Friday, November 17, 2017

EASY CHOCOLATE WAFER COOKIES

I found this recipe over at smittenkitchen.com and it is a true keeper. Chocolate wafer cookies can be used for so many things. They are great in the ever popular no-bake eclair "cake", and they look so pretty coated with mint chocolate at Christmas, they are perfect for ice cream sandwiches, and much more. The only problem is, that commercial chocolate wafer cookies are sometimes hard to find in the store, especially around the holidays. So, here is a recipe that tastes just like Nabisco's chocolate wafer cookies.





1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use 1/2 cup)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar   (I use 1 cup)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) UNsalted butter, slightly softened
3 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Put the flour, cocoa, sugar, salt and baking soda in the bowl of your food processor and pulse several times to mix thoroughly.

Cut the SLIGHTLY softened butter into 12 chunks and add them to the flour mixture. Pulse several times.

In a small cup, mix the milk and vanilla and drizzle it into the cookie batter while the food processor is running. Continue pulsing until the batter clumps around the blade or the sides of the bowl.

Transfer dough to the counter (no extra flour needed) and knead a few times to form into a 12" x 2" log. Cover in plastic wrap and chill at least an hour. I like to square off the sides of the log to give me more of a square cookie.

The original recipe says to slice into 1/4" thick slices, but I find that 1/8" slices are better. Bake them on parchment lined cookie sheets (1 1/2" apart) in a pre-heated 375° oven, for 12-15 minutes. My electric oven takes 13 minutes.

Cool the cookies on the cookie sheet for a couple minutes, then place them on a wire rack. They will crisp up as they cool.

You can store these cookies in an airtight container for up to two weeks or they can be frozen up to 2 months, so they are a perfect "make ahead" baking project.



Coated with mint chocolate for Christmas
Here's the link: Thin Mint Cookies


No Bake Eclair Cake
Overnight in the fridge, the cookies 
turn into "cake"...delicious!!
Here's the link: No Bake Eclair Cake

ENJOY !!!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

EASY CROCKPOT PICNIC BEANS

I've been making these beans for my family for 30+ years and they are always a hit. Now that we are empty nesters, I make a big pot of these and then freeze them in 2 cup containers for a quick and yummy addition to any meal. 



I put the following ingredients (which are always in my pantry) into the crockpot before I go to bed and let them cook on LOW all night.



2 cups DRY navy beans (do not soak)
6 cups water
1/2 cup dark brown sugar  (light brown sugar works well too)
3 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
3/4 cup sweet onion chopped small *see note below
(1) 8 ounce can tomato sauce
6 slices crisp cooked bacon

Now, a word about the beans:  Over the years, I've tried every kind of DRY bean there is and they ALL work, however, the tiny little "navy beans" work the best and tolerate re-heating without going mushy. I highly recommend that you use navy beans. Make sure you do NOT pre-soak the beans for this recipe.

Saute onions and fry bacon until almost crisp then drain well. Put everything into a large crockpot and cover with 6 cups of water. Stir well and set on low for 12 hours. The last 3-4 hours, prop the lid of the slow cooker open with a spoon, to thicken the juices. 


Note about onions: When I decide to make these beans and I'm out of fresh onions, I use a scant tablespoon of dehydrated onion flakes, they work well.


ENJOY !!!

Friday, August 18, 2017

APPLE SNACK CAKE with CARAMEL FROSTING

This is a super easy, single layer (stir and bake) snack cake. It is VERY moist (even after 3 days) and truly delicious (we can't seem to stop snacking on it!!) This cake (and frosting) freezes exceptionally well when double wrapped in the freezer.


The frosting in this photo is still
hot, so it looks a little strange, but
as it cools, the frosting turns into a very
SOFT fudge-y consistency...delicious !!!

APPLE SNACK CAKE
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1  1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups chopped Red Delicious apples 
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix the oil, sugar, eggs, cinnamon and vanilla. Stir in the flour and baking soda.

Peel and chop the apples fairly small (I use my food processor)

Red Delicious apples

Stir in the apples and nuts until well mixed. 

Spray a 9" cake pan with cooking spray AND line the bottom with parchment paper, then spray it again. If you do this, the baked cake will pop right out of the pan.

Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 35-40 minutes (test for done-ness with toothpick). My electric oven takes exactly 35 minutes.

Let the baked cake sit IN pan for 20 minutes before you turn it out.
Cool the cake completely, then frost.



CARAMEL FROSTING
5 tablespoons butter
1 cup light brown sugar (packed)
1/3 cup evaporated milk*
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and add the brown sugar and evaporated milk. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down so that it boils softly for 1 minute, whisking the whole time.

Remove from heat (add the vanilla) and keep whisking until it starts to thicken up just a little (you can do this step with your electric hand mixer if you want). 

Keep in mind, that as the frosting cools, it will thicken even more. Let cake and frosting cool completely before cutting the cake.

NOTE: If you don't have evaporated milk, I would think that whipping cream would work just as well (but I haven't tried it that way).

ENJOY !!!