Tuesday, December 16, 2008

{Mac Daddy Mac 'n Cheese}

I know this doesn't go along with the theme of the month, but i don't bake cookies and Christmas goodies. I tried this recipe and it was a huge hit with my husband and son. They loved it and so did i! It is very tasty. Fattening too. :)
2 shallots, peeled
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 pieces bacon, diced, cooked, reserving 1 tablespoon bacon fat
2 tablespoons flour
4 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound penne pasta, cooked
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
2 tbsp. melted butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place shallots and garlic in a small aluminum foil pouch and drizzle with olive oil. Roast 20 to 30 minutes or until tender. Remove from foil and chop. In a large saute pan, reheat reserved bacon fat over medium heat. Add roasted shallot and garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add flour and stir for 1 minute. Whisk in heavy cream and thyme. Reduce by a third. Stir in cheeses until melted, creamy and thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and gently stir in pasta. Place in a 9X13 casserole dish. In a small bowl, mix together diced bacon, bread crumbs, butter and parsley. Top Mac n Cheese with Panko mixture and bake uncovered at same heat until bubbling and lightly browned on top, 20 to 25 minutes.

Recipe by Guy Fieri

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Maple Pecan Squares – from Williams-Sonoma, Essential of Baking

1.25 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
1/3 tsp salt
½ c cold unsalted butter, cut into 0.75 inch pieces

6 Tbs unsalted butter
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2/3 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy (double) cream
2 cups coarsely chopped pecan

Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 350 (F). Carefully line a 9-inch square baking pan with heavy duty aluminum foil, letting the foil extend up the sides and over the edges of the pan. Butter the foil liner.

To make the crust:
Combine the flour, brown sugar, and salt.Add the butter – using a pastry blender until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs the size of small peas.Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake the crust until the edges are lightly browned and the top feels firm when lightly touched, 12-17 minutes. Set aside.

To make the filling:
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, maple syrup, and brown sugar and stir together until the butter melts and the brown sugar dissolves. Bring to boil and boil for 1 minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the cream. Then stir in the pecans. Pour the hot filling over the partially baked crust, spreading it evenly to the edges.

Bake until the filling is set when you give the pan a gentle shake, 22-25 minutes. During baking, the filling will bubble vigorously, then the bubbles will subside and become smaller toward the end of baking. Transfer to a wire rack to let cool until firm, about 1 ½ hours.

Using the ends of the foil liner, carefully lift the maple-pecan square in its liner from the baking pan. Run a small knife around the edges of the square to loosen it from the foil. Using a large, sharp knife, cut into 25 small squares. The squares will slide easily off the foil. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Oreo Truffles
1 package oreo cookies (divided… use cookie including the cream center)
1 8oz. package cream cheese (softened)
white chocolate melting disks from Sweet Surprises.
1. Finely crush 7 cookies in a food processor or place them in a ziploc bag and crush into a fine consistency. Reserve for later.
2. Crush remaining cookies and stir in softened cream cheese. Use the back of a large spoon to help mash the two together.
3. Roll the mixture into 1" balls and place on wax paper covered cookie sheet.
4. Melt chocolate as directed on the package and then dip balls into chocolate, tap off extra and set aside on wax paper covered cookie sheet to dry. You can sprinkle the tops with the 7 crushed cookies for decoration. (I usually eat mine before they make it to this stage.)
5. Once dry, refrigerate and enjoy!
Makes about 36 truffles.
Notes: I used a small cookie cutter to push the mixture through for the heart shaped truffles. Also, it helps to freeze the uncoated balls for a few minutes to keep the mixture from starting to fall apart in the melted chocolate. If this becomes a problem, dip them in the chocolate, let dry and then dip again. They are also good dipped in regular milk chocolate bark. And for an extra twist, use the mint oreo sandwich cookies.

(I have had this recipe before but I got this from Bakerella so you could see how awesome they are.)

Turtle Pretzel Candies
½ cup pecan halves, divided, plus 30 for garnish
½ pkg (7 oz) caramel candies, unwrapped (about 24 caramels)
2 tbsp half and half
½ cup milk chocolate or white chocolate morsels
30 mini pretzels
1. Line Medium Sheet Pan with a 13-in. piece of Parchment Paper; place in freezer 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, using Rotary Grater, grate ¼ cup of the pecans; set aside. Finely chop ¼ cup of the pecans using Food Chopper. Combine caramels and half and half in Small Batter Bowl; microwave on HIGH 1-2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring after each 30-second interval using Skinny Scraper. Stir in chopped pecans; cool 2 minutes.
2. Place chocolate morsels in Small Micro-Cooker®. Microwave, uncovered, on HIGH 45-60 seconds or until chocolate is melted and smooth, stirring after each 15-second interval.
3. Remove pan and Parchment Paper from freezer; sprinkle parchment evenly with grated pecans. Arrange pretzels about ½ in. apart over grated pecans. Using Small Scoop, place about 1/3 of a scoop of caramel mixture over each pretzel. Spoon a small amount of chocolate over caramel mixture (see Cook’s Tip). Garnish with remaining pecan halves. Place pan in refrigerator 6-8 minutes or until chocolate is firm.
Yield: 30 candies

Pretzel Wreaths
Show off your creativity and holiday spirit! Chocolate dipped wreaths are great for decorative ornaments,
place card holders and even as delicious gifts.
1. Place almond bark or confectionery coating candy melts into Coating Tray; microwave
according to package directions until melted and smooth.
2. Dip rounded bottoms of five miniature pretzels, one at a time, into bark; shake off excess.
Lay pretzels onto Parchment Paper in a circular pattern with sides touching and rounded
sides toward center.
3. Repeat with five additional pretzels, placing directly on top of first circle in a staggered
circular pattern. Decorate wreath as desired with Sweet Cinnamon Sprinkle, Sweet
Caramel Sprinkle, nonpareils or colored sugar. Let stand until set.
Cook’s Tips: Any color almond bark or confectionery coating candy melts can be used to
create wreaths. Unlike regular chocolate or chocolate morsels, almond bark and confectionery coating candy melts are made using other fats in place of cocoa butter. This helps the coating melt easily, eliminates the need for tempering and prevents blooming.
Store the wreaths at room temperature in an airtight container up to 1 week. Do not refrigerate or freeze wreaths or pretzels will lose crispness.
Thread wreath with ribbon to use as an ornament or place card holder, if desired.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Look for the monthly theme in the right hand column of the page