Friday, December 23, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup with Cider Cream

Bon Appétit | November 1998

5 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 6 cups)
2 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only)
1/2 cup chopped peeled carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried sage leaves
5 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
1 1/2 cups apple cider
2/3 cup sour cream

1/2 cup whipping cream
Chopped fresh chives

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add squash, leeks, carrot and celery; sauté until slightly softened, about 15 minutes. Mix in apples, thyme and sage. Add stock and 1 cup cider and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until apples are tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Cool slightly.

Working in batches, purée soup in blender. Return soup to pan. Boil remaining 1/2 cup cider in heavy small saucepan until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Cool. Place sour cream in small bowl. Whisk in reduced cider. (Soup and cider cream can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately and refrigerate.)

Bring soup to simmer. Mix in whipping cream. Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle with cider cream. Top with chives.

Butter Finger Candies

These taste just like Butter Fingers!!

1 (10 oz.) box original Wheat Thins crackers
1 cup creamy peanut butter
16 ounces dipping chocolate or almond bark

Sandwich about 1/2 teaspoon peanut butter between two Wheat Thins crackers; repeat until all crackers have been used. Melt chocolate in microwave at 50 percent power for one minute; stir. Return to microwave at 30 second intervals until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Dip cracker "sandwiches" in chocolate to coat. Set on wax paper. Place in refrigerator or freezer for 10-15 minutes to set completely. Store in an airtight container.

Saltine Cracker Toffee


4 ounces saltine crackers
1 cup butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
Line cookie sheet with saltine crackers in single layer.
In a saucepan combine the sugar and the butter. Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Immediately pour over saltines and spread t cover crackers completely.
Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the top. Return to oven for 2-3 minutes. Spread melted chocolate. Cool completely and break into pieces.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

S’mores Bars

½ cup butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
5 HERSHEY’s Milk Chocolate Bars (1.55oz each)
3 cups miniature marshmallows

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 8-inch square baking pan.
2. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl until well blended. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt; add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Press half of dough into prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes.
3. Sprinkle mini chocolate bars over baked layer or arrange unwrapped chocolate bars over baked layer, breaking as needed to fit. Sprinkle with marshmallows; scatter bits of remaining dough over marshmallows, forming top layer. Bake 10-15 minutes or just until lightly browned. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.

Makes 16 bars

Here is a link for a picture of them. I couldn't figure out how to add the picture to this post. The recipe on the link is a little different than mine but the bars look the same.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mint Brownies

I made these for St. Patrick's Day and they were delicious! (Recipe from:


Here’s how I make them: (I am making 1 1/2 times the recipe in the pictures.)


1. Melt butter in the microwave. In a large bowl add melted butter and cocoa. Whisk together until smooth. (This is important as cocoa can be lumpy)


2. Add whisked eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt to the cocoa mixture. Whisk until smooth.


3. Measure flour and sift into brownie mixture. Stir in by hand. Do not over mix.


4. Spray 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray. (Or Baker’s Half Sheet/large cookie sheet if making 1 1/2 times recipe.) Pour mixture into pan and smooth out.

5. Cook in a 350 degree oven for 25-28 minutes… depending on how you like your brownies.

6. Cool for a few minutes then place brownies into freezer for 20 minutes.

7. Make mint layer. Mix together all the ingredients using a mixer.


8. Frost smoothly and place in the freezer for 20 more minutes.


9. While brownies are in the freezer make the chocolate ganache. Place chocolate chips and butter in the microwave for 1 minute. The chips may not look melted, but whisk together well and usually they are. Don’t overcook in the microwave!


10. Pour melted chocolate ganache over the brownies and working quickly spread it evenly over the brownies. Don’t skimp on the freezer time. If the brownies are too warm, the ganache just melts the mint layer and you have a mess. If the brownies have been in the freezer for too long… the ganache sets up really quickly and it’s hard to get it smooth.

11. Place brownies in the freezer for another 20 minutes until ganache is set up. Cut up into bars.IMG_2524

As you can see, I usually make one and a half times the recipe and cook it in a baker’s half sheet (large cookie sheet.) It seems like I’m always making brownies for a crowd! The cookie sheet makes 4 dozen brownies. I always cut around the edge of the pan to keep all the brownies perfect and even. My kids wait for those edges like baby birds…. so they never go to waste!

One trick for cutting the brownies evenly is to cut down the middle first. Then I make marks on the edge before cutting across the pan. For the cookie sheet, I always cut six rows on the width and 8 rows on the length.

Here’s the recipe:

Chocolate Mint Brownies – (Recipe for 1 1/2 times is in parenthesis)

Whisk together:
1 c. melted butter (1 ½ c.)
½ c. cocoa powder (3/4 c.)

And then add:
2 c. sugar (3 c.)
4 eggs beaten (6)
1 tsp. vanilla (1 ½ tsp.)
½ tsp. salt (3/4 tsp.)

Mix well and then add:

1 ½ c. sifted flour (2 ¼ c.)

Stir in by hand. Do not over mix.

Pour into 9×13 pan sprayed with cooking spray. If making 1 1/2 recipe pour into Baker’s Half Sheet (large cookie sheet.) Bake at 350 degrees for 25-28 minutes. Cool for a few minutes and then place in freezer for 20 minutes.

While brownies are in the freezer make first layer of topping.

Mint frosting:
½ c. butter softened (3/4 c.)
2 Tbsp. milk (3 Tbsp.)
2 c. powdered sugar (3 c.)
1 tsp. peppermint extract ( 1 ½ tsp.)
green food coloring

Mix thoroughly. Evenly frost brownies and put back in freezer for 20 minutes. Make chocolate ganache top layer.

Chocolate Ganache Topping:
½ c. butter (3/4 c.)
1 ½ c. good semi sweet chocolate chips (2 ¼ c.)

Melt and whisk together. (I melt them together in a Pyrex measuring bowl in the microwave for one minute. Be careful not to overheat. It won’t look melted but once whisked it is.) Drizzle warm chocolate over brownies and spread smooth with a spatula. Put back in freezer for another 20 minutes.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

(Easy) Caribbean Steak with Coconut Rice

1/2 c fresh orange juice or pineapple juice
2 tbsp jerk seasoning
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
1.5 lbs steak

1 c canned coconut milk
1 cup long-grain white rice
1/2 txp salt
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro

1. For the steak, in a small bowl combine orange juice, jerk seasoning and cilantro. Transfer to a large resealable plastic back. Add steak; seal bag. Refrigerate 8-24 hours turning occasionally (ours marinated for about 2 hours and was great!).
2. For the rice, in a medium saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups water, coconut milk, rice and salt; bring to boiling over medium-high heat; season with salt to taste.
3. Meanwhile, remove steak from marinade. Coat grill rack with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat grill to medium (300F to 350F). Place steak on grill and grill for 8-10 minutes for medium-rare (145 degrees) or to desired doneness.
4. Service with rice and sprinkle with cilantro (optional).

Serves 4

Buffalo Chicken Dip

  • 1 pkg. (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese (about 2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese salad dressing or ranch salad dressing
  • 2 cans (12.5 ounces each) Chicken Breast in Water, drained
  • 1/2 cup any flavor FRANK'S® RedHot® sauce (we prefer Frank's Buffalo sauce)
  • Assorted fresh vegetables, crackers or tortilla chips
  • Directions:
  1. Heat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Stir the cream cheese in a 9-inch deep dish pie plate with a fork or whisk until it's smooth.
    Stir in the dressing, pepper sauce and blue cheese. Stir in the chicken.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken mixture is hot and bubbling. (also works well in a crock pot)
    Stir before serving.
    Serve with the vegetables and crackers for dipping.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Super Easy Molten Chocolate Cakes


1 cup unsalted butter or unsalted margarine*
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, or bars, cut into bite-size chunks
5 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
4 teaspoons flour (or matzo meal, ground in a blender to a fine powder)
8 extra-large paper muffin cups (or use regular paper muffin cups, which will make 12 cakes)

1 (6 ounce) container raspberries, barely moistened and rolled in about
1/2 cup sugar right before serving

Melt butter and chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water; remove from heat. Beat eggs, sugar and salt with a hand mixer in a medium bowl until sugar dissolves. Beat egg mixture into chocolate until smooth. Beat in flour or matzo meal until just combined. (Batter can be made a day ahead; return to room temperature an hour or so before baking.)
Before serving dinner, adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a standard-size muffin tin (1/2 cup capacity) with 8 extra-large muffin papers (papers should extend above cups to facilitate removal). Spray muffin papers with vegetable cooking spray. Divide batter among muffin cups.
Bake until batter puffs but center is not set, 8 to 10 minutes. Carefully lift cakes from tin and set on a work surface. Pull papers away from cakes and transfer cakes to dessert plates.
Top each with sugared raspberries and serve immediately.