Sunday, March 24, 2013

Key Lime Sugar Cookie Bars

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 lime extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Juice of 1 lime with about 1/2 teaspoon citric acid dissolved in it. (this helps give it a little extra tartness)
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract (if desired, not necessary)
3 cups all-purpose flour plus an extra Tablespoon if your dough is slightly sticky (because of the juice)
1-1/2 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 lime juice mixture 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 large cookie sheet with parchment paper or 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 white chocolate chips
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 Tablespoon lime juice (bottled or freshly squeezed) add 1/4 teaspoon citric acid  and dissolve in the lime juice
1 drop green food coloring

In a small microwave safe bowl, place the white chocolate chips, microwave for about 1 minute, then stir. This should be enough time to melt the chips completely, but if not, microwave for 15 seconds more. Stir, and if melted set aside.

Next, 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 add a little more powdered sugar, you don't want the icing to run off the bars. Add the melted white chocolate and mix just until incorporated.
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!
                                                         

Barbecued Chicken


I'm always looking for a good chicken recipe. I saw this one on Trisha Yearwood's Food Network the other day and thought I'd give it a try. I followed it pretty close except I put thyme in the sauce.... Chicken goes well with Thyme so I thought it might give it more flavor. I soaked my chicken overnight like it says, but after it was done soaking, I rinsed it well to get the extra salt off. Then I gave it a light sprinkle of a chicken rub I had in the cupboard, remember go light if you use other seasoning as the soak in the salt water gives it good salty flavor already. I also thought I would smoke mine, since I made it on a Sunday, and it smoked while I was a church and couldn't watch it close. This was delicious chicken and really moist. Went well with sauteed veggies and smashed potatoes! Enjoy

Barbecued Chicken
Recipe adapted from Trisha Yearwood
Ingredients
Chicken:
2- 2 1/2-pound frying chickens, split
4 tablespoons salt

BBQ Sauce:
1 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup peanut oil (I didn't have so I used grape seed oil)
1 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco or Frank's
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon thyme

Directions
For the chicken:
Put the chicken halves in a very large bowl or deep pot and cover with water. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the salt in the water, cover and refrigerate the chickens for 6 hours or overnight.
For the BBQ sauce:
In a saucepan, mix together the vinegar, remaining tablespoon salt, peanut oil, hot sauce, black pepper, 1/4 cup water, cayenne and thyme. Bring this mixture to a boil, stir well and remove from the heat.
Drain the chicken and rinse, pat dry and place the halves on the grill, skin side up. Baste with the sauce and cook for 30 minutes. Turn the chickens skin side down and baste the top with sauce. Continue to grill the chickens for an additional 30 minutes, turning and basting the chicken every 10 minutes. Check for doneness by twisting a drumstick; it should move easily.

Variation: I smoked my chicken by heating my traeger smoker on high for 5 minutes to establish a fire. Then I turned the heat down to smoke and put my chickens on and closed the lid, I let them smoke for 1-1/2 hours. Then I turned the heat up to 300 and finished cooking for another hour to an hour to an hour and half until the juices ran clear and it registered about 170 on a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the meat; basting with the sauce every 20 minutes, and turning the chicken every half an hour.
Serve with steamed veggies and enjoy! Delish!


Cook's Note: If you cannot find small chickens, use larger ones (3 to 3 1/2 pounds) and quarter them.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Death by Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

If you love chocolate you will LOVE these cookies! These are a really deep chocolaty cookie that will satisfy any chocolate craving you may have. I also love the fact that there are peanut butter chips in these, I love peanut butter and chocolate together. I found the original recipe here but I tweaked it a bit, I needed the extra Tablespoon of flour for my dough. I didn't chill it either, there is soooo much melted chocolate in this recipe, it gets really stiff very fast and is hard to scoop so I didn't think I needed to chill it. Also I doubled the peanut butter chips and used a whole package rather than just one cup. I like my cookies to have LOTS of chips. They were really awesome...especially still warm from the oven with a glass of milk! YUMMO!

Death by Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies
Makes 2 dozen cookies.
Ingredients:
1 cup + 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour (if your batter is really gooey add 1 more Tablespoon of flour)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (I used 1 8-oz box of Bakers Semi-sweet chocolate)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 Tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup semi-sweet  chocolate chips (or milk chocolate chips would be good too)
1 package peanut butter chips

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium size bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Melt the 8 ounces of chocolate in the microwave for about 1 minute. Stir. Continue to melt in 15 second increments until fully melted and smooth. Set aside.
With an electric or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth and creamy – about 1 minute. Beat in the sugars, scraping down the sides every 10 seconds or so. The mixture will be granular.
Next add the eggs and vanilla, and mix until incorporated. Add the chocolate in a steady stream and beat until combined. Add the dry ingredients on slow speed. Fold in the chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. Do not over mix.
Scoop about 2 Tbsp of dough and roll into a ball (or I like to use my small cookie dough scooper, it looks like a small ice cream scoop, that way I don't have to roll into balls and get gooey hands). Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cookies have just begun to set with the centers still appearing very soft. They will firm up as they cool.
Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
I suggest eating a couple of cookies while still warm with a glass of milk!! SOOOOOOOO good!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Patty Melts

As you know, my favorite thing to do on Saturday mornings is be lazy and watch the food network. The Pioneer Woman made Patty Melts and they looked soooo good I just had to give them a try. I may be behind the times, but I've never had a Patty melt before. I've seen them on restaurant menus, but have never tried them. I have been missing out Big time! I made these Saturday night for dinner and they were delicious!! I pretty much followed the recipe as the Pioneer woman did it, but I used different bread since my hubby doesn't like rye bread. You could use any kind of bread that you like, and any kind of cheese that you like. The onions make the Patty melt I think, but we did have ketchup and mustard on the side for dipping. I think they would be fun to make for St. "Patties" day too, since that is coming up. I made mine with 'Smashed Potatoes" on the side as it was a nice twist on a grilled cheese or a hamburger and french-fries.
Patty Melts
adapted from  Ree Drummond, The Pioneer woman
4-5 servings.
Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons butter plus more for spreading on the bread
1 large onion, halved and sliced (I used a Vidalia onion)
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
5 dashes Worcestershire sauce (or more)
Salt and pepper
8 slices, thin sliced Rye bread (or Sourdough, English toasting, wheat, or any kind of bread you like)
8 slices Swiss cheese (Pepper jack would be good too or Provolone)

Directions:
In a medium skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-low heat. Throw in the sliced onions and cook slowly until the onions are golden brown and soft, 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In a medium bowl, mix together the ground beef, Worcestershire and some salt and pepper. Form into 4  or 5 patties.(I like to shape mine the same shape as my bread so I had rectangle patties)
In a  separate skillet over medium heat, cook the patties on both sides until totally done in the middle, about 8 to 10 minutes (4 or 5 mintues per side).
Heat a clean griddle to medium heat (Or use another large skillet) To assemble and cook the patty melts, butter one side of bread, then place butter side down on the pre-heated griddle, then add a slice of cheese, hamburger patty, a spoonful of the cooked onions, another slice of cheese and another slice of bread. Butter the top of this last slice of bread. When it's golden brown on the bottom carefully flip the sandwich over, and let cook on this side until it's golden brown and the cheese is melted. Remove from griddle, slice in half and serve immediately!
If desired serve with Ketchup or mustard for dipping.... the onions really add to the flavor too.