December 2008 - Posts

Sugarplums

Tightly covered, these keep for up to 2 weeks at room temperature.

1/2 cup slivered almonds
4 ounces dried figs
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons honey
Grated zest from 1 orange (1 tablespoon)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup granulated sugar

In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the almonds to bring out their flavor. Remove from heat; cool. Combine the figs, cocoa, cinnamon, and almonds in a food processor, pulsing until peppercorn-size balls form. Add the honey, orange zest, and almond extract. Pulse 3 or 4 times more until well mixed. Spread the sugar in a shallow dish. Form the sugarplums into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar.

 



Yield: About 2 dozen

writeNutrient();
NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 59(0% from fat); FAT 1g (sat 0g); CHOLESTEROL 0mg; CALCIUM 15mg; CARBOHYDRATE 12g; SODIUM 1mg; PROTEIN 1mg; FIBER 1g; IRON 0mg
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Sugared Curried Pecans

1 pound (about 5 cups) pecan halves
1 egg white
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon salt

Heat oven to 250º F. Arrange the pecans on a cookie sheet and toast, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the egg white and 1 teaspoon water until frothy. Stir in the pecans and sprinkle with the sugar, curry powder, and salt. Mix well. Lightly coat the cookie sheet with vegetable cooking spray. Spread the pecans in a single layer on the sheet. Bake 1 hour or until the pecans are dry, stirring once or twice.

Store at room temperature in an air-tight container for up to 1 month or in the freezer for up to 4 months. Crisp the frozenpecans on a cookie sheet in a 250º F oven for 5 minutes.

 



Yield: 5 cups

writeNutrient();
NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 189(1% from fat); FAT 16g (sat 1g); CHOLESTEROL 0mg; CALCIUM 19mg; CARBOHYDRATE 11g; SODIUM 352mg; PROTEIN 2mg; FIBER 2g; IRON 1mg
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Pecan Sticky Buns

6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
36 pecan halves, plus 1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 loaf (1/2 2-pound package) frozen white-bread (not pizza) dough, thawed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

To make it...

Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Spoon 1 teaspoon melted butter, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, and 3 pecan halves into each muffin cup; set aside. On a lightly floured surface, roll the bread dough into a 14-by-8-inch rectangle. Brush with the remaining melted butter, then sprinkle with the cinnamon, chopped pecans, and remaining brown sugar. Roll into a 14-inch-long log. Cut into 12 pieces and place each one cut-side down into a muffin cup. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Set aside for 25 minutes or until risen slightly. Heat oven to 325ºF. Remove the wrap and bake 15 minutes or until golden. Place a wire rack over a sheet of wax paper. Turn the muffin tin onto the rack, wait 5 minutes, then remove the tin. Cool completely. (Can be made ahead to this point. Return the buns to the cleaned muffin tin. Cover with foil and freeze up to 1 month. Thaw before reheating at 250º F for 10 to 15 minutes. Cool as above.)

To fake it...and save 55 minutes

Heat oven to 325º F. Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Spoon 1 tablespoon melted butter, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 3 pecan halves into each muffin cup. Open two 11.3-ounce packages brown-and-serve rolls and divide among the muffin cups. Bake 10 minutes or until golden. Placa a wire rack over a sheet of wax paper. Turn the muffin tin onto the rack, wait 5 minutes, then remove the tin.

 



Yield: 12 buns
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Nutted Popcorn

This recipe is best saved for a low-humidity day (as is any kind of candy making). Dry conditions help the caramel become and stay crisp, not chewy.

8 cups popped popcorn
2 cups pecan halves
1 cup whole unblanched almonds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 250º F. Combine the popcorn, pecans, almonds, pumpkin seeds, chili powder, and cinnamon on 1 or 2 large baking sheets and place in the oven to warm through. Meanwhile, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and butter in a medium saucepan and heat to boiling. Without stirring, cook over medium-high heat about 10 minutes or until the syrup turns a rich brown and a few drops of it form stiff threads in a cup of cold water. Stir in the vanilla.

Remove baking sheet from oven and pour the syrup over the popcorn. Toss quickly with a spoon. Cool and break into pieces.

 



Yield: 12 cups
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Magic Cocoa

1/2 gallon whole milk
1 12-ounce bag Premium Dark Cocoa Candy Melts or semisweet chocolate chips

Heat the milk over medium-low heat; don't let it boil. Add about 1/4 cup of the Candy Melts or semisweet chocolate chips to each of 8 mugs and fill them with the hot milk. Stir.

Note: There's something enchanting for kids about watching hot milk turn into hot chocolate before their eyes. Instead of spoons, offer cinnamon sticks or candy canes for stirring.

 



Yield: 8 servings

writeNutrient();
NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 350(1% from fat); FAT 21g (sat 12g); CHOLESTEROL 24mg; CALCIUM 289mg; CARBOHYDRATE 38g; SODIUM 102mg; PROTEIN 10mg; FIBER 3g; IRON 1mg
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Fudge Sauce

To reheat, microwave the sauce in a small cup for 30 seconds at a time, stirring between each heating, until smooth.

1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream and corn syrup to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in the chocolate until melted. Stir in the vanilla.

Pour into jars and cool completely before covering or refrigerating (otherwise the sauce will become granular). Keeps up to 1 month in the refrigerator.

 



Yield: 2 cups

writeNutrient();
NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 180(1% from fat); FAT 13g (sat 3g); CHOLESTEROL 20mg; CALCIUM 10mg; CARBOHYDRATE 14g; SODIUM 9mg; PROTEIN 2mg; FIBER 1g; IRON 0mg
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Individual Chocolate Melting Cakes

10 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
Caramel sauce
Coffee ice cream

Heat oven to 325º F. Lightly coat a 12-cup muffin tin with vegetable cooking spray.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a large bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat. In another large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and melted chocolate. Mix with a spoon until well blended.

Divide the batter evenly into 8 muffin tins and bake until the cakes have just cooked through, about 15 minutes. The cakes will still look a bit moist on top. Remove from the oven and let cool 5 minutes. Serve warm with the caramel sauce and ice cream.

 



Yield: 8 servings

writeNutrient();
NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 357(0% from fat); FAT 20g (sat 11g); CHOLESTEROL 147mg; CALCIUM 82mg; CARBOHYDRATE 44g; SODIUM 176mg; PROTEIN 7mg; FIBER 2g; IRON 2mg
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Ice Cream Bombe

2 pints vanilla ice cream
2 pints chocolate ice cream
1 cup crushed candy canes or peppermint candies

Line a medium-size bowl with 2 sheets of aluminum foil. Scoop the vanilla ice cream into balls and place in bowl. Freeze for 30 minutes.

Repeat with the chocolate ice cream, placing it on top of the vanilla and making the top as even as possible. Freeze for at least 2 and up to 24 hours.

Invert bowl onto a serving platter. Remove bowl and foil. Sprinkle with the crushed candy. Use a knife to slice the bombe into wedges, running it under hot water in between cuts. Serve immediately.

In Advance: The Ice Cream Bombe must be made at least a day ahead of time. You can unmold it the morning of the party, inverting it onto a serving platter, and return it to the freezer. Sprinkle the crushed candies over the top just before serving.

 



Yield: Makes 8 servings

writeNutrient();
NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 338.37(41% from fat); FAT 15.29g (sat 9.48g); CHOLESTEROL 49.04mg; CALCIUM 164.48mg; CARBOHYDRATE 46.42g; SODIUM 93.47mg; PROTEIN 5.31mg; FIBER 1.46g; IRON 0.78mg
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Chocolate Bread Pudding

4 cups milk
4 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
8 tablespoons butter or margarine
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 loaf white bread, crusts trimmed
1 pint heavy cream, whipped

To make it...
Whisk the milk, eggs, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Add the butter and chocolate and heat over low heat, stirring only until the butter and chocolate melt. Stir in the vanilla. Lightly coat a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange the bread slices in 3 layers. Pour the chocolate sauce over the bread. Cover with plastic wrap and place another baking dish on top to weigh down the bread. Set aside for 1 hour to allow the bread to absorb the sauce. (The pudding can be made to this point up to 1 day ahead. Refrigerate.)

Heat oven to 325º F. Remove the top baking dish and plastic. Bake uncovered 35 to 40 minutes or until set. Serve warm with whipped cream.

To fake it...and save 1 hour, 10 minutes
Thaw two 13-ounce packages frozen French toast and cut into 1 1/2 in cubes. Heat oven to 325º F. Lightly coat a 13-by 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Place the toast in the dish. Beat 4 cups milk, one 12-ounce can chocolate syrup, and 2 eggs; pour over the toast. Cover with foil and bake 10 minutes. Remove foil and stir. Bake, uncovered, 20 to 25 minutes longer or until set. Serve warm with canned whipped cream.

 



Yield: 8 servings, with leftovers

writeNutrient();
NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 536(1% from fat); FAT 36g (sat 21g); CHOLESTEROL 153mg; CALCIUM 188mg; CARBOHYDRATE 48g; SODIUM 300mg; PROTEIN 9mg; FIBER 2g; IRON 2mg
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I know what your thinking, "He already posted this one didn't he?" Last time it was a Cookie Tree! Not Tree Cookies!!

Tree Cookies

1 18-ounce tube refrigerated ready-to-bake sugar-cookie dough
3 1.08-ounce tubes M&M's Minis

Heat oven according to the label directions. Cut the dough into 1/4-inch slices. Arrange on an ungreased baking sheet. Using green, yellow, and brown M&M's Minis, design Christmas trees as shown above. Bake until golden as the label directs. Cool on wire racks.

 



Yield: Makes 1 1/2 dozen

writeNutrient();
NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 147(0% from fat); FAT 7g (sat 2g); CHOLESTEROL 10mg; CALCIUM 23mg; CARBOHYDRATE 20g; SODIUM 123mg; PROTEIN 2mg; FIBER 0g; IRON 0mg
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Silver Bells Cookies

1 18-ounce tube refrigerated ready-to-bake sugar-cookie dough
6 ounces white chocolate baking bars or chips, melted in the microwave for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes Small silver dragees (found in party stores) or white "snowflakes" (such as Cake Mate brand, found in the baking aisle of supermarkets)

Bake the cookies according to the label directions. Place the baked cookies (about 18) on a wire rack over a sheet of wax paper and, using a fork, drizzle them with the white chocolate. Sprinkle on the dragees. Set aside until the chocolate sets, about 30 minutes.

 



Yield: Makes 1 1/2 dozen

writeNutrient();
NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 178(0% from fat); FAT 9g (sat 4g); CHOLESTEROL 12mg; CALCIUM 36mg; CARBOHYDRATE 22g; SODIUM 130mg; PROTEIN 2mg; FIBER 0g; IRON 0mg
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Raspberry-Coconut Oatmeal Bars

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1 17.5-ounce bag Betty Crocker Oatmeal Cookie Mix*
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons water
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 cup raspberry jam
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 to 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

*Do not add the ingredients called for in the label directions.

Heat oven to 350º F. Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with vegetable cooking spray. In a large bowl, stir together the cookie mix, butter, water, and coconut. Spread the mixture evenly in the pan and spread the jam evenly on top. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until firm in the center. Remove to a wire rack and let cool

completely. Whisk together the sugar and enough lemon juice to make a thick but fluid glaze. Drizzle the glaze on top of the cookies in the baking pan, then cut into finger-size bars.

 



Yield: Makes 8 dozen

writeNutrient();
NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 44(0% from fat); FAT 2g (sat 1g); CHOLESTEROL 3mg; CALCIUM 2mg; CARBOHYDRATE 6g; SODIUM 28mg; PROTEIN 0mg; FIBER 0g; IRON 0mg
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Palmiers
About 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 package frozen puff-pastry sheets (such as Pepperidge Farm)

Heat oven to 400° F. Adjust rack to middle position.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar over the work surface. Unfold 1 sheet of the pastry and place it on the sugar. Roll it to an even thickness. Sprinkle it with 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Starting at one short side of the rectangle, roll the pastry toward the center of the sheet, stopping at the middle. Repeat with the opposite short end, so the rolls meet. Trim the ends with a knife. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices and place flat on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spacing them 1 inch apart. Sprinkle with 1 more tablespoon of the sugar.

Bake until golden and puffed, 20 to 23 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack.

Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Serve hot or at room temperature.

In Advance: Palmiers are best the day they're made, and you can bake them hours before the party.



Yield: Makes 32 palmiers

writeNutrient();
NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 97.54(54% from fat); FAT 5.9g (sat 0.84g); CHOLESTEROL 0mg; CALCIUM 1.56mg; CARBOHYDRATE 10.12g; SODIUM 38.74mg; PROTEIN 1.13mg; FIBER 0.23g; IRON 0.4mg

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Old-Fashioned Gingerbread Men

5 to 5 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 cup unsulfured molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, and egg on medium until smooth. Add the molasses and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture 1 cup at a time, blending until smooth. The dough should gather into a semifirm mass. (If it's not firm, add another ¼ to ½ cup flour, but not enough to make it crumbly.) Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half. Flatten into disks and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 1 week. Preheat oven to 350° F. On a floured surface, roll each disk to 1/8 inch thick. Use gingerbread-man cutters to make shapes. Transfer them to a large, parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Decorate, if desired. Bake until firm to the touch, about 12 minutes. Cool slightly before transferring to a rack

 



Yield: Makes 3 dozen medium gingerbread men

writeNutrient();
NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 164(29% from fat); FAT 5g (sat 3g); CHOLESTEROL 19mg; CALCIUM 32mg; CARBOHYDRATE 27g; SODIUM 92mg; PROTEIN 2mg; FIBER 1g; IRON 2mg
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Golden Almond Cookies writeDinnerTonight();

1 18-ounce tube refrigerated ready-to-bake sugar-cookie dough
1 cup turbinado (raw) sugar
18 whole unpeeled raw almonds

Heat oven according to the label directions. Cut the dough into 1/4-inch slices. Arrange on an ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle with the sugar and press an almond into the middle of each cookie. Bake until golden or as the label directs. Cool on wire racks.



Yield: Makes 1 1/2 dozen

writeNutrient();
NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 214(0% from fat); FAT 6g (sat 2g); CHOLESTEROL 8mg; CALCIUM 35mg; CARBOHYDRATE 39g; SODIUM 124mg; PROTEIN 1mg; FIBER 0g; IRON 1mg
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