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  • Have a Spooky Halloween!

    Cheddar Witches Fingers - Cheese straws in the shape of fingers, complete with a black almond "finger nail." Delicious and totally spooky.

    Candy Apples - You don't need to go to the fair to get my favorite treat because you can make these at home. Black food coloring gives them a festive touch.

    Pumpkin Caramel Sauce - Having a not-so-scary Halloween party? Serve ice cream with this pumpkin infused caramel sauce on top.

Monthly Archives: December 2008

Cappuccino Biscotti

This was my first time making biscotti, and I was really nervous about it. Although I’ve been trying my hand at baking a lot lately, I still don’t consider myself a baker. Case in point: I had to add a bit more flour at the end because my dough was not really sticking together. I’m not sure if I didn’t add enough in the beginning or what exactly happened. I’m glad to say that these turned out wonderfully, despite my little mishap. I sent these, along with the Cowboy Cookies from the previous post, as my first shipment for Baking Gals. I’m really looking forward to trying more biscotti recipes in the future.

Cappuccino Biscotti
Ingredients:
3/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and coarsely chopped
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder or instant coffee powder (optional)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 350° and place rack in center of oven.
-Toast hazelnuts for 10 – 15 minutes or until the skins start to blister.
-Remove from oven and place hazelnuts in a clean towel and let steam for about 5 minutes.
-Then briskly rub the towel back and forth to remove the skins of the hazelnuts.
-Let cool and then coarsely chop. Set aside.
-Reduce oven temperature to 300° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
-In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla extract. Set aside.
-In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer) beat the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, spices, and espresso powder until combined.
-Gradually add the egg mixture and beat until a dough forms, adding the chopped nuts and chocolate chips about halfway through.
-With floured hands divide the dough in half.
-On a lightly floured surface roll each half of dough into a log about 10 inches long and 2 inches wide.
-Transfer logs to the prepared baking sheet, spacing about 3 inches apart, and bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until firm to the touch (logs will spread during baking).
-Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.
-On a cutting board, with a serrated knife, cut each log crosswise, on the diagonal, into 3/4 inch slices.
-Arrange the slices on the baking sheet and bake 10 minutes, turn slices over, and bake another 10 minutes or until firm to the touch.
-Remove from oven and let cool. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 24 biscotti.

Source: Joy of Baking


Cowboy Cookies

These cookies have all my favorite ingredients: pecans, chocolate chips and coconut. What more could one ask for in a cookie? I made these to send, along with some biscotti, as my first shipment for Baking Gals. I hope the soldiers that receive these will enjoy them as much as Eric and I did!

I was a little disappointed that my cookies came out flatter than I had hoped, but they were still delicious. I’m wondering if it’s because of the coconut. I couldn’t find unsweetened coconut in the baking section and had to use the kind from the freezer. Oh well, the cookies are still fantastic!

Cowboy Cookies
Ingredients:
Vegetable oil cooking spray
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch chunks (1 cup)
3 ounces (3/4 cup) pecan halves
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Directions:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Line baking sheets with parchment
-Sift flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder into a medium bowl.

-Beat butter and sugars with a mixer on medium-high until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes.
-Reduce speed to medium.
-Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
-Beat in vanilla.

-Reduce speed to low, and slowly add flour mixture, beating until just incorporated.
-Beat in oats, chocolate, pecans, and coconut until combined. (Dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)
Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop or a small spoon, drop dough onto baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart.
-Bake until edges of cookies begin to brown, 11 to 13 minutes.
-Transfer baking sheets to wire rack, and let cool for 5 minutes.
-Transfer cookies to racks.
-Let cool.

Source: Original recipe from Martha Stewart, as seen on Bakeaholic


Loaded Baked Potato Soup

This is the second time Eric and I have attempted to make potato soup. The first time was when we still lived in Dallas. We ruined the dish only a few minutes into making it because we scalded the milk. In fact, we scalded the milk so bad that the pot we were making the soup in was completely ruined.

Thankfully, this attempt came out much better. Not only is it edible, but it actually tastes quite good, too. This is a great, lighter recipe for potato soup. Since you’re being so healthy with the soup, don’t skip the bacon. :)

Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Ingredients:
4 baking potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour (about 3 ounces)
6 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1 cup (4 ounces) reduced-fat shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
3/4 cup chopped green onions, divided
6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
Cracked black pepper

Directions:

-Preheat oven to 400°.

-Pierce potatoes with a fork; bake at 400° for 1 hour or until tender. Cool.
-Peel potatoes; coarsely mash.

-Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife.
-Place flour in a large Dutch oven; gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended.
-Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly (about 8 minutes).
-Add mashed potatoes, 3/4 cup cheese, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, stirring until cheese melts.
-Remove from heat.

-Stir in sour cream and 1/2 cup onions.
-Cook over low heat 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated (do not boil).
-Ladle soup into bowls.
-Sprinkle each serving with cheese, onions, and bacon.
-Garnish with cracked pepper.

Source: Original recipe from Cooking Light, as seen on Just2Good


Braised Fingerling Potato Coins

Before last week, we had never tried fingerling potatoes. Now that we have, I feel as though we’ve been missing out. These potatoes are filled with so much flavor and are the perfect accompaniment to chicken or steak.

Braised Fingerling Potato Coins
Ingredients:
1 pound fingerling potatoes
1 cup water
1/3 stick of butter, cut into bits
sprinkle of garlic and herb (or your favorite) seasoning

Directions:
-Cut a round of parchment paper to fit just inside a 12-inch heavy skillet and butter one side.
-Using a mandolin or other adjustable blade slicer, slice potatoes 1/8 inch thick.
-Arrange in skillet and add water.
-Add seasoning, salt and pepper to taste. Dot top with butter.
-Cover potatoes with parchment, buttered side down, and briskly simmer until tender and most of liquid has evaporated, 30 to 35 minutes.

Source: Adapted from Sugar and Spice, originally from Gourmet


Laughing Cow Chicken

I’ve been seeing different versions of this dish on quite a few blogs I follow. Eric and I decided to give this a try last week, and we liked it so much that we’ve already made it again! This is a very simple dish that tastes amazing. We served this with braised fingerling potato coins and steamed broccoli. I think the Crusting Blends really made the dish for me. The blend we got has panko bread crumbs in it, which gave the chicken a crunchy and flavorful crust. The Italian Herb and Cheese went along perfectly with the Garlic and Herb Laughing Cow.

Laughing Cow Chicken
Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts, pounded thin
2 wedges Laughing Cow Garlic & Herb cheese, softened
1/3 cup (about) McCormick Italian Herb & Cheese Crusting Blends
olive oil

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 425°.
-Lay chicken breasts flat.
-Spread cheese over each chicken breast, using more or less cheese depending on your tastes.
-Roll and seal with toothpicks.
-Lightly drizzle olive oil on chicken and spread all over.
-Coat with Crusting Blends.
-Lightly drizzle a skillet with olive oil and heat over medium.
-Add chicken and sear on both sides.
-Bake in oven for 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Source: Adapted from Elizabeth’s Cooking Experiments