Tag Archives: sugar

Girl Scouts Thin Mint Chocolate Mousse Pie

Girl Scouts Thin Mint Chocolate Mousse Pie

This Girl Scouts thin mint chocolate mousse pie is absolutely delicious!  The oh so chocolaty mousse is light and lucious and melts in your mouth. The texture’s of the pie are undenialbly one of my favorite aspects of the pie. It goes from the cool, silky mousse to the crunchy cookie crumble in the crust with subtle hints of mint.

Although you do bake the thin mint crust for a mere 8 minutes, this is a no-bake, no fuss, chocolate mousse filling. The crunchie crust is made with puréed Girl Scout Cookies, butter and sugar. In the same food processor that the thin mint cookies were just puréed, the chocolate mousse starts off with mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, vanilla, and a pinch of salt.  Then boiling heavy cream is streamed into the opening at the top to melt the chips as they spin into a smooth and creamy chocolate delight. This chocolate is cooled to room temperature and folded into whipped heavy cream for the finale. It’s one of those special dessert’s that’s so uncomplicated you’ll find yourself making it more than just once.

Having my daughter’s Girl Scout troop in my kitchen making this thin mint chocolate mousse pie was so much fun! We are very fortunate for our wonderful leader, Jen Swenson, who is generous with her efforts and time with the troop. It’s one of those precious things in life that the girls will treasure always.

Those of you who love the good ole mint-chocolate flavors will go crazy for this dessert. Those of you who aren’t partial to that flavor combo might be surprised how suble and sweet the thin mint crust is …tamed by the butter maybe! And like I told Maisy in the show, you can always just eat the chocolate mousse middle!

If you are looking for some appetizer’s to start off this Girl Scouts Thin Mint Chocolate Mousse Pie extravaganza you should try my Salsa 101 or Best Guacamole Ever!  Maybe you are more in the mood for Zucchini Torta or a main dish like one of my all time favorite’s Stuffed Peppers or Chicken Piccata…both dishes you’ll add to your week day meals once you have your first bite! Enjoy! 🙂

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Ingredients for Girl Scouts Thin Mint Crust Pre-Heat oven to 350º :

  • 28 Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies – 1 3/4 sleeve …(a few left over for nibbling on)
  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 10″ pie plate, or 9″ spring form pan, OR 9″ pie plate & cups for the extra chocolate mousse you will have

Directions for the Girl Scouts Thin Mint Crust:

  1. Melt 5 tbsp butter, set aside
  2. Add 28 cookies to the food processor and pulse 3-4 times until they are a fine crumb
  3. Pour in melted butter and 2 tbsp sugar and pulse 10 seconds to combine
  4. Turn out crumb mixture into a 10″ pie plate, or 9″ spring form pan
  5. NOTE: If you only have a 9″ pie plate NO WORRIES just add the excess chocolate mousse to cups or glasses, topping with cookies crumble and set the same in the frig for 4-6 hours or even freeze for a later date!
  6. Press cookie crumb mixture all along the bottom and up the edges of the pie dish forming the crust
  7. Put the pie crust into a 350º oven for 8 minutes
  8. Take out and completely cool

Ingredients for Chocolate Mousse:

  • 3 cups heavy cream – 2 cups for whipping the heavy cream/ 1 cup for melting the chocolate chips in the food processor
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 bag mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions for the Chocolate Mousse:

  1. Wipe thin mint cookie crumbs out of food processor and add mini chocolate chips
  2. Add vanilla and pinch of salt
  3. Add 1 cup heavy cream to small sauce pan and bring to a boil
  4. Place cover on food processor, turn on and slowly add hot cream thru opening at top
  5. Keep it running for about 20-30 seconds until chips are melted and creamy
  6. Empty out into a bowl to cool, only cool to room temperature NOT COLD because the chocolate will solidify and it will be difficult to fold into the whipped cream
  7. When chocolate is close to room temp add 2 cups heavy cream to a large glass bowl with 1/4 cup sugar and begin to whisk with electric beater
  8. Whisk the cream until stiff peaks, 3-5 minutes
  9. Fold 1/2 cup at a time of the room temp chocolate into the whipped cream until there’s none left
  10. Pour out chocolate mousse into the COMPLETELY cooled baked pie crust and smooth out top with a offset spatula
  11. Sprinkle thin mint cookie crumble over the top and place into the frig for 4-6 hours
  12. Slice and serve with whipped cream…yum!

Fresh Garden Tomato Sauce

Fresh Garden Tomato Sauce

When the aroma from your fresh garden tomato sauce smells exactly like a tomato plucked right out of your garden on a sultry summer day you know you have the right recipe! With all the beautiful weather we have had this summer everyone has an abundance of produce coming out of their garden’s. What a better way to dive right in and try your hand at making your very own tomato sauce. And when you taste how delicious the puréed tomatoes are as a raw sauce you may just stop right there. After that first taste of the raw tomato sauce there might not be any left over to go to the next simmering step!

I was very excited when some friend’s of mine, Becky and Mike, offered up a large bag of their fresh garden plum tomatoes. I knew I wanted to make fresh garden tomato sauce with them right off the bat. This is a bit nastalgic for me because it reminds me of when my mother used to make fresh garden tomato sauce for us when I was young.

It’s really an easy process of peeling, seeding and then puréeing the tomatoes with some sautéed onions and garlic. The more tomatoes you have the longer it well take but it’s so worth it. The fact that you can freeze the sauce for a later date makes it all worth while! What I love about making this fresh garden tomato sauce, other then the fact that it smells utterly amazing, is it’s just as delicious eating it raw as cooked. In fact, when I make this I can’t decide which I like better so I continue on to make both cause it’s so darn simple to do that once you are in the process.

Once you see how easy to make your own sauce it may become a new family staple for you. You just might get inspired to make it a family affair having everyone join in to make homemade gnocchi or zucchini pasta too. Don’t forget the gourmet Caesar salad and then of course there’s an amazing ricotta pie or go for the death by chocolate meringue pie!

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Ingredients:

  • 91 fresh garden tomatoes OR as many as you have
  • 1 tbsp sea salt, LESS if you have a smaller amount of plum tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp finely ground pepper
  • 5 lg fresh basil leaves
  • 1 lg dried bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup red wine – for the simmered sauce
  • 1 tsp finely ground Italian seasoning
  • 1 small Vadalia onion finely chopped
  • 4 extra lg OR 6 medium size garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup white wine to de-glaze the sautéed onions and garlic

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil adding in 1 tbsp of salt
  2. Core the stem side of all your tomatoes
  3. Get a large bowl of ice water ready to put the tomatoes in after you blanch them
  4. Add plum tomatoes to boiling water, 25-30 at a time and blanch for 30-45 seconds, it’s totally fine if it goes past 45 seconds cause it’s going to take you a minute or two to scoop the tomatoes out
  5. Remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and submerse into the ice water
  6. Repeat until you have gone thru all your tomatoes
  7. Begin to remove the loosened skins from the tomatoes then placing into another bowl as you go
  8. Cut or tear tomatoes in half with your hands and remove most of the seeds putting pulp in one bowl and tomato flesh in another
  9. Spoon off any excess water that rises to the top of the bowl with all the tomato flesh
  10. Sauté chopped onion and garlic cloves til tranlucent
  11. De-glaze onions and garlic with 1/4 cup white wine
  12. Let the alcohol burn off and reduce slightly
  13. Begin to purée tomatoes and sauteed onions in the food processor in batches
  14. Add the puréed tomatoes/onions back into the large pan that you blanched the tomatoes in as you go along
  15. When done puréeing add salt and pepper to taste and voilà there is your raw sauce
  16. FOR RAW SAUCE: top pasta with raw sauce and sprinkle some fresh julienned basil, Parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  17. FOR COOKED SAUCE: Put the pot of puréed tomatoes/onion back on the stove and add in the 5 extra lg fresh basil leaves, bay leaf, sugar, Italian spices, red wine and simmer for 1-2 hours…mangia mangia!!

Easy Icebox Dinner Rolls

Easy Icebox Dinner Rolls

Laura, my loyal friend and follower making the icebox rolls for the holidays!

2014 – Laura, my loyal friend and follower making the icebox rolls for the holidays!

There’s nothing better than the aromas of homemade fresh baked bread, sweet onion and rosemary to wet the appetite! I was thrilled to find this icebox dinner roll recipe about fifteen years ago and have been making them ever since. The recipe card was from “easytobake” and I have tried to access their website but it doesn’t exist anymore. I have made many different bread dough’s in my life, kneading by hand, proofing, kneading again and it can all be exhausting. The whole idea behind icebox dough is that kneading is not necessary. The flavor and soft, tender texture develops as it proofs right in the refrigerator. Once you see how easy it is to make these melt in your mouth icebox dinner rolls you may never pick up store bought rolls again.

Laura making the icebox rolls for her 2015 Thanksgiving!

Laura making the icebox rolls for her 2015 Thanksgiving!

I have added lots of chopped green onion and fresh rosemary in my rolls but they are just as delicious plain too! It takes all of fifteen minutes to make this dough and can be made up to 4 days ahead. The dough stays in the refrigerator, hence the name “icebox” rolls. You take the dough out of the frig the morning of your dinner party. It get’s formed into dough balls mixing in chopped green onion and fresh rosemary. Then the rolls get lined up on a buttery baking tray and back into the frig.  Two hours before you want to serve the homemade icebox dinner rolls you take them out of the frig and let them rise for an hour and a half to two hours. When they have doubled in size, give them an egg wash for a little shine, then bake.

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Hope you enjoy these scrumptious “easy icebox dinner rolls” as much as our family and friends do.  They will be asking you for the recipe for sure! These homemade dinner rolls aren’t just for holidays they are great for any day. Try them with my turkey stuffed peppers where you can dunk them in the sauce and pepper juices, the Au Jus in my Boeuf Bourguignon, or Bolognese Sauce. After all this savoriness you may need a chocolate fix with my perfectly chocolate chocolate cake or for a light and refreshing sweet try this amazing Pavlova!

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Ingredients: Makes 24 Dinner Rolls

  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 packets active dry yeast (NOT rapid rise)
  • 1 cup warm water (105 -115 degrees)
  • 3 lg eggs (if you use extra large eggs you will need to add a little more flour to compensate)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 2 bunches of green onions chopped to 1/8″ pieces -(from white/greenish part to ends)
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1/3 stick room temp butter to coat the cookie tray or inside of the 10″x 15″ baking dish

Directions:  

  1. Using a KitchenAid mixer OR lg mixing bowl pour in the 2 packets of yeast then add in 1 cup of 105º – 110 º  water.
  2. Then add 1 Tbsp of sugar (from the 1/2 of cup of sugar that you add later) now because it feeds the yeast and really gets it activated.
  3. Let this sit for about 5 minutes and you will see it get foamy.
  4. Add in the eggs, melted butter, sugar, and salt and whisk- make sure the butter is not hot because it can kill the yeast if too hot
  5. Begin to beat in a 1/2 cup of flour at a time using the whisk the whole time until the dough gets too stiff to mix.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, place the big ball of dough into a large Ziploc baggy and put it into the refrigerator for 2 hours…. up to 4 days.
  7. When you are ready to make the rolls just cut the dough right out of the zip lock with scissors nice and easy…..then turn out the chilled dough onto a floured work surface and divide equally into 24 pieces with a pastry scraper
  8. Roll each piece into a ball then firmly push into the pile of chopped green onion and freshly chopped rosemary and re-roll into a ball again. You can keep some of the rolls plain.
  9. Coat 4 Tbsp of softened butter all over a cookie tray with 1/2″ sides or a 10″ x 15″ baking dish for taller rolls
  10. Place the dough balls into the buttered baking tray, cover with Saran wrap and let them rise for 1-2 hours depending how warm your kitchen is (they need to dbl in size) OR you can put them back into the frig until 1 1/2 hours before you need them then take them rolls back out of the frig and let them begin to rise and double in size
  11. Pre-Heat the oven to 375º
  12. Whisk 1 whole egg with 1 tbsp water and brush a good coating onto the rolls after they rise and before putting them into the oven
  13. Bake for 13-18 minutes until a dark golden color…it depends how warm the rolls got while rising so you’ll need to peak at them to see if they’re golden yet.

 TIP:   It’s a good idea to warm the stainless steel mixing bowl by running hot water into it before you begin so the cold bowl doesn’t take the necessary temperature of the water down.

Best Blueberry Pie!

Best Blueberry Pie!

There’s nothing like fresh blueberries simmering in a buttery, flaky pie crust with aromatic fruit juices getting bubbly and syrupy. It’s tough to let this mouth watering concoction cool for three hours when all you really want to do is scoop some vanilla ice cream over a slice letting the cream melt onto the crispy crust and gooey berries submerging oneself into pie heaven! This might just be the perfect dessert bite!

There are recipes out there that have you use flour as a thickener in some fruit pies but with this best blueberry pie recipe I think it’s important to use cornstarch. Blueberries release so much juice the best one for the job is cornstarch. You can add orange zest or lemon zest to brighten up the flavors and then there’s always cinnamon or nutmeg. Blueberries happen to be one of my favorite fruits and I feel that they are already flavorful enough so I only add one tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to balance everything out. Blueberries are also considered to be one of the healthiest fruits out there offering up one of the highest levels of antioxidants of all fruits and vegetables so I think it’s a win-win here!

Cutting out decorative leaf shapes (or what ever shape you like) from the top sheet of pie crust is a no brainer for me because it’s so gosh darn easy to do, it looks like you spent all day on it and it’s very forgiving. When it bakes in the oven getting golden, crispy and slightly shiny from brushing on the egg wash it’s going to look and taste amazing no matter what!

This best blueberry pie recipe might just become your decadent dessert ritual for your holiday dinners! Making the “perfect pie crust in 5 minutes” a week or two ahead of time and popping it into the freezer until you need it is a great way to cut down on some of the work that’s involved in throwing a Thanksgiving dinner or any holiday feast for that matter. If you get ambitious you iphone pictures 2419can always add a chocolate pecan pie into the mix. To help save some time with the side dishes you might try these roasted brussel spouts. They are so delicious roasted like this you’ll never eat them any other way. Have fun and enjoy 🙂

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 1/2 cups blueberries (that’s after you have sorted thru bad berries…start with 5 cups to have enough)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 corn starch
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cut up cold butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream
  • “Perfect Pie Crust in 5 Minutes!” recipe
  • Parchment paper for rolling out pie dough
  • 1 1/2 ” – 2″ pie leaf cut outs or what ever shape cookie cutter you want to dress the top of the pie with instead of using a whole sheet of pie crust dough

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Trace the edge of the pie plate onto both pieces of parchment paper
  2. Roll out 1/2 of the pie crust at a time in between two pieces of parchment with circle drawing on the outside
  3. When the dough is rolled out to approx 1/8″ thick and the proper circle size flip pie dough over with parchment paper into pie plate
  4. Gently fit pie dough into dish without pushing down hard and place into the fridge
  5. Wash and dry blueberries, picking through them to remove any under and over ripe berries and stems
  6. Place berries in a large bowl and add 1/4 cup corn starch, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/8 tsp salt and juice from 1/2 lemon and toss until coated
  7. Put the bowl of blueberries into the fridge
  8. Roll out the other pie dough disc and cut out leaf shapes or what ever shape you want to be the top layer of the pie
  9. Lay down a piece of parchment on a cookie sheet with a sprinkle of flour and place leaf cut outs onto the cookie sheet
  10. Put leaf cut outs into the fridge
  11. Take out pie dish with pie dough from fridge and crimp edges
  12. Pour the blueberries into the pie dish and back into the fridge
  13. Whisk 1 egg with 1 tbsp of heavy cream
  14. Take the leaf cut-outs on the cookie sheet from the fridge and brush with the egg wash
  15. Take the blueberries in the pie dish out of the fridge and dot the pie with 1  1/2 tbsp of cut up cold butter
  16. Begin to place leaf cut-outs on top of the blueberries. Go along the edge of pie all around and then work your way in (you only need to gently push a couple of the edges of the leaf to crimped edges of the pie and to each leaf
  17. Put the pie back into the fridge for 15 minutes while you pre-heat oven to 400º
  18. Place blueberry pie on the cookie sheet that has a piece of parchment covering the bottom in case of spillage and pop into the oven for 30 minutes
  19. Turn the oven down to 350º and bake for another 40 minutes until a golden crust and juices are bubbly
  20. You must let cool 3 hours so the blueberry juicy can thicken properly
  21. Serve with your best vanilla ice cream and you will be one happy camper! 🙂

 

My MasterChef Sauces

My MasterChef Sauces

masterchefpicThe creation of these MasterChef sauces. a spicy, sweet and sour mango and a ginger-peanut sesame sauce, all began while surfing the net a few weeks ago, I accidentally ran into the MasterChef homepage advertising “Casting calls are coming soon to a city near you”.  My kids, Reilly and Bella were there at the time and enthusiastically shouted, “you should do it”! I think what sealed the deal was reading the “Come and meet the MasterChef casting team for your chance to be on the show!” The excitement started to seep in and I began to seriously consider going to the New York City MasterChef open call. If anything, I knew it would be a step in the right direction and a great learning experience let alone the adrenaline of it all!

After sending in their required online pre-registration form and printing out the nine page hard copy form to be submitted at the casting call I thought it would be a good idea to look over the FAQ page. The FAQ’s certainly had a list of what to do and what not to do. The “to do’s” started off like this:  First, bring one prepared dish to serve to their food judges. Second,  we would be given 3 minutes to plate our dish at their casting call location and for some reason I had initially thought I had 5 minutes to plate so that was a bit of an eye opener! Third, there wouldn’t be a kitchen to cook or warm our dish up so we were to come prepared! Fourth, we are to supply our own dishes, utensils, etc.

The “do not do’s went like this:  no air mattresses, no alcoholic beverages, no animals (unless health related), no candles, no cans or bottles (except water bottles), no chairs that do not fold (i.e. lawn chairs, chaise lounges, molded plastic chairs), no digital or still cameras, no fireworks, no hair dryers, no illegal drugs, no tents, no video, cameras or camcorders of any kind, no weapons of any kind, no children under the age of 13 years are allowed at the audition venues. There you have it!

Well OK,  I had a little organizing to do and a plate to figure out for my MasterChef casting call debut! I really wanted to wow them! The part about the “NO kitchen” and “come prepared” got me to thinking that a cold dish of some sort might be a wise way to go! An appetizer is probably the most logical then, right? Yes that’s it, it came to me.  I would make my “Fresh Shrimp and Chive Rolls” with the new MasterChef sauces that I have created which I can decorate the plate with. A julienne of daikon radish, carrots and a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds with micro herbs for some pizzaz would add in the finishing touches. I also thought I needed to add in some height so I came up with baked egg roll shells that I form in a cup cake pan. I got this idea from my “Bloody Mary shrimp and Mango-Curry Shrimp in Wonton cups at Nancy’s Show” except I decided to use egg rolls shells instead of won-ton because they are a little bit lighter.

Now that I knew what I was going to make I thought I would practice my plate decorating with my MasterChef Sauces by shooting it in this weeks show so I could share this fun experience with all of you! It was definitely a lot of work to do this and go to the casting call but I did it! It was an awesome experience being there and the “MasterChef team” was pretty dynamite. They had everything down to a science and moved around with ease offering up a very warm welcome to all the competitors. I am super glad that I took Reilly and Bella’s advice on going for this.

I kicked you know what with my dish and the plating. I went there and did exactly what I set out to do with my presentation with 8 or so seconds left before they yelled “TIMES UP”! That part I have to say was such a RUSH because it reminded me of chopped!!! I was then the first to be called back in with 8 others for that first plate presentation part from our first group of 30 plating competitors.  I might be over thinking all of this a little, but I was so tired from preparing the food and shooting the show I feel as though I forgot to prep myself on what exactly to say about “me” when they pulled us 8 into interview. Although, I had them laughing a bit. I got the feeling what was more important to them was the person who said the right things in that second interviewing, more character not food ability. Gods only knows I do have lots of that so if it doesn’t work out this time I NOW know what they want next time around! I still have to wait until the end of October to see if I hear from them (they are still traveling to other states). I had an incredible time and will keep you all posted. Thank you all for your support, it means a lot! Hope you enjoy “My MasterChef Sauces” Show! 

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Ingredients for Ginger-Peanut Sesame Sauce:

  • 3 tbsp smooth peanut butter (Teddy’s All Natural)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp wasabi powder
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2-1 tsp Siracha (can find this next to Tabasco products)
  • 1 whole lime
  • 1 tbsp corn starch dissolved in 3 tbsp pineapple juice – Use 1 1/2 tsp of this 
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp half and half

Directions for Ginger-Peanut Sesame Sauce:

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl (EXCEPT corn starch mixture) and whisk
  2. Squeeze only 1/2 of the lime in at this point
  3. Add to medium pan over medium/high bring to a low simmer – whisking constantly this will be about 2-3 minutes
  4. When this begins to thicken turn down to med/low and add in 1 1/2 tsp of corn starch mixture and keep whisking- this will be about 3-4 minutes
  5. Remove from stove and cool
  6. When cooled add in 2 tbsp half and half and a squeeze of the other half of the lime and whisk briefly til smooth
  7. Add to ramekins for a dipping sauce or put into squeeze bottle to decorate plate with

Ingredients for Spicy, Sweet and Sour Mango Sauce:

  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup mango
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tsp Siracha
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp corn starch dissolved in 3 tbsp water
  • 1 lemon

Directions for Spicy, Sweet and Sour Mango Sauce:

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl except the corn starch mixture
  2. Whisk til combined – use juice from 1/2 lemon here
  3. Add to a medium size pan over med/high heat and bring to a low simmer to melt sugar – 3 minutes
  4. Add in corn starch and keep whisking at a low simmer til the mixture is transparent again and thickened – 5 more minutes
  5. Mash Mango pieces into sauce with a fork
  6. Remove from heat and press thru a sieve into a bowl and let cool completely (can add a little squeeze of the other half of the lemon if too thick)
  7. Pour into ramekins for dipping or put in a squeeze bottle to draw on plates …have fun decorating!

Homemade Chocolate Pecan Pie at Barbara’s

Homemade Chocolate Pecan Pie at Barbara’s

barbarapieBarbara’s homemade chocolate pecan pie is like nothing you’ve had before. Not only do you get that gooey texture with a hint of nutty caramel because it’s a pecan pie but a chocolaty finish slides right on in and makes you say wow! Gooey, nutty, caramel, chocolate …need I say MORE?  In fact, it is plenty chocolaty so if you wanted to nibble on those “special dark” Hershey’s chocolate chips while you are making the pie feel free it wouldn’t make the pie any less delicious.

When Barbara first delivered her scrumptious homemade pecan pie to my house I was beside myself. I just couldn’t believe my eyes and with an invitation to her Christmas Eve party to top it off which she also cooks for. I later found out that she makes seventy pies that get hand delivered with the invite to her party. It all began fifteen years ago at a surprise party her husband Peter threw for her where stories evolved of first meetings with Barbara and her gifts of homemade chocolate pecan pie. From that point on the pie numbers grew and it now totals out at around 72 pies.

This gourmet chocolate pecan pie of Barbara’s has become a tradition for many of the families on her pie list that wait in anticipation of her delivery in order to take the pie to their relatives on Christmas Day. This pie freezes extremely well and slicing it before freezing making for easy removal without having to thaw the whole pie is ideal. I must say though eating my slice right out of the freezer before it thaws is my new favorite way…wait til you try it!

Barbara is very busy in the month of December when all the pies get baked and delivered. She does get things going back in September though putting in an order for a twenty-two pound box of pecans from Georgia which arrive around Thanksgiving time. Then the whole process takes off from the chopping of the pecans in the food processor,  measuring exact amounts placed into baggies and stored in the frig , to purchasing large bottles of Karo syrup that are shelved until needed and so on until December is upon her and the baking begins.

IMG_4416This truly is a labor of love for Barbara and I’m very grateful to have become a part of this amazing tradition and see first hand how inspirational she is. You can see for yourself and hear some of the extremely funny stories that go along with Barbara’s pie making in my “Homemade Chocolate Pecan Pie Show” above. I hope you enjoy the show and now you too can make this blueberrypiehomemade chocolate pecan pie part of your family tradition. If you have the time and are only making a pie or two you can check out my “Perfect Pie Crust In 5 Minutes Recipe” or even myBest Blueberry Pie!recipe if you are looking to have a second pie 😉

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Ingredients – Pre-Heat oven to 375º:

  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans (on the finer side but NOT a powder)
  • handful pecan halves for decoration
  • 6 oz. HERSHEY’S Special Dark chocolate chips (full bag for 2 pies)
  • 1 cup light Karo corn syrup -NOTE: Spraying the inside of measuring cup with Pam vegetable or coconut oil will help the Karo syrup ease out (full bottle of Karo for 2 pies)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup melted butter and cooled to ROOM TEMPERATURE or LUKE WARM
  • 1 1/2 Tsp pure vanilla
  • 4 lg eggs lightly beaten (WITHOUT any frothiness occurring)
  • 1 pkg. Pillsbury Prepared Pie Crusts ROOM TEMPERATURE@ (2 crusts inside)
  • 1 tsp all purpose flour
  • 1 – 9″ deep dish pie plate

Directions:

  1. Sprinkle 1 tsp of flour onto the bottom of the pie plate just to act as a light coating
  2. Lay out room temperature pie dough into pie plate and form edges like a scallop shell as shown in show above
  3. In a large bowl mix luke warm butter and sugar to combine with a whisk
  4. Add in Karo Syrup and vanilla to the butter/sugar mixture and combine with a whisk
  5. Lastly, add in already whisked eggs and gently whisk to combine only – Don’t want froth
  6. Mix in chocolate chips and ground pecans and mix with a spatula
  7. Pour into pie shell
  8. Decorate the top of the pie with pecan halves
  9. Add rim covering on top of pie so crust does not burn
  10. Bake for 55-60 minutes
  11. Let cool slightly, slice and serve with bourbon, scotch, wine, coffee or milk…oh and also great with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream 😉
  12. Freezes incredibly well- make sure to cut into slices before you freeze for easy removal. In fact, I love the texture of having the chocolate pecan pie right out of the freezer without thawing! – you should try it this way 🙂

 

Crazy Good Candied Pecans

Crazy Good Candied Pecans

Crazy Good Candied Pecans

This crazy good candied pecan recipe came from a golfing friend, Denise, who brought them to the annual Christmas party years ago and I have been making them ever since.  They make for a wonderful holiday treat and certainly don’t last very long when you put them out.   If you want any for yourself you may have to stash some away.  The candied pecans are very addictive and everyone will be asking you for the recipe.  In fact, I did have some requests so I promised to get the recipe out this week…..enjoy!

During the holiday season I make several batches of these pecans and give them as party favors and Christmas gifts in decorative bags with pretty ribbon and everyone goes crazy for them. Hence, the name “Crazy Good Candied Pecans”. Don’t miss my YouTube show “Crazy Good Candied Pecans” on how to make these addictive little morsels.

If you want some appetizer’s to have before these treats check out baked asparagus wrapped in Prosciutto, roasted garlic bean dip, buffalo chicken dip, or spanakopita and end with chewy chocolate chip cookies to go with the candied pecans!

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 Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of whole pecans
  • 1 extra lg egg white
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp salt

Directions: 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 275º.
  2. Beat egg white and water in a large bowl until frothy (not stiff) with a fork or whisk
  3. Add pecans and mix to coat.
  4. Then add the last 3 ingredients and stir until coated.
  5. Coat the cookie sheet with 2 tbsp room temp butter to lightly cover the bottom, then spread the pecans onto the coated cookie sheet in an even layer
  6. Take out to stir pecans around at the 25 minute mark and then gently shake pan to evenly distribute pecans on tray and back into the oven
  7. Bake for total of 55 minutes – til fragrant
  8. Take the pecans out of oven and run a spatula under the pecans to loosen them from the tray and then let the pecans cool right on the same baking tray
  9. When the candied pecans are completely cooled up can package them up…enjoy!

 

Cake That Won’t Last

Cake That Won’t Last

″Cake that won’t last″ is the perfect name for this dessert and when you make it you will understand why. This recipe came my dear foodie friend Christine. She is a great cook and whips up dishes like me in the “old school” self taught way of culinary cooking by taste and instinct, without recipes! Christine is one of my friends who graciously throws outrageous cooking parties where laughter and smiles are always in abundance.

This “cake that won’t last” is more like a bread pudding that does a great job of holding together in an actual slice. So it is a little messy…it’s not like a perfect slicing cake and when you taste it you be very happy with exactly how it is. You don’t even need a Kitchen Aid Mixer with this cake…it’s all mixed easily by hand. Adding a good vanilla ice cream, one in particular that I really like is Hood “Homemade Vanilla” which goes great with this bread-pudding-cake making it even more indulgent! This is a great dinner party cake and your guests will never know how easy it was.

You may want to start with some appetizers on the lighter side like sea scallop ceviche, bacon wrapped scallops or maybe mussels in a fennel & lemon grass sauce, and for dinner…how about my grilled Asian salmon with cold asparagus salad, sautéed chicken and fresh spinach, chicken roulades with roasted garlic and cannelini bean purée, or sea bass with green goddess sauce.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup chopped up banana
  • 1 cup canned crushed pineapple with juice
  • 1 cup mandarin oranges with juice (if mandarin pieces are whole cut in 3’s)
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 Tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 1 Tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tsp cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350º
  2. Butter and flour a bunt cake pan
  3. Put all the dry ingredients into a large mixing, set aside
  4. Put all the wet ingredients in another large bowl and gently whisk just to combine
  5. Add add the wet into the dry and using a spatula begin to stir to combine ingredients
  6. Put bunt cake pan onto a cookie sheet and place into the oven for 1 hour
  7. Place a piece of foil over the top after about 40 minutes so it doesn’t burn
  8. Take out and let cool 10 minutes
  9. Run a bendy pastry knife around the edges of the bunt pan to loosen it up
  10. Lay a large cake dish over the bunt pan and flip the cake over
  11. This cake is very moist and has bread pudding-like consistency so there may be some cake stuck to the bottom of the bunt pan after you flip the cake out…no worries just scrape any crispy or gooey parts off gently and put back onto cake top where it may be missing and you will also be sprinkling confectioners sugar over it
  12. Put confectioner sugar into a sieve or fine mesh strainer and sprinkle onto cake
  13. I like to serve this warm a la mode with Hood “Homemade Vanilla” ice cream

 

Broccoli Slaw

Broccoli Slaw

In this recipe I am using pre-pakaged broccoli slaw from the store.  Sure you can shred it yourself but sometimes with all our hectic schedules running here and there it’s nice to be able to take a short cut and still have great taste.  Cole dressing is super simple as you will see below. I upped the mayo to 1/3 cup from 1/4 and the sugar from 2 tbsp to 3 tbsp because I like it a little saucier but I will leave that up to you!

You really ought to try my EASY Pulled pork sliders with this slaw and don’t forget the homemade BBQ sauce with Bourbon….outrageous!

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Ingredients – NOTE For a LITTLE LIGHTER SAUCE USE 1/4 CUP MAYO AND 2 TBSP SUGAR:

  • 4  cups broccoli Slaw (you can buy pkg slaw at the store)
  • 1/3 cup mayo ( I use Hellmans only)
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tsp Siracha or Tabasco (Siracha is a hot chili sauce sold next to Tabasco at the store)
  • S & P

Directions:

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a bowl, mix and serve.
  2. This slaw goes great with my Easy Pulled Pork Sliders done nice and easy in a crock pot.
  3. And if you have a little extra time you can add a Green Goddess Sauce to the sandwich that can actually be done a couple days ahead and while you are at it don’t forget the Homemade BBQ Sauce!