Monday, November 29, 2010

Chocolate Caramel Espresso Cookies.

Today I bring you a new recipe that just might have landed a permanent spot on my Annual Christmas Baking List.  Who doesn't love the combination of chocolate and caramel?  Add a hint of coffee?  Bliss.  These brownie-like cookies looked perfect from the moment I spotted the recipe and haven't let me down yet (I've already eaten two of them.)  The cookies are fairly simple to make, but do require a mini muffin pan.  Wish I had two.

 Chocolate Caramel Espresso Cookies.
(adapted from Land o' Lakes)

1 tablespoon chocolate milk (white would also work)
1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee mix
1 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup dry baking cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 package rolos (48-60 pieces unwrapped)

1/2 teaspoon instant coffee mix
1-2 tablespoons water
1 cup powdered sugar

Combine milk and coffee mix in a small bowl then set aside.  Combine butter and sugars.  Beat until creamy.  Add dissolved coffee mix mixture and eggs.  Beat until well mixed.  Slowly add flour, cocoa, and baking soda.  With lightly floured hands, shape dough into 48-60 small balls (about the same size you would make for drop cookies). Place balls into lightly greased mini muffin tin. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 7 to 8 minutes or until puffed and set. Remove from oven and immediately press 1 candy into each cookie. Cool 10 minutes in the pan and then remove, placing on a cooling rack until completely cool.

Dissolve coffee mix into water in small bowl. Stir in powdered sugar (and more water if necessary) until you reach desired glazing consistency. Drizzle over completely cooled cookies.

Package in an air-tight container before you eat them all!  

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Apple Bean Bake

It seems as though whenever an exam or assignment is due I tend to shift my focus to baking and cooking instead. Therefore, with an exam this coming Monday, rather than studying I have spent the last hour sorting through and debating on which of the many recipes I want to post. (Holly - there are a few you may still want me to share!) After asking for my husbands input the conclusion was to share the infamous APPLE BEAN BAKE. This is a recipe from my Aunt Nina who has been one of many to help provide me with so many simple, quick and tasty recipes these last 2 years of nursing school in order to keep my husband and my tummy satisfied! I do apologize I have no picture to go with this, but am now craving it so if I bake it this week I will see if Holly can add a photo for me!!!

1 can Randall Beans (48oz) - DO NOT drain - can be found at Piggly Wiggly/Walmart
3 cups sliced Granny Smith apples
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon salt
6 slices of bacon (or more if you LOVE bacon like I do!)

1. In skillet melt butter. Add apples and cook until tender

2. Add brown and white sugar, stirring until sugar is melted

3. Stir in cinnamon, salt, ketchup and molasses

4. Add beans and mix well, then set mixture aside

5. Cut bacon into small pieces and fry (or fry and then break into pieces - whichever you prefer)

6. Add bacon to apple mixture and pour into a 2 quart casserole dish - (If you'd like and the smell is too good to avoid, scoop a few teaspoonfuls out for tasting - but it may make you go crazy waiting for it to bake the next hour!)

7. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 1 hour - (I place a few pieces of foil under the dish incase the juices bubble over)

8. Scoop and enjoy! Tastes great the next day reheated or cold

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Nutter Butter Balls--Kaiti's version

My friend Gwen has turned me on to the amazing combination of peanut butter and chocolate. I have been obsessed since our friendship started a few years ago. So, when Holly asked me to be a guest blogger I immediately started brainstorming as to what I could share with everyone. I wanted something simple, timeless, and of course delicious!

Gwen has an amazing recipe for Peanut Butter Balls that she makes on our annual "Baking Day," however,  I needed to make it my own. With the help of a recipe from Bakerella, Nutter Butter Balls was born.

Nutter Butter Balls

1 package of Nutter Butter cookies
1 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
2 scoops of peanut butter, I used crunchy but creamy would work too
8 oz melted chocolate

1. Put all but 5 Nutter Butter cookies in a food processor. Save for later to garnish, although I ate mine too fast for that step!

2. Combine the crumbs and softened cream cheese in a bowl. Mix together. My KitchenAid came in handy or use the back of a spoon to make sure the crumbs and cream cheese are mixed well.

3. This is where I tasted it and decided it needed more peanut butter! I added 2 scoops of peanut butter and mixed again.

4. Roll into balls and place on a cookie sheet. I then put them in the freezer for a few minutes to make sure they were firm enough to hold up the melted chocolate.

5. Meanwhile, melt chocolate. I put the chocolate squares in the microwave for 15 second intervals and stirred.

6. Drop the Nutter Butter balls into the melted chocolate and place on a cookie sheet. Once all the balls are coated in chocolate I put them back in the freezer.

7. Enjoy and I challenge you to eat just one!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Slow Cooked Turkey Breast.

This year I wasn't sure if my husband would make it to the family Thanksgiving feast so I decided our anniversary supper (this year falling the day before Thanksgiving) would be a  feast of our own.  I was up to the challenge - both of cooking the meal and eating the meal (two days of Thanksgiving in a row? ok!)

Where I come from turkey is boneless and skinless (my mom says this isn't true, but it seems to be the only thing that ever makes its way into my home... intentionality).  I knew I was at risk for a dry and tasteless turkey by going the boneless, skinless breast route, but I was bound to prove wrong.  Brine?  I did a bunch of research and that seemed to be the answer to not having dry turkey. 

Timing was another important factor.  I had the day off of work so it was easy to find time to make the jello and cranberry citrus relish.  I was able to put together the green bean casserole and get the potatoes prepared for boiling.  I decided to cheat on the stuffing so there was time for that...but I would be helping my husband on the farm during the prime "putting the meat in the oven time" so that we can eat and still make it to Thanksgiving mass on time.  Slow cooker?  This seemed to be the answer.

The result?  Sooo delicious.  Better than I would have ever guessed!

Slow Cooked Turkey Breast
(recipe by me after reading lots and lots and lots of recipes)
3-5 pounds brined (see below) turkey breast meat (skinless & boneless)
3 stalks celery (chopped)
1 apple (chopped with seeds removed)
1/2 can chicken broth
3 teaspoons dried garlic
1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary
1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
(combined all seasonings for use)

1/4 cup table salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
6 cups cold water
1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary
1/2 tablespoon dried thyme

Dissolve the salt and sugar into the water.  Add rosemary and thyme.  Place turkey breast into water - ensuring all meat is covered.  Brine overnight or 8-10 hours.

Place chicken broth, celery, and apple in the bottom of a small slow cooker.  Remove each turkey breast from brine, rinse with water, pat dry, rub with olive oil and seasoning.  Place turkey is slow cooker.  Cook on low for 6 hours.

Serve turkey breast without the apple and celery (mine just turned to mush and I really only used them to get another level of flavor in the final product).

You will be amazed at how tasteful and juicy the turkey is!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving & The Twelve Guest Bloggers of Christmas - Version 2.

Happy Thanksgiving!

And's time!  With Thanksgiving underway we can safely begin the journey of holiday baking!  And with that I bring you The Twelve Guest Bloggers of Christmas - Version 2.  I selected these ladies for their love of creating and the fact that good things come from their kitchens.

Kara.  Childhood friend who shares my love of decorating, entertaining, and creating things.  And to top it off she's got a cute little man to keep her busy.

Michelle K.  Keeps her husband fed with home cooked meals while enduring nursing school.  I can wait for her to graduate to see what she'll cook when she isn't buried in the books!

Kaiti.  Recently discovered that Kaiti's love for the kitchen and I'm excited to see what she's baking.  And her dog could be my dog's brother.  They're cute dogs!

Nicole.  Returning for Version 2 with a newly remodeled kitchen!  I might be more excited than her that she'll have a "real" kitchen to work in this holiday season.  And last year's treats?  Yum!

Michelle B.  I love knowing that other young people preserve their's garden's bounty. Salsa.  Tomato sauce.

Beth.  Keeps me interested with her use of organic and natural products.  And zucchini blossoms.  I know, right?  Best veggie pizza I ever made.

Nora.  College friend who shares my love of homemade bread, family time, and early mornings.  Facebook post at 0230 asking what to bake says it all!

Julie.  Between the two of us I bet we cook for 25 people each weekend!  The best part?  She makes cakes.  Cakes with buttercream frosting.  Cakes with pretty decorations.

Robyn.  Also returning for Version 2!  Last year's salad has become a favorite in our house!  Can't wait to see what she'll come up with this year!

Janet.  My godmother will also return for Version 2.  Last year's cookie is a favorite in our family and this year I hear she has a good gingerbread recipe that I'm hoping she shares!

Nana.  Joining for the first time will be my grandmother!  I'm not sure if her computer is working right now, but we'll get her connected to bring you one of her tried and true holiday dishes!

Mom.  It wouldn't be The Twelve Guest Bloggers of Christmas on Mom Taught Us without a post from mom.  The women who taught us to bake like crazy and Christmas time and throughout the year.  The one who taught us to entertain and enjoy time spent in the kitchen.

Over the next month or so these ladies will take time to share a holiday recipe.  I'm excited to see what they have to offer and know that I'll be scratching some of my "planned baking" off my list and making additions based on what they share.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Amazing Mushrooms.

I debated add this recipe today because I don't have a picture...but with any luck you will all make these and when you eat them you will forget that there was no picture!

This recipe comes from my cousin and her in-laws to be.  I've decided there is nothing better to call the recipe than Amazing Mushrooms.  They. Are. That. Good.  I must warn:  eat in moderation...if you can!  

Amazing Mushrooms
(recipe from my cousin Kasey)
1 package whole mushrooms (small sized mushrooms)
1 stick butter
1 package dry italian seasoning

Combine all ingredients in a crock pot.  Allow to cook down for about an hour.  Serve warm.

That's it.  That easy.  And that good.  I bet after reading the ingredient list you know why I warn that you will want to eat in moderation!  Mmm..butter!  As a dairy farmer's wife - I say - eat more butter!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Peppermint Mocha Pudding Cookies & A Holiday Announcement.

I like peppermint on a very limited basis.  That being said, one of my limited likes is a peppermint mocha from the local coffee shop.  Yum!  (I need to wait until after Thankgiving though - currently enjoying the pumpkin spice lattes!)  

I did not wait to begin my Christmas baking though!  My garage is turning into a freezer so I figured I would  take advantage of that and get a head start on the cooking making...which brings me back to peppermint mocha...this time in cookie form!  

I was first introduced to this concept from Heidi as part of our annual cookie exchange.  Heidi makes hers as variation of the "A Twist from The Ordinary" recipe, but I can never get mine to turn out like hers.  That was...until I developed my own version.

Peppermint Mocha Pudding Cookies
(recipe by Holly)

2 sticks butter
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 small package sugar-free chocolate fudge pudding mix
1 small package sugar-free vanilla pudding mix
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 package Andes Creme De Methe or Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips

Beat butter and sugar.  Add dry pudding mixes and beat until blended.  Add eggs and mix well.  Add flour and baking soda and stir until blended.  Stir in baking chips.

Drop by tablespoon on baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Cool and enjoy!

...and now, my holiday announcement...

This year we'll continue The Twelve Guest Bloggers of Christmas.  I'm so excited to see what these ladies have to share!  Keep a watch this week for a list of participants!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Holidays Already?

I cannot believe that Thanksgiving is next week.  Maybe that's because we've had mild weather?

This does mean that it is time for be to get cracking on my holiday baking plans.  I need lists of who gets the goods, what the goods will be, and what I need to make the goods.  This excites me!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole.

I picked up some fresh cabbage from a farmer's stand with ideas of making coleslaw.  Once I got home I realized I had way more cabbage than I actually needed for said coleslaw.  The thought of cabbage roles was enticing, but I knew my husband would not be impressed and honestly it just seemed like a lot of work.  My alternative?  Unstuffed Cabbage.

Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole
(adapted from Taste of Home)
6 cups cabbage (chopped)
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion (chopped)
1 medium green pepper (chopped)
1 cup uncooked instant rice
1 cup water
2 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 quart diced tomatoes
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon worchestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic

Brown beef with onion and green pepper over medium heat until beef is cooked through.  Transfer to a large slow cooker.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours. 

I know the list of ingredients is long, but this does go together quickly.  It can be used as a main dish or a sidedish.  I suggest serving it as the main course with a side of fresh bread.  Nothing beats a side of fresh bread - especially when it's still warm from baking!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pumpkin Bars with Caramel & Maple Frosting.

If you guessed the frosting portion of this recipe is what got my immediately interested - you're right!  The frosting is amazing but I do warm: it is really really really sweet.  The pumpkin bar offsets it some and makes for a great overall flavor.

The original recipe is from Amandeleine.  She goes one step further and sprinkles bacon over the top of the frosting.  I intended on making these for a church social and wasn't sure I would get a good response with the bacon.  I went with pecans instead.  Honestly, I'm not sure I'm ready for the bacon mixed with sweets yet myself.  If you're brave, go with the original recipe...if you are just looking for some pumpkin bars with an amazing caramel with my version!

Pumpkin Bars with Caramel & Maple Frosting
(adapted from Amandeleine)

Pumpkin Cake
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon seasalt
15 ounce can of pumpkin (or equivalent in fresh pumpkin)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 stick butter (melted)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine flour, soda, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl.  Set aside.  Beat together the pumpkin, sugars, egg, melted butter, and vanilla.  Slowly add flour mixture.  Spread evenly in a greased 9x13 baking dish.  Bake for 20-25 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Caramel Maple Frosting
2 sticks butter
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup maple syrup
4 ounces cream cheese (cut into 1 ounce pieces)

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add sugar and mix until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Increase heat to bring mixture to a boil.  Allow to boil about 2 minutes - stirring the whole time.  Add the maple syrup, bring back to a boil, and stir until mixture thickens.  Transport mixture to stand mixer bowl.  Beat on medium-high until the bowl is no longer hot to the touch and the the mixture and thickened more.  One ounce at a time, add cream cheese - beating until smooth in between each ounce.

Frost cooled cake with frosting.  Sprinkle with pecans.  Serve!