Posts in the Desserts and sweets Category

chocolate pretzels

Boy it’s been a tough couple of weeks (months). I’ve been really under the weather and the medicine I am taking is knocking me out. I really dislike not feeling like myself. I know that life ebbs and flows, and that everyone has ups and downs, but it’s sure crappy when it’s happening to you. I am finally feeling better. Not 100% yet, but one day at a time. I’m so happy to be adding a new post (or 2). I have a growing list of summer projects, but for now I am happy to be posting Chocolate Covered Pretzels. They are so easy and fun to make.

INGREDIENTS

8 oz. semi sweet bakers chocolate (chocolate chips don’t work as well)
½ tablespoon butter
Pretzels (I buy the half size rods)
Toppings (mini-M&M’s, sprinkles, colored sugar, finely chopped nuts)

DIRECTIONS

Using a coffee mug, add all the chocolate and microwave for 1:00. My microwave usually needs another 30 seconds. Microwaves vary, so after the initial 1 minute, you can try 10-second intervals. The chocolate will not be fully melted, but if you put a spoon into the chocolate, it will be nice and soft when it’s ready. Add the butter and stir until smooth. I like to use a silpat lined baking sheet, but the paper plates with a waxy finish work well too. Get ready to dip and decorate! When all finished, put the bedazzled pretzels in the refrigerator to harden. I read on a website, forgive me for not remembering who’s idea this is, but she suggest adding milk to the leftover chocolate in the mug for an amazing Parisian hot chocolate!

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My son and I made these at home!

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So proud of my FM classes!  You guys did great!

 

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Sour cream pancakes with caramelized apple compote

I am always looking for new, easy recipes to make with the kids I teach in cooking class. I like to use a secret (healthy) ingredient even when making sweets. Think carrot cake, zucchini muffins, or sweet potato pancakes. So when I found a great Apple Custard Cake from Dorie Greenspan, I hoped I could convert it into mini muffins (we have only 1 hour to prepare, bake and eat our creations). No matter how I tried I couldn’t quite get it to taste or cook the same as Dorie’s fabulous recipe. Sometimes perfection is not to be messed with. Here is a link to Dorie Greenspan’s Apple Custard Cake Squares: http://food52.com/blog/12190-dorie-greenspan-s-custardy-apple-squares.

I’m back to the drawing board. Should I try a more traditional apple muffin? Or pancakes filled with shredded apples? I started surfing some of my favorite cooking sites (hello Smitten Kitchen) and found Deb Perelman’s Lemon Ricotta pancakes with sautéed apples http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2007/11/lemon-ricotta-pancakes-with-sauteed-apples/. I also found a recipe on Ree Drummond’s (The Pioneer Woman) food website for Edna Mae’s famous Sour Cream Pancakes http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2013/04/edna-maes-sour-cream-pancakes/. Magic presto I turned 2 recipes into one (with a few changes here and there)!

The sour cream pancakes and caramelized apples are a delicious combination. As I write this I have made them with one class already. They were gone before they even hit the plate! Here’s my favorite quote “ I wish pancakes and apples would fall out of the sky so I could eat them all day long”! I am rushing to get this post up as I promised one of my friends he would be able to make these for Sunday brunch!

INGREDIENTS:
Pancakes:

¾ cup flour
4 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1-cup sour cream
2 eggs
1-teaspoon vanilla
Canola oil or butter for frying

Apples:
3 apples (I use whatever I have in the refrigerator), peeled and diced
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons sugar
1-teaspoon cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:
Pancakes:

In a medium sized bowl mix all the dry ingredients. In a second bowl, mix together all the wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until combined. There will be lumps in the batter . . . perfect!

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Pour 1-2 teaspoons on canola oil into the pan. Using a paper towel rub the oil over the bottom of the pan to coat entirely.

Using a ¼ measuring cup to scoop the batter, drop it into the pan. When you see a few bubbles forming on the top of the pancakes, its time to flip them. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute on the second side. Serve warm.

Apples:

Heat a medium sized skillet over medium heat. Add the butter. When melted add the apples. Mix to coat with butter. Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon on top and mix again. Allow it to simmer for about 10 minutes. The sauce will thicken a bit as the water from the apples cooks out. Serve over the pancakes.

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blueberry muffins

Juno has swept in with slightly less gusto than expected. Still lots of snow, a blustery breeze, and amazingly blue skies. With the kids home from school, I have put on my camp counselor hat. Our schedule included TV in the morning, followed by breakfast, sledding, coloring, homework, and more TV. It was time for an intervention, before the day turned into one long “tv-fest”. “Let’s bake” I called out to the kids, only to be entirely ignored. It took some gentle prodding (dragging) and mild coaxing (bribing), but eventually all three children arrived in the kitchen. After much discussion (arguing) about what to make, we (I) finally decided on blueberry muffins. The baking activity concluded much too quickly (you can make these in about 5 minutes), but the fun of eating of them lasted much longer!

Easy Blueberry Muffins (adapted from Simply Recipes)
Makes 24 mini-muffins

INGREDIENTS:

1 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour (plus 1 Tbsp for dusting the blueberries)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
4 Tbsp butter (1/2 stick), melted
2/3 cup sugar
1 large eggs
¾ cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest (zest from 1 lemon)
1 cup blueberries

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat your oven to 400°F with a rack in the lower middle. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients including the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In another mixing bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients including the melted butter, sugar, eggs, yogurt, milk, lemon zest, and vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just incorporated.  Do not over mix!

Place the blueberries in the bowl where the dry ingredients just were. Shake gently and let the excess flour coat the blueberries. The flour will help keep the blueberries from sinking to the bottom of the muffin as it cooks.

Use a mini muffin pan. Grease the inside of the muffin pan wells with cooking spray or butter. Distribute the dough equally among the cups. I like to use a tablespoon to measure.

Place the muffins in the oven and bake at 400°F until the muffins are golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. (If the muffins are getting too brown, tent with foil.) Test with a bamboo skewer to make sure the centers of the muffins are done. They should be springy and slightly browned at the edges. Let the muffins cool in the muffin pan for 2 to 3 minutes, then remove them from the pan and allow them to cool on a cooling rack.

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Chocolate Chip Macaroon

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The holiday season is officially here! Frankly, it seemed to arrive miraculously the moment we finished the last few bites of turkey, stuffing, and apple pie. I woke up the morning following Thanksgiving to find twinkling lights on every house, sales popping up in every store, and the much anticipated Christmas music serenading me everywhere I went.

I have discovered a new holiday tradition that I am so excited to be a part of. The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap hosted by The Little Kitchen http://www.thelittlekitchen.net/ and Love and Olive Oil http://www.loveandoliveoil.com/. This year they had 566 participants in 7 countries, raising $2,417 for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer (add to that to brand partners’ matching contributions and they’ve raised just over $12,000). Basically it works just like a gift exchange. They send you the name of 3 registered food bloggers. You bake and send one dozen cookies to each one. Then 3 food bloggers get your name, and each one sends you a dozen special holiday cookies.

It was so exciting to receive the holiday care packages in the mail. My kids and I loved eating all the cookies.

Chocolate dipped shortbread cookies

Double Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies from The Monday Box www.themondaybox.com

Ginger Cookie Bars

Ginger Molasses Cookie Bars from Celebrating Sweets www.celebratingsweets.com

Toffee Cookies

Toffee Pecan Shortbread Cookies from First Time Foods www.firsttimefoods.com.

I sent cookies to www.dinnerfortwobog.com, www.2cookinmamas.com, and www.thenoshery.com. I hope you all enjoyed your Chocolate Chip Macaroons!  I even received a cupcake decorating kit from OXO that I am so excited to use!  Please enjoy all these wonderful cookie recipes and check out the blogs of my fellow food bloggers!

Here is a slightly adapted version of Mark Bittman’s macaroons (he’s one of my cooking idols). I have reduced the size of the recipe and added mini chocolate chips, just like the small cans of Manischewitz chocolate chip macaroons you can buy in the supermarket. But better.  They are even gluten-free!

INGREDIENTS
⅓ cup sugar
1-cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 egg white, beaten
½ teaspoon vanilla extract (almond extract works nicely too)
Pinch of salt
⅓ cup mini chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. Mix all the ingredients together. Scoop a tablespoon of the mixture into slightly damp hands and roll into a ball, gently compressing the mixture to keep it together. Line them up on a cookie sheet (they won’t expand so the cookies can be relatively close together – no more than 16 per cookie sheet). Bake about 15 minutes or until light golden brown on top. Allow them to cool for 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. They will need about 30 minutes altogether to cool. These keep well in an airtight container for 4-5 days.

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raspberry muffins

I am so excited to post these muffins! I had so much fun working on them and the kids really enjoyed eating them. They were based on an awesome blueberry muffin recipe from www.simplyrecipes.com that I use at home all the time.

I have been calling them Raspberry Surprise Muffins. You put the raspberry in the middle of each muffin and the batter grows around it. When you bite into it, it’s like a raspberry surprise. But then my friend Jason said they reminded him of Linzer Tarts, which was a spot on reference. So I added powdered sugar onto the top to complete the look. So I thought, maybe I should call them Linzer Tart Muffins. But, then I was at school and when one of the mom s came to pick-up her daughter from cooking class, she said they looked exactly like jelly doughnuts! Maybe they should be called Healthy Jelly Doughnut Muffins? I need some help here! Please let me know what you think they should be called . . . Whatever name wins, these muffins are so much fun to make and so delicious to eat!

 

Make 24-30 mini muffins

INGREDIENTS:
1 ¼ cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt

½ stick butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
⅔ cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
¾ cup Greek yogurt
1-teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest from 1 lemon

Cooking spray
1-box raspberries
2 tablespoon powdered sugar (for dusting on top of the muffins)

DIRECTIONS:

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix all the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Then, in a separate bowl, mix all the wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet. Using a spatula, gently fold until the flour just disappears.

Spray a mini-muffin pan with cooking spray. Scoop the batter into each opening. Less is more here, I use 2 teaspoons for measuring, one to scoop batter and the other to slide it into the pan. Once the pan is filled with batter, put 1 raspberry (hole facing down) into the center of each muffin and gently push down so that it seems to touch the bottom of the pan. Bake for about 10-12 minutes. They will be just golden around the edges and springy. Remove from the oven. Put the muffins on a cooling rack. Using a fine mesh sieve to sprinkle the powdered sugar on top.

 

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