Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Swedish Almond Cake

Almonds. One of the most perfect foods. Seriously, I keep a bag full in my drawer at the office, and if there's a recipe with almonds, or even almond extract (I could sniff that stuff forever!), you can bet I'll be making it. I whipped up this delightful little cake for a dinner party a few weeks ago, and it was a tremendous hit. It's super easy to make, no mixer required, and it is absolutely delicious. I served it with vanilla ice cream and strawberries, but I think the combinations of different fruit and sauces could be endless. Or you can eat it plain. For dessert or for breakfast. Hooray for versatility!

Get more great ideas at Hearth and Soul, What's Cooking, Totally Talented, Create Link Inspire, Clever Chicks, Try a New Recipe, Inspire Me, Tasty Tuesday, Tickle my Tastebuds, Full Plate, Showcase Your Talent, Foodie Friday, Friday Flash, Friday Frenzy, Friday favorites.

Swedish Almond Cake

1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 Tbsp. sliced almonds
1 Tbsp. coarse sugar

In a medium bowl, combine melted butter and sugar and stir well. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well by hand until incorporated. Stir in salt and almond extract, then mix in the flour.

Pour batter into a greased and floured 9 inch cake pan. Sprinkle coarse sugar and almonds on top. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on a wire rack. Makes 8 servings.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Shugary Sweets

Friday, February 13, 2015

Cherry Kisses

Here's a sweet little treat to make for Valentine's Day - combining the colors of Valentine's with the most beloved flavor (chocolate!) and even a candy the symbolizes love (kisses)! This cookie has got it all! They are also easy to whip up, and so cute on a tray or platter. Treat the ones you love to something special this weekend!

Get more great ideas at Full Plate, Showcase Your Talent, Foodie Friday, Friday Flash, Friday Frenzy.

Cherry Kisses

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tsp. maraschino cherry juice
1/2 tsp. almond extract
3-4 drops red food coloring
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained and chopped
48 Chocolate Kisses, unwrapped

In a large bowl, cream together butter, powdered sugar, cherry juice, almond extract and food coloring. Beat in flour, just until combined, then stir in cherries. Form dough into 1 inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Immediately top each cookie with a chocolate kiss. Remove to a rack to cool.
Makes 4 dozen cookies.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Pumpkin White Chocolate Snickerdoodles

These little cookies look so unassuming but WATCH OUT. They are highly addictive. And since they're so cute and little, you'll quickly rationalize that it's ok to have another, and another, and another. I'm normally not a huge fan of snickerdoodles, but add some pumpkin and white chocolate, and the deliciousness begins.

Do be sure you allow time to chill the dough - it's really important in this recipe.

And maybe consider doubling it - that way you can share with colleagues and friends and still have enough of these divine morsels for yourself!

Find more great recipes at Mouthwatering Monday, Inspiration Monday, Mix it up.

Pumpkin White Chocolate Snickerdoodles

1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar, divided
1 tsp. vanilla
6 Tablespoons pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon, divided
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup white chocolate chips or chunks

In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup sugar together until no brown sugar lumps remain. Whisk in the vanilla and pumpkin until smooth. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix together with a large spoon or rubber spatula. The dough will be very soft. Fold in white chocolate chips. They may not stick to the dough because of the melted butter, but do your best to have them evenly dispersed among the dough. Cover the dough and chill for 30 minutes, or up to 3 days. (You must chill the dough or this cookie won't turn out!)

After chilling, roll the dough into balls, about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough each. Mix together the remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Roll each of the dough balls generously in the cinnamon-sugar mixture and arrange on 2 baking sheets, lined with parchment or silpat. Slightly flatten the dough balls.

Bake the cookies at 350 for 8-10 minutes. The cookies will look very soft and underbaked, but that's ok.

Allow the cookies to cool for at least 10 minutes on the cookie sheets before transferring to a wire rack. The longer the cookies cool, the chewier they will be, and I prefer to let them cool for about an hour on the wire racks. Store the cookies in an airtight container.

Recipe Source: Sally's Baking Addiction

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Apple Kielbasa (Crock pot appetizer!)

Do you have plans to watch the big game this Sunday? I think the best part about the Superbowl is the excuse to make lots of appetizers. I would eat meals of appetizers all week long, if I could! This is a super easy app to throw together and let cook in the crock pot all afternoon. And it is DELICIOUS. I took this to a Christmas party and they disappeared quickly. I'm sure you'll need some protein to offset the chips and salsa and football shaped brownies - get out there and make some apple kielbasa!

Apple Kielbasa

2 lbs. fully cooked kielbasa sausage
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup chunky applesauce
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients in a small crockpot and cook on low for 4 hours, or until heated through. Makes 12 appetizer servings.

Recipe Source: Busy Cooks

Monday, January 26, 2015

Caramel-filled Rice Krispie Bars

Oh these bars. As if the goodness of marshmallowy rice krispie bars wasn't good enough, now we can fill them with caramel and more marshmallows. These are SWEET! Literally. You'll need to cut them into small pieces. But they will be a big hit wherever you take them. Or they will cause you to buy pants in a size larger... ahem.

Caramel-filled Rice Krispie Bars

14 oz caramel pieces, unwrapped
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
12 Tbsp. butter, divided
10 cups Rice Krispie cereal
10 cups mini marshmallows

In a large microwave safe bowl combine caramel pieces, sweetened condensed milk and 4 Tbsp. butter. Microwave on high in 1 minutes increments (stirring after each) until caramels are melted, approx 3-4 minutes. Stir until smooth, set aside.

In a Dutch oven, melt another 4 Tbsp. butter. Add 4 cups marshmallows and cook and stir over medium-low heat until marshmallows are melted. Pour 5 cups cereal into marshmallow mixture, stir until coated. Press into the bottom of greased 9x13 inch pan.

Pour caramel over the cereal layer and then sprinkle 2 cups mini marshmallows on top of that. Refrigerate for 20 minutes until caramel has set. When caramel has set, repeat the krispie layer with remaining 4 Tbsp. butter, 4 cups marshmallows and 5 cups cereal. Press final krispie layer on top of caramel. (I like to spray my hands with cooking spray and then use them to evenly pat the final cereal layer in the pan.

Refrigerate for about 2 hours. Bring to room temperature then cut into small squares.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Cookies and Cups

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Mediterranean Shrimp Flatbreads

This dish came about when I needed something interesting for dinner and wanted to use what was in my freezer and my pantry. I was glad to have all these ingredients, because together they made for a wonderful pizza-like experience! You can certainly change up the ingredients too, and add olives or other things that you like. (Sun dried tomatoes or real tomatoes might also be a nice addition, especially for color!)

These are super quick, and paired with a salad, they make for a wonderful meal.

Find more great ideas at Inspiration Monday, Totally Talented, Create Link Inspire, Clever Chicks, Try a New Recipe, Inspire Me, Tasty Tuesday, Tickle my Tastebuds, Hearth and Soul, What's Cooking.

Mediterranean Shrimp Flatbreads

2 pieces flatbread or naan
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. garlic herb spice blend
1 cup baby spinach
1 small jar artichoke hearts, drained
1/4 cup roasted red pepper strips
6 oz. medium cooked shrimp, tails removed
1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Place flatbreads on a large baking sheet or pizza stone. Spread each flatbread with half of the olive oil and half the seasoning. Divide the rest of the toppings evenly among the flatbreads, starting with spinach and ending with feta. Bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Makes 2 main dish servings or 6-8 appetizer servings.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

White Chocolate Almond Bars

These delicious little bars are exactly what you need to get you through the winter doldrums. White chocolate and almonds are such a wonderful combination and when you put them together with the best things in life (butter, flour, sugar!) you will have a new favorite dessert/snack/breakfast.

I cut these into small pieces, which just gives you a reason to have more than one.

Find more great stuff at Hearth and Soul, What's Cooking, Totally Talented, Create Link Inspire, Clever Chicks, Try a New Recipe, Inspire Me, Tasty Tuesday, Full plate, Showcase Your Talent.

White Chocolate Almond Bars

2/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. almond extract
3/4 cup chopped slivered almonds

Mix flour, baking powder and salt until blended; set aside. Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on high at 1 minute intervals, stirring between heatings, or until butter is melted; stir until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended. Add sugar; mix well. Blend in eggs and extract. Add flour mixture; mix well. Stir in nuts. Line a 9-inch square pan with foil and spray it with cooking spray. Spread batter onto bottom of pan.

Bake 30 to 35 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely. Use foil handles to lift dessert from pan before cutting into bars.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Kraft
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