Saturday, May 23, 2015

Jarlsberg Braid

Jarlsberg Cheese recently held a recipe contest using their cheese.
We didn't win with our entry but we still wanted to share it with everyone. 
I went outside of my comfort zone to develop this recipe. I'm normally not a cheese and fruit kind-of person but this combination really blew me away. (If I do say so myself....) 
There is only 6 ingredients but I guarantee this appetizer will have your guests coming back for more. It is super simple yet very elegant and only takes about 40 minutes from start to finish!

Jarlsberg Braid

12 dried figs, chopped
2 small, tart apples
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup shredded Jarlsberg Cheese 
1 pkg puff pastry (We use Tenderflake - HERE)

Beaten egg

Preheat oven to 400. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
Place chopped figs in a medium saucepan over medium heat. 
Chop the apples into small pieces and place in saucepan with the figs.

Cook and stir until figs and apples have softened, about 5 - 10 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the balsamic vinegar. Remove from heat and stir in chopped pecans.
Roll out the puff pastry into a long rectangle.
Sprinkle 1/2 the cheese down the center. (See photo below)

Spread the apple/fig mixture on top of the cheese. (See photo below)

Top with remaining cheese.
Make cuts approx 1 inch apart down the sides of the pastry. (See photo below)

Carefully fold the top of the pastry up over the filling. Then, fold the pastry on each side up and over the filling, alternating sides. (See photo below)

Continue all the way to the bottom. Fold up the bottom of the pastry over the end of the filling. 
Brush the pastry with beaten egg using a pastry/basting brush. (See photo below)

Bake at 400 for 20 - 25 minutes, until pastry is puffed and golden brown.

Let cool for about 10 minutes before slicing with a serrated knife.

Serve warm or room temp.
FYI - this goes great with a glass of sangria.

There is so much going on in this recipe - sweet, savory, crunchy, chewy - it really does make an amazing treat. I brought it to my office and it was devoured in minutes! 

Look at all that gooey cheese peeking out.
P.S. - Jarlsberg really is an amazingly delicious cheese. You should give it a try if you haven't yet!!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Rhubarb Cheesecake Square

A while back I created a Cherry Pie Cheesecake Tart (recipe HERE) out of some leftover ingredients. I stumbled over it again when it showed up in my Pinterest feed. I was like - "oh yeaaaaaaaah, I remember making that. That was tasty!" so I decided to re-make it but change it up with some rhubarb and whipped cream. 
I also decided to make the cheesecake layer a little thicker because...well.... CHEESECAKE! I don't think I really need to explain that any further...
Anyway... if you like cheesecake and you like rhubarb and you like pie.... I'm going to make a huge leap here and say you will most likely enjoy this too. 

Rhubarb Cheesecake Square

Bottom Layer
1/3 recipe of our NEVER FAIL PIE CRUST (HERE)
(or your own double crust pie dough recipe)

Rhubarb Layer
3/4 cup sugar
3 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
4 -5 cups rhubarb, chopped

Cheesecake Layer
1 1/2 bricks (12 oz) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, room temp
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Top Layer
2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 400.
Bottom layer - Roll out pie crust to cover the bottoms of a 12x8 AND a 14 x4 tart pan. Set aside.

Rhubarb Layer - In a medium saucepan, stir together sugar, cornstarch, and rhubarb.

Place over medium heat. Cook and stir constantly until mixture comes to a boil and is thickened. About 8 - 12 minutes.

Pour into prepared pie shells.

Place pans in oven and bake 10 minutes.
While this is in the oven, prepare the cheesecake layer.
Cheesecake Layer - In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping sides as necessary. Beat in sugar and eggs and vanilla until well combined. 
Pour over the rhubarb in the pans.

Turn oven down to 350.
Place back in oven at 350 until cheesecake is set, about 20 - 30 minutes.

Let cool completely.
When cool, prepare top layer.
Top Layer - In a large mixing bowl, beat whipping cream together with the sugar and vanilla, until stiff peaks form. Spread over cheesecakes.

Chill until ready to serve. (At least 2 hours)

Store any leftovers in the fridge. (If you have any!)

You can make this in a 9 X 13 pan if you prefer or even a 10 inch pie plate if you want it thicker.
You will just have to adjust your cooking times accordingly!
This is a perfect summer dessert and can be made with frozen rhubarb if you don't have fresh. 
The flavors and textures make this a wonderfully different square to bring to a potluck or to share with the family. 
Looking for tons of fun and tasty links? Check out these fab linky parties - Hun... What's For Dinner?, New Mrs Adventures, Lou Lou Girls, Dizzy Busy & Hungry, Nap Time Is My Time

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Mars Bar Cake

I came across this recipe a little while ago and thank goodness I scribbled it down on a scrap of paper because I went to find it again and couldn't. I apologize for not being able to give credit to the proper person that created this. 
That being said.... this cake is super-de-duper tasty. It's a bit heavier - almost like a pound cake but not quite, yet is still crumbly and moist with crunchy bites of pecan. 
You would think with all the chocolate and sugar it would be ridiculously sweet but I was surprised it was not. I was expecting it to taste much more chocolaty than it was. It is a mild chocolate that is perfect for dessert or tea time. 
It's right in the middle between a chocolate cake and a vanilla cake. 

Mars Bar Cake

5 full size Mars chocolate bars
1 cup butter (room temp), divided
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs, separated
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/3 cup Skor bits

Preheat oven to 325. Lightly spray a 10 inch bundt pan with cooking spray, set aside. 
In a small pot over medium/low heat, stir the Mars chocolate bars and 1/2 cup of the butter together.

Stir until melted and smooth. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream remaining 1/2 cup butter together with the sugar and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Beat in the melted Mars bar mixture.  
Beat in the egg yolks. 
In a small bowl, dissolve the baking soda in the buttermilk. Beat into the Mars bar mixture. Slowly add in the flour and pecans until well combined.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff and then gently fold into the batter.

When mixed in, pour into prepared bundt pan.

Bake at 325 for approx an hour and 10 minutes. Keep an eye on it, starting at about 50 minutes. A toothpick inserted near the center should come out clean.

Let cool for about 10 minutes in the pan then gently run a knife around the cake and invert it on to a wire rack to cool completely. 

So, it's already a pretty nice looking cake, right?
But let's bring it up another notch, shall we?
Melt the chocolate chips in a heavy duty plastic baggie in the microwave - start with 20 seconds, squish the bag, then microwave another 20 seconds, squish. Keep going until chips are melted and smooth. Clip a small corner off of the baggie and use it to drizzle the chocolate over the cake.

Sprinkle with the Skor bits.
Slice and serve.

Who wants a piece?

It is a little bit more involved than a regular cake but, trust me, when you are diving into a piece of this - you won't mind the effort at all. 
We're sharing at these fun linky parties. Be sure to check them out! - The Chicken Chick, Joy Love Food, Simple Life of a Fire Wife, Memories By The Mile, Adventures of Mel,

Monday, May 11, 2015

Vanilla Bean Pumpkin Scones

So apparently today is National Eat What You Want Day. It's totally a thing. Google it.
Anyway... yeah, I know it's just a day someone made up for no reason.
Here's the thing though.... it's an opportunity to eat what you want. 
Who doesn't want to celebrate that? 
Weirdos... that's who.
I'm celebrating with these healthified pumpkin scones with vanilla glaze. Pumpkin doesn't have to be a fall thing. Especially on National Eat What You Want Day. 

Vanilla Bean Pumpkin Scones

1 cup 1% buttermilk
2 eggs
1 vanilla bean, scraped & pod discarded
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/4 cup Stevia for baking (I used Krisda)
2 cups almond flour
2 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch salt
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp butter, chilled & cut into small cubes

4 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk, vanilla
2 cups icing sugar
1 vanilla bean, scraped & pod discarded

Preheat the oven to 375. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
In a mixing bowl, Whisk together buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and pumpkin.
In a separate bowl, whisk together Stevia, almond flour, AP flour, baking powder, and spices. Cut or rub in the cold butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. 

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just mixed. Do not over mix or your scones will be tough.

Drop by the spoonful (I used a medium cookie scoop) onto the prepared cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.

Bake at 375 until bottoms are golden brown and scones appear dry on top, about 15 - 20 minutes. 

While scones are still warm, prepare glaze.
Prepare glaze - In a small bowl, whisk together almond milk, icing sugar, and vanilla bean until smooth.  

Dip the tops of all the warm scones into the glaze. (You can also spoon the glaze on top of the scones if you prefer)

Serve warm or at room temp.
I figured out the nutritional counts on Myfitnesspal. A serving is one scone and I got 46 scones with the medium cookie scoop. (If you don't have a medium cookie scoop I guesstimate the amount of dough as about 2 Tbsp.)
88 calories, 12 carbs, 4 fat, 2 protein, 1 fiber.
These are snack size scones but you can definitely make them bigger if you are having them with tea, or just on their own. 
Be sure to stop by Feeding Big, My Turn (for us), Cookin and Craftin,   for some fabulous links!!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Shrimp Cobb Salad With Light Buttermilk Dressing

I know I've done a chicken Cobb salad in the past (Click here for Cobb Salad (Jo's Version) With Avocado Garlic Dressing) but this one is different enough that it needs its own post. 
Cobb salads are a fantabulous idea when you are looking for something healthy, hearty, and filling. I mean... it's a salad (can't get much more healthy than that) and it's got egg, shrimp, bacon, avocado.... all sorts of of yummy things that also happen to be pretty darn filling.
The buttermilk dressing only takes 2 seconds to whip up and is SO SO SO good. I'm definitely adding this to my favorite dressings list. 
According to Myfitnesspal, one serving of this (recipe makes 4 servings) is:
Salad - 400 calories, 21 carbs, 24 fat, 30 protein, 7 fiber
Dressing (2 Tbsp) - 43 calories, 2 carbs, 3 fat, 1 protein, 0 fiber. 
All together = 443 calories, 23 carbs, 27 fat, 31 protein, 7 fiber.
Feel free to change up the veggies according to your own taste, just keep in mind that it will change the nutritional counts.

Shrimp Cobb Salad With Light Buttermilk Dressing

Light Buttermilk Dressing
1/2 cup light mayo
1/4 cup 0 fat, plain, Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
sprinkle salt & pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 pkg Stevia (or other sugar replacement)
1/2 cup 1% buttermilk

16 cups baby spinach/lettuce mix 
8 slices bacon, cooked and diced
24 grape tomatoes, halved
1 medium cucumber, diced
32 shrimp, cooked
4 boiled eggs, diced
3/4 cup red onion, finely diced
1 medium avocado, diced

8 Tbsp light feta, crumbled

Prepare the dressing - In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients EXCEPT buttermilk. When smooth, slowly whisk in the buttermilk, a little at a time, until all of it is incorporated.

Chill until ready to use.
Prepare salad - Place 4 cups of the mixed greens on a serving plate. Place 1/4 of the rest of the ingredients, in lines across the top of the greens, in order of the ingredient list. (2 slices of the chopped bacon, 6 halved grape tomatoes, 1/4 of the cucumber, 8 of the shrimp, 1 chopped egg, scant 1/4 cup of the onions, and 1/4 of the chopped avocado.) 
Repeat 4 more times.

Sprinkle each plate with 2 Tbsp of the crumbled feta.

Lastly, drizzle each plate with 2 Tbsp of the light buttermilk dressing.

Serve immediately.
Note - the dressing make about 1 cup's worth. You will have some left over because you are only using about 1/2 cup to make the 4 salads. Use it as a veggie dip or on your own favorite salad. 
It's sooooo tasty! (Plus only 43 calories for 2 Tbsp. Yay!) Again, feel free to use more on the salads but it will affect the nutritional counts.
You can also toss this all together in a large mixing bowl but it won't look quite as fancy. :)
FYI - The dressing improves if it has time to sit so the flavors can blend BUT it is also good if you make it and use it right away. The first time I made it, I prepared it at the same time as the salad. The second time I made it a few hours ahead. It was definitely a much stronger flavor after it had sat.