Sunday, February 11, 2018

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes

Knowing that Valentine's day is on a school day, I made a special treat for my love today while I had time to bake. These are the BEST cupcakes I have ever made. They are very labor intensive, but so worth it. The strawberry frosting is to die for, and the homemade chocolate cake is simply luscious.  The recipe makes 12 cupcakes. 



Ingredients

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned into measuring cup and leveled)
1/4 cup  unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into measuring cup and leveled)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup boiling water

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

1 cup freeze dried strawberries
1 cup fresh strawberry puree (from strawberries blended in a food processor)
3/4 cup unsalted butter nearly at room temperature
3 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Few drops red food coloring (optional)

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

12 small fresh strawberries
4 oz.  semi-sweet chocolate

Instructions

For the cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners. Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl on 50% power in 20 second intervals, stirring between intervals until melted and smooth, set aside to cool slightly. 
  2. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt for 20 seconds, set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer mix together sugar and butter until combined (it won't come together entirely but mix until lumps of butter are creamed).
  4. Mix in egg, egg yolk and vanilla extract. Mix in melted chocolate then mix in sour cream. 
  5. Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined then add remaining half and mix until combined. 
  6. Add about 1/5 of the boiling water at a time, mixing until combined after each addition. Once water has all been blended mix batter on medium-low speed for 1 minute.
  7. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake in preheated oven until set and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 17 - 20 minutes. 
  8. Remove from oven, transfer to a wire rack and cool 10 minutes, then transfer to an airtight container (one that doesn't touch tops -helps to seal in moisture) and allow to cool completely before frosting. 
  9. Once cool, frost with strawberry buttercream frosting and top with a chocolate covered strawberry. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator (for best results serve within the day at room temperature).

For the strawberry frosting

  1. Place freeze dried strawberries in a small resealable bag, seal bag and crush strawberries to a fine powder with a rolling pin. Sift through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl to remove seeds, set aside.
  2. Strain strawberry puree through a fine mesh sieve and measure out 3/4 cup, then pour into a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. 
  3. Simmer puree, stirring occasionally until reduced by about two thirds to a 1/4 cup, about 10 - 14 minutes (measure and if it isn't quite 1/4 cup then return and continue to simmer, if it's not reduced to correct amount it will make the frosting runny). 
  4. Pour reduced puree into a small bowl, then freeze or refrigerate, stirring occasionally until fully cooled.
  5. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter until pale and fluffy. 
  6. Mix in powdered sugar, reduced strawberry puree, freeze dried strawberry powder, lemon juice, and vanilla and continue to mix until frosting is pale and fluffy. Tint with color if desired.

For the chocolate covered strawberries

  1. Melt chocolate in a small microwave safe bowl on 50% power in 30 second increments, stirring between intervals, until melted and smooth. 
  2. Dip strawberries in chocolate, let excess run off then transfer one to each cupcake.



    Recipe source: Cooking Classy

Monday, January 15, 2018

Champagne Vinaigrette Dressing

This is my version of a dressing I ate at Modern Market in Denver. It turned out very creamy and tasty!



Ingredients:

1/4 cup champagne vinegar (can substitute white wine vinegar)
3/4 cup canola oil
1 small shallot, peeled and minced (might only want 1 Tbsp if you don't want it too strong)
2 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey or agave nectar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.

Cinnamon Spiced Wine Cake

I know that this might sound like a strange combination, but this is a delicious doctored cake mix recipe. It is absolutely melt-in-your-mouth incredible when it is still warm from the oven. Go make it right now. You will thank me.




Ingredients:
1 box yellow cake mix
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c white sugar
1 box instant vanilla pudding mix
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 eggs
3/4 c water
3/4 c oil
1/2 c white wine (any kind)
1 stick butter
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup white wine

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the above ingredients by hand or with electric mixer.
Grease a bundt pan.
Pour batter into pan.
Bake for one hour.
When cake comes out of the oven, melt 1 stick butter into 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup white wine.
Pour over hot cake.
Cool.
Flip out of pan onto plate and serve.

Pumpkin Oat Muffins

Unfortunately, I'm cursed with high cholesterol due to heredity. :( Therefore, I'm always looking for good recipes that call for oats since I can't stand to eat traditional oatmeal. These muffins fit the bill! They are very tasty and a great for a quick breakfast. I usually double the recipe and freeze them. You just have to reheat them in the microwave for 30 seconds to have a warm, tasty muffin.




Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil (I usually substitute applesauce for the oil)
1 cup old-fashioned oats

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Combine the egg, pumpkin, milk and oil; add to the dry ingredients just until moistened. Stir in oats.

Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.

Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm. Yield: 1 dozen.



Recipe modified from Taste of Home

Monday, January 8, 2018

Chicken Marsala Casserole

I had planned to make my regular Chicken Marsala for dinner tonight, but realized too late that I didn't have any chicken breasts in the freezer. I did, however, have a rotisserie chicken in the fridge, so I decided to make a casserole version so that my other ingredients didn't go to waste. This ended up being a delicious dish that was very easy to put together. It was about 10 minutes of prep, and 35 minutes of baking, and we ended up with a fabulous dinner. This will definitely be a dish I make again.



Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup marsala wine
1/2 cup skim milk
2 cups water
1 T parsley
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 cup long-grain rice, uncooked
2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken



Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat until just melted. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour on top and stir in for 1 minute. Stir in the marsala and milk and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in 2 cups water, the parsley, salt and pepper.

In a greased 9-inch-by-13-inch casserole, spread the rice in an even layer; top with the chicken. Pour the mushroom sauce on top. Cover tightly with foil and bake until bubbly, about 35 minutes.

Makes 4 servings

Recipe modified from  Rachael Ray
 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Easy Slow Cooker Orange Chicken


My husband loves Orange Chicken, but when you get it out at restaurants, it's usually made with fried chicken, which my stomach just can not handle. This is an easy, slow cooker version that is less greasy and sticky.


Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
1-2 tablespoons orange zest
1/4 cup vinegar
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons water + 2 tablespoons cornstarch
Sesame seeds and green onions, for garnish
Cooked rice, for serving

Directions:
  1. In a large zip-top bag, toss the chicken with the cornstarch salt and pepper. Shake to coat well.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken in batches for 5-6 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer chicken to a lightly greased slow cooker.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together chicken broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, orange juice and zest, vinegar, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes and sesame oil. Pour sauce over chicken.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours (I only needed to cook it about 2 hours).
  5. About 30 minutes before serving, whisk together the 2 tablespoons of water and cornstarch in a small bowl and stir mixture into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for another 20-30 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
  6. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, green onions and serve over cooked rice.
Recipe Source: Let's Dish

Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins

These are very quick to make and are very yummy. They make a great quick breakfast with served with fruit. Try them with a little apple butter on them. Yum!

Ingredients:

1-1/2 Cup(s) Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1-1/4 Cup(s) all-purpose flour
1 Teaspoon(s) Baking Powder
3/4 Teaspoon(s) Baking Soda
3/4 Teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
1 Cup(s) unsweetened applesauce
1/2 Cup(s) fat-free milk
1/2 Cup(s) firmly packed brown sugar
3 Tablespoon(s) vegetable oil
1 egg white, lightly beaten

Directions:

Heat oven to 400°F. Line twelve medium muffin cups with paper baking cups or spray bottoms only with cooking spray. For muffins, combine oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon in large bowl; mix well. In medium bowl, combine applesauce, milk, sugar, oil and egg white; blend well. Add to dry ingredients all at once; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. (Do not overmix.) Fill muffin cups almost full. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until deep golden brown (usually takes about 15 minutes in my oven). Cool muffins in pan on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pan. Serve warm.

Makes 1 dozen

Recipe Source - Quaker Oats

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