Melissa's Cuisine: May 2011

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Pull Apart Asiago Bread

I love Asiago cheese, so when I saw it at the store a few weeks ago, I definitely went might have gone a little overboard!  You've already seen my Asiago Bagels, yum...I think I'll make those again soon!  Since I stocked up on Asiago, I've had the idea for this bread forming in my brain.  I was quite happy with how this turned out, and if you're a fan of Asiago cheese, you'll love this too!

You'll need:
2 cans buttermilk biscuits
3 Tablespoons margarine, melted
1 cup shredded Asiago cheese

1.  Cut (or tear) each biscuit in half.

2.  Dip in melted margarine.

3.  Roll in Asiago cheese.  If you want really cheesy bread, make sure biscuits are thickly covered in cheese.  If you want less cheesy bread, go really light on the cheese.  I went somewhere in between and it was perfect!

4.  Place cheese covered biscuits in a greased bread pan.

5.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, until cheese is golden brown and biscuits are done.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

I signed up to bring a dessert for our last SEM meeting of the year.  I wanted something fun that the students would really enjoy.  These cupcakes were the perfect treat!  I made a bunch of mini cupcakes for SEM, and then I brought some to a friend who was having a bake sale for a mission trip to Guatemala, and I still had leftovers for Mike.  Good thing I saved some for him, because he loved these!  

These cupcakes really do have the taste of chocolate chip cookies, I love the addition of the cookie dough filling, and their presentation is quite nice as well.  I had fun making these and everyone had fun eating them!

Warning:  This recipe calls for a TON of margarine, so stay away if you're dieting! ;)

You will need:
For the cupcakes:
3 sticks margarine
1-1/2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
2-2/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips

For the cookie dough filling:
1/3 cup margarine, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

For the frosting:
2-1/2 sticks margarine
3/4 cup brown sugar
3-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons milk
2-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1.  For the cupcakes:  Combine margarine and brown sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer.  Cream for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. 

2.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg is added.

3.  In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  

4.  Add a small amount of the dry mixture to the margarine mixture.  Then add some of the milk and alternate until everything is mixed together.  

5.  Mix in vanilla.

6.  Fold in chocolate chips.

7.  Scoop batter into muffin tins.  Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes.  Cool completely.

8.  While the cupcakes are baking (or cooling) prepare the cookie dough mixture:  In a small bowl, combine margarine, brown sugar, and sugar until light and fluffy.  

9.  Beat in milk and vanilla.  

10.  Stir in flour and mini chocolate chips.  

11.  Scoop cookie dough into a pastry bag with a large tip (sorry, I don't know sizes!).  Poke the tip into the center of cupcake and fill with cookie dough.

12.  For the frosting:  beat the margarine and brown sugar until creamy and fluffy.

13.  Mix in the powdered sugar until smooth.  

14.  Beat in flour and salt.  

15.  Mix in milk and vanilla until smooth.  

16.  Scoop frosting into a pastry bag with a decorative tip.  Pipe frosting over cupcakes and garnish with mini chocolate chips.

Source: Tidy Mom

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Toffee Brownie Cake

Chocolate cake, with chocolate ganache, topped with Heath toffee bits.  Do I need to continue?  It was delicious!

You will need:
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoon cocoa powder
4 ounces semisweet chocolate (I used Baker's squares)
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

for the chocolate ganache:
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used Baker's squares)
1/2 cup heavy cream

1 cup Heath toffee bits
1.  In a medium bowl, mix together flour, salt, and cocoa powder.

2.  In a medium microwave-safe bowl, stir the chocolate and margarine.  Microwave in 30 second increments until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

3.  Add the sugar to the chocolate mixture, and then the eggs.  Mix in the vanilla.

4.  Pour chocolate mixture over dry ingredients and stir until just blended.

5.  Pour batter into a greased 8x8 pan.  Bake at 325 for 30  minutes. 

6.  While brownies are baking, prepare ganache:  Place chopped chocolate in a small bowl.  

7.  Measure cream into a glass measuring cup.  Microwave for 90 seconds until cream is hot.

8.  Pour hot cream over chopped chocolate.  Let it sit for 1 minute and then stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.  If needed, microwave for 15 seconds, until chocolate is melted.

9.  Let ganache sit until it's thicken, about 30 minutes. 

10.  When brownies are done, let them cool for about 15 minutes.  Then pour ganache over the brownies and spread evenly. 

11.  Sprinkle with toffee bits and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving. 

Source: A Farmgirl's Dabbles

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sanding Sugar

Have you ever wanted to decorate something with colored sugar like homemade Peeps, or cookies?  And then you go to your pantry to discover that you never bought colored sugar.  Now, you can make your own colored sugar at home.  It's so simple!

Just 2 ingredients:
Food coloring (can use gel or liquid)

1.  Place sugar in a bowl.

2.  Add a small amount of food coloring to the sugar.

3.  Stir until food coloring is evenly distributed through sugar, adding more if you need to.

4.  Store in an airtight container.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Chicken Cordon Bleu is one of my favorite meals.  It's one that I would often request when it was my birthday and I got to choose the dinner.  I don't make it too often though because it can be quite time consuming and a pain to roll up and keep the filling in the chicken.  I knew there had to be another way, and guess what?  There is!  This is such an easy way to make Chicken Cordon Bleu and it tastes the same as the more complicated version!
You will need:
2 chicken breasts
2 slices of thick sliced ham
2 slices Monterrey Jack cheese

1.  Slice each piece of chicken in half, but don't slice all the way through, to create a pocket.

2.  Place a piece of ham in the pocket.

3.  Place a piece of cheese on top of the ham.

4.  Close the chicken with a toothpick.

5.  Sprinkle the top of each chicken breast with breadcrumbs.

6.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, until chicken is cooked all the way through.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dulce de Leche Pie

For Mother's Day, Mike and I invited both of our families over to our house for lunch.  We had a great time, with good conversation, laughter, and lots of food!  It's a good thing none of us were watching our calorie intake because it was not the healthiest meal.  The dessert was basically pure sugar, but it was oh, so good! It's incredibly rich, so a small piece goes a long way.

You will need:
25 Oreo cookies (about 1/2 a package)
1 stick margarine, melted
3 cans sweetened condensed milk
1 (8oz) tub Cool Whip
Chocolate shavings

1.  Make Dulce de Leche:  Remove the wrappers from the cans of sweetened condensed milk.  Place in a medium saucepan and cover in water.  Boil for 3 hours, checking every 30 minutes to ensure that cans are covered in water.  (There is a risk of cans exploding if they are not completely immersed.)  After 3 hours, take the pan off the stove and allow the water to cool.  Then remove the cans from the water and set aside.

Note:  I do this step the night before and then just let the cans sit on the counter until I'm ready to use them. You can do it right before you make the pie though too!

2.  Crush Oreos.

3.  Melt margarine and stir in Oreos.  Press into a 9x13 pan.

4.  Pour Dulce de Leche over Oreo crust.

5.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

6.  Spread Cool Whip over Dulce de Leche.  Top with chocolate shavings.

7.  Refrigerate until you're ready to serve.

“I’m partying at the Pi Day Pie Party at Crazy for Crust today. Come party with us!”

Monday, May 16, 2011

Peanut Butter Honey Fudge

I have to say, this is some of the best fudge I've ever had!  It's so smooth and creamy, it just melts in my mouth!  This recipe is very easy to make, only 3 ingredients.  I like to tell myself that it's healthy, but I think the chocolate chips might counteract that a little bit. But, I still don't feel bad when I grab a piece (or two...) for a delicious snack!

You will need:
1 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

1.  Combine peanut butter, honey, and chocolate chips in a small saucepan.

2.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the chocolate chips are melted and all the ingredients are mixed together.

3.  Spread fudge in an 8x8" pan and refrigerate until set, about an hour.

4.  Cut into 1" squares and store in an air-tight container in the fridge.

Source: Heavenly Homemakers

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Incredible Cinnamon Rolls

My mother-in-law and her friend used to buy cinnamon rolls from Costco; a few months ago, they went and were told that Costco no longer carried the cinnamon rolls.  They were incredibly disappointed, and I have to say I was too since we always benefited from the large pan of cinnamon rolls she'd buy!

Then, a few weeks ago she got a recipe from a friend for cinnamon rolls that were "just as good or better" than Costco's rolls.  She had never made anything with yeast before so she asked me to help her out.  It was a lot of fun, especially seeing her first experience using yeast, and I think she'll be trying more yeast recipes in the future!  My favorite cinnamon roll recipe is Pioneer Woman's, but I would rank these as a very, very close second!  (So close in fact, that I had a really hard time telling the difference between the two rolls and just couldn't choose a definite favorite!)

You will need:
For the dough:
2 packages yeast (or 4-1/2 teaspoons)
1 cup warm water, 100-110 degrees
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
1/2 cup margarine
3 eggs, well beaten
6-7 cups flour

4 Tablespoons margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Sticky bottoms:
1-1/2 cups brown sugar
2 Tablespoons water
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup margarine

2 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup margarine
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1.  In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 Tablespoon sugar in water. Let it stand until it becomes bubbly and foamy.

2.  Scald milk in a medium sauce pan.

3.  Add 1/2 cup sugar, salt, and margarine to milk.  Cool to lukewarm.

4.  Pour milk mixture into yeast mixture.  Stir in eggs.

5.  Add 2 cups of flour and mix well.  Add in enough remaining flour to make a stiff dough.  Knead until dough is no longer sticky, adding more flour as needed.

6.  Cover dough and let it rise until double, about 1-1/2 hours.

7.  While dough is rising, mix brown sugar, water, cinnamon, and margarine in a saucepan until margarine is melted.  Bring up to a slow boil and then remove from heat.

8.  Divide mixture between 2 9x13 pans.

9.  When dough has risen, punch it down and divide in half.

10.  Roll each half of dough into a 12x10" rectangle.

11.  Melt 4 Tablespoons margarine and brush over each dough rectangle.

12.  Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle over each dough rectangle.

13.  Roll dough in a line toward you.  Slice into 1" slices and place in pan.

14.  Cover pans and let the rolls rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

15.  Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.

16.  While rolls are cooling, beat together cream cheese, margarine, powdered sugar, and vanilla until creamy.

17.  Spread over cinnamon rolls.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Strawberry Cheesecake Crepe Stack & a Gift!

Last week I checked my email and was honored to receive an email stating that my pretzel recipe had been picked for the top 3 Made it on Monday submissions at Lark's Country Heart!  As if that wasn't enough, it was prize week and Lark was kind enough to send me a gift.  It arrived yesterday:
Lark sent me a lovely note, a cake tester, paring knife, kitchen timer, and garlic dip mix!  What a sweet (well, savory actually) surprise! I've never used an actual cake tester before, so I'm so excited for the next time I bake a cake.  And I don't have a kitchen timer yet, so now I can finally time more than 1 thing.  I can never have too many knifes, and I have a serious obsession with garlic.  So this was the perfect gift for me!  Thank you so much Lark!!!

Aren't blog friends awesome? :)
Now, onto today's recipe!
I love to make crepes; they are so versatile and delicious!  When I would make dinner as a teenager, I would often make crepes for dessert.  When I was in Romania, I had Nutella filled crepes for breakfast!  I made a similar version of this dessert with blueberries once, a long time ago.  When my mom asked me to bring dessert for Sunday dinner I got a craving for crepes.  And, since strawberries were on sale for $1 a pound, this is what I brought!
You will need:
2 eggs
1 cup milk
2/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla, divided
1-1/2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound fresh (or frozen) strawberries
1 cup sugar
8 oz cream cheese (I used Neufchatel)
1/2 cup powdered sugar

1.  Make crepes:
-Combine eggs, milk, flour, salt, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until smooth.
-Heat a small skillet (I used an 8") over medium heat and grease with cooking spray.
-Pour 1/4 cup of batter into skillet and rotate to coat the surface of the pan.
-Cook until set and then flip.  
-Repeat with remaining batter.

2.  In a medium sauce pan, heat strawberries until they start to get mushy.  Mash with a potato smasher.  

3.  Add in sugar and bring to a simmer.  Continue to simmer until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.  If your sauce doesn't thicken, stir 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch into 1 cup of cold water to form a thin paste.  Stir into sauce to thicken sauce.

4.  In a small bowl, beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar, and remaining teaspoon of vanilla until smooth.  You can add more powdered sugar if you want it sweeter.

5.  Begin layering your dessert.  Spread cream cheese topping over a crepe.  Then top with a crepe and top with strawberry sauce.  Continue stacking until you've used all your crepes.  

6.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Serve immediately.  I sliced into the stack like a pie. The different layers did tend to slide a bit, so I found it's best to serve as quickly as possible so the whole stack doesn't flop over!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Guest Posting

Hey everyone! I'm posting over at Delightfully Dowling today.

Head on over to Kristen's blog and show her (and me) some love!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Alphabet Sugar Cookies

Alphabet Sugar Cookies
Here's yet another recipe I made for my Wall Expressions party (last month!)  I showed you my Superbowl cookies a few weeks ago, and I used the same fondant recipe to make these cookies.  I decided to go with alphabet cookies because they reminded me of the ABC blocks blocks I used to play with as a kid and I thought they would be perfect for a word-filled party!  The "i love u" cookie was a special treat for my hard-working husband! You can go here to get my fondant recipe, but I recently realized I've never shared my rolled sugar cookie dough recipe.  This is my favorite recipe that I use for making decorated cookies, it's easy and has a light texture that I just love!

You will need:

3 cups flour
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks margarine, softened (16 Tablespoons)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
2-1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/4 cup vanilla yogurt, divided (You can also use plain yogurt or sour cream)

1.  In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

2.  In the bowl of your stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl if you're not using a stand mixer), beat together margarine and sugars until they're creamy and combined.

3.  Beat in eggs and vanilla until well combined.

4.  Mix in 2 Tablespoons of the vanilla yogurt until it's well combined.  Then add half the flour mixture and stir until almost combined.

5.  Mix in remaining yogurt and then the remaining flour mixture until well combined.  Try to restrain yourself from eating all the cookie dough! (Yes, it's that good!)

6.  Cover dough and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, until dough is firm.  You can put dough in an airtight container and refrigerate it until you're ready to use it.  I do this quite often, if I have time one night to make the dough, I'll make it ahead and bake it later!

7.  When you're ready to make your cookies, roll dough out on a floured surface until it's about 1/4 inch thick.  Cut into your desired shapes.  Place on lightly greased cookie sheets and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, until the bottom of the cookies are lightly browned.  Cool before decorating.



Sunday, May 08, 2011

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

I love pancakes.  I am definitely a breakfast-for-dinner girl!  Growing up we would have breakfast for dinner at least 2 times a month.  And until I started working at 5am on Saturdays, we would always have a big breakfast on Saturdays, always pancakes or waffles.  I've never mixed up the recipe for pancakes too much, usually just adding in blueberries or chocolate chips, but when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try them.  Let me tell you, they did not disappoint!  I thought they were perfect, and tasted so similar to cinnamon rolls, just more moist.

By the way, are you sick of cinnamon recipes yet?  I just noticed that my last 3 recipes have involved cinnamon!  Don't worry though, my next recipe doesn't have any cinnamon!

You will need:
One batch of your favorite pancake batter
1 stick margarine
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons cinnamon

For icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

1.  In a microwave safe bowl, combine margarine, brown sugar, and cinnamon until smooth.

2.  Microwave in 10 second increments until margarine is soft and can be squeezed through a pastry bag.

3.  Transfer mixture into a pastry bag (or be like me and use a Ziploc bag with the tip cut off--easier clean-up!)

4.  Pour pancake batter onto hot griddle and pipe cinnamon mixture in a swirl over batter.

5.  When pancake is golden brown, flip and cook until the other side is done.  I found that the cinnamon mixture made the pancakes gooey-er than normal and so they didn't turn out quite perfectly looking.

6.  Mix together powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla to form a thin icing.  Serve on top of pancakes in place of syrup.
Adapted from: It's a Keeper

Friday, May 06, 2011

Crock-pot Caramel Apple Cake

You will need:
1 C flour 
3/4 C brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
3 large apples, peeled and diced
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. vanilla
Caramel Topping

1.  In a medium bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

2.  Add diced apples to flour mixture and stir to coat.

3.  In a small bowl, mix eggs and vanilla.

4.  Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and gently stir.  

5.  Pour into a greased crock-pot.

6.  Cover and bake on high for 2 hours. 

7.  Drizzle with warmed caramel topping before serving. 

I think next time I make this, I'll do a double batch.  I have a large crock-pot and the cake ended up being only about an inch thick.  I think that's part of the reason it didn't slice nicely, it's more like a mess on the plate, but it still tasted great!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Cinnamon Chip Scones

When I think of scones, I think of my Grandma.  She is diabetic, so when my mom would bake sweeter treats to bring to my Grandpa, she'd make raisin scones for my Grandma.  My Grandma loves scones so she was always delighted to receive a fresh batch.  

My co-worker's mom is going through a rough time right now, so she and her sister decided to surprise their mom with a tea party.  They arranged for about 10 of her mom's friends to come and surprise their mom.  When I heard what she was doing, I offered to bring a batch of scones.  

I had recently seen this recipe for Cinnamon Chip Scones and they claimed to be as good (or better) than Panera Bread's  I've never had a scone at Panera (I'm more of an Asiago Bagel type person) but I thought if they were Panera quality, they must be good!  And they were!  I think they were the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea!

You will need:
1 1/2 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons margarine
1/2 cup milk
1 cup cinnamon chips

For the Topping:
1 tablespoon milk
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon (scant) cinnamon

1.  Make topping by mixing together brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Set aside. 

2.  In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

3.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles course crumbs. 

4.  Add milk, stirring until dough is just moistened.

5.  Fold in cinnamon chips.

6.  Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead mixture about 6-10 times to incorporate dry crumbs into mixture.  I had to add more flour to keep it from sticking to the counter. 

7.  Pat dough out into a rectangle, about 1 inch thick, and 12 inches long by 8 inches wide. 

8.  Cut dough in half length-wise.  Then cut those halves into 4 equal squares.  Cut each square in half diagonally to make triangles.  

9.  Places triangles on parchment lined baking sheet about 1 inch apart.

10.  Brush top of scones with milk and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture.

11.  Bake at 425 degrees 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Adapted from:  Meemo's Kitchen

Monday, May 02, 2011

French Monkey Bread

French Monkey Bread
Growing up, we ate a lot of Monkey Bread.  But we always stuck with the same basic (and delicious) recipe: buttermilk biscuits rolled in cinnamon and sugar and topped with a sugary butter sauce.  I think we made it every time we had weekend guests and probably once a month for Sunday morning breakfast.  By the end of the day on Sunday, the whole pan would be completely empty as each time we walked by the kitchen, we'd sneak another gooey ball of deliciousness!

I decided to try something new with Monkey Bread.  I thought maybe I'd turn it into an overnight French toast type of dish.  While it didn't turn out quite the way I imgained, I am still pleased with the results.
You will need:

2 cans of buttermilk biscuits (10 rolls per can)
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup margarine (1/2 stick), melted
2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar

1.  Divide each biscuit into 4 pieces.  I find that it's easiest just to tear them apart with my fingers.

2.  Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  

3.  Roll each biscuit in sugar mixture until it's completely covered.  Place in greased pan.  (I used a bread pan but you can use a bundt pan if you'd prefer).

4.  Combine remaining sugar mixture with melted margarine.  Pour over biscuits, covering each one.

5.  In a small bowl, beat egg.  Stir in brown sugar until sugar dissolves.

6.  Pour over biscuits.

7.  Cover pan and refrigerate overnight.

8.  The next morning, remove pan from fridge and gently stir biscuits and egg mixture to coat thoroughly if any egg mixture settled on the bottom.  (I didn't think to do this the first time I made this and I ended up with a layer of egg on the bottom of the Monkey Bread.)

9.  Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. 
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