Tuesday, November 25, 2008

White Chocolate Grapes

I found this recipe on allrecipes.com (here's the link http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/White-Chocolate-Grapes/Detail.aspx) This is definitely something everyone should try once. We had some grapes in the refrigerator which I knew would go bad soon, so I found this recipe. Obviously if you aren't a huge fan of grapes I don't recommend this recipe, but I found the white chocolate/peanut combination with the grapes to be excellent! Just a tip: make sure your hands and the grapes are DRY. Water and chocolate are not friends. The original recipe called for shortening, but we don't use shortening in our house to I substituted margarine. This made the chocolate mixture much more thick, but in my opinion it made it easier to coat the grapes with it. It's your call though, shortening or margarine. 

2 cups white chocolate chips
2 tsp. shortening (or margarine)
1 pound seedless grapes
1 cup finely chopped salted peanuts

Combine the white chocolate chips and shortening/margarine in a small microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring between each, until melted and smooth. Spread the chopped peanuts out on a piece of waxed paper. Dip clean, dry grapes into the chocolate, then roll in the peanuts. Set of a wax paper until dry. Warm chocolate as needed in the microwave to keep it liquid. 

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pomegranate Pistachio and Banana Bread

This bread is my favorite bread ever...hands down. I'm not a huge bread person in general, but oh my goodness this bread is so marvelous. The mashed bananas keep it moist, but the buttery pistachios add a nutty flavor and the darling little pomegranates add a citricy burst. Not only does this taste so wonderful, but when you open your oven door, the kitchen is filled with this overwhelming bread aroma. I had to look online how to score and de-seed a pomegranate. You chop off the tip of the pomegranate, score it in four sections (slide your knife down four sections), and put it in water where the membrane will float to the top and the seeds are easily pulled off. Here's a link just in case my instructions didn't make sense. Each slice of bread has around 162, depending on how small or large you cut it. http://video.about.com/gourmetfood/Pomegranate.htmhttp 

1 cup arils (the pomegranate seeds. I used two pomegranates)
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 & 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2-3 bananas, mashed (1 cup)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup shelled pistachios, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease one 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan. In a large bowl stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl stir together bananas, oil, milk, and egg; stir into flour mixture with the arils and chopped pistachios just until moistened; do not over-mix. Spoon batter into prepared pan. If desired, sprinkle a few whole shelled pistachios and a few additional arils over the batter for garnish. Bake for 50-60 min. until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 min.; remove loaf from pan and cool on wire racks. Store bread tightly covered; or wrap tightly in foil and freeze for up to 1 month.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pistachio White Chocolate Cheesecake

This is a recipe from the Pilsbury website. It has one of my most favorite flavoring and scents in the world--almond extract! There's something oddly invigorating in watching the cheesecake turn a light shade of green when you add the pistachio pudding mix to the cream cheese mixture. 

1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs (I used Oreos)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. butter, melted
20 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup sour cream (I used light)
1/2 tsp. almond extract
4 eggs
1 (3.4-0z) package instant pistachio pudding and pie filling mix
2 cups white chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped shelled pistachios

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine cookie crumbs and 1/4 cup sugar; mix well. Stir in butter. Press crumb mixture in bottom of ungreased 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 10 min. Cool 10 min. Wrap outside of pan, bottom and sides,with heavy duty foil. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Beat cream cheese in large bowl at medium speed until creamy. Beat in 3/4 cup sugar until very soft and creamy. Add sour cream and almond extract; beat well. Reduce  speed to low; add eggs one at a time, beating just until combined and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
With a whisk, beat in pudding mix until well-mixed. Stir in white chocolate chips. Pour into crust-lined pan. Sprinkle pistachios over top. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 min or 1 hour and 20 min., or until sides of cheesecake are set and slightly puffed but center still moves when pan is tapped. Cool cheesecake in pan on wire rack 1 hour. Cover; refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving. To serve, remove sides of pan. Cut cheesecake into wedges. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Chocaroon Cake

This is a chocolate bundt cake with coconut creme filling. I drizzled a Dove Chocolate fudge sauce on mine, but you can sprinkle confectioner's sugar or melt chocolate chips and spread as an icing over the cake. Just in case you were curious, a slice of cake is about 373 calories. 

2 egg whites
1 pinch salt
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 & 3/4 cups flaked coconut
1 (18.35 ounce) package chocolate cake mix
1 (3.9 ounce) package chocolate instant pudding mix
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 & 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Beat egg white with salt until foamy. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until mixture forms stiff shiny peaks. Blend in flour and coconut. Combine cake mix, instant pudding mix, eggs, yolks, water, and oil in a large boil. Blend, then beat with electric mixer on medium speed for 2 min. Pour 1/3 of the batter into a greased and floured bundt pan. Spoon in coconut mixture and top with the remaining batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 min. Remove to wire rack and cool thoroughly.  

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Peanut Blossoms

This is simply a traditional recipe that everybody knows and loves. Now this is a great case of how I am directionally challenged. I keep telling myself that I should read through the recipe entirely before I make something, but that never happens. Consequently while I following the directions I get so excited and do what I think is next in the recipe. So in this recipe as I put them dough balls on the baking sheets I went ahead and put the kisses in too...so please don't be like me and do that. I'm not sure it'll make a big difference, but who knows. 

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup of shortening (I used Canola oil instead)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
3 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
Granulated sugar for coating
Hershey's kisses (I used about 38)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat peanut butter and shortening (or oil) in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well mixed. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat well. Add egg, milk, and vanilla; beat until fluffy. Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to peanut butter mixture, beating until blended. Shape into 1 inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 5-6 min. or until set. Immediately press Kisses into the center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheets to wire rack.  

Friday, November 7, 2008

Peanut Butter Candy Bar Squares

I got this recipe from a website called Bake or Break, a wonderful blog of delicious food. Here is the original website: http://www.bakeorbreak.com/recipes/2008/10/24/peanut-butter-candy-bar-squares/  These bars are like a nostalgic visit of all your childhood favorites: Nutter Butters, Reeses cups, and Butterfingeres. These are super simple and are a crowd pleaser of any age!

1 16-ounce package Nutter Butter cookies, crushed
1/2 cup butter, melted
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
7 & 1/2 ounces Reeses Peanut Butter Cups (about 25 miniature cups), coarsely chopped
4 ounces Butterfinger candy bars (about 7 small candy bars or 2 regular size ones)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup honey-roasted peanuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13 x 9 in. pan with aluminum foil, allowing it to extend over edges of pa. Grease/spray foil. Combine crushed cookies and butter. Press mixture into bottom of prepared pan. Bake for 6-8 min. Combine condensed milk, peanut butter, and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Set aside. Sprinkle chopped candy bars, chocolate morsels, and peanuts over crust. Drizzle condensed milk mixture over toppings. Bake for 25-27 min. or until lightly browned. Cool in pan on wire rack. Using foil, lift out of pan. Peel foil away and cut into bars. Makes 28 small or 18 large bars. 

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cranberry Whole-Grain Muffins

The tender muffins, studded with cranberries and nuts and scented with orange are 100% whole-grain. This traditional Thanksgiving flavor combination, in muffin form, make a delicious and healthy start to your day of feasting. Pair this with the cider and you've got a great combination!

For Muffins:
1 & 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup fresh, frozen, or dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts *(I toasted mine and sprinkled them with cinnamon when they were still hot. Toasting the nuts always enhance their flavor and make a huge difference)
1 tbsp. finely grated fresh orange zest
2 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil

For glaze:
2 tbsp. orange juice
3 tbsp. sugar

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin  cups or line muffin cups with liners. Whisk together flour, oats, powdered milk, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  Add cranberries and nuts. Whisk together orange zest, eggs, ilk, and oil. Stir into dry ingredients until just combined. Divide batter among muffin cups and bake for 18-20 min., or until they are golden brown. Cool in pan on rack for 5 min., then turn out onto rack. 
To make glaze:
Stir together orange juice and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Brush the tops of the muffins with the mixture while still warm. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Orange-Kissed Brownies

So the website for this recipe was messing up and not loading everything on the page, hence the reason there is a picture without a recipe. If you would like the recipe feel free to e-mail me and I'll do what I can to get it or fix the website error. I'll warn you and say these brownies have a LOT of butter in them...like 3 and 1/2 sticks worth...I know. It didn't group all the ingredients in one amount; it would say how much butter was needed in the brownies, then down the ingredients list it would say how much it required for the frosting. Though the brownies do have a lot of butter, which you could omit at your discretion but I'm not sure how it will affect the baking, they are rich so you don't eat a huge brownie anyways. These received wonderful reviews!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Chocolate Scotchies



1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup peanut butter
6 cups Rice Krispy cereal
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips

Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and corn syrup and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and rice cereal. Press the mixture into the prepared pan. In a microwavable bowl melt the chocolate and butterscotch chips until well smooth and blended. Spread over the top of the bars. Chill until set and then cut into bars.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Cookies & Cream Fudge

This fudge is really sweet, and this coming from me says a lot. I would recommend lowering the amount of sugar if I were you. Mine weren't cut very smoothly in the picture b/c I cut them before setting all the way, but you can at least get the general idea about what they look like. 

3 cups granulated sugar (you might try 2 cups instead)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine
2/3 cup evaporated milk
2 cups white chocolate chips
1 jar marshmallow creme (or just melt half a 10.5 ounce bag of mini marshmallows)
1/2 cup finely crushed Oreos
1 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)
1 cup crumbled Oreos

Line a 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil. Combine sugar, butter, and evaporated milk in a medium saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 3 min., still stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
Stir in white chocolate, marshmallow creme, finely crushed cookies, and vanilla extract. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle crumbed cookies on top. Gently swirl the cookies into fudge using a knife without touching the bottom of the pan.
Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Lift from pan; remove foil Cut into 48 pieces.