Monday, November 11, 2013

Iced Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I thought I would post another pumpkin recipe since this is the time of year when I go a little crazy for anything pumpkin.

This recipe comes from Nestle. They make really good kinds of chocolate chips in my opinion. I especially love their mini chocolate chips because they are great for muffins (like these Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins) and don't sink to the bottom like the regular sized ones.

Iced Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies from: Nestle

2 1/4  cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar (I use 1/2 cup regular sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar)
1 can pumpkin (15 ounces)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla
12 ounce package of chocolate chips

1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or grease them. Mix the flour through the salt together. In a separate bowl-use a mixer to combine the butter and sugar. Add in the pumpkin, eggs and vanilla. Mix in the dry ingredients well and then the chocolate chips. Use a tablespoon of dough for each cookie. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool completely and frost with glaze. The recipe says this makes about 5 1/2 dozen. I get about 4 dozen.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Moist Pumpkin Cake with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

Wow was this good! I think it is the only pumpkin cake I have ever made and I don't think there is a reason to look for another.

The recipe comes from the Lick the Bowl Good blog (which is another awesome blog name). This site has many good recipes and great photos also. She just came out with a cookbook, which I am going to have to order soon.

Moist Pumpkin Cake with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting from: Lick the Bowl Good
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree

1/2 cup butter, softened
8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup honey

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9 inch square cake pan. Mix the dry ingredients together (flour, soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice) and whisk until combined. In a separate, large bowl-mix the all of the remaining ingredients together with a whisk. Once well mixed, add the dry ingredients. Pour into the pan and bake 45 to 50 minutes (do the toothpick test). Cool the cake completely. Mix the frosting ingredients together with a beater (or a whisk,but I prefer the beater)and frost the cake. Make sure you store this in the fridge. It's really dense straight from the fridge and so good!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Spicy Chickpea Salad

This is a recipe my husband and I make often on the weekends and have for lunch. It's quick and easy to put together and very filling.

The recipe doesn't call for tomatoes, but I think that adds some good flavor and color to it.

Spicy Chickpea Salad from: The Sweets Life             
1-2 cloves or 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 heaping teaspoon of whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon agave or honey
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup diced red onion (white or sweet yellow onions work here to)
1 jalapeno, seeded (or not-we like some of the seeds left in) and diced
zest and juice from half of a lemon
1 avocado, diced
1 teaspoon dried parsley-I forget this a lot!
2 cups spinach, chopped
1/2 to 1 cup diced tomatoes or halved grape tomatoes
more salt to taste
1/3 cup salted cashew (optional, but really good)

 In a large bowl-mix the first 7 ingredients together well. You can use a whisk or even just whip it a bit with a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the salt. Mix well and add more salt if necessary. Top with cashews if using.

 Printable Recipe

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake with Whipped Vanilla Frosting

I made this for my oldest son's birthday this year. It tasted like a soft Oreo. I imagine that is what an Oreo Cakester tastes like, but I have never eaten one of those. I actually made this cake twice because I forgot to add the baking soda. Don't do that unless you want your cakes to resemble hockey pucks. My husband was nice enough to go to the store to get me more chocolate. Luckily he saved me from a bit of a meltdown. My son turned 21 at Midnight on Saturday and I told him it would be okay if he wanted to come another day to have his birthday dinner. He was sweet and still wanted to come over! I love that boy! I would have totally understood.

This cake was very moist and came from the Daisy Brand website. I have to admit that their sour cream is one of my favorites. I don't eat sour cream much anymore but when I bake with it, I tend to use this brand. The vanilla icing is from the Sweetopia Blog. I cut down the recipe and used 2/3 since I didn't ice the sides. I love icing so I wasn't sure how I would like this cakes without the sides iced. It was great. The cake is so moist.

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake From: Daisy Brand Website
3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil (I use canola)
1 large egg
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1 cup of brown sugar (I use dark brown sugar)
1/2 cup of sugar
2  1 ounce squares of semi sweet chocolate, melted (I use Baker's and for this recipe I used one semi sweet square and one unsweetened)
2 cups of flour
2/3 cup cocoa
1 cup of warm water
1 tablespoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup of sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 eight inch round cake pans. Beat the first 5 ingredients together in a large bowl until well mixed. Add the melted chocolate and mix. Add half the flour, the cocoa, half the water, the baking soda and salt. Once that is mixed together well, add the remaining flour and water and beat another 2 minutes. Add the sour cream and pour into the cake pans. Bake 30-35 minutes (until a toothpick comes out clean). My oven took the full 35 minutes. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then on wire racks.

Whipped Vanilla Frosting From: Sweetapolita
1 cup of butter, softened and cubed
2 cups of powdered sugar
2 tablespoons of milk
2 teaspoons of vanilla

Beat the butter for 8 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat another 6 minutes with your mixer. Frost and assemble your cake. The ingredients for the frosting are the same I have always used for vanilla frosting, but beating the butter and then the ingredients together for what I consider a long time really does fluff up this frosting. It's worth the extra effort!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Corn, Avocado, Tomato Salad

If you like sweet corn at all, you will love this salad. We changed the ingredients up a bit to fit what we had. Plus we aren't crazy about cilantro, but have basil coming out our ears!

It is a refreshing salad, that is quick to fix on a hot summer day.

Corn, Avocado, Tomato Salad From: The Girl Who Ate Everything (and originally-Paula Deen)
2 cups of fresh corn (cut off the cob and blanch in boiling water for 3-4 minutes)
1 avocado, diced
1-2 cups of grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 cup diced red onion or sweet white onion

2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh basil, sliced thinly
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper

Blanch the corn and  run under cool water while in a strainer. In a large bowl mix the corn, avocado, tomatoes and onion. In a small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad, mixing well to combine. You can chill this for an hour or two. The two times we have made it, we have eaten it right away and there were no leftovers to refrigerate. It's that good!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Blackberry Pie with Hazelnut Glaze

If I had to name a pie as my favorite, this would be it!

I found this recipe years ago in a magazine. I think it was Good Housekeeping, but I am not positive.

Blackberry Pie with Hazelnut Glaze
4 cup of frozen or fresh blackberries (I always use frozen)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp lemon zest ( I also squeeze the juice from half of a lemon into the pie ingredients when I add the zest)

Pastry for a double crust pie (from Pampered Chef)
2 cups flour
1/2 tablespoon of sugar
3/4 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup shortening
1 small egg, beaten (I use a large egg and just get rid of a 1/2 to 1 tbsp of it)
1/2 tablespoon of white vinegar
1/4 cup of water

Sift or whisk the flour, sugar and salt together. Cut in the shortening until course crumbs form. Mix the beaten egg, vinegar and water together and then add to the flour mixture. Mix until the dough forms into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Divide dough into 2 and roll out the top and bottom crusts on a lightly floured surface.

Hazelnut Glaze:
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons of half and half or light cream ( I have used whole milk before)
1/3 cup chopped, toasted hazelnuts

Make your pastry first. you could use store bought but homemade is so much better! Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Frozen blackberries should thaw about 15 to 30 minutes at room temperature. Combine sugar, flour and lemon zest,. Add the blackberries and lemon juice if using. Put mixture into the bottom crust of the pie. Add the top crust and add slits for the air to escape. Cover the edges so they don't over brown. Bake 50 minutes for frozen berries (25 for fresh). remove the covering on the edges and bake another 20-30 minutes (20-25 for fresh). Make the glaze by mixing the brown sugar and half and half in a small sauce pan. Cook on low until the sugar melts. Stir in the hazelnuts and pour over the hot pie, just out of the oven. Let cool til room temperature.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Raspberry Jam Bars

These could really be called raspberry, strawberry, apricot, or blackberry jam bars. Any kind of jam you prefer. I need to make some boysenberry ones for my Mom the next time I go to our hometown. She loves that kind of jam. When I was younger my oldest brother's wife would send us 12 jars of jam from Knot's Berry Farms for Christmas. We loved to open that package when it came. There was always boysenberry jam in there.

See that delicious ribbon of jam in the middle? I am not sure where this recipe came from but I got it from my sister Rose and she also gave me another version to use if you don't have a cake mix. My favorite cake mix to use for this is the French Vanilla. I am crazy about vanilla and the flavor really comes through if you use this. Any white or yellow mix will do though, with good results.

Raspberry Jam Bars
1 white or yellow box of cake mix
2 1/2 cups of quick oats
3/4 cup melted butter
10 to 12 ounce jar of raspberry or and type of jam you like
1 tablespoon of water

Preheat the oven to 375 degree. Mix the cake, oats and butter together into coarse crumbs. Press 3 cups of the mixture into the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan firmly. Combine the jam and the water and spread over the cake/oats mixture. Sprinkle the rest of the crumbles over the jam and pat down a bit to even out. Cook for 20-22 minutes. It will start to turn golden. Cool completely and cut into bars.

Here's the version if you don't have a cake mix:
Jam Bars
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
3/4 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 cups of quick oats
1 10 to 12 ounce jar of jam/preserves
1 tablespoon of water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix the butter and brown sugar together. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, salt and oats together. Add the butter mixture until coarse crumbs form. Press half of the mixture into the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan firmly. Combine the jam and the water and spread over the crumble mixture. Sprinkle the rest of the crumbles over the jam and pat down a bit to even out. Cook for 20-22 minutes. It will start to turn golden. Cool completely and cut into bars.