Sunday, January 31, 2010

Week 4: Smore Cookies :)

I like making regular food, you know, like meals, but I decided to break down and pick a dessert for this week. But next time!!! Le sigh. Anyway, we decided to use a recipe that combines the deliciousness of smores with the awesomeness of the classic chocolate chip cookie. Prepare yourself for a smorgasbord of amazing.

1.5 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about one of those enclosed packs out of the box)
1 tsp of baking soda
1 twp salt
1 dash of cinnamon
2 softened sticks of butter
3/4 cup of sugar
3/4 cup of light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups miniature chocolate chips (about a bag)
1.5 cups of mini-marshmallows (we used about half a bag)
2 chopped Hershey bars (we had to use about 2.5 bars, not the huge bars)

Steps to Yummy:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda, salt, and a dash of cinnamon. In a second, bigger bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until creamy.

2. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Slowly beat in the flour mixture until smooth.

Stir in the chocolate chips. (this will seem like a LOT of chocolate chips)
3. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet. (ours didn't stick, but also we noticed that the cookies didn't get taller after baking, but they did horizontally expand)
4. Bake for 8 minutes (on the top rack) and remove from the oven. Push 3-4 marshmallows and a few pieces of Hershey bar into each of the cookies. Return to the oven and bake an additional 3-4 minutes (we baked for an additional 2 minutes instead) or until fully cooked.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Andrew says: They were pretty good, but I still prefer the cinnamon roll. I didn't taste the graham crackers, and we should have used less chocolate chips.
Lacey says: they weren't bad, but they made my stomach hurt after 2. And they're a little messy to eat.
Michael (guest judge) says: they stick together, don't stack them!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls-Week 3

This week it was Andrew's turn, and he first thought, hmm, maybe a king cake but stumbleupon provided him with the idea of homemade cinnamon rolls, right down to the icing.

Cinnamon Roll Recipe + Icing Recipe
Cinnamon Roll Ingredients:
1 quart of whole milk
1 cup of vegetable oil
1 cup of sugar
2 packages of active yeast
8 cups of all-purpose flour + 1 cup flour
1 heaping tsp of baking powder
1 scant tsp of baking soda
1 heaping tbs of salt
1.5-2 cups flour (Plus flour to spread out on the table)
1 cup of sugar
ground cinnamon

Directions for Cinnamon Rolls:
1. Mix 1 quart of whole milk, 1 cup of vegetable oil, and one cup of sugar in a pan. "scald" the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool for 45 min.-1 hour.

2. When the mixture is lukewarm to warm (NOT HOT), sprinkle in 2 packets of active dry yeast. Let sit for a minute and then add 8 cups of all purpose flour.
3. Stir the mixture together. Cover and let sit for at least an hour. After an hour the dough will have risen. Add 1 cup of flour.

4. Add 1 heaping tsp of baking powder, 1 scant tsp of baking soda, and 1 heaping tablespoon of salt. Stir the mixture together. (We had to add much more flour to make the next step a lot easier because our dough was too wet).

5. Sprinkle surface (a counter, preferably) generously with flour. Also, preheat the oven to 400C.
6. Form half of the dough into a rough rectangle, then roll it thin, trying to maintain a general rectangular shape. Increase both its length and width as you roll.
7. Drizzle on the 1.5-2 cups of butter over the dough, and sprinkle over it with 1 cup of sugar. Now generously cover it with cinnamon (remember, they're "cinnamon" rolls!).
8. Now, starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Some of the butter/sugar/cinnamon mixture is going to ooze out the end, but it will be okay. be careful because this gets messy! Pinch the seam of the roll to seal it.
9. Take the roll and cut them into pieces 3/4"-1" thick. Put around seven per pie tin. (this should fill about 3.5 pie tins.

10. Repeat for other half of the dough.
11. Let the rolls sit for 20-30 minutes to rise, and then bake them at 400 degrees until light golden brown. This takes about 15-18 minutes. Our stove, which has an electric oven, baked them in about 16 minutes.
12. Take them out.
13. Ice them and enjoy :)

Icing Ingredients:
1 bag of confectioner's sugar
2 tsp maple flavoring
1/2 cup of milk
1/4 cup of melted butter
1/4 cup of brewed coffee
1/8 tsp of salt

Directions for Icing:
1. In a large mixing bowl, add 1 bag of powdered sugar. Then add 2 tsp of maple flavoring, 1/2 cup of milk, 1/4 cup of melted butter, 1/4 cup of brewed coffee, and the salt.

2. Mix well. It will be thick and pourable. Pour over the cooked cinnamon rolls and enjoy!!!

Andrew's Review: Thumbs up, they're delicious. I want to make them again right now.
Lacey's Review: They were A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! I felt like I was going to get sick almost, though, because they were so rich and sweet.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chicken and Dumplings-Week 2

Hi! It was my choice this time, and I picked out this. Andrew favors fowl...

Chicken and Dumplings Recipe:
1 chicken or chicken pieces, about 4.5-5.5 lbs (we used boneless, but remember it swells!)
4 cups of water
4 cups of chicken broth (generally a box is about 4 cups)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dried leaf thyme (Don't worry if it seems strong, it will become much fainter after cooking)
2 carrots, cut into chunks (opt)
2 ribs celery, cut in chunks (opt)
1 medium onion, cut into chunks (opt)
(the previously mentioned three items are used for the broth)
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup milk
2-4 tbs butter
*Alterations by us: No Carrots, No Celery*

1. Wash chicken and place into a large stockpot; add water and chicken broth. Add the 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, thyme, carrots, celery, and onion and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 60-75 minutes, or until chicken is very tender.
2. Remove chicken to a large bowl and set aside to cool. Strain broth into another bowl, then pour back into the stockpot discarding the solids.
3. Combine the flour, baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt. With ingredients until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Stir in buttermilk just until dough clumps together. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead about 5 times. Roll the dough out to about 1/8" thickness and cut into 3x1 inch strips or squares. Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter. (We didn't use rolled dumplings, we rolled out the dough and then made small ball-like shapes).
4. Meanwhile, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Stir in the 1 cup of milk and the butter. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
5. Drop the dumplings, a few at a time, into the boiling chicken broth. Reduce heat to medium low and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally.

6. Meanwhile, remove cooled chicken from bones and cut into pieces. Add the chicken pieces to the simmering broth and heat through.

Our Opinion:
Andrew- I like it; it is different from the chicken and dumplings than I've had as a child, and is probably the first time I've had it in a decade, but I really like it. I like it more than the crack dip.
Lacey- AMAZING! It was SO GOOD. There was almost too much chicken for the broth, so be careful of how much you use if you're using boneless. The variations we made to the recipes didn't make it taste bad or anything. I think, if anything, it made it better. The yield is also very large.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Delicious Dip to start the New Year! + Update

Today we're trying crack dip, also known as buffalo chicken dip. We couldn't find any buffalo sauce, so we're using hot barbecue sauce. Firstly, here's the recipe:

8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup ranch salad dressing
1/4 cup blue cheese salad dressing (either of the salad dressings may substitute the other if you do not care for blue cheese or ranch salad dressing)
1/2 cup buffalo sauce or buffalo style barbecue sauce
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (shredded mozzarella cheese can be substituted)
2 cans chicken breast (one can use rotisserie chicken, chicken breast, etc, in lieu of the canned variety)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a baking dish, mix cream cheese, salad dressings, buffalo sauce, and cheese. Stir until combined. Stir in chicken.
Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes, until the dish is heated through. Serve with what is your preference, tortilla chips, hard bread, vegetables, etc.
We also sprinkled cheese on the top of ours.

So was it good?
Andrew's Review: It was great! The taste is a little surprising, from its appearance you would think it would be more cheesy, meaty, and salty, but it's actually tangy. The hot barbecue sauce didn't come through strongly, but overall I really liked it.
Lacey's Review: I think next time we will find the buffalo sauce. To me, it tastes a bit like barbecued chips, but tangier. It was delicious, but not my favorite.


So I had lied to make Andrew feel better earlier; the past one was actually really really really bad. We remade it today with the appropriate ingredients (aka actual Buffalo Wing sauce etc), and it was AWESOME!!! It's crazy how bad the hot barbecue sauce made it. We generally tweak our recipes, but that was one time it did NOT work out okay. So, new review: with the appropriate ingredients, it's amazing. If not, it's really really bad. Let's just say I couldn't even suck it up and eat it for the people who would have appreciated food.

Super Update!

So this time we made it with crumbled blue cheese instead of Mozzarella. Honestly, it tasted almost exactly the same...the real difference was texture. It was a lot thicker with Mozzerella...almost creamier, I suppose from the melted cheese! Blue cheese doesn't have that same thickness. It's still delicious :D
Andrew liked it best in this manner. I liked it best in the previous update (above). I like the texture more.