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.


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