Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Chocolate Gingerbread Truffles

I found the recipe for these cookies at and noticed that they lacked eggs.  The cookies were soooo delicious with extra ginger, molasses, and chocolate that I thought, "Why not cookie dough truffles?"  And that is exactly what I did.  I took out the baking soda and chocolate chunks, rolled them into balls, and after some refridgeration I dipped them in chocolate.  Our favorite is the white chocolate, it just kind of balances the cookie dough out.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1 1/2 tsp boiling water
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
Favorite dipping chocolate - I use Bada Bing Bada Boom

In bowl beat the butter and the grated ginger until light and fluffy.  Add brown sugar, boiling water and molasses; mix until combined.  Add in flour, cocoa, and spices mixing until just combined.  Roll into 1/2"-3/4" balls and place in fridge for 30 min.  Remove and dip in chocolate. 

Go ahead and try one, though I'm not sure you can stop at just one.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Caramel Cashew Bars

You  know, it would probably help my weight loss goal if I stopped making all these sweets.  But where's the fun in that?  So with that in mind I bring you these bars.

These are a perfect mix of salty and sweet, crunchy and gooey.  They have taken me 4 tries to get down, not that the family is complaining, but I'm done and here they are for your eating pleasure.

12 Tbsp butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
3 cup flour

Cut together until crumbly.  Press into bottom of 9X13" pan that has been lined with foil and greased.  Bake at 350*F for 20 min.  Remove from oven. Top with 2 cups chopped salted cashews.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup water
4 Tbsp butter, cut into cubes
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 Tbsp salt
1/2 tsp maple extract

In saucepan, mix the sugar, water and syrup on low until sugar is dissolved.  Crank up the heat to high and bring to 315*F  Remove from heat and add in the butter; stir until melted.  Now stir in the cream, careful it may bubble lots.  Add in salt and maple extract.

Pour caramel over nuts making sure all are covered.  Gently sprinkle 2 cups mini-marshmallows on top and gently press into caramel so they stick.  Turn oven to broil and when ready carefully brown the marshmallow tops.  Decorate top with 3oz good dark chocolate that has been melted.  When all is cooled and the chocolate has hardened use a greased knife to cut into squares and enjoy.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cranberry Apple Salad

This little salad is a Thanksgiving tradition.  It is very simple in nature and just adds a little zing to the table.  Plan ahead though because this does need some fridge time.

12 oz bag cranberries, fresh or frozen, chopped
2 cup sugar
2 cup grated apples, I leave the peels on
2 cup mini-marshmallows
8oz cool whip

In a bowl with a lid stir the cranberries and sugar; place in fridge for 12-16 hours.  Add the grated apples and marshmallows.  Return to fridge for 2 more hours or until ready to serve.  Just before serving stir in the cool whip.

Ceddar Herb Biscuits

If you are a fan of Red Lobster biscuits, then you will love these.  I'm not sure I've ever been to Red Lobster before, so I had no idea what all the hullabaloo was about when people would rave about the biscuits.  It just so happens that on Black Friday instead of going shopping Doug and I went to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and afterwards had dinner at said restaurant.  Yummm!  I love a good fish dish and the ones we had were, but the biscuits were also superb.  I remembered that I had seen a copycat recipe for the biscuits and decided to make them at home.  They were good, but not great so of course I had to play around.  These biscuits were born and one I will repeat. 

2 1/2 cup flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1/2 cup shortening
2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme

In bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.  Cut in the butter and the shortening with pastry blender or fork.  Pour in buttermilk and stir just until moistened.  Do not over stir or this will make for hard biscuits.  Gently fold in the cheese.  Drop onto greased baking sheet and cook at 450*F for 12-15 min.  (I used my large cookie scoop to shape biscuits)  When fresh out of the oven, mix the melted butter with the remaining garlic powder and thyme and brush tops of biscuits.  Enjoy!

Take 5 or more

I made a version of these for a friend over the spring and she fell in love.  She also said they were similar to a Take 5 bar, I've never had one so I have to take her word for it.  However, whatever the name I'm not sure you can stop taking at 5.  These may seem hard to make at first glance but really they are easy and so delicious.  Try one or 5 today :)

Pretzels - I like the square shaped ones
Favorite dipping chocolate, I use Chocoley Bada Bing Bada Boom Enrobing
Caramels - homemade or store bought (Peter's)
2 cups sugar
2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup butter
2 cups heavy cream, split
In saucepan, stir together, on medium-high heat, the sugar; syrup; butter; and 1 cup heavy cream.  After 5 mins wash down sides with a pastry brush and a little water.  Place candy thermometer in pan and boil until 244*F is reached.  Stir in last cup of heavy cream.  Be careful it will boil furiously.  Return to a boil and bring to 241*F.  Pour into foil lined and greased 9X13" pan.  Cool.

Peanut butter Fudge:
1 cup butter
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp maple extract
1 lb powdered sugar

In saucepan, melt the butter and the peanut butter.  Remove from heat and stir in the extract and powdered sugar.  Pour into a foil lined and greased 8" square pan.  Cool.

Make the caramel and fudge the morning you wish to make these candies.  In the evening (I made my caramel at 8am and put the candies together at 7pm) get everything together and start making the candies.

Cut your fudge and caramels into squares the same size or slightly smaller than your pretzel.  On a foil covered baking sheet lay out the pretzels, top with fudge piece and top that with caramel.  The easiest way to do the caramel is to flatten it so that it is thin and will cover the fudge, lay it over the fudge and gently press it into the pretzel so it "holds" together for dipping.  I do the whole pan this way and then dip so the chocolate doesn't harden on me.  Melt your chocolate according to package directions and dip.  Let harden completely and eat or store if you must :)