Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cajun Holiday Treats + Pralines 101

One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is baking special cookies and treats. In fact, when my kids were little, I let them throw a Christmas party, every year and invite the whole neighborhood. These adorable gingerbread men were their favorite cookies to make and eat at the party. And they are still mine! If you have little ones around your house, they will delight in helping to decorate them. They are very delicious, easy to make, and fun to decorate. Enjoy!

Gingerbread Men 
3/4 cup light or dark molasses
1 1/2 sticks butter
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 2/3 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp.'s ground ginger
2 tsp.'s ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 egg
Decorator icing /or candies

In 3 qt. saucepan, over medium heat, heat the molasses, butter, and brown sugar, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, set aside and let cool. In large bowl, combine flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and nutmeg. Blend egg into molasses mixture. Stir molasses mixture into the flour mixture with a large spoon,  and beat until smooth. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On floured surface, roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with 5x3 inch gingerbread man cookie cutter. Transfer with spatula to a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and allow to cool. Decorate with holiday cookie icing, (recipe below), or use a store bought icing.

Holiday Cookie Icing
2/3 cup unsalted butter
2 (2/3) cups confectioner's sugar
2 to 3 tbs.'s milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Food coloring, (red, green, and white)
Beat butter, sugar, milk, and vanilla, with an electric mixer, until smooth. If icing is too thick, add a little more milk. Divide icing into several small bowls.  Add a few drops of each color to each bowl. Stir well. Decorate as desired. I used a zip loc bag with a tiny cut on the corner to pipe the icing.

This next recipe is the best "no fail" sugar cookie recipe that I have ever tried. It was given to me by one of my oldest and dearest friends, back in the child rearing days. She and I made about a hundred, dozen of these every year! Those were the days when we would bake cookies, not only for the kids, but for their teachers, the church, the mailman, the neighbors, the relatives, and friends. They are scrumptious, make wonderful gifts, and freeze well.

 Joyeaux Noel Sugar Cookies
 1/2 lb. butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 tsp.'s vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
Cream all of the above, by hand or mixer, until smooth.

1/2 tsp. salt
4 tsp.'s baking powder
4 cups flour
Mix all of the above and then add to butter mixture.

Add 1/4 cup milk and mix again. Chill.
Cut out with assorted holiday cookie cutters and bake @ 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.
Serve plain, dusted with powdered sugar, or decorate with holiday cookie icing and sprinkles.

And last, but not least are my absolute favorite, Pecan Pralines. (Puh-kawn - Praw-leens) A Southern favorite, these melt in your mouth treats are absolutely heavenly! So creamy and crunchy and easy to make. Here is a simple video explaining how to make them. To see more recipes for pralines, click here. Bon appetit!

Wishing you all a warm and lovely weekend! Merci beaucoup for stopping by!


fuat gencal said...

Ellerinize,emeğinize sağlık. Çok leziz ve iştah açıcı görünüyor.


Joanne said...

Oh Marguerite, I am not too much of a cook, so I visit here and dream about kitchen life as I would know it, if I had skills around the stove. Thanks for indulging my dreams ...

Drick said...

have not made gingerboys since a child, need to do so and that is a great sugar cookie recipe ... hey, glad ya got the right pronunciation down for the Puh-kawn Praw-leens, I git so tuckered hearing folks try to say it....

Drick said...

oh, forgot to mention... notice the video use of pralines - prayleens instead of prawleens.... funny

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

The first praline I ever ate was in New Orleans. I thought I had died and gone to paradise.

T. said...

Marguerite --thanks for the praline recipe/video! I'm going to add them to my list of holiday treats!


Cloudia said...

Want some!!

Best to you, Cheri,

with Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral



Linda Starr said...

Boy those look good, love xmas goodies.

Kathryn Magendie said...

Oh! is that a video for preparing pralines? gonna have to watch that - -it's always hit and miss with my praline making - ergh...!

Eddie Bluelights said...

As kids we used to say, "Run,run as fast as you can! You can't catch me, I'm a gingerbread man!" Funny how thing come back from our memories. Love eating them.
Your Pecan Pralines look lush!
Also love your seasonal blog piccie. Very becoming . . . but what no dancing this week and no guessing where my fav Cajun gal is on the video clip! LOL

Anonymous said...

What a great presentation of cookies. You have been very busy.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

It's not Christmas without frosted sugar cookies! My favorite!

Vagabonde said...

I like Pralines a lot, but to tell you the truth Marguerite, the last time I tried making them it was a big flop. I had the recipe from a lady from Vacherie too. But I do like eating them!

Marguerite said...

Fuat- Thanks, I just love making these cookies and candies. Merci for stopping by and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Joanne- Thanks so much for your lovely comment, cher! You're welcome, they're easy to make, just follow the recipes. :)

Drick- Merci beaucoup for the sweet compliment, cher! I know, "pee-can pray-leens" drives me up the wall, too, lol, but I chose it because it was a nice simple video and a great, easy recipe!

Trish- Pralines are sinfully delicious and now you can make your own! Just follow the recipe in the video. Thanks for coming by!

T.- You're very welcome! They're easy and thanks so much for wanting to try them! The trick is having the candy thermometer. Lucky, K! lol!

Cloudia- Thanks, cher! Glad you like them and hope you try them! Have a great weekend!

Kat said...

Yes, those were the days of Home Room Mothering. I was known for bringing the sugar cookies too! What a neat idea to invite the whole neighborhood! I bet everyone wanted to be your neighbor!! The gingerbread cookies look so adorable.

Rosaria Williams said...

Oh sweet Jesus, I'm going to camp here! Love the video presentation, so easy to replicate.
Have a wonderful holiday, Marguerite, and thanks for all the goodies you so generously show us how to make.

Velva said...

So cute! Love gingerbread cookies. What a great memory for your children.

Happy Holidays to you and your family.


Mehmet Osman Çağlar said...

Marguerite, thanks, just sharing these cookies and candies with music.

Mon ami! Cher! Wonderful weekend!

Hugs and love, Zhivago

Midlife Roadtripper said...

That seems a pretty easy way to make pralines. I've never made them. Perhaps something different will spur the desire to cook.

I used to gather with several friends and our young kids to make Christmas cookies. Made is much more fun.

Mary Bergfeld said...

Your cookies are just gorgeous and I'm sure they are as tasty as they are beautiful. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary