Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rocky Ledge Bars

I love that Annie uses marshmallows in a number of her confectionery treats. I'm a BIG fan of marshmallows. So, when I saw this Martha Stewart recipe recently, I thought I'd give it a try. I'm not a big butterscotch fan so I substituted milk chocolate chips, but I bet peanut butter chips would be good too. There's all kinds of possibilities! If you can find Kraft's new caramel bits, use them! They're the size of chocolate chips and can be mixed into all kinds of baked treats.

Martha's Rocky Ledge Bars

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 cups packed dark-brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup white chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 18 soft caramel-candy cubes, coarsely chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Line with parchment paper, allowing a 2-inch overhang on the longer sides. Brush parchment with butter (not overhang).
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix butter and brown sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; mix until well combined. Mix in flour mixture until combined. Fold in half of each of the marshmallows, chocolates, butterscotch chips, and caramels.
  3. Spread batter in prepared pan. Scatter remaining marshmallows, chocolates, butterscotch chips, and caramels on top. Bake until top is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Lift out of pan, and transfer to a baking sheet. Refrigerate until set, at least 30 minutes.
  4. Remove parchment, and cut into about 16 triangles. Bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

Monday, August 4, 2008

S'mores Bars

I've been camping a few times this summer. What to do with all those leftover s'mores goodies... This recipe was a hit with its consumers. I made them ahead of time before I served them, but they really need to be eaten warm so I put them in the microwave for a few seconds before serving otherwise the marshmallow comes off in one bite. Not so good. These are simple to make with the help of a Betty Crocker cookie mix. The recipe comes from the Betty Crocker Website and I've been pretty satisfied with the recipes from their site.

Toasted Marshmallow S'mores Bars

1pouch Betty Crocker® sugar cookie mix
1cup graham cracker crumbs
1cup butter or margarine, melted
3cups milk chocolate chips (18 oz)
4 1/2
cups miniature marshmallows

Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, stir together cookie mix and crumbs. Stir in melted butter until soft dough forms. Press into ungreased 13x9-inch pan.

Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until set. Immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over crust. Let stand 3 to 5 minutes or until chocolate begins to melt. Spread chocolate evenly over crust.

Set oven control to broil. Sprinkle marshmallows over melted chocolate. Broil with top 4 to 5 inches from heat 20 to 30 seconds or until marshmallows are toasted. (Watch closely, marshmallows will brown quickly.) Cool 10 minutes. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Serve warm. Store any remaining bars tightly covered.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Blackberry Buttermilk Sherbet

Alright Sistas, it's been a while, but here's something truly sweet and not ridiculously unhealthy! Despite what you may think, buttermilk is NOT full of the fat that actual butter has. It's pretty good for you. Love that!

Blackberry Buttermilk Sherbet
Originally from Cooking Light

Straining the blackberry mixture is optional but worth the effort for the smoothest, creamiest texture.

2 1/2 cups blackberries (about 12 ounces)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk

Combine blackberries and sugar in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Strain blackberry mixture through a fine sieve over a bowl; discard solids. Stir in buttermilk.

Pour mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturer's instructions (mine took about 20 minutes). Spoon sherbet into a freezer-safe container; cover and freeze 4 hours (or one if you're like me and just couldn't wait any longer!) or until firm.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Easy Vanilla Ice Cream

It's starting to get warm again. It's supposed to be about 90 degrees on Sunday, but today is absolutely beautiful. So warmer weather means...HOMEMADE ICE CREAM! I love homemade ice cream because it gets all melty really fast. Some require making a custard first, but the reason that I love this recipe is that you can have homemade ice cream in literally minutes. There is no cooking and no eggs involved. It isn't as rich and creamy as a custard based treat, but this is a great alternative. My husband actually likes this ice cream recipe better than those made with a custard because he likes that it isn't as rich.
Growing up we always had strawberry-banana homemade ice cream and we didn't have it very often. I always thought ice cream was hard to make until I got an ice cream maker that doesn't use rock salt and ice. It has been the best thing ever. You just throw everything in and click "on."
One of my favorite ice cream flavors is chocolate chip, but I'm sort of picky about it. I don't like huge chunks of chocolate but I like it when the chocolate is shaved. It has a very delicate texture and you don't have to bite the chocolate. It really just melts in your mouth. I used a Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Bar and shaved it. Dark tastes better to me than milk chocolate in this ice cream. Milk chocolate makes it way too sweet.

Easy Vanilla Ice Cream
Makes 1 1/2 quarts

1 1/2 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup of mix-ins (optional)

Combine milk, sugar, and salt. Stir with a wire whisk until sugar is dissolved. Stir in half and half, whipping cream, and vanilla.
Pour into ice cream maker canister and freeze according to directions.
Stir in mix-ins during the last few minutes of mixing.
You can eat it immediately, or you can freeze it in the freezer for a couple of hours so it will set even more and the flavor develops a little stronger.

Note: Last time I made this ice cream I did not have any half and half or whole milk. Instead I used 1 1/2 cups 1% milk and 1 1/2 cups whipping cream. I didn't use any half and half and it turned out great. So you can really mix it up if you wanted.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Craisin and White Chocolate Blondies

When my friend first tried these she took a bite and said, "Oh, I don't like peanut butter."
I told her, "Ummmm...they don't have peanut butter in them."

"I swear I tasted peanut butter." She tried another bite. "Why on earth did I taste peanut butter?"

Answer: I have no idea.

Some possibilities could be that it has a chewy texture that some peanut butter bar cookies have or it has a TON of brown sugar that gives it a butterscotch flavor. I really can't come up with any other reason why it would taste like peanut butter. Maybe she was just expecting it to.
Once when I was teaching school back in the day to 5th graders one kid brought in a science experiment in which he was trying to prove that our sense of sight has an effect on taste. He made samples of vanilla ice cream in which he made them different colors. It worked too. The kids thought that the pink tasted like strawberry, the purple tasted like grape, etc. It was all just the same vanilla ice cream from the very same container. So I guess that my friend thought they looked like a peanut butter bar cookie and tricked her mind into tasting peanut butter. I myself love a peanut butter bar cookie. These are not them. Nooo, but they ever so delicous and chewy. It is just a plain blondie recipe that was made fabulous with crasins and white chocolate chips. I wish that I had some pecans to put into the mix.

Blondies with Craisins and White Chocolate

1/2 c butter (I used salted)
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup craisins
3/4 cup white chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350F. Melt butter in the microwave in a large microwaveable bowl. Add the brown sugar and stir until moistened (about 2 minutes). Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Add flour and salt; mix well. Stir in craisins and white chocolate chips.
Spread batter, it will be thick, into an ungreased 9x13 inch baking pan.
Bake for 22-27 minutes
*I lined mine with foil so that it overhangs the edges. After it bakes and cools you lift out the blondies with the foil overhangs.

P.S. This is probably one of the easiest things I have ever made. Just one bowl!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Surprise Cookies

I had some leftover marshmallows from my husband's campout hanging around in the pantry. I'm always looking for recipes that use up something in the cupboard that would otherwise have gone to waste. Marshmallows would definitely go to waste. I don't really just sit down with a bag of them and chow down. I guess I could, but I don't. Once I made a mini batch of rice krispy treats with some leftover marshmallows, but I wanted to do something new and I also did not have any rice krispies. I had all of the ingredients for these cookies so I went for it. Actually, most of the recipies I have posted here are made from ingredients one would usually have on hand--if you're a baker. That's just how I bake...I like to keep it simple. I found this recipe on Martha Stewart's web site. It's one of their "Cookie of the Day" recipes. I love to look at each cookie of the day, but I don't actually make them. I'm just a recipe reader.
These cookies are rich, but not overly sweet like I had anticipated. I thought they were a great blend of textures with the frosting, marshmallow, and cookie all in one bite.

Surprise Cookies
from Martha Stewart.com

1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c cocoa
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (one sitck) unsalted butter, softened
1 c sugar
1 large egg
1/2 c milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
12 large marshmallows, cut in half horizontally

2 c powdered sugar
4 tabl unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 c cocoa powder
1/4 c milk
1/4 tsp vanilla

To make the cookie:

Preheat oven to 375F and line baking sheets with parchment. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar, about 2 minutes. Add egg, milk, and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Add reserved flour mixture; mix on low speed until combined.

Scoop into heaping tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies begin to spread and become firm, 10-12 minutes. (I did 10 minutes)

Remove from baking sheets and place a marshmallow cut-side down into the center of each cookie, pressing down slightly. Return to oven, and continue baking until marshmallows begin to melt, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Remove from oven. Cool cookies ona wire rack. Cool completely before frosting.

Spread about 1 tablespoon frosting over each marshmallow and spread to cover the marshmallow.

To make the frosting:
Place sugar in a bowl. With an electric mixer mix in the butter and cocoa. Add milk and vanilla.
Mix until very silky and just slightly runny. It hardens on top as it dries.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Bacon and Leek Tart

I found this recipe in my Real Simple Magazine. It looks gourmet but was super easy to throw together. I was headed out to a baby shower that day and I decided to bring this along. I must say that it is perfect baby shower food or brunch food too. It was devoured quickly, but was ever so delicate looking, even though I'm sure it is loaded with fat. If you have never tried leeks I suggest that you do. I love them because although they look like a giant green onion, they are sweeter and don't have that "make you cry" attribute. I always have to wash them very well because they are always full of dirt when I buy them and you have to cut off all of the tough darker green parts.
This is a great little dish to serve along side some light soup or a little sandwich. I cut mine into smaller, oh I don't know...3 bite pieces? The only thing I would have done differently with mine is cut my leeks smaller width wise.

Bacon and Leek Tart

8 slices bacon, cut into 2 inch strips

2 leeks (white and light green parts) cut into 2 1/2 inch strips

1 17.3 ounce frozen puff-pastry sheets, thawed (I used a 16 ounce box from Trader Joe's and rolled it out just a bit)

4 ounces fontina cheese (or Swiss, but fontina just makes me say "yummmm").

Heat oven to 375F. Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 6 minutes, but not too crispy because you are also going to bake it. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the drippings and return to medium heat. Add the leeks and cook for 3 minutes. Unfold the puff pastry and place on 2 parchment lined baking sheets. Sprinkle with the cheese and scatter the leeks and bacon over the tops. Bake until the pastry is golden brown and crisp, about 25 minutes. I even rotated mine halfway through. Cool and cut into squares. Serve at room temperature.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Two Bit Wonders

I feel like I have to make all of my new cookie recipes from the King Arthur Cookie Companion because there is a seemingly endless amount of cookie recipes. This one was so easy and I have some friends that love coconut. If you love coconut MAKE THESE. Three words, SUPER SWEET CHEWY. I happen to love coconut and I am restraining myself to not eat every single one of these. It's very hard. They really are just 2 ingredients. 2 super yummy ingredients:coconut and sweetened condensed milk. The recipe suggests unsweetened coconut, but I only had sweetened on hand and it is a bit of a sugar overload however, very delicious and I'm not complaining.

I am also making my favorite rolled sugar cookies for Easter tomorrow...it's tradition.

Two Bit Wonders

5oz or 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk (small can)

6-8 oz unsweetened coconut. About 2 cups(heaping cups)

*Make sure that you use enough coconut. I ended up adding more because the sweetened condensed milk was baking all flat around the edges of the cookies. It took me a couple of times to get it right. They should bake into little mounds.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease.
Mix together the sweetened condensed milk and the coconut in a medium sized bowl. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven for 13-14 minutes.

Cool on cookie sheet until set. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on a wire rack.

Makes 15 cookies.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Magic in the Middles

Can I say RICH? Another success from the King Arthur Cookie Companion. These are a definite must for the peanut butter-chocolate lovers. They are incredibly chocolatey and the peanut butter filling is soft and perfect. I don't know if I didn't cream them long enough because the dough was pretty dry and dense. They were a little tricky to shape around the peanut butter filling, but I just sort of mashed it in there. They also cracked around the edges when I flattened them. I'm not sure if that was supposed to happen or not. They are very yummy though and my 4 year old had fun helping me to fill them. I was impressed with her skills. She was doing as well as I was.

Magic in the Middles
from King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar (and extra for dipping)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
Preheat the oven to 375F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
To make the dough: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In another medium-sized mixing bowl beat together the sugars, butter, and peanut buuter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and the egg, beating to combine, then stir in the dry ingredients, blending well.
To make the filling:
In a small bowl, stir together the peanut butter and confectioner's sugar until smooth. Roll the filling into 26 one-inch balls. (I used a hand mixer to combine)
To shape the cookies:
Break off about 1 table spoon of the dough (It's about 1 level tlbs), make an indentation in the center with your finger, and press one of the peanut butter balls into the indentation.

Bring the dough up and over the filling, pressing it closed; roll the cookie in the palms of your hand to smooth it out. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
Dip the top of each cookie in granulated sugar and place on the prepared baking sheets about 2inces apart., Grease the bottom of a drinking glass and flatteneach cookie to about 1/2 inch thick.
Bake the cookies for 7-9 minutes, until they're set. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Chocolate Chunk Ranger Cookies

I took an incredible recipe and made it even more incredible, these were probably the best cookies I had ever made so they're definately worth trying!

Prep: 25 minutes
Bake: 8 minutes
Oven: 375 degrees F
Makes: 48 cookies

1/2 c butter, softened
1/2 c granulated sugar (I used splenda)
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c wheat flour
1 c quick oats
1 c coconut
1 c (or more) bittersweet chocolate (I took a block and broke it into chunks)
In a large mixing bowl beat butter on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar (or splenda), brown sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Beat until combined. Beat in egg and vanila until combined. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in remaining flour. Stir in rolled oats, coconut, and chocolate.
Drop dough by 1/8 c drops onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes or until golden around the edges. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely....Be ready to induldge in complete yumminess!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Raspberry Strips

I have been completely neglecting my little baking blog. The things I have been baking have just been some old favorites and a few new things. I also have some recipes saved up so I think I will start there. With Valentine's Day fast approaching I thought these would make a great treat. These were really good and not too sweet either. You can't pass on the glaze though or they will be nothing special (my sister tried making them without it). I love jam cookies too, especially raspberry jam cookies. They make a wonderful bite sized treat.

Raspberry Strips

1/3 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg white
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
1/3 cup raspberry or apricot preserves
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375°.
Beat granulated sugar and butter with a mixer at medium speed until well-blended (about 5 minutes). Add 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla and egg white; beat well. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture, stirring until well-blended. (Dough will be stiff.)
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Roll each portion into a 12-inch log. Place logs 3 inches apart on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Form a 1/2-inch-deep indentation down the length of each log using an index finger or end of a wooden spoon. Spoon preserves into the center. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove logs to a cutting board.
Combine powdered sugar, lemon juice, and almond extract; stir well with a whisk. Drizzle sugar mixture over warm logs. Immediately cut each log diagonally into 12 slices. (Do not separate slices.) Cool 10 minutes; separate slices. Transfer slices to wire racks. Cool completely.

Friday, January 18, 2008

KA Flour Essential Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I haven't posted in awhile. I was in the post-Christmas baking exhaustion. I know that I have posted so many chocolate chip cookie recipes, but they are all so different. These are wonderful. For Christmas I got the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion. I love the book because it has "essential recipes" for making chewy, crunchy, cakey, etc. baked goods. They also have instructional reads for making cookies such as what exactly is creaming and it gives some tips on how to shape cookies and it has a list of essential tools for excellent cookie making. I haven't been able to tackle but this one recipe so far, but I have already made them twice! I wanted to try these because they have 2 things I have never seen in a chocolate chip cookie recipe before and those are vinegar and corn syrup. These cookies were more cakey to me than chewy. I guess the vinegar gives them a "lift." But what is different is that yes they are cakey, but they are very moist and not in the least bit crumbly. I would say they are a perfect medium. They are DELICIOUS and definitely different from other chocolate chip cookies.

King Arthur Flour Essential Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
3/4 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon cider vinegar or white vinegar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease(or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
In a medium-sized bowl, cream together the butter, sugars, corn syrup, and vinegar, then beat in the eggs. Beat in the vanilla, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir in the flour and chocolate chips.
Drop by tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, until they're just set; the centers may still look a bit underdone. Remove them from the oven, and transfer to a wire rack to cool.