Sunday, July 24, 2011

Toffee Cowboy Cookies

As a general rule at our house, we try to wait for weekends to bake goodies. And, this weekend? We wanted something GOOD, but needed it to be something with ingredients that were already in our cupboards. So I went for a Cowboy Cookie recipe, threw in some toffee bits, and voila!

1 c butter, softened
1 c brown sugar
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 c oats
1 c milk chocolate chips
1/2 c milk chocolate coated toffee chips

Cream the butter and sugars together until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla.

Sift flour, baking soda and powder, and salt together. Add to batter.

Stir in oats, chocolate chips, and toffee bits.

Spoon onto cookie sheet. Bake at 350 ° for 10-12 minutes.

Comments from the cook: Toffee has an amazing way of really jazzing up a cookie! I cooked these for just over 9 minutes, because I prefer cookies super-chewy instead of crispy. They turned out perfectly, though they always look like they might be underdone when they first come out.

As is usually the case, refrigerated dough will take a little bit longer to cook, but cooks up wonderfully also.

Original "Cowboy Cookie" recipe found in the Worldwide Ward Cookbook by Deanna Buxton (nuts omitted and toffee added). Some instructions/text taken from cookbook.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ice Cream Cake

My husband loves ice cream cake. So, this year, I decided to tackle one for his birthday. I found this recipe in an issue of the Food Network magazine, and it turned out wonderfully. Mine didn't look as glamorous as theirs, but that's something I can work on with more practice :)

2 1 1/2-quart containers vanilla ice cream
2 rows from a package of Oreos (white stuff removed and discarded)
1 (7 to 8oz) bottle Magic Shell ice cream topping
1 1 1/2-quart container chocolate ice cream
5 cups whipped cream (Cool Whip)
sprinkles (optional)
9-inch springform pan

Put springform pan in the freezer for 15 minutes. While it gets cold, allow one container of vanilla ice cream to soften at room temperature.

Remove springform pan from freezer, and proceed to spread a 1/2 inch thick layer of softened vanilla ice cream on the bottom and up the sides of the pan. (If the ice cream gets too soft, return to the freezer.) Freeze until firm, about 45 minutes.

In the meantime, pulse the Oreos in a food processor to break into large crumbs. Add the Magic Shell topping and pulse until the crumbs are moist, about 5 pulses; set aside.

Let the chocolate ice cream soften at room temperature, about 15 minutes. Spread over the vanilla layer, firmly packing the ice cream into the pan. Spread the chocolate crumb mixture over the chocolate ice cream. Freeze until set, about 1 hour.

Remove the remaining container vanilla ice cream from the freezer 15 minutes before assembling the final layer. Spread the ice cream over the crumb layer, packing it tightly, then smooth the top. Freeze until firm, about 2 hours.

To remove from springform pan, wipe the outside of the pan with a hot cloth, then run a hot knife around the inside; unlatch and remove the side. If the ice cream cake is too soft, refreeze 20 minutes.

Spread 3 cups whipped cream over the top and sides of the cake. Freeze until set, about 20 minutes. Put the remaining 2 cups whipped cream in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip; pipe along the top and bottom edges of the cake and decorate with sprinkles. Return to the freezer; remove 15 minutes before serving.

Slice with a hot knife.

This cake melts quite quickly after the assembly process, and was somewhat messy when sliced. It needed to be returned to the freezer immediately after slicing.

On day 2, however, the cake was solid and sliced much more cleanly (besides it being much colder and more difficult to get a knife through).

Comments from the cook: This was a hit! We shared it with Brian's family, and will be sure to find a group to share it with if we make it again. It makes a sizable cake!

After a bit of a miscommunication (my oops, Debby!), we ended up with whipping cream instead of Cool Whip for the frosting...and I tell you, it was an awesome mistake! I whipped up enough whipping cream (added a bit of powdered sugar to sweeten) for about 3 cups and then folded in some Cool Whip (about 2 cups) to balance the richness. In the end, it was fantastic...

Around here, we're just trying to figure out how to celebrate next year's birthdays a bit sooner! This one may become a tradition... 

Originally found here. (Most text and ingredient list taken from there.)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

HoHo Cake

I recently discovered this awesome recipe website, and found this beauty of a recipe. We tried it the other night, and it is everything you'd want from a HoHo cake :) It's super rich, really moist, and makes a HUGE pan full.

For the cake:
1 chocolate cake mix (original recipe calls for Devils Food)

For the white layer:
1 c butter
1/2 c milk
3 c powdered sugar
1 TBSP vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

For the chocolate frosting:
1/2 c butter
3/4 c cocoa
3 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
8-10 TBSP of water, added one at a time

Prepare cake mix according to directions and bake in a jelly roll pan (what we call a cookie sheet - with sides) at 350° for 15-20 minutes.

Remove from oven after it passes the clean toothpick test, and allow to cool for 30 minutes.

While it cools, prepare the white layer. Cream butter and gradually add milk and vanilla. Add powdered sugar and salt. Beat until mixture is thick and spreadable (mine needed a lot more powdered sugar...almost twice what the recipe called for). Spread on chocolate cake. Freeze for 15 minutes while you make the chocolate frosting.

For chocolate frosting, cream butter and vanilla. Add cocoa powder and powdered sugar (mixture will be dry and powdery). Add water 1 tablespoon at a time until frosting is smooth (mine took about 9 TBSP).

Serve chilled, and store leftovers in fridge.

Comments from the cook: I didn't have a chocolate cake mix on hand, so I got super ambitious desperate and made this one from scratch.

As mentioned previously, my white layer required almost 6 cups powdered sugar. The texture wasn't right, but I stuck with it (I didn't want to waste the butter!).

Other than that, this recipe was worth the steps, and we have really enjoyed the results!

Originally found here (ingredient lists and some text taken from her site...though my cake-stacking skills need some work to look like the original!)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bacon Tomato Capellini

Holy grown-up bacon recipe! I saw this recipe on Tasty Kitchen, and thought it sounded amazing. Grown-up food with bacon as a main ingredient?! How could it fail, really? Turns out, it couldn't. A.MAZ.ING.

1 pkg (16 0z) bacon
¼ c bacon grease (from the bacon you cook)
1 large can (28 oz) diced tomatoes (we prefer petite diced)
¼ c fresh basil, chopped
1 clove minced garlic
½ bunch green onions, chopped
1 tsp salt (optional)
1 box (16 oz) capellini or angel hair pasta

Fry bacon in a large frying pan until done, but not crispy. When finished, allow bacon to cool on a paper-towel-covered plate. (Reserve 1/4 cup of bacon grease.)

When bacon is cooled, tear or cut it into small pieces. Set aside.

Pour tomatoes into large bowl. Mix fresh basil in. Set aside.

Put 1/4 cup bacon grease back in pan, and heat to medium. Add minced garlic and green onions. Once garlic has turned to a tan color, add the bacon pieces. Saute at low heat for 10 minutes.

Pour in the bowl of tomatoes and basil. Stir together and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt if necessary.

Meanwhile, in a large pot, boil pasta. Drain noodles and set aside.

Right before serving, toss bacon/tomato sauce with noodles. Top with fresh Parmesan cheese.

Serves: 6-8

Comments from the cook: I made this dish on Sunday, and it was enough to eat for 3 nights! It is an excellent leftover, and reheats very well.

I didn't have green onions on hand when I made this, so I just used a dash or two of onion powder as a substitute.

We loved this, and will definitely be adding it to our recipe arsenal!

Originally found here, on this amazing recipe website.
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