Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Things are getting a bit nutty....

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Nutella Pizzelle Sandwich Cookies

Nutella. Enough said. These cookies are highly addicting, seriously. You might think because they are big you are only going to eat one, not gunna happen. Let this be your warning :).  I randomly picked up some nutella at the supermarket the other day. I never buy nutella and I'm not sure what made me do it because I am one of those who just never got the whole "OMG NUTELLA" thing. I always thought it was ok just never did much for me, therefore I never bought it. But something on that day made me buy it lol.
I was originally thinking of making cupcake icing with them but was in a cookie mood and came up with these. I received a pizzelle maker for Christmas and believe it not had not used it yet. So I thought... "Hmmm pizzelles sounds fantastic. Pizzelles with nutella sound even better. Chocolate pizzelles with nutella sound even better yet. Chocolate pizzelle sandwich cookies with nutella and chopped hazelnuts sounds like a prize winner cookie, at least in my book."

look amazing right?!
Ahaha, that is exactly how my thought process went before I made these cookies. So I got right on it and made a simple pizzelle batter with some cocoa powder added in. I also added more vanilla than it called for because, well no reason really. I just thought it could use more.
After making the pizzelles I let them cool while I chopped the hazelnuts and mixed them into the nutella. Once cooled I basically just carefully assembled sandwiches out of the cookies. You cannot press too hard or they will crack, but hey they are still edible!

I also varied the amount of filling in some cookies to see which is best. Personally I enjoyed a thinner layer of the nutella and hazelnuts than a really think one. The fuller one might look a little better because it is less flat and you can see the filling from the side, but i thought it was bit much when eating, up to you.

The Goods:

Chocolate Pizzelle:
adapted from King Arthur Flour

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional, will only enhance chocolate flavor)
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
1) Beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla, espresso powder, and salt till smooth.

2) Add the cocoa and baking powder, beating till smooth.

3) Add the flour, mixing till well combined. Add the melted butter, again mixing till well combined.

4) Bake pizzelle according to your pizzelle iron instructions.
       I used a tablespoon full and scrapped it onto pizzelle iron with another spoon.

Nutella Filling

1/2 cup nutella
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
(both these amounts can be adjusted to your liking)

1)Mix both ingredients until combined.

  1) Once cookies have cooled spread thin (or thick lol) layer over on side of the cookie.
  2) Top with another cookie, gently pressing down.
  3) Continue until all are assembled.
  4) Try not to eat them all.
  5) Don't tell your friends you made them, more for you :) lol

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mango Tango

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Tropical Daiquiri refreshing! You can't help but say that after having your first sip, or gulp of this wonderful summer alcoholic concoction. Again this is another super simple recipe. You just need some frozen fruit, juice, rum, and a good blender. A little umbrella, and handsome pool boy/Waiter are optional
lol :).

So I went up to Long Island to visit my sister and her boyfriend for his 30th birthday and we made these drinks while we were all lounging in the backyard soaking up the sun. It went perfect with the relaxing day and some chips and salsa. This is a super short post because I have lots of new recipes to start posting.

 Hope everyone is enjoying the end of their summer. I must say the end of my summer has been quite swell! :)

Tropical Daiquiri

1 bag frozen mixed tropical fruit (pineapple, mango, and strawberries are best)
1 pint of Mango nectar
1/4 cup pineapple juice ( just a splash to help thin out mix)
4-5 shots of coconut rum ( or more if you are ready to party)
Extra ice (optional for thicker texture)

Put all items in blender and blend until smooth, adding extra pineapple juice if needed.
*note* it may take a few minutes for it to all come together n get blended.

Pour into class and enjoy!!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fro Yo, Fo Sho!

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Frozen Yogurt Cake
with honey cinnamon blueberry sauce

So I had this idea in my head for over a week now and I am excited to finally share it!
It all started when I bought the new cookies from Nabisco. The Newtons Fruit Thins. They sounded amazing! Blueberry and brown sugar crunchy, sweet cookies. Sounds delicious right?!
Well they weren't horrible but I did not get the taste I was hoping for and did't see myself eating them by themselves. Perhaps they were and acquired taste but I did not take the time to figure it out and a cookie should not even have to be an acquired taste, I mean its a cookie.

 I thought hmmmmm these would be great as a cheesecake crust! But, I have been on a frozen yogurt kick big time( I REALLLLLYYY want a good ice cream/frozen yogurt maker for my birthday, lol) and was wondering if I could make a frozen yogurt pie type thing with some blueberries mixed it. Then as the days went on I came up with this and finally got around to make it!

It is super sweet and somewhat healthy. I mean the cookies are made with whole grain ya know lol. But I did use lower fat fro yo and in the blueberry sauce using a natural sweetener like honey instead of sugar is much better because your body can process it more easily than refined sugars. Anyways, enough with the health lesson and onto the recipe!

I called this a cake because I didn't know what else to call it. I could have made it in a pie dish and built the crust up the sides or in a spring form pan but for some reason I went with a cake pan. Either way it came out wonderful! Hope you enjoy it too!

For the crust:
8 or 9 Newtons Blueberry Brown Sugar Fruit thins/
   *or 1/2 cup of graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons melted butter

For the Sauce:
1pint blueberries
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Fro' yo':
 Which ever store bought vanilla frozen yogurt you prefer
 I LOVE Edy's Vanilla Yogurt blends
 Or if your lucky with a ice cream machine, go ahead and make your own!

Preheat oven to 350.
In food processor, pulse cookies until they are a fine crumb.
Pour in melted butter and pulse until few clumps form.
Press firmly into 6inch cake pan, and bake for about 10 minutes.
Let cool.

Empty blueberries into large pot and mash slightly.
Pour in honey, cinnamon, vanilla, and lemon juice.
Bring to a boil over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Sauce will thicken, however if it is still thin super thin continue to boil a minute or two longer.

Let frozen yogurt soften slightly and spread layer over cookie crust.
Pour half of the COOLED blueberry sauce over frozen yogurt layer.
Place in the freezer to firm, about 10-15 minutes.
Repeat steps and place back in freezer, covered with cling wrap(do not press into blueberry sauce, just pull tightly over cake pan so that crystals do not form on top of cake)

Cut into slices or just go on and dig in with a spoon and you dont have to share it :)


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It's 5 O'clock Somewhere

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Margarita Cupcakes
w/tequila lime buttercream

Booze and dessert in one delicious concoction? Sounds great right?
Well they taste even better. They are surprisingly sweet regardless of the tequila and sourness of the lime juice. It all balances nicely and have one too many and you'll be tippin' over drunk! Haha just kidding, but no one is saying you cant chase one with a straight shot of tequila.
.....Ahh I should have went to into sales.

I actually made this for my moms co-worker. It was her birthday and I wanted to get super creative and I heard of these a while and had yet to make them. I did my research and found countless different recipes for the cake and icing. I finally mixed a bunch of different recipes together and came up with one which works great.

        I actually used a white cake mix, from a box. It saved a few steps and made it nice and easy. I also used non alcoholic margarita mix in place of the water the cake mix called for and threw in some lime zest. Some recipes mixed the tequila right into the batter but I decided to wait and brush it on after they were baked and cooled to ensure you could definitely taste it. 
The icing was super easy as well. I just whipped up some ( i lied, i mean a lot of) butter and mixed in powdered sugar. Then added some tequila, and than a little more, and also some lime juice and viola! Piece o' cake...literally :)
I love how I edited this....just sayin
I highly recommend making these. They are delicious and fun and they make you feel like throwing on a sombrero and joining a mariachi band! All kidding aside they are GREAT! The icing is super light and airy with a kick from the tequila, but if you want it to be more firm and a little more sweet just add extra powder sugar. Oh, I also crushed up tiny pretzels and sprinkled them on the outer edge of the icing. To take place of the salt on a margarita glass. Then I  got real cute putting gummy lime candy on top and trimmed down some straws and stuck them in too lol. Both are optional of course :).

 Margarita Cupcakes
w/ tequila lime buttercream

1 box white cake mix
3 large egg whites
1 can (10 oz)  frozen non-alcoholic margarita mix, thawed
1 heaping tablespoon lime zest
2 tablespoons Tequila

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
2 3/4 cup powder sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons tequila

To make cupcakes:
Fill muffin tin with liners and preheat oven to 325.

With an electric mixer beat cake mix, egg whites, margarita mix on low for about 30 seconds and then on medium for about 2 minutes.

Stir in lime zest.

Fill tins about 2/3's full. I like to use 1/4 cup measuring cup.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Ovens vary so just check after 20 and see if your toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool in tins for at least 5 minutes, on a cooling rack. If removing from tins, continue to cool on cooling rack.

Once cool, brush each cupcake with tequila. I used a little less than 2 tablespoons for all the cupcakes.
  * I also poked the tops with a toothpick a few times*

To make icing:
Cream butter with electric mixer for 1-2 minutes, until light and fluffy.

Add powder sugar gradually until all of it is fully incorporated.

Beat in lime juice and tequila.

Decorate as you wish or steal my idea :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Simply Scumptious!

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Blueberry Bread French Toast
with cinnamon and brown sugar

Blueberries. Cinnamon. Sugar. And buttaaaa! If that doesn't mix well then I'm not sure what does! Summer is not only bikini season but also blueberry season and if you would like both to go hand in hand with out issue then well don't bother reading this recipe. It is a scrumptious and indulgent Saturday morning breakfast that is just too delicious to worry about that bikini, for me anyways.

I have always loved french toast and preferred it to pancakes any day (Belgium waffles are a close 2nd). I also pride myself on my amazing french toast making skills, but that's a story for a different day. This french toast was no different. It came out perfect and defiantly called for seconds.

Now, ever since I saw the Good Eats episode on french toast I truly believe that putting that extra effort into making a custard and soaking the bread over night and not using sliced white bread, really makes for the PERFECT french toast. However this bread was pre-sliced, I bought it at an Amish Market which, if you have ever been to one, is like dieing and going to heaven. If heaven was the smell of cinnamon and sugar, and donuts and butter filling the air. Anyways, since it was sliced super thin I did not want to soak it over night and end up with a soggy lumpy mess. So instead I made a super decadent egg mixture with eggs, cream, vanilla, and cinnamon. MMMM!

This was pre-made blueberry bread. If you can't find any any good french bread, such as brioche, or yes even that good old bag of Texas Toast would work. Or if you feel like getting fancy go ahead and whip up your own. The only thing I wish I did was make a homemade chunky blueberry syrup but I was out of blueberries. Good, REAL, maple syrup did just dandy!

Blueberry Bread French Toast
(yield: 6 servings with 2 slices each)

1 loaf, or enough slices to feed the hungry mouths, of blueberry bread(or bread suggested above)

3 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
   * you may need to repeat this mixture depending on how much french toast you are making *

For egg mixture:
6 egg yolks plus 3 whole eggs whisked
1/2 cup of heavy cream, or half and half would work
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

In large bowl whisk eggs and add in cream, vanilla and cinnamon. Whisk to incorporate. Pour into large baking dish.

In shallow bowl mix cinnamon and brown sugar together.

Preheat skillet or large pan.

Dip 6 slices (or as many that fit into baking dish) into the egg mixture pressing down. Let sit for at least 1 min.

Transfer to preheated skillet or pan. Medium heat works best.

Sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar mixture.

Cook for about 3-4 minutes and flip. Sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar mixture again.

Cook for another 3-4 minutes and remove from pan.

Lather on that butter and dust with powdered sugar and pour on that syrup.

*Note* If serving a lot of people at once keep the oven on warm and place finished french toast on baking sheet. It will keep it nice and warm until ready to serve.
           Also I prefer heating the syrup so try that out as well!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

"You don't win friends with salad"-Homer Simpson....or do you?!

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Arugula Pasta Salad

This is a super easy, light and healthy dinner perfect for a summer night. I know all my posts so far have been  about baking but I've been wanting to put some cooking on here as well. Although, this really doesn't require cooking unless you consider boiling water and stirring in pasta cooking. But hey if you do then this is perfect for you!
So first off, yay for me! For making it to the gym bright and early. It's actually where I thought of this recipe and could not wait until dinner time to make it. I was on the treadmill and on TV they were making all different types of pasta salads. I couldn't hear(ipod) and was trying to not falling off the treadmill (again) but  I saw several different mixes and came up with this one. A sort of mish mash of the different kinds they were making.
This is perfect for a super hot summer night because it is not heavy at all and super simple and fast. The longest part is waiting for the pasta to cook. I waited to chop and prepare everything after the pasta was cooked so it had time to cool off. Once the pasta was cooked I ran it under cold water to help cool it fast.
You can also add or switch out the ingredients for those you prefer. I stopped at the farmers market after work and grabbed items I already had in mind for this recipe.
Anyways not much else to say about this except that it is DELICIOUS and great for BBQ or if you are having some friends over. It can be a side or a main dish and you can add as much or as little pasta as you like. I did a nice even mix of arugula and pasta because I couldn't decide if I wanted it to be more a salad salad or pasta salad. So i went with both lol :)
Hope you enjoy!
Oh and check back for some gooooood recipes coming! I loaded up on peaches and have several ideas for what do with the giant basket I have. Oh and a GREAT idea for this bread I bought at the Amish market. Anyways check back, and tell your friends too lol :)

Arugula Pasta Salad

1/4 lb. arugula, washed (stem and rip the leaves into smaller pieces if they're large)
6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1 large tomato, diced
2 roasted red peppers, diced (I used two from a jar and did not wipe excess oil because i thought it would add great flavor to salad)
1 lb. whole wheat penne or any small pasta
1 Tbs. red-wine vinegar
3 Tbs. olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste 
A shake or two of garlic powder
10 fresh basil leaves, cut in a chiffonade(fancy word right lol?-just take the leaves and stack them. Roll them and cut into really thin strips)

Cook pasta according to package. Drain and run cold water over to help cool.

Put the, feta, tomatoes, and roasted red pepper in a large bowl.

In large salad bowl whisk vinegar, oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper together.

Add pasta and arugula and lightly toss.

Add the rest of the ingredients and toss again. Serve room temp or cold.

 *Note* If not eating right away wait to cut and basil for freshness and to not bruise it.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

OHHH Snap!.....crackle & pop!

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Sophisticated, Pinky up Rice Krispie Treats
Not So Sophisticated Krispie Treats

Who can resist a rice krispie treat?! I know I can't. In fact, it gets pretty ugly when they are around. I cannot, literally, just have one. I mean, they are just that delicious to me what can i say lol :). Well, if you thought rice krispie treats were scrumptious in their good old fashion form, wait until you dig into these new takes on the classic treat!

I first saw a recipe from Smitten Kitchen for salted browned butter rice krispie treats back in the beginning of summer and made them pretty much 2 seconds later. I was sold by the idea of using browned butter in the recipe but was surprised by how amazing the use of the sea salt just upped the goodness! The browned butter becomes rich, nutty, almost like a deep caramel flavor that just outdoes regular melted butter. And the touch of sea salt is the perfect mixture of salty to the super sweet krispie treat. MMMMMMM I wish I had more adjectives to describe how amazing these few tweaks make these simple already delicious treats but just trust me, ok?

I like to call them my pinky up krispie treats because they are like a grown up, fancy version of a kid favorite. The fancy addition of the browned butter makes it feel as if you should be eating it on a fancy desert plate with a knife and fork, but screw that just go ahead and throw that pink up!

Now onto a more fun recipe. These remind me of the cake batter ice cream from Cold Stone creamery but it rice krispie form. MMMM cake batter :)! This is super simple and adds a depth of flavor that is familiar and easy to recognize due to adding yellow cake mix to the melted marshmallows. These are fun and flavorful and great for parties! I sprinkled rainbow jimmies into the batter before shaping them. Don't let my lack of a description not sell on these babies. They are AMAZING! They are simple, sweet, crunchy, and sticky but its the cake batter flavor that takes over and wins here. It was such a good idea and whoever thought of this, well they are amazing as and that makes me amazing too for sharing them with you!


Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, & extra for the pan
1 10-ounce bag marshmallows
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt, plus more to sprinkle on top
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal ( we all know we never use the full amount so that we have the extra gooey marshmallow texture)

Coat with non-stick spray an 8-inch square baking dish with 2-inch sides.

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. Let it melt until it begins to foam. Now keep an eye on this pot as the butter with now continue to foam and turn clear, then a golden color. Soon (DO NOT WALK AWAY) it will turn brown and will smell nutty and deep.

Stir with a silicon spatula, and keep stirring because you do not want burnt butter.

As soon as the butter takes on a nutty color and smell, turn the heat off and stir in the marshmallows.

The melted butter should melt the marshmallows. However if not put over low heat until melted and remove from heat.

Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the salt and cereal together. You might need to use a little muscle to make sure it is all incorporated.

Quickly spread into prepared dish with silicon spatula. Sometimes a little nonstick spray on spatula helps but, I don't mind when some sticks because that's more for me to eat while cleaning up :).
      *Easy tip*- Instead of pushing down with spatula I kind of smack the top of the krispie treats so that my spatula has less of a chance of sticking* 

If you don't want to dig right in....once they've cooled cut into large squares and ENJOY!

Cake Batter Rice Krispie Treats

3 tablespoons butter
1 10-ounce bag of marshmallows
1/4 cup yellow cake mix
6 cups rice krispies cereal (as mentioned before, as much or as little of the 6cups you prefer)
1 1.75-ounce container of jimmies(sprinkles)

Spray baking dish (perferably 8inch) with non stick spray, just a light coat.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat and add marshmallows.

Stir to melt, adding in cake mix a little at a time until combined.

Stir in cereal so it is completely coated with marshmallow mixture (again a little muscle needed).

Sprinkle in half of the jimmies and mix.

Press into a baking dish and top with remaining jimmies.

Let cool before cutting into squares.