Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Personal Favorite Recipes from 2011

Life really has nothing to do with popularity, now does it?

But popularity is certainly something to reflect on. And once I pulled up the Top 10 most trafficked recipes from my blog in 2011, I had to stop and think a bit. 
Were these my personal favorites???
Well, NO, they were not... that list included too many sweets for my liking!

Here are the recipes that really "floated my boat" ("stirred my crockpot", "heated my oven".... hahaha) in the past year.  Some are new additions that I tested during the year, and some of them are things I've probably eaten for 40 years (Thanks Mom!). It's hard to chose favorites when I only posted things that I liked already but here it goes...

Instead of saying too much up here, I'm going to tell you a bit about the recipe that I chose and why it's important to me.

Larb Gai

It's always been my favorite Thai recipe, but I never considered making it at home until last year.  I love the clean flavors that satisfy so much.  It's a great, light dinner for those times you want to keep it lower calories and lower carb.  I have a feeling that I will be making it soon as I contemplate taking off a few pounds in the New Year, 2012. It's super ironic to me that I first posted it last January. This recipe spent most of the year on my blog's Top 10 most trafficked recipes but got bumped off by Honey Badger Martini's and a couple of cupcake recipes!

Thai Chicken Nachos

Had these on a fantastic vacation to Napa and Sonoma with my hubby last Spring.  What a great trip, definately something to do again in 2012.  I like this recipe for the nice memories, but really it's the intense and unusual ingredients for nachos that make me so happy.  I've seen other recipes for Thai Nachos... but frankly, I think mine looks the best with it's great condiment additions and a more in depth sauce. Try them, you will love them.

Albondigas, Mexican Meatball Soup

Soup is my favorite food, as a category.
I would happily make soup every day, so it was really, really hard to just chose one soup. I know, I know, I could have just posted my Top 10 Soups, and no one was limiting my choice to only one soup.  My solution was this... my favorite soups are all Mexican, besides Chicken Tortilla Soup and Chicken Posole, so I choose one equally as good and easy to make too.  This recipe was inspired by the same vacation as above, but has a funny story attached to it. 

Moroccan Pot Roast

This blog posting was really a sleeper.  I bet not even 15 people looked at it the day I posted it. The weird thing about this one is that it consistently gets "hits" as people do searches online.  I also have a dear friend who made it for her book club dinner to a great success.  Why yes, I did have to offer 'tech support' on the phone as she is an emerging cook and not yet confident in her new found talent.  She did a great job with it, and many others in her club have been viewing and passing the recipe on. I've made this many times in the last couple years, and need to get it on the table again soon.

Asian Ginger Lime Salmon

This was so, so hard.
I love fish and once I reviewed the recipes I posted, I was like some sort of basket case... "this one", no "this one"... oh geez, this is the one.  The two very, very close contenders are; Maple Dijon Salmon on Spinach Salad and Salmon baked with Garbanzos & Spinach.  Oh yum!  I need to get to the store and get some salmon, I am getting hungry.

This recipe wasn't popular at all and hardly ever gets any "visits" (hits, traffic- whatever you want to call it)  This one is lonely.  Too bad, it's a so flippin' yummy with different flavors and textures that will make your taste buds very, very happy.

Spaghetti with Red Clam & Caper Sauce

Here is the recipe I have been eating for over 40 years.
It's the recipe that made me realize that I do like clams! Now, I've never become a steamed clam fanatic, but minced clams in this sauce make me very happy. I was an exchange student in Scotland in the early 1980's and this is one recipe I took with me to

Huevos Ranchero

It's not really fair to post a recipe that is really a side effect of another recipe, but in my blog I do give you some ideas on making this work without actually making my Crock pot Ranchero Pulled Pork. Once I ate this every morning for an entire week (I had a bunch of leftover sauce) and I was happy to do so.  These days, I do not order Huevos Rancheros in a restaurant as I am almost always disappointed.  It's such an easy dish, but it does need to taste like something yummy and not a sorry excuse for breakfast. Uh... I may be showing my opinionated side right about now... oh well.

Black Bean & Couscous Salad

I've been making this salad for almost 25 years.  A co-worker gave it to me so long ago, and it was instant love on my part (the recipe.... ahem... though she was a great gal!).  The salad seemed so 'fresh and modern'.... and funny thing is, that it still seems different and so perfect for sharing with friends.  I love that it is totally Vegetarian and Vegan friendly too. 

Greek Panzanella Salad

The things I like about this salad are many, they are; It's Greek, hasfeta, olives, tomatoes, and uses leftovers.  I love being able to use up a really great hunk of leftover bread to make a fantastic salad that comes together in minutes.  The other Greek salad that was a contender was Grilled Greek Potato Salad. I love, love, love Greek food!

Coconut Water Martini

A very memorable trip to Las Vegas enjoying these martini's at Rum Jungle inspired these coconut "waters".  It just says happy to me.  I hope it works for you too.

Don't complain about how many coconut rums you have to buy to make these, just... go... now and buy them.  You will not regret it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 Top 10 Posts

It's been quite a year.

When I started this blog, I wasn't sure I had enough recipes and things to talk about.
I was wrong.  The more and more I thought about what I wanted to make, the more ideas popped into my head and I wanted to talk about it. I put most of my energies into my blog almost all year before starting a new career and moving into the a new house with, finally, a gourmet kitchen in November & December. 
It's been a fantastic year, lots of fun, change and new things coming my way. I'm not sure what it holds, but I do intend to keep cooking, blogging and eating & sharing recipes with friends.

While the year is coming to an end, I look back at these Top 10 most popular recipes and reflect. 
Who knew that so many of them would be cupcake recipes? 
FIVE of my top 10 recipes are cupcakes... wow, that is totally surprising to me. 
I hadn't made cupcakes in years before starting this blog, and frankly, I am not a huge fan of cake.  But cupcakes, are... well... special.  Each one is decorated just for one person and somehow it just seems special when you are on the receiving end.  It's easy to say NO to cake, not so easy with CUPCAKES! My number one recipe, Junior Mint Cupcakes is probably only number one because it was featured on another cupcake website, called and the traffic flew in, and continues to.

It's also funny that two of my Top 10 are cocktails, because I've always liked wine and beer as my drink of choice. The two cocktails were special occasions that happened to me, and made me what to share them with you.  I like both these drinks very much and somehow I am very flattered that they are so popular.

Two other savory dishes on the list are really 'fast' food or street food, if you will.

I think that my Taco recipe is only popular because of the spicy coleslaw without mayo. Most recipes just serve fish tacos with shredded cabbage.  This salad makes the whole dish and it is my favorite salad. 

The other recipe, Chicken Frankie, is kind of an Indian taco that I got to try first hand in St. Maarten this December, months after being intrigued with the idea.  My version is messier than the 'real one' but I know it's more tasty and has fresh flavors and textures.

I just may write a posting of MY PERSONAL Top 10 things that I have blogged about. Some of these dishes are things I've made for years, or things I just discovered and have made many times this year.  They are 100% savory recipes, not a cupcake in the bunch... Mmmmm....except maybe those Pumpkin Cheesecake Molasses Buttercream cupcakes.
Here is a link to my Top 10 Six Month Anniversary posting.  Four recipes are the same, but lots of other newcomers.

June 2011 Top 10 Six Month Anniversary

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lazy Girl Chicken with Coconut, Lime & Peanut sauce

Maybe it's just me, but I don't crave traditional food at the holidays.  I want exciting, easy, comforting food. This is the one folks.

I needed an easy dinner for 14 people on a Tuesday.
Have I mentioned that I am back to work???
What to do, what to do...

Heck, this great recipe was inspiring me, but I didn't have the time to do the stove top version, I needed to make it work in the crockpot.  I know you have heard that necessity is the mother of invention, right?

I took the totally lazy stance here, I didn't brown the chicken or anything.  I just dumped in all the stuff and turned it on.  It worked perfectly. Cook some rice, chop some condiments and go.  Everyone was happy, happy, happy.

A good 'go to' recipe for a different kind of curry. This wasn't too spicy, I think that you could please kids and people who don't like spicy food too.  Pass the Sriracha hot sauce to people like me.

Serves 5-7
1 14 oz. can light Coconut Milk
2/3 cup peanut butter, crunchy or smooth
1 tablespoon Thai Red Curry Paste
Juice from 1 Lime
2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
1-2 tablespoons Fish Sauce (optional, but recommended)
1 tablespoon Toasted Sesame Oil
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
1/2 tsp Cracked Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
2 pounds Chicken Breast or thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup diced Onion
2-3 Garlic Cloves, crushed, or chopped
Optional garnishes - Chopped Cilantro, Peanuts, Green Onion, toasted coconut

Chop chicken into 1-2" chunks.  Chop onion. Add to crock pot.  Add in light coconut milk, peanut butter, fish sauce, red curry paste, lime juice, soy sauce and sesame oil  Add spices and crushed garlic.  Cover and cook over high heat for 4-6 hours in the crock pot. Serve over calrose, or jasmine rice. Serve with spicy Sriracha sauce and garnishes mentioned above.

Here it is below before I have started the crockpot:

Like Lazy Girl Crock pot recipes? Here's another favorite:
Lazy Girl Salsa Chicken
Lazy Girl All Veggie Chili

I like curry, I won't lie.  Here are some of my favorites:
Malaysian 10 Boy Curry
Versatile Panang Curry
Turkey Keema Curry
Mahi Mahi in Coconut Curry Sauce

Monday, December 19, 2011

Penuche- Carmelized Brown Sugar Fudge

Penuche is nothing more than brown sugar fudge.  Half the appeal of penuche (pa-new-che) is the slightly sugary, grainy texture.  It has rich caramel, vanilla, butterscotch flavors.  It's not hard to make, but it does take a bit of time to create.  I've been looking for a good recipe for a while, and I found this one on Pinterest (my guilty pleasure).
I live in a family of penuche lovers.
It's really quite interesting.
Most of them eschew sweets of any kind for most of the year, and at the holidays they turn into absolute sugarmongers. Penuche qualifies as pure sugar... just check out the ingredients below.

I'm all about sweets, but this is a treat best eaten in moderation. I'm also thinking that your dentist would like you to brush after consuming... just sayin'.

Yield: 1 8×8-inch pan of penuche
Ingredients for penuche fudge:

    2 1/2 cups brown sugar
    2 1/2 cups white sugar
    2 cups whole milk or half and half
    1 cup butter
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    1/2 cup toasted, finely chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Method for penuche fudge:

Line a 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment, leaving 2-inches overhang on two opposing sides. Make sure to fold the paper into the corners of the pan.

In a heavy saucepan over medium-low flame, heat brown sugar, white sugar, milk, butter, and salt to 236F (soft ball stage) while stirring constantly. This should take 20-25 minutes.

Pour penuche into the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium for 2-4 minutes, or until fudge is thick and smooth. Lower speed to low and add vanilla extract and chopped nuts.

Using a spatula greased with butter, spread penuche fudge into lined pan, smoothing out the top. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before cutting. If refrigerated, penuche will keep in a sealed container for up to a week. For maximum freshness, don’t cut until ready to serve.

If you prefer chocolate for your sweet fix... here is the easiest fudge recipe ever!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Spaghetti Squash Pasta Carbonara

I always love pasta carbonara, and while easy and quick to make, sometimes it's just too rich and too heavy.  Carbonara has a lovely creaminess about it that comes from eggs, when combined with the pasta make a fantastic sauce. I wondered how it would work with spaghetti squash instead.  

We loved this, but admitted it is not exactly the same as real pasta.... maybe better because you are not left feeling so full and sluggish.  The squash doesn't thicken the sauce like real pasta, so the texture is slightly juicier than normal.... but still delightful and way better for you.

Don't worry too much about the raw eggs in this dish, if everything is super hot, when you combine everything with the eggs they will be fully cooked before you serve it.

Serves about 4
1 medium spaghetti squash, shredded
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup bacon, salami or other meat (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup zucchini, sliced or chopped
3/4 cup peas
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup Parmesan, grated
Salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste

Microwave the whole spaghetti squash for 15-20 minutes, remove the seeds and the strip of darker orange pithy stuff. 

Using a fork shred up the squash until you have about 4-5 cups of 'spaghetti'.  Place in a microwave safe bowl.

Beat 2 eggs completely, and set aside.  Have Parmesan grated and ready to go.

In a fry pan over medium high heat, saute your bacon (salami, proscuitto or ham) using a little olive oil, if needed. Add the mushrooms, sauteing to get a little browness on the mushrooms, about 4-5 minutes.  Add the garlic and the zucchini and saute 2-3 minutes more.  (I like my zucchini on the lightly cooked side).  Add the frozen green peas, and heat until they are thawed and completely warmed. 

Microwave your spaghetti squash to make sure it is really hot.  Add to the saute pan and add the beaten eggs.  Quickly combine the mixture.  Add about 2/3 of the parmesan and mix too.  

Divide unto serving plates and sprinkle with more Parmesan as desired.

Here's some other Spaghetti Squash recipes that we like:
Spaghetti Squash, Arugula and Tomato Salad
Spaghetti with Sun-Dried Tomato-Almond Pesto

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Carrot Ginger Soup

I'm tired, I'm short of time, but I still want to eat well.

We just got back from a blissful two weeks vacation in a tropical climate, which is really, really wonderful in December.  The problem IS, you have to come back to the Holiday season, work, your house and all that other stuff that makes you crazy.  ::sigh::

I had this soup in the Salt Lake City airport, on a six hour layover. 
Six hours? 
Yikes, I know. ... who is excited about that?
For the record, that was not the flight plan I signed up for, thank you Expedia and Delta for using my time wisely... NOT!

Crazy as it sounds, we found an awesome brew pub/restaurant in the airport, "Squatters"... which is exactly what we did, squatted and mooched off their free wifi while drinking beer and eating dinner.  I ordered the soup, expecting little from airport food. Wow... was I happy when I tasted their Carrot Ginger soup.  It was instant love.  I also had the time to listen to the lady behind me also go on and on to her husband about the soup. That made me happy to hear it wasn't just me, this soup WAS awesome. I found a recipe on Food Network that had 200 ratings averaging 5 stars... I changed it up a bit though.

Here's some tips on making this super easy.... I didn't chop the onions into small, neat squares, just rough chopped hunks.  It's blended... so really, why waste the time?  I also didn't peel my carrots... I know, I know, but they looked pretty good and I read somewhere that's where lots of the nutrients are. I just WANT to believe that.

If you are Vegan, I have given you some ideas below. I have not tried it the vegan-way... but I think this soup would taste great with coconut milk instead of cream.

Serves 8

4 tablespoons sweet cream butter, or Earth Balance Spread (vegan)
2 med onions, peeled and chopped
6 cups chicken broth, or vegetable broth (vegan)
2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced
1-2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 tsp garlic
1 cup whipping cream or coconut milk (vegan)
Salt and pepper
Hot Sauce, like Tabasco, to taste

In a 6-quart pan, over medium high heat, add butter and onions and cook, stirring often, until onions are limp. Add broth, carrots, and ginger. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender when pierced, about 20-25 minutes.

Remove from heat and transfer to a blender. Don't fill the blender more than half way, do it in batches if you have to. Cover the blender and then hold a kitchen towel over the top of the blender*. Be careful when blending hot liquids as the mixture can spurt out of the blender. Pulse the blender to start it and then puree until smooth. Return to the pan and add cream or coconut milk, stir over high heat until hot. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.

Here are some more of my favorite veggie soups...
Broccoli, Cheddar & Potato Soup
Curried Cauliflower Soup
Mediterranean Tomato Soup
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Split Pea Soup

OK, these are cold, but depending on when you are reading this, it might sound nice!
Chilled Zucchini Buttermilk Soup

Friday, December 9, 2011

Berrylicious Berry Trio Pie

Seems like just about everyone buys those big bags of frozen berries from Costco for smoothies.  But sometimes I would also like to do something else with them.. and the perfect thing is that you can also bake a great pie using the frozen berry trio mix.  

Of course, fresh berries would be best... if blackberries are in season, and you have someone to pick them for you! I saw a snake once, on top of a blackberry branch and that pretty much cured me of wanting to pick anymore berries myself... I know it's ridiculous, I just don't like snakes hiding out in berry bushes scaring unsuspecting cooks like me. Either you pick them for me, or I'm buying them.

The filling is yummy and thick with a natural tang from the mixture of raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. It was much thicker than the picture at the bottom of this posting leads you to believe. I took this picture after most the family had already dove into the pie and I threw one last piece on a plate to try to take it's picture on Thanksgiving Day.  Food and wine coma definitely impaired my judgement on what a good pie picture should look like.  
Please accept my apologies,  just shut your pie hole, you will like this. 

This wasn't my prettiest pie, I will admit I had trouble with it. 
I was trying to rush to make a vegan pie for my niece on Thanksgiving, so I made a different pie crust than usual.  I used the Crisco recipe (all vegetable shortening) but I found that it was very hard to get it to stay together, and my crust broke to bits once I tried to pick it up and put it on the pie.  Once your dough touches your berry filling, you are pretty much committed to continuing to put it on the pie.  While the crust did not look that great, it did taste extremely good. It's on the Crisco baking sticks package if you want to try it.  Next time I will buy the pre-made Pillsbury crust or make my own easy Basic Pie Crust recipe, or even make a cobbler or crisp with this filling.

Makes 1 double crust pie

2 Pie crusts, one for the top and one for the bottom

1/4 cup cornstarch
11/4 cup sugar
6 1/2 cups frozen berries, thawed* (retain juices)
Coarse Sugar for sprinkling on top
     *At least semi- thawed....

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Stir together the cornstarch and sugar in a large bowl, add the berries and the juices and combine well. Add to the unbaked pie shell, add cut outs to the top, brush with egg yolk, or water, and sprinkle with coarse sugar. I had Blueberry sugar (shown above) so I used that.

(You know you're in trouble when the filling oozes out before you bake crust was too small and had too 
many holes in it to completely keep the filling in.  Yours should be different, but either way it tastes great!)

Put the pie dish onto of a baking sheet to catch any drips. Bake until the filling bubbles and crust is golden, about 55-60 minutes.  If needed, add foil covers to the crust edges to keep from browning too much.

Let the pie cool for about 2-3 hours.  The filling will continue to thicken somewhat as it cools, so don't panic if it looks too juicy.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cherry Chocolate Chunk Cookies (Black Forest Cookies)

Chocolate dough, chocolate chips and cherries... what a perfect combination!

These cookies are fluffy, but still fudgy and delicious. I've always been a "flat" cookie maker, and I like the tall, dense cookies that some people make.  These are a winner for me, and I will continue to use this technique by adding a couple teaspoons of cornstarch to the dry ingredients.  I was very impressed with what it did to the texture and the height of these cookies.

This recipe was so very loosely adapted from a "Best-Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies" recipe, but I made it chocolate and cherry! If you really wanted to make it more decadent, a little drizzle of melted white chocolate would be tasty and pretty too.


Makes about 30 large cookies
3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract, cherry extract or Kirsch Cherry Brandy
1 3/4 c. all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cherries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy and light in color. Add egg and vanilla and blend in.  Mix in flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chunks and cherries.

Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop dough onto a prepared baking sheet. 

Bake for 8-10 minutes, they won't look done, but take them out anyway, do NOT cook longer than ten minutes.

Let cool, on the sheet, on a wire rack for five minutes.  Remove from baking sheet and let cool completely.  Try not to eat them all.

Here's some more cookie recipes from my blog.
Salted Caramel Chocolate Shortbread- Millionaire's

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Colombian Chicken with Bacon & Prunes

We both could not believe how fantastic this was; one taste and instant love.
Sure, yeah, I thought it sounded good, but I didn't expect this recipe to be this good.

Don't turn your nose up at the prunes in this recipe, they completely make the flavors come together, and most people will not even be able to determine that wonderful flavor and texture came from prunes.  The sweetness of the fruit is set off by the salty, smoky bacon and the chicken marries everything together just the way you want it to.

I found this recipe on a site called My Colombian Recipes, and I immediately loved the idea. The recipe suggested chicken legs, bone in, skin on.  While I don't mind that... I know that lots of people do not like chicken (especially dark meat) on the bone with the skin on it stews.  Thinking ahead to the bacon, I knew this dish wouldn't need the extra flavor, or fat, from the skin.  I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into large chunks, and I'm positive that this dish is easier to eat and serve than the original.

I am going to make this again, and again. A perfect, easy and comforting meal to serve on a cold night.

(I didn't picture the honey, and yes, I DID use a Satsuma for the zest!)

(4 servings)

8 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless, cut into 1" chunks
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 lb. bacon slices, cut into small pieces
1 cup onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp orange zest

1 tsp fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup red wine
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup prunes, chopped into chunks

In a large pot or dutch oven heat the olive oil over medium high heat, sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the pot. Saute for about 3 minutes on each side or until brown. Remove from the pot and set aside.

In the same pot, add the onions and the bacon  cook for about 3 to 5 minutes or until the onions are limp and starting to brown.  The bacon won't be real crispy, but that's okay because it will not stay crispy in the sauce while simmering anyways. If there seems like a lot of bacon grease, drain what you can off.

Add the garlic, thyme, orange zest and bay leave and cook for 1 minute more. Add the chicken, broth, chopped prunes and red wine and with a wooden spoon scrape the bottom of the pot to make sure any bits stuck to the pan come up to flavor the sauce.

Cook over medium- low heat for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and the sauce has thickened. Add more chicken stock if necessary. Serve warm over white rice or quinoa.

Here's some other great comfort foods for dinner on a  a cold winter night:
Jambalaya- Chicken, Hot Links & Shrimp
Beef & Veggie Sheperd's Pie with Mushroom & Onion Gravy
Moroccan Pot Roast
Greek Pork and Garbanzo Stew
Pork Chili Verde

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Candy Cane Teacakes

Everyone likes Mexican Teacakes, or Sandies, which is what we used to call them growing up.  They are pretty fantastic made as Candy Cane Teacakes too! The addition of crushed candy cane, or peppermints, gives it crunch and a bit of a chewiness too.  Not exactly the same texture as the original, but delicious, fun and easy to make.

Sandies were the first recipe that I can remember making by myself. The recipe is a funny little thing, written in a paragraph form, which is kind of unusual.  It comes from this very old Better Homes & Garden Dessert Cook Book.  It's got to be over 40 years old, as I always remember this from my childhood. Our copy, which my Mom still has, had lots of stains and sticky splotches, so I was very happy to inherit my Grandma's pristine copy. 

This recipe would be an easy make ahead dough to keep in the fridge, or bake the cookies and freeze them, adding them to last minute holiday cookie platters for your neighbors, friends and family.

Makes about 3 dozen
1 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup crushed candy canes (about 6)
1 tsp peppermint extract, or vanilla
2 tsp water
2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Cream the butter and the sugar, mix in the water and the extract. Slowly mix in the flour.  This takes a while by hand, as the dough is a stiff one.  It would go quickly in a mixer, just don't over beat.

Crush candy canes to a chunky powder.

Add crushed candy canes to the dough. Chill for about 20 minutes. Roll into 1" balls.

Bake for 20 minutes and cool slightly.  

You can roll the cookies in powdered sugar, or do as I did and just dust them liberally with powder sugar which is much quicker and easier.

Here's some other easy holiday sweets:
Chocolate Smothered S'mores
Easy Microwave Peanut Brittle
Fudge for Dummies

Lemon-Lime Basil Shortbread Cookies  ... this would be easy to make with other flavors too!