Blueberry Cornmeal Spoonbread

July 21, 2011

Heavens! I knew this recipe was going to be great the moment I saw it on Food on Fifth and I sure was right! Spoonbread is a slightly sweet cornmeal based dish popular in the southern U.S. I don’t know why it’s mostly popular there. They must be keeping it a bit of a secret cause it is super tasty. Jay and I just finished scarfing down our first servings, and it will be time for seconds any moment now! Spoonbread is really not so much “bread” but more like a soufflé or an airy cornmeal bread pudding. When you add in those fresh blueberries…it’s just unbelievably yummy. I couldn’t even figure out how to classify it…is it for breakfast or is it a dessert? I do declare, the answer is that it is for both and probably several other meals of the day if you’re lucky.

Blueberry Cornmeal Spoonbread

recipe from Food on Fifth

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint fresh Blueberries
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup yellow self-rising cornmeal
  • 2 Tablespoon cream
  • 2 Tablespoon softened butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs – separated
  • 1 teaspoon salt – the original recipe called for 1 teaspoon of salt, which is what I used. My husband totally digs salt, so he was quite pleased with it. If you don’t like as much salt, you could probably reduce it by 1/2.
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • confectioner’s sugar for sprinkling over the top

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F

In saucepan bring buttermilk and sugar to low boil. When the buttermilk begins to bubble around the edges of pan, slowly whisk in the cornmeal. Turn heat down to low and stir with the whisk for 8 minutes. Mixture should be mushy. Remove from heat to cool slightly.

Beat egg whites with salt until stiff. Set aside.

Whisk butter and vanilla into cooled cornmeal mixture.

Add egg yolks to mixture and whisk until blended.

Stir in cream with whisk.

Gently fold in egg whites.

Pour 1/2 mixture into buttered baking dish and top with 1/2 blueberries. Spread the rest of cornmeal mixture over berries. Top with a scattering of the remaining berries.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until top is golden brown and it is firm but wobbly in the center. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar.

* This recipe doesn’t make a whole mess of spoonbread. The dish I used is an 8×10 oval gratin style dish. An 8×8 dish would likely work fine. Or individual ramekins might be nice.


Root Beer Float Cupcakes

July 10, 2011

Have Mercy! My kitchen is in shambles, every dish is dirty, it is a true, honest to goodness mess. But do you know what I have now? Root Beer Float Cupcakes! Wait…let me say it slower…root beer…float…cupcakes! Yup…you heard me. I mean, I love root beer all on its lonesome. I love root beer floats even more. And well, anyone who knows me knows I have a BIG thing for cupcakes. I’ve got all three awesome things wrapped into just one in these little dickens. They even have home-made hot fudge sauce on top. Good Lord! Now, I must admit, these little guys were not easy to make. There were a bunch of steps, and as I mentioned, LOTS of dirty dishes. Oh well, no pain, no gain – hopefully I’m not talking about weight here, though these little gems are amazingly decadent!  It didn’t help matters that I doubled the recipe. I thought Root Beer Float Cupcakes would be perfect for a 4th of July cookout I was attending and wanted to make sure there were enough to go around.

Root Beer seems pretty “American” to me and the “Float” part is quite nostalgic. Everyone loves cupcakes, a very portable and picnic-friendly dessert. So I got to work on these. and I worked…and I worked…In all honesty, I must admit, there is nothing really hard here. Just a bit time-consuming. But it paid off in the end. The cupcakes looked fantastic and got rave reviews at the cookout. So, when you’ve got a bit of time on your hands, and a hankering for a root beer flavoured delectible…I’ve got just the thing for you!

Root Beer Float Cupcakes

makes 12 cupcakes

recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons root beer concentrate
  • 1/3 cup root beer
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 4-5 Root Beer Barrel hard candies

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, whisk egg and sugar until smooth and no lumps remain. Add cream, butter and vanilla, and mix until combined. Stir in sour cream. Sift dry ingredients together and add to wet mixture. Add root beer concentrate and root beer. Mix until batter is smooth. Line a muffin tin with liners and using a heaping 1/4 cup measure, add batter to each cup. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Let cool before frosting.

Place root beer barrel candies in food processor and pulse until the candies are finely ground. Set aside.

Vanilla and Root Beer Frosting

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon root beer extract

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter until smooth. On low-speed, add powdered sugar one tablespoon at a time. I know, I know, this is tedious but will result in a frosty that is smooth and creamy, not grainy and you will likely not need all 4 cups of the powdered sugar to reach appropriate frosting consistency, if you add the sugar in slowly like this. Increase speed to bring the frosting together. Add milk and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth. Remove almost all of the vanilla frosting, leaving behind about 1/3-1/2 cup in the mixer. Set vanilla frosting aside. Add root beer extract to remaining frosting in the bowl and beat until it comes together.

Prep two pastry bags (or you can simply use spoons) and fill one with vanilla frosting and the other with root beer frosting. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, using your 1″ round cookie cutter or apple corer, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes, cutting down 2/3 of the way through the cakes. Pipe the root beer frosting into the holes, filling each cupcake to the top. Then use the vanilla frosting filled pastry bag to finish frosting the cupcakes. Sprinkle pulverized root beer barrel candy over the top of each cupcake.

Hot Fudge Sauce

ingredients:

  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1 Cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Cup scalding milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Combine sugar, cocoa, salt and flour in a bowl over a double boiler. Bring milk to a boil. Gradually add hot milk to sugar mixture. Stir constantly until mixture thickens.

Once it has reached your desired thickness – I like mine pretty fudgy, so I probably cooked it for about 15 -20 minutes or so – remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Store in refrigerator.

*This recipe makes a good deal of sauce, which will keep well in the fridge.You will have lots left over for ice cream topping, or actual root beer floats in the future!

Fill another pastry bag with hot fudge sauce, which has reached room temperature,  and pipe a large dollop of fudge on the very top center of each cupcake. The fudge will flow down the sides a bit. Place maraschino cherry on top of each cake.

Enjoy!


Strawberry, Blueberry & White Chocolate Mousse Tart

July 4, 2011

It’s hot outside. Yup…lower 90’s. Oh and don’t forget humid. We got lots of that going on here as well. It’s a typical 4th of July in Virginia. In fact, this year’s Independence Day weather isn’t as bad as some of the sweltering holidays I remember in the not too distant past where the mercury shot up to somewhere slightly above 100! That sultry temperature is more the norm this time of year. Funny that most Americans seem to mark the 4th of July holiday by holding picnics and barbeques…outside…in the heat. Seems to me, our Founding Father’s might have taken the average temperature in July under consideration when the Continental Congress adopted and signed the Declaration of Independence back on that momentous day in 1776. I’m not suggesting that they should have waited to sign such an important document until milder temperatures arrived. But perhaps they could’ve indicated that a date in late September would be much more desirable for its future commemoration.  I think they might have been lulled into a false sense of meteorological security by the unseasonably mild weather they were experiencing in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776. Thomas Jefferson recorded in his journal a low temperature of 68° F and a high of  a mere 76°F. The average in hot and humid Philadelphia at that time of year is more like 85°F. I would love a 76 degree 4th…but enough about that. I’ll just turn my attention from the weather outside (oh yes, I am most definitely inside, loving my new AC unit) to all things red, white and blue for Independence Day. I’ve been chomping at the bit to make a Strawberry and White Chocolate Mousse Tart that I saw over at the Galley Gourmet way back in April. I thought I could add some lovely fresh blueberries to the recipe and have a wonderfully patriotic looking dessert to bring to my friend Jeff’s 4th of July cook-out/pool party.

This dish was very easy to make. One thing you do want to keep in mind though, is that with this dessert, you need to start preparing it at least 1 day ahead of time to allow the mousse to set and perhaps even two days ahead if you would like your tart dough to rest in the refrigerator overnight. But with a little planning, you get great results. The dish looked incredibly yummy, held with the red, white and blue, star-spangled, Yankee Doodle theme of the day and needless to say, a chilled tart was certainly a refreshing dessert on a steamy summer evening. I know I will be making this one again soon. The summer has only just begun…(sigh)

Strawberry, Blueberry & White Chocolate Mousse Tart

Recipe very slightly adapted (I added blueberries) from The Galley Gourmet

Serves 8

Ingredients:

For the Tart Dough:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 9 Tablespoons (4 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 extra large egg
For the White Chocolate Mousse:
  • 6 ounces good quality white chocolate chips
  • 1 1/4 cups chilled whipping cream, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon powdered gelatin
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 extra large egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/3 cup seedless strawberry jam
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 16 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
Directions:
For the Tart Dough:
In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, sugar, and salt.  Pulse until combined.  Scatter the butter pieces over the flour.   Process in short bursts until the butter is the size of peas.  Add the egg and process in long pulses, about 5-7 seconds until the dough has started to clump.  Place a piece of plastic wrap on the counter and dump the dough onto the surface.  Using the plastic wrap and the back of your hands, gently press the dough into a disk.  Wrap tightly with the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375º F.  Remove the dough from the refrigerator.  If refrigerated overnight, let it rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch circle, flouring the dough and surface as necessary to keep the dough from sticking.  Roll up the dough around the rolling pin and gently unroll it over an 9 1/2-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.  Fit the dough into the edge of the pan.  Place the tart onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Line the tart pan with aluminum foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove the weights and foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Place on a rack to cool completely.
For the White Chocolate Mousse:
Combine the white chocolate and 1/4 cup whipping cream in a large heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water) and stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is completely smooth.  Remove the bowl and allow the mixture to cool until lukewarm, about 15 minutes. (I actually melted my chocolate in the microwave, stirring after each 10 seconds until it was completely melted.)  In small bowl, combine the gelatin and water.  Allow the mixture to bloom for 5 minutes.  Place the gelatin mixture in the microwave and cook until melted, about 5 seconds.  In a large bowl, beat the remaining cream and vanilla until soft peaks form.  Add the gelatin mixture and beat until combined.  Using clean dry beaters or a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff (but not dry) peaks form.  Gently fold the whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the whipped cream.  Transfer the mixture into the cooled crust and smooth the top with an offset spatula.  Chill overnight.
In a small saucepan, combine the jam and lemon juice over medium heat; stirring until the jam melts. Remove from the heat.  Arrange the sliced strawberries in concentric circles on top of the set mousse.  Add blueberries around the edges and in center of tart. Gently brush the berries with the melted jam mixture.  Serve immediately or chill the tart for up to 2 hours.  Enjoy!

Buckles & Crisps & Crumbles…Oh My! Blueberry Buckle

June 29, 2011

Now lets see…there are Cobblers, Crisps, Crumbles, Buckles, Grunts, Slumps, Brown Bettys and Pandowdies. “Oh my”,  indeed! What do all of the aforementioned things have in common? They are all rustic, regional fruit desserts, made with whatever fresh fruit ingredient is available at the time. There are a few differences however. Please indulge me as I describe each dish as best I can, though I’m sure regional differences abound. What some folks might call a crisp, I’m sure others would know as a crumble. Yet, here we go…

Cobbler: An American deep dish fruit dessert with a pie or biscuit crust. The dish can be either entirely enclosed in pastry on dotted with drops of biscuit, giving it an appearance similar to a cobbled street.

Crisps & Crumbles: A dessert which has fruit on the bottom with a crumbled topping consisting of flour, butter, brown sugar, oatmeal and/or nuts. This dish is baked. What Americans call a crisp is often referred to as a crumble in Britain.

Betty or Brown Betty: This fruit dish, most commonly made with apples, is similar to a crisp. However, instead of placing all of the fruit on the bottom and covering it with a topping, this dessert has layers of the fruit alternating with layers of buttery bread crumbs.

Grunt or Slump: These fruit desserts are very similar. They are both dumpling like puddings. A Slump is cooked on the stove top whereas a Grunt is steam cooked.

Pandowdy: This dessert is like a cobbler, but it’s crust has been broken up and pushed down into the fruit so that it can soak up the fruit juices. The result is that it becomes more like a bread pudding.

Buckle: A buckle is very similar to a coffee cake. It is a cake with berries folded into the batter that has a streusel topping. This topping gives it a buckled appearance.

What we’re dealing with here in this post, as you can clearly see now that all the definitions are out-of-the-way, is a delicious Blueberry Buckle recipe. Blueberries are in season now. Everyone is looking around to see what fabulous tasty treats they can make with all those bushels of blueberries they’ve just picked. I’m telling you…you’ve got to make this buckle! It is literally bursting with blueberries.

The cake merely serves as a thin matrix to hold all those berries together. It is really easy to prepare and every single person you feed it to will go crazy for it. I know all of my various descriptions above indicated that these fruit dishes were desserts. I can definitely see that. However, the Blueberry Buckle, being similar to a coffee cake is great for breakfast, or tea, or a midnight snack even.

Sure if you pop some whipped cream on the top or a scoop of ice cream down next to it, it’s also a most welcome dessert. I’m just saying its very versatile.  Don’t miss out on this one!

Blueberry Buckle

Recipe from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures who found it in Cook’s Illustrated

Makes one 9″ Buckle

Ingredients:

Streusel:

  • 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, softened

Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup (4 3/4 oz) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 4 cups fresh blueberries (about 20 oz)

Directions:

To make the streusel: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the flour, both sugars, cinnamon and salt on low to combine and break up any brown sugar lumps.  With the mixer still on low, add the butter and beat until it is completely incorporated into the dry ingredients, about 2-3 minutes – the mixture will resemble wet sand.  Transfer the streusel to another bowl and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 F with a rack in the lower third of the oven.  Line the bottom of a 9-inch round pan with a round of parchment, then spray the parchment and the pan with nonstick cooking spray. Dust with flour.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder together then set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, salt and lemon zest at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Beat in the vanilla.  Add the eggs, on at a time, beating well after each addition.  With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture, beating until just about incorporated.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to finish stirring – the batter will be very thick.  Gently fold in the blueberries.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan; spread in an even layer.  To top with the streusel – pick up a handful of streusel and squeeze to form a clump.  Break this large clump into smaller pieces and sprinkle over the batter.  Continue until you’ve used all of the streusel.  Bake for about 55 minutes, or until the streusel is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer pan to a wire rack and cool for 15-20 minutes.  Run a thin knife around the edges of the cake then invert it onto the rack.  Remove the parchment then turn the cake streusel side up and let cool on the wire rack.

Enjoy!


Jack Daniel’s Chocolate Cake – There really is whiskey in the jar!

June 13, 2011

Whack for my daddy-o

Whack for my daddy-o

There’s whiskey in the jar!

Ever since I saw the recipe for the Jack Daniel’s Chocolate Cake baked in little pint-sized jars, I just couldn’t get this Irish folk song out of my head. Now that I’ve probably managed to get it whirling around in your own noggin, let me tell you, the only thing that will stop it from being in heavy rotation in your brain is actually making these cakes.

Well….that might be a bit of a lie. These pint-sized flourless chocolate whiskey cakes are so utterly decadent and delicious, at the first taste you’ll stop thinking about the song and likely start singing the tune out loud and at the top of your lungs. Maybe it’s the Jack Daniel’s causing all this mayhem. Hmmm…Perhaps it is a contributing factor. I mean you have to sample your sour mash whiskey before adding it to any recipes…just to make sure it hasn’t gone off. Still, these cakes are nothing short of phenomenal. Being flourless, (gluten-free for anyone interested), they have a very fudgy, chewy texture as well as a thin crisp layer just at the top. The chocolate and the Jack Daniel’s are a wonderful match, nearly melting in your mouth. I frosted my cakes with a Jack Daniel’s Buttercream icing and then sprinkled mini chocolate chip morsels on top. YUM!

Strangely, we often think a “pint-sized” thing is small, but this is quite a hefty serving of this incredibly rich cake. You may want to consider making  8 smaller versions in 1/2 pint-sized jars. I think this serving size would be plenty, but then who am I to decide what too much of a good thing is? Yeah…when you need a bit of an indulgence, make these treats. In the big, honking pint sized jar. Good ol Jack will not disappoint!

Jack Daniel’s Chocolate Cake

recipe posted on The Family Kitchen from Angie McGowan at Eclectic Recipes

makes four pint jars of chocolatey, whiskey cake goodness!

Ingredients:

  • 8 tablespoons butter ( 1 stick)
  • 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup Jack Daniel’s whiskey
  • nonstick spray

Frosting:

  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Jack Daniel’s whiskey

Directions:

1. In a double boiler, or in the microwave, melt butter and chocolate together. Stir well. Let cool.

2. Add butter and chocolate to a large mixing bowl with sugars. Mix until well combined. Add whiskey and mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Mix well. Add salt, baking soda and baking powder. Mix very well. .

3. Pour into 4 pint jars that have been sprayed well with non-stick spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 40 minutes, or until cakes pass the toothpick test. (And they have risen and fell – and don’t freak out. These cakes rise way up out of the jars when baking. Just when you think there will be a baking catastrophe, they retreat back into the jar.)

For frosting:

1. Cream softened butter in stand mixer with wire attachment.

2. Add sugar. Mix on low until combined. Turn mixer to high. Add a little of the milk or whiskey at a time, until icing is light and fluffy.

3.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Makes 4 large servings

Note: All the whiskey does NOT cook out of the cake, so it is NOT kiddie-friendly.


Banana Brownie Bites

June 8, 2011

So I’m sure you’re your used to my flimsy excuses about bananas going bad by now. But that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I had two bananas which were a bit too ripe. Today I decided to turn them into delicious little brownie bites. I’m sure something this cute and tiny doesn’t actually have any calories in it to speak of, right? Well, I assure you, I’m certainly not going to be the one talking about it. These brownies are delicious! The banana flavour definitely comes through. And what a great combination, banana and chocolate. And, you not only get the chocolate chocolate, but you get some chunks of white chocolate as well! Yum!!! Keep them in mind when you find some bananas turning on you!

Banana Brownie Bites

recipe from Lemon Drop

makes 66 bites (I cut the recipe in half, so I sadly only got 33 of the little morsels)

Ingredients:

1 pound of dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup of unsalted butter
4 eggs
4 ripe bananas (med size preferred)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 ounces chopped white baking chocolate

Directions:

Preheat oven 325°F
Butter and flour 8″ X 8″ square baking pan
In a medium saucepan, melt butter and dark chocolate. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, mash together eggs, bananas and vanilla extract
With a wooden spoon, stir in flour, cocoa powder, baking powder
Fold in melted chocolate/butter
Fold in chopped white chocolate
Pour into prepared pan
Bake for 1 hr 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean & brownies are firm to the touch.

* I made half of the above recipe (I only had 2 bananas on hand) and baked the brownies in a mini muffin pan. I reduced the baking time to 15 minutes.


Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

May 30, 2011

That’s right! Bacon Chocolate Chip cookies!!! My husband had scheduled a band rehearsal a week or so ago. He plays in several different groups and the folks from this ensemble hadn’t been here to play in quite some time. I wanted to whip up some sort of treat for the guys. Jay assured me that the Bacon Chocolate Chip cookies were the way to go. He was right. They were a big hit! In fact, I think these chocolate chip cookies are the best I’ve ever had, without the bacon. When you add that great, savory, salty bacon flavour to the sweet, chocolaty cookie….watch out! Perfection!

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

recipe from The Craving Chronicles

makes 52 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
  • 1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups bittersweet chocolate chips, at least 60 percent cacao content
  • 6 slices crisp cooked bacon, chopped

Directions

In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Using a mixer with paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, incorporating completely after each addition. Add vanilla. Reduce mixer to lowest speed and carefully add flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips by hand.

Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate 24 – 36 hours, up to 72 hours.

When ready to bake, set dough out at room temperature. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper.

When dough has warmed enough to be pliable but not too soft, fold in chopped bacon. Using a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop, measure cookies out on a baking sheet. Bake one sheet at a time, 15-20 minutes or until edges are starting to brown. Cool 2-3 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Oreo Truffles

May 7, 2011

Who doesn’t love Oreo Cookies? I don’t know a single soul. Indeed  if I did know someone who claimed they didn’t, I’d certainly be a little suspicious of them. Oreo cookies are great comfort food which likely evoke happy childhood memories (or maybe memories more recent – say, last night perhaps) of dunking them in an ice-cold glass of milk.

So I was sure I couldn’t go wrong with this recipe for Oreo Truffles. Not that I thought I should “guild the lily” by any means, but adding some cream cheese and a enfolding the whole thing in a blanket of delectable chocolate – I couldn’t resist!

Nor should you. Really. These Truffles are very easy to make. Toss the cookies into the food processor. Give it a whirr.

Oreo crumbles

Add the cream cheese. Pulse until blended. Roll the mixture into balls.

Truffle filling - waiting to chill

Chill and then dip into chocolate. The only bit of the whole process that requires some patience is the dipping the truffles into the chocolate bit. I used prepackaged melting chocolate by Baker’s. You just pop the package in the microwave until melted and then start dipping away. I guess the waiting for them to chill in the fridge before devouring them all was a bit difficult as well.

Everyone will think you slaved in the kitchen for hours to create these treats. Believe me,  folks will go absolutely wild for them. Soooooo delicious!

Oreo Truffles

Recipe from Someone Left the Cake Out in the Rain

Makes 36 Oreo Truffles

Ingredients:
1 package (16.6 oz) Oreo cookies – I used the Double Stuff variety 🙂
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
2 -(7 oz.) containers Baker’s Dipping Chocolate

Directions:

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the Oreo cookies until they are coarsely chopped.  Add cream cheese and continue to pulse until they are well-combined.

Roll into 1-inch balls and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Refrigerate until firm, 4 hours, or optimally, overnight.

Melt chocolate according to package.  Dip balls into chocolate and place on waxed paper lined trays to harden.

Sprinkle with any sort of decoration you prefer before the chocolate begins to set up.

Chill and serve cold.



Cadbury Bunny-skivers!

April 24, 2011

Happy Easter! What better way to start off this sugar drenched day but with the Easter breakfast of champions – Ebelskivers stuffed with mini Cadbury Creme Eggs and mini Cadbury Caramel Eggs! O.k. So I’m sure everyone knows what the Cadbury candies are, but you may be wondering “what is an Ebelskiver?” If you missed my previous post on Nutella and Banana stuffed Peanut Butter Ebelskivers, they are round pancakes which originated in Denmark and are perfect for breakfast, appetizers or snacks. You will of coarse need one special piece of equipment to make these goodies – namely the Ebelskiver Pan.

Ebelskiver Pan & Turners

My husband received one for his birthday a couple of years ago. The ebelskiver turners, long, carved wooden sticks, are great to have, but you could possibly get by with chopsticks, wooden skewers or even knitting needles in a pinch. For these treats, I made a vanilla ebelskiver batter. Unwrapped all of my Cadbury Candies.

Mmmmm....Cadbury yummies!

Placed a bit of butter in each well of my pan. Once this butter started to bubble, I placed 1 tablespoon of the batter in the pan and then placed my mini Cadbury Egg in the center of the batter.

mini Cadbury Egg filling in place

Then you place 1 more tablespoon of the batter on top to cover the filling.Turning the treats takes a bit of practice, but you’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly. Once it is time to turn them, place your turners on opposite sides of the pancakes and slide them down between the wall of the well and the cooked edges.Gently lift and rotate. Rather than flip mine over all at once, I quickly move around the pan rotating them 1/4 turn at a time until they are completely turned over. Once these Easter-skivers were done cooking, I dusted a bit of confectioners sugar over top and Voila!

I’m not sure whether I prefer the traditional creme filled egg ebelskivers or the caramel filled egg variety.

They were both quite decadent! As you can see, I couldn’t resist dressing one up as a bunny.

I’m afraid we ate the others too quickly before they had a chance to get into their bunny suits! If you have any mini Cadbury Eggs left over from your Easter baskets (I’m not sure how that could possibly happen…) give these a try. You’ll love ’em!

 Cadbury Bunny-skivers

Makes batter for 20 Ebelskivers

Ingredients

1 Cup (5 oz/155g) all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, separated

1 Cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) milk

2 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

20 mini Cadbury Creme Eggs or mini Caramel Eggs – your choice, or a mix of both as I did

Confectioners’ Sugar for dusting

Directions

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks, then whisk in the milk, 2 tablespoons of the melted butter and the vanilla extract until smooth. Add the yolk mixture to the flour mixture and, using a wooden spoon, stir until well blended. Don’t worry-the batter will be lumpy.

In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold one-third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it, then fold in the rest just until no white streaks remain.

Add butter to the wells of the ebelskiver pan. This can be done with a pastry brush, or I often just put about 1/8 tsp. in each well. Place the pan over medium heat. When the butter starts to bubble, add 1 tablespoon of the batter to each well. Working quickly, carefully place one Cadbury mini egg into the center of each pancake. Top each with another 1 tablespoon of the batter.

Cook until the bottoms of the pancakes are lightly browned and crisp, about 3-5 minutes. Use your ebelskiver turners or whatever you have, turn all of the pancakes and cook until browned on the second side-about 3 minutes longer.

Remove the pancakes from the pan. Dust them with confectioners’ sugar.  Serve immeadiatly.

Recipe for Vanilla Ebelskiver Batter from Ebelskivers by Kevin Crafts


Bird’s Nests

April 23, 2011

This is a fantastic Easter treat! I saw several versions of these whimsical Bird’s Nests around on various food blogs. I really liked the one featured on the Curvy Carrot blog and followed that recipe. The treats were very easy to make and chock full of ingredients that I love – chocolate, butterscotch and peanut butter…YUM! Even better, these little nests were filled with mini Cadbury Eggs.

Now, I really, really love them. (to the point that I often refer to them as “Crack-bury Eggs”…soooo delicious and addictive!) I can hardly restrain myself when they make their appearance in the stores around Easter. Yup, I”m doing the “Cadbury Happy Dance” through the grocery store aisles! This year I managed to score not only the traditional milk chocolate Cadbury Mini Eggs, but I also found the dark chocolate version. Be still my heart!

Another favourite Easter candy of mine is Robin’s Eggs. For those of you who don’t know what they are, they’re malted milk balls essentially dressed up for Easter! I decided that some of my nests would hold the mini version of them as well.

What can I say? These goodies taste phenomenally good and look just as great! They were a big hit at a party I went to just last night. Make some today and fill them with your Easter candy favourites!

Birds’ Nests

Recipe from the Curvy Carrot

Servings: 12

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, for greasing the muffin pan

6 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips

6 ounces of butterscotch chips

1 cup creamy peanut butter

6 ounces of chow mein noodles

mini Cadbury Eggs

mini Robin’s Eggs

marshmallow fluff

Instructions

1. Generously grease the wells of a muffin pan with the butter (this will help later when you are taking out the chilled nests).

2. In a large microwave-proof bowl, heat the chocolate and butterscotch chips in 30 second intervals until thoroughly melted, stirring after each increment.

3. Once melted, add the peanut butter to the chocolate/butterscotch mixture, mixing well until smooth and completely combined.

4. Carefully add the chow mein noodles, stirring with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, until completely coated.

5. Using a large spoon, mold the mixture into the wells of your muffin tin, indenting the tops slightly with the back of the spoon.

6.  Chill the nests until hardened, about 1 hour or so.

7.  Once chilled, remove the nests from the muffin tin. Gently prying them loose with a butter knife worked well.

8.  Place mini eggs, or treats of your choice in each nest, securing them to the nest with a bit of marshmallow fluff.


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