Monday, April 21, 2014

Cannoli Dip

Eric's parents often have grocery store cannoli (while delicious, far from the real deal) at their house and Eric never fails to snag one when we visit. Every time he wonders out loud, "I wonder how hard it would be to make these," which is code for "Krissy, will you make these for me?" 

Of course, I did--well, partially. I made the filling to serve as a dip and cinnamon-sugar pastries (Eric's all time favorite baked good) to go with it. I didn't expect the cannoli filling to be so easy to make or so addictive. Next time I will have to attempted to make the cannoli shells too.

Recipe adapted from here.

16 ounces of ricotta cheese
4 tablespoons of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk, optional
1/3 cup chocolate chips

First, you need to strain the liquid out of the ricotta. Usually you do this by wrapping the ricotta in cheese cloth and gently squeezing out the excess liquid. I don't have cheese cloth so I set a couple sheets of paper towel in the bottom of a mesh colander, spread the cheese on top and with my hand pressed down on it. Then I let it sit and drain for 15 or 20 minutes.

Once the ricotta is strained, place it, the sugar, and the extract into a food processor and process for 3 to 4 minutes or until the mixture is smooth. I added a tablespoon of milk to thin the filling just a little. You don't have to do this--or you could add more if you so desired.

Pour the filling into your desired container, sprinkle with the chocolate chips, and serve with pastries, graham crackers, or anything you so desire.



More Dessert Ideas:
Smores Pie
Creamsicle Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate Swirl Cake (Made with Swiss Cake Rolls)
Yummy Butterscotch Cookies

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Soft and Chewy French Bread

Ever since I got my standing mixer (thanks Betty!), I've discovered a love for making bread. The mixer does the kneading for you and makes the whole process so much easier. But with that said, this bread requires a bit of work, but the taste and texture make it worth the extra effort.

Recipe adapted from here.

1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups water
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
6 cups flour

In the bowl of your standing mixer (dough hook attached), combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar; let side for 10 minutes. Add the remaining water, oil, salt, and 3 cups of flour. On low, mix until flour is incorporated. Gradually add the remaining flour until fully incorporated. Knead for 5 minutes.

Grease a large bowl with cooking spray. Tranfer dough to bowl and cover bowl with a damp towel. For the next hour, knead the dough 2 or 3 times, every 10 minutes.

Transfer dough to a floured surface and form into 4 loaves. Slash 3 lines into the tops of each loaf. Either wrap loaves in plastic wrap or cover with a damp towel (but you don't want the towel to touch the dough. I placed the loaves under my wire rack and draped the towel over the rack). Allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

If you want to give the bread a nice brown crust, brush an egg white wash over the tops. (I didn't do this).

French Bread with Roasted Garlic Butter



More Bread Recipes:
Homemade Bread Sticks 
Homemade Flour Tortillas
Homemade Pita Bread
Parmesan Onion Rolls 
Sour Cream Dinner Rolls

Roasted Garlic Butter

Once you have garlic butter it's so easy to make your own garlic bread. We had a friend coming to dinner so I made my baked ziti (except I added spicy sausage which took it to a whole other level). Pasta dishes just cry out for garlic bread so I roasted a head of garlic, whipped it with some butter, and spread it on homemade French bread. Delicious! (It's also really good on mashed potatoes!)

1 head of garlic
1 cup of butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Peel away the outer layers of the garlic head; however, don't peel the skins of the individual cloves. With a knife, cut off the top of the cloves--about1/4 to a 1/2 inch of the top--so you can see the inside of the individual cloves.

Drizzle the top with olive oil then wrap the garlic head in tin foil. On a cookie sheet, bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the cloves feel soft.

Allow the garlic to cool. Separate the individual cloves from the head then pinch the end of the cloves so the garlic inside shoots out into a bowl.

Add butter to bowl. With the whisk attachment on your electric mixer, whisk the garlic and butter together until well combined and butter is light and airy.



More Appetizer Recipes:
Cheese Puffs for Cheese Lovers!
Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Parmesan Onion Rolls 
Pull-Apart Spinach and Cheese Bread
Toasted Ravioli 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love Whoppers a.k.a. malted milk balls. I plan on attempting to make some myself in the near future, but for now it's malted chocolate chip cookies. I must admit, it was difficult not to just eat the batter. And Eric kept sneaking into the kitchen and stealing them from my wire rack, almost as fast as I was making them. We are both definitely fans of the malted chocolate chip cookie.

Recipe slightly adapted from here

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup malted milk powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips (I used chocolate chunks just because that's what I had on hand)

In a medium bowl, whisk together malted milk powder, baking powder, salt, and cornstarch. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the butter and brown sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and combine. Gradually stir in dry ingredients until well combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Cover dough and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheet with cooking spray.

Scoop out a rounded tablespoon of dough, drop on cookie sheet, and slightly flatten with a fork, spatula, or your fingers. If you want prettier cookies, roll the dough into a ball before slightly flattening. Space cookie about 3 inches apart.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges turn a light golden brown.

Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheet for a couple of minutes then transfer to a wire rack.

Arya keeping me company while I cook


More Cookie Recipes:
Applesauce Cookies with Caramel Frosting
Brown Sugar Cookies
Baileys White Chocolate Chip Cookies
Creamsicle Chocolate Chip Cookies (Cream Cheese Cake Mix Recipe)
Smores Cookies!
Soft Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Spiced Rum Brown Butter Cookies 
Yummy Butterscotch Cookies

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Homemade Hash Browns

Breakfast for dinner is one of my favorite dinner meals. I'm not a morning person so about all I can muster for breakfast in the morning is oatmeal or cereal or toast. I just don't have it in me to make eggs or pancakes or French toast. So we have breakfast for dinner--cheesy eggs, bacon, and homemade hash browns. I've tried making hash browns myself before, but they've always come out mushy, never crisp. This time I did a little research and then had Eric do the actual frying because he's a thousand times better at frying stuff than me. The result was perfect hash browns.

Homemade hash browns, bacon, and cheesy scrambled eggs.
2 large russet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil

Crispy hash browns depend on getting the starch out of the potatoes--as well as excess moisture. Peel the potatoes. Using a grater, shred the potatoes and place them into a container of cold water. Stir a couple of times to dissolve the excess starch. Change the water and repeat.

You can drain the moisture a few different ways. If you own a potato ricer, place the shredded potato in there to squeeze out the liquid, just don't squeeze the potatoes through the ricer. Or place the shredded potatoes in a salad spinner. However, if you don't own any of these gadgets (I don't) you can still make crispy hash browns. I put my shredded potatoes in a mesh colander and used a small plate to press the water out of the potatoes. Then I used paper towel to squeeze out the rest. This process worked very well for me.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the shredded potato, spreading it out across the bottom of the skillet and making sure it's not more than 1/2 inch thick. Once the bottom has become a gold brown (about 5 to 7 minutes), flip the potatoes over. To make flipping easier, Eric cut the hash browns into quarters and flip each slice separately.

Once both sides are a golden brown, transfer hash browns to a paper towel lined plate to absorb any excess oil. Season with salt and pepper.



More Breakfast Recipes:
French Toast in a Mug  
Individual Bacon and Cheese Quiches
Monkey Bread Muffins  
Pumpkin Oatmeal
Quiche in a Mug

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Pull Apart Pizza Bread

Dinner the other night was an interesting mixture--sweet and sour chicken (three or four chicken breasts, a small jar of sweet and sour sauce, a couple tablespoons of soy sauce, and a healthy dose of garlic powder in the crockpot for 5-6 hours on low) and pull apart pizza bread. I had planned on making my Tomato and Artichoke Chicken, which would have made at least a little more sense with the pizza bread. But the husband loved the random meal--sweet and sour chicken just happens to be one of his favorites (I feel eh about it) and he definitely loves anything pizza. I may have been indifferent about the chicken, but I think I loved the pizza bread just as much as he did.

Recipe adapted from my Pull-Apart Spinach and Cheese Bread recipe.

3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, divided
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 
64 pepperonis 
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cans of crescent rolls
Pizza sauce or marinara sauce for dipping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray. (I used a loaf pan but only because I couldn't find my bundt pan).
Combine melted butter and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder in a small bowl and set aside. In a medium bowl, mix together the mayo, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, oregano, pepper, and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder. Set aside.
Separate crescent roll dough into 16 triangles then cut each triangle in half lengthwise so you have 32 small triangles. Roll out the triangles to make them slightly bigger. You may want to lightly sprinkle your work area with flour to prevent sticking. Place 1 pepperoni on the dough then spoon approximately 1 tablespoon of cheese mixture into the center of each triangle, place a second pepperoni on top of the cheese mixture, and pull the dough around the filling to form a ball. Press the edges of the dough together to seal. Dip each ball in the butter mixture then place in the bundt pan.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the bread turns a golden brown. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes. To remove the bread from the pan, place your serving plate upside down over the pan then turn the plate and pan over. Serve with pizza sauce or marinara sauce.



More Pizza Recipes:
Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Cauliflower Pizza Crust
Homemade Pizza Rolls
Ricotta, Basil, and Sun-dried Tomato Pizza 
Pizza Inspired Chicken
The Pizza Quiche
Pizza Zucchini Boats

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Cadbury Egg Bark (with homemade Cadbury Egg Recipe)

Eric licked his plate. That was how much he loved this Cadbury Egg Bark.

Easter candy is my all time favorite candy. Jelly beans, robin eggs, Cadbury eggs . . . I could eat my weight in the sugary goodness. So of course I bought us some Cadbury eggs, and I was kind of shocked by how expensive they had gotten. However, that only inspired me to make my own--which is surprisingly and remarkably easy! But I was too lazy to make them into eggs so I made them into bark. But this recipe will work to make eggs (see links at bottom of post).

Recipe adapted from here.

1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Yellow food coloring
12 ounces Cadbury milk chocolate (you can use other chocolate--I used Nestle, but I wished I would
     have used Cadbury), divided

Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper.

Place 6 ounces of the chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, and repeat until chocolate is melted and smooth. Pour the melted chocolate on the waxed paper. Using a rubber spatula, spread the chocolate out to an 8x8 square (approximately--mine turned out more rectangle than square). Refrigerator for about 1 hour or until chocolate is hard.

While chocolate hardens, make creme. With an electric mixer, cream the corn syrup, butter, and vanilla together in a medium bowl. Sift the powdered sugar and beat until well combined.

Place half of the creme in a second bowl. Add yellow food coloring (I used 5 drops) and combine.

Spread white creme over the hardened chocolate using a rubber spatula. Spread yellow creme over white creme using a rubber spatula. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Place the remaining 6 ounces of the chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, and repeat until chocolate is melted and smooth. Spread melted chocolate over the creme. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

With a knife, cut bark into squares. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

This link uses the same recipe to make Cadbury eggs using a mold.
This link uses the same recipe and doesn't require a mold.



More Easter Recipes:
How to Dye Easter Eggs with Kool Aid
Cupcakes Baked Inside An Easter Egg
Chocolate Bunnies Made with Edible Clay

Edible Chocolate Clay

This was the result of an opps in the kitchen. So I was making chocolate caramel shortbread and I screwed up the chocolate. I meant to make chocolate ganche but instead of heating the whipping cream and pouring it over the chocolate, I melted the chocolate chips and stirred in the room temperature cream. The result: the chocolate seized up and turned into this thick clay-like substance. I decided to just pour melted chocolate over the top of my shortbread bars, but still had to figure out what to do with the chocolate I messed up--there was no way I was going to throw out chocolate. Since Easter is not far off, I molded the chocolate into bunnies, chicks, and nests with eggs. My sculpting skills certainly leave something to be desired, but what I fun thing to do, especially if you have kids!

1 cup chocolate chips
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Place the chocolate chips in the a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, and repeat until chocolate is melted (1 minutes, 30 seconds worked for me). Pour in cream and combine. Chocolate will seize (which is usually a bad thing but not in this case). Work seized chocolate into a clay with your hands.

Shape clay into desired shapes. My hands only got a little bit of chocolate on them (which totally surprised me). Store in the refrigerator. Chocolate will harden in the fridge.

I haven't tried this, but I've also seen recipes for edible chocolate clay made with chocolate chips and corn syrup.



More Easter Recipes:
Cupcakes Baked Inside An Easter Egg
How to Dye Easter Eggs with Kool Aid
Homemade Cadbury Egg Bark

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Chocolate Caramel Shortbread (or in other words, Twix Bars)

I think these were one of the first recipes I found when I joined Pinterest and I just finally got around to making them. Chocolate, caramel, shortbread . . . needless to say these didn't last long in our house. The only change I think I'd make would be salting the tops next time. I love a little salt with my chocolate and caramel.

Recipe adapted from here.

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk, whisked
1 2/3 cups flour

7 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Chocolate Topping
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Grease an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, sugar, and salt. Add egg yolk and combine. Pour in flour and combine. The mixture will be crumbly. Use your hands to turn the mixture into a dough. Press the dough into the pan. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the edges turn a very light brown. Allow to cool completely.

In a heavy bottom sauce pan, combine butter, brown sugar, sugar, corn syrup, salt, and cream. Bring to a boil, stir continuously. Make sure the sugar dissolves. Using a candy thermometer, bring mixture to 245 degrees, stirring frequently. Remove caramel from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Allow the caramel to cool for approximate 10 minutes then pour over the shortbread.

Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes.

Chocolate Topping
Place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir, and repeat until the chocolate is melted and smooth. (1 minute, 30 seconds worked for me). Pour over caramel and shortbread. (Top with kosher salt, if desired).

Refrigerate for 1 hour or until the dessert has set.

Remove dessert from pan. With a knife, cut into bite-size pieces.

I'm not going to lie, storage of these things is a little tricky. If you keep them in fridge, the caramel gets too hard to eat. If you store them at room temperature, the caramel melts and you end up with a gooey mess. So I stored them in an airtight container in the fridge then set them out for about 10 to 15 minutes before serving.



More Dessert Recipes:
Chocolate Swirl Cake (Made with Swiss Cake Rolls)
Cranberry Brownies
White Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Pie
Soft Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Spiced Rum Brown Butter Cookies

Monday, April 7, 2014

Roasted Kidney Beans

You may have noticed that I've been on a roasted vegetable kick lately. First there were roasted chickpeas, then roasted green peas, then roasted butter beans. The only bean left in my pantry to roast were kidney beans--another healthy snack to add to my repertoire.

15-ounce can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Lemon pepper seasoning (or seasoning of your choice--you may have noticed I LOVE lemon pepper seasoning)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet with cooking spray.

Pat the beans dry with paper towel. Spread them on the cookie sheet in a single layer.

Bake for 20 minutes, flipping the beans half way through cooking.

Season with lemon pepper seasoning.



More Healthy Snacks:
Baked Apple Chips
Banana Chips
Kale Chips
Parmesan Garlic Wonton Crackers 
Roasted Butternut Seeds
Roasted Cauliflower Popcorn
Roasted Garlic White Bean Hummus