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Homemade Gum Drops

11 Feb

Cooking time 10 minutes, cool 3 hours and cut out with cookie cutters–Brilliant

Homemade Gum Drops.

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I love you S’more!

7 Feb

I Love You S'More!

Really wonderful s’more cookie recipes have been floating around pinterest. These would make great Valentine’s Day treats, or just good snacking fun. the basic idea is, A graham cracker base with chocolate cookie dough on top with marshmallows and a Hershey’s Bar piece. Because marshmallows can make this a little too sweet, I adjusted my cookie dough recipe a little. It is pretty easy, and theywere a big hit for SuperBowl.

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 375*

Lightly grease or line with parchment 2 cookie sheets. Line sheets with graham cracker broken into squares.

Mix dry ingredients,

2 1/4 cups flour,

1 tsp salt,

1 tsp baking soda

–set aside

Blend

1 1/2 sticks of butter,

1 cup brown sugar,

1/4 cup regular sugar

until creamed.

Add 2 eggs, and 1 tsp vanilla continue blending.

Slowly add dry ingredients

Now add blend in 1 cup of chocolate chips.

I decided about 4 marshmallows per square was better than the 2 per square I show here. Press a heaping Tbs of dough onto the marshmallow topped graham crackers. let the marshmallows peek out the sides.

Bake for about 6 or 7 minutes,

Now bake for another 5 to seven minutes you want the cookie dough cooked, but still soft. Then cool break them apart and enjoy. And did we ever enjoy them.

I Love You–Pink Marshmallows

31 Jan

For Emma Kate’s 5th Birthday—this recipe is for you!!! These are the best gourmet marshmallow ever, ever, ever, really they are that good. I promise. Hollie Rogue has a fun photo contest on Fridays, there are lots of fun pictures over on her site.

I Love You--Pink Marshmallows, the best marshmallows of all time!

Marshmallows became a fixation for me when my sister made an amazing sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving dinner topped with homemade marshmallows. They taste better and have more character than store bought marshmallows. I developed marshmallow envy. Even when something is really good, I have to make it better. So how does one make something as simple and sinfully sweet as marshmallows better? Well, my first rule for great cooking. Rule #1–Always use the best ingredients available. Actually, use better ingredients than the recipe calls for!

Start with a good basic recipe and add to or modify it to suit your tastes. Pinterest, my new addiction, had some beautiful homemade marshmallow pictures and recipes. I started with this “Baking Bites” recipe. There are three main ingredients, gelatin, sugar and corn syrup, plus water, salt and vanilla. 1st try, I decided that I would add some butter, because rice crispy treats have butter and they taste better. This was an epic fail, not so much because of the butter, but because I failed to notice that my box of Knox gelatin was past its “use by” date. It made the marshmallow smell slightly off—hello, garbage can. I also worried that the butter made the marshmallows too runny.

Second try, marshmallows are just sweet, but just sweet isn’t good enough. Sweet plus some flavor is better. Back to Rule #1, what ingredients could be better? How about honey, clover honey is very mild but it has a distinct flavor. If you prefer one of the stronger flavors, that should work equally well. And raw sugar has slightly more flavor than white sugar. Also, adding more salt balances the sweetness of the sugar. Vanilla pairs well with cinnamon, and cardamom, so a little of those will add the final touch without overwhelming the soft sweetness of marshmallow. And since it is my niece, Emma Kate’s 5th birthday and valentine’s day is just around the corner, they need to be pink; so you definitely need to add some food color. Below is the new and improved “I love you—pink marshmallows.”

In the bowl of a stand mixer add,

½ cup cold water
3 packets Knox gelatin (0.25 oz. each)—sprinkle on top of water

Allow the water and gelatin to gel for about 10 minutes.

In a 2 quart sauce pan add,

2 cups sugar
2/3 cup honey
¼ cup water

Slowly bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Keep it at a full boil for one full minute—I had to take the honey mixture off the burner to keep it from boiling over, when I made this with corn syrup it didn’t boil over. While still boiling, pour it over the gelatin. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on high for 7 minutes. It should become opaque and very fluffy.

Fluffy Pink and wonderful--Keep mixing

Add,

1Tbs. Vanilla—real vanilla!
1tsp salt—sea salt is very good!
1tsp cinnamon
1tsp cardamom
and food coloring if you want them colored—6 or 7 drops to get good pink

Continue to beat on high for another 7 minutes.

While your mixer is working and you are waiting, lightly but completely oil two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper on one side. They should be big enough to cover a 10”x15” cookie sheet. Place one in the bottom of your baking sheet, leave the other out. When your marshmallows have been totally whipped, pour the mixture onto your cookie sheet spread it out with a spatula which has been wiped down with oil. Cover with the second sheet of oiled plastic and let them set for 4 hours or overnight.

Smooth marshmallow out evenly on the cookie sheet with a spatula

When thoroughly set, turn the marshmallow out onto a cutting board. You my cut them with a lightly oiled pizza cutter or cookie cutters—maybe a heart-shaped cookie cutter. Dust well with powdered sugar, and enjoy!

Pink Marshmallows cut into bite size morsels and covered in Powdered sugar

Feta Spinach Puffs

26 Jan

Spanakopita are wonderful spinach Puffs. How hard could they be to make? As it turns out, not that hard at all.

I made two types of puffs, salsa, cream cheese and avocado which I saw on Pinterest; and a spinach, feta mix.

I just made up a recipe for the spinach one, but they tasted great!

Here is my recipe for the Spinach filler to make 8 large or 16 mini puffs, preheat oven to 350* ( I actually only made half this much, since it was for my lunch)

½ cup or about 4 oz. of cream cheese
½ cup of ricotta cheese
½ cup feta cheese
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. crushed garlic

Mix these ingredients well.

 

These are the ingredients for the avocado, salsa puffs, just add about a teaspoon of each and close the pastry with wet fingers.

 

Roll out your puff pastry sheet.

 

Cut rectangles that are the finished width you want and twice as long, –about 2″x4″ for mini puffs and 4″x8″ for regular size ones.

Add heaping 1 tbs. to the mini puffs and 2 to the large puffs. Wet your finger and run it around the edge of the pastry. Fold the long side over to create a little pillow, press the two side together to seal it well. You can bake it right away or chill them and bake them later.

Place on a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until puffed and golden brown.

Enjoy these for an appetizer or lunch. They are delicious and easy.

 

Easy Cheesy Quiche

25 Jan

Good quiche should be fixable from what you have on hand. I don’t really use recipes for quiche. I just throw in whatever is sitting in the fridge. Quiche is my—I don’t feel like going to the grocery fall back meal. Here is a basic recipe—that was really delicious—but add in your own goodies to make it even better.

Preheat Oven to 350*

6 eggs
½ cup cream
½ cup ricotta cheese or cottage cheese or even cream cheese
½ cup flour
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. rosemary
½ tsp. crushed garlic
pinch sage and red pepper
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
4 strips cooked ’til crispy bacon

1 pie shell—recipe below or use a pre-made one—9″ deep dish.

Bake pie shell for 15 minutes. While it is cooking throw all your ingredients in a bowl and blend really well. This is one of those recipes where a kitchen aid makes it extremely easy. Pour the batter into your pie shell and cook for approximately 45 minute or until lightly browned with small fissures along the top.

Options: add some lightly steamed broccoli or spinach. Add ham or chicken instead of bacon, add more cheddar or even Swiss cheese instead. Use whatever is in the fridge. I think using cream or at least ½ and ½ makes it better. This will serve six and a small salad or steamed veggies make it a great and easy meal. It keeps well in the fridge and can be reheated in the microwave one slice at a time. I even like the leftovers for breakfast.

Pie crust:

2 ¼ cups flour
½ tsp salt—3/4 if you don’t use your bacon grease.
1/3 cup butter–cold
1/3 cup cold shortening—bacon grease is best for a savory pie, you can pour your hot grease in your pie pan and put it in the freezer for a few minutes to chill. Then scrape it up and add it to the flour mixture. The little bits of bacon only add flavor and character.
5 Tbs. cold water—possibly one more if your ingredients don’t hold together

With a pastry cutter blend shortening and butter into the flour and salt until you have little peas of dough. Slowly add water and mix—you want to mix as little as possible while forming dough. Form it into a ball, wrap it in plastic and let it rest for at least 15 minutes in the fridge. Roll it out on parchment or wax paper—again less work will yield a much flakier crust—place it in your pie pan and bake as directed above.

 

 

 

 

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