Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Creme Egg Brownies

I am a huge fan of Cadbury Creme Eggs, and usually manage to have one (or two) each Easter season. So I was excited to find this recipe for Creme Egg Brownies. These brownies are NOT made with creme eggs, instead, they are modeled after a creme egg. A rich, milk chocolately brownie is topped with a sweet creamy filling and then finished off with chocolate glaze. It's hard to say which is better, the brownie or the actual creme egg. I better commence with the taste testing.

For the brownies, combine the cocoa, flour

and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Chop the chocolate, and combine it with the butter in a medium glass bowl.

Microwave the chocolate and butter at 40% power at 45 seconds intervals, stirring with a rubber scraper between heating sessions.

Make sure you only melt the chocolate until it is barely melted. If it gets too hot, it will seize up. (If you prefer, you can melt the chocolate in a double boiler.) Add the brown sugar and white sugar,

and whisk until well combined and chocolate starts to cool. Stir in the vanilla and beaten eggs

then sprinkle the flour and cocoa mixture over the top

and gently fold in with a spatula just until combined. Pour the batter into a parchment paper-lined 8-inch pan.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

For the filling, cream together the corn syrup, butter and salt until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar and continue beating until smooth. Add a little milk if the mixture needs some help coming together (but just a Tbsp - not more!).

Spread about 3/4 of the filling over the cooled brownies.

Add 2-3 drops of yellow food coloring to the remaining filling.

Stir well to combine, then dollop over the white filling

and carefully spread with a spatula.

Refrigerate for at least two hours to let the filling set.

For the glaze, combine the milk chocolate and butter in a small bowl

and melt, again using 40% power and about 30 seconds per interval - it might only take two heatings this time.

Stir until smooth then spoon the chocolate over the filling.

Carefully spread the chocolate out to the edges. I found it easiest to remove the brownies from the pan and fold down the paper a little to make it work.

Return the brownies to the fridge for overnight. (This is torture but you can do it!) Remove the brownies from the pan and cut into four rows

and four columns. Don't let them sit out too long or the filling will get runny. Although that's ok. Real eggs are runny, too!

Enjoy these, and all your Easter treats. But remember the reason we celebrate this weekend - our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

One year ago: Monkey Bread Muffins
Two years ago: Shrimp Enchiladas
Three years ago: Brussels Sprouts with Garlic Butter and Almonds

Get more great ideas at Cast Party Wednesday, Whatcha Whipped Up, What's Cooking Wednesday, Wednesday Extravaganza, Wicked Good Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Thursday's Treasures.

Creme Egg Brownies

2/3 cup flour
2 tablespoons dark or dutch processed cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream Filling:
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. milk, if necessary

3 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Whisk together flour, cocoa, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Melt chocolate and butter in a medium-large bowl in the microwave at 40% power, at 45 second intervals, stirring between each heating. Do not overheat or chocolate will seize. This should take about 3 intervals, and you can stir the remaining lumps out which will melt easily.

Whisk in sugar and brown sugar and stir until dissolved and mixture has cooled slightly.

Whisk in eggs and vanilla extract until just combined. Sprinkle flour mixture over top and fold in to chocolate mixture using a large rubber spatula until just incorporated. Pour into an 8x8 inch pan that is lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Transfer pan to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

For cream filling, beat together corn syrup, butter, vanilla, and salt on medium-high speed until smooth. Add powdered sugar, a little bit at a time, mixing until creamy. Dump 3/4 of the cream mixture on top of cooled brownies and spread into an even layer. Add 3-4 drops of yellow food coloring to remaining cream mixture and stir until evenly colored. Drop dollops of yellow cream on top of white layer, and then swirl gently with a spatula. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until set.

Combine chocolate and butter in a small bowl. Microwave at 40% power at 30 second intervals until melted. Stir until smooth. Pour over cream filling, carefully spreading into a thin, even layer. Return to refrigerator and chill overnight.

Remove brownies from pan using the edges of the parchment paper to lift the entire block out of the pan. Using a large sharp knife, cut into 2-inch squares. Brownies need to stay refrigerated for the creme filling to remain set. Makes 16 bars.

Recipe Source: Love and Olive Oil

Monday, March 25, 2013

Awesome Asparagus

Asparagus is a traditional side dish at Easter dinner. If you need inspiration for a new way to prepare this fantastic vegetable, look no further. Asparagus is roasted until tender, then topped with herbed goat cheese and roasted sunflower seeds --umm yes please. This is delicious.

Start by trimming the ends of the asparagus and then laying them flat on a rimmed baking sheet.

Drizzle with the olive oil (I used garlic infused olive oil for extra flavor!)

and then roast for about 15 minutes, shaking the pan halfway though. Transfer the asparagus to a serving dish, and top with the goat cheese

and sunflower seeds.

I served this with roasted chicken, but I think it would be BEST with Easter ham!

I can't wait to make this again!

One year ago: Shrimp and Spinach Risotto
Two years ago: Caramel Macchiato Cheesecake
Three years ago: Tuna Tetrazzini

Get more great ideas at My Meatless Monday, Mop it Up Monday, Mix it Up Monday, Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Recipe Sharing Monday, On the Menu, Seasonal Inspiration, Tasty Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasteful Tuesday, Totally Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday Talent Show, Clever Chicks, Hearth and Soul, Wildcrafting Wednesday.

Awesome Asparagus

1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. herbed goat cheese
2 tsp. roasted sunflower seeds

Place the asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 for about 15 minutes, turning the asparagus once during cooking time. Transfer to a serving dish and top with goat cheese and sunflower seeds. Serves 4.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Vegetable Risotto

For this month, the theme of The Improv Challenge is peas and carrots. There are endless ideas revolving around pot pie, but as I look forward to spring, I wanted to do something a little lighter. Asparagus is just coming into season, and I thought it would be fun to combine it with peas and carrots for a delicious vegetarian risotto that is great as a main dish or a side dish. And, of course, I threw in mushrooms cause everything is better with mushrooms.

The beauty of this dish is that it is so versatile - use whatever veggies you like or have on hand - add peppers, zucchini, pea pods, etc! And if you cannot abide the idea of a meatless main dish, throw in some cooked chicken, pork or shrimp at the end.

Risotto does take a bit of time to cook but it is worth it! Bring the broth to a boil in a medium saucepan, then add the asparagus.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes or until asparagus is bright green and crisp-tender. Remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon to a bowl or plate and set aside. Turn the heat to low to keep the broth warm.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and add the carrots, onion and garlic.

Cook for a few minutes til onions are soft, then add the mushrooms.

Cook for an additional two minutes, then add the rice.

Cook and stir until rice is golden and fragrant, 3-4 minutes. Now add a ladleful of broth to the skillet.

Cook and stir until all the broth is absorbed, then add another ladleful of broth. Keep adding broth, cooking and stirring, until the rice is tender, but has a bit of a bite. Stir in the peas,

and the asparagus,

and then sprinkle with the Parmesan.

Give it a good stir, season to taste, and enjoy!

One year ago: Beef and Bok Choy Hot Pot
Two years ago: Banana Blondies
Three years ago: Mixed Rice and Barley Pilaf

Vegetable Risotto

3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 pound asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
3/4 cup sliced baby carrots
1 cup quartered white mushrooms
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup green peas
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring vegetable broth to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Add asparagus, reduce heat to low, and simmer until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer asparagus to a bowl. Meanwhile, keep broth at a near-simmer on low heat.

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion, carrots and garlic; cook and stir for 3 minutes; add in mushrooms and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring gently, until toasted and fragrant, about 3 minutes.

Pour 1/2 cup of the hot broth mixture into the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is almost absorbed. Adjust heat if necessary to maintain a simmer. Repeat, using 1/2 cup liquid at a time, until rice is becoming tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Mix in peas and asparagus and cook until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan, stirring until cheese melts. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serves 3 as main dish or 5-6 as a side dish.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Strawberry Buttermilk Cake

It's been a long winter here, and it's still hanging around. So when perusing Kristy's blog for this month's Secret Recipe Club I knew right away that I would need to make this lovely cake. Fresh strawberries just scream spring to me, and nestled in a buttery, lemon-scented cake, they really shine.

One note: I folded my strawberries into the batter. Kristy put hers on top, which leads to a much more beautiful result. Do what you like and find most convenient!

Start by creaming together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla, egg and lemon zest

and beat until smooth. (I was doubling the recipe to make 2 cakes, so that's why there are 2 eggs, just FYI!)

In another small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Now add this to the creamed mixture alternating with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour.

Mix just until combined. If you're folding in the strawberries, do that now.

Then transfer the batter into a greased 8 inch cake pan.

(If you didn't fold in the strawberries, now is the time to scatter them across the top of the batter.)

Bake the cake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy warm or at room temperature, on its own or with ice cream!

One year ago: Vodka Sauce (another great SRC recipe!)
Two years ago: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Three years ago: Oatmeal Caramel Chocolate Bars

Strawberry Buttermilk Cake

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon zest, finely grated
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sliced fresh strawberries

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, lemon zest and egg and beat until smooth.

Add in the flour mixture and buttermilk, alternating between the two, starting and ending with the flour. Transfer batter to a greased 8 inch round cake pan and sprinkle strawberries over the top. Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 8.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sweet and Spicy Citrus Tilapia

I think this is my personal record for number of fish-related postings during Lent! As I mentioned, eating more fish was one of my strategies for making healthy choices. If you missed parmesan tilapia or soy glazed salmon, be sure to check those out!

This recipe involves a quick marinade for tilapia in a spiced fruity concoction. Then the fish is baked and served up with the sauce.

To make the marinade, combine the orange juice, brown sugar, olive oil, soy sauce,



and lime juice. (Do you have one of these citrus juicers? I just love it!)

Place the tilapia in a baking pan and then cover with the marinade.

Sprinkle the fish with the paprika.

Bake the fish for about 15 minutes or until it flakes easily with a fork.

Although I served this with brussels sprouts, you should definitely serve it with a rice pilaf to soak up all that delicious sauce!

One year ago: Chewy Molasses Squares
Two years ago: Irish Stew
Three years ago: Fruited Bran Muffins

Find more great stuff at Full Plate Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Recipe Box, Thursday's Treasures, Foodie Friday, Food on Fridays, Foodtastic Friday, Foodie Friday (#2).

Sweet and Spicy Citrus Tilapia

4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
1/2 cup orange juice
3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. paprika

Arrange fish in a single layer in a baking pan coated with cooking spray. Combine orange juice and next 9 ingredients (through garlic); pour over fish. Let stand 15 minutes.

Sprinkle fish with paprika; bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Drizzle sauce over fish. Serves 4.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

I love making desserts, but I love making breakfast treats, too. So when it's someone's birthday at work, I give her the option of breakfast treat or dessert treat. This was made for a colleague's recent birthday and was a HUGE hit. Of course, any treat mid morning is a wonderful decadence, but when it's a beautiful coffee cake with a cream cheese and fruity layer, topped with almondy streusel, well, then, everyone is a winner, birthday girl or not.

Start by preparing the fruit filling. Combine the raspberries and apple juice in a medium saucepan.

Bring to a slow boil and cook for a few minutes, until raspberries soften. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with a teaspoon of water and stir until dissolved. Add this to the raspberries,

and cook and stir until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Set aside and let the berry mixture cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour and 3/4 cup of the sugar and pulse just to mix. Add in the cubed butter

and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (If you don't have a food processor, just cut in the butter using two knives or a pastry blender.) Reserve 1/2 cup of the flour/butter mixture, and place the rest in a large bowl. To the large batch, add the baking powder, soda, salt and lemon peel.

In a large measuring cup, combine the yogurt, 1 egg and the vanilla and stir well. Add the yogurt mixture to the flour/lemon peel mixture

and stir until all the dry ingredients are moistened. Press this batter into a greased springform pan. (It will be sticky, and you'll probably have to use your fingers!)

For the cream cheese layer, combine the cream cheese, remaining sugar and egg and lemon juice

in the bowl of the food processor (or a mixer). Pulse or mix until smooth. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the batter in the pan,

leaving a small border around the edge.

Pour the raspberry mixture over the cream cheese layer.

Add the almonds to the reserved flour/butter mixture, and sprinkle the topping around the edge of the coffee cake.

Bake the cake for 35-45 minutes until the top is golden and the middle is just a little bit shaky. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes before removing the sides of the pan.

Serve warm or at room temperature. (If you like, you can make a little traditional glaze to drizzle over the top - I just used about 1/3 cup powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of milk, and whisked together, then spooned over the top.)

One year ago: Bananas Foster Bread
Two years ago: Tiramisu
Three years ago: Shrimp LoMein

Find more great stuff at Mop it Up Monday, Mix it Up Monday, Melt in Your Mouth Monday, On the Menu Monday, Seasonal Inspiration, Tasty Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasteful Tuesday, Tuesday Talent Show, Clever Chicks.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

1 cup frozen raspberries
1/4 cup apple juice
1 tsp. cornstarch
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into chunks
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1 - 6 oz. container plain or vanilla yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs, divided
6 ounces cream cheese, softened (low fat is fine)
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup sliced almonds

In small saucepan over medium heat, bring raspberries and apple juice to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. In a small bowl, blend cornstarch and 1 teaspoon water. Add to berry mixture; stir until it simmers and thickens, about 1 minute. Let cool to room temperature.

In a bowl or food processor, mix flour and 3/4 cup sugar. Add butter to flour mixture. Cut in with a pastry blender or pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Reserve 1/2 cup; pour remaining into a large bowl. Stir in baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon peel.

In a bowl, mix yogurt, vanilla, and 1 egg until blended; stir into flour-baking powder mixture until incorporated. Spread batter in a greased 9-inch springform pan.

In a bowl or food processor, beat or pulse cream cheese, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, remaining egg, and lemon juice until smooth. Spread over batter in pan, leaving a 1/2-inch border bare. Gently spread raspberry mixture over cream cheese mixture, leaving some visible. Stir almonds into reserved flour mixture and sprinkle over cake, concentrating most around edge of batter.

Bake at 350 until center of cake barely jiggles when pan is gently shaken and top of cake is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool on a rack for 15 minutes, then remove pan rim. Drizzle with simple icing if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 8-10
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