Monday, December 24, 2012

Sweet and Spicy Curried Nuts

1 Pound walnuts, halves 
1 Pound cashews 
1 Pound pecans 
1 Pound almonds, whole 
1 Tablespoon cumin, ground 
1 Teaspoon ginger, ground 
1 Teaspoon curry powder, sweet 
1 Teaspoons pepper, cayenne 
1/4 Cup sugar, white 
2 Teaspoons salt, Kosher 
1/4 Cup oil, canola 

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

In a pan heat the oil and with all the spices on low heat and stir for about 2 minutes until they’re aromatic. 

Pour the mixture over the nuts and add the sugar and salt. Mix well. 

Spread the nuts in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. 

Cool completely.Pack them in small air tight jars!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Pecan Pie Bars

1 Cup Crisco, butter-flavored sticks 
2/3 Cups sugar, dark brown, packed 
2 2/3 Cups flour, all-purpose 
1/2 tsp salt, table 
1/2 Cup butter, unsalted 
1 Cup sugar, dark brown, packed 
1/3 Cup honey 
2 Tbls cream, heavy 
2 Cups pecans chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line your 9 x 13 pan with tin foil, leaving a 2 inch overhang on all sides. 

To make the crust, cream together butter and dark brown sugar until light and fluffy. Then add in the flour and salt until mixture is crumbly. 

Pour the crust mixture into the lined pan and press into an even layer. Bake for 20 minutes until nice and golden brown. 

Remove and set aside. Keep oven temperature. 

While the crust bakes, in a medium stockpot, melt butter, dark brown sugar, honey, and heavy cream. Bring to a boil then turn the heat down to a low simmer and pour the pecans in and stir to combine. 

When crust is ready, pour pecan mixture over the entire crust, using a spatula to make it a smooth, even layer. 

Return pan to oven and bake for another 20 minutes. 

When done, remove from oven and let cool completely before cutting into bars. 

Use the foil to lift out the bars and place on cutting board to slice. Peel down the foil sides and slice with a very sharp knife for a clean edge. 

Store in airtight container for up to 5 days.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Cinnamon Sugared Walnuts

1 Pound walnuts, halves 
1 1/2 Cup sugar, white 
1 Cup milk, 2% 
2 Teaspoons cinnamon, ground 
1/2 Teaspoon salt, table 
1 Teaspoon extract, vanilla 

In a saucepan combine the sugar, milk, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk over medium high heat until all of the ingredients are combined completely, then stop stirring and bring to a boil. Boil the mixture gently until it reaches 235-245 degrees (soft ball stage) on a candy thermometer, about 15 minutes. I actually reached 240 for mine. 

Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Add walnuts working as quickly as possible to coat them all. 

Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Break apart any big chunks and allow to cool completely.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cookies 'n Cream Cookies

1/2 Cup Crisco, butter-flavored sticks 
6 Tbls sugar, white 
6 Tbls sugar, light brown, packed 
1 Large egg, whole 
1 tsp extract, vanilla 
1 1/4 Cup flour, all-purpose 
1/2 tsp baking soda 
1/2 tsp salt, table 
12 Each cookies, oreos broken into small pieces

Preheat the over to 350 degrees. 

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). 

Add egg and vanilla and beat until well mixed. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. 

With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet until just combined. 

Gently fold in Oreo pieces. 

With a medium cookie scoop, scoop dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet about 1-2 inches apart. 

Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the edges JUST start to brown. Let cool on baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 Cups flour, all-purpose 
2 1/2 Tbls cocoa powder (unsweetened) 
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch 
3/4 tsp baking soda 
1/2 tsp salt, table 
13 Tbls Crisco, butter-flavored sticks 
1 1/2 Cup sugar, white 
1 Large egg, whole 
1 Large egg yolk 
1 1/2 tsp vinegar, white 
1/2 Tbls extract, vanilla 
1 Tbls food coloring, red 
1 1/3 Cup chocolate chips, white 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking soda and salt, set aside. Add butter, shortening and sugar to the bowl of an electric stand mixer and mix on medium speed until very pale and fluffy about 4 minutes. 

Add egg and egg yolk and mix until combine. Add vinegar, vanilla and food coloring and mix until well blended. Slowly add in dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Mix in white chocolate chips. 

Scoop dough out by the heaping tablespoonfuls (about 1 1/2 Tbsp) and roll into balls and place on buttered or Silpat lined cookie sheets. Gently press about 6 white chocolate chips into the top of each cookie, being careful not to flatten the cookies (if you do flatten them a bit just reshape them to the height they had before adding the chips) and bake in preheated oven 8 - 9 minutes. Allow to cool several minutes on baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool. 

Store cookies in an airtight container.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Baked Crunchy Lemon Dijon Chicken

Yields 4 servings 

2 Cups breadcrumbs, panko 
1/2 Cup cheese, parmesan, grated 
2 Large lemon zested
1 Tablespoon thyme, fresh 
1/2 Cup butter melted
3 Tablespoons mustard, dijon 
4 8-ozs chicken breast, boneless, skinless

In a shallow bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, zest and thyme leaves. Dip chicken in butter (or egg whites) mixed with Dijon, then roll in breadcrumb mixture to coat. Place in a greased 9x13 baking dish. 

Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 45 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes
Yields 24

2 1/2 Cups flour, cake
1 3/4 Cup sugar, white
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt, table
3 Large egg, whole beaten
1 Cup oil, vegetable
8 Ounce(wt)s sour cream
1 Cup juice, orange
1 Tbls zest, orange
1 1/2 tsp extract, vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Line two (12-count) muffin tins with liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry cupcake ingredients: flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Using a hand mixer, work in the wet ingredients: eggs, vegetable oil, sour cream, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla extract.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin tins.

Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until slightly golden brown on top and a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Cool completely before frosting.

Orange Creamsicle Frosting:
8 Ounce(wt)s softened cheese, cream
1/2 Cup Crisco, butter-flavored sticks
1 tsp extract, vanilla
1 tsp extract, orange
5 Cups sifted sugar, powdered
2 tsp orange jello powder
1 Teaspoon zest, orange
1 to taste orange food coloring, optional

In a large bowl beat Crisco, cream cheese, gelatin, orange peel and extracts until light and fluffy. Add in powdered sugar until desired consistency is achieved. Mix in orange food coloring, if using. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Lemon-Blueberry Muffins

Lemon-Blueberry Muffins
From America's Test Kitchen
Yields 2 dozen

Lemon-Sugar Topping:
1/3 cup sugar
1 large lemon, zested

2 cups fresh blueberries, picked over
1 1/8 cups sugar, plus 1 tsp
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp table salt
2 large eggs
4 Tbls unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk(see note)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


FOR THE TOPPING: Stir together sugar and lemon zest in small bowl until combined; set aside.

FOR THE MUFFINS: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with spoon several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to ¼ cup, about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk remaining 1 1/8 cups sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. (Batter will be very lumpy with few spots of dry flour; do not overmix.)

Use ice cream scoop to divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly). Spoon teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter. Using chopstick or skewer, gently swirl berry filling into batter using figure-eight motion. Sprinkle lemon sugar evenly over muffins.

Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17 to 19 minutes, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes
Yields 24 cupcakes

1 Cup Crisco, butter-flavored sticks
2 Cups sugar, white
2 Large egg, whole
4 Large egg white
3 Cups flour, all-purpose
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 Cup cornstarch
1 1/2 Cup buttermilk, reduced-fat
1/4 Cup juice, lemon
1/2 Cup sour cream
2 Each lemons zested

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners.

Beat Crisco and sugar for 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl.

With your mixer on low, add eggs and egg whites one at a time until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of your bowl between each addition.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cornstarch.  In a liquid measuring cup, combine the buttermilk and lemon juice.

Alternate between adding your dry ingredients and wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.

Add sour cream and lemon zest and mix until combined.

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a cake tested (or toothpick) inserted comes out clean.  Remove from pan and let cool completely.

Frost with strawberry buttercream and garnish each with a straw.

Strawberry Buttercream:
1 Cup Crisco, butter-flavored sticks
1 tsp extract, vanilla
1 Tbls strawberry jello powder
5 Cups sugar, powdered
4 Tbls milk, skim

Beat Crisco for 2 minutes. Add vanilla and jello. Slowly add powdered sugar until desired consistency. Add milk and beat until desired consistency.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Graham Cupcakes with Key Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

Graham Cupcakes with Key Lime Cream Cheese Frosting
Yields 15 cupcakes

1 Cup flour, all-purpose
1/2 Cup cracker crumbs, graham plus extra for dusting
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt, table
1/2 Cup Crisco, butter-flavored
1 Cup sugar, white
2 Large egg, whole
1/2 tsp extract, vanilla
1/2 Cup milk, whole
Key Lime Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)
2 Large limes, sliced for garnish

Preheat over to 400 degrees.

Mix together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Beat butter with sugar until creamy - about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and then vanilla. Add half of flour mixture, milk and then remaining flour mixture and mix until just combined.

Pour into lined cupcake pans.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Let cool. Frost, dust with crumbs and top with a lime slice or wedge. 

Key Lime Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 Ounce(wt)s cheese, cream regular
1/2 Cup Crisco, butter-flavored
5 Cups sifted sugar, powdered
4 Tbls juice, key lime
1/2 tsp extract, lime

Beat butter and cream cheese in a mixer. Slowly add sugar until incorporated. Add lime juice and extract.  Refrigerate for 20 minutes before putting into a pipping bag.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Flourless Fudge Cookies

King Arthur Flour - how do I love thee, let me count the ways.

You sell flour, yet you provide the recipe for most delicious, flour-LESS concoction ever made.  Not only that, but this is truly gluten-free, so this covers the gluten-unhappy people and those trying to cut the carbs.  Love you.

Ultra-chewy, rich chocolate cookies with no added fat? And no gluten? Impossible! But it's true: these flourless chocolate cookies get their texture from egg whites, and their flavor from cocoa powder (which represents the only fat in the recipe). Plus they're easy to make:

Just stir together a few simple ingredients, scoop onto a pan, and bake for 8 minutes. You won't believe the delicious result.

Flourless Fudge Cookies
Yields 2 dozen

2 1/4 Cups sugar, powdered
1/4 tsp salt, table
1 Cup cocoa powder, Dutch-processed
3 Large egg white
2 tsp extract, vanilla gluten-free*
2 Cups chocolate chips, semisweet

Optional Ingredients:
1 Teaspoon coffee powder, instant

1) Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease two baking sheets. Or line with parchment, and grease the parchment.

2) Stir together all of the ingredients till smooth. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and stir again till smooth. Add chocolate chips.

3) Drop the soft, batter-like dough onto the prepared baking sheets in 1 1/2" circles; a tablespoon cookie scoop works well here.

4) Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes; they should spread, become somewhat shiny, and develop faintly crackly tops.

5) Remove the cookies from the oven, and allow them to cool right on the pan.  

My niece calls these ULTRA-Chocolate cookies! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hot Cocoa Cupcakes - January Birthdays

January Birthdays at work and time for a new cupcake creation...something wintery was the inspiration and after a lot of suggestions, I created the Hot Cocoa Cupcake. I'm sure tons of people have done similar things and I am not the first to do this - but this is my version. Enjoy!

Hot Cocoa Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream

Yields 18 cupcakes

1 Cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2 Cups water boiling
2 3/4 Cups flour, all-purpose sifted
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 Cup butter, unsalted softened
2 1/2 Cups sugar, white
4 Each egg, whole
1 1/2 tsp extract, vanilla
14 ounces marshmallow fluff
2 cups Crisco, white
4 cups sugar, powdered, sifted
2 Tbls milk
2 Tbls cocoa, sweetened or chocolate drink mix (like Nesquik)
54 mini marshmallows


In a medium bowl, combine cocoa with boiling water, mixing with whisk until smooth. Cool completely. Sift flour with soda, salt and baking powder.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease well and lightly flour three 9 inch layer cake pans. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla on high speed, about 5 minutes.

At low speed, beat in flour mixture in fourths, alternating with cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Do not overbeat.

Line muffin tins with cupcake papers. Dish cupcakes and bake for 20 minutes until toothpick insert into the center comes out clean.

Cool completely.

Meanwhile, beat Crisco and fluff on medium high until light and fluffy and well combined. Reduce speed to low, slowly add sifted powdered sugar until completely incorporated. Add milk until smooth and pipable.

Pipe cupcakes with icing. Sprinkle each with sweetened cocoa/drink mix and top with 3 mini marshmallows.