Tag Archives: sweets

Site Update!

8 Jul

I’ve finally launched my re-designed site! ¬†You’ll still find our best recipes at http://www.chewoutloud.com, and you can follow me there now ūüôā

Happy looking, cooking, and… chewing!!

-Amy

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Strawberry Icebox Cake (No Bake!)

10 Jun

I must have been hiding under a rock all these years, because I’ve only become familiar with icebox cakes this year. ¬†I may be a late bloomer to this cool no-bake cake, but I’ve totally been making up for lost time.

Strawberry Icebox Cake 4

Yes, this yummy cake is absolutely bake-free.  The kitchen gets to stay cool for those warm summer days.  The time is ripe for sweet strawberries, and we are loving them right now.  We just had this delish Fresh Strawberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, and now this. This Strawberry Icebox Cake comes together beautifully, making for an impressive looking dessert for get-togethers.

Strawberry Icebox Cake

I love how easy this cake is to pull off! ¬†Some assembly required. ¬†Six ingredients. ¬†That’s all it takes to wow your family and friends with this light, refreshing cake that has just the right amount of sweetness to it. ¬†Not too sweet nor heavy. ¬†Which means you can eat more of it.

Strawberry Icebox Cake 2

Yes.  You will totally eat more than just once slice.  This Strawberry Icebox Cake boasts two pounds of fresh strawberries, freshly whipped cream, and graham crackers that soften into an airy, cake-like texture as it rests overnight in the fridge.

Strawberry Icebox Cake 3

That’s another thing. ¬†I’m the biggest fan of make-ahead food. ¬†If I can make it ahead of time, it’s a done deal. ¬†Less fuss on the day of the party is always, always a very good thing. ¬†I’m already planning my next icebox cake flavor.

Enjoy this while fresh strawberries abound.

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STRAWBERRY ICEBOX CAKE (NO BAKE) 
Serves 8-12

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs fresh, sweet strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
20 oz graham crackers (about 24-28 whole crackers or 4 sleeves)

Simple ganache:
2 oz semi sweet chocolate morsels
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

DIRECTIONS

In a large metal bowl, combine 3 cups heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract.  Place entire bowl, plus beaters of electric mixer, into fridge for 10 minutes to chill.  On medium-high, beat heavy cream mixture until stiff peaks appear.

Spread a thin layer of the whipped cream on bottom of a 9×13″ baking pan. ¬†Lay six graham crackers down evenly. ¬†Spread a thin layer of whipped cream over the graham crackers, followed by a single layer of closely-placed strawberries. ¬†Repeat layers (graham crackers, whipped cream, strawberries) 3 more times. ¬†You will have 4 layers total of graham crackers when finished. ¬†Spread the remaining whipped cream over the top of entire dessert, and add rest of strawberries for garnish.

Heat 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream in a small, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. ¬†Once it bubbles, turn off the heat. ¬†Add chocolate and let stand for 3 minutes. ¬†Whisk mixture until it’s thick and glossy. ¬†Let it cool to lukewarm and drizzle ganache over dessert (I use a plastic baggie with tiny bit of tip cut off.)

Cover loosely with tented foil and chill in fridge overnight, for crackers to soften.  Keep cold until ready to serve.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from theKitchn

Very Berry Pie Bars

24 May

Memorial weekend signals the unofficial start of summer, and what better way to celebrate the sunshine than picnics, BBQ’s, and lots of ripe berries?

Very Berry Pie Bars 5

Can’t decide if you crave pies vs. dessert bars? ¬†No problem. ¬†We can go hybrid and do it BOGO style. ¬†Two in one. ¬†Bargain hunters, this one’s for you.

It’s a win-win combination. ¬†Think of it: ¬†a buttery and toothsome crust, plus crumbly topping with hints of zesty lemon strewn throughout. ¬†Creamy, thick filling bursting with sweet, juicy berries.

Very Berry Pie Bars

These fresh berry pie bars are the best of both worlds, with tasty pie crust, crumble topping, and plummy filling. ¬† Minus the fuss of actually making a pie. ¬†This “pie” comes in the form of ¬†an easygoing, happy-go-lucky pie bar that’s easily made ahead of time and even easier to dig into.

Very Berry Pie Bars 3

These berry pie bars can happily be made the night before, chilled in fridge, and sliced when ready to devour. ¬†I sliced mine into smaller squares to feed a crowd, and there was plenty to go around. ¬†For easy serving plus cute factor, just house the individual squares in pretty cupcake liners. ¬†These are best served chilled, so keep ’em cold until dessert time. ¬†They won’t sit around long once you bring them out.

Enjoy, and happy Memorial weekend!

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VERRY BERRY PIE BARS (makes one 9×13)

For the crust and topping:
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup white sugar
Zest of one large lemon
1 1/2 cups salted butter, cold

For the filling:
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups white sugar
1 cup greek yogurt
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
Juice of one large lemon
2 tsp. vanilla extract
30 oz any mixture of fresh blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350F. ¬†Generously grease a 9×13 pan along bottom and sides. ¬†Set aside.

In bowl of a food processor, lightly pulse together the flour, sugar, and lemon zest just until blended. ¬†Cut cold butter into slices and add to bowl. ¬†With a few short pulses, cut the butter into flour mixture just until mixture is crumbly. ¬†Small bits of butter remaining is fine. ¬†(Alternatively, you can use a pastry cutter if you don’t have a food processor.)

Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the flour/butter mixture for the topping. ¬†Pour the rest of the mixture into bottom of prepared baking pan. ¬†Press firmly for an even layer of crust on bottom of pan. ¬†(It’s easy to press evenly with the flat bottom of a water glass or ramekin.) ¬†Bake crust about 15 minutes or until golden. ¬†Remove baked crust from oven, but keep oven on.

Combine eggs, sugar, Greek yogurt, flour, salt, lemon juice, and vanilla.  Whisk until smooth.  Carefully fold in the berries with rubber spatula.  Gently spread filling over the baked crust.  Sprinkle reserved topping over the filling, to make an even layer of crumble topping.

Bake about 75 min to 90 min or until topping turns golden and bars are set.  Cool completely at room temp before putting in fridge to chill.  Chill several hours or overnight.  Cut and serve cold.

Source: ¬†Chew Out Loud, adapted from Annie’s Eats, via the Pastry Queen

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

9 Feb

There are two camps of eaters. ¬†Those who love cheesecake seem to be in the majority camp. ¬†Then there are the handful of people who say they don’t like cheesecake. ¬†I obviously adore cheesecake and would eat it every day if I could. ¬† This white chocolate raspberry version is my favorite cheesecake in the whole wide world, and it has singlehandedly converted a few of those non-cheesecake fans over to our side ūüôā

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake 2

The fact that I could eat cheesecake daily is what drives me to bake this dense, rich, indulgent New York style cheesecake every opportunity I get. ¬†Birthdays: ¬†it is the cheesecake lover’s dream cake. ¬†Christmas: ¬†the red and white swirls have that holiday covered. ¬†Valentines Day: ¬†this thick cheesecake with chocolate crust is the perfect sweetheart dessert. ¬† In fact, February 14th ¬†is coming up, and your loved ones would be so impressed.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

I’m bragging on the cheesecake (not myself) when I say this, but countless people have requested this ¬†recipe, deeming it better than Cheesecake Factory’s. ¬† I have to agree. ¬†Years ago, I liked Cheesecake Factory’s white chocolate raspberry cheesecake for indulging my sweet tooth… but ever since this homemade one stole my tummy, I can’t order cheesecake at any restaurants anymore.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake 4

White chocolate raspberry cheesecake is surprisingly easy to make. ¬†The best part about this plush cheesecake is that it is made at least a day ahead of time! ¬†Score! ¬†If you come here often, you know I’m always looking for recipes that can be done ahead of time. ¬†I can’t really cook well and socialize with a bunch of people at the same time. ¬†I try to have most of my cooking done, so I can be fully in the moment with my friends. ¬†It helps to use¬†stabilized whipped cream so you can decorate the entire cheesecake the day before and it stays perfect in the fridge. ¬†No runny or watery-ness!

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake 5

Next time you’re having dinner guests, try out this impressive cheesecake along with some good coffee. ¬†Relish in the fact that it can be completely made up to 2 days beforehand. ¬†You just might convert a non-cheesecake eater into a fan.

Bonus:  If you have leftovers and want to prevent yourself from eating it all, this cheesecake freezes beautifully.

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RECIPE (one 9 inch cheesecake)

INGREDIENTS
For the crust:
2 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
1/2 cup melted butter

For the raspberry sauce:
1 (10 oz) package frozen raspberries
2 TB sugar
3 tsp cornstarch, dissolved in 1/2 cup water

For the cheesecake:
1 bag (12 oz) pure white chocolate chips
1/2 cup half and half
3 (8 oz) packages good cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 TB vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Make the crust:  In a large bowl, mix fine cookie crumbs with butter until well incorporated.  Press into bottom of a greased 9-inch springform pan.  Set aside.

Make raspberry sauce:  In a heavy saucepan, combine raspberries, sugar, and cornstarch/water mixture.  Mix well.  Bring to boil and boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 215F.  Set rack to lower middle position.  Place a pan full of water in the lowest rack.    Using a small heavy saucepan, melt white chocolate chips with half and half, on low heat.  Stir often until completely melted and smooth.  Remove from heat and set aside.

In large bowl, mix together softened cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Add vanilla and the melted white chocolate mixture.

Pour half of batter over the crust.  Spoon about a third of the raspberry sauce over batter in small chunks. Swirl with tip of butter knife.  Gently pour in the remaining cheesecake batter.  Spoon another third of the sauce over the top of batter.  Swirl with tip of butter knife to complete the desired marble effect.

Bake at 215F for 3 to 3 1/2 hours.  Filling will still jiggle in the center and seem undone.  Edges should feel firm upon light touch.  Turn heat off and let cheesecake cool in the oven, with door ajar.

Once cool, cover springform pan tightly with foil and cool cheesecake in fridge overnight.  Carefully remove cheesecake from springform, and garnish with whipped cream, white chocolate shavings, or fresh raspberries.  Remaining third of raspberry sauce can be used for topping as well.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, inspired by allrecipes

Note:  If you are freezing leftovers, simply wrap cheesecake well with cling wrap.  Defrost in fridge or counter.  It tastes just as yummy after being frozen!  

The slow-bake method at room temp allows you to bake a cheesecake without cracks on top.  It takes longer to cook, but will give you a smooth cake without unsightly cracks.

 

Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

27 Jan

We’re in the final days of Back-to-Healthy month (aka January), and we are still quite oatmeal-happy here in our kitchen.

Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Cookies 4

My new year’s non-resolution (no official resolutions here) was to eat a lot more oatmeal, a lot more often this year. ¬†I haven’t exactly kept up with my one-bowl-a-day ambition, but healthful oats are finding their way into my everyday baking.

Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies 3

True, true… these are cookies. ¬†Cookies with chocolate, at that. ¬†But, hey… they are also laden with robust old-fashioned oats. ¬†Not the quick-cooking oats, but the good ol’ old-fashioned oats. ¬†Heartier, chewier, and bigger oat-y taste senstation is the result.

Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies 2

These are unbelievably scrumptious oatmeal cookies! ¬†For one, they taste like chocolate. ¬†Like a rich chocolate chip cookie with texture…soft in the center and lightly crisp at the edges. ¬†For another, the use of old-fashioned oats give these cookies a satisfying chewiness that you can sink your happy sweet tooth into.

Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Cookies boast a perfect balance of sweetness with a bit of saltiness, loads of semi-sweet chocolate, and chock-full of natural oats. ¬†Can this combo be any better?! ¬†Oh, yes, they can – because these fab cookies naturally bake up nice and full, without spreading too much. ¬†You can count on a perfectly thick, dense cookie that stays soft and chewy. ¬†Just the way you like ’em. ūüôā

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RECIPE (40-50 medium sized cookies)

INGREDIENTS

1 cup regular butter, softened just to room temp (not too soft)
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
1 TB vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups rolled old-fashioned oats (not quick-cooking)
1 (12oz) bag semi-sweet chocolate morsels

DIRECTIONS

In the large bowl of stand mixer, cream together room-temp butter with the white and brown sugars, until fluffy.  Several minutes on medium-high should do it.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Stir in vanilla.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.  Mix in the oats.  Gently work in the chocolate morsels until incorporated.  Dough may be thick and heavy.

Preheat oven to 350F, adjusting rack to lower-middle.  Keep cookie dough in fridge while waiting for oven.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Drop rounded balls of cookie dough, about the size of a walnut, 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.  Flatten each rounded ball to a 1/2 inch thick cookie.

Bake 8 minutes in preheated oven. ¬†Cookies will seem underdone, but remove them from oven. ¬†If you’re making much larger cookies, remove at 9 minutes. ¬†The key is not to overbake. ¬†They will set upon cooling. ¬†Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet 5 minutes and transfer to wire rack to finish cooling. ¬†Enjoy!

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from allrecipes

Note: ¬†If you want less salt, reduce to 1/2 tsp salt. ¬†Cookies stay soft and chewy for a couple of days in airtight container. ¬†They are best on the day they’re baked, but nobody complains about leftovers! ¬†Cookie dough can be wrapped up tightly and kept in fridge for up to a week.

Orange Chocolate Lace Cookies

18 Dec

‘Tis the season for cookies.¬†¬† Cookie exchanges, cookies on the dessert table, cookies for gift-giving… and cookies in our own cookie jar.¬† We’ve already been giving away many of our favorite cookies this season.¬† What to bake up next?

Orange Chocolate Lace Cookies

Orange Chocolate Lace Cookies!¬† I’ve always admired pretty lace cookies, but they look like they’d be way more work than the usual drop cookies.¬† In a sudden spirit of adventure, I talked my preschooler out of Word World so we could create¬† crunchy cookies together.

Orange Chocolate Lace Cookies 2

Surprisingly, these orange lace cookies are unbelievably easy to pull off.¬†¬† So easy and deliciously tasty.¬† These cookies boast a fabulous crispiness and depth of flavor that reminds me of toffee.¬† Only better, because they’re infused with lively orange and then drizzled with chocolate.

orange chocolate lace cookies

Because these orange chocolate lace cookies are super crisp, they keep extremely well.  No worries about the cookies drying out or getting stale.  These little pretties are probably one of the easiest treats for mailing or gifting because of how well they keep.

The kiddos will enjoy watching the bubbling lace pattern develop in the oven.  Science project-slash-dessert?   Yeah, maybe just dessert.  Enjoy!

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RECIPE (about 25-30 cookies)

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup tightly packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup regular butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 TB Cointreau
1/2 tsp orange extract
1/2 cup + 2 TB all-purpose flour
1 TB orange zest, finely chopped
4-6 oz semi sweet chocolate morsels, for drizzling

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350F and place rack on lower middle position.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine sugar, butter, corn syrup, Cointreau, and orange extract in a small but heavy saucepan.  Stir over low heat, until butter melts.  Remove from heat and add flour and orange zest.  Stir to combine.

Drop heaping teaspoons of batter onto parchment lined baking sheet, 2 1/2 inches apart.  Wet hands for easy dough handling.  Place baking sheet in oven and bake until cookies are spread out, bubble up, and golden brown.  About 11-13 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool several minutes before transferring to wire rack.  Finish cooling on wire rack.  Continue baking batches, stirring batter occasionally.

When cookies are completely cool, it’s drizzle time.¬† Melt chocolate morsels in microwave safe bowl (20 second intervals, stirring in between.)¬† Scrape melted chocolate into ziploc bag.¬† Cut a tiny hole in corner of bag, and drizzle on as much warm chocolate as you want.¬† Cool completely.¬† Enjoy!

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from Martha Stewart Living

Notes:¬† You can also dip the cookies halfway in melted chocolate in lieu of drizzling.¬† If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can make cookie-curls.¬† Cool cookies just 1-2 minutes, or until they are warm and pliable.¬† Curl around handle of wooden spoon.¬† When firm, slide cookie off.

Best Apple Pie with Flaky Butter Crust

16 Dec

I have a little confession.¬† Despite my affection for all things sweet, I don’t like cooked apples.¬† Wait a minute.¬† I do love fresh, crispy apples.¬† Just don’t love them cooked, is all.¬† That puts me in the little category of people who regularly pass up the apple pies on the dessert buffet.¬† But here is a glimmer of hope.¬† I gave this Best Apple Pie a chance, and new door has opened up.¬† There’s no turning back.

Perfect Apple Pie with Flaky Butter Crust

Hubby would never have imagined I’d eat, let alone bake, an apple pie.¬† I’m good with every kind of fruit pie, but he’s never seen me dart for the apple one.¬† For reasons still mysterious, I began searching high and low for apple pie recipes.¬† After digging through countless variations, I settled on this tried and true version.¬† And now I’m done digging.¬† This here is the only apple pie I’ve ever really liked!

Perfect Apple Pie with Flaky Butter Crust 3

What makes this apple pie extra memorable is the fabulous flaky butter crust.¬† We always prefer using butter rather than shortening¬† whenever possible.¬† This is our go-to recipe for a flaky butter crust; perfect for any sweet or savory pies.¬† Technically, one could use store bought pie dough.¬† But it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t say this out loud:¬† store-bought pie dough won’t produce the buttery deliciousness of a homemade crust.

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The pie dough needs a bit of time to chill.¬† If you plan ahead for that, you’re good.¬† Try to stick with Granny Smith apples for best texture and balance of tart vs. sweet.

You’ll love that this apple pie can be totally prepared ahead of time.¬† In fact, it’s best that way.¬† Bake it and let it set overnight or at least several hours, so the filling has time to cool and thicken.¬† The pie reheats beautifully, especially if you’re going for a la mode.¬† Vanilla bean ice cream and warm pie…mmm.

Perfect Apple Pie with Flaky Butter Crust 6

Add this to your dessert list for the holidays… or really any day.¬† Apple pie lovers in your life will go nuts over this one.¬† That non-apple-pie eater just might experience a conversion to the other side. ¬† Enjoy!

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RECIPE (about 8 servings)

INGREDIENTS

For the filling:
1/2 cup butter
3 TB all purpose flour
3 TB  water, with 2 tsp cornstarch dissolved in it
1 TB vanilla extract
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
dash nutmeg
8 Granny Smith apples – peeled and sliced (not too thin)

For the dough (double crust):
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp table salt
1 cup butter, chilled and diced
1/2 cup very cold ice water
1 egg white, beaten
coarse sugar for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Prepare the dough (make ahead): 
In a large bowl, combine flour and salt.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, just until there remains small pea-sized butter chunks in the dough.  Gently stir in 1 TB of ice cold water at a time, until mixture starts to hold together.  It should be pliable enough to stick together when pinched, but not sticky.  Work the dough sparingly, using either pastry cutter or cold fingers.  The key is not to overwork the dough (avoid using food processor.)  The little chunks of butter should still be visible.

Gently form 2 dough balls (1 slightly larger than the other) and wrap well in plastic.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour (up to overnight.)

To make the pie:
Preheat oven to 425F and place rack on lower middle position.

Melt butter in a saucepan.  Stir in flour to form a roux.  Add water with dissolved cornstarch, white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Bring to a boil, and immediately reduce to barely simmer.  Keep sauce warm while you roll out the crust.

Roll the larger dough ball out to fit bottom/sides of  9-inch pie pan, with bit extra for edges.  If dough is firm, you may need to roll it out twice.  Place crust in bottom of pie pan.  Press evenly into the bottom and up sides of the pan.  Press down the edges.  Roll the smaller dough ball to fit over top of 9-inch pie pan.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine apple slices with the warm sugar sauce, reserving about 1/4 cup (or enough for brushing over top crust.)  Brush bottom crust with beaten egg white.  Fill with apple mixture, mounding.  Place top crust over filling, crimping tightly at edges to ensure good seal.  Cut several slits in top crust.  Brush remaining warm sugar sauce over entire top crust.  Sprinkle with coarse sugar and light dusting of cinnamon, if desired.

Place pie on a baking sheet and bake 15 minutes.  Reduce temp to 350F and bake another 35-45 minutes, until top crust is golden brown and apples are soft.  Use thin strips of foil to cover pie edges, if they start browning too quickly.

Cool before serving.¬† Enjoy…it is totally worth your work!

Source:¬† Chew Out Loud, adapted from Grandma Ople’s Apple Pie

Easy Pull Apart Sticky Buns

14 Dec

The holiday season seems to bring out the breakfast in people.  The holidays grant us special mornings when the family can sit down for breakfast together in a more leisurely manner, rather than the usual rush-off after scarfing down a bowl of cereal.

Easy Pull Apart Sticky Buns 2

A hot breakfast or brunch is actually my kids’ favorite meal year-round, but we don’t always have time for it.¬† We try really hard to have hot breakfast as a family at least on the weekends.¬† This is why I am often scouting for easy but delicious ideas for that first meal of the day.¬† These Pull Apart Sticky Buns are just that… so easy and delish.

Easy Pull Apart Sticky Buns 3

I love these phenomenal cinnamon rolls, which are the best ones we’ve had and totally unparalleled, at least in our book.¬†¬† If you taste those, you’ll be entering the hooked category.

But sometimes we just need something in a pinch.¬† These Easy Pull Apart Sticky Buns are one of the quickest solutions towards enjoying a tasty breakfast treat.¬† It’s perfect for holidays like Christmas morning, when the kids and family are calling for your attention away from the kitchen.¬† It’s equally great for any day of the year, when you just want a quick morning treat that is assembled in minutes.

Easy Pull Apart Sticky Buns

All you need is a couple tubes of buttermilk biscuits, and you’re good to go.¬† I like to use the natural (no artificial stuff) biscuits for mine.¬† Your favorite brand will do.¬† I use pecans in mine, but if you have nut allergies, just go without nuts.¬† This literally takes minutes to assemble.¬† We all love recipes that are super easy to pull off, yet wonderfully impressive.¬† Nobody has to know you didn’t slave for hours over these fabulous sticky buns.

Easy Pull Apart Sticky Buns 4

Yummy, yum, yum.¬† Said my beloved peeps.¬† This one’s a keeper for sure.

Now you have an excuse to sit down and enjoy a morning treat.¬† With minimal effort and lots of “mmm’s” coming your way!

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RECIPE (1 bundt pan)

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 tubes of large buttermilk biscuits
3 TB melted butter
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
powdered sugar for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375.  Generously grease a nonstick bundt pan.  Whisk together the melted butter and maple syrup in a bowl.  Set aside.

In another bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts until incorporated.

Pour half of the syrup mixture into bottom of greased bundt pan.  Sprinkle half of the brown sugar mixture on top.  Gently lay one biscuit at a time into the pan, overlapping them (like tilted dominoes.)  Use enough biscuits to form a ring of overlapping biscuits (I used 1 1/2 tubes.)  Top with rest of the syrup and brown sugar mixtures.

Bake on medium-lower rack for 20-22 minutes, or just until golden brown.  Cool a few minutes in pan.  Invert carefully onto serving plate, and serve immediately while still warm.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, slightly adapted from stamps4fun, via Pinterest

Turtles: Chocolate, Caramel, ‘n Pretzels

12 Dec

I don’t know where these little guys have been all my life.¬† I’ve seen variations around, but I finally got the chance to throw a turtle-making party of my own.¬† Chocolate?¬† Yes.¬† Caramel?¬† Got it.¬† Salty, sweet, and crispy?¬† Check, check, and check.¬† The most dangerous part:¬† they are way too easy to make.¬† Way.

Pretzel Turtles

I mean, really.¬† It takes but minutes to assemble these delicious morsels.¬† I wrote assemble on purpose, because that’s all you’re really doing with these awesome treats.¬† The kiddos actually gave up play time so they could make their own pretzel turtles (not pictured, on purpose.)

Pretzel Turtles 3

These turtle treats are made up of salty pretzels, Rolos, and pecans.¬† If you can’t do nuts, use a candy like M&M’s for the topping.¬† I’ve made nut-free turtles using colored sprinkles on top, which are super cute too.¬† They are fantastic for a quick snack.¬† You can technically make just one or two, very technically speaking.¬† If you put a bunch of these out at a party, they’ll be a huge hit on that snack or dessert table.¬† Don’t expect leftovers.

Pretzel Turtles 4

A drizzle of white chocolate makes these pretzel turtles pretty and ready for gift-giving.¬† These goodies are the perfect no-fuss treat to give to all those peeps you appreciate so much.¬† You know…teachers, friends, volunteers, neighbors, bus driver, mail carrier…

Pretzel Turtles 5

Y-U-M.¬† Yum.¬† Want…need.¬† Grab a bag of pretzels, some Rolos, and toppings next time you’re at the store.¬† Keep it in your pantry for all those little emergencies in life. ūüôā¬† Happy turtle eating!

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RECIPE (40 candies)

INGREDIENTS
40 salted butter pretzels, round
40 Rolo candies, regular (not mini)
2-3 oz chopped unsalted pecans, toasted
4-5 oz good quality white chocolate morsels

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 300F.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Arrange pretzels evenly on baking sheets in a single layer.  Place a Rolo on center of each pretzel (if not centered well, it can melt off the pretzel)

Bake 3 minutes on center rack.  Remove baking sheet from oven and immediately press on the toasted pecans. Cool.

Place white chocolate in a small bowl and microwave in 20 second increments, mixing in between, until smooth and melted.  Scrape melted white chocolate into a ziploc bag, cut a very tiny hole at bottom corner, and drizzle immediately onto pretzel turtles.  If chocolate hardens, just microwave for a few seconds and resume.

Source: Chew Out Loud, adapted from allrecipes

Note:¬† To toast pecans, I use my toaster oven and toast the nuts for 2-3 minutes.¬† If using your oven, you can lay chopped pecans in single layer on baking sheet at 325F.¬† Brush with a little melted butter, if desired.¬† Toast about 5 minutes, depending on oven.¬† Just until aromatic and browned, but watch that they don’t burn.

Double Chocolate Biscotti Cookies

10 Dec

Is anyone else in the heartland feeling the sudden freeze?  The frost has definitely found us in MN.

To all my beautiful Californian family & friends:¬† I love you dearly and miss you more than you know…but I just can’t read any more Facebook posts about your “weather” out there.¬†¬† Because it makes me want to cry and go stare longingly at my collection of flip flops.

I need cookies.  Double Chocolate Biscotti cookies to the rescue.

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I know many people in our current Midwestern stomping ground who are enjoying the sudden blanket of heavy snow today.¬† True, I do enjoy how pristine and beautiful fresh snow can be.¬† To say the kids were excited is an understatement.¬† They immediately donned their rugged snow gear and threw themselves into the thick white powder, and “helped” Daddy shovel.

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But some snow days (today) are semi-crazy.¬† When huge snow plows can’t keep up, when too many cars are stuck on the side of roads, and when people (Hubby) spend all of Sunday clearing the driveway… well, that’s not such great fun.¬† Semi-crazy days like today are good for staying in.¬† Ok, we didn’t really stay in…not at all.¬† But it would have been a good day for it.

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For those mornings or afternoons when you can stay in and sip on a hot mug of coffee or tea… bring in these double chocolate Biscotti cookies.¬† They are the perfect dunking cookie.¬† I used to think Biscotti would be tricky to make from scratch, but I started making these a few years ago and fell in love with homemade Biscotti.¬† They are pretty straighforward, extremely flexible (any fave add-ins would be yummy), and best of all?¬† They keep so, so well.¬† Biscotti is classically crisp in texture (dunking perfection) and they stay nicely crunchy at room temp for days.¬† Or frozen for much longer.

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This recipe will make enough Biscotti to give away as yummy Christmas treats, or you can keep some in the freezer for a quick morning or afternoon treat when you need it. ¬† In fact, I just made a batch to give to my girlfriend’s lovely family.¬† There was enough leftover to go with Hubby’s coffee at breakfast.¬† And kids’ afternoon snack.¬† And my breakfast + snack.

To make it Christmas-y, I added dried cranberries.¬† They are a perfect addition for a holiday breakfast/brunch or cookie exchange.¬† Enjoy these cookies, stay warm, and romp a little in the snow.¬† If you’re lucky enough to get snow ūüôā

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RECIPE (approx. 40-50 cookies)

INGREDIENTS

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp fine salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup canola or light olive oil
1 1/2 cup sugar
4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
4 large eggs
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 300F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl.  Set aside.

In another large bowl, mix oil and sugar until well blended.  Add vanilla extract, almond extract, and eggs.  Beat until well incorporated.  Gradually stir egg mixture in with the flour mixture.  Mix in cranberries and semi sweet chocolate chips by hand.  Dough may be sticky; place in fridge for 30 minutes to help with stickiness.

Divide dough into equal thirds (using wet hands here will help with sticky fingers.)¬† Form each third into logs, about 12×3 each, on the parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake 35-40 minutes on middle rack, until lightly brown and mostly firm to the touch.  Place light cloth over logs and cool for at least 30 minutes or until they are almost room temp.  Turn oven down to 275F.

Carefully cut cooled logs on diagonal, into slices that are a little less than 1 inch thick.  Depending on your knife, you might either press down very gently to get clean cuts, or you might use a gentle sawing motion.  I use my sharp bread knife.  Lay Biscotti onto their sides, on parchment covered baking sheets.  Bake 10 minutes.  Flip and bake 10 minutes more.  Biscotti is done when they feel dry.  Cool on cooling racks.

Melt white chocolate in small bowl in microwave, in approx. 30 second increments, until smooth and melted.  Transfer melted white chocolate into a plastic baggie, cut a very tiny hole in bottom corner, and drizzle over Biscotti.  Happy dunking!

By: Chewoutloud

Note:  If desired, you can do an egg wash over the dough logs before baking.  Just beat 1 egg with 1 TB water and brush onto logs.

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