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Welcome to My Kitchen

Christmas goodies are on the way

Series: Recipe Column | Story 59

December 7, 2017

Christmas baking season has arrived. Whether you are preparing for family gatherings in your home, or making to take as part of a potluck, planning ahead will make the preparation easier. Making a list of dishes to prepare, then add needed ingredients to your shopping list, so they get purchased and are on hand when you are ready to bake. This can make your holiday kitchen preparations less stressful.

Billie O’Mack of Snohomish, my sister, sent a recipe for Rocky Road Peanut Clusters, a simple five ingredient candy made in the microwave. The recipe comes from the website, a great source of quick and easy recipes. Keep the ingredients on hand to make last minute treats for spur of the moment invitations.

Rocky Road

Peanut Clusters

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup butterscotch chips

1 Tbsp vegetable oil or shortening

1 1/2 cups roasted, lightly salted peanuts

1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

Line a large baking sheet with waxed paper and set aside.

Melt chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and vegetable oil together in a large microwave safe container by heating on high for 30 seconds, stir and repeat, until chips are melted and mixture is smooth.

Quickly stir in peanuts and marshmallows.

Drop mixture by spoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet. You can make them as large or small as you like.

Place pan in refrigerator for 15 minutes to set candies. Store in airtight containers.

Billie notes: for variety, you may substitute peanut butter chips for the butterscotch chips.

Gwen Clavel shared a recipe for Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. She got the recipe from the recipe website, and reports her family eats them as fast as she can bake them, even when she makes a double batch.

Flourless Peanut Butter

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup smooth peanut butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup chocolate chips or mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large mixer bowl, beat the peanut butter, sugar, baking soda and salt at medium speed until well blended.

Add the egg and vanilla, and blend on medium low speed until incorporated.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

Scoop the dough by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet and press the top of the cookie dough to flatten just slightly. Note: a tablespoon cookie scoop is recommended for this recipe.

Bake cookies 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool right on the pan. The tops should be

slightly crinkled and you will want to pull them from the oven before they begin to brown on the edges, so watch them closely. Yield: 18 cookies.

Several notes: natural/un-homogenized peanut butter does not work as well in this recipe. Also Gwen report, if you double the recipe you will need to add a teaspoon or more water, or the mixture will be too dry to hold together.

I must apologize in advance to the presenter of this next recipe, Favorite Turkey Brine. I have lost the information of who it was who sent it to me via email. So if this recipe came from you, please let me know so I can properly credit. It is to good to wait for identification.

Favorite Turkey Brine

3 cups apple juice or apple cider

2 gallons cold water

4 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups kosher salt

2 cups brown sugar

3 Tbsp whole peppercorns

5 whole bay leaves

Peel of three large oranges

Combine all ingredients in a large kettle. Stir until salt and sugar dissolve. Bring to a boil then turn off heat and cover.

Allow to cool completely then pour into a large brining bag or non-reactive kettle. Place thawed, uncooked turkey in brine solution. Then refrigerate 16 to 24 hours.

When ready to roast, remove turkey from brine. Submerge turkey in a pan or sink of fresh, cold water. Allow to sit in cold water for 15 minutes to remove excess salt from the outside.

Discard brine.

Remove turkey from cold water, pat dry and cook according to your normal roasting method.

For many years, I have used the Brown Bag roasting method for turkeys. The hardest part is finding large brown grocery bags these days. I closely guard brown paper grocery bags.

Brown Bag Turkey

1 turkey

Brown paper grocery bag, big enough for the turkey

Cooking spray

Optional: Butter

Poultry seasoning


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Coat the inside of brown paper grocery bag with cooking spray. Season bird with the following if you haven’t brined the turkey. Rub surface with butter. Sprinkle inside of turkey with salt, poultry seasoning and other seasonings of your choice.

Slide seasoned turkey into paper sack and fold bag opening closed and staple shut. You don’t want any gaps or holes. Place turkey in bag on a rack a in roasting pan.

Roast turkeys 13 pounds or under, 20-22 minutes per pound and turkeys 14 pounds or larger 16 to 18 minutes per pound.

Do not peek in the oven. Do not poke any holes in the sack. When roasting time is up, remove from oven. Then poke a few holes in the sack to let steam escape. Let stand about 20 minutes, then remove to platter to carve. Make gravy from the drippings.

I am still searching for the Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting recipe. Please share your favorite recipes by sending them to: Welcome to My Kitchen, c/o The Odessa Record, P.O. Box 458, Odessa, WA 99159, email or drop them in the Welcome to My Kitchen mail tin in The Odessa Record office. Plan your spring and summer garden selections now and be prepared for early bird seed and plant ordering.


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