Monday, December 6, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Just Desserts: Double Peanut Butter Bars

This recipe takes the simple peanut butter cookie and "raises the bar"... with three layers:

Peanut Butter Cookie on the bottom

Rich peanut butter icing in the middle

Topped with a chocolate shell
Delicious and decadent!

For the cookie base:

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a 9x13 glass baking dish.
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dark molasses
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut buter
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Prepare peanut butter cookie dough (per normal recipe) but do not refrigerate.  Instead, spread dough evenly on the bottom of the prepared baking dish.

Bake for about 15-18 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. 

For the middle layer:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
In a small bowl, beat the butter, peanut butter, milk, vanilla and powdered sugar until smooth and fluffy.  Spread evenly over the cookie base.

For the top layer:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
In a microwavable pyrex measuring cup, melt butter & chocolate on high -- about 30 seconds (depending on the oven, you may need to stir it and microwave for an additional 30 seconds.)  Stir until very smooth.  Allow to cool and thicken, stirring continually.   Pour over the top and spread to cover evenly.

Refrigerate to set the top layer.  Cut into 1" squares and serve!

PostHeaderIcon Just Desserts: Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dark molasses
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut buter
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Mix sugar, molasses, peanut butter, shortening, butter & egg in a large bowl.  Stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder & salt.

Cover & refrigerate until firm.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Roll dough into 1 1/4" balls.  Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet -- about 3 inches apart.  Flatten in criss-cross pattern with a fork.

Bake 9-10 minutes or until light golden brown.  Allow to cool before removing from the cookie sheet.
Friday, November 26, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Entertaining Recipes: Pepper, Pear, Pecan & Gorganzola Puffs

This is an easy to prep and serve recipe using crescent roll dough and a few fresh and pre-prepared ingredients.

  • 2-3 cups chopped pears
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup gorganzola cheese
  • 1/2 pound dates
  • 3 tablespoons apricot jalepeno jam
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 can large crescent rolls
  • Large-grain sea salt
Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a food processor, combine pecans, dates and gorganzola.  Pulse for a rough chop and mix.

In another bowl, combine pears and 2 tablespoons apricot jalepeno jam.  Fold in cheese mixture.

On a flat surface, roll out 1/2 of the crescent roll pastry.  Drop fruit & cheese mixture in 1 tablespoon portions evenly across the dough.  Place the remaining dough across the top and cut into ravioli-like squares.  Pinch edges of each square to seal.  Arrange on baking sheet and score tops of each square to vent.

In a small bowl, mix remaining jam and water to make a wash.  Brush top of each square with apricot wash.  Sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake for 8-10 minutes until pastry is golden brown.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Breads: Irish Soda Bread with Raisins

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (+ 2 tablespoons for the board)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter (chilled & diced)
  • 3 tablespoons rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup raisins
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, soda & salt.  Cut in the butter and mix well.  Continue to mix, adding the raisins, oats and milk until you have a soft moist dough.

Transfer to a well-floured surface.  Knead dough into about a 7-8" round that is about 1" thick.

Place the round on the baking sheet and slice a cross into the top -- about 1/4" deep.

Bake for 45-50 minutes until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Soup's On: Tomato Basil Bisque

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 rib celery, diced
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 4 cups diced tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 4 cups tomato puree (2 16-oz cans)
  • 2 cups beef stock (1 16-oz can)
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Dash black pepper
Melt butter in a large stockpot. Dice onion and celery and add to pot. Saute until the onion is transparent. Sprinkle flour over onions one tablespoon at a time, stirring in each one thoroughly with a large spoon until paste forms. Add garlic, diced tomatoes and basil, and stir. Stir in tomato puree and beef stock slowly, then whipping cream.  Add bay leaf and simmer on low for about an hour. Remove bay leaf before serving.
 
Tuesday, November 2, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Just Desserts: Pumpkin Cake

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark molasses
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup fresh or canned pure pumpkin (about 1/2 of a 15 ounce can)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
Preheat oven to 350°F and place rack in center of oven.  Butter and flour a bundt cake or other tube cake pan.

In a bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar and molasses until light & fluffy.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Add pumpkin and mix well.

Next, add in flour -- about 1/2 cup at a time -- alternating with milk.  Beat mixture on medium to high speed until batter is fluffy and stiff.

Spread batter evenly in the cake pan.  Place in center of the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes.  Cool for 10-15 minutes before inverting onto your cake plate.

(Note:  this is a very moisture-rich cake... if you sprinkle with powdered sugar as shown in the photos, the sugar will dissolve into the cake fairly quickly -- so do it just prior to service.)
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