Monday, May 30, 2011

Lemon Ice Box Dessert

I wish I knew who to thank for this yummy dessert. My husband was emailed this recipe and thought it would be something we would like. It definitely was. We shared it with some friends and they all liked it as well. This dessert is easy to make and tastes fabulous at the same time. If you are looking for a yummy simple dessert this is it. I also love that it is frozen because this means you can make it ahead of time!

2 c crushed graham crackers
1 stick butter- melted

2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1 c lemon juice
2 c whipping cream
1/2 c powdered sugar

For the crust mix the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter together with a fork. Press crust into 9x13 inch pan.

Filling: Mix cans of sweetened condensed milk with lemon juice, set aside.
Beat cream and sugar until peaks form.  Fold whipped cream into juice/milk mixture and pour over crust.  Freeze. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cheddar and Herb Biscuits

I have always been a very picky eater. Growing up my family would go to Red Lobster for dinner. When I was a kid I always thought I didn't like fish, so whenever we went to Red Lobster I would find the chicken items on the menu and look forward to their cheese biscuits. I don't know if I have ever met someone that didn't like their biscuits. They are soft and tender yet garlicky and buttery. How could you go wrong with that combo? Well these biscuits have a similar flavor (the flavor that I love) but I feel like they are more healthy. I found this recipe over at Mel's Kitchen Cafe. If you haven't ever checked out her site you are missing out! She has a great site with so many fantastic recipes. In fact when I (or my blog) grow up I want to be like her. Anyways these biscuits are so yummy and easy to make (my favorite combination). They are a great compliment to any dish or just by themselves.

Cheddar and Herb Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons shortening
3 tablespoons butter, cold
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, garlic powder and salt. Cut in shortening and butter until coarse crumbs are formed. Lightly mix in grated cheese. Mix in buttermilk just until moist (dry spots here and there are ok – the biscuits will be tough if they are over mixed). Drop the biscuits onto a greased or lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until browned and golden. While the biscuits are baking, in a small bowl combine three tablespoons melted butter, 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley flakes, 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder and a pinch of salt. Right when the biscuits come out of the oven, brush the butter/herb mixture over the biscuits evenly (alternately, you can dip the top of the biscuit into the butter mixture). Serve immediately.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cinnamon Roll Pizza

My grandma makes the best cinnamon rolls. I have tried her recipe and many others but there is just something about how she does them that makes them amazing. I think it is just the grandma's touch that makes them great. This idea kinda came to me the other day as I was driving. I was thinking about her amazing cinnamon rolls, and also thinking about yummy dessert pizzas and thought why not make a dessert pizza out of my grandma's cinnamon rolls. The results of this combination turned out just as amazing as I had hoped!

Cinnamon Roll Pizza

1 cube butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbs salt
2 cups scalded milk
2 eggs beaten
6 cups flour
2 tbs yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1-2 tsp cinnamon sugar
1 tbs butter

1 cube chilled butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tbs flour

1/2 cup butter
3 cups powdered sugar
6-8 tbs evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla

Dissolve the 2 tbs yeast in 1/2 cup warm water set aside.  In your stand mixer with dough hook attachment combine the scalded milk, salt, butter, and sugar. Let rest until the butter is mostly melted and the temperature is just barely warm to touch. Add the yeast mixture, flour, and eggs. Mix and knead well. Cover and let rise until double in size.

Roll out dough on a floured surface to approximately an 18X24 inch rectangle. Brush lightly with 1 tbs melted butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Roll up like you are making cinnamon rolls. Using unflavored floss or a serrated knife cut thin slices of cinnamon roll dough. The thinner the better but keep it as consistent as possible. Place cinnamon rolls on a greased pizza pan. Start in the center with one and add more around it in a circular manner. Try and get them as close to each other as possible, but they do not have to be perfect. As the dough raises it will fill in any gaps. When the pizza pan is completely filled with cinnamon rolls press down on dough with your hands to try and fill in any gaps and to form more of the traditional pizza shape. Again it doesn't have to be perfect, the individual cinnamon rolls are what makes this pizza fun and unique.

In a food processor combine the brown sugar, white sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Pulse briefly to combine mixture. Slice your cube of butter into thin slices and add to your food processor. Pulse until mixture is combined and appears slightly crumbly. Sprinkle butter and sugar mixture over cinnamon roll crust.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 18-25 minutes depending on how thick your crust is. The edges and bottom of your pizza should be a golden brown color.

For icing place butter in a sauce pan over medium low heat. Stirring frequently melt the butter and continue cooking until the butter turns a nice amber color and gives off a slightly nutty aroma. Pour the browned butter into a mixing bowl and add the powdered sugar, evaporated milk and vanilla. Mix until well combined and frosting starts to thicken slightly as the butter cools.

Drizzle the frosting over the pizza. You can either drizzle it over the entire thing or individual slices. Enjoy!

Note: this recipe makes more than enough to fill a fairly large pizza pan with some left over. I made a pizza and used the rest to make a small pan of normal cinnamon rolls.

Here are some photos of the process:

Roll out the dough.

Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Start placing on pan in a circular manner.

Fill pan and press down on dough slightly with hands to help form into shape.

Cinnamon sugar mixture. Processed until crumbly.

Sprinkle on dough. Ready to bake.

 Fresh out of the oven. Edges should be a nice golden brown color.

Sliced and drizzled with yummy browned butter frosting. Now its time to enjoy!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Velvet Almond Buttercream Frosting

My sweet husband made me an amazing cake for my birthday. The cake was delicious but my favorite part was the frosting! I am not a fan of store bought frosting, but I LOVE homemade frosting. This frosting has such a great flavor. It is a perfect frosting for most cakes. It was light and creamy with an amazing almond flavor. I thought I would share the recipe for any of you frosting lovers out there.

Velvet Almond Buttercream Frosting

1/2 cup butter, softened
4 1/2 cups confectioners' Sugar
3/4 Tsp. Vanilla ext.
1/2 Tsp. Almond ext.
6-7 Tbsp. Milk

1.) Cream butter in mixing bowl until fluffy. Beat in confectioner's sugar 1-2 cups at a time with mixer. Add extracts.

2.) Add milk 3 Tbsp. at a time until the desired "frosting" consistency is achieved.

**This recipe can also be easily doubled and frozen- I always have a batch in the freezer!

It is also versatile and can be added to/ changed to make:

-Chocolate buttercream frosting (replace 1/2 cup of pwdr. sugar with cocoa),

-Lemon (replace milk with lemon juice and add 1 Tsp. lemon peel),

-Peanut Butter (1/2 Cup peanut butter instead of regular butter)

-Peppermint (Replace Vanilla ext. with peppermint)

Recipe Source: Bake Space

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pesto Pizza With Bacon And Pine Nuts

I am always looking fun new things to eat for dinner. I have mentioned before that I struggle with dinner ideas. The other night as I was driving home this pizza came into my mind. I have always loved pesto. Add a little pine nuts and bacon and why wouldn't it be amazing. I went home and started on the dough. I know I love pesto, pine nuts and bacon in pasta but I wasn't quite sure how it would taste on pizza. I threw it all together and stuck it in the oven. It smelled amazing before we even put it in the oven. The smell got even better as it baked. This pizza quickly made it to my favorites list.

Pesto Pizza with Bacon and Pine Nuts


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 tsp dried basil flakes
1/2 tsp garlic powder


1/4- 1/2 cup pesto
1/4 cup pine nuts
1-2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup crumbled bacon (about 5 strips cooked bacon)

Combine flour, salt, sugar, yeast, basil, and garlic in a large bowl or in a stand mixer with dough attachment. Mix in oil and warm water. Spread out on a large pizza pan. Let dough rise in pan for a few minutes while you prepare the rest. Place pine nuts in a skillet with a small amount of butter. cook over medium heat stirring occasionally until nuts begin to turn a golden brown color. Set aside. Spread desired amount of pesto on the pizza dough for the sauce. Top with Mozzarella cheese. Top with bacon and pine nuts. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been eating chocolate chip cookies my whole life. I have been making chocolate chip cookies ever since I was a little girl. I have also recently been obsessed with browned butter. Naturally, when I saw this recipe claiming to be the perfect chocolate chip cookie AND it used browned butter you better believe that I had to try them! Well let me tell you these cookies are FANTASTIC! They are buttery and sweet, soft and chewy, and of course make you want to eat a million of them with a side of milk! The recipe made 2 dozen and I'm pretty sure my husband and I ate at least half of those within the first 2 days (yes we semi reluctantly shared the other half with others). These cookies are amazing as the original recipe, but like any food blogger I had to change things up a little, I had to add my own little touch to these bad boys. I wasn't trying to compete with the perfect cookie, just give it a little twist. I found that I like these both ways. I really had a hard time picking which cookie I liked better. I think all and all I am still leaning toward the original recipe. I will post my slight changes and you can try either. Either way you have some amazing cookies! If you try both let me know which one you liked better.  I originally got the recipe from Fun and Fearless in Beantown who got the recipe from Cooks Illustrated .
The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies (with my slight adaptions)

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces) (I used 1 cup white and 3/4 whole wheat)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (for something different try 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp almond extract)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4cups high quality chocolate chips or chunks
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional- I left them out)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large (18- by 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.

3. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. I used my kitchen aid mixer with the flat blade attachment. Add egg and yolk and mix until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand 3 minutes, then mix for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and mixing 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. Stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if using), giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.

4. Shape dough into 1 inch round balls. Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.

5. Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. My oven cooks pretty evenly so I didn't rotate the baking sheet halfway through. My cookies only took about 8 minutes to cook so watch them carefully. I took them out just when the edges started looking golden brown. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.

Note: If you have a food scale use it. I think its easier to weigh flour sometimes than to measure it out plus you know you got the right amount.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Southwestern Style Chimichangas

Inspired by my other oven baked chimichanga recipe I have on this site I decided to play around with some different flavors. I love chimichangas, really I love flour tortillas. I can actually eat the tortillas without anything on them, that is if I am using the uncooked kind that you cook yourself. If you have never tried these I highly recommend them. The flavor and freshness add so much to anything that calls for them. Well these are a fun different, but still easy way to use my yummy flour tortillas and get a few other semi healthy things in with it. What is even more awesome than there yumminess is the fact that I can make a whole bunch at a time and freeze the extra ones and cook them up later. I really love anything I can freeze and use on days when I don't feel like cooking.

Southwestern Style Chimichangas

1 lb shredded chicken
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can corn
1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Ranch dressing (optional)
10 uncooked tortillas

Combine barbecue sauce and chicken. Take one tortilla shell. Place a tablespoon of ranch on it. Top with chicken, black beans, corn and shredded cheese. Roll up tucking the corners in as you roll. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 375 for about 20 minutes or until the tortilla is golden brown. Top with cheese if desired.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Browned Butter Brownies

Over the years I have made millions (well it feels like it) of brownies. I absolutely love brownies. Most days I would take brownies over cake, and really most desserts. I love the brownies. I love the batter. I love the ooey gooeyness of them. Really whats not to love? You might be thinking why do I need another brownie recipe? Well these are no ordinary brownies. The browned butter in these gives them a rich almost chocolate/caramel flavor. They are very rich, and of course we had to eat ours with a little ice cream (peanut butter panic to be exact). If you are in the mood for some good homemade brownies give these a try!

Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter 

Makes 16 brownies
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into cup to measure, then leveled)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, chilled
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup walnut pieces – optional

Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 325°F. Line 8 x 8 x 2-inch metal baking pan with foil, pressing foil firmly against pan sides and leaving 2-inch overhang. Coat foil with nonstick spray. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking until butter stops foaming and browned bits form at bottom of pan, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; immediately add sugar, cocoa, 2 teaspoons water, vanilla, and 1⁄4 teaspoon (generous) salt. Stir to blend. Let cool 5 minutes (mixture will still be hot). Add eggs to hot mixture 1 at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition. When mixture looks thick and shiny, add flour and stir until blended. Beat vigorously 60 strokes. Stir in nuts (optional). Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake brownies until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs attached), about 20 minutes (recipe says 25 mins but check earlier than that, around 20 mins, to see if they are done to avoid overcooking).

Cool in pan on rack. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Cut into 4 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 4 brownies. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Recipe source: Baking for her soul

Friday, May 6, 2011

Chocolate Dulce de leche flan

I was put in charge of making a Mexican dessert for a cinco de mayo party this week. I will be honest the only Mexican dessert I have ever made is tres leches cake. I do love this cake, but decided I should branch out a little. I did what I always do and started searching the internet and all of my favorite sites. As always I found a ton of great recipes that I want to make! This is the one that really stuck out and I just had to try it.

Chocolate-Dulce de Leche Flan

Serves 8 to 10


3/4 cup (210g) dulce de leche

For the cake layer:

3/4 cup (150g) sugar
3/4 cup (110g) flour
1/3 cup (35g) unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-process
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup (125ml) buttermilk or plain whole milk yogurt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the flan layer:

1 can (12 ounces, 340g) evaporated milk
1 can (14 ounces, 395g) sweetened condensed milk
4 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC.) Lightly brush or spray an 8-inch (20cm) porcelain mold or cake pan (not a springform pan) with oil.

2. Smear the dulce de leche around the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Place the mold or cake pan in a larger roasting pan, which you’ll use as a double boiler for baking.

3. To make the cake layer, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk or yogurt, vegetable oil, 1 egg, and vanilla.

5. Use a spatula to stir the wet ingredients into the larger bowl of dry ingredients, mixing just until combined. Scrape the batter in the mold, over the dulce de leche.

6. Make the flan layer by blending together the evaporated and condensed milks, the 4 eggs, the vanilla, and salt, until smooth.

7. Over the back of a large spoon (like a big mixing spoon), pour the flan mixture over the cake layer, using the spoon to diffuse the custard as you pour.

8. Cover the mold or cake pan loosely with foil, fill the roasting pan with very hot water, so it reaches halfway up the side of the mold, and bake for 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out relatively clean.

(Note: I found the flan took considerably longer to bake than 50 minutes; mine took practically an 1 1/2 hours. So being checking it at 50 minutes, but note that it may take longer.)

9. Once done, remove from the oven and carefully lift the custard out of the water bath wearing oven mitts, then let the flan cool to room temperature. Then refrigerate the flan until ready to serve.

To serve: Run a knife around the perimeter of the flan, then set a cake or dinner plate overturned on top of the mold or cake pan. Holding both the mold and the plate, flip the two simultaneously and shake gently, until you hear the flan release. Remove the mold. And remaining dulce de leche can be smeared back over the flan.

Storage: The flan can be kept for up to three days in the refrigerator.

Recipe source: David Lebovitz

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Browned Butter and Mizithra Cheese

Do any of you have a favorite dish at certain restaurants that you get every time you go there? I definitely do! Its not that it's the only thing good on the menu, because I'm sure there are plenty of other good things. It is just that I love that one thing so much I just can't bare to get anything that I might not enjoy as much. Well this is one of those things for me. The Old Spaghetti Factory serves this dish. I have always loved it. It really is the only thing I get when I go there (and I have been going there for years). I love it because it is simple AND has amazing flavor. Well one day some friends and I were discussing this dish and we decided that it couldn't be hard to make. We then went out to see if our local grocery stores carried mizithra cheese. We were so excited when we found out that it did. In case you have never heard of this type of cheese here an excerpt taken from Wikipedia:

Mizithra (Greek: Μυζήθρα) is a traditional, unpasteurized fresh cheese made with milk and whey from sheep and/or goats. It is, mainly, produced on the island of Crete but other areas in Greece also produce it. In Cyprus a similar cheese is known in both types (fresh or dry) as "Anari" (Αναρή in Greek, Nor in Turkish).

I have since been able to find this cheese at most of my local grocery stores. You can usually find it in the specialty cheese section. It is definitely more expensive than your more common cheeses, but oh so worth it on this dish! This dish is so simple to make! I love that I can throw it together in less than 20 minutes and feel like I'm eating at a delicious restaurant.

Spaghetti With Browned Butter and Mizithra Cheese

8 oz spaghetti pasta
1 cube butter
1-2 cups mizithra cheese

Bring a large pot of slightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta. Cook pasta per package directions until tender. While pasta is cooking place butter in a sauce pan over medium-low heat. Cook slowly stirring frequently. Butter will bubble up and then begin to turn a nice brown color. You will start to see brown flecks in the butter. This is where the butter gets its flavor. Browning the butter often takes about 5-10 minutes of cooking time so be patient, but watch butter carefully. Once it has started browning if you are not careful it can burn very quickly. Once it is browned remove from heat and set aside until ready to use. Drain pasta. Place desired amount of pasta on a plate. Sprinkle generously with mizithra cheese. Pour approximately 2 tbs browned butter over pasta. Enjoy!

Note: I'm sure the restaurant uses even more butter than this on their dish. Feel free to use as much or as little butter as you want. The browned butter is an amazing compliment of flavors to the cheese so I usually tend to use a little more rather than less.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

White Chocolate No-Bake Cheese Cake

I am lucky to be surrounded by amazing bakers in my family. My grandma made this recipe years ago. I only had it once, but have remembered it for years and years thats how good it was. I finally asked my grandma last week if she remembered that cheese cake and if she had the recipe. To my great fortune (and yours) she did and emailed me the recipe! Not only is this recipe amazing, but so simple to make! The original recipe called for cool whip but I try and make foods as natural as possible so I used whipped cream instead, but feel free to use the cool whip because I know that tastes amazing too!

White Chocolate No-Bake Cheese Cake

1 pkg. 8 oz. cream cheese
2 pkg. white chocolate pudding mix (4 serving size)
2 cups cold milk
8 oz whipping cream prepared (1 cup whipping cream + 3 tbs sugar whipped until soft peaks form)
1 graham cracker crust
Beat cream cheese, add 1/2 c. milk and beat with wire whisk or in your stand mixer until smooth.  Add l 1/2 cups milk and pudding mixes.  Beat with whisk for 1 min.
Stir in Cool Whip.  Spoon into crust.  May garnish with white chocolate.  Serves 8.
For graham cracker crust I used 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, 1/3 cup sugar, 6 tbs butter melted. Mix the graham cracker crumbs and sugar together. Mix in melted butter and press into a pie plate. Bake at 375 degrees for 7 minutes. Cool prior to adding cheese cake mixture.

PS: I know that making your own graham cracker crust is a little bit more work, but soooo worth the results!