Friday, October 28, 2011

Cucumber Sandwiches


White bread, no crusts

Thinly Sliced Cucumbers

Cream Cheese

Salt and Pepper

Cut crusts off bread, you can cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Spread with softened cream cheese. Add cucumber. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Denise's Cucumber Salsa


4 cucumbers, sliced without seeds

6 roma tomatoes

1 medium white onion

1 green pepper

1/2 can chopped olives

1 clove garlic

1/2 c. white vinegar

1 lime, squeezed

1 packet dry Ranch

Chop, mix and serve with scoop chips.

Crescent Rolls


2 c. warm water (110-115), divided

2 ½ T. dry yeast

2/3 c. sugar

4 eggs

2/3 c. oil

2 t. salt

8 c. flour

Put ½ c. warm water in large mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast and 1 T. sugar on top of water. Stir until dissolved.

In another bowl beat sugar, eggs, oil, and salt. Use electric mixer to beat until eggs are lighter color.

When yeast is foamy, add remaining 1 ½ c. water and egg mixture. Beat gently only until mixed. Add 6 cups flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing after each. With wooden spoon or spatula mix in the last 2 cups of flour. Knead the dough a little in mixer to incorporate all the flour.

Put in an oiled bowl. Turn to coat top. Cover and raise until doubled, (about 2 hours).

Divide the dough into thirds. Using a covered rolling pin and pastry cloth roll out dough into a large circle, approx. 14” across (3/8 in. thick). Brush with melted butter. Use a pizza cutter to cut into 4ths then 8ths then 16ths. Roll into crescent rolls. Place on greased cookie sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled (about 1 hour).

Bake at 400 for 6-7 minutes.

**Here is where I deviate. I generally use only 2 T. yeast. I have to add at least 9 cups of flour – probably ends up being almost 10. I add until the dough is still sticky but can retain its shape. On the first rising an hour is usually all it takes for it to double and a half hour for the second rising. My oven tends to be cool so I bake my rolls for 10-11 minutes

If you want rolls to be larger just divide the dough in half instead of thirds. This bread recipe also makes good cinnamon rolls.

Easiest Chocolate Cake

1 chocolate cake mix

4 eggs

1 c. water

1 c. sour cream

1 c. chocolate chips

3 oz. chocolate pudding

¾ c. oil

Combine all ingredients and pour into bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 45 min – 1 hour. Invert onto a plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Earl Grey Chocolate Tarts


Pastry Dough

5 T. unsalted butter, at room temperature

¼ c. confectioner’s sugar

2 T. almond flour

1 egg yolk, at room temperature

pinch of salt

1 c. cake flour

  1. In a mixer, beat the butter, confectioner’s sugar, almond flour and the egg yolk on medium speed until just mixed.
  2. Slowly add the flour, at low speed, until the dough begins to clump together.
  3. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and press into a thick disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  4. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and begin to roll it out until it is 1/8 inch thick. Loosely roll the dough around a rolling pin and place it into a round tart pan or springform pan. Make sure you press the dough into all corners. Pierce the bottom with a fork several times. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the plastic wrap from the dough and bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Cool completely in the pan.

Filling

1 ½ c. heavy cream

¼ c. Earl Grey tea leaves, decaffeinated

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate good quality, finely chopped

3 T. honey

3 T. unsalted butter

  1. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, bring the cream to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and add the tea. Let stand for 3 minutes. Strain the cream into a bowl. Try to allow time for as much cream as possible to drip through but do not press the tea. This will result in a bitter tasting filling. Return the cream to the sauce pan and reheat to a simmer.
  2. Place the finely chopped chocolate into a medium bowl. Pour the simmering cream over the chocolate and let stand for about 3 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in the honey and the butter. Pour the mixture into the tart shell and refrigerate until the filling sets, about 1 hour.
  3. Serve chilled. If you like you can add vanilla ice cream, or fresh whipped cream.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cordon Bleu Melts


¾ c. (4 oz.) chopped deli ham

1 green onion, finely chopped

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 t. prepared mustard

1 c. (4 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Finely chop ham. Slice green onion; combine ham, green onion, cream cheese, and mustard. Mix well. Stir in ¾ cup Swiss cheese. Spread on flat tortillas. Roll and slice in 1 inch slices. Place on baking sheets and sprinkle with remaining Swiss cheese. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Decadent Brownies

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened

4 large eggs

2 c. sugar

1 t. vanilla

1 c. flour, sifted

Frosting:

4 ounces (4 squares) unsweetened chocolate

1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened

½ c. egg substitute

1 t. vanilla

1 (1 pound) box confectioner’s sugar, sifted

4 c. mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13x9 inch pan. Melt the chocolate and butter in a 2 quart bowl in the microwave on high for 3 minutes, stirring every 20-30 seconds until the chocolate is completely melted. Add the eggs, sugar, and vanilla and mix well with a spatula. Add the flour and stir to combine. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes.

While the brownies are baking, make the frosting. Melt the chocolate and butter in a medium bowl in the microwave on high for 3 minutes stirring every 20 to 30 seconds until the chocolate is completely melted. Add the egg substitute, vanilla, and sugar and stir with a spoon until smooth. Stir in the marshmallows; they will soften, but not melt completely. Spread the frosting over the warm brownies. The frosting will set up when the brownies are completely cooled. When cool, cut into 1 ½ inch squares and store in a refrigerator if not serving immediately.

Cheesy-Garlic Herb Bread


1 loaf (16-24-oz.) crusty bread (we recommend sourdough)

8 oz. mozzarella*

1 of the following toppings:

–1/2 c. pesto

–1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil mixed with 3-4 cloves pressed garlic (allow to stand for at least an hour before brushing onto the bread)

–1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil mixed with 3-4 cloves pressed garlic and 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

–1/2 c. butter mixed with 3 tablespoons Garlic Bread Seasoning

–1/2 c. butter mixed with 2 cloves pressed garlic, 1 tablespoon each fresh, chopped basil, rosemary, and parsley

*If you want to lighten things up a little, you can leave out the cheese and sprinkle to top of the bread with kosher salt and a little freshly ground black pepper.

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Slice bread into 1 1/2 slices, not cutting through to the bottom. Rotate the loaf 90 degrees and slice the bread again every 1 1/2 so you have 1 1/2 pieces that are still attached to the bottom of the bread.

Place the loaf on the prepared baking sheet. Gently spread the desired filling into the cracks. Gently stuff the cheese into the cracks (you can just put the cheese going in one direction rather than on all four sides of each piece). Brush a little of the remaining filling on top of the loaf and sprinkle with a little remaining cheese. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until the bread is toasted on top and the cheese is melted. Allow to stand a few minutes before serving.

Cheese Dip


1 lb SPICY sausage
1 small onion
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1-8 oz cream cheese
1-16 oz sour cream

Brown and drain sausage in a pan, add veggies and saute until translucent. Add in cream cheese and sour cream, melt and mix. Put in a crock pot to keep warm for serving. Enjoy with chips, veggies, bread or apples.

Creamy Lemon Squares


½ c. unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan (I used salted, worked fine)

½ c. powdered sugar, plus more for dusting

¼ t. salt

1 c. all-purpose flour

4 large egg yolks

1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk

¾ c. fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Line bottom with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides; butter paper.
  2. Make crust: Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, and salt until light and fluffy. Add flour, and mix on low just until combined. Press dough into the bottom and ½ inch up sides of prepared pan; prick all over with a fork. Bake until lightly golden, 15-20 minutes.
  3. Make filling; In a large bowl, whisk together yolks, condensed milk, and lemon juice until smooth. Pour over hot crust in pan; return to oven, and bake until filling is set, 25-30 minutes. Cool completely in pan.
  4. Refrigerate until filling is firm, about 2 hours or up to 3 days. Using paper overhang, lift cake onto a work surface; cut into 16 squares, and dust with powdered sugar.

Chocolate-Caramel Cookie Bars

AKA: Homemade Twix

For the crust:

9 T. unsalted butter, room temperature

¼ c. packed light-brown sugar

1 ½ c. flour

¼ t. salt

For the Caramel:

10 ½ ounces milk chocolate, chopped (2 cups)

1 ½ c. granulated sugar

¼ c. water

6 T. unsalted butter

1 c. heavy cream

½ t. salt

1 T. sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the crust: Line a 9-inch square pan with parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides; butter parchment, excluding overhang. Beat butter and brown sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add flour and salt, and beat until just combined.

Press dough evenly into pan, and bake until lightly browned, about 30 minutes.

Make the chocolate caramel: Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, washing sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming, until amber, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter, cream, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring until smooth. Pour over chocolate. Let stand for 2 minutes. Stir to combine, and let stand until cool, about 10 minutes.

Pour mixture over crust. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight. Run a knife around edges; lift parchment to remove whole bar from pan. Sprinkle with sea salt. Trim edges, and cut into 16 bars. Bars can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cheese Ball


2 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese (softened for a few hours at room temp.)

2 (2.5 oz) packages smoked sliced pressed cooked beef (found in lunch meat section)

1 Tbsp Mayo (not miracle whip)

5 green onions/scallions

chopped walnuts

1 box wheat thins

Cut beef into 1/8 inch strips and place in mixing bowl. Add cream cheese and Mayo to bowl. Cut up green part only of onions and add to the bowl. Mix the ingredients in the bowl well. Use a spatula to shape the mixed ingredients into a ball inside the bowl. Spread the walnuts in a thin even layer on a long strip of plastic wrap (within 3 to 4 inches from the edges). Roll mixed ball out of bowl onto the nuts at one end of the plastic wrap. Slowly roll the ball toward the other end using the plastic wrap to help secure the nuts. Make sure the ball is completely surrounded by nuts and plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to firm (approx. ½ hour). Serve cold with wheat thins.

Challah

This is one you've probably been waiting for. This also makes killer french toast.


Ingredients

2 (1/4 – ounce) packets active dry yeast

1/3 cup sugar

1 cup warm milk (100-110F)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

4 large eggs

4 ¼ cups flour

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

  1. Combine the yeast, sugar, and warm milk in the bowl of a standing electric mixer. Stir with a wooden spoon and let stand for 10-15 minutes, until the surface appears foamy.

  1. Stir in the melted butter and 3 of the eggs and stir until thoroughly combined. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment and place the mixing bowl on the mixer.

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a medium mixing bowl.

  1. With the mixer running on low speed, carefully add 3 ½ cups of the flour, one cup at a time, until a soft, sticky dough is formed. Add the remaining flour in ¼ cup increments. The dough should remain slightly sticky and not at all dry.

  1. Increase the mixer speed to medium-low and allow the paddle to knead the dough until the dough is very smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.

  1. Grease a large bowl with the oil and add the dough to the bowl. Turn the dough so that it is coated with oil. Cover the dough with plastic wrap, and let stand in a warm, draft-free place to rise until doubled in size, about 1-11/2 hours.

  1. Punch the dough down and then divide into three equal portions. Using your palms start in the center and work outward, rolling each portion of dough gently against the work surface with even pressure to form a rope about 20 inches long. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

  1. Press the 3 ropes together at one end to seal. Lay the 3 ropes next to one another, with the sealed end farthest from you. Braid the loaf. When the loaf is braided, press the ends of the 3 ropes together and transfer the loaf to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Tuck the pinched portions of the ends slightly under so that they are not visible. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until loaf has doubled in size, 30 minutes.

  1. Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat oven to 375.

  1. Place the remaining egg in a small bowl and beat lightly with a fork. Using a pastry brush, coat the entire top and sides of the loaf with the eggwash. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350. Continue to bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the top.

Cast Iron Cornbread


2 c. yellow cornmeal

½ t. baking powder

1 t. sugar

¾ t. salt

1 ½ c. low-fat buttermilk

1 large egg, lightly beaten

5 T. unsalted butter, melted

5 T. unsalted butter, room temperature

1 T. vegetable oil

¼ c. plus 2 T. honey

Heat stovetop to low. Place a 12-inch cast-iron skillet (or oven-safe skillet) on stovetop. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, and melted butter. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir just until combined.

Place oil and 1 T. butter in hot skillet, brush to coat bottom and side. Pour in batter. Bake in skillet at 400 degrees for 18-22 minutes, or a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Combine honey with 4 T. room temperature butter. Brush mixture on cornbread. Let stand 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Chocolate Truffle Cake


2 sticks of butter

8 oz semi sweet chocolate

4 oz dark chocolate

6 eggs

1 1/4 sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Prepare 9" spring form pan by lining bottom with wax paper and spraying with non stick spray.

Separate eggs.

Use electric mixer to beat eggs until stiff peaks form.

Melt butter and chocolate in microwave stirring at 30 second intervals.

Whisk in sugar.

Whisk in egg yolks one at a time.

Fold into egg whites.

Bake for 1 hour.

Remove from oven and cool on counter for 1 hour - It falls as it cools

Cool in fridge for at least 4 hours before removing pan.

Chocolate Fondue

¾ c. whipping cream

4 (3.5 ounce) chocolate bars, milk, semisweet, or bitter depending on taste

Heat ½ c. cream in pot over medium until you reach a low boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Let stand 3-5 minutes, whisk chocolate. Transfer to a fondue pot.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars


CRUST:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (approx 1 sleeve)

5 Tbsp butter, melted

2/3 miniature semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter 9" square dish. Line with parchment paper, leaving enough to extend over the sides. Lightly coat the paper with non-stick cooking spray. Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter until crumbs are moistened. Stir in chocolate chips Press crust mixture into bottom of dish. Bake 6 minutes. Ste on wire rack to cool.

COOKIE DOUGH:

5 Tbsp butter at room temp

1/3 c. packed brown sugar

3 Tbsp white sugar

1/8 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 c. all purpose flour

1 c. mini chocolate chips

Using an electric mixer, mix butter, brown sugar, sugar, salt and vanilla at medium speed until smooth. Decrease mixer speed to low and add flour. Mix just until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips. Set aside.

FILLING:

10 oz. cream cheese

1/4 c. white sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla

Using an electric mixture, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add egg and vanilla, beating until just blended. Pour batter onto crust. Drop cookie dough by tsp full over the top of filling. Bake 30-35 minutes or until set. Transfer to wire rack.

CHOCOLATE TOPPING:

1/3 c. mini chocolate chips

Put in zipper bag in microwave and heat on 50% for a few minutes. Cut and corner over top. Cool bars about and hour and set in freezer for a couple minutes to set chocolate drizzle.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Buttery Bubble Bread


1 package active dry yeast

1 c. warm water

½ c. sugar

½ c. shortening

1 egg

½ t. salt

4 to 4 ½ c. flour, divided

6 T. butter, melted

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the sugar, shortening, egg, salt, and 1 cup flour. Bet until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; shape into 1 ½ inch balls. Dip the balls in butter and arrange evenly in a greased 9-in. fluted tube pan. Drizzle with remaining butter. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before inverting onto a serving platter. Serve warm.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

2 chicken breasts—cooked, shredded

2 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese, softened

1 cup ranch or blue cheese dressing

½ cup buffalo sauce

½ cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce

1 cup cheddar block, shredded (not pre-shredded)

Tostito scoops

Heat chicken, buffalo sauce and hot sauce in skillet over medium heat. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese and dressing. In 8x11 or 8x8 pan, spread cream cheese/dressing mixture. Layer chicken mixture on top. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Chocolate Caramels


2 c. whipping cream, divided

1 ½ c. light corn syrup

2 c. sugar

¼ t. salt

3 (1-oz) squares unsweetened baking chocolate

½ c. butter

Butter a 9-inch square pan; set aside. In a heavy 4-quart saucepan, combine 1 cup cream, corn syrup, sugar and salt. Place over medium heat and stir occasionally with a wooden spoon until mixture comes to a boil. If sugar crystals are present, wash down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush.

Clip on candy thermometer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until temperature reaches 220 F. Add chocolate and butter and stir constantly for the remainder of the cooking time. Without allowing boil to stop, slowly pour in remaining 1 cup cream. Cook to 240F or soft-ball stage. Without scraping, pour into prepared pan. Allow to stand at room temperature overnight. To serve, cut into 1-inch squares. Wrap in waxed paper and store at room temperature.

Cherry Berries on a Cloud


Ingredients

· 6 egg whites

· 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

· 1/4 teaspoon salt

· 1 3/4 cups sugar

· FILLING:

· 2 (3 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

· 1 cup sugar

· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

· 2 cups heavy whipping cream, whipped

· 2 cups miniature marshmallows

· TOPPING:

· 1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling

· 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

· 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions

1. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until foamy. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high until stiff peaks form (do not underbeat). Spread evenly in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking pan. Bake at 275 degrees F for 1 hour; turn off oven (do not open door). Let cool in oven overnight or at least 12 hours.

2. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth; gently fold in whipped cream and marshmallows. Spread over meringue. Chill for 4 hours. Cut into 16 pieces. Combine topping ingredients; spoon 1/4 cup over each serving.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bruschetta with Whipped Feta and Marinated Roasted Red Peppers


1 (24 oz) jar roasted red peppers, rinsed, patted dry, and cut into ½ inch dice

1 garlic clove, minced

2 T. red wine vinegar

2 T. sugar

¼ t. red pepper flakes

¼ t. salt

8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 2 cups)

2 T. olive oil

2 t. fresh lemon juice

¼ t. pepper

1 recipe toasted bread for bruschetta

To toast the bread:

Slice 1 baguette thinly. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Broil one side until golden brown, flip bread and broil until golden also.

Topping:

Combine the red peppers, garlic, vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Process the feta, oil, lemon, juice, and pepper in a food processor until smooth, about 10 seconds, scraping down the bowl once during processing. Divide the feta mixture among the toasts and spread to the edges. Using a fork, place the peppers on the toasts. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.