. You can use immediately or form into discs and chill.

Bake at 375 until crust is nicely browned. 

Creamy Gnocchi Soup

2 Tbs olive oil

2 Tbs butter

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 small onion, finely chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 carrot, grated

1 celery, chopped

2 cups pork stock

4 cups water

1/2 cup cream or half and half

1 package (16 ounces) mini potato gnocchi

1 cup fresh spinach, chopped

Cook onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until tender. Add celery and stir until tender. Add in the grated carrots. Stir for about one minute then add your stock and water. Increase heat to allow the boil.

In a separate pan, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add your flour and stir vigorously to make your roux.

Add a few scoops of the stock to slacken your roux to add into the soup. This will thicken the soup without creating lumps. If you do have lumps, whisk vigorously.

Add roux to the soup and add gnocchi. Chop your spinach and add to soup. Once you have it at your desired consistency, add your cream. Salt and pepper to taste then serve!