Saturday, January 22, 2011

○Wonderful Stuff○

When Doug and I were first married I tried this.  I really didn't want to because I HATE coconut and nuts.  But boy was I hooked!!  It is so ooey-gooey melt in your mouth goodness.  I guess that's why they call it WONDERFUL STUFF;)  My mom makes this all year long for her Seminary students - it was a huge hit with her YW too at girls camp!!  You can't go wrong wrapping this up and giving it away to neighbors and friends!!!!!

Wonderful Stuff -
1 box Rice Chex (we actually like Corn better)
(OR - the original recipe calls for 9 cups Chex and 8 cups Golden Grahmns)
1 cup coconut
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup sugar
1 cup Karo syrup
3/4 cup butter

Stir together chex, coconut and almonds in a large bowl and set aside.  Bring sugar, syrup and butter to boil in saucepan.  Boil for 2 minutes without stirring.  Take off heat and pour over cereal mixture.  Stir until well coated.  Store in air tight container.  ENJOY - and TRY not to eat all in one sitting - LOL!!:)

Breakfast Casserole!!

I got this recipe from Doug's cousin Cherie.  They have it for breakfast Christmas morning, it's been a tradition in their family for years.  Her brother posted it on their blog Our Family Treat.  I LOVE their blog and find lots of fun recipes there.  This is their picture of the casserole.  I ABSOLUTELY LOVED it!!  We made the ham one for Christmas and the sausage one for New Years at my moms and they are soo good:)  Thanks Cherie for sharing a fun tradition that I would like to make ours!!!!

Breakfast Casserole -
12 slices of bread
18 oz of grated cheese
1 pound of your favorite meat
8-10 Eggs
Salt and Pepper

Directions: Butter all slices of bread. Place 6 slices of bread, buttered side down in a 9 x 13 pan. Then top with grated cheese, meat and veggies. Then place the other 6 slices of bread, buttered side up on the top. Beat 8-10 eggs in a bowl, with salt and pepper. Pour the eggs over the whole casserole...make sure to get all the bread covered with eggs. Cover the pan in foil and refrigerate over night. Bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours (30 of which is without the foil). 
Tip: We make two different with chedder cheese, ham and sometimes we add onions. And then on the other one we use pepper jack cheese, breakfast sausage and peppers. Feel free to experiment!

{THE Perfect White & Chocolate Frostings}

I make this same white frosting for my Red Velvet Cake/Cupcakes but can you believe that I have NEVER thought about putting it on regular cupcakes - and it's my FAVORITE!!  So I was excited when I read that someone else thinks it's the best too.  She has pictures I posted to help when making it.  Also here is a chocolate version that sounds VERY yummy too...

Perfect Cupcake Frosting and Filling -
3 T Flour
1/2 C milk (whole milk is best, but I used non-fat when it's all I have and it's actually fine)1/2 C real butter
1/2 C sugar (that's granulated sugar, not powdered sugar)1 t vanilla extract, or other flavor if you wish.
Whisk together the flour and the milk. Heat in a small sauce pan on medium heWhisk continuously until it starts to thicken. Let it cook, while stirring, until you can start to see the bottom of the pan. It should still be liquid-ish though, like this:It's okay if you have lumps, because we're gonna strain those out right now. Place the mixture in a mesh strainer and stir with a rubber spatula to push it through.

You should end up with a nice, smooth mixture. It's almost like pudding before it's set.

Put this mixture in the fridge and let it cool completely, it's fine if it stays in there long enough to get chilly, you just don't want it warm at all. When it is chilled, you can move on to the following step.

It an electric stand mixer, beat the butter and the sugar for a minute or two until well combined and fluffy. You'll want to use the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, not the flat paddle. Then while beating, add in the thickened milk mixture and the vanilla. Beat to combine and then scrape down the sides. Don't be scared. It's going to look like a goopy mess and kind of lumpy and separated like this:

But you just wait. It's gonna blow your mind in a few minutes. Beat on med-high for 7-8 minutes. Yes, that long. I know it seems like forever, but that's when the magic happens!

After 7-8 minutes it will have transformed from that sloppy mess into something gorgeous, fluffy, and incredibly light and silky.

Use it to fill or frost cupcakes, cakes or other pastries. You can't go wrong putting this on just about anything :)
Frosts 12 cupcakes
Weight Watchers Points: 1 point per tablespoon of frosting
 Here are some helpful Notes:
1. Use real butter, and a good name-brand. Cheap butter does weird things.
2. If you beat for the 6-8 minutes and the mixture still looks strange, beat longer and at a higher speed if you can. It should come together, but it takes a little patience!
3. Store at room temperature. Frosting may separate in the fridge, but you can store it overnight if left at room temp and in a well sealed container.
4. Add extracts to your hearts content; lemon is wonderful! Food coloring is also okay.
5. The white sugar can be exchanged for brown. Try 1/2 white 1/2 brown for a warm caramel flavor.
6. Do not try to make other substitutions or additions. Sour cream, cream cheese, fruit purees all do disastrous things.

Chocolate Frosting -

Chocolate Frosting
Recipe adapted by Our Best Bites from Sugar Plum

2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup milk
1 cup real butter, softened
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
Optional: Additional cocoa powder as needed

Melt your chocolate chips if you haven't already and set aside to cool.  You obviously don't want it so cool that it hardens, but you can get it close to room temperature and still have it be soft and stir-able. 

In a small saucepan, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa, and milk; bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Boil 1-3 minutes or until thickened like a thinned pudding.  Remove pan from heat and strain mixture into a small bowl. Cool completely in the refrigerator or freezer.

When chocolate flour mixture is cooled, beat the butter until creamy, about 1 minute.  Beat in the cooled chocolate mixture until well combined fluffy, about 1 minute.  Finally add in melted chocolate and beat again until well combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  If desired, add additional cocoa powder to taste, up to 4 tablespoons more.  Spread or pipe frosting on to cupcakes or cake.

Makes enough to frost 24 cupcakes.

Storage:  Store unused frosting in fridge and bring to room temperature before using again.  If needed, beat with an electric beater before using. 

Peppermint Fudge Cupcake Jars --

I REALLY wanted to make these but ran out of time this holiday season.  So next Christmas they are at the top of my list.  I sitll think they sound like a good chocolate cupcake and the have a wonderful frosting and ganache recipe I wanna try.

Peppermint Fudge Cupcake Jars -
Recipe by Our Best Bites
Makes approximately 8 jars or 12 Cupcakes

Cupcakes -
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 oz chocolate, chopped.  Use bittersweet, dark, or semi-sweet.
1/2 C + 3 Tbs real butter, cut into pieces
3/4 C plus 2 Tbs sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

8 8oz wide mouth mason jars (the short squatty kind)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth.   Set mixture aside and let cool 10-15 minutes.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.  Using a wooden spoon (don't use an electric mixer) stir the sugar into the chocolate mixture until combined.  Stir in the eggs one and a time, beating with your spoon until combined after each addition, and then beat in the vanilla.  Gently fold in the flour mixture just until no traces of flour remain; do not overmix.

Place the mason jars on a cookie sheet.  Divide the mixture evenly among the 8 jars (no need for greasing the jars) or 12 cupcake liners if you're going that route.  The jars should be about half full or a little less.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the jar comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached 22-25 minutes.   Remove from oven and carefully (with a pot-holder!) transfer jars to a cooling rack.  Let jars cool till at least close to room temperature before topping with ganache.

Peppermint Ganache -
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 C heavy cream
1/4 tsp peppermint extract

Place chocolate chips in a bowl.  Heat cream in microwave until bubbles form around the outside.  Pour in bowl over chocolate chips and immediately cover bowl with plastic wrap.  Let sit for 5 minutes, add peppermint extract and then whisk until smooth.  Let cool un-covered until thickened slightly, almost like a thin pudding.

To assemble, pour 1 1/2-2 Tbs ganache over the top of each cupcake jar.  If desired, use a paring knife to first hollow out a well in the middle of the cake.  Tilt jars to distribute ganache evenly over the top of the cake and then let cool for the ganache to set.  If storing overnight, place lids and rings on jars and leave at room temperature.

Frosting -
Use this frosting recipe (or see my post), adding peppermint extract (in addition to the vanilla extract called for) at the end by 1/4 tsp to taste.  I prefer at least 1/2 tsp.  See instructions in the above post for creating a red and white striped look.  Pipe frosting on each jar, being careful to leave room for the lid.  If desired, sprinkle on some crushed candycanes and then screw on jar lids.
Storage:  Note that just because these are in jars does not mean they are shelf stable for extended periods of time.  Also, baked goods are always best fresh, that being said, here are a few storage options.

When fully made, store with lids on at room temp for a day or two.   If made up to the ganache step (before frosting) you can screw lids on and store in the fridge for 3-4 days, then frost right before gifting.  If you'd like to fully prepare them a day or two ahead of time, I would actually reverse the filling and topping.  Core out the center of the cupcakes and fill with frosting.  Place the "cap" of the cupcake back over the hole and then top the entire top with ganache and a sprinkling of candycane.  Store at room temp for 1-2 days or refrigerated for 3-4.

▬Candy Cane Cookies▬

I know Christmas is over and I am waaay behind on posting.  But my folders are stuffed full of recipes so I figured I would get caught up and post some fun holidays treats so I don't loose them.  Here is a very yummy cookie my friend Lori gave me that the kids and I made to go along with a book called "The Legend of the Candy Cane".  Not all of ours turned out pretty and I need some practice but these are delicious:)

Candy Cane Cookies -
1 Cube butter (1/2 c.)
½ C shortening
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 ½ C flour
1 C powdered sugar
1 ½ tsp almond extract
1 tsp salt

1 T crushed peppermint candy (reserved for after baking)
powdered sugar for dusting

Divide dough in half.  Use ½ tsp food coloring in half.  Make a big white rope
and red rope and twist together and cut into individual portions and form in the
shape of candy cane.

Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes or until lightly browned around edges.
When out of the oven, sprinkle with powdered sugar and crushed peppermint
candies.  ENJOY!!