Double Chocolate Sablés #TwelveDaysofSanta

by Anne Papina on December 17, 2013

Double Chocolate Sablés #TwelveDaysofSanta | Webicurean

Looks can sometimes be deceiving. Take, for instance, these cookies. At first glance, they might seem a bit, oh I don’t know, simple. But they’re chocolate, so you take one. Then with that first bite, you’re hit with a burst of chocolate so intense, you wonder how all that flavor got packed into such a tiny package. It’s simple, really. Two forms of chocolate are mixed into the dough, making this traditional French cookie simply irresistible. For this seventh installment of #TwelveDaysofSanta let’s nosh on some Double Chocolate Sablés while we explore Santa stories from France.

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Baked Stuffed Pork Chops with Moscato Gravy #SundaySupper

by Anne Papina on December 15, 2013

Baked Stuffed Pork Chops #SundaySupper | Webicurean
As you might imagine, my Swiss-Italian family is quite large and spread out, yet back in the day, we always seemed to find time to get together. Some of my most cherished childhood memories stem from the gatherings at Nona Mary’s house. That was the family home, a place where there was always a spot at the table, even if you dropped in unannounced. A place where the kitchen table had so many layers of vinyl table cloths piled on, no one remembered what the original table underneath looked like. The old regulator clock mounted on the kitchen wall, a clock whose pendulum had frozen long ago, hinted that it was a place where time simply stood still.  A place where old family traditions took center stage. Some of the best meals came out of that kitchen, always prepared with love and often with a healthy dose of vino. What can I say? Italians love their wine, so I was excited to learn that Gallo Family Vineyards was sponsoring this week’s #SundaySupper. These Baked Stuffed Pork Chops with Moscato Gravy are my contribution to the table.

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Frosted Ricotta Cookies #TwelveDaysofSanta

by Anne Papina on December 5, 2013

Frosted Ricotta Cookies #TwelveDaysofSanta | Webicurean

With all the kneading, shaping, rolling, cutting of the last few weeks, these Ricotta Cookies are a nice change of pace. Sometimes there’s nothing better than a drop cookie. Sure, the frosting is an extra step, but guess what? They’re good without the frosting too! If you’re looking for something a little different this year, this sixth installment of #TwelveDaysofSanta has just the cookie for you–Frosted Ricotta Cookies (aka Italian Christmas Cookies)–straight from an Italian-American grandmother somewhere in Northern California.

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Viennese Crescents (Kipfel) #TwelveDaysofSanta

by Anne Papina on December 1, 2013

Viennese Crescents (Kipfel) #TwelveDaysofSanta | Webicurean

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, the holiday season is in full swing. That means baking. Lots of baking. As you know, I’ve been pretty busy in the kitchen these last couple of weeks. First there were the Spritz Cookies, then the Pepparkakor (ginger snaps), followed by the Cinnamon Stars (zimtsterne), and of course the oh-so-delectable Russian Tea Cakes. In this fifth installment of #TwelveDaysofSanta, we’re traveling to Austria and whipping up some Viennese Crescents (kipfel).

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Russian Tea Cakes #TwelveDaysofSanta

by Anne Papina on November 26, 2013

Russian Tea Cakes #TwelveDaysofSanta | Webicurean

I think it’s safe to say, no Christmas cookie platter would be complete without a smattering of these little gems–Russian Tea Cakes. The cookies are a form of jumble, which has been around since the Middle ages. They’re dense and buttery, very similar to shortbread; however, they’re rolled into balls, and dipped in powdered sugar, not once but twice. Despite their appearance, they’re not too sweet, which makes them all the more delicious. I’d like to imagine Grandfather Frost delivering these treats to children around Christmas, although that’s probably not the case.

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Italian-American Turkey Dressing #SundaySupper

by Anne Papina on November 24, 2013

Italian-American Turkey Dressing #SundaySupper | Webicurean

It seems hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just a few days away–are you ready? I’m not! You probably figure I’ve forgotten all about turkey day considering all the Christmas cookies I’ve been baking lately, but nothing could be further from the truth. Once I get Thanksgiving on the brain, all thoughts turn to the “green dressing” or “ping” in Italian-American speak, probably my favorite family dish, ever. When I heard that Paula over at Vintage Kitchen Notes was hosting a virtual Thanksgivingkkuh feast for #SundaySupper, I just had to break out our family recipe for turkey dressing.

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Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne) #TwelveDaysofSanta | Webicurean

Switzerland may be the land of sweet confections, but it’s not all about the chocolate come Christmas. Depending on where you are, customs  can be influenced by German, Italian, or French holiday traditions. In searching for something that could represent the country as a whole, I came across these Cinnamon Stars, which are largely a German treat but are enjoyed throughout this Alpine country. Since the most notable holiday celebrations take place in the German-speaking areas, this third installment of #TwelveDaysofSanta will take you there.

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Pepparkakor #TwelveDaysofSanta

by Anne Papina on November 20, 2013

Pepparkakor #TwelveDaysofSanta | Webicurean

Gingerbread is practically synonymous with Christmas, and nothing quite beats that aroma wafting through the house. Whether it’s in the form of a gingerbread cake, a funny little man, or a house, Christmas wouldn’t be the same without it. And in Sweden, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Pepparkakor–a crisp, thin cookie/biscuit spiced with ginger, cinnamon, and cloves–similar to a gingersnap. Of course, Christmas in Sweden also wouldn’t be complete without goats and gnomes. In this second installment of #TwelveDaysofSanta, we’re baking pepparkakor and exploring Swedish lore.

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Spritz Cookies #TwelveDaysofSanta

by Anne Papina on November 15, 2013

Spritz Cookies #TwelveDaysofSanta | Webicurean

Let the baking begin! What better way to get into the spirit of the holiday season than to whip up some Christmas cookies? I know, it’s early, but if you get a jump on the baking frenzy now, you can stash them in the freezer so they’re ready for gift giving at a moment’s notice. Or you could simply nosh on them as you go–it’s really up to you. Hopefully my cookie series, #TwelveDaysofSanta, will inspire you in the kitchen this holiday season–that is, twelve days of Santa lore together with a cookie recipe representing that country. A Christmas Around the World of sorts, spread out over the next few weeks, and we’re kicking it off with Germany and Spritz Cookies.

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Three Cheese Lasagna with Meat Sauce #SundaySupper | Webicurean

Did you know the world’s largest cheese was an American Cheddar out of Wisconsin? True story. Made as a promotional gimmick for the Wisconsin exhibit at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, it measured 6 1/2 feet wide by 5 1/2 feet high by 14 1/2 feet long, and weighed in at a whopping 34,591 pounds.  That’s a serious hunk of cheese! Our Wisconsin friends at American Family Insurance are sponsoring this week’s #SundaySupper, and it’s all about the cheese. In the spirit of this cheesy goodness, I’m bringing my Three Cheese Lasagna with Meat Sauce.

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