Saturday, April 30, 2011

Rasberry Coconut Cookies

I've had this recipe hanging around the kitchen for about a month now and it was getting to the "either buck up and make these or just throw the recipe away" point. I am thinking that I'm going to try and "healthy" up our diet again starting next week so I decided to make them and if I ended up eating them all it was going to be no harm no foul day. It's a good thing I decided that in advance because I have eaten 4 cookies and probably the equivalent of 3-4 cookies in dough. It was so good!! Kind of like candy in goo form. :)

The dough really came out sticky, truly it was more gooish than doughish but it was delightful and I discovered that if I kept my hands a little bit damp it reduced the sticking and made it easier to work with. I made a few changes from the original recipe that was heisted from Taste of Home like using butter instead of shortening, adding vanilla and raspberry extract instead of the almond extract and dusting the tops with sugar. They came out of the oven a bit crispy on the outside but still chewy and sweet on the inside. Truly, if I let myself I could probably eat my way through the whole batch.

The recipe made about 2 doz cookies so if I were taking them somewhere I would probably double it but other than that it's pretty darned good as written.

Raspberry Coconut Cookies
Adapted from Taste of Home

yield 2 1/2 doz cookies

1 stick butter, softened
1 /2 c. packed brown sugar
6 T. granulated sugar
1 egg
1/4 c. water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. raspberry extract (you could also use almond or coconut extract)
1 1/2 c. plus 2 T. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 c. flaked coconut
seedless raspberry jam

1. In a mixer bowl cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, water and extracts.
2. Combine the flour, salt and soda; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in coconut (dough will be very sticky) You could chill it a bit at this point and it would probably be easier to work with.
3. Set aside 2/3 c. dough; roll remaining dough into 1 in. balls. Using your damp index finger make a 1/2 in. indentation in the center of each ball. Fill each hole with raspberry jam (I used a 1/2 tsp measuring spoon). Cover jam with a teaspoonful of reserved dough; seal and reshape if necessary. Sprinkle with sugar.
4. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-11 min or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

1 cookie=Cal 105; Fat 5g.; Chol 7mg.; Sodium 72mg.; Carb 15g.; Fiber trace; Protein 1g.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread

Sunday for dinner we had Navajo tacos which meant SCONES. They were yummy but there was over half the dough left over...what to do? When in doubt throw it in the fridge and see what happens tomorrow.

A few weeks ago I saw a cinnamon pull apart loaf on Joy the that looked so good and better yet the whole concept was easy. I am kind of a cinnamon roll idiot and being the impatient sort not having to make the rolls all beautiful was super appealing. I pulled the dough out of the fridge and let it rest for about 30 minutes, rolled it out and doctored it up, cut into squares and stacked it into the pan and baked. Huh, way easy! I probably could have measured the squares a little better so that they were more symetrical but I'm telling myself that this is the rustic effect and they taste the same anyway.

I'd highly recommend this one, it was better warm and gooey but still ok later and sliced rather than just pulled apart.

Scone/Bread Dough
2 cups scalded milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup lukewarm water
3 T. yeast
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
6 cups flour

Scone Directions:
  1. Dissolve butter in scalded milk. Dissolve yeast in water for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Beat everything together. Chill in refrigerator at least 2 hours.
  3. Roll out, cut and let rise a few minutes.
  4. Fry in hot oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels before serving.

Pull Apart Bread Directions:
  1. Let chilled dough sit at room temp for about 30 minutes. Roll out into a long rectangle. 
  2. Cover with melted butter (browned butter would be good but I was lazy and just did regular butter). Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over dough. 
  3. Cut into squares and stack into prepared loaf pan
  4. Bake at 350 for approx 30 min. The top will be very brown and that's ok, you don't want the middle to be doughy.
  5. Let bread cool in pan for about 20 min. Run a butter knife around the edges of the loaf and gently turn out onto a wire rack. Carefully center a serving plate over the loaf and invert right side up.
  6. Drizzle with vanilla glaze if desired.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Heavenly Deliciousness

This week has been consumed by planning and preparing for a dinner auction for church. I swear every time I do something like this that I'm going to learn how to nod my head up and down and say "I can't possibly do that....". So far that hasn't happened so I just keep doing it. Anyway.

Bri needed a treat to take for the bake sale portion of the evening and didn't want to be boring and do brownies so we needed something new. Something delicious. Something that everyone and their dog wouldn't also be bringing. I remembered a picture of some bar cookies that I saw somewhere on the internet that looked fabulous but I couldn't remember what it was called or where I saw it, just that it had butterscotch chips and butterscotch pudding in the cookie part. So, I improvised and here's what I came up with. When I got it there I didn't have a name really for it so the girls named it Heavenly Deliciousness. :) It was pretty heavenly and definitely delicious. It was really rich so small pieces work better than giant ones.

Heavenly Deliciousness
Servings 36 (small bite size)

1 pkg sugar cookie mix (this is when it paid off to be a compulsive grocery shopper....)
1 pkg  instant  butterscotch pudding
1 egg
1 cube butter, softened
1 pkg Kraft caramels, unwrapped
1/2 c. evaporated milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. cashew pieces
1 1/2 c. butterscotch chips

1. Mix sugar cookie mix, butterscotch pudding, butter and egg together until a dough forms.

2. Turn into an ungreased 9x13 baking dish and press out evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until crust is firm.

3. While the cookie is baking melt the caramels with the milk over med heat until smooth. Add vanilla and nuts; stir well.

4. Pour over cookie crust. Sprinkle butterscotch chips over the top. Let cool completely before cutting.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ranch Chicken Strips

Ah, Sunday again! Because I have been getting boneless skinless chicken breasts for a really good price lately we have been eating a lot. Now if it were summer I would be grilling like a crazy person so that there aren't any dishes to wash but because Mother Nature seems to be confused and keeps sending us winter rather than spring I'm forced to find alternate ways of chicken prep.

This recipe is one that I "rediscovered" in a binder of Weight Watchers recipes that I've collected over the years. The original recipe was without a doubt much healthier than the version that I made today but, hey, it's Sunday! And, I don't want to think about the scale today so butter is the word of the day.

If you choose to go the WW route switch the butter with egg whites and reduce the amount of Parmesan cheese to 1/4 c. That will bring the NI back into "acceptable" healthy range.

Ranch Chicken Strips

2 lbs chicken strips
1 pkg Ranch dressing mix
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
cornflakes (I didn't measure, I just dumped and crushed)

In a freezer bag crush the cornflakes and add the dressing mix and Parmesan. Melt the butter in a bowl big enough to dip your chicken strips in.

Dip the chicken in butter; roll in the cornflake mixture. Place on a foil covered sheet pan. Bake at 350 degrees for approx 30 min or until juices run clear. If you use chicken breast halves you will need to cook them for appox 40-45 min.

Easy peasy enjoy!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bulgur Bread

This bug has been a doozy; I've been fighting it for almost 2 weeks now but in the interest of keeping up with my personal goal for Food Porn Friday I figured I should bake this bread today. After all, how hard is bread? It's time consuming to wait for the raising but it isn't really hard so I should be able to handle it.

Melissa choose this recipe and I honestly wasn't sure what bulgur was, I knew it had something to do with wheat but wasn't sure where I would find it or how involved preparing it would be. Turns out it's basically cracked wheat cereal...who knew! Anyway, I used Bob's Red Mill brand bulgur that I found at Smith's but after using it I've decided that you could totally sub whatever cracked wheat cereal you can find. Personally I like the Red Rose brand. :) As far as the bread goes, this is a very good whole wheat bread for people that like the rustic version of bread with the little nuggets of chewy goodness in it. I enjoy it, Randy not so much (he's a Wonder bread fan at heart). It's a definite do again. I do like that it only makes 2 loaves and it can fit in your Kitchen Aid.

Bulgur Bread
2 loaves
Baking in America-Greg Patent

2/3 c. med bulgur
1 1/3 c. unsweetened apple juice
2 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
2 1/4 tsp fast rise active dry yeast
1 c. warm water
2 large eggs
2 1/2 c. bread flour or unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 c. veg oil
2/4 T. water
4 tsp. salt

1. Combine the bulgur and apple juice in medium saucepan and bring to a boil over med heat, stirring occassionally. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally until bulgur is tender and juice is absorbed, about 10 min. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. In a mixer bowl stir together the whole wheat flour and yeast. Add the warm water and eggs.
3. Beat on medium speed with the paddle attachment 4 minutes. Scrape bowl and beater. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temp until double in volume, about 1 hour.
4. Add the bulgur, 2 1/2 c bread flour, oil, 2 T water and salt. Attach dough hook and knead on low for approx 8 minutes until dough cleans the sides of the bowl and is moist, elastic, and only slightly sticky. If dough is too sticky add a little flour, if it's too dry add some of the remaining 2 T water.
5. Lightly oil a large bowl or coat with cooking spray. Scrape the dough into the bowl, turning to coat. Pick up dough and form a smooth ball. Return dough to bowl, cover tightly and let rise until almost tripled in volume, 1 1/2 hours.
6. Butter or spray with non stick spray 2 loaf pans. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat gently to remove any air bubbles. Divide dough in half and shape each piece into a loaf. Place in pans. Cover loosely with lightly sprayed plastic wrap and set aside at room temp until the centers have risen 1 1/2 -2 inches above the rims of the pans. (1 hour)
7. About 30 minutes before loaves are ready to bake put oven rack in lower third position and preheat oven to 375 degrees.
8. Bake for 35-45 minutes until loaves are well browned ; they won't rise much. Cool on wire racks, then wrap airtight. Bread freezes well for up to 3 weeks.