Friday, December 28, 2012

Homemade cocoa powder brownies with praline topping

Yummy!! One word to describe these brownies! My dad is quite the picky eater and rated these a 10 on his scale.

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1t vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4t baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F 
Grease a 9x9 inch baking pan. 
In a medium bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in eggs. Stop mixer and add in flour, turn mixer onto slow and then add in baking powder in bits to ensure that it is combined throughout. Add in cocoa, gradually stir into the egg mixture until well blended.  Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. 
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the brownie begins to pull away from edges of pan. 

Praline Topping: by the way super quick and super easy. I topped the brownies after they cooled for about 10 minutes which made the topping easy to spread. You can make the topping ahead of time and spread when ready, it is quite pliable. 
5 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup brown sugar packed
1T vanilla
2T water
2 cups confectioners sugar

In a medium sauce pan melt butter over medium low heat, add in brown sugar and stir until bubbly. Turn off heat and add in vanilla and water, the mixture will thicken quite a bit, add in 1 cup of sugar and stir with wisk until blended, add in 2nd cup and blend again. 
Easy Peasy!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Red Pepper Risotto for One

I cannot tell you how much I love Risotto however most recipes make enough for a family of 6. My husband is not quite a fan of the dish however so I have worked to par it down and make a portion for 1 or 2 servings depending on how much self control you have. As you can tell from the title of the recipe, I have no self control when it comes to Risotto.
People tend to be intimidated by the process of Risotto or shall I say, "the fecking Risotto!" as per chef Ramsey, however it is not hard it just requires time, patience and a watchful eye.

2T olive oil
1/4 cup onion minced
1/2 cup red bell pepper minced
1/2 cup Risotto
1/2 White wine- I use a moscato or Riesling  (or more if you crave the tart taste)
2 cups chicken broth
1/4- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (more or less to taste)

In a sauce pan heat oil on low medium heat, add onions until translucent, add red pepper for about 8 minutes until they start to appear translucent.
Add in the dry risotto and stir, coating with oil until all of the risotto appears coated. Add in the wine and stir until the wine begins to be absorbed by the risotto however do not let the risotto get dry or even close to dry, this is a creamy dish so the key to cooking it is to keep it creamy but not dry.
Now here is the trick for a good risotto, STIRRING! Just listen to your inner Julia Childs and keep stirring while the dish is cooking.
Add in the chicken broth 1 cup at a time until it appears that the risotto has absorbed a majority of it, keeping in mind the creamy consistency of the dish. This process should take about 20-30 minutes in total when it comes to the absorption rate, you want to keep the heat at a medium to low medium where if you stop stirring the mix begins to bubble but isn't boiling.
Once you are starting to question if the dish is done, add in the parm cheese and stir to blend.
Take pan off of the heat and serve!!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Serum poppy seed thumb prints

One of my co-workers brought these into work and I knew I had to make them at home! Her recipe is a little different with the amount of flour and poppy seeds but the cookies are still just as good! Her mother lives in Wisconsin and was gracious enough to let me see her family recipe! Thanks Momma Serum!

1c softened butter
1 c sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 c flour
2 Tbls poppy seeds
2 Tbls powdered sugar

Raspberry jelly
Heat oven to 350*
With a mixer blend the butter and sugar  on medium speed until fluffy, add in egg and vanilla. Lower speed and add in baking powder, poppy seeds and flour 1c at a time until well blended.

Once the dough has formed into a large mass you're ready!
Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place on a greased cookie sheet press your thumb 3/4 way into the cookie. If you don't press down far/ hard enough when the dough rises slightly during baking your thumb print will disappear.  Bake for 10-11 minutes until the bottoms are just golden brown.
Once they are out of of the oven sprinkle with powdered sugar. When cookies are cool before serving place jelly into a quart sized Ziploc bag, clip one corner and squeeze a small amount into each thumb print! ENJOY!!