Three Cookies, One Post

By: Cyndi Conley
Turtle Graham Bars
INGREDIENTS:
Approximately 14 graham crackers (if each graham cracker is 5″ x 2.5″)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar (I used 1/2 cup Splenda Brown Sugar blend)
1 cup chopped pecans
Kosher salt, to taste
12 ounces dark chocolate (I used Ghirardelli 60%)
 
DIRECTIONS:
 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
 
Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone mat.  Arrange the graham crackers in a single layer on the lined baking sheet.
 
Put the butter, brown sugar, pecans, and pinch of salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Boil for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Pour the butter mixture evenly over the graham crackers and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove and set aside.
 
Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a glass bowl placed over simmering water.  Pour the chocolate over the toffee-covered graham crackers and spread evenly.  Chill completely in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.  Cut into bars.
 
NOTES:
 
Sprinkle flaky sea salt over the dark chocolate layer for an extra special treat.
 

 

 Ultimate double chocolate cookies:
Ingredients:
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
11 1/2 ounces 60% Cacao Bittersweet chocolate chips
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chopped nuts

Directions: 
In a double boiler over hot water, melt bittersweet chocolate chips and butter.
 
In large bowl with electric mixer or whisk, beat eggs and sugar until thick, stir into choclate mixture.  Gently mix in semi-sweet chocolate chips and walnuts. Using a sheet of plastic wrap, form dough into two logs, each 2 inches in diameter and about 12 inches long. As dough will be quite soft, use plastic wrap to hold dough in log shape. Wrap tightly; refrigerate at least 1 hour or until firm. Heat oven to 375°F. Unwrap dough; with sharp knife, cut into 3/4-inch slices. Place slices 1 1/2 inches apart on greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet.
Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until shiny crust forms on top but interior is still soft. Cool on baking sheet; store in airtight tin up to 1 week. 
 
Orange Pecan Cookies
Ingredients”

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
2-3/4 cups all-purpose fl our
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chopped pecans
 Directions:
In large bowl, cream butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Add egg; beat well. Blend in orange juice and zest. Sift flour and baking soda; combine with butter mixture. Stir in pecans. Shape into rolls about 2-inches in diameter, wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate overnight. 

  Makes about 7 dozen.
  

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice about 1/8-inch thick; place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 400 degrees for 4 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Cool on wire cooling racks.

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Rolo Cookie

By Pam Camper
Westcliffe, CO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 bag of Rolo candies (at least 48 in package)
REMOVE Foil – hee, hee!

Cream together:
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar

Add 2 eggs and
2 teaspoons vanilla & beat well

Add ¾ cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
2 ½ cups flour

Mix and add ½ cup chopped pecans

In a small bowl, add ½ cup chopped pecans mixed with 1 TBS sugar (or you can just use plain sugar)

Take about 1 TBS of cookie mixture and roll in a ball around a Rolo candy. Dip the top half of the cookie in the pecan/sugar mixture.

This will make 48-50 cookies.

Bake at 375 degrees for 7-10 minutes and then let cool. They look professionally made!!!!

Sweet Tea Pie

I was on Twitter today and someone mentioned that a friend was making Sweet Tea Pie. I don’t know if this will taste good or if you’ll just throw it away, but I found a recipe for it. Enjoy and let me know if you make it.

— CRUST —
• 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
• 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

— FILLING —
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
• 2 cups granulated sugar
• 8 large egg yolks
• 3/4 cup strong steeped orange pekoe tea, cooled
• 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoons cornmeal
• 1/2 teaspoon salt

PREPARATION: To make the crust, in an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until well-combined.

Add the flour and mix until the dough forms a ball. Pat the dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Chill until ready to used

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

*NOTE: One of the readers of the blog suggested you bake at 325 if you’re at a higher altitude. She also suggests baking a little longer.

To make the filling, in an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until light.

Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating at low speed until well incorporated. Slowly add the tea, lemon zest and lemon juice. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the flour, cornmeal and salt, and mix well. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust. Bake for 45 minutes or until set. Cool completely on a wire rack and chill for 2-3 hours before serving.

Makes 1 (9-inch) pie.

Source: “Screen Doors and Sweet Tea” by Martha Hall Foose.

Bitchin’ Kitchen, Must See TV

If you haven’t had a chance to see the show “Bitchin’ Kitchen” on Cooking Channel, you are missing out! Nadia G. is the best cooking show host I’ve seen in a long time. Consider her an Alton Brown who has overdosed on 10-shots of espresso, and maybe some crack.

This is not your typical show! I think the reason it’s on late at night is because it will scare grandma into a comma. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Here is more on Nadia G.

http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/bitchin-kitchen/index.html

Homemade Candy Corn

From Alton Brown
Good Eats
Food Network
http://www.foodnetwork.com

Ingredients

* 4 1/2 ounces powdered sugar, approximately 1 1/4 cups
* 1/2-ounce nonfat dry milk, approximately 6 1/2 teaspoons
* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
* 3 1/2 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1/2 cup
* 3 3/4 ounces light corn syrup, approximately 1/3 cup
* 2 1/2 tablespoons water
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 2 to 3 drops yellow and orange gel paste food coloring

Directions

Combine the powdered sugar, dry milk and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 4 to 5 times until the mixture is smooth and well combined. Set aside.

Combine the sugar, corn syrup and water in a 2-quart pot. Put over medium heat, cover and cook for 4 minutes. Add the butter, clip on a candy thermometer, and bring the mixture to 230 degrees F, about 1 to 2 minutes. When the sugar syrup reaches 230 degrees F, take the pot off the heat and remove the thermometer. Add the vanilla and the dry mixture, stirring continuously with a silicone spatula until well combined. Pour onto a half sheet pan lined with a silicone baking mat. Cool until the mixture is cool enough to handle, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Add 2 drops of yellow food coloring to 1 piece and knead the dough until the color is consistent throughout. Add 2 drops of orange to the second piece, and knead until the color is consistent throughout. Leave the third piece white. Roll each piece of dough into a strand, about 18-inches long. Cut each strand in half.

Roll 1 of the white pieces into a strand that is about 1/2-inch thick and about 22-inches long. Repeat with a yellow piece and orange piece. Lay the strands side by side and press them together using your fingers. Cut the strand into 4-inch pieces. Lay the strands, 1 at a time, onto the silicone mat and press into a wedge shape, like a triangle. Use a wire butter slicer to cut the candies into pieces. If you don’t have a wire butter slicer, use a knife, metal bench scraper or pizza cutter to slice the dough into small pieces. Repeat the procedure with remaining dough. Lay the finished pieces on a piece of parchment or waxed paper to dry for 1 hour. Store in an airtight container with parchment paper between each layer.

Healthier Peanut Butter Cookies

I talked about all the yummy treats people make this time of year, but that I am trying to avoid all the sweets.
My friend Sarah gave me this recipe and I am sharing it with you. It’s a healthier version of the traditional peanut butter cookie.

1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
1 tsp vanilla

Sift together:
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

Mix wet ingredients with electric mixer. Gradually add dry ingredients, mix until well blended. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for easier rolling. Roll into balls and place them on a greased cookie sheet, press with a fork. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes.

What Is Your Favorite Halloween Candy?

I don’t know about you but I LOVE Halloween; it’s one of the first holidays of the fall where you get free goodies and no one cares. I remember going door-to-door at homes in south Florida and people would give away full size candy bars.My neighborhood had hundreds of homes and my friends and I would go trick or treating from 5 and until 9:30 at night; our bags full of candy and I doubt any of us could ever eat all of it.

Which candies did you love getting in your goodie bag? Which one did you throw away or give to your siblings? Leave me a comment.

Also, if you are watching your weight I got this press release about watching your weight and how to keep your figure slim, while enjoying those goodies you loved as a kid.  

According to the National Confectioners Association, ninety percent of parents admit to occasionally dipping into their children’s Halloween haul.  Even the most well-intentioned adult can be swayed into buying sale-priced, bulk-sized bags of treats.

TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization, has solutions to help navigate the unofficial kickoff to the “holiday eating season” and prevent a dietary disaster.

Halloween Made Healthier

Bad
•    Popcorn balls – Sugar and corn syrup transform a previously high-fiber, low-calorie snack into calorie overload.
Better
    A 100-calorie pack of kettle corn – This portion-controlled snack has a hint of sweet without regret.

Bad
•    Full-size candy bars – In general, the bigger the bar, the more calories it has.
Better
•    A few “miniatures” of your favorite bar – Munch on a mini version of your favorite treat, but be careful to dole out a specific portion in advance to avoid overdoing it.  Just seven mini Milky Ways has about the same number of calories as a full-size bar – and “snack-size” versions are even higher in calories.  Moderation is key.
                           
Bad
•    Caramel apples – The average caramel apple has at least 300 calories, but, depending on the size of the apple, thickness of the caramel, and toppings like nuts or chocolates, it can closer to 600 to 800 calories!
Better
•    Plain apple slices dipped into peanut butter or low-fat caramel sauce – Keep the apple’s health benefits while dipping into a satiating sweet or salty condiment.

Outsmart Temptation

•    To help avoid overindulging, wait to buy candy for trick-or-treaters until a few days before Halloween.  If it’s not in your house, you can’t eat it.
•    Buy treats that aren’t so enticing. If chocolate is a food trigger, buy only gummy treats or small boxes of raisins to distribute to trick-or-treaters.
•    Mix up the candy bowl with a variety of non-traditional but nutritious goodies like individual packs of raisins, pretzels, or trail mix; mini dark chocolate and nuts bars; and fiber-filled chocolate-covered raisins.
•    Remove excess candy corn and other sweets immediately after trick-or-treat hours end. Give treats to a food pantry, homeless shelter, or, if needed, toss surplus candy in the garbage.

TOPS Club Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the original, nonprofit weight-loss support and wellness education organization, was established more than 62 years ago to champion weight-loss support and success.  Founded and headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, TOPS promotes successful, affordable weight management with a philosophy that combines healthy eating, regular exercise, wellness information, and support from others at weekly chapter meetings. TOPS has about 170,000 members in nearly 10,000 chapters throughout the United States and Canada.