Friday, December 17, 2010

Peppermint Biscotti

Biscotti are actually really simple to make and will impress everyone. These make an excellent neighbor/coworker/friend holiday gift. Biscotti are sometimes called the coffee cookie because they are so good when dunked in coffee, but these are also great in hot chocolate. I have used both candy canes and starlight mints in this recipe and both turn out great.

      
42 Servings   
Prep: 1 hour Bake: 15 min./batch + cooling
Ingredients:


       3/4 cup butter, softened
       3/4 cup sugar
       3 eggs
       2 teaspoons peppermint extract
       3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
       1 teaspoon baking powder
       1/4 teaspoon salt
       1 cup crushed peppermint candies
       
FROSTING:
       2 cups (12 ounces) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
       2 tablespoons shortening
       1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies
Directions
       In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in extract. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir in peppermint candy. Gradually add to creamed mixture, beating until blended (dough will be stiff).
       Divide dough in half. On an ungreased baking sheet, shape each portion into a 12-in. x 2-1/2-in. rectangle. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Carefully remove to wire racks; cool for 15 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board; cut diagonally with a sharp knife into 1/2-in. slices. Place cut side down on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until firm. Remove to wire racks to cool.
       In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Drizzle over biscotti; sprinkle with candy. Place on waxed paper until set. Store in an airtight container. Yield: about 3-1/2 dozen.
Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (1 each) equals 121 calories, 5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 24 mg cholesterol, 63 mg sodium, 17 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Healthier Oatmeal Cookies

The girls were begging me to make cookies today so I relented and we made these little gems that I don't feel guilty about giving them. For a less healthy option, substitute chocolate chips for the raisins.

Ingredients
   1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
   1/2 cup all-purpose flour
   1 teaspoon baking powder
   1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
   1/4 teaspoon salt
   1/3 cup canola oil
   2/3 cup packed brown sugar
   1 egg
   1 teaspoon vanilla
   1/2 cup oats
   1/2 cup dried raisins or other fruit

Directions
   1. Preheat oven to 350º. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; set aside.
   2. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, sugar, egg, and vanilla. Add flour mixture and stir to combine; mix in oats and raisins.
   3. Using 2 tablespoons of dough per cookie, roll into balls; place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, 1 1/2 inches apart and press flat. Bake until lightly browned, 12-14 minutes.
   4. Cool 5 minutes on sheets, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 5 days. Yield 18-20 cookies.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Swedish Apple Pie

My mom brought me a bunch of apples from her tree last week so I needed to come up with creative and healthy ways to use them. I came across this recipe in a cooking magazine and loved it! This recipe is a mix between cake and a crustless pie. The ingredients come together so quickly I couldn't believe it. This is also a great substitute for coffee cake. The best part about it is the 175 calories per slice, most apples pies are between 400-600. I made it even healthier by substituting 1/3 cup agave for the 1/2 cup sugar. If you don't like nuts you can omit them for a cakier pie. I did a half and half since my husband likes nuts and I don't. He said the nuts made it for him, but I liked it without. Serve with vanilla ice cream if you want.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 medium apples, chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted
  • Confectioners' sugar, optional

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In a small bowl, whisk egg and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in apples and walnuts.
  • Transfer to a 9-in. pie plate coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar if desired. Serve warm. Yield: 8 servings.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

I am not a lover of pumpkin pie, so instead I have a few recipes that I substitute instead. This is one of them. This is WAY easier than the end product looks. The last time I made this I forgot to add the extra 1/4 cup of sugar into the pumpkin mixture and it was still delicious. In fact, it had more of a pumpkin pie flavor, which my dinner party loved. So if you want to cut a little sugar, it won't hurt. Another tip: when baking a cheesecake, either put the springform pan in a water bath or put a pan of water on the rack below the cake.


Ingredients
      25 Ginger Snaps, crushed
      1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)
      1/4 cup butter, melted
      4 packages Cream Cheese, softened
      1 cup sugar, divided
      1 teaspoon vanilla
      4 eggs
      1 cup canned pumpkin
      1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
                        OR
            1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
            1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
            1 dash ground cloves

Directions
1.         Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Combine cookie crumbs, pecans and butter. Press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan.
2.         Beat cream cheese, 3/4 cup of the sugar and vanilla with electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended. Remove 1 ½ cup plain batter; place in small bowl. Stir remaining 1/4 cup sugar, pumpkin and spices into remaining batter. Spoon pumpkin batter into crust; top with spoonfuls of reserved plain batter. Cut through batters with knife several times for marble effect.
3.        Bake 1 hour 15 minutes or until centre is almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Cut into 16 slices. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pear (or Peach) Tart!

I got this recipe out of a baking cookbook my mother gave me ages ago. Don't tell her, but I never cook anything out of it. Oh it is GORGEOUS. There are pictures of all the food and lots of things sound really delicious, but it calls for a lot of gourmet ingredients that I don't have on hand and never think to buy. Who has ever even heard of Muscovado or superfine sugar anyway? Anyhow I had some fresh pears that I had been canning but had a few leftover that were almost on their way to the compost pile. So I pulled out the book to see what I could find.

And I found these.

And even though they called for Ready Made Pastry Puffs, I decided it was worth the trip to the grocery store just to find them.

Because they looked really good...

I did try to find a recipe to make my own Pastry Puffs, but apparently they take 2 or 3 days to make and I'm not that patient. So I went out and bought them. I found them in the freezer section. I think they were Pepperidge Farm.

As you can see from the pictures there are a few ways you can do them. The picture with the whole half pear is how the recipe called for them to be made. They were good. But they were a little too much fruit in my opinion. And that way (with the rounds) wasted a lot of the pastry puff. I did ball up the leftovers and reroll them out, but they weren't near as flaky when I did that. So the second time around I did them square (wasting NONE of the yummy pastry puffiness!) and used less fruit. I thought these were absolutely divine! Hope you find them as delectable as I (and everyone else who tried them ;) did!

Pear tart made with a whole half fruit on a round pastry.

Peach and Pear tarts made with 1/4 of a whole fruit on square pastries.

Pear (or Peach) Tarts

1 sheet Frozen Puff Pastry
1/2 C Butter
1/2 C Brown Sugar
1/2 - 1 tsp Cinnamon (depending on your taste)
2 - 6 whole fresh Pears and/or Peaches, depending on how you do the tart...
(*You could probably use canned if you really want to, but I can promise they wouldn't be NEARLY as yummy!)

OK, so to start you'll have to thaw the frozen puff pastries for about 40 minutes, or until they are workable. Then on a lightly floured surface roll out the pastry. Cut out 3-4 inch round circles OR cut in desired size squares (I think I did 16 per pastry sheet). Place the circles on a large baking sheet and prick each several times with a fork. Chill for 30 minutes (or just until you have the fruit prepared is fine!)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cream together the butter, brown sugar and add cinnamon. Set aside.

Prepare the fruit. If using pears peel them with a vegetable peeler. Slice them in half and use a melon baller or cookie scoop to scoop out the seeds. Cut out the rest of the stem with a knife. If you are doing a lot you will want to 1) do this assembly style (i.e. peel 3-4 at a time, then cut them all in half, then take out all the center, etc) AND 2) put them in cold water and/or sprinkle them with "Fruit Fresh" to keep them from browning. (You can find Fruit Fresh in the canning section. Now is the perfect time to get it. It is packaged in what looks like a plastic spice container. The brand I've seen has a lime green lid).

If using peaches you'll want to boil some water in a medium stock pot. Drop the peaches in for about 30 seconds. Place them directly in ice water. The skins should then just slip off. Cut them in half and remove the seed. Again if you are doing a lot, put the in water and/or use the fruit fresh to keep them from browning.

Take out the pastry puffs and spread a little of the the butter-sugar mixture over each.

If you want to use a whole half of the fruit as in the first picture....Slice them fruit halves lengthways - but keeping them intact at the tip. Fan out the slices slightly. (I had a really hard time keeping them in tact, it would take some practice, but mine still looked really good, so it probably doesn't really matter...ha ha!) Place the fruit half on in the center of the pastry puff.

OR

Slice the fruit thinly. Place about 1/4 of the fruit, fanned out on the pastry puff.

Make small flutes around the edge of the pastry circles/squares or simply fold over the corners. You could even fold almost over all of the fruit if you wanted. Place the rest of the butter sugar mixture in the microwave for 30-60 seconds, enough time to melt it. Brush each tart with the melted butter mixture.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is well risen and golden. Serve warm with a little cream, ice cream or by themselves. They are delicious any way you slice it!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Apricot Bread

With the abundance of apricots this time of year (the picture is of the apricots on my own tree), I have been on a quest to find something yummy to make with some of them. I found this recipe for apricot bread, and it turned out pretty well. With fresh fruit and some whole wheat flour, it's somewhat healthier than other treats! I would make a couple of adjustments the next time, which will be mentioned in the recipe.

Ingredients:
2 c. all purpose flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
1/8 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
2 c. very ripe, mashed apricots (the recipe said that peaches could also be used)
1 egg
2 T. melted butter

Directions:
1. Combine flours, sugars, salt and baking soda in a bowl.
2. In a second bowl, combine the apricots, egg and butter.
3. Stir in flour mixture.
4. Grease (*I sprayed with non-stick cooking spray) a 9 x 5 loaf pan and pour the mixture in. (*It was a lot of batter for the one loaf pan. In the future, I would make one large loaf and one small loaf, or even muffins, instead of the one large loaf pan.)
5. Let it stand for 20 minutes while preheating the oven to 350 degrees.
6. Bake at 350 degree for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
7. Cool bread in pan for 15 minutes, then remove from pan and finish cooling on a wire rack.

I served the sliced bread with Einstein's peach/mango schmear. Mmmm! Tasty!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

No Bake Peanut Butter Cheerio Treats

These are SO yummy! And a little addicting. I had to remove myself to the other room in order to stop eating them. My husband was skeptical when he saw the ingredients. He didn't think they would work together, but he was proven wrong! (Again ;)! Ha Ha!

Peanut Butter Cheerio Treats

3 TBLS Butter
16 oz bag marshmellows
1/2 C Peanut Butter
5 C Cheerios (Generic is fine)

Spray a 9x 13 pan with cooking spray. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in marshmallows. Heat until melted and add peanut butter. Remove from heat. Fold in Cheerios until coated. Smooth mixture into pan and let sit until cooled (if you can!). Enjoy!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato

This recipe is from one of my favorite chefs Giada De Laurentiis. I love Nutella and LOVE this gelato!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread (recommended: Nutella)
  • 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, crushed, for garnish

Directions

In a saucepan combine the milk, cream, and 1/2 cup sugar over medium heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. 
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whip the egg yolks with the remaining sugar using an electric mixer until the eggs have become thick and pale yellow, about 4 minutes. Pour 1/2 cup of the warm milk and cream mixture into the egg mixture and stir. Add this mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 7 to 10 minutes.
Place a strainer over a medium bowl and pour the warm custard mixture through the strainer. Stir in the vanilla and hazelnut spread until it dissolves. Chill mixture completely before pouring into an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions to freeze. To serve, scoop gelato into serving bowls and top with hazelnuts.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Oatmeal Toffee Cookies

On Sunday, there was a talk given by a young man about following the spirit. He told a story about a women who randomly felt the urge to make cookies and some ones life was changed because of it. He spoke about following your promptings no matter how trivial they seem. The moral I got from the story was to make cookies whenever you get the urge. I get the urge all the time and usually resist. But after following the spirit I made these. I'm pretty sure no one's life was changed but these are my favorite cookies and make me happy. These are a twist on the traditional oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, but don't worry there is still chocolate in it. When these are warm and the toffee is still gooey it is pure dessert bliss.

Ingredients

  • 3.4  ounces  all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1  cup  old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 3/4  cup  packed brown sugar
  • 1/4  cup  butter, softened
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 1  large egg
  • 1-2 Heath/Skor bars mashed to pieces
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk. Place sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add vanilla and egg; beat well. Add flour mixture; beat just until combined. Stir in toffee bits.
3. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on 2 baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 11 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on pans 1 minute. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks.
Yield: 2 dozen (serving size: 1 cookie)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Best-Ever Banana Bread/Muffins

This recipe is a variation out of a ward cookbook from who-knows-where. My family has been making this banana bread for quite a while. If you can't tell by now, I really like the built in portion control of cupcakes/muffins, so today I made this as muffins and mini muffins to use up some super ripe bananas. My kids love their "cake"/mini muffins. Today I substituted 3/4 cup of agave for the sugar which adds moisture and reduces the sugar load. I always omit the nuts but sometimes do chocolate chips. If your bananas are as ripe as mine were today (black and required minimal mashing) omit the banana flavoring. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
3 very ripe bananas
2 eggs, well beaten
1/2 tsp banana flavoring (optional)
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar or 3/4 cup agave
1 3/4 cup flour (for high altitude >4000 ft. add 1 Tbsp more)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup broken walnuts and/or chocolate chips (optional)
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Directions:
Beat bananas to a liquid; add eggs and flavoring. In separate bowl, cream shortening thoroughly; gradually add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add banana mixture. In another bowl, combine flour, soda and salt. Blend dry mixture into wet mixture. Stir in walnuts and spice.

Bake in a well greased loaf pan at 300º for 1 hour 15 minutes or until firm to the touch. Makes 1 loaf. For muffins: bake 50 minutes. Makes 2 dozen.
For minis: bake 30 minutes. Makes 4 dozen.

Side note: These are actually not too unhealthy. Each muffin is only ~60 calories and each mini ~30. However, if you eat it all, it adds up to your whole days worth of calories: 1425. (Thanks mom for the calorie calculation.)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Yummy, Moist Chocolate Cake...with a Twist!

OK, so some of my readers may be aware that I have put myself on a "no dairy" diet for the sake of my darling baby. She is 6 months old and I am nursing her still. When I eat dairy her cheeks get red and scratchy, her nose runs, she gets a cough and she projectile vomits. She is most likely allergic to the protein in milk, which actually is quite a common problem for babies. Anyhow, it's been a TOUGH road for me. And I cheat more than I should, causing her grief. Because dairy is in EVERYTHING it seems like. It's of course in milk, cheese, yogurt, most salad dressings, cream soups (goodbye creamy casseroles and soups), ice cream, chocolate, but it's also in stuff like peanut butter chips, granola bars, some breads and cereals, doughnuts and of course all cakes. And I don't have a lot of willpower. So I cheat. And she throws up and is miserable.

But recently I have discovered the fabulous thing that is Almond Milk. And it is SO much better tasting than Soy! It costs about the same (under $3 for a 1/2 gallon carton) - you can find coupons easily and there's only 40-60 calories per serving depending on the variety you buy. What does any of this have to do with chocolate cake? Well I was using it for cereal mostly, but one day got this crazy idea that I could start cooking with it. I used it to make cornbread one day and it turned out so good. Better than when I use regular milk in fact --it was much moister and a better texture. So the other day I tried a white cake...yummy! ( I will post the recipe for that soon too!) Today, it was chocolate cake.

And now I am finally at peace :). Do you know what it's like to go without chocolate???? But plain cocoa doesn't have milk in it...so I substituted the buttermilk for almond milk and "voila!" Chocolate fix granted! I'll tell you I am in HEAVEN today! And again this is better than any chocolate cake you can buy or make from a box. I am getting to the point I might be done with milk for good just because I WANT to! Life is good today...

OK to the recipe...

Dairy Free Moist Dark Chocolate Cake (OK, so the name needs work...any suggestions?)

2 C Flour
2 C Sugar
3/4 C Baking Cocoa
2 tsp Baking Soda
2 large eggs
1 tsp salt
1 C Almond Milk (original recipe called for buttermilk, if you really don't want to try it with AM...but you will really thank me if you try it this way...I promise!)
1 C Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
1 C Boiling water

Preheat oven to 300 degrees (yep! this is a SLOW bake cake). Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan. Place all ingredients in a bowl. Mix on medium speed until everything is blended and smooth. Pour into your pan. It will be thin. Bake for one hour. Test by sticking with a fork or toothpick. It is done when it comes out clean. Cool and serve with your favorite icing...or by itself!

Also - Did you know you can substitute applesauce or black beans for oil? I haven't tried it with this recipe, but will let you know if I do...if you try it, let me know the results!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffins


Blueberries were on sale at my grocery store this week so I made these little pieces of heaven this morning. The recipe actually makes a little more then 12 muffins, so I typically make minis with the remaining batter. When making minis, bake 12-15 minutes.


Ingredients

Directions


  1. 1
    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. 2
    Toss blueberries with about 2 tablespoons flour and set aside.

  3. 3
    Combine remaining flour with the other dry ingredients and set aside.

  4. 4
    In a large mixer bowl, cream the cream cheese, lemon juice and vanilla until smooth.

  5. 5
    Add eggs, then flour mixture, butter and milk and mix until just moistened.

  6. 6
    Fold in the blueberries.

  7. 7
    Fill paper-lined muffin pans 2/3 full.

  8. 8
    Bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned.

  9. 9
    Remove from pan immediately.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Banana Sherbet

I made this for our Memorial Day BBQ. I quadrupled the recipe to fill my ice cream maker. Sherbet isn't as thick as ice cream so it won't set up as well in the ice cream maker, it needs to be in the freezer for a bit as well. I didn't realize this so we served it in milkshake consistency. It was better a few hours later. As with most banana desserts, the riper the banana the better.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat evaporated milk
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 medium banana, cut into chunks

Directions

  • In a small saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil. Cook and stir until sugar is dissolved; set aside to cool.
  • Place the evaporated milk, orange juice, lemon juice and banana in a blender. Add the sugar syrup; cover and process until smooth.
  • Fill cylinder of ice cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturer's directions. Transfer to a freezer container; freeze for 4 hours or until firm before serving. Yield: 2-1/2 cups.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Raspberry Frozen Yogurt

I just made this for a church thing and it was a hit. Super easy and delicious. I use agave instead of sugar to make it a little healthier.

Ingredients:
   2 cups vanilla yogurt
   ½ cup whole milk
   ¼-½ cup sugar, to taste
   1 package frozen raspberries,
      thawed or 2 cups fresh raspberries

Directions:
   1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl; stir until sugar dissolves.
   2. Place raspberries in a blender; process until smooth. Strain puree through a fine sieve over a bowl. Discard seeds. Add puree to yogurt mixture.
   3. Pour raspberry mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Spoon into a freezer-safe container; cover and freeze 1 hour or until firm. Garnish with fresh raspberries, if desired. Yield: 8 servings (½ cup each) 

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Russian Cream

My mother-in-law recently took this to a church "Dessert-Off" and won "Best Kitchen Award." She came in second overall and was only beat out by a banana, bread pudding, very complicated thing brought by a professional chef. (It was more like a tie but the judges couldn't decide and defaulted to the more difficult thing). She was kind enough to share her recipe with the judges and competitor (isn't she sweet), they were appalled by the simplicity of it. The competitor thought that he was missing part of it. There is nothing better then something that is quick, easy and absolutely blows people out of the water. I bring this dessert to dinner parties regularly because it is so easy and people think it took you all day.

In a saucepan combine:
   2 pkgs Knox gelatin
   1 cup water
   1 cup sugar
Stir, let sit 5 minutes. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
Stir in and mix with a wire whisk:
   3 cups sour cream (full fat only)
   2 cups whipping cream
Pour mixture into Bundt pan and refrigerate. Allow to set, remove from pan, and top with fruit.

A little tip: If the set cream doesn't release easily from the pan, dip the pan in warm water being careful not to get water on the cream. You can also run the pan under warm water but that technique is much more tricky. Also don't leave the pan in the warm water for too long or it will start to melt and won't look as pretty.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Scotcheroos

I adore this easy version of peanut butter bars. I will whip these up if I have a serious peanut butter craving. If I don't have butterscotch chips on hand I will simply do all chocolate.

1 cup corn syrup
1 cup sugar
Combine the syrup and sugar in a 3-qrt saucepan. Stir well. Heat mixture on stove on low to medium eat. Stir constantly until the sugar is dissolved, but do not let mixture boil. Take off heat.
Stir in 1 cup extra chunky peanut butter. Stir together until well mixed.
Add 6 cups Crispy Rice cereal, one cup at a time. Stir well after each addition. Lightly butter or spray with cooking spray 13x9" pan. Pour cookie mixture into pan and spread evenly.
Add 1 cup milk chocolate chips and 1 cup butterscotch chips to a small saucepan. Melt on very low heat while stirring constantly. Pour chocolate mixture over cookie mixture and spread evenly. You can add M&Ms to decorate. Let cool until chocolate mixture hardens (can refrigerate to speed up cooling.) Cut into squares and eat!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Gooey Carmel Popcorn

This is my favorite recipe for Carmel Popcorn I've been able to find. My husband doesn't like it because it stays soft. I love it because it stay soft! The sauce is yummy and gooey and doesn't get hard or crunchy like some types do. Try it out!

Carmel Popcorn

1 C brown sugar
1 C butter
3/4 C corn syrup

Heat ingredients together until it is boiling and bubbly. Pour over two bags of microwave popcorn and mix.

If you are using air popped, I just pop as large a bowl as I can. Tonight I popped about one and a half scoops. I also added almonds tonight which was good or pecans is really tasty also.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Janae's Cinnamon/Orange Rolls

This is my mom's famous cinnamon roll recipe. When I was in high school we would threaten her that we were going to Cinnabon so she would make these for us. At the end is an alternate orange roll filling that is quite good as well. A good tip to keep in mind is that the entire recipe calls for 2.5 cups of water. Yield: 2-4 dozen depending on size. You can frost these when they are warm, but it works better when they are cold, or you can do both for extra frostiness.

In a small bowl Dissolve:
2 pkgs yeast (5 tsp)
1/2 cup warm water
In a mixer or large bowl cream:
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
Add:
1 cup boiling water to melt shortening
Add:
4 beaten eggs
yeast mixture
Add:
8 cups flour
Alternately with 1 cup cold water.

Dough is sticky, put in fridge for 2 hours to overnight. Roll dough into a giant rectangle. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Roll up. Cut and put in baking pan having rolls just touch. Let raise 2-3 hours. Bake 350 for 15 min or until internal temp reaches 180. Frosting: powdered sugar + milk.

Orange roll filling: Put 1 orange with peel in food processor, pulse until it turns to goo. Spread on dough and sprinkle with plenty of sugar. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes. Make sure they are done as they are sticky. Frosting: Pulse1 orange with peel in food processor until it turns to goo. Mix with powdered sugar.

Here is a Youtube video of a guy cutting his cinnamon rolls with dental floss. The video is annoying, but you can kind see what he is doing. I will try to get my sister to give us a better demo video shortly.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Busy Day Cake and Cream Cheese Frosting

My sister introduced this recipe to me and it is my go-to recipe for a quick cake or cupcakes. This make a fabulous cupcake. It's so quick and easy I never buy boxed cake mix anymore. In fact, I was supposed to make peanut butter cupcakes for a church function tonight. They just would not turn out for me no matter what I did. I ended up running out of cocoa powder and had to give up. I whipped up a batch of these cupcakes in no time. I topped them with cream cheese frosting and a strawberry sliver. No one (except those who asked me to make the peanut butter ones) was the wiser. In fact, many people said these were their favorite ones.

Busy Day Cake

1 1/3 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
2/3 cup milk
1/4 c. butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Combine flour, sugar and baking powder. Add milk, butter and vanilla. Beat with mixer on low until combined. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Pour batter into greased and floured 8" round baking pan. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Frost with your favorite frosting.
For cupcakes bake 20 minutes.


Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla
5 3/4 c - 6 1/4 c powdered sugar

Cream together cream cheese, butter and vanilla with an electric mixer. Gradually add powdered sugar until you reach the desired consistency.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Best Lemon Cupcakes Ever


I pieced this concoction together from a few recipes I found. They are very lemony and taste great with a fresh raspberry on top. My husband, who claimed not to like lemon cupcakes, loves them. Don't try to make these without a muffin cup, the cake is too delicate to be on its own.

Cupcakes: Makes 24

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
Grated zest of 3 lemons (3 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk

Direction:

- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
- Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together.
- Mix butter and sugar together at medium speed.
- Add eggs one at a time and wait until the egg is all mixed in before adding the next one.
- Add zest and vanilla.
- Add flour mixture in three batches with two batches of buttermilk and lemon juice in between. Beat until just combined after each addition.
- Place batter in lined cups filling about 2/3 of the way full.
- Bake until golden, cake tester comes out clean, or about 25 minutes.
- Cool completely before removing from the muffin tins and frosting.
- Garnish with fresh raspberries, strawberries, and/or mint leaves if desired.

Lemon Buttercream

1 1/4 c. butter (2 1/2 sticks)
2 tsp. lemon zest
3 Tbsp lemon juice
3 cups powdered sugar

Beat butter, zest and juice with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating to spreading consistency. Makes 2 3/4 cups.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

I have been put in charge of making/delegating/finding cupcakes for an upcoming church function. I have been scouring the planet looking for the most amazing cupcake recipes. I came across this beauty on a blog and was amazed at how delicious it was. I did simplify it a bit, but these are very easy chocolate cupcakes with a rich and creamy peanut butter frosting. The frosting is TO DIE FOR! To add a little richness, place a few chocolate chips on the top of the cupcake immediately after taking them out of the oven. After they have melted, spread the chocolate over the top of the cupcake. After they are completely cooled, frost as usual. For those who are not expert at frosting cupcakes (I include myself in this category), I found a video on youtube that was extremely helpful for me. Go to the bottom of the post for the video. Enjoy!


Chocolate Cupcakes
makes 12-14 cupcakes
Ingredients
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
Method
Preheat oven to 375, then turn it down to 350 just prior to baking
Beat the butter with an electric mixer until it is soft, then add sugar. Beat about 3 minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time beating until they are well combined.
In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients and whisk them to incorporate them.
Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar and beat it just to combine. Add 1/2 of the liquids (milk & vanilla), scrape down bowl and beat to combine. Continue adding the dry and wet ingredients alternately making sure you END WITH THE DRY.
Fill cupcake liners 2/3’s of the way.
Bake for about 20-22 minutes. Do not overbake! Allow to cool, then frost.
Peanut Butter Frosting
Ingredients
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup peanut butter
3 cups powdered sugar
2-4 tablespoons milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 small pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
Method
In large bowl, combine butter, peanut butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons milk. Mix well, adding more milk as needed to make a fluffy spreadable frosting. Sprinkle with a very small pinch of cayenne pepper if desired.