Saturday, December 29, 2012

This drink is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

2 parts Creme de Cacao
2 parts 99 Bananas
1 part Malibu rum
1.5 parts Cream

Mix with ice.  Strain and serve.

Notes:

  • I might have the proportions wrong because I already drank most of mine.  But just make it according to your tastes.  Drink mixing is an art, not a science.
  • This would be great blended with ice.  Or substituting the ice and cream with ice cream.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Chocolate Peppermint Blossoms


1 -1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 & 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter, cut into chunks
1 & 1/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon peppermint extract (see note below)
1/2 cup powdered sugar for rolling
Hershey's Kisses


  • Line cookie sheets with parchment.  Preheat oven to 350.
  • Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
  • With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs and extracts, beating until combined and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  • Gradually, add the flour mixture, beating on low just until combined.  The mixture will be very sticky.
  • Place the bowl in the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Use a teaspoon cookie scoop (or a spoon) to scoop generous teaspoons of dough and roll them in the powdered sugar.
  • Bake for 12 minutes and meanwhile, unwrap the Kisses.
  • Remove from the oven and immediately press a Hershey's Kiss on top of each hot cookie.  Press firmly, so that it doesn't pop off.  Let the cookies sit on the sheet for 1-2 minutes, then remove to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. 
NOTES: 
  • The original recipe from Bake at 350 called for mint extract in the cookies and a regular Kiss on top.  I didn't have the extract and used the candy cane Kisses for a little extra visual festivity.  
  • On the down side, it looks like the white chocolate has a lower melting point, because they immediately melted into puddles.  (Glad I pushed them down firmly as suggested so there was a well to contain all that melted chocolate.) On the up side, they're still cute, just not it the 3-D way I expected.
  • This is a really delicious cookie!  Chewy and nice texture.
  • The Kisses did eventually firm up.  I was doubtful at first so I put most of them out on the freezer to cool.  By the time we got back from N's concert, both the indoor and outdoor ones were firm.
  • I made a double batch (half butter and half margarine, btw) and the yield was 8 dozen.
  • I'd definitely makes these again.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Pork Chops with Blueberries

(from The Silver Spoon)
  • 4 spare-rib chops
  • flour
  • 2 T butter
  • 3 T olive oil
  • ¾ cup red wine
  • 2¾ cups blieberries
  • scant ½ cup honey
  • salt
Preheat oven to 400º. Dust the chops with flour. Heat the butter and oil in an ovenproof pan, add the chops and cook, turning, until browned all over. Pour in the wine and cook until it has partly evaporated, then season with salt. Pass the blueberries through a food mill (or puree) and mix with honey. Spread this mixture over the chops. Cover the pan, transfer to the oven and bake 15 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Orange Soufflé Crepes


  • 3 large eggs, separated plus 1 extra egg white 
  • 5 tablespoons sugar 
  • 1 cup whole milk 
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour 
  • 1/4 cup strained, freshly squeezed orange juice 
  • Zest of 1 orange 
  • 12-14 crepes from your favorite recipe. 

Whisk the yolks; add 4 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of milk and whisk until thick and smooth. Whisk in the flour.

In a small saucepan, bring the rest of the milk to a boil. Gradually whisk half of the hot milk into the yolk mixture. Pour the tempered yolk mixture back into the pan with the rest of the milk, whisking constantly. 

Place over low heat and continuing to whisk, cook until the mixture comes just to a boil. Remove from the heat and whisk in the orange juice. Grate the orange zest and whisk it in.  (The soufflé base may be made ahead at this point. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Cool completely; cover and refrigerate).

Shortly before you plan to serve the dessert, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter a shallow baking dish. Pour the base into a saucepan and heat over low heat, whisking until just hot to the touch. Remove from heat.

Beat the 4 egg whites until stiff. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and beat another 30 seconds. Fold 1/4 of the whites into the base; then gently fold this mixture into the rest of the egg whites.

Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of the filling into each crepe and fold in half. Arrange them in a single layer in the prepared baking dish. Bake 10 minutes or until puffed.

Serve immediately. They may be served as is or accompanied by a fruit sauce.

Makes 6 servings

source.

Sweet Potato Casserole

(as close as I remember)

Casserole:
  • 4 whole Medium Sweet Potatoes (about 4 lbs)
  • ½-1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • zest and juice of one orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 2-3 teaspoons ground ginger 
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, or to taste
  • cayenne pepper (optional)
Streusel:
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Pecans
  • ½ cup Flour
  • ¾ stick Butter
Bake sweet potatoes in a 375-degree oven until fork tender, about 30-45 minutes. When they are finished cooking, slice them open and scrape out the flesh into a large bowl. Mash thoroughly and combine with remaining ingredients. Place mixture in a large-ish casserole dish and smooth surface.

In a separate bowl, combine streusel ingredients. With a pastry cutter or fork, mash together until thoroughly combined. Sprinkle the crumb mixture all over the top. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Homemade Laundry Soap


1/3 bar Fels Naptha or other type of soap, as listed above
½ cup washing soda
½ cup borax powder
~You will also need a small bucket, about 2 gallon size~

Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan.  Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts.  Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket.   Now add your soap mixture and stir.  Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir.  Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel.  You use ½ cup per load.

**A few things to note about the soap**

~The finished soap will not be a solid gel.  It will be more of a watery gel that has been accurately described as an "egg noodle soup" look.

~The soap is a low sudsing soap.  So if you don’t see suds, that is ok.  Suds are not what does the cleaning, it is the ingredients in the soap.

MY NOTES:

  • I've made this 3-4 times now and it seems to be working well with our water and machine.  I probably should note that I really don't have any regular laundry challenges like cloth diapers, super hard water, or really dirty work clothes.  It has met all my usual challenges like grass stains, etc. though.
  • It has a pleasant, clean smell.  As suggested, I added lavender and orange oil to the first batch, but it really wasn't a notable improvement, so I've skipped the expense since then.
  • I'm not sure why the directions say to add water in these crazy increments.  The first time is obvious - a smaller amount so I can make sure everything is dissolved.  After that, just dump it in.  There are 2 gallons total.
  • After it cools, there will be a very gelled layer.  I just hit it with the immersion blender to mix it all together before transferring it to my empty laundry jugs.
  • Easy-peasy.  Practically free.
  • Source  (Word of warning though, its crazy colors, multiple fonts, and "cute" laundry graphics make it a challenge to read.  That's the main reason why I transferred it here.)


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Southwestern Egg Rolls


2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (10 oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chiles, drained
4 green onions, chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 package egg roll wrappers (about 24 total)

In a large bowl, combine everything but the egg roll wrappers. Mix well to blend. Lay an egg roll wrapper out on a work surface so that one of the corners is pointing toward you and place ¼ cup of the filling in the center. Fold the tip closest to you up over the filling, roll a bit, then take the points pointing outward and fold them in toward the center. Continue rolling into an egg roll shape until a small part of the remaining point is still free. Dip a finger in water or beaten egg and lightly brush on the edges of the free corner. Finish rolling and press to seal closed. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.
Preheat the oven to 425˚ F. Lightly oil a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the sealed egg rolls on the baking sheet seam side down and spray the tops of the egg rolls with cooking spray. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly brown, turning halfway through baking. Serve warm with salsa.

NOTES: 
  • These were easy to make and neat to eat.  
  • The baked egg roll wrappers were a little tough and would be worse if we'd forgotten to spray them, but are much healthier than deep fried.
  • Em and I both thought they need more seasoning.  She thought a few dashes of hot sauce, I think another can of chilies and more salt.
  • Egg roll wrappers come in 15 packs at Cub and since we used a scant 1/4 cup filling in each, it made 30.
  • More cheese would also be good, imo.
  • Source

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pear, Brandy, and Walnut Cranberry Sauce


1/3 cup, plus 2-3 tablespoon brandy, divided
water
2 cinnamon sticks, each broken in half
8 black peppercorns
12 ounces fresh cranberries, picked over
3/4 cups packed light brown sugar
2 medium bartlett pears, peeled
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted and divided

  • Pour 1/3 cup brandy into liquid measuring cup; add enough water to reach 1/2 cup liquid total. Set aside. Place broken cinnamon sticks and peppercorns in center of small piece of cheesecloth or large tea bag and tie closed using kitchen twine.
  • In medium saucepot, combine cranberries, brown sugar and cinnamon-pepper bundle. Using large holes on a box grater, grate pears into saucepot. Stir in brandy-water mixture.
  • Over high heat, bring cranberry mixture to a boil; reduce heat to medium and cook 10-12 minutes, or until cranberries have burst and the mixture has combined, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
  • Stir in 2 to 3 tablespoons brandy. Let cool. Remove and discard cinnamon bundle. Stir in 7 tablespoons toasted walnuts. Transfer mixture to small serving bowl; sprinkle with remaining walnuts.
NOTES:  This was really excellent!  Less bitter than Grandma's but with all the cranberry goodness.  I made the cranberry part about 3 days before we ate it and just added the walnuts that day.


Cranberry Walnut Rum Bread


1 cup mashed very ripe banana (2 - 3 bananas)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup golden rum
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup flaxmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
a pinch of cardamom
1 to 1-1/2 cups picked-over fresh or frozen cranberries (chopped)
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
For the glaze:
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 - 3 teaspoons of rum
Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  • In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas and mix in the sugar, rum, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Stir till it's all mixed up well.
  • Add the flours, flaxmeal, baking powder, salt, baking soda, spices, cranberries and nuts, reserving a tablespoon or two of the walnuts for the top of the bread. Stir until the batter is mixed well and there are no pockets of flour anywhere.
  • Spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray, then pour the batter in and smooth it out with a spatula. Sprinkle the top with the reserved walnuts.
  • Bake at 350 for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes or until a wooden pick or knife inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean. (Mine took about an hour and 30 minutes to cook through.)
  • When the bread is done and has cooled off a bit, mix up the glaze by mixing the powdered sugar with the rum till smooth. The glaze should be very thin. Drizzle the glaze over the bread, allowing it to soak in for a few minutes, then slice the bread and enjoy!
NOTES: The bananas made this a very moist bread.  I'd definitely make it again!
SOURCE: Grandmabelle's Pinterest page and this.


BACON!

An easy, no-splatter way to make perfect bacon for a crowd:

  1. Line baking sheet(s) with aluminum foil
  2. Place cold bacon onto sheet with a little breathing room between each strip. Make sure the sheet has a lip so that the grease doesn't drip on the bottom of the oven. 
  3. Place sheet into cold oven and turn temperature to 400 degrees.
  4. Bake about 20 minutes or until crispy, turning halfway through.

Notes:
  • The instructions implied it would take 20 minutes total, but I suspect it should say 20 minutes from the time the oven reaches 400 degrees.  Next time I try it I'll comment.
  • Either way, this was a neat way to cook lots of bacon at once.
  • Source: Grandma-belle's pinterest page

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Crescent Pepperoni Roll-Ups


1 can refrigerated crescent rolls

40 slices turkey pepperoni

4 pieces of mozzarella string cheese, cut in half

garlic powder

pizza sauce


Preheat oven to 375.


Unroll crescent rolls and separate into 8 triangles.  Place 5 slices of turkey pepperoni on each crescent roll.  Top pepperoni with string cheese half and roll up.  Sprinkle crescent rolls with garlic powder.  Place rolls on baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.  Serve with a side of warm pizza sauce. 


NOTES:  These were easy and neater to eat than expected.  I had regular pepperoni, but ran it under boiling water and blotted it with paper towels.  Every thing stayed in the bread nicely.
Thanks to Molly's Pinterest page which directed me to this source.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sweet and Sour Chicken


INGREDIENTS:
For the Chicken:
3-4 boneless,skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, slightly beaten
¼ cup canola or vegetable oil

For the Sauce:
¾ cup sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
½ cup vinegar (preferably rice or white)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Season chicken with salt and pepper.

3. Working in two batches, toss the chicken pieces in cornstarch and then coat with the egg. Heat the oil over medium-high heat and again in two batches, brown the chicken, turning it so that all sides are browned.

4. Place the chicken in a single layer in a 9x13 baking dish.

5. Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and pour evenly over the chicken. Turn the chicken to ensure each piece is coated.

6. Bake for 1 hour, turning the chicken every 15 minutes
NOTES:

  • We loved this and will definitely be making it again.  It was messy to put together but really not hard and definitely worth it.
  • Next time, I may try adding chunks of onion and pepper; coated in sauce, they should retain a nice texture while baking.  It could also be great with orange zest and extract.
  • Source: Brown-Eyed Baker via Molly


Potato Chip Cookies

3/4 cup (3.75 ounces) flour
1 1/2 ounces potato chips, crushed fine (1/2 c)
1/4 c pecans, toasted and chopped fine
1/4 tsp salt
8 tbls butter, cut into 8 pieces, softened but still cool
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/4 c powdered sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.  Combine flour, potato chips, pecans, and salt in bowl.
  2. Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat butter and sugars on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add egg yolk and vanilla and beat until combined.  Reduce speed to low and slowly add flour mixture in three additions.  Roll dough into 1 inch balls and space 3 inches apart on baking sheets.  Flatten dough balls to 1/4 inch thickness with bottom of floured drinking glass.
  3. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until cookies are just set and lightly browned on bottom, 10-13 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking.  Let cookies cool completely on sheets, about 15 minutes.  Serve.  Can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
NOTES:
  • This recipe came from the June/July 2012 issue of Cook's Country.
  • As expected, they paid way more attention to the details than I would.  For example, after testing a whole bunch of chips, they recommend Cape Cod 40% Reduced Fat Potato Chips as the best.  I, on the other hand, used 2 small bags of Lays that have been languishing in my snack drawer forever.  I thought they worked fine.  Heck, there's already 1/2 cup of butter in 24 cookies!  That's more fat per serving than I put on my toast in the morning, so I don't think the chip choice is worth counting.  Also, my cookies held their shape and did not get excessively brown on the edges so I'd probably make the same choice again.
  • I did not have pecans and sadly, will not until they're less than $8/lb.  I did have a few cashews though and they worked really well.  I think some kind of nut is an important addition to both flavor and texture in this cookie.
  • These were a really good cookie and had that wonderful sweet/salty thing happening.  Yum!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Home Fries for a Crowd

Possibly the best home fries I've ever had; deep-fried texture, but in the oven. Next time, I may try using seasoned salt instead, just for the sake of dining hall nostalgia.

Serves six to eight.

  • 3½ pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾" cubes
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 3 T vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 onions, cut into ½" dice
  • 3 T minced chives
Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 500º.

Bring 10 cups of water to boil. Add potatoes and baking soda; return to boil, and cook for 1 minute (←not a typo). Drain potatoes, return to pot and cook over low heat, shaking pot occasionally, until surface moisture has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter, 1½ tsp salt, and cayenne; mix with rubber spatula until potatoes are coated with a thick, starchy paste, about 30 seconds.

Remove baking sheet from oven and drizzle with 2 T oil. Spread potatoes on baking sheet in an even layer. Roast for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine onions, 1 T oil, and ½ tsp salt.

Remove baking sheet from oven. Using metal spatula, turn potatoes and clear an 8x5" space in center of baking sheet and add onions. Roast for 15 minutes.

Turn potatoes again, mixing with onions as you do so. Continue to roast until potatoes are well browned and onions are softening and starting to brown, 5–10 minutes. Stir in chives, and salt and pepper to taste, serve immediately.

Source: Cook's Illustrated January & February 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ramos Gin Fizz


2 ounces gin
1 ounce cream (we used heavy whipping cream)
1 fresh egg white
3 drops orange flower water (we used 2 measures from the tiny plastic insert in the cap of the bottle)
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
club soda or seltzer water (set aside for topping up the drink)
Combine all ingredients (except the seltzer) in a cocktail shaker over ice. Wrap the shaker in a tea towel and shake vigorously for five minutes (we took short breaks every minute - a two-person tag team would work well). Strain into a tall, narrow glass (such as a Collins glass or a champagne flute) and top up with a splash of seltzer. Garnish with an orange wheel, and serve with a straw - and an iced-tea spoon so you can relish every drop!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fantastic Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies
a double batch...

1 1/3 cup butter
1 1/3 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla
6 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1 (12 ounce) bag chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream butter and shortening and two sugars together. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until combined. Add flour, 2 cups at a time. Add baking soda and salt with last 2 cups. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by large tablespoons (or ice cream scoop) onto ungreased cookie sheets. 

Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes. Cookies will seem underdone when first removed, but will set as they cool!

NOTE:  Quite possibly the best chocolate chip cookie recipe I've ever made.  Seriously.
Source.http://www.shortstopblog.com/2008/12/christmas-cookie-12-moms-chocolate-chip.html
It also worked well as a deep dish option.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

PW's Spaghetti Sauce


5 pounds Ground Beef (I Used Ground Round)
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 whole Large Yellow Onions, Diced
2 whole Green Bell Pepper, Seeded And Diced
6 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 cup White Wine (or Low Sodium Beef Broth If You Prefer)
2 cans 28 Ounce Crushed Tomatoes
1 can (14 Ounce) Crushed Tomatoes
1 can (small, 4-ounce) Tomato Paste
1 jar Good Storebought Marinara Sauce (can Use Another Jar If You Like The Sauce To Be More Saucy Than Meaty)
1 teaspoon Ground Oregano
1 teaspoon Ground Thyme
4 whole Bay Leaves
2 Tablespoons Sugar
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
1/4 cup Finely Minced Fresh Parsley (or 3 Tablespoons Parsley Flakes), More To Taste

Preparation Instructions (From PW)"

  • IMPORTANT: This recipe can easily be halved! I just like to make a ton so I can freeze it.
  • In a large pot over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef until totally browned. Remove meat from pot with a slotted spoon and put into a bowl. Set aside.
  • Discard any grease in pot, but do not clean the pot. Drizzle in olive oil. When it is heated, throw in the diced onion and diced bell pepper. Stir it around for 1 1/2 minutes, then add the garlic. Stir and cook for an additional minute.
  • Pour in the wine and allow it to bubble up and reduce for about 1 1/2 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and marinara sauce. Stir to combine, then add oregano, thyme, sugar, salt, bay leaves, and crushed red pepper (if using). Stir, then add cooked ground beef and stir to combine. Place the lid on the pot and allow to simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add a little water or some low-sodium broth if it needs more liquid
  • After an hour, add the minced parsley and the rind from a wedge of Parmesan (or grated Parmesan if you prefer--or both!) Stir to combine, then put the lid back on and allow it to simmer for another 30 minutes or so. Discard bay leaves before serving.
NOTES (From me):
  • I didn't follow the instructions religiously, but this was possibly the best spaghetti sauce I've ever made.  The meat to sauce ratio was really good.
  • I ended up using more tomato products (3-28 ounce cans of tomatoes and 2 jars of sauce)
  • I didn't have the Parmesan rind, but yum!
  • I made a full batch and now have six meals in the freezer plus the one we ate last night.  :)  (3 cups in each.)
  • Link to original.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pearsauce


3 1/2 lbs. pears, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup water
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 - 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Directions:
In a large saucepan, combine the pears, water, lemon juice, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and boil gently, occasionally stirring, for 20 minutes.
Transfer mixture to a food processor, working in batches if necessary, fitted with a metal blade and puree just until a uniform texture is achieved. Do not liquefy.
Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Alternatively, freeze in one cup quantities in the freezer and store for several months.

NOTES:
  • I bought a flat of pears earlier this week and it was time to do something with the ones we hadn't eaten.
  • This was my base recipe but I didn't peel them and I simmered everything longer so it was a little thicker.
  • For a final step, I pulverized it all with the immersion blender and added about 2 tbls. brown sugar.

Cherry Pie LaraBars


1 1/4 cups medjool dates, pitted
1 1/4 cups dried cherries
1 1/2 cups almonds, toasted (optional)

To toast the almonds, place them on a baking sheet and bake at 400°F for ten minutes. Remove from oven and transfer the almonds to a bowl or plate to cool.

Place dates and cherries in a food processor and pulse until a gooey semi-paste has formed (you want some bits of fruit, but not huge pieces). Empty the dried fruit into a large mixing bowl. Put the almonds in the food processor and pulse to coarse bits. You don’t want to make this a powder. Empty the almonds into the mixing bowl with the dried fruit. Knead the dried fruit and almonds together until combined and evenly distributed. Press the mixture into the bottom of an 8-inch or 9-inch square pan to about 1/2-inch thickness. Refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes. Invert the pan’s contents onto a cutting board and slice to desired size. Makes about a dozen 1.5- x 3.5-inch bars with a few odd pieces leftover.

NOTES: 
  • Source for this recipe.
  • I had a bag of dried cherries from Aldi which was a little more than a cup, so I just added 1 1/2 cups of dates.
  • The Aldi cherries list sugar as an ingredient, so I might search for a sugar-free option next time.  The sad part of this is that Aldi's dried cherries are a fantastic price.  :(
  • I added a little salt.
  • Not sure I had the variety of dates this recipe called for - I bought whatever it is they sell at Sam's.
  • It says that toasting the almonds is "optional."  Ignore that.  Toasting the almonds is fantastic!  It was an easy step and added a wonderful flavor.
  • I would never do this without a food processor, but it worked really well with it.

Clif Bars


Yield: 9 bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes

1 cup dates (pitted)
1¼ cups crisp rice cereal
1 cup quick-cooking oats
¼ cup coarsely chopped peanuts
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch salt
½ cup peanut butter
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

1. Spray an 8×8-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

2. Place the dates in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Combine the pureed dates with the cereal, oats, peanuts, flaxseed, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.

3. Combine the peanut butter and brown rice syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until melted and completely blended. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

4. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the oat mixture and stir until well combined. Gently stir in the chocolate chips. Turn the mixture into the prepared pan and press firmly to pack the mixture into the pan. Let the mixture sit until completely cool and set, at least 1 hour. Cut into bars, then wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.

NOTES:

  • The recipe above is from Brown Eyed Baker.  
  • I didn't add the chocolate chips because ... why would I want them for breakfast?
  • I also looked high and low for brown rice syrup with no success.  I'll keep searching, but until then, I just used corn syrup.  I was tempted to use agave syrup, but had a sample at Costco once that I wasn't too fond of.  I hated to buy an overpriced bottle of something I likely wouldn't like and wouldn't have another use for.
  • Bottom line: these are good.  I'll play around with different flavors if they work well for breakfast on the go and I make them again.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Earl Grey Ice Cream

1 cup milk
2 cups heavy cream
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup loose earl grey tea leaves
5 egg yolks

Warm milk, 1 cup cream, sugar and tea leaves in a saucepan over medium heat.  Cover, remove from the heat and let steep for one hour.

Rewarm the tea-infused milk.  Pour the remaining cup of heavy cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.  In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks.  Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula.  Pour the custard through the strainer into the cream, pressing gently on the tea leaves to extract the maximum flavor from them, then discard the leaves. Stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Makes about 1 qt.


From "The Perfect Scoop"

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Cashew Chicken


Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 45 minutes | Cook Time: 15 minutes

1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons dry sherry (or cooking wine, or omit)
2 teaspoons minced, peeled fresh ginger
3½ teaspoons cornstarch, divided
Coarse salt
½ cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup unsalted cashews
2 green onions, white and green parts divided and thinly sliced

1. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with the sherry, ginger, and 1½ teaspoons cornstarch; season with coarse salt. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together the chicken broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar and 2 teaspoons cornstarch. Set aside.

3. In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add half of the chicken and cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover with foil. Add 1 teaspoon of oil to the skillet and cook the remaining chicken (reduce the heat if the chicken is over-browning). Transfer to the covered plate.

4. In the same skillet, add the remaining teaspoon of vegetable oil. Add the cashews, garlic, and green onion whites. Cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic begins to soften, about 30 seconds. Whisk the sauce again to combine and add to the skillet along with the chicken. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 30 seconds. Serve over rice or noodles and top with the green onion greens.
From Brown Eyed Baker

NOTES:

  • I realized about half way through that I didn't have onions in any form.  (Would've been better with.)  
  • Also, I wanted more volume so I added broccoli.  (Was good.)
  • Also, I didn't have rice vinegar so I just used white vinegar.  It might make a difference, but this was good as well.
  • My cashews were salted - it was fine.
  • Thumbs-up all around!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Creamy Lemon Basil Potato Salad

  • 2 lbs Potatoes
  • 2 whole Lemons, Juiced
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • ½ cups Mayonnaise
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon Prepared Pesto
  • ¼ cups Pine Nuts
  • Small Basil Leaves

Boil potatoes in lightly salted water until fork tender. Drain, cut in half, then place in a bowl.
Toast pine nuts in a skillet over low heat until just lightly golden. Remove from heat.
Mix together lemon juice, olive oil, mayonnaise, salt & pepper, and pesto until creamy and smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as you’d like.
Pour half the dressing over the potatoes and toss to combine. Add more dressing to taste.
Cover and refrigerate the potato salad for a few hours. To serve, sprinkle lots of small basil leaves over the top.

Potato Gnocchi

Serves two to three as a main dish.
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ¾ c plus 1 T all-purpose flour (4 oz by weight)
  • 4 tsp salt
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 450. Prick potatoes all over and microwave about 10 minutes until slightly softened at ends, flipping halfway through. Place potatoes directly on the oven rack and back until skewer glides easily through, 18-20 minutes.

Peel potatoes while still hot, holding with an oven mitt or towel. Process through a ricer or food mill (do not mash) and spread out onto a cookie sheet to cool for 5 minutes.

Transfer 3 cups (1 lb) warm potatoes to a mixing bowl. Using fork, stir in egg gently until just combined. Sprinkle in flour and 1 tsp salt; gently combine with fork until no pockets of dry flour remain. Press mixture into a ball and knead gently on a lightly floured surface until smooth but slightly sticky, about 1 minute.

Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment and dust liberally with flour. Cut dough into eighths. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a half-inch rope and slice into ¾" pieces. Holding fork with tines facing down in one hand, press each piece against tines with the thumb of your other hand to create ridges. Transfer formed gnocchi to sheets.

To freeze, let dry on sheets 1–4 hours at room temperature, then transfer sheets to freezer for 45 minutes before placing the frozen gnocchi in a ziploc or other container.

To cook (from fresh or frozen), bring 4 quarts water to boil in a large pot. Add remaining 3 tsps salt. Using the parchment paper, lower the gnocchi into the water one sheet at a time and cook until firm, about 90 seconds (gnocchi will float after about 60 secs). Repeat with remaining sheet of gnocchi.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Aldi Reviews - Three Bean Salad

99 cents
Good flavor.
The texture is a little mushy, but they are cooked green beans for heaven's sake!  I'd buy it again.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Product Recommendation - Rib Rack

Dad used this to grill thick-cut pork chops tonight and it worked really well!  He set them in a baking dish and marinated in a little whiskey before grilling.  Once the charcoal was ready, seared them on the grill for one minute on each side and then stood them up (bone side down) in the rack and simply cooked with the lid on until they reached 150 (about 15 minutes).  Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Very moist and tender!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Aldi Reviews - Thin Wheat Crackers

In the interest of saving money and boycotting Nabisco, we're trying to buy more stuff at Aldi.  These both get high marks in side-by-side tests with Wheat Thins and, as expected, they're about half the price.
$1.29 for either original or reduced fat.

Shortbread Tea Tarts


Photo Credit:
J. M. Klejeski
Crust:
1 cup (227 grams) (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (55 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (200 grams) all purpose flour
3 tablespoons (30 grams) cornstarch (corn flour) or rice flour
1/4 teaspoon salt


  • Lightly butter, or spray with a nonstick vegetable spray, 36 miniature muffin tins (approximately 2 inch (5 cm) in diameter).
  • In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together (1-2 minutes) until smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour, cornstarch and salt and mix just until incorporated. If the shortbread dough is too soft to roll into balls, cover and refrigerate for about 30-60 minutes.
  • Take a scant 1 tablespoon of shortbread dough (about 15 grams) and place in the center of each muffin tin. With your fingertips, press the dough onto the bottom and up the sides of the individual muffin tin. Once filled, cover and place the tart pan, with the unbaked shells, in the freezer for about 15 minutes so the shortbread can become firm. (This will help to prevent the shortbread from puffing up during baking.)
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven.
  • Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown. About halfway through the baking time, if the shortbread has puffed up, lightly prick the bottom of each shortbread with the tines of a fork. Once they are fully baked, remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. When completely cooled, remove the tarts from the pan. (They can be frozen.)




Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese (not low fat)
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Fruit:
We used blueberries and raspberries, but kiwi, tiny strawberries, or blackberries would also be good.

Notes:
The original recipe is here.  There were lots of warnings about how fragile the crusts were, but mine came out of the pans really well.  I did take care to weigh the dough (15 grams, as suggested) and when I pushed them into the mini-muffin tins, I made sure the sidewalls weren't thin at all.  The impressions I made were more bowl shaped, resulting in fairly thick bottoms and walls.  Fortunately, the shortbread was delish (!) so this wasn't a problem at all.

We piped my standard fruit pizza filling into each (rather than the sweetened condensed milk version on the original recipe), topped it with a berry, and refrigerated them until the tea party.

I made the crusts early in the week, and just filled them a few hours before serving.  It is now the day after though and they're still very good.

Apricot Wild Rice Salad


Ours basically looked the same (minus the random Christmas ornament)



Photo and recipe credit to Taste of Home

Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups uncooked wild rice
  • 2 cups finely chopped dried apricots
  • 2 cups dried cherries
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt

Directions

  • In a large saucepan, bring water and rice to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 45-50 minutes or until rice is tender. Drain if necessary. Transfer to a large bowl; cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, place apricots in a small bowl; cover with boiling water. Let stand for 5 minutes; drain. Stir the apricots, cherries and walnuts into rice. In a small bowl, whisk the oil, lemon juice, maple syrup and salt. Pour over rice mixture and mix well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Yield: 15 servings (2/3 cup each).
Notes:
  • Use a good quality olive oil, because it's a pretty major flavor.
  • We omitted the maple syrup and it was just fine.  
  • We thought that the amount this recipe was supposed to make was a little ridiculous, so we went with about 4 cups of cooked rice, a 6-oz bag of apricots, and about half on the dressing ingredients.
  • Overall a thumbs-up, and it was fun to make something a little different!

Caprese Salad

We made this for our tea party last night, which was a great option to have as part of our "light dinner."  It's easy to make, summery, fresh, delicious, and really pretty!  Nothing special--just plain mozzarella from Costco, basil from the garden, bushel boy tomatoes, and a mixture of balsamic vinegar and Italian dressing.  Mostly I just wanted to post a few photos because mom did such a nice job at making it pretty.  One thing to note is that it's best to make this at the last minute; by the end of the evening, the cheese had lost a lot of its moisture, so it was kind of just sitting in liquid in the plate.




Friday, July 6, 2012

Vodka Pie Crust

2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into small bits
1/4 cup cold vodka
1/4 cup cold water


1. Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes.


Originally from Cooks Illustrated

You can use all butter, which results in a crisper, firmer crust.  The butter/shortening blend makes the most tender pie crust I've ever had.

Aldi Reviews - Sunflower Seed Bread

$1.49
I bought this because I was curious about the product and the possibility of using it for the Tea.  There are 7 thin slices in a package, each about 3"x 6".  It tastes really healthy (more like nuts held together with a little bread dough), and toasted really well.  It's pretty dry and firm and would probably make a good base for some kind of hors d'oeuvres, used in the same way as those little pumpernickel loaves I get in the deli section at the grocery store.  It would not be good in any kind of traditional sandwich with two slices of bread, imo.  It came in two other flavors: pumpernickel and (maybe whole wheat - can't remember for sure).

One thumbs up for super-healthy toast!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Aldi Reviews - Sweet Potato Chips

$1.99 for 7 ounces
Good flavor and very lightly salted.
The firm, crisp texture would be good with some kind of really healthy dip.  (If you have suggestions, let me know.)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sauerkraut Salad


2 c. kraut-well drained
l/2 c chop. celery
l/2 c. chop. green pepper
l/2 c. chop. onion
l/4 c. pimento or red pepper

Dressing:
l c sugar
l/2 c white vinegar
salt, pepper and garlic to taste
mix well

Add all: chill and serve---keeps well

NOTES:
Grandma and Grandpa have been making this for years and brought it to the family reunion last weekend.  It pretty much loses all it's sauerkraut flavor and is more in the three-bean-salad category.  It's good on its own (imo) but would also possibly be nice on something like a Reuben sandwich or something like this.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Old Fashioned Rice Pudding

2 cups of cooked white rice 
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of sugar
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a large saucepan, combine the rice, milk, sugar and salt.  Cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 20 minutes or until thickened, stirring often.  Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla.  Spoon into serving dishes.  Serve warm; top with whipped cream if desired.  

NOTES:  We make this for food prep and the students are almost always skeptical at first, but then give it highest marks in the end of the year evaluation.

It's a fantastic comfort food that's easy and cheap to make.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Filipino Chocolate Rice Pudding(Champorado)

1 cup short grained rice(sushi rice)
1 can coconut milk
3 cups water
1/3 cup sugar
6 oz bittersweet chocolate
Half and half

Rinse the rice in cold water until the water runs clear.  Combine rice, coconut milk and water in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat and then reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender and the mixture thickens, remove from the heat.  Microwave the chocolate until just melted and stir it and the sugar into the rice.  Serve either warm or chilled, drizzled with milk or half and half.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Butterscotch Pecan Ice Cream

from The Perfect Scoop




Buttered Pecans
1 1/2 T butter, melted
1 1/12 cups pecan halves
1/4 tsp coarse salt

Preheat the oven to 350. Toss the pecans with the melted butter until well coated, then sprinkle with the salt. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10-12 minutes, stirring once. Remove from oven and cool completely. Chop coarsely.


5 T butter
3/4 c (170 g) packed dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp coarse salt
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 c whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 T scotch whiskey
Buttered Pecans (above)

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, then stir in the brown sugar and salt until well moistened. Whisk in 1 cup of the cream and the milk.

Warm the brown sugar and cream mixture. Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm brown sugar mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Add the vanilla and scotch, then stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. During the last few minutes of churning, add the Buttered Pecans.

Notes: I skipped the strainer and the ice bath, and doubled the scotch. I only made 1 cup of pecans, and that was plenty; I think a full batch might have been a bit much. This ice cream was amazing; our only complaint was that there was a grainy feeling on the spoon. Maybe a bit too much butter?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Aldi Reviews: Bacon & Cheddar Potato Skins

Good bacon flavor
Great texture
Pretty much all intact
.99 cents


(Yeah, I had you at "bacon.")

Two thumbs-up, btw.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Broccoli-Corn Casserole

1 (16 ounce) can creamed corn
10 ounces broccoli, cooked and drained
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup saltine cracker crumbs (12)
1 tbls. instant onion (or equivalent)
2 tbls. melted butter
pepper

Topping:
1 tbls. melted butter, mixed with
1/4 c cracker crumbs

Mix, add topping, bake in 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes.

Source: Pine to Prairie Cookbook

Monday, April 23, 2012

Chicken Florentine Pasta


Ingredients
1 pound Penne
4 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
Salt And Pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
4 cloves Garlic, Minced
3/4 cups Dry White Wine
3/4 cups Low-sodium Broth, More If Needed
1 bag Baby Spinach
2 cups Grape Tomatoes, Halved Lengthwise
4 ounces, weight Parmesan Cheese, Shaved With Vegetable Peeler

Preparation Instructions
Cook pasta according to package directions in lightly salted water. Drain and set aside.
Cut chicken breasts into chunks and sprinkle on salt and pepper.
Heat butter and olive oil over high heat in a large skillet. Add chicken chunks in a single layer and do not stir for a minute or two in order to allow the chicken to brown on the first side. Turn the chicken and brown on the other side. Cook until done, then remove chicken from the skillet.
Turn heat to medium. Add garlic and quickly stir to avoid burning. After about 30 seconds, pour in wine and broth, stirring to deglaze the pan. Allow the liquid to bubble up, then continue cooking until it's reduced by at least half (most of the surface of the liquid should be bubbling at this point.)
Turn off the heat. Add spinach, tomatoes, chicken, and cooked pasta to the skillet. Toss to combine; the spinach will wilt as you toss everything. Add plenty of Parmesan shavings and toss to combine.
Serve with extra Parmesan shavings.
NOTES:
I used diced, canned (and drained) tomatoes instead of fresh.  It's probably not better, but it was convenient.

Source


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Orange Blossom Mini-cheesecakes

I used this basic recipe but with mini vanilla wafers for the crusts and orange oil in the batter for flavoring.
The topping was 8 ounces of cream cheese mixed with 1/4 cup of sugar and piped on top.



Spring Petit Fours


For the Cakes:
1 1/3 cups cake flour
3/4 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
8 T butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam (optional)

For the Glaze:
8 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
4 egg whites
1/2 cup milk
2 T vanilla extract


Food colouring as desired (pastel pink, green or yellow)



  • *NB: If desired, meringue powder can be used instead of egg whites in the glaze. Omit the egg whites and substitute 1/4 cup (35 g) meringue powder; increase the milk to 1 cup (250 ml).
  • Have all the ingredients at room temperature
  • Preheat to oven 350 degrees F. Use Baker's Joy (or another Pam-like product with flour added) to spray the pan.  (I brushed it around with a silicone brush so there weren't pools of it in the crevices.)
  • Beat the butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the granulated sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla just until incorporated.
  • Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour. Beat each addition just until incorporated, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Spoon 1 T of the batter into each well of the prepared pan. Gently tap the pan on a flat surface to eliminate any air bubbles. Bake just until the cakes are no longer sticky on top, about 10 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cakes cool upright in the pan for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Set the rack over a sheet of waxed paper, invert the pan onto the rack and lift off the pan. Let the cakes cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, wash and dry the pan and repeat with the remaining batter.
  • If desired, using a serrated knife cut the cakes in half horizontally. Place about 1/2 t jam on the bottom half of each cake, then replace the tops.
  • To make the glaze, in a a large bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar, egg whites, milk and vanilla until smooth, about 1 minute. Whisk in the food colouring.
  • Using a rubber spatula, transfer the glaze to a bowl with a pouring spout. Slowly drizzle the glaze over each cake, allowing it to completely cover the top and sides before glazing the next cake. Gently tap the wire rack on a flat surface to remove excess glaze. Let the glaze dry completely, about 1 hour, before serving. Makes 40 petits fours.
NOTES:
  • Instead of "gently tapping" as suggested, I put a couple of hotpads on the countertop and pretty firmly whacked it down a few times.  I gently tapped the first batch as suggested and there were bubbles which affected the finished product.  That didn't happen with subsequent batches.
  • I used the meringue powder option for the glaze and it worked really well.  Would definitely do again.
  • I made the glaze quite a bit thinner than it calls for and was able to dip them instead of trying to pour it over evenly.  (I tried that with the first one and it worked terribly!  Too thick and too much trouble to pour it on evenly.)
  • The cutest ones I saw online were all colored, so I colored the batter and then the icing a matching but lighter shade.  (The pink ones started out as an insanely bright color which was toned down by the glaze. I blame the paste food coloring.)
  • By using my thinned glaze and dipping them, one batch of glaze was more than enough to coat a double batch (80) of cakes.
  • It really did work as easily as the recipe describes.  They dumped out nicely and one tablespoon of batter filled each well just right.
  • I'd be tempted to inject a little jam or filling in each and dip the entire cake (bottoms too) in the glaze.
  • I used lemon extract in the glaze - highly recommended.
  • Original recipe here.