Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie: Coconut Butter Thins

These cookies were fabulous! They had the texture of shortbread with so many different flavors involved. They had lime ( or in my case I used lemon) coriander, coconut, and macadamia nut. They each added something wonderful to the cookie and with all the butter in there, they were just perfect for what I needed tonight. Apparently Dorie almost left these out of her cookbook, but I'm so grateful to her that she didn't!
Thanks to Jayne of the Barefoot Kitchen Witch for her good pick this week!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lemon Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

This is just as the name says it is...

Lemon cheesecake with gingersnap crust. Everyone has their favorite cheesecake recipes, and if you don't you need to get Dorie Greenspan's Baking from My Home to Yours cookbook and make her tall and creamy cheesecake. It is by far the best I have ever had...ever! Just add some freshly grated lemon peel and about a tsp of lemon extract to the mix and you have delicious lemon cheesecake.

I used the swedish ginger thins for the crust and just added a little sugar and melted butter. Again, follow your favorite graham cracker crust recipe, but substitute gingersnap crumbs for graham cracker crumbs.
This was a light and spring-ish little dessert. I made them single serving size, of course, because they are so cute and easy to serve and eat. I feel my lemon cravings come back...stay tuned for more!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

First of all, if anyone has any tips on photographing soups, I would love to hear them. I just can't seem to get my pictures to look nearly as good as the soup tastes!
Second of all, I know soup season is almost over, but I had to get this last one in. Besides, if you live in Utah you know that the weather is still so unpredictable. It was in the 70s last Saturday and then we woke up to snow Sunday and Monday, so we were still able to enjoy soup, but hopefully for the last time for awhile.

I have been hooked on this soup ever since our neighbors had us over for dinner on Halloween and made it for us. She was nice enough to share the recipe and I've made it several times since. I'm not sure where the recipe came from originally, but like I always do, I have changed it slightly.
Cream Chicken Noodle Soup

4 large chicken breasts
4 T chicken bouillon
10 C water
1 large onion, finely chopped
10-14 oz egg noodles ( I get the homemade kind from Costco. It takes a little longer to cook, but they keep their shape and texture really well)
1 C chopped carrots
1 C chopped celery
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 C milk
1 C sour cream

In large pot, boil the water with the chicken, chicken bouillon, onion, carrots, and celery for 1 hour or until chicken is cooked thoroughly.

Remove chicken and add egg noodles. Boil until tender. Meanwhile, shred cooked chicken.

Add soup, milk, and chicken to pot and cook until warm. Add sour cream and heat through, but do not boil. Add more soup or sour cream to get desired thickness.

This recipe makes a lot, so share with your friends, coworkers, and neighbors. They won't believe you made it!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie: Blueberry Crumb Cake

Sihan of Befuddlement chose to do Dorie's Blueberry Crumb Cake this week which was perfect because when we woke up Sunday morning, my hubby said he wanted coffee cake for breakfast. I didn't have any fresh blueberries on hand, but I did have a bag of mixed berries from Costco that are delicious so I used those instead. It was so colorful and delicious and was probably one of the slightly more healthy recipes we have done so far. We had a yummy breakfast Sunday morning. Many thanks to Sihan and Dorie!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie: French Yogurt Cake

Tuesday came and went and I was so forgetful posting my cake wasn't the thing I had forgotten to do yesterday.

This week's recipe was chosen by Liliana of My Cookbook Addiction and it was a French Yogurt Cake with a Lemon Marmalade Glaze. Sounds like a good dose of medicine for my Spring Fever, but I couldn't find any lemon marmalade. It still did me some good though because I topped the cake with whipped cream and raspberries. The recipe calls for either 1/2 C chopped almonds, or an additional 1/2 C flour, and I chose to use the almonds. Next time I would do flour though. This was a good, light dessert and overall I really enjoyed it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Green and Gold Oat Bars

St. Patrick's Day is one of my favorite holidays to bake for. Not because I'm Irish, because I'm not, and not because green and gold were my high school colors (Go Wolves!), but because it's the birthday of one of my favorite Aunts! She is so spunky and spontaneous and so much fun to be around. She had 5 crazy boys before she finally got her girly girl but has more energy than anyone I know. She is a great friend and always supportive and willing to help me with anything. Not to mention she LOVES to eat treats with me! Happy Birthday, Aunt Patty! I love you so much!
This festive and easy recipe is adapted from the M&M Oat Bars from Taste of Home. I work with some really fun girls at church and the cute 17 year old twins (M&M) brought this recipe to our little recipe swap we had because it's their favorite treat. I was really excited to make it this weekend and can't wait to share them with the group this afternoon.

After Valentine's Day I bought some bags of only green m&Ms on clearance so I could do something fun with them on St. Patty's Day and was so glad I did when I was getting ready to make these. It makes them that much more fun!

Green & Gold Oat Bars

1/2 C butter
1 C brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 C flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 C oats
1 14 oz package of caramels
3 T water
1 C mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 C green m&ms

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar and beat until fluffly. Beat in egg and vanilla.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl and add to sugar mixture. Stir in oats.

Press mixture into a greased 8x11 glass baking dish and bake at 350 for about 12 minutes.

Melt the caramels and water, and stir until very smooth. Spread over entire crust. Sprinkle chocolate chips and m&ms over the caramel and press gently so that stick well. Let stand at least 5 minutes before cutting.

Happy St. Patricks Day!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fruit Granola Bars

I have tried a lot of granola bars over the years and homemade or store bought, these are the best I have ever had! It's mostly Ina Garten's recipe from the barefoot contessa back to basics cookbook. It's my #1 cookbook right now. If you like her and don't have this book already, go get it! So many amazing recipes! But, in typical fashion as I always do, I modified it a little bit. I substituted raisins for the dates and added cinnamon chips. I think the cinnamon chips are what really made them. There is the hint of cinnamon in the granola and it sweetened them up just enough. Oh, so good!

The granola bars were crunchy and were delcious plain, but I can't wait to have some with milk for breakfast tomorrow and then mixed in with my yogurt for my mid-morning snack at work! The most amazing part, is that they are healthy, and my 5 year old would NOT stop eating them all day today!

Fruit Granola Bars

2 C oats
1 C chopped almonds
1 C shredded coconut
1/2 C wheat bran
3 T unsalted butter
2/3 C honey
1/4 C brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C raisins
1/2 C craisins
1/2 C chopped dried apricots
1/2 C cinnamon chips

Mix oats, almonds, and coconut together on a cookie sheet with raised sides and cook at 350 stirring occasionly for about 12 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Transfer the mixture into a large mixing bowl and add wheat bran.

In a small saucepan, melt honey, butter, and brown sugar together. Add vanilla and salt. Stir together and pour over oat mixture. Add dried fruit and cinnamon chips and mix well. Pour mixture into cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and press evenly.

Bake at 300 for 25 minutes. Cool slightly before cutting into bars, or cool completely to break into odd sized pieces. Serve at room temperature.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry White Chocolate Frosting

Light and fluffy strawberry cupcakes plus strawberry and white chocolate frosting equals delicious! I had two for dinner last night and one for breakfast this morning! I just can't say enough about these though. While in Arizona for Thanksgiving last fall my sister and I got a dozen different cupcakes from Sprinkles and the only one I really loved was the strawberry one. I adapted a recipe I found trying to imitate Sprinkles famous cupcakes and I like mine a lot better! Plus, I've never had better frosting than this one and I created the recipe myself. It wasn't rocket science or anything since you just use a buttercream base, but it is SO creamy and rich and just so good!
Strawberry Cupcakes

1 C pureed ripe strawberries (about 10 large strawberries total)
1 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 C heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 C unsalted butter, softened
1 C sugar
1 egg
2 egg whites

whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl and set aside. In small bowl, mix together cream, vanilla, and 2/3 C strawberry puree. (Don't discard the rest, you use it in the frosting!)

cream butter until light and fluffy and gradually add sugar. Mix until well combined. Add egg and egg whites one at a time and continue to beat until just combined.

Add half of the flour mixer to butter mixture, all of the strawberry mixture, and the rest of the flour mixture, mixing well in between additions.

Divide batter among cupcake cups and bake at 350 for 20-22 minutes.

Strawberry White Chocolate Frosting

3 squares white baking chocolate
2 T (or more) heavy cream
2 C (or more) of powdered sugar
1/3 C strawberry puree
3 T butter, melted

Melt white chocolate squares with cream in the microwave until just melted. Be careful to just put it in for 20-30 seconds at a time and stir well in between heating sessions.

Add powdered sugar, melted butter, and strawberry puree (whatever is leftover even if it's more than 1/3 C) and mix well. Add more powdered sugar and cream to get the desired texture of frosting you want.

Try not to eat these all in one sitting!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Mint Chocolate is back!

I think my World Peace Cookies from Tuesdays With Dorie sent me packing for my mint chocolate trip again. I made a mint oreo chocolate cake for my husband on his birthday that was to die for with some vanilla bean ice cream.

I made the chocolate truffle filling that I used on my cake for my International Progressing Dinner that I made for 24, 24, 24 back in October and just added the crushed mint oreos to it. Absolutely fantastic!

I have made this with a cream cheese frosting, which was amazing too, but this time I made a normal buttercream frosting with 1/3 C softened butter, 2 C powdered sugar and enough milk to make the desired texture, but instead of milk this time, I used irish cream and then added lots of crushed mint oreos to it. I didn't want to waste the leftover frosting so I made homemade oreos and stuck the frosting in the middle. A few years ago my BFF's little sister made the cutest little homemade oreos that were the smallest things I have ever seen for a baby shower favor. They were so tasty and so cute and ever since then I always make my homemade oreos miniature. These are actually just about 1 inch in diameter. I guess I feel like I can eat more if they are smaller!

The homemade oreos are made with 1 box of devils chocolate cake mix, 3/4 C shortening, and 2 eggs. Mix well, roll into balls and flatten slightly before baking at 350. The size you choose to make will determine the cook time. I cook my tiny ones for 3-5 minutes. You will just have to watch them closely.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie: The Cake That Got Her Fired!

It was so interesting to read Dorie's story about this cake. She was actually fired from a job for making it and it's delicious! Kind of reminded me of Ratatouille and I LOVE that movie, by the way.

Anyway, I had to make a few variations to this cake to make it work. I used almonds for my ground nut. And since I don't have alcohol in my house I couldn't cook the prunes in it and lite it on fire. Yes, that's right, I did say prunes. I'm convinced it is what makes the cake so moist. You can't even taste them! I tried to add some almond extract and lite that on fire, but it didn't work. I would have loved to see that in action though!

Anyway, this cake was incredible. It was so rich and almost like fudge and I ate way too much of it so I cut it up and gave it away to all of the neighbors. It filled my calorie need for the week though, I'm sure of it!

And this is what happened when I went upstairs for a few minutes and left my two year old unattended...