Melissa's Cuisine: April 2011

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mini Marshmallow Peanut Butter Brownies

Mini Marshmallow Peanut Butter Brownies
I made these bite-sized treats for my Wall Expressions party last month too!  I loved the original Marshmallow Peanut Butter Brownies I made, but I thought it would be fun to make them miniatures also.  You can find my original recipe here, and I've also included the modified directions in this post.
You will need:  

For the brownie:
1 box brownie mix
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup water
2 eggs

For the peanut butter layer:
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup flour
2 eggs

Top with: 
1 cup mini marshmallows 

1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine brownie mix, oil, water, and eggs. Set aside.

2. In a small mixing bowl, combine sugar, peanut butter, flour, and eggs. Mix until fluffy.

3. Grease mini muffin tins.  Drop brownie batter by the teaspoonful into each tin.  Top with 1/2 teaspoon of the peanut butter mixture.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until brownie is done.

5. Cool for 10 minutes, then top with marshmallows. Place under broiler for 1 minute, then rotate and keep under broiler until marshmallows get toasted. Cool before serving.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cookie Dough Brownies

Cookie Dough Brownies

Remember the cookie dough I showed you the other day?  Here's a delicious recipe to use it in!

You will need:
9x13 pan of brownies (use a box or your favorite recipe)
1 batch of Ready-to-eat Cookie Dough

After brownies are baked and cooled, drop cookie dough over brownies.  Carefully spread over brownies.  Cut into squares and serve.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

An Award!!!

I had a nice surprise when I woke up this morning, Kim at Little Rays of Sunshine sent me an award!  This was such a fun surprise!

Here are the rules for receiving this award:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them.
Thank you so much Kim!  I love to visit Little Rays of Sunshine to read about Kim's precious daughter Emma Grace, her crafts, and of course her sweet treats on Sundays!  Stop by and say hello to Kim :)

2. Tell seven things about yourself. 
This is kind of fun for me because I usually share personal information on my other blog, Wonderful World of Melissa, but now I have a chance to share more than just my stories behind my recipes!
  1. I'm a newlywed.  I married the love of my life on October 9, 2010.  We met in 2008, got engaged in 2010, and were married 7 months later.
  2. I love to cook and bake.  Big surprise right?  But I just can't leave recipes alone.  I constantly tweak recipes, adding or subtracting ingredients.  It drives some people I know crazy, but that's just how I work!
  3. I was born in New Mexico, but I have lived in Michigan for the majority of my life.  I moved once when I was in middle school but we stayed in the same town.  Then I moved again last October, but we still live just 20 minutes from where I grew up.
  4. I love to run.  I started running in December, and I have run 2 5k's so far.  It's become an obsession for me.  When I first started, I dreaded each run, but now I really look forward to running and I miss it if I don't get a chance to do a run.  I'm actually considering doing a mini-tri this fall, but I have to get a road bike first!
  5. I'll eat pretty much anything.  I've always said that I'll try anything once.  There are only a few foods that I don't care for, mostly fish (though I do like tuna and most shellfish).  I have tried some very interesting foods when I was in Romania, and I liked most of it!
  6. I love to travel.  I've been to Romania 4 times for mission trips, and we went to Jamaica for our honeymoon.  We would like to go to Haiti for a mission trip soon, and we'd also like to go back to Romania (I want to show Mike the country I fell in love with!)  I'd love to tour Europe someday but only time will tell!
  7. I love my job (I'm an office manager at a counseling agency), but if I could do anything, I'd love to work in a bakery.  What could be better than spending all day doing something I'm passionate about?
3. Pay it forward and award the Versatile Blogger to 15 recently discovered new bloggers.

It was hard to pick as I follow so many wonderful blogs, but here are just a few fabulous ladies that I'd like to give a shout out to! Be sure to check them out! 

  1. Kristen @ Delightfully Dowling
  2. Mari @ Mari's Little Corner and Mari's Recipe Blog
  3. Heather @ Heather's Life
  4. Lark @ Lark's Country Heart
  5. Karen @ Overcomer
  6. Susan @ Permanent Posies
  7. Jihane @ Sinful Sundays
  8. Bianca @ Little Brick Ranch
  9. Shannon @ Tales From a Fairy Blogmother
  10. Cheryl @ Cherdecor
  11. Lisa @ Sweet as Sugar Cookies
  12. Kat @ Just a BeachKat
  13. Claire @ Claire Cooks
  14. Sierra @ The Tervo Times
  15. Rachel @ Thou Must Live and Eat!
4. Contact everyone and let them know they've been awarded!
I apologize in advance if you see your name on this post before I am able to tell you about! I'll try to work diligently at letting everyone know about their fun new award. ;)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Did you know today is National Pretzel Day?  I didn't even know that existed until yesterday, and upon finding out, I decided I would post this recipe for pretzels instead of the one I planned to post today.  (Don't worry, I'll still post it but not until Thursday).  And now, I give you...Pretzels! :)
I love homemade pretzels!  This recipe is similar to the one I posted about a month ago, but Mike and I thought it was actually better.  The previous recipe I posted had sugar in it, giving it a sweeter taste while this one has more of a classic bread taste.  I can't exactly say why I prefer this recipe, I just do.  Go ahead and try them both and let me know which you prefer!

I made the same items with this recipe as the previous one and I've linked to the instructions at the end of this post.
You will need:

1 1/2 cups warm water (about 100 degrees)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 package dry rapid rise yeast
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Pretzel salt (or kosher salt), for topping
1.  Combine the warm water and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes, until the yeast gets foamy.
2.  Add the flour, salt, and butter to the yeast mixture. Using the dough hook on your mixer, combine the mixture until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and appears shiny, roughly 4 to 5 minutes.
3.  Cover dough and let it rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
4.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Spray parchment paper with non-stick spray. Set aside.

5.  In a large pot, bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a roiling boil.
6.  Shape dough into your desired form.  See links below for instructions for pretzel dogs, mozzarella pretzel bites, and pretzels.
7. Boil the shaped pretzels in the baking soda water for 30 seconds each. Using a slotted spatula, remove each pretzel on the parchment lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle with any desired toppings.

8. Bake at 450 until golden brown, roughly 14 to 15 minutes. 

To make these pretzel bites, simply roll pretzel dough into a long rope and cut into bite sized pieces.
Adapted from Kitchen Belleicious

Lark's Country Heart

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ready-to-eat Cookie Dough

Ready-to-eat Cookie Dough
I could easily eat this whole spoonful of cookie dough (actually, I did after taking this picture!)  In fact, I could probably eat a whole bowlful of cookie dough, but then I wouldn't be able to make cookies, and I would probably end up with a really bad tummy ache!  Thankfully, I married someone who loves cookie dough as much as I do!  To be on the safe side, I make a batch of egg-less cookie dough so I don't have to worry about the dangers of eating raw eggs.  Then I put it in a container in the fridge, and I eat it when I'm hungry for cookie dough.  Yeah, it's that good!  Try it for yourself, you won't be sorry!

You will need:
1/3 cup margarine, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup milk chocolate chips

1.  In a small bowl, cream margarine and sugars until light and fluffy.

2.  Beat in milk and vanilla.

3.  Add in flour.

4.  Stir in chocolate chips.

5.  Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Super Bowl Cookies with Marshmallow Fondant

Super Bowl Cookies with Marshmallow Fondant
I'm quite proud of these cookies.  They were the result of the second time I've made fondant covered cookies and I couldn't be happier with the results.  In fact, I almost didn't want to eat the cookies because they looked so fun!  My friends thought the same, "but these are too cool to eat!"  By the end of the Super Bowl party, I only had a few left, so they must have overcome that!

I love working with fondant.  I found a great recipe that tastes really good and is super easy to make and work with.  I've had more success working with fondant on cookies than cakes, but that means that I still have work to do.

I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how simple it is to make fondant.  It's fun because the possibilities really are endless!  You can decorate cookies, cakes, or cupcakes; you can make fondant confetti or cutouts, just let your imagination go wild!

Alright, enough's the recipe!

Marshmallow Fondant

You will need:

16 ounces large marshmallows
3 Tablespoons water (you might need a little more)
2 pounds powdered sugar
1/2 cup shortening

1.  Place marshmallows and water in a large microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave on high for 30 seconds.  Remove from microwave and stir.  Continue microwaving in 30 second increments and stirring until marshmallow mixture is melted and smooth.

2.  Generously grease your work area (I just use my kitchen counter) with shortening.

3.  Pour almost half (about 2 cups) of the powdered sugar onto your greased surface.  This is a messy task, but so worth it! Spread it out so you have about a 12 inch by 12 inch area of sugar (it should be pretty thickly covered).

4.  Dump marshmallow mixture onto powdered sugar.

5.  Pour more powdered sugar on top of marshmallow mixture (I use most of the remaining powdered sugar in this step, I usually leave about 1 to 1-1/2 cups to add in later).

6.  Generously grease your hands with shortening.  You want to be completely covered.

7.  Begin kneading marshmallow and powdered sugar together like you would dough.  Continue kneading, adding in remaining powdered sugar.  Grease your hands and counter as necessary to prevent fondant from sticking.

8.  Knead until fondant is smooth and elastic .  It should stretch without tearing.

9.  If you plan to color your fondant, divide into balls for each color.  Add food coloring (I used gel) and knead until evenly distributed.  I made my brown fondant by adding in 1/4 cup of cocoa powder and a tiny amount of water.

10.  Wrap fondant in plastic and let it sit overnight before using.  If you plan on storing it for a longer period of time, coat fondant with a thin layer of shortening before wrapping.  Then place in a plastic bag and store in your fridge (bring to room temperature before using). If you want to use the fondant right away, you can, just make sure it's well blended.

11.  When you're ready to use your fondant, roll it to 1/8 inch thick.  Then cut into desired shapes.  I spread a very thin layer of light corn syrup over each cookie before placing the fondant on the cookie. I've also used a thin layer of white frosting to adhere fondant to cookies.  Both ways worked well.

I used my favorite Sugar Cookie recipe.
The details on my cookies are made with Royal Icing.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fiesta Chicken Soup

Fiesta Chicken Soup

I've found that we've been eating more soup in the past month or so than we did all winter!  We've had chili a few times, chicken noodle soup, and my newest soup creation, Fiesta Chicken Soup.  This soup was originally supposed to be a white chicken chili, but since we don't care for beans and some of the other ingredients, I ended up making something different.  My favorite part of this soup is that I made it in the Crock Pot, so it's a great meal for a busy day!  I think this soup is definitely something I'll be making again!
You will need:
2 chicken breasts
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes (mine had green peppers in it too, it was a can of tomatoes for chili)
1 can (10.75 oz) cream of chicken soup
1 cup chicken broth
1 Tablespoon dried onion
2 tsp chili powder
1-1/2 cups frozen corn
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup cream cheese (I used Philadelphia cooking cream)

1.  Dice chicken into bite-sized pieces and place in Crock Pot.

2.  Pour diced tomatoes, cream of chicken soup, chicken broth, dried onion, and chili powder over chicken.  Stir to combine.

3.  Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

4.  30 minutes before serving, stir in frozen corn, sour cream, and cream cheese.  Cook on high until you're ready to serve.  Serve with crushed tortillas or shredded cheddar cheese.

Lark's Country Heart

Party Button

It's a Keeper

Monday, April 18, 2011

Marshmallow Peeps

When I think about Easter candy, the first thing that comes to mind is Marshmallow Peeps.  There's nothing like the crunch of the sugar shell when you take a bite of the fluffy marshmallow!

I had never thought about making my own Peeps; sure, I make marshmallows, but to actually make them in shapes never crossed my mind until I started seeing them all over Blogland!  I finally gave in and tried my hand at these.

The taste was phenomenal, light fluffy marshmallow, just the right flavor, sweet crunchy sugar shell...I would daresay they were better than store-bought Peeps!  However, my Peep-piping skills are severely lacking, it's okay if you laugh at my Peeps, I did too!!! This recipe made about 10 or 12 large Peeps, but out of all those I had only 1 or 2 that actually looked like chicks.  I will definitely be making these again so I can practice my piping techniques!

You will need:
1 package unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup cold water
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
Sanding sugar

1.  Pour 1/3 cup cold water into the bowl of your stand mixer.  Sprinkle gelatin over water.

2.  In a medium saucepan, combine 1/4 cup water and 1 cup sugar.  Stir over medium-heat until sugar dissolves.

3.  Boil sugar, stirring occasionally, until it reaches a temperature of 238 degrees.

4.  Pour syrup over gelatin.

5.  Using the whisk attachment, start your mixer on the lowest possible speed.  Once mixture has cooled, increase speed to medium-high.  Beat marshmallow mixture until peaks form and the mixture is able to hold its shape.  Mine took almost 15 minutes to reach this state.

6.  Scoop marshmallow mixture into a large pasty bag with a half-inch tip (or for easier clean-up, use a large Ziploc bag and cut a hole in the end to pipe).

7.  Sprinkle a large baking sheet with colored sugar.  You can easily make your own by putting sugar in a small Ziploc bag, adding a couple drops of food coloring, and squishing it around with your hands until the sugar is colored.  If you're making your own colored sugar, you'll want to do this step before making the marshmallows (or while the marshmallows are being beaten).

8.  I found that piping the chicks involved a lot of trial and error.  I'll give you the directions I used, but don't be afraid to modify them until you achieve a shape that resembles a chick!
-Pipe a 1inch wide oval shape onto a flat surface covered in sugar.  Taper the end to create the tail.
-For the head, pipe a mound on the end opposite the tail, about the width of the body.  Push toward the tail and up.  Pull away from the head to form the beak.
-Sprinkle sugar over the chick.
-Make eyes with melted chocolate and a toothpick.

9.  Store in an airtight container.  

Adapted from: Martha Stewart and The Novice Chef

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Stuffed Cookies

Stuffed Cookies
When I saw the series of stuffed cookies on Picky Palate, I knew I would be making them.  She put up so many varieties of stuffed cookies, I'm sure everyone in the blogosphere was drooling!  I know I was.  I was so excited to see that her cookie dough recipe is almost exactly like my favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, so I knew these would be incredible.  So my favorite cookie with my favorite candy (above) inside?  Score!!!

I chose a variety of "stuffings" for my cookies:  Snickers, Milky Way, Kit Kat, Reese's Cup, Peanut Butter Lover's Reese's Cup, Brownie, Marshmallows, and Salted Caramels.
 I love how these cookies turned out.  They were enormous...I weighed one and it was 6 ounces!  Though I enjoyed each variety I tried, Mike and I both agreed that the marshmallow stuffed cookies were our favorite.  There was just something about the gooey sweet marshmallow in a soft cookie that both of us adored.  My advice for these cookies, be creative! You know what I used for stuffings, Picky Palate stuffed hers with S'mores, Oreos, and brownies...what will you stuff yours with?

You will need:

2 sticks margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla
3-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups chocolate chips
12 "stuffings"  (Fun sized candy bars, brownies, marshmallows, caramels, Oreos, S'mores etc!!!)

1.  Gather all the "stuffings" you need and prepare them (cut or unwrap as needed).

2.  In the bowl of your mixer, beat margarine and sugars until light and fluffy.

3.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat until well combined.

4.  Add in flour, salt, and baking powder.  Mix until combined.

5.  Stir in chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

6.  Place a large scoop of cookie dough in the palm on your hand.  Press the chosen filling into the cookie dough.  Top filling with another large scoop of dough and form into a ball.  Mine were about as large as a baseball!  Place on a greased cookie sheet.
7.  Bake at 350 for 15-17 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes before eating...if you can wait that long!!!

Source: Picky Palate

Thursday, April 14, 2011

PW's Cinnamon Rolls

This is the second recipe I made for the cookbook review over at It's a Keeper.  I also made Pioneer Woman's Mac & Cheese.

These cinnamon rolls are incredible!  Seriously, I could eat the whole pan and still want more!  Good thing this recipe makes 7 or 8 pans!  I made a ton these around Thanksgiving last year and they were a huge hit.  I plan to make more for Easter this year.  These rolls can be described as: tender, melt-in-your-mouth, sweet, delicious....

I don't make the maple frosting, as I'm not a fan of maple.  Usually I'll make a simple glaze of powdered sugar and milk, but sometimes I'll make a cream cheese frosting.  No matter what you top these rolls with, they're fabulous!

You will need:

  • 1 quart Whole Milk
  • 1 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 packages Active Dry Yeast, 0.25 Ounce Packets
  • 8 cups (Plus 1 Cup Extra, Separated) All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
  • 1 Tablespoon (heaping) Salt
  • Plenty Of Melted Butter
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • Generous Sprinkling Of Cinnamon
  • _____
  • 1 bag Powdered Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Maple Flavoring
  • ½ cups Milk
  • ¼ cups Melted Butter
  • ¼ cups Brewed Coffee
  • ⅛ teaspoons Salt

Preparation Instructions

Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pan. Scald the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour. When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle in both packages of Active Dry Yeast. Let this sit for a minute. Then add 8 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour.
After rising for at least an hour, add 1 more cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir mixture together. (At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it – overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to overflow out of the pan, just punch it down).
When ready to prepare rolls: Sprinkle rolling surface generously with flour. Take half the dough and form a rough rectangle. Then roll the dough thin, maintaining a general rectangular shape. Drizzle 1/2 to 1 cup melted butter over the dough. Now sprinkle 1 cup of sugar over the butter followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.
Now, starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Next, pinch the seam of the roll to seal it.
Spread 1 tablespoon of melted butter in a seven inch round foil cake or pie pan. Then begin cutting the rolls approximately ¾ to 1 inch thick and laying them in the buttered pans.
Repeat this process with the other half of the dough. Let the rolls rise for 20 to 30 minutes, then bake at 400 degrees (see note below) until light golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes.
For the frosting, mix together all ingredients listed and stir well until smooth. It should be thick but pourable. Taste and adjust as needed. Generously drizzle over the warm rolls. Go crazy and don’t skimp on the frosting.

*For the sake of the cookbook review, this recipe is from PW's cookbook/website.  I did not write it out and all the instructions are courtesy of the Pioneer Woman.

Featured on:
It's a Keeper

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

PW's Mac & Cheese

Have you heard of Pioneer Woman?  If you haven't, you sure are missing out.  Go check her out right now! Here:  The Pioneer Woman.  If you're anything like me, you'll get lost in her website: exploring all her fantastic recipes and hilarious stories of life on the ranch.  One of my favorite things about Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond) is that she takes pictures of each step of the recipe, making it basically fool-proof!

After being obsessed with PW's website for a long time, I was ecstatic when she released a cookbook in 2009.  I received it as a wedding shower gift and I've enjoyed reading though it (yes, I do read cookbooks like novels ;)!), and making many of her recipes!

When I heard that It's a Keeper was hosting a cookbook review of Pioneer Woman's cookbook, I was all in!  Check out the link-up at her site for all the other recipe reviews!

Mike and I love Macaroni and Cheese.  I knew that PW's would live up to the standards I've set for her ;)  It definitely did, and I've made this a few times.  I would recommend using a sharp Cheddar cheese for this recipe; the last time I made it, I used a mix of Cheddar and Colby and we thought it wasn't cheesy enough!

You will need:
4 cups Dried Macaroni
1 whole Egg Beaten
¼ cups (1/2 Stick Or 4 Tablespoons) Butter
¼ cups All-purpose Flour
2-½ cups Whole Milk
2 teaspoons (heaping) Dry Mustard, More If Desired
1 pound Cheddar or other desired Cheese, Grated
½ teaspoons Salt, More To Taste
½ teaspoons Seasoned Salt, More To Taste
½ teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
Optional Spices: Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Thyme
1.  Cook macaroni until very firm. Macaroni should be too firm to eat right out of the pot. Drain.
2.  In a small bowl, beat egg.
3.  In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly. Don’t let it burn.
4.  Pour in milk, add mustard, and whisk until smooth. Cook for five minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low.
5.  Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking eggs. Whisk together till smooth.
6.  Pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth.
7.  Add in cheese and stir to melt.
8.  Add salt and pepper. Taste sauce and add more salt and seasoned salt as needed! 
9.  Pour in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine.

10.  Serve immediately (very creamy) or pour into a buttered baking dish, top with extra cheese, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.

*For the sake of the cookbook review, this recipe is from PW's cookbook (website).  I did not write it out and all the instructions are courtesy of the Pioneer Woman.

Source: The Pioneer Woman

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Asiago Bagels

Asiago Bagels
I love Asiago bagels.  When I was younger, my mom and I went shopping every Saturday and most of the time we'd stop at Panera Bread for lunch.  We always got the same thing: bagels.  Mom would get Cinnamon Crunch and I'd get Asiago.

I was at the store and saw a container of Asiago cheese.  I'd never bought it before and picked it up without really thinking about what I was going to use it for.  Then I saw a recipe for these bagels and I knew my Asiago would be put to good use!

These were a huge hit!  They tasted great toasted with a bit of butter, and my personal favorite way: as a breakfast simple, just cook eggs like you're making an omelet.  Cut in half, cover in cheese, place on the bottom half of the bagel and top with bacon!

They're a little time consuming, but absolutely worth it.  I will definitely be making these again!
You will need:

For the sponge:
1 teaspoon  yeast
2-1/2 cups water, room temperature
4 cups flour

For the dough:
1/2 teaspoon yeast
3-3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 cup Asiago cheese, shredded

1 Tablespoon baking soda
6 cups water
1 cup Asiago cheese, shredded

1.  For the sponge: In the bowl of your stand mixer dissolve yeast into water.  Add in flour and stir until a sticky batter is formed.  Cover and let rise for 2 hours.

2.  Add yeast to the sponge and stir.  Add in 3 cups of flour, salt, and brown sugar.  Mix with dough hook until the ingredients form a ball.  Slowly add the remaining flour.

3.  Continue to knead dough in mixer for 6 minutes (or 10 minutes by hand).  Add Asiago during the last minute of kneading and knead until it's distributed evenly through the dough.  At this point, the dough should be smooth and pliable.  It should pass the windowpane test.  If it doesn't, continue kneading.

4.  Divide dough into 12 equal balls.

5.  Cover the dough balls and let them rest for 20 minutes.

6.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly spray with baking spray.

7.  Begin shaping bagels:  Push a hole through the center of each dough ball with your thumb and stretch hole to 2 inches in diameter.  Be sure to keep the bagel evenly shaped.

8.  Place shaped bagels on parchment paper and cover.  Let them rise for 1 hour.  Then refrigerate overnight (or up to 2 days).

9.  When you are ready to bake your bagels, preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Mix baking soda and water in a large pan and bring it to a boil.

10.  Remove bagels from fridge and gently drop them into the water (only do as many as fit in the pan at a time, I did 3).  After 1 minute, flip bagels and boil for 1 more minute on the other side.  Remove with a slotted spoon and place on parchment paper covered sheets.  Immediately sprinkle with Asiago.

11.  When all your bagels have been boiled, place pans in the oven and bake for 8 minutes.  Then rotate the pan 180 degrees.  Lower oven temperature to 450 and bake for 8 more minutes until bagels are golden brown (mine could have stayed in a little longer to get more brown).

12.  Cool bagels at least 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from:  Brown Eyed Baker

Friday, April 08, 2011

Cotton Candy Ice-Cream

Pure sugar.  Fluffy sticky pure sugar.  Can it get much better?  How about cotton candy in this form:
Cotton candy ice-cream!  Oh yes, I did  just go there!  We had a carnival at SEM and Mike and I each got a bag of cotton candy.  I wanted a fun and creative way to use it (I did eat my fair share though!)  Then it hit me, cotton candy ice-cream!  It's good.  Really good.  But I'll warn you, it's super sweet! Mike and I both agreed that just a couple spoonfuls is enough, more than that and you'll end up with a stomach ache or a sugar high...probably both.  Don't say I didn't warn you :)

You will need:
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 bags cotton candy (about 4 ounces)
3 egg yolks

1. In a medium saucepan, warm milk, sugar, salt, 1/2 cup of cream and vanilla.

2. Stir in cotton candy, one chunk at a time until it completely dissolves.  My cotton candy dissolved the second it hit the milk.

3. Remove milk mixture from heat, cover, and let it steep for 30 minutes.

4. Re-warm the milk mixture.

5. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks. Add 1/8 cup of the warmed milk mixture to the eggs and whisk until combined.

6. Pour yolk mixture into milk mixture.

7. Stir constantly over medium heat until mixture thickens.

8. Stir remaining 1 cup of cream into custard to cool.

9. Chill thoroughly in fridge. (At least 3-5 hours, overnight is even better)

10. Churn ice-cream in your ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Mine took about 30 minutes.

11.  Store ice-cream in a freezer safe container.  I did find that this ice-cream is a lot softer than other ice-creams I've made, and it melts a lot faster! 

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Fried Dill Pickles

I have a giant love of pickles.  Do you believe me?  Check out what Mike and I got for Christmas last year (and the year before):
That's right...A giant jar of pickles!  

Every year Mike's mom and her friend spend a week (or two) camping at the state park on the beach near our house.  We usually go out to visit them a couple times during the week.  There's a cute little hot dog stand just down the road that sells corn dogs and deep fried dill pickles.  I was a little hesitant the first time I tried the fried dill pickles, but oh my goodness!  They were fantastic!

Unfortunately, the little restaurant is not going to be around anymore.  I decided it was high time to make my own.  These turned out fantastic!  I had a hard time stopping myself from eating them.  I made them as an appetizer and I ate so many I really wasn't hungry for dinner.  I set a few aside to bring to Mike's mom and now I'm told I must come to the beach this summer to make them for everyone.  If you haven't had fried dill pickles, please try them today! ;)

You will need:
5 whole pickles, quartered into spears
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons dill weed
Oil for frying

1.  In a large zip-lock bag, combine flour, salt, and pepper.  Seal and shake to combine.

2.  Place pickle spears in bag and shake well to coat.  

3.  In a shallow bowl, beat the egg and buttermilk.  

4.  In another shallow bowl (I used a square pan), combine the breadcrumbs and dill.

5.  Dip the floured pickles in the egg mixture and then in the breadcrumbs, coating well.  

6.  Place the coated pickles on a tray.

7.  In a deep skillet, heat about 1/2" of vegetable oil to 350 degrees.

8.  Fry the pickles 4 at a time until golden brown on all sides.

9.  Place the pickles on a plate covered with paper towels to drain before serving.  

Eat plain....
...or dipped in Ranch dressing.  Either way, enjoy!!!

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