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Friday, April 27, 2012

Guacamole with Lime Chips


Yay - It's finally Friday! Want an easy snack to make before dinner...or with dinner? Yummy guacamole with homemade lime chips! Now's the time to buy avocados for a great price - 4 for $1 at my local farmers market. Well...it's a great price for me because I live in California. Not sure when the rest of you can get a good deal on avocados. 


The avocados are ripe and creamy, the tomato adds a nice freshness, the onion a crunch and a few dabs of  hot sauce gives this treat a nice bite! And I LOVE the way freshly made tortilla chips taste - nice and crisp! Add salt, lime rind and some fresh lime juice and it's officially the best snack EVER!








Ingredients

  • Package of white corn chips cut in quarters
  • 3 cups of Vegetable Oil
  • 1 lime rind and juice
  • Salt
  • 4 ripe Hass avocados
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (2 limes)
  • 8 dashes hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco or Siracha)
  • 1/2 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded, and small-diced

Directions

Cut the avocados in half, remove the pits, and scoop the flesh out of their shells into a large bowl. (I use my hands.) Immediately add the lime juice, hot sauce, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper and toss well. Using a sharp knife, slice through the avocados in the bowl until they are finely diced. Add the tomatoes. Mix well and taste for salt and pepper.
Take the rind off of the limes. Heat a frying pan on medium heat. Add the oil and fry the corn chips until browned. Transfer to a cooking sheet covered with paper towels to absorb the extra oil.  Sprinkle with salt and lime juice. Place the chips in the serving bowl and add the lime rind. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tiramisu Cupcakes

I love Tiramisu. What better way to make it than as a cupcake! It tastes just like the Italian cake and the mascarpone frosting is so delicious and creamy! The espresso coffee in the middle makes the cake moist and gives you a little pick me up too! This recipe goes great with a spaghetti and meatball dinner. :-)





Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups flour, sifted
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
  • 3 large whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Espresso coffee with sweetener
  • Mascarpone Frosting
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Heat milk and vanilla-bean pod and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat just until bubbles appear around the edge. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter until melted, and let stand 15 minutes. Strain milk mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, and discard vanilla-bean pod.
  2. With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk together whole eggs, yolks, and sugar. Set mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water, and whisk by hand until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm, about 6 minutes. Remove bowl from heat. With an electric mixer on high speed, whisk until mixture is fluffy, pale yellow, and thick enough to hold a ribbon on the surface for several seconds when whisk is lifted.
  3. Gently but thoroughly fold flour mixture into the egg mixture in three batches; stir 1/2 cup batter into the strained milk mixture to thicken, then fold milk mixture into the remaining batter until just combined.
  4. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until centers are completely set and edges are light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.
  5. To finish, brush tops of cupcakes evenly with coffee-marsala syrup; repeat until all syrup has been used. Allow cupcakes to absorb liquid 30 minutes. Dollop frosting onto cupcakes; refrigerate up to overnight in airtight containers. Dust generously with cocoa powder just before serving.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ginger Cookies


These are great to make at any time of the year. The fresh, candied ginger gives these cookies a nice spicy bite to them. They're soft, chewy and rich with flavor.



Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped crystallized ginger (6 ounces)
  • Granulated sugar, for rolling the cookies

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and salt and then combine the mixture with your hands. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the brown sugar, oil, and molasses on medium speed for 5 minutes. Turn the mixer to low speed, add the egg, and beat for 1 minute. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat for 1 more minute. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the crystallized ginger and mix until combined.
Scoop the dough with 2 spoons or a small ice cream scoop. With your hands, roll each cookie into a 1 3/4-inch ball and then flatten them lightly with your fingers. Press both sides of each cookie in granulated sugar and place them on the sheet pans. Bake for exactly 13 minutes. The cookies will be crackled on the top and soft inside. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 1 to 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hostess Cupcakes

I love chocolate. Like LOVE chocolate. And these cupcakes are just what you need if you're a fan like me. They're definitely a little dense and not fluffy like yesterday's recipe. The chocolate ganache topping melts in your mouth and when you bite into it and get to the middle to taste that silky, creamy, buttercream frosting - it's worth the calories!

Ingredients
1/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
16 fluid ounces chocolate syrup (recommended: Hershey's)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour

For the ganache:
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1 Jar of white buttercream frosting (or make your own - 1 stick butter, 2 cups confectioners sugar, pinch of salt, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1 tbsp water)

Directions
Line muffin pans with 12 paper liners. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time. Mix in the chocolate syrup and vanilla. Add the flour and mix until just combined. Don't overbeat, or the cupcakes will be tough.

Scoop the batter into the muffin cups and bake for 30 minutes, or until just set in the middle. Don't overbake! Let the cupcakes cool thoroughly in the pan.

For the ganache, cook the heavy cream, chocolate chips, and instant coffee in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally. Fill a disposable Wiltons frosting bag up with the buttercream and stick the tip into the center of the cupcake and squeeze until the frosting slightly pops out on the top. Use a mini-"truffle" sized scooper to scoop one dollop of the ganache on top. Finish by piping the swirl on top.





 



Monday, April 23, 2012

S'mores Cupcakes

The gospel and baking? Yup. 

Every other month my church hosts a dessert night at a women's shelter. It's a wonderful time to fellowship, have some good eats, and share biblical encouragement with these women and their children.  There's nothing more humbling than visiting a shelter where women have been beaten, homeless, and/or addicted to a substance and all they have is literally nothing but the shirt on their back. I listen to them, hug them, pray with them and share the good news of what Jesus Christ did on the cross. 


Think about how the Lord has blessed you and what he has given you. Do you have more than one outfit to wear this week? Do you have more than one can of green beans in your cupboards? Do you have a bed to sleep in at night? Are your kids healthy? 


Find your local shelter, children's hospital, or nursing home and give them a call to minister to them for an hour every other month - that's only 6 times a year for 6 hours. Serve them, love them, and bless them.


Ingredients

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons brewed coffee
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup good cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 13 Graham Crackers
  • 2 tsps Cinnamon
  • 1 Stick salted butter (if have unsalted just add a pinch of salt)

Marshmallow Frosting
2 bags of Marshmallows
2 sticks of unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups confectioner's sugar
2-4 Tbsps water

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners and spray with cooking spray so if the cupcakes bake over, they won't stick.


Get all your ingredients together...

Melt stick of salted butter. Place 13 graham crackers a food processor and chop until the crackers are fine. Add the melted butter and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Fill the bottom of each cupcake liner with 1 Tablespoon of the graham cracker mix. Press down and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 2 sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. Make sure you crack the eggs in something other than the bowl you're using for the batter. If you get a bad egg, you ruin the batter.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. 
In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. 

On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it's completely blended.
Divide the batter among the cupcake pans (1 rounded standard ice cream scoop per cup or if using mini-cupcake tins use the 2 Tblsp scoop). 
Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. 


 To make sure they're done, place a toothpick in one of them and make sure it comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.







Frosting:
Melt 1 stick of butter & 1 bag of marshmallows on the stove top.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the other stick of butter until smooth and well blended. Beat in the vanilla extract and marshmallow creme. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the water and beat to combine. Then, on high speed, beat frosting until it is light and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes). Add more cream or confectioners sugar if necessary to get the right piping consistency.

Place 4-5 mini marshmallows on top of the frosting. Using the torch, light the marshmallows until browned.








Friday, April 20, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies


Ladies - It's FRIDAY! You know what would be wonderful for your husband, children, roommate...to come home too? Your home smelling like chocolate chip cookies!

I have wonderful childhood memories of coming home from school and seeing my Mom bake a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies. The smell of chocolate filled up the house as I walked through the front door and searched for that plate on the counter with cookies piled high for my sister and I to eat!  "Save room for dinner," my Mom would say. You know my motto - save room for dessert! 

I love baking these cookies for my family and seeing the smiles of my husband and boys as they come out of the oven. Ed will snatch one right off the baking sheet as I'm pulling it out of the oven. Once my boys see Daddy eating a cookie, they want one too but teaching young children patience and that the cookies are "hot, hot, hot" is nearly impossible!

You can always use the good old Toll House recipe and the cookies will come out just as good, but I like my cookies being slightly cake and soft, yet buttery. If you like your cookies like I do (see the picture I took) - this recipe is perfection! If you like your cookies crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside don't put the dough in the refrigerator and leave out the extra egg yolk, and pop them in the oven.  I used an entire bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips but you can use milk chocolate, M&M's, reese's pieces, toffee, etc - the list and combinations are endless!

This recipe is great and easy to make! Just think of how happy your spouse, kids, friends or roomie would be coming home to smell these delectable goodies! It makes 20-24 cookies.


Ingredients

Makes about 3 dozen
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs plus egg yolk
  • 2 cups (about 12 ounces) semisweet and/or milk chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the salt, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  2. Use a 1-2 tblsp icecream scoop to Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  3. Put cookies in fridge or freezer for 20 minutes before placing them in oven
  4. After cookies set in fridge take out and Bake until cookies are golden around the edges and set in the center, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.