Monday, October 29, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

 Do you like chocolate and peanut butter together? Well, I do too, and so we love these easy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars. Your kitchen will smell wonderful while these delicious morsels bake, which makes it really hard to let them cool before cutting. I must admit that I didn't wait; nope, I just had to have one, or two, before they cooled. I can say it didn't hurt a thing to cut these babies while warm, plus it made me very happy! These cookie bars are melt-in-your-mouth delicious, so I hope you'll give them a try.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
Adapted from here.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, softened- I used unsalted
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips-I used dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the flour and soda together in a small bowl. In a large bowl, combine both sugars, butter, and peanut butter. Mix until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla. Gradually beat in the flour mixture and stir in the chocolate chips. Press dough evenly into an ungreased 9x13 inch baking pan.
Bake for 18 - 22 minutes. Cool and cut into bars. I baked these bars for 21 minutes and that was too long. Next time I'll go for 18-19 minutes. They were not as gooey as I would have liked, but still soft and delicious. The middle may look too soft when you pull them out of the oven, but the dough firms up as it cools. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Broccoli and Orange Salad

 Crisp broccoli, toasted almonds, tangy oranges  with a yummy dressing make up this delicious version of Broccoli Salad.
I posted this recipe over 3 years ago not long after I started this blog and I decided it needed an update, especially the photo. This is one of my husbands favorites. We both love the citrus twist on this salad with the mandarin oranges, but if that doesn't appeal to you, they can be left out. Other nuts like pecans, walnuts, or sunflower kernels can be used instead of almonds. The dressing makes quite a bit, so sometimes I don't need all of it. It will depend on personal preferences, and how much broccoli you use. I purchase broccoli very often and love it in this salad, so hope you'll give it a try. It makes a pretty dish to add to any holiday table.
Broccoli and Orange Salad
From Lynda's Recipe Box-inspired by several recipes that I combined

6-8 sliced of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1 pound or more of broccoli -I used about 5 cups of florets and diced small stems. Could use a bit more to use all the dressing.
1/2 of a small red onion, diced
1/2 cup dried cranberries- Craisens
1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
11 ounce can of manadin oranges, well drained - I often use fresh mandarins, or another variety of small orange
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1. In a small bowl mix the mayonnaise, sugar and red wine vinegar to make the dressing. Set aside.
2. Cut up the broccoli, separating the florets into bite sized pieces, and slice the tender stalks also. Place into a large bowl.
3. Add the diced red onion, dried cranberries, almonds, mandarin oranges, and bacon. Add half of the dressing and mix well. Add as much of the remaining dressing as you want. Stir, cover and refrigerate at least an hour until chilled. Garnish with bacon or additional nuts if desired. Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pecan Pie Bars

 Pecan Pie Bars with a shortbread style crust, a sweet, creamy filling and crisp, toasted pecans on top; they're like pecan pie only without all the work!
My husband and I love pecan pie. His mother always made the best the best pies and her pecan was super delicious. But sometimes I don't don't like fussing with a pie. With bars you can just have a bite or two, or maybe more if you want.
 Pecan Pie Bars are a perfect take along dessert for Thanksgiving, or any others gatherings. Take them to a potluck, or to work as a treat for your co-workers. Make them for neighbors, or just make them for yourself - you deserve a treat too!
I made the crust in my food processor, but you can make it in a bowl using a pastry blender or fork also. Just cut the butter well into the flour ingredients. So addictive and so much easier than making pie. Hope you'll give these a try.
Pecan Pie Bars
Slightly adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

Crust Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold, unsalted butter - 12 tablespoons

3 large eggs
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups chopped pecans

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with cooking spray. 
2. In a bowl mix the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in the cold butter until the mixture is fine particles. Or you can mix this in a food processor and pulse until you have fine crumbs. Pour crust mixture into the prepared baking pan. Spread out evenly and press crust down firmly all over.
3. Place crust in oven and bake for about 20 minutes until just lightly golden around edges.
4.While crust is baking prepare the topping. Mix eggs, sugars, corn syrup, melted butter and vanilla together in a bowl until smooth. Stir in the chopped pecans. Spread the topping over the crust as soon as it comes out of oven.
5. Place bars in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until the topping is set. If the topping jiggles, it is not done. If the topping begins to brown to much, loosely place a sheet of foil over the pan.
6. Allow Pecan Pie Bars to cool completely before cutting. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Flourless Chocolate Cake

 Rich, decadent, dense chocolate. That's the only words needed to describe this yummy Flourless Chocolate Cake. I've been wanting to try a recipe for this type of cake for sometime, but wanted a small cake for just my husband and I. This was a perfect size. My only problem was that the recipe calls for an 8 inch pan, and all I had was a 9 inch. So, this cake was thinner than it should be, but it sure didn't affect the flavor.
Thankfully this cake was delicious. I've had some failures the last couple of weeks, and a couple of recipes that were just ok, so this made me very happy!
 This flourless cake is loaded with chocolate; chopped bittersweet chocolate as well as cocoa too. I added some cinnamon and vanilla to the cake, but couldn't really taste the cinnamon so guess I didn't add enough. I'll try again next time though. This cake is so easy to put together and doesn't bake very long. There is no flour, but the cake turns out almost brownie like and and very addictive, which is why I'm glad this recipe makes a small cake. For company I'll have to double the recipe. If you love chocolate and haven't tried a Flourless Chocolate Cake yet, you should. You really should give this a try!
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Epicurious and Gourmet

4 ounces fine quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)- I used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon- my addition
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla- my addition also
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8 inch round baking pan. Line bottom of pan with a round of parchment paper, and then grease the paper also.
Chop chocolate into small pieces. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter until completely melted. Stir in the chopped chocolate and wish until the chocolate is melted. and smooth. Wish in the cocoa until smooth. Whip in the eggs, one at a time and the vanilla, salt and cinnamon if using. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 25 minutes. Since my pan was too large, my cake was done in about 18 minutes. Top of cake will form a thin crust when done. Cool cake on wire rack for about 5 minutes. Run a knife around the side of the pan and invert the cake onto a serving plate. Dust cake with cocoa powder if desired. Enjoy!