Sunday, December 5, 2010

Nanaimo Bars - Week 10 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies

So another week has rushed by and look at me... two days late again!  But hey I'm not anything if not consistent!  This week I went looking for something a little different and remembered these great bars I tried last year for the first time ever!  These no bake 3 layer bars hail from British Columbia in Canada and are amazing!  The great cookie crust, butter cream filling, and chocolate glaze are to die for!


Nanaimo Bars

Crust
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 
1/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Butter Cream
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 - 3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons vanilla pudding powder
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Chocolate Ganache
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Butter or spray a 9 x 9 inch pan with a non stick spray. 

Crust
In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Stir in the sugar and cocoa powder and then gradually whisk in the beaten egg. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens (1 - 2 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and chopped pecans. Press the mixture evenly onto the bottom of the prepared pan. Cover and refrigerate until firm (about an hour).

Butter Cream
In an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until the mixture is smooth. If the mixture is too thick to spread, add a little more cream. Spread the filling over the bottom layer, cover, and refrigerate until firm (about 30 minutes).

Chocolate Ganache

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter. Spread the melted chocolate evenly over the filling and refrigerate until the chocolate has set.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Frosted Butterschotch Cookies

Ok so this week I am 2 days late, but better late than never! Time is definitely a fleeting thing these days unfortunately there is never enough of it and at the same time way too much of it... and before I get all philosophical I better get on with the cooking.
 I finally found time to make these cookies yesterday and they were amazing... a lot of my recipes on my site are mine but I have to confess this on is courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens because I love butterscotch and when I saw this recipe I couldn't resist! These cookies turn out so moist and cake like and the frosting is well rather like frosting on the cake!

Frosted Butterscotch Cookies
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 8-ounce carton dairy sour cream
2/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup butter (no substitutes)
3-1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
5 teaspoons boiling water
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Chopped walnuts or walnut halves (optional)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl stir together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside. In large mixing bowl beat the brown sugar and shortening with an electric mixer on medium speed until well mixed. Add eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until well mixed. Add flour mixture and sour cream alternately to beaten mixture, beating after each addition. Stir in the 2/3 cup nuts.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

To make frosting, in a medium saucepan heat and stir 1/2 cup butter (no substitutes) over medium-low heat until golden brown. (Do not scorch.) Remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar, boiling water, and 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla. Beat until frosting is easy to spread. Immediately spread on cooled cookies. If frosting begins to set up, stir in a small amount of additional boiling water. If desired, top with additional chopped walnuts or walnut halves. Makes about 60 cookies.



Saturday, November 20, 2010

Spicy Chocolate Rice Krispy Treats - 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies Week 8

Wow another week has went by and I am a day late and a dollar short...  Well ok I am a lot more than a day late and a lot more than a dollar short...

As many of you have noticed no new postings in two weeks.... in blogging world that is an eternity... hopefully I didn't lose any readers over it!  To make this quick and dirty... I changed jobs about a month ago, just bought a new car last weekend, and have been shopping for a new house (think I found one, find out tomorrow) so to say that I have been busy would be the understatement of the world...  So all of that said... lets get to the cooking!

Spicy Chocolate Rice Krispy Treats

One of my favorite things to do is to take childhood treats and put a grown up spin on it... so I thought I have rice krispies and I have chocolate and I have marshmallows, what can I make with these things...  well add my favorite spices and you have a grown up version of a favorite treat with some holiday notes sung by the cinnamon and nutmeg!


1/4 cup butter
5 cups marshmallows
8 1/2 cups Rice Krispies
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 a Hershey bar

In a large saucepan, melt butter and marshmallows over low heat.

Add cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and cocoa. Stir until everything is well mixed.  Stir in Rice Krispies until they are evenly coated.

Using a spatula or wax paper, evenly press the mixture into a greased 9"x13" baking dish.

Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds or until just melted.  Using a fork, drizzle the chocolate over your Rice Krispies treats. Allow to cool.



Thursday, November 4, 2010

Baklava Cups

For the 6th week of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies I decided to think a little outside the box and went Greek!  These little baklava bites are wonderful and a great two bite treat just to cure that sweet tooth!  They are convenient, portable, bite size, and make the perfect cookie tray treat!


Baklava Cups

1/2 cup pistachios, chopped
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup almonds, chopped
1 lemon, zested
1 orange, zested
1/2 cup, plus 3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 boxes mini phyllo shells, 15 shells each
1 cup water
1/2 cup honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Arrange the pistachios, pecans, and almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden and fragrant, about 8 minutes.

Let nuts cool slightly and add to a food processor along with the lemon zest, orange zest, 3 tablespoons of sugar, butter, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla and pulse to combine.

Place mini phyllo shells in wells of 2 mini cupcake pans. Add 1 teaspoon of the nut mixture into each shell. Bake until filling is hot, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat add the water, 1/4 cup sugar, dash of cinnamon, and honey and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until reduced and slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Pour 1 teaspoon syrup into each cup and allow it to soak in, then repeat with another teaspoon. Refrigerate at least 5 hours, or overnight.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Brownies on Steroids

I decided on my 5th week of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies to make a bar cookie.  I made these a few weeks back and took them to a party and they got rave reviews... my friends like to tease me when I make them desserts asking if I could figure out how to pack more calories into each serving than I already do!  Well these certainly live up to the calorie overload they have learned to expect!


In all honesty I did find them to be tasty and a lot like a traditional 7 Layer Bar except with a brownie base instead of the traditional grahm crackers.  I made the recipe as written but I figured in a time pinch you could easily use a box brownie mix made per the instructions on the box and topped with all the yummy toppings.  I have a mixed feeling about them because I personally found there to be too many toppings so I would have probably scaled them back (but take that for what its worth because I am not really into desserts I just like making them) but my friends loved them as is!


Brownies on Steroids

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup baking cocoa
3/4 cup cold butter
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans
1/2 cup coconut
1/3 cup English toffee bits

In a food processor combine the flour, sugar and cocoa. Add the butter and process just until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Press firmly into a greased 13' by 9' baking pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

While crust is baking, combine condensed milk,vanilla and 1 cup of chocolate chips in a medium saucepan.

Heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth. Remove crust from oven and pour chocolate mixture over crust.

Sprinkle with coconut, nuts and toffee bits and remaining chocolate chips.

Press down firmly.

Return to oven and bake for another 18-20 minutes.