Sunday, October 31, 2010

Candy Corn Cookies

I've seen these on multiple websites - Land O Lakes, Betty Crocker, many blogs. They are so cute, it's not surprising that multiple people make them in the fall. They take a little time to cut all of the pieces, but overall, they are pretty simple to make, and are a tasty, bite-sized snack to enjoy. (You can have more than one without feeling too guilty! And personally, they are MUCH better than the real thing. I can't remember why I liked candy corn so much as a child!)

CANDY CORN COOKIES (Adapted from Land O Lakes)

1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Orange paste or gel food color
Yellow paste or gel food color

Line bottom and sides of 9x5-inch loaf pan with tin foil or plastic food wrap. Set aside.

Combine butter and 1 cup sugar in large bowl; beat at medium speed until creamy. Add egg and vanilla. Continue beating until well mixed. Reduce speed to low; add flour and baking soda. Beat until well mixed.

Divide dough into thirds. Press one-third of white dough evenly onto bottom of prepared pan. Place another one-third of dough back into same bowl. Add small amount of orange food color; mix until color is well blended. Press orange dough evenly over white dough in pan. Place remaining one-third of dough into another medium bowl. Add small amount of yellow food color; mix until color is well blended. Press yellow dough evenly over orange dough in pan. Cover with plastic food wrap; refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours or overnight).

Place 1 cup sugar in large bowl; set aside.

Heat oven to 375°F. Invert loaf pan to remove dough. Peel off foil/wrap. Place layered dough onto cutting surface. Cut loaf crosswise into 1/4-inch slices using sharp knife, trimming edges to make even, if necessary. Cut each slice into 5 wedges (4 cuts).

Roll in sugar. Place 1-inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are very lightly browned. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets. Place cookies onto cooling rack. Cool completely.

Happy Halloween, ENJOY!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Puff Pastry

I've been wanting to try Puff Pastry for quite some time, but it's always intimidated me. When I knew we'd be visiting an orchard when the family came by in the fall, I knew it was the perfect time to try out the pastry to make some turnovers.

This wasn't nearly as intimidating as I expected! Sure, it takes a little planning and a bit of time, but it was definitely worth it! SOOOOOOO flakey & buttery! I highly recommend that anyone who has even thought about making their own puff pastry give it a shot.

PUFF PASTRY (From BakingBites)

2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup cake flour
10 ounces butter, cold (2 1/2 sticks), divided
1 1/4 tsp salt
3/4 – 1 cup cold water

Take 8 ounces of butter (2 sticks) and shape into a block roughly 1/4 inch thick. If you are using stick butter, slice each stick into three long pieces and make a 2×3 block. Press butter together well and refrigerate.

Combine flours and salt in food processor. Pulse lightly to combine. Add remaining 2 ounces (1/2 stick) of butter and cut in until dough looks like sand. With the motor running, add 3/4 cup water. If dough has not come together, add remaining water slowly.
Flatten dough into a smooth disk, wrap and chill for 1 hour.

On a well floured surface, roll dough out into a large (10 inches or so) circle. Set butter block in the center.

Fold up the extra dough as though you were folding an envelope: fold over the sides, the fold the top down and the bottom up.

Turn the seam side down and roll until envelope has quadrupled in size. Use short strokes, keeping the pressure as even as possible, and lots of flour.

Fold the dough in thirds as though you were folding a business letter. This is one turn. Wrap and refrigerate dough for at least one hour and up to two days.

To make turns 2, 3 and 4, place chilled dough seam side down on a well-floured surface and roll out again into a large rectangle. Try to keep the dough as evenly rectangular as possible. Fold as you would a business letter. Wrap and chill.

Dough can be frozen until ready to use.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cranberry Crumb Bars

My Dad LOVES when I bake for him. Back when I was a poor college student (not much different from being a poor resident!), I gave him "Cookie of the Month" multiple years as a Christmas present. I would bake him cookies & mail them to him monthly. (He rarely shared, often placing them in the freezer & rationing them to make them last a month!)

Now, I don't have the time to mail him goodies monthly. So, whenever he comes to visit, or when I visit him, I try to make a treat for him. These were a perfect fall treat - just slightly tart, but still a sweet treat. They would have been delicious with a little vanilla bean ice cream.

While they are a "crumb" bar - they are solid enough to eat in bar form without a fork & plate if desired.

Makes 9x13 inch pan

2/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
1 large egg
1 pinch ground cinnamon

4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
2/3 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease a 9x13 inch pan.

In a medium bowl, stir together brown sugar, 2/3 cup white sugar, flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the shortening and egg. Dough will be crumbly (like damp sand). Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.

In another bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch. Gently mix in the cranberries. Sprinkle the cranberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Yet another Monday Night Football recipe! I served this along with the Pickle Wrap Dip, and a Jalapeno Popper Dip (recipe to come). While each of these made large portions, our group of 8 managed to almost completely finish all of the dips! I think that speaks to how much these were enjoyed!

(Again, I apologize for the photo - it's much more appetizing than the picture makes it appear! I need to work on photographing dips!)

BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP (Adapted from Prevention RD)

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup blue cheese (or ranch) dressing
1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (I used 2 large breasts, boiled, then shredded)
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese

Heat oven to 350°F.

In medium bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in dressing, buffalo wing sauce and water until blended. Stir in chicken and cheese. Spread in ungreased 1-quart baking dish or 9-inch pie plate; cover with foil.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve hot with crackers or celery sticks.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Caramel S'More Cups

I usually love to make things from scratch. However, sometimes, we all just need something quick to whip up when we are busy. This is one of those treats. They were quickly devoured at work, but took me only a few minutes to make. No one guessed that the base came from a box. (Although, it would be easy to substitute your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe - again, I was limited on time!)

The recipe originally called for Rolos, but I couldn't find any. Plus, the caramel in the Kisses is a little softer & made for a nice, gooey center.

CARAMEL S'MORE CUPS (Adapted from Betty Crocker)

1 package of chocolate chip cookie mix, mixed as directed on box/bag
Caramel filled Hershey's Kisses
8-12 large marshmallows, cut in half
1/3 cup chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray mini muffin cups with cooking spray.

Make cookie dough as directed on package, using butter and egg. Shape dough into 1 1/2-inch balls. Place 1 ball into each muffin cup.

Bake 8-12 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Remove from oven; firmly press 1 kiss (point down) into center of each cookie until flush with cookie top. Top each with 1/2 of a large marshmallow. Bake 2 to 4 minutes longer or until marshmallows are puffed. Cool 10 to 15 minutes. Loosen edges of cookie with small metal spatula and remove to cooling racks. Cool completely.

Place chocolate chips in small dish. Microwave on High about 1 minute or until softened. Put into a ziplock bag, with a small corner cut off. Gently squeeze bag until chocolate is smooth. Squeeze bag to drizzle chocolate over marshmallows. Let stand until hardened, about 10 minutes.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Pickle Wrap Dip

I LOVE dill pickle wraps. They are always a treat! Because they take so long to make, I rarely make them. My grandma, who loves to have special treats for her grandkids, often surprises my sister & I with a tupperware full of them.

With the onset of Monday Night Football, I wanted to find some tasty dips to serve. I knew the dip version of the wraps would would be a great (and quick!) way to satisfy my cravings.

There are many versions of the recipe around - I based mine on taste, trying to get it as close to the wraps I love. I personally thought it was delicious, and everyone at the party seemed to agree!

(Sorry about the not-so-great picture - everyone was eager to eat!)


8 oz cream cheese
2 large dill pickles (the HUGE ones you buy in bulk!)
4 oz of corned or roast beef

Place all ingredients into a food processor & pulse until desired texture. (EASY!! No chopping or cutting required!)

Store in refrigerator.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Fluffernutter Cupcakes

So, I have to admit, I've never had a Fluffernutter sandwich. (Peanut butter on one slice, Marshmallow Fluff on the other slice) Maybe it's because I grew up in the midwest (The sandwich seems to be a New England favorite - probably because Marshmallow Fluff is made in Lynn, Massachusetts). However, these cupcakes sounded delicious to this peanut butter loving gal. And they definitely were!


Peanut Butter Cupcakes (From Cupcake Rehab)

2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/3 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup peanut butter chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners, or grease and flour cups.

In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar, oil and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt; stir into the batter alternately with the milk.

Mix in the peanut butter chips until completely combined. Spoon into the prepared muffin cups.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until the top of the cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed. Cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Marshmallow Butter Cream

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup flour
16oz container Marshmallow Fluff

Beat butter & 1 cup of the sugar until light. Add 1/2 of the fluff, and beat until combined. Add the other 1/2 of the fluff, again mixing until combined. Beat in flour, and an additional 1-2 cups of the sugar until it is the sweetness & consistency you prefer.