Thursday, July 23, 2009

Chocolate-Dipped Macaroons

Have you ever bought a package of coconut and used a tiny bit and had tons leftover and you don't know what to do with it? Well I was having this problem and so I searched for the perfect macaroon recipe. These are DIVINE!!! Totally light and fluffy and completely delicious!

1 pkg (14 oz) coconut
2/3 c sugar
6 T flour
1/4 t salt
4 egg whites
10 oz semi sweet chocolate

1 t vanilla
1 T sugar

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Combine coconut, sugar, flour and salt. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold in coconut mixture. Drop by tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto greased and floured baking sheets

Bake 20 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

Combine vanilla and sugar in a bowl. Add enough water so it becomes a liquid again. Brush over tops of cookies. Transfer to a wire rack. Cool completely.

Melt chocolate. Dip cookies halfway into chocolate. Let stand until chocolate is firm. Enjoy!

*I thought of the vanilla/sugar wash because I forgot to put the vanilla in the cookies and they were already in the oven...but this way is INCREDIBLY good!!!! Try it!! (or you can just add 1 t vanilla to actual cookies.)

*Adapted from a Holiday Desserts book I have.

Zucchini Bread

Do you have tons of extra zucchini from your garden??? This is the BEST recipe out there! It was so completely moist and delicious...believe me...just try it.

3 cups flour
1 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
3 t cinnamon
3 eggs
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/2 c applesauce
2 c sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
3 t vanilla
2 1/2 c grated zucchini

1/4 c brown sugar
2 t cinnamon

Grease and flour 2 8by4 loaf pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Beat eggs, oil, applesauce, vanilla, and sugars until well combined. Add sifted ingredients slowly until just incorporated. Fold in zucchini. Pour into prepared pans. Mix 1/4 c brown sugar and 2 t cinnamon and sprinkle over top of both batters. Bake 55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes and then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

*Adapted from

Quick Potato Chips

Surprisingly, these are DELICIOUS! They are SO light and crisp and are in my opinion better than acual greasy potato chips. They are very comparable to kettle chips. Just try them because they are SOOOO easy!!!

3 medium red potatoes

Olive oil

Any seasonings you like: salt, vinegar, chili powder, seasoned salt, garlic salt, onion salt, cumin, curry powder...ANYTHING you like on chips!

Layer three paper towels on a microwave safe plate. Scrub potatoes and cut SUPER thin as you can. If you have a mandolin, it would be the best, but I didn't use one and was able to get them pretty thin. Brush both sides with olive oil and the seasoning of your choice. Arrange on prepared plate not overlapping.

Microwave on high for 3 minutes, turn and microwave 2-3 minutes longer or until chips are crisp and brittle. Repeat with remaining potatoes. Let sit for 1 mintue. Store in airtight container.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Oh man! These are sinfully good! I'm SO sorry that I've only been doing like party foods and desserts, but I've thrown about 3 showers in the past month and my brother is getting married in a month and I'm doing the luncheon I've been trying out different recipes to see what I want to make. But who doesn't like party food?!

1 1/2 c flour
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 1/2 sticks real butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 c sugar
1 t vanilla
2 eggs
12 mini peanut butter cups, quartered
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In mixer cream peanut butter and butter until smooth. Add sugar to butter and cream till light and fluffy. Add vanilla then eggs one at a time. Mix until combined. Add dry ingredients little by little until well combined. Stir in peanut butter cups and chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 11 minutes before browned. Let sit on cookie sheet for 5 minutes and then remove to cooling rack. These are really soft even after they are cooled.

Three Cheese Spread

This is incredibly amazing! You can make it a ball, a log, or just a generic cheese spread. Any way it's delicious and perfect for a party!

8 oz. block sharp cheddar cheese
4 oz. block pepper jack cheese
8 oz. cream cheese
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon onion powder
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Cheese-Its crumbled

Unless you have a food processor fitted with a shredding disk, grate the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses. After shredding them, just chop with a large knife into smaller pieces. With a hand mixer, cream cream cheese, garlic and remaining seasonings for one minutes. Add in other cheese and mix well.

If making a ball or log, shape how you want it to look and roll it in Saran Wrap and place in the fridge for several hours to harden. Before serving, remove from fridge and roll in crushed Cheese-Its.

If using as a cheese spread, add a little milk to thin it out to spreadable consistency. Serve with crackers.

*Adapted from Real Mom Kitchen

Mini Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

How cute are these?!?! I am absolutely in LOVE with them! They are the perfect baby shower food...dainty and all. The frosting is a little creation of my own and it's the perfect combination of cream cheese to strawberry. Definitely try these!

1 French Vanilla cake mix (the only kind I use now)
1 8oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 stick real butter, room temperature
1/2 t vanilla
1-2 cups powdered sugar
1/4-1/2 cup homemade strawberry Jam (or store bought...but only if you must!)

Make cake mix according to box directions and bake in a mini muffin tin (I didn't use muffin liners.) Remove from oven and let sit in pan for a few minutes and then remove to cooling rack and cool completely.

Cream cream cheese and butter until smooth with no lumps. Add vanilla and powdered sugar until desired consistency is met (I like my cream cheese frosting to taste more cream cheesey than I usually always add less powdered sugar than the recipe calls for.) Stir in strawberry jam. You can add more or less depending on how you like it. You can also add food coloring to make it more pink or even red. Spoon into pastry bag or corner of a Ziplock bag and pipe onto tops of cupcakes. SOOO YUMMY!!!

*My own little creation*

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Fillo Peanut Butter Cups

These are PERFECT for a shower or party and sooo yummy!

1 box (1.9 oz) mini– fillo shells (15 in box)
15 miniature peanut butter cups
1 can (7 oz) whipped light cream (or you could pipe on homemade whipped cream)
Any toppings you like

1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place fillo shells on baking sheet.
2. Place a peanut butter cup in each shell. Bake 5 minutes until chocolate softens. With small metal spatula or knife, flatten and even out chocolate in fillo cup. You just want the peanut butter cup to sit on the bottom of the fillo shell. Let stand at room temperature until cooled.
3. Top each filled cup with whipped cream. Sprinkle with any topping you like (peanuts, sprinkles, chocolate shavings.)

*From Real Mom Kitchen

Spinach Dip

1 pkg Korrs Vegetable Seasoning Mix
1 16 oz container sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1 10 oz package frozen spinach, defrosted and drained of water

Combine all in a large bowl...enjoy!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Train Cake

1 French Vanilla cake mix
2 Devils Food cake mixes
1 recipe cream cheese frosting
M&M's regular size and mini

Make the french vanilla cake according to package directions and bake in 2 - 8 inch pans. Let cool about 10 minutes after baking and remove from pan to cool completely.

Make the devils food cake mixes one at a time and bake 1 cake mix in 1 10 inch pan (unless you have a larger 12 inch.) Repeat. Let cool about 10 minutes after baking and remove from pan to cool completely.

Cut the "top" off of any top to make the cakes flat on both top and bottom.

To Build:
Place 1 devils food cake on a cake stand or platter. Top with chocolate cream cheese frosting (made from regular cream cheese frosting and adding a few tablespoons of cocoa powder, or until it tastes good to you.) Top with other devils food cake. Frost bottom 2 layers with cream cheese frosting.

Place a bowl around the french vanilla cakes and cut into about a 6-7 inch circle (just smaller enough to be able to pipe a train track around the bottom layer.) Place one layer on top of bottom two frosted layers in the middle. Top with strawberry cream cheese frosting (made by adding a little strawberry jam to the cream cheese frosting - I use homemade strawberry freezer jam.) Top with remaining layer. Frost with cream cheese frosting.

To decorate:
Pipe around edges however you like, using whatever color combination you like. To make the dots, I used mini and regular M&M's. Then I had a HUGE Thomas that I put on the top and a regular one to put on the actual track on the bottom layer. TA-DA!!! You have a Thomas cake!!! You actually could put anything you want on this cake and make it whatever kind of cake you's just a fun base to use.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Double Chocolate Brownie Cookies

**Resist the urge to bake the cookies longer than indicated; they may appear underbaked at first but will firm up as they cool.**

2 cups flour
½ cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
16 ounces (about 2 cups) semisweet chocolate, chopped (or melt the equivalent of semi-sweet chocolate chips)
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips

Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave (50% power for 2 minutes, then stir and microwave in 20 second intervals until chocolate is melted - be careful not to overheat or chocolate will sieze). In a small bowl, beat the eggs and vanilla lightly with a fork; set aside.

Beat the butter at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 5 seconds. Beat in the sugars until combined, about 45 seconds; the mixture will look granular. Reduce the speed to low and gradually beat in the egg mixture until incorporated, about 45 seconds. Add the chocolate in a steady stream and beat until combined, about 40 seconds. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer at low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Finally add the chocolate chips. Do not overbeat. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until the consistency is fudge-like, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 sheets with parchment paper or silpat liners (this is pretty important - if the cookies are baked on a greased baking sheet only, they will probably stick). Roll the dough into 1 ½ inch balls and place them on the cookie sheets, spacing them about 1 ½ inches apart.

Bake until the edges of the cookies have just begun to set but the centers are still very soft, about 10-11 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the sheets about 5 minutes or until set and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.

*Next time I am going to use a few ounces of chopped white chocolate to make them more colorful, but other than that...THESE ARE AMAZING!!! The are pretty much like a fudge brownie in cookie form. I halved the recipe and it made exactly 30 cookies so a full recipe would probably make around 60 cookies.

*From My Kitchen Cafe

Thursday, July 9, 2009

No Bake Cookies

1 stick butter

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup milk

4 tablespoons cocoa

1/2 cup peanut butter

3 to 3 1/2 cups dry quick-cooking oats

2 teaspoons vanilla

Add the first four ingredients into a 4-quart saucepan.

Bring to a rolling boil and hold for 1 minute.

Remove from heat.

Stir in the next 3 ingredients and drop by tablespoons onto wax paper.

Let cool until set.

*I used crunchy peanut butter because I think it adds a nice crunch.
*From Dinner and Dessert

Cheesecake Brownies

For the brownie bottom:

8 oz. (about 1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate - either bars or chocolate chips

2 sticks butter

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

4 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon pure vanilla

For the cheesecake layer:

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1 ½ cups sugar

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

6 large eggs

1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 cups (one 12-ounce package) semisweet chocolate chips

Before you start:

Position a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly butter a 9×13-inch pan. Line the pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

To make the brownies:

1. In the top of a double boiler over simmering, not boiling water, melt the chocolate and the butter, stirring to combine. Set aside to cool to warm.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.

4. Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and combine with a whisk. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate/egg mixture and stir until just combined. Pour the brownie better into the prepared pan, and spread evenly.

To make the cheesecake layer:

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese, sugar, and the salt until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, 2 at a time, and mix well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Stir in the vanilla.

To complete the brownies:

1. Pour the cheesecake mixture over the brownie layer. Sprinkle the chocolate chops evenly over the cheesecake layer.

2. Bake for about 1 hour, or until lightly golden. You don't want to over-cook the brownies because they can become dry on the bottom. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Cool completely before slicing and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. May be served cold or at room temperature.

*Adapted from Dinner & Dessert