Friday, October 22, 2010

"Mock" Thin Mint(y) Cookies

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My husband, affectionately referred to as BDC has a little problem.  He is obsessed with Girl Scouts.  Not in the creepy, pedophile kind of way.  He stalks them every year at THAT time of year.  You know the time.  The same time we all want to knock them over the head and run off with their stash find them in front of our favorite shopping establishments.  

He loves THIN MINTS.  He actually comes home with a box or two every other day when it's THAT time of year.  He doesn't share them very well either.  He makes sure to pick up a box of Samoas or the peanut butter whatevertheheck they're called ones to deter me the boys from eating HIS cookies.

So I thought, I have to find a way to create something similar at home.  I scavenged the internet and found lots of recipes.  None of them looked perfect. So I pieced and parted and made my own.  

Here's what I came up with...

Cookie Dough:

1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter
1 extra large egg
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder


1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 brick of baking paraffin wax
1/2 teaspoon mint extract

Cream together butter and shortening.  Add sugar and egg.  Blend until light and fluffy.  Add the extracts.  In a separate bowl mix the flour, cocoa and salt. Slowly add the mixed dry ingredients into the wet until they are completely incorporated.

Cut the dough (it's quite sticky) into two equal parts.  Roll into a log in waxed paper and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.  Until the dough is nicely set and hard.  

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the logs into thin slices.  Line the cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Bake cookies for 12-14 minutes until they are slightly crispy to the touch.

Cool on cookie racks.

In a small sauce pan over low heat melt the paraffin wax.  Add the chocolate chips and stir vigorously until melted and the mixture is shiny and smooth.  Remove from heat and stir in extract.  Allow to cool.  With a fork drizzle chocolate over the cooled cookies.

I let Kamden try the batter.  Asked him what it tasted like.  Expecting the answer Thin Mints.  To my surprise he said "heaven".  Not what I was going for kid, but I'll take it!

These were a big hit with BDC and Kamden.  They fought over them actually!  They definitely fill that void when you know, it's not THAT time of year!  ENJOY!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hot Water Chocolate Cake with Ganache

Who doesn't love chocolate cake?  On Friday, last week, my Granny turned 86.  We had a family Birthday Celebration for her and I cooked for everyone.  We had a fantastic time and enjoyed good food and great company.  In all my haste to make lasagna, Italian dinner rolls and the cake I forgot to take pictures of the cake so I found an image on Google to give you a visual.

This cake is so moist and rich.  You will love it!  I don't remember where I found the original recipe, but I of course changed it to suit my baking style.


4 1/3 cups of flour
3 3/4 cups of sugar
3/4 cup shortening
2 teaspoons baking soda
2/3 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
3 extra large eggs
1 cup milk
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare two 9in cake pans with cooking spray.  Line the bottom of the pans with wax paper.  Set aside.

In a large bowl mix together all the dry ingredients.  Sugar, flour, soda, cocoa, salt and cayenne pepper.  Cut in the shortening to the dry ingredients.  Crack the eggs into a 10oz coffee mug.  Fill the rest of the mug with milk.  Add to the dry ingredients.  Add another 1/2 mug of milk.  Add vanilla.  I heated my water in the microwave on high for 3 minutes, but you can certainly boil it on the stove.  Make sure it's screaming hot and pour over all the ingredients.  Mix on high until all the ingredients are well blended.  You will see tiny lumps of shortening throughout the batter.  It's supposed to look that way.

Pour equal amounts into the two cake pans.  Bake for 30-40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool cakes completely.


1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 bag milk chocolate chips
2 cups heavy cream
2 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Over low heat in a sauce pan add the cream and butter.  Stir frequently until butter is melted.  Stir in vanilla.  Add chocolate chips and stir vigorously until melted and completely incorporated in the cream and butter.  It will look like a mess at first.  You'll think you messed up and that the chips aren't going to incorporate.  It's FINE.  Just keep stirring and it will turn into this beautiful shiny chocolate goodness that you want to bathe in.  Trust me!  Once it's shiny and beautiful remove it from the heat and let it cool.

Take the first cake that you have turned out onto your cake plate.  Pour the ganache into the middle of the cake.  Work the ganache to edges of the cake.  Gently top the ganache with the second cake.  Pour the remaining ganache over the top cake and work it down the sides of the entire cake with a spreading knife.  Put the cake in the refrigerator to allow the ganache to set.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mexican Chicken Roll-Ups

I threw something together today, and it was so yummy that I thought I just had to share it.

Here's what you'll need:

5 frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can Ro*Tel tomatoes
1 can chopped green chiles
1 yellow onion
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
10 medium flour tortillas
3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup salsa

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the frozen breasts in a casserole dish.  Drizzle olive oil over the chicken. Sprinkle the cayenne, cumin, salt and pepper over the chicken.  Add the sliced onions, Ro*Tel and green chiles.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until the chicken is falling apart.  (You could certainly do this in the crock pot all day.)  Shred the chicken with two forks and allow to sit in the chicken juices.  Chicken will soak up most of the juice.

Spray another casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Separate the chicken into 10 equal parts.  Separate the Monterey Jack cheese.  Keep 1 cup for topping.  The other two cups separate into 10 equal parts.  Stuff each of the flour tortillas with chicken and cheese.  Roll and put them in the prepared casserole dish.

Top the rolled tortillas with the 1/2 cup of salsa and spread it over all the tortillas.  Top with the remaining cup of cheese.

Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 until the cheese is nicely browned.  Serve topped with a bit of sour cream and your favorite Mexican or Spanish rice.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Share a Spoon - Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

Think Tank Momma

Maurnie had two wonderful submissions this week!  Here is the second:

Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

1 med butternut squash (1 ½ pounds)
1 TBSP olive oil
½ tsp dried rubbed sage
salt and pepper
5 garlic cloves, peel on
1 cup half-and-half
Pasta (such as cheese ravioli or any short pasta like penne)

Preheat oven to 375.  Using a large, sharp knife, trim ends; halve squash crosswise to separate bulb from neck.  Peel with vegetable peeler.  Cut both pieces in half lengthwise.   With a spoon, scoop out seeds; discard.

Cut squash into 2-inch chucks; transfer to a small rimmed baking sheet.  Toss with oil and sage; season generously with salt and pepper.  Scatter garlic around squash.  Roast until squash is very ender, about 40 minutes, tossing once halfway through.  Remove and discard skin from garlic.

Transfer squash and garlic to a food processor; puree.  With motor running, and add half-and-half through the feed tube; process until smooth.  Add 1 to 2 cups water; continue to process until smooth, adding water to thin if necessary.  Season again generously with salt.  (At this stage the sauce can be frozen for use later.)

Cook pasta according to directions.  Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain pasta and return to put.  Pour sauce over pasta; toss to coat.  Add some pasta water to thin sauce if necessary.  Serve.

I serve this topped with grated parmesan cheese, toasted, chopped walnuts and some finely chopped fresh sage.

So leave Maurnie some love folks!

Share a Spoon - Stuffed Tex-Mex Yellow Squash

Think Tank Momma

Maurnie is Sharing her favorites again this week.  She emailed two recipes this week.  She stated and I quote:

"Good morning!

I lurve squash so much, it is once of my favorite things about fall/winter cooking.  I have included two recipes for this week’s theme. 

The last recipe(s) for the Roasted Fall Vegetables I thought you might enjoy – since you’re a busy mum in a busy household this one is terrific when you have the time to plan menus in advance.  Can’t wait to see and try all the submissions this week!"

Stuffed Tex-Mex Yellow Squash

4 yellow squash (8oz each approx.)
salt and pepper
2 TBSP olive oil
1 red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed and diced fine
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove
2 TBSP tomato paste
1 tsp chili powder (or to taste)
¼ tsp cumin
½ ground beef
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
¼ cup plus 2 TBSP grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 with rack set in top third.  Half each squash lengthwise; slice a sliver from the rounded part so each half sits flat.  Leaving a ¼ inch border, scoop out halves with a small spoon; finely chop flesh (so you can hide it for the non-squash lovers), and reserve.  Place squash halves, skin side down, in a shallow baking dish.  Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

In large skillet, heat oil over med-high.  Add reserved chopped squash, bell pepper, about ¾ of the chopped scallion, and garlic; season with salt and pepper.  Cook stirring occasionally, until bell pepper begins to soften, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add tomato paste, cumin and chili powder; cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute.  Remove mixture from pan.  Add beef; cook until no longer pink, breaking up meant with a spoon, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add mixture back to meat and warm through.  Remove from heat.  Stir in corn and ¼ cup parmesan; season with salt and pepper.

Dividing evenly, spoon mixture into squash halves.  Sprinkle with remaining parmesan.  Cover with aluminum foil, and bake until squash is tender, 30-35 minutes.  Uncover and bake until top is browned, 7 to 10 minutes more.  Garnish with remaining scallions.

YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!  I can't wait to give this recipe a try!  I will post the next recipe in another post.