Monday, November 5, 2012

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I have made these once before but I think the recipe I used was a Paula Deen recipe. This time I used the one off the McCormick website. They make great extracts! They turned out great and made plenty. I was able to send everyone home from a party with some.

Red Velvet Cupcakes from: McCormick Website
2 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of butter, softened (I used unsalted)
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 bottle of red food coloring (I just used a big dollop of gel coloring)
2 teaspoons of vanilla

1 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons of sour cream
2 teaspoons of vanilla
16 ounces of powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the flour through the salt together. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add sour cream, milk, food coloring and vanilla. Slowly add in dry ingredients just until blended. I used my 1/4 cup ice cream scoop to fill 30 lined muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes (until a toothpick comes out clean). Cool in pan for a few minutes, then remove and cool completely.
Make the frosting by mixing the cream cheese and butter until blended, then add the sour cream and vanilla. (the website says to mix the 1st 4 ingredients together, but this didn't work as well for me and I was mixing like crazy to get a few lumps out) Add the powdered sugar slowly. Frost your cupcakes. I used a Wilton's 1M frosting tip in a ziplock to get the swirls. I love the swirls! I was a little leery of the sour cream in the frosting. I have never heard of adding this, but the frosting was really good. I kind of wonder if it cuts the sweetness down a bit. Refrigerate the leftovers. I thought refrigerating these made them more dense and I liked that.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Halloween pillow and popcorn

I wish I would have gotten more into Halloween this year. It's just been so cold and dreary! I did make this  pillow though.

Sad that this was the only decoration I actually had out. I didn't even ask anyone to help me get the decorations from the attic.

I started with this shirt my husband decided he couldn't stand to wear anymore. When I first thought about making a pillow out this shirt, I was thinking of sewing a pumpkin on. A black cat would be cute also.
I got this template off the Country Living website. I think I enlarged their template 144% to get the size I wanted. I pinned it like crazy and sewed it with my sewing machine. Hand sewing would also work. The back of the pillow has the button front of the shirt so it is easy to cover a pillow I already have.

I also made this popcorn and forgot to take it to the adult dress up party we went to. I was too busy worrying about our costumes.

It is a cross of 2 recipes I saw on a couple of blogs. One for Candy "corn" popcorn at I Heart Nap Time and another for Payday caramel corn at Shugary Sweets. Both of these sites always have great ideas and I visit them often.

Tonight we have trick or treating in our town. Halloween was delayed because of Sandy. Luckily our area did not see much more then some rain and wind. My son did get a day off of school for it. I went to Kmart last night and bought all of my candy. I ended up not paying anything for the almost $22 bill. I was able to use my points and I still have a few dollars left over. Love that!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

I have seen a lot of recipes for this on other blogs. I used the recipe from Baking Blonde. My guys love cookie dough anything so this went over well.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars from: Baking Blonde

1 ½ cup graham cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons of melted butter
1 tablespoon of sugar
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Cookie Dough:
5 tablespoons of melted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons of sugar
dash of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla
¾ cup flour
1 cup mini chocolate chips

8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
¼ cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Extra mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter an 8x8 inch pan and then line with parchment paper extending over the sides. Butter the parchment paper. Mix the crust ingredients and press into the bottom of the pan. Bake 6 minutes and let cool. Mix the cookie dough ingredients together. Mix the cheesecake ingredients together with a mixer and pour over the crust. Drop the cookie dough by spoonful over the filling. Sprinkle with some extra mini chips and press them and the dough down into the filling a little. Bake for 30 minutes or until set. Cool and then refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Pizza

My youngest son loves this!

Thank goodness it is easy to make. I have to confess that the first time I made this, I somehow dropped the pan of hot pizza on the floor and had to remake almost the whole recipe. Major fail, but I am glad I had enough ingredients to make another batch. I am sure anyone that knows me at all would not be surprised as I am a major klutz. Now I need to learn how to drizzle melted chocolate artistically!

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Pizza from Taste of Home- Fancheon Resler

1 tube refrigerated cookie dough or 2 cups of my recipe for sugar cookies
8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
½ cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup chopped, unsalted peanuts
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 teaspoon of shortening

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Press the cookie dough onto an ungreased 14 inch pizza pan or a jelly roll pan works. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden. Beat the cream cheese and then add the eggs and sugar. Spread over the crust. Sprinkle with the peanuts and peanut chips. Bake another 15-18 minutes until the center is set. Cool 15 minutes. Melt the chocolate chips and the shortening together in the microwave. Drizzle over the pizza. I sometimes buy the chocolate and peanut butter bag of chips and either separate them by flavor or sprinkle half on the pizza and use half for the drizzle. Either way, you get the peanut/chocolate flavor and half opened bags of any flavor of chips are dangerous for me to have sitting around the house. Remember to refrigerate your leftovers.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Best Yet Sugar Cookies

I usually prefer frosted sugar cookies, but these ones are pretty tasty. My Mom got this recipe from someone in the PTA group at my grade school. That means I have been eating and/or making them a good 25 to 30 years! My Mom would alternate red and green sugar to roll them in for Christmas. Don't let the butter and oil in the recipe turn you off. It did freak me out at first and using 3/4 cup of oil works out also.  I think the combination is key to the texture of these cookies. I am sure the cream of tarter has something to do with it to. I have often used this recipe for the sugar cookie dough used for cookie pizzas. I think store bought dough tastes like baking soda.

Best Yet Sugar Cookies
2 sticks of butter or margarine
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup of oil ( I use canola, but vegetable is okay)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons of vanilla
5 cups of flour
2 teaspoons of baking soda
2 teaspoons of cream of tarter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and the sugar. Add the eggs, oil, salt and vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients together separately and then add to the wet mixture. Roll into balls and then into sugar. Place on a cookie sheet and flatten each cookie with a glass dipped in sugar. Bake until barely golden around the edges. 8-10 minutes. Makes about 10 dozen, depending on how large you make the cookies.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Couscous Cakes

These may not look like much, but they are one of my husband's favorite things to eat. We saw the recipe on Food network one cold weekend morning. I hardly watch any TV right now, but in the winter months I like to wake up weekend mornings with some of the food shows and DYI on HGTV. Lots of coffee with the occasional shot of Irish Cream or Kahlua are usually in my hand. I think the show was 5 Ingredient Meals but I don't even know if it is still on. I liked it though. I am really not a fan of all of the challenge shows on that station. Show me something I can make myself and my family would like to eat. I don't need to see drama about making some cupcakes. Ugh! I changed the recipe a little to suit us and the kind of things we have in our pantry.

Couscous Cakes Adapted from: ClaireRobinson-foodnetwork

1 ¼ cups water
1 cup of couscous
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon of pepper
2 tablespoons of dried parsley
3 finely chopped green onions

In a medium pan bring the water and some salt to a boil. Add the couscous and oil. Cook for one minute. Turn off the heat and cover for 5 minutes. Stir the couscous to break it up and let if cool about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Beat the eggs together and add them and the rest of the ingredients. Shape into small cakes. I use my measuring cup for a 1/3 of a cup. Fry in about 2-3 tablespoons of olive or canola oil about 6 to 8 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels and serve. I always double the recipe and it feeds the 4 of us. We like these with Japanese mayonnaise, which is 2 heaping tablespoons of mayo, a squirt of lemon juice and a shot of hot sauce(Sriracha) or we just use spicy BBQ sauce.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

French Bread

This french bread recipe comes from a book my Mom gave me about 16 or 17 years ago when she was getting ready to move out of my childhood home.

The book is called Once-a-Month Cooking by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg. The book I had was the original 1986 edition. I wish I kept this book, but I must have been in a purging mood and got rid of it. That was most likely when we moved to PA from IL. It had some great ideas and I still make the granola and Balkan Meatballs recipe from this cookbook. I see there are newer additions out. I may have to pick one up. You can find it on Barnes & Noble's website.

French Bread from: Once-a-Month Cooking

3 cups warm water
1 package of yeast
3 tablespoons of sugar or honey
1 tablespoon of salt
7 ½ to 8 cups of all purpose or bread flour

Dissolve the yeast in one cup of warm water. Add the sugar and salt and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the additional 2 cups of warm water and 3 cups of flour. Add the rest of the flour a cup at a time. Knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes on a well floured surface. Grease a very large bowl and the top of the dough. Cover and let rise until the dough has almost tripled. Sometimes I make the dough before work and do the last rise when I get home.  You can shape into 4 baguettes or put into 3 ungreased 8x4 loaf pans (my lazy, preferred way). Let rise for another 45 minutes, covered. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and bake the loaves for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven to 350 degrees and bake another 30 to 35 minutes. Once I reduce the oven temperature, I lay a piece of foil over the tops of the loaves so they do not brown too much.  This is a nice, sturdy bread. I like to slice the extra and put it in a freezer bag. That way we can have homemade bread any night of the week. I just pop it into the microwave. It also makes great toast.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Basil Butter Garlic Bread

This bread was great on the grill! It is a good way to use up some of that basil in your garden.

The topping was easy to mix up in the food processor.

Spread it out on some soft, but chewy bread and bake, then broil, or grill.

Basil Butter Garlic Bread from: Two Peas & Their Pod

¼ cup butter
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
1/3 of a cup loosely packed parsley
2 cloves of garlic or to teaspoons of diced
1 green onion
salt and pepper (to your liking)
1 loaf of french bread or some focaccia is what I used
1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix the butter through the pepper together in the food processor. I am sure you could also just mix it all together in a bowl if you softened the butter just a little and finely chopped the basil, parsley and green onion. Sometimes the idea of cleaning that food processor bowl makes me think twice about using it. Cut apart the bread horizontally. Spread each half with the mixture. Put the halves back together and wrap in foil. Bake for 10 minutes. Unwrap and separate. Sprinkle with the cheese and broil until golden on top (2-5 minutes). I have also done this on the grill and just let the cheese melt on top. It gives the bread a good smokey flavor.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Coconut Macroons

I have always wanted to make these, but it took me a long time to finally get around to it. I used the recipe off the back of a bag of Baker's sweetened, shredded coconut.  The recipe is very simple to put together. If I visit our hometown in the Fall,  I am going to make sure to take some of these to my Mom. She told me she really likes coconut macaroons.  The Castles and Carriages blog has a great ideas of adding almonds to the cookie so it tastes like an Almond Joy when the bottoms are dipped in chocolate. You can't go wrong there!

Coconut Macaroons From: Baker's

1 14 ounce package of sweetened, flaked coconut
 2/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons of flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
4 egg whites
1 teaspoon of almond extract (or use vanilla instead)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Mix all of the ingredients together and drop tablespoon sized mounds on to parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake for about 20 minutes. Cool and dip bottoms or drizzle the tops with melted semi sweet baking chocolate or chips. This makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins

I can't believe it has been so long since I have made this recipe. I love these things. This is another recipe I got from my sister G. I know I have had the recipe for around 10 years, maybe longer. Every time I think of baking with zucchini, I think of making these before I think of anything else such as zucchini bread. I have no idea where this recipe originally came from.

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/2 to 3/4 cup mini or regular chocolate chips

Mix the flour through the cinnamon together in a bowl. In another bowl, mix the sugar, egg, oil, milk and lemon juice. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips. Bake in very well greased or lined muffin cups.

Note: This make one dozen muffins and they freeze very well in a freezer ziplock. The recipe also calls for 1/4 cup chopped walnut but I have never tried it with the nuts. Mini chocolate chips work well here, but I took a tip I heard somewhere ( some blog I can't remember) and mixed a tablespoon of the flour from the recipe with the regular sized chocolate chips before adding to the dough. It did seem to help keep them from all sinking to the bottom, like they had in the past. I also sprinkled a few chips on top of each muffin. Makes them look even better to me, plus more chocolate is always good!

Linking up to Sweets for a Saturday and Breakfast Ideas Monday

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Irish Car Bombs

I am not big on drinking alcohol, but cooking with it is another story! And this recipe has 3 different kinds. I think I say that every time I cook with alcohol! I got this recipe from Brown Eyed Baker. I was eyeing it for a while and ended up baking them with a friend. The recipe make 24, so we both had plenty to share with our families.

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes From: Brown Eyed Baker

1 cup Guinness Stout
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
3/4 teaspoon of salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

Ganache Filling
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used semisweet)
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons of butter, softened
2 teaspoons Irish whiskey

2 cups butter, softened
5 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream

Cupcakes-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 cups with cupcake liners. Put Guinness and butter in a sauce pan over medium heat and heat to a simmer. Whisk in the cocoa until smooth. Cool slightly.
Whisk the flour, sugar, soda and salt together. In another large bowl-mix the eggs and sour cream together. Add the Guinness mixture to the eggs and then add the flour mixture and beat briefly. Use a rubber spatula to fold the batter until combined. Put the batter in the liners and bake about 17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on rack.
Ganache-chop the chocolate and put it in a heat proof bowl. Heat the cream to a simmer and then pour over the chocolate. Let sit for a minute and stir until smooth. Add in the butter and whiskey. Let cool until thickened but still able to be piped. Use the bottom of a large decorating tip to cut out the centers of the cupcakes about 2/3 of the way down. Pipe the ganache into the holes, level with the top of the cupcake.
Frosting-Whip/beat the butter on medium speed for 5 minutes. Slowly add in the powdered sugar and then the Bailey's. Turn the mixer up higher and whip another 2-3 minutes. Use a decorator's tip to pipe the frosting into a swirl. Use sprinkles immediately after piping. I stored these in the fridge in an airtight container.

Linking up with: Sweets for a Saturday

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Lemon Bundt Cake

If you like lemon, then you will love this moist cake. It's from the March 2006 Good Housekeeping magazine. Thanks to Michael Ann at The Big Green Bowl for the heads up on where this recipe came from. I tried to find this on the the magazine's website, but I couldn't get it to come up. I have made it several times now. I would love to make it every week. It is that good!

Lemon Bundt Cake From: Good Housekeeping
3 lemons
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla
3 cups of flour
3/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 cup buttermilk

2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 ounces of cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

For the Cake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grate 2 tablespoons of lemon peel and squeeze out 3 tablespoons of juice (and another 2 tablespoons for the frosting). Set aside. Mix the butter and sugar together. Beat in the eggs one at a time on low. Add the vanilla. Separately mix the flour, salt and baking soda together and add to the butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Fold in the 2 tablespoons of peel and the 3 tablespoons of juice. Bake in a well greased and floured bundt pan for 60-70 minutes. Cool in the pan 15 minutes and then on a rack.

For the frosting. Cream the butter and cream cheese together and slowly add the sugar until smooth. Add in the vanilla and lemon juice, beating on high until fluffy. Frost the cake.

Linking up to: Sweets for a Saturday

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Vanilla-Caramel Ice Cream

I made this for a birthday. It was the first time I used eggs to make homemade ice cream and I was scared I would mess it up. It was easy and turned out so creamy.
First I cooked the custard on the stove.

I baked sweetened condensed milk for the caramel. I heard you can boil the cans, but I have also heard horror stories of exploding cans. Since I tend to get easily distracted, I thought I would go the safer route. The recipe comes from the Blue Eyed Bakers blog and they call it Dulce de Leche Ice Cream. That's a little too fancy for me! Ha! This vanilla ice cream would be a great base for all kinds of mix-ins.

Vanilla-Caramel Ice Cream from: Blue-Eyed Bakers
14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk

3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup whole milk

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Pour the condensed milk into a glass pan (I actually used a medal pie pan and it was fine) and cover tightly with foil. Place the pan in a larger pan and fill half way up the smaller pan with boiling water. Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, checking water occasionally to make sure there is plenty in there. Allow to cool and whisk until smooth. Store in the fridge until ready to use. This can be softened in the microwave if necessary.

For the custard-In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks through the vanilla together. Pour the milk and cream into a small sauce pan and heat over low until hot but not boiling. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom of the pan so it doesn't stick. Slowly stir the hot mixture into the eggs and whisk until smooth. Put the custard back into the pan and cook over medium heat until thick and it bubbles around the edges. This will coat the back of the spoon and you will see that it has thickened some. Strain through a fine mesh sieve/strainer. Cover and chill the mixture overnight. Put into your ice cream maker. Mine is a Cuisinart and it takes about 30 minutes to process. Stop the machine and mix in dollops of the caramel mixture. Freeze for a few hours. If you are like us though, it will not get that much time before it is eaten.

Linking up to: Sweets for a Saturday

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Italian Cream Cake

This was a very sweet cake! I have seen the recipe on many blogs. I found it in the book: Southern Classic Desserts from the editors at Southern Living. I don't get their magazine in the mail, but I often borrow them from the library. They always have such good recipes.

Italian Cream Cake from: Classic Southern Desserts/Southern Living
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon of vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 cup buttermilk (or sour milk)
1 cup sweetened coconut

1 cup chopped pecans
1 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon of vanilla
1 16 ounce package of powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3 9 inch round cake pans. Cream the butter and shortening together. Add in the sugar and then the egg yolks, one at a time. Add vanilla. Mix the flour and baking soda together in a separate bowl. Alternately mix the flour into the butter mixture with the buttermilk. Begin and end with the flour. Add the coconut.  Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form and carefully fold them into the batter. Pour the mixture into the prepared pans. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

Toast the pecans for 8-10 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Cool. Mix the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the vanilla and then add the sugar slowly. Once there are no lumps, you can stir in the pecans. Frost your cake!

Linking up to: Sweets for a Saturday

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Wingless Buffalo Chicken Pizza

This is a recipe I found on Food Network years ago after watching Racheal Ray make it on 30 Minute Meals. I really missed it when we weren't eating any meat around here. This makes 2 pizzas or 1 very loaded pizza.

Wingless Buffalo Chicken Pizza by Racheal Ray/Food Network

3/4 to 1 pound of chicken breast, cooked and shredded
2 teaspoons grill seasoning-McCormick Montreal Seasoning is recommended
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons of hot sauce
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
3 to 4 green onions, thinly sliced
2 balls of pizza dough (store bought or homemade)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Roll the dough out on the pans. I like to pre-bake my dough for 5-8 minutes before adding the toppings. Mix the chicken through the tomato sauce and spread evenly on the pizza dough. Sprinkle on both cheeses and the green onions. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden or to your liking.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Potato Pancakes

I never had potato pancakes growing up. We had hash brown. My husband did but they were made of mashed, not shredded potatoes. He says these are a lot better. This is an easy recipe to mix up and fry.

Potato Pancakes Adapted from: Betty Crocker's Cookbook
3 medium baking potatoes, peeled and shredded
2 eggs
1/8 to 1/4 cup of onion
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried parsley

Mix all of the ingredients together. Heat a skillet ( I use my cast iron skillet) with 2 to 3 tablespoons of vegetable or canola oil. Make sure the oil is hot before adding the batter. Use 1/4 to 1/3 cup of batter for each pancake. Cook 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. I always  make these in 2 batches. You will have to add oil each time you start a new batch. This makes about 8 pancakes.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce

We love cheesecake. The recipe for this cheesecake comes from Mel's Kitchen Cafe and the raspberry puree from Baking and Boys. The puree would also be good swirled into the cheesecake before baking.

The Ultimate Cheesecake from: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

3 cups (40 squares)ground graham crackers
2 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted

16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla
zest of 1 lemon
2 cups sour cream

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Mix the crust ingredients together. Press onto the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of a 10 inch springform pan that has been lightly greased. Refrigerate while making the filling.
Beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar then the eggs one at a time. Stir in the vanilla and zest. Blend in sour cream, but don't over stir. Pour into the crust. Bake 50-55 minutes. It will jiggle slightly. Loosen the sides and let cool 30 minutes. Chill for 4 hours.

Raspberry Puree From: Baking and Boys

2 cups of frozen raspberries, thawed
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of lemon juice

Mash all of the ingredients together. Strain with a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds. Pour over cheesecake right before serving. A little lemon zest would also be good in this.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Browned Butter Frosted Sugar Cookies

These are rich cookies. The recipe comes from Your Homebased Mom blog. She has a lot of tasty recipes and tons of great party ideas.

A funny thing happened when I made these and took them to a party. I thought we were leaving so I set our stuff out in the yard near the gate. The leftover cookies were wrapped with plastic wrap and sitting on a cooler. We ended up staying longer and it started raining. A couple of hours later, I found the plate and the plastic wrap on the ground and no cookies. The 2 golden retrievers there had eaten all of them. Oops! I bet they had a stomachache the next day.

Brown Butter Cookies From: Your Homebased Mom

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons  vanilla
2 1/3 cups flour

1/2 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup heavy cream or half n half

Mix the butter and sugar, then add in the egg yolks, salt, baking soda and vanilla. Stir in the flour. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and chill the balls for 1 hour in the fridge.  Press the balls of dough flat with a glass dipped in sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes (lightly golden) on an ungreased cookie sheet. Cool.

For the frosting: Brown the butter over medium heat, stirring until golden brown with flecks. Cool slightly and add the rest of the ingredients. Beat until creamy. Frost your cookies.

Linking up to: Sweets for a Saturday

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Biscotti

This was so good.

Biscotti can be a little time consuming, but I always think it is worth it when I make it. This recipe comes from Annie's Eats. It was devoured by my biscotti loving husband and my peanut butter crazy sons.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Biscotti From: Annie's Eats

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
6 tablespoons of butter, softened
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla
3 large eggs
1 cup of mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. In an separate bowl mix the butter, peanut butter and sugar together. Add the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time. Slowly add the flour mixture. Stir in the mini chips. Shape the dough into 2 logs about 11x3 each. Keep about 3 inches apart. They will spread. Bake for 30 minutes. Take the logs out and let them cool for about 10 minutes (or 10 seconds if you are me).Slice diagonally about 1/2 an inch thick. Lay on there sides and bake for 20 to 25 minutes more. Turn them over once during this baking time for even browning.  Cool or eat them straight from the oven, so you can burn your tongue like my husband does every time I make cookies. Ha!

Linking up to: Sweets for a Saturday

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Pumpkin Scones

I love anything that has pumpkin in it and who doesn't like a good scone? I guess these are supposed to be like the ones at Starbuck's, but since I hate their coffee and think they are over priced, I have rarely been there.  This is another good recipe from Anna at Cookie Madness

Pumpkin Scones From: Cookie Madness

2 cups of flour
7 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
6 tablespoons of butter, cold
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3 tablespoons of half and half or cream
1 egg

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons of milk

Spiced Icing
2 tablespoons of butter, melted
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons of milk
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of round nutmeg
Pinch of ground ginger
Pinch of ground cloves

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Mix the flour through the spices together. Cut in the butter until you have coarse crumbs. Separately mix the pumpkin, half and half and egg together. Add the dry mixture into the pumpkin mixture until it forms a ball. Pat the dough on a floured surface into a 1 inch thick circle or rectangle and cut into 6 triangles. Bake on a parchment lined cookie sheet for 14-16 minutes. Cool.
Mix the glaze and brush on the cooled scones. Allow the glaze to set. Mix all of the icing ingredients together and drizzle over the scones and allow to set.

Linking up to: Breakfast Ideas Monday and Sweets for a Saturday

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Baker's One Bowl Brownies

These are my new favorite brownies. I have been making cocoa brownies for years and love them. With these, I don't even need the frosting I usually put on. These are thick, moist and a little chewy.

Baker's One Bowl Brownies From: Kraft

4 squares of unsweetened chocolate (4 ounces)
3/4 cup of butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 cup of flour
1 cup of chocolate chips or chopped nuts (or both!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13x9 pan with foil and grease the foil with shortening or cooking spray. In a glass bowl, melt the chocolate and butter together about 2 minutes in the microwave or over a double boiler. Mix until smooth. Add the sugar and then the eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour and the chocolate chips or nuts if using. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until a few crumbs come out on a toothpick. Cool and cut.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Carrot Cake

I have been wanting carrot cake for months now. Having people over was the perfect excuse to make it. This is moist without being too greasy, as I have heard some carrot cake recipes can be. I did use a little less oil than the recipe. The recipe comes from my Family Circle magazine from the November 1, 2011 issue. As soon as I saw the recipe, I ripped it out to make. It only took me 6 months to actually make it.

Carrot Cake:

2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup oil ( I used 1 cup)
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 large carrots, finely shredded (1 1/2 cups)
1  8 ounce can of crushed pineapple (do not drain the juices)
1/2  to 1 cup of chopped walnuts ( I used 1/2 cup)

16 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (4 tbsp) butter, softened
3 cups of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 3 cake pans with shortening or cooking spray. Line with wax or parchment paper and grease that to.

In a bowl, whisk the flour through the salt. In a separate bowl, mix the the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. I just mixed the batter with a spoon. Slowly add the flour mixture. Stir in the carrots, pineapple (with juices) and the walnuts. Divide batter between the 3 pans. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Toothpick will come out clean. Cool cakes. Mix the cream cheese and butter with a mixer. Add the vanilla and then slowly add the powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Frost the cake and refrigerate for 1 hour or more until set. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Linking up to: Sweets for a Saturday

Monday, May 7, 2012

Lemon Bars

One of the desserts I made for our Cinco de Mayo party was lemon bars. I love them and it's nice to have something a little lighter in taste when you are also serving brownies and carrot cake. This recipe comes from the Taste of Home Baking Book. Etta Soucy from AZ contributed this one.

Lemon Bars

1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of lemon zest

Extra powdered sugar for sprinkling on top (about 2 tablespoons)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the 1 cup of flour, the butter and 1/4 cup of  powdered sugar together. It will be coarse and crumbly. Pat into the bottom of an 8 inch square pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Mix the rest of the ingredients together (eggs through lemon zest) and pour over the crust. Bake 20-25 minutes longer. Mine took 20 minutes. Cool the bars and then sprinkle with the powdered sugar. 

Linking up to: Sweets for a Saturday

Sunday, May 6, 2012

White Wine Sangria

At a St.Patrick's Party this year, we decided to throw a Cinco de Mayo party with the neighbor next door. We both have fire pits and enjoy sitting out by them on the weekends. I am not much of a drinker, but I have been seeing sangria recipes for years and have always wanted to try making some. I choose a white wine recipe because I like white wine much better than red. I pinned this recipe a while back when we started planning for our party.

White Wine Sangria  From:

1 bottle of white wine ( I used Pinot Gris)
2/3 cup of sugar
3 oranges, sliced
1 lime, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
1/2 a liter of ginger ale

Mix the wine and sugar together. Add the sliced fruit, squeezing them some to release juices into the wine. Refrigerate overnight or all day and add the ginger ale just before serving.

And just because I think they are so pretty-here are some flowers from my yard.
I love these small Irises my sister from CT brought me a couple of years ago when she was passing through on the way to our hometown.
I forgot what these are above, but 2 of the nurses I worked with gave me these when I left my previous job. I have a ton of hostas in my yard. The person that lived here before me must have been hosta crazy. I have moved and divided a lot of them and given a few to my neighbor. I have grown to love them. I used to not like them very much. I am thinking of getting some butterfly bushes soon, but first I must get my vegetable garden planted.