Sunday, December 23, 2007

Truffle Time

So apparently I have been missing out on one of the greatest pleasures on Earth: Oreo Truffles. They are a regularly requested recipe all over the Internet and even in this household. So I finally decided to make them, since I can take them to our Christmas celebrations and not have them sitting around the house tempting me. They were actually really easy to make, but next time I will use our new food processor to crush the cookies, since I did not end up making them small enough. But they are really good, and I think everyone will really like them.

Oreo Truffles

1 pkg. (1 lb., 2 oz.) OREO Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, divided

1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened

2 pkg. (8 oz. each) BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, melted

1. CRUSH 9 of the cookies to fine crumbs in food processor; reserve for later use. (Cookies can also be finely crushed in a resealable plastic bag using a rolling pin.) Crush remaining 36 cookies to fine crumbs; place in medium bowl. Add cream cheese; mix until well blended. Roll cookie mixture into 42 balls, about 1-inch in diameter.

2. DIP balls in chocolate; place on wax paper-covered baking sheet. (Any leftover chocolate can be stored at room temperature for another use.) Sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs.

3. REFRIGERATE until firm, about 1 hour. Store leftover truffles, covered, in refrigerator.

Big Time Yum

So the girls on the WC board are responsible for most of the really yummy items in my kitchen rotation, including the most requested cookies I have ever made. These cookies are one of the most popular items on the board, and since I made them the first time over the summer, everyone has been asking for them. So I decided to make them for the goody baskets that I am giving out for Christmas. Plus, I figured since these are the cookies in the jars I am giving out, I should make some so everyone knows what to look forward to with the jars.

Big Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

From Now That's What's Cooking

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 egg

1 egg yolk

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.

4. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Gifts in a jar

So for Christmas this year we decided to give out gifts in a jar to some of our friends and family. The one before was for one of our close friends, and now we are making some for family that will be here for Christmas and our wedding. We ended up doing chicken soup and big fat chewy chocolate chip cookies in a jar. They were a little tedious to make, but I think everyone will like them. The jars are some that I found at Wal-Mart and the recipe cards are ones I found in the dollar bin at Michael's. I wrote what was in the jar on the back of the card, so that people can make them again. I always hate when you get one of these and love them and then do not know what was in the jar.
These baskets are also going to have a jar of spiced nuts in them.

The cookies are the ones in the post below, just the dry ingredients and the chips, with a cute recipe card attached saying what else needs to go in. I figure everyone loves these cookies, so I thought I would share the recipe.

The soup recipe came out of a Gifts in a Jar cookbook. I love chicken soup and was trying to think of nice, comforting recipes to put in the baskets, so I thought these were perfect.

Here is the recipe for the soup

Chicken Noodle Soup Mix
From Gifts In A Jar

4 cups wide egg noodles

2 tbsp dried minced onion

2 tbsp chicken bouillon granules

2 tsp celery flakes1 tsp pepper
Layer ingredients in the order given into a wide mouth

1 quart canning jar

Pack each layer in place before adding the next.
Attach gift tag with cooking directions.

Cooking Directions:

1 jar Chicken Noodle Soup Mix

2 (5 oz) cans chicken

Bring 10 cups of water to a boil in a large soup pot. Add the Chicken Noodle Soup Mix. Add chicken, breaking it up well with a fork. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer uncovered for 12-15 minutes or until noodles are tender.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Time!

So for Christmas this year we have decided to give most of our friends and family food baskets filled with sweet treats and a couple of different gifts in a jar. We figure the jars are something for them to take home an enjoy later and the sweet treats are something to help them get through the craziness of our wedding, which is four days after Christmas. We actually found the jars, the baggies, and the baskets at Wal-Mart, the jars were with the canning things, the baggies were with the holiday baking items, and the baskets were in the Christmas section. The basket are going to have snickerdoodles and sugar cookies, french chocolates, and divinity (see the recipes below). This one has a gift in a jar of the dry ingredients for big fat chewy chocolate chip cookies. These cookies are a favorite on the WC Board and everyone I have made them for loves them. I also made candy cane hearts by taping candy canes together to form a heart, I think it looks pretty neat and adds a whimsical touch to the baskets for the little kids. This basket also has a baby gift in it (two of our recipients are pregnant, so we got a little something for the future baby). These baskets were really fun to make and everything in them is really good, hopefully everyone will love them.
Big Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
4. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Mom's French Chocolates

So for my holiday baskets I decided to make my mom's French Chocolates. These are always one of my favorite things to make and eat at the holidays, so I was really excited to try making them myself. They have to chill and then they are really messy when you roll them out, but they are so worth it! I love them, and hopefully so will everyone who gets some.

Mom's French Chocolates

From My Mom

1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (can also use dark chocolate or mint)

1 can sweetened condensed milk

Sprinkles, powdered sugar, or cocoa for topping

Melt the chocolate chips in a bowl, add the sweetened condensed milk and stir well. Refrigerate until completely chilled. Scoop out into small balls and roll between into nice round balls. Roll in choice of topping(sprinkles, powdered sugar or cocoa). Allow to set and harden, keep refrigerated.

Sugar Cookies

So I started making goodies for my holiday gift baskets, the first of which I am giving out tomorrow. I am trying to keep the items simple, classic, and yummy. So, obviously, sugar cookies were a must. I had been intending to roll these out and use cookie cutters on them, but my dough did not want to cooperate, so instead I just did drop cookies and rolled them in red and green sugar. These were really good, even though I think the butter I used did not want to work with me, but luckily they turned out really yummy. I got the recipe from Carrie's Cooking Adventure, which is a blog from one of the ladies on the WC Board, and she got the recipe from Joelen, who is also on the WC Board. She made icing for them, but I tend to like my sugar cookies with sugar more than with icing, you can find the icing recipe on her page.

Super Sugar Cookies

From Carrie's Cooking Adventure

3/4 cup margarine
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

1. Cream margarine and sugar well.
2. Add vanilla and eggs; combine well.
3. In separate bowl, sift the baking powder, salt and flour. Add to wet ingredients slowly until thoroughly combined.
4. Cookie dough must be chilled until firm, or overnight.
5. Remove dough from fridge and roll out to a 1/4-inch thickness.
6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
7. With cookie cutters or rim of drinking glass, cut out cookies.
8. Place cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, depending on oven. Check often to prevent over cooking or burning. Cool on baking rack when done.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Recipe Exchange

So this food board that I go to did a Holiday Recipe Exchange this year. People sent in a recipe for a sweet treat and then they were shuffled up by one great member and sent out anonymously to those who participated. Well, I sent in a yummy recipe (I can't say what yet) and got a similar one back. I was kinda freaked out by it, because I have never made done sugar work before. I even had to go buy a candy thermometer to make this! It was kinda hard and really time consuming, but I'm happy to say they turned out (I think, I've never actually had divinty before, but I'm pretty sure this is what they are supposed to be like.) I won't know who sent me the recipe until the reveal on the 22nd, and as of right now I don't have a guess. But I'm glad I got this recipe, it was fun to try something new.

Mama's Divinity
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen
Show: Paula's Home Cooking
Episode: A Candy Occasion
4 cups sugar
1 cup white corn syrup
3/4 cup cold water
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
2 cups chopped pecans
In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir only until sugar has dissolved. Do not stir after this point. Cook syrup mixture until it reaches 250 degrees F on a candy thermometer, bringing it to a hard ball stage.
While the syrup is cooking, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Once the sugar mixture reaches 250 degrees F, carefully pour a slow steady stream of syrup into the stiffly beaten egg whites, beating constantly at high speed. Add the vanilla and continue to beat until mixture holds its shape, approximately 5 minutes. Stir in pecans. Using 2 spoons, drop the divinity onto waxed paper, using 1 spoon to push the candy off the other. This may take a little practice because the technique is to twirl the pushing spoon, making the candy look like the top of a soft serve ice cream. If the candy becomes too stiff, add a few drops > of hot water. You will need to work fast when making this type of candy. After you spoon the cooked sugar and nuts onto the waxed paper, you're done. Cool the candies on racks completely. You can store them in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Monday, December 10, 2007


So, it has been forever since I posted a blog. I have no idea why I thought it was a good idea to start a blog so close to finals. I've been so busy I've barely had time to make a decent dinner, let alone anything blog-worthy. But I did manage to make cookies a few days ago. This is a recipe out of the pink plaid edition of the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that D got me for my birthday last year. I had never made this recipe before and am always hunting for a great snickerdoodle recipe, and this one definitely fit the bill. I think you will love them. But a piece of advice, you might want to double the recipe. I had to make a second batch the same day because they were so good. Enjoy!

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Makes about 36 cookies
Prep: 25 minutes

Chill: 1 hour

Bake: 10 to 11 minutes per batch

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. In a medium mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the 1 cup sugar, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and vanilla. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
2. In a small mixing bowl combine the 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in the sugar-cinnamon mixture to coat. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
3. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 10 to 11 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool. Makes about 36 cookies.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Getting nutty

I decided that I wanted to try something a new for a snack on Thanksgiving so I board through my starred recipes on my Google Reader. After combing through every delicious recipe that I have marked from all of the blogs from the ladies on the WC board, I decided to make the Holiday Spiced Nuts from Bean's Bistro. I'd never had spiced nuts but thought they sounded really good and the local grocery store had nuts on sale, perfect timing!

These were incredibly easy to make, took almost no time at all, made the house smell incredible, and tasted great. Everyone who tried them has already asked me to make them again and I've decided they are being added to the holiday gift baskets.

Spiced Nuts

1 Egg White
1-2 tsp. Water
3/4 C. White Sugar
1 Tbsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 tsp. Salt
2-2 1/2 C. Plain Dry Roasted Peanuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a medium bowl, whisk together egg white and water until good and foamy.
Fold in the sugar, pumpkin spice, and salt. Blend until consistent.
Stir in peanuts to coat.
On a cookie sheet, pour out the coated peanuts in a flat layer. Any remaining glaze should be poured on the nuts.
Bake for 25 minutes.
Remove from oven and IMMEDIATELY pour into a bowl. Break apart the nuts. As they cool, occasionally stir to keep large hunks to a minimum. Allow to cool before eating.

Makin' Whoopie.... pies that is

So for Thanksgiving D and I went to my parents house and then did a second round of sweets and snacks with his parents. So I decided to make something pumpkin to go along with my pecan pie. Well, my mom makes the pumpkin pie every year, so no need to do that. So when my fall issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray came I was interested by the Pumpkin Whoopie Pie recipe. So after the food goddess on the WC board deemed them yummy, I decided those would be my pumpkin-y contribution to Turkey Day.

They were really easy to make, which is saying something since this was only the second time I had ever made icing. And everyone really loved them, which is always a good sign. I doubled this recipe, since it was going to more than one house, and it made more than enough pies.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Makes 12

Prep Time: 35 min

Bake Time: 10 min


1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, 1 stick melted, 1/2 stick softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon plus 2 pinches salt
1 2/3 cups flour
4 ounces cream cheese, chilled
1 cup confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, 1 teaspoon vanilla, the baking powder, the baking soda and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour.

3. Using an ice cream scoop or tablespoon, drop 12 generous mounds of batter, spaced evenly, onto each baking sheet. Bake until springy to the touch, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

4. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, cream the softened butter with the cream cheese. Add the confectioners' sugar and the remaining 2 pinches salt and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; mix on low speed until blended, then beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.

5. Spread the flat side of 12 cakes with the cream cheese frosting. Top each with another cake.

Pecan Pie

So this year for Thanksgiving I decided to make my second ever pecan pie. I had never even eaten one before I made my first pie last year. But D and his parents really like them, so I agreed to make one. I used the recipe on the back of the Karo Syrup bottle because I had been assured by mothers and grandmothers that it is the best recipe. I think it is pretty good, although I really have nothing to base that on!

Pecan Pie

From: Karo Syrup

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 55 to 60 minutes

Yield: 1 pie

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup Karo® Light OR Dark Corn Syrup (I used light)
2 tablespoons butter OR margarine, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) pecans
1 (9-inch) unbaked or frozen deep-dish pie crust

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Beat eggs slightly with fork in medium bowl. Add sugar, Karo® Corn Syrup, butter and vanilla; stir until blended. Stir in pecans. Place pie dough in pie pan. Pour pecan filling into pie crust.
Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Bacon, Cheese, & Potato Chowder

So I can't believe that my first blog post of actual food is going to be one with no pictures (we ate it too fast and it wasn't very pretty) and a recipe that uses Cream of soup. However, we tried this the other day and it was incredibly good. I will admit that I did not have high expectations going in: the recipe seemed almost too simple and my one and only other attempt at soup did not go well. But this far exceeded my expectations and even D liked it: and he is not a soup guy. The original recipe is from the kraft website but I think I first saw it on the WC board. This is a really good, quick meal that is perfect for the cold, rainy weather we've been having. Enjoy, and I promise to take pictures of stuff from now on.

Bacon, Cheese & Potato Chowder
from Kraft

Prep Time: 20 min
Total Time: 30 min
Makes: 6 servings, 1 cup each

3 cups fat-free milk
1 can (10-3/4 oz.) condensed cream of potato soup
2 cups frozen Southern-style hash browns
1 cup KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddar Cheese
2 slices OSCAR MAYER Bacon, crisply cooked, drained and crumbled (I used pre-cooked bacon to make it faster)
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions (I didn't have any on hand so I omitted them)

Mix milk and soup in large saucepan. Stir in hash browns. Bring to boil on high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 10 min., stirring frequently.

Ladle into six soup bowls.
Top evenly with the cheese, bacon and onions.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

My food blog

So, I took the plunge and made a food blog. I'm so inspired by all the amazing blogs that so many people on the food board I go to have that I have been thinking about making my own. So, when I got a new camera with a cuisine setting on it as a birthday gift I took it as a sign that it is time to start my own blog. I can't promise greatness, but I can promise that you'll see my successes and my failures. I'll let my failures be your learning situations too. So, hopefully, you'll stick with me and together we can have some cooking fun.