Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cinnaburst Bread

I LOVE Cinnaburst bread... especially in the mornings with my yogurt and fruit! I love to toast it--It makes the house smell so delicious!! It's way easy to make just add 1 cup of cinnamon chips to your favorite white bread recipe (click here for my recipe) I add a couple of cups of flour and mix like the recipe says; then when the dough is almost the right consistency add in your cinnamon chips. Continue adding flour until the dough is slightly sticky, then let raise and bake according to the directions in your white bread recipe. How easy is that?? then when it's out of the oven I like to rub mine all over with butter, just keeps the crust soft and it looks shiny and pretty.... betcha can't wait until it's cool to slice a piece off and enjoy!!! :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Southern Fried Chicken

The other day I was bored trying to figure out what to cook for dinner over the weekend so I asked my husband what he would like for dinner that I hadn't cooked for a while, and he requested good old skillet fried chicken. I hadn't made fried chicken in forever!! I usually marinade my chicken and grill it so it's less fattening, but I thought I would make some fried chicken for a little splurge. I had seen Paula Dean and Bobbie Flay soak theirs in buttermilk on the food network work, so that is what I did. I just threw together some seasonings in my flour mixture and it turned out delicious! I fried mine in my cast-iron skillet filled half full of canola oil, frying until each side was a crisp golden brown... as you see by my picture... mine got away from me on one side but was still good. Then I put it on a cooling rack that I had placed on a cookie sheet and let it bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the inside of the biggest piece was about 165 on a meat thermometer. I served mine with garlic mashed potatoes and steamed veggies! YUM!

Southern Fried Chicken
1 chicken, cut up so you have about 8 pieces
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup Louisiana hot sauce (or Frank's is good too)

for the breading:
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4  to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

The day before you want to fry your chicken. Place buttermilk and hot sauce in a large Tupperware container with a lid, stir to combine. Add your chicken pieces turning them to make sure they are all coated with buttermilk. Place the lid on and keep in the refrigerator over night.
When ready to fry your chicken, combine the flour and seasonings in a gallon-size zip log bag. Next, doing 1 piece at a time let the chicken drain a little over the container it just came out of, then add to the bag with your flour mixture in it, and shake until it's well coated. Remover from the bag and place on a wire rack that has been placed over a cookie sheet. Coat all the pieces of chicken this way, then let the chicken rest for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Pour enough canola or vegetable oil in a large cast-iron skillet so it comes up to about half full. Heat the oil over medium-high heat. When hot place chicken in the hot oil being careful the oil doesn't overflow. Let fry for about 6- 8 minutes or until golden brown. Then turn the chicken over and let that side cook for another 6-8 minutes or until it's golden brown. Remove from skillet and place on the cooling rack. When all the chicken has been fried, place in the oven and let cook a few minutes longer until the larger pieces are about 165 degrees in the center.
                                                                     Serve and enjoy!!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

German Chocolate Cake

I thought I had posted this recipe before but I guess I haven't. One of my very favorite cakes is German Chocolate Cake, I love anything with chocolate and nuts in it... I get that from my Dad I guess. We had a little family party yesterday for my Mom and Dad's 64th Anniversary. It was really nice to get together to visit. I was asked to make a cake, and when deciding what kind to make I chose German Chocolate for my Dad and I had to make a Carrot cake for my Mom (that recipe has been posted on here already) I love to make my cakes in my jelly roll pans so they are thin sheet cakes and then I like a thick layer of frosting on the top! I have always liked cake like that because you know the frosting is the best part!  This cake recipe is one my mom used to make all the time and she'd always top it with the Coconut pecan icing that is the norm for German Chocolate cake. Sometimes she'd melt Chocolate chips into it to make it a chocolate pecan frosting which is what I did for our party yesterday, but just leave those out if you want the regular Coconut-pecan frosting. Enjoy!!

German Chocolate Cake
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs (separated)
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons hot water
3/4 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare jelly roll pan or whatever pan you are going to use by spraying with a non-stick cooking spray and then dusting with a light sprinkle of flour (or I like to use a light dusting of cocoa powder--you get more of a chocolaty taste!)
In a medium size bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt, set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the 4 egg yolks and beat  well.
Next add the buttermilk and flour mixture alternately, mixing well after each addition.
Mix the Baking soda into the hot water, then add to the cake batter.
Beat the egg whites very stiff, then gently fold into the cake batter until well incorporated.
Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake 15 to 20 minutes for a jelly roll pan, longer for a 13x9 pan or round pans. Cake is done when touched lightly in the center and it springs back or when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let cool completely, then ice with Coconut-Pecan icing.

Coconut-Pecan Frosting
2 eggs
1-1/3 cups evaporated milk
2/3 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips (**Optional--use only if you want a chocolate pecan frosting)
2 heaping cups flaked coconut
1 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts are good too)

In a saucepan beat eggs slightly. Stir in the milk, sugars, and butter. Cook and stir over medium heat for about 12 minutes or until thickened and bubbly.
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Then add the chocolate chips if desired. and let sit in the hot mixture for a minute, then whisk to incorporate.
Next, stir in the pecans and coconut. Cool thoroughly--the mixture thickens more as it cools too.
Spread on to cake or cupcakes as desired. This will thickly cover the top of a large sheet cake. YUMMO! ( I always make sure I leave a couple of spoonfuls in the pan for me!)

I had some extra batter since I used a smaller sheet pan, and made a few cupcakes--don't they look yummo?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Carrot Cake Scones

I love scones... whether they be the fried bread kind of scones or the biscuit kind of scones! Love 'em! And I love Carrot Cake... YUM! So when I saw this recipe here I knew I just had to give them a try. I made them for Easter Breakfast last Sunday. Of course I tweaked the recipe just a bit, and I think the next time I make them I will add maybe 1/4 cup more flour or so, they were really gooey even when flouring the counter generously before I kneaded the dough. I also think I will make them smaller by cutting the triangles in half. Mine turned out huge! but delicious. I added cinnamon to the icing, and glazed the top of mine while warm. Then I colored most of the rest of the icing orange and a small amount green to zigzag over the top so they looked like a carrot. Sorry to say that wasn't my idea, I got it from the lady that writes that other blog. OH, and instead of nuts I used cinnamon chips! Love the extra flavor they give the scones, I just didn't feel like a nut that day. Also, I don't grate my carrots, I mince them in my food processor, they seem to cook better that way, at least to me. Sometimes grated carrot is rather chewy in a cake or muffin, so I always mince them, but that's just me. Do what you like to do best. But make these and eat while warm with some fresh fruit for a breakfast or brunch... yum-a-licious!!

Carrot Cake Scones
◦2 cups flour (+ 1/4 cup if dough is really sticky)
◦1/2 cup brown sugar
◦3 teaspoons baking powder
◦1 teaspoon salt
◦2 teaspoons cinnamon
◦1/2cup (cold) butter (that's 1 stick)
◦1/2 cup whole milk
◦2 teaspoon vanilla extract
◦2 eggs
◦1 cup grated (or minced) carrots ( about 3 medium carrots)
◦3/4  cup cinnamon chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or your fingers until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk, Vanilla extract, eggs, and carrots; mix until blended, then stir in the cinnamon chips.
Generously flour your counter top, then dump the scone dough onto it. Knead  a few times, then pat out into a long rectangle that is about 3/4 inch thick (or a little less) and about 16x4 inches. Cut in half then in half again (you should have 4 squares) then cut  each square in half diagonally, so you have 8 triangles. Or you can cut into any desired shape you like or use a cookie cutter.
Bake at 375 for 10-12  minutes or until they are slightly golden brown around the edges. Remove from oven.
I like to glaze mine while still warm by spooning a teaspoon of the icing over each scone and spreading around with the bottom of the spoon or you could use a pastry brush. Let cool. Then color 3/4 of the icing orange and the rest green. Place into a decorator bag or plastic bag with the corner snipped off, and drizzle on your scones so they look like a carrot.

2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon corn syrup
3 tablespoons water
food coloring (orange, green) if you want to decorate them like carrots.

Mix all ingredients together in a medium size bowl until smooth and pipe or drizzle on cooled scones

Sometimes you have to eat your words.............

I really hate admitting it when I'm wrong... or eating my words (except when it's the word spelled out in a delicious brownie) but in this case I'm afraid I need to. A few months ago I wrote a short post ranting and raving against a certain brand of cinnamon chip that you can get at a local store in my area, and boasted about how good a certain brand of cinnamon chip was that I preferred. (Hershey's to be exact) but I'm afraid I spoke too soon before really using the other kind of chips in my baking. All I had done was taste a few right out of the bag, and if you are going to do that, well then Hershey's are the best, they melt in your mouth, which means they also melt pretty fast in baking, and unless you use parchment paper, they stick to your baking pans. I made some delicious carrot cake scones on Easter Morning and used the other kind of cinnamon chips in them because I had some and needed to use them up... and they worked lovely! and I think they do have a stronger cinnamon taste than the other. Don't get me wrong... I will still use Hershey's in my cookies I think, but for breads and scones I think I will use the other. I just won't eat them right out of the bag... and that means they will last longer. :) There... I ate my words and it wasn't that bad! Have a great day!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Creamsicle Cookies

I ran across this recipe when browsing my favorite recipe sites... it sounded yummy so I had to give them a try. I LOVE Creamsicles, and the flavor of creamy orangy-ness(not sure if that's a word but it works for me!) I did tweak the recipe just a little but that's normal for me (you can find the original here) I thought for a Creamsicle cookie it needed at least a little bit of vanilla, and I added just a touch more orange juice and flour. Also I added the zest to the sugar and rubbed it in with my finger tips until it was well incorporated into the sugar and fragrant.... don't you love the smell of orange?? I think next time I make them I will add a touch of orange food coloring to the batter, and I may try about 1/4 teaspoon orange extract. But they were delicious this way too! Betcha can't eat just one......

Creamsicle Cookies
makes approx 24 large cookies or 36 smaller cookies
• 2- 1/2 cups flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temp
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 1/2 cup light brown sugar
• 1 egg
• 2 Tablespoons Orange zest ( I used 2 large oranges)
• 2 Tablespoons orange juice
• 1 Teaspoon vanilla
• 2 cups white chocolate chips

How to Make:
1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, soda and salt, then set aside.
2. In your stand mixer combine the white sugar and the orange zest, incorporate by rubbing the orange zest into the sugar with your fingers until it's well blended and fragrant. Then add butter and brown sugar and mix together about 2 minutes on medium speed.
3. Add in egg, orange juice, and vanilla and mix 30 seconds more.
4. Turn mixer to low and add in the flour mixture.
5. Continue mixing on medium-low until dough comes together.
6. Next add the white chocolate chips and stir until incorporated evenly.
7. Scoop dough by spoonfuls and drop onto parchment lined baking sheet, spacing cookies about 2 inches apart.
8. Bake 8-10 minutes until edges are lightly golden.
9. Let cool for a minute or two on baking sheet and then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Chocolate Muffins

Here is another recipe that I ran across when cleaning out my recipe cupboard... yes I cleaned and organized my recipes! I now have about 7 binders FULL of recipes (I know , it's way sad) but at least they are organized and I can find what I'm looking for without having to thumb through them all for a half-an-hour. Anyway, I found this recipe which was adapted from Nigella Lawson via The Food Network, and I found it here, and I thought this would be a great breakfast for Saturday or on a Sunday paired with fresh fruit. These muffins are delicious and aren't overly sweet... just a good, moist, chocolate muffin! YUM! Enjoy!

Chocolate Muffins
Yield: 12 muffins
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder (Hershey’s Special Dark or regular cocoa powder works too!)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling (I used mini chips for sprinkling on mine)
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons instant espresso granules dissolved in 2 teaspoons hot water (you can leave this out if desired, still good muffins)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a standard muffin tin, or line with 12 paper muffin cups.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, sugar, and 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the milk, oil, egg, dissolved espresso granules (remember you don't HAVE to use the coffee if you don't want to), and vanilla; whisk to combine.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Batter may be slightly lumpy – that’s okay.
5. Divide the batter between the prepared muffin wells. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips on top of the muffins.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until the muffins are dark, risen and springy. I do the toothpick test, when comes out mostly clean they are done.. there will be a few moist crumbs still on the toothpick.
Eat and enjoy while still warm!
                                                 What could be better than that??

Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Dark Chocolate Cake Mix

I ran across this recipe while looking through my ba-zillions of recipes that I have printed off of the Internet... yes, it's an addiction of mine, to browse recipes and print them off and put them away for later use. Half of the time I forget what's there. So I needed a chocolate cake recipe since I had promised a good friend I would make her daughter a cake....1 layer white and 1 layer chocolate. I sometimes use cake mixes and sometimes I make them from scratch, and since I only had a German chocolate cake mix, I wasn't sure if it would be good with raspberry filling, so that is when I began my hunt for a good chocolate cake recipe. This is from Top Secret recipes... I joined that site and get a free recipe every week, and I had gotten this recipe way back when... I tweaked it slightly, and my goodness it was just like using a cake mix only without all of the added ingredients that you can't pronounce!! At least the batter tasted good when I licked the bowl! And it baked wonderfully too! So here it to try the white cake mix that I found too! (but that will come later) Enjoy!

Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Dark Chocolate Cake Mix
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup cocoa (I used a mix of Hershey's cocoa powder and a dutch dark chocolate cocoa powder)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
4 Tablespoons shortening ( I used regular Crisco)

Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add shortening, and cut in with a pastry blender (or you could use your mixer) until the shortening is well incorporated with the dry ingredients and no large chunks of shortening are left.  This is your cake mix. At this point you could keep sealed in a plastic container or Zip-loc bag until ready to make your cake. It will last in your pantry for several months.
When you are ready to make your cake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease the sides and bottom of your pans, either two 8-inch or 9 inch pans, or a 13x9 inch pan. Lightly flour after greasing (or I use Wilton's cake release that comes in a squirt bottle, and found by the other Wilton cake supplies in Walmart or specialty stores) I squirt some in the pans and brush around until it's completely coated.

Pour your cake mix into the bowl of an electric mixer,
Then add:
1-1/3 cups water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs

Mix on low for about 30 seconds or until the dry ingredients are moistened. Scrape the sides of the bowl down, and then increase speed of your mixer to medium, and continue to beat for 2 minutes.
Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake, and when lightly touched the cake will spring back.
A 13x9 inch cake pan may take 5 to 10 minutes longer. Cupcakes bake about 15 to 18 minutes.
Let cake cool, then frost as desired!!
Isn't this an awesome recipe?? This is how my cake turned out...

Portabella Mushroom Tacos

I love tacos. My hubby and I thought it would be awesome to see if we could do a meatless Monday  and Portabella mushrooms have a grea...