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Cinnamon Sugar Pecans

4 Apr

I saw these little beauties in passing on foodgawker.

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I knew I would be making cookie packages to mail to my friends.

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I decided that this would also be the perfect thing to toss into the mix, too!

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This recipe is very easy, with hardly any energy expended, but so much to gain! These are great to put out for appetizers or to accompany dessert with friends.

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CINNAMON and SUGAR PECANS

Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg white
  • 3 cups pecan halves
  • 1/3 cup cinnamon & sugar
  • 2 teaspoons good vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

*For a cinnamon sugar mixture: use one tablespoon cinnamon to 1/3 cup sugar. Be sure to use good quality cinnamon.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

1. Whisk the egg white in a cup. Pour the egg whites over the nuts, stirring until the nuts are coated with egg white.

2. In a small bowl, stir the cinnamon, vanilla, sugar, and salt together. Add the cinnamon sugar mixture to the nuts, a little a time, while stirring.

3. Spread the coated nuts on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes without stirring. Use a spatula to remove the nuts from the hot baking sheet immediately. Allow to cool thoroughly before storing in tightly closed container. It took a while for mine to dry – so be prepared to lay them out for a few hours. Store in a cool place.

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Mexican Flan

26 Mar

There arent too many Mexican desserts. But one of the most popular mexican desserts is flan.

I decided to make Mexican Flan for Mexican Supper Club back in October. I was a little nervous since I’ve never made a custard before. I knew immediately to set up the basics – line a large roasting pan with a dish towel and place my flan pan inside so that everything is ready.

I struggled with the first step of making the caramel topping. I boiled the sugar water 3 times without it turning out right before I called the expert……my mom! Without having made this before either, she surmised that my heat wasnt high enough when simmering the sugar water mixture. She was right and it turned dark and was ready to go! I dont know how, but moms are always right.

The rest of the flan came together real easy after that.

Because my oven was having issues, it took a bit long than expected to cook through and in the process the top (well, really the bottom) got a little dark….You can see it in the pictures later on in the bottom of the plate.

I was especially nervous when the time came to flip the flan upright onto the plate in front of my dinner guests. Basically, you wait until it’s cooled completely, run a knife around the edges, then hold a plate on top of the pan, and flip the entire thing over so that the flan has the caramel part on top.

Look how perfectly this worked! SUCCESS! It looks gorgeous, too.

And then we finally got to try it at the end of our mexican meal. It was out of this world. I nailed the taste and the texture!! Again, dont mind the dark part on the bottom of the plate. My oven is to blame.

Mexican Flan

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tblsp water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1.5 cups 2 percent milk
  • ¼ tsp lemon zest

Directions:

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 350 degrees.

Place dish towel in bottom of large roasting pan and place 9-inch cake pan in center.

Bring sugar and water to boil in small saucepan, swirling saucepan gently until sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes.

Reduce to simmer and cook, gently swirling saucepan occasionally, until mixture turns deep, dark mahogany color, 7-10 minutes. Carefully pour caramel into cake pan and cool slightly until hardened.

Bring kettle or large saucepan of water to boil over high heat. Meanwhile, whisk eggs and yolks together in medium bowl until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Whisk in condensed milk, 2 percent milk, and lemon zest. Pour mixture into cake pan and gently place roasting pan on oven rack. Be careful not to splash any water inside pan of custard, pour boiling water into roasting pan until water reaches halfway up the side of the cake pan.

Bake until center of custard is just barely set and is no longer sloshy, 30-40 minutes. Start checking after 25 minutes.

Carefully remove roasting pan from oven and careful transfer cake pan to wire rack and let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Cover cake pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

Run knife around cake pan to loosen custard. Invert large serving platter over top of cake pan and grasping both cake pan and platter, gently flip custard onto platter, drizzling any extra caramel sauce over top (some will remain in pan). Serve.

Can be made ahead 2 days – cover tightly on top with saran wrap so it hits the custard.

Country Apple Galette

24 Feb

I saw this Jacques Pepin recipe last fall in Food and Wine Magazine (October 2011) and immediately bookmarked it.

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I still had a fear of the pie crust last year – I hadn’t had a lesson with my mom yet where she taught me her pie crust recipe. But I desperately wanted to make something apple pie-like for Robb since that’s his fave. This recipe was awesome because the crust gets made in 10 seconds in the food processor!!!

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I got to use my apple peeler/corer/slicer that my mom gave me last year! I love this thing and HIGHLY suggest it if you don’t have one. This is the ultimate tool for someone who works with apples a lot. And some of the best baking apples that I used are: honeycrisp, pink lady, and granny smith.

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I really liked that the crust for this open-faced pie was made quickly in the food processor. No mashing the Crisco into the flour mixture by fork! Even though making pie crusts by hand are easy, too. IMG_1295

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Luckily for my lack of perfectionism, this crust is free-form and you can shape it however you like. It can be rectangle, square, round, whatever! Mine are mostly oval with some deviations 🙂

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The apple-cinnamon-sugar mixture tastes amazing – but with the honey in the mix, too, it’s out of this world!!!!

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I know my edges look burnt – but that was just the sugar that leaked out over the sides of the crust.

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OMG sooooooooo good. This is an awesome apple pie alternative if you have some friends come over. It’s easy to assemble and looks great for a casual meal.

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Country Apple Galette

Ingredients:

Pastry:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup ice water

Topping:

  • 4 Golden Delicious apples
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon honey, preferably wildflower
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Directions:

In a food processor, combine the flour with the sugar, salt and butter and process for about 5 seconds. Sprinkle the ice water over the flour mixture and process until the pastry just begins to come together, about 10 seconds; you should still be able to see small pieces of butter in it. Transfer the pastry to a work surface, gather it together and pat into a disk. Wrap the pastry in plastic or wax paper and refrigerate until chilled. (You can also roll out the pastry and use it right away – which is what I normally do.)

Peel, halve and core the apples and slice them crosswise 1/4 inch thick. Set aside the larger center slices and coarsely chop the end slices and any broken ones; about half of the slices should be chopped. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon.

Preheat the oven to 400°. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to a 12-by-14-inch rectangle and transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet. Spread the chopped apples over the pastry to within 1 inch of the edge. Drizzle the honey over the chopped apples. Decoratively arrange the apple slices on top in concentric circles or in slightly overlapping rows. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the apples and dot with the pieces of butter. Fold the pastry edge up and over the apples to create a 1-inch border.

Bake the galette for about 1 hour, until the pastry is nicely browned and crisp and all of the apples are tender. Transfer the pan to a rack and let the galette cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

NOTE: The buttery pastry can be refrigerated overnight if you want to make the crust ahead of time.

Mrs. Olson’s Banana Bread with Buttercream Frosting

21 Dec

When my girlfriends and I were visiting Jen Olson in Iowa last fall, we talked a lot about food and recipes. We started to swap some recipes as well. Jen showed me her mom’s banana bread recipe and I quickly asked Jen to email it to me.

This bread is heavenly. It’s like no other banana bread I’ve ever had. It’s much more of a cake than anything.

You can really taste the brown sugar in the recipe – I think that’s what sets it apart from the rest. That, and there is a great amount of bananas added. Pay no mind to the burned quality of the bread……my oven was in poor shape 😦

And the icing…..oh man. This buttercream icing will now be my GO-TO icing for everything from now on. It is fabulous and sweet and creamy. I will probably need to make it its own blog post in the near future.

It’s a very simple bread, that is very people-pleasing. I took some in to share with my co-workers after Hurricane Sandy, and it was eaten immediately.

I am so thrilled that Jen shared her mom’s recipe with me. This will be my only banana bread recipe that I will ever need for life.

Look at this stuff……..sinful!!!!!

Mrs. Olson’s Banana Bread with Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups brown sugar (you can sub a cup of white for one of brown if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups mashed very ripe bananas
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 loaf pans.

Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs and vanilla and bananas. Add dry ingredients last.

Pour in loaf pans. Bake at 350 45-50 minutes or until done. (start checking around 40 minutes)

Jen’s mom served this bread with a buttercream frosting recipe that she added just a little bit more milk to make it a creamy spread.

The BEST Buttercream Frosting:

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup half & half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup

Directions:

Beat butter in large bowl at medium speed until creamy.

Gradually add powdered sugar and salt alternately with half & half and vanilla, scraping bowl often, until well mixed.

Stir in corn syrup.

When loaves are fully cooled, spread over top and serve.

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Icing

6 Dec

It’s still considered fall. And I wanted to make something fall-y and pumpkin-y for my co-workers.

I perused some online recipes and found this one. It looked easy and somewhat healthy. Pumpkin is healthy, right? 🙂

These bars were so darn moist and flavorful! They had just the right amount of cinnamon and allspice without being too over-powering.

And the cream cheese icing…..I mean, you could slap cream cheese icing on most baked goods and it makes it that much more amazing. But this was just incredible.

I think everyone should just whip these up real quick – they will please almost anyone. It’s a perfect treat for family, friends, and co-workers!

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 and 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 14oz. can pure organic pumpkin
  • 2 cups  all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice

Frosting:

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions:

1. For the Bars: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour a 9×13 pan and set aside. Mix flour, soda, powder and cinnamon in a small mixing bowl and set aside.

2. In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment mix the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until completely smooth and blended. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients until fully combined. Stop as needed to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.

3. Spread the batter into the pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the center is set and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely to room temperature before frosting.

For the Frosting:

In a mix whip together cream cheese and butter. Then add sugar and vanilla. Blend until smooth.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 Nov

I wanted to make something fall-ish and pumpkin-y….are they words? I dont think so, but we’ll just go with it!

The batter came together easily and as soon as I whipped them up and doled them out on cookie sheets, I knew they would be good.

They are very cakey in texture. I think the pumpkin taste could be a bit stronger…..maybe a smidge more of the nutmeg maybe?

This batch of delicious goodies went with me to work for some team meetings…..And it was devoured in 2 days. ‘Nuff said.

Pumpkin-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, soft
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1  3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1  1/4 cup milk chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugars, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt.

In a separate large bowl or stand-mixer, cream butter. Then slowly add  larger dry flour/sugar mixture in batches.

Add the egg and pumpkin. Then the rolled oats and chocolate chips.

Drop heaping spoonfuls onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake 10-12 minutes.

Zucchini Bread

14 Oct

It’s that time of year when the zucchini is plentiful and it’s being sold DIRT CHEAP. I love to buy a bunch of odd-shaped zucchini from the farmers market and turn it into zucchini bread!

This is my mom’s recipe. It’s really the only zucchini bread I’ve ever known. And I am boldly saying that it is the ONLY recipe you will ever need for this bread.

Hand grating….the old fashioned way

Start off with freshly grated zucchini. You can either run it through the food processor grating-blade if you are doing a couple batches – fast and easy. Or if you are just whipping up 1-2 batches, you can grate your zucchini on a hand-grater (see above).

The ingredients really come together quite easy.

If you are a nut person, DEFINITELY add the walnuts. I am not really a nut person, but I know that the walnuts take this zucchini bread from great to amazing!! You can also add raisins if you like, but I never do.

I tend to go nuts and make a TON of the little mini-loaves and bring them to work, give them to friends/family, and also keep some in the freezer to pull out on a random night.

You can see the zucchini, but it just tastes like heaven

Cant you get a whiff of the cinnamon??? My house smelled like sugar and cinnamon for a day after I made the latest batch…..yum!

Joan’s Zucchini Bread

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2.5 cups of sugar
  • 2+ cups grated raw zucchini
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour your pans. This recipe makes either 6 little loaf pans, 1 9×5 loaf pan, 2 large loaf pans, or 1 3-quart bundt pan.

Beat the eggs until foamy. Gradually beat in oil and sugar.

Add cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and baking powder – mix well. Then add grated zucchini.

Gradually blend in flour. Then fold in chopped nuts.

Bake for 1 hour. This bread freezes really well.

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