Monday, August 24, 2015

MMMM Bars


So I think I deserve several gold stars for the clever name of these bars.
Not only is "mmmm" the sound you will make when you eat them, the M's all stand for ingredients in the recipe. 
Molasses.
Mango.
Macadamia nuts.
Meringue. 
*Taaaah - daaaah*
Yes. I'm proud of myself. I am normally the most suckiest name-come-upper-wither ever. 
Also, 
These bars rock. 
Like.... old-school-guitars-and-spandex-and-big-hair rock. 
So many things are going on that your taste buds will be all like... "Whoa! Dude, whatever this is you should marry it."
I know you think I'm exaggerating but I'm not. Not even a little. The tastes and textures and layers of deliciousness are over the top addicting. 
I developed this recipe for the Crosby's Molasses Raising The Bar molasses inspired recipe contest. (Click HERE for more info) I'm so glad that Crosby's runs these fun recipe contests otherwise I would probably never step outside my comfort zone and try these fab new combinations!
Give these a try and let us know what you think!


MMMM Bars

Ingredients
Base
3 cups flour
pinch salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup butter, room temp
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
1/2 cup dried mango, finely diced

Meringue
4 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp coconut extract

Topping
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Directions
Preheat oven to 325. Line a 12 X 17 baking sheet/jelly roll pan with parchment paper. (Note - can also use a 10.5 X 15.5 jelly roll pan but you will have to increase your cooking time.) Set aside.
In a medium frying pan over medium heat, toast the chopped macadamia nuts until they start to brown and are fragrant - about 5 minutes.


When they are done, scrape them into a bowl to cool. Place the coconut in the pan and toast it as well. It will only take a few minutes to brown as the pan is already hot. When it is done, scrape it into a separate bowl to cool. 
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until smooth - scraping bowl as necessary. Beat in both sugars until fluffy. Beat in the Crosby's Fancy Molasses, egg yolks, and vanilla until well combined.
Beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mixture may seem crumbly but should stick together if you squeeze it in your hand.
Beat in the toasted macadamia nuts and mango. 


Press mixture very firmly into the prepared 12 X 17 baking sheet. Set aside.


In a clean mixing bowl, beat your egg whites until foamy. Beat in the cream of tartar.
Very gradually beat in the brown sugar - about a spoonful at a time. 
Beat in the coconut extract. Meringue should be glossy.
Spread evenly over the base.


Sprinkle with the toasted coconut.


Bake at 325 until golden brown, about 20 - 30 minutes. Meringue should appear dry and coconut will be a dark golden brown.


Dip a knife in water and run it around the outside of the pan to release it from the sides of the pan. (You may have to dip it in water a few times so the meringue doesn't stick to the knife.)
Let cool completely on a wire rack. 
When cool you can use the parchment paper to help you remove it from the pan (You can cut it into sections to remove it from the pan to make things easier if need be.) Cut into bars.


Then marvel at how pretty they look.


Try not to eat the whole bunch...


Don't mind me... I'll just be over here looking at this stack of crunchy, chewy heaven.


Maybe just a few more photos....


And, if you don't want them in the longish bar form (I got 32ish bars that were approximately 1 inch X 6 inches pictured above) then you can cut them into squares (I got 64ish approximately 1 X 3 inch squares - see below.) Because these are made in a 12 X 17 baking sheet, this is a perfect recipe for a crowd!


MMMM....
MMMM...
MMMM...
Am I right or am I right?
 
 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Mocha Layer Cake


Just when you thought chocolate cake couldn't get any better, along comes MOCHA chocolate cake. 
That's right. 
Throw some coffee into a regular chocolate cake, cover it in a delicious mocha pudding frosting and *voila* you have the most amazing cake in the universe. 
Not even lying.
I'm willing to wager that even non-coffee lovers will dive into this cake with wild abandon. Know how I know that? Because I am NOT a coffee drinker... at all... but I could probably eat this whole cake. All of it. In one sitting. 
We used our never fail, moist and delicious Vanderwolf's Secret Chocolate Cake recipe (link HERE) and altered it to get this mocha version. Be sure to visit HERE for the original!! 


Mocha Layer Cake

Ingredients
1/2 cup baking cocoa
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup oil
1 cup very hot cappuccino (or VERY strong brewed coffee)

Mocha Pudding Frosting
1 Tbsp instant coffee granules
1 Tbsp hot water
3 cups whipping cream
1 1/2 pkgs (4 serving size) Chocolate Pudding

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 (YUP, 325 not 350). Lightly spray 3 - 8 inch cake pans with cooking spray. Set aside. 
Prepare cake - In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cocoa, flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar.  Make a hollow in center of the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, oil, and cappuccino.
Whisk all together until well blended.
Pour into prepared baking pans. 
Bake 25 - 35 mins or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (Keep an eye on it!)  Remove from oven to cool 5 minutes on wire rack. Invert cake onto wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
Prepare frosting - In a tiny bowl, stir together the 1 Tbsp of coffee granules and 1 Tbsp of hot water to dissolve the granules. In a large mixing bowl beat together whipping cream, coffee, and chocolate pudding until smooth and thickened.
Assemble cake - Place one layer of cake on a serving platter. Frost with a generous scoop of the pudding frosting. Place second layer of cake on top. Spread another generous scoop of frosting on that cake. Place last layer of cake on top.


Use the rest of the icing to frost the sides and top of cake. 
Optional - decorate with a smidge of darker chocolate icing and some hazelnut crisp cookies. 


I used canned frosting for the darker swirls for a different texture and flavor. I thought the hazelnut cookie crisps went really well with the coffee flavor. 


Are you ready to see the inside?
Hang on to your seats....


Oh. My. Heck.
LOOK AT ALL THE CHOCOLATY MOCHA GOODNESS. 
*sigh*
This is actually less sweet than it looks. The coffee adds a bitterness that totally compliments and balances the chocolate. 
And... the pudding frosting is awesome. It sets up well, spreads very smoothly, is not at all sweet, and is a perfect mousse-like texture. 
What are you waiting for????
 
Be sure to visit these fun linky parties - The Chicken Chick, Joy Love Food,

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Toad In The Hole


Our mom saw a recipe for Toad In The Hole in The Province Newspaper over the weekend and wanted to give it a try. Growing up, a "toad in the hole" was always an egg fried in the center of a piece of of toast. I didn't know that there was this amazing recipe out there.
Apparently it's a British dish that has been around since forever.
Apparently I need to go back to Britain and pay more attention to the food. 
Anyway.... it's delicious and super simple. From start to finish in about an hour. 
This version is not quite traditional but still pretty close. 
You really have to try it! For dinner, breakfast, or brunch!


Toad In The Hole
(Slightly adapted from The Province Newspaper)

Ingredients
1 cup flour
1 cup milk (room temp)
4 eggs (room temp)
2 tsp prepared mustard
salt & pepper
4 strips bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb sausage (I used pork)

Directions
Preheat oven to 425.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, milk, eggs, mustard, and salt & pepper until smooth. Set aside. (Note - be sure to do this first as you want the batter to sit for a while)


In a cast iron frying pan over medium high heat, cook the bacon until just starting to crisp. Drain off the grease. Add the chopped onions and garlic to the bacon and continue to cook until onions have softened, about 4 - 5 minutes.


Remove the cooked bacon and onions from the pan to a piece of paper towel to drain. Place the pan back over medium heat and add the sausage.


Cook until well browned, about 5 minutes. (If not completely cooked, it's okay, they will be going into the oven to finish cooking.) Add the bacon and onions back to the sausage.
If your cast iron frying pan is big enough (10 inches or so) then you can leave everything in the pan - if not, then scrape this mixture into a 9 X 7 oven safe dish. 


Pour the batter over the bacon and sausage mixture. 


Place in 425 oven and bake for approximately 25 minutes, until batter is puffy and golden brown.


Serve immediately.


So. Much. Deliciousness.


Leftovers (if you have any) are okay, reheated, the next day. Any longer than that and they get a bit soggy. This is definitely better when it is first made. 
If you like Yorkshire pudding then you will love this. Basically a huge Yorkshire pudding filled with sausage and bacon and fried onions. What's not to love?
 
 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Apricot Cream Cheese Scones


We've shared an apricot scone recipe on the blog before (Click HERE for our Apricot Scones with Apricot Honey Butter recipe) but this one needs its own post. 
See... this one has cream cheese. 
Cream. Cheese.
Have you ever made a scone with cream cheese? Well, you need to. 
They turn out like a regular buttery, flaky scone BUT with this amazing richness that puts them over the top. Plus, fresh apricots in a scone is brilliant. 


Apricot Cream Cheese Scones

Ingredients
31/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese, chilled
1/2 cup butter, chilled
1 cup fresh apricots, diced
1 egg
1/3 cup buttermilk

Garnish
2 -3 Tbsp sugar

Directions
Preheat oven to 400. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or 2 butter knives, cut in the cream cheese and butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the apricots.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together the egg and buttermilk. Mix into the crumbs until stiff dough forms. (If dough seems a little sticky add a touch more flour, if it seems too dry, add a bit more buttermilk.) Pat into an 8 inch circle.


Move onto prepared baking sheet. Cut into 8 wedges and pull apart just a little bit. 
Sprinkle with sugar.


Cook at 400 for about 15 - 20 minutes, until tops are golden brown and center appears dry.
Remove from heat and let cool on wire rack.


Serve warm or room temp.
Great with a little butter, or even Apricot Honey Butter (recipe HERE), or some clotted cream. 


Flaky, buttery, rich, crumbly - scones are perfect any time. 
FYI - you can also pat the dough out until it is about an inch thick then use a biscuit cutter to cut out scones, instead of leaving them in a big circle. 
 
We're sharing at these fun linky parties. Be sure to check them out!
 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Spicy Tomato Cobbler


My favorite thing about running a food blog is the fact that I come across so many food ideas that I otherwise would never have heard of. 
For example - a savory cobbler. 
Never heard of such a thing. Oh sure.... I've had peach cobbler and blueberry cobbler and insert-fruit-name here cobbler. But never, in the history of ever, have I heard of a savory cobbler. 
I've been missing out.
This is amazeballs. 
So many different spices and textures and ooey gooey cheesy goodness. Not to mention this is a fantastic way to use up the buckets and buckets of cherry tomatoes that our dad's garden is now providing. 
All aboard the savory cobbler train!


Spicy Tomato Cobbler

Ingredients
Filling
3 lbs cherry tomatoes
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
pinch salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp white wine (or cooking sherry)
1/4 cup flour

Biscuits
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded & finely chopped
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
1 cup Mozzarella cheese, grated (+ 1/2 cup Mozza cheese, grated for sprinkling)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup cold butter
1 cup buttermilk

Directions
Preheat oven to 375. 
Rinse and de-stem the cherry tomatoes. Set aside. 
In a large frying pan over medium heat, drizzle in the olive oil. Add in the sliced onions and salt and stir.


Reduce heat to low and cook and stir (every so often) until onions have caramelized, about 15 or so minutes.


Add in the garlic and white wine and cook and stir to deglaze the pan - another 1 to 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the flour until well combined. (Mixture will be a little glue-y.)
Stir in the tomatoes. 


If you are using an oven safe frying pan you can leave the tomato mixture in the pan. If not, scrape the tomato mixture into a 9 X 13 baking/casserole dish. Set aside.


Prepare biscuits. 
In a blender container (or food processor), add the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, jalapeno, basil, 1 cup Mozza and the Parmesan cheese. Pulse several times to combine. 
Place in the cold butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Dump mixture into a bowl.
Using a fork, stir in the buttermilk until a thick, sticky dough forms.
Drop by the spoonful on top of the tomatoes.


Bake at 375 for about an hour - until mixture is very bubbly and biscuits are golden brown.
About 10 minutes before removing from oven, sprinkle with an addition 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. 


Remove from heat when cheese is all melty and biscuits are browned. 


Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.


Admire how pretty it is and how wonderful it smells.


Dive in! Be careful the tomatoes are HOT HOT HOT.


So. Much. Tastiness.


Now that I have discovered that savory cobblers are a thing, I'm definitely going to do some experimenting. With fall coming up I will have lots of veggies to work with. 
Maybe some green beans, zucchini, squash,.... hmmmm..... I've got some planning to do. 
If you've made different savory cobblers, we'd love to hear your ideas!