Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Nutella Smoochies

I {KNOW!} I am still on this whole Nutella kick! I thought I would get over it, once the Holidays and WND (World Nutella Day) were past. But then I thought, who am I kidding? There are Holidays all year long I could use Nutella for, why limit myself? So I made the trek to Costco and bought myself the motherload pack that only Costco carries and found this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis.

Nutella Smoochies
(24 cookies)

1 3/4 cups flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup nutella
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar, plus more to roll the dough in (about another 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla
Hershey's kisses

Preheat oven to 375.  In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In another bowl, place the Nutella, butter, and both sugars.  Using a hand mixer beat the ingredient together until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and blend until combined.  Add the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.

Shape the dough into walnut sized balls and roll in sugar.  Place the cookies on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 6 minutes.  Remove the cookies, quickly place a kiss in the middle of each, pressing down slightly.  Return the cookies to the oven for another 2-3 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.
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Friday, February 18, 2011

60 Minute Rolls

When I found this recipe over at Lick the Bowl Good, I just knew they were for me! I am a huge procrastinator, especially when it comes to making dinner, I usually put off even thinking about it until 4:00 pm and by then I have to scramble. So, you can imagine my relief when I found these, LIFE SAVER! And it doesn't hurt any that they are super yummy!

60 Minute Rolls
(24 good sized rolls)

1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 t salt
3 T butter
3 packages (0r 6 3/4 t) active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
5-6 cups flour

In a small sauce pan, stir together milk, sugar, salt and butter.  Heat over low until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves.  Cool to lukewarm.

Dissolve yeast in warm water in mixing bowl.  Add the lukewarm milk mixture and 4 1/2 cups of flour to the yeast mixture and mix, using the dough hook, on low for about a minute.  With the mixer still going, add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time. (I didn't need to add all of it, so just add until the dough starts to clean the sides of the mixing bowl).  Continue mixing for another couple of minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. (The dough will be slightly sticky to the touch.)

Place the dough into a greased bowl, turning to grease the top.  Cover the bowl and let the dough rise in a warm, draft free place for 15 minutes.  Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 24 equal pieces.  Shape each piece into a ball and place in a greased muffin tin or 9x13 pan. Each 9x13 pan will hold 12 rolls.  Cover the pans with a clean dish towel and let the rolls rise for 15 minutes.

Bake at 425 for 12 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown.  Brush the tops with melted butter when you take them out of the oven.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Conversation Hearts

Happy Valentine's Day!
I found this recipe over at a kid's craft site called the Crafty Cow. This was such a fun, albeit messy, project I did with my family! I really LOVE how they turned out and my kids thought it was so cool to color on them! I think this will be a new Valentine's Day tradition for us!

Conversation Hearts
(this makes a TON!)

1 package (1/4 oz, or 2 t) unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup water
2 t light corn syrup
2 lbs. powdered sugar, plus more for dusting (I probably used about another pound when all was said and done)
Assorted flavoring extracts of your choice
Assorted food coloring of your choice
small heart shaped cutters (I found mine at Jo-Anns in the cake decorating section)
Food coloring markers (I got mine at Wal-mart in their cake decorating department, they are called Food Writers by Wilton)

1. Place corn syrup, gelatin, and water in a small saucepan and heat over low.  Stir until the gelatin is well-distributed and dissolved.

2. Pour the gelatin mixture into the bowl of a mixer fitted with paddle attachments. Add one cup of powdered sugar and mix on low until incorporated.  Continue adding powdered sugar one cup at a time until all 2 pounds is used.  Stop and scrape down the sides as needed.  The dough will change from watery liquid to a stiff dough.

3. Once you have mixed in all the sugar, turn the dough (it will be sticky) onto a powdered sugar coated work surface.  Add more powdered sugar to the top and knead the dough, adding more sugar as needed, until it is no longer sticky and very smooth.

4. Now, decide how many colors/flavors you want and divide the dough into that many pieces.  Add a few drops of color and flavor and knead until it is totally mixed in.  (You may want to use gloves for this as the color can stain your hands.) Roll out each ball to desired thickness and cut out hearts of varying sizes. I covered the balls I wasn't using so that they didn't start to dry before I could roll them out.  Place the heart cut outs on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper and let them dry for 24 hours.  I know that this is a long time but they need to dry that long before you write on them or the ink will run.  Once they are totally dry, write on them with edible markers.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

These little yummies are so easy and such a fun party food. I used ready made and frozen Italian meatballs from Sam's Club and these literally took about 3 minutes to throw together and then about 2 hours in my crock pot! My kids thought they were great too!

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

1(15 oz) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup vinegar or cider vinegar
1 T molasses
1 t Dijon mustard
1/2 t chili powder
25 frozen Italian meatballs (or homemade meatballs, cooked through)

Mix all ingredients in your crock pot, except meatballs, until smooth. Add meatballs and cook on low for at least 2 hours (or until meatballs are heated through). You can just let these babies simmer while you party on!
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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Pizza bites

I found this recipe over at Our Best Bites. I did mine a little differently, but they are the same idea. My kids thought these were pretty cool! What kid (or adult, for that matter) doesn't love finger food!

Pizza Bites

Pizza dough*
Ranch dressing (already made up)
mozzarella cheese, cubed into 1/2 inch cubes
olive oil
Italian seasoning
garlic powder
Parmesan cheese

*You can use whatever pizza dough is your favorite. I used this one. I doubled the recipe and it made about 24 bites.

Roll out the pizza dough into an rectangle about 18 inches by 6 inches. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 24 squares. In the center of each square put 1 to2 teaspoons of ranch and the same amount of cheese (about 4 cubes). Gather up the edges and seal the dough so none of the innards leak out. Place these seam side down in a greased pie plate or similar dish. Brush the tops with olive oil and then sprinkle with Italian seasoning, garlic powder and Parmesan cheese. Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes or until the tops are golden and the dough is cooked. Serve with marinara sauce or ranch dressing for dipping.

You can really fill these bites with anything you would put on a pizza...pepperoni, pineapple, bell peppers, etc.

We even filled a few with a big marshmallow and a few chocolate chips. When they were cooked I drizzled them with some icing, YUM!
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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Nutella Gelato

Happy Nutella Day!

I hope you are all celebrating this most glorious day! We sure are at our house! And what better way then with this Nutella H.E.A.V.E.N!
I adapted this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis over at Food Network. It is so good, and the closest to real Italian Gelato I have been able to make at home. So, when life gives you ice, make ice cream (or Gelato)!

Nutella Gelato
(about 4 cups)

2 cups whole milk
1 cup heave cream
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup
4 eggs yolks
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 cup Nutella
dash of salt

In a saucepan, combine milk, cream and 1/2 cup sugar. Stir over Medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whip the egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar with an electric mixer until the eggs are thick and pale yellow, about 4 minutes. Pour 1/2 cup of the warm milk and cream mixture into the egg mixture and stir to combine. Add this mixture back into the the saucepan with the remaining milk and cream. Cook this over low heat until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 7-10 minutes). Mine took a little longer, but it did eventually coat the back of my spoon.

Place a strainer over a medium bowl and pour the warm custard mixture through the strainer. Stir in the vanilla, nutella and salt until the nutella is dissolved. Chill the mixture completely before pouring it into an ice cream maker. Follow manufacturer's instructions to freeze.

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Macaroon Brownies

I simply love macaroons and chocolate so when I came across this recipe at Tasty Kitchen I knew it was meant for me! I did adjust the recipe slightly and added chocolate frosting, because you really can't have enough chocolate in my opinion! If you are going to do it, do it right! You just might want to make these for your love this Valentine's Day!

Macaroon Brownies

3/4 cup melted butter
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 t vanilla
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 eggs
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 t salt

4 cups coconut
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 T vanilla (yes, tablespoon)
1/4 t salt

4 T butter, melted
1-1/2  heaping T cocoa powder
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 T milk
1/2 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 (325 if using a glass pan). Lightly grease a 9x13 pan. Melt butter and add sugar, vanilla, and cocoa powder. Mix well.  Add eggs and whisk until combined.  Stir in flour and salt.  Stir until smooth.  Pour half the batter into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Combine all the ingredients for the filling. Stir until well mixed, and spread over the batter in the pan.  Drop remaining brownie batter over the filling in spoonfuls and then spread out evenly.  (This can be a little tricky, I found a butter knife worked best). Bake at 350 (or 325) for 40 to 45 minutes.

For the frosting: melt the butter and stir in the cocoa powder.  Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until smooth.  You can frost the brownies while they are still warm by pouring the frosting over the top and letting the frosting set or you can pour the warm frosting over individual cooled brownies so it drips down the sides.

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Seed Bread

Being snowed in totally made me want to bake ALL day, so that is exactly what I did! I made this yummy seed bread. It was perfectly moist and delicious and so wonderfull warm, straight out of the oven with nutella all over it! (I know, I am addicted to nutella!) It also makes great toast and is super yummy with a big bowl of soup! The recipe was originally made for a bread machine so I adapted it for a regular oven and added some different seeds I had on hand. Here is the original recipe!

Seed Bread
(1 loaf)

1 1/4 cups warm water
2 T honey
2 T vegetable oil
2 T flax seeds
2 T unsalted sunflower seeds
2 T sesame seeds
1 T poppy seeds
1 1/2 t salt
2 t yeast
2 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour

Since this bread was meant for a bread machine I added the ingredients into my mixer just like you do for a bread machine...wet ingredients first, followed by dry, with the yeast on top. I then mixed it on low until the dry was completely incorporated with the wet. Then I bumped it up to medium for about 5 minutes. Let the dough rise until double, about 1 1/2 hours. Knock it down and shape into a loaf. Place into a greased loaf pan, slit the top length wise, spray the top with a little cooking spray (so it won't stick to the plastic wrap), and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise until double, about 1 hour. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. If you knock on the bread it should have a hallow sound when it is done. Now go get your nutella!
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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Nutella Gooey Butter Cake

(Photo courtesy of Abby!)
Did you know that National Nutella Day is February 5th?! Well, I did, and in honor this most sacred of days I wanted to share with you an a-mazing nutella recipe. I guess you are supposed to let this cake cool and then cut it and it would hold together better but lets be honest, it was hard enough waiting for it to come out of the oven (even after I had licked the bowl clean!) so I just served it up nice and warm and gooey! I found this recipe over at Tasty Kitchen.

Nutella Gooey Butter Cake
(Serves 1,  I mean 16)

1 box chocolate cake mix
1 egg
8 T butter, melted

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup nutella
3 eggs
1 t vanilla
8 T butter, melted
16 oz (about 4 cups) powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Combine the cake mix, 1 egg, and 8 T melted butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Press the mixture into a lightly greased 9x13 pan.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and nutella until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla and butter and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar and mix well. Spread the nutella mixture over the cake batter and bake for 40-50 minutes. DO NOT over bake, the center should still be gooey. Serve with fresh whipped cream or ice cream.
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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Broccoli Cheese Soup

We are having a blizzard warning here! So, what better to hunker down to than a big bowl of comfort food. This soup tops that list for me especially when you serve it with a big slice of crusty bread or in a bread bowl. When I saw this recipe over at My Kitchen Cafe, I just knew I would love it!

Broccoli Cheese Soup
(4 servings)

1 can chicken broth, about 1 3/4 cup
1 small onion, chopped
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
pepper to taste
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
2 1/2 -3 cups broccoli, chopped and lightly steamed

Simmer chicken broth and chopped onion for 15-20 minutes in a covered small saucepan until onions are tender. (I think next time I will just saute them in the butter.) In a separate pot melt butter and add flour and pepper. Cook together for a couple of minutes, stirring so it doesn't burn and then whisk in the milk. Stir and heat together over medium-high heat until the soup starts to thicken. Next, add the chicken broth and continue to stir until blended. Add the cheese and broccoli and stir until the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.
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