If you don’t want another cookie addiction, then maybe you’ll want to bypass this week’s column. If, however, you want to jump on America’s latest cookie craze, then you’ve come to the right place! Swig cookies, with their scrumptious pink frosting and craggy edges, are somewhere between a soft sugar cookie and shortbread, and they have certainly won our hearts! (To date, there are about 41 million search results for Swig Cookies on Pinterest. I’d say we are obsessed with these sweet treats!) The Swig cookie originated in Saint George, Utah in 2010 at the Swig Drive-by Drink Shop. Known for their signature frosty drinks and sweets, Swig has now expanded to multiple locations in Utah and several other states. The minute I heard about them I employed “The Niece Factor.” That’s when I make a big batch of cookies and drive them over to my nieces and wait for their response. With these Swig Cookies I got a text about 20 minutes later (before I even got home!) that the entire batch has been devoured. That’s good enough for me! I think you’re going to like these cookies. They’re fun to make and may even be worthy of a spot on your holiday cookie exchange platter this year.
Homemade fresh-out-of-the-oven apple pie ala mode for the 4th of July! Pretty hard to beat. When I got a letter from Sun City resident Eva Meeks, it included a recipe for an award-winning apple pie that she had clipped from a magazine a few years ago. Here’s part of Eva’s letter:
“During the 4th of July holiday I hosted a pot luck for my family and decided to bake my favorite apple pie. I’ve been making it for several years now, and it’s always a big hit. Apparently this pie won some blue ribbons at state and county fairs. All I know is it wins hearts every time I make it for friends and family. It has a surprise filling that really adds a nice flavor. I thought you’d like to try it.”
Well, Eva, you thought right! I wasted no time peeling the Granny Smith apples and mixing up the “surprise” filling. I’m so happy Eva “blind bakes” (also known as pre-baking) her bottom crust. I’ve always done that as well because the bottom shell stays somewhat crispy after filling and baking. I’m also a fan of cooking my apples just to soften before filling the pie shell. Eva softens her apples in the microwave and then adds the rest of the ingredients. If you’re an apple pie lover, dish this one up with a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream and you’ll be in for a big surprise!
It’s one of the most colorful traditions we have, and it all starts on January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany celebrating the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child. The Three Kings Cake, with its colorful adornment of beads, a plastic baby hidden inside and topped with a king’s crown also kicks off the Carnival season with Fat Tuesday, aka Mardi Gras. With this treat, you’ll be feasting your eyes on fun!
Watch my How To Video here!
This one is personal! I’ve been making my special wreath bread for the holidays ever since I was in high school. I love making it, I love cutting into it (as pretty as it is) and I absolutely love giving it away as a holiday gift from my kitchen. I think I cut the recipe out of a Women’s Day Magazine many, many years ago, and eventually the clipping just disintegrated from overuse. By the time that happened however, I had the recipe embedded in my cooking DNA. The inside of this gorgeous bread wreath is filled with delicious surprises like brown sugar, walnuts, soaked raisins and spices. The outside is a thing of beauty and in my opinion, the perfect holiday wreath to share! Enjoy it as a breakfast bread or a sweet snack anytime!
It’s National Sandwich Month, and last week I shared a recipe for the Ultimate Tuna Melt. This week, I’ve got a tasty twist on your favorite sandwich that is reminiscent of the classic 50’s favorite, the Monte Cristo Sandwich. This method will work on just about any sandwich you love, but we’re going to build the sandwich, dip it in an egg and milk batter and grill it to perfection! The outside tastes a bit like French Toast, and the inside has the delicious melted cheese and deli meats!
For a bit of background, the Monte Cristo is a variation of the French croque-monsieur (The name is based on croquer (“to crunch”) and the word monsieur (“mister”) which originated in French cafés and bars as a quick snack.) It was once a favorite sandwich when deep frying foods was more popular. The Monte Cristo was often fried, sprinkled with powdered sugar and dipped in jelly.
My egg-battered and grilled sandwich version eliminates the deep frying, and the sandwich is dipped into the batter very quickly just to coat. I’ve made this sandwich with turkey and cheese, prosciutto, salami and cheese and even a caprese version with sliced mozzarella, tomato and slivered basil, and they are equally as delicious! Make up a batch and snack on them all week long while enjoying this month long sandwich celebration!
Watch my How To Video for Egg Battered Grilled Sandwiches here!