Cranberry-Pistachio Citrus Butter Cookies

Cranberry-Pistachio Citrus Butter Cookies. A mouthful of words, a mouthful of deliciousness. Seriously you guys… there is SO MUCH DELICIOUSNESS in these lil cookies. Dried cranberries. Pistachios. Lemon. Orange. Butter. Yum yum yum.

Cranberry-Pistachio Citrus Butter Cookies | thepajamachef.com

I made these cookies for the 2013 Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, and sent them to Alicia at Balancing Motherhood [who I found out is a fellow KD sister! AOT!], Renata at First Time Foods, and Emily at Pink Tiger in the Kitchen. I hope y’all liked them! I know we certainly did. They are buttery and nutty, full of holiday cheer.

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2013

I’m usually wary of baking with nuts and dried fruit, even though I love both on their own. I guess I associate nuts and dried fruit in sweets with old people cooking, or something weird like that [no idea why]. I’ve been trying to think of an exception for a good five minutes, but no can do. WAIT! THESE cookies are the exception. The nuts and dried fruit are totally necessary for adding the right amount of crunch to the chewy citrus butter cookies. If you don’t like cranberries and pistachio, feel free to swap out your favorite alternatives. Cherry-pecan? Blueberry-walnut? Whatever your little heart dreams up is what you should make. Unless you like directions. Then stick with cranberry-pistachio. :)

Cranberry-Pistachio Citrus Butter Cookies | thepajamachef.com

In addition to sending out cookies, participating in the cookie swap means you get some in the mail too! I was fortunate to receive Double Coconut Macaroons [top] from Mary Beth at A Carrot and A Cupcake, and Cranberry Pistachio Pudding Cookies [bottom] from Starr at Chicago Foodie Girl. Both were sooo good and I’m anxiously awaiting the recipes! Hopefully I’ll be getting my third batch soon!

cookies

Hope you enjoy!

one year ago: Cranberry Orange Pancakes with Cranberry Maple Syrup
two years ago: Cranberry Pineapple Sauce

Cranberry-Pistachio Citrus Butter Cookies [from Vanderbilt Wife]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpats.

Place butter and sugars in a bowl and cream with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add milk, lemon juice, orange zest, and egg, then mix on low to combine.

Add flour, baking powder, and baking soda, then mix on low until combined. Fold in pistachios and cranberries with a wooden spoon.

Spoon onto cookie sheets by tablespoons. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until edges are brown. Centers may look a little soft. Let rest on cookie sheets for 3-4 minutes before moving to cooling rack. Store in airtight container.

Time: 30 minutes.
Yield: 3 dozen cookies.

Notes: Dough can get pretty soft, so just pop in the refrigerator between batches. These cookies freeze and ship well, too!

Linked up with: Foodie Friday, Weekend Potluck.

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Mystery Dish: Sweet Potato Pie with Cranberry Compote

Good morning, everyone! I’ve got a wonderful pie to share with you today! But not just any old pie–Sweet Potato Pie with Cranberry Compote!

sweet potato pie with cranberry compote | thepajamachef.comRegular readers know that I don’t usually post on Tuesdays [I'm on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule] but this month our Mystery Dish posting happened to fall on a Tuesday. So here I am! :) As a refresher, Mystery Dish is a fun new blogging group that I’m a part of– the premise is this: each month, one blogger will create a mystery box of ingredients. Ingredients can be themed related to a cuisine, a meal, a season, a specific ingredient, or anything else creative. Then, the other eleven bloggers have to create a recipe using some of the ingredients. SO FUN! This month it was Nora’s turn to come up with our assigned ingredients. Nora blogs at Buttercream Fanatic [yummmm] and she chose:

  • Sweet Potato
  • Kale
  • Squash (any kind, including pumpkin)
  • Nutmeg
  • Venison
  • Turkey
  • Cranberries
  • Caramel
  • Candy Corn

Since I made a pie for the first edition of Mystery Dish, I didn’t intend to make another one for this go-round. It just happened. I saw a picture on instagram of a sweet potato pie and inspiration struck! I have always wanted to try sweet potatoes in a pie and here was my chance. Oh, and Ben nixed the idea of anything else butternut squash, pumpkin, or kale. I guess he’s tired of those ingredients. I don’t understand… But I digress.

sweet potato pie with cranberry compote | thepajamachef.comI’ve typically shied away from making sweet potato pie because it seems so close to pumpkin… but YOU GUYS! It’s not! It’s pumpkin pie’s savorier cousin. It has a subtle sweetness, and when paired with tangy sweet cranberries, each bite is like Thanksgiving. Seriously. So I hope you make this pie and can look past the photos I took at 7 am in the morning because central time and fall and having a full time job are [gratefully] messing with my photography/blogging rhythm. The pie is great with coffee for breakfast, great for a late night snack, and just great all around. Try it out!

So there you have it. Mystery Dish is fun and Sweet Potato Pie is just as amazing as I dreamed it was… but don’t just check out my recipe. There are eleven permanent members in the group, and one guest each month who have each made something utterly fabulous! This month, our guest is Cate of Chez Catey Lou. She’s super sweet so be sure to check out her site! For a look at what everyone else made, check out the collage and links below. Enjoy my pie, and enjoy your day! :)

Mystery Dish Collage

1. Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream
2. Roasted Acorn Squash with Cranberries, Almonds, and Brown Sugar
3. Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup
4. Pumpkin Magic Bars
5. Pumpkin Pie Cake
6. Sweet Potato, Smoked Turkey, and Cranberry Croque Madame
7. Caramel Candy Corn Poke Cake
8. Roasted Butternut Squash Pizza with Kale and Ricotta
9. Sweet Potato Cranberry Quick Bread
10. Venison with Sweet Potato Hash & Fried Egg
11. Orange Cranberry Bread
12. Sweet Potato Pie with Cranberry Compote

Sweet Potato Pie with Cranberry Compote [pie recipe slightly adapted from Paula Deen]
click to print

Ingredients:

for sweet potato pie

  • 2 large sweet potatoes [~1.25 lb]
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 9 inch pie shell, unbaked – I used the recipe and method here

for cranberry compote

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries, rinsed

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Peel sweet potatoes and cut into large chunks. Place in a microwave safe dish and add about 1/2 cup water before microwaving for 10 minutes, checking halfway through for doneness. When potatoes are very soft, add butter and mash until smooth. Set aside.

Meanwhile, combine sugar, eggs, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice in a bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until combined, then pour in milk and mix again. After potatoes have cooled, add to sugar and milk mixture and beat on low for 2-3 minutes until very smooth.

Pour into unbaked pie crust, and bake for 45-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If the crust starts browning too much during cooking, cover with aluminum foil.

To make cranberry compote, stir together sugar, water, and orange juice in a small pot. Bring to a boil, then add cranberries. Return to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Cook until berries begin to burst, stirring occasionally. Cool completely then store in the refrigerator.

Cool pie completely before cutting.

To serve, cut pie and top each slice with a generous serving of cranberry compote.

Time: 75 minutes.

Yield: 8-10 servings.

Autumnal Muffins

So, I used to post once a month on a blog called Today’s Housewife. Last fall, the group decided together to stop posting due the busyness of life and families and such. Though sad, I enjoyed being part of the group. As of early January, the blog was officially taken down. But I don’t want to lose my recipes, so periodically I will be reposting them on here. Enjoy!

~

from November 26, 2010 … I wanted to post these sooner rather than later so that you can enjoy these muffins early on in pumpkin season! :) So just ignore the Christmas talk. Haha. 

Autumnal Muffins | thepajamachef.com

Even though Christmas is just around the corner, fall is still in full swing for another month or so. [Side note: where has 2010 gone?!?] And I am really glad about that, because while I love Christmas baking, I really enjoy fall flavors–pumpkin, apple, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves immensely. Recently I was in the mood for baking, and whipped up a batch of Autumnal Muffins, a creation of mine that combines the wonderful flavors of the season–savory pumpkin, tart cranberries, and sweet, crunchy apples with some amazing spices. These smell absolutely amazing while baking, and they make a healthy, tasty, seasonal treat, perfect for breakfast or a snack.

Autumnal Muffins | thepajamachef.com

Autumnal Muffins
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon + more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup skim milk + more for mixing
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • about 2 cups pumpkin, canned [I used a 15 ounce can]
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup apple, finely chopped [I used a Granny Smith and didn't peel it]
  • zest and juice of 1 orange

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line muffin tins with paper cups or grease well with cooking spray. In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients: flours, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Grate orange zest over mixture and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together wet ingredients: milk, eggs, and pumpkin. Squeeze orange’s juice into bowl and stir to combine. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients, then gently mix in apple and cranberries. If mixture needs additional liquid to combine, add extra milk in 1 tablespoon increments. [I used about 2 tablespoons additional milk.] Do not overmix. Spoon batter into lined muffin tins, sprinkle with cinnamon, and bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Makes approximately 2 1/2 dozen.

Note:

These muffins are not very sweet, so feel free to alter the recipe by increasing the sugar or using sweetened dried cranberries in place of the fresh cranberries for a different taste.

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck, Foodie Friday.

Chopped Kale Salad with Bleu Cheese & Bacon

Kale. Seriously can’t get enough of it. Ben can’t either. No complaints here.

Chopped Kale Salad | thepajamachef.com

Normally, our kale is cooked–in pasta, fried rice, or as a base for chicken or pork. But this time, I decided to do something different and make a chopped kale salad. That’s right… raw kale, chopped into a billion teeny tiny bites and tossed with a fabulous array of toppings and the most spectacular dressing ever. Intrigued?

Chopped Kale Salad | thepajamachef.com

What makes this salad special and different is ALL the tastes and textures going on. Crisp carrots, sweet apples, salty bacon, pungent bleu cheese, tart cranberries, crunchy toasted almonds. And a sweet peanut butter-maple vinaigrette that is nothing short of amazing. I was literally eating it with a spoon, for goodness sake! It has a peanut butter base, so that’s totally legit, right?

By the way, if you aren’t the biggest fan of bleu cheese, don’t let this scare you. There’s only enough to give a hint of the flavor, but if you like it you can always substitute feta or parmesan. I don’t always include cheese in my salads but it really works in this one, to make it more substantial. Just FYI.

Chopped Kale Salad | thepajamachef.com

I threw this recipe together quickly on a busy night when we were headed to a small group dinner, and it was all but polished off. Fortunately, there was enough leftovers to enjoy for lunch the next day, but the salad definitely got a little soggy on day 2 so I would recommend adding the dressing just before serving if at all possible. I only made this a couple weeks ago and am totally craving it now, as I write this at 10:27 pm. I have a feeling this salad is going to become a regular in our house and I hope it will in yours too! Enjoy!

So you tell me… have you ever had a kale salad before? What are your go-to [kale] salad mix-ins?

a year ago… Man Cupcakes
three years ago… Creamy Baked Spaghetti

Chopped Kale Salad with Bleu Cheese and Bacon [dressing adapted from Iowa Girl Eats]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 bunches kale
  • 1 1/3 cups red cabbage
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large Fuji apple
  • 3 ounces bleu cheese, crumbled
  • 5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • freshly ground black pepper

dressing

  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter

Directions:

Wash and dry kale, then tear into small bite-size pieces, discarding thick stems. Add to a large bowl and set aside.

Wash and dry cabbage, carrot, and apple, then shred. I used my food processor but a grater would also work. Add to kale, along with bleu cheese, bacon, almonds, and cranberries.

Whisk together balsamic, olive oil, maple syrup, and peanut butter until smooth to make dressing, then drizzle half over the salad. Toss to combine, and add more dressing as desired. I used about 3/4 of the total dressing made. Season with black pepper to taste, and serve immediately.

Time: 20 minutes.

Yield: 10-12 side salads, 3-4 meal size salads.

Linked up with: Tuesday Talent Show.

Lemon Cranberry Muffins

Man, I am so sad that I didn’t share these Lemon Cranberry Muffins during peak cranberry season!! Boo! It got buried in my post queue and I justtttt found it. What a bummer. Don’t these muffins look divine?

Lemon Cranberry Muffins2

I really have no excuse for not sharing them until now though; I made these muffins in October. But all might not be lost–I just scored three bags of cranberries for 99 cents each at the grocery store, so maybe you can find a crazy clearance sale too, or find some frozen cranberries, or maybe you’re a planner and have already frozen some cranberries for offseason baking needs. In that case: this recipe qualifies. However…. if you’re cranberry-less, do not despair. Read on, be sad for a minute, bookmark this recipe for the fall…and comfort yourself by gazing at my cute kitty hanging out on a pile of blankets.

Sheba | The Pajama Chef Isn’t she so pretty? I think so, but I’ll admit I’m a bit biased.

But back to these muffins… cause they’re pretty too, I think. Pretty and yummy! Did you get a glimpse of these colors? Wow! And the colors aren’t all there is to it. Each bite of these decadent muffins is absolutely incredible. Have you ever had yogurt cake before? I made a lime yogurt cake in the early days of this blog [read: the post is a wee bit embarrassing, but such is life, eh?]. If yogurt cake is new to you, you must try it. It’s a moist, soft, and fluffy with a fabulous crisp top… and it’s made with little [or no] butter. Cray cray! I’ve always loved yogurt, and this is just another reason why.

Lemon Cranberry Muffins | The Pajama Chef

Now, I’m sure the lemon muffin is absolutely perfect as is. Sweet, with a little tart bite. But really, they are a little incomplete. That’s where the tart cranberries come in. These little berries really liven up a traditional muffin. I love how they pop in your mouth with each bite. :) When I read the recipe called for whole cranberriesI was a bit skeptical, and almost chopped them up, but I’m so glad I didn’t, because the whole berry really makes the muffins special. I love that these muffins are sweet and tart all at once, but if you want more sweetness, check out the original recipe for a glaze that will likely take these over the top!

I’m sure if you’ve read my blog for any length of time you’ve picked up that I love muffins… and everything I post on this blog is something that we have loved. But truthfully, not everything is make again. I’m sure you know those recipes. Things that are too good not to share, but not good enough that you crave it. Well, these muffins do not fall into that latter category. They are definitely make again winter after winter, year after year… in fact, I think I’ll be making them again soon! They are a perfect portable winter treat. Enjoy!

P.S. I keep forgetting to link this up, and this ‘P.S.’ is even an edit to the original post… but have you seen my interview with Healthy Page? It went live last week [I am so behind] and I’d love for you to check it out! What a great site. I am honored to be featured! Thank you, Healthy Page!

Lemon Cranberry Muffins [from Food Republik]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with paper liners or grease with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, beat together yogurt, sugar, and eggs. Then add lemon zest and vanilla extract. Lastly, stir in oil.

In a smaller bowl, stir together flour and baking powder. Gently fold into wet ingredients and stir until just moistened. Add cranberries and stir until combined.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, then bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool completely on a wire rack, then store in an airtight container for up to 3 days before freezing the leftovers.

Time: 35 minutes [10 minutes active].

Yield: 14-16 muffins.

Notes: Original recipe called for plain yogurt. Since I used [sweetened] vanilla, I decreased the sugar. If you use plain yogurt, you may want to increase the sugar to 1 cup to match original recipe.

This recipe is linked up with Weekend Potluck.