Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Best Ever Ricotta Raspberry Cake

A perfect cake for two people, you and your husband or significant other... or maybe a really really good friend! The cake is light flavored with a wonderful blend of fruit. I have made this with peaches, blueberries, blackberries and cherries... The fresh fruit is mixed with fruit jam of choice. Just amazing cheesecake you will love this!
Cookie Crust bottom:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup butter softened
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Mix together until well blended.

In another bowl:
Beat together till smooth:
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups ricotta cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla
Beat this for 5 minutes

Topping:
3/4 cup fresh whole raspberries
mixed with 2 tablespoon raspberry seedless jam warmed for 10 seconds in the microwave


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 9 x 2-inch pan ( a springform pan) line with parchment paper, cutting a piece for the bottom and making a neck collar then and spray with cooking oil anywhere metal is exposed..
Spoon the first batter into a greased 9 x 9 x 2-inch pan, using floured hands to push up the sides of the pan and spread the dough around evenly.   Add the ricotta filling to the top of the cookie batter. Carefully spoon together raspberries and jam mixture evenly on the batter. To make it swirled you would need to puree slightly the berries then run a knife through the batter in an S formation.   Bake at 350 for at least 50 minutes or until middle is clean with a toothpick.  I add a large pot of water and place inside the oven on another rack above the cheesecake, this keeps it moist. Cool cake completely before removing from the pan. Delicious served plain or with whipped cream.  Refrigerate any leftovers.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Breakfast Peach and Cranberry Scones

2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cold softened
3 ripe peaches, peeled and pulse in a food processor into small chunks or chopped by hand
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup fresh chopped cranberries or craisins

Directions
 Heat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients together.  Place these ingredients with the butter into the bowl and mix together evenly like course cornmeal.
Mix together the cream,  milk and vanilla in a seperate bowl. Slowly add the liquid to the dry ingredients, fold in peaches and craisins.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead a couple of times. Flatten the dough out until it is about 1 1/2 inches thick. Cut into 8 to 10 triangles and transfer the wedges to a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.

Brush the top of each scone with a little heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.

Baked Halibut Cashew Crusted

1/3 cup chopped toasted cashews
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons Italian seasoned bread crumbs (panko style preferred)
1/2 tsp crushed fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
 4 white fish filet's ( halibut, cod, haddock)
2 tablespoon soy sauce mixed with
2 teaspoons olive oil or sesame oil
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or baking pan and spray with cooking spray.



Place the cashews, in the food processor and process until coarsely ground.  In a bowl add the nuts stir the cheese, oil, juice and garlic, garlic powder, cayenne and pepper.
Place the fish on the prepared 2 inch deep pan lined with parchment paper  and divide the nut mixture over the tops pressing into each fillet to make sure it adheres, sprinkle with bread crumbs last. Pour soy sauce, olive oil around the fish not touch the topping and  Bake until the fish flakes easily when pierced with a fork. Four pieces at approximately 1/4 inch thickness took 11 minutes.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Nutella Gourmet Double Chocolate Brownies with Mocha Nutella Frosting Recipe

4 - 1 ounce squares unsweetened chocolate
1 cup butter
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose white flour
1 cup chocolate chips

Frosting Ingredients:
Butter
Heavy cream or milk
Nutella
Confectionery sugar
pure  vanilla
instant coffee
optional  chocolate curls (made with shaved milk chocolate candy bars) or chopped hazelnuts

350 degrees hot oven

Melt unsweetened chocolate and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Stir in sugar until well mixed.
Add eggs, vanilla and salt and beat well until combined.
Fold in flour and mix just until smooth add chocolate chips.
Pour into a 9 inch square buttered and floured pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until knife comes out clean.

Cool completely frost with recipe below.  Let dry a few hours before cutting, or if you can't wait like us, place on a plate drizzle the frosting over the top and enjoy!

Mocha Nutella Frosting
1 tablespoon heavy cream or milk add more for easy flow of frosting. 
1 teaspoon dried instant coffee
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons Nutella
1 1/2 cups confectionery sugar
1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla

Combine 1 tablespoon milk with 1 teaspoon instant coffee and stir until coffee is dissolved.
In a medium size bowl add Nutella, sugar, vanilla, and the 1 tablespoon coffee-milk mixture. Mix well with an electric mixer, adding more milk if necessary for easy flow of frosting. Spread over brownies. Sprinkle with chocolate curls or chopped hazelnuts.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Best Georgia Peach Pecan Loaf and Best Peach Coffee Crumb Cake Recipes



A Best Georgia Peach Pecan Crumb Coffee Cake that compliments any good cup of coffee!





Here's the recipe for this great moist cake!

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups peaches ( put through the food processor pureed but  leaving little chunks of peaches)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans

Cream sugar and shortening together till fluffy. Add eggs and mix and combine until smooth. Add peach and rest of dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Add vanilla and chopped pecans and stir until blended. Pour into two pans that have been well greased (one round 8 inch and one loaf style pan). Pour batter equally into both pans. You now can make the crumb topping, add to the tops of both or just the round coffee cake. I always leave the bread loaf plain to serve with peaches and whipped cream like a shortcake. You can decide how your family will like these.


Crumb Topping Recipe:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans optional
Mix ingredients all together until well combined adding nuts last if using.  Sprinkle on top of cake before baking.

Bake on 325 degree preheated oven till browned around an hour. Test the middle when tooth pick comes out clean they are done. Wait 5 minutes before removing from loaf pan.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Simple Homemade Sundried Tomato Recipe and Other Tomato Tips


Tips on what to do with that abundance of freshly grown tomato crop....

Some suggestions:


Slice tomatoes thick and top with kosher salt, extra-virgin olive oil, fresh basil and a warm, crunchy baguette to soak up the extra olive oil. 

Slice tomatoes for a BLT on sourdough toast using extra-thick bacon, fried crispy with arugula and  cayenne added to your mayo. 

Make tomato salsa using chopped  onions, cucumbers, cilantro, jalapeƱos, kosher salt, limes and olive oil. You can add black beans and some roasted leftover corn is an awesome addition!

Make tomato and grilled mozzarella cheese on thick crusted bread adding some fresh basil. Drizzle a little olive oil in the pan while grilling it for extra flavor.

Toss tomatoes with white navy beans in a salad with sliced celery, cucumbers, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, cracked pepper, fresh chopped parsley, oregano,  basil and fresh lemon juice. Canned tuna is a great addition to this in our Italian household. 

Grilling tomatoes are another delicious way to bring out the best flavors in this amazing vegetable/fruit.

 Cut the tomato in half, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt, fresh-cracked pepper and grill for at least five to six minutes face down until grill marks can be seen. Only grill one side.

Serve leftover grilled tomatoes and make a  crostini or your  use your favorite bread toasted brushing with olive oil, add some shreds of fresh Parmesan cheese and fresh mozzarella for a quick appetizer.

Top your favorite sandwiches with a thick slice of tomato, grilled burgers and any kind of grilled white fish like Mahi Mahi , Tilapia or Haddock! . 


Here's how I make my own sundried tomatoes :

To do this, cut plum Rosa tomatoes in half lengthwise and place them skin side down on a baking sheet.
 Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, kosher salt and cracked pepper, and bake for 5 to 7 hours on very low heat in the oven (200 degrees).

 Store in a glass jar with airtight lid adding more olive oil to the jar to cover the tomatoes then store in the refrigerator for up to three months.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Nutella Dipped Frozen Bananas Recipe


 
 
 
 



Watch the video to get a better idea on how these come together as a quick and easy treat!

Banana's left whole or cut into chunks as I did

Toothpicks or  wooden skewers

1/4 cup Nutella  (I had tried to microwave for around 10 seconds to get smooth I don't recommend that as it doesn't melt well and clumps up, I found it worked better at room temperature or if you do microwave only 12 seconds to a small 1/4 cup.) A little messier to spread but still wonderful!) Also make sure the Nutella is fresh not too old or dried out,  it gets too thick. My last tip is to mix the Nutella with 1/4 cup melted good grade chocolate for a smoother finish!

NOTE if you can't find Nutella ( use a good grade melted chocolate with heavy cream in equal amounts 1 cup of cream 1 cup of chocolate, which makes a ganache see recipe for ganache) or click here for homemade Nutella Recipe  from Curt's Delectable Blog.) proceed with directions below.

Slice banana in 2 or 3 inch long chunks or (left whole and cut later) Tip:  (easiest to spread on frozen first)
Optional: crushed cookies of your choice, crushed grahams crackers, finely chopped hazelnuts, chocolate sprinkles or crushed almonds or mini chocolate chips
 
Parchment paper

Directions:

Place the banana on the parchment paper lined cookie sheet, with a spreader, spread Nutella on the bottom of a whole (skin off) banana place on parchment lined sheet pan or dip chunks into Nutella and place on parchment paper. Then smooth the top of the banana with back part of the teaspoon to carefully cover any parts of the banana still showing sealing all the way around with Nutella.

Note: ( If using nuts lined the bottom of the parchment with nuts first, nutella, place banana on top of this mixture and proceed the same for the top using nutella first then sprinkling with nuts.) A little messy but your going to like the results and taste later! Place a toothpick every two to three inches apart in the banana and freeze for at least an hour.


I didn't smooth them out here with the back of the spoon, I just glopped it on and frozen them! I couldn't wait to eat these, they are one of my favorite desserts, even as a child!

Slice every two inches after they are frozen and eat use a very sharp knife!  Refreeze cut leftovers in a zip lock bag.




These were very difficult to photograph since it was a very hot sun, don't let the picture discourage you they still tasted great!
 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Upstate NY Chicken Riggie Fest Roundup of Recipes

Here are several different recipes that were sent to me on my Utica/Rome facebook group. I wanted to share these with all  you Riggie lovers from various Riggie Fests.  Click on  my version of  Chicken Riggies  as shown in the picture below. Also checkout another great roundup of recipes from a fellow blogger friend's post,  Joanne @Apple Crumbles  A Taste of Utica Riggies. 

If you have a favorite CHICKEN RIGGIES recipe.  Send it along to me in an email with pictures  and I will  gladly link you up to our favorite recipes here. All recipes below were submitted from Riggie lovers and fans anonymously.



 Chicken Riggies 1
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
3 or 4 jars hot cherry peppers seeded and chopped
...1 can tomato paste
2 cans (28 oz. or so) diced tomatoes
4 leaves freshly chopped basil, or 1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/4 cup sherry (can use cooking sherry)
4 to 5 chicken breasts, grilled and cut into bite-size pieces*
salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 to 2/3 cup light cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
2 1-lb. boxes of penne rigati or rigatoni

In olive oil, gently saute the garlic and onion until tender.
Add the cherry peppers, tomato paste, and canned tomatoes.
Cook on low for 20 to 25 minutes.Add chicken, sherry, low for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the light cream and Parmesan cheese, and stir in until lightly blended.
Pour mixture over hot cooked pasta. Top with mozzarella cheese.


Chicken Riggies 2
Saute the following:
1 stick of real butter
1 red onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
24 oz. jar of roasted peppers in olive oil, sliced
5 sliced cherry peppers, mild or hot, depending on your taste
After those are sauteed, add:
1 cup Parmesan cheese
2 lbs boneless chicken breast, cubed
1 can chicken broth
1 can tomato sauce (15 oz)
1 can Alfredo sauce
Cook on stove for an hour or so, stirring so it won't burn, then serve over Rigatoni.

Chicken Riggies 3
(makes 8 servings)
2-4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cubed
1 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup butter
8 cloves garlic, minced
8 sliced large shallots
salt and pepper to taste
1 (8oz jar) sweet red peppers, drained & julienned
1/2 cup Sherry
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 (16oz box) Rigatoni pasta
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 8oz pk sliced fresh mushrooms
1 (2.5oz can) sliced black olives
1 cup Parmesan/Romano cheese
In large skillet, heat oil and butter over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots and saute until soft, then add chicken, season with salt & pepper to taste and saute for 10 minutes, or until halfway cooked. Add every thing but sherry cook 10 min. Add sherry. Simmer 10 min.
Cook pasta toss.

 Chicken Riggies 4
1 Bottle of State Farm BBQ Sauce
5 pounds chicken cut up in chunks
½ Cup of White Wine
Pint of Heavy Cream
16oz of Grated Cheese
Large Can of Tomato Sauce
Large Can of Diced Tomatoes - Petite
8oz Can of Tomato Paste
5-6 Cloves of Garlic
2 Medium Onions Chopped
4-5 Cherry Peppers
Small container of Mushrooms
2-3 Chopped Red or Green Peppers
1 Teaspoon each of Parsley, Oregano and Basil
Olives to Taste at the end
Marinate the chicken in the BBQ sauce for at least three hours.
Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to a pan and saute the chopped garlic and onions. Don't burn! Add in, wine, Tomato sauce, diced and paste. Include the dry spices. Cover and simmer. Add in peppers and mushrooms.
Fry chicken but do not discard the BBQ sauce. Add cooked chicken to the red sauce.
In another pan mix BBQ sauce, cream and grated cheese. Slowly bring to a boil until the sauce is thick-smooth.
Mix the two sauces together and cook together for a few minutes.

More on Riggie Fest in Upstate Utica NY
 
This year it was uncertain due to funding if Riggie Fest would be held in 2011 according to the Utica Observer Dispatch .

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Crockpot Pulled Hot Sauce Chicken Sandwiches


The best thing about my crockpot is everything that's cooked in it falls apart. It's so moist  and tender meat too! This chicken pulled apart so easy, if your a wing lovers this was awesome! Oh, one more thing it didn't heat up the house in this hot weather and everyone loved it during our sports game day get together!  Give this one a try you are going to be pleasantly surprised!




4 to 6 boneless Chicken Breast
1 16 oz  bottle of Hot Sauce your favorite
1/2 teaspoon each garlic powder, pepper, parsley
1 bottle blue cheese dressing
sharp cheddar cheese slices
french rolls

In a crockpot place chicken in an oil sprayed crock liner. Pour the whole bottle with spices on top of the chicken. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Pull the chicken apart with two forks.
Serve on buns with blue cheese dressing and sharp cheddar cheese melted.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Flounder Francese (Egg Coated Recipe)


4 flounder fillets, 6 to 8 ounces each
Salt and pepper
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons heavy cream
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup dry white wine
fresh parsley, finely chopped or dried
1 lemon, zested and juiced
3 tablespoons capers optional for us
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped


Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium to medium high heat. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Beat eggs with cream. Add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil to the skillet, add 2 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks. Dip the fish into the egg and cream mixture and cook on both sides until just golden, 5 to 6 minutes total. Transfer fish to an oven proof dish, cover and put oven on lowest temperature to keep warm.
Add wine to the pan and reduce by half, 1 minute, then add 1 tablespoon butter and a handful of parsley to the pan. Stir in the lemon juice and zest and the capers if using. Turn off heat. Pour sauce over fish. Spinach is a nice side dish for  flounder.

For recipe click on " Spinach" above





Friday, August 19, 2011

Chocolate on Chocolate Boston Cream Pie with Rum Ganache Glaze

Today I had to make something special for the love of my life as we are celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary. The best 11 years of my life, my best friend, my equal, my love is forever lasting.
 It's so unusual to have four straight stormy days here in Florida. I was so hoping for a clear day. I started out with cutting the cake in half wrong, so I made another one. Then I made a huge mess, so  I will give you some tips about melting chocolate into hot heavy cream. Then when it rains it pours is the expression?  Well it started pouring when I took this shot, so if you see bubbles or raindrops on this cake it won't surprise me!  The good news is this one tasted just as I thought it would, decadent.
 It wasn't the best looking cake  and it had it's ups and downs today, but in the end it's like a great  marriage with imperfections. As long as there are more ups than downs, as life has it, 
 well then we have the perfect recipe with both! I am truly blessed...




This was the second mishap uneven cuts!
 The phone rang, someone was at the door and then the roof was leaking ugh! So of course not paying attention to time and getting preoccupied by everything,  I over beat the batter. So the cakes cracked! 
 I just thought the heck with it, that will be on the bottom of the dish anyway, so don't tell anyone our secret!




Using cocoa powder on the bottom of a greased pan looks so much better on chocolate cakes!

 

Chocolate Cake
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pure vanilla

Beat all ingredients on low for 2 minutes. Pour in prepared greased round  pans dusted with cocoa powder  ( I make two of this recipe).
Bake at 350 degree oven fo 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Prepare filling while baking.

Chocolate Pudding Filling:  Adapted  from the Barefoot Contessa
 
6 extra-large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 tablespoons very good cocoa powder
Pinch salt
2 cups milk
1-ounce very good semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Directions

Beat the egg yolks and sugar until light yellow and thick in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on medium-high speed. On low speed, add the cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt. Bring the milk to a boil in a medium saucepan and, with the mixer on low, slowly pour the hot milk into the chocolate mixture. Combine well, then pour the mixture back into the pan.
Cook the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon, until thickened. If the mixture begins to curdle, remove it from the heat and beat it vigorously with a wire whisk. Remove the pan from the heat, add the chocolate, butter, vanilla, and heavy cream and mix until the chocolate and butter are melted.

Topping:  Chocolate Ganache
 
1 cup good grade bitter sweet chocolate run through a food processor
1 cup heavy cream



  • Place chocolate in medium glass bowl.  in a small pan heat cream bringing to a boil.( TIP: Watch closing as you add the chocolate the cream can spill over if not a deep enough bowl. )When the cream begins to boil, pour in the chopped chocolate, whisk till smooth. Stir in rum.  Cool slightly. Start in center of cake pouring over the top working outward.


  • Assembly:
    After the cake is cooled but still slightly warm, slice the cake in equal halves. Carefully spoon pudding on the cake, place second layer on top of that. Pour ganache over the the top layer. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.


    Unfortunately for me, hubby had to work late and as I said earlier I'm on vacation this week. He has just started a new job so there was no way to get the day off.

     I had a nice afternoon with my son and his girlfriend. We had some lunch, watched a movie. My son set up our new dvd player I bought for an anniversary present for my hubby. When they left I went to get everything for dinner knowing we would really celebrate tomorrow  night since he is off.

    We had an awesome evening even though it was late. I cooked filet mignon on the grill, some crab legs, baked potato, a toast of Cabernet. After looking at our wedding photo's 11 years ago we talked about how fast the time flew by and  after digesting a little, we had our dessert.  It really was the perfect ending to our dinner and now for some quiet alone time... cheers

      thanks for reading~
    +claudia lamascolo  Author

    A Special 90th Birthday to a Dear Friend

    
    Happy 90th Birthday Jim.  Wishing You Many More Happy, Healthy Years Ahead ...With the many more accomplishments your yet to achieve! Your an amazing man.  We all can just hope to learn the secret of  your youth you have with your continued wisdom. As they say you look marvelous my dear!  Congratulations and Best Wishes to you today and always!
    
    Two of my dearest friends Louise and Jim Corleto
    Live Longest and Prosper~ I love you both,  wish I were there to enjoy your day! You two are an amazing very special couple~


    Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday Dear Jim, Happy Birthday to you!!!!!
    Missing you both!


    I know chocolate is your favorite so this piece I saved for you! 

    Thursday, August 18, 2011

    Baked Italian Stuffed Zucchini Squash Recipe


    1 lb of ground lamb, hamburger or turkey
    2 cup of raw quick cooking rice
    2 cloves of fresh minced garlic
    2 bay leaves
    1 teaspoon allspice
    cayenne pepper to taste
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    1/2 teaspoon dry basil
    salt and pepper to taste
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    2 whole fresh basil leaf chopped
    1 sprig fresh oregano chopped
    2 sprigs of fresh mint  chopped
    1 can tomato paste
    1 pound of fresh tomatoes put through food processor skins and all
    water
    red wine
    8 large or 10 small assorted colored zucchini  dark green, yellow or green squash ... if your lucky enough to cultivate Kusa's from seeds those are the best of both squash to use!

    Mix rice, lamb, 1 tablespoon of tomato paste and all spices except fresh garlic together in a medium size bowl.  Set aside in the refrigerator.

    In the meantime, slice zucchini in halves this usually makes sixteen halves.
    Scoop out all the insides with a spoon and put aside for another treat Zucchini Coconut Bread.

    Take the lamb mixture and press tightly into hollowed out zucchini.

     Pour into a dutch oven saucepan 1 cup of burgundy wine, tomatoes and rest of paste. Place zucchini on top and stack . Add water to cover half way up the pan. Add garlic cloves in the tomato-water mixture, 1 fresh basil leaf and salt, pepper to taste.

    Place in a dutch oven pan that has a tight fitting lid in the oven at 350 degrees until the rice and zucchini is tender takes around an hour and half to cook. Once the fork goes through the squash it's done.

    Here's a crockpot recipe for stuffed squash:  Crockpot Stuffed Squash

    Want desserts using that leftover zucchini? Try these recipes :  Zucchini Coconut Bread, Chocolate Zucchini Bread, Prize Winning  Cranberry Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    Samoas Knockoff Cookie Bars



    My husband absolutely loved my first batch of Samoas knock off cookies collection I made ( click on the name for the original recipe).  Well I am here to tell you, in the summer when it too hot to think about cooking and heating up the house, these were the best idea yet and they taste pretty darn close to the originals! A little more cookie than usual, and alot more taste! So if your a Samoa lover, this may be your new found favorite.

    Cookie Crust
    1/2 cup sugar
    3/4 cup butter, softened
    1 large egg
    1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
    2 cups all purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

    Caramel Topping
    3 cups shredded toasted sweet coconut
    1 14 oz bag of unwrapped kraft caramels
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    4 tablespoons or more heavy cream
    1 1/2 bags of semi sweet chocolate chips or 16 oz of good dark or semisweet chocolate
    Preheat oven @350.
    In a 9x13-inch baking pan lined with parchment paper.
    In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract.
    Gradually add in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly.
    Place dough onto lined pan and packing the dough into the space of the pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes edges are lightly browned. Cool completely. Toast coconut on a paper plate in the microwave turning with a spoon every minute until golden brown. Set aside and allow to cool.
    Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave glass bowl with the cream and salt. Microwave and check every minute stirring, till smooth. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut.
    Spread the coconut and caramel topping all over the cooled cookie crust evenly.
    Place in refrigerator for around 25 minutes to firm up. When cooled, cut into bars. Melt chocolate in microwave stirring every 30 seconds till melted and smooth. Dip bottoms of each bar into the chocolate and place onto wax paper.
    Melt more for the tops of the bars, for designing the S shape on top. Using a ketsup or mustard squeeze bottle or a freezer bag with end snipped to make a little hole to drizzle chocolate over the tops of each bar.
    These freeze very well, or I store in the refrigerator and leave out around a half hour before serving.

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    Zucchini Coconut Quick Bread Recipe


    1 egg
    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    1 cup white sugar
    1 cup grated zucchini
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
    1/2 cup flaked coconut
    1/2 cup chopped pecans
    1/2 cup dried apples, raisins, craisins or if your a chocoholic 1/2 cup milk or semi sweet chocolate chips

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.
    If using craisins or raisins, in  small pan boil one cup water. Add  craisins, and boil for two minutes. Drain.

    In mixing bowl beat egg, oil, and sugar. Stir in zucchini and vanilla.
    In another bowl, measure flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut, pecans, and apples.
     ( craisins, raisins or chocolate if using go in place of the apples). Stir to combine thoroughly. Pour all at once over batter in mixing bowl. Stir to moisten. Turn into greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.
    Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Turn out on rack. Cool and wrap.

    Milk Chocolate Coconut Zucchini batter~
    Coconut and Milk Chocolate Chips are an awesome combo. If you double this recipe (as I always do) you can split the batter to make a few different kinds!

    Monday, August 15, 2011

    Baked Vanilla Doughnuts with White Chocolate Ganache Glaze




    I just love my new donut pan!  If you haven't tried baked donuts, they are so easy, light and actually fun even if you hate baking!  I made the chocolate one's first this time these are a cinnamon vanilla flavor. (I put rum in the ganache) Here's a great recipe that actually came with the pan ....


    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    1/2 cup milk
    1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar or you can use white vinegar
    1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1 egg
    4 tablespoons butter, softened

    For the Glaze:
    1/4 cup butter
    3 ounces white chocolate
    1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
    4-5 tablespoons rum or water

     Colored Sprinkles
    Mixture of Cinnamon & Sugar

    Melt the butter in a microwave proof large bowl. Add the vinegar, milk, vanilla and stir, I love to watch that thicken as it curdles. Whisk in egg. Then add all the dry ingredients till well blended. Lightly spray donut pans.

    Taking a sturdy zip lock bag fill it with the batter, snip a little piece of the end off and pipe the donuts into the pans to fill about 2/3 full each. Bake for 8 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool on parchment paper.


    For Glaze:  In a microwave safe bowl, add white chocolate and butter till melted. Mix in sugar and water, stir mixing till blended. Dip donuts in ganache and sprinkle with either colored sprinkles or cinnamon and sugar. Makes 12.


    Do you like Chocolate Donuts Better Click here > Dark Chocolate Baked Donuts