Monday, November 24, 2008
My favorite new holiday recipes
First, a disclaimer. With our allergy issues, we do mostly from-scratch cooking. This is great, and it has helped me become a better cook, etc, etc. Whatever. At holiday time, I am a mom with three kids under five, and I take any shortcuts I can find. I like these enough not to bother to ever do a completely from scratch version.
In the refrigerated section with the croissant dough, they have cans of Recipe Creations dough, which is just the croissant stuff without being pre-cut. A can of croissant dough would work, but you'd just have to pinch it together where it has been pre-cut. Again, this is about shortcuts. Puff pastry would be far better, but is more expensive, and I am cheap.
You also need cream cheese, sugar, a few more toppings and your imagination. A pizza cutter and a pan for 24 mini-muffins are helpful, but you could make do with a knife and 2 12-count mini-muffin pans. Finally, a couple of ziploc sandwich bags are easier than a spoon. (Reference the previous comment regarding shortcuts).
Preheat the oven to 375. Whip the cream cheese and sugar until well-blended (I use about 1/3 cup of sugar--adjust to your own taste). Unroll the croissant dough and use a pizza cutter to cut it into 24 squares. Place 1 square into each muffin well (the points will spill out a little. That's OK). Now the fun part! The kids loved helping with these.
Mix any desired flavorings into the cream cheese mixture, then put it into a baggie. Cut the corner of the baggie and squirt it into each croissant square. Add your favorite topping and bake for 15 minutes. Remove each little pastry and place on a rack to cool so that they don't get soggy.
There are so many possibilities. We added a splash of Godiva cappuccino liqueur to the cream cheese and topped it with dark chocolate chips. Yummmmmmmm. This morning we just did a vanilla cream cheese with wild blueberries on top (Ariana's favorite) and the same vanilla mixture topped with a homemade pumpkin pie filling (Joel's favorite). I want to try some almond cream cheese mixture with a cherry topping, too. Or peaches or apricots with nutmeg or cinnamon in the cream cheese? Apples, of course. Maybe a chocolate cream cheese mixture with a caramel in each one would be good, too. You could also do a savory version with ham and provolone (maybe a hint of mustard?), or maybe a sausage with red peppers, onions and cheddar...
I think further experiments are definitely in order.