Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Panna Cotta

1 cup almond milk, divided
1 (1/4-ounce) package unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon plus
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup chocolate fudge syrup, for garnish

Pour 1/3 cup almond milk into a small bowl and stir in gelatin; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, stir together heavy cream, remaining almond milk, and sugar. Bring to boil over medium heat, watching carefully as the cream will quickly rise to the top of the pan.

Pour gelatin and almond milk into cream mixture and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Add 1/2 teaspoon almond extract and vanilla extract and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and pour into 6 (4-ounce) individual ramekins.

Leave ramekins uncovered at room temperature to cool. When cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (can be left overnight.)

To remove, run a knife around the sides of each ramekin and invert over a serving plate. Or serve in ramekins.

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup chocolate fudge syrup with 1/4 teaspoon almond extract.

Drizzle over the top of the panna cottas to decorate top, as desired.

TIP: If panna cotta do not drop freely from ramekins, carefully dip the bottom of the ramekin in hot water. Be careful not to get water in the ramekin.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Sweet Potato Doughnuts & Maple Icing

I saw this today on food tv. It rocks!

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cooked mashed sweet potato (about 1 medium potato) Vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup finely chopped pecans

Maple Icing:
2 2/3 cups confectioners' sugar
3 to 4 Tbs milk
1/4 tsp maple extract

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In a large bowl, combine eggs, sour cream, and sweet potato. Gradually add flour mixture, stirring to combine. Turn dough out onto a heavily floured surface. Knead in flour with hands as needed (dough will be sticky). Roll out dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut out dough with a 2 1/4-inch round cutter. Cut out center of doughnuts with a 3/4-inch round cutter. Re-roll dough as needed.
In a Dutch oven, heat vegetable oil over medium heat to 360°F. Cook doughnuts, in batches, in hot oil, 2 minutes per side, or until lightly browned. Drain on paper towels. Ice top of doughnuts with Maple Icing, and sprinkle with chopped pecans.

In a small bowl, combine confectioners' sugar and 3 tablespoons milk; stir well. Add additional milk to reach desired consistency. Stir in maple extract.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Lemon Pepper Chicken

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 pinch garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place chicken in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Season with lemon pepper, garlic powder and onion powder to taste. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Turn over chicken pieces and add more seasoning to taste. Bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.

Saturday, September 8, 2007


4 cups sugar
1 cup white corn syrup
3/4 cup cold water
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
2 cups chopped pecans

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir only until sugar has dissolved. Do not stir after this point. Cook syrup mixture until it reaches 255°F on a candy thermometer, bringing it to a hard ball stage. While the syrup is cooking, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Once the sugar mixture reaches 255°F, carefully pour a slow steady stream of syrup into the stiffly beaten egg whites, beating constantly at high speed. Add the vanilla and continue to beat until mixture holds its shape, approximately 5 minutes. Stir in pecans.

Using 2 spoons, drop the divinity onto waxed paper, using 1 spoon to push the candy off the other. This may take a little practice because the technique is to twirl the pushing spoon, making the candy look like the top of a soft serve ice cream. If the candy becomes too stiff, add a few drops of hot water. You will need to work fast when making this type of candy.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Chocolate Toffee

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Place the sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and caramelize on high heat stirring constantly. It will turn amber brown in about 5 minutes.

When it is a uniform caramel color, add the butter, and stir it in. Once mostly combined, add the chocolate, and stir to blend.

Pour it out onto a silpat or parchment lined sheet pan, and spread it with an offset spatula 1/8-inch thick. Let cool and break into small pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Benne Candy (Paula Deen's)

I heart sesame seeds, so when I saw this recipe I knew I would love it.

1 cup sesame seeds
1 (1-lb) box light brown sugar
2 Tbs butter
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbs white vinegar

Heavily butter an 11 by 2-inch Pyrex baking dish. Wash sesame seeds and remove any debris that may be in the seeds and drain well. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat until a drop of water bounces around the skillet.

Pour seeds into skillet and stir constantly. Dry and parch seeds until light brown, approximately 2 minutes. Do not burn seeds.

In a heavy saucepan, combine and melt the sugar, butter, milk and vinegar. Using a wooden spoon, stir constantly until ingredients are dissolved. Cook over medium high heat to light crack stage. If using a candy thermometer, the temperature should be between 265 and 285°F. Once it reaches the desired temperature, remove from heat and beat in the sesame seeds with your spoon. Pour immediately into prepared dish. Score candy while still warm and cut into squares when cool.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Paper Cup Cupcakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
24 paper cups (the bigger bathroom cups, not the tiny ones the next size up)

For the frosting:
2 egg whites
6 Tbs cold water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Sift together the flour and baking soda and set aside. In a mixer with a whip attachment cream the butter until light and fluffy then add the sugars and continue mixing to cream them together. Add the eggs gradually and let them thoroughly mix in. Then add the melted unsweetened chocolate and mix in well. Add the vanilla and 1/3 of the buttermilk and mix, then add 1/2 of the dry ingredients and mix in well. Repeat alternating wet and dry ending with wet.

Place un-waxed paper cups on a sheet pan and fill them 3/4 full. Bake until firm to the touch on the top of the cupcakes, 20 minutes.

Make the frosting: Off the heat, combine the egg whites, cold water, sugar, and cream of tartar in the top of a double boiler. Whisk until smooth. Place over boiling water and whisk constantly or beat with a hand mixer until the frosting is stiff and holds peaks (this will take about 10 to 15 minutes). Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla. Let cool, whisking often.

Let cakes cool in the pan, and then frost while still in the cups.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Easy Polynesian Chicken Bake

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 (15.25 oz) can of fruit cocktail (any kind you please)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place chicken in a 9x13 inch baking dish, sprayed with cooking spray.

Pour the fruit cocktail and juices evenly over the chicken and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Don't turn the chicken, just let it cook!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Easy Poured Fondant for Petit Fours

6 cups powdered sugar, sifted (quick sift with a whisk)
1/2 cup water
2 Tbs light corn syrup
1 tsp almond extract (or one of your choosing)

In a saucepan, combine powdered sugar, water and corn syrup. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches a temperature of 92°F (33°C.) Mixture should be thin enough to pour, but thick enough to coat cake.

To petit fours: Frost petit fours smoothly with butter cream and place on a cooling rack with a cookie sheet or newspapers underneath. Pour fondant over iced cake, flowing from center and moving out in a circular motion. Touch up sides with a spatula.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Pesto Chicken Pizza

When I saw this it just rocked my socks! I had to make it.

1/2 cup pesto basil sauce
1 (12 inch) pre-baked pizza crust
2 cups cooked chicken breast strips
1 (6 ounce) jar artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 cup shredded fontina cheese (can also substitute with parmesan cheese)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).

Spread pesto sauce over the pizza crust. Arrange chicken pieces and artichoke hearts over the sauce, and sprinkle with cheese.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until cheese is melted and lightly browned at the edges.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Easy Bruschetta

12 slices Italian bread, 1/2 inch thick
1/4 cup olive
2 medium tomatoes, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 Tbs chopped fresh basil leaves
2 Tbs small capers, drained (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Heat oven to 375ºF.
Place bread slices on ungreased cookie sheet. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of oil on each slice of bread. Bake about 8 minutes or until golden brown.
While bread is toasting, mix remaining ingredients. Spoon tomato mixture onto bread slices. Serve at room temperature.
For smaller appetizers after slicing bread cut each in half then toast.