Archive for Shout Out

šŸ«Chocolate-Covered Chocolate Cookies with Chewy CaramelšŸ«

To celebrate the end of my daughter’s āš½ļø soccer āš½ļø season, I created these AMAZING chocolate-covered chocolate cookies with a chewy caramel layer. I stayed up entirely too late making them (due to the Chocolate mold only having 2 soccer balls on it!!). But, they are so totally worth it!! The melty, creamy milk chocolate, the not too soft but not hard and crunchy chocolate cookie, and the chewy delicious caramel… if it didn’t take so long to make each one,I think I would have made several dozen and froze them! 

First, I made some dark chocolate cookies. Flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, salt, egg, and oil-rolled out between 2 layers of waxed paper, to make cleaning up a snap!


I rolled them super thin, cut them, froze them on a lined cookie sheet until hard, baked them off, then trimmed them if needed. 


(If dried out and thrown in the food processor, they would make a nice cookie crumb crust for a cheesecake!)

While the cookies were baking, I rolled out some caramels and used the same cookie cutter to cut them into rounds. The ‘scraps’ that were cut off, that weren’t eaten!, were combined and rolled out to make more caramel discs. 

Also happening while the cookies were baking, the chocolate was being melted. This ceramic covered metal bowl fits perfectly into the top of my big pasta pot, without falling in! I just throw a little water in the pot, set the bowl in the top, and turn on the stove. The chocolate melts and I turn the heat down to the very lowest setting just to keep it warm and melty. 


Now comes the part that takes forever-the chocolate molds! I highly suggest that you have multiple molds if you want to try these. It will go much faster that way!! I used a baby spoon to place the melted chocolate and spread an even coat into the soccer ball molds. Then into the freezer to let it set up. Back out of the freezer to add the caramel and cookie discs. Coat the bottom with more chocolate to close it off and pop it back into the freezer to finish setting up. When they were set, I turned the chocolates out of the mold to reveal these soccer cookie/candies.


They are my current favorites! They are sort of like having a chocolate version of the Twix bar! Delicious!


(Sorry about the chipping nail polish-mine doesn’t last very long, even the gel kind! But, I’ve been painting it turquoise every few days this whole month of October for Dysautonomia/Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) awareness month!! #makesomenoiseforturquoise)


A better shot of non-chipping turquoise


My beautiful POTSie soccer player. She may have been winded from her POTS, but she still did her best and I’m super proud!

Great season, Team Nicoletta’s! Thank you, Coach C and Nicoletta’s Italian Cafe!

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šŸŽAutumn = ApplesšŸŽ

I have said it before, but I will say it again-I love Fall! The crisp morning air, the changing of the leaves, hoodies and scarves, and of course apple picking! And what comes with apple picking? Aside from the family FUN tradition of picking apples together, comes the family YUM tradition of šŸŽpies, šŸŽcrisps, šŸŽbars, šŸŽsauce, šŸŽ chips, šŸŽ Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, šŸŽbreads, šŸŽsauce cookies.. all things apple! 


šŸŽšŸ Windy Hill Orchards šŸšŸŽ

My first šŸŽ creation of the season is this twist on apple crisp! 

I used my tart pan for this delicious treat. I made up a cake mix from scratch (minus the wet ingredients), added some melted butter and pressed it into my pan. After baking it for about 5-7 minutes, I layered in my thinly sliced apples. A little drizzle of caramel sauce and a cinnamon oat crumb topping, and it was off to the oven to finish baking. The hardest part was waiting for it to cool (I don’t care for hot apples)!

Yummy Chocolate Brownie Fake-Out!

I made some Gluten-Free pasta tonight (rice and corn spaghetti from Barilla). The kids couldn’t tell the difference! The taste and texture was the best GF option I have found. Yay Barilla!!  


But, I decided to take the GF all the way through dessert! Whaaaat? Yup, GF brownies. I have been wanting to try this recipe ever since I came across it and I finally got the black beans the other night. Yup, that’s right-I said black beans! 

  
I can’t take credit for the idea, as I found the recipe on Chocolatecoveredkatie.com, but I did add a couple extra Tablespoons of cocoa and a few more mini chocolate chips… because I like chocolate… and because, well, why not?!!?
  
I have to say, I was a bit skeptical about using beans. I under-baked it (12 minutes) and that seemed to be perfect for the way I like my brownies. They were baked long enough to hold everything together but not long enough to dry them out. The best part was, my daughters had no idea they were made from beans! The taste was pretty good and the texture wasn’t bad, either. I will definitely make these again!

For the actual recipe link, and to visit the site, click here: http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2012/09/06/no-flour-black-bean-brownies/

Salted Caramel Chocolate Fudge

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Star ingredients to top this creamy chocolate fudge:

Caramel: Lovely Candy Company

Salt: Vanilla Bean infused sea salt from Fusion

I can’t wait for this to set up!

All Things Apple

Fall is here… that means apple picking at Windy Hill Orchards.

 

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We picked a few…bushels! (Actually, our total was almost 5 bushels!)

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Apple picking means All Things Apple!

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PlentyĀ of fresh apples to eat.

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Lots of apple pie fillings to freeze.

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Dried apple chips.

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Caramel apples!

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Apples bring smiles : )

More things apple to come, for sure-as I have only just begun!

Who says you can’t use Christmas cookie cutters year round?

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What do you see when you look at this cookie cutter? A Santa face complete with hat? Sure. Most people can see that… but Angie (Ā www.bakerella.com ) saw something else. Something really cute!Ā Let me turn it on it’s side and see if you can guess…

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Do you see it now? …………..No?

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How about now? With my daughter doing a report on whales, we thought this was the perfect valentine for her to take in! And Angie even provided the PDF for the cards! Thanks, Angie! The cookie cutter I found, had a pointy Santa beard; but I am lucky enough to have a tin knocker for a dad! He was able to reshape the cookie cutter a little (so that the whale’s face was rounded andĀ I didn’t have to cut off and move the top ‘brim’ of the hat to form the spray); but if you aren’t so lucky, you can follow the instructions on Angie’s website www.bakerella.com .

Unfortunately, our school had a snow day today and are off for Winter Break all next week…. so in the freezerĀ they go! Hoping to thaw these 4 dozen cookies the day before school begins again-without the Royal Icing becoming a disaster! Cross your fingers!

Chicken Riggies-A Shout Out to Utica!

Chicken Riggies are a native dish to the Utica, NY area, as far as I know. It’s a chicken and RigatoniĀ pasta dish that has a little kick to it’s sauce. picture565

This beautiful velvety sauce simmers for an hour until it reduces and thickens enough to hug the pasta.

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The pasta is coated with melted butter and parmesan cheese (I used Pennette because it’s small-mouth friendly).

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The last step is when the pasta is married with the sauce. Mmmmmm, mmmmmm, good! Thank you, Utica!

 

Fresh Apple Cider

I got the chance to join some friends in making fresh apple cider this weekend at the Pierstown Press Fest! The apple picking had already been done and the loot was bountiful! So, just a few simple steps,Ā only one ingredient, andĀ a fewĀ hours later, we hadĀ gallons upon gallons ofĀ delicious fresh apple cider!

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Step 1: Washing

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Step 2: Chopping

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Step 3: Pressing

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Crank the press down…

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And the cider starts flowing!

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The apple pulp will feed the wildlife through the winter months.

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Step 4: Bottling.

What a beautiful day it was-sun was shining, music playing, friends manning the stations and working together like a well-oiled machine! Not to mention the smoked pork tenderloin, sausage, andĀ burgers on pretzel buns (I made these from scratch-stay tuned to a future post), with chicken riggies (I also made these-which I will post aboutĀ later), potato salad, macaroni salad, grill-roasted veggies, and ‘apple pie’ to drink!

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As the day drifted into night, we rounded out this perfect day with a fire. It was a small one, but suited it’s purpose just fine!

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A mule ride (of the ATV sort, not the mammal type) up the hill to a star-lit sky and we huddled around to block the wind while the paper lanterns were lit.

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It may have taken several tries, and a burned finger or two, but we had lift off!

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We not onlyĀ had our freshly made apple cider, but to commemorate the occasion,Ā we were also given these great t-shirts!

What an awesome day we had at Pierstown Press Fest! Thank you to our hosts, B&B, andĀ  to all our otherĀ friends that made the day what it was!

Chewy Apple Crisp Bars

My sister prefers apple crisp to apple pie. Actually, it’s the crisp that she enjoys so much. She said she wished there was a way to have a cookie made out of the ‘crisp’ part. I got to work dreaming up a recipe just for her. Oddly enough, as soon as I had come up with the recipe in my head, and before I even had a chance to write it down or bake it, I saw a post from mybakingaddiction that essentially summed up my dream cookie! (check our their blog-some really great baked good posts happening there!)

Here’s my recipe for these Chewy Apple Crisp Bars:

Crust:

1 cup flour

3/4Ā cup sugar

1 1/2Ā TBSP baking powder

Pinch of salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Dash nutmeg

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted

Combine all ingredients with a fork until combined. It should be crumbly.

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Press firmly into a sprayed 8″ square pan. Peel, core, andĀ very thinly slice 2 apples.Ā picture554

Lay the apples on top of the firmly packed crust until it covers the entire crust. Make crumb topping.

 

Crumb Topping:

1/4 cup cold butter (1/2 stick)

1/2Ā cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup flour

1 cup rolled oats

1 tsp cinnamon

Dash of nutmeg

Use your hand to incorporate these ingredients and squeeze it to warm up the butter and meld all the ingredients and flavors together. Mixture will still be crumbly, but moist. Sprinkle topping over the apples so that every last centimeter is covered. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Let cool and cut into bars.

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These chewy bars are totally enjoyable as is; but to kick it up another notch, I drizzled some homemade caramel sauce over the top of the warm bars.Ā Ā picture561

These were so good,Ā we didn’t want toĀ stop eating them!

 

*And here’s a trick for those of you who don’t keep a whole lot of baking supplies on hand… You can substitute the crust for 1/2 a box of vanilla cake mix! Just don’t add any eggs, oil, water, or any other wet ingredient, to it! Just put the dry mix in a bowl, add the cinnamon and nutmeg, and 1/4 cup of melted butter.

 

 

 

 

Blueberry Bliss

We were really bummed that our favoriteĀ serene little spot for you-pick blueberries wasn’t open to the public this year, we didn’t let that stop us from finding the next best thing. This was the view from the blueberry hill we picked from yesterday.

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I had some ‘professional’ blueberry pickers to help me fill my buckets!

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3 1/2 hours, and one sunburn later,Ā the 4 of usĀ had picked almost 28 pounds for my family and another 13 pounds for my mom! Don’t ask me how I was the only one that got sunburned… guess I was the ‘fairest’ one of all. lol. Anyway, we picked a whole lot of blueberries! I am still in the process of freezing them on trays and then transferring the frozen berries to bags to store in the freezer for future creations… but in the meantime, I pureed some blueberries to make something refreshing tonight!

While I am known for my baking, and I do have a lot of blueberry recipes to bake over the next year (here’s hoping myĀ almost 28Ā pounds of fresh Ā blueberries will make it a whole year before we run out again!), tonight I made somethingĀ prettyĀ unusual for me!

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A very refreshing BLUEBERRY MOJITO!! I mottled some mint with a little sugar, added my strained blueberry puree (I actually added some sugar to the blueberries when I pureed them, as they weren’t quite as sweet as last year’s haul… and I like things sweet!),Ā put in some blueberry rum, added aĀ good squirt of lime juice,Ā and then poured it over ice and added some sprite (NOT club soda… because, like I said,Ā I like things sweet!). IĀ gave it a good stir and added some whole blueberries for garnish. YUM!

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