Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Molten Caramel Apple Cake

This time of year I love anything with caramel and apples. Caramel apple cider, caramel apple candy (have you seen the caramel apple Milky Way chocolates?), caramel apple ice cream, caramel apple pie! Yum, yum, yum.

So when I saw this recipe in my Betty Crocker Cupcake cook book, I knew I had to try it. I can't believe how easy it was to make this cake. From scratch.

I made six little ramekins and they kept mysteriously disappearing from the kitchen!

They were especially delicious while we lost power during Sandy. Luckily, we only lost power overnight (from 7pm Monday - 6am Tuesday). We played cards by candle light, "go fish" and "war" and listened to the radio.

There is something comforting about listening to NPR via candle light. We cuddled in bed with the Honey Bear and listened to the reports and the wind outside.

I'm lucky to have my protectors to weather the storm with me. I remember a time (Snowmageddon 2010) when I didn't have anyone close by.

Hope you are all safe after Frankestorm, my thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Happy Halloween!

Molten Caramel Apple Cake  (original recipe from Betty Crocker)
--Makes 6 ramekins-- 
2 tablespoons cinnamon graham cracker crumbs (2 squares)
3 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup caramel topping
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chopped peeled apple
Powdered sugar, if desired

Heat oven to 450°F. Spray bottoms and sides of 6 (6-oz) custard cups with baking spray with flour. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon cracker crumbs onto bottom and around side of each cup.

2. In large bowl, beat whole eggs and egg yolks with wire whisk until well blended. Beat in brown sugar. Beat in caramel topping and flour until well blended. Stir in apple. Divide batter evenly among custard cups. Place cups on cookie sheet with sides.

3. Bake about 15 minutes or until sides are set and centers are still soft but not liquid (tops will be slightly puffed). Watch carefully -- cakes can overbake quickly. Remove from cookie sheet. Let stand 3 minutes.

4. Run small knife or metal spatula along sides of cakes to loosen. Immediately place heatproof dessert plate upside down over top of each cup; turn plate and cup over. Remove cup. Sprinkle cakes with powdered sugar. Serve warm.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Candy Corn Jello Shots on a Popsicle Stick

So here we are ... waiting for Franken-storm to hit the DC area. The Metro system is shut down, the Federal Government is shut down. Work is closed. I figured I might as well make some jello shots while I still have power.

Truth be told... I made these last night and I scheduled this post because there is a very good chance I have don't have power right now.

The plan for today is to do as much work as I can from my Blackberry and finally carve our pumpkins (I'll post those photos if I can). You can still carve pumpkins without power! Aaaaand they will be a spooky source of light when the sun goes down. 

So, the jello shots. I don't know why I didn't think of this idea much sooner. The summer and Fourth of July version (watermelons and red, white and blue bomb pops) have already been conceived.

I'm still working on a method to make the yellow and orange jello a matte color instead of see through, the layers will show better that way.


I did do one thing differently though ... I used condensed milk instead of coconut milk. I get a good amount of emails asking "why coconut milk?" and "can I use regular milk?" You sure can. I just think coconut milk is absolutely delicious.

I went with condensed milk because it's sweetened and will add flavor to the gelatin.

Sorry if these little guys are too late for your party!

Candy Corn Jello Shots on a Popsicle Stick
1 small box lemon or yellow Jello
1 small box orange Jello
1 packet Knox Gelatin
1 small can condensed milk
Pinnacle Whipped Vodka

Important tips: I made the jello thicker and stronger than usual to keep it on the stick, also it's important to lightly spray the plate you serve these cuties on with some cooking spray. Not enough to actually see it, but enough so when your guests pick up their shot it wont stay stuck on the plate. 

White Layer
3-4 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup water
1 packet Knox Gelatin
1/2 cup Pinnacle Whipped Vodka

1. Put your tablespoons condensed milk into your measuring cup. Add enough water until it's level at 1/2 cup. Whisk until combined. Add to sauce pan, without heat. Sprinkle your gelatin packet on top and let it sit for a minute. After it sits, stir and turn on medium heat until the gelatin dissolves and is combined. Pour this mixture into your loaf pan. Let it firm up for a few hours.

Orange Layer
1 (small) box orange jello
2/3 cup water
2/3 Pinnacle Whipped Vodka

1. Boil your 2/3 cup water and then add your orange jello packet. When it has all dissolved add to your 2/3 cup cold vodka.

2. Pour all of your orange jello mixture on top of the hardened white layer and refrigerate until firm. 

Yellow Layer
1 (small) box yellow jello
2/3 cup water
2/3 Pinnacle Whipped Vodka

1. Boil your 2/3 cup water and then add your yellow jello packet. When it has all dissolved add to your 2/3 cup cold vodka.

2. Pour all of your yellow jello mixture on top of the hardened white layer and refrigerate until hard or overnight.

Slicing and Serving Directions
1 sharp knife
1 triangle cookie or fondant cutter (optional)
Mini wooden popsicle sticks (they have them at Michael's or other craft stores)

1. Let your loaf pan sit in a small puddle of warm water, flip over your loaf pan on to a cutting board. If the jello doesnt come out (and you want to come out WHOLE) Run a butter knife around the edges of the loaf pan before you flip. 

2. Slice pieces off of the jello as if you were cutting slices of bread. Make triangles. 

3. Spray your serving tray with a baking or cooking oil. Stick your popsicle sticks into the bottom of the jello shot until it is secure and keep refrigerated until serving.

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Dip

A few weeks ago I went out to buy some canned pumpkin. Unfortunately, when I got home from the store, I realized that I had bought canned pumpkin pie mix instead of pumpkin puree. Doh.

I've been racking my brain trying to think of things to do with canned pumpkin pie mix other than make a pumpkin pie. Here is what I came up with:

1. Mix a spoonful into your oatmeal
2. Add some to your Greek yogurt
3. This tasty dessert treat, pumpkin pie cheesecake dip.

This was so easy. It took me only 5 minutes to whip together and it was really, really good. Sweet and creamy like cheesecake but spiced with all the flavors of fall pumpkin pie.

What do you do with pumpkin pie mix other than make a pie?

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Dip
8 oz. cream cheese (room temp.)
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons pumpkin pie mix
3 tablespoons milk
Sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)

1. With an electric mixer combine your cream cheese and powdered sugar (add more sugar if it's not sweet enough for you) until smooth and fully combined.
2. Add your tablespoons of pumpkin pie mix and mix until combined.
3. Add milk to loosen up the texture of the dip. Mix again until smooth.
4. Pour or spoon into serving bowl, top with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Serve with graham crackers, vanilla wafers or cookie of choice.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Crazy Baked Frito Jalapeno Poppers

So this weekend I couldn't decide what snack I wanted to make for the hubs while he watched football. It was either a Frito-pie or jalapeno poppers.

Nick wasn't crazy about the Frito-pie idea but I just couldn't shake my craving for those salty corn chips. That's when I decided I was going to mix some crushed Frito's into the baked jalapeno popper Panko crumbs.

Is that crazy? If it is -- then crazy tastes pretty darn good.

I didn't "bake" them because I was trying to be healthy ... I mean come on ... they are stuffed with cream cheese and Monterey Jack. I baked them because it's easier than cleaning up splatters of oil.

The Frito's gave the breading all the seasoning it needed. Hubs basically ate them all and next time we have guests over for football these will certainly be on the menu.

My photos aren't really up to par right now I know. Easy above angles. Meh. Sorry.

Want to hear something else crazy? It's crazy that I haven't posted for two weeks and I am so very sorry. I promise to have some fantastic seasonal jello shots and party treats coming this way soon.

P.S. Let me know what you think of the long overdue new blog design!

Baked Frito Jalapeno Poppers (Makes 20 Poppers)
10 Jalapeno peppers
8 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 handful chopped chives
1 handful chopped parsley
1 cup crushed Fritos
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 cup egg whites

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Using gloves (highly recommended so you don't burn your hands with the capsicum in the peppers) halve and de-seed your jalapenos.

2. Mix your room temperature cream cheese with the Monterey Jack cheese and herbs. Fill your peppers with the cheese mixture.

3. Mix your crushed Fritos and Panko bread crumbs. Coat your peppers first in the egg whites then the Frito/Panko breading.

4. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until breading is golden. Serve warm.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ranch Pepperoni Crescent Rolls

I know y'all have seen these on Pinterest. Right?

The infamous string cheese, pepperoni and crescent roll recipe.  I've had it pinned in my "So bad yet so good" board for months now.

I was craving pepperoni the other day and finally decided to give it a shot.  I know it's not very fancy or healthy but sometimes you just have to give into those unpretentious cheeeeese cravings.

There was something really comforting about these little rolls. They reminded me of a childhood snack, like pizza bites or Ellio's pizza, but better. 

They would be really fun to make with kids too and very easy. 

I jazzed mine up by sprinkling ranch seasoning on top. Because basically, ranch seasoning makes everything taste better.  (Check out my ranch kale chips here.)

Simple. Classic. Comforting. Warm. Make these and eat them. You won't be sorry.

Ranch Pepperoni Crescent Rolls (Makes 8 Rolls)
1 can refrigerated crescent rolls
32 slices pepperoni
4 pieces mozzarella string cheese, cut in half
1 small packet of ranch seasoning

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 

2. Unroll the crescent rolls into triangles.  Top each crescent roll with with 4 pieces of pepperoni, then a string cheese half. Roll up (tucking the corners to keep all the cheese from melting out) and place on a baking sheet. 

3. Sprinkle just a few pinches of ranch on top and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Apple and Sage Pork Chops

Have you ever seen a pretty pork chop?

I hadn't either until I made this dish. I also have to mention that my husband doesn't even eat pork... and he ate these. Pretty on the outside and tasty on the inside. Such a well rounded pork chop.

I usually stick to bread crumbs and applesauce when it comes to pork, but this time I tried these awesome and extremely easy seasoning packets and I cannot believe what a difference seasoning makes. These pork chops are "restaurant chef" good.

You simply mix up the mini spice packs they give you with 1 tablespoon flour and 1 table spoon salt.

Rub a tablespoon of your spice mixture on to each side of each pork chop. Heat up some olive oil (2 table spoons) in a large saute pan and sear your pork chops unitl they are golden (2-3 minutes each side). Remove your chops and set them aside for later.

In the same pan sautee 1 small white onion (sliced) until tender, then add about 2 sliced Honey Crisp apples. Sautee for another 2 -3 minutes .

Add 1/2 cup apple juice and 2 table spoons brown sugar and any remaining spices you have left over and mix everything together

Add your pork chops back to the pan and put a lid on it. Cook for 5 more minutes and then serve. (I added some diced chives for a garnish)

Apple and Sage Pork Chops
1 packet of McCormick Recipe Inspirations "Apple and Sage Pork Chops"
4 medium sized pork chops
2 Honey Crisp apples
1 small white onion
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup apple juice

This post is part of the DailyBuzz Food Tastemaker program with McCormick.
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