Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I started a bit early this year to insure I could make ALL of my
favorite pumpkin recipes before I move on to "holiday" treats.
My family always asks for these cookies - this year
I frosted some with cream cheese frosting
(my husband says it's overkill, but no one really asked:)

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies:

1 c. canned pumpkin
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. vegetable oil (you can easily sub applesauce for 1/2 the oil)
1 egg
2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. cloves
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 t. milk
1 T. vanilla extract
2 c. semi sweet chocolate chips
3-4 drops orange food coloring (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine pumpkin, sugar, oil and egg. Once combined add spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves), then add vanilla, milk and salt. Add flour, baking soda and baking powder - then lastly add the chocolate chips. Mix thoroughly.

Drop by spoonful on a greased cookie sheet and bake for approx. 10 mins.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 c. butter, softened
1 t. vanilla
4 c. powdered sugar

Combine cream cheese and butter until creamy - add vanilla and powdered sugar, mix well.

Once cookies are cooled, frost at will.

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

These are one of my favorite cookies, hands down. Who doesn't love peanut butter and chocolate anyway?

1 3/4 C flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 butter, softened
1/2 C white sugar
1/2 C peanut butter
1/2 C packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
2 T milk
40 mini-chocolate covered peanut butter cups, unwrapped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix together the flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

Cream together the butter, both sugars, peanut butter until fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and milk. Add the flour mixture and mix well.

Roll into 40 balls and place into ungreased mini muffin pans.

Bake for about 8 minutes. As soon as they come out of the oven, press a peanut butter cup into each cookie. Cool and carefully remove from pan.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pumpkin Torte

My favorite season is almost here.
I love baking with apples and pumpkin,
which leads me to my first "FALL" offering.
Pumpkin flavor is infused in both
the cake and frosting,
making this dessert super rich.

Pumpkin Torte:

1 pkg yellow cake mix
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin, divided
1/2 c. milk
1/3 c. oil
4 eggs
2 t. pumpkin pie spice, divided
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat with success)
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 (16 oz) container Cool Whip (I used light and it worked fine)
1/4 c. caramel ice cream topping
1/3 c. toasted pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of your Kitchen Aid, combine - cake mix, 1 c. pumpkin, milk, oil and eggs. Mix well then add 1 t. pumpkin pie spice. Beat on low for 30 seconds, then medium for 2 minutes. Pour into 2 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in the pans before removing to wire racks. Cool completely.
To make the frosting, beat cream cheese, sugar, remaining pumpkin and 1 t. pumpkin pie spice until smooth. Fold in whipped topping.
Split cake horizontally. Place a layer on a plate; spread with a fourth of filling. Repeat layers three times. Chill in fridge for 3 hours or until ready to serve.
Just before serving drizzle the torte with caramel topping and pecans.

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bowtie Pasta Salad

I can't believe how long it's been since I posted anything! I think the whole back to school thing stresses me out too much to do anything fun like cooking and blogging.
This is a pasta salad Tamara gave me the recipe for last year when I was looking for food to make for my sister's baby shower. This was a popular one with everyone who was there and I have since made it a ton of times.
It is really easy and versatile-- you could add some chopped, cooked chicken to make it more of a main course meal or vary what vegetables you add to it.
It tastes better if made the day (or at least a few hours) before. I reserve some of the coleslaw dressing and fold it in before serving to make sure the salad is moist. Also the cashews shouldn't be added until just before serving so they don't go soft.

1 454 g (1 lb) box of Farfalle (bowtie) pasta
1 lg bottle (2 cups) of Coleslaw salad dressing
1/2 C mayonnaise
4 stalks of celery, diced
2-3 cans of mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 C chopped green onions
1/2 C of red grapes, cut in half
1/2 C unsalted cashews (optional)
1/4 C Craisins (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Lemonade Cake

This is a glorified "cake mix" cake.
If that offends you, move on.
After reading the reviews about this cake I knew I would be trying it soon.
People were so critical that this cake uses a
cake mix as the base of the recipe,
they actually lowered their ratings!
I guess I'm not as easily offended:)
I thought it was really good.
I did exactly as the recipe stated and I loved
the punch of flavor that the lemonade glaze gave.

Lemonade Cake:

1 - 3 oz. package lemon flavored jello
3/4 c. boiling water
1 lemon cake mix
3/4 c. vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
3/4 c. sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a bundt cake pan, set aside.
Dissolve lemon jello in boiling water and set aside.
Combine cake mix, oil and eggs in a large bowl. Mix until combined. Add the jello, then beat for 5 minutes. Pour prepared batter into the pan.
Make the lemonade glaze by combining the lemonade concentrate and sugar in a small pan, cook long enough to dissolve the sugar.
Bake for 1 hour. While the cake is still warm (and still in the pan) - puncture the cake with a long knife to give the glaze somewhere to go, then pour the lemonade glaze over the cake.
Let the cake cool completely before removing to a decorative plate.

Bon Appetit!

Scalloped Potatoes

Scalloped Potatoes - take horrible pictures.
Thankfully they taste SO MUCH BETTER than they photograph.
Here is a recipe I found on Allrecipes (a favorite website for recipe searches.)
I was looking for something simple, lower in fat than funeral potatoes or Au Gratin potatoes, and this is what I came up with.
Everyone loved them!
Scalloped Potatoes:

5 large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

3/4 c. chopped onion

3 T. butter

1/4 c. flour

1 3/4 c. chicken broth

2 T. mayo

3/4 t. salt

1/8 t. pepper


1/2 c. cheddar cheese (optional)

In a greased 2 1/2 qt. baking dish, layer potatoes and onion. In a saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour until smooth. Gradually add broth, mayo, s&p. Cook and stir for 2 mins or until thick and bubbly. Pour over potatoes. Sprinkle with paprika. Cover and bake at 325 degrees for 2 hours or until tender.

Cook's Note: This recipe is quite forgiving. I used more than 5 I made slightly more sauce...but it wasn't enough to cover all the potatoes I'd peeled - so I opened a can of evaporated milk and poured the entire can over the potatoes. I then baked for 3 HOURS!!! I added cheddar cheese to the top of half of the pan at the last minute. There was plenty of sauce, and they were fantastic!

Bon Appetit!