Saturday, October 30, 2010

SUGAR COOKIES WITH ROYAL ICING

So I might be a little late on a useful Halloween post, but at least the recipe and technique itself can be used for all sorts of holidays and occassions. I have never used royal icing to frost cookies, but was inspired by Annie's Eats post with her super cute cookies. I have always wondered how bakeries get such a smooth frosting that extends out to the edges of the cookies. I'm not sure if this is how they do it, but it certainly gives the same look. I will say that these take some planning, time, and patience, but worth it in the end. I thought these turned out fairly good for a novice and I learned a few things along the way. The sugar cookie recipe was pretty good and not too super sweet. I am not going to repost the recipe here because you really just need to click on the Annie's Eats link above and see her incredible cookies and step by step instructions for using this type of icing. She does a great job!

 




Sunday, October 24, 2010

ARTISAN CRACKERS

I have made crackers in the past, but it's not something I think of making often because as far as my husband is concerned, nothing can compare to a good old Wheat Thin. Well, since it was Sunday and we were out of crackers of any kind to go with our favorite after church snack of crackers with Laughing Cow Cheese; this was my chance to try a new recipe. These turned out good enough that they were gone within half an hour of making them!

ARTISAN CRACKERS
recipe adapted from here
(Printable Recipe)

1 C. whole wheat flour
1/2 C. oats
1/2 C. Fiber One Original Bran Cereal
2 Tbsp. whole flax seeds
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. honey powder (or 4 - 5 Tbsp. sugar)
3 heaping Tbsp. trans fat free tub margarine or butter
1/2 C. milk
Coarse Kosher salt



Preheat oven to 325F.

Process oats & Fiber One in a food processor until coarsely chopped.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats mixture, flax & poppy seeds, sugar and salt.
Cut in the butter.
Then stir in the milk, adding just enough milk to form a workable dough.
On a flour dusted surface, divide the dough into two pieces and roll it out ultra-thin, one piece at a time.
Sprinkle liberally with coarse salt, if desired, and use the rolling pin to press the salt into the dough.
Cut the dough into desired shapes. For a rustic look, make irregular pieces.
Pierce each one with a fork a few times.

Transfer the crackers to baking sheets and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until they begin to brown.
Cool on a rack


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

COMPANY POT ROAST

Seems like I am always apologizing for my poor photos, but again I ask you to forgive the blurr. I don't do pot roast a whole lot, but my husband an I both think this is probably the best pot roast recipe we've tried! The recipe is one of Ina Garten's, so of course it's good! I got the idea after seeing it posted on Lovin From The Oven. I had already been to the grocery store when I got home and realized I didn't get a key ingredient, the burgandy cooking wine. I thought about just substituting beef broth instead, but I figured the cooking wine was probably what was going to make this dish unique, so I went back to the store to get it. I'm SO glad I did! The flavor was amazing!

COMPANY POT ROAST
(Printable Recipe)

3-4 lb. boneless chuck roast, tied (I don't care for chuck roast so I used a cross rib roast)
sea salt and pepper
all purpose flour
olive or canola oil
1 C. chopped carrots (approx. 4)
1 C. chopped yellow onion (approx. 1 medium)
1 C. chopped celery (approx 2-3 stalks)
3 garlic cloves, pressed or finely minced
1 C. Burgandy cooking wine
14.5 oz. can whole tomatoes, cut up in can (I just used canned diced tomatoes)
1/2 C. chicken stock (I used chicken broth and added a few Tbsp. beef base for extra flavor)
1 branch of fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme
1 branch of fresh rosemary or 1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter or margarine
1 Tbsp. all purpose flour

DIRECTIONS



Pat beef dry with a paper towel. Season roast on all sides with 1/2 Tablespoon of sea salt and 1/4 t. black pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and put into the fridge overnight. (I skipped this step and still turned out great)

The next day, dredge roast in all purpose flour, including the ends. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 T. oil over medium heat. Add the roast and sear for 4-5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn and sear each side and ends. Remove roast onto a plate.

Add 2 T. oil to the Dutch oven. Add carrots, onions, celery and garlic. Cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, scraping the browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Add the red cooking wine, tomatoes, and chicken stock, stirring to combine.

Put the thyme and rosemary on top of sauce. Place browned roast back into the pot, bring to a boil, and cover.

Place in slow cooker, and cook with lid on for approx. 6 hours on LOW

OR use your oven following these directions:

Place in a preheated 325ºF oven for 1 hour.

Reduce oven temperature to 250ºF and continue cooking for another 90 minutes or until meat is fork tender or about 160ºF internally.

Proceed with the following, regardless of method of cooking:

Remove roast to a cutting board. Remove strings from roast, cover with foil and let sit to redistribute the juices.

Remove the fresh rosemary and thyme from the pot and discard. Skim off as much fat from the top of the sauce as possible. Transfer half the sauce to a bowl (or food processor or blender) and use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. Pour the puree back into the pot or slow cooker place on the stovetop over low heat, and return the sauce to a simmer. If using slow cooker, just warm through.

Mash 1 T. of flour and 1 T. butter in a small bowl. Stir into the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring until thickened. Taste for seasonings.

Slice meat against the grain for slices or with the grain for shredded beef.

Serve warm with sauce spooned over the meat.
















































Saturday, October 16, 2010

COOKIE DOUGH RICE KRISPIE TREATS

Driving home from Salt Lake City last night, I was conjuring up ideas to ceate a recipe all my own. Sure, I tweak recipes a lot to suit my family's taste, to make them more nutritous, or to use up ingredients in my fridge, but rarely do I actually do something all my own. Ok, I won't toot my own horn too much, it's not like I came up with something brilliant. All I did was combine two things my family loves; cookie dough and rice krispie treats. I was a little sceptical as to how they would turn out, but had to make them and get the thought out of my head. I was more than happy with the outcome; as the half-empty pan will tell. (The cookie dough middle is safe to eat raw because it doesn't contain any eggs.)

COOKIE DOUGH RICE KRISPIE TREATS
(Printable Recipe)

EGGLESS COOKIE DOUGH:

In medium bowl, combine
5 Tbsp. brown sugar
6 Tbsp. sugar
4 Tbsp. softened butter
1 tsp. vanilla
3 Tbsp. whole milk (I used 2 Tbsp. 1% and 1 Tbsp. half and half).
Mix until creamy

In seperate bowl, combine
1 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C. mini chocolate chips
Add this dry mixture to creamy mixture. Mix until well combined. Set aside




RICE KRISPIES:

2 Tbsp. butter*
10 oz. mini marshmellows
6 C. Rice Krispies cereal

In large pan, melt butter over medium low heat. Lower temperature to low and add marshmellows. Stir occassionally until melted and smooth. Turn off heat and add rice kripies cereal and stir until coated evenly with marshmellow mixture.
*This is reduced from the recipe you will find on the Rice Krispies box

Spray an 8x11 pan with non stick spray

Press half of the rice krispie treat mixture in bottom of pan by wetting hands with water and pressing the rice krispies evenly. Press all of the cookie dough evenly on top of rice krispie treat base. Top with remaining rice krisipie treat mixture, by pressing evenly with wet hands. Set aside until completely set; approx. 45 minutes. Cut into bars.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

PUMPKIN SPICE BITES WITH MAPLE FROSTING


This past weekend we held the grand opening of our new facility for our granite counter top business. We have actually been at our new location for about 10 months, but it has taken us a while to get things finished up. I took it upon myself to "cater" the refreshments. My husband suggested I make it easy on myself by purchasing everything from Sam's Club and calling it good. Well, of course I couldn't do such a thing. I didn't want it to appear that that's what we did. So, I baked my little heart out and crossed my fingers that we would have enough. I do have to admit that I purchased a few boxes of Upper Crust's mini cinnamon rolls at Sam's Club, just to stretch things out a little more. Thankfully, all went very well and my estimation of refreshments left us with a little to spare. These mini cupcakes or bites, whatever they may be, were a hit. The recipe is meant to be made into a sheet cake, but I wanted things that were easy to eat without utensils, so I baked them in mini muffin tins. Which ever way you make them; just make them!

PUMPKIN SPICE BITES WITH MAPLE FROSTING
(Printable Recipe)

1 box Spice cake mix
1 can pumpkin (15 oz)
1 C. Miracle Whip (this is the secret to keeping it super moist)
3 eggs
(*update* NO butter in the cake mixture as previously posted)

Mix cake mix, pumpkin, miracle whip & eggs with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Pour into greased sheet pan. Bake @ 350 for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack.  If making into "bites", divide batter evenly among mini muffin tins and bake @ 350 for 10-12 minutes. Frost with maple frosting

MAPLE FROSTING

2 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 C. powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. milk or half and half
1/2 tsp. maple flavoring

Blend ingredients together until smooth and creamy. May need to add more milk to get correct consistency.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

STICKY PECAN PIE BARS


As far as I recall, I've NEVER had pecan pie. I have recently decided that I love pecans, but I'm not much of a pie-maker, so I figured I would try these bars instead. They are really pretty simple to make. The base is made from a yellow cake mix, so just a few ingredients and you've got a yummy dessert! I"ve mentioned on previous posts how much my husband loves "Pizzookies"; I can pretty much bank on him asking me to make a pizzookie whenever the option of dessert comes up. I had already made these last night before he had a chance to ask for a pizzookie. Reluctantly he plopped one of these in a bowl, warmed it up, and topped it with vanilla ice cream in hopes it would be "good enough". He was more than happy to go back for a second round of these!

STICKY PECAN PIE BARS                  Makes 24 bars
recipe from The Cake Mix Doctor
(Printable Recipe)

Crust:
1 package plain yellow cake mix
8 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 large egg

Filling:
3/4 C. dark corn syrup
1/4 C. packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. pecans, chopped or halves

1.  Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 F. Set aside an ungreased 13 x 9 inch baking pan.
2.  Place cake mix, melted butter, and egg in large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 2 minues.  Stop the machine and scrape down sides of bowl with spatula. The batter should come together in a thick dough. Using fingertips, press the crust mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan, smoothing it out. Place the pan in the oven.
3.  Bake the crust until it just begins to brown, 20 min. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside. Leave the oven on.
4.  Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Place the corn syrup, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla in the same mixing bowl used to prepare the crust, and with the same beaters (no need to clean them) blend with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined, 1 minute. Stop the machine, scrape down sides of bowl and fold in pecans until well distributed.
5.  Pour the filling over he baked crust and spread with spatula so that the filling covers entire surface. Place pan in the oven.
6.  Bake the cake until the crust is golden brown and the filling just starts to set, 22 to 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool, 30 minutes.
7.  Cut the cake into 24 bars. Remove the bars from pan using metal spatula and serve.

Store these bars, covered in plastic wrap, at room temp. for up to 4 days or in the fridge for up to 1 week. Or freeze them, wrapped in foil, for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in fridge before serving.

Monday, October 4, 2010

ANGIE'S BONELESS BBQ RIBS

My friend, Angie introduced me to these ribs a year or so ago, so I named them after her. I had never considered myself a rib-lover, until I tried these. They are SO good! There has not been one person who has tried them, that didn't love them! Best of all, they are easy and can be done in the crock pot or stove top. The meat is so super tender, it just falls apart when you pick it up.

ANGIE'S BONELESS BBQ RIBS
(Printable Recipe)

Country Style Boneless Pork Ribs (Whatever quantity you want. They cook down a ton, so be sure you  make enough!)

Mesquite Grill Mates Seasoning
Montreal Steak Seasoning
Season All
Salt
Pepper
Liquid Smoke
Favorite BBQ Sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray's Brand)
Brown Sugar

Sprinkle ribs liberally with first 5 seasonings, and rub into ribs. Place ribs in crock pot or large pot and cover with water. Add liquid smoke to water until water turns a light brown. Cook in crock pot until tender, approx. 4-5 hrs. on low, or in pot on stove at a low rolling boil for 2.5 hrs.

When ribs are tender, remove from cooking liquid and place on a foil-lined grill (or use a griddle indoors). Brush with BBQ Sauce and sprinkle with brown sugar. Warm through, until brown sugar melts and slightly caramelizes.

Friday, October 1, 2010

PUMPKIN BUTTERSCOTCH COOKIES

Yikes! Do I dare post this photo? I was half way out the door with these cookies when I realized I hadn't snapped a pic of them for this post, so this is a real quick and dirty pic of a not so pretty cookie. This past week I have been making a different goodie each day for the grand opening week of our new showroom for our granite counter top business. It has been fun to try new recipes, eat a little, then cart them away for others to finish off (instead of me polishing them off myself and pretending like I only ate half as much as I really did!)  I got this recipe from Annie's Eats, where she has a much prettier picture of them, by the way.  In her post, she commented on the less than pretty look of the cookies, but promised they were real good. Let me tell you, the taste definitely makes up for looks! My 5 year old daughter said, "These are the bestest cookies you have EVER made." Wow, I didn't see that coming! Please don't let their sorry looks prevent you from trying them!

PUMPKIN BUTTERSCOTCH COOKIES
(Printable Recipe)


makes approx. 24 cookies

Ingredients:



2 cups all-purpose flour


1½ tsp. baking powder


1 tsp. baking soda


½ tsp. salt


1 tsp. ground cinnamon


2 large eggs


1 cup sugar


½ cup vegetable or canola oil


1 cup pumpkin puree


1 tsp. vanilla extract


1 cup butterscotch chips






Directions:


Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with non-stick spray. In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs and sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and light in color, about 1 minute. Blend in the oil, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract until well combined. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Gently fold in the butterscotch chips with a spatula.

Drop mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them a few inches apart. Bake, rotating the sheets halfway through baking, until the tops feel set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry, about 13-15 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheets 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.