Monday, February 23, 2015

Dipped Chocolates

At Relief Society we made dipped chocolates of all kinds.  The other ladies made very beautiful treats of fresh strawberries, pretzel sticks, cinnamon hearts, and other things.

Carefully and beautifully dipped treats.

 I brought mini Oreos.  I thought the Seminary kids might enjoy them.  I quickly made one pan full then turned the rest of the box over to the ladies. I did not want a large number of these treats lying around our house if the kids did not eat them.

Dipping chocolate the easy, cheap way is to take one bag of Wilton Candy Melts from Joann's Fabrics and Crafts or other craft store or department store and place it into a glass bowl.  Put in the microwave for one minute on defrost setting.  Remove bowl and stir candy melts.  Return to microwave and heat for 30 seconds more then stir again.  Repeat this process until all the candy is melted.

With the melted candy coating, dip your treat into it then lift out with a fork, tapping the fork on the side of the bowl to drop excess candy off the treat, then place dipped item onto a parchment or waxed paper covered cookie sheet.  Let sit until cooled and hardened.  (It is best not to eat ANY until the candy has hardened or you will have chocolate all over your face...a situation to be deplored if you find yourself out in public directly after dipping (and eating) treats.

Quick and sloppy, but VERY edible.  

These early morning treats went very quickly. 

Next time perhaps I will take more time and try to make them look better. I was actually more interested in the valentine-card-making part of the activity!

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Ever Popular Chocolate Chip Cookie

Chocolate chip cookies win the prize for second most-enjoyed early morning food (behind fresh cinnamon buns).  The original recipe I started from is here at a blog I really enjoy reading.

The recipe I used for today was:

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, somewhat packed
2  eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a sieve and sift into a good-sized bowl and set aside.

In bowl of stand mixer, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Stir in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add in dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts. Using a 1 1/2 Tablespoon portion scoop, scoop cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until the edges are golden and the centers look just undercooked (they keep cooking for a moment after being removed from the oven). Remove from oven and cool before eating, if you can wait.  Otherwise, risk burns to  your mouth on the hot chocolate chips, might be worth it.

 Do start checking the cookies for done-ness at ten minutes.  It took fourteen minutes to undercooked perfection in my oven.  Fifteen minutes is TOO LONG in my oven.  They are really cooked then but since they are most popular just barely cooked, people think they are burned when they are actually cooked through and nicely browned.  Go figure...

Friday, February 6, 2015

Savory Bites-2

Savory Bites from Book Group
1 1/2 cups cooked or 1 14 oz can) chick peas/garbanzo beans –I used canned chickpeas/garbanzos this time.  If you want to cook them from scratch,  you will need ½ cup beans which you soak in water overnight
1/2 cup quinoa (1 1/2 cups cooked)—can use millet
Sun-dried tomatoes—I used about 2 Tablespoons of julienned sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil that were in the bottom of the jar.  I filled the jar with hot water and let them sit for half an hour
1/2 cup red lentils—I used green ones which take longer to cook
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 4.5-ounce can of chopped green chilies
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika
1-2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
1/4 cup chickpea (besan) flour
1 egg
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Rinse quinoa in a FINE mesh strainer.  Add to a small saucepan with 1cup water.  Bring to a boil, stir, then reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed by the quinoa.
Pick over the lentils and discard any foreign matter. Rinse in a strainer then place in small pan with 2 cups water.  Bring to a boil, stir, then reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 20-30 minutes or until the lentils are soft.  Some types of lentils soften sooner than others.
Drain the can of chickpeas in a strainer then rinse well.  Place in a large bowl.
If you did not get chopped or julienned sundried tomatoes, place 4-6 of the tomatoes in a bowl and cover with boiling water.  Let sit about 30 minutes.  Drain, but save the water for another purpose.  Chop the tomatoes finely. (I did not chop the ones I used since they were already smallish.  I DID use the water in which I softened them.)
While all the cooking is going on, place all the seasonings in a small bowl and stir to mix them well.  This is especially important for the onion powder which will keep it from clumping when you add it to the bowl later.
Heat the olive oil in a small skillet then add the finely chopped onion.  Cook until the onion is softened.  Stir in the chilies, sundried tomatoes along with the soaking water, and stir well.  Add the seasonings and stir over medium heat until the soaking liquid has evaporated and the spices have developed more flavor.
Drain the lentils and put into the bowl with the chickpeas.  Drain the quinoa (just in case all the water was NOT absorbed) and add to the bowl with the lentils and chickpeas.  With a wooden spoon combine these ingredients well.  Add the onion, tomato, chilies, spice mixture to the bowl and stir until beautifully combined.  Using a potato masher or fork, mash the chickpeas.  (After the fact I realized I could have mashed them while the quinoa and lentils were cooking.  The original recipe did not call for this but I prefer my chick peas mashed.  You may be different. I do think there is potential for the bites to fall apart when cooked if the chickpeas are not mashed.)
Cover the bowl and refrigerate for about an hour.  In my case, it was near zero degrees Fahrenheit outside so I just set them on a table on the porch, but kept an eye out for marauding squirrels and hungry chickadees and woodpeckers.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Remove bowl from refrigerator and add the besan/chickpea flour and the egg and mix in thoroughly.  Using a 1 ½ Tablespoon portion scoop, scoop out mixture onto the baking sheet in neat rows.  With a fork, flatten the bites to about ½ inch in thickness.
Bake for 10-12 minutes then remove from oven and carefully turn over the bites and return to the oven to cook for another 10-12 minutes or until the bites are golden brown on top.
Plain Savory Bites ready to travel

These can be eaten plain, hot or room temperature, can be eaten with a nice dipping sauce if you want more calories/flavors in your diet, or can be the “burger” in a tiny slider with lettuce, tomato slice, thinly sliced onion, and mayonnaise or other topping.  Or maybe change the seasonings altogether to breakfast sausage seasoning and make breakfast sandwiches with sliced cheese, baby English muffins, and a round of omelet?
You can also shape them with a much larger portion scoop to make more “burger-like” sized bites, but then they will be burgers and not bites.  They will also be more difficult to turn over without smashing them into pieces.
If you REALLY want to add some fat to your diet, you can cook them in a cast iron skillet in which you have heated your favorite oil or grease (I think they would be great cooked in bacon grease, BUT no bacon here so no bacon grease…alas.) 
This recipe made about 30-35 bites. The original recipe purports to make 9-10 patties, which seems optimistic to me.
The original recipe is found here:

PS  Like the other "savory bites" I served a while ago, these did not sell well. I think they needed the dipping sauce or breakfast sandwich ingredients.  Plain, I liked them fine. I guess I am a minority, except for our book group who did like them plain, too.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Mini Quiches

One of my new favorite bloggers is Laura Fuentes of Momables.com  This is filled with food for chidren/school lunches and other useful information.  She started a radio show in late 2014 where she interviews guests, which is very interesting even though we do not have young children in our home currently.

One of Laura's recipes that I like the idea of, is her mini quiches.  I have changed it though.

PACC Mini Quiches

1/2 cup cooked and crumbled country sausage
6 eggs
7 Tablespoons milk
1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black or white pepper, or more to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl whisk eggs together with milk then add remaining ingredients.  Using a small portion scoop, put the mixture evenly into the greased mini-muffin tin. Bake for 15-18 minutes.  Allow to cool in pan before removing carefully running a small butter knife around the edges. 

Reheat or serve cold or at room temperature.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Whoopie Pies

Whoopie pies are a lovely sweet treat, guaranteed to get the blood sugar up and running.  There are many recipes for whoopie pies on the internet.  I have reviewed several, tried several, then come up with my own conglomeration which was successful, at least judged by the empty plate.

Whoopie Pies

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 cup milk, whatever fat content you choose
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, not imitation!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two rimmed half sheet  pans/cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.  In mixer combine butter, sugar, and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat again until well incorporated.  In large bowl combine flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  Whisk until well combined.  It is a good idea to actually put a sieve in the bowl first then sift the ingredients together through the sieve.  This will avoid biting into a chunk of baking soda what did not get well mixed in, a situation to be avoided at all costs.

With mixer running carefully dump in one-third of the flour mixture followed by one-third of the milk and mix for a few moments, then repeat two more times.  With a rubber scraper be sure to scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl between additions.

Using a 1 1/2 Tablespoon portion scoop, scoop out the batter onto the parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Bake for 12 - 15 minutes, checking at 12 minutes to see if the top is firm-ish.  Remove pan to a cooling rack and put in the second pan of whoopie pies.

When completely cool, add a spoonful of filling between two of the pies.  They go rather quickly.  If they do not get eaten immediately, store, covered, in the refrigerator.  They are best stored in a rigid container as they tend to lose the outside layer of cookie if you wrap them individually in plastic wrap.

Filling for Whoopie Pies

1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup real dairy butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar, SIFTED!!!
2 cups Marshmallow Fluff (I used the 7-ounce jar)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a large bowl, mix everything together.  Spread a spoonful on the flat side of one whoopie pie then top with another one.