Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pumpkin Ginger Pizookies

Pumpkin-Ginger Pizookies

1 batch Ginger Spice Cookie Dough*
Pumpkin Ice Cream (here’s our homemade recipe  or Dreyers makes a wonderful Pumpkin Ice Cream. Unfortunately it is seasonal.)
Buttermilk Caramel Syrup
Candied or toasted pecans

*This could potentially make a lot of pizookies.  I made 10 and still had some dough left over to make a few extra cookies.

Lightly spray ramekins with non-stick spray.  Fill half way with cookie dough and press down with fingers.

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes and then check on them and let them continue baking until the tops are puffed and set and edges are slightly crackled.  Remove and let cool until just slightly warm to the tough on the outside of the ramekin. (I took mine out at about 13 minutes for a slightly gooey dough)

Place a generous scoop of ice cream on top.  Drizzle with caramel syrup and sprinkle with candied nuts.

Ginger Spice Cookies
recipe from Paula Deen

3/4 C Butter flavored Crisco
1 C sugar, plus more for rolling
1 large egg
1/4 C molasses
2 C flour
2 t baking soda
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
1/2 t ground cloves
1/2 t salt

Just make the dough if you are making the Pizookies.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.  Or don’t line them at all :)
With an electric mixer, combine shortening and sugar and cream until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add the egg and the molasses and beat until completely incorporated.

Sift or whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt
and then add to the mixture. Stir until combined. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar.

Place on cookie sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until just set around the edges and you start to see “crackling” on the top.
Don’t overbake! You want to keep them nice and chewy-soft in the middle.

Yield: about 4 dozen

Buttermilk Syrup
3/4 c. buttermilk
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 stick real butter
2 Tbsp. corn syrup
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine buttermilk, sugar, butter, corn syrup, and baking soda in a LARGE pot. Like one you’d make soup in.

Bring ingredients to a boil and reduce heat to low (as long as it’s still bubbling, you’re okay). Cook, stirring very frequently, for 8-9 minutes. You’re basically making candy here and candy-making requires constant vigilance. When it’s done, it should take on this luscious golden-brown color. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

Recipe and photo source: Our Best Bites

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Frosted Peanut Butter Bars

These are not the nasty school cafeteria peanut butter bars.

Frosted Peanut Butter Bars

1/2 c. peanut butter
1/3 c. shortening
1 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. milk

2/3 c. creamy peanut butter
1/2 c. shortening
3-4 c. powdered sugar
1/3 - 1/2 c. milk

Topping (optional)
1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. butter

In a large mixing bowl, cream the peanut butter, shortening, and brown sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Add milk; mix well. Transfer to a greased 15x10 inch baking pan or cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 16-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely.

For the frosting, in a bowl, cream the peanut butter, shortening and the powdered sugar. Gradually beat in enough milk to achieve spreading consistency. Frost bars. Melt chocolate chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Drizzle over frosting. Refrigerate. Yield 5 dozen.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Sugar Pecans

When I made this, I made a few alterations. I added dried Cranberries instead of Strawberries, and Kiwi. I also used blue cheese instead of the black pepper cheese. Just a note, don't over cook the pecans. They will become grainy.

Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Sugar Pecans

1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans (50ml)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (30ml)
2 tablespoons water (30ml)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (15ml)
1 tablespoon liquid honey(15ml)
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (2ml)
pinch salt (pinch)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (50ml)
4 cups baby spinach (about 4 oz/100g) (1L)
1 cup sliced strawberries (250ml)
2 kiwis, peeled and sliced (2)
1/4 cup soft black pepper cheese, (50ml) such as Boursin or crumbled chevre (optional)


  1. Place pecans, sugar and water in a small saucepan set on medium heat. Stir to dissolve sugar. Simmer mixture, stirring occasionally, until golden and pecans are coated, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and cool. Crumble and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar with the honey, Dijon and salt. Slowly whisk in the oil until well combined. To serve, divide spinach among salad plates and top with strawberries, kiwis and sugar pecans. Drizzle with vinaigrette and garnish with the crumbled cheese, if using.  
    Tip: This salad is delicious with or without the cheese. For variety, a mild blue cheese such as cambozola could be used in place of the black pepper cheese or chevre. You could also cut the amount of strawberries in half, and make up the difference with raspberries or blueberries.

    Recipe and photo source: Food Network

Friday, February 17, 2012

Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Truffle Swirled Cookies

I would recommend very gently stirring in the peanut butter truffles. Make sure you keep them in the freezer up until the last second before adding them to the dough. The longer they stay in the freezer the better. 

Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Truffle Swirled Cookies

1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter  1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line a large baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Place peanut butter and powdered sugar into a large bowl and mix to combine. I used my hands for a quicker mix. Press into an 8×8 inch baking pan that has been lined with foil, sprayed with cooking spray. Place in freezer for at least 30 minutes.

3. Place butter and sugars into the bowl of a stand or electric mixer, mix to combine. Add eggs and vanilla, mix to combine.

4. Place flour, salt and baking soda into a large bowl, mix to combine. Slowly add to wet ingredients along with chocolate chips, just mixing until combined.

5. Remove peanut butter truffle pan from freezer and cut into cubes. They will not be perfect, I even tore some apart with my hands. Just as long as they are in chunks, you are fine. Once cut up, I put back in freezer for about 10 minutes.

6. Add peanut butter truffle chunks to your cookie dough, mix on low for just a couple turns of the mixer, the idea is you want chunks and swirls throughout the dough so you bite into nice bits of peanut butter truffle.
7. Scoop dough onto prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart and bake for 10-13 minutes, until cooked to your preference. Let cool for 10 minutes on baking sheet then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

Makes 3-4 dozen cookies

Recipe Source: Picky Palate

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Garlic Parmesan Pull Apart Bread

This is a little more labor intensive but worth the time. You could probably use thawed Rhodes dough but you just can't beat the taste of homemade bread.

Garlic Parmesan Pull-Apart Bread

Yields 1 loaf

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/3 cups barely warm water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups all purpose (or bread) flour
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the yeast and water. Let sit 5 minutes until yeast is foamy. Mix in the olive oil, salt, and flour. If you have a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and knead the dough for 5-6 minutes, or until elastic. If you are doing this by hand, knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until dough is elastic, 7-10 minutes. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Allow to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until dough is doubled in size.

In a small bowl, combine melted butter, parsley flakes, and minced garlic. Set aside.
Punch down the dough. Tear off small pieces of dough (roughly the size of the bowl of a medium spoon), coat in the butter mixture, and place in the bottom of a bundt pan. Repeat this process until you have one layer of dough balls. Sprinkle on 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese. Continue layering the dough balls and cheese until you have 3 layers. Cover the pan with a clean towel and allow to sit until dough has doubled in size, 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until bread is golden brown. Serve hot with a side of marinara or tomato sauce.

Recipe and photo source: The Pastry Affair

Monday, February 13, 2012

Churro Chex Mix

If you haven't tried Hershey's Cinnamon Chips, I almost want to say, don't. You will become addicted to them. It all started with the Pumpkin Muffins topped with Gingersnaps and Cinnamon Chips. I have been looking for other recipes I can use these cinnamon chips in. Then I came across this Churro Chex Mix. It is delicious!

Churro Chex Snack Mix

9 cups rice Chex cereal
1 cup cinnamon chips (I actually added 1 1/2 c. chips and 6 Tbsp. butter)
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

In a double boiler, add chips and butter. Heat until melted. You can also use a microwavable bowl and melt the chips and butter for 1 minute; stir until smooth. Microwave about 30 seconds longer if needed.

Drizzle mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, sugar, and cinnamon. Toss the coated Chex cereal into the sugar mixture. Spread on a piece of parchment until cooled.

Recipe and photo source: The Family Kitchen

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Chicken Parmesan Skillet Pot Pie


If you don't have a cast iron skillet, you can use any oven safe skillet.

Chicken Parmesan Skillet Pot Pie

28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups cooked, shredded chicken (I used a rotisserie)
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 refrigerated pie crust, room temperature
1 egg white
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Pour tomatoes into 9 inch cast iron skillet. Season with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, stirring to combine. Add chicken and gently stir to incorporate into sauce. Top with Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.

3. Unroll pie crust and lay over chicken and cheese. I pressed the edges around the skillet, but feel free to tuck it inside the skillet if you desire.

4. Whisk egg white with 1 teaspoon water and brush a light coat over crust. Top evenly with Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until crust is golden brown. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Recipe and photo source: Picky Palate

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread with Cinnamon Honey Butter

When I made the dough I used the recommended amount of flour and it was way too sticky. I added maybe another 1/2-3/4 cup flour and it was still really sticky but it turned out okay. Next time I will try a little more flour so it is easier to work with.

I would highly recommend making the cinnamon honey butter with it.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Yields 1 loaf

2 1/4 tsp yeast
1/4 cup warm water, 110 degrees
1/2 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup milk, warmed to 110 degrees
2 Tbsp molasses
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp butter, softened
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1 egg
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour

For the swirl:
1 1/2 Tbsp butter, melted
1/3 cup light-brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

In the bowl of an electric mixer combine water, yeast and 1/2 tsp granulated sugar. Whisk until yeast has dissolved and let rest 5 minutes. Stir in milk, molasses, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, salt, softened butter, nutmeg, ginger, egg and pumpkin puree until well combine. Slowly add flour and knead with a dough hook attachment until dough is smooth and elastic. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until double, about 1 hour.
Butter an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" in pan, set aside. In a small bowl whisk together brown sugar and cinnamon, set aside. Punch the risen dough down and turn onto a lightly floured surface. Roll dough into a large rectangle, about 22" x 8." Brush with melted butter, coming within about 1/2" of the edges. Sprinkle with cinnamon mixture, coming within about 1/2" of the edges. Roll dough up jelly roll style, starting with the short side. Place rolled dough in greased loaf pan and let rise in a warm place until doubled about 45 minutes. 
Bake 375 degrees for 45 minutes, tent loaf with foil halfway through baking to prevent excessive browning. Allow to cool in pan 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Cinnamon Honey Butter
1/2 cup Butter
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
1/2 cup Honey
1 tsp Cinnamon
Blend all ingredients at room temp.
Recipe source: Classy Cooking

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Streusel-Topped Blueberry Muffins

Over the last 6 months, since the birth of my baby girl, I have had very little motivation to cook and seek out new things to cook. I would like to start trying new recipes again so I will pass along the good ones I make.

The recipe says it makes 12 muffins but I got about 15 good sizes muffins.

Streusel-Topped Blueberry Muffins

1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. table salt
1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. grated orange or lemon peel
1 large egg
3/4 c. buttermilk
1/3 c. canola oil
1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries
1 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. sugar

Streusel Topping
1/4 c. sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spoon the flour into measuring cups and level with with a knife and combine it in a large bowl with the baking powder, salt, sugar, and citrus peel. Make a well in the center of the mixture. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, and oil. Add to the dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining flour and sugar and then toss the blueberries in this mixture until they are well-coated. Gently fold the blueberry mixture into the batter. Spoon the batter into lined muffin tins, filling 2/3 full.

To make the streusel topping, combine the 1/4 c. sugar, 2 1/2 Tbsp. flour, and cinnamon. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or two butter knives until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over the batter and bake for 18 minutes or until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the muffins comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack. Makes 12 muffins.

Recipe source: Our Best Bites
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