Thursday, December 29, 2011

Macadamia & Coconut Caramels

Butter for greasing
1 c. light brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 c. butter
3/4 c. sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c. flaked coconut
1/2 c. macadamia nuts, chopped
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Line an 8-inch square baking dish with foil, and grease the foil with butter. Set aside.

In a large heavy saucepan, combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar, and butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; gradually stir in milk. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until a candy thermometer reads 244 F (firm-ball stage).

Remove from the heat; stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into prepared dish. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours.
Using foil, lift candy out of dish. Gently peel off foil. Cut caramel into 1 inch squares. Wrap individually in wax paper; twist ends. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe from Taste of Home

Chocolate Fudge

2 1/2 c. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. butter
2/3 c. evaporated milk
7 1/2 oz. marshmallow creme
3/4 tsp. vanilla
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. walnuts, chopped (if you want them)

Grease a 9-inch square baking pan; set aside. In large saucepan combine the first 5 ingredients. Stir over low heat until blended. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a full-rolling boil being careful not to mistake escaping air bubbles for boiling. Boil slowly, stirring constantly for 4 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and chocolate until chocolate is melted. Add nut (if you want them). Turn into greased pan and cool. Makes 2 1/2 pounds.

Here is a link to the recipe I used. It also has the soft ball test instructions for how to tell when your fudge is done boiling.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Peppermint Creams

Pretty fun and simple. Here's a link to the recipe:

I used pink instead of green food coloring because I ran out of green.

Also, if you need a conversion of the confectioners sugar, it's about 3 3/4 c.

Enjoy! Fun for a party!

Recipe courtesy of Deborah Nugent

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Roasted Vegetables

Vegetables (a mixture of several kinds; I used cauliflower, asparagus, and red potatoes)
Olive oil
Spices: Garlic powder, salt, pepper, thyme, curry powder
Bacon, cooked, chopped (optional)
Feta, crumbled (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 F. Drizzle some olive oil in the bottom of a baking dish.

Chop up the assortment of vegetables into bite sized pieces. Layer in the prepared baking dish. Drizzle with more olive oil. Sprinkle with spices; I was more liberal with all of them but the curry powder. Cover with aluminum foil, and put in the oven for about 30 minutes.

While the vegetables are roasting, you can chop up and cook the bacon if you want it.

After 30 minutes, pull out the vegetables, stir around and check to see if they are soft. If they are ready, sprinkle with bacon and feta (or any cheese if you want it). If you use different spices, perhaps a different cheese would work better, i.e. Italian seasoning and garlic powder with Parmesan cheese. It's up to you!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Lemon Cranberry Scones

Flour and cranberry mixture
1 1/2 Tbsp. freshly grated lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. + 3 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 1/4 c. fresh cranberries, chopped coarse
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 c. heavy cream

Preheat oven to 400°F. and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a food processor pulse flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, butter and zest until mixture resembles coarse meal and transfer to a large bowl.

In a small bowl toss together fresh cranberries and 3 tablespoons sugar and stir into flour mixture.

In another small bowl lightly beat egg and yolk and stir in cream. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until just combined.

Before baking

On a well-floured surface with floured hands pat dough into a 1-inch-thick round (about 8 inches in diameter) and with a 2-inch round cutter or rim of a glass dipped in flour (I had to continually dip the cup back in the flour after cutting out each scone) cut out as many rounds as possible, rerolling scraps as necessary. Arrange rounds about 1 inch apart on baking sheet and bake in middle of oven 15 to 20 minutes, or until pale golden.

If you want to see the original recipe, here is the site where I found it: Lemon Cranberry Scones

Monday, December 5, 2011

Stove Top Swiss Casserole

Here is the link to the recipe I adapted:

2-3 chicken breasts, seasoned with garlic, thyme, pepper, coriander, and red pepper flakes
Chicken cooking, noodle mixture
Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
8-10 oz. ziti noodles
1 c. sour cream (I used lite)
1 box Stove Top chicken stuffing
1-2 cans cream of chicken soup 

Cook ziti noodles according to package directions. Drain. Set aside. Shred the rotisserie chicken.
Stir together shredded chicken, soup, and cooked noodles.
In a separate bowl, mix together the stuffing (uncooked) and sour cream.
Spread chicken mixture in a lightly greased casserole dish. Cover with a thin layer of sour cream mixture. Then layer slices of Swiss cheese on top.
Bake at 350 F for 25 minutes. Serve hot.

Ready to bake!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

1/3 c. butter, cubed
1 1/2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp. instant coffee granules
1/2 c. boiling water
Chocolate pumpkin base
1 c. pumpkin puree
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Cheesecake Batter:
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. allspice
1 egg
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips

Before baking
In a microwave oven, melt butter and chocolate; stir until smooth. Cool slightly.
In a large bowl, dissolve coffee in water. Stir in the pumpkin, eggs, and chocolate mixture. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to chocolate mixture. Transfer to a 15x10x1 inch baking pan coated with cooking spray (I used a 13x11x2 inch baking pan, which meant a longer baking time).
For cheesecake batter, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Beat in the sugar, vanilla, and spices. Add egg; beat on low speed just until combined. Spoon over chocolate batter. Cut through batter with a knife to swirl the cheesecake portion. Sprinkle with chocolate chips.
Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with moist crumbs (do not overbake). Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Recipe from Taste of Home

Traditional White Bread

6-7 c. all-purpose flour or bread flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
2 Tbsp. shortening
4 1/2 tsp. regular or quick active dry yeast
2 1/4 c. very warm water (120 - 130 F)
2 Tbsp. butter, melted, if desired

Mix 3 1/2 c. of the flour, sugar, salt, shortening, and yeast in large bowl. Add warm water. Beat with electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Stir in enough remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, to make dough easy to handle.
Place dough on lightly floured surface. Knead about 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and springy. Place dough in large bowl greased with shortening, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place 40-60 minutes or until double. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.
Grease bottoms and sides of 2 loaf pans with shortening (the last time we made this recipe, we just shaped the dough and placed them on a cookie sheet. It worked well)
Gently push fist into dough to deflate. Divide dough in half. Flatten each half with hands or rolling pin into a rectangle on lightly floured surface. Roll dough up tightly, beginning at the short side. Press with thumbs to seal after each turn. Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal. Press each end with side of hand to seal. Fold ends under loaf. Place seam side down in pan. Brush loaves lightly with butter. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place. 35-50 minutes or until double.

Move oven rack to low position so that tops of pans will be in center of oven. Heat oven to 425 F.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until loaves are deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pans to wire rack. Brush loaves with butter; cool.

Recipe from Betty Crocker Cookbook