Monday, March 24, 2014

Chocolate Muddies

These cookies are so amazing.  Rich and chocolaty and moist.

Ingredients
3 oz. cream cheese, softened (can use light)
3/4 cup stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
2 large eggs
2/3 cup chocolate fudge ice-cream topping (warm if needed to pour-we used Mrs. Richardson's)
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1+ cup white chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1.  Heat oven to 350.  Line cooking sheet with silpat or parchment.
2.  Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl with electric mixer until fluffy.  (If using light cream cheese, take care not to over mix).  Add sugars, vanilla, almond extract, eggs, and chocolate fudge.  Beat about 3 minutes or until fluffy.
3.  In a separate bowl mix flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt with a wire whisk.  Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients until evenly mixed.  Fold in chocolate.
4.  Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.
5.  Bake 12-15 minutes or until edges are set (centers will be very soft).  Cool 5 minutes, remove from cookie sheet.  Cool on wire rack.

Notes:
You can vary the type of chip...we love the white chocolate chips with the bittersweet chocolate.  But you could also substitute peanut butter chips for the while chocolate for a peanut butter variation.

These cookies freeze well.  You can freeze the dough in dough balls.  Or you can freeze the cookies--just separate layers with a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper if you stack them.

Maple Cinnamon Butter

This is a favorite Sunday dinner treat.  Served on warm rolls, it's amazing!   slightly adapted from  Our Best Bites

Ingredients
1/2 cup (1 stick) real butter
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons 100% real maple syrup
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8-1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice


Instructions
Place butter and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl and beat (with a hand mixer, or the whisk attachment of your stand mixer) until combined and smooth.  Add maple syrup, cinnamon, pie spice, and extract.  Beat slowly until combined and then whip for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy.   Serve at room temperature and drizzle with maple syrup before serving.

If you’re making ahead of time, store in fridge, but allow time to bring to room temperature before serving.  For best results, stir or re-whip before serving. Lasts for about a week or so in the fridge, several months in the freezer.

One Hour Dinner Rolls

These have recently become a favorite around here.  So quick to make, but more flavorful then other quick breads. 

Ingredients
1 ½  cups non-fat milk or water
3 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
3 tablespoons sugar
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 ½ - 2 cups all purpose flour or bread flour, divided
1 tablespoon rapid rise/quick rise yeast (or if you  have packets, one packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) will work just fine))
1 ½  teaspoons table salt
1 egg at room temp (place in a bowl of warm water for at least 5 minutes)

Instructions
Preheat oven to 170-200 degrees.  Then turn off immediately once it comes to temperature.  This will help creating a “proofing” box so your rolls can rise faster.


Place milk (water), butter, and sugar in a microwavable container and heat for about 2 minutes.  You want this mixture to be between 120-130 degrees, for best results use a digital instant read thermometer to gauge the temperature.  While the mixture is heating, combine 3 ½  cups of the flour, yeast, and salt in a mixing bowl.  When milk mixture is heated to about 125 degrees, add to the flour mixture and start to beat.  Add egg and continue to beat until everything is combined.  Scrape down sides of bowl and then add the remaining flour, ¼ cup at a time.  You want the dough to be soft and sticky so don’t add too much flour.  I usually do about 4-4 ¼ cups.  

Place remaining flour on a cutting board and very gently scrape out the dough using a spatula.  Dust the top of your dough with flour and then using your hands, lightly pat the dough into a rectangle.  Score the dough into 24 sections for dinner rolls and gently form portions into balls.  I like to stretch and tuck the bottoms under making a nice smooth top.  Place in a 9×13 pan that has been sprayed with non stick spray.  

Let dough rest for 30 minutes until puffed and almost double in size.  To accelerate rising, you can place dough in a warm oven that has been turned off.  After 20 minutes, remove rolls, cover loosely with a towel, and let them finish rising on the counter.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Recipe adapted from Our Best Bites (I subbed half WW flour, use water and margarine sometimes to remove dairy for food allergy purposes, and modified some of the instructions).

Bright Green Smoothie

slightly adapted from weelicious.com.  A favorite for Saint Patrick's Day!

Ingredients
3+ cups fresh spinach
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1 cup frozen mango
1 large banana
1 orange
1 cup orange juice, water, or other liquid

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy.

Easy Banana Cream Pie

This is one of my husbands favorites.  He prefers this to a homemade pudding.  And it's so easy to make, my kids like to make it for Dad!  To make it "healthier" you can sub sugar free pudding and fat free cool whip and it still tastes great.  We like it best with regular pudding and light cool whip or real whipping cream.




INGREDIENTS
2-3 ripe bananas, sliced
1 prebaked pie shell or graham cracker crust
2 1/2 cups cold milk
1 package (4oz) french vanilla or vanilla pudding
1 pacakge (4oz) banana pudding
2+ cups thawed cool whip or sweetened whipping cream

DIRECTIONS
Position the banana slices on the bottom of the crust creating a uniform, even layer.  Set the other half of the banana slices aside.

Pour milk into a large bowl.  Add the dry pudding mixes.  Beat with a wire whisk about 2 minutes or until well blended and starting to thicken.  Gently stir/fold in 1 cup of the whipped topping or whipping cream.

Spoon half of the pudding mixture onto the crust.  Top with the remaining banana slices.  Cover with the remaining pudding mixture.

Refrigerate 3 hours or until set.  Serve with the additional whipped topping and garnish as desired.