Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Chocolate Pixies with Ganache Tops

Ingredients for Cookies:

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup unsweetened chocolate cocoa powder
2 cups white sugar
3 egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar for decoration
Directions for Cookies:
Melt butter and chocolate together over low heat or in the microwave, cool slightly Preheat oven to 350 degrees and Grease cookie sheets.

In a medium bowl, mix eggs, vanilla and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Stir in melted chocolate mixture. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt . Stir dry ingredients into the egg mixture by hand until well blended. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Shape rounded teaspoonfuls into balls and roll in confectioners' sugar. Place cookies 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until soft to touch.

Ganache Recipe:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream

Place the 8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat 3/4 cup of heavy cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring cream to a slow boil, pour over the chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Stir in the vanilla if desired. Allow the ganache to cool completely before spreading on the cookies.  For a fluffy frosting or chocolate filling, allow it to cool until thick, then whip with a whisk until light and fluffy.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Artichoke & Spinach Dip - Fully Loaded!

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
salt and pepper to taste
1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a small baking dish.
2.In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese, garlic, basil, garlic salt, salt and pepper. Gently stir in artichoke hearts and spinach.
3.Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake in the preheated oven 25 minutes, until bubbly and lightly browned.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers - Sausage Stuffed Mushroom - Dec. 24th

16 extra-large white mushrooms
5 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
2 1/2 tablespoons Marsala wine or medium sherry
3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from the casings
6 scallions, white and green parts, minced
2 garlic cloves minced
2/3 cup panko crumbs
5 ounces mascarpone cheese, (I used Blue Cheese)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


    Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
         Remove the stems from the mushrooms and chop them finely. Set aside. Place the mushroom caps in a shallow bowl and toss with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and Marsala. Set aside.
         Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage, crumbling it with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook the sausage for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until it's completely browned. Add the chopped mushroom stems and cook for 3 more minutes. Stir in the scallions and garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the panko crumbs, stirring to combine evenly with all the other ingredients. Finally, swirl in the mascarpone and continue cooking until the mascarpone has melted and made the sausage mixture creamy. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan, parsley, and season with salt and pepper, to taste, Cool slightly.
          Fill each mushroom generously with the sausage mixture. Arrange the mushrooms in a baking dish large enough to hold all the mushrooms in a snug single layer. Bake until the stuffing for 50 minutes, until the stuffing is browned and crusty.

    Thursday, December 24, 2009

    Poppy Seed Muffins

    2 C flour 
    1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp baking soda 
    1/4 tsp salt
     1 egg
    1/2 C sugar
    4 Tbsp melted butter
     1 1/4 C evaporated canned milk
    1 1/2 Tbsp poppy seeds 
    1 tsp of almond extract

    Preheat the oven to 350ºF, adjust a rack to the middle position. Spray a 12 cup regular size muffin tin with some nonstick spray.

    Whisk flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and poppy seeds in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Whisk egg, sugar, and almond extract together until combined, then whisk in the buttermilk and melted butter.

    Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour and fold to combine. There should be not large pockets of flour but small streaks may remain. Do not over mix. The batter will be fairly thick.

    Divide the batter evenly into the tin. Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (mine were done in 17 minutes). Flip the muffins out of the tin and cool them right side up on a cooling rack.

    Wednesday, December 23, 2009

    Buttermilk Biscuits

                     2 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
                    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
                   1 teaspoon baking powder
                  1 teaspoon salt
                 2 teaspoons oil
                 1 1/2 cups buttermilk 

    Sift the dry ingredients into a medium bowl. (A note on sifting: When I see the word "sift" in a cookbook, I immediately drag out my Pyrex measuring cup, measure all the dry ingredients into it, and just mix them lightly with the measuring spoon. After all, how do you "sift" cornmeal or whole wheat flour? And I hate washing the sifter!) Whether you sift or merely combine the flour and leavenings, work the shortening into them with a fork and quickly stir in the buttermilk. (Don't overdo it. Just moisten the whole mass. Lumps are fine.)
    Drop the batter onto a greased cookie sheet in big globs approximately an inch apart (this recipe makes about six large drop biscuits or several small ones). Bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 to 15 minutes, or until tops are a crusty golden brown.
    Actually, oven temperatures are never as important as they seem. After a year of adjusting to a wood stove (and feeling somewhat like an animal trainer — who's mastering whom?) I've found that the only rule is to stick the pan in when the oven's had some time to warm up, and take it out when the food's done. The batch never seems to be wrecked when it cooks "too fast" or "too slow." Sure it's a bummer when the biscuits take several minutes to bake, but they still taste like biscuits.

    Wednesday, December 16, 2009

    Christmas Scones

    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine or butter
    • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or
    • 1/4 cup sour cream
    • 1/4 cup orange juice
    • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
    • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease large cookie sheet. In cup, with fork, mix cinnamon and 1 tablespoon sugar; set aside.
    2. In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, and 1/4 cup sugar. With pastry blender or two knives used scissor-fashion, cut in margarine or butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in dried cranberries, sour cream, orange juice, orange & lemon peel just until ingredients are blended.
    3. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; with floured rolling pin, lightly roll dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut out scones with 3-inch star-shape cookie cutter. With pancake turner, place scones 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Press trimmings together; roll and cut as above. Sprinkle scones with cinnamon mixture.
    4. Bake scones 10 to 12 minutes until golden. Serve scones warm. Or cool scones on wire rack; wrap in single layer with foil. Just before serving, reheat if desired.

    Saturday, December 12, 2009

    The "Twelve Days of Christmas"....

    At our house we like to celebrate the "Twelve Days of Christmas" by doing random acts of kindness and service, starting on the 13th of December and then ending Christmas Eve. Each year our family does something different to celebrate the "Twelve Days of Christmas" and this year our our son is into learning how to bake bread. So we decided it would be fun to do the "Twelve Days of Christmas" Holiday Bread Style.... Starting Tomorrow and each day after (for 12 days of course) you will find a recipe for Holidays Breads. Please feel free to join in the fun and have a wonder Holiday Season......

    Thursday, December 10, 2009

    Barefoot Bloggers - Croissant Bread Pudding - Dec. 10th

    Bread Pudding has got to be one of my all time favorite desserts. I never really had it has a child, but as an adult and huge fan of the "Old English" style recipes, I learned very quickly that this dessert was very easy, very good and a great way to use up the not-so-kid friendly heels of loaves of bread. I have always made mine with bread and covered it with a light cream sauce, but when we moved to South Carolina, we discovered that the secret main stay of a good bread pudding was day old croissants and the White Chocolate Rum sauce that is drizzled over the top. SO.. in honor of my new Friends of the South and tribute to al the Barefoot Bloggers,  I give you my version of  Ina Garten's....

     Croissant Bread Pudding


    • 3 extra-large whole eggs
    • 8 extra-large egg yolks
    • 5 cups half-and-half
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    • 6 croissants, preferably stale, sliced horizontally
    • 1 cup raisins


    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
    In a medium bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, half-and-half, sugar, and vanilla. Set the custard mixture aside. Slice the croissants in half horizontally. In a 10 by 15 by 2 1/2-inch oval baking dish, distribute the bottoms of the sliced croissants, then add the raisins, then the tops of the croissants (brown side up), being sure the raisins are between the layers of croissants or they will burn while baking. Pour the custard over the croissants and allow to soak for 10 minutes, pressing down gently.
    Place the pan in a larger one filled with 1-inch of hot water. Cover the larger pan with aluminum foil, tenting the foil so it doesn't touch the pudding. Cut a few holes in the foil to allow steam to escape. Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 40 to 45 more minutes or until the pudding puffs up and the custard is set. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

    New.."From The Pantry" Challenge. Week #48

    "Cut Glass Salad"

    1 (3 ounce) box lime gelatin
    1 (3 ounce) box blue gelatin
    1 (3 ounce) box orange gelatin
    1 (3 ounce) box cherry gelatin
    2 (3 ounce) boxes lemon gelatin
    1 1/2 single packages graham crackers
    1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple
    1 large cool whip
    2 cups Whipped Cream (sweetened 1/4 of the sugar)

    Make each box of lime, blue, orange, cherry and 1 box of lemon gelatin according to package directions using 1 1/2 cups boiling water. Pour each flavor into a greased 8-inch square pan and chill in refrigerator until set. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes.

    Crush graham crackers and mix with margarine and 1/4 cup sugar. Save 1/2 cup of the graham cracker mixture and set aside. Press remaining graham cracker crumbs into bottom of a cold-cut keeper or 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

    Drain juice from crushed pineapple and add water to juice to make 1 cup. Dissolve the other box of lemon gelatin in 1 cup of warm water and add pineapple juice. Chill until almost set, will be chunky when stirred. Stir in pineapple.

    Fold together cool whip, whipped cream, lemon pineapple mixture. Next lightly fold in gelatin cubes. Stir easy as to not break up the gelatin cubes. Pour into prepared pan and sprinkle reserved 1/2 cup crumbs on top. Chill in refrigerator until set, at least 2 hours.

    Makes 10 to 12 servings.