Saturday, November 20, 2010

Chocolate No-Bake Cookies

These are one of my favorite-- cannot be quicker-- "chocolate fix" snacks to make. Also good to make when you don't want to bother with the oven. When we were younger, my sister used to eat right out of the pot and never make them into cookies.

1/3 C cocoa
1/2 C butter or margarine
1/2 C milk
1 1/2 C sugar

Stir over medium heat until mixture reaches a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add:

1/2 tsp vanilla
3 C quick oats
1 C sweetened flake coconut

Scoop small amounts of mix, shape into balls and place on waxed paper to let firm up and cool. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits

I'll admit it.
I've always been a little apprehensive
when it comes to biscuits.
I've made my fair share of "rocks" that were
suppose to be biscuits.
Yesterday I made Chicken Noodle Soup that was
screaming for
a nice, light and flaky biscuit.
I ran to my favorite website, Allrecipes and tried this one.
They turned out fantastic!

Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 T. sugar
4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1/2 c. butter, cold
1/2 c. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
3/4 c. buttermilk

In a bowl (I used my food processor) combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cayenne. Pulse to combine. Add the cold butter 1 T. at a time, pulsing the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. (Since I used a food processor, my crumbs were finer.)

I poured the crumbs into a bowl and added the cheddar cheese to toss. Stir in the buttermilk until just moistened.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface; knead 8-10 times. (Mine was a little too dry, so I added another 1-2 T. buttermilk so it would come together.)

This is where I deviated from the recipe. The original recipe says to: Pat or roll to 1 inch thickness; cut with a floured 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter.

Instead, I just took chunks of the dough, gently formed them into discs that were approximately 1 inch thick. That way there were no left over pieces to roll out later. They baked up beautifully!

Sorry, here's the rest of the recipe:

Place 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.

Chef's Note: Buttermilk is not something I have always had on hand, UNTIL I was told it could be frozen and used at a later date. Not rocket science I know, but I'd never thought about it. Buttermilk is insanely cheap. When I bought it yesterday it was .37 cents for 1 cup! I bought 5 and threw 4 in the freezer:)

Bon Appetit!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Death By Chocolate Cake

I MAY have gotten a little carried away with the chocolate ganache.
It's still up for debate.
This is a really easy, really really rich and really really really decadent
dessert that will leave you begging for milk!

Death By Chocolate Cake:
1 chocolate cake mix - I prefer Pillsbury since it has pudding in the mix
1 (3 oz) box of instant chocolate pudding
1/2 c. oil
1/4 c. water
4 eggs
1/2 c. sour cream
1 (12 oz) pkg of semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour a bundt pan. Set aside.
In a large bowl combine the ingredients in the order listed. Combine well.
Spread the batter, which will be very thick into the bundt pan.
Bake for 55 mins. Remove from oven, turn the cake out onto a cake plate and let it cool.
Make the chocolate ganache.
Chocolate Ganache: (You may 1/2 this recipe if you would like less chocolate...crazy suggestion, I know.)
1 c. heavy whipping cream
10 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 T. strong coffee OR 1 t. vanilla extract
Place chocolate chips in a medium sized bowl. On the stove, bring the whipping cream to a boil. Pour over the chocolate chips. Let them sit for a minute or so - add the coffee or vanilla - then stir until smooth. Let the ganache sit at room temperature while the cake cools.
Once everything is cooled and the ganache has thickened, pour it over the cake making sure you get every nook and cranny!
Bon Appetit!

Crispy Mashed Potato Cakes

Yet again, apologies for the bad photo...
I found this recipe in one of my old Cooking Light magazines. It is a really great--and tasty way to use up extra mashed potatoes. As an added bonus, they are even baked in the oven instead of fried like a lot of potato cakes are. I swapped turkey bacon and one diced shallot because I didn't have any green onions and I don't eat regular bacon but I will post the original recipe as it was written. Furthermore, I know I added more cheese than it called for because as my husband says, "you can never have too much cheese!" Look for the panko Japanese breadcrumbs for this recipe to get that really crispy crunch in contrast with the soft potato filling.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

1/2 C chopped green onions
2 C mashed potatoes, chilled
2 T shredded cheddar cheese
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 center-cut bacon slice, cooked and crumbled
3/4 C panko bread crumbs

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Coat with cooking spray or a little oil. Add green onions to pan and cook 2 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Place mashed potatoes in a medium bowl. Stir in onions, cheese, salt and pepper, and bacon. Divide potato mixture in to 6 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2" thick patty. Dredge patties in panko. Place patties on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray (or I just used Parchment paper). Bake for 12 minutes. Carefully turn patties over; bake an additional 12 minutes or until golden.
Bon appetit!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake

If you are craving chocolate...this cheesecake will not disappoint.
You can make this dessert up to 3 days in advance!

Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake:

20 Oreo cookies, crushed
6 T. butter, melted

11.5 oz semi-sweet or bitter-sweet chocolate chips - use the best quality you can afford
4, 8oz packages cream cheese, room temp
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa
4 large eggs

3/4 c. whipping cream
6 oz. semi-sweet or bitter-sweet chocolate chips
1 T. sugar

Chocolate curls for garnish

For the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 or 10 inch spring form pan with 3 inch sides. Process the Oreo cookies until they are finely ground. Transfer to a small bowl and add melted butter. Mix until well combined. Press crumbs into the bottom only of the spring form pan. Bake just until set 5-8 mins. Cool while preparing filling.

For the filling: Melt the chocolate in the microwave using short bursts of power for 15-30 second intervals until chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside. In the large bowl of a Kitchen Aid blend the cream cheese, sugar and cocoa. Mix until smooth. Blend in eggs 1 at a time. When smooth add melted chocolate and mix until combined. Pour the filling over the crust, smooth the top and bake until center is just set and top appears dry - about 1 hour. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 mins. Run knife around sides of cake to loosen. Let the cheesecake cool to room temp. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

For the topping: One hour before serving (or up to 3 days ahead), stir cream and 6 oz chocolate and sugar in a heavy saucepan over low heat until smooth. Cool slightly. Pour over the center of the cheesecake, spreading to within 1/2 inch of edge and filling any cracks. Chill until the topping is set, about 1 hour.

It is preferable to let the cheesecake stand at room temp for 1-2 hours before serving.

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Gingerbread Cake

Apologies for the beyond bad photo. My sister is using the camera I usually use to photograph her new babies-- a lot more important than food pictures!

It has been a year since my Dad passed. I miss him so much and it helps to have so many amazing and fun memories that I can think and remember. One of those is going to a restaurant at Peggy's Cove called the Sou'Wester. They have this really good Gingerbread cake that they serve with lemon sauce or soft-serve vanilla ice cream. We'd see the lighthouse and the ocean, skip the gift shop and head straight for the cake. Good times. I think of him when I make and enjoy this cake. It rises really high and is moist and really yummy.

1/2 C butter or margarine
1/2 C brown sugar
1 egg
1 C molasses
1/3 C applesauce
2 1/2 C flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 C hot water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix butter and sugar until smooth; beat in the egg. Add the molasses and the applesauce.

In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Whisk together and add to the molasses mixture. Mix well. Add the hot water and stir until combined. Scrape the batter into a greased and floured 9 X 9" pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Cool and serve with whipped cream, ice cream or lemon sauce. Bon Appetit!