Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dulce de Leche Bars

My biggest problem with this recipe is the part where it says, "Cool 1 hour." I don't have that kind of self control...
These bars are ooey and gooey - both perfect words to describe these scrumptious bars!

Look at the caramel!!!

Dulce de Leche Bars:
2 rolls (16.5 oz each) Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookies
1 3/4 c. quick-cooking or old fashioned oats
2/3 c. packed brown sugar
2 t. vanilla
1 bag (14 oz) caramels, unwrapped
1/2 c. butter
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
3 T. caramel topping
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, break up 1 roll of cookie dough. Stir or knead in
3/4 c. of oats, 1/3 c. brown sugar and 1 t. vanilla until well blended. I used my Kitchen Aid mixer for this step. With floured fingers, press mixture evenly in bottom of ungreased 9x13 inch pan to form a crust.
Bake 13-18 mins or until light golden brown.
In the same bowl, break up remaining cookie dough. Stir in remaining 1 c. oats, 1/3 c. brown sugar and 1 t. vanilla until well blended. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat caramels, butter and condensed milk over medium low heat, stirring frequently, until caramels are melted and the mixture is smooth.
Spread caramel mixture over the crust. Crumble remaining cookie dough mixture evenly over caramel. Bake 20-25 mins longer or until light golden brown. Cool 1 hour. Run knife around sides of pan to loosen bars. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
Drizzle caramel topping over bars. Cover and refrigerate any remaining bars.
Bon appetit!

Caramel Heavenlies

These are as tasty as they are easy. They taste like a lot more effort!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

14 graham crackers
2 C mini marshmallows
3/4 C butter
3/4 C brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 C sliced almonds
3/4 C flaked coconut

Line a 11X7 pan with parchment paper. That part in important otherwise they will stick and you won't be able to get them out of the pan. Place 12 graham crackers side by side on top of the parchment. You will need to break a another few crackers in half to fill in the space of the pan.

Sprinkle the marshmallows on the crackers. Set aside while you make the caramel.

Melt the butter; add the cinnamon and the brown sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves and then let it boil while stirring for around 2 minutes. Take off heat and add vanilla. Pour over the graham crackers. Sprinkle with the almonds and coconut. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes until browned. Cool completely. Peel off parchment paper and then cut into squares and then in half again to make diamonds.
* The filling hardens while cooling. It will not be fully set ( a little jiggly) when it comes out of the oven.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

I don't cook with Cheez Whiz very often for obvious reasons, but every now and then it has its place. This is an easy, quick way to make soup that can be made vegetarian using vegetable stock in place of chicken stock and leaving out the shredded chicken.

3 C water
4 C chicken broth
2 onions, finely chopped
1 C shredded carrots
1 chicken breast, shredded
2 C frozen broccoli
1/4 C butter
1/2 C flour
2 C milk
1 C Cheez Whiz
1 C cheddar cheese, cubed

Boil vegetables in water and broth for 30 minutes. Boil the chicken and then cook slightly before shredding; set aside.

In another pot, make a roux; melting the butter, stirring in the flour, then adding the milk. Cook, stirring constantly over med/low heat until thickened. It doesn't take very long. After it is thick and bubbly, add Cheez Whiz and cheddar, stirring to melt.

Pour cheese mixture into broth. Add the chicken and stir to combine.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Crispy Potatoes

This is the best recipe I have ever found, courtesy of Melissa d'Arabian, for roasted potatoes. They literally slide off the baking sheet onto your plate, unlike some of my past efforts that leave me scraping them off the pan or burning them in an attempt to make them crispy. They are exactly as roasted potatoes should be: crispy on the outside and nice and soft on the inside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

1/4 C vegetable oil
3 or 4 russet potatoes, cut into cubes (scrubbed, not peeled)
3 T water
1 T butter

In a large skillet (or I use an enameled-bottom pot), heat oil to med/high temperature. Add potatoes and salt and pepper to taste.

Saute for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Turn heat up to high and add the water. Stir and cover. Check often and stir because the potatoes do stick. Some of the skin will come off, but it is fine. Replace the lid between stirrings. Steam until the water evaporates, 3 to 4 minutes.

Lower heat to medium, leave lid off and saute for another 1 to 2 minutes until water is gone. Add the butter. Stir to coat the potatoes and spread them on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-25 minutes until they as crispy and browned as you like them.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

French Dessert Crepes

First of all, please excuse the photos: I am not a photographer. Some of the photos have turned out better (or maybe I should say more appetizing )than others!
This is probably our favorite recipe of my Dad's. He would make these every Christmas morning, and now and again whenever we were in the mood for a light, breakfast-type meal. Our favorite way to eat them is with strawberries and whipped cream, but lemon juice and sugar, or with other fruits would be great too.

2 Eggs
1 C milk
2 T melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 C flour

Whisk the wet ingredients together. Add the flour and salt. Whip it in the blender or by hand until smooth. Heat the skillet to a medium heat; lightly butter or spray with cooking spray. Put approx. 1/4 cup of the batter in the pan and tip to spread the batter to the edges to coat the pan. It will be very thin. When it starts to bubble, flip over and cook briefly on the other side. Pile them together on plate until you are done cooking. They can be made ahead and reheated in the microwave. This recipe make approx. 12 crepes.

Sugar Pie -

Let me start by saying that if you are currently following any diet that restricts you from enjoying "heavenly" food choices...move away from your computer. Now.

This recipe came from my Dad's neighbor Denyse and as he so eloquently puts it, "it is too die for."

The ingredients are simple.

The results are divine.

Sugar Pie:
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. brown sugar
2 c. heavy whipping cream
1 t. maple extract
1 pie crust
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Press your pie crust into your pie plate. In a small bowl mix the flour and brown sugar together. Pour the sugar/flour mixture onto the crust and even it out. Gently pour the whipping cream over the flour & sugar mixture. Sprinkle the teaspoon of maple extract over the whipping cream.
Bake the pie for 1 - 1 1/4 hours at 350 degrees or until almost set. Center will still be a bit wiggly (that's the technical term for not quite set.)
Bon Appetit!