Friday, October 31, 2008

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

This was an award-winning recipe so I thought I'd see what the fuss was about. With the addition of pudding mix, which you can't taste by the way, the cookies stay really soft. I thought of my sister who loves cookies when I made these so hopefully she'll try it!

2  cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
4 tbsp. white sugar
1 package of vanilla pudding mix
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In a large bowl cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips. Bake for 10-12 min. in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown. *Be sure not to overcook these cookies. 

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

So now that you have all these leftover, soggy, strained cranberries, it would be a waste to simply throw them away. Instead make cranberry sauce with them! I'm not a huge fan of cranberry sauce to be honest...all I think of when I hear it is that horrible canned, jellyish substance that wiggles. This sauce is actually really good. I added cinnamon and a little lemon juice to mine and it's superb! Here is a link to a website if you need some ideas of ways to use cranberry sauce.

3/4 lb. of frozen or fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice

Put all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with a paper towel. Cook for 3 min. Stir, then cook for another 3 min. Add cinnamon and lemon juice. 

Fresh Cranberry Spiced Tea

Yes I soon as I change the title to "Just Desserts" I put a recipe for cider/tea on here, but it's sweet enough to be a dessert. Not only does it make your kitchen fragrant with a nice spicy aroma, but it also tastes incredible. Just make sure and remember that the cranberries have to sit in the water for until cold, which takes a while. I recommend letting them sit overnight. 

3/4 lb. fresh or frozen cranberries (I actually used dried cranberries)
9 cups cold water
2 cups orange juice
2 & 1/2 cups pineapple juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cups white sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. whole cloves
1 tsp. whole allspice

Place the cranberries and water into a large pot. Bring to a boil and cook just until the berries pop, about 5 min. Remove from heat and let stand at room temperature until cold, several hours. (I let mine sit overnight).
Strain out the cranberries and stir the orange juice, pineapple juice, lemon juice, and sugar into the liquid. Add the cinnamon stick, whole cloves, and allspice. Bring to a low boil. It's ready to serve at this point, but it's even better if you allow it to sit overnight. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Deluxe Chocolate Marshmallow Bars

Imagine a light chocolate cake with a marshmallow creme filling, topped with crunchy chocolate-peanut buttery rice cereal. These base of these bars isn't too heavy so it keeps these from being overpowered by chocolate. The reason the ingredient amounts are so weird is that I adjusted the serving size from 36 to 22, which is enough to fit in a 12 X 8 pan (a little small than the usual cake pan, though the original recipe calls for a 15 x 10 x 1).

1/3 cup + 2 tbsp. margarine or  butter, softened
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp. & 2 tsp. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup + 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. + 2 and 1/2 tsp. baking cocoa (I added a little more, plus a little bit of Hershey's syrup b/c I  didn't think it tasted chocolatey enough)
2 and 1/3 cups + 2 tbsp. mini marshmallows
3/4 cup + 1 tbsp. semisweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp. + 2 and 1/2 tsp. butter or margarine
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp. +2 tsp. peanut butter
1 and 1/4 cups crisp rice cereal

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until fluffy. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa; add to creamed mixture. Spread in a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x -in. pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 min. (Mine took an extra 10 min.) Sprinkle marshmallows evenly over cake; return to oven for 2 to 3 min. Using a knife dipped in water, spread the melted marshmallows even only the cake. Cool. For topping, combine chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until melted and well blended. Remove from heat; stir in cereal. Spread over bars immediately. Chill. 

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Brickle Candy

 This candy is good b/c it's salty, sweet, and not really hard. It almost has a toffee-like flavor in the caramel. I actually used whole wheat saltines in mine, but you can use graham crackers too.

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 package saltine crackers
1 12 ounce package milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Lay out crackers on the cookie sheet. Melt the butter, brown sugar, and baking soda on a low heat. Stir constantly so it won't foam. Boil until a light brown/caramel color. Pour mixture over the crackers. Scatter the chocolate chips over the mixture. Cook for 10 min. When it comes out use a spatula to spread out the melted chocolate chips to form a coating. Put in the freezer for a few min. Remove and break into pieces.

Friday, October 24, 2008

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake


2 cups Oreo cookies, finely ground
3 tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
10 ounces raspberries, thawed
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup water
2 cups white chocolate chips
1/2 cup half-in-half
24 ounces cream cheese, softened (3 packages)
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place a large baking sheet with edges into oven w/ 1/2 inch water in it. In a medium bowl combine cookie crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Press onto the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap the bottom of pan w/ aluminum foil.
In a medium saucepan combine raspberries, 2 tbsp. sugar, cornstarch, and water. Bring to a boil and continue boiling until sauce thickens, approximately 5 min. Strain sauce to remove seeds.
In a double boiler (or microwave oven) melt the white chocolate chips and half-in-half, stirring until smooth.
In a large boil mix together the cream cheese and 2 tbsp. of sugar until smooth. Add eggs on at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and melted chocolate. Pour half of mixture over crust. Spoon 3 tbsp. of raspberry sauce over the top. Pour the remaining cream cheese mixture into the pan. Spoon 4 more tbsp. of raspberry sauce over the top (you can use the remaining sauce to serve).
Place springform pan in water in the oven. Bake for 60 min. or until filling is set. Turn oven off, open door halfway, and let sit for 30 min. Remove from oven and cool. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours. Serve with remaining raspberry sauce. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Chocolate Covered Chocolate Chip Cookies

I randomly thought of this recipe last night. It looks like a truffle or bon bon, but it's actually a chocolate chip cookie.

Chocolate Covered Chocolate Chip Cookies

Refrigerated cookie dough (you can make your own)
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips (I combine both)
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

Cook the dough in little round balls and take them out as soon as they're about to turn brown. Once you get them out of the oven mold the each dough piece into a round ball (you might want to use latex gloves). Set in freezer for a few minutes.
Melt the chocolate and evenly coat the dough balls. Decorate with whatever sprinkles or candies you have on hand.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Snickers Candy Bar

This recipe actually came from a diet recipe blog. Each bar/serving has 200 calories just in case you wanted to know, but you'd think it had so much more. These literally taste like a cold Snickers candy bar.

Snickers Candy Bar

3/4 cup crunchy of creamy peanut butter (I used crunchy)
2 cups milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme
1/4 cup butter
1 (14 ounce) package caramels
1 1/2 cups salted or unsalted peanuts, chopped
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Melt together 1 cup milk chocolate chips, 1/4 cup butterscotch chips, and 1/4 cup peanut butter. Spread this mixture on the bottom of a 9  x 13 cake pan and put in the refrigerator or freezer to set up while the next layer is prepared.
Boil together the butter, sugar, and evaporated milk for about 5 min. Take off the stove add the marshmallow creme, 1/4 cup peanut butter, vanilla, and peanuts. Pour over the first layer that was chilling, then place back in the freezer.
Melt the caramels with the whipping cream until smooth, then pour over the second layer that is chilling; place back in the freezer. 
Melt together the remaining peanut butter, milk chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips, then spread on the top of the third layer in the pan. Return to chill until set up. Refrigerator them after.

Just the Beginning

As I stumbled upon a delicious recipe online at a random site, so began my addiction with searching the internet for amazing and new dessert recipes. Sure I can cook, but baking is so much more fun. I must admit that I MUST have a picture of whatever I'm going to prepare because it gives me the incentive to make it. Thus being said I've collected a lot (it's ridiculous actually) of recipes I have bookmark alphabetical order. I know I can go a bit overboard at times, but hey just go with me. The first recipe I made is carmel popcorn balls (it's also festive too since Halloween is almost here) at the request of my dad. I don't like carmel popcorn myself, but I thought these were fantastic. The homemade caramel tastes completely different than the regular stick and hard kind. Hope you enjoy!

Caramel Popcorn Balls
1 bag of microwavable popcorn
1/4 cup butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
 1/2 cup light corn syrup
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Pop the popcorn and set aside. In a medium saucepan with a candy thermometer inserted, combine butter, sugar, and corn syrup. Stir well and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir in condensed milk; simmer, stirring constantly, until thermometer reads 238 degrees F (114 degrees C). Stir in vanilla.
Pour caramel over popped corn and stir to coat. Let it cool for a few minutes. Shape into balls of desired size, but wet your hands before to prevent them from sticking. Place on wax or parchment paper.