Saturday, January 11, 2020

Chocolatey Chocolate Cookies

I LOVE cookies and Chocolate. Lately I have LOVED Dark Dark chocolate... Not really into Milk chocolate these days --it's just too sweet. I saw this recipe on Bon Appetit one day and just HAD to try them out for some of my Christmas cookies this year. You can find the original recips Here but I changed mine just a bit. Just used different chocolate. I did half a dark dark chocolate bar and half dark chocolate chips. I have the Cacao %'s below in the recipe. Feel free to change to what ever you have or like. I also always use salted butter and cut back the Salt in the recipe to take that into account.  These were a great cakey cookie and Chocolatey. Perfect to counter balance the sugar cookies I made as well. Enjoy!

Chocolatey Chocolate Cookies

2 large eggs
2 -2-oz. bittersweet chocolate bars (preferably 65%–75% cacao) I used a Ghirardelli 86% cacao chocolate bar —I love dark chocolate
1 cup dark Chocolate Chips (the highest % of cacao you can find--mine were 53% Cacao) Set aside about 1/4 cup to place on top of cookie dough balls.
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1⅔ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
⅓ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
¾ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. vanilla paste or extract


Hint: Your 2 large eggs need to be at room temperature for this recipe. If they aren’t, put them in a small bowl and cover them with hot tap water. This’ll bring them up to speed quickly.

Coarsely chop 2- 2-oz. chocolate bars. You want them to be bigger than normal chocolate chips (aim for 3–4 times the size)—this creates the chocolate puddles. Set aside. 

Cut 2 sticks butter into large pieces. Cook in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring often, until it foams, then browns, 7–9 minutes. (Watch carefully since browned butter goes from brown to black in the blink of an eye.) Immediately scrape into a large bowl and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.

While butter cools, whisk 1⅔ cups all-purpose flour and 1 tsp. baking soda in a medium bowl to combine. Press ⅓ cup cocoa powder through a fine-mesh sieve into bowl (this eliminates those pesky lumps), then whisk again to combine.
Add ¾ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup granulated sugar, and 1 tsp. kosher salt to browned butter. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir vigorously to combine. Add 1 large egg and whisk vigorously until incorporated, about 1 minute. Repeat with remaining 1 large egg, then whisk in 1 Tbsp. vanilla paste or extract
Switch back to your spatula or spoon to stir in dry ingredients just to combine. Mix in the 2 chopped chocolate bars and 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips. (Remember to save some to place on top of cookie balls before baking. I saved about a 1/4 cup)
***Let dough sit at room temperature at least 1 hour to let flour and cocoa hydrate. The dough will thicken as it sits. DON’T SKIP THIS STEP!

Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 375°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Shape dough into ping-pong sized balls (about 3 Tbsp.). Arrange on prepared baking sheets, spacing about 3" apart. Lightly press a 3 or 4  of remaining chocolate chips on top of each dough ball.
Bake cookies, until edges are just set but centers are still soft, 8–10 minutes. Don’t over bake!! I baked mine for 8 and they were perfect.
Remove from oven and carefully tap pan on stovetop to deflate and flatten cookies. Let cool on baking sheets 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Or eat warm…. who can resist a warm cookie!
Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

I love pumpkin pie, but we always have left overs that never get eaten. So this last Thanksgiving I thougth I"d give a pumpkin Chiffon Pie a try. It's just as good as regular pumpkin pie,  but lighter. And you can't go wrong with a graham cracker crust!  Might have to make this every year. 

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

12 graham crackers
2 Tbsp. sugar
¼ tsp. kosher salt
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, slightly cooled

Filling :
1 envelope unflavored gelatin (2½ tsp.)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 (scant) cup granulated sugar
¾ tsp. kosher salt, divided
3 large egg yolks
¾ cup whole milk
1¼ cups unsweetened pumpkin purée (from one 15-oz. can)
3 large egg whites
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Whipped cream 

Preheat oven to 325°. Pulse graham crackers in a food processor until broken down into fine crumbs (you should have about 2 cups). Set aside 2 Tbsp. graham cracker crumbs for serving. Add sugar and salt and pulse just to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture is the consistency of wet sand.
Transfer to a 9½"-diameter deep pie dish. Using a measuring cup, press crumbs firmly onto bottom and up sides of dish. Bake crust until fragrant and edges just start to take on color,  about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
Filling and Assembly
Stir gelatin, cinnamon, nutmeg, a scant ½ cup sugar, and ½ tsp. salt in a small saucepan. Whisk egg yolks and milk in a small bowl to combine, then whisk into sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of a spoon (but do not let it boil), about 5 minutes. Stir in pumpkin purée and remove from heat. Transfer to a large bowl and chill until cool, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat egg whites in a large bowl until soft peaks form. With the motor running, gradually add a scant ¼ cup sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form, 5–7 minutes.
Mix one-third of egg white mixture into chilled pumpkin mixture until smooth. Gently fold remaining egg white mixture into pumpkin mixture in 2 additions until incorporated, but don’t overmix.
Pour filling into graham cracker crust; smooth top. Cover and chill overnight.

Top with whipped cream or dollop each piece with whipped cream when serving.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Chili Colorado

I LOVE Chili Colorado..... Had it for the first time at a restaurant in California with my hubby's family... have craved it ever since... but wanted to make my own. I watched a you tube video on the Bon Apetit channel and gave it  a try. This uses dried chiles that you can find in the Mexican food section of most grocery stores or specialty stores. This is sooooooo good! you can serve in a bowl with tortillas or on a plate with Mexican rice and beans. We like to break pieces off the tortilla for a scoop... YUMMO!

Chili Colorado

5 dried Ancho chiles
2 dried pasilla chiles
2 dried guajillo chiles
3 cups chicken stock
2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1/2 " pieces
Vegetable oil
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 to 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
1 to 2 teaspoons chopped fresh Mexican Oregano (if you have Italian oregano that's ok too)
5 cups chicken stock
Salt and Pepper to taste

Take the dried chili's and remove the stems and seeds. You want soft pliable chiles, like a dried raisin. If they are dry and brittle they are too old and will be flavorless. (Throw those out.)
Bring the chicken stock to a boil then cover your chiles with it in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let steam for about 30 minutes until the chiles are plump and tender. 
Next you put the soaked chiles and all the soaking liquid into a blender and puree until very smooth.

Season your cubes pork shoulder with salt and pepper. In a large dutch oven pan, heat a couple of Tablespoons vegetable oil over medium heat. Add 1/2 of the pork shoulder and brown all sides. You want to do this in two batches. If you over crowd the pan, the meat will steam instead of get a good brown caramel color on it. Remove the first batch to a bowl and do the same with the rest of the cubed pork. 
Add all the pork back into the pot, and add the garlic, bay leaves, cumin, chopped sage and oregano. Stir that around over medium heat until very fragrant (about a minute)

Next, add the 5 cups chicken stock and simmer uncovered for about an hour. Then add the chile puree and simmer another 45 minutes or until the meat is very tender and your sauce is a rich thick mahogany red color. 
Season with more salt and pepper to taste.

You can serve this in a bowl with tortillas on the side. I like to garnish with diced avocado and a bit of  plain cole slaw mix.  you  can also serve along side some Mexican rice. We like to use the tortillas like scoops by breaking off a small piece and scooping into the chili colorado... sooo goood. 

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Improved Key Lime Sugar Cookie Bars

I made these for an office party recently and tweaked my recipe.... SOOOO good!

Have I told you lately that I love anything Key Lime flavored?? It seems lately that everyone is talking about making different flavors of Sugar cookies, and Betty Crocker has frosting flavorings and all this talk made me think, 'Why not try to make a different flavor of sugar cookie with my favorite sugar cookie recipe?".  So I thought I would start by trying a Key Lime flavor.... Oh my goodness these were good! I made them with my sister when I went to visit last week (she lives in Arizona).. and that is why I hadn't posted recipes for a while. We didn't care if they weren't in perfect square shapes just that they tasted good. Needless to say they didn't last long. I like to use a little citric acid dissolved in the lime juice, just seems to give it more of that lime tartness that is hard to get unless you add a ton of juice, and then your dough would be runny. You can get citric acid at most Pharmacies, it's behind the counter so you have to ask for it. It's highly worth it. We made them for St. Patrick's day, but Easter is coming so whip up a batch and enjoy!

Key Lime Sugar Cookie Bars
Zest of 1 lime
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup butter (no substitutions), softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
3 cups all-purpose flour1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large mixing bowl add your sugar and lime zest, rub the zest into the sugar until it becomes fragrant. Next,  add your butter and cream until light and fluffy--about 2 minutes.
Add egg, flavorings and mix to incorporate.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Add slowly to the butter mixture and mix to combine.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with a non-stick cooking spray. Plop your cookie dough out onto your cookie sheet and press to the edges with fingers so the dough covers the bottom of the pan (if your pan is really big and you want thicker bars don't go all the way to the edges.)
Bake at 350 for 12 to 15 minutes or longer until the middle is well set and the edges start to turn slightly brown. The baking time really depends on how you like them and how thick your dough is. If you like them more chewy bake less time, for more crispy bake a little longer.
Cool completely before icing.

For the Frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-3Tablespoon lime juice (bottled or freshly squeezed) add 1 teaspoon citric acid  and dissolve in the lime juice
drop or two of coconut extract
1 drop green food coloring

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, gradually add the powdered sugar until well combined. Add the salt, vanilla extract, lime juice mixture, and drop of green food coloring and mix until very smooth. Add more powdered sugar if too thin, you don't want the icing to run off the bars.
Frost the sugar cookie bars and add green sprinkles or toasted coconut or leave then plain. Then cut into squares and enjoy!  (I did)..........YUMMO!

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Crispy Smashed Potatoes

I have seen chefs and cooks do smashed potatoes a lot but have never actually made them. I tried it out yesterday to go with grilled steak and asparagus for a different potato side dish . Oh my goodness... so yummy! I used Yukon Gold potatoes since they crisp up nice around the edges but are buttery soft in the center. YUM! we topped with a dollop of sour cream. You could also flavor the butter with a little garlic if you like and top with bacon bits and cheddar cheese for a loaded bake potatoe flavor. I did parmesan cheese and little fresh parsley at the end. Anyway you top them is delish! Enjoy!

Crispy Smashed Potatoes
10 to 12 small Yukon Gold potatoes, washed
3 tbsp unsalted butter , melted
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
Grated Parmesan Cheese, Optional Garnish
Finely chopped parsley , optional garnish
Sour cream for serving, if desired

Bring a pot of water to the boil. Cook potatoes until soft - small ones should take around 20 to 25 minutes, large ones might take 30 minutes. It's ok if the skin splits.
Preheat oven to 350F . Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, spray with non -stick cooking spray or olive oil. Set aside.
Drain the potatoes and let them dry in the colander for 5 minutes or so. Or you can leave in the pot with the lid off until you are ready to smash them if you boiled ahead of time.
Place on the baking sheet then use a large fork or potato masher to squish them, keeping them in one piece. The flatter you smash them the crispier they are, If you leave them with a  little more nubbly surface the better crunch!
Leave on the baking sheet to steam dry for 5 minutes or so - makes them crispier!
Drizzle with a spoonfull of butter, then just a bit of olive oil (about 1/4 tsp on each). Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake for 30 minutes, then sprinkle the top with grated parmesan cheese and fresh Parsley. Bake for 10 to 15 more minutes or until deep golden and crispy. Do not flip!
Serve hot, Top with a dollop of sour cream on top if desired. 


Sunday, March 24, 2019

Smoked Jalapeno Poppers

I love to watch Diners, Drive ins and Dives on the Foodnetwork and they featured a restaurant that served something like these... so of course I googled a recipe and found a few that sounded delicious. I combined a couple of different ones to come up with these. I think I will serve these as an appetiser for my next 4th of July party. Sooooo yummy!

Smoked Jalapeno Poppers
6 Medium Jalapeños
6 slices bacon, cut in half
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 TBsp. sour cream
1 cup grated Monterey jack cheese
1/2 to 1 teaspoon chicken or poultry rub (use which ever is your favorite)

When ready to cook, set temperature on your smoker to 180 and preheat, lid closed for 15 minutes.

Slice the jalapeños in half lengthwise. Scrape out any seeds and ribs with a small spoon or paring knife.
Mix softened cream cheese with Poultry rub, sour cream and grated cheese.
Spoon mixture onto each jalapeño half. Wrap with bacon and secure with a toothpick if needed.
Place the jalapeños on a rimmed baking sheet with holes in the bottom (I found mine in the Barbecue grill section at walmart). Place on grill and smoke for 30 minutes.
Increase the grill temperature to 375 and cook an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until bacon is cooked to desired doneness. Serve warm, enjoy!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

As usual I found this recipe on the Food Network... it was from the Pioneer Woman and you can find the original recipe here.
This sauce is great !! I used on grilled chicken as a topping along with sauteed portabella mushrooms and grated Parmesan cheese. I tried again and added a can of crushed tomatoes to it. Then tossed over some cooked zucchini noodles and added meatballs to the bowl. I saved the leftover sauce in a Tupperware container in the freezer.
Very versatile sauce... Enjoy!

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
4 tablespoons salted butter
1/2 large onion, finely diced 
3 cloves garlic, minced 
1 jar (15.5 ounces) sliced roasted red peppers, drained 
1 to 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth 
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste 
Freshly ground black pepper 
1/2 cup heavy cream (or more to taste) 
Grated Parmesan (to garnish)
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 2 to 3 minutes or until starting to soften. Add the red peppers and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until hot.
Add the broth (if you like a thicker sauce only add 1 cup broth, for a thinner sauce add 2 cups broth), salt and pepper and stir until heated.
Remove the skillet from the heat. Carefully transfer the contents of the skillet to a food processor or blender. Place on the lid and puree the pepper mixture until totally blended (there will still be some texture to the peppers). 
Return sauce to the skillet and add the cream. Heat through.
You can serve the sauce right away or cool it and bag it up.

Here is a pic of my grilled chicken topped with this sauce and mushrooms with roasted veggies.

Chocolatey Chocolate Cookies

I LOVE cookies and Chocolate. Lately I have LOVED Dark Dark chocolate... Not really into Milk chocolate these days --it's just to...