We had peppermint ice cream last week at my sister’s birthday, and we decided we like it. So another sister decided to serve it at her son’s first birthday party last night. Problem being that peppermint ice cream is a seasonal flavor, and our local grocery store was already out of it. Yesterday my mother and I decided to try to find some for her while she was at work, so after calling a few places, we drove to a local dairy which had some home-made peppermint ice cream. We bough 3 or 4 pints and I called and left a message for my sister that we had found the ice cream, and would bring it to the party that night. I was well satisfied with our cleverness and went to the gym. Upon my return, I saw had a message that my sister had found peppermint ice cream at another store and had bought a quart for the party and a quart to give it us. I went to tell my mom that we didn’t need to bring the ice cream to the party and learned that while I had been at the gym she had gone to another store and found peppermint ice cream there as well and bought two quarts (one for the party, one for us). So now, we have a lot of peppermint ice cream. Be sure to drop by if you’d like some.
Christmas apron December 15, 2007
My grandmother makes all kinds of beautiful aprons. When we used to visit her house for Thanksgiving when I was in college, I always came away with a new one. This is one of my favorites. I was feeling pretty grumpy and overworked last night, and one of the things I had to do was whip up some toffee bars, and when I walked into the kitchen this apron caught my eye. I put on some Christmas carols, my trusty Christmas apron, and had a pretty good time baking up a storm.
2 c. flour
1 c. pecan halves
1 c. light brown sugar
½ c. butter, softened (do not substitute)
1 c. butter (do not substitute)
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
¾ c. light brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. For crust, combine all ingredients (except pecans) with a pastry blender until mixture resembles cornmeal. Press with fingers into bottom of an ungreased 9 X 13 aluminum pan. Distribute pecans over the crust. For topping, combine butter and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil exactly one minute, stirring constantly. Pour over pecans and crust. Bake exactly 20 minutes. The surface will be bubbly. Allow to cool for one minute. Sprinkle chocolate chops evenly over the top. Wait a few minutes until chips soften completely; spread with a knife to cover the top. Chill well. Bring to room temperature before cutting. Makes 48 to 50 1-inch squares.
Three Layer Chocolate Mint Brownies December 11, 2007
|2 oz. unsweetened chocolate||½ c. butter|
|2 eggs||1 c. sugar|
|½ c. flour||1 ½ tsp. vanilla|
|¼ tsp. salt|
Mint Cream Filling
|1 ½ c. powdered sugar||3 T. butter, softened|
|2 T. half and half||1 tsp. peppermint flavoring|
|Green food coloring (several drops)|
|2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate||2 T. butter|
|1 ½ tsp. vanilla|
For Brownies, preheat oven to 350º. Grease a 9-inch square pan (may be doubled and baked in a 9×13 inch pan) and set aside. Melt chocolate, butter, vanilla and salt together in a double boiler over hot water. In a bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar until thick. Add flour and chocolate mixture and stir until smooth. Pour into pan and bake for 20-35 minutes. Let cool. For mint cream filling, beat together all ingredients for filling until smooth. Spread filling evenly over the brownie layer; cover and chill until firm, at least 1 hour. For glaze, melt all ingredients for glaze in a double boiler over hot water. Drizzle the glaze over the mint layer using a spatula. Cover and chill again until firm. Cut into squares.
Caramel Brownies November 2, 2007
1 pkg. 12 oz. chocolate chips
1 pkg. 14 oz. Kraft caramels
1 pkg. German chocolate cake mix
2/3 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup melted butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13×9 inch pan. Melt caramels with 1/3 cup of the evaporated milk. In large mixing bowl combine 1/3 cup evaporated milk, melted butter, and cake mix. Spread 1/2 cake mixture in pan and bake 6 minutes.
While cake is hot, sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Spread melted caramel mixture over chocolate chips and crumble remaining cake mixture over caramels. Bake for 20 minutes or until done.
Happy Halloween! October 31, 2007
Last night I was frantically making a coffee cake for a morning meeting, and I knocked over a grocery bag full of stuff. I looked inside and found the seasonal ingredients (decorative pumpkin candies and Kraft caramels) for two of my favorite autumnal treats that I should have been making the for the last month at least! I’m not sure I’m going to get around to them this year, but I thought I should at least share the two yummy recipes with my friends. These Pumpkin bars are really easy, and always a huge hit. I like to serve them chilled. Tomorrow I’ll share the Caramel Brownies that are to die for when served warm from the oven.
2 C sugar
1/2 C vegetable oil
1 can (16 oz) pumpkin
4 eggs, beaten
2 C Bisquick All Purpose Baking Mix
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 C raisins (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Beat sugar, oil, pumpkin and eggs in large mixing bowl until well blended. Stir in baking mix, cinnamon and raisins. Pour into greased jelly roll pan and Bake until top springs back, about 25 minutes. Cool. Frost with cream cheese frosting, cut into bars and decorate with candy pumpkin. Refrigerate left over bars.
Cream cheese Frosting
1 small package (3 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/3 C butter, softened
1 Tbl milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 C powdered sugar
Beat everything except the powdered sugar together until creamy. Add sugar and beat until smooth and of spreading consistancy.
Optional: You can also add 1/2 tsp of orange flavoring in addition to the vanilla.
British Food Goddess September 5, 2007
Nigella Lawson’s Food Philosophy
I have a total “biffo” crush (as my friend Johanna would say) on Nigella Lawson. Erin gave me her most popular cookbook, How to be a Domestic Goodess, some years ago, and the love has been growing ever since.
Hot Night in the City August 15, 2007
Having a visitor in town means getting to do those NY things I never get around to on my own.
Last night Rachel and I headed downtown (a place I always go with a certain amount of trepidation) to visit The Strand bookstore. Incredibly famous for “18 miles of books” and low prices, it’s someplace I’ve been meaning to go for years, and I’ll admit, have been held up by the fact that you have to check your bags – something I have an unnatural fear of. Of course, once we got there I cursed myself for not visiting before as we browsed the children’s books and fiction section, barely scraping the surface of the store. We left, both feeling we’d shown considerable restraint in only purchasing a book or two.
On the way to the bookstore, we passed a restaurant I’d heard a lot about, and I didn’t give Rachel much of a choice about making that our second stop. Chocolate by the Bald Manopened last fall, just in time to coincide with my strict diet and exercise program, and so while I was much saddened to turn down invitations of visiting the chocolate wonderland, I knew I must. That was then, however, and this is now. I felt that Rachel and I had stumbled on Brigadoon – chocolate style, and it’d be a crime not to visit. We ordered dinner which was quite good (mostly breakfast food. Breakfast + Dessert = Heaven), and spent most of it avidly discussing what our best dessert option was. We looked at everyone’s table that we could see, and went through the dessert menu (which is, not surprisingly, ample) many, many times. It was a big decision. We ended up going for the chocolate fondue for two with fruit, marshmallows, and chunks of chocolate chip banana bread. We did not regret the decision. I of course had to spill chocolate down the front of my shirt, but fate had helped even in that – I was wearing a brown shirt so I could pretend no one would notice the spot. It was a wonderfully sweet night all around, sharing my city with a dear friend.