Monday, November 29, 2010

Malted Milk Bars

I was expecting a very different taste when I made these squares. I don't know what it was. I guess I thought using malted milk powder would make the squares taste like malted milk balls. But it didn't. I took these to a cousin weekend. We all thought it had a different flavor then we expected, but we couldn't stop eating them. I'm not trying to turn you off, they are quite delicious, just expect something a little different when you eat them. And then eat some more. And then go back for thirds.

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup malted milk powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 carton of malted milk balls

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Mix together the flour, malted milk powder, sugar and salt. Cut in the butter until crumbly. Press evenly onto the bottom of a 9 inch square pan. Bake the crust until golden brown, about 15 - 20 minutes.

Immediately scatter the chocolate chips over the top. Let stand for 5 minutes to soften, then spread them evenly over the crust. Sprinkle the malted milk balls over the top. Cool completely before serving.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ice Cream Peach Pie

My sister and her amazing family came to drop their daughter off at college. I love any excuse to cook and 8 extra mouths doesn't scare me. Typically, when trying to impress company (even family) I go for dessert with some type of chocolate involved. But not this time. Peaches and ice cream all wrapped up in a pie sounded too good to pass up. And even my sister said she usually doesn't love dessert if it doesn't involve chocolate. But she loved this. And so will you!

2 cups ground macaroon cookies
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups finely chopped peaches (I left the skin on and you couldn't tell when you ate it)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 large eggs
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a springform pan with non-stick spray.

Combine the crushed cookies, sugar and butter. Press into the prepared pan, going 1 1/2 inches up the sides. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes. Cool completely.

Combine the peaches, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and the lemon juice in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.

After 2 hours, drain the juice into another bowl and return the peaches to the refrigerator.

Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, a little at a time and whisk until completely blended. Pour in the cream and milk, whisk to blend. Add the peach juice and blend.

Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions. Just before the ice cream is done, add the peaches.

Wrap the springform pan with tin foil (the ice cream will leak a little). Pour the soft ice cream over the cooled crust and spread evenly. Immediately put in the freezer and let freeze for 4 or more hours. Make sure the ice cream is completely set before serving.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pumpkin Surprise

 Happy Thanksgiving!! I am not a fan of pumpkin pie - at all. But Pumpkin Surprise is melt in my mouth amazing. This is the dessert you make for anyone and everyone who doesn't like pumpkin pie. And I posted it soon enough you can still make it for your big feast today. I was introduced to it back in college. We had a potluck dessert meeting for one of my classes and a classmate brought this. I've made it every year since then. Thank you to whoever you are that gave me this recipe!

1 yellow or white cake mix (I've used both successfully and couldn't tell the difference)
1/2 cup melted butter
1 egg
1 30oz can pumpkin pie mix (not the plain pumpkin)
2/3 cup milk
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Take out 1 cup of the cake mix and set aside. With the remaining cake mix, combine with 1/2 cup melted butter. Add 1 egg and mix until smooth. Spread in the prepared pan. Set aside.

Mix the pumpkin pie mix with the milk and 2 eggs. Pour into the pan.

Mix the 1 cup of cake mix (that was set aside) with the sugar, butter and cinnamon. Mix until crumbly and sprinkle over the pumpkin mixture. Bake for 50 - 60 minutes.

Serve with whipped cream.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

You can't go through this time of year without pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Seriously! I think it would break a law somewhere, somehow. This is my favorite recipe I have found and tried through the years. My friend Christiana gave it to me after I sank my tastebuds into the amazingness of her cookies. They always turn out perfect for me and have the perfect pumpkin flavor. So enjoy!

1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 3/4 cup flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 3/4 cup plain pumpkin
1 cup chocolate chips (okay, I'll be honest - I use an entire bag)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Mix together the brown sugar and shortening. Add the eggs. Mix in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg until well blended, the dough will be crumbly. Add the pumpkin and mix until completely blended. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop by the Tablespoonful onto non-greased cookie sheets. Bake for 7 or 8 minutes, or until small cracks form on the top.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pumpkin Layer Cake

 Looking for some amazing pumpkin recipes for Thanksgiving?? I have some great recipes this week to share with you. So check back if this one isn't your style.

YUMMY! I forgot how delicious this cake is. It's perfect for this time of year too. The only thing I wish I would have done instead, that I did last time I made this cake, is ice only the middle and the top. Then melt caramels and drizzle it over the top so it runs down the sides. Not only does it look beautiful, but the caramel really brings out the pumpkin flavor.

1/2 cup oil
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pumpkin

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9inch round pans with nonstick cooking spray. 

Stir the oil and sugar together. Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. Add the pumpkin, mix until well combined. 

Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes. Cool for about 5 minutes and then remove from the pans. Cool completely on wire racks. Then frost.


BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

2 cups butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup milk
6 cups powdered sugar

Blend together until smooth. Add more powdered sugar if needed.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Southwestern Cream of Chicken Soup

I love soup. I mean, really love soup. I would eat it all the time, at least multiple times per week, but then my hubbie might not stay married to me. He is not a soup fan. It's a shame. But as long as I have yummy bread or something to go with it, and don't serve it too often, he never complains. With this soup, I gave him tortilla chips (one of his most favorite foods ever) and he was one happy man! Yeah for soup!

1 Tablespoon butter
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup diced onion
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
6 Tablespoons flour, divided
3 cups milk
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup quick cooking white rice
3 cups shredded pepper Jack cheese
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (I totally used canned chicken - I work full time)

Melt the butter in a large stockpot. Stir in the bell pepper, onion, garlic, chili powder and cumin. Cook the mixture over medium heat until the peppers soften, about 5 minutes.

Whisk in 3 Tablespoons of the flour to coat the vegetables, cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and chicken broth until smooth. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Stir in the rice and simmer for 15 minutes.

Combine the cheese and the remaining flour in a resealable plastic bag, toss to coat. Add the cheese, one handful at a time, stirring to melt completely before adding the next handful. Add the chicken, cook for 3 - 5 minutes more. Enjoy with bread or tortilla chips!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lemon Streusel Bars

I made these little guilty pleasures when my hubbie's family was in town. They were gone by breakfast! Or was it before we went to bed that night?? Oh, my mouth is watering just thinking about them. There was a constant flow of people heading to the kitchen to get another bite or two all night long. Or was that just me headed back again and again? I think I'm going to have to add these to my menu this week.

1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 cups (12oz package) white chocolate chips
2/3 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups oats (you can use regular or quick cooking)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon shortening (not butter)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 inch pan with non-stick spray.

Combine the condensed milk, lemon juice and lemon peel. Measure out 1/4 cup and 1/3 cup white chips; set aside. Add the remaining white chips to the lemon mixture. Set aside.

Beat the butter and brown sugar until well blended. Add the flour, oats, baking powder and salt. Blend well. Set aside 1 2/3 cups of the oat mixture. Add the egg to the remaining oats mixture, blending until crumbly. Press onto the bottom of the prepared pan.

Gently spoon the lemon mixture on top, spreading evenly.

Add the reserved 1/3 cup white chips to the reserved oat mixture. Sprinkle over the lemon layer, pressing down lightly.

Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Place the remaining 1/4 cup white chips and shortening in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds or until the chips are melted and the mixture is smooth. Drizzle over the top. Once they are cool, cut into squares and then give them all to your neighbors. That way you won't eat them all by breakfast.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cheesy Spinach

I'm always on the look out for new things to try with veggies. I'll admit, I totally need to eat more but sometimes veggies can be a little boring. And, even though I love squash, I can only get my hubbie to eat it so many times in a row. Then I was cleaning, or more organizing, my freezer and I found some frozen spinach. Hmmm...wonder what I originally bought that for? Well, I couldn't remember and my thoughts kept going to spinach artichoke dip. Well, that wasn't going to work for dinner, so I came up with this instead.

1/2 cup diced yellow onion
1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups cheese (I used Jack cheese)
1 - 10oz package of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed
2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon lemon zest, salt, and cayenne
2/3 cup bread crumbs
1 Tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 2 cup baking dish with non-stick spray.

Saute the onion in the butter until soft. Add the flour and stir to coat the onion, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Simmer the sauce for 1 minute. Stir in the cheese, a little at a time, until it melts and becomes smooth. Remove from the heat.

Add the spinach, Parmesan, zest, salt and cayenne. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.

Combine the bread crumbs and melted butter. Top the spinach with the mixture, pressing them to adhere. Place the dish on a baking sheet, and bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the crumbs are golden.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Nutter Butter Ice Cream

Arctic Circle, a fast food restaurant, has these Nutter Butter shakes that are to die for. But then they stopped making them. Rude! So I made my own version at home. I must admit, it wasn't as yummy, but we are comparing hard ice cream to soft serve that Arctic Circle had. The recipe is still totally worth sharing though.

2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk
1/3 cup peanut butter
crushed Nutter Butter cookies

Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended. Take out about 1 cup of the mixture and whisk the peanut butter into it. Add the peanut butter mixture to the first mixture and stir until well blended. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.

About 5 minutes before the ice cream is done, add the crushed cookies. Add as many as you like. That's how it rolls around here at least!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fettuccine with Peas, Asparagus, and Pancetta

I could not take a good picture of this dish to save my life. Too many colors and items all mixed together. But, it does not taste too busy, it's yum, yum, yummy! And a great way to eat some delicious veggies. Pancetta is Italian bacon and can be found in the deli. If you can't find it, you can easily substitute bacon in its place.

12 ounces of fettuccine or penne (I used tri-colored fettuccine)
3 ounces of pancetta
1 1/4 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups peas
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 Tablespoon parsley
1 Tablespoon basil

Cook the pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, cook the pancetta in a large skillet until crisp. Transfer to some paper towels to drain. Add the asparagus to the skillet, saute for 3 minutes. Add the peas and garlic, saute until the vegetables are crisp tender. Add all ingredients together and toss to coat evenly. Eat and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mini Cream Puffs

I forgot how easy cream puffs are to make. They seem so intricate and fancy to me. Not easy, whip up in just a few minutes. But trust me, they are. I prefer to fill cream puffs with pudding. To speed prep time up this time, I used box pudding, but, personally, I think they are even better with homemade pudding. I pipe the pudding into the puffs, rather than cut the top off and fill them. You can buy an injector attachment in the same place as decorating tips and then it's a snap to fill each one.

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
4 eggs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the water, butter and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a full boil. Turn the heat to low.

Stir in all the flour at one time, cooking over low heat, until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan and forms a ball. This takes about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon until smooth and velvety. Drop by scant teaspoons (the amount of dough should be quite small) onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Cool on a wire rack before filling. Once the puffs are filled, freeze until ready to serve.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cookie Monster Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

I just can't handle all of this adorable-ness!! These cookies turned out so cute and were loved, loved, loved at the birthday party. And the best part?? My hubbie decorated each and every one of them. Sugar cookies really are so versatile and can be made into pretty much anything. When I was thinking of what desserts I could make and incorporate the Cookie Monster theme, these cookies just had to be made. Plan in advance for these cookies though. They take one hour of refrigeration and the time of rolling out and cutting.

1 cup butter
1 cup shortening
1 cup of sour cream with 1 teaspoon of baking soda stirred into it
1 cup sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
2 eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cream of tarter
5 1/2 cups flour
buttercream frosting (recipe below)
mini marshmallows

Cream the butter, shortening, sugars and sour cream until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until combined. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough onto a flour surface and cut with a circle cookie cutter. (I actually used a glass as my cookie cutter!) Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Cool completely before decorating.

BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

2 sticks of butter
6 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
blue and black coloring - the gel kind

Mix all ingredients together until smooth. Make 2/3 of the frosting blue. Make the rest black.

Cover each cookie in blue frosting. Immediately push two mini marshmallows onto the cookie for eyes. Dot each marshmallow with black frosting to make googly eyes. Continue using the black frosting to make a mouth.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Peanut Butter Snicker Cookies

Don't ever make these cookies. They are just too delicious. They were the first thing gone at the birthday party. And when I say gone, I mean in the first few minutes. They are simple to make yet so sinfully wonderful. They just take one extra step - once you have the dough for one cookie, you wrap it around a mini Snicker candy. Then you bake it just like normal. Easy, quick and oh-so-amazing.

1 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 egg
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 bag of mini Snicker candy

Unwrap all the Snicker candy. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all the ingredients, except the candy, until completely combined. Take enough dough to make one cookie and wrap it around one Snicker candy. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

Let the cookies sit for a couple of minutes on the cookie sheet before moving them to a cooling rack. And then don't eat any. Not one. Cause you won't stop.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mini Cookie Monster Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

Aren't these little guys adorable! I used this recipe to make the Cookie Monster head for the cake, and the left over batter for these guys. I experimented with different ways to do the icing and found that starting in the middle and circling out was my favorite. You could either use black icing for a mouth or use cookies. Since I had leftover vanilla wafers from the cheesecakes, I used those. They were a huge hit at the birthday party.

1 1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla
6 eggs
3 Tablespoons oil
2/3 cup buttermilk
3 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
buttercream frosting (recipe below)
mini vanilla wafers (or you can use black frosting for the mouths)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with cupcake papers.

Cream the butter and sugar for 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time. Add the oil and buttermilk, mix well. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt just until combined.

Pour into the prepared muffin tins and bake for 17 - 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in comes out clean.

Cool completely before decorating.

BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

2 sticks of butter
6 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
coloring, if desired

Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Separate the frosting and make 2/3 of it blue, half of what is left white and the remaining black.

Starting in the middle and circling outward, cover each cupcake in blue frosting. Then put two small mounds of white frosting for the eyes. And top it off with two black dots for the googly eyes. Break a mini vanilla wafer in half and push into the cupcake for a mouth or make a mouth from black frosting.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mini Cheesecakes

These little cheesecakes are wonderful!! They whip together super fast and melt in your mouth. The only problem is, once you eat one, you keep on eating them. And honestly, I'm not a huge fan of heavy tasting cheesecake. There has to be some other kind of flavor with the cheesecake. But these little guys, I could eat them plain the flavor is so wonderful. But then top it with yummy pie filling and it gets even better.

2 - 8oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 can of pie filling
3 dozen mini vanilla wafers

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Put the mini cupcake papers in the muffin tins. Place one mini vanilla wafer in each paper.

Mix together the cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla until well blended. Fill each tin almost full and bake for 15 minutes.

While still hot, top with a dollop of pie filling. I used cherry and blueberry. Refrigerate until ready to serve.