Sunday, July 14, 2019

Andes Chocolate Mint Cookies

Blogging has taken a backseat in my life. Seriously, there are over 500 recipes on this blog--all delicious! So for me to add a recipe it has got to be excellent. Yes, Andes Chocolate Mint Cookies are excellent! Candise made this recipe and told me how good they were. I made a batch--they were perfect. That was a year ago or about 20 batches. I take them anytime I need to share cookies, I share cookies a lot. I might be known as the Cookie Lady.
In my storage room one will always find several kinds of chocolate; milk, dark, chips, bars, peanut butter chips, white chocolate, drizzling chocolate and now there will always be a bag or two of Andes Mints. One must always be prepared.
I often make these cookies when I have a grandchild helper. They can open mints, eat mints, place mints on hot cookie and then spread melted mints. These cookies freeze beautifully, they thaw in minutes. I made a batch two weeks ago in preparation for a family gathering this week. Guess what? The cookies are all gone, they are such a perfect afternoon or evening treat. Just a bite of wonderful! So I'm making another batch today.

Andes Chocolate Mint Cookies
12 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar (10.5 ounces)
2 tablespoons water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, I use Ghirardelli 60% Cacao--these are the best!
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (12.5 ounces)
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
Andes Mints, unwrapped about 60
Combine butter, brown sugar and water in a saucepan, cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted, about 3 minutes. Add chocolate chips and stir constantly until melted. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. Let cool 10 minutes.
Whisk flour, baking soda and salt in a second bowl. Add eggs to chocolate mixture and beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Reduce to low and add flour in 3 additions, mix until just combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough for 1 hour.
Line baking sheets with parchment sheets. Using a small scoop portion dough on baking sheet. Dip the bottom of a small glass in sparkling sugar, slightly flatten cookie. Bake at 350 for about 9 minutes just until cookie is set. Remove from oven and immediately place a mint on the center of each cookie. Let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Using a small offset spatula spread the melted chocolate over the cookie. Let cookies cool completely. 
Andes Mints can be purchased at Walmart or if you are at Gygi's they come in a bigger box for a great price. Gygi's is always a fun store to visit!
This recipe comes from Our Best Bites--an awesome recipe site.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies are my new favorite! My daughter made a batch for me when she last visited. She left some scoops of  cookie dough in the freezer. I would get out a few, pop them in the oven and enjoy warm cookies 15 minutes later. These cookies got me thru recovery from pneumonia, cookies and cheese paninis were the only thing that tasted good. I didn't put the panini maker away for three weeks! Thanks Amber, you saved the day.
Back to the cookies, they are perfect. If you combine a chocolate chip cookie, oatmeal cookie and peanut butter cookie this is what you get. I found it in one of my favorite blogs, Mel's Kitchen Cafe.
I made just a few changes, it's yummy, enjoy!

Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Oatmeal Cookies
2 squares softened butter
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar (7 ounces)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup quick oatmeal
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2-2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 1/2-2 cups Reese's Peanut Butter chips
In the bowl of a stand mixer put butter, sugars and peanut butter, cream together. Add eggs and vanilla, mix together for 2 minutes until light colored. In a separate bowl combine the flour, oatmeal, baking soda and salt. Mix well. Add dry ingredients to peanut butter mixture. Mix gently. Add chips.
Using a medium scoop put cookie dough on a parchment lined baking sheet. Dip a small glass into coarse sugar, use this to slightly flatten cookie.
Bake at 350 for 11-12 minutes. Cookies will look under done, they will firm up as they cool. Let cool on a cooling rack. This recipe make about 4-5 dozen cookies. Share them, freeze them, eat them!
I like to bake a pan of cookies for immediate consumption. Then I portion the cookie dough on a sheet of parchment, slightly flatten as above. Freeze the cookie balls. When frozen put cookie balls in a freezer bag, label and bake within 6 weeks (they never last that long)! To bake put frozen cookie balls on a parchment lined baking stone. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until just done. Who doesn't love a warm cookie for a bedtime snack! Now that we are empty nesters this is the perfect way to make cookies.
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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Sweet Potato Casserole

I would probably classify these as a dessert. Think about pumpkin pie, only wonderful! These sweet potatoes are delicious, leftovers make a great breakfast. This dish will always have a place on my holiday table. This recipe was adapted from Pioneer Woman. It's got to be good. The photo is kind of pathetic but this was the last morsel left after Thanksgiving Dinner! We were too hungry to get a shot of the full dish--maybe next year (probably not).

Sweet Potato Casserole
4 medium sweet potatoes
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup flour
6 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
Preheat oven to 375. Put potatoes on a sheet pan and bake till fork tender, 45-60 minutes. When just  cool enough to handle remove skin. Put the potatoes in a large bowl and mash slightly--these are not mashed potatoes, you want chunks. Combine the granulated sugar, milk, eggs, salt and vanilla, mix well. Gently stir mixture into potatoes. Put potatoes in a large buttered casserole dish.
In a separate bowl mix brown sugar, pecans, flour and butter. Mix together with a fork or pastry blender. Mixture should resemble a crumble.
Sprinkle mixture over potatoes. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes.
We made this the day before Thanksgiving. We took it out of the fridge about an hour before cooking. It cooked about 40 minutes as it was still cool when we put it in the oven.
Printable Recipe

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Crispy, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

 What--a new cookie?? I couldn't believe I didn't have this cookie on my blog. I checked and drooled as I looked through many chocolate chip cookie recipes. Why is this different?? Well, it has a high butter ratio. Which makes them taste divine.  There is a small amount of oatmeal. This adds to the crunch but doesn't scream, "Hey this is an Oatmeal Cookie".
They are the perfect combination of crisp and chewy. I had the best luck with a small cookie scoop (heaping tablespoon). I tried making a bigger cookie (2 tablespoons) but the dough spread too much. In this recipe smaller is better. Choose your favorite chocolate ---milk, dark, chunk or mini. Don't ruin a good cookie with inferior chocolate! This is a delicious cookie, enjoy and share!
I found the recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Let's Dish!

Crispy, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, 7 ounces
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup  old fashioned oatmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine butter and sugars, beat well about 3 minutes. Add egg, egg yolk and vanilla, mix well. In a bowl stir together flour, oatmeal, baking powder, soda and salt. Add to wet mixture. Gently stir just till mixed. Add chocolate chips. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Using a small scoop place cookie dough on a parchment lined sheet. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. The cookie should be light brown and the edges will be darker. Do not over bake. Let cookies cool for 2-3 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet and finish cooling on a wire rack.
Printable Recipe

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Loaded Macadamia Cookies

My baking adventures are usually fueled by what needs to be used. When you shop at Costco you arrive home with large quantities of individual items. This was great when I regularly fed 8 people. Now we are down to 2, you must pay attention to your food or it will wind up in the compost pile. I hope to never compost Macadamias! So I had a stash of Macadamias in the freezer. Perfect--great start. I also had white chocolate bars. My sweet daughter lives near Chicago. Aldi is a great store with the best chocolate. Dark, white or milk--all delicious. This chocolate is made in Germany. I love it. Amber kindly carries on a good supply of chocolate--thanks Amber, very much appreciated. The recipe called for dried cranberries. Again I had large bags of dried cherries and blueberries from Costco.
These ingredients combined with the addition of oatmeal and a little cinnamon resulted in one amazing cookie. White chocolate is sweet--dried cherries are tart together the are delicious. This could be my new favorite cookie! Thanks to Gold Medal Flour for an excellent recipe.

Loaded Macadamia Cookies
1/2 cup softened butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar (66 grams)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup white chocolate chunks--I purchase a bar of white baking chocolate and chop it
1/2 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
1/2 cup dried fruit--I used the remains of a bag of Berries and Cherries. Yummy.
Mix butter and sugar till creamy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanila, stir, Mix in flour, oats, salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Stir gently. Add white chocolate, nuts and dried fruit. Do not overmix. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes. Scoop dough on parchment lined sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12-15 minutes.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Baked Chicken Fajitas

I get excited when I try a new recipe and it exceeds my expectations. Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas came together easily and the finished product was delicious. Fajitas are usually cooked in a very hot frying pan. It is a meal that requires last minute craziness. The prep for Fajitas is is the same however you cook them. I just like the idea of letting the oven do the cooking, it is basically unattended. That is good. While the Fajitas are cooking I am free to prep the yummy toppings that must accompany Fajitas.

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken--I use Costco Chicken Tenders
2 peppers, red, yellow or orange
1 poblano pepper--these are very mild and add a great flavor, green pepper can be substituted
2 jalapenos--do not use seeds or membranes for a milder flavor. I do wish there was a way to know just how hot a jalapeno is! I always use food prep gloves when handling jalapenos. I have learned the hard way. Jalapenos add a wonderful flavor. We love them!
1 large onion
2 tablespoons taco seasoning, I make my own because I have to do something with all the Penzys spices I own! I'm sure you could use a package mix. Penzys also has a yummy Fajitas blend. So many choices. I think the point is to season well!
2 tablespoons olive oil
8-10 tortillas
garnishes such as cilantro, lime wedges, guacamole, sour cream, salsa

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush a large sheet pan with oil.
Cut the chicken against the grain into 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide strips
Cut bell and poblano peppers into long thin slices--1/4 inch wide
Slice the jalapenos into thin rounds (remove seeds and membranes first)
Cut ends off of onions. Cut in half from pole to pole. Cut into thin slices
Scatter peppers, onions and chicken on sheet pan. Sprinkle with taco seasoning and drizzle with olive oil. Use tongs to toss until everything is coated--spread in an even layer. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring half way through. Serve on warm tortillas with lots of garnishes.
Printable recipe
This recipe came from The Yummy Life.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

This post is all about frosting. Choose your favorite brownie recipe or make a box mix. This frosting will elevate any brownie!
This is the only chocolate frosting you will ever need, it's that good. It is yummy on brownies, cake, cupcakes and graham crackers too! And it is easy.

Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
1 cup semi sweet chocolate pieces that's about 6 ounces. I like Ghirardelli. If I can't find Ghirardelli chocolate chips I will chop up a semi-sweet baking bar. Please don't cheat and use milk chocolate or cheap chocolate--you can, it just won't be wonderful!
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sour cream
pinch of salt
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Melt chocolate and butter over low heat or in the micro--watch carefully as it scorches easily. In my old age I can't multi-task. So when I melt chocolate, I melt chocolate! Sad but true. Let mixture cool for a few minutes then add sour cream and salt. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat till smooth. It's delicious! Frosts a 9x13 pan of brownies or 24 cupcakes.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Peanut Butter Brownies

 My blog has about 38 recipes that contain peanut butter. I do like peanut butter. In cookies, brownies, candy and even sauces-- think peanut sauce. I have a Peanut Butter Swirl Brownie recipe that is excellent. Peanut Butter Bars are a family favorite. So why another peanut butter brownie recipe? Because I can! I would feel bad if I didn't share this recipe. I made it twice in a week--that is how good it is.
It is easy, like one bowl easy. These brownies are so perfectly delicious that they do not need frosting! Did I really just say that--I frost everything. They are the perfect combination between chewy and cakey. The peanut butter is subtlety delicious. My non-peanut butter loving mother thought they were excellent. They freeze well--and taste delicious right from the freezer. This could be a new family favorite. Best of all you probably have everything you need in your pantry to make them, tonight.

Peanut Butter Brownies
6 ounces butter softened (12 tablespoons)
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter, I use Skippy or Jiff or Western Family (whatever is on sale)
2 cups (15 ounces) granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup (2 ounces) cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups (8.75 ounces) flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
10 ounces chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli 60%  Bittersweet Chocolate)
Whip butter and peanut butter together until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar, mix well. Add eggs and vanilla, mix until well combined. Stir in the cocoa, mix until the mixture is smooth and no dry streaks remain.
Add flour, salt and baking powder, stir once or twice. Add chocolate chips and gently mix just until combined. Batter will be thick.
Spread in a lightly greased 9x13 metal pan. I use a small offset spreader to get batter even. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake 25-28 minutes. When done a toothpick inserted near the center will come out with a few moist crumbs. Don't over cook. My brownies took closer to the 28 minute mark. Ovens vary. Use the toothpick test!
Cool completely and cut into squares. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
This recipe came from my go to food blog, Mel's Kitchen Cafe.
Printable recipe

Monday, December 19, 2016

Candy Cane Krispies

Yeah--lunch with my cousins! I know I am 61 but I was excited.  We seem to only see each other at funerals. We wanted to gather and laugh and eat and basically reconnect with each other. We had so much fun. It was like we were kids again. Your cousins know you like no one else. They know your parents and grandparents, they know your brothers and sisters. They know more about the struggles and challenges you have weathered. You can be a great support to each other. We had a wonderful time. So good that we have another lunch scheduled for January!

An  hour before I left I decided to take a treat to share. It had to be quick! I had just seen this recipe on Our Best Bites. I knew it would be good. It was excellent! The kind of treat that you just keep eating. I love Rice Krispie treats in just about any form. The addition of crushed candy canes, white chocolate and dark chocolate made these a treat I was happy to share. So very, very good. So easy to make. This recipe was made for Christmas Gatherings!

Candy Cane Krispies
16 ounce package marshmallows
7 tablespoons butter
9 cups rice krispie cereal
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
4 ounces white chocolate (I use the melting discs)
4 ounces dark chocolate (I use the melting discs)
I purchase my chocolate discs at Gygi's in Salt Lake City or they are sold in bulk at Winco. I have heard that Sam's Club carries them seasonally. Yes, you could use chocolate chips, just add about 1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil to the melted chocolate and mix.
8 Candy Canes crushed. I crushed them and then put them in a fine mesh strainer. The dust like particles went in the mix with the rice krispies. The bigger chunks were used as garnish after the chocolate had been drizzled.

Use about 1 tablespoon of butter and butter a large sheet pan. Don't use Pam--it will taste nasty in this recipe (and I do love Pam--just not here). Melt butter in a large bowl in the micro wave. Add marshmallows to melted butter and stir. Return to microwave and cook for 30 seconds, remove and stir. Continue until marshmallow are completely melted. Add rice krispies, peppermint extract and peppermint dust. Stir until combined. Put sticky mixture in a large buttered sheet pan. I get my hands damp and spread/pat the mixture in place. You may have to re-moisten your hands a few times.
Put dark chocolate in a baggie--microwave until melted (my microwave has a chocolate melting button--genius)! Once chocolate is melted cut a very small corner off the baggie. Have fun and drizzle the chocolate all over the top of the krispie treat. Put white chocolate in a new bggie and melt and drizzle. Once all the chocolate has been drizzled quickly sprinkle candy cane pieces on top.
Beautiful. Let cool. If you are in a hurry and you live in Utah just put them outside for 20 minutes and your delicious treat is ready. Cut and bag or plate.
Printable Recipe
This recipe was inspired by a recipe on Our Best Bites--I increased quantities but nothing drastic.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Pumpkin, White Chocolate, Cherry Muffin with Streusel

I have girls--my girls are great cooks. I'm proud to be their Momma. Amber sent an early morning text--she had just created a delicious muffin. I'm sad I live 1000 miles away, it would have been a perfect breakfast. This recipe was inspired by a recipe on Smitten Kitchen. Pumpkin is always a good choice, streusel makes it better. The addition of white chocolate chips and dried cherries sent this muffin out of the park. Amber's hubby, Tadd (who has a palate for fine food) said this was a $5.00 muffin.
I will make them very soon. Amber who is also a fine photographer was kind enough to take a photo or two. Thanks Amber.

Pumpkin, White Chocolate, Cherry Muffin with Streusel
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 1/3 cup solid pack pumpkin
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup chopped dried tart cherries
1 cup white chocolate (chopped)
Streusel Topping
3 tablespoons 
1/3 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
Rub together until pea size.
Heat oven to 350. Spray muffin tin with Bakers Joy, put 1 teaspoon sugar in each sprayed cup. Shake the tin around to coat each cup with sugar.
Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spice in a bowl, add the cherries and white chocolate.
I a large bowl whisk together the pumpkin, oil, eggs and 1 1/4 cup sugar. Add dry ingredients ad stir until just combined. Divide batter among muffin cups filling about 3/4 full.
Sprinkle Sreusel Topping over muffins.
Bake until puffed and golden. A wooden pick should come out clean, about 25 minutes.
Cool in pan for five minutes. Remove muffins and cool on a wire rack.
Most muffins have a short shelf life. This muffin does keep for two days. It also freezes well. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sweet and Spicy Pork Tenderloin

I do love pork tenderloin. Once I purchased a good meat thermometer my pork was delicious. Overcooked pork is dry and chewy--not good. Pork cooked to 140-145 is moist and delicious, you can cut it with a fork. Pork tenderloin is really a fast food, you can easily make it on a week night. This recipe can be made in under 40 minutes. Most of that time is cooking/resting.
My daughters are great cooks, we share recipes and encourage each other to cook dinner. Jill was kind enough to share this recipe. I am glad she did as I probably wouldn't have made it without her positive review. Really who uses cinnamon when cooking pork?  Please trust us, it is so good. It is an amazing combination of sweet and spicy. Add it to your dinner rotation.

Sweet and Spicy Pork Tenderloin
1 pork tenderloin (about 16 ounces)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Dry Rub
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
2/3 cup brown sugar
3 large cloves garlic--pressed
2-3 teaspoons Franks or Cholula hot sauce
Heat oven to 350. Trim silver skin from tenderloin and pat dry. I cut the tenderloin in half because it fits it my frying pan better. In a small dish mix together dry rub ingredients. Rub the spice mixture over the pork to coat.
Heat olive oil in a heavy, oven safe frying pan till very hot. Quickly brown meat on all sides. It will smell amazing! Leave meat in frying pan. Combine glaze ingredients and spread/pat on tenderloin. Bake 350 degrees for 17-20 minutes. Internal temperature should be 140 degrees. Remove from oven, leave meat in pan and tent with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes. Slice meat and drizzle with pan sauce.
Serves 4 adults.
Printable copy
I adapted this from a recipe found on Food.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

BBQ Cilantro Chicken Pizza

I enjoyed a pizza at a local pizza joint that was amazing. It was a Hawaiian Pizza with a hint of barbecue sauce. It was unique and delicious. I am usually not a fan of barbecue pizza (just too much BBQ taste) but a hint was great.
This recipe was perfect. Basically an easy homemade pizza sauce with barbecue sauce mixed in. I topped the pizza with roasted chicken, pineapple, cheese and cilantro. I'm sure this would work great cooked on the grill.

BBQ Cilantro Chicken Pizza
Prepared pizza dough, I bought a pound of dough at the deli of my favorite market or make your favorite recipe
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 small can tomato paste
1 medium can tomato sauce
1 tomato, finely diced
2 teaspoons basil
2 teaspoons oregano
salt and pepper
1 cup BBQ Sauce--your favorite brand
Cheddar and mozzarella cheese
grilled/roasted chicken, rotisserie works great
pineapple fresh or canned (drained), cut in small pieces
cooked bacon (optional)
For the sauce, saute garlic in a little olive oil for 30 seconds, add tomato paste, tomato sauce, diced tomato, and seasonings. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in BBQ Sauce. Set aside.
Roll the pizza dough onto a stone or pan. I like my pizza crust thin. Pre-cook the dough in a 400 degree oven for about 6-8 minutes. Remove from the oven and spread with pizza sauce. Top with cheese and pineapple. Bake until cheese is melted and crust is done about 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and top with chicken and cilantro and bacon.
I like this recipe because the BBQ flavor is subtle. A combination of cheeses works well with the chicken and BBQ flavor. I like to pre-cook my pizza crust--it allows the crust to cook through and the toppings are not over cooked. I think it is brilliant to add the chicken to the cooked pizza. If cooked chicken is allowed to cook another 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees you get chicken leather--not good. I like the pineapple cut in small pieces. I want pineapple in every bite. This is a great recipe. Enjoy!
Printable Recipe
Recipe from Family Favorite Recipes

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Half Square Triangle Quilt for Maya

My oldest granddaughter was visiting last summer. I took her to the fabric store and let her pick out some fabric for a quilt. We talked about color, pattern, scale, design etc. Maya has a great eye (like her Mom) and knew exactly what she wanted. She picked out some beautiful fabric--no flowers just clean lines. Maya's quilt was designed with half-square triangles--lots of them! I was able to practice my skills with a seam ripper. I made plenty of mistakes (it looked so simple). Greg was kind enough to draw me a pattern that made sense to me.

I purchased a ruler years ago--it has odd markings and really made no sense to me. I did a little google research and discovered the odd ruler I had was used to square up half-square triangles. What a gem, this ruler helped me make perfect half-square triangles. The quilt was a success. I put some beautiful soft minky on the back and finished it with a scrappy binding. Thanks Maya for letting me develop my quilting skills.

Maya's happy place is in my scrapbook room. It is paradise for a creative pre-teen. Maya will spend hours in this room making signs, lists, notes and anything with glitter. She also likes to organize all my supplies--now that is helpful!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

This yummy dessert comes from America's Test Kitchen. I have quit taking cooking magazines and buying cookbooks because there are so many great recipes on line. However, I do pay for a yearly membership to America's Test Kitchen. I love this site--it has so many excellent recipes, cooking tips and product reviews. It includes recipes from Cooks County, America's Test Kitchen and Cooks Illustrated. It is my go to sight for any good recipe!
This recipe was for a 9x13 cake, a perfect family size cake. But there are just two of us now and I really don't need a 9x13 cake tempting me! I halved the recipe and it made 16 beautiful cupcakes. I ate a cupcake and then quickly shared the remainder with friends. It is a win/win.

Carrot Cupcakes
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon (rounded) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound carrots, peeled
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt.
Shred the carrots using the large holes of a box grater (you should have about 1 1/2 cups). Mix together the granulated sugar, brown sugar and eggs until thoroughly combined, about 45 seconds. While mixer is running add the oil in a slow steady steam. Mix about a minute longer or until mixture is light in color and well emulsified. Turn off mixer and stir in carrots and dry ingredients until incorporated. Stir in toasted pecans.
Using a large scoop put batter into a paper lined muffin cup. Bake at 350 degrees for about 18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool and frost.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, softened but still cool
5 tablespoons butter, softened but still cool
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar (4 1/2 ounces)
Mix together cream cheese, butter, sour cream and vanilla using a mixer set at medium speed. Mix about 30 seconds or until well combined. Add confectioners sugar and mix unticakel fluffy--about 1 minute. Put frosting in a pastry bag with a large star tip. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes. Refrigerate cupcakes. This cream cheese frosting is perfect, it is my go to cream cheese frosting recipe.
If you really want a 9x13 cake just double the cupcake ingredients and bake for about 35-40 minutes. The frosting recipe will make enough for a 9x13 pan. I like cupcakes because they are just so cute, they also have more frosting per cake ratio. That is always a good thing!
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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips

I was introduced to this recipe many years ago at a Pampered Chef Party--I think it was the reason I purchased my Food Chopper. I usually dice using my favorite chef's knife but sometimes The Chopper is the best tool for the job.
I made this Fruit Salsa for book club--it was a hit! I forgot how much I like it. It is fresh and delicious, I think your family will love it.

Fruit Salsa
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped
1 pint strawberries, chopped
2 kiwi, peel and dice
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons jam or jelly
Mix fruit in a bowl. Combine zest, juice, sugar and jam. Gently combine mixtures. I used my Food Chopper for the apples and strawberries. I think I got carried away while chopping the berries, next time I will hold back a bit. I'm sure this recipe would work with different fruits. The apples give great texture. Whole raspberries or blueberries would be a great addition.

Cinnamon Chips
Flour tortillas (I like thin tortillas)
cinnamon sugar
Cut tortillas into strips or wedges, place on baking stone. Spray lightly with Pam or water and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes until crisp and lightly brown. Cool. A drizzle of chocolate is always a good thing.
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