Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Daring cookies!

Holiday season is the time for sharing and Peta of Peta Eats is sharing a dozen cookies, some classics and some of her own, from all over the world with us.  I had grand plans of making several of these cookies; but I failed!  I only made one!  It's crazy how a month can get away from you.  The cookie I did manage to make, however, was amazing!  I made these turtle bars. 

It is very buttery - I actually sopped some of the butter off the base after baking it the first part.  I could eat just the base and be happy!  I took them to the ER when I worked earlier this month and the residents really liked them...one even asked for the recipe.  So, try them out for your holiday party! 

Truffle Bars
2 cups (280 gm) (10 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 cup (200 gm) (7 oz) brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) mixed spice
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) melted butter

Caramel Layer
¾ cup (180 gm) (6-1/3 oz) butter
1 cup (200 gm) (7 oz) brown sugar, firmly packed
1½ cups (200 gm) (7 oz) pecans chopped into 1/4 -inch (2/3-cm) pieces

Top Layer
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (200 gm) (7 oz) dark eating chocolate or chocolate chips!
 toasted pecans (1 for each piece after cutting)

Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F/ 180°C/gas mark 4.  Grease or line with bake paper a 13”x 9” x 2” (33cm x 23 cm x 5 cm) baking tin.  Mix the dry ingredients well in a medium size bowl and mix in the cup of melted butter. Press evenly into lined tin. Bake for 10 minutes.  Scatter the chopped pecans over the base. Bake for another 5 minutes.

While the base is baking melt the ¾ cup (180 gm) (6 1/3 oz) butter in a small pot over low heat. Add the brown sugar and stir until smooth.  Heat over a medium heat until the entire surface is bubbling.  Pour over the base and spread evenly.  Bake for 10 minutes or until the surface is covered with bubbles. 

While this step is baking break up the chocolate and chop or blitz in a food processor until the chocolate is in small ¼ “ (1cm) chunks.  Spread evenly over slice as soon as it comes out of the oven.  Let it sit for 2 or 3 minutes and then smooth the chocolate with a spoon.

Roast the pecans on a lower shelf for 5 minutes (or until they smell cooked) while the base is cooking then let them cool. Place the pecans evenly over the chocolate while it is still soft so when you cut the bake into pieces there is a pecan on each square. Or sprinkle chopped roasted pecans over the top.  Cool completely in the pan before cutting.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Maple Bread Pudding

I have been looking forward to this week for a LONG time!  MANY months ago, partly because my dreaded boards were between then and now and partly because I just love Thanksgiving.  It is when my dad's entire side of the family gets together.  D had the week off and I took vacation as well.  We went to his family the first part of the week and then to mine the second half.  I always like to try new things and decided to try some bread pudding for dessert and macaroni and cheese for D.  It took a while to find a bread pudding recipe that I thought sounded interesting but this one sounded good and I had a bottle of read maple syrup to use.  In the end, it wasn't quite what I was looking for but was fairly good.  It ended up being a bit too sweet and definitely needed to be warm.  My cousin described it perfectly..."It's like eating pancakes!"  I did use "rustic" bread like the recipe suggested but would prefer a bit less tough bread next time.  D said it was good but I thought it was too sweet...you could probably decrease the amount of maple syrup without any damage done.  If anyone has any suggestions for bread pudding recipes, let me know!

Maple Syrup Bread Pudding adapted from An Hour in the Kitchen
9 cups of bread (any bread will do but a stale rustic loaf is best)
2 cups of milk (or cream)
1 1/2 cups of maple syrup (could use less)
4 eggs
1/2 cup of pecans
1 teaspoon cinnamon
dash salt

Preheat oven to 350. Tear bread into one-inch pieces.  Add bread to 13X9 pan. Toast for 5-10 minutes (would probably skip this next time). Mix milk, maple syrup, eggs, cinnamon, walnuts and salt and pour over heated bread.  Return pan to the oven and bake again for 30-45.  Top with a confectioner's sugar glaze (sugar + water to the desired consistency) if desired. Serve warm.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Mixer Not Required

During the month of August, D was on a rotation where he was on call every 4th night.  This meant that I kept K every 4th night.  I did quite a bit of baking that month...some with her and some after she went to bed.  This was a cookie that she helped me to make.
K making cookies for Daddy

  D liked it a lot and even said his dad would like them.  Word to the wise, do NOT use light butter for this.  The second time I made these for D's dad, I had accidentally purchased light butter and didn't have any regular butter.  It just didn't turn out nearly as well...still okay but not stellar. 
The original...stellar!  There is just something about butter melted in a pan that makes a unique flavor even if it's not quite browned.  Try these out with YOUR little kitchen helper sometime!

Saucepan M&M Cookies
8 tablespoons (1stick) butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chip cookies
1/2 cup M&M's

Preheat oven to 350.  Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Remove from the heat and add the sugars.  Whisk until smooth.  Let cool for 5 minutes.  Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix.  When butter mixture has cooled, add the egg and vanilla.  Stir well.  Add the flour and stir until blended.  Let this cool well.  Stir in chocolate chips and candy. 

For large cookies, use a 1/4 cup measure to scoop dough; place on prepared pan.  For regular sized cookies, use a Tablespoon sized scoop.  Place pan in oven and bake for 12-15 minutes.  Remove when done and let cool on pan, then remove to cooling rack.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Ring Cake

Remember back in February when D surprised me by making a cake to take to Sunday School?!  Well, he did it again!  This time it was the Sunday after we got engaged.  He made an apple-butterscotch ring cake.  He said he thought it was appropriate seeing as we were celebrating the gift of a ring.  ;-)  He knows that I prefer a non-chocolate something and like apple.  It turned out great! 

Unlike my pictures...sorry!  I especially loved the goodies (pieces of the cake that either break off or fall to the plate...the best part!).  D said he ended up using 1 1/2 apples and it was still a lot of apple.  If you're looking for a fall recipe to make for a get together, for Thanksgiving, or just for fun, try this one out!

Apple-Butterscotch Ring Cake
Apple base
3 SMALL apples peeled and chopped (2 1/2 cups)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon apple pie spice (or a combination of cinnamon and nutmeg)
1/4 cup butter, melted

1 box yellow cake mix
1 box butterscotch instant pudding
1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Prepare a bundt pan with cooking spray.  In a medium bowl, top apples, pecans, butterscotch chips, brown sugar, spices, and butter.  Set aside until ready to use.

In a large mixing bowl beat all the cake ingredients together, scraping frequently.  Pour the apple mixture into the prepared pan.  Pour the better on top of this.  Bake for 55 minutes or until golden and springs back when touched.  Place heatproof plate on top and turn the plate over.  Remove the pan an allow cake to cool slightly.  Enjoy!