Thursday, December 22, 2011

Baked Brownie

I found my new favorite brownie! Its is so rich and chocolatey I almost don't know what to do. We had it with some peppermint ice cream and it was the perfect holiday treat!


Baked Brownie
Recipe Source: BrownEyedBaker.com

1 1/4 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Dark Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
11oz Dark Chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup Unsalted Butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups Granulated Sugar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar, packed
5 Eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×13 baking pan. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and cocoa powder.

2. Put the chocolate, butter in a large glass or metal bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the granulated and brown sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature now.

3. Add 3 of the eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir. Do not overmix the batter or your brownies will be cakey.

4. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just combined.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake on the center rack of the oven for 30 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs. Let the brownies cool completely. Cut into squares and serve.
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gingerbread Houses

The last recipe I posted was for some yummy chewy gingerbread men. This recipe is for the harder gingerbread to make your houses out of. It tastes really good and makes a fun family activity. 

I googled gingerbread house templates and found one I liked and this is what we made. Super simple, but I had to make a bunch so thats what we were going for. 

**These are best started 2 days before decorating because the dough needs to chill for several hours. Once baked the dough needs to dry out and then once the houses are put together the frosting needs to set before decorating.


Gingerbread Houses
Recipe Source: MelsKitchenCafe.com

7 cups Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Ginger
1 teaspoon Cloves
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Allspice
1/3 cup Shortening
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 1/2 cup Molasses
2/3 cup Cold Water

1. Stir together dry ingredients and set aside. In a large bowl, use mixer to beat shortening, brown sugar and molasses until well combined. Stir in water. Beat in flour mixture gradually. When dough becomes stiff, work in remaining flour mixture with wooden spoon, mixing well. Wrap and chill dough several hours. 
2. Divide dough in thirds. Roll out onto a well floured surface to 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Carefully cut out with small pointed knife. Place pieces on a greased and floured cookie sheet and bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool on a cooling rack and let stand several hours to dry out. **Rolling the dough about 1/8-inch thick, we made 9 houses.

Icing:
3 Egg Whites at room temperature 
4 cups Powdered Sugar
1 teaspoon Cream of Tartar  
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until medium peaks form. Keep the bowl covered with a damp towel so that the icing does not get hard. Assemble the houses the night before decorating (they need at least 5-6 hours to set). Store extra frosting in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic wrap.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Gingerbread Men

This is the first Christmas we have really been able to do a lot of fun things since my oldest is 3 she is excited about it. So I have been trying to think of things to do with my kids and what is more Christmas as kid than decorating gingerbread men. These ones are thick and chewy and they taste delicious.

They did whatever they wanted to them and had a blast!

Gingerbread Men
Recipe Source: MelsKitchenCafe.com

3 cups Flour
3/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar, packed
3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Ground Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves
1/2 teaspoon Salt
12 Tablespoons Butter, room temperature, cut into 12 pieces
3/4 cup Molasses
2 Tablespoons Milk

1. With an electric mixer, stir together the flour, brown sugar, soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt at low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and add the butter pieces. Mix at medium-low speed until the mixture resembles fine meal, about 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, gradually add the molasses and the milk. Mix until the dough is evenly moistened about 20 seconds. Increase the speed to medium and mix until thoroughly combined, about 10 seconds.

2. Scrape the dough out of the bowl and divide in half. Working with one portion at a time, roll the dough about a 1/4 inch thick between 2 large sheets of parchment paper. Leaving the dough sandwiched between the parchment paper, stack the dough on a baking sheet and freeze until firm, 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat liners.

4. Remove one dough sheet from the freezer and place on the counter. Peel off the top parchment or wax paper sheet. Gently cut the dough into gingerbread cookies, transferring the shapes to the prepared baking sheets  spacing them 3/4 inch apart. Set the scraps aside. Repeat with the remaining dough until the baking sheets are full. Dough scraps can be rolled and cut as many times as needed.

4. Bake the cookies until set in the centers and the dough barely retains and imprint when touched very gently with fingertip, about 9 minutes. Be careful not overbake! Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 2 minutes, then remove the cookies with a wide metal spatula to a wire rack. Cool to room temperature. Frost as desired.
5. Store soft gingerbread in a container or tin with a sheet of parchment paper between the cookie layers. Best eaten within one week.
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Simple Peppermint Bark

I have one of the easiest recipes ever for you, and it tastes good! Semisweet chocolate, white chocolate, and some peppermint chips. Simple and delicious.


Simple Peppermint Bark
Recipe Source: SavorySweetLife.com

1-12oz bag Semisweet Chocolate Chips
1-12oz bag White Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup Andes Peppermint Baking Chips

Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper. In a microwave safe bowl melt semisweet chocolate chips in 30 second increments until smooth. Spread evenly into prepared pan and freeze for 10 minutes. Repeat melting process with white chocolate chips. When they are smooth pour in the peppermint chips and stir. Spread quickly on top of the semisweet chocolate. Top with extra peppermint chips. Freeze for 10 minutes. Remove from the freezer and lift out of pan. Break into pieces. Store leftovers in the freezer.
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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cherry Cheesecake Cookies

I made these cookies very skeptically. I didn't think there was any way that a cookie could really taste like cheesecake. I was wrong, not only do they taste like cheesecake, the texture is almost identical. They are light and fluffy and smooth and creamy. My mum always put cherries on our cheesecake growing up so these cookies took me back. You should make these, really, they are so good!


Cherry Cheesecake Cookies
Recipe Source: MelsKitchenCafe.com

3 1/2 cups Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
2-8oz pkgs Cream Cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups Butter, softened
1 1/2 cups Granulated Sugar
2 large Eggs
2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
1 cup Graham Cracker crumbs
2-20oz cans Cherry Pie Filling

1. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese, butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. Add in the eggs and vanilla. Mix until incorporated. 

2. Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Refrigerate dough until firm, about 1 hour.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat liners. Place graham cracker crumbs in a bowl.

4. Roll the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls, then roll the balls in graham cracker crumbs. Place balls 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Using a tablespoon measure, make an indentation in the center of each ball. Place 3 cherries in the indent. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Cool for five minutes on baking sheet and transfer to a wire rack. Cool completely before eating.

I shared this at
Sweet Indulgences Sunday
Sweets for a Saturday
Holiday Food Blog Hop
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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu

This is one of my favorite dishes. Normally I just buy it from the grocery store and it costs a fortune, so we don't have it often. So when I came across this recipe I was nervous to try it but I figured if I can make it myself it is totally going to be worth it. It turns out it was worth it! It isn't that hard, you just need to make sure you have thick chicken breasts. The saltiness from the ham and the melted swiss cheese compliment each other and the chicken breast was so moist, it makes the perfect dinner.


Chicken Cordon Bleu
Recipe Source: MelsKitchenCafe.com

25 Ritz Crackers
4 slices Bread, white or wheat
6 Tablespoons Butter, melted
8 thin slices Deli Ham, about 8oz
2 cups Swiss Cheese, shredded
4 boneless, skinless, thick Chicken Breasts
Salt and pepper
3 large Eggs
2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1 cup Flour

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Pulse the crackers and bread in a food processor until they are coarsely ground. Add the melted butter and mix until combined. Spread crumbs out on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the crumbs are lightly browned. Transfer the crumbs to a a pie plate. Leave the oven on.

2. Top each ham slice with 1/4 cup of the shredded cheese. Roll tightly and set aside. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Cut a pocket in the thickest part of the chicken breast and put 2 ham/cheese rolls in each pocket. Pull the top flap of chicken over the ham rolls and press to seal, you can use a toothpick to secure the pocket edge. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken. Refrigerate the chicken, covered, for at least 20 minutes.

3. In another pie plate, beat the eggs and mustard together. Place the flour in a third pie plate or shallow dish. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Working with one chicken breast at a time, coat the chicken lightly with flour and then dip in the egg mixture, making sure to cover both sides. Dredge the chicken in the toasted bread crumbs, pressing lightly to help the crumbs stick to the chicken. (The breaded chicken can be refrigerated covered for up to 1 day.)

4. Transfer the chicken to a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake on the lowest rack of the oven about 10 minutes, to brown the bottom of the chicken. Move the chicken to the middle rack in the oven, reduce the temperature to 400 degrees, leaving the chicken in the oven, and bake until golden brown and the chicken is cooked through (160 degrees on an thermometer), about 25-30 minutes. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.

**For step by step picture instructions on how to stuff your chicken breasts click here.

I shared this recipe at
Totally Tasty Tuesdays
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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Lemon Meringue Pie

This is my favorite pie. My aunt makes this for any special occasion and its the dessert everyone goes for. It has the best flavor. The lemon filling is creamy and lemony, its not too tart and the meringue is sweet, light, and fluffy. Its the perfect combination. This is the dessert you should make for your next special occasion!


Lemon Meringue Pie
Recipe Source: FoodNetwork.com

*I plopped all of my meringue in the middle and then tried to spread it out, that's why the middle is so thin and the outside edge is so thick. My recommendation would be to plop it down in several different areas and then spread it out. 

Lemon Filling
4 Egg Yolks (reserve whites for meringue)
1/3 cup Cornstarch
1 1/2 cups Water
1 1/3 cups Granulated Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoons Butter
1/2 cup Fresh Lemon Juice
2 teaspoons Lemon Zest, finely grated
1- 9 inch pre-baked pie shell
Meringue, recipe follows

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk egg yolks in medium mixing bowl and set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine cornstarch, water, sugar, and salt. Whisk until combined. Turn on medium heat and bring mixture to a boil, stirring continuously. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and gradually, 1 whisk-full at a time, add some hot mixture to egg yolks and stir until you have added about half of the mixture.

3. Pour the entire egg mixture into the saucepan, turn down the heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, for about 15 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat and gently stir in butter, lemon juice, and zest until well combined. 

4. Pour mixture into pie shell and top with meringue while filling is still hot. Make sure meringue completely covers filling and that it goes right up to the edge of the crust. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until meringue is golden. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 1 hour and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Make sure the pie is cooled completely before slicing.

Meringue
4 Egg Whites
1 pinch Cream of Tartar
6 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar

Place egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form and then gradually add sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form, approximately 1 minute.

I shared this recipe at
Sweets for a Saturday
Sweet Indulgences Sunday 
Totally Tasty Tuesdays
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