Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Strawberries and Cream Cookies

I made these for the first time yesterday and HOLY COW! So yummy! It was a nice change from a normal chocolate chip cookie, but still nice and sweet. :0)

3/4 c. sugar
1 c. unsalted butter, softened
2 c. flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. whipping cream
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. minced white chocolate
3/4 c. dried strawberries, coarsely minced

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Stack two baking sheets together and line top sheet with parchment paper.
In a food processor, whiz sugar to finely pulverize, about 10 seconds.
In a mixer bowl, cream sugar and butter on low speed until well blended. Then add flour, vanilla, cream, and salt and blend well. When alsmot blended into a dough, add white chocolate and dried strawberries, mixing by hand to incorporate and make a firm dough.
Knead dough gently on a lightly floured work surface about 1 minute to make dough more firm and get it to hold together. Flatten dough into a disk, wrap well, and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Roll out gently about 1/2 inch thick and cut into small round cookies {about 2 inches in diameter}.
Place on prepared baking sheets. Place in oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees. Bake until lightly browned around edges, about 40-50 minutes. Cool well before removing with a metal spatula.

Ashlee side note: Ok, so I changed a few things because I am super lazy. :0)
I couldn't find dried strawberries anywhere in town. If you find them...please let me know. The book says you can find them on nutsonline.com, so you can try there.
I bought freeze dried strawberries at Fred Meyer, because that's the best I could find. They are like the kind you find in your cereal box. :0) So, when added to liquid, they reconstitute and become soft. Make sense? Just make sure you dry them well before adding them to the dough and mix extra carefully.
I also did not pulverize the sugar. Does this really make a huge difference? Maybe so, but I couldn't tell the difference and the cookies turned out wicked awesome yummy.
And....I used white chocolate chips instead of mincing white chocolate. :0)
So....as many of you know I am SUPER lazy when it comes to making several trays of cookies. It takes WAY too long. I did the first tray using a glass cup to cut the cookies into circles. But seriously....it took 40 minutes to bake these babies. I wasn't going to sit around for several more hours doing them. :0) So, with the rest of the dough, I made a BIG cookie cake. I used my circle Springform pan and pressed the dough into the bottom of the pan {after spraying with nonstick spray}. It was about 1/4 inch thick. I still placed it on a second baking sheet like the recipe called for, and still baked it for 40 minutes. And honestly....I liked this cookie better. Because this is a shortbread kind of cookie, they are supposed to be crunchy. I prefer soft cookies, and baking the dough into a big cookie meant that the dough was softer. Why? Not a clue. I just cut the cookie into pie slices and ate them. Good stuff.

See? Lazy. But I baked something and these were SO good. Try it! You'll like it!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies

OK ladies...here is what you were asking for. I just ate the last one.....good thing these are so easy to make!

Brownie Base:
1 box (1 lb 6.5 oz) Betty Crocker® Original Supreme brownie mix
Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on brownie mix box
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons milk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom only of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray or shortening. (For easier cutting, line pan with foil, then grease foil on bottom only of pan.)
2. In medium bowl, stir brownie mix, pouch of chocolate syrup, water, oil and eggs until well blended. Spread in pan. Bake 28 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from side of pan comes out almost clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
3. In medium bowl, beat filling ingredients with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Spread mixture evenly over brownie base.
4. In small microwavable bowl, microwave topping ingredients uncovered on High 30 to 60 seconds; stir until smooth. Cool 10 minutes; spread over filling. Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until set. For brownies, cut into 9 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.
Ashlee side note: Just use whatever box of brownie mix you have on hand and make your batch of brownies as you usually do. To cool these babies faster {because you will want to eat them sooner than 2 1/2 hours later!} just put the pan in the fridge about 20 minutes after you take it out of the oven. The pb mixture doesn't necessarily "pour" or "spread" easily onto the brownies. This is why you MUST make sure the brownies are completely cooled before putting on the pb layer. Kind of just scoop out a chuck and flatten into a pancake in your hand and then place over the brownie. Wierd...I know...but it worked really good and gives you the best even layer of pb. I didn't cool my chocolate layer for 10 minutes. I just spread it on after the chips were melted...about 45 seconds.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Cheesy Meatballs

Just a little tidbit here...

Though the hubby isn't a fan of meatballs, my son can't seem to get enough of them. What makes them even better for him, is when there is cheese hidden inside. :0)

Just make your regular meatball recipe, except as you are forming the balls, place a small slice of string cheese inside and wrap the meat around it. If you chop the string cheese the "short" way, you can make several meatballs out of just one stick of cheese. When you cook the meatballs it melts the cheese on the inside and adds a little something "extra".

Just thought I'd share.

Pizza Lasagna

Two different Italian dishes in one! Can't beat that!

9 uncooked lasagna noodles
1 (15-oz.) can pizza sauce
1 (14 1/2-oz.) can diced tomatoes seasoned with green pepper and onion, undrained
1 (15-oz.) container ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
8 oz. (2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese
2 (3 1/2-oz.) pkg. pepperoni slices
1 (4.5-oz.) jar sliced Mushrooms, drained
1 (2 1/4-oz.) can sliced ripe olives, drained
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cook lasagna noodles to desired doneness as directed on package. Drain.
2. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350°F. Spray 12x8-inch (2-quart) glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In medium saucepan, combine pizza sauce and tomatoes; cook until thoroughly heated.
3. In medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese and Italian seasoning; mix well.
4. Spread 1/4 cup sauce mixture in bottom of sprayed baking dish. Arrange 3 cooked noodles over sauce in baking dish. Spoon and spread half of ricotta mixture over noodles; top with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, 1 cup sauce, 1/3 each of the pepperoni slices, mushrooms, olives and bell pepper. Repeat layers once. Top with remaining 3 noodles, sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni slices, mushrooms, olives and bell pepper. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
5. Bake at 350°F. for 30 to 35 minutes or until lasagna is bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Ashlee side note: if your children are like mine...the mushrooms, green peppers, and diced tomatoes just might KILL them. :0) Though I leave in the shrooms and make my kids pick them out, I usually omit the tomatoes and peppers. This means it might require a bit more pizza sauce, so better get two cans. :0)