Sunday, January 8, 2012

Salted Caramel Chocolate Rounds

So these are both beautiful and delicious. I made these for Christmas and gave them away to all of our friends! These were the sure favorite and I think it's because they're sort of off the beaten path as far as Christmas cookies go! The pictures for these also came out fabulous so Im very pleased all around. I decided to do something different with the pictures (aka make them square) This goes along with the collection of holiday goodies I made you can find links below:
Blueberry Gingerbread
Chocolate Strawberry Turnovers (SUPER easy, and a big hit!)
Red Velvet Cake
Salted Caramel Chocolate Rounds (probably the favorite amongst the masses)
Classic Sugar Cookies
Classic Spritz
A Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut cake which I ruined! But maybe I will post it anyway
My specialty: German Chocolate Pecan Pie which I already posted!


Salted Chocolate Caramel Rounds
Ingredients 

2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

36 rolos, unwrapped
1/2 package caramel bits (literally small round bits of chewy caramel that is meltable)
sea salt

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and ¼ teaspoon salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated and brown sugars. Beat until combined, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour mixture. Cover and chill 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.
2. Preheat oven to 375. Shape dough into 1 ½-inch balls. Press a caramel into each ball and shape dough around caramel to enclose. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 8 to10 minutes or until edges are firm. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool completely.
3. In a microwaveable measuring glass melt caramel bits, microwave in 30 minute intervals, stirring in between until melted. Make sure to watch carefully, the caramel will start to bubble and overflow (happened to me!). Using a fork, drizzle caramel over cookies then immediately sprinkle with salt. Allow to set for about 2 hours.





Monday, January 2, 2012

Chicken Cordon Bleu


Yay finally a post that isn't dessert! Although the next several probably will be as I still need to catch up from Christmas, this will be a nice break! This recipe is out of "Now Eat This", a cook book by Rocco Dispirito, that features classic dishes majorly lightened up. So yay! You don't have to feel bad about eating this one, I sure never do. And its so good, better even then any other chicken cordon bleu I've ever had!











I should note that being short on time, I didn't follow directions exactly. I have made this before and followed the exact directions though so I am still going to include those. I will tell you the adjustments I made (as an FYI and if you're ever short on time because it still gave the same effect!) in the directions section as well.

Chicken Cordon Bleu
Ingredients:
1/2 cup evaporated skim milk 
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
salt and pepper
4 chicken cutlets pounded very thin
3 ounces thinly sliced lean deli ham
1/3 cup whole wheat flour (had to use all purpose because I was out, worked just fine)
1 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 eggs

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. On a cutting board covered with plastic, lay out the pounded chicken. Arrange ham slices on the chicken. In a small sauce pan, mix together the skim milk and cornstarch. Stir frequently until thickened, then add the cheese. At this point the mixture should be very thick and sticky (see pictures). The original recipe says to pour the cheese in plastic and freeze. I skipped this step because I felt it was solid enough. I spooned the cheese mixture on to the chicken.
2. Next roll up the chicken starting at the narrowest side. Use toothpicks to secure. In 3 seperate bowls, add the eggs, flour, and panko. Dip the chicken first in the flour, then the egg, followed by the panko. Place in a shallow baking dish sprayed with Pam. Bake for 40 minutes.



Served with rice and sugared, buttered carrots; the gravy on the chicken was good, my mom made it from a packet, which I'm sure you can easily find at the super market.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Easy Strawberry Chocolate Turnovers


My mom and I made these last minute Christmas morning! They were super easy and quick! I need to get better about this because I do not have a picture of them after they were baked. Im sorry! I didn't have time and then everyone finished them off! They were quite good I assure you! No one would guess how easy they were... except I just told you, oh well!

For this recipe is pretty lenient. You can decide how much of each ingredient you put in the turnovers. Its pretty simple, but I'll do a step by step process with the pictures and then write the recipe below!

Roll out the thawed out puff pastry dough and cut to make 4 inch squares. We stretched ours out a bit; you can definitely get more out of each roll than you'd think
 Spread each square with cream cheese
 Then plop a dollop of strawberry jam on each
Lastly sprinkle with chocolate chips, now you're ready to fold em up!
 Fold over to make a triangle and use a fork to press the sides together
voila!

Strawberry Chocolate Turnovers
Ingredients:
1 17.3 ounce package of frozen puff pastry sheets (should be 2 sheets) thawed out
8 ounces of cream cheese or mascarpone cheese
8 ounce jar of strawberry jam (or another flavor)
1 bag of milk chocolate chips
1 egg, beaten (optional) if you wish to seal the turnovers with it; we didn't
*not all of the ingredients will be used completely, its ultimately your decision how much you use. Some people may like more chocolate, some more jam!

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, or spray with cooking spray. On a floured work surface, spread the puff pastry dough (stretching if possible). Cut into 4 inch squares. 
2. In a small bowl whip cream cheese to an easy-to-spread consistency. Spread a layer of cream cheese evenly on each square. I should mention here that the one thing I didn't like about these was that when baked the cream cheese had a curdled appearance. You couldn't taste it and no one seemed to notice but for appearance sake you may want to mix with the jam first before spreading just as a thought. 
3. Using a small spoon, put about a half tablespoon sized dollop of jam on each square. Dont spread as if will get messy! Then sprinkle each with chocolate chips (however many you desire).
4. To fold, fold at a diagonal line so that the turnover is triangular in shape. Use a fork to seal the edges. If desired brush with egg.
5. Transfer to prepared baking sheets and bake 16 minutes until golden. 


Heres a list of the other things I made this Holiday. Will add links as I post!
Blueberry Gingerbread
Chocolate Strawberry Turnovers (SUPER easy, and a big hit!)
Red Velvet Cake
Salted Caramel Chocolate Rounds (probably the favorite amongst the masses)
Classic Sugar Cookies
Classic Spritz
A Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut cake which I ruined! But maybe I will post it anyway
My specialty: German Chocolate Pecan Pie which I already posted!