Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Meyer Lemon Shortbread Squares and Christmas Tree Shop Finds

Dear Readers, pardon my absence from the blogging world.  For the past few weeks life just got the better of me.  Today I am sharing another shortbread recipe that  I made using some Meyer Lemons that needed to be used.  They are sweet little melt-a-way cookies.
I am also joing in Kathleen's party, Let's Dish, where you are invited to share your dish finds and tablescapes that you put together.  Before I share the recipe, I want to share some of my finds from a Christmas Tree Shop store in Virginia.  These little footed bowls went for twenty-nine cents.  I was able to buy six of them.
These little napkin rings sold for a quarter, and I picked up 12 of them.  I thought they would be perfect on a Santa table at Christmas as, to me, they look like Santa's belt.
Now to get back to the shortbread squares....
You can use Meyer Lemons if you have them; they have a short growing season, or just normal lemons.
I  used these cookie cutters; they are from World Market
Recipe for Meyer Lemon Shortbread Squares
 1 cup butter, no substitutes
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon zest
4 teaspoons lemon juice
2-1/4 cups flour
Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In medium mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the lemon juice and the lemon zest.  On low speed, gradually beat in the flour, beginning with 2 cups of flour, and adding more flour, if necessary. The dough should be able to be rolled out. Roll out cookies to about 1/3 inch and cut with a cookie cutter. I used a small square-shaped cutter. Bake at 325 for about 9 - 10 minutes. Let cookies sit on baking sheet a few minutes, and then remove and cool on rack.  Note:  If you want a really moist shortbread, which I like, under bake a little and allow to sit on baking sheet for about 30 minutes after you take it out of the oven.  The cookies will be fragile, but oh so moist and melt in your mouth!  The baking times will vary with the size and thickness of your cookie.  Yield 36 small cookies.
Just dusted cookies.
Please take one before you leave.
Just a bit on the home front.  This is our friend Danielle or "Wookie," as she is affectionately known as.   She came over for dinner on Valentine's Day.  We served asparagus with a little bit of butter.  Weirdly, all the butter on the  asparagus somehow got shaped into a heart shape!  She asked me if I shaped it, and I said "No, but it looks like a good sign for 2013!"  She is single and such a beautiful person inside and out.
Thanks for dropping by my couch!! 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Maraschino Cherry Chocolate Drizzled Shortbread Cookies

Glad you dropped by Red Couch Recipes!
My mother made a maraschino heart-shaped cake for my father one year for Valentine's Day, and ever since I always associate maraschino cherries with Valentine's Day.  So I put together this recipe for my children, and they loved them.  These cookies are like chocolate covered cherries in shortbread form. Their lovely color is derived from the maraschino cherries and juice.   My daughter Tati also took them for her church class as a treat and they loved them also, and I hope you love them too.  Now that is a whole lot of love -- but it is Valentine's season, isn't it?
Recipe for Maraschino Cherry Chocolate Drizzled Shortbread Cookies
1  cup softened butter (do not use margarine)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons almond extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup maraschino cherry juice
2 cups, plus 2 -3 tablespoons flour, as needed (see note)
Maraschino cherries from a 10-ounce jar -- chopped very finely with the juice squeezed out of the cherries -- squeeze first, then chop
Small amount milk or semi-sweet chocolatechips for drizzling (about 1/2 cup for drizzling)  -- I used milk chocolate chips.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  In medium mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until light and fluffy.  Beat in the almond extract, then beat in the salt.  then add maraschino cherry juice.  On low speed, gradually beat in the flour, beginning with 2 cups of flour, and adding more flour, if necessary.  The dough should be able to be rolled out.  Roll out cookies to about 1/3 inch and cut with a cookie cutter. I used a small heart-shaped cookie cutter.   Bake at 325 for about 8 - 9 minutes.  Let cookies sit on baking sheet a few minutes, and then remove and cool on rack.  When cookies are cool, melt chocolate, and then drizzle on cookies. Let chocolate dry.  Yield:  2 dozen small cookies.   Now go on and serve them to a loved one.
Cookies waiting to be drizzled
Notse:  I live in a very dry, desert area; the amount of flour you use will vary.  For the drizzling of the chocolate, I just cut a small hole in the corner of a Zip-Loc bag.  I then put a small amount of chocolate in the bag and drizzled the chocolate over the cookies with a back and forth motion.
Cookie waiting for chocolate to dry
Hope you are baking something up special for your loved ones.
Just a little picture from the homefront....
This is the cat named Ruby that we rescued from the street a little less than a year ago.  He was sitting in the middle of the street.  I recently bought him a little house, AND HE LOVES IT!!  You know how you buy something for your pet, and they never use it...
 Thanks for dropping by the Couch.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Va Va Va Valentine's Tablescape

Dear Readers, welcome to my Va Va Va Valentine's Day Table!
I love Valentine's Day! My husband and I were married on February 12 many moons ago.  Our reception was Valentine-themed complete with white painted manzanita bushes and red hearts.   Jacqueline and I found these hear place mats at Home Goods recently.  They are woven out of paper!

It seems like a long time ago since we were married,  but in reality time has zoomed by.
The white heart plates are from Tai Pan Trading.
The napkins were also purchased at Home Goods.  I tied them with a little gingham ribbon.
The table is graced with King's Crown goblets and red goblets.
Here's a little side view of the table.  The red hob nail bowls were a find at Michael's a couple of years ago.  We use them all the time for baked casseroles.
Just another happy little look at the red bowls.
We brought out the silver for this table.  Of course we did, it is Valentine's Day.
A picture with the light streaming on the table.  The red on the table is that reflected from the glasses.
I have just returned from a week in Virginia where I spent time with my husband.  It was an early Anniversary visit.  So good to see him!  We made it to Colonial Village at Williamsburg, and I loved it! I may show a few photos later.   I have never experienced such courteous drivers, than those at Williamsburg.
Our son and son daughter-in-law, and their two girls live in Richmond while he is attending medical school.  We were able to go to their daughter Sydney's baby blessing.
Aivi, the big sister, is  helping her mom cook.  She was putting cooked pasta in cupcake wrappers.
Sydney is glad her big day is over.  She was in a swing and I couldn't get a shot that wasn't blurry.
And nearby Richmond  there is a famous Christmas Tree Shop Store that Kathleen has introduced many of us to.
I have to tell you that I was not able to find the bargains like Kathleen does.  I DID find Friendly Village plates there. 
Kathleen found them for one dollar, and  I found them for $3.99!   I didn't buy them.  She does have a way with bargains.  I think it is the kind of store that you need to shop often at.  I did find a few bargains that I lugged home in my carry-on --- arghh!!
Thank you to Kathleen for hosting Let's Dish where I am posting this tablescape as well as at Tablescape Thursday.
Thanks for dropping by Red Couch Recipes!
Table Information:
Heart Placemats and Napkins:  Home Goods
White Heart Plates and White Chargers:  Tai Pan Trading
Flatware:  Damask Rose by Oneida, wedding present from my parents
King's Crown Stemware:  Ebay, present from Jacqueline
Red Goblets:  Costco present from Jacqueline and my sister Jean
Red Hob Nail bowls:  Michael's Arts and Crafts