Wednesday, March 16, 2011

oatmeal caramelitas

oatmeal caramelitas

It's Wednesday (aka hump day). Anyone need a little pick-me-up to get them through the week? Take a look at these goodies.

They have caramel. They have chocolate. They have oatmeal (see I did throw in a tiny bit of healthiness), and they are gooey. Go make some. Treat yourself. These will definitely make you feel like you can make it through to the weekend.

Oatmeal Caramelitas
35 caramels
5 T. evaporated milk
--melt in a saucepan over low heat stirring often until melted and combined.

While melting caramel, mix together:
1 cup quick cook oats
1 cup flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup melted butter
--Press half of the mixture into a greased 11 x 7 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with 1 cup chocolate chips. Pour caramel mixture over chips. Crumble remaining oatmeal mixture on top. Bake for 15 minutes more. Refrigerate immediately for at least 2 hours. Cut and eat!

Fudgy Salty PB Brownies

Fudgy Salty Peanut Butter Brownies: Ingredients

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1 ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
½ cup all-purpose flour
Peanut Butter-Butter Cream
1 cup creamy peanut butter (don’t use old-fashioned or natural)
¼ cup (1/2 a stick or 4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 ¼ tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups salted cocktail peanuts
1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
Fudgy Salty Peanut Butter Brownies: Directions

Fudgy Salty Peanut Butter Brownies: Directions

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.
For your brownie batter, melt your butter in a medium (or large) heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water.
While the butter is melting, whisk your natural cocoa powder, sea salt, and sugar in a separate bowl. (The sugar and salt will work as abrasive agents to get any lumps out of the cocoa.) Whisk the cocoa/sugar/salt combo into the melted butter. Continue to whisk the ingredients together in the bowl over the simmering water until the sugar has dissolved fully. The mixture should look like fudge and pull away from the bowl into a ball. Remove from the heat and set on a dishtowel on your counter, and allow the fudgy mixture to cool down until it's warm, but not hot anymore.
While that is cooling, line the bottom and sides of your 9 by 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper or foil. You want to leave about 4 inches of overhang on the 2 opposite sides. These serve as your handles to remove the brownies from the pan in 1 piece, so make sure that there is enough of the overhang for you to have a solid grip. Grease the parchment or foil well.
Stir in the vanilla into the cooled fudge mixture to loosen it up. Add the eggs into the mixture 1 at a time, adding the second egg after the first egg is fully incorporated. The batter should look shiny and well blended. Add in your flour and stir it until it's fully incorporated. Once it looks fully blended, beat the batter vigorously for at least 45 strokes. This will not only get out any pent up stress, but it will make the brownies chewy. Fold in your chocolate chips. Spread the thick and fudgy brownie batter evenly in the lined pan with an offset spatula or your greased hands.
Pop the brownies in the oven and bake until they get a nice crust and your house smells like brownies, 30 to 35 minutes. Let them cool completely on a rack or a dishtowel on your counter. While the brownies are cooling make the buttercream and ganache.
For the buttercream, mix your peanut butter and butter together in a stand mixer until they are totally blended. Turn your mixer down and slowly add your powdered sugar and fine sea salt. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Turn your mixer back to medium, add your milk and vanilla, and keep mixing until it's fully blended. Dollop the peanut butter buttercream in heaping spoonfuls on top of the cooled brownies. Evenly spread it with the back of a butter knife the over the surface. Scatter the peanuts evenly over the buttercream, pressing into the buttercream so that the ganache has something to hold on to and the peanuts are all covered.
Make your ganache by melting the chocolate chips and butter together in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Allow the ganache to cool down slightly for 10 minutes or so, then pour it evenly over the peanut butter buttercream layer. Smooth the ganache out with the back of a butter knife, making sure to cover the buttercream and peanuts completely. Chill the brownies in the refrigerator until the toppings are set, 1 1/2 hours or so.
Remove these delicious guys from the refrigerator. Lift up the ends of the foil liner and place the Fudgy Salty Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies on a cutting board. Cut into squares.
Yield: 12 to 16 servings
Second Helpings

Spicy Smoky S'mores Bars

Spicy Smoky S'mores Bars: Ingredients

18 crackers or 2 packages plain graham crackers
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted, plus more, softened, for pan
4 cups milk chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder
4 cups mini-marshmallows
Spicy Smoky S'mores Bars

Spicy Smoky S'mores Bars

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Line the bottom and sides your 9 by 13-inch baking pan with foil. You want to leave about 4 inches of overhang on the 2 opposite sides. These are going to serve as your handles to remove the bars from the pan in one piece, so make sure that there is enough of the overhang for you to have a solid grip. Grease the foil well.
In your food processor, grind the graham crackers into a fine meal (you need 2 cups). In a large bowl, combine your crumbs, sugar, sea salt, and melted butter. The mixture should look and feel like wet sand. Set aside 1/2 cup of the crumb mixture for the topping. Evenly press the remaining crumb mixture into the bottom the foil-lined pan. Pop your crust into the oven and bake until it is golden brown and your kitchen smells of graham crackers, about 12 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and allow it to cool on a rack or on a dishtowel on your counter.
Melt your milk chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring continuously until fully melted. Do not turn up the heat to hurry this process; you must keep it on low. Once the chocolate is fully melted, it's time to add your chipotle pepper powder and stir it in completely.
Preheat the broiler.
Pour the melted chocolate over the cooled graham cracker crust. Spread the chocolate evenly over the crust with the back of a butter knife. Then sprinkle your marshmallows over the chocolate, pressing them lightly, and then sprinkling the reserved crumb mixture over and in between the marshmallows so that you cannot see the chocolate peaking through the marshmallows. Broil the bars until the marshmallows are golden brown, it should only take 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Refrigerate the bars until the chocolate is hard, 2 hours or so. Grab the ends of the foil liner and lift the bars out of the pan in 1 piece. Move them to a cutting board and cut into 24 squares.
Yield: 24 servings

Fleur de Sel Choc Chip Blondies

Fleur de Sel Chocolate Chip Blondies: Ingredients

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons Fleur de sel
Fleur de Sel Chocolate Chip Blondies: Directions

Fleur de Sel Chocolate Chip Blondies: Directions

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13-inch jelly roll pan with softened butter or cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together your flour, baking soda, and sea salt. In your stand mixer, beat your butter until it is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the brown and granulated sugars a little bit at a time, pouring them in on the side of the bowl. While you're adding your sugars, stop the mixer occasionally and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure that everything is fully mixed. Cream the butter and sugar mixture for about 8 minutes, until it is light and fluffy. (Creaming creates air pockets in the dough, and therefore these blondies have a light and delicate texture.)
Add your eggs 1 at a time, adding the second only after the first is fully incorporated. Once the second egg is fully incorporated, add your vanilla. Turn your mixer down to low speed and slowly add the flour/baking soda/sea salt mixture. Once the dry ingredients are fully incorporated into the wet ingredients, add in all those chocolate chips. Your machine will seem to be struggling to mix in the chocolate chips because there are so many of them, but don't turn it up, leave it on low and allow it to fully mix the chips in. Spread your cookie dough into a well-greased 9 by 13-inch jelly roll. Evenly sprinkle the top of the dough with the fleur de sel.
Pop the blondies in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until they are golden brown on top and not wobbly in the center. Allow the blondies to cool in the pan on a wire rack or on a dishtowel on your counter.
Cut the blondies, still in the pan, with a sharp knife into bars, about 48 pieces. Remove with a spatula and serve. (Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 1 week, but they will not last that long!)
Yield: about 48 squares

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Streusel Topped Blueberry Muffins

Sweet Pork with Cilantro Lime Slaw

Sweet Pork Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw

I have found my new "company dinner". Easy, tasty, and just fabulous. I met this Little Ray of Sunshine a few weeks ago, Summer Elrod, who was distributing a recipe for:

Sweet Pork Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw

Wow. I can't even fully describe the sweet/saucy/crunchy zing that invades your mouth during your first bite. It's like Mexican Food with some sass. I'm just have to try it to understand it.

(I begged Summer to let me post this recipe here for all to enjoy...and she sweetly agreed.)

Here is Summer's exact recipe:

Cilantro Lime Slaw
1 package Cole Slaw or whole shredded cabbage (Summer used red cabbage in her I bought red cabbage too. I'm sure it's healthier. Or something.)
1 c. Mayonnaise
1 c. Cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. minced Garlic
1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper or a dash of your favorite hot sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. Lime Juice
1/2 tsp. Cumin

Combine all but slaw in a mini food processor or chop and combine yourself. Mix desired amount of dressing with slaw mix no more than 30 minutes before serving.
(I used the above recipe with only 1/2 a head of red cabbage and it was perfect for my taste. I liked the slaw to be more juicy. And we didn't need as much slaw because I didn't make as much meat as the recipe below.)

Roasted Sweet Pork
6 (approx) pounds Pork butt/shoulder
1 19 oz. can Red Enchilada Sauce
1 can Dr. Pepper (20 oz)
2 tsp. Chili Powder
1 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. salt
1 Clove Garlic or 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 1/2 c. Brown Sugar
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Combine all ingredients into your crockpot and cook on low overnight or until meat is tender.

(I only had a 2 pound Pork Roast in my freezer and used that with the above recipe. There was way too much sauce. Ooops. But it still worked perfectly. I will buy a bigger piece of meat next time and freeze the extra meat, as she recommended. You could also half the recipe if you're using less meat, but I didn't want a half a can of enchilada sauce or soda or whatever else......just going to waste. Anyway, just to let you know.)