Friday, August 30, 2013

No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

Even though it doesn't get very hot in the Seattle area in the summer, it still heats up my house when I turn on the oven. And without an air conditioner, I can't cool it off. I have really been trying not to use the oven on warm days. These are just the kind of summer dessert that I can make and they really couldn't be any easier.

No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars
allrecipes.com
1 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter

1. In a medium bowl, mix together the butter or margarine, graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, and 1 cup peanut butter until well blended. Press evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 inch pan.
2. In a metal bowl over simmering water, or in the microwave, melt the chocolate chips with the peanut butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Spread over the prepared crust. Refrigerate for at least one hour before cutting into squares.

Monday, August 19, 2013

S'mores Pie

LOVED this pie! Loved everything about it! The chocolate filling was sooo good. I've made it twice in eight days. :) It was very easy. If you like s'mores you have to try this. I used my own recipe for graham cracker crust here. I also recommend checking the pie after it has baked for 20 minutes, and if it is still not set then bake it for up to 10 more. Watch the marshmallows carefully in the broiler so they don't burn.

S'mores Pie
adapted from gimmesomeoven.com
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup milk
10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 eggs, whisked
20-30 large marshmallows

1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together cream and milk. Warm over medium-low heat. Add in chocolate and stir until chocolate has completely melted and is smooth. Slowly add in vanilla and whisked eggs, and whisk until smooth. Pour chocolate filling into baked graham cracker crust.
2. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until chocolate filling is set and does not jiggle when pie is lightly shaken. Remove from oven.
3. Using kitchen shears or a knife, cut marshmallows in half. Place halves over the top of the pie until covered.
4. Lower oven rack to the middle position, and set oven to the lowest broil setting. Place pie on the rack and lightly toast the marshmallows until golden. You can also use a kitchen torch to toast the marshmallows instead. Chill pie in the refrigerator to set for 2-3 hours. Or it can also be served slightly warm. Drizzle with chocolate sauce if desired.





Saturday, August 17, 2013

Coconut Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes for my mother-in-law who came to visit on her birthday. She has a whole pinterest board dedicated to coconut, so I knew she would like these. These cupcakes have great coconut flavor! They are not the most beautiful, but they taste amazing. My cupcakes turned out kind of flat, so when I make them again I will use exactly one large scoopful of batter (3 TBSPs) for each cupcake so that they don't go over the sides like my picture at the bottom. BUT, put some frosting on top and you can't even tell. This recipe made 24 cupcakes plus a little extra, so I used the extra batter to make some mini ones too. I read a lot of coconut cupcake recipes before deciding to make this one. I chose this one because it does not have any flaked coconut in the cupcake. My husband does not like the texture of coconut, so I was able to just leave the garnish off of his. They are instead flavored with coconut extract, which is found in the baking aisle, and cream of coconut, normally used for piƱa coladas. The frosting I used is adapted from my previously posted cream cheese frosting.

Coconut Cupcakes
adapted from tideandthyme.com
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp coconut extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup cream of coconut
1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut (for garnish)

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 cupcake tins with paper liners and set aside.
2. In a small dry skillet, toast the shredded coconut over medium-high heat until starting to brown on the edges. Turn off heat, and remove from pan to a plate to cool.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and coconut extracts and mix well.
4. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
5. In a liquid measuring cup, combine the buttermilk and the cream of coconut – whisk to combine.
6. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined.
7. Scoop batter into prepared tins. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tops are golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely. 

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup softened butter
4 oz softened cream cheese
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp coconut extract
5 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tsps milk (if necessary)

1. Place butter, cream cheese, vanilla and coconut extracts in a mixing bowl and mix on high for 5 minutes, scraping down sides as needed.
2. Gradually add powdered sugar. Once it is just mixed, turn the mixer to high and mix for 5 minutes.
If it is a little too stiff, add 1-2 tsps of milk and mix in.

Frost the cupcakes as desired and sprinkle with the toasted coconut to garnish.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Fiesta Chicken Nachos

I'm really into using my slow cooker right now. I love not having to do much dinner prep. This recipe make a lot of chicken and we actually used it for two meals, nachos, and then we stuck the leftovers in tortillas for another dinner. I really liked the flavor. Just make sure as with any nachos, that you eat them right away so they don't get soggy. 
Fiesta Chicken Nachos
adapted from phemomenon.com
4 chicken boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 small can tomato paste
1 10oz can green enchilada sauce
 tsp salt
1/2 TBSP chili powder
1/2 cup water
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature and cut into small pieces
1 large bag tortilla chips
2 cups shredded cheddar jack cheese
Garnish ideas: Fresh avocado, guacamole, sour cream, tomatoes, cilantro,
salsa, pico de gallo

1. Place the chicken breasts in your slow cooker. Add the corn and black beans to the chicken in the slow cooker.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the tomato paste, enchilada sauce, salt, chili powder and water. Pour the tomato and enchilada sauce mixture over the chicken, corn and black beans to cover.
3. Cook the chicken mixture on low for 4-5 hours.
4. Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and place it on a plate to shred using a fork. Add the chicken back into the slow cooker along with the cream cheese pieces and stir to melt. Place the lid back on the slow cooker and cook another 15 minutes until the mixture is well combined and the cream cheese is hot and melted.
5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
6. Lightly oil a large baking sheet and even spread the tortilla chips over the pan. Using a spoon or tongs distribute some of the chicken mixture all over the chips (there will most likely be about half the chicken mixture left over for another batch or pan, or for burritos or as enchilada filling). Sprinkle the two cups of shredded cheese evenly over the chips and chicken, using as much or as little as you like.
7. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 7-10 minutes depending on how melted and toasted you like the cheese.
Serve with garnishes of choice, or as is.



Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Leftover Frosting

Here's what we do with our leftover frosting. Spread it in between graham crackers! It's a yummy snack.