Monday, December 10, 2018

Bailey's Irish Cream Cookies

 Here's a cookie recipe idea that was born out of a conversation about cupcakes. I had shared the Mini Egg Nog Cupcakes recipe on FB, and some friends wanted to know if I had a recipe for Bailey's Cupcakes too. Absolutely! So after I shared that recipe as well, I thought "wait, what if I do Bailey's COOKIES instead of cupcakes???" I immediately went on a search, and was VERY surprised at how many recipes I found! Great! The only thing was that many of the recipes had chocolate chips in them. I mean, I guess that's fine, I love chocolate chips and all, but it seemed to me that chocolate chips would overpower the flavor of the Bailey's, no?
  Then I found this recipe on a blog called Kirbie's Cravings, and she kinda said the same thing about not wanting to overpower the Bailey's flavor. Instead of chocolate, she used cappuccino chips, which I wasn't able to find without ordering online. So I decided to go with butterscotch chips, instead. They were DELISH! Not that you really need any chips at all, but why not? She also said she wanted to keep the cookies glaze free, but I decided to include a glaze, just to bump up the flavor even more. The results were amazing! The flavor is absolutely there, and the cookies are chewy and delicious! The recipe is super easy too! They're equally as perfect for St Patrick's Day as for Christmas, or just any day you feel like having some Bailey's! And if you're doing a cookie swap, this will be something new and different to bring to the party! I love that. Enjoy!

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
1 cup unsalted butter softened 
1 1/2 cups white sugar 
1 egg 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
3/4 cups baileys 
1 1/2 cup cappuccino chips (or other chips of your choice)

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line baking sheets with silpat mats or parchment paper.
In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
 In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg, Bailey's, and vanilla. Add in flour mixture at low speed until dough is formed. Add chips and mix on low speed until they are mixed into dough. Roll dough into balls about 1 1/2 inch in diameter and place onto baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Press palm of hand down on each cookie, so that they form round discs. Bake about 11 minutes in the preheated oven, or until light brown around the edges. Cookies will be slightly puffy when taken out from oven and will flatten after they cool.

For the glaze, just add a few tbs of Bailey's to about a cup of powdered sugar, just until it's the perfect drizzling consistency. Only add 1 tbs of Bailey's at a time, because a little bit of liquid goes a long way when it comes to powdered sugar. Once the cookies are completely cooled, leave them on cooling racks, and then thinly drizzle the cookies. Let them sit for a few minutes until the glaze sets.
To make the cookies extra pretty, place 3 chips on top of each ball of cookie dough just before you put the tray in the oven. Then you can really see what you're getting! 
Are you a chocolate fanatic?? Then by all means, use chocolate chips! You can also do white chips, cinnamon chips, or even salted caramel chips. They would all work, but I think I'll still stick with butterscotch!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Joey's Cranberry Pulled Pork Sliders

   Since this is the time of year when many people are attending or hosting holiday parties, I figured it would be a good idea to come up with something fun and yummy that you can serve to your guests, or to bring with you to your next party. Lets make sliders! They're the perfect little picky-uppy holiday party food! (yes, picky-uppy is a technical term.) And since they're just little, you now have the option of sampling many more food items from the table, instead of filling up on a big honkin' sandwich. Know what I mean? More is more!
 We all know how easy it is to make a pulled pork in a crock pot, but the twist here is making it with cranberries instead of just your basic BBQ sauce. Doesn't that sound yummy? Tbh, I had been looking for a cranberry pork recipe for a while and they all seemed to be very BBQ, with just a hint of cranberry. Well, frankly, I wanted it to be the other way around! I wanted sweet and tart cranberries with just a little hint of BBQ, and that's what we have here! The other thing I wanted was to use FRESH cranberries. Every year, when cranberries are available, I stock up my freezer with bags and bags. They freeze REALLY well, and will last me an entire year! It's nothing to take a bag of cranberries out of the freezer and stir up a quick cranberry sauce, and that's exactly what I've done! The good news is you can also just use a can of cranberry sauce, just in case you forgot to stock your freezer with fresh ones! This would also be a really great way to use up leftover cranberry sauce from your big holiday dinner! Are you having turkey for Christmas? Now you can serve leftover cranberry pork sliders for your New Year's Eve Party! Look at me, always thinking ahead! And even if you're not making this for a party, it's an easy weekday meal! Just mix up the sauce the night before, turn your crock pot on before you leave for work in the morning, and then let it cook all day. Dinner is ready when you get home! It really is SO easy! And I'll say this once more.. if you don't have a slow cooker, NOW is the time to get one! I have several, and I use all of them ALL the time. Who knows? Maybe you'll get one for Christmas?? It could happen! But only if you're on the Nice list!

4 or 5 lb pork roast (shoulder or butt)
1 large sweet onion, sliced

1 12oz bag fresh cranberries plus 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 1/2 cups water, 1 tbs butter
OR 1 can of whole berry cranberry sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup honey
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
big pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbs lemon juice

Place pork and onions in a 5 quart slow cooker.
If using fresh cranberries, place them in a small sauce pot with sugar, water, and butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and let it simmer until the berries start to pop, about 10-15 minutes. Mash slightly. Let it cool for a bit, then add to mixing bowl. If using canned cranberries, just add a can of whole berry sauce to the mixing bowl. Add remaining sauce ingredients. Stir until well blended. Pour half of the sauce over the pork and onions. Cook on low for 9 or 10 hours or on high for 5 hours, or until the meat is falling apart. Using a slotted spoon or strainer, remove all the meat and onions from the cooker. Using two forks, shred the meat, discarding any bones and large pieces of fat. Add the other half of the sauce to the shredded meat. Adjust seasoning if needed. Serve on fresh bakery rolls with pickles and cole slaw on the side.

 To serve as sliders:
Using a big serrated knife, slice a package of King's Hawaiian sweet rolls in half horizontally, and remove the top layer in one piece. Spread a layer of the pulled pork over the bottom layer of bread. Next cover the pork with several slices of deli provolone cheese. Place the top layer of rolls on top. Cover loosely with foil. Bake at 350ºF for about 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Then use a big knife to cut into individual sliders.

When serving as sliders, you have a rectangle of rolls, but the provolone cheese is round, so what do you do to make them fit? Simply cut the slices of cheese in half! Now you have a flat edge on the slices of cheese to place up against the flat sides of your rectangle of rolls. Simple!
 Btw, the liquid that is left in the cooker is REALLY tasty. You could add it to a small pot, stir in a slurry of flour/water, and simmer until thickened  to turn it into some fantabulous gravy, perfect for mashed potatoes or for dipping your sliders!