Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Fresh Corn Cornbread

I love cornbread... in the morning with butter and honey on it for breakfast....served along side chili, or this time I made it to go with some yummo BBQ 'd chicken. I will post that recipe later. I usually used the recipe off of my box of corn meal, but when I watched America's test kitchen a few weeks ago and they made their corn bread this way, I just had to give it a try. Man, oh man it makes yummy cornbread, not too dry, not too heavy and not too caky. It is a little more work to use fresh corn and puree it but it's so worth it. I thought since gardens are producing all kinds of vegetables this time of year it's a good recipe to post. Hope you like it as much as we did. Enjoy!

Fresh Corn Cornbread
Serves 6 to 8

1 -1/3 cups (6 2/3 ounces) stone-ground cornmeal 
1 cup (5 ounces) all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar 
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder  
1/4 teaspoon baking soda 
1- 1/4 teaspoons salt 
3 ears corn, kernels cut from cobs (2 1/4 cups) 
6 tablespoons butter, cut into 6 pieces 
1 cup buttermilk 
2 large eggs plus 1 large yolk 

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in large bowl, set aside.
2. Process corn kernels in blender  or food processor until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Transfer puree to medium non-stick skillet. (you should have about 1½ cups). Cook puree over medium heat, stirring constantly, until very thick and deep yellow and it measures 3/4 cup, 5 to 8 minutes.
3. Remove pan from heat. Add 5 tablespoons butter and whisk until melted and incorporated. Add buttermilk and whisk until incorporated. Add eggs and yolk and whisk until incorporated. Transfer corn mixture to bowl with cornmeal mixture and, using rubber spatula, fold together until just combined.
4. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Scrape batter into skillet and spread into even layer. Bake until top is golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 25 minutes. Let cool on wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove cornbread from skillet and let cool for 20 minutes before cutting into wedges and serving OR do as I did and cut straight from the skillet after cooling for 5 minutes and eat while warm... that's the best way. Enjoy!

Monday, July 21, 2014

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

I was asked to furnish cookies for a retirement party at work. The lady that the party was for loves Macadamia Nut white chocolate chip cookies. I had a recipe but they always turn out flat so I googled Best ever white chocolate Chip macadamia nut cookies and printed out the top three. I used what was common in the three and this is the recipe I came up with. LOVE it! I think I like it mostly because of the dry roasted macadamia nuts... they have a little saltiness to them that makes these cookies yummo! and lately I am finding just a drop or  two of Butter Rum extract makes everything from banana cake and frosting to cookies extra yummo! Hope you like these as much as I did.

Soft & Chewy White Chocolate Chunk Macadamia Nut Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
  1. 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  2. 1 cup (packed) brown sugar
  3. 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  4. 2 large eggs
  5. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  6. 1/4 teaspoon Butter Rum extract (Optional)
  7. 3 cups all-purpose flour
  8. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  9. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  10. 2 cups white chocolate chips or chunks 
  11. 1- 6 oz pkg.  Mauna Loa Macadamia baking pieces dry roasted (1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped roasted salted macadamia nuts)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer affixed with paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes (or use a large bowl and a hand mixer).
Add the brown sugar and granulated (white) sugar and continue beating on medium speed for about 2 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time, continuing to beat each time until well-incorporated. Mix in the vanilla and butter rum.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
With the mixer on low speed, carefully add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix just until the ingredients are incorporated. Stir in the white chocolate chunks and the macadamia nuts.
Scoop a generous tablespoonful of the dough and roll into a ball. Place on cookie sheet about three inches apart.
Bake for about 10 minutes, until edges of cookie begin to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit for about 5  minutes on cookie sheet so the cookie can set. Carefully move to wire rack to cool completely.

Hawaiian Haystacks

Hawaiian haystacks... hmmmm I don't really think they are Hawaiian, but they are yummy. The first time I had Hawaiian haystacks was at girl's camp years ago. I have made them a time or two since then although I can't remember what recipe I used. My office made them for an office pot luck one day and I loved the recipe for the gravy so that's what I'm posting here. This is a good recipe when you need something yummy, easy and to feed a lot a people (it's easy to double). My committee that I was on for the Community Dinner Table made these one year and had a Hawaiian theme going on, was fun and yummy. For that recipe we used a country gravy mix and pineapple juice in the gravy... kind of added a different flavor. But here's my recipe, I got it from a friend I used to work with, only I added the seasonings.... reminds me of thanksgiving the way it smells. Enjoy!

Hawaiian Haystacks
3 cans Chicken broth (the ones that are about 16 oz.) (see *Note below)
2 Tablespoons Chicken bouillon

Heat the chicken broth and bouillon until hot but not boiling.

While it's heating:
Mix together in a quart canning jar:
1-1/2 cups cold water
5 heaping Tablespoons flour.
Shake well until all the lumps are gone...(if you can't quite get rid of the lumps use a strainer when pouring this mixture into the broth).

Once your broth is hot... pour the water / flour mixture into the broth, stirring constantly and let it come to a boil. It will thicken just a bit so give it a minute. If it is not thick enough you could add an additional 1/4 cup water mixed with 2 Tablespoons flour... but be careful. If you add too much the gravy will end up tasting like glue. :) As the gravy cools it will thicken a bit too.

Now add:
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon crushed thyme
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk this up so there are no lumps then add:
 2  or 3 cups diced or shredded cooked chicken (or turkey works too) you can add more or less depending on how thick you want your gravy to be.
Let this simmer for 5 to 10 minutes so the flavors get mixed together.

*Note: I usually cook up a chicken or some chicken breasts in a crock pot and I will add that to the gravy... so go ahead and add the drippings from cooked chicken as part of your broth. Or if you are in a hurry canned chicken works, or sometimes I will just grab a rotisserie chicken from the deli and that is always good too.

Serve the gravy over hot cooked rice.

Then add any of the following toppings:
Chopped Celery
Chopped Onions
Diced green pepper
Diced Tomatoes
Pineapple tidbits
shredded coconut
Slivered almonds
Chinese noodles
Soy sauce
sliced olives
and anything else you can think of ...it's all good

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Loaded Potato Salad

  • I love potato salad. Sunday I decide to make Ribs and BBQ pork tenderloin since I was in the mood for BBQ sauce. I always love potato salad with ribs and grilled things but I was tired of the usual potato salad. I can't remember how I ran across this recipe but I thought I'd give it a try. I did tweak it a bit for my taste but it's yummy. My husband was skeptical at first  but he liked it as well. I thought it wouldn't be good cold but it is and reminds you of a loaded baked potato. I thought I better hurry and post this recipe since the 4th of July is coming up fast and it's grilling season! This is yummy. I just might have to make at my 4th of July BBQ. Enjoy!

  • Loaded Potato Salad   --Serves 8
  • 2 pounds red potatoes, quartered and sliced into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 pound bacon strips, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup ranch salad dressing
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

  • Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook 10 to 15 minutes or until tender.
  • Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, until
  • crisp. Remove to paper towels; drain, reserving 3 tablespoons
  • drippings. Chop bacon when cool enough to handle.
  • Drain potatoes and place in a large bowl. Add bacon and reserved drippings; toss to coat. Refrigerate until chilled.
  • Whisk the mayonnaise, dressing, sour cream and mustard in a small  bowl. Pour over potato mixture; toss to coat. Stir in onions and cheese. Sprinkle with  salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Yield: 8 servings.

Oatmeal Muffins

I love muffins.... muffins for breakfast with a bowl of fruit and yogurt is awesome. I saw this recipe on America's Test kitchen and had to give it a try. It's amazing. These muffins aren't too dry or too heavy but a good hearty Oatmeal muffin. It does take some time to make though, you toast the oats in a skillet first, then grind them into flour. And then after the batter is made you let it rest for 20 minutes, just keep that in mind when you are making them. Also, you must use Old Fashioned Oatmeal not quick quaker oats... they won't turn out the same. I thought these were YUMMO!

Oatmeal Muffins
Makes 12 Muffins
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats 
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup pecans, chopped fine
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1-1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt 
tablespoons butter, melted

2 tablespoons butter, plus an additional 6 tablespoons melted
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1-3/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) all purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/3 cups packed brown sugar
1-3/4 cups milk
2 large eggs, beaten

Do not use quick or instant oats in this recipe. Walnuts may be substituted for the pecans. The easiest way to grease and flour the muffin tin is with a baking spray with flour.
1. FOR THE TOPPING: Combine oats, flour, pecans, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl. Drizzle melted butter over mixture and stir to ­thoroughly combine; set aside.
2. FOR THE MUFFINS: Grease and flour 12-cup muffin tin or spray with a non-stick baking spray. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add oats and cook, stirring frequently, until oats turn golden brown and smell of cooking popcorn, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer oats to food processor and process into fine meal, about 30 seconds. Add flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda to oats and pulse until combined, about 3 pulses.
3. Stir 6 tablespoons melted butter and sugar together in large bowl until smooth. Add milk and eggs and whisk until smooth. Using whisk, gently fold half of oat mixture into wet ingredients, tapping whisk against side of bowl to release clumps. Add remaining oat mixture and continue to fold with whisk until no streaks of flour remain. Set aside batter for 20 minutes to thicken. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.
4. Using ice cream scoop or large spoon, divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (about ½ cup batter per cup; cups will be filled to rim). Evenly sprinkle topping over muffins (about 2 tablespoons per muffin). Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 18 to 25 minutes, rotating muffin tin halfway through baking.
5. Let muffins cool in muffin tin on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove muffins from muffin tin and serve or let cool completely before serving.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Strawberry Cream Cheese Pastries

I went to Utah to help my daughter move from Orem to South Jordan last week. She moved in with my niece and her family...so nice that they had room and were willing to let Sarah live there until she's done with her internship and knows where she's going. My niece's daughter LOVES to bake and try out new recipes just like me!! I'm always happy when kids love to bake. She made strawberry cream cheese crepes on Sunday morning for all us and for memorial day there were lots of strawberries and cream cheese left over. She googled this recipe and it looked yummy so she thought she'd try it out. She let me help and this is the recipe we came up with. SOOOOO good! I'm posting the recipe I did, (I halved the recipe as the full one made 3 big pastries and it's just me and my hubby at home, but feel free to double) My hubby loved this! He said it was one of the 3 best pastries I've made! I asked him what the other two were and he said my Maple Bars with bacon on them but couldn't remember the second... made me laugh. Hope you enjoy as much as we did! :)

Strawberry Cream Cheese Pastries
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1Tablespoon yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 cups flour

Cream Cheese Filling:
4 oz softened cream cheese
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar

Strawberry filling:
1 pint of strawberries, washed and cut in half
1 to 2 Tablespoons Sugar (depending on how sweet your berries are, start with 1 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 heaping teaspoon cornstarch.

1- 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter (melted)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon  vanilla
2 teaspoons Milk (may need 3 teaspoons, you want to be able to drizzle it in a pastry bag)

Stir together the yeast in  the water with a teaspoon of the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer; let dissolve about 5 minutes or until it starts to foam. Add  rest of the sugar, butter, milk and egg. Mix together. Add salt to  2 cups flour and stir to combine; then add to the yeast mixture and stir well.  Add the last cup of flour a little at a time  until the dough is a smooth mixture- just a little sticky ( you may not need the whole last cup... I used 2 1/2 cups when I made them, but it depends on the humidity of the day)  Knead until smooth. Let dough rise in a greased bowl covered with plastic wart for 1- 1/2 hours or until double in size. 
Make your fillings while the dough is raising. For the Cream cheese filling just mix together in a small bowl with a fork or spoon until smooth and set aside.
For the strawberry filling place the cut up berries, sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch in a small saucepan. Mash with a potato masher until mostly all mashed up. Some big chunks are good mixed in with the mashed. Bring this to a simmer over medium heat and stir for a minute or two until thickened. Remove from heat and let cool.

When ready to make your pastry;
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with a nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
Divide your dough into 2 balls. Roll each ball of dough into a rectangle so that the dough is about 1/2 inch (maybe slightly less) thick all over.  Place your dough rectangles on prepared baking sheet. Spread 1/2 of the cream cheese filling down the center of each rectangle. Spread 1/2 of strawberry filling on top of cream cheese filling.
Cut 1″  thick strips all the way down each long side of dough from the edge of the filling to the outer edge of the dough to weave with. Braid the bread by starting with the strips in each top corner, laying them over the filling and criss-crossing over each other. Continue braiding and tuck the last braid under when you get to the end.

Let the braids rise for another 15-30 minutes. ( I think I did the full 30 minutes)
Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes until golden brown. 
Let cool while you make your frosting. In a large mixing bowl mix all frosting ingredients and stir until smooth. If slightly thick add another teaspoon of milk. You want to be able to spread or drizzle on the top of your pastries. I put my frosting in a pastry bag with a small round tip. You can place in a sandwich or freezer bag and cut the very tip out of one corner. Drizzle over pastry while it's still slightly warm. Or if you don't want to go to that trouble you can just spread over the top with a knife or spatula.
I suggest eating this while still warm! YUMMO!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Coconut Caramel Sugar Cookie Bars

Do you LOVE Samoa cookies as much as I do??? I was daydreaming at my office last week, and yes, it was about cookies....I often do that around 3 in the afternoon, when lunch has worn off and it's time to start thinking about going home and cooking dinner. This weekend we were having a little family get together because my sister from Arizona was coming for a visit. I was in charge of the food, like usual, and I was day dreaming about something yummy for dessert. I love sugar cookie bars.... they are easy... but rather than just icing them with the usual frosting, I was craving coconut--as in Samoa cookies. PLUS, I wanted to try making caramel from sweetened condensed milk. Have you seen that method on Pinterest where you put the unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in a crock pot covered with water?? IT WORKS!! It takes several hours on high, just allow yourself time to do this before you need the cookies. I let mine cook in the crock pot while I was at work. Remember to let the cans of sweetened condensed milk completely cook before opening, you don't what any explosions going on, but it makes the BEST caramel sauce. This recipe is what I came up with while daydreaming....sometimes those seem to be the best . Enjoy!!

Coconut Caramel Sugar Cookie Bars
There are a couple of things you need to do ahead of time before making the cookie bars:
First take:
2 unopened cans Sweetened Condensed Milk
Place the whole, unopened cans of condensed milk on their sides in a crock pot. Submerge in at least 3 inches of water. ( cover the cans with water). Cook on medium for 10 hours or on high for 7. Let cool completely before opening. 
Toast your coconut:
1 large package Sweetened coconut, toasted
To toast coconut, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread coconut evenly on a large cookie sheet, bake for 7 to 10 minutes until golden brown and crunchy. Stir after first 3 or 4 minutes, and continue to check and stir every couple of minutes. It will toast really fast once it starts so you need to keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn. Cool and set aside. 

Sugar Cookie Bars:
1 cup butter (no substitutions), softened
1 cup granulated sugar1 large egg1 teaspoon vanilla extract1/2 teaspoon coconut extract1/4 cup coconut cream (optional...I had some I needed to use up)
3 cups all-purpose flour1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream together butter and sugar in large mixing bowl until light and fluffy--about 2 minutes. Add egg and flavorings and mix to incorporate.
In a separate bowl whisk together  the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Add slowly to the butter mixture and mix to combine. If your dough is a little dry, a 1 Tablespoon of milk.

Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray with a non-stick cooking spray. Plop your cookie dough out onto your cookie sheet and press to the edges with fingers so the dough covers the bottom of the pan (if your pan is really big and you want thicker bars don't go all the way to the edges.)Bake at 350 for 12 to 15 minutes or longer until the middle is well set and the edges start to turn slightly brown. The baking time really depends on how you like them and how thick your dough is. If you like them more chewy bake less time, for more crispy bake a little longer.Cool completely.
While the cookie bars are cooling, open your cooled condensed milk caramel and spoon out into a medium size mixing bowl, if it's really thick microwave for 10 seconds. Next add toasted coconut (you may not need it all, it just depends how thick you want your caramel topping) Stir to combine.
Spread caramel coconut mixture over the top of the cooled sugar cookie bars. I usually drop by spoonfuls all over the top then use an off set spatula to spread so it covers the top completely. 
Now for a the chocolate drizzle. Pour about 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Let sit for a minute in the microwave then stir. If not quite melted microwave for another 10 seconds. After the chocolate is melted pour into a decorator bag with a small tip, or you can use a sandwich baggie with the corner cut out.. just barely so it's a small hole. Squeeze the chocolate to the end of the bag with the hole and drizzle in zig zag motions all over the top of the bars until gone. Let chocolate set up then cut into bars and enjoy!
Bet ya can't eat just one!!!