Friday, August 26, 2011

Some Great Favorite Recipes

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars
Recipe adapted from Annie's Eats

Crust:1 1/2 cups graham crackers (about 1 package in the Honeymaid box)
3 T sugar
5 T unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9x13 pan with aluminum foil, making sure there is at least an inch overhang on all sides, preferably a couple on both ends. In a food processor, process graham crackers to fine crumbs, add sugar and pulse several times to combine. With processor running, add melted butter and process for about 15-30 seconds more. Press crumbs onto the pan in an even layer. Bake for about 10 minutes and cool in pan on a wire rack.

1/3 cup whole milk (I used skim milk and just replaced a little bit with heavy cream)
12 oz cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 can dulce de leche

Beat softened cream cheese with mixer on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating and scraping the bowl after each egg. Add the milk and salt and beat on low until smooth. Add the dulce de leche and beat on low speed until smooth. Pour over the crust and smooth with a rubber spatula. Set pan inside a larger pan and add hot water to the larger pan until water is about half way up the sides of the cheesecake pan.

Bake for about 35-40 minutes until filling is just set. Cool on wire rack for about 2 hours and then cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours more.

Chocolate Glaze:
3 oz bittersweet chocolate
4 T unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
2 tsp light corn syrup

In a large measuring cup, add chocolate pieces, butter and corn syrup. Microwave on low powder for about 1 1/2 minutes, stirring every 20-30 seconds until almost melted. Stir until smooth. Pour glaze over chilled cheesecake, tilt the pan or use an offset spatula to smooth the chocolate up to all the edges. Chill at least 30 minutes more.

Use excess foil to remove the bars from the pan, peel foil off the back, and transfer to a cutting board. Using a large sharp knife, cut into squares and serve.

Orange Creamsicle Cookies
Recipe from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook
Makes about 3 dozen cookies

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg
Zest of 1 orange
1 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with Silpats or parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine flour, soda, and salt. Stir together and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and beat until combined. Add flour mixture and beat on low speed until well incorporated. Add orange zest and beat to distribute. Stir in chips.

Use a cookie scoop or tablespoon to drop in rounded spoonfuls on cookie sheets, leaving plenty of room between cookies to allow for some spreading. Bake for about 10 minutes until light golden brown. Cool about 1 minute on cookie sheets and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Pecan Pie Bars
Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 jellyroll pan with aluminum foil. Combine flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut the cold butter into cubes and add to flour mixture. Toss and use a pastry blender to cut butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles crumbs the size of peas. Pour mixture into prepared pan and press into a smooth crust. Poke several holes in the crust with tines of a fork. Bake about 18-20 minutes until light golden brown.

2 eggs
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 T unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl, beat eggs and add sugar, corn syrup, butter, and vanilla. Whisk together until smooth. Stir in pecans. Pour filling into pre-baked crust. Return to oven to bake for about 20 minutes until filling is set. Cool on a wire rack until completely cool. Use foil to lift bars out of pan and cut into squares.

The recipe is a combination of a few different sources - I adapted the recipe on I Heart Cuppycakes who adapted the recipe from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes and Dulcedo.  The cake is really moist and don't skip the orange zest because it adds so much flavor and I love seeing the little bits of zest in the cake.  The marshmallow cream is a great addition to these cupcakes, it really gives it the creamsicle flavor instead of just an orange cupcake. 

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from I Heart Cuppycakes
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 T citrus olive oil
1 cup sugar
2 T vanilla
2 eggs
Zest of 1 orange
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pans with paper liners.  (This made 16 cupcakes for me.)

Combine butter, olive oil and sugar and mix on medium high speed about three minutes until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and eggs and mix about one more minute until well incorporated.  Stir in orange zest.  In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Separately combine heavy cream and orange juice.  Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by 1/2 of the cream mixture and repeat, finishing with the flour.  Mix until just incorporated after each addition. 

Scoop batter into prepared liners, filling about 2/3 of the way full.  Bake about twenty minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pans about five minutes and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Marshmallow Cream Filling:
7 oz marshmallow fluff
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

Cut butter into small pieces and add to fluff in a mixing bowl.  Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy.  Cut a small cone shape into the top of each cupcake and spoon marshmallow cream into wells allowing the cream to puddle on top of the cupcake slightly.  (Don't add too much, when you add the buttercream, it will cause the cream to move out toward the edges of the cupcakes.)

Orange Buttercream:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/8 - 1/4 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
Zest of 1 orange
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar

Beat butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about three minutes.  Add orange juice, zest, and vanilla and mix until well combined.  Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, mixing until incorporated to reach desired consistency.  Whip on medium high speed about two minutes until smooth and creamy.  Transfer to a piping bag fitted with desired tip and pipe onto cupcakes. 

I love sliders -- they are the perfect size for a party so you don't have to commit to just eating a burger.  I quickly made these sliders because I had an open can of chipotles in adobo from my chipotle chicken pasta that I wanted to use some more of rather than freezing.  I used a nice sharp cheddar cheese to top these but I think a monterey jack or pepper jack cheese would also be delicious.  Get some nice fresh rolls from a bakery for these - I used some sourdough rolls that were great.  A little red onion and a cilantro lime mayo are the finishing touches for a great little sandwich.

Chipotle Chicken Sliders

2 T olive oil
1 pound ground chicken
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped + 1 T of the sauce
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T lime juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
1 egg
8 rolls
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
8 thin slices of red onion


1/2 cup mayo
1 T lime juice
1/4 cup cilantro
Chop cilantro finely and stir into mayo with lime juice and set aside. 

Preheat a grill pan or skillet over medium high heat and add oil.  Combine all remaining ingredients except rolls, cheese, and onion slices in a large bowl, gently mix until just combined.  Divide mix into eight equal portions and form into small patties, thinning just slightly in the center.  Transfer patties to hot pan, cooking about 2-3 minutes per side until cooked through. 

Meanwhile preheat broiler on low.  On a large sheet pan, cut rolls in half and lay out evenly.  Add burgers and cheese to bottom of rolls.  Broil until cheese is melted and rolls are golden brown.  Spread tops of rolls with mayo and top burgers with onion slices and serve.

If candy-making intimidates you, this is the perfect recipe for you to try.  You don't even need your stove, no thermometers are involved, you barely need a pan.  This fudge can be made completely in the microwave and only takes about five minutes.  It's a perfect recipe to round out your holiday baking when you are short on time. 

Peanut Butter Fudge
Recipe via Erin's Food Files from Alton Brown

1 cup of butter
1 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 lb powdered sugar

Prepare a pan by covering it in wax paper and spraying with nonstick cooking spray, leaving at least one inch overhang of wax paper around all edges.  You can use an 8x11" baking sheet with a one inch rim or an 8x8" square pan if you want thicker fudge. 

In a microwave safe bowl, combine butter and peanut butter.  Microwave on high two minutes, stir and microwave two additional minutes.  Stir in vanilla and powdered sugar.  Mix with a wooden spoon until well combined and smooth.  Pour into prepared pan, smooth, and cover with another sheet of wax paper pressed directly against the surface of the fudge.  Refrigerate at least two hours and cut into one inch squares.

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