Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Gingerbread cookies and Pepperoni Rolls are what's for supper!

Gingerbread cookies and Pepperoni Rolls are what's for supper!

Back by popular demand. This is a post I did in 2010. It's a favorite.

Today has been a "stay inside the house" day.  I woke up to large fluffy snow flakes, falling in mass, covering the trees in soft blankets.  Later on the flakes were replaced by ice that covered everything in a crystal clear casing.  Then, as the temperature rose, the ice turned to rain.  The driveway is a slushy mess, which made it easier to clear with the snow plow.  I should say, made it "look" easier to clear, since I was warm in the house watching my friend use his truck & plow to push the snow out of my driveway. 
When he was finished, he sent me a text message informing me that I have a very large, very angry looking possum living in the backyard by the little white shed.  That explains the hawk that dove into the ornamental pine tree a few days ago, also beside the shed.  I was looking at the snow falling and saw something dive into the little pine tree.  I stood there wondering if a cat had gone into the pine, or if perhaps, I'd had too much coffee and imagined the entire thing.  Nope, there was movement in the tree, and a head popped out of the side of it.  It was so fast, I couldn't make it out, what it was.  Then it was there again, further up the tree.  I could tell it was a bird, maybe an owl? In the day? No.  The hawk finally exited the pine from the top, he sat on it for a minute looking around, to make sure he wasn't missing his meal...again, then took off. As he took flight, he turned himself so I could see his entire belly and wing span.  Simply stunning, blue-gray with beautiful  stripes running the length of each wing & tail.  His stomach was mottled and I was completely shocked by the breadth of his wings! I looked him up on the Internet, and found out he's called a Cooper's Hawk.  I wanted to get a picture, but couldn't without "infringing" on copyright laws.  I did find out that these fellas make a habit of crashing into trees, shrubs and the like.  They have a protective "shield", like an eyebrow, which protects their eyes as they slam into the limbs of a tree to catch their prey.  This means two things to me; 1) I am glad I'm not small enough to be their prey and 2) I wonder if they view 20lb cats as dinner?  Speaking of dinner, I digress.

My son and I baked gingerbread cookies and decorated them today.  I will give you the recipe for the cookies.   
Refrigerated gingerbread cookie dough, in the refrigerated food section of your grocery. How simple was that?
The icing is almost as simple. 
Confectionery sugar and lemon juice. 
In my case, it was lime juice as I didn't have lemon juice.
Basically pour a bowl full of confectionery sugar and slowly add small amounts of lemon juice until you reach your desired consistency.
You can then add food coloring if you like.

My Mom is German and a wonderful cook, as well as baker.  Growing up she always made us an elaborate, home made (no refrigerator dough for her, *gasp* at the thought) gingerbread house. I can still see the post board templates she'd design herself.  Cookie dough cut to her own specifications.  The smell of gingerbread drifted through the house, warm and comforting. She made the windows out of colored sugar candy, with a blue ice skating rink out of the same yummy stuff.  She'd make the fence using peppermint sticks with stacks of gingerbread "logs" for the gingerbread families fire.  The house was covered in candies, powdered sugar snow,  and complete with elves sitting in the gingerbread wheel barrow in the yard.  Gingerbread shaped pine trees guarded the corners of the yard and it was all "glued" together with icing made from confectionery sugar and lemon juice.  It was so good, we were always sticking our fingers in the bowl and getting fussed at. A discreet light, inserted in the house, lit it all with a warm glow surrounding the confection.  Angie and I would eat gingerbread until July sometimes, course, by then it was hard as a rock and needed to be soaked in milk.  I remember Mom wanting to throw one out and we went to tears begging her not to.  We weren't ready to give up the candy land fantasy she'd so lovingly made for all of us!

The pepperoni rolls were a lovely epiphany.  My husband says they must be a regional thing, he'd never heard of them until he moved to my small town in Virginia.  Needless to say, he really enjoys them.  I usually buy them from the deli in the grocery, but since today was a stay-in-the-house day I had to be creative.  That's where the epiphany came in. I had a can of Pillsbury bread dough.  I was going to use it to make mini baked pumpkin pie's, changed my mind.  A woman's prerogative if I'm not mistaken. 

Here is what you'll need:
1 can of bread dough (or frozen dough, or if you're quite industrious make your own bread dough)
Mozzarella String cheese light
Olive oil
Parmesan cheese

I rolled out the dough on a baking sheet and sprinkled with Oregano.
Then added a single slice of pepperoni against the long edge of the dough, and followed down the length to make a row. The second row I started off center of the first row. I put the second row's starting slice below and in between the first two slices of the first row. Confused? Sorry. 
I left about two inches of dough with no pepperoni, so when I rolled the pepperoni roll up, that edge would be used to fold over and seal the roll shut.
I then took the string cheese and pulled it apart laying it on top of the pepperoni.
Then lifting the edge of dough with the pepperoni on it, I gently rolled the dough over and over until it was a nice neat strip of dough.  Place it seam side down on the cookie sheet and brush with olive oil, finish with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese & more oregano. 
Bake in a 350 oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. 
Serve warm.

Next time I might try some pizza sauce, or maybe tomatoes, olives, mushrooms.  Sort of like a rolled up pizza.  Hmmm, maybe the next craze in cuisine!  You heard it here first! Yum Yum!


The above picture shows pepperoni rolls my sister, of Clover Fields Farm and Kitchen, made for WDRB Fox 41's segment on "Money saving tips for a Super Bowl party."
Follow the WDRB link to see her in action and to see many other fantastic Super Bowl ideas, plus get a Cook Book she has for anyone interested.  You can't beat that!

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