Sunday, December 4, 2016

Rocky Road Cookies

It's cookie baking season and I decided to try putting together a new cookie.  Who doesn't love chocolate, nuts and toasted marshmallows?  I took a generous cup of mini marshmallows leftover from another Christmas treat and put them in the freezer for a couple hours so they wouldn't melt as fast in the cookies and turned up the oven heat so they would bake faster (8 minutes - no longer or your cookies will burn and the marshmallows turn into liquid mess at the bottom of the pan).  Lost one pan experimenting.





Rocky Road Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour
2 oz pecans, chopped or pieces
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 generous cup mini marshmallows, frozen

Cream together butter and sugars.  Add in egg, egg yolk and vanilla.  Stir in the dry ingredients.  Fold in the pecans and chocolate chips.  Scoop out the cookie dough using a small cookie scoop and place on parchment lined baking sheets.  Press a couple of the frozen marshmallows on top of the dough.  Bake for 8 minutes at 375°.  Cool on a wire rack.

Makes 48 cookies.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Bacon & Cheese Muffins

Bacon and muffins - a great way to start the day especially when they are mixed together.  I normally make these using mild Italian sausage instead of bacon but sometimes you just have to use what is on hand and you end up with delicious results.



Bacon & Cheese Muffins

6 slices bacon, cut into 1/2" slices, cooked and drained
2 cups flour
2 tbsp sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter melted
1 cup milk
1 large egg slightly beaten
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Mix together dry ingredients.  Gradually add in milk, butter and egg.  Add in cooled bacon and cheese.  Grease standard or large muffin pans and fill each cup 2/3 full.  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown at 350°.  Cool for 5 minutes before removing from cups.

Makes 12 regular size muffins.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Pear Tart

Fall is a time for fresh pears of all kinds.  I picked up some to make a tart twice.  Sweet ripe pears are hard to resist eating on their own.  The tart dough is easy to make since it's all made in a food processor.



Pear Tart

Tart Shell ~
1 ¼ cups flour
¾ cup powdered sugar
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ cup cold butter, sliced in small pieces
1 large egg
1 tbsp milk
½ tsp vanilla
Put all the dry ingredients in your food processor with the blade and pulse until combined.  Add in butter slices.  Pulse again until just combined so the butter doesn’t get too warm.  In a small dish, combine the milk, egg and vanilla.  Pour into the flour mixture and pulse until a dough forms.  Remove the dough from the processor and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for a half hour.  Remove from the refrigerator and let sit for 10 minutes.  Roll out until the dough is ¼” thick.  Butter  the bottom only of your tart pan.  Place dough in pan.  Only lightly pressing down and on the sides.  Trim off any extra.  Return to refrigerator while your oven heats up to 350°.  Cover the bottom of the dough with aluminum foil and add pie weights.  When the oven is heated, bake for 30 minutes.

Let the tart cool for 15 minutes.  While that is going on, melt 1/2 cup butter and allow to cool slightly.
When cool, stir in ~
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Skin and slice three pears and lay in a circular pattern on your tart crust.  Pour butter mixture evenly over the top.  Return to the oven and bake for an additional 50 minutes.  Allow to cool.  Sprinkle some powered sugar on top.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Cheese Dipping Sauce

Warm, creamy and a hint of heat combine to make this a wonderful dipping sauce for chips or crisp french fries.  It's a quick treat to make just minutes before the game starts so everyone can snack as they are rooting for their favorite team.  I combined pepperjack for a little heat and cheddar for a nice color. 



Cheese Dipping Sauce

4 oz pepperjack cheese, shredded
4 oz medium cheddar cheese, shredded
1 - 12 oz can evaporated milk
2 tsp of your favorite hot sauce
1 tbsp corn starch


In a medium sauce pan, combine the cheese and corn starch.  Stir in the evaporated milk and hot sauce.  Stir over medium heat until the cheese melts and thickens.  Pour into a serving dish and you are ready to enjoy the snacks and the game.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Italian Bread Bowls

Fun bread bowls for serving your favorite soup, stew or chili in.  They are sturdy enough so none of the liquid will seep out.


 
Italian Bread Bowls
1 ¼ cups warm water
1 pkg active dry yeast
1 tsp honey
3 cups bread flour
1 ½ tsp salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
 
1 egg white
1 tbsp water
 

In a large measuring cup, mix together warm water, honey and yeast and allow to sit for 10 minutes.  In your large stand mixer bowl, combine bread flour and salt.  When the yeast mixture is ready, start the mixer with a dough hook on low and add in the liquid.  Slowly pour in the olive oil until the dough comes together.  Remove the dough from the bowl and pour in another tbsp. of olive oil.  Return the dough and turn so all sides are covered by the oil.  Cover the bowl and allow to sit in a warm place for an hour.  After an hour, remove the dough and cut into 3 equal pieces.  Shape into a ball and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Allow to rise again for an hour.  In a small bowl, mix together the egg white and water.  Cut two ¼” slices in the top of each dough ball and the brush the egg white mixture all over each bowl.  Bake for 15 minutes at 400.  Remove from oven and do another egg white wash on each bowl.  Return to the over for another 10 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool completely.  Using a sharp knife, carefully cut the center out of the bread bowl.  Fill with your favorite soup, stew or chili.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Cheese Manicotti

All the delicious flavors of cheese-filled manicotti without the hassle of trying to stuff shells by making crepes to hold the creamy filling.


 
Cheese Manicotti

Crepes ~  make ahead and let sit for at least a half hour.  Perfect for getting the rest of your ingredients together

1 cup flour

1 cup milk - I used 2%
2/3 cup Perrier
2 large eggs
1 dash salt

Whisk all the ingredients in a medium bowl and let sit until you are ready to cook.  Heat a 10" non-stick frying pan.  I sprayed a coating of cooking spray as it was heating.  Add in 1/4 cup of crepe mixture and tilt the pan until the batter is evenly spread.  Cook of medium heat until the edges start to turn brown.  Use a spatula to gently flip the crepe over.  Cook for another minute or two until the 2nd side is done.  Place the cheese filling in the center and flip the sides up burrito style.  Scoop up the crepe gently and place in a greased baking dish. 

Filling ~
16 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded 6 Italian cheese mix
2 tbsp fresh Parsley, minced
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper


Line up manicotti in your greased baking dish.  Top with 1 cup of your favorite red pasta sauce.  Sprinkle ½ cup of the shredded 6 Italian Cheese mix on top.  Bake for 25 minutes at 350°,

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Apple Strawberry Crisp

Nothing says fall like the aroma of apples and cinnamon coming from your oven.  I decided to mix things up and toss in some strawberries for a change.  I’ve made just strawberry crisps before and it turned out as did this combination. 
 


Apple Strawberry Crisp

4 apples, pared and diced

2 cups strawberries, top removed and sliced in half
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
½ tsp cinnamon

Topping
1/2 cup flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup butter, cold and sliced thin

Mix together the apples and strawberries in a medium sized bowl.  Drizzle the lemon juice over and add in white sugar and ½ tsp cinnamon.  In another medium sized bowl, mix together flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and sea salt.  Gradually add in cold butter slices and mix by hand until crumbly.  In a greased 9 x 9 pan, add in the fruit mixture and then top it with the oat mixture.  Bake for 50 minutes at 350°.