Monday, December 28, 2009

Party ideas...

This is a great snack for parties or road trips. Very much a family favorite. If stored in an airtight container/ziplock bag it is good for up to one week. Feel free to change up the "cereal mixture" if you are not a fan of coconut substitute in some dried cranberries or something else of your liking.

Chex Treats
1/2 box rice chex cereal
1/2 box golden grahams cereal
2 c. coconut
1 c. sliced almonds
1 c. karol syrup
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. butter

Mix first four ingredients in a bowl. Bring karol syrup, sugar and better to a boil in a small saucepan. Once the mixture boils, pour over the cereal mixture and stir. Spread on a piece of wax paper to cool.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sugar Cookies

(the photo is my kids Santa Cookies)
2 c. sugar
1 c. sour cream
5 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla (you can do 1 tsp. vanilla if you don't like lemon)
1/2 tsp. lemon juice (optional, if you add more vanilla)
5 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
4 1/2 - 5 1/2 c. flour (add just enough to make batter stiff, don't add to much or the cookies will be dry)

Cream together sugar and shortening, once mixed add sour cream and then the eggs. Once incorporated add vanilla and lemon. Mix in baking powder and salt. Then add flour 1 cup at a time, the key is to get the dough to the "not too sticky" stage. I stop adding flour when I can touch the dough and have very little/no dough stick to my finger. The amount of flour is adjustable, I add more/less flour depending on altitude and temperature.

If you have time to chill this dough you can add less flour. Chilling is optional - you can mix these up and immediately roll them out.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes depending on pan color and oven.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sweet Cheese Ball

2 packages of cream cheese, softened
1 package of vanilla instant pudding
1 cup powdered sugar
1 can of crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup finely crushed pecans
1/2 package of mini chocolate chips
Graham cracker stix

In a medium bowl, mix together the first four ingredients. Freeze overnight.
After removing from freezer, mold mixture into a ball shape.
Mix the pecans and chocolate chips together. Roll ball in mixture. Serve cheese ball with grahams.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cranberry Crumble Bars

from: goodLife {eats}, SGCC, Smitten Kitchen and My Baking Addiction
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup almond meal/flour*
1 cup soft butter (2 sticks)
1 egg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
juice of 1/2 of an orange
4 cups fresh cranberries** (I threw about 1/3 of them in the food pro for a couple spins and left the rest whole)
2/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbs cornstarch

1.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9×13 inch pan.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together 1 cup sugar, flour, almond meal, salt and baking powder. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg. The dough will be crumbly. Alternatively, you can pulse the dry ingredients in a food processor with the butter until pebbly, and then mix in the egg until it all comes together. Pat half of the dough into the buttered pan.
3. In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, and orange juice. Mix in the cranberries. Sprinkle the cranberry mixture evenly over the dough in the pan.
4. Add 1/4 tsp cinnamon to the remaining dough, then crumble dough over the berries. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until top is a light golden brown. Cool completely and chill in the refrigerator before cutting into squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Here are a few helpful hints from Katy's post...
*If you don't have almond meal, just toss some almonds in a food processor until finely ground to make almond meal. (If you are going to do this add some cornstarch to avoid getting almond butter.)
**Stock up while cranberries are abundant in stores. Just toss them in the freezer and use as you need. They'll be good for about a year. If you're using frozen fresh cranberries for this recipe there is no need to thaw them first.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree (mixture may appear curdled). Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan.

Lift cake from pan (using foil as an aid). Peel off foil, and use a serrated knife to cut into 24 squares. (I've never tried the foil trick until now - it worked great!)

Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart. The recipe does not call for frosting, but I added the below Cream Cheese Frosting to half the pan and I loved them with the frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3-4 cups confectioners' sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Momma Mia!

Pizza anyone? This is ridiculous to admit, but this was the first pizza I have made for my family. I've made them at my mother's house - my mom makes pizza almost once a week. We make pizza from scratch - no problem. Me at home, in my own little house - never happened, until now.

Be proud - I was. I have two pizza crust recipes to share. The one I used I borrowed from here. (Recipe Below - shared by Jamie).

Pizza Dough
1 C. Warm Water
2 1/4 tsp. Yeast
1 tsp. Sugar
2 T. Oil
2 1/2 C. Flour
1 tsp. Salt
Corn Meal

Combine water, yeast, and sugar. Let rise for 5 or so minutes. I use a Kitchen Aid. Add Oil to mixer. Add flour and salt. It should be a little sticky but not a gooey ball of yuck. If it is, add more flour. Let rise, covered, for at least 20 minutes. I cover it with plastic wrap.Put corn meal on your baking sheet, pizza stone or whatever you are using. Just a light coverage will do-- you can spread it out with your hands. Roll out your dough on the cornmeal cookie sheet/pizza stone with a rolling pin. If you want you can put sting cheese in it for a stuffed crust. Poke the bottom of the crust with a fork then add your toppings at bake at 400 for 15-25 minutes.

The pizza dough my Mom uses is below. The reason I didn't use Mom's dough was because of the italian seasoning mix in the dough. I was making a more "Mexican" inspired pizza and wanted a plain, non-italian dough.

Mom's Pizza Dough
1 c. warm water
1 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons yeast
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons Good Seasons, powder mix (Italian dressing)
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 c. flour

Mix the first three (I use my dough hook and my Kitchen Aid) let sit long enough to set oven at 400 degrees and pull out pans. Mix in the rest of the ingredients. You can let it rise, but it is not necessary (my Mom never does) and roll out.

Costa Vida Pizza
Shredded Barbeque Pork (recipe to follow in another post)
2-4 c. Mozzerella Cheese
1 can Green Enchilada Sauce
1 can Black Beans, washed
1/2 small Red Onion, diced (can add more if you like)

Roll out your dough, spread green sauce on dough (in place of marinara sauce) sprinkle with black beans, add pieces of bbq pork (I liked lots of meat to balance out the beans), cover with cheese and top with red onions. Next time I would add some Mango Salsa.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Easy as ... Pie

Pie Dough/Crust
1 c. Butter Crisco
2 c. Flour
2/3 c. water

Add crisco and flour in a bowl, use a fork or a pastry cutter and cut in the crisco with the flour. When it is mostly combined add the water. Use you hands and give it a couple kneads. This recipe makes 3 pie shells (bottoms only) or 2 bottoms and 1 top. If baking an empty shell (for banana or other cream pie) don't forget to take a fork and stab a few holes around dough (to avoid bubbles).

If you are first time pie maker, try this recipe:

Easy Banana Cream Pie

Make the crust recipe, bake 1 empty pie crust.
Mix 1 large box vanilla pudding (you can also use banana, but I think it tastes very artificial) using the instructions on the box for pie.
Layer the bottom of the cooked pie crust with sliced bananas, cover the bananas with pudding, do another layer of sliced bananas and cover with a thin layer of whipping cream.

You can dress this up as desired. Example: bananas, pudding, bananas, 1/2 pudding + 1/2 whipping cream (mixed), bananas, whipping cream, a few bananas around edges for garnish.

See you did it and now you know why it's Easy As Pie!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Don't Knock it Till you Try it...

Creamy Corn
2 packages (about 20 oz.) Frozen Corn (preferably sweet)
8 oz. (1/2 pint) Heavy Whipping Cream
8 oz. (1/2 pint) Milk
1 teaspoon Salt
6 teaspoons Sugar
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (can be varied depending on taste)
2 tablespoons Melter Butter
2 tablespoons Flour

Combine all ingredients, except, butter and flour in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Blend melted butter with flour and then combine with corn mixture, mix well and remove from heat.

Now you have 2 options:
1- You can put it in a casserole dish, sprinkle it with shredded parmesan cheese and put it under the broiler until cheese melts/browns, OR
2- If you are impatient like me, you can add the parmesan cheese on top, in the pan and start eating.

Take your pick, both options are great. Enjoy!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Lemon-Poppy Seed Mini Cakes

1/2 c. butter, softened
2 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
3/4 c. milk
3/4 tsp. poppy seeds
3/4 tsp. almond extract
2 tsp. lemon zest, divided
1 Tbl. fresh lemon juice
1 3/4 c. flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt

1 3/4 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice

Beat butter and cream cheese until well blended, add sugar, beat until fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time. Beat in milk, poppy seeds, almond extract, lemon juice and 1 1/2 tsp. lemon zest.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt - add to liquid mixture. Beat until well blended. Spoon batter into prepared (greased and floured) 12-cup mini bundt pan or cupcake pan. (You can use any kind of pan, I get about 18 with this recipe if using a 12-cup pan.)

Bake at 350 degrees for 24-26 minutes (check with a toothpick if necessary). Turn out mini cakes and let cool 10 minutes.

While cakes are cooling whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice and remaining lemon zest. (I like to do this in a small sauce pan over low/medium heat.) Drizzle over cooled cakes. (I really like the added zip that the glaze gives the cake so I make extra.)

*Adapted from recipe found in Southern Living

Friday, November 6, 2009

Rachael's Brownies

Everyone's heard of the "Freshman Fifteen" - I don't think I owned a scale, so I couldn't tell you if it applied to me or not (at least that's what I'm sticking too.) But, hypothetically speaking if I did gain any weight my Freshman year it is solely because of my roomate Rachael. She was super cute and was sincerely sweet. Her one fault was she was always making these brownies that I couldn't help but eat. They were quick and she had the recipe memorized, so she would whip them up all the time. After my college days were over, and after I did or did not lose the Freshman Fifteen - those brownies would still haunt my memories. So, I did what any slightly crazy person would do - I located my old roomate and begged for the recipe.

Thanks Rach!!

1 c. butter (2 cubes)
2 c. sugar
3/4 c. cocoa powder
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
1 bag chocolate chips

In medium saucepan melt butter and mix with sugar and cocoa, remove from heat mix in eggs and vanilla, finally add flour, mix. Pour batter into a prepared (greased and floured) 9x13 cake pan. Sprinkle bag of chocolate chips on top of batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 min. If you want a less gooey brownie add more flour.

Add any of the following:
White chips, toffee, nuts, caramel, chocolate sauce

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Caramel Brownies

This is a quick and easy family recipe

1/2 c. butter (1 cube)
2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. chopped nuts (optional)

In a saucepan at medium heat, melt butter add sugar, mix, add eggs, mix (be careful not to cook the egg - scrambled eggs in dessert are not good). Remove from heat add sifted dry ingredients, mix, add vanilla.

Pour into a prepared (greased and floured) 9x13 cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mini Cheesecakes and Black Forest Cupcakes

Mini Cheesecakes
(2) 8 oz cream cheese (soft)
1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
Nilla Wafers
Add cupcake liners to cupcake pan. Place 1 Nilla wafer in each cupcake liner. Mix cream cheese until smooth, add sugar and vanilla, mix until incorporated. Add eggs and mix. Spoon mixture into each cupcake liner about 1/2 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Cool and refrigerate. Top with any type of berry pie filling, chocolate, carmel the possibilities are endless.
Black Forest Cupcakes
Devil's Food Cake (homemade or from a box)
Cherry Pie Filling
Cream Cheese or Whip Cream Icing
Chocolate Pudding (optional)
Prepare cupcakes with devil's food cake. Once cupcakes have cooled cut a circle in the top angling the point of the knife toward the center of the cupcake. Pull out the "cone" of cake you just cut and cut the point of the "cone" leaving only a "lid" of cupcake. Fill the center of the cupcake with cherry pie filling and chocolate pudding (a small portion of each) and put the "lid" of the cupcake back on. Frost the top of the cupcake with icing.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pumpkin Roll

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 cup pumpkin puree
3 eggs
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar

DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch jelly roll pan or cookie sheet (I line it with parchment paper).

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice. Stir in pumpkin puree, eggs, and lemon juice. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Spread the mixture evenly. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes.

Lay a damp linen towel on the counter, sprinkle it with confectioner's sugar, and turn the cake onto the towel. Carefully roll the towel up (lengthwise) with the cake in it. Place the cake-in-towel on a cooling rack and let it cool for 20 minutes. (It is important to do this as soon as the cake comes out of the oven, if you wait too long it will cool and crack when you try to roll it.)

Make the icing: In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and sugar with a wooden spoon or electric mixer.

When the cake has cooled 20 minutes, unroll it and spread icing onto it (Be careful, you do not need to roll it tightly - you do not want to squeeze out all of the filing as you roll). Immediately re-roll (not in the towel this time), and wrap it with plastic wrap. Keep the cake refrigerated or freeze it for up to 2 weeks in aluminum foil. Cut the cake in slices just before serving.

This is a family favorite! It stores great in the fridge.

Cherry Bars

These are pretty and oh so yummy!
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 (21 ounce) cans cherry pie filling (I use 1 can)
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons milk

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the extracts. Combine flour and salt; add to the creamed mixture. Mix just until combined. Spread 3 cups batter into a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan (I use two 8x8 pans). Spread with pie filling. Drop the remaining batter by teaspoonfuls over filling. (Be careful, this is a sticky dough.)

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Combine the glaze ingredients; drizzle over bars.

P.S. My Mom doesn't like Cherry Pie or cherry pie filling and she really likes these, so give the cherry a try, but you can always swap out other canned pie filling if you so choose.


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