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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Chocolate Chip Mint Cupcakes


Chocolate cupcakes are my most requested. Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake used to be my go-to recipe for chocolate cupcakes until I found this vegan recipe from Martha Stewart. It comes out perfect every time. It produces a tender and fluffy cupcake with a deep chocolate flavor. I've made numerous different icings to top these cupcakes, and for a recent birthday outing, a friend asked for chocolate chip mint frosting. I used my basic vanilla buttercream recipe, subbed peppermint extract for vanilla, and added mini chocolate chips and a few drops of green food coloring. The icing was excellent and perfectly complemented the chocolate cake. Even our waitress at dinner could not resist snagging one for herself. The only problem is that I would not recommend piping this icing because of the chocolate chips. 

Chocolate Chip Mint Icing

2–4 cups powdered sugar
2 sticks of butter (room temperature)
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
4–6 tablespoons water (or any other liquid of choice)
a few drops of green food coloring

Cream butter and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed for about 3 to 5 minutes until smooth and whipped. With the mixer on low, add peppermint extract, food coloring, powdered sugar one cup at a time, and water (or any other liquid) one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. Beat well until combined.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cookies

I love the flavors of chocolate and peppermint together, so you can imagine my excitement when I scored a bag of Andes Peppermint Crunch chips at the store! I could not wait to use them in a chocolate cookie recipe. My husband requested double chocolate chip cookies, but I decided on these cookies instead. I found a recipe for chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips and peppermint crunch chips and decided to add semi-sweet chocolate chips for extra chocolate flavor. I was worried when I mixed this dough since it was very sticky and grainy. But it baked up perfect cookies, crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. The deep chocolate flavor was highlighted by the peppermint extract and crunch of the peppermint chips.  

Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cookies
Source: Slightly adapted from Barbara Bakes

1 and 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/4 cups cocoa powder
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup Andes Peppermint Crunch chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy on medium-high speed.
Add eggs and peppermint extract and mix until well combined.

Mix in flour mixture on low until just combined.
Stir in chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and Peppermint Crunch chips.
Roll dough into balls or drop mounds of dough onto prepared baking sheets.
Bake for 9 to 11 minutes. Cookies will still be soft in the middle.
Cool cookies on baking sheets for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I Want to Marry You Cookies

As soon as I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it right away. These cookies are supposedly so good that the men who eat them proclaim to their lovers, "I Want To Marry You!" The method of this recipe intrigued me more than the back story. I liked the idea of not getting out my mixer and letting the ingredients chill to meld the flavors. I had one major issue, however, with baking these. The first batch took forever to brown, and I ended up overbaking them. They didn't burn, but they hardened as they cooled instead of staying chewy. I decided to turn the oven up to 350 degrees for the next batch, and they came out perfect! (I remedied the first batch by storing them in an air-tight container with a slice of bread, which made them soft and chewy again.) The cookies were delicious and tasted like toffee-flavored chocolate chip cookies. I will definitely be adding these to my Christmas cookie list!

I Want to Marry You Cookies
Source: Adapted from Cooking Channel

2 sticks of butter
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar (I used light.)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 cup uncooked rolled oats (I used quick oats.)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter in the microwave. Add the sugars and stir until incorporated and smooth. Chill the butter/sugar mixture in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. 

Remove the mixture from the refrigerator and stir in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. 

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

Stir the flour mixture into the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in the white chocolate chips and chocolate chips. 

Chill dough for at least 30 minutes. 

Roll by hand into medium-size balls and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 10 to 12 minutes until the edges are golden brown. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Oatmeal Raisin Cinnamon Chip Cookies

Who doesn't love cookies? I honestly have never met a cookie I didn't enjoy. And this is my favorite time of year to test recipes, so I can decide on which cookies to bake for Christmas. Cinnamon is one of my favorite flavors, so when I saw bags of cinnamon chips at the store, I had to grab them! I was originally going to try them in snickerdoodles, but I saw this oatmeal raisin cookie recipe from Hershey and decided to give it a try instead. The chips gave the oatmeal raisin cookies an extra cinnamon punch.

Oatmeal Raisin Cinnamon Chip Cookies
Source: Hershey
Yields: 4 dozen cookies

2 sticks butter (softened)
1 cup light brown sugar (packed)
1/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 and 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 and 2/3 cups cinnamon chips
3/4 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat together butter and sugars until light and creamy.
Add eggs and vanilla and beat well. 
In another bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda.
Add flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat well.
Stir in oats, cinnamon chips, and raisins.
Drop dough by heaping teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets. (I rolled dough into balls.)
Bake 10–12 minutes or until lightly browned. 
Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheets and remove to a wire rack to cool.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Mexican Quinoa

We have been trying to eat healthier and including less meat into our diets. Quinoa fast became one of our favorites. We love Mexican flavors, so this dish was very appealing to us. A friend made a version of this for us, and we were hooked. It's one of those dishes that can be served warm, room temperature, or cold. It can be a side dish or a main meal. If you've never experimented with quinoa, try this dish! You won't be disappointed.

Mexican Quinoa
Source: adapted from A Teaspoon of Happiness via Pinterest

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 and 1/4 cups vegetable (or chicken) broth
1 cup uncooked quinoa (rinsed)
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 (15.5 oz.) can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 (15.5 oz.) can corn
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
salt to taste

In large saucepan, heat the olive oil to medium-high heat.
Add garlic and sauté until about one minute.
Add broth, quinoa, cumin, pepper, and cayenne pepper and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer on low for 20—25 minutes.
Stir in diced tomatoes, black beans, corn, and cilantro just before serving.
Can be served either warm or cold.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Layered Greek Hummus Dip


I love hummus, so when I saw a recipe for layered Greek hummus dip on Pinterest, I knew I had to make it right away. It was easy to throw together and just involved some chopping (a food processor would make this a snap). I made this dip for a party and served it with pita chips. It was a big hit!

Layered Greek Hummus Dip
Source: adapted from Kraft via Pinterest

1 package plain hummus
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup cucumbers (chopped)
1/4 cup roasted red peppers (chopped)
1/4 cup kalamata olives (chopped)
1 teaspoon fresh oregano

Spread hummus onto the bottom of 9-inch pie plate.
Drizzle olive oil over hummus.
Sprinkle cheese, cucumbers, red peppers, olives, and oregano over hummus.
Serve with pita chips and enjoy!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

I am the designated birthday cupcake baker in our circle of friends. My friend chose triple chocolate cupcakes for his birthday. I made my go-to chocolate cupcakes, filled them with chocolate ganache, and topped them with Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Frosting. They were decadent and delicious!

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate Vegan Cupcakes
Source: Martha Stewart's Cupcakes

1 and 1/2 cups cake flour (I used all-purpose and subbed out three tablespoons for corn starch.)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa (unsweetened)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/4 cups water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake tin with 12 paper cupcake liners. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In another bowl, beat together oil, vinegar, vanilla, and water with a hand mixer on medium-high speed. Add flour mixture and beat until smooth on low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full and bake about 18–22 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Chocolate Ganache
Source: Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1/2 cup chocolate chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter

Place chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl and set aside. Simmer the heavy cream in a small saucepan until hot. Pour hot cream over the chocolate chips and let sit for one minute. Add the butter and stir until silky and smooth.


Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Frosting
Source: Hershey

1 stick butter
2/3 cup cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk (I use heavy cream.)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter, and stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Stir in vanilla. If needed, add additional milk and powdered sugar to get desired consistency.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Chocolate RumChata Cupcakes

When a friend asked me to make him cupcakes for his birthday using chocolate and RumChata, I was thrilled to get another chance to bake with RumChata. I had previously made these RumChata Coconut Cupcakes, but I wasn't 100 percent happy with the outcome. I think the pairing of coconut and RumChata came out too sweet. I wanted a do-over. I decided to make a chocolate cupcake, filled with a whipped RumChata white chocolate, and topped with a RumChata cinnamon cream cheese. These cupcakes were awesome! They were not overly sweet, and everyone loved them.

Chocolate RumChata Cupcakes
Source: Martha Stewart's Cupcakes

1 and 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa (unsweetened)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/4 cups water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake tin with 12 paper cupcake liners. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In another bowl, beat together oil, vinegar, vanilla, and water with a hand mixer on medium-high speed. Add flour mixture and beat until smooth on low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full and bake about 18–22 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Cool completely on a wire rack before filling and frosting.

Whipped RumChata White Chocolate Ganache
Ganache inspired by Smitten Kitchen
4 oz. white chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream (minus 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons RumChata

Place white chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl and set aside. Simmer the heavy cream and RumChata in a small saucepan until hot and simmering. Pour hot cream over the chocolate chips and let sit for one minute. Stir until silky and smooth. Let cool for a few minutes. With a hand mixer, beat ganache on high speed for several minutes until light and fluffy.


Cinnamon RumChata Cream Cheese Frosting
4oz. cream cheese (room temperature)
1/2 stick butter (room temperature)
3–4 cups powdered sugar
2–4 tablespoons RumChata
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Beat the butter and cream cheese on high speed until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low speed, add powdered sugar one cup at a time and RumChata one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Add cinnamon and beat well.

RumChata Coconut Cupcakes

When I was asked to make another RumChata cupcake, I realized I never blogged the first ones I made. For those of you who aren't familiar with RumChata, it's a cinnamon cream liqueur. I think it tastes like rice pudding or close to Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. A friend of mine asked me to make her RumChata cupcakes with coconut for her birthday. I could not figure out how to mix the two flavors. I came up with a RumChata vanilla cupcake, filled with whipped coconut white chocolate ganache, and topped with RumChata buttercream. The result was a sweet cupcake with flavors of RumChata and coconut. I wasn't thrilled with how sweet the cupcakes came out, but they were delicious. I vowed to rock a do-over.

RumChata Cupcakes
Cupcakes inspired by Melissa Bakes 

1 stick butter (room temperature)
2/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup RumChata

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake tin with 12 cupcake liners.In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.In another bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract.Turn mixer to low and alternately add flour mixture and Rumchata in three additions, ending with flour.Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full and bake for 18 - 20 minutes.Cool completely on a wire rack and top with your favorite icing.


Whipped Coconut White Chocolate Ganache
Ganache inspired by Smitten Kitchen

4 oz. white chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon coconut extract

Place white chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl and set aside. Simmer the heavy cream and coconut extract in a small saucepan until hot and simmering. Pour hot cream over the chocolate chips and let sit for one minute. Stir until silky and smooth. Let cool for a few minutes. With a hand mixer, beat ganache on high speed for several minutes until light and fluffy.





Rumchata Buttercream
1 stick butter (room temperature)
2–3 cups powdered sugar
3–4 tablespoons RumChata

Beat the butter on high speed until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time and RumChata one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. Beat well.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Cherry Velvet Cupcakes

Red velvet are one of my favorite cupcakes behind coconut, of course! They are tangy, moist, and delicious. They are also one of my good friend's favorites. This year for her birthday she asked me to jazz up my red velvet recipe up with cherries.The result was a tangy red velvet cupcake with a hint of cherry flavor, a cherry surprise in the center, and cherry-scented cream cheese frosting on top. I thought they might be too sweet, but they turned out perfect! Just about everyone loved them and declared them their new favorite! If you like cherry and red velvet, you have to try these!

Cherry Velvet Cupcakes
Source: adapted from Cakeman Raven as seen on Food Network

2 and 1/2 cups cake flour (I used AP and replaced 5 tablespoons with cornstarch.)
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 cup of buttermilk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 and 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 tablespoon red food coloring
2 tablespoons cherry juice (from jar of maraschino cherries)

1 teaspoon almond extract
24–48 maraschino cherries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake tin with 24 cupcake liners.
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder and set aside. 
In another bowl beat together buttermilk, eggs, vinegar, vegetable oil, food coloring, cherry juice, and almond extract on medium speed until blended.
Slowly add flour mixture and beat until combined.
Drop 1 or 2 cherries in the middle of each cupcake before baking.
Fill liners about 3/4 full and bake for 16 - 20 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

Cherry-Scented Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8oz. block cream cheese (room temperature)
1 stick butter (room temperature)
5–6 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoons almond extract
2 to 4 tablespoons cherry juice (from jar of maraschino cherries)
a few drops of red or pink food coloring

Beat the butter and cream cheese on high speed until light and fluffy. Add almond extract and cherry juice. With mixer on low speed, add powdered sugar one cup at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Add food coloring and beat well.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Healthy Cherry-Almond Oatmeal Bars

We have been eating healthier for some time now. I don't bake much, except for special occasions. I've been trying some healthy recipes. This recipe for oatmeal bars looked good, but it was just okay. It lacked flavor. I think it would be much better with the addition of honey or some spices.


Healthy Cherry-Almond Oatmeal Bars
Source: adapted from Kath Eats Real Food

1.5 cups rolled oats 
(I used quick cooking oats.)
1/2 cup almonds 
(or cashews, walnuts, peanuts, etc.)
1/2 cup dried cherries 
(or raisins, cranberries, dates, figs, etc.)
1/4 cup ground flax seeds 
(or chia, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, etc.)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup milk (I used almond milk.)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9 X 9 pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Mix dry ingredients in one bowl.
In another bowl, whisk together wet ingredients.
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir to combine.
Pour into pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes.
Let cool before cutting.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Recipe Remake: Coconut Banana Muffins

These were one of the first recipes that I made and posted to my blog in 2009. They were a mess the first time I made them. I burned the tops and they were underdone on the inside. I finally got around to remaking these. They were perfect this time, sweet, moist, and delicious, and I didn't burn the tops! I think they would be even better with the addition of white chocolate chips.













Coconut Banana Muffins
Source: slightly adapted from Epicurious

1 and 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ripe bananas (mashed)
1 stick butter (melted and slightly cooled)
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two cupcake tins with paper cupcake liners.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
In another bowl, mix together bananas, butter, sugar, egg, coconut extract, and 1/2 cup flaked coconut with a spoon until well combined.
Fold flour mixture into banana mixture until flour is just moistened.
(You can mix in 1/2 cup white chocolate chips at this point, if using.)
Fill liners two-thirds full and sprinkle with remaining coconut.
Bake until golden brown for 18 to 22 minutes.
Cool muffins on a rack.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Beer-Simmered Beef Roast

My husband and I love beer. Not just any old domestic, however, but specialty, craft beers. We especially enjoy local beers and have been blessed with a handful of small craft breweries in our area. One of our favorites is Nimble Hill Brewing Company, which offers tastings at its wine/beer tasting room in Tunkhannock. Did I mention they started as a winery? They have great wine as well. If you're ever in the area, you should check them out! 

We always bring home a growler when we visit the tasting room (in addition to a few bottles of wine). Growlers of beer only are fresh for several hours. I've been told they can last longer, but I have yet to find one that lasts more than a day. This time, we took home a growlette (a half-sized growler) of their lager (Flinke Hugel) and their porter (Midnight Fuggle). If you mix them, you get black and tan (Midnight Flinke). Their porter is my favorite. It's smooth with hints of coffee and chocolate. It's the best porter I have tasted.We were unable to finish our growlettes this particular day, so instead of dumping the almost-flat beer down the drain (I know it's a sin to waste beer!), we used it to make beer-simmered beef roast. Along with the beer, I added onion soup mix, garlic, black pepper, and mushrooms. The results were heavenly. The beer complemented the other flavors to yield a perfectly tender roast with a slight beer flavor.

Beer-Simmered Beef Roast

4-pound beef roast (any cut)
1 package dry onion soup mix
1.5 cups dark beer such as a lager, stout, or porter (I used Nimble Hill Midnight Flinke, a black and tan.)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1–2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup mushrooms (chopped)

Sear beef roast on all sides.
Whisk together onion soup mix, beer, pepper, and garlic.
Transfer roast to a slow cooker and dump beer mixture over roast.
Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
Add mushrooms during the last 2 hours of cook time.
Optional: Strain the beef drippings to make gravy.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

One Banana Banana Bread

I had a hankering for banana bread, but I only had one ripe banana. After a quick search online, I found an easy recipe. I decided to change it up a bit to make it a bit healthier. I swapped half of the butter for unsweetened applesauce, added ground flax seed, cut the sugar in half, and added a handful of chocolate chips. I know, chocolate is not healthy, but it does contain antioxidants! The bread was so moist and delicious. It was perfectly sweet, and the flax seeds added some texture. Next time I will sub all the butter for applesauce and omit the chocolate chips.

One Banana Banana Bread
Source: Adapted from What A Crock!

1 large ripe banana (mashed)
1 egg with enough milk to make 1 cup of liquid (I used unsweetened almond milk.)
1/2 stick stick butter (melted and cooled slightly)
1/8 cup (2 oz.) unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 and 1/2 cups flour
1/8 cup ground flax seeds
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
handful of chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray. (No need to flour pan.)
Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix everything with your hands until combined.
Mix in chocolate chips (if using).
Pour batter into pan.
Optional: I sprinkled the top with ground flax seeds.
Bake 50 to 55 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Cajun Shrimp & Grits with Andouille Sausage

I have seen many recipes for shrimp & grits, but I never tried them. I know grits are a staple in the South, but here in the North, they are not very popular. When I came across a recipe for an easy shrimp and grits recipe in EveryDay with Rachael Ray magazine, I knew it was time to give them a try. I decided to expand on the recipe and add andouille sausage and cajun seasoning to kick it up a bit. We used a lager in the broth from one of our favorite local breweries, Nimble Hill Brewing Company. The results were amazing. I don't know why I waited so long to try shrimp & grits. They were cheesy and creamy and paired perfectly with the spicy broth, shrimp, and andouille. If you're looking for an easy Southern dinner, give this recipe a whirl. You won't be disappointed.

Cajun Shrimp & Grits with Andouille Sausage
Source: adapted from EveryDay with Rachael Ray, January-February 2014

For the grits:
1 cup instant grits
4 cups water
1/2 cup corn
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 to 2 tablespoons butter
salt to taste

Cook grits according to package directions. 
When finished cooking, stir in corn, cheese, butter, and salt.

For the shrimp and andouille:
1 pound shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1 pound andouille sausage
1 to 2 teaspoons cajun seasoning (more or less to taste)
1/3 cup beer (We used Nimble Hill Flinke Hugel, a lager.)
3 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper to taste

Meanwhile in a skillet on high heat, simmer beer and butter for 1 to 2 minutes.
Add cajun seasoning, shrimp, and andouille and simmer for about 2 to 4 minutes until shrimp and andouille are cooked through. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve mixture over grits.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies

This month's What's Baking theme: Red Velvet was fitting for February. Who doesn't like red velvet—especially around Valentine's Day? Did you know that true red velvet is not chocolate flavor, but actually buttermilk? Some recipes differ and call for more chocolate or cocoa than others, which gives some red velvet recipes more chocolate flavor than others. In cookie form, these red velvet chocolate chip cookies were one of those chocolate-heavy red velvet recipes. They were not as red as I hoped they would be because the brown cocoa overpowered the red food coloring, giving them a reddish-brown color.Color aside, these cookies were so delicious that I could not stop eating them! They had a deep chocolate flavor that paired well with the white and semisweet chocolate chips.


Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: The Barbee Housewife

1 stick butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup of  brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon red food coloring
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used a mix of about 3/4 cup of white and semisweet chocolate chips.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder in a large bowl and set aside.

Beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, and red food coloring and mix until well combined. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop balls or mounds of dough onto the baking sheets and bake for 10-13 minutes.

Let cool a few minutes on the baking sheets and transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

White Chocolate, Toffee, & Coconut Cookies

Sometimes you just need a cookie. Life doesn't always go as planned. You will have bad days. People will hurt your feelings. It will snow every day with no end in sight. And sometimes nothing will make you feel better. These cookies will make you feel better. They are chewy, sweet, and delicious with hints of salty toffee to keep them from being overly sweet. So if you are sad, or even if you are happy, make these cookies. You won't be disappointed.

White Chocolate, Toffee, & Coconut Cookies
Source: Lick the Bowl Good
2 sticks butter (room temperature)
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 and 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup toffee bits
1 package (12 oz.) white chocolate chips
3/4 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
Cream butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer. 
Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined.
With the mixer on low, add flour mixture and mix until just combined.
Stir in toffee bits, white chocolate chips, and coconut.
Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until lightly golden along the edges.
Allow to cool for a few minutes on cookie sheets before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Chocolate Souffle Cake for Two

My husband wanted a Stove Wave pot after seeing it tested on television. I'm usually weary of those "As Seen on Television" products because they usually never work as promised. He first used it to make an omelet, and it came out perfectly! The booklet that came with it had a recipe for chocolate souffle cake that looked easy enough, so I decided to give it a try. I mixed together the ingredients, tossed a few chocolate chips on top, popped on the lid, and put it in the microwave. Two and a half minutes later, I had a chocolate cake—the perfect size for two, which fits this month's What's Baking theme: Small Servings. The cake tasted delicious! The texture was not perfect, and it could have been lighter, but it satisfied my chocolate cake craving. It would have been even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

Chocolate Souffle Cake for Two
Source: StoveWave

1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 heaping tablespoon cocoa powder
3 tablespoons milk
1 and 1/4 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons of a whisked egg
a dash of vanilla
1/4 cup chocolate chips

In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients except chocolate chips until smooth.
Stir in chocolate chips, reserving a few for the top.
Pour mixture into an ungreased Stone Wave pot and top with reserved chocolate chips.
Put on the lid and cook in the microwave for 2:15 minutes. (I had to cook mine for 2:30 minutes.)
Enjoy with ice cream, fresh fruit, or whipped cream.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Oatmeal Raisin Bars


I love to bake, but I don't love being stuck with a whole cake, a plate of cookies, or a dozen cupcakes because—like everyone else this time of year—I'm trying to eat healthier. I was looking for a healthy oatmeal bar recipe when I came across these bars. Let it be known, these are far from healthy. But they caught my eye, and I had to make them. The ingredient list wasn't too bad, and they didn't require me dragging out my mixer. These were quick and easy to whip up on a Sunday evening for snacks all week. While they were a little greasy from all the butter in the recipe, they were delicious and tasted like thick and chewy oatmeal raisin cookies. I'm already dreaming up variations such as adding craisins and almonds.

Oatmeal Raisin Bars
Source: Martha Stewart 

1 and 1/2 sticks butter (melted)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (I used quick-cooking, and they came out fine.)
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease an 8-inch square baking pan. (You can also line the bottom with parchment paper.)

Whisk together butter, brown and white sugars, egg, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add flour, oats, and raisins, and fold in until combined.

Spread batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake about 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs. Cool completely in pan.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Green Apple Slaw

My husband makes the best pulled pork. Actually he makes the best proteins from steaks to turkey sliders to BBQ chicken. What that man can do to a cut of meat can only be described as magical. Grilled, sauteed, braised, slow cooked—you name it, it's simply the best! This time we decided to make pulled pork tacos instead of BBQ pork sliders with the pulled pork. We usually top them with regular coleslaw, but we decided to put a twist on it and make green apple slaw. It had the perfect combination of sweet and tangy that made the tacos out of this world.




Green Apple Slaw

1/2 bag shredded coleslaw mix (or 1/2 head cabbage and 1 carrot)
1 green apple
1/4 cup mayonnaise (I used the one with olive oil.)
1 and 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt, pepper, and celery salt to taste

If not using coleslaw mix, finely shred the cabbage and carrot and place in a large bowl.
Peel, core, and shred the apple and add it to the bowl.
In another bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, dijon mustard, sugar, and vinegar.
Add salt, pepper, and celery salt to taste.
Mix in the cabbage, carrots, and apple.
Let set in refrigerator for about 30 minutes to meld flavors before serving.