Monday, October 31, 2011

Cheap/Easy Halloween and Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Sorry the pictures are lame but here is a $3 centerpiece for Halloween or Thanksgiving that literally takes 3 minutes!

Go to Dollar store and buy straw colored crinkled packing ( in gift bag section), a bag of candy corn and a vase.

Pour 3/4 of the bag into the vase.  Pour candy corn over the top.  Take an appropriately colored ribbon.  Cut to size of the diameter of vase with an extra 1/4in overage.  Put one dot from a glue gun and Whoo hoo you're done...  Literally think it took me longer to type this that actually do it!

We used this for a few tables at our church chili cook off.  I think they look adorable!    BTW there was more candy corn but there were quite a few hands that got into this one!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Improv cooking challenge: caramel apple nachos

I am super excited to be a part of The Lady Behind the Curtain's Improv Cooking Challenge!
 This month she gave us two ingredients to create an original recipe with.  This reminds me of Chopped which is one of my favorite shows! After discussing with super smart (and very handsome) hubby   he suggested Caramel Apple Nachos..... How can you go wrong with that?

I started by cutting 2 flour tortillas into 8 triangles each.  I chose to fry them to create a chip but feel free to bake them also.   After removing from oil I immediately tossed into cinnamon sugar to coat.

Next I chopped one granny smith apple into small cubes.  I sauteed the apples in 1TB of butter and generous sprinkling of the remaining cinnamon sugar.   Cook until tender.  After turning off the heat pour in several spoonfuls of caramel ice cream topping and allow to melt into the apple mixture.

Pour apple mixture over chips.  Drizzle over vanilla bean cream cheese dip from Walmart.  
Sprinkle on either chopped red apple or red hots to look like tomato salsa  and top off with whipped cream or ice cream to be your sour cream.

BTW..  This got an enthusiastic thumbs up from hubby : ) 

And As Always my faithful kitchen helper was begging for scraps...

The Improve Cooking Challenge

Friday, October 7, 2011

MOM's Crazy Cooking Challenge Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I"M #60  VOTE FOR ME!!

It's that time again for Mom's Crazy Cookie challenge.

For this month I visited the blog of a cute 21 year old guy named Ryan who loves baking and pugs.  Check out the original recipe here

I decided to make Brown Butter Chocolate Cookies to try something a little different.   I changed Ryan's recipe a little.  These have a tendency to dry out/ over cook quickly so watch them.  But over all they have a delicious toffee essence and are worth the extra work they take.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen cookies  ( or if you're me....   20 cookies : )  I like mine bigger)
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk
1/2 bag dark chocolate chip cookies
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with a silpat or parchment paper.
Sift together flour and baking soda in a bowl, set aside.
In a skillet, melt 1 1/4 sticks butter over medium high heat. Continue to cook until the butter turns dark golden brown and has a nutty aroma. The butter will bubble and boil before starting to change colors, keep a close eye so it doesn’t burn and swirl pan occasionally to ensure even cooking.

Transfer browned butter to a bowl and mix in the remaining butter until melted. Add the sugars, salt, and vanilla to the butter and mix well. Add the egg and egg yolk; whisking until smooth (about 30 seconds). Allow the mixture to rest for 3 minutes, then whisk against for 30 seconds, before letting it rest again. Repeat this process about 4 times, until you have a thick, glossy, smooth mixture.


Sprinkle the flour and baking soda over the top a little at a time, gently stirring until it is just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
 I don't roll dough into balls or use a silpat...  Sorry... not that kinda baker...
Form dough balls about 3 tablespoons in size, place them on the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-14 minutes, then put the baking sheet on a cooling rack and allow to cool on the sheet.

Cookies are best served warm right after baking, or stored in airtight containers and microwaved for 20-30 seconds prior to serving.

Thanks Ryan for your awesome recipe!!