Friday, December 31, 2010

Perfect Sugar Cookies


This recipe comes from a Mennonite cookbook called Farm House Cooking. My husband and I changed the recipe slightly like adjusting the amounts of sugars used  and I adjusted the name from Sugar Cookies #1 to Perfect Sugar Cookies. Everyone loves these cookies. They are soft and sweet and ever so addictive. Something about brown sugar, cream of tarter and lard that makes for a tasty, perfect cookie. =)

Want to make Perfect Sugar Cookies? Head on over to my new blog, Heavenly Homes & Forever Families for this wonderful recipe!

Classic Diner Style Chocolate Pie



I recently celebrated my 23rd birthday. Growing up my mother always make German Chocolate Cake for my birthday and it will always hold a special place in my heart. But for this birthday I wanted something a little different: Chocolate Pie. And it was amazing.

A few tips: Always use the BEST ingredients only. Better ingredients equals better results. Use the BEST chocolate, not whatever is on sale. Try to find and use real chocolate wafers like Nabisco or Newman's Own and not just chocolate cookies. And, if you can, make your own whipped cream instead of the stuff in a can. It's totally worth it.

This recipe has been moved. You will find it here.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Brooklyn Blackout Cake

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Most people believe that there is no such thing as too much chocolate. I tend to agree but in this instance, I almost want to make an exception. This cake is AMAZING. The actual cake part is delicious, dark but not too dark, moist and extremely easy to put together. The dark rich custard is almost a sin to eat and is a prefect accent to finish off this cake. This recipe comes from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook and if you don’t have that book, well, you really should.
My sister-in-law loves this cake and told me that it reminds her of a cake that she ate in Tonga (where she is from). I love making people happy with my delicious food!
Before we dive into this recipe , I do want to say that I did make a change to the construction of this cake from the directions. When I was pouring the cake into the pans (it’s supposed to make 3 8in cakes), I felt like I didn’t have enough batter for 3 and opted instead for a double layer cake. After they had baked and I was putting the custard on the layers, I found that I could’ve made 3 thinner layers and the cake would have been fine. The custard is supposed to be a thick coating between each layer and all around. My suggestion to you is to pour the batter into a large measuring cup and divide it evenly into the 3 pans. You will be much happier with the result. If you wanna do 2 layers, that’s cool too. It’ll taste the same no matter what!
There are two parts to this recipe: The Cake and the Chocolate Custard! =)
Let’s get started!

Whipped Chocolate Ganache

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As I promised, here the recipe for the ganache that you slather on the Candy Bar Explosion Cheesecake. It’s very, very yummy. I had some extra left over after I iced the cheesecake and I have been using it on chocolate pie (I will be posting that recipe soon, it is awesome!) and other dishes. Honestly, there seems to be no such thing as too much chocolate. =) And on top of it being yummy, it is super easy to make.
This recipe is made with whipped cream and needs to be refrigerated or the ganache will separate. If you have extra, feel free to keep it like I did and use it on other desserts (preferably chocolate). =)
For the Junior’s Candy Bar Explosion Cheesecake, the book says to double this ganache recipe (to hold the candy in place) but a single recipe makes enough for the top and sides of a 9in cheesecake.
1/3 c sugar
3 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1 c cold heavy or whipping cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
In a small bowl, toss the sugar with the cocoa and set aside. In a medium sized bowl, whip the cream with an electric mixer (handheld) on high until the cream thickens and soft peaks just begin to form. While the mixer is still running, add the sugar-cocoa, then the vanilla.
Continue beating just until the cream turns a light-chocolate color and stiff peaks form. Watch carefully and do not overbeat at this stage (the cream might curdle).
This ganache can also be used to pipe rosettes but the cake will need to be put in the freezer for 30 minutes so the decorations will set.
-Hannah

Ham Fried Rice

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This recipe comes from Southern Living and is a family favorite. There are some picky eaters in my family and everyone will sit down and devour this dish! It’s actually a pretty simple dish to put together and can be made in less than 40 minutes.  We always make double because once ya start you just can’t stop! OK-Here we go!:
You can also use chicken or shrimp in this flavorful dish or any combination you may have on hand.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings (if you have big eaters, double the recipe!)

Ingredients

  • 3  bacon slices
  • 1 1/2  cups  chopped cooked ham
  • 1  red or green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2  cup  sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 3  green onions, chopped
  • 1  celery rib, chopped
  • 1  large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2  teaspoon  dried crushed red pepper
  • 3 1/2  cups  cooked rice*
  • 2  large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4  cup  soy sauce

Preparation

Cook bacon slices in a large skillet or wok at medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon slices, and drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon, and set aside.
Add chopped ham to hot drippings in skillet, and stir-fry 3 minutes or until ham is lightly browned. Add bell pepper and next 5 ingredients, and stir-fry 5 minutes. Add rice, and stir-fry 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
Push rice mixture to sides of skillet, forming a well in center. Pour eggs into well, and cook, stirring occasionally, until eggs are set. Stir rice mixture into eggs; stir in soy sauce and crumbled bacon. Spoon into serving bowls.
*2 (3.5-ounce) bags quick-cooking long-grain rice, cooked, may be substituted for leftover rice.
And there you have it, an easy, one skillet dinner that everyone (well, I hope everyone) will love. Have fun!
-Hannah
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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Junior’s Candy Bar Explosion Cheesecake

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My husband bought the Junior’s Cheesecake cookbook a few months ago and after a few tries, I made a cheesecake (from their book) that was perfect. With my first attempts the center was soft, more like a custard and was still delicious but since I am a perfectionist it wasn’t right. Every oven is different so when you move somewhere new or are cooking with a new oven, you have to adjust how long you bake something and even what temperature. I had finally mastered my last oven when we had to move and I just now figured out how to perfectly cook these cheesecakes in my current oven.

The thing with cheesecake is that you cannot leave it in too long or not long enough. Too long and your cheesecake will be rubber when it sets. And pulling it out too soon will make the cheesecake too soft (like a custard). Sometimes you can tell if it’s done and is going to set perfectly but other times you just have to test it and make adjustments for last time.

Cheesecake is an art. That’s all I can tell you.

Juniors Candy Bar Explosion Cheesecake is a chocolate cheesecake, iced with a whipped chocolate ganache and covered on the outside with candy. The recipe even calls for Skor bars to to chopped and scattered over the crust. It is essentially delicious perfection. And I am super excited to share it with you.

There are three parts to this Recipe: The Crust, The Cake and The Whipped Chocolate Ganache. The crust and cake will be listed in one post and the ganache will be listed in a separate post. =)

Let’s get started.

Dilly Biscuit Squares


My mother first made these biscuits for us a few years ago with one of my favorite dishes-beef stew. My brothers and I were a little apprehensive about trying them but after the first bite they became an instant favorite. These cheese biscuits once baked are coated with a butter, dilly weed and garlic salt spread that makes these biscuits absolutely irresistible. I got the chance to finally snag the recipe and make them on my own the other day and their deliciousness must be shared!

For the recipe, click here!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cream Cheese Frosting

This icing recipe comes from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook and is used on the Hummingbird cake as well as a bunch of other recipes. I have decided to make a separate post for it in case you decide that you like it and wanna use it for something else.
This recipe makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes. Double this recipe to frost an 8in cake. =)
INGEDIENTS
2 1/3 c confectioners Sugar (sifted)
3 tbs butter, at room temperature
4oz cream cheese, cold
RECIPE
Beat the confectioners sugar and butter together until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. Do not overbeat as it can quickly become runny.

Hummingbird Cake


Who here likes Carrot Cake? With cream cheese?

Now who likes pineapple?

How about Bananas? Pecans?

How about a carrot cake like cake but instead of carrots you have chopped or crushed pineapple, bananas and pecans? IF that sounds awesome to you then please try this recipe.

This recipe comes out of The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook which my darling husband was so kind to get for me. =)

This cake is absolutely amazing! It’s moist, has a natural sweetness from the pineapple and banana that is just irresistible and it’s a cake that you can eat without feeling weighed down or guilty. =) Even though this cake is wrapped in cream cheese frosting, it isn’t overpowering as some frostings and cakes are. =)

I cannot wait to make this cake again for my husband. He’s not a huge fan of carrot cake because he doesn’t like the strings that the carrots get cut into. He prefers they be puréed. Ha ha. Anyway, try this recipe. I know you will love it.

This recipe makes 3 8in cake pans. They need to be sprayed and baselined with parchment paper.

Here we go!

For this recipe, click here!

Berry Cobbler


I made this Cobbler from the “I Do” cookbook for my step-dads birthday. He loves fruit cobblers and I think of the ‘fancier’ cobblers I have made, this one is my favorite! It’s light, it’s sweet (but not too sweet) and you can use fresh or frozen berries. It’s simple yet pretty enough that you can serve is at a brunch or as a dessert.=)

This recipe has moved. You will find it here at Heavenly Homes & Forever Families

Saturday, December 11, 2010

***Spicy Chicken Linguine***

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OK, I realize that the above photo may be a little misleading but I have a good reason for not using linguine: We didn’t have any. So I used colorful, curly pasta. It won’t matter much to the Spicy Chicken Sauce that it is not served on linguine and it shouldn’t matter to you.
I would like to say first off that I LOVE this recipe. It has my two favorite things: it’s has chilies in it which makes is spicy but it also has (drumroll) cream cheese! Oh, so fantastic! I made this for my husband when he was home for his boot leave and he loved it too. (As long as I get happy smile and full tummies all around, then I’m happy too). This recipe, like the Creamy Chicken Fettucine, came from Taste of Home and I just love it. I hope ya’ll like it too.

***Creamy Chicken Fettucine***

Hello Everyone! Long Time No Post. =)
This is my very first recipe post since like early July or late June. Crazy! I really liked this dish and I am excited to make it again. It wasn’t at all like I expected though when I was basically done with the dish I thought it needed a little more color so I added corn and peas. I also didn’t have the time to put it in a slow cooker (dinner was in 1/3hour) so I cooked the chicken, added the ingredients, heated it up and served it with pasta.  Unfortunately, I seem to have lost the picture that went along with this recipe…that saddens me a little. If I am able to find it, I will post it. Otherwise, feel free to share you own picture. =)
Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
  • 4 ounces VELVEETA Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product, cubed
  • 1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 1 jar (2 ounces) diced pimientos, drained, optional
  • 1 package (16 ounces) fettuccine or spaghetti
  • Thin breadsticks, optional
Directions
  • Place the chicken in a 3-qt. slow cooker; sprinkle with garlic powder, onion powder and pepper. Top with soups. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or until chicken is no longer pink.
  • Stir in the cheese, olives and pimientos if desired. Cover and cook until cheese is melted. Meanwhile, cook fettuccine according to package directions; drain. Serve with chicken and breadsticks if desired. Yield: 6 servings.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I'm back...one post at a time!

Ok everyone. It's been almost 5 months and I'm one baby richer (my daughter is beautiful and perfect!) and I am so ready to get cooking again and share my goodies with you! I do have two children now and a much busier life so I'll be updating this blog one post at a time. That's my goal anyway. If I am able to post more than one at a time, awesome. But for now, my goal is at least one new post a week. I have a few back posts to share and I'll put those up tomorrow (I'm on my husbands computer now).

I do want to share something though. I have discovered something awesome. Taste of Home! It is seriously a fantastic magazine. My Mom has about a dozen of their magazines and over the last few days I have picked out my favorite recipes to add to my collection. I did a rough count and I'm going on 250 recipes, NEW RECIPES, to try. I am so excited. If it weren't for the Corps, my husband would get fat from all my tasty food. =)

My husband also bought me three new cookbooks: Baked:New Frontiers in Baking, The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook and Juniors Cheesecakes (cookbook). All of these cookbooks are from actual bakeries in New York City that are positively famous! I love these recipes and they are amazing. I do believe I am getting another cookbook for Christmas as well.

Ah, I love cooking, baking, creating awesomely delicious creations. Ha ha.

Are you guys ready for some new things? So am I. I am still adjusting to having two kids. My newborn is very demanding (I swear all she does is eat) and my son is going through the Terrible Two's (and he's not even 2, ah!) so please be patient with me.

See ya soon!

-Hannah
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