Monday, January 31, 2011

Caramel Frosting

Melt 1/2 cup butter in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in 1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat; boil hard for 2 minutes stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in 1/4 cup milk. Return pan to heat and bring to a full boil. Remove from heat, cool to lukewarm. Stir in 2 cups confectioner's sugar and beat until smooth. If frosting is too thick, beat in a little milk.

I didn't have the topping ingredients for an apple cake when I baked it, so I just used this frosting later after I bought some brown sugar.

Source: Farm Journal Cookbook, 1959 edition

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Best Beer Cheese Soup

1 ½ cups minced carrots
1 ½ cups minced onion
1 ½ cups minced celery
5 cloves garlic, pressed
2 sticks butter (1 Cup)
6 cups chicken broth
24 oz. dark beer (2 12fl oz beers- I used Guinness draught)
1/3 cup corn starch
2 cups cream (I used heavy whipping cream)
5 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese (I used a colby/monterey blend)
2 cups shredded/grated parmesan cheese
2 T. dry mustard
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. hot sauce
Pepper and salt to taste (I omitted the salt)

Mince carrots, onions, celery and garlic using a food processor, if available.

Heat large pot on medium with butter, minced vegetables and garlic and sauté. (I then pureed this mixture)

Add chicken broth, beer and corn starch (premix corn starch with some of the beer for best results)

Heat to boiling, then reduce to low and simmer for 45 minutes.

Heat cream in separate saucepan on medium.

On medium-low, gradually add the cheese to cream and stir constantly. Make sure heat is not too high or it will break down the cheese.

Once all the cheese has been added to cream and broth mixture is done simmering and has thickened, add cheese mixture gradually.

Lastly, add dry mustard, Worcestershire, hot sauce, and pepper. Can be served with bacon bits, croutons or bread. Enjoy!

Serves 16

SOURCE: Jane Hintz. I haven't made this myself yet, but Jane brought it to a potluck and it was delicious! (More cheesy than beer-y.) She said this particular beer makes a difference.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Toffee Fondue

1 (14 ounce) pkg Kraft caramels
1/4 c milk
1/4 c strong black coffee*
1/2 c milk chocolate chips, opt.

apple wedges
banana chunks
mini pretzels, or pretzel snaps
angel food cake, cut in 1 inch cubes

Place caramels, milk, coffee, and chocolate chips in top of double boiler. Cook over boiling water, stirring until melted and blended. Place in fondue pot on low.

  • *As this was all melting I could see that it was going to turn out to be too thin so I scooped off a bunch of liquid. Good call as it was definitely on the thin side when completed. It might be better to skip the liquid coffee and just add a little instant coffee instead.
  • The caramel/coffee/chocolate flavors were good together, but a good option to unwrapping all those tedious caramels might be to just buy a 14 ounce jar of caramel ice cream topping, add about 1/2 tsp. of instant coffee granules, and the chocolate. Heat a bit and add a little milk or cream to make it the desired consistency.
  • I doubled this recipe for my HS mom party on 1-22-11.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Fondue

8 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate
1/3 cup cream
Cook over medium heat until melted and smooth. (I used a double boiler.)
Stir in 1/3 cup hazelnut syrup and a pinch of salt.

Transfer to a fondue pot and place over a low flame.

Serve with angel food cake cubes, strawberries, mini pretzels, dried apricot, bananas, strawberry marshmallows

Makes about 1.25 cups.

  • I doubled this for my HS mom party (1-22-11) and apparently Holly has made it before for a youth group social night (1-30-06). Good both times!
  • Used Ghirardelli Candy Making & Dipping Bar for the chocolate
  • Survived nicely in the fondue pot for my 4 hour party and looks like the leftover bit would reheat well also.
  • It's fairly thin so the angel food cake cubes survived the dipping process well.

Creamy Chipped Beef Fondue

1 1/3 cup milk
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
2 (2.5 oz.) pkgs. thinly sliced dried beef, chopped
1/4 c green onions
2 tsp. ground mustard

1 loaf French bread, cubed
small pretzels or pretzel snaps

In a saucepan, heat milk and cream cheese over medium heat, stir or whisk until smooth. Stir in beef, onions, and mustard. Heat through. Transfer to a fondue pot or slow cooker; keep warm.

  • Easy, a little salty, but that's okay when serving with lots of beverages. The onions were nice.
  • Dried beef can be found in the same section of the store as lunch meat. It comes in a small package and looks a lot like thinly sliced deli meat. It tastes a lot like corned beef, but has a very low fat content. I suspect that keeps it from breaking down in a nasty way when heated in the fondue. The original recipe called for 2 cream cheeses and 3 dried beefs, but that would've been way too salty (and expensive, imo).
  • Worked well in the fondue pot set on warm and was still nice after being kept heated for several hours.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Chicken and Rice Pilaf

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt, pepper, paprika to taste
1 1/4 cups water or chicken broth
1 cup regular uncooked rice
1/2 envelope dry onion soup mix (1/4 c)
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
2 tbls. pimentos (1/2 of a 2 ounce jar)
Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and paprika. Mix chicken broth, uncooked rice, onion soup mix, cream soup, and pimentos together; put in an 11x7 baking dish. Place chicken breasts on top of rice mixture. Cover dish and freeze.

To prepare for serving, thaw and bake uncovered* in a preheated 375 degree oven 1-1/4 hours or until chicken and rice are tender. Makes 4 servings.

NOTES* We really liked this and it was super easy to prepare. The only change I'd make is to cover it with foil as it's cooking. Our rice got too dry. (Maybe it just needed more liquid though.) I'd definitely try this recipe again, but watch the moisture content.

Source: Once A Month Cooking

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hamburger Heaven

1 lb. hamburger
1 medium onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 can mushrooms
1 can black olives
1 (16 oz) pkg medium noodles
8 ounces cheddar or American cheese, cubed or shredded
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 c water

Brown hamburger, onions, and celery. Combine the other ingredients except cheese. Bring to boil. Simmer until noodles are tender and liquid is absorbed.

NOTES: The name of this recipe may be a little optimistic, but it did get thumbs up from both Dad and Nick even with the tomato chunks. I made a half batch and it was more than enough for the three of us. I did have to add a little extra water.

Source: Pine to Prairie Cookbook

Monday, January 10, 2011

Butter Toffee

16 ounces, weight Butter, Melted
16 ounces, weight Granulated Sugar
3 ounces, fluid Water
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
16 ounces, weight Chopped Topping: Toasted Nuts, Candy Canes, Sea Salt, Etc.
24 ounces, weight Tempered Dark Chocolate For Coating, Melted
Preparation Instructions
  • *Necessary Equipment: Candy Thermometer*
  • Combine butter, sugar, water, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  • Cook over moderate heat, stirring gently, until candy thermometer registers 298 degrees.
  • Remove from heat and stir in vanilla until well combined.
  • Pour the mixture onto a silicone baking mat or good parchment paper. Use a heatproof rubber spatula or offset spatula to spread quickly before the toffee sets. Spread thin.
  • Allow toffee to cool completely. Blot to remove excess oil from the surface. Coat surface with half of the melted chocolate and immediately sprinkle with topping.
  • When chocolate has totally set, carefully flip over (it’s okay if it falls apart a bit) and coat other side with the rest of the chocolate. Sprinkle on topping.
  • Allow to set, then break into bite-size pieces.
  • Store in an airtight container.
NOTES: I made a 1/2 batch and thought it would spread out on one pan. I thought it was too thick; certainly thicker than what is described in the original post from Pioneer Woman.
It worked well to spread it on parchment.
Chocolate on both sides was delicious! I sprinkled some sea salt on one side.

Chocolate Truffles

7 ounces, fluid Heavy Cream
2 ounces, fluid Corn Syrup
15 ounces, weight Dark Chocolate, Unmelted, Tempered, Chopped
½ ounces, weight Soft Butter
1-½ ounce, fluid Liqueur: Brandy, Kahlua, Schnapps, Chambord, Grand Marnier
2 pounds Dark Chocolate, Melted And Tempered, For Precoating And Dipping
Preparation Instructions
Combine cream and corn syrup and bring to a boil.
Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and let sit for about sixty seconds to allow the chocolate to melt.
Whisk together, checking to see if all the chocolate is melted. If needed, place briefly over a warm water bath, but do not exceed 94 degrees.
Stir in soft butter. Then stream in the liqueur and mix until homogeneous.
Pour ganache into a large shallow pan. Let it rest at room temperature until slightly firm. Agitate/stir around the ganache with a spatula to break it up a bit.
Scoop truffles onto parchment paper and let sit until firm enough to handle.
Roll into balls and precoat in tempered chocolate. Dip again once the first layer of chocolate is set.
If desired, roll in cocoa powder. Truffles should look beautifully imperfect!

NOTES: Original recipe here.
We made two types - rum (real rum and a little extract) and orange (with orange oil for flavoring). Both were good, but the orange were double good.
Ours never did get firm enough to roll at room temperature. Perhaps we used too much rum :-) Once refrigerated though, they were very firm.