Column: Susan McClanahan: Some new recipes for you to try (1/7/21)

Through the Christmas season we tried a few new recipes and I wanted to pass them along to you. Most are pretty simple yet good.

The chili and coffee rub is excellent on beef tenderloin, but can be used for any nice beef cuts. The Santa cookies were a very cute addition to cookie trays and the chocolate peppermint cookies not only tasted good, they were pretty as well. By now you know how much I love cranberries, so I am always willing to try new cranberry recipes, so I’ve passed along a couple for you here today.

Here’s hoping your new year is off to a great start and may that include many new recipes.

Ancho Chile and Coffee Beef Rub

Rich and earthy, a perfect complement to beef tenderloin. We cooked beef tenderloin on Christmas Eve and a good spice rub makes all the difference in the world.

* 3 heaped tablespoon Ancho chile powder

* 1 tablespoon salt

* 2 level tablespoon finely-ground coffee beans

* 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder

* 1 teaspoon garlic powder

* 1 teaspoon cumin

Combine ingredients together well and rub onto meat of your choice.

Store any unused rub in airtight container (provided it hasn’t touched raw meat).


Winter Lettuce Salad

I have followed The Farm Stand Kitchen on Facebook for a long time now, and my husband surprised me with two cookbooks from there for Christmas. This is a nice salad from the book and the dressing is light and bright and delicious.


* Juice of one fresh lemon

* 3 tablespoons olive oil

* 3 tablespoons light corn syrup or honey

* 1/2 teaspoon onion powder or granulated onion

* 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

* 1/2 teaspoon table salt


* 3 Romaine hearts, washed, drained and chopped ( approximately 10 cups)

* 2 medium red apples, washed, cored and chopped

* 2 medium Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and chopped

* 1 1/4 cups shredded Swiss cheese

* 1/2 cup dried cranberries

* 1/2 cup salted cashew pieces

Add all the dressing ingredients to a small jar with a lid. Shake till combined. Set aside.

In a large salad bowl, add the chopped Romaine lettuce. Add apples, pears, cheese and cranberries. Toss to combine.

When ready to serve, drizzle with the dressing, toss once more and add cashews to the top. Serve. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator. Be careful not to use too much dressing, but enough to cover thoroughly.


Red Hot Cranberry Cider

An easy crock pot recipe made with Red Hot candies, cranberry, orange and apple juices. A hot, festive winter drink that’s easy to make!

* 4 cups 100% cranberry juice, no sugar added

* 3 cups apple juice

* 3 cups orange juice, no pulp

* 1 cup red hot cinnamon candies

* 2 cinnamon sticks

* Garnishes: orange slices and fresh cranberries


The Santa Clause Cookie

Fun to bake, delicious to eat, a great homemade gift, and a festive addition to your holiday cookie box! We left out the hazelnut liquor and it did just fine.

* 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) salted butter, at room temperature

* 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

* 1 tablespoon hazelnut liquor (optional)

* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

* 1 egg, at room temperature

* 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus an additional 2-4 tablespoons, if needed

* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Vanilla Frosting:

* 2 cups powdered sugar

* 1 tablespoon hazelnut liquor (optional)

* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

* Assorted sprinkles, vanilla sugar, and or sanding sugar, for decorating

Vanilla Buttercream:

* 1 stick (8 tablespoons) salted butter, at room temperature

* 2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature (optional)

* 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add the hazelnut liquor (if using) and vanilla, beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the egg and mix until combined. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt, beat until combined and the dough forms a ball. If the dough feels too wet to roll out, add 2-4 tablespoons additional flour.

Divide the dough in half. Roll out the dough on a floured piece of parchment to 1/4 inch thickness. Make sure you’re using enough flour or your dough will stick. Cut out the cookies using your desired shape/shapes. I used a variety of snowflakes, a star, and a Christmas tree. Carefully transfer the cookies to a parchment-lined baking sheet. I recommend using a floured spatula to lift the cookies. Cover the baking sheet and place in the freezer. Freeze until firm, about 20-30 minutes. Roll out the leftover scraps, and repeat with the remaining dough.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the cookies on the middle rack of the oven for 8-10 minutes or until just lightly golden. Cool on the baking sheet 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. In a medium bowl, beat together the powdered sugar, hazelnut liquor (if using), vanilla, and 1 tablespoon water until smooth and drizzly. If needed, thin the glaze by adding water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until drizzly.

To make the buttercream, in a bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese together until extra light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat together until whipped, about 2 more minutes.

Decorate each cookie as desired with vanilla frosting, buttercream frosting, sprinkles, and or vanilla sugar.

To Make Santas: Outline a star cookie with vanilla frosting, then fill the cookie in with frosting, leaving 1 triangle portion without frosting for Santa’s face. Sprinkle/press red sprinkles and/or sanding sugar into the frosting to create his body and hat, shake off the excess. Attach two mini chocolate chips for his eyes. Fill in his beard with the buttercream frosting, then add a red sprinkle for his nose.

To Make Snowflakes: Pipe lines and dots of frosting onto each cookie to enhance the snowflake shape. If desired, sprinkle with vanilla sugar. Let the frosting set before serving, about an hour.

To Make Christmas Trees: Fill in each tree with vanilla frosting, then sprinkle with vanilla sugar.

Note: To Pipe Frosting Onto Cookies: add the frosting to a small sandwich size Ziploc bag (or a piping bag), then snip off a small portion of the corner off.

Vanilla Sugar: Mix 1/4 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder or 1/2 a vanilla bean, seeds scraped.


White Chocolate Dipped Peppermint Chocolate Cookies

Such a delicious flavor combination. You get decadent chocolate cookies mixed with the real peppermint flavor, and they’re finished with a layer of sweet and creamy white chocolate. So good that they’ll likely become a new holiday tradition! They are a pretty and delicious addition to your cookie trays.

* 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (scoop and level to measure)

* 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (scoop and level to measure)

* 1 teaspoon baking soda

* 1/2 teaspoon salt

* 1 cup unsalted butter, softened about halfway (it should be fairly firm still)

* 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

* 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

* 2 large eggs

* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

* 1 teaspoon peppermint extract

* 16 ounces white chocolate, broken or chopped

* 1/4 cup (approximately) finely crushed peppermint bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with silicone liners or parchment paper.

In a medium mixing bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt for 20 seconds. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until well combined. Mix in eggs one at a time then blend in vanilla extract and peppermint extract.

With mixer set on low speed slowly add in flour mixture and mix just until combined.

Scoop dough out by a rounded tablespoon and shape into balls (if dough is sticky you can chill as needed).

Space on cookies sheets 2-inches apart. Flatten cookies slightly with the bottom of a sugar dipped glass.

Bake one sheet at a time in preheated oven about 8 minutes (cookies should appear slightly under-baked).

Let cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes then transfer to an airtight container to fully cool.

Once cookies are cool, melt white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl on 50% power in 30 second increments, stirring between intervals until melted and smooth.

Dip half of each cookie in white chocolate then transfer to parchment paper and sprinkle with peppermint bits. Chill to let chocolate set about 10 minutes.

Store cookies in an airtight container.


Cranberry Orange Jello Salad

This delicious layered jello salad features a golden crispy nutty crust is topped with a creamy layer of cream cheese and then topped off with a delectable cranberry orange gelatin mixture. This salad can be made up to 2 days ahead of time.

* 1 cup all-purpose flour

* 1 cup chopped pecans

* 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

* 1/2 cup butter, melted

* 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

* 1/3 cup granulated sugar

* 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

* 2 (3 ounce) packages orange gelatin

* 2 cup boiling water

* 2 (14 ounce) cans whole-berry cranberry sauce

* 1 cup cold water

* Garnish: whipped topping, chopped fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, pecans, and brown sugar. Add melted butter. Stir to combine. Press mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until light golden brown. Let Cool Completely.

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar at medium speed with a mixer until smooth. Add whipped topping. Beat until completely combined.

Spread mixture over cooled crust. Cover and chill for a minimum of 4 hours or up to 2 days.

In a large bowl, mix together gelatin and 2 cups of boiling water. Add in cranberry sauce, stir until well combined. Add in 1 cup cold water. Slowly pour gelatin mixture over chilled cream cheese layer.

Cover and chill for another 4 hours or up to 2 days.

Cut into squares to serve. Garnish with whipped topping and cranberries, if desired.


Mexican Hot Chocolate

Homemade Mexican Hot Chocolate is so rich and creamy with just a little spicy kick! Cozy up with a cup of real chocolate with hints of vanilla, cinnamon, cayenne and chile.

* 4 cups whole milk

* 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk

* 12 ounces dark chocolate chips or chunks

* 2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder

* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

* 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

* 1/4 teaspoon chili powder

In a large saucepan over low heat, warm whole milk and sweetened condensed milk until condensed milk has melted.

Add in dark chocolate chips and whisk until melted. Whisk in dark cocoa powder, cinnamon, cayenne, and chili powder until dissolved. Whisk in vanilla. Keep heat very low. Stir occasionally until chocolate is hot, then serve with marshmallows or whipped cream.


Cranberry Lemon Bars (First Recipe)

Cranberry-Lemon Juice:

* 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed if frozen

* 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

* 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Almond Shortbread Crust:

* Nonstick cooking spray

* 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature

* 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

* 3/4 cup almond flour

* 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt


* 4 large eggs

* 2 large egg yolks

* 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

* 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the cranberry-lemon juice: Cook the cranberries, lemon juice and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium to medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries soften and begin to burst, 10 to 12 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture until smooth inside the saucepan. Cool while you make the crust.

For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9- x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving at least 2 inches of excess on either side to help you unmold the bars later.

Cream the butter, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the all-purpose flour, almond flour and salt and mix on low speed until the mixture comes together. Scrape the bowl well, then mix on low speed again.

Crumble the crust into the prepared baking dish and carefully press into an even layer with your hands or the bottom of a measuring cup.

Bake until lightly golden brown at the edges, 15 to 17 minutes. Cool completely.

For the filling: Whisk the cooled cranberry-lemon juice mixture with the eggs, egg yolks and sea salt in a large bowl until well combined. Add the melted butter and whisk well to combine. Pour the filling into the cooled crust. Gently transfer to the oven and bake until the center of the custard sets, 24 to 28 minutes. Cool to room temperature, then chill for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving.


Cranberry-Lemon Bars (Second Recipe)

These are amazing! You have to be prepared to focus on making these and not walk away. After you’ve made these one time; they are pretty easy to put together next time, especially if you start playing with the basics and add in variations for fun.

These get better each day that they are in the refrigerator. By the third day, you can’t help yourself, you finish it off. I do have requests every year for these; people will ask if I might be making ‘those Cranberry Lemon Bars’ this year, with a sound of, ‘ please…?’

* 1/2 cup pecans

* 2 cups all-purpose flour

* 1 3/4 cups sugar

* 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

* 3 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature

* 3 large eggs, plus 4 egg yolks

* 1 1/4 ounce packet unflavored gelatin powder

* 1/4 cup warm water

* 1 (12 ounce) bag cranberries (fresh or frozen)

* 1 vanilla bean, split

* 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

* 1/4 cup lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly coat a 9-by-13 inch baking dish with cooking spray, then line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides. Lightly coat the parchment with cooking spray. You are using the overhang of the paper as handles to lift this out so put enough in there to allow for this.

Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and bake until toasted, 8 to 10 minutes; let cool.

Finely grind the nuts in a food processor. Add the flour, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon salt and pulse. Add 1 1/2 sticks butter and 2 egg yolks; process until the dough comes together. It will look crumbly but just know that while you are pushing in to the pan – it will come together. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking dish and press into an even layer (use a piece of parchment to help). Smash this as thin as you can because it will puff up.

Bake until the crust is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes; let cool.

Sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoons warm water in a small microwave-safe bowl and stir to combine. Microwave in 10 second intervals, stirring after each, until melted.

Combine the cranberries, vanilla bean and 3/4 cup sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir in 2 tablespoons warm water and cook over medium high heat, stirring, until thick, 10 to 15 minutes. Discard the vanilla bean. Transfer the mixture to a blender, add the gelatin mixture and puree on low speed until smooth but not too airy; set aside.

Meanwhile, whisk the 3 whole eggs, remaining 2 egg yolks, the lemon zest, lemon juice and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 5 to 10 minutes (do not boil).

For fun, taste this before you add the butter -so good!

Remove from the heat and whisk in the remaining 1 1/2 sticks butter, one piece at a time, until creamy. Whisk in cranberry mixture until combined. Spread the cranberry mixture over the cooled crust and refrigerate, uncovered, at least 6 hours and up to 1 day. (Leave it in the refrigerator overnight before cutting)

Lift the bars out of the pan and cut into squares; cut a couple strips; move them from the parchment onto a cookie tray, use a spatula and move the rest of the bar to the tray. These lift and move easily as they are firm. It says to remove parchment after lifting out of pan but that can smash the topping.

Note: I keep a small pot near the stove – I toss fruit rinds, vanilla pods and cinnamon sticks in when I’m finished using them in dishes – at some point – I add liquid and cranberries and simmer all day to scent the house with holiday smells.

After I make this first batch with their crust, I create another batch skipping the crust steps as I use a variety of other methods.

If you are short on time; Instead of the crust called for in this recipe, there are 2 other crusts I have made these in. This is delicious in phyllo cups, and also pastry shells cut to fit muffin tins. My favorite of between the pie crust and phyllo cups pie dough but the phyllo cups adds crunch. Of course, the main recipe crust, makes a lot, lot more. Cut these small. A little goes a long way. This holds its shape very well.

Not only are these for great for Christmas, but also for New Years and Valentine’s gifts.

Source is unknown, given by a friend from who also did not know the source.

Raspberry Layered Jello Salad

This Raspberry Layered Jello Salad has a base of frozen raspberries, pineapple and fresh bananas topped with layer of sour cream, and topped off with another thin layer of raspberries and gelatin. It’s the perfect side salad for Holidays and Special Occasions.

* 4 (3 ounce) packages raspberry gelatin

* 3 1/2 cups boiling water

* 2 (12 ounce) packages frozen raspberries

* 1 (20 ounce) crushed pineapple, undrained

* 4 mashed bananas

* 1 pint sour cream

* Fresh raspberries and mint for garnish

In a large bowl add packages of raspberry gelatin and boiling water. Mix with a wire whisk, until gelatin has completely dissolved.

Add frozen raspberries and crushed pineapple, undrained, to gelatin. Mix until well combined.

Remove 2 cups of gelatin mixture and set aside until later. Stir in mashed bananas to the large bowl of gelatin.

Pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish and allow to chill on an even surface in the refrigerator until fairly well set. Remove gelatin from refrigerator and top with sour cream. Spread sour cream evenly to cover base of salad.

Spoon reserved 2 cups of raspberry pineapple gelatin over the top of the sour cream.

Chill salad until firm. Cut into 12 equal squares, to serve top each square with whipped cream and a fresh raspberry.


Have a great week, and until next time, happy cooking.