Thursday, December 29, 2011

Spicy Cocktail Sauce

Go to any party and you'll find a platter of shrimp and cocktail sauce.  Go to a party at MY HOUSE and you'll find a platter of shrimp with the best cocktail sauce EVER!  You'll never want to use cocktail sauce from a jar again, once you've tried this version from Mr. Devilish Dish.  It's got just a little kick from hot sauce and horseradish.  You can make it as spicy as you want.  And it'll keep for quite a while in your fridge.  So toss out that jar of ready made stuff, and whip up a batch of this.  Your guest AND your shrimp will thank you!
Spicy Sauce served with
cool, refreshing shrimp.
You'll never use sauce from
the jar again!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mixed Berry Baked French Toast with Mixed Berry Syrup

We love breakfast around here.  Better yet we love breakfast for dinner.  It's comforting and it's a great break from the usual routine of meat and potatoes.  The weather has finally gotten cooler here, and warm French Toast topped with fruit and cinnamon-streusel topping sounded fantastic.  I couldn't wait for the weekend to make this for breakfast so I made it for dinner.  Instead of making it the night before, I just made it the morning of.  It turned out delicious.  The simple mixed berry syrup is an outstanding addition to the French Toast.  Cozy, warm and satisfying!
Wonderful for breakfast, brunch
or even dinner!
The Line-Up
Cut toast diagonally and arrange
in baking dish.
Combine eggs with milk, evaporated milk,
sugar and vanilla.
Pour over toast, cover and
chill overnight.  (Or all day if you
want it for dinner.)
When ready to bake, top toast with
1 package of mixed berries.
Combine flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
Cut in butter to create a crumble.
Sprinkle over fruit and bake.
While French toast is baking, make syrup.
Combine sugar and water. 
Add cornstarch.
Whisk in lemon juice.
Bring to a boil, whisking constantly.
Mixture should become thick
and clear.
Add remaining package of mixed berries
and continue cooking over low
heat until thick.  Remove from heat
and stir in vanilla.
Cut French toast into squares.
Serve topped with Mixed Berry Syrup.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hawaiian Wedding Cupcakes

My parents are celebrating their 52nd wedding anniversary this year.  In a world of Kim Kardashians, that is quite an accomplishment.  No 79 day marriage for them.  They have set a wonderful example for their family and friends and we are so proud of them.  A few years ago, they went on the trip of a lifetime to Hawaii.  They really enjoyed themselves, and of course the fresh food Hawaii is known for:  pineapple and coconut.  As a treat for their anniversary, I made them Hawaiian Wedding Cupcakes.  A moist, delicious cupcake with coconut, chopped pecans and crushed pineapple.  Topped with a yummy cream cheese frosting and toasted coconut.  That way they can re-live their dream vacation and celebrate 52 wonderful years together!
Hawaiian Wedding Cupcakes
Cream Cheese Frosting
Toasted Coconut
I used cupcake liners with hearts
since these were for an anniversary dessert!
My dad and mom when they were still
dating...I guess we know where I get
my love for baking from!
Happy 52nd Anniversary Mom & Dad!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

Back before Halloween I was out shopping and found these great "eyeballs" that were really ping pong-type balls.  I have no idea what they were for, other than the kid's goody bags.  They didn't bounce, so they weren't very entertaining.  That is unless you love creepy stuff and love to bake!  Then those packages of 12 crummy, non-bouncing eyeballs suddenly because a great purchase.  I knew right away I wanted to put them on top of mini cupcakes.  Scare the family with one giant eyeball staring back at them atop a mound of buttercream frosting.  So yes, I stocked up on eyeballs.  My only dilemma after that was what kind of cupcakes to make.  Cooler weather is finally here, and that means one thing:  Hot Chocolate.  And you can't have Hot Chocolate without Marshmallows.  And then Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting were born!  These cupcakes are yummy for any holiday.  They make a very dense, moist cupcake.  It doesn't rise up a lot like a standard cupcake.  They stay pretty flat, but look really cute topped with a dollop of the delicious frosting.  They certainly don't HAVE to be decorated with eyeballs.  I topped some of them with a simple mini marshmallow.  Frankly, I like the creep factor of the eyeballs. I may start putting them on all of my cupcakes
Um what's better than a mug of hot chocolate
with marshmallows?
A Hot Chocolate Cupcake
with Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting!
Even better?  Cupcakes with EYEBALLS!
The Line-Up
(Don't panic, it's easy!)
Combine granulated sugar and vegetable oil.
Mix together flour, hot cocoa mix, baking cocoa,
salt, baking soda and baking powder.
Set aside.
Add eggs to sugar mixture.
Then add vanilla.
Mix in prepared hot chocolate.
Alternate adding the flour mixture
And the buttermilk.
For the frosting, combine butter and
marshmallow cream.
Add vanilla.
Add powdered sugar and whip until fluffy.
Let cupcakes cool completely
before frosting.
Frost each cupcake with
marshmallow buttercream frosting.
Garnish with a mini marshmallow...
Or an eyeball.  I prefer eyeballs.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches

Michaela, over at An Affair From The Heart and I have been friends for over 15 years now.  If you haven't visited her page, you should.  And if you haven't figured out by now what a great cook she is, then you've been missing out.  When we first met over scrapbooking, it didn't take us long to figure out we had many more things in common, cooking being one of them.  This is one of the first recipes she shared with me.  It takes just a few ingredients, and at the end of the day you have a super flavorful, super tender roast beef sandwich with its own yummy au jus sauce for dipping.  Add some sliced Provolone or Swiss cheese if you'd like.  The perfectly simple meal after a long hard day.  Michaela's family enjoys it.  My family enjoys it.  Your family will too.
French Dip Sandwiches
The Line-Up
In a slow cooker, combine soy sauce...
Add garlic, soup mix and water.
Add beef roast and sliced onions.
Cook on LOW 6-8 hours.
Serve with Au Jus sauce for dipping.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Ricotta Cookies

Whenever I cook Italian, I always seem to have an abundance of Ricotta Cheese leftover.  I usually make Italian Ricotta Cheesecake , but I love to make cookies.  Let me re-phrase that.  My husband loves it when I make cookies.  He gets a big glass of milk and the entire platter and plops in front of the tv for a "snacky snack."  Ricotta Cookies indeed make a great "snacky snack."  They are very moist and not too sweet.  Perfect with milk or a cup of coffee.  Try sprinkling them with cinnamon-sugar before baking for a great variation on a snickerdoodle.
The perfect not-too-sweet "snacky snack."
The Ricotta Cookie
Cast of Characters.
Combine butter and Ricotta cheese.
Add vanilla.
Add sugar and beat until
well combined.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Product Review: iSi Easy Whip-Whipped Cream Maker

As I've told you all before I love to bake.  That means a constant stream of desserts, (some experimental) flow out of my kitchen.  Many of them would not be complete without a dollop of whipped cream.  Call me a snob but whipped topping simply will not do.  There is nothing that compares to the flavor of freshly whipped cream.  The only downside?  You whip it, you use part of it, and then there is the leftover whipped cream.  You refrigerate it only to find it deflated and runny in a couple of days.  The canned style whip cream isn't horrible, but it cannot compete with the real thing.  I found the perfect solution to the problem:  The iSi Easy Whip Whipped Cream Maker.  This dispenser will keep cream fresh for up to 10 days in the refrigerator without preservatives. 
The iSi Easy Whip is simple to use. 
Here's everything you need for fresh whipped cream.
Add 1 pint of well-cooled cream to the canister. 
If you choose to add flavorings or additives,
they must be in liquid or powder form and
should be dissolved or stirred into some
cream in advance. Otherwise, clumping may occur
and block the removal system.
Screw the Easy Whip top onto the canister.
Place the cream charger into the charger holder. 
One charger for a filling of approx. 0.5 L. 
You use one charger per pint of whipped cream. 
The results in your 10 day supply of freshly whipped cream.
Screw on the original iSi cream charger
using the charger holder. Shake the device vigorously. 
Unfasten the charger holder and dispose
of the empty charger.  You should hear a hissing sound
and the canister should begin to feel cold to the touch.
Attach the decorator tip to the head
For best results, hold the canister
VERTICALLY (unlike I am doing here)
and dispense whipped cream.

I absolutely adore my cream whipper.  I have given several away as gifts to friends who love to bake as much as I do.  If you enjoy baking OR if you simply enjoy eating your desserts with quality whipped cream then this product is for you.

One thing I have learned when operating this product is when you go to disassemble the cream whipper, be sure to dispense any remaining whipped cream before you unscrew the lid.  I usually cover the lid with a kitchen towel before I slowly unscrew it.  This allows the pressure to release slowly and prevents any remaining whipped cream from flying all over your kitchen.

The iSi Easy Whip is priced between $40.99 and $55.99.  The N20 cream chargers are sold separately and usually run around $.99 each.  The investment is well worth it.

NOTE:  The Devilish Dish is in no way affiliated with the iSi Group, and was not compensated in any way for this endorsement.  This is merely my opinion of their product. 

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