Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Chocolate Silk Pie

It's my job as a Food Blogger to do all of the research and come up with what I consider The Best of the Best recipes to share.
We recently purchased a French Silk Pie for one of our Christmas Desserts.
It was delicious.
I wanted to reproduce that taste.
I researched many recipes and here's my final recipe.

If you've never tasted this Silky, melt in your mouth, Chocolate Pie, you're missing out on a delectable dessert.

This is just a recommended Baking Chocolate the I use.

Pie Crust to be Pre-Baked.

Here's what you'll need:
A Double Boiler.
This is the Double Boiler that I have.

A Pre-Baked Pie Crust:
If you don't make homemade Pie Crust you'll need to purchase a pre-baked crust.
My wife makes incredible pie crust so that's what I use.
Just make sure the crust is pre-baked for this non-baked pie.

The recipe calls for Superfine Sugar:
For 1 C of Superfine Sugar, Grind 1 C + 2 tsp of White Granulated Sugar in a Blender or
Food Processor for 30 seconds.
Also called castor sugar, this is simply sugar that has been ground into finer crystals than regular granulated. This makes for sugar that is lighter in weight and dissolves more quickly. It's often called for in recipes like meringue or angel food cake that are known for being light and airy.
8  oz. Semi Sweet Chocolate, chopped + additional for Garnish Shavings.
4 TBS Butter, cut into TBS sized pieces.
4 Large Eggs, separated.
1/4 C Superfine Sugar, divided.
1 1/4 C Heavy Cream, very cold.

In the Double Boiler on Medium Heat:
Stir with a Wooden Spoon just until melted and well combined.
Remove from Heat and set aside. (it will be returned to heat so add water if needed)
Beat the mixture by hand, with a Wooden Spoon until Creamy Smooth.

Return to Heat.
Egg Yolks, one at a time.
Beat well with a Wooden Spoon after each addition.
Transfer to a Large Mixing Bowl.

In another Mixing Bowl with a Hand Mixer:
Egg Whites
Beat until Soft Peaks.
2 TBS of Sugar.
Beat until Stiff Peaks to create a Meringue.

In another Mixing Bowl with a Hand Mixer.
Beat until Frothy.
2 TBS Sugar
Beat until Soft Peaks (reserve 1/2 C for Garnish, transfer to a small container, refrigerate covered with Plastic Wrap until ready to use)

In the Bowl of Chocolate with a Silicone Spatula:
Fold in until completely incorporated.
Whipped Cream
Fold in until completely incorporated.
Spoon evenly into the Pie Shell.

Refrigerate 1 Hour.

Remove and top it evenly with the reserved Whipped Cream.

Slice to serve.
Top each serving with Shaved Chocolate. (use a Potato Peeler to Shave some of the Reserved Chocolate.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Holiday Gingersnap Cookie Balls

I love making easy Holiday Cookie Balls. One of my favorites is the one I created that won 2nd. place in the Annual Dallas Morning News/Central Market Holiday Cookie Contest in 2015.

Holiday Gingersnap Cookie Balls

1 - 8oz. Package of Cream Cheese, Room Temperature.
2 1/4 C Finely Crushed Gingersnap Cookies. Buy the best you can afford. I buy Swedish Ginger Thins at IKEA. You can crush them by hand or in a Food Processor.
4 -(4 oz. ea.) Semi Sweet Baking Chocolate Squares. melted in a Double Boiler or Microwave? White Chocolate is also nice.

In a medium mixing bowl:
Cream Cheese
2 C Gingersnap Crumbs
Mix well with a Blending Fork.

Use a 1 1/4" Cookie Scoop and drop the cookies onto the Sheet Pan.
Freeze for 15 minutes.
Dip in Melted Chocolate.
Return to the Sheet Pan.
Immediately sprinkle the tops with remaining Gingersnap Crumbs.

Refrigerate for 1 Hour.
Keep Refrigerated until ready to serve.
I place them, layered, in a container with Waxed Paper between the layers.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Tex - Mex Cheese Appetizer

Here's an interesting, easy, tasty cheese appetizer that's served on a Tortilla Chip.

Here's what you'll need:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
1 - Glass 11"X 7" Baking Pan.

3 C Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese, (divided in half)
1/2 C of your favorite Salsa.
3 Eggs, beaten
Tortilla Chips for serving.

In the Baking Pan:
1 1/2 C of Cheese, sprinkled evenly.

In a Bowl:
Mix well by hand.
Drizzle evenly over the Cheese.

Sprinkle remaining Cheese evenly over the Salsa Mix.

Bake 25 minutes.
Remove Pan to a Rack to Cool 10 minutes.
Cut into small appetizer sized squares.

Serve Tortilla Chips topped with a piece of the Cheese Appetizer.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Aunt Faye's Christmas Date Nut Bars

My Aunt Faye was a personal Chef in Metamora, Michigan. For those that follow this Blog, it was created in her memory as a great Chef. This was one of her Christmas Bar Recipes. What a memory it evokes when I bite into one. I've adapted the recipe to make it more current.

Aunt Faye's Christmas Date Nut Bars

Here's what you'll need:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
1 - 8" X 8" Baking Pan brushed well with Pan Release Mix. (equal parts of Crisco, Vegetable Oil and Flour) I start with 1 C of each mixed well and refrigerated in a jar. I always have it available for all of my baking needs.

3/4 C Flour
1 C Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 C Chopped Dates
1/4 tsp Salt
1 C  Roughly Chopped Walnuts
2 Large Eggs

Confectioner's Sugar to Dust the Bars after they're baked.

In a Large Mixing Bowl:
Baking Powder
Mix well with a Wooden Spoon.

Mix by hand until well combined.

Spoon Batter into the Pan.
Spread evenly with an offset Spatula.

Bake 30 - 35 minutes.
A toothpick in the center should come out clean.

Remove Pan to a Rack and Cool 10 minutes.
Invert Pan onto a flat surface.
Cut into Squares.
Dust with Confectioner's Sugar. (I use a Confectioner's Sugar Shaker)
Transfer Bars to a Serving Platter.

Taste of Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Holiday Hot Toddy!

On a cold, cold night, snuggled in front of a fire........... enjoy a Hot Toddy!
It's also a great drink if you have a Cold.
I like this because it's not a Sweet, Sugary Cocktail!

Here's what you'll need:
4 Glass Mugs
A Tea Pot
A small Strainer

This recipe makes about 4 servings.

Boil 2 C of Water. ( I use an Electric Tea Kettle)

This is not an exact recipe so personalize it according to your taste.

In a Tea Pot:
A piece of a Cinnamon Stick
A few Whole Cloves
A couple of Whole Star Anise.
A large Strip of Orange Peel.
A 1/4 tsp of Honey

Add Boiling Water and Steep for about 5 minutes to infuse the flavors.

Add 2 oz. of Whiskey to each Mug.
Strain 1/2 C of the Spiced Water into each Mug.

Christmas by the Fire!

Christmas Butter Cookies Baked with Sprinkles.

I seems that I can never have enough Cookie recipes on my Blog.
I have many that are favorites and this has just made the list.
This may easily be considered an easy cookie because it starts with a Cake Mix.

Christmas Butter Cookies

Here's what you'll need:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Sheet Pans lined with Parchment Paper.
A 1 1/2" Cookie Scoop

8 TBS Butter, room temperature
8 oz. Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 Large Egg
1/2 tsp Almond Extract
1/2 tsp Orange Extract
1 White Cake Mix ( I only use Duncan Hines)
1/2 C Christmas Sprinkles, divided.
1/2 C Confectioner's Sugar

In a Large Mixing Bowl with a hand Mixer:
Cream Cheese
Beat until Creamy Smooth.

Almond Extract
Orange Extract
Beat just until well combined.

Fold in with a Silicone Spatula:
1/4 C Christmas Sprinkles
Cover with Plastic Wrap.
Refrigerate for 1 hour. ( it can remain refrigerated up to 24 hours. ( the longer it's refrigerated, it's firmer and easier to work with.)

In two separate bowl:
1 for the remaining Sprinkles.
1 for the Confectioner's Sugar.

Use the Cookie Scoop, form a ball by hand.
Sprinkle with some of the remaining Sprinkle.
Roll in the remaining Confectioner's Sugar.
Place them on Sheet Pans 2" apart.
Bake 10 minutes.

Remove Pan to a Rack to cool for 5 minutes.
Transfer Cookies to the Rack to Cool Completely.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Gingerbread Cookie Dough

This Dough is for Cut Out Cookies.

Transfer Icing into Plastic Bottles to apply it easier.

I took a French Macarons Class at Sur la Table in Dallas and they recommended:
Lorann's Gourmet Professional Quality Food Coloring. It's the only food coloring I use.
Add to Royal Icing to create Holiday Colors.

Gingerbread Cookies Dough and Royal Icing.

6 C Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
16 TBS Butter, room temperature
1 C Dark Brown Sugar
4 tsp Ground Ginger
4 tsp Cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 1/2 tsp Salt
2 Large Eggs
1 C Lyle's Black Treacle

This is the product I use instead of Molasses.
The taste is incredible.

1 - Recipe of Royal Icing to follow.

Here's what you'll need:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Sheet Pans
Parchment Paper
Holiday Cookie Cutters

In a Large Mixing Bowl, sift together:
Baking Soda
Baking Powder
Whisk well, set aside.

In a Stand Mixer with a Paddle Attachment:
Beat until Creamy Smooth.

Black Pepper
Beat until well incorporated.

Beat until incorporated.

Slowly Add, on Slow Speed:
Mix just until combined and forms a Dough.

Divide into Thirds.
Wrap in Plastic Wrap.
Refrigerate 1 Hour.

Roll each portion of dough  (one at a time) between 2 layers of Parchment Paper until 1/8" thick.
Remove the top layer of Paper.
Cut out desired shapes with Cookie Cutters.
Remove the excess Dough, leaving the cut out cookies on the Parchment Paper.
Slide the Paper onto a Sheet Pan.
Bake 20 minutes.

Remove Pan to a Rack to Cool Completely.
Repeat with remaining Dough.

Decorate with Royal Icing.

2 Large Eggs Whites
4 C Sifted Confectioner's Sugar
The Juice of 1 Lemon.

In a Stand Mixer with a Whisk Attachment:
Egg Whites
Beat until Stiff.

Lemon Juice
Beat for 1 Minute.

If too Thick, add additional Egg White.
If too Thin, add additional Confectioner's Sugar.
Store the Icing in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Christmas in the Kitchen!