Friday, October 14, 2011

Caramel Candy Chocolate Chip Cookie

I have a bit of a caramel obsession right now. I will blame it on my girl friend Brooke and for getting me hooked. :-) I made some cookies last week that were a bit on the boring side and very dry. In the end I added a lot more chocolate and a bunch of caramel to make them yummy and boy did I ever do something right. These cookies are thin, chewy, perfect and the best cookie I have every made, or eaten for that matter.

Caramel Candy Chocolate Chip Cookie

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (1 - 1/2 pint jar) Sea Salt Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (If not in caramel sauce)
2 1/2 cups uncooked quick oats
1 pkg semisweet mini chocolate chips
2 milk chocolate candy bar, coarsely chopped chilled
5 Rolo Candy Rolls; unwrapped and chopped (40 pcs) chilled

Cream Butter with both sugars. Add eggs one at a time and then vanilla and caramel sauce. (If using Sea Salt Caramel Sauce, you do not need the additional 1/2 tsp salt, unless you really want it.)

Pulse oats in a food processor or blender a couple times. I don't like mine to turn quite to flour, but almost. Kind of an in between oats and four. But either way is good, so go with what you prefer. Mix Flour and oats together, add baking soda and baking powder until combined. Slowly add dry mixture to wet mixture. This dough will get very thick, so if at all possible, use a kitchen aid mixer or get a work out in.

I find it best to chill the candy before I chop it. Pull chocolate bars out the fridge and chop. Do the same with the caramel candies. (I use my pampered chef chopper and it's a breeze) You can also do this before hand if you read the full recipe before just making them. I'm guilty of being sure I have all ingredients and then just diving in.

Mix chocolate chips and both candies into dough until combined. Use a small scoop and bake on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet for 9 min at 350 degrees F. (If you are not a big chocolate fan, reduce the chocolate chips down to 1/2 or 3/4 of a bag.)

Allow cookies to cool on pan slightly before moving to a cooling rack. Store in air tight container.

p.s. I apologize for no picture, that awesome girl friend of mine told me it looked like a thin hamburger patty, so I will have to work on getting you all a picture that does the cookie justice.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Grasshopper Bars

These were so wonderful, yummy, rich, delightful, perfectly and not too pepperminty. They are just to die for!!!!

Grasshopper Bars

For the brownie base:

  • 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon dark unsweetened cocoa powder (like Valrhona)
  • 5 ounces good quality dark chocolate (60 to 72%), coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light-colored metal 9-by-13-inch pan. Line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper or foil, and butter the parchment or foil.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, the salt, and cocoa powder.

Configure a large size double boiler. Place the chocolate and the butter in the bowl of the double boiler and stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and combined. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water of the double boiler and add both sugars. Whisk the sugars until completely combined. Remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be at room temperature.

Add three eggs to the chocolate/butter mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.

Sprinkle the flour/cocoa/salt mix over the chocolate. Using a spatula (do not use a whisk) fold the dry ingredients into the wet until there is just a trace amount of the flour/cocoa mix visible.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top with an offset spatula, and bake for approximately 15 to 18 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time. The brownies should be just a tad underdone (not too gooey, but ideally, just 1 minute from being cooked through completely). A toothpick inserted into the brownies at an angle should contain a few loose crumbs. Remove the brownies from the oven and let cool completely while you make the creme de menthe filling.

For the buttercream:

  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened but still cool, cut into small cubes
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract

In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally until mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, 5 to 7 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until filling is light and fluffy.

Add the peppermint extract and mix until combined. If the filling is too soft, chill slightly in the refrigerator and then mix again until it is the proper consistency.

If the filling is too firm, place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and re-mix to proper consistency. Spread the filling evenly across the top of the brownie layer and place the pan in the refrigerator, for a minimum of 45 minutes, while you make the chocolate glaze.

For the Chocolate Ganache:

  • 5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 4 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Place the chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, watching very carefully because if it boils for a few seconds, it will boil out of the pot. When the cream has come to a boil, pour over the chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Stir in the rum if desired.

Allow the ganache to cool slightly before pouring over a cake. Start at the center of the cake and work outward. For a fluffy frosting or chocolate filling, allow it to cool until thick, then whip with a whisk until light and fluffy.

Refrigerate and store in an airtight container if they last that long. :-)

*ps I apologize for the crazy blogger layout and font, it was not being nice to me tonight.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Gone with the Wind Pudding

 Ingredients :    Mixture 1
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 env. Knox Gelatin
  • 1/4 c. cold water
Mixture 2
  • 1 1/2 c. Heavy Cream, whipped
  • 2 Whipped egg whites
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 c. graham cracker crumbs
  • 6 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 6 tbsp. melted butter
   Preparation : 
Combine mixture 1 of milk, sugar, egg yolks. 

In a small bowl add 2 pkgs knox
gelatin to 1/4 cup water and let soak.
Cook mixture 1 over a double boiler for 15 minutes. 

Add gelatin and slowly mix into mixture one and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool while you prepare mixture 2.  

Prepare crust.  Press just over half into an 8x8 pan. Reserve remainder for topping.  

Whip heavy cream, set aside.  Beat 2 egg whites until stiff.  
Fold eggs and cream together with vanilla and set aside.  
Gently fold in cooled, but not firm mixture 1 to mixture 2.  Once combined pour into pan.  
Sprinkle remaining crust over top of pudding mixture. 

Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.  Cut and serve.  

*This recipe comes from my Grandma Smith.  
My dad really likes it and I thought I would give it a try.  I found it to be more intense 
of a recipe for the quality of food.  It was good, but didn't have a wow factor.  It is more
 of a bland dessert that could use some fresh fruit or something.  However my dad likes
 it, so I may occasionally make it if need be.  :-D

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hawaiian Kabobs

  • 4 Chicken breast or 10-12 Chicken Tenders
  • 1 can Pineapple Chunks
  • 3 TBSP Soy Sauce
  • 3 TBSP Brown Sugar
  • 1 TBSP Pineapple Juice
  • 1 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1/4 tsp Crushed Garlic
  • pinch of Ginger
  • 1 cup Jasmine Rice
  • 2 1/2 cups Water

Cube chicken into 1 1/2-2" pieces.
In a gallon size zip bag combine all ingredients for marinade and squish the bag a little. Add chicken pieces into bag and coat with marinade. Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Follow directions and prepare rice.

Assemble Kabobs; chicken, pineapple, chicken, pineapple until all pineapple and chicken is used. Reserve marinade.

In a small pan bring marinade to boil on stove. Set aside.

Place kabobs on hot grill. Brush with marinade. Turn and continue to grill until chicken is cooked thoroughly.

Serve over rice with your favorite side dish.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Chocolate Playdough

Today my kids needed something new to do. I came across this recipe and couldn't make it fast enough.
R2D2 Play Dough Fun!!
Cutting it up.... Still not sure why. lol

Chocolate Play Dough
  • 1 1/4 cup Flour
  • 1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 cup Salt
  • 2 TBSP Cream of Tarter
Mix the 4 above ingredients until well combined. Then add:
  • 1 1/2 TBSP Vegetable Oil
  • 1 cup Boiling Water
Mix and then knead until combined and forms play dough consistency.

My kids are loving this and still playing with it. I now have to go make no bake cookies because I can't stop thinking about them since I opened the cocoa powder. :-)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Adam's Grilled Cheese

For lunch today my husband made Grilled Cheese his new way. I was rather impressed as he rarely cooks and I do not care for grilled cheese, but this I will eat. It's like a garlic cheesy toasted sandwich. YUM!!
  • Parmesan Cheese, grated fresh or canned will work.
  • Cheddar Cheese, sliced
  • Mozzarella Cheese, sliced
  • Swiss Cheese, sliced
  • American Cheese, sliced
    (You can use any 4 cheeses you have on hand or like.)
  • Softened Butter
  • Crushed garlic or garlic salt
  • 2 sliced of bread per each sandwich
Mix garlic with softened butter. Spread garlic butter evenly on one side of bread or you can sprinkle garlic salt lightly on buttered side of bread.

Place Parmesan on a plate and lightly press the buttered side of the bread into the Parmesan. With the buttered/Parmesan side down, place on a hot griddle. (We did not have any fresh Parmesan so we used the canned stuff)

Repeat with your second slice of bread.

Place 2 different cheeses on each piece of bread.

Once buttered side of bread is golden and cheese has melted, place your two pieces together to make your sandwich. Serve and enjoy.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Strawberry Jam - Canned

For my Strawberry Jam I followed the directions from the Sure Jell Premium Fruit Pectin (in the box).
I had a lot more strawberries than I realized I needed per batch. Since I had this new Ball brand Pectin I had to use this as well.
The Sure Jell Strawberry Jam Recipe:
Yield: each batch will make aprox. 4 1/2 pints of jam
5 cups of mashed strawberries
7 cups of sugar
1 box of Pectin

I don't care for "mashed berries". After washing and removing the green from the strawberries I toss them in my blender or bullet and pulse until it looks just right. They should not be pureed, but have chunks. I like lots of very small chunks, no big chunks. :-)

I always double a batch to make it all go quicker.

Mix your strawberries and pectin in a large pot and bring to a rolling boil. Add sugar and return to a rolling boil. Boil for one minute. Turn off heat and ladle into hot sterile canning jars (I used pint size jars). Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean damp rag or paper towel. Place clean, hot, sterile lid on jar, screw on your ring until snug. Turn your jars upside down on a clean towel.

If you are using hot, sterile jars and filling them with boiling hot jam, the heat from the jam will seal itself. You must turn your jar onto it's lid though. I leave mine to sit at least overnight (until the jars have come to room temperature.

Be sure all your jars have sealed before storing them. I have found that this process does not allow for the "popping noise" when the jar seals. This does not mean your jar did not seal, just press the lid to be sure it does not pop back to ensure it sealed.
Now for my 1st review on Sure Jell vs Ball Pectin. The jars on the left you can see have no space in the bottom. This would be my first batch of which I used the Sure Jell. It is more of a thin jam at this point and I don't believe it has completely set up.

The jars on the right with the air space in the bottom are the Ball Pectin batch. First I was not happy with this little bottle of pectin. The label is suppose to peel for "recipes" I however could not get it to peel on either bottle I had. My husband finally got it peeled for me but it was not readable as each side stuck to each other. I went on line to Ball's website in hopes of finding info there, nothing but the ability to purchase more. So I submitted a complaint in the Q&A. *grin* Knowing that a bottle can make 33 half pints does not tell me how much fruit to sugar to pectin to use.

The one bit of information it did say was that 6 TBSP of pectin was = to one box. So I made my 2nd double batch and used 12 TBSP of Ball Pectin following the Sure Jell recipe. It was so thick!! I'm just not sure if it sets up really quick or if 12 TBSP was too much and it might be some really think jam!?!? I also used the fruit and sugar ratio as the Sure Jell recipe called for. Before canning it, it tasted the same. :-)

If the Ball Pectin turns out, despite the labeling problems and lack of instructions, it is a much better price. I got the Ball pectin on sale for $2.19 (1 bottle = 2 batches of jam) and paid about $2.29 for each box of Sure Jell (1 box = 1 batch).

You can also follow this same recipe and store in freezer containers instead of Jars for Freezer Jam. I can it, my sister freezes it. Both taste great, in my opinion it's just a matter of where you have the room and what you prefer.