Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Chinese Chicken Salad

Chinese Chicken Salad
Adapted from a co-worker

1 head NapaCabbage
6 green onions, chopped
1 cup sesame seeds
2 chicken breast, cooked
½ c slivered almonds
2 pkgs Top Ramon (chicken flavored)

DRESSING:
4 Tbsp red wine vinegar
½ cup oil
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
¼ c sugar

In a skillet, mix sesame seeds, almonds, crushed Top Ramon, and chicken seasonings with 2 Tbsp butter until lightly browned. Cut up cabbage and dice chicken. Mix all ingredients in large bowl.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread
Adapted from former co-worker (thanks Allison!)

3 eggs, beaten
2 cup brown sugar
1 cup oil
2 cup pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup nuts (optional)
3 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp nutmeg

Sift all flour ingredients together. Add nuts. Mix all other ingredients. Combine with flour mixture. Pour into greased 1lb coffee cans or loaf pans. Fill ½ full. Bake at 300F degrees for 1½ hours or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Pumpkin Pie Biscotti

Pumpkin Pie Biscotti
Adapted from unknown source so can't give appropriate credit

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp. vanilla paste (or 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract)
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 1/4 cup pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup melted white chocolate, for drizzling or dipping (optional)

Preheat oven to 350*F.

Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl; stir well. In another bowl, combine pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla, stirring well with a wire whisk. Slowly add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. (Mixture will be very crumbly; it will gradually become moist after stirring.)

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add nuts. Cook, stirring constantly, until nuts are browned. Remove from heat and cool completely.

Knead or gently stir cooled nuts into dough. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and divide into 2 portions. Lightly flour hands and shape each portion into a 2 x 10″ long log. (Or I just made one large 8″ x 16″ log.) Place logs 3″ apart on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 24 minutes; cool logs 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300 F.

After some cooling, move a loaf to a cutting board and cut diagonally into 1/2″ thick pieces. Do the same to the other loaf. The interior of each biscotto should still be just a little moist (while the exterior is nice and hard). The crust of the loaf will probably be quite hard, so use a large serrated knife such as a bread knife for this job.

Place the biscotti with a cut side facing up on a half sheet pan and bake for 8 minutes. Remove the pan and flip all the biscotti over so the other cut side is now facing up. Bake for another 7 minutes. Set all the pieces on a wire rack to cool making sure that none of the biscotti are touching each other. If the biscotti are placed too close together, they could get a little soft or soggy as they cool.

Once the biscotti have fully cooled, they can be consumed as is, or white chocolate dipped or drizzled. To melt the chocolate, pop it in the microwave and heat for 30 seconds, then stir. Then continue heating in 15-second increments (carefully) and stirring in between until chocolate is melted. (I usually add in a little shortening to help it melt and avoid burning.) Then just dip a fork in the chocolate and swish it over biscotti to drizzle, or you can pour it in a Ziplock or pastry bag (with a tiny corner snipped out) and squeeze it out.

The biscotti tastes best during the first few days, but will keep for up to a month in a sealed air-tight container.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from Food.com



1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour (see recipe blend below)
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
5 tablespoons cooking oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup water

Gluten-Free Flour Blend
6 cups oriental rice flour (Thai)
2 cups potato starch (not flour)
1 tapioca starch

Blend well and store in an air tight container.

NOTE: Oriental (Thai) rice flour is a finer texture than the flour from health food stores. It is more like cornstarch in texture. It will give better results, without the gritty texture common to gluten free baking. At this point, Thai rice flour is available on amazon.com or I bought it at Ranch 99 Market super cheap.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Quiche Lorraine

Low Carb Quiche Lorraine
Adapted from Cooking Cache

1/2 pound of bacon, crisply fried and crumbled
1 cup shreaded natural Swiss cheese
1/3 cup minced red onion
4 eggs
2 cups of whipping cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp Splenda
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F. Sprinkle bacon, cheese and onion in the bottom of a 9" pie pan. Beat eggs lightly and beat in remaining ingrediants. Pour cream mixture into pie pan. Bake in oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 300°F and bake 30 minites or longer or until knife inserted 1" from the edge comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting. Serve in wedges. For firmer texture, cook additional 10 minutes. 4.3 carbs per serve.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Dulce de Leche Fillo Cups

Dulce de Leche Fillo Cups
Adapted from Eat Better America

2 oz fat-free cream cheese or 1/3-less-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened
2 tablespoons dulce de leche (caramel) syrup
1 tablespoon reduced-fat sour cream
1 package (2.1 oz) frozen mini fillo shells (15 shells)
1/3 cup sliced fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons diced mango
1. In medium bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on low speed until creamy. Beat in dulce de leche syrup and sour cream until blended.
2. Spoon cream cheese mixture into each fillo shell. Top each with strawberry and mango.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake
Adapted from Paula Deen

2 cups sugar
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 ounces red food coloring
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vinegar

Icing:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup melted marshmallows
1 (1-pound) box confectioners' sugar
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter, beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition. Mix cocoa and food coloring together and then add to sugar mixture; mix well. Sift together flour and salt. Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Blend in vanilla. In a small bowl, combine baking soda and vinegar and add to mixture. Pour batter into 3 (8-inch) round greased and floured pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from heat and cool completely before frosting

Icing:
Blend cream cheese and butter together in a mixing bowl. Add marshmallows and sugar and blend. Fold in coconut and nuts. Spread between layers and on top and sides of cooled cake.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Iced Lemon Cookies

Iced Lemon Cookies
Adapted from Rachel Ray


1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled
1¼ cups sugar
Grated peel of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 large egg
1½ cups flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 3 large cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Using an electric mixer, combine the butter, 1 cup sugar, the lemon peel and juice until fluffy. Mix in the egg. Add the flour, baking soda and salt and combine.

Place the remaining ¼ cup sugar in a small bowl. Roll heaping teaspoons of dough into balls, then roll in the sugar. Place on the prepared cookie sheets a few inches apart. Bake until golden around the edges, about 15 minutes. Transfer the cookie sheets to racks to cool completely.


Lemon Icing:
1 pound (2 cups) confectioners' sugar
6 tablespoons lemon juice

In a medium bowl, whisk sugar and lemon juice together until smooth. Spoon onto cooled cookies, and spread evenly with the back of a spoon. Let stand on a cooling rack until the glaze is set, about 1 hour.

Yield: enough for 3 dozen cookies

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Ginger Snaps

Ginger Snaps
Adapted from former co-worker (thanks Jill)

2/3 cup oil
1 cup sugar
1 egg
½ cup molasses
2 cup flour
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger

Combine all ingredients. Roll dough into small balls and roll in granulated sugar. Bake at 350ºF for 12-15 minutes. DO NOT OVERCOOK.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Chocolate Stout Cake

Chocolate Stout Cake
Adapted from Cookiemadness

1 cup Guinness Stout

1 cup butter
3/4 cup Dutch process unsweetened cocoa powder or Hershey’s Dark
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with flour-added cooking spray.

Place butter in a saucepan and turn heat to medium. When butter is almost completely melted, add stout and cook over medium until mixture starts to simmer. Reduce heat slightly, add cocoa powder and stir or whisk until smooth. Remove from heat.

In a mixing bowl, thoroughly whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.

In a second bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs until thick and lemon colored – beat for a full five minutes. Add the sour cream and beat until combined. Add the stout mixture to the egg mixture and stir just until mixed. Add the flour mixture and stir until well mixed.

Divide the batter equally among the two pans. Bake for 28-32 minutes or until cakes test done (toothpick inserted comes out clean). Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then flip and let cool on a cooling rack.

Chocolate Frosting

2/3 cups unsweetened natural cocoa – sifted
8 oz butter, unsalted, softened
pinch of salt
2 1/2 to 3 cups confectioner’s sugar, measured and sifted
2 tablespoons Guinness Stout
1 teaspoon vanilla

Stir together softened butter, cocoa and 2 cups of the sugar. Add Guinness and vanilla and stir again. Using high speed of electrix mixer, beat icing for a minute. Add the rest of the sugar, adding just until you think it’s the right consistency. Beat for a good 3-5 minutes, scraping side of bowl often, until light and fluffy. Ice the cake.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream

Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream
Adapted from DesertCandy

1 cup (1/2 lb) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups self-rising flour
1 cup milk
2 bags or 2 tablespoons earl grey tea

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F, fill 2 cupcake pans with paper liners or grease well. In a bowl (or with a stand mixer), beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and cream the butter with the sugar until it is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each egg very well so that it is thoroughly combined before adding the next egg. Beat in half of the flour along with the tea. Then add the milk and the remaining flour, stirring until just combined.
2. Fill the cupcake pans 2/3 full. Bake 20-25 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through to ensure even baking. Cool thoroughly before frosting.

Lemon Buttercream

1 cup (1/2 lb, 2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 lb (4 cups) powdered sugar
zest of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons limoncello or lemon juice

1. Cream the butter until smooth, gradually beat in the powdered sugar until the mixture is very fluffy. Zest the lemon over the bowl into the frosting, add the lemon or limoncello, stir until smooth. Spread or pipe the frosting on cooled cupcakes. Please remember buttercream should be served at room temp.

Strawberry Colada Cookies

When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try them. They were sooo cute...pink cookies...how cute is that??? I tried them and they burst of strawberry in your mouth! I didn't have any coconut oil (my Trader Joes doesn't carry them :( so I substituted regular canola oil & 1tsp coconut extract.

Strawberry Colada Cookies With Toasted Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Picky Palate

1 box strawberry Cake Mix
1/3 Cup coconut oil (melted in microwave until liquified)
2 eggs, beaten

Frosting
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 Tbsp softened butter
1 1/2 Cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp milk
1 Cup shredded sweetened coconut toasted

1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Place coconut in a cookie sheet and place in oven until golden (about 10 minutes but watch it very carefully!!).

2. In a large bowl, mix cake mix, oil and eggs until just combined. With a medium cookie scoop, scoop onto a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet. Do not press down. Bake for 11-15 minutes or until cooked through. Let cook 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

3. Place cream cheese and butter in a large bowl. Whisk until smooth and creamy. slowly add in powdered sugar, vanilla and milk until smooth. Spread frosting on top of cookies then sprinkle toasted coconut over top of frosting.Makes about 24 cookies

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Milano Rice Tart

So the CFO of the company that I work for walks into our shared executive kitchen and says "You should totally go into the baking business! I would pay money to bring someone a recipe that I think would be good and have them bake it for me and then when I'm throwing a dinner party I can say that its homemade and everyone at the party would just assume that it was made by me!" So we got to chatting and I asked her which recipe was she thinking about and below is the results of our conversation exchange!

Now the funny part of the story is that I went home after work, had all the ingredients except for the rhubarb and starting making the recipe. I started in on the instructions (placed the rhubarb in a baking dish and placed it in the oven.) and after 20 minutes brought the dish out of the oven and opened up the aluminmum foil only to discover MUSH!! Complete rhubarb mush! 20 minutes as 10 minutes way tooo long! So I get back in the car (thank goodness my Safeway is open 24hrs!!!) and bought another 1 1/4lb of rhubarb (and thank goodness they were on sale this week!!) and the ironic thing is that I got in the same cashier lane and she remembered me from 30 minutes BEFORE!! Hilarious! Anyways, hope its good Jill cuz it sure looks yummy!!!

Adapted from Flo Braker, Special to The Chronicle
Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Serves 6-8

The roasted fresh rhubarb:
1 1/4 lbs fresh rhubarb, trimmed and sliced into 3/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar

The pastry:
11/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp kosher salt
4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract

The filling:
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup uncooked long grain rice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the rhubarb: Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325°F. Arrange rhubarb slices in a single layer in a shallow glass or ceramic baking pan. Sprinkle with sugar, and cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake just until tender, about 15-25 minutes. Don't overcook the rhubarb or it will fall apart. Cool in the pan, cover and refrigerate until ready to arrange on top of the tart.

For the pastry: Have on hand a 9 1/2-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt, and pulse 3 or 4 times to blend. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture is the consistency of cornmeal. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and vanilla. With the motor running, pour the egg mixture down the feed tube and process just until the ingredients form a ball.
Remove the dough to a work surface, and with the heel of your hand press the dough together until it is smooth and cohesive. Shape the dough into a 5-inch disk and if not using right away, wrap the dough and refrigerate it for an hour or up to 2 days. (If dough is cold and firm, remove it from refrigerator and set aside at room temperature until it is malleable yet still cool before using.
Roll the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap until you have a 13-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Remove the top portion of plastic wrap from pastry, lift plastic wrap with rolled out pastry on it, and center it, pastry side down on tart pan. Gently peel away second sheet of plastic wrap. With fingertips, fit pastry into pan (fitting carefully into corners). If pastry splits a bit, it patches easily. Fit the dough into the pan by pushing some of the overhang down the sides. Then, run the rolling pin over the rim of tart pan to cut off excess dough. Refrigerate pastry-lined pan to chill dough, about 30 minutes or up to one day.
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until dough's surface is dull (no longer shiny) on top, and firm to the touch in the center. Check after initial 5-7 minutes of baking for signs of blistering. If necessary, prick dough in four to five places to release steam so that the dough will fit snugly in the pan again. Remove from oven, and to a wire rack while preparing the filling. Maintain the same oven temperature.
For the filling: Whisk the whole egg, egg yolk, and sugar in a small bowl briefly to combine. Set aside.
Combine the milk, cream and salt in a 1 1/2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, add the rice and stir to blend. When the mixture returns to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 18-20 minutes, or until the rice is tender. (The mixture reduces during this time, and though it is thicker, it still appears liquid.)
Pour about 1/2 cup of the hot rice mixture into the egg mixture, stirring to combine. Then return egg-rice mixture to remaining hot rice, and stir until blended. Stir in the vanilla.
Spoon the rice filling into the partially baked pastry shell, spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula. Return to the 350° oven for 12-15 minutes longer, or until the filling is set and the pastry is light golden near the rim of the pan. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool on a rack.
To finish the tart: Gently lift the rhubarb pieces from the pan, one at a time, and place them in a circular pattern on top of the tart.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Thai Noodle Salad

I'm starving...I serious! Absolutely starving and I have nothing to fix at home. I've been wanting to make this salad for the longest but I'm sooo hungry I can't even think straight. I figure if I go to Trader Joes to get the ingredients on a hungry stomach I'll come outta there $50 later and missing some ingredients for the salad. GAAAAAAA! I don't have anything in the house because I just came back from my business meeting from Washington DC and I'm soo hired of eating out (I know I'm crazy but seriously how much hotel food can a person eat??). I whipped this salad together soo fast and scarfed it down so fast I can honestly say I'm not sure how it tasted. But I do know one thing for sure, if it hadn't been so damn good I would have opened up the garbage can and thrown it away, grabbed Macy in the backseat and we were heading to McDonalds!! Seeing that that didn't happen, my guess is that its really good (Pioneer Woman hasn't let me down yet...and I've tried about 5 of her recipes!! Thanks Cowgirl!!). I'm taking the leftovers for lunch tomorrow so that will be the verdict. But I have no fear that I'll be making this quick & simple salad again.
Thai Noodle Salad
adapted from The Naked Chef

SALAD INGREDIENTS:
1 packages linguine noodles, cooked, rinsed, and cooled
1/2 to 1 head Napa cabbage, finely sliced
1/2 to 1 head purple cabbage, finely sliced
1/2 to 1 bag baby spinach
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced thin
1 orange bell pepper, sliced thin
1 small bag bean sprouts
3 sliced scallions
3 cucumbers, peeled, sliced, seeded
LOTS of chopped cilantro—up to one bunch

Garnish
1 cup whole cashews, lightly toasted in skillet
1/2 cup sesame seeds, toasted in skillet (I forgot to add in picture)

DRESSING:
4 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 cup oil
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 hot peppers or jalapenos, chopped
1 large handful of fresh basil and cilantro, chopped

Mix together salad ingredients. Whisk together dressing ingredients and pour over salad. Mix with tongs or hands and serve on platter.

*Dressing keeps up to three days before serving, WITHOUT cilantro/basil.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Petite Vanilla Scones

Ok, fine, I'll admit it...I'm a Starbucksaholic. And to top it off I'm addicted (and I mean HARD addict) for their Petite Vanilla Scones....Yum-the-freak-O! And if that's not enough, I get super mad each time I purchase them because I know that I could make an entire batch of them for the price that I pay for just 3 of them (get real...who can just have one of those petite things!!!!) So of course the hunt was on and I found this recipe a while back and have been making them homemade ever since. Do I still go back to Starbee's and purchase them? Of course! It would take the fun outta being an addict!!!! LOL I will admit that this recipe is much lighter/less dense than the one's at Starbucks. I actually like these BETTER because I'm not a fan of eating carboard scones! I also added the vanilla beads to the glaze so it would resemble Starbucks!

I also decided that this would be my April entry for Master Baker's challenge. This recipe screams out vanilla and all the essence of its true aromatic flavor. Vanilla: the flavor of the month!

Petite Vanilla Scones
Adapted from RecipeZaar


Dry Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces

Wet Ingredients
1 cup regular full-fat sour cream
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract

Glaze
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
water, as needed
1/8 tsp vanilla beads

Preheat oven to 400*F.

Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium bowl.

Cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients until flour resembles coarse meal, or use the following tip: The "grate" method: grate a block of cold butter against the large holes of a box grater. Toss the butter ribbons with the flour mixture, and then use two knives to cut the flour-coated ribbons into 1/4-inch pieces.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, egg yolk and vanilla extract until blended. Add this to the flour-butter mixture and stir with a fork until dough forms a cohesive ball. Use a spatula to get the dry bits fully incorporated. (It may not seem to have enough liquid at first, but the dough will eventually come together.).

Place the sticky dough onto a parchment-lined (or ungreased) baking sheet and pat into a disk about 1-inch in height. Cut the dough into wedges but do not separate. Or scoop dough into a mini scone pan if available. (Yield will vary depending on how big you slice the wedges.).


Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown on top.

PREPARE GLAZE WHILE SCONES ARE BAKING.


GLAZE:
Place powdered sugar in a medium bowl, and add water one teaspoon at a time, mixing vigorously until smooth and runny.


Use a pastry brush to apply a thin layer of glaze over the hot scones. Brushing rather than drizzling gives a smoother appearance and requires less glaze.


Serve immediately. Store cooled scones in an airtight container.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Steak with Wine Sauce and Potato Gratin

Ok, I don't have a pic from my own cooking (well, I do, but its a pic that has the food in tupperware...soo not blog PC!!) so I'll just point you to Everyday Food website where I got it off their latest episode (don't you just love TiVo??!!). Also seeing that I don't eat beef I make it alot for my BF or others but don't partake (mainly because I don't like the taste of beef, and like it soo well-done--I don't like my cow moo'ing on my plate--that all I do is chew on a hockey puck so never mind!!!!). Anyways, the recipes were soo easy to make, I was done in a little under an hour and had a full course meal. This is my kinda cookin'!!!!!

Steak with Wine Sauce and Potato Gratin
Adapted from Everyday Food

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Pear and Granola Muffins

So Martha Stewart's Everyday Baking made these muffins the other day (watched on my TiVo) and they just looked waaaay too good. Ok, I have to say it, I can't contain myself any longer...what's up with John Barricelli face? Did he stray on that tan or what? I mean, come on...it looks really bad! He looked completely normal when he was co-hosting Everyday Food with the rest of the girls, and then when they break him off a new show...he goes BRONZE??? I mean I know he's italian and olive skin and all but COME ON!!!!! Either he's seriously got to lay off the cheap tanning lotion or tell his makeup artist to slow down...ok, I digress...

So I couldn't think of a better muffin to submit for Greedy Gourmet's SnackShot#3. Muffins is the theme and boy are there tons out there! But what’s the difference between a muffin and cupcake? Well, a muffin contains less sugar and doesn’t have an icing top, so that means healthier right? Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight! So I finally tried these muffins out and big HUGE Y-U-M--O...they are soo good! I love the combination of granola in and ontop fo the muffin. They were very simple to make (I didn't even have to take out the Kitchenaid!!!!) These are definitely going into the 'signature' file.
Pear and Granola Muffins
Adapted from Everyday Baking

For Muffins:
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 D'Anjou pears (2 cups), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice

For Granola Crisp Topping:
1/2 cup granola
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp chilled unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, brown sugar, yogurt, and butter. Make a well in the center of flour mixture. Add egg mixture to well, and mix in flour mixture until just combined. Gently fold in the granola and pears.

Make Granola Crisp Topping: In a bowl, toss together 1/2 cup granola, 1/4 cup each all-purpose flour and packed light-brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cut 3 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter into pieces; add to granola mixture, and rub in with fingertips until clumps form.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each 3/4 full. Sprinkle with granola topping. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before removing from tin. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 12 muffins

Monday, April 7, 2008

Matcha Cookies

So last year (pre-CIA blog) I was seeing a lot of activity of baking with matcha, the Japanese green tea. You know, the kind they make Green Tea Ice Cream with. Anyways, there were tons of bloggers baking with matcha. I'm a year behind schedule but I'm catching up blog people!!!! I'm still a baby blogger!!!

I'm heading off to Washington DC for a conference this week/end and had this recipe in the fridge chilling since this weekend so had to make it seeing that my last day in the office is tomorrow and my 'testers' are my co-workers.

Matcha (Green Tea) Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from RecipeZaar

2 cups bleached all purpose flour bleached all purpose flour
1-2 Tbsp Matcha
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Sift the flour, powdered tea and salt into a bowl.

In a mixer bowl, beat butter and powdered sugar until fluffy.

Add flour mixture to mixer bowl and mix slowly until dough just comes together.

Pull dough together carefully in a log, approximately 2 inches in diameter.

Wrap dough log and place in freezer for 30 minutes or until dough has firmed to the touch.

Slice dough into 1/4 inch rounds and place on a parchment or Silpat lined cookie sheet, approximately 1 inch apart.

Bake in a preheated 325*F oven for 16 to 18 minutes (or until the cookies are just starting to turn golden around the edges), turning the pan halfway through the baking time.

Remove cookies immediately from the cookie sheet and cool on a wire rack.

Store in an airtight container or wrap well and freeze.

The well-chilled cookie dough can also be rolled out and cut into desired shapes before baking.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Cheese, Tomato, and Basil

I TiVo several cooking shows off the FoodNetwork and also PBS. Martha Stewart's 'Everyday Food' is one of my favorites. After I watched an episode this weekend, I knew I had to make this stuffed chicken recipe soon and what better time than the present! So I whipped it up (real quick as usual) and even got the approval of my non-chicken-breast-eatin' BF!!!!! He loved it!!! It was sooo moist and flavorful! I really believe that the skin of the chicken holds in all the moisture so that the breast doesn't dry out. This is definitely the new way that I'll be cooking 'stuffed' chicken! YUM-O!

I also made one of Giada's vegetable recipes, Asparagus, Artichoke, and Mushroom Saute with Tarragon Vinaigrette. This simple yet super flavorful side dish was the perfect accompaniment to the stuffed chicken.

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Cheese, Tomato, and Basil
Adapted from Everyday Food

4 bone-in chicken breast halves (14 ounces each)
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves, about 8
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2oz Fontina or mozzarella cheese, cut into four pieces
2 tsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil; set aside. With a paring knife, cut a 1-inch-long slit in thick side of each breast. Insert knife, and without enlarging opening, carefully work around inside to form a pocket (make sure you do not go through the other side).

On a cutting board, pile basil, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, zest, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper; finely chop. Divide mixture evenly, and spoon into breast pockets, spreading it around. Insert one piece of cheese in each breast pocket.

Close pockets, using 2 to 3 toothpicks per breast; arrange, skin side up, on baking sheet. Rub with olive oil, and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast until well browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of breast (avoiding bone) reads 165 degrees, 30 to 35 minutes. Let chicken rest 5 minutes; remove toothpicks before serving.

Asparagus, Artichoke, and Mushroom Saute with Tarragon Vinaigrette

Asparagus, Artichoke, and Mushroom Saute with Tarragon Vinaigrette
Adapted from Everyday Italian

Vegetable Saute:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large shallot, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
8oz mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch asparagus (1 pound), sliced into 3-inch pieces
1 (8-ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1/2 pint teardrop tomatoes, halved
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Tarragon Vinaigrette:
6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

For the Vegetable Saute:
Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and the garlic and cook until tender, about 2 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and artichokes and cook until the asparagus is tender, about 5 more minutes. Turn off the heat and add the tomatoes, salt and pepper and reserve.

For the Tarragon Vinaigrette:
Combine the oil, vinegar, tarragon, salt and pepper in a glass screw-top jar. Seal the jar and shake vigorously to mix the vinaigrette.

Toss the vegetables with the vinaigrette and serve.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

I've been dying to make some peanut butter cookies ever since my cousin (the caterer) turned me onto these mini peanut butter cups that they have at Trader Joes (they are by the slabs of chocolate on top of the freezer section)...and then I found this recipe...BINGO...and I'm at a loss for words...O..M..G! These are so freakin good! And Nicole was right, they made EXACTLY 2 dozen cookies!!! It was the perfect taster sample!! I was a little worried about making them with no flour (what? a baker not using flour?? GAAAA!) but I dredged ahead and finished making the recipe as is! I didn't have any crunchy peanut butter so I just used creamy peanut butter and then chopped up some peanuts I had and tossed them in there...T-D-F!!!! Can't...stop...eating...them...take...them...away...FAST!!!!!!!

Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
Adapted from Baking Bites

1 cup crunchy peanut butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp water
1/2- 3/4 cup chocolate and/or peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 350*F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and water until smooth. In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients, including cocoa powder and water mixture. Add chocolate chips at the end of mixing. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet and flatten slightly with a moistened finger.Bake for about 10-13 minutes until golden brown at the edges. Cool on pan before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 2 dozen.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Mango Bread

I love mangos. I mean really L-O-V-E mangos. I grew up on mangos, papayas and guavas instead of oranges, strawberries and apples so mangos are my total go-to-fruit!!! So of course I bought some presliced mangos from Costco (don't ask me why I bought so much for just me!) and of course even my love for mangos can't eat them fast enough before they go rancid on me so I had to hurry and come up with some ways to incorporate them into some baked goods. I was thinking mango crisp but I couldn't find a good recipe so I settled for this bread recipe. I made it quickly and took the loaf to work and all I have left is this one slice that I had to hide in my office before it was all gone. It is sooo moist! Co-workers gave it rave reviews so its a keeper!! I did have to cook it a little longer than 1hr (about 1 1/2hrs) but other than that I didn't change anything in the recipe. Ooh I did make it with pecans instead of macademia nuts because my macademia nut supply is running low (my Hawaiian supplier--aka my aunt--didn't replenish my supply when she came to the mainland last month...course I guess she's not a mind reader because I forgot to remind her to bring any with her!!!! Gaaaaa!).

This is also my entry for Cinco de Mango! Chris over at Mele Cotte had a cute idea to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a mango theme along with the National Mango Board.

Mango Bread
Adapted from RecipeZaar

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups mango, peeled and diced (2-3 ripe mangos)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350*F.

In a large bowl, mix vegetable oil, sugar, vanilla and eggs. In a smaller bowl sift the dry ingredients. Slowly blend the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Fold in mango, raisins and nuts. Pour into a greased and floured 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan and shake until well distributed.

Bake for 1hr or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Blackberry Galette

Would you serve this to your boss? Man I had high hopes for this galette. And when my boss' assistant told me to make 'something with fruit in it' for our boss' birthday on MOnday, I just knew what I was going to make...the blueberry galette that I had seen on one of my frequented blogs. Oooh I was soo ready!! So headed off to Costco because I had seen blueberries at my Costco, but I was running errands yesterday and went to a different Costco and they didn't have them but they did have blackberries...ok...fine...same thing no worries. So I headed home. I woke up early this morning and made the dough (to chill all day) and then I go and make the freakin galette and it just oozes all over the silpat. So before the dough hardens, I scoop it up with a spoon and try to make a 'border' and then this is what you get. I must admit it tastes divine but just the presentation is horrible. I'll make another one and this time I think I'll leave out the dollop butter at the end...I think that was what was making the borders/ends run away from the fruit. Either that or I should have stuck with my original fruit...the blueberry!!! Gaaaaaaaa!!!

Blackberry Galette
Adapted from I Shot The Chef

1 1/4 c all purpose flour
1/4 c stone-ground fine yellow cornmeal
2 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 oz (8 tbsp) butter, softenend
1 Tbsp heavy cream
2 to 3 tbsp ice water

3 c fresh blueberries (or other berry) rinsed and dried
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 oz (2 tbsp) butter, chilled
1 Tbsp heavy cream
2 tsp granulated sugar

1. In the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt. Pulse briefly to blend. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture. Pulse until the butter is cut into very tiny pieces, about 30 seconds. The texture should be sandy with very tiny lumps throughout.

2. With the food processor running, pour the cream and 2 Tbsp of the ice water through the feed tube. Process until the dough begins to hold together. Turn off the food processor, remove the top, and feel the dough. If it holds together, it is done. If it is still crumbly, add the remaining tablespoon of ice water and process briefly, then check again.

3. Turn the pastry dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Shape into a flat disk and wrap tightly in a double layer of plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator until firm before using, about 2 hours. When ready to bake, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let sit for 11-15 minutes to become pliable.

4. Place the berries and 2 tbsp granulated sugar in a mixing bowl and toss together to distribute evenly. Taste the fruit to see if it needs any more sugar.

5. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. On a smooth flat surface, roll out the pastry dough between sheets of lightly floured waxed or parchment paper to a large circle, 11 to 12 inches in diameter. Carefully peel the paper off the top of the dough. Brush excess flour off the dough, then loosely roll the pastry dough around the rolling pin without the bottom piece of paper. Place a parchment lined baking sheet directly beneath the rolling pin and carefully unroll the pastry dough onto the baking sheet.

6. Mound the sliced berries in the center of the dough circle, leaving a 2 1/2 to 3 inch border all around. Cut the remaining butter into small pieces and distribute evenly over the berries.

7. Fold the border up so that it partially covers the berries. It will naturally form pleats as it is folded. Brush the dough with the cream, being careful that it doens’t run down the sides and under the galette. If it does, wipe it up because it can cause the bottom of the galette to burn. Gently lift up the folds of the dough and brush under those areas with cream, then replace the folds. Evenly sprinkle the sugar over the dough border.

8. Bake the galette for 30 to 35 minutes, until light golden. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool. Cut the galette into pie shaped wedges to serve.

UPDATE! So I remade the recipe and here is the galette that I took to the office --- WAAAAY better that my first attempt!! I actually made sure that the dough laid over the fruit much more than the first time and I lessened the butter and OMG and its a keeper!! It was really good! Crust was light and fruit was not overwhelmed with sugar, very natural tasting. Boss was sooo impressed, he went home and told the wife and now she wants the recipe!! SCORE!!! Does that mean I get finally cash in a comp day? LOL

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Coconut Toffee Almond Crunch Cookies

Boy that's a mouthful (the cookie name)!! I saw these while doing my weekly surfing of frequented blogs and made them. Verdict? Very good, a combination of sweet, salty & crunchy all in one bite. Coconut Toffee Almond Crunch Cookies
Adapted from Foodaphilia

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 - 10oz bag toffee candy bits
1 cup oats, old fashioned
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 1/3 cups sliced almonds

In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and eggs and mix until creamy. In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt, and baking soda. Add these dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix in the toffee bits, oats, coconut and almonds together into the cookie dough. Add the toffee, oats, coconut, almond mixture to the dough and mix by hand. The dough is very stiff, but you want to mix it well so the cookies stay together.

Drop about 2 (heaping) tablespoons of dough about 2 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheets. Because of the sticky toffee involved in this cookie, you won't want to skip lining your cookies sheets with silicon mats or parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool on wire racks.

Friday, March 28, 2008

iPod Touch Giveaway

CALM DOWN!! *I'm* not giving ANYTHING away people (except some recipes...LOL)!!! No, Cooking..by the seat of my Pants! is giving away an iPod Touch. No strings attached. Yep you read that right!!! FREE IPOD TOUCH!! Seriously! Just spread the word about his giveaway and then just leave him a comment and tell him that you posted about his giveaway/site on your blog and you're in-like-flynn!!!

Click here for the giveaway details…

Monday, March 24, 2008

Pasta Shell Stuffing

I have made these a couple times, and each time I wonder why I don't make them more often. Its like a big ravioli meal in a shell....YUM-O! I used a combination of the back of the pasta shell box and Paula Deen's recipe to make the below recipe which turned out FABU!



Pasta Shell Stuffing
Adpated from Paula Deen

1 package frozen, chopped spinach
1 lb ground turkey
4-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 jumbo egg
1 (1-pound) package jumbo pasta shells
1 jar (26-32oz) spaghetti sauce

Preheat oven to 350*F.

Cook pasta shells in boiling, salted water according to package directions. Drain and cool to the touch.

While pasta is cooking, place frozen spinach in a strainer and run under hot water until thawed. Squeeze all of the water out and place in a large bowl. In a large saute pan, cook the ground turkey until browned. Drain meat and place in the same bowl with the spinach. Stir in the cream cheese until blended with the meat and spinach. Saute the chopped onions in the 1 Tbsp of olive oil until transparent. Transfer onions to the bowl with the other ingredients and stir to combine. Add grated cheese, nutmeg, salt, and pepper, to taste, and combine. Let mixture cool and then add the eggs. The filling can be made up to 1 day in advance and refrigerated until ready to use.

Stuff the shells with the meat mixture. Pour 1 cup of sauce into 13x9 inch baking dish. Place shells in baking pan and cover with tomato sauce. Cover with foil and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Strawberry Shortcake

I didn't have enough self control to wait to take a picture of the 'final product' so I recreated it for you! Aren't I just the nicest person ever? :)


Strawberry shortcake consists of sliced strawberries that have been smothered with whipped cream served over a white cake or biscuit. I'm from the school that insists that strawberry shortcake is made with a cake, not a biscuit.




Building A Strawberry Shortcake

1 Pound Cake Recipe
Strawberry Sauce (see below)
Whipped Cream (I cheated and used Cool Whip!)

To serve, break up one muffin per person into big pieces into a bowl. Ladle strawberries over the cake. Add a dollop of whipped cream.

Cake:
Bake cake according to recipe. Let cool.

Strawberry Sauce:
4 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 Tbsp cornstarch

In a small pot over medium heat, combine the strawberries, sugar, water, lemon zest, lemon juice and cornstarch. Bring to a simmer and whisk gently until mixture thickens slightly.

1-2-3-4 Cake

My mom gave me this recipe years ago I think even before my love of the kitchen began. I tucked it again in my recipe book (which consisted of a spiral stencil-type notebook...remember those?) and probably made it once. I have to admit most times I just go and buy Sara Lee Pound Cake or even Costco when pound cake is needed but today was special. My folks are coming over for Easter dinner (under the code request of "daddy...mow my lawn please ooh and I'll feed you dinner") FINE I'll admit me, I'm a daddy's girl...but come on, if you saw my lawn you wouldn't buy a lawnmover just for that either!!!!!!! LOL I digress...
So this pound cake is really easy. At first I didn't get why it was called 1-2-3-4 Cake instead of Pound Cake like all other recipes. But then I got the ingredients lined up and then I saw it...DUH! This is the classic pound cake recipe. I made 6 jumbo muffins and one regular size loaf out of the one recipe! Score!! I'm using the muffins to make strawberry shortcake!! I hope I control myself enough to get a picture of the 'final product' when I'm serving it for dessert tonight!!

1-2-3-4 Cake
Adapted from Mom

1 cup butter
2 cup sugar
3 cup flour
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla

Cream butter and sugar. Blend in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and milk. Add dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Bake at 350*F for 1 hour.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Fudge Bon-Bon Brownies

I had my eye on this recipe for some time now and decided that last night was the time to try 'em out. Boy was I not disappointed! They are a chocolate lover's treat. A nice rich bite-size brownie that tucks a Hershey kiss inside topped with a ganache. Wow! Talk about a burst of chocolate heaven! And they're not really that hard to make. Don't let the instructions fool you!! I was done with them from start to finish in about 20 minutes (prep time)
Fudge Bon-Bon Brownies (aka Inside Out Brownies)
Adapted from Cookie Madness

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts (optional)
1 tsp vanilla
36 milk chocolate candy kisses, unwrapped

TOPPING
2 ounces white chocolate chips or semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vegetable oil


Preheat oven to 350*F.


In medium saucepan, combine chocolate chips and butter; cook and stir over very low heat until chips are melted and smooth. (Mixture will be stiff) Add sweetened condensed milk and vanilla; mix well. In medium bowl, combine flour, nuts and chocolate mixture; mix well. Shape 1 tablespoon dough around each candy kiss, covering completely. Shape into a ball and place 1-inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.


Bake for 6 to 8 minutes. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Cookies will be soft and appear shiny but will become firm as they cool. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

For topping:
In small saucepan, combine white chocolate and oil; cook and stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Drizzle over cookies. Store in tightly covered container.


Makes about 3 dozen.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Pecan Pie Cupcakes

I had to do a double-take look when I first saw these because I thought this blogger had left out some ingredients on this recipe. But sure enough, she was right, not only are they super easy but they are freakin good! Tastes a lot like pecan pie, but with a cupcake like consistency. They have a slightly crunchy outside as well, and it really makes them delicious. I'm not a fan of regular pecan pie (too sweet for me) so just getting a bite-size version is perfect! I didn't even break out the KitchenAid beause I mixed everything in a medium bowl...so easy! I'm glad that Jennifer reminded us that there is no leavening in the batter, so they won’t rise. If your muffin pans are filled three-quarters full, that’s pretty much what size cupcake you’ll get in the end.




Pecan Pie Cupcakes
Adapted from RecipeZaar
33 min 15 min prep 24 miniature cupcakes

1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1/2 cup flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350*F.

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Spray a miniature muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Fill each 3/4 full. Bake in preheated oven for approx. 18 minutes.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Baklava Bars

This is my absolute favorite dessert...hands down. I'm actually a little worried about posting it (but I do hate those type of cooks that give you a recipe but leave an ingredient out....GRRRRR). That's how much it is my signature dessert. But I feel a little guilty about doing that seeing that I got it off someone else's blog!!!! Thank you Cookie Madness!!

And everytime I try to take a picture of these bars, my BF grabs all of them before I can take a pic so for right now, you'll just have to trust me that they are really REALLY good looking bars! Take a look at these, courtesy of Betty Crocker

Photo Courtesy of Betty Crocker

This Betty Crocker Prize-Winning Recipe combines a sugar cookie base and baklava-style topping. Instead of messing with phyllo dough, the recipe creater chose to break up those little frozen mini phyllo shells. Talk about a brilliant idea! Now, I must admit that this recipe is on the prizey side but SOOOOO worth the little extra slurge! Oh and another thing, I found (& bought) those frozen phyllo shells at Raley's but then went to FoodMaxx/Food4Less (or whatever they're calling themselves these days...) for something else and found them there a little cheaper...who knew? Ohh and I did modify the recipe just a bit. My BF doesn't like anything lemon so I left the lemon peel out of the cookie base, also I added the entire box of crushed phyllo shells just cuz and it makes it more 'baklava-ish' in my opinion!

Baklava Bars
Adapted from Betty Crocker

Cookie Base
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® sugar cookie mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg

Filling
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1 pkg (2.1-oz) frozen mini fillo shells

Glaze
1/3 cup honey
2 Tbsp butter or margarine, softened
1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla

Garnish
5 tablespoons honey

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom only of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray.

In large bowl, stir cookie base ingredients until soft dough forms. Press dough in bottom of pan. Bake 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in medium bowl, stir walnuts, granulated sugar, 1/4 cup butter, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and the salt with fork until mixture is well mixed and crumbly.

Sprinkle nut mixture evenly over partially baked base. With hands, crumble frozen fillo shells evenly over nut mixture. Bake 18 to 20 minutes longer or until golden brown.

Meanwhile, in small microwavable bowl, microwave 1/3 cup honey, 2 tablespoons butter, the brown sugar, lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon uncovered on High 1 minute or until bubbly. Stir in vanilla.

Drizzle honey mixture evenly over fillo. Cool completely, about 2 hours.

For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Before serving, drizzle 1/2 tsp honey over each bar. Store covered at room temperature.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Fiesta Fudge Cookies

I made these cookies some time ago (pre-blog) and they were a big hit especially at BF's job...they asked for the recipe! I was flattered. I made the cookie a bit bigger this time around but next time I'll go back to making them 1inch balls. I also didn't get as many cookies as the recipe claims it makes (60 cookies), I made about half that many but all in all a very nice fudgy, chewy texture and deep chocolate flavor! A keeper!!

Fiesta Fudge Cookies
Adaped from Betty Crocker


Prep Time:1 hr
Start to Finish:1 hr
Makes:5 dozen cookies


1/3 cup butter
6 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® sugar cookie mix
1 tsp cinnamon
60 white and chocolate-striped candy drops or pieces, unwrapped


Heat oven to 350*F. In large microwavable bowl, microwave butter and chocolate on High 1 minute. Stir; microwave on High 1 minute longer or until butter is melted and chocolate can be stirred smooth.


Stir condensed milk into chocolate mixture. Stir in cookie mix and cinnamon until well blended.


Using 1 level tablespoonful of dough for each cookie, shape into 60 balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.


Bake 6 to 7 minutes or until edges lose their shiny look (DO NOT OVERBACK!!!). Immediately press 1 candy into center of each cookie. Cool cookies on cookie sheet 5 minutes; remove from cookie sheets. To get candy to spread slightly on top of cookie, tap edge of each cookie lightly.


Cool completely. Store covered at room temperature.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Lucky Charms - Mint Oreo Truffles

Happy St Patricks Day! For some reason I got really into this holiday (have no idea...perhaps another excuse to make these darn rich truffles! HA!). I spent all day Saturday looking for those darn shamrock sprinkles but I think because I was soo late in getting into the spirit of the holiday, they were all gone. So I had to substitute and pipe some wording...good thing "Irish" is only a few letters otherwise I'd have to come up with Plan C!!!! Anyways, these truffles speak for themselves and are darn good!! SO G-O-O-D!!!! Did I mention they're darn good?!!!

They're also easy to make, but because this version calls for using the mint Oreos in Double Stuffed, the recipe changed the ratios a little from the regular Oreo Truffle recipe. Still DARN GOOD!!!

These are made for my Irish boss (& the rest of the work clan)! He'd better be at work...he's one of those that takes all holidays near & dear to him off (birthday, etc). I've also joined Sugar High Fridays and their theme this month is right up my alley - sweet gifts. So David, thank Sugar High Fridays for your gift!!! HA!



Mint Oreo Truffles
Adapted from Bakerella


1 pkg. Double Stuf Oreos - Cool Mint Flavor - (1 lb. , 1 oz. pkg.)
• use 22 cookies with cream centers included
• use 10 cookies with cream centers discarded
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, room temperature
1 pkg vanilla bark

Finely crush the cookies in a food processor. Stir in softened cream cheese. Mix well. Roll the mixture into 1" balls and place on wax paper covered cookie sheet. Place covered in freezer or refrigerator for a few minutes to help retain shape when dipping in melted chocolate.

Melt chocolate as directed on the package and then dip balls into chocolate, tap off extra and set aside on wax paper covered cookie sheet to dry.

Refrigerate and enjoy!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Eggplant Manicotti

I love eggplant parmesean but quite frankly don't like the process of frying up the eggplant etc. I also don't like the grease trap of frying!! So when I saw this recipe, I had it in my pile of 'will make soon' for awhile thinking that it was kinda the same process. BOY was I wrong (thank goodness). While the recipe calls for oil, I used it on the first couple of sliced eggplant but then I found that I didn't need the olive oil after that and they turned out just limp enough which is great. I love these rolls and they make a nice presentation also. I served them with garlic bread and a salad. YUM-O!

Eggplant Manicotti
Adapted from Recipes Secrets

2 medium sized eggplants
4 Tbsp. olive oil more if needed
1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup ricotta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg well beaten
1 Tbsp. minced parsley
1 Tbsp. chopped prosciutto
1 tsp. dried basil, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
1 (16-oz.) can spaghetti sauce (I used one that had garlic & herbs in it)

Preheat the oven to 350*F.

Peel eggplants cut in half and slice into thin long slices about 1/8 in. thick. In a heavy skillet sauté each slice and cooking just long enough for the eggplant to be limp enough to roil. Cool slices on paper towels. Combine remaining ingredients except spaghetti sauce. Spread each eggplant slice with a thin layer of cheese mixture. Roll each slice and place in a large shallow casserole (I used 9x13 casserole), top with sauce. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly.

Yield 8 to 10 servings.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Greek Meatballs with Tzatziki Sauce

You know how us bloggers can get OCD on a particular type of food? Well, I've gone mad about meatballs!! And boy did I hit the jackpot with these!! OMG! These are really really good! I was kinda hesitant at first about them because they had no breadcrumbs to hold them together but they are SOO flavorful and moist, you forget that there is no bread!! YUM-O! After I had made them I knew they needed some sort of 'sauce' to go with them so what better accompaniment to go with them than Tzatziki Sauce! Double YUM-O. And then I went back and read that these are on the South Beach Diet I almost couldn't believe it! Seriously you've gotta try these!!!



Mini Greek Meatballs
Adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen

Makes about 24 small meatballs

1 pound ground turkey
1/2 small onion, minced
1/2 cup very finely crumbled feta cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large egg
1 T extra virgin olive oil, plus more for baking dish
1 T dried Greek oregano
4 tsp. red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp. Greek seasoning

Preheat oven to 400*F. Grate the onion, then drain if it seems like there is a lot of liquid. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, then use your hands to mix ingredients.

Lightly oil a 9 X 13 baking dish. Shape meat into 1 tablespoon size meatballs and place on baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes, after which time you will see some liquid oozing out. Turn meatballs and bake 10 more minutes. Turn again, and bakd 5-10 more minutes, until meatballs are well-browned and cooked through.

Meatballs are delicious served with Tzatziki Sauce.

Tzatziki Sauce

Tzatziki is one of the classic sauces in Greek cuisine, and there are as many versions out there---most of them very good. If you've had a Gyro (pronounced yeero), Tzatziki is the type of white sauce that's often served with the Gyro. SOOO GOOD!

You can cut the recipe in half, but it's so good, you probably shouldn't cuz you'll kick yourself when you're scraping the bottom of the bowl wanting more.

Tzatziki (Greek Yogurt and Cucumber Sauce)
Adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen

Makes about 3 1/2 cups
3 cups Greek Yogurt (or regular plain yogurt, strained as described below*)
3 Tbsp fresh lemon (juice of one lemon)
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 medium cucumbers, seeded and diced
about 1 Tbsp kosher salt for salting cucumbers
1 T finely chopped fresh dill (can substitute mint leaves for a slightly different version)
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

If you don't have Greek yogurt, strain plain yogurt as described below.
Peel cucumbers, then cut in half lengthwise and take a small spoon and scrape out seeds. Discard seeds. (If you use the small seedless or European cucumbers with few seeds, you can skip this step.) Dice cucumbers, then put in a colander, sprinkle on 1 T salt, and let stand for 30 minutes to draw out water. Drain well and wipe dry with paper towel.

In food processor with steel blade, add cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, dill, and a few grinds of black pepper. Process until well blended, then stir this mixture into the yogurt. Taste before adding any extra salt, then salt if needed. Place in refrigerator for at least two hours before serving so flavors can blend. (This resting time is very important.) This will keep for a few days or more in the refrigerator, but you will need to drain off any water and stir each time you use it.


*If you can't find Greek yogurt, a good substitute for something similar is straining regular plain yogurt for several hours to remove the liquid and thicken the yogurt. You can also use two coffee filters inside a colander placed inside a bowl to catch the liquid. Let the yogurt drain on the counter for 2 hours, or until it reaches the thickness you want.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Chicken Breasts with Mediterranean Stuffing

This weekend was action packed. My birthday was Thursday, I picked my aunt from the airport that evening, went home, got up the next morning, drove to Fresno (yes of COURSE we stopped at Gilroy outlets...duh!!!), did some last minute party shopping, went to bed, got up and prepped for the party, attended the party, and literally pooped out that evening. THEN...got up the next day (lost the hour for daylight savings!) and headed back home from Fresno so I could pick up my baby from my friend's house (yes of COURSE I stopped at Gilroy outlets...again...duh!!!).

I had been meaning to make this for some time when I first saw it but just hadn't had the time. It really was very simple once I got all the ingredients! The only thing I changed was I closed up the chicken with toothpicks and it seemed to work perfect! Dinner was yummy tonight and a perfect finish to a very busy weekend!


Chicken Breasts with Mediterranean Stuffing
Adapted from Cara's Cravings

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
5 ounces baby spinach, or regular spinach, stemmed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 4 medium)
4 ounces soft goat cheese or mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
2 tablespoons black olive tapenade, available in specialty food stores
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup dry white wine

In a medium microwavable bowl, add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, garlic and the spinach and season with salt and pepper. Cook on high for 5 minutes or until the spinach has wilted completely and excess liquid has evaporated. Remove the spinach to a small plate and set aside to cool slightly.

Using a small, sharp knife, cut one chicken breast almost in half horizontally so it opens like a book - the breast meat should still be held together on one long side. Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces. Season the outside of each breast with salt and pepper and open the chicken breasts up on the cutting board.In a small bowl, mix the goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes until well blended. Using your hands, squeeze the excess moisture out of the sauteed spinach. Chop it and spread a quarter of it on one half of each chicken breast. Spread equal amounts of the cheese mixture over the spinach. Then, using a small spoon, spread some of the tapenade on the empty side of each chicken breast. Close the tapenade side of the chicken breast over the cheese, and press gently to adhere.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining olive oil and about 1 teaspoon of butter. When the butter has melted, gently place each chicken breast in the pan. Cook for about 6 to 8 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the breast, or until chicken is golden and cooked through and the cheese has melted. (Lift up the pocket flap to check to see if the chicken is thoroughly cooked; there should be no signs of pinkness.)

Remove the chicken to a serving plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.Raise the heat to high. Add the wine to the skillet. Let the wine cook off for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pan with a spatula or a wooden spoon. Add the remaining tablespoon butter to the pan, stir until the butter melts, and then pour the sauce over chicken.

Serve the chicken whole or sliced.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Granola

So I've been craving granola lately...you know...the homemade kind. But of course having no time make any I go to my friend TJ's and buy their Maple & Pecan Granola -- YUM-O. But I still miss that good ol' fashioned get your hands dirty homemade granola. I remember when I was growing up my mom used to make it in the kitchen sink then transfer it to a huge jellyroll pan and turn it every so often in the oven. I remember that was my job...to watch the clock and then flip the granola!! I LOVED IT!


So a couple days ago I'm in a meeting with my boss and we get on the subject of breakfast, etc, etc and he says...I have a really good recipe for granola...I say BRING IT ON and so he begins to dictate the recipe. I scrambling to write it down because of course I never took short-hand and god forbid that I ask him to repeat it. So I write down what I can and say thanks. Then I go email my caterer aunt and ask (aka BEG) her for her granola recipe and then compare the two. The recipe here is a combination of both. And all I can say is...I have a winner!! The taste brought be back to the days of my mom's kitchen sink granola! YUM!

Granola
Adapted from My Boss & My Aunt Hope


1 large box old fashioned oats (42oz)
1 cup roasted Wheat Germ
1 cup Honey
1 cup oil
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup macademia nuts, chopped
2 cups coconut
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
2 Tbsp vanilla
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 3/4 cup orange juice
1 cup dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, dried blueberries, etc)

In a large bowl, mix oatmeal, nuts, coconut, wheat germ, sunflower seeds. Mix well. Measure oil into the measuring cup and swirl it around befor epouring into bowl. Then measure out the honey in the same, unwashed cup. The oil will help the honey exit the cup. Toss everything together until evenly coated. Add vanilla and orange juice. Mix well.


Pour out into a large jellyroll pan. Bake @ 300*F for 1-1/2hrs. Stir every 20 minutes or so. Let it get golden brown. Let stand for 40 minutes, break it up with a fork then add the dried fruit.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Food Blog Search

I just stumbled upon this really cool search feature from another fellow blogger (Simply Recipes) who recently unveiled Food Blog Search! Its a really cool search engine that searches over 1800 food blogs for content utilizing Google technology. Started in October 2006, Food Blog Search now searches over a thousand hand-selected, high quality food blogs. Add the banners to your site as well (see my sidebar for an example). Check it out!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Chocolate And Peanut Butter Filled Peanut Butter Blondies

I have made these blondies for my folks several times in the past. I even made a batch for them this weekend but then mom called early this morning and indicated that they weren't coming for their usual Sunday dinner. So as usual, lucky for my co-workers, they get a nice little Monday treat!

These blondies are really good. I like how this recipe makes a small batch. You can definitely double the recipe and then bake them in a 9x13 pan for about 7 more minutes than the 'regular' batch size. The original recipe called for creamy peanut butter but I found that I liked the crunchy version better for this recipe.
Chocolate And Peanut Butter Filled Peanut Butter Blondies
Adapted from The Savory Notebook


3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margaine, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
8-oz. pkg REESE'S Milk Chocolate Baking Pieces Filled with Peanut Butter Creme (or substitute 3/4 cup chocolate chips & 1/2 peanut butter chips)

Heat oven to 350*F.


Grease 8- or 9-inch baking pan.


Beat peanut butter, butter, and sugars in a large bowl until well blended. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add to peanut butter mixture, beating until well blended. Mix in chocolate chips. Spread batter in prepared pan.


Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.

About 16 bars.

Swedish Meatballs

So my carpooler asked me a few weeks back to make swedish meatballs. Ok, but I've never made meatballs before and definitely not SWEDISH...that's what IKEA's for! HA! So I (accepted the challenge and) searched for a recipe and came up with this one. Verdict? Surprisingly really good. For a first-timer, I'd give this recipe 4 forks (epicurious) if I were rating it. The meatballs were very moist and flavorful and the sauce was just right...very swedish with the dill and all too. I think making it with Rye Bread was key (with the caraway seeds as extra seasoning). It was really good. I accompanied them with (buttered) egg noodles and a vegetable (prepared after the pic was taken...really!) This is definitely going into my 'make often' recipe pile.

Swedish Meatballs
Adapted from Eupicurious

For meatballs:
4 slices Rye bread (or substitute canned breadcrumbs)
1 medium onion, grated
1 large egg
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp ground allspice
2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dried parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
1/4 pound Jimmy Dean Sausage
1 Tbsp vegetable oil

For sauce:
1 small onion, grated
1 garlic clove, minced
2 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
3 cups beef broth (24 fluid ounces)
3 Tbsp medium-dry Sherry
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill leaves (or 1 1/2 tsp dried dill leaves)

Garnish:chopped fresh dill leaves
Accompaniment:1/2 cup lingonberry preserves or cranberry sauce

Make meatballs:
Into a mini food processor, tear 2 bread slices and grind into fine crumbs. Transfer crumbs to a large bowl. Make more bread crumbs in same manner and transfer to bowl. Grate enough onion to measure 3/4 cup and add to bread crumbs. In a small bowl whisk together egg, and add spices and egg to bread crumb mixture. Add turkey and sausage and with your hands mix mixture until just combined (do not overmix).

Form turkey mixture into balls (about 40) and arrange on a tray. Meatballs may be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a 12-inch non-stick skillet heat oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and brown meatballs in 2 batches, turning them occasionally, about 4 minutes for each batch. With a slotted spoon transfer meatballs as browned to a shallow baking pan (9x13) and reserve any drippings in skillet. Bake meatballs, tightly covered with foil, in middle of oven until just cooked through, about 25 minutes.

While meatballs are baking, grate enough onion to measure 1/2 cup. In a small bowl whisk together cornstarch and 1/2 cup broth. To reserved drippings in skillet, add Sherry, onion and garlic and simmer mixture, stirring and scraping up brown bits, until most of liquid is evaporated. Add remaining 2 1/2 cups broth and bring to a boil. Stir cornstarch mixture and whisk into broth mixture. Boil mixture, whisking, 1 minute and remove skillet from heat. Whisk in Worcestershire sauce, mustard, sour cream, and dill and keep sauce warm, covered, over low heat (do not let boil).

Gently toss meatballs into sauce and garnish with dill. Serve and put 1 Tbsp preserves or cranberry sauce on top of each serving.

Servings: Serves 8 as a main course (approx 4 meatballs per person)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Mexican Chocolate Crunch Brownies

I've been super busy with work and all for the past few weeks so heading to the kitchen for relaxation has been COMPLETELY out of the question. I've been just going in there to sustain life..cereal, PB&J sandwiches, granola bars (I'll tell you about that in a another post), etc. But now I'm done with my board meeting weekend and I'm semi-back-to-'normal' (whatever that is...!!!). So I made these brownies that I had been eye'ing in my 'to make soon' pile but I had to go out and get the box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch because of course I don't have that as a staple in my pantry. All I'm going to say about these brownies is...I've found a new favorite!! O-M-G these are still the traditional brownie with a hint of cinnamon--full of rich chocolate flavor but that crust...MAN..that bottom crust made the whole brownie work. Thanks a million Val!

Mexican Chocolate Crunch Brownies
Adapted from Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest 43

1 box (12.8 oz) Cinnamon Toast Crunch® cereal (about 8 cups)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 Tbsp corn syrup
1 box (19.5 oz) Fudge Brownie Mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 Tbsp cinnamon-sugar*
Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9-inch pan with No-Stick Cooking Spray. Place cereal in food processor bowl with metal blade (crush cereal in 2 batches if necessary). Cover; process until finely crushed (about 4 cups).
In large bowl, stir butter and corn syrup until well blended. Add crushed cereal; mix thoroughly. Press evenly in pan.
In large bowl, make brownie mix as directed on box, using oil, water and eggs and adding cinnamon. Stir in 2/3 cup of the chocolate chips. Pour brownie batter over cereal mixture. Sprinkle remaining 2/3 cup chocolate chips evenly over batter.
Bake 20 minutes. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar evenly over brownies. Bake 14 to 18 minutes longer or until brownies are set when lightly touched in center. Cool 10 minutes; loosen edges but do not cut. Cool completely, about 2 hours.
For brownies, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows.
*3 tablespoons sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon can be substituted for the cinnamon sugar.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

White Chocolate Macademia Nut Cookies

These cookies were made during the christmas holiday which was pre-blog and also made prior to the post-xmas-baking-hiatus!! I can't tell you how many rave reviews I got off this recipe from the office during the christmas bake-fest!! They are really REALLY good and beat (hands down) every white chocolate macadamia nut cookie recipe out there. TRUST ME ON THIS!!! The secret (of course) is the Bailey's. I went to BevMo and bought the small single-serving bottle of Bailey's (seeing I don't normally drink the stuff) and it was just a little more 2 Tbsp (still have some in the fridge). I also didn't have any cake flour (I know, I know, a baker with no cake flour....the nerve!) so I did the suggested substitutions and couldn't tell the difference. These are trying T-D-F!
White Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Adpated from Cookie Madness

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp Bailey’s
3 cups cake flour* (or substitue - see below)
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts, lightly toasted before chopping
9oz chopped up white chocolate

Preheat oven to 375*F. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and both sugars. Beat in eggs, vanilla and Baileys. Stir or sift together cake flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in nuts and white chocolate. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto a parchment lined pan (I used my Splat Mat). Bake for 11-13 minutes.

Makes 4 dozen

*Cake Flour Substitute: If you don’t have any cake flour around, you can use this substitution: for every 2 cups flour, the substitute is 1 3/4 all purpose plus 1/4 cup cornstarch. So for this recipe which calls for 3 cups of flour, use 2 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbsp flour and 6 Tbsp cornstarch.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Cream Cheese Muffins

I made these muffins and I honestly thought they were going to be a cinch! But instead of my enjoying my baking experience like I always do, these seemed to be the most complicated muffins ever known to man. I really had an awful day (let's just say the Lexus dealer lied when he said it was only going to take 'less than 2hrs'----and over a grand later...) and thought that making these muffins would calm my nerves. But instead, I misread the (simple) instructions and now am awaiting the verdict when the timer goes off to see if I just baked some hockey pucks! Well 24boxes and Just Baking seemed to make them just fine and they looked AWESOME so I'll post pics later if they indeed turned out...so much for president's day...
Cream Cheese Muffins
Adapted from Just Baking

3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk
1/2 vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar

Topping
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375*F. Grease/spray a 12-cup muffin tin and set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center.
Stir together milk, oil, eggs and vanilla. Pour into well in the dry ingredients. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Whisk together cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar until creamy and smooth. Fold about half of this mixture into the muffin batter.

Spoon batter into greased muffin pans, about 1/2 to 2/3 full. Spoon the remaining cream cheese mixture onto the muffins, pressing the mix into each muffin with a spoon handle.

Combine ingredients for topping in a bowl. Sprinkle generously over muffins.

Bake 24 to 30 minutes until golden brown. Let cool completely before removing from pan.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Iced Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies

So my ex-dog-walker-turned-friend has a lemon tree (meyer) and my other good friend has a lemon tree (regular) and both give me lemons...so what do I make? Of course Lemon Cookies!! I remembered that I had printed out a Lemon Poppyseed cookie recipe awhile back and so after digging thru my 'will make soon' file of recipes, I found it. I tried one (with the glaze) and it was very good. Kinda reminded me of a shortbread cookie with lemon flavoring & poppyseed! I'm waiting for the glaze to set on the cookies so I can try that version also. It made just under 2 dozen cookies (22) which is perfect especially for a first time cookie recipe! I think next time I will try my go-to lemon cookie recipe, add some poppyseeds and see how that variety works. Stay tuned for that!!


Iced Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
Adapted from RecipeZaar

1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp lemon zest
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp poppyseeds

GLAZE
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350*F.

Cream the butter and sugar together using an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Beat in the egg and lemon zest. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in the poppy seeds with the mixer on low speed.

Drop dough by heaping teaspoon 2" apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 11-12 minutes, or until edges are lightly golden. Cool on sheets for 1 minute; transfer cookies to wire racks and cool completely.

GLAZE: Combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl; mix well. Drizzle glaze over cookies in a random or decorative pattern; let stand until glaze is set, about 20 minutes.

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