Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Red Velvet Brownies

1 (4-oz.) bittersweet chocolate baking bar, chopped
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs 
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 (1-oz.) bottle red liquid food coloring
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Small-Batch Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Garnish: white chocolate curls
  • Preparation

    1. 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line bottom and sides of a 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over sides; lightly grease foil.
    2. 2. Microwave chocolate and butter in a large microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring at 30-second intervals. Whisk in sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, whisking just until blended after each addition. Gently stir in flour and next 4 ingredients. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
    3. 3. Bake at 350° for 44 to 48 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 2 hours).
    4. 4. Lift brownies from pan, using foil sides as handles; gently remove foil. Spread Small-Batch Cream Cheese Frosting on top of brownies, and cut into 16 squares. Garnish, if desired.
    Note: Line pan with foil by trimming two long foil pieces to a 9-inch width. Fit strips, crossing each other, in the pan.

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

    Pumpkin Pie Muffins

    • Cooking spray
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup whole-grain pastry flour or whole-wheat flour
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
    • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
    • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
    • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
    • 3 Tbs. unsulfured molasses
    • 1/4 cup canola oil
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
    • 1/4 cup English walnuts

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.

    In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, the baking soda, salt and spices.

    Whisk together both flours, baking soda, salt & spices.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, molasses, oil and one of the eggs until combined.  Add the other egg,  Whisk away.  Whisk in the pumpkin and vanilla.  Stir (you can keep whisking if you want) the flour mexture in 2 bathes and alternate with buttermilk. Just until combined.  Don't beat this.  If you need something to beat, try your children. 

    Pour batter into sprayed muffin pan and sprinkle walnuts on each muffin.  Bake for 20 minutes.

    Don't tell anyone these are only 205 calories each or I will kill you.

    Monday, November 19, 2012

    Roasted Cabbage Slaw with Hazelnuts & Lemon

    1/2 head red cabbage
    1/2 head Savoy cabbage
    Olive oil
    1 1/4 cup hazelnuts
    1 lemon, juiced, about 3 tablespoons
    1 teaspoon honey
    Flaky salt and freshly-ground black pepper
    1 ounce Gruyere cheese, optional
    Heat the broiler (top element) of your oven.
    Core both cabbage halves. Roughly shred the cabbage, using a sharp knife, a mandoline, or the shredding blade of a food processor. Place in a large bowl and toss, lightly, with olive oil and spread in one thick layer on a big baking sheet.
    Broil for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the tips of the cabbage shreds begin to char. Stir thoroughly to turn the cabbage, then broil for an additional 5 minutes. You're not cooking the cabbage completely through — you're trying to add as much color and crispiness to the edges as possible.
    Remove the cabbage from the oven and set aside to cool for a few minutes. Turn the oven to bake and down to 350°F. Roughly chop the hazelnuts and spread in a baking dish. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes or until lightly toasted (watch closely — the size of the hazelnuts, the baking dish, and your oven will all determine the actual roasting time).
    Whisk together 1 tablespoon olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon, and the honey.
    Toss the semi-cooled and wilted cabbage with the dressing and salt and pepper to taste. Toss with 1 cup of the toasted hazelnuts. Spread on a large platter and garnish with the remaining 1/4 cup of hazelnuts. If desired, also garnish generously with shaved Gruyere cheese. Serve warm or at room temperature.

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

    Vermont Maple Pecan Cake

    • 1 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • 1/2 cup butter, melted
    • 6 tablespoons maple syrup
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2/3 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
    • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
    • 1/3 cup pecan halves 
    • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
    • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
    • 4  tablespoons maple syrup
    • 4 cups confectioners' sugar


    • In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugars, baking soda and salt. Combine the buttermilk, butter, syrup and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients just until combined. Fold in chopped pecans.
    • Pour into two 6-in. round baking pans that have been greased and floured.  Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
    • In a small saucepan, bring corn syrup to a boil. Cook and stir for 1 minute or until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in pecan halves until coated. Place in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Cool.
    • For frosting, in a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and syrup until smooth. Beat in confectioners' sugar. Place one cake layer on a serving plate; spread with 1/2 cup frosting. Top with second layer; frost top and sides of cake. Garnish with glazed pecans. Store in the refrigerator.

    Monday, November 12, 2012

    Gnocchi with White Beans

    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 package (16 ounces) potato gnocchi
    • 1 package (6 ounces) fresh baby spinach
    • 1 can (15 ounces) white kidney or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) Italian diced tomatoes, undrained
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
    • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


    • In a large skillet, saute onion in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add gnocchi; cook and stir for 5-6 minutes or until golden brown. Stir in spinach; cook until spinach is wilted.
    • Add the beans, tomatoes and pepper; heat through. Sprinkle with cheeses; cover and remove from the heat. Let stand for 3-4 minutes or until cheese is melted. Yield: 6 servings.
    ** Look for potato gnocchi in the pasta or frozen foods section.

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

    Frosted Chocolate Mocha Cookies

    1 pouch sugar cookie mix
    1/3 c. cocoa
    3 T. instant coffee (I use decaf)
    1/2 c. butter, softened
    1 egg
    3 T. water
    1 c. chopped pecans
    1 c. mini chocolate chips

    Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, stir together cookie mix, cocoa and instant coffee. Add butter, 3 tablespoons water and the egg; stir until soft dough forms. Stir in the nuts and the chocolate chips.

    On ungreased cookie sheets, drop dough with rounded 1 1/2 tablespoon-size cookie scoop or by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart. Press each mound to flatten slightly.
    Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool 3 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.

    Add frosting after cookies are completely cooled.


    • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
    • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
    • 1/4 cup milk
    • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


    1. Place confectioners' sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk in butter and cocoa powder. Add milk and vanilla, and whisk until well combined.

    Friday, November 9, 2012

    Chocolate-Caramel Pecan Pie

    • 1 1/2 cups pecan halves and pieces
    • 1 (14.1-oz.) package refrigerated piecrusts (or your own homemade piecrusts)
    • 1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
    • 1/2 cup whipping cream, divided
    • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened 
    • 1 cup sugar, divided 
    • 1 large egg
    • 28 caramels
    • 1/4 cup butter 
    • 2 large eggs 
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • Garnish (optional)  Chocolate dipped pecan havles
    • Preparation

      1. 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted, stirring halfway through. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 30 minutes). Increase oven temperature to 425°.
      2. 2. Unroll piecrusts; stack on a lightly floured surface. Roll stacked piecrusts into a 12-inch circle. Fit piecrust into a 10-inch deep-dish tart pan with removable bottom; press into fluted edges. Trim off excess crust along edges. Line piecrust with aluminum foil or parchment paper, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Place pan on a foil-lined baking sheet.
      3. 3. Bake at 425° for 12 minutes. Remove weights and foil, and bake 4 more minutes. Cool completely on baking sheet on a wire rack (about 15 minutes). Reduce oven temperature to 350°.
      4. 4. Microwave chocolate morsels and 1/4 cup cream in a microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 1 minute or until melted and smooth, stirring at 30-second intervals.
      5. 5. Beat cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth. Add 1 egg, beating at low speed just until blended. Add chocolate mixture, beating just until blended. Spoon batter into prepared crust.
      6. 6. Microwave caramels, butter, and remaining 1/4 cup cream in a large microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth, stirring at 30-second intervals. Whisk together 2 eggs, vanilla, salt, and remaining 3/4 cup sugar; whisk into caramel mixture until blended. Stir in pecans; spoon over chocolate mixture in prepared crust.
      7. 7. Bake at 350° for 55 minutes to 1 hour and 5 minutes or until center is almost set, shielding edges with aluminum foil after 45 minutes to prevent excessive browning. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 2 hours).