Friday, September 3, 2010

Fudge Brownies with Salted Caramel topping

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Source: Natalie's Killer Cuisine


Fudge Brownies with Salted Caramel topping
yield: 24 brownies

1 cup (2 sticks) Butter
2 cups Sugar
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
4 Eggs
1 1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 1/2 cups AP Flour
2 cups Dark Chocolate Chips (I used Hersheys Special Dark)

preheat oven to 350 degrees, prepare 9×13 pan

1. Melt butter in a sauce pot. Add sugar and stir over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, until sugar has melted slightly and liquid is silky.
2. Remove from heat and pour into a large bowl. Use a spatula to scrape all butter into bowl.
3. Add eggs one at a time, stirring between each one. Add cocoa powder and stir until fully combined.
4. Add baking powder, salt and flour. Stir until just combined, though make sure there are no lumps or ‘pockets’ full of flour in the batter. Add the chocolate chips.
5. Pour into a prepared 9×13 pan and use the back of a spoon to spread out evenly. Bake for 40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool at least one hour before cutting.

Salted Caramel Topping
yield: 1 cup topping

1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter
1 cup Dark Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Whole Milk
2 cups Powdered Sugar, sifted
Salt, for topping

1. In a sauce pot, combine butter and brown sugar and turn heat to medium heat until comes to a slow boil. Add milk and bring back to boil.
2. Remove from heat and add powdered sugar. Use a wooden spoon to stir until powdered sugar is fully combined and mixture is creamy. If the mixture has some clumps, then strain before using.
3. Let cool for 2-3 minutes before pouring (all) of the mixture on top of the brownies. Sprinkle immediately with sea salt or kosher salt. Let set up, around 10 minutes, before cutting into squares.

Old Fashioned Lemon Bars

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Source: Culinary Travels


Old Fashioned Lemon Bars

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons plain flour
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon icing sugar
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, sliced
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Drop lemon oil (optional)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 180C or the equivalent.
2. In a medium bowl stir together 1 cup of flour and 1/4 cup icing sugar. Cut in the butter until it resembles a coarse meal and work it with your fingertips till it holds together. Press evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 8 inch (square or round) pan.
3. Bake about 15 minutes, until light golden brown. remove, but leave the oven on.
4. Meanwhile, in a meduim bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the eggs until frothy. Gradually beat in the granulated sugar. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice, beat at a high speed for 10 minutes, until smooth and slightly thickened.
5. On a sheet of waxed paper combine the remaining 2 tablespoons flour with the baking powder and salt, gradually beat into the egg mixture, beating just until smooth.
6. Pour over the baked layer and bake about 20 minutes longer, until set and lightly browned. Cool in the pan on a rack. Sift the remaining icing sugar over the top and cut into bars or in pie shaped pieces

Killer Brownies

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Source: Sweet and Savory Tooth


Killer Brownies

1 package dark chocolate brownie mix
2/3 cup pretzels, chopped
1/2 cup peanuts, chopped
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup chopped dark chocolate (I used Trader Joe’s 72% dark chocolate)
1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups Rice Krispies cereal
1 teaspoon vanilla

Prepare brownie mix according to package directions. Spread into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with moist crumbs.

Sprinkle with pretzels and peanuts and semisweet chocolate chips. Bake 4 to 6 minutes longer, or until chocolate is melted. Cool on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine the milk chocolate chips, dark chocolate, peanut butter, butter and salt. Cook and stire until the chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat, stir in the cereal and vanilla. Carefully spread over the brownies. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting.

Makes about 3 dozen.

Burnt Butter and Pecan Cupcakes

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Source: The Island of Dr. Gateau


Burnt Butter and Pecan Cupcakes

220g unsalted butter
80g finely chopped pecans
335g (1 1/2 cups) caster sugar
3 large eggs
1/4 tsp salt
3 tablespoons lukewarm water
400g (2 1/2 cups) plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbs white vinegar

Start at least an hour or two ahead of when you’d usually start as the burnt butter takes up a bit of extra time.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat until liquid. Stir the butter frequently with a wooden spoon. After a while it will start to foam quite a lot. Keep stirring and scraping the bottom of the saucepan. The butter will start to turn a dark golden brown, although you’ll have to keep pushing the foam out of the way to see it. When it smells nutty and kind of caramel-y, pour it into a bowl and leave to cool for 15 minutes, then put it in the fridge to solidify. Once it has solidified, take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature to soften.

While you’re waiting for the butter to solidify then soften, heat the oven to 180°C. Toast the chopped pecans on a baking tray for 5 minutes, then allow to cool.

Cream the burnt butter and sugar together in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment until fluffy and light (about 5-10 minutes). Add the eggs in one at a time, beating well after each one. Remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula if necessary. Add the salt and lukewarm water and mix well.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Add the toasted pecans and stir through. Add about 1/3 of this into the other mixture and start beating, then slowly add about 1/3 of the buttermilk while the mixer is running. Add the next third of the dry ingredients and beat, followed by the next third of the buttermilk as before, and then repeat for the last time. Once the mixture is well combined, get a small bowl and put the bicarbonate of soda in it, then add the vinegar and whisk with a fork to make sure any lumps dissolve. Add this into the cake mixture and beat on medium speed for about 10 seconds.

Spoon the mixture into miniature cupcake papers lining the holes of a miniature cupcake pan, then bake for 8-10 minutes. Put a cake tester or skewer into one of the cakes to check if it’s done — the skewer should come out clean. If you’re making normal sized cupcakes, they take about 13-15 minutes. Once out of the oven, leave the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes (they’re very delicate when still hot) then carefully remove them onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Pretzel icing
100g pretzels (the hard, crunchy sort)
500g cream cheese, softened
100g butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla paste
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup milk

Process the pretzels in a food processor until they’re a mixture of coarse pretzel dust with a few small fragments of pretzel. Set aside.

Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth in the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Scrape the sides of the bowl down once or twice. Add the sugar and beat until well combined, then the vanilla and beat again, then the pretzel dust/fragments and beat again. The mixture will be very thick, so add the milk a quarter cup at a time, beating for a couple of minutes after each addition, to thin the icing out a bit and make it smooth.

Ice your cakes, decorate with pretzels if you wish, and you’re done.

Pecan Pie Bars

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Source: My Story


Pecan Pie Bars
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens

Crust:
1 1/4 cups AP flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter (cold)

Filling:
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 tbsp unsalted butter (melted)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp sea salt


Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 jellyroll pan with aluminum foil.

Combine flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut the cold butter into cubes and add to flour mixture.

Toss and use a pastry blender to cut butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles crumbs the size of peas.
Pour mixture into prepared pan and press into a smooth crust. Poke several holes in the crust with tines of a fork. Bake about 18-20 minutes until light golden brown.

Chop up your pecans into small pieces.

In a large bowl, beat eggs and add sugar, corn syrup, butter, salt, and vanilla. Whisk together until smooth.

Add in the chopped pecans. Incorporate the pecans into the wet mixture.
Pour filling into the pre-baked crust. Return to oven to bake for about 20 minutes until filling is set.
Cool on a wire rack until completely cool.

Use foil to lift bars out of pan and cut into squares.

Garlic Naan

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Source: Joelen's Culinary Adventures


Garlic Naan
recipe adapted from The Fresh Loaf

3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon sugar or honey
1 packet yeast (or, if from bulk, 2 teaspoons yeast)
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups water, roughly at room temperature
2 tablespoons olive oil, vegetable oil, butter, or shortening


In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the yeast with the flour, salt, and sugar. (If you are using active dry yeast, follow the instructions on the packet to activate it before combining with the rest of the ingredients.) Add the olive oil and 1 1/4 cup water and stir together with a wooden spoon until you form a ball. Add water if needed to get all the flour mixed into the ball of dough.

Once all of the ingredients form a ball, remove the paddle attachment and replace with the dough hook attachment. Knead the dough at low speed for approximately 10 minutes. After kneading, place the ball of dough in a lightly oiled bowl and roll the dough inside the bowl around to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise until it doubles in size (roughly 1 1/2 hours - 2 hours).

When the doubled in size, punch the dough down to release some of the trapped gases and divide it into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, cover the balls with a damp kitchen towel, and let them rest for 20 minutes. This step allows the dough to relax so that it'll be easier to shape.

While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. If you have a baking stone, put it in the oven to preheat as well. If you do not have a baking stone, turn a cookie sheet upside down and place it on the middle rack of the oven while you are preheating the oven. This will be the surface on which you bake your pitas.

After the dough has relaxed for 20 minutes, spread a light coating of flour on a work surface. Set a ball of dough on the floured surface. Flour the top of the dough, as well as your rolling pin or hands. Stretch and flatten the dough with your rolling pin/hands and roll out the dough to a 1/8 - 1/4 inch thickness. If the dough is too touch to stretch, cover it with the damp towel and let it rest 5 to 10 minutes before trying again.

Open the oven and place as many pitas as you can fit on the hot baking surface. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush with the garlic oil. Return to the oven and bake for another 2-3 minutes, enough to warm the garlic oil.

Black Bottom Pecan Praline Bars

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Source: Technicolor Kitchen


Black Bottom Pecan Praline Bars

Brownie layer:
56g (2oz) unsweetened chocolate – I used dark (70% cocoa solids)
4 tablespoons (56g) unsalted butter
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (112g) caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cold large egg
1/4 cup (35g) all purpose flour

Praline layer:
1/4 cup (35g) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons (56g) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (70g) packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (140g) pecans, coarsely chopped


Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Butter a 22cm (9in) square pan* and line the bottom and sides with foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. Butter foil as well.
Start with the brownie layer: place the chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir frequently until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat. Stir in the sugar, vanilla, and salt with a wooden spoon (I prefer to use a silicon spatula). Add the egg. Stir in the flour and beat with a wooden spoon until the batter is smooth, glossy, and beginning to come away from the sides of the bowl, 1-2 minutes. Spread the brownie batter in a thin even layer in the bottom of the lined pan. Set aside.
Now, the praline layer: mix the flour and baking soda together thoroughly and set aside.
Combine the melted butter, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the egg yolk and vanilla, then the flour mixture, and finally the nuts. Drop spoonfuls all over the top of the brownie batter (they will spread and cover the brownies entirely during baking).
Bake until the edges of the topping are well browned and cracked, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a rack.
Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 25 bars.

* I used a 20cm (8in) square pan

Turtle Cookie Bars

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Source: Sprinkled with Flour


Turtle Cookie Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup pecan halves
2 tsp salt
2/3 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, sugar, and butter. Mix on medium speed until well combined. Firmly press the mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 9 x 13 pan. In a small bowl, mix the pecan halves and salt together. Layer the pecan halves over the crust.

In a medium pan, cook the butter and brown sugar over medium high heat, until boiling. Cook for 3 minutes, then remove from heat. Pour the mixture evenly over the pecans.

Place the pan in a 350F oven, and cook for 15 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the pecans. Allow the chips to soften for a few minutes, then gently swirl the chocolate over the pecans. Sprinkle with finely chopped pecans, and let cool for two hours. Cut into bars, serve, and enjoy!

Texan-Sized Almond Crunch Cookies

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Source: Bakergirl


Texan-Sized Almond Crunch Cookies

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 cups almonds, chopped
2 cups toffee brickle chips
Extra granulated sugar for rolling in

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cream together the granulated sugar, powdered sugar, softened butter, and oil. Add vanilla and eggs. Blend in the all-purpose flour, wheat flour, baking soda, salt, and cream of tartar. Using a wooden spoon or your hands, mix in the almonds and the toffee pieces.

Shape dough into balls and roll in sugar. Real Texas-sized cookies are made using a large tablespoon-size ball. I made mine a little smaller. Flatten with a fork dipped in sugar and make fancy criss-cross on the top. Place on a greased baking sheet, being sure to leave plenty of room between cookies (about five inches).

Bake for 12-18 minutes (16 minutes was perfect for the size I made), until golden brown around the edges. Let cool on the sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Smoked Salmon Croquettes

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Source: Kayotic Kitchen


Smoked Salmon Croquettes

Ingredients:

2 cups mashed potatoes
9 oz (smoked) salmon
1/2 cup green peas
2 scallions
breadcrumbs
lemon juice
flat-leaf parsley
fresh dill
2 eggs
pepper
salt
egg
oil

Optional: Old Bay & Lawry’s lemon pepper


Directions:

The leftover salmon. It was so divine. Don’t tell anyone, but you can also do this with canned salmon.

I removed the skin and used a fork to make the pieces smaller. Transfer it to a big bowl.

And add your mashed potatoes.

I used 1/2 cup frozen peas for this. Well, I defrosted them first.

Finely mince two scallions and add them to the bowl.

You can never go wrong with fresh herbs. Flat-leaf parsley and dill. Chop a good handful of both but don’t go overboard on the dill, it’s powerful stuff.

Add the minced herbs to the bowl, squeeze in some lemon juice (a tbsp or two), and season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Want to get real fancy? Grate some of the lemon zest as well, that’s where all the flavor is.

This is completely optional but to me seafood needs a little old bay. Half a tsp or so. For those of you who can’t buy this, here’s my Old Bay copycat version.

Mix it up, cover the bowl and put it in the fridge for about an hour or so. Letting it firm up will help you shape the balls. Or triangles. Whatever rocks your boat.

Fast forward.

Lightly beat two eggs.

And put your breadcrumbs in a bowl. I like to season mine with a touch of Lawry’s lemon pepper—my one true addiction.

Grab a full dinner spoon of the filling and roll it in your hands.

Then dump the ball in the egg, shake off the excess egg and roll it around in the breadcrumbs. Repeat this process until you have two egg / breadcrumb coatings.

Put the croquettes back into the fridge for at least an hour.

Pour 1 liter/quart of oil (canola or even sunflower oil will do) into a pot, stick a candy/oil thermometer in there and wait ‘til the temperature is at 375F (180C). I used my stir-fry pan with thermo spot because A) I’m lazy and B) Ii couldn’t find my candy thermometer anywhere. Probably in the sand box, along with my cute, colorful silicone baking cups.

Carefully put the croquettes into the hot oil and fry them until crispy and brown, this will take 3 to 4 minutes. Don’t overcrowd the pan, that will make the temperature drop and it’ll become a greasy, soggy mess. Let them drain on a paper towel and serve them with lemon mayonnaise.

I know they don’t look it, but they were the most flavorful, crispy little bites I’ve had in a long time. They work as appetizer, party food, lunch or even dinner when you serve it with a salad on the side. Fun little bites.

Vanilla and macadamia crumble mini cheesecakes

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Source: Technicolor Kitchen


Vanilla and macadamia crumble mini cheesecakes

370g ricotta
300g cream cheese
1 1/3 cups (267g) caster sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Base:
125g digestive/shortbread cookies
½ cup (50g) almond meal (ground almonds)
45g unsalted butter, melted

Crumble topping:
100g digestive/shortbread cookies
½ cup (70g) unsalted macadamias
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
50g unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 140°C/285°F.
Make the base: process cookies in a food processor until crushed. Add the almond meal and butter and process until combined. Grease a round 22cm springform pan and line the base with baking paper. Press the crumb mix over the base and refrigerate (I left it in the fridge overnight).
Place the ricotta and cream cheese, in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the sugar, eggs and vanilla and process until combined and smooth. Pour the mixture over the base and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until set.
In the meantime, make the crumble topping: place the cookies, macadamias, vanilla, sugar and butter in a food processor and process until roughly chopped.
After baking the cheesecake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, top it with the crumble mixture and bake for a further 10 minutes or until top is golden. Allow to cool in the pan, then serve.

Serves 8-10 – I halved the recipe above, used 1/3 cup (80ml) capacity mini pans (with removable bottoms) and got 9 mini cheesecakes (baked for 25 minutes, pans only buttered, I did not line the bases with paper)

Peanut Butter Granola Bites

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Source: Lisa is Hungry


Peanut Butter Granola Bites
adapted from Joy the Baker
makes 24 balls

Ingredients:
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup cold cereal like Rice Krispies
1 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup unsweetened dessicated coconut
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)


Directions:

In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together the maple syrup or honey, peanut butter and butter. Heat until the butter is melted and the peanut butter is loosened.

Combine cereal, oats and coconut in a medium bowl. Pour the warm peanut butter mixture over the dry ingredients and fold tom combine. Stir until all of the dry ingredients are moistened by the peanut butter mixture. Allow the mixture to cool a bit for easier scooping. Mix in chocolate chips if desired.

Using a small scoop, scoop mixture onto a wax paper lined baking sheet. Press balls together with clean and damp fingers if they break apart a bit. Place in the fridge for about 15 minutes to harden and set. Place balls in cupcake liners and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Triple Layer Bars

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Source: Tomayto Tomaaahto


Triple Layer Bars

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (digestives work great if you're not in the US)
7 oz (about 2 cups) flaked/shredded coconut
14 oz (395 g) sweetened condensed milk
12 oz (about 2 cups) dark (semi-sweet) chocolate chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter


Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F / 175 C.
2. In a rectangular oven-proof dish (about 9x13 inches - mine was smaller which made the bars taller) melt the butter in the oven.
3. Sprinkle crumbs evenly over the melted butter.
4. Top with coconut, spreading evenly, then pour on the sweetened condensed milk.
5. Bake 25 minutes, or until lightly browned.
6. In a small saucepan, melt chocolate chips with peanut butter, stirring constantly until smooth.
7. Spread over coconut layer and smooth with spatula or knife.
8. Cool for about 30 minutes and then refrigerate until thoroughly chilled (a couple of hours).
9. Carefully de-mold and cut into whatever shapes you choose. 2-inch squares work well, but diamonds, triangles or even circles would be nice too.

Lemon Cloud Tea Cookies

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Source: daily doses of sugar


Lemon Cloud Tea Cookies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornstarch
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon or orange extract (I made my own lemon extract by simmering 1/4 cup of lemon juice to one tbsp. I accidentally added the whole tbsp in.. the cookies still turned out ok)
1 teaspoons finely grated lemon or orange zest (I left this out)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Combine the butter and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on low speed with the paddle until well mixed. Increase the speed to medium and continue beating until light, about 2 minutes.

Beat in the eggs one at a time. Batter may look broken and curdled. Beat in the extracts and zest.

Decrease the speed to low and beat in the flour. Remove the bowl from the mixer and give the dough a few good turns with your spatula to bring it all together.

Arrange rounded teaspoons of the dough on a pan lined with parchment paper. Space the balls about 2-inches apart. After all the cookies have been placed on the pan, flour a fork and press a crisscross design into the top of each mound of dough. Bake the cookies until they spread and become golden, about 20 minutes. Slide the parchment paper off the pan to cool completely.

Keep the cookies between sheets of wax paper in a plastic container with a tight lid.

Snickers Cupcakes

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Source: Homemade by Holman


Snickers Cupcakes

Cake:
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners. Recipe yields about 30 cupcakes. Combine sugar through salt in a large boil. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla and beat on low until just incorporated. Increase speed to medium and beat two minutes. Stir in boiling water, the batter will be thin. Transfer batter to prepared pans, filling each liner about 2/3 of the way full, approximately 1/4 cup of batter. Bake approximately 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans about five minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

When cool, use a paring knife to cut a small cone shape out of the top of each cupcake. Add caramel sauce as desired. You can cut the point off the cone and add it back to the cupcake if desired.

Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup caramel sauce
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 lb powdered sugar
8 mini Snickers bar for garnish

Beat butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about two minutes. Add caramel sauce, heavy cream and vanilla and mix to incorporate. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating on low speed until incorporated to reach the right consistency. Increase speed to medium-high and whip about one minute until light and fluffy. Fill a piping bag and pipe onto cupcakes or frost as desired.

Creamy Lemon Crumb Squares

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Source: Pioneer Woman


Creamy Lemon Crumb Squares

1 1/3 cup All-purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 stick (1/2 Cup) Butter, Slightly Softened
1 cup Brown Sugar (lightly Packed)
1 cup Oats
1 can (14 Ounce) Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 cups Lemon Juice
Zest Of 1 Lemon


PREHEAT OVEN TO 350 DEGREES.

Mix butter and brown sugar until well combined.

Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder.

Add oats and flour to butter/sugar mixture and mix to combine.

Press half of crumb mixture into the bottom of an 8 x 11 inch pan.

Mix together condensed milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Spread onto the bottom layer of the crumb mixture. Top with the other half of the crumb mixture, but don’t press.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Allow pan to sit on counter for 30 minutes after baking. Cut into squares and refrigerate for a couple of hours or until cool.

Serve cool.

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

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Source: Chocolate & Carrots


Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
adapted from Notecook

Ingredients

2/3 cup fat free sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup Smart Balance creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup light brown sugar
4 cups Kellogg’s Rice Krispies
3 tablespoons Smart Balance creamy peanut butter (icing)
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (icing)


1. Put Rice Krispies in a large bowl and set aside.
2. Grease a 9X9 inch pan.
3. Bring sweetened condensed milk, peanut butter, corn syrup, and brown sugar to a boil over medium/high heat, stirring constantly.
4. After the ingredients are blended together smoothly and starting to boil, pour over the Rice Krispies and stir together.
5. Spread the mixture evenly in the greased pan and let cool in the refrigerator.
6. To prepare the icing, over low heat, stir the chocolate and peanut butter until smooth.
7. Pour the icing over the treats, spread evenly, and put it back in the fridge.
8. Cut into squares after the icing has had time to set.
9. Enjoy and share with your neighbors!

Praline Pecan Brownies

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Source: Indecisive Baker


Praline Pecan Brownies
(adapted from Paula Deen)

1 package chewy brownie mix (recommended: Duncan Hines)
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar


Oven to 350.

Prepare the brownie mix according to the package directions. Pour batter into a greased 9 by 13-inch pan. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the pecans and sugar and cook, over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves. Drizzle the caramel mixture over brownie batter and bake until a toothpick can be inserted and withdrawn cleanly, 25 to 30 minutes.

Healthier Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie

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Source: The Hungry Engineer


Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
adapted from Recipe Source

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (light or dark, your call)
3/4 cup oil (I usually use canola)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup (4 1/2 ounces by weight) all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon (rounded) coarse kosher salt
2/3 cup chocolate chips (our preferred chips are Ghirardelli 60% cacao)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (F).

Combine the sugars, oil, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl and mix till thoroughly combined.

In a separate smaller bowl, toss together the flour, oats, baking powder, and salt, stirring to evenly distribute the salt and baking powder.

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet, and then fold in the chocolate chips.

With a #40 purple disher, portion cookie dough out on two parchment- or Silpat-lined baking sheets, twelve cookies to a sheet. Bake in the top and bottom thirds of the oven for nine to twelve minutes, allowing the edges to brown slightly and tops to firm up. Rotate the sheets top to bottom and back to front about halfway through baking.

Cool in the pan for a minute or two, then move to a rack to cool completely.

Moist Yellow Cupcakes with Browned Butter Frosting

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Source: Cooking Weekends


Moist Yellow Cupcakes with Browned Butter Frosting

The cupcakes do seem moister to me, and they aren't as oily as those at Whole Foods - however, they also don't keep for a week and are best eaten within a day or two.

Cupcakes

1 cup unsalted butter, (half of this amount will be used in the frosting)
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cup cake flour
1/2 cup unbleached flour

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a standard 12 muffin tin with baking papers.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and cook until lightly browned. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Pour 1/2 cup butter into a bowl, reserving the other half for the frosting. Add the canola oil, sugar and buttermilk, then whisk them until well combined. Whisk in one egg at a time.

Whisk in the vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk in the flours until they are well combined.

Spoon/pour the batter, dividing equally among the 12 lined baking cups. Bake for about 13-16 minutes or until done. Be careful not to over-bake them; I began to watch them closely after 13 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool.

Frosting
1/2 cup browned butter, (the reserved amount from earlier)
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 - 2 1/2 cups icing sugar

Beat the butter, sour cream, vanilla extract and 2 cups icing sugar, together in a bowl. Keep adding more icing sugar until the frosting has the right consistency. Decorate the cooled cupcakes.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Three Cheese Chicken Penne Pasta Bake

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Source: The Girl Who Ate Everything


Three Cheese Chicken Penne Pasta Bake
adapted slightly from Kraft

1-1/2 cups multi-grain penne pasta, uncooked
1 pkg. (9 oz.) fresh spinach leaves
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 jar (14-1/2 oz.) spaghetti sauce
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
2 oz. (1/4 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese, cubed
1 cup KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese


Directions:
Heat oven to 375ºF.

Cook pasta as directed on package, omitting salt and adding spinach to the boiling water the last minute.

Cook and stir chicken and basil in large nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium-high heat 3 min. Stir in spaghetti sauce, garlic, and tomatoes; bring to boil. Simmer on low heat 3 min. or until chicken is done. Stir in Neufchatel.

Drain pasta mixture; return to pan. Stir in chicken mixture and 1/2 cup mozzarella. Spoon into 2-qt. casserole or 8-inch square baking dish.

Bake 20 min.; top with remaining cheeses. Bake 3 min. or until mozzarella is melted.

White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

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Source: And Now for Something Completely Delicious


White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies
From Betty Crocker Cookbook


1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the shortening, butter, and sugars on medium high until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, soda, and salt. Add to the butter and sugar mixture and mix until just combined. Add the white chocolate chips and the macadamia nut cookies.

Spoon by the tablespoon onto the sheet pan lined with parchment paper, with about 2 inch spacing. Bake until lightly golden, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream

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Source: It Pleases Us


Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream
From David Lebovitz

For the caramel praline (mix-in)
100g caster sugar
3/4 teaspoon sea salt

For the ice cream custard
500ml milk, divided into two
300g caster sugar
60g butter
scant 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
250ml heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the caramel praline

Spread the sugar in an even layer in a heavy duty saucepan;
Line a baking tray with baking paper or brush with unflavored oil (ie. grape-seed oil, vegetable oil etc).
Heat the sugar over moderate heat until the edges begin to melt and continue stirring until the sugar is liquified and completely melted. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally until the caramel starts smoking and smells like it’s about to burn.
Quickly sprinkle in the salt, swirl for a second, then pour the caramel onto the tray. Lift the tray and twirl so that the caramel forms a very thin layer. Set aside to harden and cool.

For the caramel custard

First, make an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice cubes, adding a little water and sitting a smaller metal bowl into the larger one. Pour half the milk (250ml) into the metal bowl and rest a strainer over the top.
Make another caramel with the 300g sugar (as per above).
Once caramel is finished, remove from the hear, stir in the butter and salt, then whisk in the cream. Stir in the other 250ml of milk.
Whisk the yolks in a small bowl, then add a little of the warm caramel mixture. Stir the mix constantly, then scrape the yolks back into the saucepan. Cook the custard over the heat until the mixture thickens (about 71-77C on a thermometer).
Pour the custard into the metal bowl through the strainer, into the chilled milk. Add vanilla, then stir until the mixture cools. Chill the mixture in the fridge overnight.
Churn the mixture in your ice-cream maker. Crumble the praline into bits and crumble into the ice-cream. Freeze until firm (or as firm as it will be, this ice-cream is pretty soft).
Enjoy!

Ann's Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

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Source: Andrea's Recipes


Ann's Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

3 pounds (1.362 kilos) pork shoulder or picnic roast, trimmed and cubed
2 medium onions, chopped
3 green peppers, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup (55 g) brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup (60 ml) apple cider vinegar
6 ounces (170 g) tomato paste
1-1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce


Preparation

1. In the large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Sauté the pork cubes until browned on all sides. Transfer the meat to the slow cooker, reserving the pan drippings. Add the chopped onion and green peppers, and sauté until the onions glisten. Transfer the onions, peppers, and the drippings to the slow cooker.

2. Add the brown sugar, vinegar, tomato paste, chili powder, mustard, salt, and Worcestershire sauce to the slow cooker and stir. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or set it on Auto for 6 to 7 hours.

Herbed Meatball Hoagies

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Source: Nutrition to Kitchen


Herbed Meatball Hoagies
makes 12 large meatballs, or 24 smaller meatballs

4 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp fresh ginger
4 stalks of green onions (scallions)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 lb ground turkey, lean (I think I used about 1.25 lbs and it still worked out fine)
1 egg
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used panko breadcrumbs)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth, divided
3/4 canned crushed tomatoes, with juice
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp sugar (optional, if you need to balance out the acidity in the tomato sauce)
whole-wheat hoagie rolls
Fresh cilantro, optional
Shredded cheese, optional


Preparation:

1. Finely chop garlic, ginger, scallions, and cilantro. It’s quickest if you do this in a food processor. Divide the mixture in two.

2. In 2-cup capacity measuring cup, whisk together 1 cup of the chicken broth, crushed tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, and red pepper flakes; set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the turkey, egg, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and half of the garlic/ginger mixture. Measure out scant 1/4 cup of the meat mixture and form into meatballs, makes about 12 large meatballs. For smaller meatballs, measure 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture to form 24 smaller meatballs.

3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add 6 of the meatballs and brown both sides, about 3-4 minutes each side. Repeat with the remaining meatballs, adding another tablespoon oil if necessary. Remove the meatballs from the pan (meatballs do not have to be cooked all the way through yet – you’ll return them to the pan real soon to complete the cooking process).

4. Add the remaining garlic/ginger mixture to the pan, and saute for about 1-2 minutes until green onions are wilted and starting to turn golden brown. Pour the chicken broth/tomato juice mixture into the pan. Turn the heat up to high and bring the mixture up to a boil, then add the meatballs to the pan. Turn the heat down to low and allow the meatballs to simmer, covered, for about 15-20 minutes.

5. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 1/4 cup chicken broth with cornstarch until you form a slurry and no lumps remain. Uncover the meatball mixture, and move the meatballs out of the center. Add the cornstarch slurry to the center of the pan, swirling sauce evenly around the pan until the mixture slightly thickens, about 5 minutes. Taste the sauce and add 1/4 tsp sugar to balance out the acidity if needed.

6. Heat the whole-wheat hoagie rolls in the oven at 300°F for about 5-6 minutes, until lightly toasted. Fill each hoagie bun with either 2-3 large meatballs, or 4-5 smaller ones, along with a couple tablespoons of the tomato sauce. Top with a few sprigs of fresh cilantro and a tablespoon of shredded cheese (optional); serve hot.

Coconut Cream Pie

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Source: Phoebe Bites


Coconut Cream Pie
Adapted from Bon Appetit, September 2002

Crust

1 1/2 cups All purpose flour
1 Tbsp Granulated sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
9 Tbsp. Unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
4 Tbsp. Ice water, plus a few 1 or 2 teaspoons more if needed

Filling

1/2 cup Granulated sugar
2 large Eggs
1 large Egg yolk
3 Tbsp. All purpose flour
1 cup Whole milk
1/2 cup Coconut milk
1 1/2 cups Sweetened flaked coconut
1 tsp Vanilla extract

Topping

2/3 cup Sweetened flaked coconut, lightly toasted in a pan
1 1/2 cups Whipping cream, chilled
2 Tbsp Granulated sugar


For crust:
Blend flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Add butter and shortening; using on/off turns, cut in until mixture resembles coarse meal. Drizzle 4 tablespoons ice water over mixture. Process just until moist clumps form, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Dump dough onto a piece of plastic and use the sides of the plastic to gather dough into ball; flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic. Chill 1 hour.

Roll out dough on a floured surface to a 14-inch round. Transfer dough to 9-inch-diameter ceramic/glass/metal pie dish. Trim the dough so there’s about 1/2 inch of dough hanging over the side. Fold overhang under. Crimp edges by making a V with the index finger and thumb of one hand and pushing into the V with the index finger of the other hand. Pierce bottom of crust all over with fork. Freeze crust 15 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep frozen.)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line crust with aluminum foil. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake 20 minutes. Remove weights and foil. Bake until golden and set, about 10 minutes. Cool. (Crust can be made 1 day ahead. Cooled and wrapped tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature.)

For filling:
Whisk sugar, eggs, egg yolk, and flour in medium bowl. Bring milk, coconut milk and flaked coconut to simmer in medium saucepan over medium heat. Gradually add hot milk mixture to egg mixture, whisking constantly. (It is easier for me to use a ladle to slowly drizzle in the milk mixture instead of pouring it straight from the pot.) Return the egg and milk mixture to the same saucepan; cook until pastry cream thickens and boils, stirring constantly, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in vanilla extract. Transfer pastry cream to medium bowl. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface to prevent formation of skin. Chill until cold, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day. Transfer filling to crust. Cover; chill for at least six hours.

For topping:
Using electric mixer, beat cream and sugar until peaks form. Spread whipped cream all over the top of the filling. Sprinkle evenly with toasted coconut.

Corn and Cheese Fried Wonton

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Source: Phoebe Bites


Corn and Cheese Fried Wonton

1 cup Corn, thawed if using frozen corn
1 cup Ricotta
1/2 cup Mozzarella, shredded
2 Tbsp fresh Parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh Basil, chopped
1 large Egg
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
1 pkg Wonton wrapper, about 60 wrappers
Canola oil, for frying

Mix the corn, ricotta, mozzarella, parsley, basil, egg, salt and pepper in a bowl.

Spoon a tablespoon of corn and cheese filling onto the center of a wonton wrapper. Wet a pastry brush or your index finger with water and run it along the sides of the wrapper. Put another sheet of wrapper on top, squeezing out any air in the center and sealing the edges. Repeat until you’ve used up the filling and wrappers.

Pour oil in a deep skillet and heat until it is about 350 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, wait until the oil starts rippling and carefully drop in a small piece of wonton wrapper. If the wrapper bubbles and rises to the top immediately, the oil is ready.

Add a a few wontons to the hot oil. The number you fry in each batch depends on the size of your skillet. Make sure you don’t overcrowd the skillet, which will lower the temperature of the oil. Fry until the wontons are crispy and golden brown, turning them a few times, so they brown evenly. Turn the stove down if the grease is splattering and getting too hot. The wontons should take about five minutes to cook.

S'mores Whoopie Pies

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Source: What Megan's Making


S'mores Whoopie Pies
from The Capitol Baker

Cakes
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
4 Tbsp vegetable shortening
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, stir together both flours, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, shortening, and brown sugar until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla and beat until combined.

In a separate bowl, combine the milk, baking soda, and vinegar. Add this mixture slowly to the batter along with the flour mixture and beat on low speed until completely combined.

Using a spoon, drop about 1 Tbsp of batter (for larger sized whoopie pies - I used less batter per cookie) onto the baking sheet and repeat, spacing them at least 2 inches apart.

Bake for about 9-10 minutes until the cakes begin to brown. Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool on the baking sheet for 3-5 min before transferring them to a rack to cool completely. They are likely to break if you try and move them when they are too warm.

Marshmallow Cream
1 jar of marshmallow fluff (7.5 oz.)
1 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat together the marshmallow fluff and shortening, starting on low and increasing to medium speed until the mixture is smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Increase speed to medium and beat until fluffy.

Chocolate Ganache
12 oz milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Place the chocolate in a large, heat proof bowl. Heat the cream in a saucepan over medium heat just until it bubbles. Pour the heated cream over the chocolate in the bowl and let it sit for about 10 minutes, until the chocolate is just melted. Stir with a whisk until smooth.

Allow the mixture to rest at room temperature until firm enough to spread, about 2 hours. You can also speed up the process by refrigerating for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until it is firm enough to spread.

To Assemble
Pair up your cakes with those of similar size and turn them over.Spread the marshmallow cream onto one cake and the chocolate ganache on the other and repeat until all paired cakes are covered.

Cheddar Biscuits

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Source: Phoebe Bites


Cheddar Biscuits
Adapted from “Artisan Breads Every Day” by Peter Reinhart

2 Tbsp. Lemon juice, white vinegar, apple cider vinegar (I used lemon juice)
1 cup Heavy cream, plus a few more tablespoons in case the dough is too dry
1 stick Unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups All-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. Sugar
2 1/4 tsp. Baking powder
1/2 tsp. Baking soda
1/2 tsp Salt
2 cups Cheddar cheese, 8 oz, grated

Place the butter in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to harden it.

Stir the vinegar or lemon juice into the cream to acidify it, then refrigerate it to keep it cold.

Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a mixing bowl.

Set a grater over the bowl with the flour mixture. Unwrap the butter and grate it through the large holes into the dry ingredients, toss the butter threads in the flour mixture as you grate to distribute them. Use your fingers to separate and distribute the butter evenly, breaking up any lumps. Try not to touch the butter to much, so it stays cold.

Add the cream mixture and stir with a spatula until all of the flour is hydrated and the dough forms a coarse ball. If the dough seems dry, add another tablespoon or two of cream.

Transfer the dough to a generously floured work surface, then dust the top of the dough with flour. Working with floured hands, use your palms to press the dough into a rectangle about 3/4 inch thick. With a rolling pin, roll the dough to about 1/2 inch thick, dusting the top and bottom of the dough with flour so it doesn’t stick to the rolling pin and the work surface.

Spread a quarter of the grated cheese on the dough. Fold the dough over on itself in three sections as if folding a letter. Rotate the dough 90 degrees, then once again roll it out to 1/2 inch thick, spread the cheese and fold into thirds. Give the dough another quarter turn and repeat this procedure again. Then, repeat one final time (four roll-outs in all).

After the fourth folding, dust under and on top of the dough, then roll the dough out to just under 1/2 inch thick. Use a round biscuit cutter to cut out round biscuits or use a knife to cut them into square or diamond shapes.

Set the biscuits on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Let rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. In the meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Turn the oven down t0 450 degrees when you are ready to bake. Bake the chilled biscuits for 8 minutes, then rotate the baking sheet and bake for another 6 to 8 minutes, until they are golden on top. They should rise to about 1 1/2 times in height.

Place the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool for 2 minutes and serve.

I used a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter, which yielded 14 biscuits.

If you want to freeze the biscuits, bake them as described in the recipe, but only until slightly golden on top, about 5 minutes less than the full baking time. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and cool the biscuits thoroughly before wrapping them individually for the freezer. When you want to finish baking them, preheat the oven to 450 degrees and place the frozen biscuits on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the tops and bottoms are golden brown. Cool for five minutes before serving, allowing the heat to reach the center of the biscuits, warming them but not drying them out.

Creamy Macaroni & Cheese

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Source: Joelen's Culinary Adventures


Creamy Macaroni & Cheese
recipe from Cook's Illustrated

1 pound elbow macaroni
1 tablespoon table salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons powdered mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
5 cups milk (whole or 2% - I used whole)
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (2 cups)
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
1 teaspoon table salt

Bread topping:
2-3 slices of good quality white bread
2 tablespoons butter, melted


For the bread topping: cube 2-3 slices of good quality white bread. Toss with melted butter and saute in a pan over medium high heat until slightly toasted; set aside.


Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat broiler. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven over high heat. Add macaroni and 1 tablespoon salt; cook until pasta is tender. Drain pasta and set aside in colander.

In now-empty Dutch oven, heat butter over medium-high heat until foaming. Add flour, mustard, and cayenne (if using) and whisk well to combine. Continue whisking until mixture becomes fragrant and deepens in color, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk; bring mixture to boil, whisking constantly (mixture must reach full boil to fully thicken). Reduce heat to medium and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened to consistency of heavy cream, about 5 minutes. Off heat, whisk in cheeses and 1 teaspoon salt until cheeses are fully melted. Add pasta and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is steaming and heated through, about 6 minutes.

Transfer mixture to a broiler-safe 9 by 13-inch baking dish and sprinkle evenly with bread cubes. Broil until crumbs are deep golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes, rotating pan if necessary for even browning. Cool about 5 minutes, then serve.

Choco­late Caramel "Twix" Tart

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Source: Pass the Sushi


Choco­late Caramel Tart with Sea Salt - "Twix Tart"
makes (1) 9-in tart or (6) 3 1/2-in tartlets

Ingre­di­ents:

Pâte Sablée

10 table­spoons (5 ounces) unsalted but­ter, room temperature
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) all pur­pose flour
1 tea­spoon salt

Caramel:

1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
pinch of Mal­don sea salt

Choco­late Ganache

12 ounces bit­ter­sweet (60%-66%) choco­late, coarsely chopped
2 cups heavy cream


Prepa­ra­tion:

For the pâte sablée:

Cream but­ter and sugar together in a stand mixer. Add eggs and mix just until incor­po­rated. Add flour and salt and mix on low just until incorporated.

Scrape out dough onto a piece of plas­tic wrap and form into a disk. Wrap fully and refrig­er­ate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Flour work sur­face and roll out dough to 1/4″ thick. Lay into a 9″ tart pan or tart rings of your choos­ing and trim excess dough with a knife. Refrig­er­ate for an hour before baking.

Pre­heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line tart shell with foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 30 min­utes (check ear­lier if you are bak­ing indi­vid­ual tarts), turn­ing halfway through.

Remove foil and weight and bake for 10 more min­utes (indi­vid­ual tarts may not need addi­tional bak­ing time). Tart shells should be lightly golden. Remove from oven and let cool fully on wire rack before filling.

For the caramel:

Place cream in a small saucepan and bring to boil. Set aside while you cook the sugar.

Com­bine sugar with 5 table­spoons of water in a heavy saucepan. Cook over high heat, stir­ring, until sugar dis­solves. Bring mix­ture to boil and cook with­out stir­ring for about 4 min­utes until it turns dark amber. Swirl to ensure it cooks evenly.

Take mix­ture off stove and pour cream slowly into the sugar (it will boil up so don’t pour in all at once.)Stir until incor­po­rated and smooth.Add in salt. If caramel has cooled too much and become thick, place over heat and warm until it is liq­uid enough to pour.

Pour the caramel into the tart shell, cov­er­ing the bot­tom evenly. Let cool until it firms and is no longer shiny. You can place the tart shell in the refrig­er­a­tor to speed up the process.

For the ganache:

Place choco­late and salt in a heat­proof bowl. Place cream in a small saucepan and bring to a boil on high heat on the stove. Pour cream over the choco­late and let sit for a few min­utes. Then whisk slowly and gen­tly to com­bine. Do not stir too vig­or­ously as this incor­po­rates air into the ganache and gives it a less smooth and vel­vety texture.

Pour the ganache into the tart shell over the caramel. Let set at room tem­per­a­ture for at least 3 hours or up to 12 hours.

Sprin­kle with sea salt before serving.

Noir Bars

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Source: Sugarcrafter


Noir Bars

Chocolate cookie base:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup semisweet baking chocolate, melted

Chocolate cheesecake filling:
3/4 cup dark baking chocolate, cut into chunks
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese
1 stick butter, divided (2 Tbsp + 6 Tbsp)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Ganache:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 Tbsp instant coffee or espresso


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a medium-sized bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Combine the rest of the cookie base ingredients and stir until well-blended.

Spread the cookie dough in the bottom of a greased 13×9″ pan and bake 10-12 minutes or until set. Remove from the oven and cool completely (about 30 minutes).

In the meantime, melt 2 Tbsp of the butter and 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips in a sauce pan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Set aside. Using an electric mixer, cream the remaining 6 Tbsp butter with the cream cheese in a large bowl. Beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla, and then beat in the cooled chocolate mix.

Spoon the filling over the cooled cookie base. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, approximately 2 hours.

For the ganache, heat the cream, chocolate, butter, and instant coffee over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth.

Cool until lukewarm and then pour over the filling.

Refrigerate uncovered until set, about 2 hours. Store covered in the refrigerator.

S'mores Bars

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Source: Let's Dish


S'mores Bars
Adapted from Paula Deen


1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cups flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 6 sheets of graham crackers)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 (1.5-ounce) Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars
1 (7 oz.) jar marshmallow creme


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-inch baking pan. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. In a small bowl, combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture, and beat until combined. Press half of the dough evenly in the pan. Spread marshmallow cream over the dough. Lay the chocolate bars on top of the marshmallow creme, breaking apart as needed to create an even layer of chocolate. Spread remaining dough over the chocolate bars. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Everyday Chocolate Cake

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Source: Smitten Kitchen


Everyday Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Magnolia Bakery At Home

1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (6 7/8 ounces) firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (4 ounces) granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (6 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (2 5/8 ounces) Dutch cocoa powder (natural cocoa adjustment below)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda (or 1/2 tsp Soda - no baking powder)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter and lightly flour a 9×5x3-inch loaf pan, or spray it with a butter-flour spray. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat well, then the buttermilk and vanilla. Don’t worry if the batter looks a little uneven. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt together right into your wet ingredients. Stir together with a spoon until well-blended but do not overmix. Scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Top batter with chunks of 70% cacao chocolate, if desired. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 to 15 minutes, at which point you can cool it the rest of the way out of the pan. Serve with whipped cream and fresh berries, if you’re feeling fancy.

Although I was thrilled with the result when I used Dutch cocoa and 1 teaspoon baking soda, the cake rose and sank slightly in the baking process, a sign that the leavener was off. I retested this the next day with different levels of leavener and two different types of cocoa, in hopes to keep the cake aloft. I’ve updated the recipe below with the suggestion of Dutch cocoa, a reduced amount baking soda and the addition of baking powder. I found that the version with Dutch cocoa was darker with a more appealing chocolate flavor. But fear not: If you only have a natural or non-Dutched cocoa, you can still use it, but you’ll want to use 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and no baking powder. Happy baking!

Grilled Corn Soup

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Source: Silk Routes


Grilled Corn Soup

Ingredients

1/4 kg medium shrimps, heads separated
5 cups water
2 ears of corn with husk
1 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon butter
100 g pork belly chopped
2 bacon strips
1 onion bulb chopped
2 medium sized ripe tomatoes chopped
3 garlic cloves chopped
salt and pepper
3-4 sprigs cilantro (optional)

Method

Make the shrimp stock by boiling all the shrimp heads in 5 cups of water. Reduce until stock is about 3 cups. If you have a potato masher start squeezing out the yummy juices out of those heads. You know you’re in good shape when you see an orange film on top of the stock. Peel the remaining bodies.

Meanwhile, soak the corn in water for about 10 minutes. The wet husk prevents it from burning easily and helps steam the corn. Place the corn on a high heat grill, turning the cob every so often to cook evenly. Grill the corn until the husk is well charred to induce that smoky aroma. Peel the husk off and grate the kernels. You may chop the kernels further if you don’t want them chunky.

In a sauce pan over medium heat, heat the butter and oil. Render the fat of the pork belly and bacon for 7-10 minutes. Throw in the onions, garlic and tomatoes and saute until onion is translucent. Pour in the stock and corn. Let it simmer for 10 minutes. Season to taste. Serve hot and top it with cilantro.

Baked French Toast

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Source: Lisa is Bossy


Bath Street Inn's Baked French Toast

1 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ground nuts
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 loaf of French bread cut into 1-1/2" slices
8 eggs
1 cup milk

*Note: the recipe is as it came from Bath Street, but I have reduced the amounts of butter, sugar and maple syrup - it's more than fine with less

Cut the first 3 ingredients together until crumbly. Sprinkle over a 9x13 dish. Drizzle with maple syrup. Place the bread over the syrup. Beat eggs with the milk and pour over. Press the bread down to help absorb the egg. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake covered for 35-50 minutes in a 325° oven until it's bubbling. Serve upside down.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Baked Spaghetti and Mozzarella

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Source: Kitchen Corners


Baked Spaghetti and Mozzarella

2 cans whole peeled tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves smashed and peeled
3/4 pound spagetti
2 cups diced mozzarella
Italian seasoning
salt

1. Preheat oven to 400*
2. Set a large pot of salted water to boil.
3. In a food processor, pulse tomatoes until chopped.
4. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high and add garlic and cook until fragrant.
5. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil.
6. Add Italian seasoning and salt to taste.
7. Cook until sauces starts to thicken
8. Meanwhile, cook pasta for 5 minutes. Drain pasta and return to pot.
9. Add tomato sauce and half of the mozzarella and toss to combine.
10. Transfer mixture to a 3-quart baking dish and top with remaining cheese.
11. bake until cheese is golden. About 20-25 minutes.

S’mores Granola Bars

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Source: Babble - the Family Kitchen


S’mores Granola Bars

5 cups rolled oats or rolled mixed grains (I used a 5 grain mix from a health food store)
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup honey
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
pinch salt
2 cups chocolate chips
2 cups mini marshmallows

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 13×9 inch pan with parchment paper so that it comes up on the sides.

2. In a large bowl, combine oats, condensed milk, honey, salt, butter, and 1 cup of chocolate chips. With wet hands, press the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 18 minutes on the center rack of the oven. Remove from oven, sprinkle on marshmallows, and place on the upper rack of oven, and bake for 5 minutes more to toast the marshmallows. Allow to cool completely.

3. Place remainder of chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and melt for 30 second intervals in the microwave, stirring well after each zap to distribute the heat. Drizzle over cooled granola bars and refrigerate or freeze until bars set. Use the parchment paper to remove the granola from the pan and use a sharp knife to cut into bars.

Mac and Cheese

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Source: Necessary Indulgences


Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:
~1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
~1 cup grated Fontina cheese
~1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
~2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 pound elbow macaroni
1/4 cup panko
1 stick of butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups half and half
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a 3-quart baking dish.

Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over low heat. Add the flour and stir to combine. Cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and whisk in the half and half little by little (sometimes I use heavy cream). Cook until thickened, about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Remove from the heat, season with the salt, pepper and 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Cover and set aside.

Large pot of water and bring to a boil. Add salt and macaroni stir and bring to a boil until macaroni is very al dente (almost cooked through… it will cook more in the oven).

Drain and return the macaroni to the pot. Add 4 tablespoons of the butter and the garlic and stir to combine. (this is an MPORTANT step and worth it!)

Add the cheese sauce and stir until well combined. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine the grated Cheddar, Fontina, Gruyere and about 3/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses. Toss to combine.

Place one-third of the macaroni in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Top with one-third of the mixed cheeses. Top with another third of the macaroni and another third of the cheese mixture. Repeat with the remaining macaroni and cheese mixture.

In a small bowl combine panko with the remaining 1/4 grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Sprinkle this over the top of the macaroni and cheese.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the macaroni and cheese is bubbly and hot and the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Blueberry Studded Cheesecake Bars

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Source: Sweet Tooth


Blueberry Studded Cheesecake Bars
Adapted from Cookies, Brownies and Bars by Elinor Klivans

Crust:

2 cups crushed graham crackers
6 T melted unsalted butter

1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Butter and line a 9x13 baking pan.
2. Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter until all crumbs are moistened. Evenly distribute the crumbs all over the pan and press tightly and make an even crust layer. Bake for 6-8 minutes. Set pan on wire rack to cool.

Filling:

10 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 - 3/4 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
1 can Blueberry Pie Filling (or homemade pie filling)


1. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add egg and vanilla extract beating until blended. Pour into baked crust. With the blueberries washed and drained. Scatter them evenly on top of the filling. they will sink as it bakes so no worries that they are left exposed.
2. Bake for 30-35 minutes until set. Transfer to wire rack.
3. When the cheesecake is at room temp., transfer to the fridge and refrigerate it for 4 hours or better yet overnight.
4. When ready to serve, transfer to a serving platter and topped with your favorite blueberry topping (pie filling) either store bought or homemade.