Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chocolate Tea Truffles

Coconut Tea Truffles
Chocolate Earl Grey Truffles
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and softened
2 teaspoons loose Earl Grey tea leaves (Use the highest quality large loose tea you can find)
6 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
1 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder 


Bring cream and butter to a boil in a small heavy saucepan and stir in tea leaves. Remove from heat and let steep 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, finely grind chocolate in a food processor and transfer to a bowl. Pour cream through a fine-mesh sieve onto chocolate, pressing on and discarding tea leaves, then whisk until smooth. Chill ganache, covered, until firm, about 2 hours.
Spoon level teaspoons of ganache onto a baking sheet. Put cocoa in a bowl, then dust your palms lightly with it. Roll each piece of ganache into a ball (wash your hands and redust as they become sticky). Drop several balls at a time into bowl of cocoa and turn to coat. Transfer as coated to an airtight container, separating layers with wax paper. 

Coconut tea truffles
Pictured are a batch of Coconut truffles I made when I found a coconut tea.  Then instead of rolling them in cocoa powder, I rolled them in ground coconut.


Cooks' note:   
When using tea, always use the best quality large leaf loose tea.  Don’t use tea bags.

• Truffles can be made 1 week ahead and chilled, or 1 month ahead and frozen in an airtight container.

Makes about 34 truffles.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Candy Canes....for your dog

In this hustle and bustle time of year, lots of us take time to stop and make treats to share with family and friends.

My partner and I don't have children, well in a traditional sense. But we do have a wonderful Italian Greyhound and a warm and fuzzy, black and white cat, Zoey an Franc.

While I've attempted cat treats, nothing compares to greenies, according to Franc. As for the dog treats, I always have a fresh batch, right out of the oven.

Yesterday I decided, while I was making all kinds of delicious treats for family and friends, why not make a little treat for Zoey, and a few of her friends.


Doggie Candy Canes (aka breath mints!)

Ingredients:

3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup nonfat powdered milk
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup warm water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
2 large eggs
2 tsp red food coloring (see tips)
1 tbsp peppermint oil flavoring (optional)
1 large egg (for an egg wash)
Additional flour for kneading

Instructions:

Whisk together the flour, powdered milk and baking powder.

In a small bowl, pour the warm water over the chicken bouillon, stir until dissolved.

Whisk the eggs into the chicken water.

Form a well in the dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients.

Stir until thorougly combined.

Knead the dough for about two minutes.

Add more flour until the dough is no longer sticky.

Seperate the dough in half.

Form a well in one of the balls of dough.

Add the food coloring and peppermint flavoring.

Wearing food safe gloves, knead the coloring and flavoring throughout the dough.

Cool the dough in the refrigerator for 2 hours or in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350° F

Divide each ball of dough into tablespoon sized balls.

Gently roll each ball into a "worm" shape, letting the dough rest when needed. Each strip should be about 5 inches long.

Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

Twist one plain strip with a red strip, and curl the end to shape a candy cane.

Place on the baking sheet.
Whisk the extra egg in a small bowl.
Using a pastry brush, thoroughly coat each candy cane with the egg wash.
Bake for 10-15 minutes.

Cool completely on a wire rack.

BONUS recipe:


Zoey's Homemade
Dog Biscuits
with Peanut Butter & Bacon

Ingredients:

2 pieces bacon, thick cut, cooked
and crumbled (I used bacon bits)
1/8 cup bacon grease (I used oil)
2 cups whole wheat flour (for gluten free, use any gluten free flour, amarath, garbanzo, etc)
1/4 cup ground flax (optional)
1/4 cup wheat bran (if gluten free use brewers yeast)
2 tsp baking powder (use a gluten free, or make your own)
1/2 cup natural peanut butter (for gluten free use almond butter)
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup water

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325° F
Cook bacon until crispy. Drain on a paper towel.
Pour the bacon grease into a glass measuring cup.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, ground flax, wheat bran, and baking powder.
Crumble the bacon, once cooled, and stir into the flour mixture.
In a microwave safe bowl, warm the peanut butter. Approximately 30 seconds.
In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg. Then pour in the peanut butter, water, and bacon grease. Use a fork to whisk together the wet ingredients until completely combined.
Make a well in the dry ingredients, and pour in the peanut butter mixture.
Stir until combined.
Knead lightly in the bowl with your hands.
Lay down one large sheet of parchment paper, roll your dough onto it, then lay another piece of parchment on top. You'll essentially have a dog treat dough sandwich. See the video for tips.
Roll out to 1/2 inch thickness.
Lightly spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
Cut shapes out of the dough and place on your prepared baking sheet. Gather the extra dough, knead into a ball, and repeat the process of rolling and cutting until there is no more dough.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Turn off the oven and leave them there to cool for 2 hours or overnight.
Storing - These homemade dog biscuits will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. They will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Yield - Using a 1 inch bone shaped cookie cutter, you will get 40 homemade dog biscuits.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sweet Potato Casserole


A few years back Craig’s mom came to stay with us over Thanksgiving.  We both had to work, so she offered to cook Thanksgiving dinner for us.  One dish Craig requested for her to make is this version of sweet potato casserole, and we’ve made it ever since for every holiday dinner. 

When I make it, I split it into 2, freezing ½ for another yummy dinner.  Now my best friend requested it, so she could make it for her holiday celebration.  Sorry no pictures, but as soon as I bake it again, I’ll take pictures…..


Sweet Potato Casserole

Ingredients:
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes (use canned)
2 eggs
¼ cup milk
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup butter
1 cup coconut

Topping:
1 cup brown sugar
⅓ cup flour
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
⅓ cup butter, melted

Mix first 7  ingredients and place in a baking dish.  For the topping, mix brown sugar, flour and pecans together.  Spread on top of sweet potato mixture.  Drizzle butter over topping.  Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hamburger Crunch




Sometime in life a recipe comes around that you just fall in love with.  This one is that for me.  It takes me back to a time in my childhood, when my Mom loved to cook.  She made this recipe (without celery) several times throughout the year, and always when we went on vacation to the Oregon coast.  It is a HUGE favorite of mine, and after all these years, I realized that this is the first attempt I have ever made to make it. 

After “researching” it in our family cook book, 
I realized that it was a recipe that my mom’s twin sister made.  I’m sure that with like most things, they each had their own version, but either way, it’s a classic in my book! And by the way, it makes incredible of leftovers!


Hamburger Crunch



1 lb Hamburger (I use Ground Turkey)
1 Large Onion, diced
5 Stalks of Celery, diced
½ Cup Rice
1 Can Cream of Chicken soup
1 Can Cream of Mushroom soup
3 T Soy Sauce
3oz (or so) Crunchy Chow Mein Noodles
Pepper, to taste

Brown meat, then add onions and celery to continue to brown.  Mix together rice soups and soy.  Mix together with meat mixture.  Bake in preheated 350°F oven for 50 minutes.  In the last 10 minutes add the Chow Mein Noodles.

Turkey Browning
Soup and rice mixture
Ready for the oven


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Grudge Fudge


Quite a few years ago a friend I worked at the Clackamas Fred Meyer store.  And one of the employees I worked with gave me a recipe for the absolutely easiest fudge recipe I have ever made.  No marshmallows, no stovetop cooking, quick, and easy.  Not really sure where the name came from, but it’s SO worth it.!

[I'll make some this weekend, and post some pictures, but wanted to post these, so you could make them for your holiday event!]

Grudge Fudge

Basic standard recipe:
16 oz Chocolate Chips
2 XL (8 oz) Hershey bar, chopped
1 cube butter

16 oz Powdered Sugar
2 Eggs
1 T. Vanilla

Mix together Chocolate chips, chocolate bar and butter.  Place in microwave for 30 second increments, stirring in between each 30 seconds.

While chocolate is melting, mix together sugar, eggs and flavoring.  When chocolate is melted, mix together with sugar mixture.

Immediately place in lightly greased 9x9 pan.  Allow to set and cut into cubes.

Variations: 
White fudge:
16 oz White Chocolate Chips
2 XL white chocolate Hershey bar, chopped
1 cube butter

16 oz Powdered Sugar
2 Eggs
1 T. Vanilla

Peanut butter Fudge:
16 oz Peanut butter Chips
2 XL white chocolate Hershey bar, chopped
1 cube butter

16 oz Powdered Sugar
2 Eggs
1 T. Vanilla

(also divide peanut  mixture in ½ and  make the other half with chocolate.  Swirl together to make chocolate peanut butter fudge)

Almond Joy:
16 oz Chocolate Chips
2 XL Hershey bar with almonds, chopped
1 cube butter

16 oz Powdered Sugar
2 Eggs
1 T. Almond extract

1 cup coconut, toasted, divided
¼ cup toasted almonds, chopped

Mix half of the coconut into the fudge, and press the other half into the top of the fudge.

“Bavarian” Fudge:
16 oz Chocolate Chips
2 XL Hershey bar, chopped
1 cube butter

20 oz Powdered Sugar
2 Eggs
1 T. Almond Extract
1 T. Grenadine, or Maraschino cherry juice
10-12 Maraschino Cherries, chopped
¼ cup toasted almonds

Butterscotch Fudge:
16 oz butterscotch Chips
2 XL white chocolate Hershey bar, chopped
1 cube butter

16 oz Powdered Sugar
2 Eggs
1 T. Vanilla

Chocolate mint fudge:
16 oz Chocolate mint Chips
2 XL Hershey bar, chopped
1 cube butter

16 oz Powdered Sugar
2 Eggs
1 T. mint extract

Candy Cane Fudge:
16 oz Chocolate Chips
2 XL Hershey bar, chopped
1 cube butter

16 oz Powdered Sugar
2 Eggs
1 T. Peppermint extract
10 candy canes, crushed and divided

Mix ½ of the crushed candy cane into the fudge, once fudge is poured into the pan, top with the remainder of the crushed candy cane.