Friday, September 27, 2013

Bake a Difference for Pediatric Cancer: Mega Chocolate Reese's Cookies



Anytime that blogging can be used for a good cause, I'm all in.  September happens to be Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and the folks at OXO are gearing up for their annual program benefiting Cookies for Kids' Cancer.

Cookies for Kids' Cancer is a wonderful program which makes it possible to easily get involved in fundraising to find a cure for pediatric cancer.  It's a program that I've thought about getting involved with for quite some time now, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to participate with my blog.

You see, OXO will donate $100.00 to the organization for each blog post dedicated to this campaign in September!  Also, be on the lookout for OXO products with the following sticker attached: 


OXO sent a variety of cookie tools to help with all the cookie baking!

For every stickered item sold, OXO will donate $0.25 in support of pediatric cancer research, as part of its $100,000.00 pledge!

For my cookie post, I chose a recipe meant for all the serious chocoholics out there.  These cookies are filled with so much chocolate, that I couldn't believe it.  Have you ever made cookies that required 2 cups of melted chocolate right in the batter...Plus MORE chocolate chunks and cocoa powder?!?  It was a first for me.  On top of all that chocolate wonderfulness, a cup of Reese's Pieces was added to the mix.

Oh, dear.

If you love brownies like I do, then these cookies will be your new favorite.  The texture and taste reminded me so much of a chewy brownie...In the best possible way.  They were almost even better the following day, when completely cooled.  This made the Reese's Pieces stand out even more.  Just be sure and have a tall glass of milk nearby...It will be the perfect accompaniment! 

Bon Appetit, my friends!

P.S. - Learn how to host a Cookies for Kids' Cancer fundraiser HERE!



Mega Chocolate Reese's Cookies
Adapted from:  A Pumpkin & A Princess

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
4 eggs
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
10 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chunks
1 cup mini peanut butter pieces


Directions:
Melt 2 cups of semisweet chocolate over a double boiler or in microwave, set aside to cool.

In a large bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a separate bowl whisk eggs and vanilla extract.


Beat butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a stand mixer or with hand mixer for 4-6 minutes.  Beat in egg mixture for 30 seconds. Slowly add melted chocolate and beat until well incorporated.
Reduce mixer speed to lowest setting and slowly add flour mixture.


Stir in chocolate chunks and peanut butter pieces. Cover with plastic wrap and allow dough to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. This will help the dough thicken to a fudge-like consistency.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Scoop dough with cookie scoop and drop 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheet. Lightly press down on the cookies.


Bake for 10-12 minutes, allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes then transfer to wire rack.


Serve warm or allow to cool completely then store in airtight container. 




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Monday, September 23, 2013

Caramel Apple Blondie Pie


When was the last time you saw a food photo and practically had to pick your tongue off the floor and recover from the deliciousness before you?  When I received the latest issue of Southern Living recently, a similar event unfolded.  There I was, drooling over a pie with caramelized apple wedges, ooey gooey caramel sauce, and buttery, flaky layers.  It had all the makings of autumn in a pie dish.

I.had.to.have.a.slice.

I admit - Maybe its because I'm craving all the pumpkiny, apple-filled goodness that is the fall season.  I've had just about enough of the humid, sweltering days of a southern summer.  I'm going to welcome fall with open arms and not look back (or maybe look back a few times as I miss the juicy tomatoes and bursting-with-goodness berries that fill the summer farmers' market stalls!)

This pie was everything I dreamed it would be - Toasted pecans are sprinkled throughout the blondie batter, and the caramelized apple wedges have just the right texture and sweetness.  A store-bought pie crust helps make it a little easier, and the smells that will fill your home while baking this should be bottled and put in a candle.

Welcome fall with this delicious dessert...You'll love this one, folks!

Bon Appetit, my friends! :)


Caramel Apple Blondie Pie
Adapted from:  Southern Living magazine; Sept. 2013

Ingredients:
6 large Granny Smith apples (about 3 lb.)
2 tablespoons
all-purpose flour

2 cups
firmly packed light brown sugar, divided

1 cup
butter, divided
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon
table salt

3
large eggs, lightly beaten

3 tablespoons
bourbon
(I omitted this)
3/4 cup
coarsely chopped toasted pecans

1/2
(14.1-oz.) package refrigerated pie crusts


Directions:
Peel apples, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges. Toss with 2 Tbsp. flour and 1/2 cup brown sugar in a large bowl. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add apple mixture, and sauté 15 minutes or until apples are tender and liquid is thickened. Remove from heat; cool completely (about 30 minutes).

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°. Melt remaining 3/4 cup butter. Stir together 1 1/2 cups flour and next 2 ingredients in a large bowl. Add eggs, bourbon, 3/4 cup melted butter, and remaining 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, stirring until blended. Stir in pecans.

Fit piecrust into a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, gently pressing piecrust all the way up the sides of skillet. Spoon two-thirds of apple mixture over bottom of piecrust, spreading and gently pressing apple slices into an even layer using the back of a spoon. Spoon batter over apple mixture; top with remaining apple mixture.

Place pie on lower oven rack, and bake at 350° for 1 hour and 10 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Remove from oven; cool pie completely on a wire rack.

Drizzle cooled pie with 1/3 cup Apple Cider Caramel Sauce. Serve with remaining sauce.


Apple Cider Caramel 
 from:  Southern Living magazine; Sept. 2013


Ingredients
:
1 cup apple cider

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar  
1/2 cup butter  
1/4 cup whipping cream

Directions: 
Cook cider in a 3-qt. saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, 10 minutes or until reduced to 1/4 cup. 

Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly; boil, stirring constantly, 2 minutes.

Remove from heat, and cool completely. Refrigerate up to 1 week.

To reheat, microwave at HIGH 10 to 15 seconds or just until warm; stir until smooth.


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White Lily Giveaway Winner!!!

First of all, thanks to everyone who entered my latest giveaway from White Lily, in celebration of National Biscuit Month.  The winner of this awesome prize is:

Comment #28:



From:
Anonymous said... 28 My favorite type of biscuit is any kind with apple butter on it! :)  -Maranne

CONGRATULATIONS!  :)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

White Chocolate Raspberry Biscuit Bread Pudding + A GIVEAWAY!


Did you know that it's National Biscuit Month?  Pretty awesome, huh?  What do you say we celebrate by making a mouth-watering, ridiculously delicious white chocolate bread pudding.  BUT - This isn't just any old bread pudding.  It's made with made-from-scratch buttermilk biscuits, which give it an incredible texture and presentation.   In fact, my father-in-law is a self-proclaimed bread pudding expert, and he deemed this bread pudding one of the best he's EVER had...That's serious stuff, folks!  :)


Trust me, there will be audible OOHs and AHHS when you pull this baby out of the oven.  The biscuits are cut in half and arranged prettily in a pie plate, only to be topped off by fresh raspberries and then smothered with a creamy white chocolate mixture that you'll want to take a bath in.  

Um, yes, please!

After you finish licking your plate from the goodness that was the biscuit bread pudding (it won't last long!), take a minute to enter my latest giveaway, which is sponsored by the wonderful folks at White Lily.  I mean, I can't think of a better giveaway, sponsored by a better company, to celebrate National Biscuit Month, can you??  The lucky winner will receive a Biscuit Essentials Kit, which includes:


White Lily Biscuit Essentials Kit:
  • "Save the Biscuit" Tote Bag
  • "Save the Biscuit" T-Shirt (so cute!!)
  • Biscuit cutter
  • Pastry Blender
  • Flour Sifter
  • 1 bag of White Lily flour
  • Tea towel 
Keep scrolling to the bottom of this post for directions on how to enter the giveaway...

Bon Appetit, my friends!



White Chocolate Raspberry Biscuit Bread Pudding
Adapted from:  White Lily

Ingredients:
8 to 9 prepared White Lily Light & Fluffy Biscuits (recipe below)
6 ounces fresh raspberries (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 (12 oz.) package white baking chips
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar

Directions:
HEAT oven to 325°F. Coat 9 1/2- inch deep dish pie plate with no-stick cooking spray. Slice biscuits in half horizontally. Arrange, split side up, in a circular pattern in prepared pie plate. Arrange raspberries randomly over biscuits.

Microwave baking chips in uncovered microwave-safe bowl on medium high power for 1 minute and 15 seconds. Stir. If necessary, microwave at 15 second intervals, stirring just until melted. 

Combine milk and cream in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Whisk eggs, egg yolks and sugar in large bowl. Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture and melted baking chips until blended.

Ladle egg mixture gently over biscuits until almost full, pressing down slightly to submerge. Let stand 20 minutes. Add remaining egg mixture as biscuits absorb liquid. Bake uncovered 45 to 50 minutes or until firm and knife inserted 2 inches from edge comes out clean.

White Lily Light & Fluffy Biscuits

Ingredients:
2 cups White Lily self-rising flour
1/4 cup all-vegetable shortening, chilled
2/3 to 3/4 cup buttermilk or milk

Directions:
Heat oven to 500 degrees F.  Coat baking sheet with no-stick cooking spray.

Measure flour into large bowl.  Cut in shortening with pastry blender until crumbs are the size of peas.  Blend in just enough milk with fork until dough leaves the sides of bowl.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface.  Knead gently 2 to 3 times.  Roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness.  Cut using floured 2-inch biscuit cutter.  Place on prepared baking sheet 1 inch apart for crisp sides or almost touching for soft sides.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

****************************************

How to  Enter the Giveaway:
 

Simply leave a comment on this blog post, which answers the following question:

What is your favorite type of biscuit?
Also, for extra chances to win, simply do the following and leave SEPARATE additional comments letting me know that you did:
The Rules:
  • Entries must be submitted by midnight (CST time) on Sunday, September 22nd
  • A winner will be picked at random (using random.org) and will be announced on Monday, September 23rd.
  • Please make sure you include your name and email address so that I will have a way to contact you if you win...especially if you leave a comment using the "Anonymous" option.
  • At this time, the contest is open to US residents only.
Good Luck, and THANKS for stopping by!  :)


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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Pretty Squash Ribbon Salad




Zucchini and yellow squash are veggies that I cook often, but I'm definitely guilty of slicing them into boring little pieces and cooking them the same old way time after time.  Never had I sliced them into pretty, thin ribbons as this recipes calls for.  It takes a wee bit of extra effort, but the resulting dish is fun and delicious.

A good vegetable peeler is key here.  Also, the thinner the zucchini/squash, the easier they are to slice.

For this healthy side, the squash ribbons are tossed with either baby spinach or fresh arugula, parsley, a squirt of vibrant lemon juice, and olive oil.  It's the perfect flavor-filled side dish to make while summer is winding down.  Plus, there's no cooking or heat involved!

Bon Appetit, my friends!


Squash Ribbon Salad
Adapted from:  Southern Living magazine, August 2013

Ingredients:
1 pound zucchini
1 pound yellow squash
3 cups loosely packed baby spinach OR arugula
1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Cut zucchini and yellow squash lengthwise into thin, ribbon-like strips using a vegetable peeler. 

Toss together the zucchini, yellow squash, baby spinach/arugula, parsley leaves, lemon juice, and olive oil in a large bowl.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy! 

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