Food, Fun, NYC, recipe, Sweets

Lemon Puppy Chow

What was in last weeks mystery box?

Mystery Box

Mystery Box

I like wikipedia’s description best “Puppy chow, also typically known as muddy buddiesmonkey munch, or reindeer food, is the name for a homemade snack made in the United States”  It is crunchy and sweet and quite honestly hard to stop eating.  Nowadays it is not a homemade snack as you can purchase the pre-made mix but it is so simple and quite honestly only semi-homemade to begin with.  I decided to make a lemony version of the treat using white chocolate and lemon juice in place of chocolate chips and peanut butter.  I did not make up this recipe, but thought it was worth sharing as it was something I have never heard of or tried before last week. I also think it is a great treat looking forward to spring.

IngredientsIMG_4491

  • cups Corn Chex™ cereal
  • 1 1/4cups white vanilla baking chips
  • 1/4cup butter
  • 4teaspoons grated lemon peel (or 1tsp lemon extract)
  • 2tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2cups powdered sugar

DirectionsIMG_4493

  1. Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.
  2. In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chips, butter, lemon peel and juice uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.
  3. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; gently shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper or foil to cool. Store in airtight container.

http://www.chex.com/recipes/chex-lemon-buddies/0ddce4db-9367-4d8b-a731-809279ce9b46

 

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Food, Fun, NYC, recipe, Sweets, Uncategorized

Cranberry Bliss Bars- Starbucks Knockoff

I figured I would continue on the quest for cranberry cooking this time using only dried cranberries.  Many are aware and addicted to the amazing Cranberry Bliss Bars at Starbucks.  Unfortunately they are far from homemade and come frozen in a package.  I found this recipe online and followed it pretty closely.  My only changes would be to bake the bars longer than stated in the directions and use the orange flavored cranberries from Trader Joe’s for additional flavor.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flourIMG_3168
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, unpacked
  • 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate (I used one 4oz. bar)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped

For the Frosting:

  • 8 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Lightly spray a 9 x 13 inch non-stick baking pan with cooking spray.  I had trouble removing the bars and would recommend parchment paper next time. *IMG_3167I read that if warm bars are not removed after 10 minutes they will stick to the pan…I waited an hour and wondered why they were stuck.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and stir to blend.

In another bowl, whisk the sugars with the butter, egg whites, applesauce and vanilla until light and fluffy.

Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in two additions until the batter is very well blended. Batter should be thick. Fold in white chocolate chips and 1/3 cup cranberries. Spread batter onto the baking pan using the back of a measuring cup to smooth evenly.

Bake 15-18 minutes, until the edges are light brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Don’t over-bake or your bars will be dry. Let it cool completely on wire rack.
Meanwhile, prepare the frosting; in a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until well-blended. Frost bars and sprinkle with remaining cranberries.

When the chocolate sets, cut into 15 large squares (5 cuts by 3 cuts with the knife). Then cut each square in half diagonally to create triangles. Keep at room temperature unfrosted, or freeze frosted for later consumption.

I am heading to a holiday party tomorrow evening and think they will be a great holiday treat to share.  I think I could make a few revisions, but overall very pleased with the little triangles of joy!IMG_3174

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Big City, Food, Fun, NYC, recipe, Sullivan, Sweets

Subway Cookie Copycat- Recreating the perfect cookie

Well I am happily back in MY kitchen, the one that is just the right size, yes the six foot kitchen.  The only thing is that there are so many food ventures here I have yet to cook anything.  Has anyone heard of the beloved cronut? It made its first appearance in May and is a cross between the croissant and donut and requires one to wake up at 5AM to be one of the lucky 350 made daily.  I am determined to try one to figure out what all the hype is about although I cannot get myself up early enough to buy the $5 pastry.

I figured I would give Subway a salute today and I do not mean that mode of transportation use in this city, rather the fast food chain with the healthiest advertising and probably the unhealthiest, but best cookies in the world.  I did my research because I wanted to find the recipes to these suckers because to be quite honest I was irritated that they are the only cookies that are better than homemade.  I found in the list of ingredients the only difference is they use margarine instead of butter.  I tried a batch of chocolate chip cookies that way and they failed miserably.  I also found that they are Otis Spunkmeyer cookies and they come frozen which probably affects the baking process.

After buying and eating dozens of these cookies I found one thing.  They are simply underbaked.  Underbaked to the point where they need to sit on their baking sheets until cooled before boxing them.  Underbaked to the point where the edges are mysteriously crispy yet the middle is still able to hold its own.  Underbaked to perfection.  

Now I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies and underbaked them by a minute and this was the result.  I think the best way to determine how underbaked they are is by flipping the cookie over.  These are actual subway cookies.

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Look at how perfectly underbaked the Macadamia Nut cookie is! I personally think that the M&M cookie is a little overdone.

Now to my cookies

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The science is too confusing as to what ingredients make a chewy, light, thin, and crispy cookie.  Since there are so many variations of ingredients, pans, ovens etc I thought I would look into only a few ideas.  First the oven temperature, but I did not get far as I found most are cooked between 325 and 375 degrees.  Second after making so many cookies I have learned that chilling the dough makes a big difference as well as using parchment paper to bake.  I usually use crisco in my cookie but these I went for plain old butter and used the most basic recipes on the back of the morsel packages.

The white chocolate chip cookies were puffy and raw looking when removing from the oven.

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Then they fell to perfection and actually could have been cooked even less.

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Next time you bake cookies and give my tips a try

  1. use parchment paper
  2. chill dough thoroughly
  3. UNDERBAKE THE COOKIES> can’t stress this one enough!

and for those who do not like to bake….just go to Subway (not McDonald’s they’re overcooked) and you will be a happy camper!

 

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Dining, Food, Fun, Sullivan, Sweets

Red White and Blue Concoction

I know it has been a while since I last posted, but things have been a little crazy opening and closing shows.   Also I know it is cliche to post a patriotic recipe with berries, but it is happening.  Have no fear plenty of baking and cooking has been happening, but I am waiting for some big surprises to come later in the month.  I have still managed (thanks to the help of premade brownie mix) to make a few goodies.  Yesterday may have been a holiday and day off for most, but I was in tech and rehearsal until 6PM.  That gave me plenty of time to think of things that I had in my cupboard for the last minute party at 7PM.  I bought blueberries for my breakfast, I still had homemade jelly in the freezer, and I have white chocolate chips in the pantry ready for another recipe I plan on making.  Those things are all sweet and go together well so I figured with an oatmeal crust I could make some sort of American flag berry bar.  Usually I can look up several recipes and concoct a medley of them all, but this time there was nothing like it so I literally threw things in a bowl and created the treat without one.  

Ingredients

  • 1- 1 1/2C rolled oats
  • 1 C Flour
  • 1 Tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6-7 Tbsp butter cut into bits
  • 3/4 to 1 C packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 C cinnamon sugar blend
Toppings
  • Blueberries
  • Jam (I used strawberry)
  • White chocolate chips

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Preheat the oven at 350 degrees

Cut the butter into all of the crust ingredients and combine until dough becomes crumbly

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press oat crust into the bottom of a 9X13 in baking pan lined with either foil or parchment paper (I chose the latter)

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Cover generously with jam and bake 25-30 minutes or until crust becomes golden on the edges and jam begins to set and bubble

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Decorate bars to your liking and bake another 5 minutes

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With one hour of free time, a party to attend, and no time to run to the store I say it was a great success

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Hope your day was as great as mine!

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