Valentine's Day

Valentine Truffles

February 14, 2013

Valentine Truffles

Make your own Valentine’s Day Truffles and serve them to your sweetheart.  Even better for you if you don’t have a sweetheart so that you get to eat them all yourself!

INGREDIENTS

2 Pounds Good Quality Chocolate

1 Quart Heavy Cream

1/4 Pound Butter

1/3 Cup Grand Marnier (or liqueur of choice)

Cocoa Powder

Melt chocolate and cream over a double boiler and whisk in butter & liqueur.  Continue to whisk as the mixture cools and thickens.  Pour into a storage container and refrigerate.  To serve, scoop with a melon baller and roll in powdered cocoa.  Truffles are soft and are not suitable for packaging as gifts.  These truffles are easy to make and melt in your mouth good.  Makes approximately 32

Peanut Butter Fudge

February 8, 2013

Peanut Butter Fudge

The blizzard is on its way and time to make fudge.  If you love peanut butter then you will LOVE my Peanut Butter Fudge.  Make lots of extra and give this fudge away for Valentine’s Day.  Stay safe and warm this weekend. 

INGREDIENTS

1 Pound Confectioners’ Sugar

1/2 Cup Milk

13 Ounces Peanut Butter

7 Ounces Marshmallow Cream

In a large saucepan add the milk and sugar.  Bring to a boil and let boil for 4 minutes.  Remove from the heat and add the peanut butter and marshmallow cream.  Pour into a greased 8×8 inch pan.  Place in the fridge for at least 4 hours.  Slice into fudge size pieces.  Makes 16 to 20 pieces. 

Perfect Lemon Squares

February 7, 2013

Perfect Lemon Squares

You've been good all year so far so it's time for a little lemon treat.  Well maybe you haven't been good, but make these lemon squares and ponder how to be better. 

INGREDIENTS

2 Cups Unbleached Flour

1/2 Cup Confectioners’ Sugar

2 Tablespoons Cornstarch

1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

3/4 Cup Cut-Up Butter

5 Eggs

1 1/2 Cups Sugar

3 Tablespoons Unbleached Flour

2 Teaspoons Grated Lemon Peel

3/4 Cup Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

1/4 Cup Half & Half

Extra Confectioners’ Sugar for Dusting

 

Preheat your oven to 350º F.  Line a 13x9x2 inch baking pan with parchment paper.  You will want the parchment paper to extend over the edges for lifting.  In a large size bowl combine the 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch and kosher salt.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender.  You will want the mixture to look like coarse crumbs.  Press the mixture into the bottom of the parchment lined pan.  Bake for 20 minutes until the edges are a very light brown.  While the shortbread crust is baking make the lemon topping.  In a large size bowl mix together the eggs, sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, lemon peel, lemon juice and half & half.  Remove the shortbread crust from the oven and slowly pour the lemon topping over the hot crust.  Place back into the oven and bake for another 20 minutes.  You will want the center set so feel free to bake a bit longer if the center is not quite set.  Remember all ovens bake differently.  Remove from the oven and cool completely in the pan.  Use the parchment paper hanging over the sides to lift out of the pan.  Place onto a hard surface and cut into squares.  Just before serving dust powdered sugar over the tops.  Makes approximately 36 cookies. 

Petite Madeleines

January 11, 2013

Petite Madeleines

Petite Madeleines are traditional small cakes from northeastern France.  They are very small sponge cakes that are baked in special shell shaped pans.  Even if you are on the customary “January diet” Petite Madeleines are a light and refreshing little treat. 

INGREDIENTS

2 Cups Unbleached Flour

1 Tablespoon Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/2 Cup Softened Butter

1 1/4 Cups Sugar

2 Eggs

3/4 Cup Milk

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

2 Tablespoons Lemon Extract

2 Tablespoons Grated Lemon Peel

Preheat your oven to 350º F.  In a large size bowl beat together the eggs and sugar.  Add the softened butter, vanilla and lemon extracts to the egg mixture.  Beat for 2 minutes.  Add the grated lemon peel and beat another minute. In a medium size bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk to the egg mixture.  Continue to beat on low while add the ingredients.  Grease the madeleine pans and spoon the batter into the pans.  Place into the oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Remember that every oven is different so check at 10 minutes.  The madeleines should be golden brown, but not too dark.  Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan.  Makes approximately 36 madeleines.

 

Fresh Herbed Standing Rib Roast

December 27, 2012

Fresh Herbed Standing Rib Roast

This standing rib roast looks regal and tastes even better, yet it’s practically foolproof.  There is no need to pre-sear or fuss with changing the temperatures.  Make my Red Wine Sauce ahead of time and you have a seriously “no fuss” elegant dinner.  This is a great dinner for New Year’s Eve or anytime. 

INGREDIENTS

3 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1/2 Cup Duck Fat

2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt

2 Tablespoons Freshly Ground Pepper

4 Chopped Garlic Cloves

1 Large Bunch Fresh Thyme

1 Large Bunch Fresh Sage

1 Large Bunch Fresh Rosemary

7 Pound Standing Rib Roast (Bone-In & Tied)

64 Ounces Apple Cider

Preheat your oven to 350º F.  Remove the rib roast from the fridge and let it stand at room temperature for 2 hours before cooking.  Place the rib roast onto a rack that sits in a roasting pan.  Rub the olive oil all over the roast.  Place the chopped garlic, duck fat, salt and pepper on the roast.  Take the fresh herbs and place on top of the roast inserted under the strings.  Pour the apple cider into the bottom of the roasting pan. Place in the oven and roast, uncovered, for 1 hour and 40 minutes for rare.  Make sure to occasionally baste with the apple cider & drippings.  Roast 15 minutes more if you want a medium roast and another 15 minutes for well done.  Remember that all ovens are not created equal and oven temperatures vary.  You be the judge of when you want to take your rib roast out of the oven.  Remove from the oven and allow the roast to rest for 20 minutes before carving. Remove the fresh herbs and throw them away. The roast will continue to cook when it is out of the oven.  Transfer to a warmed serving platter and serve with my Red Wine Sauce.  Serves 8

Blackberry Crumble

December 26, 2012

Blackberry Crumble

Here is an easy dessert to make during the holidays.  Whether you are having a dinner party or just want to serve a special dessert to family or friends this is so easy, but looks like you worked all day on it. 

INGREDIENTS

4 Cups Fresh Blackberries

3/4 Cup Sugar

2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice

1/2 Cup Rolled Oats

1/2 Cup Unbleached Flour

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1/2 Cup Softened Butter

Preheat your oven to 350º F.  In a large size bowl place the fresh blackberries.  Add the lemon juice and 3/4 cup sugar to the blackberries and gently toss.  Let stand for 10 minutes.  In a separate large size bowl combine the rolled oats, flour, brown sugar and ground cinnamon.  Mix well.  Add the softened butter until the flour mixture becomes crumbly.  Spoon the blackberries into four large greased ramekins.  Spoon the oats mixture over the blackberries and distribute evenly among the four ramekins.  Place the four ramekins on a baking sheet and put in the oven.  Bake for 35 minutes.  Remove from the oven let cool for 10 minutes before serving.  Serve plain or with 1 scoop of ice cream.  I served it with salty caramel gelato and it was a nice compliment to the blackberry crumble.  Serves 4

 

No Bake Cheesecake

December 22, 2012

No Bake Cheesecake

Everyone needs an easy “go to” dessert.  If you’re wondering what desserts to make for the holidays here is a great one to have on hand.  This recipe is a piece of cake.  Serve to family and friends with strawberries, raspberries or blueberries. 

INGREDIENTS

2 1/4 Cups Shortbread Cookie Crumbs

1/2 Cup Plus 2 Tablespoons Sugar Divided

6 Tablespoons Melted Butter

1 Pound Room Temperature Cream Cheese

1 1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

1 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream

1 1/2 Pints Fresh Berries

Lightly grease an 8 inch springform pan.  In a medium size bowl mix the cookie crumbs and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Mix in the melted butter and then press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan.  Place in the freezer while preparing the filling.

In a large size bowl beat the cream cheese and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar with an electric mixer until the consistency is very soft and smooth.  Beat in the vanilla.  In a separate large size bowl beat in the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.  Fold 1/3 of the cream cheese mixture.  And then fold in the remaining whipped cream until smooth and combined.  Pour the cream cheese mixture onto the cookie crumbs and smooth out to the edges.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.  You will want the consistency to be very well set.  Remove from the fridge when you are ready to serve and garnish with berries. Serves 12

Hurricane Fudge

October 29, 2012

Hurricane Fudge

Today is the perfect day to make fudge that is if you still have power.  Since most of us are stuck inside these next couple of days while Hurricane Sandy makes her way through our communities why not try out this easy fudge recipe.  Hunker down and eat fudge!

INGREDIENTS

2 Cups Sugar

2/3 Cup Evaporated Milk

12 Regular Size Marshmallows

1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter

1/8 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

8 Ounces Semisweet Chocolate Chips

1 Cup Chopped Nuts – Optional

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Prepare an 8×8 inch pan by greasing with butter.  Set aside.  In a large size saucepan combine the sugar, evaporated milk, marshmallows, butter and salt.  Cook over a medium heat and stir constantly until the mixture is bubbly.  Boil and stir for 6 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate chips.  Stir until completely melted.  Add the chopped nuts, if you are using nuts, and the vanilla.  Spread into the greased pan and place in the fridge for 5 hours.  Remove from the fridge and cut into squares.  Makes about 2 dozen pieces of fudge. 

Chocolate Cupcakes

October 27, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes

If you’re going to a Halloween party this weekend and need to bring a dessert here is a great portable dessert that everyone will love.  Even after Halloween these cupcakes are an excellent “go to” dessert for home or potlucks.

INGREDIENTS

2 Cups Unbleached Flour

2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

2 Teaspoons Baking Soda

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

2 Cups Sugar

2 Cups Water

8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

4 Ounces Chopped Unsweetened Chocolate

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

2 Large Eggs

Frosting

Preheat your oven to 350° F.  In a large size bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and kosher salt.  Set aside.  In a medium size saucepan combine the sugar and water and cook over a medium high heat until the sugar and water are dissolved.  Add the chocolate and butter to the sugar mixture.  As soon as the chocolate melts add the vanilla and turn off the heat.  Pour the mixture into a large bowl and beat on medium with a mixer for 3 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time to the mixture and beat for 30 seconds after each egg.  Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture 1/2 cup at a time making sure to thoroughly combine.  Line your cupcake pan with cupcake liners of your choice.  If it is Halloween use Halloween themed liners.  Pour the batter 3/4 of the way into the cupcake liners. Place the cupcake pan on the middle rack of your oven and bake for 14 minutes.  Make sure not to overcook the cupcakes.  Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing the cupcakes from the pan.  Remove the cupcakes and cool completely before frosting. Frost and decorate if you like. Makes 12

 

Frosting

INGREDIENTS

1/2 Cup Shortening

1/2 Cup Softened Unsalted Butter

1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

5 Cups Powdered Sugar

4 Tablespoons Half & Half or Whole Milk

In a large size bowl place the shortening and butter.  Beat on medium for 1 minute with a mixer.  Add the vanilla and continue to mix.  Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time while beating on low.  After adding the cups of sugar drizzle a bit of the half & half or whole milk.  Continue alternating the powdered sugar and half & half until the texture becomes fluffy.  You may not need all of the powdered sugar. Frost your cupcakes and refrigerate any leftover frosting. 

Chocolate Chunk Muffins

September 18, 2012

Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Sometimes I just feel like having a muffin or two in the morning or for a mid-afternoon snack. 

INGREDIENTS

2 Cups Unbleached Flour

1/4 Cup Sugar

1 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

2 Lightly Beaten Eggs

3/4 Cup Buttermilk or Sour Milk

3 Tablespoons Softened Butter

1 Cup Chocolate Chunks or Chocolate Chips

Preheat your oven to 400° F. Place muffin paper in 12 muffin cups.  If your muffin tin has 12 cups then use that, but if your tin has 6 then use two tins or make the muffins in two batches.  Set aside.  In a medium size combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and kosher salt.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.  Set aside.  In a medium size bowl combine the eggs, buttermilk and butter.  If you don’t have buttermilk then use sour milk.  To make sour milk pour 3/4 cup milk into a measuring cup, add 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar and let stand for 5 minutes.  Add the egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture.  Stir just until moistened.  The batter should be lumpy.  Fold in the chocolate chunks.  Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.  Fill each half to two thirds full.  Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.  Remove from the oven and cool in the muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes.  Remove from the muffin cups and serve warm.  Makes 1 dozen muffins.

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