Sunday, February 20, 2011

Triple Chocolate Fudge

I sent Mike off to his aviation training in California with a passel of this tasty fudge, which I adapted from Joanne Fluke's Three-Way Fudge recipe in Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder.  It's always nice to bring something yummy to class, especially when you're going to be cooped up in schoolroom for three weeks.  To paraphrase Mary Poppins, a mouthful of chocolaty goodness helps the learning go down. :)

  • 6 ounces of dark chocolate chips
  • 6 ounces of white chocolate chips
  • 6 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 6 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of chopped macadamia nuts

  • Line an 8-inch square pan with foil and spritz it with non-stick buttery spray.
  • In a microwave safe bowl, combine the dark chocolate chips, a scant 1/2 cup of condensed milk and 2 tablespoons of butter.
  • Heat in the microwave for about 70 seconds until melted.
  • Stir to combine.
  • Spread mixture in the bottom of the prepared pan.
  • Let cool until slightly firm to the touch.
  • In a microwave safe bowl, combine the white chocolate chips, a scant 1/2 cup of condensed milk and 2 tablespoons of butter.
  • Heat in the microwave for about 70 seconds until melted.
  • Stir to combine and mix in the macadamia nuts.
  • Spread mixture over the dark chocolate layer.
  • Let cool until slightly firm to the touch.
  • In a microwave safe bowl, combine the semi-sweet chocolate chips, a scant 1/2 cup of condensed milk and 2 tablespoons of butter.
  • Heat in the microwave for about 70 seconds until melted.
  • Stir to combine.
  • Spread mixture over the white chocolate layer.
  • Let it harden in the refrigerator for at least two hours or overnight.
  • When ready to cut, turn the fudge out onto a cutting board and cut into bit-size squares.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Strawberry Shortbread Bars

I made these bars for a Girls on the Run of Las Vegas board meeting.  Meetings are always better when there's something sweet to enjoy. :)  The recipe came from Joanne Fluke's Devil's Food Cake Murder.  I can't wait 'til Joanne's cookbook comes out in the fall of 2011!

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (packed down when measured)
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 sticks of salted butter, softened
  • 1 21-ounce can of strawberry pie filling
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spritz a 9x13 inch baking pan with non-stick buttery spray.
  • Mix the flour and powdered sugar together in a mixing bowl.
  • Cut the softened butter into the flour/sugar mixture using two knives or a pastry cutter.  When finished, the mixture should resemble bread crumbs or coarse corn meal.
  • Spread half the mixture (approximately 3 cups) into the baking pan.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are just turning golden brown.
  • Remove the pan to a wire rack to cool, but leave the oven on.
  • Let the crust cool for 5 minutes.
  • Spread the pie filling on top of the crust.
  • Sprinkle the crust with the other half of the flour/sugar/butter mixture, spreading it as evenly as possible.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top is lightly golden.
  • Cool completely.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Cut into bars and sprinkle with additional powdered sugar.

Chocolate Toffee Crackers

In the last couple of weeks, I have made several recipes from the Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke.  Thank goodness I can bring all my baking to work to share with the various offices on our floor.  Otherwise, I'd be tossing all these yummy treats in the trash on a regular basis to preserve my waistline!

By the way, Joanne calls this "Ibby's Metaphysical English Toffee".  That seemed to long and weird to give as a name to my co-workers, so I came up with "Chocolate Toffee Crackers".

  • Saltines to fill two 9x13 baking pans (Joanne calls for a 16-ounce box of Club Crackers, but I couldn't find those in the store I was in at the time.)
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups 60% cacao bittersweet chips by Ghiradelli (Joanne uses milk chocolate chips, but I chose to use these to keep the sweetness down.)
  • 2 cups sliced almonds (Joanne called for chopped pecans, but again I couldn't find those in the store I was in at the time.)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line the baking pans with foil.  
  • Spritz the pans with non-stick buttery spray.
  • Line the pans completely with saltines, salt side up, covering the whole bottom.  (You can break the crackers if necessary to cover the entire bottom.)
  • Set aside the baking pans while making the toffee.
  • Combine the butter and brown sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil of medium hight heat, stirring constantly.
  • Boil for exactly 5 minutes, again stirring constantly.
  • Pour the mixture over the crackers as evenly as possible.
  • Bake the pans of crackers and toffee for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the pans from the oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips.  
  • Give the chips a minute or two to melt and then spread them out gently over the toffee-covered crackers.
  • Sprinkle the sliced almonds over the top.
  • Refrigerate the pans.
  • When the chocolate toffee crackers have cooled thoroughly, peel from the foil and break into pieces.

Chocolate Chip Crunchies

Once again, Joanne Fluke knocks another great recipe out of the park, this time in Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder.  If you decide to buy this book, be sure to look for the special edition which includes a bonus short story and extra recipes.  It's a good read, too!

Earlier this month, I was preparing to visit Mike after one of his training gigs in Milwaukee.  We were going to meet up with a couple of our Twitter pilot friends there, so I decided to see if I could successfully pack some homemade cookies in my carry-on bag.  These were my test recipe.  Our Mach 10 CRAZED Pilot flight bag turned out to be a fantastic cookie carrier.  The padded pockets on the end were just the right size to hold the containers snugly and securely.  The cookies arrived in perfect condition and still soft.  Mike nabbed several cookies right after I landed, and we still had plenty to share with Kent and Larry and Larry's wife Maribeth.  They all gave the cookies a thumbs-up.

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 cups crushed corn flakes
  • 1 to 2 cups chocolate chips
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Spritz a baking sheet with non-stick buttery spray.
  • Melt butter, add the sugars and stir.
  • Mix in the soda, salt, vanilla and beaten eggs.
  • Stir in the flour.
  • Stir in the crushed corn flakes.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Form the dough into walnut-sized balls and place on baking sheet.  It should hold 12.
  • Press the balls down lightly.
  • Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Cool on the sheet for 2 minutes and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Makes 6 to 8 dozen, depending on the size of the balls.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Watermelon Cookies

Joanne Fluke's recipes are terrific.  They are fun and easy to follow - and taste really good!  Using Joanne's recipe from Apple Turnover Murder, I whipped these cookies up for Mike's homecoming late on a Friday night.  He gobbled them up!  I confess I ate a few of them myself in a 24-hour period.  That's why I brought the rest to the airport to give to the guys.  Too much temptation for us!  But, they were welcoming treat for Mike, so they served their purpose as far as I'm concerned. :)

  • 1 package watermelon Kool-Aid powder.  (Do not buy the kind with added sugar or sugar substitute.)
  • 1 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups softened butter (about 2 1/2 sticks)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • Red food coloring (optional)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar in a bowl (for rolling the dough in)
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Spritz a cookie sheet with non-stick buttery spray.
  • Mix the watermelon Kool Aid with the white sugar.
  • Blend in the softened butter until fluffy.
  • Mix the eggs in well.
  • Mix in food coloring to desired color. (Depending on which flavor of Kool Aid you use, you may not need food coloring.  The watermelon flavor is clear, so I added red coloring to give the cookies a pretty pink hue.)
  • Mix in the salt and baking soda.
  • Mix in the flour in half- or one-cup increments until all the flour has been mixed in.
  • Roll dough into one-inch balls or use a cookie scooper.
  • Roll the cookie balls in sugar and place on cookie.
  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or til the cookies are just beginning to turn golden around the edges.
  • Let the cookies cool for one minute and then move them to wire racks to cool completely.

Sausage & Cheddar Pancakes

We belong to the local EAA chapter at North Las Vegas airport, and the first Saturday of every month, they have a pancake breakfast.  It's a fun little get-together, and Mike and I really enjoy chatting with the all the neighborhood pilots and aviation enthusiasts.  Every now and then, I like to shake things up a bit by offering to cook something other than the standard fresh-from-the-bag-o-mix pancakes.  One time, I made Peanut Butter and Jelly pancakes.  This time, I decided to make Sausage & Cheddar Pancakes, using another recipe I found in Joanne Fluke's Apple Turnover Murder.  The pancakes were a hit with the guys, and made yummier with a dollop of sour cream.

I have recently gone 80/20 vegan, so I did not eat these pancakes, other than to have a taste.  They were delish.  I will be making a vegan version soon, using a vegan pancake recipe, plus vegan sausage and cheese.

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup ground fried breakfast sausage, broken into small pieces (I used Jimmy Dean Hearty Sausage Crumbles - Original to save time.)
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

  • Beat the egg in a medium-sized bowl until it's fluffy.
  • Whisk in the yogurt, cream and vegetable oil.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the banking powder, baking soda, and salt with the flour, stirring with a fork until all the ingredients are evenly blended.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir well.
  • Stir the sausage and cheese into the batter, blending thoroughly.
  • Fry the pancakes on a hot griddle that's been spritzed with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Flip pancakes when they're puffed and dry around the edges and cook til golden brown on the other side.
  • Serve with syrup, sour cream or applesauce.