Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Nutella Brownies

A few weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon, I was looking for something to bake. After searching through my bookmarked recipes, I settled on these Nutella Brownies. The recipe is from the wonderful baker Abby Dodge! These are from her book, Desserts 4 Today. Seems I am not the only one searching for a Sunday afternoon treat. Abby blogged about baking these on a Sunday afternoon with her goddaughter.

When I was finished filling the muffin tins, I had 6 brownies.  The recipe said it made 12?  Oops, that was 12 MINI not regular size cupcakes.  I am so bad about not reading the recipe closely!

 These brownies are a delicious Sunday (or any) afternoon treat. I'd like to try them with a different chip, maybe peanut butter or toffee. What combinations can you think of?

Nutella Fudge Brownies

Recipe Courtesy of Abby Dodge
 Yield: 12 brownies
 Here’s what you’ll need:
 1/2 cup Nutella spread
 1 large egg
5 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 cup chocolate chips
 Here’s how to make them:
 1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup mini muffin pan with paper or foil liners.
2. Put the Nutella and egg in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth and well blended. Add the flour and whisk until blended.
 3. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins (about 3/4 full) and sprinkle evenly with the chocolate chips
 4. Bake until a pick comes out with wet, gooey crumbs, about 12 minutes. Set on a rack to cool completely. Serve at room temperature.
Switch-Ins: In place of the chocolate chips, switch in the following: Chopped toasted nuts 1/4 cup

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday, Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday and Sweet Tooth Friday!!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Versatile Blogger Award

Last week I received a nice surprise, Teri of The Freshman Cook had given me the Versatile Blogger Award! Teri and I bake together in the group Club Baked. Thanks, Teri!

The award works like this:
  • Thank the person who awarded you by linking back to their post
  • Pass the award on to 15 other new or newly discovered blogs
  • List 7 interesting things about yourself
I am going to pass this award along to all of you, my blogging friends.

7 Interesting things about me.....
  1. Until 6 years ago, I'd lived all of my life in Kansas City. On the Kansas side, primarily in Overland Park.
  2. I am afraid of heights. Not sure where this fear came from. I am one of those annoying people who take a big pause before stepping on an escalator.
  3. I'd like to own a Bed and Breakfast or a small cafe/bakery that only serves breakfast and lunch.
  4. I am a NASCAR fan. Jimmie Johnson is my guy! (And yes, I was a Jimmie fan before he won the chase five seasons in a row.)
  5. My favorite cocktail is a glass of white wine.
  6. I am hooked on Pinterest.
  7. Tops on my bucket list is a trip to Italy.
What do you want to share about yourself?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pecan and Goat Cheese Crusted Chicken

It's Secret Recipe Club time again. For those of you who aren't familiar with the group, you can find the details here. As soon as I receive my assigned blogger for the month, I check out their blog. It's fun to get to know a little bit about the blogger and read through their recipes.

This month I was assigned Fallon's Cucina. She's a fitness guru who enjoys sharing her recipes with friends and family. Fallon has lots of delicious recipes on her blog, it was hard to choose just one. Since I belong to a couple of baking groups, I try to choose a savory recipe for SRC. I'm always looking for new chicken recipes, especially those that are a little "dressed up".

My husband doesn't really care for mustard so I left it off of his piece of chicken. I didn't think the mustard flavor was very strong but I know he would have picked it out! I loved this recipe. I could just eat the topping. The tang of the goat cheese mixed with the sweetness of the honey and the crunch of the pecans is delicious.

If you're looking for a new chicken recipe for a weeknight dinner or weekend dinner party, give this one a try. You won't be disappointed.

Pecan and Goat Cheese Crusted Chicken
Adapted from The Foodie and The Family courtesy of Fallon's Cucina

4 chicken breasts
1-2 tablespoons grainy mustard
2 teaspoons clover honey
1 cup raw pecans, crushed
1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine the honey, crushed pecans, goat cheese, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Put the chicken breast onto a baking sheet that has been oiled with olive oil or use a nonstick foil/parchment paper. Season with salt and pepper on both sides and brush the chicken breast with mustard. Press the pecan/goat cheese mixture onto the top of the chicken breasts. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday, Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday and Foodie Friday!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Chocolate Spice Cupcakes - Martha Stewarts's Cupcake Club

I love cupcakes! Truth be known, I love all sweets but cupcakes are one of my favorites. When I first purchased the Martha Stewart Cupcake cookbook, I spent hours thumbing through it as I do all of my new cookbooks. This book contains so many unique and delicious cupcakes recipes. I've been participating in the Martha Stewart Cupcake Club for three years and have hosted twice. This month, I am excited to host again and share with you Chocolate Spice Cupcakes.

This recipe is easy to put together, not too many ingredients and nothing overly complicated. These would be fun to make with kids, you could teach them about the spices. When Tim and I were in Grenada in February, we visited a spice plantation and I brought home some nutmeg. I've never used fresh nutmeg before, it's so different than what you buy in the grocery store.

Be sure to butter and flour the pans well. The batter is so moist, it sticks to the pan. After mixing the flour into the batter, I read the recipe again a couple of times. The batter was VERY runny. I was just sure I'd measured something wrong. For once, I hadn't. The measurements I'd used were all correct, the batter is just very thin.

My complaint about many of the recipes in this cookbook, they aren't as moist as I would like. If you watch Cupcake Wars, you know those judges are all over the bakers when they present a dry cupcake. These Chocolate Spice Cupcakes are very moist. I just wish the flavor matched the texture! The molasses overpowers the spices and becomes the predominate flavor. Of course, the chocolate ganache is heavenly as always. I'd like to bake these again, increasing the spices and reducing the molasses.

You can find the links to the other MSC bakers here!

Chocolate Spice Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350ยบ

In a medium bowl, whisk together:
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

In a heat-proof bowl, stir together:
1 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup boiling water

In an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream until pale and fluffy:
5 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar

Beat in:
1 egg, at room temperature

Add, and beat until combined:
2/3 cup unsulfured molasses
baking soda mixture

Reduce speed to low and add:
flour mixture

Beat until well combined (batter will look lumpy). Divide batter among 12 paper-lined tins and bake 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Transfer pan to wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, then turn cupcakes out and let cool completely.

To finish, peel papers off cupcakes and invert on wire rack set over a baking sheet or some paper towels. Spoon chocolate glaze over tops and let it run down the sides. Top with chopped candied ginger.

Chocolate Ganache Glaze
makes about 1 1/4 cups

Place in a medium heat-proof bowl:
6 oz good quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

In a small saucepan, bring just to a simmer:
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp light corn syrup

Pour cream mixture over chocolate. Let stand, without stirring, until chocolate begins to melt.
Using a spatula, gently stir chocolate and cream together until smooth and shiny. If any chocolate solids remain, strain chocolate through a mesh sieve and discard the pieces.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

From The Good Life

We spent Easter weekend with Tim's family in Minnesota. The weekend was filled with all of my favorite things in Southwestern Minnesota. Saturday morning started with a visit to Schmidt's Bakery in Saint James.

After harvesting some landscape rocks out of the farm field of a good friend of ours, we'd worked up an appetite. Pointing out the rocks you want makes you hungry doesn't it? We enjoyed a wonderful lunch at the Solar Drive In in Springfield. I've been following Francine and her mother Deanne since our visit there last Fall. On Saturday, I stopped to introduce myself and found out Francine will be leaving soon for England. I was glad to hear she'll continue blogging from across the pond.

A few months ago, Deanne and Francine blogged about a new oil they'd discovered in their quest for Minnesota produced or grown products. Camelina Oil is produced from the Camelina plant by a farmer in Lamberton. I'd just mentioned to Tim we should see if we can visit the farm and purchase some oil. As I was saying goodbye to Deanne, I noticed the Camelina Oil for sale on their counter. I will be trying this in a recipe soon and will share my results.

The best things about blogging are meeting new people and discovering unique products!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Jelly Bean Poke Cake

A couple of weeks ago, I sent my BFF, Karen, an email asking her about her Easter cake. Shocked, she said she read the email twice because I never ask her cooking questions. Of the two of us, I'm the cook and the baker.

She's been making this cake for Easter for as long as I can remember. She and I have been friends for 30+ years. Not only have I never made the jelly bean version of this cake, I couldn't remember how to make a jello poke cake. After a good chuckle about me asking her for cooking advice, she talked me through how to make this cake.

Jelly Bean Poke Cake

Boxed White Cake Mix
2 cups coconut
Small Box of Jello (flavor or color of your choice)
Green Food Coloring
8 oz container Cool Whip
Bag of Jelly Beans

Prepare the cake mix as directed on the package. Let cool 15 minutes.

Poke good size holes in the cake. I used the bottom of the wooden honey dipper. The original recipe calls for the tines of a fork but I didn't think those holes were large enough.

Mix the jello with 1 cup of boiling water. Stir until dissolved, approximately 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup of cold water. Pour the jello mixture evenly over the top of the cake.

Cover the cake with the Cool Whip. Mix the coconut with a few drops of green food coloring. Mix with a fork until evenly colored.

Sprinkle the coconut over the top of the cake. Decorate with jelly beans, pushing them down slightly into the cool whip.

Refrigerate until serving. You can make the cake a day or two in advance. Decorate just prior to serving.

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday, Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday and Sweet Tooth Friday.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Don Meredith's Casserole

Usually it's the picture or ingredients in a recipe that draw me in. With this one it was the name, Don Meredith Casserole. I remember Dandy Don as the colorful football commentator in the 70's.

If you're looking for a recipe that puts a new twist on spaghetti, give this one a try. It's easy to put together and makes a great weeknight supper.

Don Meredith Casserole
Recipe Courtesy of You Go Girl
8 oz thin spaghetti
1 onion, diced
Olive Oil
1 1/2 lbs ground round,
salt/pepper to taste
Garlic powder
Lawry's seasoned salt
Chili powder
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of tomato soup
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Grated sharp cheddar cheese

Cook spaghetti until just tender. brown onion in butter. Add ground round and cook until browned. Add salt, pepper and seasonings to taste. Add mushroom soup, tomato soup and Worcestershire sauce together, cover and simmer 15 minutes. Put into a casserole,top with cheese and heat in oven until cheese melts. (I just sprinkled the cheese on top and it melted fine.)

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday, Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday and Foodie Friday.