Monday, November 28, 2022

Salted Caramel Coconut Macaroons

It's Christmas cookie time! As the kids would say, "Let's GOOOOOO!" (I'm probably way out of date on that, do they say that anymore?)

This year, I have four recipes for Christmas treats, each of which are different and unique in their own way: orange and cranberry shortbread, turtle thumbprints, eggnog brownies, and these delightful macaroons.

These scrumptious little cookie/candies are so easy to put together. And they're gluten free. I always like to have at least one gluten free treat available when I'm serving cookies, or giving cookies away.

The most time consuming part of this recipe is unwrapping the caramels (can I get an Amen??) but maybe you have some little helpers that you can employ for that task. Hopefully so. Then these will be a snap, and you'll have a fun and tasty addition to the cookie tray this year. 

Or you can just toss them all in a bowl and grab one every time you walk past. (ahem) In any case, this is a great way to start the Christmas treat making season. (Since these don't get baked, I don't think I can technically say the "baking" season, ha!)

Salted Caramel Coconut Macaroons

5 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. heavy cream
3 tsp. brown sugar
11 ounce bag wrapped caramels, unwrapped
5-6 cups sweetened shredded coconut (can also use unsweetened)
4 ounces chocolate almond bark
1-2 tsp. sea salt

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan melt butter, heavy cream, brown sugar, and caramels over medium heat. Keep stirring until smooth and sugar crystals are dissolved. 

Remove pot from the heat and stir in coconut until fully combined with caramel. If mixture seems too wet, add a bit more coconut.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Scoop 1-2 tablespoons of coconut mixture onto parchment paper and allow to cool and set up completely.

In a small bowl, melt chocolate bark. Dip bottoms of each macaroon and place on a sheet of wax paper or silicone baking mat. Drizzle remaining chocolate over tops of cookies. Sprinkle sea salt on top of cookies before chocolate dries.

Allow to cool completely and for chocolate to fully harden.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature. 

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Butter Garlic Trout in Foil

I thought it might to time to take a break from all the delicious treats and post some real food - as in dinner fare. But don't you worry, I've got all the treats lined up for December and they are good ones...but it probably wouldn't hurt you to eat some fish in the meantime. 

This trout is super, super, super easy to make. It has just the right amount of dressing up to add flavor dimension without overpowering the fish. And since you cook it in foil, clean up is a breeze!

You likely have all the ingredients to make this fish, except maybe the fish. So go out and get some trout and get this on your menu. Simply top with fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper, butter, garlic and parsley. SO EASY!!!

Fold up that foil and bake. That's all there is to it! I like to broil it at the end for a couple minutes just to put a nice sheen on it (the picture above is just baked, the final pictures, like the one below, are after it is broiled). I especially liked how all the sauce in the foil could be poured over the veggies on the side. Yum!

Butter Garlic Trout in Foil

1 pound trout filet
juice from 1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. parsley

Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray and place the trout filet in the center. Fold up all 4 sides of the foil. Season trout with salt and pepper and then squeeze juice from half a lemon over the fish until covered.

Melt butter in microwave safe bowl, stir in fresh minced garlic, and drizzle over the trout until evenly coated. Top with parsley.

Fold the sides of the foil over the trout, covering completely, and seal into a closed packet. Place directly on oven rack and bake at 375 until cooked through, about 15 minutes. 
Open the foil exposing the top of the trout and broil for the last 2-3 minutes to brown the top. 

Friday, November 11, 2022

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Muffins

Just look at these beauties! Pumpkin muffins (one of the best ideas ever) are topped with a cinnamon sugar, or as we could say, Snickerdoodle!, streusel. You will be hard pressed to find a better fall inspired breakfast or coffee snack.

This recipe combines a couple of my favorite things. Perhaps I have already given it away with the exclamation points but pumpkin! snickerdoodle! combined in a muffin! I love muffins because they are an excuse to eat cake for breakfast. 

This recipe is so easy to whip up - you just need two bowls, all the ingredients, a whisk and a spatula. And if you're fancy (or uncoordinated like me sometimes!) you could use a cookie scoop for measuring out the batter. But that's it! No fancy tools required, and hardly any time required. This recipe is fast and easy and OH SO DELICIOUS.

Get in that Thanksgiving spirit and make these muffins!

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Muffins

1 - 15 oz. can pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4  cups flour 
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice 
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter, cubed

In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, granulated sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla until well-mixed. Add the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix until just combined and no dry streaks remain. Fill paper-lined muffin cups with the batter, about 2/3 full for each. (This recipe makes about 16 muffins.)

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add the butter cubes and cut in with a pastry blender, a fork, or your fingers, until the mixture is evenly combined and crumbly.

Divide streusel evenly over the muffin batter. Bake the muffins at 350 for 18-25 minutes until the tops spring back lightly to the touch. Remove from the muffin tin and let cool completely on a cooling rack. Store any leftovers in a covered container at room temperature.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Italian Pear Cake

This week, we continue our series on baking with fall desserts. Is it really a series if this is only the second one? Time will tell. Last week it was apple cake, today it's an amazing Italian Pear Cake, studded with pairs in the batter, layered with pears on top, and containing mascarpone cheese! YOU GUYS. Make this cake!

(This is my artsy picture.) Haven't the pears been SO GOOD this year? Seriously, I'm not sure if I remember pears being so consistently good in other fall seasons. But I don't take notes on this stuff. 

This cake is really easy to put together, and looks so beautiful (as you can see!) on the cake plate whole, or even in individual pieces. The crumb (listen to me, the crumb!) is a wonderful texture of somewhat dense, but still light and airy (how is this possible?) and the pears add another dimension of texture and flavor.

We ate this plain, and with vanilla ice cream, and both ways were delicious. Get out your springform pan and make this cake. It's going to be more than 70 degrees here today, which in itself is an Autumn Miracle, but the evenings are cooler and are crying for cake. If you make this, there will only be tears of joy. 

Italian Pear Cake

1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup + 1 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch 
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
3 eggs (room temperature)
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup mascarpone (room temperature)
2 1/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil 
2-3 medium pears (Bartlett, Bosch or Anjou are best)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, cornstarch, baking powder and baking soda. 

In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until creamy, about two minutes, then add the eggs and mix until smooth.

Add the dry ingredients, and stir them in by hand with a wooden spoon. Add in the oil, and stir well until all the ingredients are combined.

Peel and core the pears, then chop half and thinly slice half. Add the chopped pears to the batter and fold in gently. 

Grease and flour an 8- or 9-inch spring form pan. Add the batter to the pan, then arrange the pear slices over the top.

Bake at 340 for 45-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs attached. Let cool completely; dust with powdered sugar, and serve.

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