Thursday, April 30, 2009

Disappearing Biscuits


These are easy, fun to make, and fun to let kids help out with!

Disappearing Bisuits

You'll need:
  • 1 can of bisuits, or a batch of Bisquick biscuits (the small batch to make about 9), rolled out and cut into circles
  • Marshmallows
  • Melted butter, about 2 T
  • Cinnamon/sugar mixture
Now the fun part! Cut the marshmallows in half, then roll in the butter then the cinnamon/sugar mix. Place it in the middle of the biscuit dough, then seal the dough around the marshmallow.

Place it on a baking sheet, seam-side down, and bake according to the cooking directions on the package. You'll want to make sure it's cooked thoroughly, so you may need to add a minute or two.

As you can see from my picture, I should have left them in the oven for another minute or so because the marshmallow didn't "disappear" all the way, but that's ok, it was still fun to eat!

Nursing Wrap Tutorial

I just posted a tutorial on my other blog about how to make a nursing wrap, but I know it's not cooking related, so I won't repeat the post here, but I will send you a link if you want to check it out! Just click here!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Peanut Butter Cookies

oI first made these cookies when I was a kid in 4-H, so nearly 20 years ago! (Yikes, that makes me feel so old!) And let me tell you, these cookies have never let me down! They are also my husbands all-time favorite cookies. So yummy, so soft, so perfect, you really need to give these a try! I've made these with both creamy and crunch peanut butter and they work well with both kinds, but my husband prefers the crunch peanut butter. He likes the extra crunch they give the cookies. Either way, you really can't go wrong.

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup shortening (I use butter)
3/4 to 1 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Mix sugars, shortening, 2 eggs, and peanut butter thoroughly.
2. Sift dry ingredients together and add, then mix. Add vanilla, then mix.
3. Shape into balls the size of a large walnut (I use my pampered chef medium scoop) and press out with a fork. Dip the fork into dry sugar to prevent sticking. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
4. Bake 8 - 10 minutes at 375 F until very lightly browned. Makes 5 dozen cookies.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cream Puffs, or Creme Puffs if you're fancy

Here's another recipe my mom would make all the time when we were kids and they disappeared about as fast as they could be stuffed. They are easy to make, so yummy, and very impressive! I made them for my stitch group tonight and should have taken a picture earlier, but at least I got a shot before we finished off the last two!

Cream Puffs

Ingredients:
1 cup water
pinch of salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter
1 cup flour
4 eggs

Put the water, salt, and butter in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the flour, reduce the heat to medium and stir until it forms a ball. Remove from heat and let it cool for a few minutes.

Using a wooden spoon, add one egg and stir until incorporated. (It's a little slimy at first, but don't worry, it will all get worked in!) When the dough is smooth, add another egg and repeat with all the eggs, stirring well between each addition.

Scoop onto a cookie sheet liked with parchment or a Silpat. (If you don't have a Silpat yet, ask for one for Mother's Day. I don't know how I ever got by without one!) And if you have a Pampered Chef medium scoop or similar gadget, it works great for making nice, even mounds, otherwise, you can use two spoons.

Cook at 400 degrees for 25 minutes, then turn the heat off and let them sit in the hot oven for another 10 minutes or so to dry out the inside.

Once cooled, you can fill them like I did with strawberries and whipped cream, topped with a light dusting of powdered sugar. C'est magnifique!

Experiments in the kitchen

For Easter, I also tried making Cozonac, it's a traditional Romanian bread that they make every Christmas and Easter, so being a little nostalgic, I gave it a try. I found this recipe, but the dough recipe seemed a bit too labor intense for me, so I used this recipe instead and just used the filling recipe from the original one, although I used almonds and almond extract for the walnuts and rum since that's what I had on hand. For my first attempt at Cozonac, it went pretty well, although I think I will try a few things differently when I make it next year.

Then a little while ago, I also made the spinach and carrots brownies from the Deceptively Delicious cookbook. I had wanted to try it out for quite a while but never had any spinach laying around, so when I saw frozen spinach on sale at the grocery store, I picked up a bag and got pureeing! (is that even word?) The result? SUPER YUMMY! They are very moist, very chocolately, and full of vegetable goodness. I made made them for my husband and his brothers and they ate them heartily without even questioning what was in them. My kids also gobbled them up, and the few left over pieces were consumed with equal satisfaction by my parents. So the results are in, you need to TRY THIS RECIPE! (the only change I made is I made a double batch and instead of 4 egg whites, I just used 3 whole eggs.)

Marshmallow Easter Eggs

Yes, I realize that Easter was almost a week ago, but things have been kinda crazy and I haven't been able to blog nearly as much as I would like, so I'm FINALLY getting a few recipes posted! Yeah! This recipe is one that my mom would make almost every year for Easter, so not only is it yummy, but it takes me back to the good old days. And I know that you won't be making this again this year, but remember it and come back to it again next year when you're looking for a fun Easter recipe to try!

Marshmallow Easter Eggs

Ingredients:
2/3 cup Karo Syrup
1/3 cup cold water
1 1/2 envelopes Knox gelatin
1/2 cup sugar
You'll also need a lot of flour or corn starch and something egg-shaped. Before you start making the marshmallow mixture, make the beds for the eggs to form in. To do this, just take a 9 x 13 baking dish and fill it with an inch or two of flour or corn starch, then take an egg-shaped object (could be a plastic egg, I used a hard-boiled egg we colored the night before, just don't use a raw egg!) and press forms into the flour. When that is all done, you can start making the marshmallows!

Dissolve the sugar and gelatin in the water and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Let it boil for a minute or so. Pour the mixture into a mixing bowl. Kitchen-Aids are GREAT for this recipe, but if you don't have one, just use a hand mixer with the wire whisk attachment. Add the corn syrup and start whipping! After a few minutes, it will get opaque and frothy, though still a bit runny. Carefully pour the marshmallow into the egg forms and let it sit for at least an hour or so. It will still be pretty sticky, so flip it over to coat the sticky side with the flour or cornstarch.If you're really ambitious, you can then coat it in melted chocolate too. Either way, they're delicious and you can tell, the kids love them!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Perfectly Chocolate Cake

Today for my son's birthday, I wanted to make him a little cake so that he could blow out some candles, but I didn't want to do another big cake like I did for his birthday party on Saturday, so I looked online for an easy cake recipe that I could half easily, and I found a gem! It was about as easy as using a cake mix and tasted so good! The frosting recipe was tasty too!

HERSHEY'S "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING(recipe follows)

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 10 to 12 servings.

VARIATIONS:
ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.

BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.

CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.


"PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.