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Archive for October, 2012

Spider Cookie Pops

Ingredients
1-1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6-ounces (1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2-1/2 cups quick oats
1 cup Sun-Maid Natural Raisins
3 dozen craft sticks or popsicle sticks
Decorating glaze (recipe below) or 1 tub vanilla frosting
Colored icing tubes or pens

Directions
Heat oven to 350 F. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper. Combine butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla; beat until well blended. Stir in melted chocolate, flour and baking soda. Mix well. Mix in oats and raisins. Space sticks 4-inches apart on baking sheet. Drop a rounded 2-inch ball of dough onto the end of each stick. Butter the bottom of a glass, dip in flour, and gently press cookie dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on pan 3 minutes. Remove with spatula to cool on wire racks.

Decorating Glaze
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 pound (about 3-1/2 cups) powdered sugar

Melt butter in medium saucepan. Add milk. Gradually whisk in powdered sugar. (Sift sugar first if it is lumpy.) Stir vigorously with a fork for 3 to 4 minutes until mixture turns white and opaque. Mixture should be thick, smooth and pourable; add ore milk or sugar if needed. Working quickly before glaze stiffens, generously spoon glaze over cookies allowing excess to run off edges. Let set until dry to the touch. Decorate.

Recipe found here: Spider Cookie Pops

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Candy Corn Cupcakes

Ingredients
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla, divided
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon orange gel food coloring

Cream Cheese Icing ingredients
2 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
36 candy corn candies

Cooking Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12 cup) cupcake pans with 16 cupcake liners
In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs together until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Add flour, milk, oil, baking powder, and vanilla and beat for another minute, just until the batter is smooth and creamy. Don’t overbeat.

Place 1/3 of the batter into a separate bowl. Add orange gel dye to the reserved batter and mix well. Fill each muffin liner with 2 tablespoons of plain vanilla cake batter. Layer over 1 tablespoon of orange-dyed batter onto each. Using a toothpick, gently drag the orange batter through the plain vanilla batter, creating a streaked look. Do not over do it or batters will blend together.

Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the tops are golden and a toothpick poked into the center of the layer comes out clean.
To prepare icing, place cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on low for 30 seconds or until creamy. Add in sugar, milk and vanilla and beat until lightly and creamy, about 1 minute. Use immediately or place in refrigerator until ready to use. For a neat presentation, place frosting into a zipper-type plastic bag with the corner snipped off. Pipe icing onto each cooled cupcake and top with a couple of candy corns for each cupcake.

Recipe found here: Candy Corn Cupcakes

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Ravioli Di Portobello

Filling
12 -16 ounces portabella mushrooms, finely chopped
1 small onion, diced
1/4 cup butter
1 dash salt & pepper

Ravioli Dough
1 1/2 cups flour
2 medium eggs
1/4 cup cold water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking powder

Sun-dried Tomato Sauce
2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
8 ounces smoked gouda cheese
3 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
Garnish
chopped green onion
diced tomato

Directions:

Filling

Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Sauté onion until soft. Add mushrooms and sauté for two minutes. Reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes or until liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are fully cooked. Set aside.

Ravioli Dough

Mix dry ingredients and eggs in a bowl. Add water a little at a time, while stirring, until it forms soft dough. Dough should be soft, but not sticky.

Roll out on a floured surface to ¼ inch thickness. If dough is sticky, sprinkle with flour.

Using a biscuit cutter or small glass, cut 3-inch circles from the dough.

Place a spoonful of the mushroom and onion mixture in the center of the circle and top with another circle of dough.

Crimp the edges with a fork, being sure to completely seal the ravioli. If needed, moisten the edge of the bottom circle with cold water before crimping the top circle over the filling.

Drop raviolis, a few at a time, into boiling water being careful that they do not touch in the kettle. When the raviolis float to the top, boil for one minute and then remove them with a slotted spoon.

Keep hot in a covered dish. Drizzling with a little butter or oil will prevent them from sticking to one another.

Sun Dried Tomato Sauce

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the flour to make a thick paste. Add cold milk, stirring constantly to prevent any lumps from forming. Cook until the sauce thickens.

Add cut up smoked Gouda cheese and the chopped sun dried tomatoes. Heat until cheese is completely melted.

Serving

Arrange raviolis on a dinner plate that has a slight indentation. Pour the sun dried tomato sauce over the raviolis so that the raviolis rest in a bed of sauce. Sprinkle chopped green onion and diced tomatoes over the top.

Recipe found here: Olive Garden Ravioli Di Portobello

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Mocha Truffle Brownies

Ingredients
1-1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
2 tablespoons hot water
2 eggs
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

FILLING:
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1 tablespoon hot water
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips, melted

GLAZE:
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon shortening

Directions
In a heavy saucepan or microwave, melt chips and butter. Stir until smooth; cool for 5 minutes. Dissolve coffee granules in hot water; set aside. In a large bowl, beat eggs and brown sugar; beat on medium for 1 minute. Stir in chocolate mixture and coffee. Combine flour and baking powder; gradually add to chocolate mixture.

Transfer to a greased 9-in. square baking pan. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with moist crumbs. Cool completely on a wire rack.

For filling, dissolve coffee granules in water; set aside. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in confectioners’ sugar, melted chocolate and coffee. Spread over brownies.

For glaze, melt the chocolate chips and shortening in a heavy saucepan or microwave; stir until smooth. Drizzle over filling. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: about 6-1/2 dozen.

Recipe found here: Mocha Truffle Brownies

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Loaded Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients
5 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups (12 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese blend, divided
1/2 pound sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 green onions, sliced

Directions
Place potatoes in a Dutch oven and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Drain and place in a large bowl. Add the sour cream, milk, butter, salt and pepper. Beat on medium-low speed until light and fluffy. Stir in 2 cups cheese, bacon and onions.

Transfer to a greased 3-qt. baking dish. Top with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. Yield: 14 servings.

Recipe found here: Loaded Mashed Potatoes

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Mincemeat Pie

Ingredients
2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and quartered
8 ounces golden raisins
6 ounces dark brown sugar
4 ounces dried figs, coarsely chopped
2 ounces dried cherries
2 ounces beef suet, coarsely chopped
1-ounce crystallized ginger, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup brandy
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground clove
Cornmeal crust, see recipe below

Directions
Place all of the ingredients except the crust into the bowl of a food processor and pulse 8 to 10 times. Place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for at least 3 days before using. Can be stored for up to 6 months.

If you prefer a finer texture of mincemeat place the apples, dried fruit and suet into a meat grinder with a large die and grind. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients. You may also finely chop the apples, dried fruit and suet by hand.

Cornmeal Crust:
12 ounces all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting
2 1/2 ounces stone ground cornmeal
1 1/2 ounces sugar, plus extra for the crust
1 teaspoon table salt
8 ounces very cold unsalted butter
2 ounces apple cider or juice
2 ounces cold water
1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Place the flour, cornmeal, 1 1/2 ounces sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Grate the cold butter on the large side of a box grater directly into the dry ingredients. Work together with your hands until the mixture is crumbly. Add the cider and water and stir with a spatula to combine. Knead the dough 5 to 6 times and spritz with additional water if the dough is dry. Shape into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Unwrap the dough and divide into 4 equal pieces. Place 2 pieces of the dough onto a piece of parchment paper and roll each out into a 1/8-inch thick round that is 6 to 8 inches in diameter. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the mincemeat into the center of each round, fold up the edges of the dough in order to form a crust all the way around. Brush the edges of the crust with egg wash and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Transfer the dough on the parchment to a half sheet pan. Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Repeat with the remaining dough.

If you prefer 1 large pie, roll out the dough on a piece of parchment into a 15 to 16-inch round, about 1/4 to 1/8-inch thick. Trim the edges with a pizza cutter. Carefully slide the rolled out dough, still on the parchment paper, onto an upside down half sheet pan. Spoon about 1 1/2 pounds of the mincemeat onto the center of the dough, leaving a 2 to 3-inch margin around the edge of the crust. Place in the oven and bake for 35 minutes or until the crust is golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 30 to 45 minutes before serving.

Serve with ice cream or Brandied Hard Sauce (can be bought commercially).

Recipe found here: Mincemeat Pie

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Chicken Fried Steak

Ingredients
4 (1/2 pound) beef cube steaks
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 egg
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce (e.g. Tabasco™)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups vegetable shortening for deep frying

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste

Directions
Pound the steaks to about 1/4-inch thickness. Place 2 cups of flour in a shallow bowl. Stir together the baking powder, baking soda, pepper, and salt in a separate shallow bowl; stir in the buttermilk, egg, Tabasco Sauce, and garlic. Dredge each steak first in the flour, then in the batter, and again in the flour. Pat the flour onto the surface of each steak so they are completely coated with dry flour.

Heat the shortening in a deep cast-iron skillet to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Fry the steaks until evenly golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Place fried steaks on a plate with paper towels to drain. Drain the fat from the skillet, reserving 1/4 cup of the liquid and as much of the solid remnants as possible.

Return the skillet to medium-low heat with the reserved oil. Whisk the remaining flour into the oil. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula to release solids into the gravy. Stir in the milk, raise the heat to medium, and bring the gravy to a simmer, cook until thick, 6 to 7 minutes. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Spoon the gravy over the steaks to serve

Recipe found here: Chicken Fried Steak

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Italian Chocolate Sandwich Cookie

Ingredients

Chocolate Cookies:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (2 sticks)
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal or polenta
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 orange, zested

Orange Filling:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (1 stick)
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 orange, zested
Pinch salt

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the Chocolate Cookies, in a large bowl use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and sugar until light in color and fluffy. In another medium bowl stir together the flour, cornmeal or polenta, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and orange zest. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and stir to combine using a wooden spoon. Place the dough on a sheet of plastic wrap. Press the dough into a 1-inch high round. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day.

Roll out the dough to between 1/8 and 1/4-inch thick. Use a 1 3/4-inch round cookie cutter to cut out the dough. Bake on a heavy baking sheet for 15 minutes. Place the baking sheets on a wire rack to cool cookies.

Meanwhile, to make the Orange Filling, combine the butter, powdered sugar, orange zest, and salt in a medium bowl. Use an electric mixer to cream the ingredients together.

To assemble the cookie sandwiches, place about 1 teaspoon of the Orange Filling on a cookie. Top with another cookie and press the cookies together. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 day.

Recipe found here: Italian Chocolate Sandwich Cookie

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Boston Cream Pie

Ingredients

Cream Filling
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla

Cake
Baking spray with flour to grease pan
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour or 1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg

Chocolate Icing
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
3 to 4 tablespoons water
1 cup powdered sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Directions
1 Place an egg separator over a small bowl. Crack open 1 egg over the egg separator to seperate the yolk from the white; then separate the other egg. (Save the whites for another recipe.) In a small bowl, place the yolks. Beat the egg yolks with a fork or wire whisk until mixed. Stir in 1 1/2 cups milk; set aside.

2 In a 2-quart saucepan, stir 1/3 cup granulated sugar, the cornstarch and 1/8 teaspoon salt until mixed. Gradually stir egg mixture into sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute; remove from heat. Stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla. Press plastic wrap on surface of filling to prevent a tough layer from forming on top. Refrigerate at least 2 hours until set but no longer than 24 hours. While filling is chilling, continue with recipe.

3 Heat the oven to 350°F. Spray just the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with the baking spray.

4 In a large bowl, beat all cake ingredients with an electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, stopping frequently to scrape batter from side and bottom of bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat on high speed 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape bowl. Pour batter into the pan; use a rubber spatula to scrape batter from bowl, spread batter evenly in pan and smooth top of batter.

5 Bake about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a cooling rack 20 minutes, then remove onto cooling rack to finish cooling completely, about 1 hour.

6 In a 1-quart saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter and the chocolate over low heat, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, in 1-cup glass measuring cup, microwave the water uncovered on High 15 to 30 seconds or until hot. Remove chocolate mixture from heat. Stir in the powdered sugar and 3/4 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in 3 tablespoons hot water. Stir in additional water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until icing is smooth and thin enough to spread.

7 To split cake horizontally in half, mark middle points around side of cake with toothpicks. Using toothpicks as a guide, cut through the cake with a long, sharp knife, using a back-and-forth motion. On a serving plate, place bottom layer with the cut side up. Spread filling over bottom layer. Top with top of cake, cut side down.

8 Spread glaze over top of cake, using a metal spatula or back of a spoon, letting some glaze drizzle down side of cake. Refrigerate uncovered until serving. Store any remaining cake covered in the refrigerator.

Recipe found here: Boston Cream Pie

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Cinnamon Peanut Brittle

Ingredients
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 cups salted peanuts
1 teaspoon butter
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions
In a 2-qt. microwave-safe bowl, combine sugar and corn syrup. Heat, uncovered, on high for 3 minutes; stir. Heat 2-1/4 minutes longer. Stir in peanuts, butter and cinnamon.

Microwave, uncovered, on high for 20-30 seconds or until mixture turns a light amber color (mixture will be very hot). Quickly stir in baking soda and vanilla until light and foamy.

Immediately pour onto a greased baking sheet and spread with a metal spatula. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or until firm; break into small pieces. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 1-1/4 pounds.

Editor’s Note: This recipe was tested in a 1,100-watt microwave.

Recipe found here: Cinnamon Peanut Brittle

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