Sunday, November 29, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars


1 19.5 oz. packaged brownie mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup cooking oil
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350° F.
Lightly grease a 13 x 9 in. baking pan.  Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine brownie mix, eggs, and oil. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined.

Remove 1/2 of the brownie mixture and set aside.  Spread the remaining brownie mixture evenly into prepared pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter until smooth.  Spread evenly over the brownie mixture.

Flatten pieces of the remaining brownie mixture with your hands.  Then place them on top of the peanut butter mixture.

Bake at 350° F. for 20 - 25 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the top is set.  The middle will be very jiggly.
Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.  Cut into bars.  Makes 32 bars.
To store, layer bars between waxed paper in an airtight container.

Many thanks to Emily who took pictures for me!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

French Silk Pie

1-9 inch pie crust, baked
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks, beaten
3 Tablespoons whipping cream
whipping cream (for serving)
chocolate curls (for garnish)

In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, combine 1 cup whipping cream, chocolate pieces, butter, and sugar.
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, till chocolate is melted. (About 10 minutes)

Remove pan from heat, and gradually stir about half the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks.
Return egg mixture to saucepan.

Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly till mixture is slightly thickened and almost bubbly. (About 3-5 minutes)
Remove from heat.  Stir in 3 Tablespoons whipping cream.

Place saucepan in a bowl of ice water, stir occasionally till mixture stiffens and almost holds its shape.  (About 20 minutes)

Transfer chocolate mixture to a medium mixing bowl.
Beat the cooled chocolate mixture with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until light and fluffy. (about 2 or 3 minutes)

Spread filling in baked pie shell.  Cover and chill pie 4-5 hours or until set.  Best if served within 24 hours, but will last 3-4 days if stored properly.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Serve with whipped cream and garnish with chocolate curls.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Caramel Apple Pie
My mom made this recipe yesterday.  We had a piece before bed.  =)  I didn't take pictures of the whole process, only a finished product picture.  This is a rather complicated recipe. Its a very good pie; the crust is especially good.

Pie Crust:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon butter flavored shortening, chilled
  • 1/3 cup ice water
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 6 cups apples (Jonathan or Granny Smith)
  • 1/2   1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed   (My mom used half the amount of sugar.  It tasted fine.)
  • 1/2   1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 Tablespoons heavy cream (My mom says she wouldn't use the cream next time.) 
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
Streusel Topping:
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • About 3 oz. Heath baking bits  (These are toffee, but don't have any chocolate on them.)
(Before you begin place all ingredients for the crust, including the flour, and vinegar in the refrigerator.  Also place your rolling pin in the refrigerator, for best results)

  • Filling:
Peel, core, and slice apples. Sprinkle with lemon juice.  Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and add apples.  Toss to mix.  Add vanilla and cream.  Melt butter in a heavy skillet.  Add apple mixture and cook approximately 8 minutes, to soften apples. Preheat oven to 450˙ F.

  • Pie crust:
All ingredients, and your rolling pin should be chilled.  Combine the flour, salt, and sugar.  Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles cornmeal.  In another bowl, mix water, and vinegar with the beaten egg.  Add the liquid mixture, 1 Tablespoon at a time, to the flour mixture, tossing with a fork to form a soft dough.  Divide dough into two pieces, one slightly smaller than the other.  Cover smaller piece with plastic wrap, and chill until you are ready to use it.  On a lightly greased counter top roll out the larger piece of dough to fit in your pie plate.  Place filling inside of crust.
  • Streusel Topping:
Combine flour and sugar.  Mix in butter with fork making coarse crumbs.  Stir in the crushed toffee bars.  Sprinkle over pie.  Add top crust.  (My mom did a lattice top crust instead of a full crust.)  Seal, flute edge, and vent top.  Brush with beaten egg white, and sprinkle with coarse sugar.  Bake for 15 minutes at 450˙ F.  Reduce heat to 350˙F. and bake 45 minutes longer.  (Be careful of the crust; don't let it burn.  If the edges start getting dark, cover them with foil.)


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

  Sweet Dinner Rolls

1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup warm milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 egg
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3-3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 package dry yeast (2.5 teaspoons)

In a glass bowl combine the butter, water, and milk.  Microwave the mixture until it is the proper temperature if needed. The temperature should be between 115º and 120ºF.  If its any hotter it may kill the yeast; too cool and it will not grow properly.

In a mixer combine the water, butter, milk, yeast, sugar, and 1 cup flour.
Cover and wait 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes the mixture should be bubbly.  (If its not, then the yeast isn't growing properly, and you may have to start over.)
Beat in the egg.
Add the remaining flour, and mix for 5 minutes.  The dough should be soft, pulled away from the edges of the bowl, and not sticky.  Add a little more or less flour as needed.

(I used our Bosch mixer so I skipped this next step, but if you have a kitchen-aid, any other type of mixer, or you are mixing by hand you need to include this step.)
--Cover the mixing bowl and set in a warm (not hot) place.  Let rise until doubled in size.
Dump out the dough on a lightly floured OR well greased counter top.  Punch the dough down, and knead for about 10 minutes.--  

Then divide the dough into 16 pieces.  Shape into a small ball.  Place in a greased baking dish.  Cover and let rest in a warm place until doubled in size.  Bake at 400° for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.  Serve warm.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Apple Dip
This recipe has a cream cheese base, and only takes 3 ingredients.  Its a great addition to apples, as an appetizer, or a quick snack.


2 16-oz. packages cream cheese
2-1/3 cups brown sugar
2 Tablespoons vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl beat ingredients together until smooth, at least 10 minutes.  This will work best in a Bosch, or a Kitchen-Aid type mixer, but will work with a hand mixer also.
Serve cold, with sliced apples.  Store in the refridgerator.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

I like making pancakes.  It takes a really long time around here, since all together we can eat a lot of pancakes!  But I still enjoy it.  Making fluffy pancakes is a goal we've been working on lately.  My mom found online a new and unique way to make pancakes.
TIP:  Using cultured buttermilk from the grocery store will help your pancakes be much fluffier than using homemade buttermilk.  (If you do use homemade buttermilk make sure you let the milk/lemon juice (or vinegar) mixture sit for like 10 or 15 minutes, if its curdled it will work better.)

For this recipe you can make a mix with the dry ingredients a head of time.

Dry Ingredients:
6 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
Mix all ingredient together well.

We used part whole-wheat pastry flour in this recipe.  I love whole-wheat pancakes.

When you are ready to make pancakes add:

Wet Ingredients:
1 egg, separated
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tablespoons butter, melted

Separate the egg yolk from the white.  Then mix the egg yolk with the butter, and in a separate bowl mix the egg white with the buttermilk.
An easy way to remember this step is mix yellow with yellow (butter with yolk) and white with white (buttermilk with egg white).

Combine wet ingredients, and add to 1 cup dry ingredients mix.  
Each cup of dry mix uses one 1 egg, 1 cup buttermilk, and 2 T. butter.

Stir batter just until mixed; it should still be slightly lumpy.

For this special recipe, an important step to note is greasing the griddle, or pan with butter NOT oil.  After rubbing the butter on the pan, carefully wipe the excess off with a paper towel.

Pour batter onto heated cast-iron pan or griddle, and cook over medium heat until edges are bubbly.  Flip and cook until middle is done, and both the bottom and the top are golden brown.

We like to eat our pancakes with chocolate chips once in awhile.  Just gently stir them into the batter, or sprinkle on top of the batter after you put it on the pan.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Double Chocolate Muffins
These muffins are full of chocolate!  We don't make them a lot, but they are nice treat once in a while.  They are a favorite of many people at our house.  We made a 3x batch, which made about 4 1/2 dozen muffins.  One batch should make about 1 1/2 dozen muffins.
1/3 cup butter                                         3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips             1-1/2 Tablespoons vanilla
1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour                      2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt                                        1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda                            1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup sour cream                                  coarse sugar

Melt 1/3 cup butter and
1 cup chocolate chips in a saucepan.
Remove from heat; cool for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine
1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour, 
1 teaspoon salt, and 
1 teaspoon baking soda.
We used some whole wheat pastry flour in our muffins.

In a small bowl, stir together
1/2 cup sour cream,  
3/4 cup buttermilk, and 
1-1/2 Tablespoons vanilla
extract until sour cream is mixed in well.

Stir in 2 eggs, and 1/2 cup sugar. A small bowl didn't work so well for our 3 batches....but yes, it all fit!  it was challenging to stir though...

Add to cooled chocolate chip mixture, and mix well. Then add chocolate mixture to the flour mixture, stir just until mixed. 
 Gently stir 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips into the batter. 
 Spoon batter into greased muffin tins; each muffin cup should be 3/4 full.  Sprinkle course sugar on the top of each muffin before baking.  

Bake at 400 for 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in muffin comes out clean.  Cool for several minutes before removing muffins to a wire rack. 

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cream of Broccoli Soup

This is one of my favorite soups.  Its very easy and it tastes great!
You will need:
3/4 cup water
1 package (16 oz.) frozen chopped broccoli
1 can (14.5 fluid oz.) chicken broth
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 can ( 12 fluid oz.) evaporated milk

Boil 3/4 cup water in a medium saucepan.  Add broccoli; bring to a boil.  Cook five to seven minutes or until tender; drain.

 Place half of the broccoli and all the chicken broth in food processor or blender; cover.  Process until smooth.

Melt butter in the same saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, one to two minutes or until onion is tender.  Stir in flour.  Gradually whisk in evaporated milk.  Cook, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil.

Add blended broccoli and remaining chopped broccoli.  Heat through, stirring often.

Top with finely shredded cheddar cheese, just before  serving.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chocolate chip cookies

My sisters and I are babysitting the younger kids tonight, and I thought it would be fun to make cookies with them. We just made regular chocolate chip cookies, and I added a little variation at the end. Ingredients will be in green.

Chocolate chip cookies

In a large mixing bowl mix
2 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed,
2 Tablespoons vanilla extract, and
1 1/2 cups butter.
Beat for several minutes until the dough is whipped, it should be light, and fluffy.

It should look like this.  ↓

2 Tablespoons milk, and
2 eggs,
and beat well again, for several minutes.
I used egg replacer so its entirely safe to eat the dough!

4 cups all-purpose flour,
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda,
1 teaspoon salt.
Mix well.

I used 3 cups all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour.

 Add 4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Mix gently.

If you mix this step to long the chocolate chips will melt and turn the dough a dark brown color. 

 For a slight variation I decided to add several Tablespoons of coconut to a small bowl of cookie dough, and mix it in well. The cookies turned out nicely.  My sisters say they like them.

Drop by rounded Tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350º for 10 to 12 minutes.  They will still look slightly raw, but the edges should be a little bit browned.

Let the cookies sit on the pan for 2 or 3 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

The kids all enjoyed a cookie with milk!