Sunday, November 30, 2008

Book Marked Recipe...

WOot another one done, and we will see if I get it to Ruth at BookedMarked Recipe in time, its late Sunday night, but I am gonna try!! haha I am addicted to food magazines.. and I recently picked up Taste Of Home with adorable Christmas cupcakes on the cover, and on page 18 was this great looking Mac and Cheese.. so I thought, man its cold out and that sounds great!! SO last night, I made it!! And holy smokes was it good!!.. first I didn't read it or I would have noticed it fed 12 people, and well there is only me and my room mate... haha mac and cheese for days to come!! But wow it is really good!!!

Double-Cheese Macaroni

1 pk. *(16oz) elbow macaroni
3 cups (24oz) Cottage cheese
1/2 c butter, cubed
1/2 c all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic salt
3 c half and half cream (hmm I Just realized I used heavy whipping cream!! haha!!)
1 cup milk
4 cups (16oz) shredded cheddar cheese
1 c dry bread crumbs
1/4 c butter, melted

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Meanwhile, place cottage cheese in a food processor; cover and process until smooth. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and garlic salt until smooth. Gradually add cream and milk. Bring to a boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Drain macaroni, trasfer to a large bowl. Add the cheddar cheese, cottage cheese and white sauce, toss to coat. Transfer to a greased 13x9 baking dish. ( Dish will be full!!! very full!!) Combine bread crumbs and butter, sprinkle over the top.
Bake uncovered at 400 for 20-25 min or until bubbly.

I put mine on a sheet pan, and it was a good thing, it bubbled over with cheesy goodness!! I let it rest about 10 min before serving so that it thickend and it was fabulous. The roomy kept getting spoons to sample it lol. Perfect comfort food. I am not a cttage cheese fan, only use it in my Lasgna but, this will definitely be made again!!! Enjoy !!

Ultimate Chocolate Cake!!

When I got the email from Not Quite Nigella I could not resist finding something!! I remembered my friend picked up this book called I'm Dreaming of a Chocolate Christmas by Marcel Desaulniers, I knew I could find something ( ok the damn Italics will not turn off!!!). So I chose Chocolaty Fudge Cake for my entry. And just in time for the cut off date!!
Let me tell you, this was intense chocolate. I was going to up it with a ganach filling and curls, but man it just didn't need it. SO I went just with the recipe and an old fashion icing of the cake. I had never made actual Heavy Fudge Icing befor
e, so was intrigued to see how it all came out.

Chocolaty Fudge Cake:

Heavy Fudge Icing:
2 cups tightly packed dark brown sugar
2 cups heavy cream

8 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, broken into 1/2 oz pieces
6 TBsp unsalted butter, cut into 1 tbsp pieces

Chocolaty Fudge cake:

8 oz unsalted butter, cut into 1 tbsp pieces
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt
8 oz semisweet baking chocola
te, coarsly chopped
1 1/4 c granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Making the icing:

1. Bring the brown sugar, cream, chocolate, and butter to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar and melt the chocolate and butter. Adjust the heat to medium-low and simmer for 25 minutes, stiffing frequently, until thickened and smooth. Remove from the heat. Poor into a baking sheet with sides and use a rubber spatula to spread evenly. Refrigerate for 2 hours, until chilled thoroughly.


2. Preheat the oven to 325. Spray 2 9 inch cake pans with non stick baking spray. Line with parchment paper and coat again.

3. In a sifter, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Sift onto a large piece of parchment paper.

4. Melt the chocolate and the remaining 8 oz of
butter in a medium glass bowl in a microwave, stopping to stirr occasionally. Stir until smooth.

5. Place the granulated sugar and eggs in teh bowl of a stand electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Beat on medium-high for 2 mi
nutes, until slighly thickened and pale yellow in color. Add the melted chocolate and mix on low to combine, about 15 seconds. Turn the mixer to low and gradually add teh dry ingredients, mix until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the buttermilk and vanilla and mix on low to combine, about 15 seconds. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and use a rubber spatula to finish mixing the batter until thoroughtly combined.

6. Immediately divide the batter into the prepared pans, spreading evenly with a rubber spatula. Bake on teh center rack of the oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of each layer comes out clean, 28-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool in the pans at room temperature for 15 minutes. Invert the cake layers onto cake circles or cake plates. Carefully peel the pape
r away from the bottom of each layer. Refriderate the cake layers, uncovered for at least 2 hours before assembling.

7. Transfer the chilled fudge to the bow
l of a stand electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Beat on high for 2 minutes until lighter in color (a very mellow chocolate brown.) and slightly fluffly.

8. Remove the cake layers from the refrigerator. Use an incing spatula to evenly and smoothly spread 2 1/2 cups of icing onver the tome and sides of one of the inverted layers, baked side down. Place second layer baked top up
, on the icing and getly press it into place. Evenly and smoothly spread the remaining icing onto the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate the cake for 1 hour before slicing and serving.

9. Heat the blade of a serrated knife under hot running water and wipe dry before cutting each slice. Serve immediately.

Ok.. the cake, wow was it rich!! like very thin slices, I did this, the challenge and the AFAM all in the same day, holy smokes long long day!! But wow this cake was awesome. Work ravashied it, but you will need a big glass of milk to wash down all that chocolate. I was so glad I didn't do the ganach filling hehe.. I couldn't believe how neat that fudge icing was, just went all fluffy and light brown, very glad I chose the recipe!! Thanks for the invite!!


When I was browsing the none challenge events I came across the AFAM for this month, From Tangerine's Kitchen. Cherries who can pass up something on cherries. Well, I still had the challenge to do and at least one other event I wanted to do, and with Thanksgiving and work time was limited haha. The day after I started the challenge cake, I ended up with Tonsilitis.. and was miserable, which put a stop to the rest of the week, the only other time I had to do anything was that following Monday on the week of Thanksgiving, and the rest of the week I had to work. So I set out that morning to finish it, another cake as well as my Cherry item. Sadly this was the last item of the day..l and holy snap was I tired by then. SO as they are not quite as cute as I wanted, for one thing this recipe calls for Maraschino cherries with stems, I could not find any. so regular ones it is. Then I thought I will make a glaze and drizzle over them, yea I was too tired, and did not get that far either haha.. but dang it I made them and I am submitting them and posting. I took it all to work the next day and had so many want the recipe. So I give you Cherry Tssies!!1 1/4 cups butter, softened
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp peppermint extract ( I actually used almond here)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
2 1/2 cups al-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely crushed striped round peppermint candies
48 red maraschino cherries or liquor-flavored marachino cherries with stems, drained.

1. Preheat oven to 350. In large mixing bowl beat butter on medium to high of 30 seconds. Gradually beat in 1 1/2 cups of the powdered sugar, the baking powder, and salt. Beat in peppermint extract, vanilla and egg. Beat in as much of the flour as you can, stir in remaining flour and candies.
2. Place remaining 3/4 cup powdered sugar in a shallow dish. Shape dough in 1 inch balls, roll in powdered sugar. Press each ball into the bottom and sides of a 1 3/4 inch muffin cup.
3. Place cherry, stem side up, in each cup. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until pastry is browned. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. Cool 5 min in pan. Carefully transfer to rack to cool completely.

Ok.. spray your muffin tins for sure, the candies glue them to the pans, and the dough is so tender you can't just take them out lol. I doubt even that stem would have helped. I also remembered why I didn't do things like this often, felt like forever i was standing there rolling little balls and pressing them in forever lol. But was worth it when they ate them up and loved em like they did, and they weren't even that pretty haha.. and I ended up with too many drained cherries so I just shoved them in lol. But they are tasty.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

November Challenge!!!

Ok this one will start off weird, and may take me a challenge or two to get used to tying this part into the post haha.. so I am doing it the quick way. We now need to make sure we give those that deserve it the Kudos for the posting and props for the recipe! I fully agree!! but there was soo much to include, and then someone ( I looked and looked for the original post, and heck if I could find it, listed what she thought was right) so I copied that and went to each link to link it right.. I hope LOL. We will see if I did it right. I want to link to her page because she did all the work,
Audax Artifex , so I thank you cause it helped me a ton!! So here are the links to the awesome people that chose the challenge, and created everything and did all the hard work!! as well as the Recipe source!!:
( host this month are Alex (Brownie of the Blondie and Brownie duo:, Jenny of Foray into Food ( And since none of us know jack about alternative baking, we’ve once again turned to Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go ( to assist us.
Our leading lady this month is Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater ( and her signature caramel cake.
Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon (, as published on Bay Area Bites ( Shuna Fish Lydon’s recipe ( … he-recipe/)

Golden Vanilla Bean Caramels from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich, Artisan Press, Copyright 2007, ISBN: 978-1579652111
If you’re looking for additional guidance on the cake, Shuna’s got some great information posted here as well ( … he-recipe/) and here ( … ake-a.html).

So the Challenge!! lets see where to start. My favorite was.. The caramels!! OMg!! they were awesome, In all the postings it was suggested to only cook to about 248.. so I did just that, And holy smokes they were amazing!!! I made the Vanilla Bean Nutmeg version, and soft and chewy and just heaven sent. Absolutely Amazing!! By far my favorite part of the challenge!! The Cake, I liked it, nice mild, I had issues with the caramel syrup but it did not appear to affect the cake so much, so it turned out pretty good. To go with caution I did as suggested and left the syrup out of the icing, which was fine as I loved the browned butter flavor, IT was great. For the filling, well I had made some Vanilla Bourbon Peach Jam over the summer, my first attempt and it did not come out quite as set as I liked, so it was more a thick dessert sauce. I chose that as the filling, OMG!! what a combo.. the flavors of that with the caramel.. fantastic! I took it to work, and one comment was.. " I have died and gone to Heaven" so I think the cake was a huge hit!! Make it again, maybe, depends, I may find a different cake but the rest I enjoyed!!
So here is the recipe!! again the caramels..AWESOME!!!


10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 Cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
2 each eggs, at room temperature
splash vanilla extract
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk, at room temperature

Notes from Natalie for those of you baking gluten-free:

So the GF changes to the cake would be:

2 cups of gluten free flour blend (w/xanthan gum) or 2 cups of gf flour blend + 1 1/2 tsp xanthan or guar gum
1/2 - 1 tsp baking powder (this would be the recipe amount to t
he amount it might need to be raised to & I'm going to check)

I'll let you when I get the cake finished, how it turns out and if the baking powder amount needs to be raised.

Preheat oven to 350F

Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.

Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.

Sift flour and baking powder.

Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients. {This is called the dry, wet, dry, wet, dry method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high proportion of liquid in the batter.}

Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan.

Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely before icing it.

Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.


2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for "stopping" the carmalization process)
In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush. Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.

When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.

Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers. {Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.}

Note: For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.


12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons caramel syrup
Kosher or sea salt to taste

Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.

Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner's sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner's sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.

Note: Caramelized butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month.
To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth and light

(recipes above courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon)

- makes eighty-one 1-inch caramels -

1 cup golden syrup
2 cups sugar
3/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons pure ground vanilla beans, purchased or ground in a coffee or spice grinders, or 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks, softened

A 9-inch square baking pan
Candy thermometer


Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with aluminum foil and grease the foil. Combine the golden syrup, sugar, and salt in a heavy 3-quart saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to simmer around the edges. Wash the sugar and syrup from the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes. (Meanwhile, rinse the spatula or spoon before using it again later.) Uncover the pan and wash down the sides once more. Attach the candy thermometer to the pan, without letting it touch the bottom of the pan, and cook, uncovered (without stirring) until the mixture reaches 305°F. Meanwhile, combine the cream and ground vanilla beans (not the extract) in a small saucepan and heat until tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Turn off the heat and cover the pan to keep the cream hot.

When the sugar mixture reaches 305°F, turn off the heat and stir in the butter chunks. Gradually stir in the hot cream; it will bubble up and steam dramatically, so be careful. Turn the burner back on and adjust it so that the mixture boils energetically but not violently. Stir until any thickened syrup at the bottom of the pan is dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, to about 245°F. Then cook, stirring constantly, to 260°f for soft, chewy caramels or 265°F; for firmer chewy caramels.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, if using it. Pour the caramel into the lined pan. Let set for 4 to 5 hours, or overnight until firm.

Lift the pan liner from the pan and invert the sheet of caramel onto a sheet of parchment paper. Peel off the liner. Cut the caramels with an oiled knife. Wrap each caramel individually in wax paper or cellophane.


Fleur de Sel Caramels: Extra salt, in the form of fleur de sel or another coarse flaked salt, brings out the flavor of the caramel and offers a little ying to the yang. Add an extra scant 1/4 teaspoon of coarse sea salt to the recipe. Or, to keep the salt crunchy, let the caramel cool and firm. Then sprinkle with two pinches of flaky salt and press it in. Invert, remove the pan liner, sprinkle with more salt. Then cut and wrap the caramels in wax paper or cellophane.

Nutmeg and Vanilla Bean Caramels: Add 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg to the cream before you heat it.

Cardamom Caramels: Omit the vanilla. Add 1/2 teaspoon slightly crushed cardamom seeds (from about 15 cardamom pods) to the cream before heating it. Strain the cream when you add it to the caramel; discard the seeds.

Caramel Sauce: Stop cooking any caramel recipe or variation when it reaches 225°F or, for a sauce that thickens like hot fudge over ice cream, 228°F. Pour it into a sauceboat to serve or into a heatproof jar for storage. The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for ages and reheated gently in the microwave or a saucepan just until hot and flowing before use. You can stir in rum or brandy to taste. If the sauce is too thick or stiff to serve over ice cream, it can always be thinned with a little water or cream. Or, if you like a sauce that thickens more over ice cream, simmer it for a few minutes longer.
(recipe from Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert)
I had to put the caramels on the cake some how.. so just made some weird design with them lol.Thanks for a fun challenge. My first time to make caramels and I Loved it!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Oatmeal Applesauce Cookies...

So officially they are called Iced Oatmeal Applesauce Cookies... But I couldn't afford to go buy pure maple syrup so I made the recipe and changed what I needed to with what I had on hand. I got the recipe from Martha Stewart.Com.. the daily email I get from her cookie a day thing. It sounded too good, and I knew I had Chunky Applesauce at home. So I made them for Book Marked Recipes. Which I haven't done in quite sometime. Hopefully I will be able to do this event again at least a couple times a month.
So for the recipe what I did different, I didn't have raisins on hand.. but I had a half a bag of cinnamon chips and butterscotch chips. and they didn't get iced but next time they will!!

Iced Oatmeal Applesauce Cookies

4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 lg egg
1/2 cup chunky-style applesauce
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp coarse salt
1 c golden raisins ( didn't have so used the chips in place of them.)
( I also added a sprinkle of cinnamon plus spice cause I like that in my cookies!!)
1 3/4 c confectioner's sugar
3 tbsp pure maple syrup

1. Make cookies: Preheat oven to 350. Put butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until combined. Add egg and applesauce, mix until well blended, 2-3 minutes. Mix in oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt (and spices if you want). Mix in raisins ( or the chips and/or nuts..which I so want to do next time!!)
2.Using a 1 1/2 inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake cookies until golden and just set, 13-15 minutes. Let cool on sheets 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack set over parchment paper; let cool completely.
3.Make icing: Whisk confectioner's sugar, syrup and 3 tbsp water until smooth. Drissle over cookies, let set.I must say they were tasty cookies. And I am totally gonna get me some maple syrup cause I have got to try them with the icing!! The room mate thought they were gonna be weird cause I added the chips.. his words were " those are great cookies!! perfectly baked!" I have noticed that when ever he wrinkles that nose and says it may be weird he ends up loving it lol. They are super soft and damn tasty!! Definitely try them!!
Thanks Martha for a great Recipe and Thanks Ruth for the great event!!