Friday, May 27, 2016

Red White & Blue Star Brownies for Memorial Day

Photo: Betty Crocker
Love this recipe from Betty Crocker. I've made it a bunch of times. You can always substitute your own brownie recipe or another brand of brownie mix, but here's the original easy recipe.

If you don't have Betty Crocker Decorating Decors stars or icing (or you think it would be too sweet), use Red, White, & Blue Holiday M&Ms. Just press them gently into the batter before baking. These are perfect for Memorial Day!

Red White & Blue Start Brownies

Ingredients 
1 box (1 lb 2.4 oz) Betty Crocker™ Original Supreme Premium brownie mix
Water, vegetable oil and egg called for on brownie mix box
1/2 cup Betty Crocker™ Whipped fluffy white frosting (from 12-oz container)
Betty Crocker™ Decorating Decors stars

Directions 
Heat oven to 350°F. Line 9-inch square pan with foil so foil extends about 2 inches over sides of pan. Spray foil with cooking spray. Make and bake brownies as directed on box. Cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.
Remove brownies from pan by lifting foil; peel foil from sides of brownies. Using 2 1/2-inch star-shaped cookie cutter, cut brownies. Squeeze frosting on star-shaped brownies. Sprinkle with decors.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Dark Chocolate Cherry Ganache Bars: Cherry Dessert Day

Today is Cherry Dessert Day. Of course, for me, that means Chocolate and Cherry! These Dark Chocolate Cherry Ganache Bars are perfect for today's holiday or for the Memorial Day Weekend. Make them ahead, so you can enjoy the barbecue--or save the recipe for another time! This easy recipe is adapted slightly from Melissa Clark at the New York Times. I use Bon Maman Cherry Preserves. I like the slightly tangy flavor.

DARK CHOCOLATE CHERRY GANACHE BARS

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4  cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
12 Tbsp cold unsalted butter
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
2 Tbsp cherry jam (whichever you like--I prefer Bonne Maman Dark Cherry Preserves)
12 ounces dark chocolate (62 percent or higher), chopped
2/3 cup heavy cream
3 Tbsp Kirsch
1/2 tsp fleur de sel, for sprinkling

Directions
In food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and fine sea salt. Pulse in butter and vanilla until mixture just comes together into a smooth mass.
Line 8-inch square baking pan with parchment or wax paper. Press dough into pan. Prick all over with fork. Chill for at least 20 minutes and up to 3 days.
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Bake shortbread until firm to  touch and just beginning to pull away from sides, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in  pan for 20 minutes on wire rack.
Brush jam over shortbread’s surface and let cool thoroughly.
Place chocolate in heatproof bowl. In saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer. Pour over  chocolate and whisk until smooth. Whisk in Kirsch. Spread over shortbread. Sprinkle fleur de sel on.
Cool to room temperature; cover and chill until firm. Slice and serve.

S'mores Fudge for Memorial Day

I just love S'mores! There are so many great ways to eat --and drink--your S'mores, so for Memorial Day why not make some S'mores Fudge.

The first printed S’mores recipe appeared in 1927 in the Girl Scout handbook called, Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts. Folklore tells us the name “S’mores” came about because everyone who tasted one asked for “some more.”

The first recipe below actually has three distinct layers...and it sure tastes like fudge. One caveat: This fudge is sweet, but then we're talking S'mores, aren't we? The second recipe is quicker to make (and eat) and the ingredients are all mixed together. Whichever you make, you won't be disappointed!

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!

1. S'MORES FUDGE

Ingredients

Graham Cracker Crust
4 sheets of graham crackers
1/4 cup of sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp melted butter

Chocolate Fudge Layer
1-1/2 cups milk chocolate, chopped (or milk chocolate chips)
1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1/2 can of sweetened condensed milk

Marshmallow Layer
1 cup 'real' white chocolate chips
1/2 cup marshmallow fluff
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Line 8 by 8 square pan with aluminum foil, with extra foil hanging over (to help lift out later).
Crush graham crackers and mix in melted butter and sugar.
Pour into aluminum foil lined pan and push down with glass cup to make even layer.
Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
Melt chocolate in small saucepan over medium low heat.
Remove from heat and add half can of sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.
When smooth, pour immediately over graham cracker crust.
Melt white chocolate in small saucepan over medium low heat and add in marshmallow fluff and rest of sweetened condensed milk. Stir until smooth and consistent. Pour over chocolate layer.
Refrigerate overnight.
Next day, lift fudge out of pan using aluminum foil.
Carefully remove foil and carefully cut into squares.

2. EASY S'MORES FUDGE

Ingredients
1-12 ounce bag milk chocolate chips or 12 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
5 regular sized graham crackers, broken into small pieces
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup mini-marshmallows

Directions
In small saucepan, melt chocolate. Remove from heat. Cool slightly.
Add graham crackers until combined.
Fold in marshmallows.
Pour into greased 8x8 inch baking pan.
Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Cut into squares.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Cooking with Mickey & Friends: Banana Boats

The weather promises to be warm and beautiful for the Memorial Day Holiday weekend, so I thought I'd post this fun recipe for King Louie's Banana Boats from one of my 'Theme" Cookbooks: Cooking with Mickey and Friends by Pat Baird. You'll "go ape" over these. Perfect for the Barbecue -- or oven. They're fun to make with the kids.

Since we barbecue all year round, I often make these on the grill, but you can just as easily follow the directions and make them in the toaster oven.

And, as Mickey reminds us, Bananas are a good source of potassium and carbohydrates. Use a good dark chocolate (broken up) or high quality dark chocolate chips, and you're adding antioxidants. You can make your own marshmallows, too, or not :-) You'll love King Louie's Banana Boats. You'll want to make more than one!