Thursday, May 27, 2010

Coconut Macadamia Triangles

These delightful little treats come to us courtesy of Mel at My Kitchen Cafe. She's got a lot of wonderful recipes and she had tagged this as one of her top "sugar rush" choices. Since these bars combine some of my favorite things, I knew I had to try them!

These are deliciously chewy, crunchy, sweet and salty. I loved them!

Start by preparing the pan - you'll need a large piece of foil to line a 9" pan and have "handles" hanging over the edge. Then, lightly grease the foil, or use cooking spray.

Next, the crust. Combine the flour, brown sugar and salt (see recipe for exact quantities!) and then cut in the butter. My new favorite way to do this is with the food processor!

Press the crust mixture into the prepared pan.

Bake for about 10 minutes until the crust edges are golden.

Now, make the topping. Combine the remaining flour, brown sugar,

salt, corn syrup,

egg and vanilla.

Stir well with a wooden spoon to combine all the ingredients, then add the coconut.

Chop the macadamia nuts, then toast them in a skillet over medium heat until they're golden.

Add the nuts to the batter, stir well, then spread over the crust.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned and the edges pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. Do not get impatient - these bars need to completely cool before you cut them otherwise they won't set up properly!

When they're cool, lift them out of the pan with the foil handles.

Remove the foil completely, and cut the bars (on a cutting board!)into 4 equal rows.

Cut them again in three rows, then cut each rectangular piece in half to make triangles.

Melt the chocolate, then dip each corner of the triangles in the chocolate.

Lay the bars on waxed paper to dry the chocolate completely.

Store in an air-tight container, or just eat them right off the wax paper!

Get more ideas at Cooking Thursday, Friday Food, Foodie Friday, Food on Fridays and Would you Like Chocolate with That?

Coconut Macadamia Triangles

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
3/4 cup brown sugar, plus 1 tablespoon, divided
3/4 tsp. salt, divided
5 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup macadamia nuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup shredded coconut
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted

Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil, letting the edges hang over the pan slightly. Grease the foil or use nonstick cooking spray.

Combine 1 cup flour, 1 Tbsp. brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl and stir together to combine. Scatter butter pieces over the flour mixture and using a pastry blender or two knives or your fingers, cut in the butter until small crumbs form. (Alternatively, you can use a food processor to do this.) Turn the crust mixture out into the prepared pan. Press the mixture into the pan in an even, solid layer.

Bake at 375 until the edges are golden, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine 2 Tbsp. flour, 3/4 cup brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, egg and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Beat with a wooden spoon until thoroughly blended. Stir in the nuts and coconut until blended.

Spread the coconut topping over the warm baked bottom crust. Return to the oven and bake until the topping is lightly browned and the edges pull away from the sides of the pan, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into twelve 3 by 2 1/4-inch rectangles. Cut each rectangle in half on the diagonal to make triangles. Dip one corner of each triangle in the melted chocolate and let cool on a sheet of waxed paper. Makes 24 bars.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Almond Pear Coffee Cake

This is probably the fanciest coffee cake I've ever made! It has several layers which, although takes a little more concentration to keep it all straight, makes you think it came from a bakery! But it's better, because you made it yourself. And it's delicious - it won rave reviews when I brought it to work. The original recipe called for walnuts. I substituted almonds because that's what I prefer, so use whatever you like, and whatever you have on hand.

Start by toasting the nuts. Since I was heating up the oven anyway, I just did this by placing the raw almonds on a cookie sheet and putting in the oven for about 8 minutes. Check them often so they don't burn, and give them a stir about half way through.

Then peel, core and slice the pears,

and drizzle them with the lemon juice.

After the almonds cool a bit, chop them up, then combine 3/4 cup of them with the brown sugar and cinnamon.

Set the nut mixture aside, then combine the flour and butter in another small bowl. Cut in with a pastry blender or your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, then add 3/4 cup of the nut/sugar mixture.

Let's recap all our "parts" - a topping mixture (the flour/butter/nuts), the nut/sugar mixture, and still some plain almonds. Now let's make the cake.

Cream together the butter and sugar. Then add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Beat in vanilla. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and add it to the creamed mixture alternately with the sour cream.

Now, we're ready to assemble the cake! Grease a springform pan, then spread 2/3 of the cake batter in the pan.

Top with the reserved nut/sugar mixture,

then layer the pears on top of the nuts.

Top with the remaining batter,

then sprinkle on the remaining toasted nuts.

Finally, top with the flour/butter/nut mixture.

Bake the cake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes,

then carefully run a knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the cake.

Remove the sides of the pan, and then cool for at least one hour on a wire rack.

You can freeze this cake whole, or wrap individual slices to freeze.

Get more recipes at Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday and Tuesdays at the Table, Food on Friday.

Almond Pear Coffee Cake

Nut mixture and topping:
1 cup toasted, chopped almonds, divided
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup cold butter

2 medium pears, peeled and sliced (2 cups)
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream

In a small bowl, combine 3/4 cup almonds, brown sugar and cinnamon; set aside. In another small bowl, combine flour and cold butter; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 3/4 cup of the nut/sugar mixture; set aside for topping. Set aside remaining nut mixture for assembly.

Toss pears with lemon juice, set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add eggs, one a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with the sour cream.

Spread 2/3 of batter in a greased springform pan. Top with reserved nut mixture (not the one mixed in with the flour and butter), pears and remaining batter. Sprinkle with the other 1/4 cup of almonds and the reserved topping mixture (the nuts mixed in with the flour and butter).

Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around the edge of pan to loosen; remove sides of pan. Cool for 1 hour before cutting. Serves 12.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Easy Crab Cakes

Crab cakes (pictured here with sweet potato fries) are one of my favorite foods of all time. Whenever I'm in a seaside town, I always order them. This recipe is not the typical lump crab cake you'd get at a fancy restaurant. It uses canned crab which makes it easy to throw together on a week night, and these cakes would be delicious used in a sandwich. And they're SO easy, hence their name. I like crab cakes so much, I will probably find other recipes to try as well, but I'm quite pleased with how these turned out!

Start by combining 1/3 cup of the bread crumbs (I made homemade by toasting regular sandwich bread and pulsing it in my food processor, then adding a bit of Italian seasoning), red pepper

green onion,

mayo and lemon juice,

garlic powder, cayenne and the lightly beaten egg.

Mix it all up good, then add the crab.

Now make the mixture into balls - you'll get about 8 or 9 2-inch balls.

Roll them in the remaining bread crumbs,

then slightly flatten to make into cakes.

In a large skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat until it starts "popping." Carefully add the crab cakes to the pan

and cook them for about 3 minutes or until brown. Carefully turn them over,

and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.

Now I need a good recipe for remoulade sauce!

Get more inspiration at the Krazy Kitchen, Friday Food, Food on Fridays and Foodie Fridays.

Easy Crab Cakes

2 cans (6 oz. each) crabmeat, drained and flaked
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs, divided
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup finely chopped green onion
1/4 cup finely chopped red pepper
1/4 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil

In a medium bowl, combine the crabmeat, 1/3 cup breadcrumbs, egg, onion, red pepper, mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Stir well to combine. Divide the mixture into 8 2-inch balls, and roll in remaining bread crumbs. Flatten slightly to create cakes of 1/2" thickness.

Melt butter and olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Fry the crab cakes for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden.

Serves 3-4

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sweet Potato "Fries"

Sweet potatoes are so good, and so good for you! This is my favorite way to prepare them, and I love how easy it is to do with my new best friend, my food processor. (How did I ever live without this???) You certainly can do it by hand, but I love using the processor since I think sweet potatoes are about the most difficult thing to cut, second only to butternut squash!

You can adjust the amounts needed for your family, and also the spiciness quotient.

Peel the potatoes, then arrange in the feed tube of the processor, fitted with the largest slicing blade you have. I have a thick slice blade (I think it's 6 mm).

You should now have thick cut circles like this:

(You'll also have some "leftover" pieces - just cut those up by hand.)

Now arrange the slices in the feed tube, standing up on end.

Process these, and you'll end up with lots of smaller "fries."

Drizzle with olive oil,

then toss to coat all the fries. Next, combine the seasonings in a small bowl. I like to use brown sugar, chili powder,

and cayenne!

Pour the fries onto a large rimmed baking sheet, and sprinkle with the spice mixture.

Roast in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, turning a few times during baking. You can roast these anywhere between 400 and 450 - just watch them carefully if your oven is hotter. (I like 425 if I'm not cooking anything else. I use the other temperatures if I have meat in the oven.)


Get more recipes at Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tuesday at the Table and Tasty Tuesday.

Sweet Potato "Fries"

2 large sweet potatoes
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 - 1 tsp. chili powder
1/8-1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Peel potatoes and cut into french fry lengths, or use a food processor with the thickest blade available. If using a food processor, process once for slices, then stand the slices up on end to process again for fries.

Put the fries in a large bowl, and drizzle with olive oil. Stir well to coat all the pieces, then pour onto a large rimmed baking sheet.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, chili powder and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle over the fries. Bake at 400, 425 or 450 for 20-30 minutes, turning and stirring about every 10 minutes.

Serves 3-4 as a side dish.
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