Peanut Butter Cup Biscotti

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in biscotti, recipes | Posted on 20-02-2011

I am not a huge coffee drinker, but I do enjoy a good cup of coffee every now and then.  It probably has something to do with the fact that my co-workers being avid coffee drinkers.  I ran across this recipe for Peanut Butter Cup Biscotti at Tracey’s Culinary Adventures and thought I would give it a try.  I even had some mini peanut butter cups in the freezer from a past trip to Trader Joe’s that would work perfectly.  Sweet.

I followed the directions as listed, but either I was a little rough handling them or they were just a little crumbly.  I had several that did not make it through the two baking times in whole pieces.  Oh well, I guess I will just have to snack on them.

Overall, I was happy with how they turned out and they were really not all that difficult to make.  Who knows, maybe I will have to try some other biscotti recipes as I refine my coffee-drinking palate!

Peanut Butter Cup Biscotti
from The Peanut Butter & Co. Cookbook (via Annie’s Eats)

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup chopped mini peanut butter cups

Preheat oven to 350 F.   Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, peanut butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add the vanilla to the mixer bowl.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, allowing each to incorporate before adding the next, and scraping down the bowl between additions. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients just until incorporated.  Stir in the chopped peanut butter cups until evenly distributed.

Divide the dough in half.  On the prepared baking sheet, shape each half into a log about 11 x 3 inches, spacing the logs at least 3 inches apart.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the baking sheet from the oven but maintain the oven temperature.  Let cool for 10 minutes then use a serrated knife to slice each log diagonally into slices about 1/2-inch thick.  Lay the slices, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake, until the biscotti are slightly crisp, about 20-30 minutes more, flipping them over halfway through the baking time. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Makes about 30 biscotti

Snow Day Fun

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in donuts, fall, family, pork, recipes | Posted on 02-02-2011

Well, the Blizzard of 2011, Snowpacalypse or whatever you want to call it, came in full force.  We received over a foot of snow and thankfully Jeremy and I both had a snow day.  I knew that we would be spending a lot of time outside shoveling, so I put some pork in the slow cooker in the morning so that we could have a nice warm, yummy dinner.  It was definitely a winter wonderland out there (the pictures don’t really do it justice for how much snow there actually was)!

Kaylynn was not so much of a fan of the large amounts of snow, so she and I ended up going inside early.  Well Daddy was outside shoveling, Kaylynn and I tried to keep busy with fun activities.  One thing that we decided to do was test out Mommy’s new donut pans.  I found a simple recipe online at Amie’s Ideas that I had almost all the ingredients for except the buttermilk.  I had recently come across this helpful hint at Burn Me Not for a way to “make” your own buttermilk in just a few minutes.  I didn’t taste it, but you could definitely tell that when I mixed it with skim milk it got a little thicker.  Kaylynn was a big help with mixing and squeezing our mixture into the donut pans.  After they donuts had baked and cooled, we dipped them in regular and chocolate glazes and put some Winnie-the-Pooh sprinkles on them.

And yes, that is the hand of a little girl who is picking the sprinkles off of the donut, not putting them on.  The overall consensus on the donuts?  Good, not great.  They are kind of like a soft muffin in the shape of a donut.  Maybe when I prepare a little better with ingredients we will find a better recipe.

After we finished making, dipping and decorating our donuts, Kaylynn helped me make a gourmet lunch – cheesy weenies wrapped in crescent rolls.  Kaylynn did the wrapping and kept calling the weenies “hot dogs” and kept trying to eat them cold.  Yuck.

After lunch, Kaylynn took a nap and Jeremy and I finished up shoveling.  My husband is awesome because he ended up doing most of the shoveling and he can make huge snow piles.

After we got back in the house and warmed up, we had dinner – some delicious barbecue pulled pork, garlic mashed potatoes and cheesy broccoli.

It was nice to be home, but we are tired and sore from all the
shoveling.  Here’s to hoping they get our road plowed tonight!

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in cupcakes, recipes | Posted on 30-11-2010

Throughout the school year, the Drama Club at the high school in my school district is doing several cupcake sales to raise money for their production.  After a huge success with Grease last year, the director (and also a fellow member of our Tech Team) decided to do Hairspray this year.  In efforts of trying to do some fundraising to help defray the cost of their production, I volunteered to organize some cupcake sales to help raise some money.
For the first cupcake sale, I made some Rainbow Cupcakes.  This was my first time making them and most likely the last.  Unless I suddenly acquire tons of time and I feel like cleaning the kitchen after the big mess.  I can pretty much guarantee that it will nto happen.

So, this time I decided to make some cupcakes that were a little less time consuming, but yet have a fun twist.  I found many recipes online about making homemade Hostess cupcakes and I thought I could do that pretty easily with the help of a friend, Betty.  I wish I could say that I tried one because they looked so good, but I showed some restraint and kept my hands off of them.

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes
Devil’s Food boxed cake mix
1 container of chocolate frosting

Filling
(found from What’s Megan Making)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup marshmallow cream

Directions
1.  Prepare cupcakes as indicated on box.  Cool completely.
2.  Prepare the filling and place in a plastic bag so that it can be piped into cupcakes (I put a icing tip in my bag for easier piping).  To prepare the filling:

  1. Cream the butter until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar.
  3. Add vanilla and 1 tablespoon heavy cream and beat until smooth.
  4. Alternating between batches, beat in the remaining 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons heavy cream.
  5. Beat in the marshmallow cream.
  6. Refrigerate until ready to use.

3.  Using a small melon baller, scoop out a small ball of the cupcake from the center.  Save the part you scooped out.
4. Pipe the filling inside the cupcakes and replace the part you scooped out back on the cupcake.  Try to make the top of the cupcake as level as possible.
5.  Empty the container of frosting into a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave frosting in 10-15 second intervals, stirring between, until the frosting is the consistency of glue.
6.  Dip the cupcakes in the frosting.  Top with a decorative line of the additional filling or sprinkles.

Ice Cream Crunch

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in desserts, ice cream, recipes | Posted on 27-11-2010

This was a recipe that my sister-in-law had shared with me many moons ago, but I had lost it along the lines somewhere and had to search online to find it.  I found it over at teachers.net (not really sure how this post is related to the other content on teachers.net, but I am not one to judge).  Oh so yummy!

Ice Cream Crunch
(as seen on teachers.net)

2 cups Rice Krispies
1 cup coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter or margarine (melted)
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream

Mix together Rice Krispies, coconut, brown sugar, chopped pecans and margarine in a large bowl. Spread on cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 min. Spread 1/2 on bottom of a 9×13 in. pan.  Open box of ice cream all the way so that the sides are off the ice cream. Slice the ice cream into even pieces about an inch thick (or you can let the ice cream sit out on the counter for a bit until it is softened and you can then spread it). Lay pieces on top of the Rice Krispie mixture. Put the rest of the Rice Krispie mixture on the top of ice cream.  Freeze for at least 3 hours before eating.

Chocolate Cherry Cake

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in cake, recipes | Posted on 27-11-2010

This is a recipe that my mother-in-law shared with me awhile ago that I decided to make for a birthday cake for Kaylynn and her birthday buddy Aunt Bonnie (Jeremy’s sister). The family celebrated their birthday’s on Thanksgiving day, so of course there had to be a cake in addition to pie :) I know the picture above is not the best picture, but the cake is a very light cake with a subtle cherry flavor (except when you get a bite of a cherry!) and has a nice fudge “frosting”. I am not really a cake person, but even I really enjoy this one (so that should tell you how nummy this is!)!

Chocolate Cherry Cake
1 box devil’s food cake mix
1 can cherry pie filling
3 tbs water
3 eggs
1 t vanilla

Mix all together and put in a greased pan and bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Fudge Frosting
2 cups semi sweet chips
chopped pecans (I used a 2.5 ounce package of chopped pecans)
3 tbs milk
3 tbs butter

Bring to rolling boil for 1-2 minutes stirring constantly.  Pour over cake and put in fridge until fudge is set up.


Pumpkin Pie Crunch – Chex Mix

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in appetizers, recipes | Posted on 27-11-2010

I am pretty convinced that Chex Mix is a holiday staple snack.  Someone always makes it and everyone always eats it because it is almost addicting.  It’s just how holidays go :)  I ran across this recipe when poking around on a couple of blogs looking for Thanksgiving appetizer recipes.  It seemed like a nice twist on the traditional Chex Mix (which I didn’t know my mother-in-law had already made).  It was a nice Thanksgiving munchie treat.

Pumpkin Pie Crunch

(as found at Taste of Home)


1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1/4 cup butter

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups Cinnamon Chex® cereal

2 cups Wheat Chex® cereal

2 cups Honey Nut Chex® cereal

8 oz pecans


Directions

  • In small bowl, mix brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice; set aside. In small microwave-safe dish, microwave butter on High about 30 seconds or until melted. Stir in vanilla. In large microwavable bowl, mix all cereals and pecans. Pour butter mixture over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly distributed. Add sugar and spice mixture and stir until coated.
  • Microwave uncovered on High 5 minutes or until mixture begins to brown, stirring every minute. Spread on wax paper or a cookie sheet to cool. Store in airtight container. Yield: 16 servings (1/2 cup each). 

Thanksgiving Cheeseball

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in appetizers, recipes | Posted on 27-11-2010

I think cheese balls are one of those things that everyone secretly really enjoys even though people sometimes laugh at the thought of a cheese ball.  I mean, it is a ball of cheese after all :)  I found this recipe for an Easy Cheese Ball at Gluesticks and thought I would give it a try for a Thanksgiving appetizer.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the cheese ball and the little turkey head I made (which took a couple of shapings before it no longer looked like ET and more like a turkey head).

Easy Cheese Ball
(as seen at Gluesticks)
3 packages of cream cheese
1 package of dry ranch mix
3 1/2 c. shredded cheese, whatever you like
1/3 c. diced green onions
2 c. almonds (toasted)
Mash cream cheese in a bowl. Add next 3 ingredients. Form into a ball shape and roll in nuts. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 8 hours (to allow ranch to distribute evenly…otherwise it’ll be too salty).
Serve with crackers.
Make sure to let the cheese ball chill for the 8 hours, then add the crackers right before serving. Do not refrigerate the crackers and the assembled turkey for 8 hours. The crackers will get soft.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Dip

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in appetizers, recipes | Posted on 27-11-2010

This year I have been all about pumpkin things.  One of the blogs I follow, MADE, requested for people to share their favorite pumpkin recipes.  There were many great recipes that people shared, but one caught my eye (posted by darbishar) – one for a pumpkin dip.  It sounded good and pumpkin-y and a perfect appetizer for Thanksgiving dinner.

Pumpkin Dip

1 package of cream cheese (8 oz) softened
About 8 oz of pumpkin puree (or 1/2 can)
1 cup sifted, powdered sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Beat all ingredients in a large bowl until smooth. Cool & refrigerate at least 1 hr before serving.

Put into a bowl and onto a platter with red & green apple slices, gingersnaps and vanilla wafers.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in recipes, soup | Posted on 27-11-2010

I once had some butternut squash soup at the Grand Woods Lounge that was super good.  I have been searching for a recipe that is comparable to what I had, but everything falls just a little short (it was that good!).  It had that nice squash-y flavor with a little sweetness of apple that is just hard to put into words.  In recipe searching, this recipe so far is the closest.  It is a nice and smooth soup that is perfect for fall and the cold winter months.



Roasted Apple and Squash Soup
(Slightly adapted from Satisfied)
serves 6 dinner size portions

3 pound butternut squash- peeled, seeded and cut into large dice pieces
4 sweet/tart apples- peeled, cored, and cut into large dice pieces
1 cup yellow or white onion- cut into large pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sage

4 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup water 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees
span>Adjust rack to the upper third of the oven
Place squash, apples, and onions onto a lined baking sheet
Toss with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and sage
Place into the oven and roast for approximately 15-20 minutes or until fork tender and slightly golden brown
Remove from the oven and place half of the roasted, onions apples and squash in a blender
Carefully puree in batches with chicken broth and pour into a large soup pot
Simmer soup over low heat and season with nutmeg, thyme leaves and adjust seasoning with the last teaspoon of salt
If soup is too thick it can be adjusted with additional chicken broth or water
Serve warm

Broccoli Cheese Soup

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in recipes, soup | Posted on 27-11-2010

We love soup at our house and it is even something that the wee one will eat (well, depending on the kind of soup!).  This is probably her favorite soup that she will eat without giving us any sort of fight.  Which is awesome for us as it is loaded with broccoli!
Jeremy had originally found this recipe when searching for some Weight Watchers recipes (it is only 3 points per serving) and it has become a staple soup in our house.  We have modified it a little to our taste and needs (Jeremy is allergic to mushrooms so we don’t use the cream of mushroom soup that the recipe calls for).
Broccoli Cheese Soup
(as adapted from Weight Watchers Recipes)

1 can cream celery soup, 98% fat-free
1 can cheese broccoli soup, 98% fat-free
1 box frozen broccoli chopped
1/4 cup low fat shreeded cheese
2 cups skim milk

Cook broccoli as directed.  Add soups, milk and cheese. Heat until hot and serve.  Enjoy. The soup thickens as it cools down.

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