Friday, February 6, 2009

Twice Baked Potatoes

My dad loves making these potatoes and since family was coming over for the Superbowl he decided it would be the perfect side dish. These are awesome .. but be warned ... not very healthy. The salty potato skin is awesome. So scrub those potatoes clean and chow down on every last bit because these are sure to be a hit :)

  • 4 large russet potatoes, cleaned

  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • 1/3 cup sour cream

  • 6 pieces of bacon, cooked and chopped

  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the potatoes directly on the rack in the center of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Pierce each potato in a couple spots with a fork and continue to bake until tender, about 30 minutes more. Remove potatoes from the oven, and turn the heat down to 375 degrees F.

Hold the potato with an oven-mit or towel, trim off the top of the potatoes to make a canoe-like shape. Reserve the tops. Carefully scoop out most of the potato into a bowl. Take care to leave enough potato in the skin so the shells stay together. Mash the potato lightly with fork along with the butter and sour cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add bacon and cheese and combine. Season the skins with salt. Refill with potato mixture. Sprinkle extra cheese on top.

Set the potatoes and lids on a baking sheet, and bake until heated through, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Meat Sauce

I eat pasta regularly. It's quick, easy, and usually doesn't require a lot of ingredients. With that however, it gets boring, really boring. Pasta noodles with a jar of sauce gets really old after a while especially if its the same pasta and the rest of the pasta sauce from Costco that seems to have an endless supply inside. What better way to spice things up and have a quick weeknight meal like making a meat sauce to go over the pasta instead.

This was really simple and brought a whole new set of flavors. Next time I will add some veggies in to have a nice crunch and make it interesting :)

  • 2/3 lb ground beef (or turkey or chicken)

  • 1 jar tomato sauce

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 1/2 tsp. each parsley, oregano

  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

  • 3 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1 bag pasta, cooked**

In a lightly oiled skillet, saute garlic about one minute. Add meat and cook until half-way done. Add spices, cheese, and tomato sauce. Simmer about 15 minutes. Pour over top of pasta and sprinkle cheese if desired.

** Gluten-free pasta is available from Trader Joes (its was I use for my mom)

Monday, February 2, 2009

New York Steak and a Cabarnet Balsamic Sauce

New York Steak was the big sale item at the grocery store this week. Usually going for about $11.99 a pound or so here ... it was on sale for under $4 a pound ... geez what a steal. I looked around for a few different sauces to make with it and most were cream-based or super cheesy. I knew I'd be opening a bottle of wine for dinner and figured why not incorporate that into the meal. Really easy to make and adds a lot of flavor to the meat - you cannot go wrong with wine :)

  • 2 New York Steaks (obviously you can substitute for another cut you like)

  • Kosher salt and Fresh black pepper

  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic, minced

  • 1/2 cup Cabernet Sauvignon

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tablespoons brown sugar

Season meat with kosher salt and fresh black pepper. Let sit while you begin to make the sauce.

In a lightly-oiled medium sauce pan over medium heat, add garlic and cook until garlic begins to turn brown. Deglaze with wine and balsamic vinegar. Add sugar and let simmer and reduce for 20 to 30 minutes until mixture reduces to less than a 1/2 cup.

Grill steak according to your taste buds (rare to medium). I grilled mine about 4-5 minutes each side. Let rest about 5 minutes. Serve warm sauce over steaks.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Spinach Salad

I didn't used to be very fond of spinach. I thought it tasted like what the leaves off of a bush in the backyard probably tasted like. If it was concealed in a sauce or chopped finely and added to a casserole I didn't care because I couldn't taste it. That has definitely changed ever since I tried out this salad. My aunt brought it over for a potluck football party that we had for the Rose Bowl and I have been making it myself ever since. Its really fresh and light and so versatile you can add any of your favorite salad toppings.

  • 1 bag Fresh Baby Spinach

    • (they sell this at Trader Joe's for $1.99 pre-washed and ready to go)

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts

  • 1/3 cup feta cheese

  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries

    • (I don't like fruit in my salad so I leave this out)

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard

  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

  • 1/4 tsp fresh black pepper

Mix the dressing ingredients together with a whisk and pour over the spinach leaves. Toss together until evenly coated and then add pine nuts, cheese, and cranberries and toss. Serve immediately.

Note: If bringing this to a party, potluck, lunch, etc. mix dressing and keep in a small bottle or tupperware container and the spinach, nuts, cheese, and dried cranberries in a separate bowl. Shake dressing right before tossing with salad ingredients.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

White Tuscan Bean Soup

My first Christmas gift was Giada's Kitchen cookbook -- the latest release in her cookbook series and after flipping through the soups this one definitely caught my eye. It is perfect with a grilled cheese sandwich or nice salad on a cool night especially if you are tired of the can soups that are too salty and have lots of preservatives. It requires very few ingredients and creates a nice creamy flavor after blending in the beans. Enjoy!

  • 2 tbsp butter

  • 2 shallots, chopped

  • 1 sage leaf

  • 2 (15 oz) cans cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed

  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth

  • 4 cloves garlic, cut in 1/2

  • 1/2 cup cream (I used 2%milk to make it a little healthier)

  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Place a medium, heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the butter and shallot. Cook until the shallots are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sage and beans and stir to combine. Add the stock and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the garlic and simmer until the garlic is softened, about 10 minutes.

Pour the soup into a large bowl. Carefully ladle 1/3 to 1/2 of the soup into a blender and puree until smooth. Be careful to hold the top of the blender tightly, as hot liquids expand when they are blended. Pour the blended soup back into the soup pan. Puree the remaining soup. Once all the soup is blended and back in the soup pan, add the cream (milk) and the salt and pepper. Keep warm, covered, over very low heat.

Monday, January 26, 2009

StrawBanana Smoothie

I will start off by saying .... yuck what an unflattering picture .... however I promise once you taste it you won't care how it photographs because its super tasty.

Smoothies are really easy to make, you just have to prepare ahead of time. I think Trader Joe's is the best store to hit when buying smoothie ingredients. I buy the bags of frozen strawberries ($1.69), a can of the orange juice concentrate ($1.99), tub of yogurt ($2.69) and a bunch of bananas ($0.19 each). This easily makes about 4-6 servings all for around 6 bucks which is the price for one smoothie if you go out to grab one.

Using milk and yogurt (& no ice) gives a great creamy consistency and is the perfect snack or breakfast treat! Plus, if there are other fruits you would rather use or want to change it up a bit it's super simple and can easily be done.

  • 2/3 cup yogurt

  • 1 cup milk (if you want it thinner -- add more)

  • 1 frozen banana, cut up

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries

  • 1 1/2 tbsp orange juice concentrate

Throw all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. This makes 2 servings unless you want a giant smoothie all to yourself.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Baked Bacon and Cheddar Omelet

I love this recipe because its super simple and you can pretty much use any ingredients that you want. Leftover veggies from last night? Throw it in. Want a different combination of cheeses? Add as many different kinds as you want. Want to stay away from the meat? Just do eggs and veggies.

This is a perfect Saturday or Sunday breakfast or brunch recipe that does not require a lot of time spent in the kitchen and won't have you hovering over a hot stove for 30 minutes making pancakes.

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1/2 cup diced onion

  • 6 pieces cooked bacon, chopped

  • 8 eggs

  • 1/4 cup milk

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • 1 tsp. black pepper

  • 1 diced red bell pepper

  • 1 1/2 cups of your favorite cheese (I used sharp cheddar)

  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray an 8 by 8-inch baking dish with Pam.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook about 3 minutes. Set the pan aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper, to taste, until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add the bacon red bell pepper, 1 cup of cheese and parsley. Stir in the meat mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Adapted from an episode of Giada at Home

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Chex Muddy Buddies (or Puppy Chow)

My boyfriend asked me the other day why I haven't made puppy chow lately and I gave him this clueless look like what the heck is puppy chow? Opps... didn't realize that Puppy Chow and Chex Muddy Buddies are the same. No matter what its called though this snack is amazing and is a perfect little treat without having to break out the ice cream or cookies. I basically follow the recipe so I will post it below... if you want the exact one check out the Chex website.

  • 9 cups Rice Chex

  • 1 cup chocolate chips (I use milk chocolate)

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (I use the one with less fat)

  • 1/4 cup butter (I get away with only 2 tbsp.)

  • Powdered Sugar

  • 1 tsp. vanilla

In a microwave-safe bowl, heat chips, peanut butter, and butter until smooth and creamy (I pop it in for 30-45 seconds, stir it, and then go in 10-15 second increments until its done). Stir in the vanilla.

In a large ziploc bag, pour in the rice chex. Add the chocolate mixture and zip bag closed. Toss the chex and chocolate around until evenly coated. Add powdered sugar, zip, and toss around until evenly coated. (I add the sugar in 1/2 cup increments until it gets to be sugary enough for me ... I'm not even sure exactly what measurement it is).

Spread evenly on a cookie sheet and cool. Store in an airtight container or clean ziplock.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Roman-Style Chicken

Any new recipe I can use for chicken is always at the top of my "try-it" list. I have my classic "go-to" chicken recipes, but those get old after a while. Chicken is a staple on my shopping list -- its always in my fridge or freezer. And, because its pretty healthy (without the skin) and has some good protein and nutrients, its a great meat to have on hand since its so versatile.

This recipe also incorporates some vegetables into it. So make this with a nice salad or some pasta noodles on the side and you have a well-rounded nutritional meal!

  • 4 skinless chicken breast halves, with ribs

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced

  • 1 yellow or green bell pepper, sliced

  • 3 oz prosciutto, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes (if you are not into chunks, you can use crushed)

  • 1/2 cup white wine

  • 1 tsp thyme

  • 1 tsp oregano

  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

  • 2 tbsp capers

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

In a heavy, large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When oil is hot, cook the chicken until browned on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the peppers and prosciutto and cook until the peppers have browned and the prosciutto is crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, wine,
and herbs. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pan, add the stock, and bring the mixture to a boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 to 30 minutes. Add the capers and the parsley. Stir to combine and serve.

Original recipe from Giada de Laurentiis

Monday, January 12, 2009

Yogurt and Banana Spice Muffins

Now that January has rolled around, its time for my boyfriend to get back to studying for the final level of his financial designation. Since he is so busy with work and studying we don't get to see each other regularly so I was searching around for a good snack to make him that will give him the energy that he needs to focus, along with something a little sweet as a treat for working so hard -- and I'll admit it, to have a little bit of me there too!

Needless to say, I have never been that great at making muffins with fruit in them. I have made gluten-free ones for my mom that contain blueberries, peanut butter or chocolate chips, but when using "gluten-free" flour its a whole different ballgame.

I found this under the 3-a-day Dairy articles on Picky Palate and with its nutritious ingredient list along with a little bit of a sweet treat (cake mix) I think this will be the perfect snack to give him.

You can find the recipe at this link.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Tex-Mex Pie

I found pie crust in the fridge the other day while I was cleaning and saw that I only had two more weeks to use it before the expiration date so I browsed some other cooking blogs for inspiration on what to make.

I had some leftover chicken taco meat from the day before and I found a Ranchero Crostada on Picky Palate that also used pie crust and chicken. This is spin on the original recipe. It really is super easy and the perfect weeknight meal. Only takes a few minutes to prepare and then goes straight to the oven. Hope you enjoy!

  • 1 ready-made pie crust

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken (can be shredded or chopped)

  • 1 cup black bean and corn salsa (this is a frozen bag of vegetables - you can used canned also)

  • 2 tbsp taco seasoning

  • juice of one lime

  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese

  • kosher salt

In a bowl, mix together chicken, (thawed/drained) corn/black beans, lime juice and taco seasoning.

Roll out pie crust on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or silicone baking mat) and pour chicken mixture into the center. Spread evenly leaving a one-inch border around the outside. Fold up the pie crust to help keep the mixture inside and give it a nice border. Sprinkle cheese over the top and add a small pinch of kosher salt to the borders of the crust.

Bake in a 350F oven for about 30-35 minutes or until the crust is slightly browned and cheese is completely melted.

Serve warm with sour cream, avocado, and salsa on the side. Serves 2.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Beef Stew

Let me just start of by saying, I love my love my slow cooker. It really is one of the greatest small kitchen appliances since you throw everything in and it does the rest of the work for you. One thing I do need to buy is a slow cooker recipe book so that I can get more ideas.

This is just a quick recipe I threw together since I knew I would be getting home later than usual one night. It was super quick and with some corn bread on the side its the perfect meal.

  • 1 lb stew meat

  • 2 cups carrots, chopped

  • 1 1/2 cups onions, chopped

  • 2 cups potatoes, chopped (you can leave the skin on or peel it off)

  • 3 cups beef broth

  • 1/2 cup red wine

  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste

  • 1 tsp. kosher salt

  • 2 tsp. black pepper

  • 1 tsp. thyme

  • 2 bay leaves

In crock pot, place carrots, onions, potatoes, broth, wine, tomato paste, salt, pepper, thyme, and bay leaves. Mix together. Turn crockpot on low.

In a skillet with a little oil, cook meat for 1-2 minutes on each side. Add meat to crockpot.

Cook for 6-8 hours on low. For the last 30 minutes before serving, turn on high.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Creamy Corn Fettuccine with Grilled Shrimp

I was flipping through the pages of "Cuisine at Home" magazine the other day and this recipe caught my eye. Although it said it was a "summer" recipe since it calls for fresh corn I decide to give it a shot using the frozen stuff instead. I added grilled shrimp to the top and made this a really light dish. So throw this dish together, grab a glass of wine, and relax pretending its Summer again!

  • 12 oz fettuccine noodles

  • 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes

  • 8 oz corn

  • 1/2 cup pasta water

  • 1/4 cup milk

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp pepper

  • 1 clove garlic, chopped

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • grilled shrimp

  • parmesan cheese

  • chopped parsley

Boil pasta according to package instructions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water. Set aside.

In a skillet over medium heat, add oil and garlic. Saute for a minute. Add corn, tomatoes, pasta water, milk, salt, and pepper. Heat for 2-3 minutes. Add in pasta noodles and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until pasta has absorbed some of the liquid.

Serve with grilled shrimp on top. Sprinkling over it cheese and parsley.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone!

As everyone is coming up with resolutions for the 2009 year, I have decided to post a few of my own.

1. As with probably 95% of the rest of the US -- I want to focus on eating healthier. Not so much cutting foods out of my diet as much as adding more good foods into it. My goal for the year is to eat more vegetables and whole-grains, as well as eating small snacks in the day so that I am not starving by the time lunch or dinner rolls around (i.e. feeling like I need to eat a cow by 5pm to fill me up).

2. Read a book every week or so. At my last count, I have about 20 unread books sitting on my shelf ... not because I never read but because I probably buy 2 or 3 new books for each one I finish reading. Part 2 of this resolution comes with no new book purchases until I am down to less than 10 unread books. Looks like no Borders or Barnes&Noble until March or April :(

3. Remember to take pictures of the foods I make so that I can post them on this blog! This past Fall I was super busy and not only was I not doing a lot of cooking, but I was also not taking pictures of the few things I did make.

4. Make at least one new recipe a week from the many cookbooks I received as Christmas presents. I will also do a few quick cookbook reviews on here and give some raves to my favorite chefs.

Along with many other "resolution-worthy" changes I should make, I have decided to keep my list to under 5 this year in the hope that I can actually accomplish these things through out 2009 -- post updates will follow with how I am coming along :)

Happy 2009!!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Black and White Cookies

This was Day 11 of the Food Network Cookie recipes. I always see these cookies at bakeries and wanted to try making them. I never found a good recipe to use until now. These cookies look amazing and taste even better. I think of them more as a cross between a cookie and a cake since they have that lighter texture. No matter what the name though, you must try these!

The cookie:
  • 1 tbsp dry yeast

  • 1 cup milk

  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature

  • 1 3/4 cups sugar

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/4 tsp lemon extract

  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly add and combine the yeast mixture, and the extracts.

In a separate bowl whisk together the cake flour, all-purpose flour and salt and gradually
add them to your mixture. Caution: Do not over mix, but make sure to keep your mixture

Prepare a cookie sheet with pan spray and drop spoonfuls of dough 3 to 4 inches apart.
Bake until the edges begin to brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

Let cool to room temperature before decorating.

The Black and the White:
  • 1 lb good dark chocolate, chopped

  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream

  • 1 lb good white chocolate, chopped

  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream

Place chocolate into 2 separate bowls, 1 for dark and 1 for white. Slowly boil the cream in 2 separate pots. Pour 1 pot cream over the dark and 1 pot over the white and let chocolate melt. Whisk each until smooth.

While the ganache is slightly warm, dip one half of the cookie in one of the chocolate mixtures and the other half in the other chocolate mixture. Place the cookies on wax paper and let cool until the chocolate cools. You will get a little messy, so I have to apologize for the yummy chocolate that ends up on your fingers :)

Original recipe courtesy of Food Network

Friday, January 2, 2009


This has been one of the recipes at the top of my list to try -- definitely takes more work than a chocolate chip cookie -- and so I think that is why I have waited so long to try my hand at these. Wow they are tasty. I think they will become my new favorite go-to dessert recipe when I have a little extra time and I want to make it extra-special.
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla bean to a boil over medium heat. Immediately turn off the heat and set aside to infuse for 15 minutes. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture, reserving the saucepan. Pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Let cool slightly. Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill at least 2 hours or until ready to serve. The custard can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Refrigerate until 1 hour before using.

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs, plus 1 extra, if needed

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. In a large saucepan, bring the water, butter, salt and sugar to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. When it boils, immediately take the pan off the heat. Stirring with a wooden spoon, add all the flour at once and stir hard until all the flour is incorporated, 30 to 60 seconds. Return to the heat and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Scrape the mixture into a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer). Mix at medium speed. With the mixer running, add 3 eggs, 1 egg at a time. Stop mixing after each addition to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix until the dough is smooth and glossy and the eggs are completely incorporated. The dough should be thick, but should fall slowly and steadily from the beaters when you lift them out of the bowl. If the dough is still clinging to the beaters, add the remaining 1 egg and mix until incorporated.

Using a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip, pipe fat lengths of dough (about the size and shape of a jumbo hot dog) onto the lined baking sheet, leaving 2 inches of space between them. You should have 8 to 10 lengths.

Bake 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake until puffed up and light golden brown, about 25 minutes more. Try not to open the oven door too often during the baking. Let cool on the baking sheet. Fit a medium-size plain pastry tip over your index finger and use it to make a hole in the end of each eclair (or just use your fingertip). Using a pastry bag fitted with a medium-size plain tip, gently pipe the custard into the eclairs, using only just enough to fill the inside (don't stuff them full).

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat just until it boils. Immediately turn off the heat. Put the chocolate in a medium bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Set aside and keep warm. The glaze can be made up to 48 hours in advance. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, and rewarm in a microwave or over hot water when ready to use.

Dip the tops of the eclairs in the warm chocolate glaze and set on a sheet pan. Chill, uncovered, at least 1 hour to set the glaze. Serve chilled.

Original recipe from FoodNetwork

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Cream Puffs

I went to a Christmas party a long time ago where the hostess made these from scratch. I always meant to ask her what recipe she used or if it was a long preparation time but never got around to it. So I was searching the web and came across a blog with "Cream Puffs" in the name and I thought well then.. they must be good. So thanks to Cream Puffs in Venice - this recipe is awesome!
  • 3 cups milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups whipping cream

In heavy saucepan, heat milk until steaming. In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, flour and cornstarch; gradually pour in milk in thin stream, whisking constantly. Return to saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking, for 5 minutes or just until boiling; cook, whisking, for 2 minutes longer or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla.

Pour into bowl; place waxed paper directly on surface to prevent skin from forming. Refrigerate until cool, at least 4 hours. Whip cream, gently fold into pastry cream with spatula just until combined.

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In heavy saucepan, bring water, butter and salt to boil over high heat; immediately remove from heat. Add flour all at once; stir with wooden spoon until mixture comes away from side of pan in smooth ball. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl; stir for 30 seconds to cool slightly.

Using electric mixer, beat in 4 of the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until shiny and pastry holds its shape when lifted. Using pastry bag fitted with 1/4-inch (5 mm) plain tip or with spoon, pipe pastry into 1 1/4-inch (3 cm) round by 3/4-inch (2 cm) high mounds on pans.

Bake in 400F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375F, bake for 10 minutes or until golden. Transfer to rack; let cool. With wooden spoon handle, enlarge hole in each puff.

Spoon pastry cream into pastry bag fitted with 1/4-inch (5 mm) plain tip. Pipe into hole in each puff, squeezing bag gently until puff is filled with cream. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheet. (Puffs can be lightly covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 1 hour.)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

M&M Peanut Butter Cookie Cups

I am always looking for cute new ways to make cookies that aren't just the classic flat circle. These are so adorable and perfectly bite-sized. The original recipe comes from Picky Palate but I changed a couple things to make it easier and so that I could just use ingredients already in the pantry.
  • 1 cup peanut butter

  • 2/3 cup sugar

  • 1 egg

  • 1 cup chocolate chips

  • 3 tbsp heavy cream

  • 1/4 cup mini M&M's

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place peanut butter, sugar and egg into a large bowl and mix until well combined. Scoop dough evenly into a 12 count mini cheesecake pan or mini muffin pan. Cook for 15-18 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

Place chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until melted smooth. Stir in heavy cream until silky and smooth. You can return back to microwave for 15 seconds to get a thinner consistency. Spoon chocolate over top and sprinkle with mini M&M's.