ANNOUNCING: Change is part of life, and apparently, it's part of blogging, too. As of September 5, 2013, I'm merging The Virtual Goody Plate with Disco Mom Takes on the World and whatever else may henceforth spill from my fingertips (and kitchen), into one great new blog. I hope you'll join me there in exclaiming, "THIS IS AWESOMELAND."

Monday, March 29, 2010

Black and Brown Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm not in the habit of re-posting old recipes. But these are from before this blog got started, and they were in a post with a bunch of other recipes. I don't want them overlooked. I made them again recently, and they are worth a re-post.

What makes these cookies special is that they have a healthy twist without giving anything up on taste or texture. The secret ingredient is black beans so you get a little fiber, protein and iron without knowing it. These are some of Ed's favorite cookies of all time, and the rest of us love them, too. My friend who invented them won first place in the county fair chocolate chip cookie category. Delicious!

Black and Brown Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 (14 oz.) can black beans (you can use white beans as well)
About 1/4 to 1/3 cup water
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
3 T cocoa powder
2 cups flour
Nuts and chocolate chips as desired

1. Preheat oven to 350. Drain and rinse black beans. Puree in a blender or food processor with a little water (1/4 to 1/3 cup) to make a thick paste, about the consistency of yogurt.

2. Cream bean puree, shortening and sugars. Add vanilla, salt, soda and eggs; mix well. Mix in cocoa, flour, and chocolate chips. You can add nuts, too, but I like just chocolate chips in this one.

3. Bake each batch for about 12 minutes at 350. Cool at least 3 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

Recipe from Heather Baker

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Parmesan Herb Bread

When you can't be bothered to make garlic bread, but want the house to smell like it, here is the recipe for you! So good with lasagna (that's what we had it with), it would also made great midnight-snack toast, deli or grilled cheese sandwiches, or if it gets a little stale, croutons for your salad! I did find the long list of 1/4-teaspoons a bit tiresome. If I didn't have one of the herbs, I just substituted something I did have. Also it called for dill, which I don't like and didn't have, so I put in extra rosemary - my favorite. Or you could just dump in a bunch of Italian seasoning - a favorite move in my family! There is obviously lots of room to customize. If you stick with the basic chemistry, you can look forward to one good loaf of bread.

Parmesan Herb Bread
1 cup water (70-80 degrees)
3 T butter
1 egg, beaten
3 cups bread flour
2 T sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried rosemary, finger crushed
1/4 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp dried thyme
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

In bread machine pan, place all ingredients in order suggested by manufacturer. Select basic bread setting. Choose crust color and loaf size if available. Bake according to bread machine directions (check dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1 to 2 T water or flour if needed. Makes 1 loaf (1 1/2 pounds.)

Recipe from Quick Cooking, May/June 2002

Monday, March 22, 2010

Chocolate Pudding Layer Cake

This is one of those crowd-pleasing treats that's hard to beat. With pudding and Cool Whip, kid's love it, but with cream cheese and a brownie-like crust, so do adults. It is one of our family's all-time favorites; the ultimate recommendation is that Hazel chose this over ice cream for dessert, something I've never seen happen with anything else I've made. I give you direct quotes:
Hazel (4) - "This is delicious-tastic!"
Ginger (3) - "This is scrumptious! Scrumptious means 'hungry' in Spanish, did you know that?"

What could be better than that?

Chocolate Pudding Layer Cake
3/4 cup cold butter
1 pkg (18.4 oz) chocolate cake mix
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 (8 oz.) pkg cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
4 cups Cool Whip (a 12 oz. tub), divided
3 cups cold milk
2 small pkgs (3.9 oz.) instant chocolate pudding
2 T chocolate curls for each slice, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350. Cut butter into cake mix until crumbly. Add egg and mix well. Press into greased 9x13 pan. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until set. Cool completely on wire rack.

2. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Fold in 1 cup Cool Whip. Carefully spread over crust and refrigerate.

3. Whisk milk and pudding mixes for about 2 minutes. Let stand until soft set, a few minutes. Carefully spread over cream cheese layer. Top with remaining Cool Whip. Refrigerate 2 hours, garnish, cut and serve.

Recipe from some Taste of Home cookbook I looked at once

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pineapple-Ginger Syrup

I came across this recipe when I was doing my research for pancake week. It wasn't right as a topping for any of the ones I was making right then, but I kept it on file to make for something, sometime.

We actually buy fresh pineapple often. Pull the spikes off, rest it upside down on a dish on the counter until ripe, then peel, core, slice and eat. Fabulous. Now, the beauty of this recipes is that it utilizes pineapple rind. So the next time we had pineapple I just saved all the stuff we didn't eat and made this awesome, versatile syrup. Simmering for awhile, it made the house smell awesome. And it tasted great, too. We mixed it with seltzer water - what a refreshing drink, but you can also drizzle over yogurt, pancakes or ice cream. YUM! (Here's Ed and my sister enjoying a glass...)Pineapple-Ginger Syrup
1 large pineapple, washed and dried
1 3-inch piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1 cup sugar
4 cups water

1. With a sharp knife, slice off top and bottom of pineapple. Holding fruit upright on cutting board, slice off peel in strips; reserve peel. Cut flesh into 8 wedges. Remove core; reserve. Refrigerate wedges for another use.

2. Cut reserved peel and core into 1-inch pieces; place in a medium saucepan with ginger, sugar and water. Boil until reduced to 1 cup, 25 to 30 minutes. Strain, discarding solids; chill.

Recipe from Everyday Food, March 2004

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Luck o' the Irish Gold Bricks

Happy St. Patty's Day! I actually remembered and got a little green on everyone - a St. Patrick's miracle! Unfortunately I am not an everything-green-for-every-meal kind of Mom, at least not yet, but I do like to get in the spirit a bit. Who doesn't love a little reason to celebrate? I came across this adorable recipe for "Gold Bricks" and thought it was perfect. End of the rainbow and all that. Then I came across a very similar recipe but it was called "Blarney Stones" (you know, as in the Blarney Stone, the world's most unhygienic attraction), so I figured it MUST be Irish! And luckily, it's also totally delicious. But I still decided to go with the one named "Gold Bricks."This is for those of us that love to mix our sweet and salty. The cake is sweet and sturdy and the glaze is SUPER sweet so definitely go for the fully salted nuts - you will need the contrast. These guys are like petite fours with serious heft. The chocolate/peanut butter drizzle is optional so if you feel like you've done enough steps already, just leave it off. Although these little "bricks" are small, they pack a sensational punch!
Luck o' the Irish Gold Bricks
1/2 cup whole milk
2 T unsalted butter
1 cup sugar2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Glaze and Toppings:
2 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk
3 cups salted dry-roasted peanuts
1/4 cup chocolate chips, optional
1/4 cup peanut butter chips, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350; coat an 8 1/2 by 12 inch baking pan* with nonstick spray, then line with a sheet of parchment paper. (*Seriously, who has this size? Why would they even make a recipe for it? I even looked at a store out of curiosity but did not find one. I used a random roasting pan that was kind of 8 x 13 but the cake was plenty thick so you could easily use your 9x13.)

2. Heat milk and butter for cake in a saucepan over medium just until milk comes to a boil. Remove pan from heat and let stand until butter melts.
3. Beat sugar, eggs and vanilla in a bowl with a mixer until light in color - seriously, get it almost white - and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
4. Stir flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Add flour mixture to egg mixture alternately with the warmed milk, mixing just until incorporated. Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 16 to 22 minutes, or until cake springs back when pressed with a finger. Cool cake in the pan on a rack.

5. Turn cooled cake out onto a cutting board and peel off parchment. Cut cake crosswise into thirds, then halve lengthwise so you have 6 almost-squares. To make "bricks", cut each portion into 3 strips, each measuring about 1.5x4 inches. (*The original recipe says 4 strips, 1x4 each, but I found strips that thin didn't quite hold up to the glaze and some broke. If you want 24 small bricks instead of 18 medium, be sure to do the freezer step that follows.) If you have time, freeze the bricks for about 30 minutes or until firmed up a bit but not necessarily frozen solid.

6. For the glaze, whisk powdered sugar and milk together in a shallow dish to make a fairly thin glaze. I needed a full 1/2 cup of milk for a nice thin glaze. Pulse the peanuts in food processor until chopped, then transfer to second shallow dish. To finish, roll each brick in glaze to coat; let extra drip off. Roll in peanuts; transfer to wax paper to set.
7. Optional drizzle: melt chocolate chips and peanut butter chips in two separate quart-size plastic bags. Microwave in 30-second intervals, smooshing chips each time until melted. Snip off small piece of corner and push the melted chips into corner of bag; quickly drizzle over bricks. Allow drizzles to set before packaging bars.
Recipe adapted from Cuisine at Home Holiday Cookies, 2008

Monday, March 15, 2010

Marbled-Chocolate Banana Bread

Here's another one from Enlightened Chocolate. I sure am a happy girl when I have 2 to 3 bananas go brown because that means it will be banana bread for breakfast the next day or two. (And when Safeway has bags of brown bananas for sale, I load up.) I have a favorite standby sour cream banana bread recipe, and we usually add mini chocolate chips to it. But a marbled chocolate banana bread is a little more elegant, even decadent. As you can see from the picture, this one is moist and dense - it really tastes and feels like a real indulgence. And don't we all need that?

Marbled-Chocolate Banana Bread
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
3 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups mashed banana (about 3)
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt

1. Preheat oven to 350F. In a medium bowl whisk the flours, baking soda, salt and nutmeg until blended.

2. Place the chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on HIGH 1 minute or until almost melted, stirring until smooth. Cool slightly.

3. Place the sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute.) Add banana and egg substitute, and yogurt, beating until blended. Add the flour mixture with a wooden spoon, stirring just until blended.

4. Add 1 cup batter to chocolate, sturring until well combined. Spoon chocolate batter alternately with plain batter into an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan coated with nonstick cooking spray. Swirl batters together using a knife.

5. Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Makes 1 loaf, 16 slices.

And because this is an "enlightened" version of banana bread, here's the nutritional info:
Per 1 slice - Calories 185; Fat 5.4g; Protein 3.4g; Cholesterol 8.2mg; Carbohydrate 32g

Recipe from Enlightened Chocolate by Camilla Saulsbury

Friday, March 12, 2010

Chocolate-Cinnamon Toasting Bread

Now this bread is interesting. I got this awesome cookbook, Enlightened Chocolate, for my birthday (thanks Marsha.) The author, Camilla Saulsbury, is one of my heroes, so I was extra thrilled to dig in. It's a book of light-ish recipes using unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate. Sweet, savory, breakfast, drinks, everything. So when I came across a chocolate bread recipe you make in the bread machine, I knew I had my #1 thing to try.

We made it one afternoon for a snack. It made the house smell like chocolate heaven. The idea is you make the bread, and then you use it to make toast, for snack, for teatime, for breakfast, whatever. I couldn't wait to dig in. We sliced, we toasted, we ate. The kids didn't like it. I was surprised, too, but not unpleasantly.

The thing is, it's not as sweet as you might expect. It only has 1/3 cup sugar and some chopped bittersweet chocolate. So it's sweet, but just barely. If you know that going in, and you're ready for a new way of eating chocolate, make it. I tried it first with peanut butter, but it wasn't quite right. Next I did some butter and cinnamon sugar and was that ever a treat! Strawberry cream cheese, orange butter, things like that would be good on it. Or if you're a mega-dark purest who doesn't need their chocolate sweet, then just plain is perfect.Chocolate-Cinnamon Toasting Bread
1 large egg yolk
1 cup water
2 cups unbleached bread flour
1 cup whole wheat bread flour (or another cup regular bread flour)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 T unsalted butter
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp bread machine yeast (rapid rise)

1. Whisk the egg yolk and water in a small bowl; pour into bread pan of bread machine. In a medium bowl whisk the flours, cocoa powder, cinnamon and chocolate; sprinkle into pan, covering the water-egg mixture.

2. Add the butter, salt and brown sugar in opposite corners of the pan. Make a shallow indentation in the center of the pan; spoon yeast into the indentation.

3. Set the machine to the basic/normal setting for a small loaf. Press start. At the end of the baking cycle (3 hours for my machine), turn out onto a wire rack. Cool completely. Makes 1 loaf, 14 slices

Recipe from Enlightened Chocolate by Camilla Saulsbury

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sour Cherry Muffins with Coconut Streusel

This was my second muffin from the impressive Williams-Sonoma book I got for Christmas. I whipped it up one morning during the February snow-in. Nothing like warm, fresh muffins and a leisurely morning in which to make and eat them. Another muffin? Don't mind if I do. I'll just nibble on it while I read the paper in my pajamas. Aaah.

These are just lovely. Crunchy sweet topping, warm soft center with the occasional cherry surprise in a bite. I try not to mess with a recipe until I've made it once, but next time I might even add a few more cherries. Just delightful and delicious.

Sour Cherry Muffins with Coconut Streusel
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup half-and-half or milk
16 oz. jarred or canned pitted sour red pie cherries, drained and dried on paper towels (not cherry pie filling)
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease 12 standard muffin cups with butter or butter-flavored cooking spray.

2. To make streusel, stir together brown sugar and flour in a small bowl. Using pastry cutter or your fingers, cut or rub in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the coconut. Set aside.

3. To make muffins, in a bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

4. In another bowl, whisk together the melted butter, eggs, and half-and-half. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the egg mixture. Beat until thick and creamy. The batter will be slightly lumpy. Do no overmix.

5. Spoon the batter into each muffin cup, filling it one-third full. Drop in a few cherries, add batter just to cover, then drop in a few more cherries. Spoon on more batter until the cups are filled level to the rims. Sprinkle each with 1 heaping tablespoon of coconut streusel.

6. Bake until golden, dry and springy to the touch, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Unmold the muffins. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Recipe from Williams-Sonoma Muffins

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Macadamia Fudge Brownies

During the big snowstorm in February, our neighbor stopped by. She was in tears from a personal crisis and just needed someone to talk to. We listened, sympathized, tried to comfort her. After awhile she left to go on a walk in the snow. I turned to Ed and said, "I need to make her some cookies." He agreed.

Not that chocolate really solves anything. Like most people in such a position, I just wanted to do something, to feel like I was helping. I'd spent the entire snow weekend tackling ambitious, and largely unsuccessful, baking projects (sigh), so I was running low on butter, eggs and flour. I needed a recipe that required little of each, and was highly likely to turn out well. I almost made Death by Chocolate Cookies (not enough block semisweet) or Banana-Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies (my bananas weren't brown enough.) Then in flipping through my cookie/bar folder I found this little gem, which was perfect since I happened to have macadamia nuts (I don't always.)

Oh, man. These brownies are PERFECT. Rich, fudgy, dark, and those macadamias! Who knew they would be so good in brownies? These definitely rank very near the top of THE BEST THINGS I'VE EVER MADE. Even Ed, who's more of an ice cream guy, shook his head in disbelief and went for a second and third.

Macadamia Fudge Brownies
1 bag (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup plus 3 T chopped macadamia nuts
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Heat oven to 350. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick aluminum foil; set aside.

2. Place 1 cup of the chocolate chips and the butter in a large microwav-safe bowl (make sure it is large - this is the bowl you'll be mixing all the batter in.) Microwave for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Microwave an additional 30 seconds, if needed.

3. Whisk in sugar, then eggs. Stir in flour and salt until smooth. Fold in 2/3 cup of the chopped macadamia nuts and the vanilla. Transfer batter to prepared pan.

4. Bake at 350 for 25 to 29 minutes.

5. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup chocolate chips over brownies and return to oven for 2 more minutes. Remove from oven, and spread melted chips until smooth, to form a "frosting." Top with remaining 3 tablespoons nuts. Refrigerate 1 hour to firm chocolate, then cut into squares. Makes 16 brownies.
Recipe from Family Circle, February 2010

Monday, March 1, 2010

Bread Machine Calzone

As some of you may know, Ed went elk hunting last October. They were successful. They had the meat processed into recognizable cuts - top sirloin, chuch roast, ground, etc. And they had a lot made into sausage, cut with pork. Sausage doesn't quite have the culinary range of, say, ground meat, so we still have a lot of it in our freezer. And we're trying to work our way through it.

I decided one night in February to make calzones for dinner, and fill them with sausage, cheese, green peppers, a little pepperoni. I was going to use my old standby pizza dough recipe or whatever but just to see, I did a quick internet search and came upon this. You know I love to use my bread machine. So I just put the ingredients in, processed the dough, rolled it out and filled it up. Per the instructions it makes one big calzone that you slice, but you could just as easily divide the dough into 4 rounds and have everyone make their own classic turnover-type calzone. Either way, it's easy, it's dinner, and in our case it used up another 1/2 pound of elk sausage!

Bread Machine Calzone
1 1/4 cups warm water
3 cups bread flour
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 T white sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp powdered milk

(or just do your own - whatever you like)
3/4 cup sliced Italian sausage
3/4 cup pizza sauce
1 1/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 T butter, melted

1. To make the dough, place water, flour, yeast, sugar, salt and powdered milk in the pan of the bread machine, in the order suggested by manufacturer. Select Dough cycle. After cycle is completed (mine takes 1 1/2 hours), roll out dough on lightly floured surface.

2. Meanwhile, brown sausage in large skillet over medium heat until cooked through. Drain excess fat.

3. Preheat oven to 350F.

4. Shape dough into a 16 by 10-inch rectangle. Transfer to a lightly greased cookie sheet, and spoon pizza sauce lengthwise down the center of the dough, followed by the browned sausage and the cheese. Make diagonal cuts 1 1/2 inches apart down each long side of the dough rectangle, cutting to within 1/2 inch of the filling. Criss-cross cut strips of dough over the filling and seal tears/edges with water. Pinch and tuck ends tightly. Brush top of calzone with melted butter.
5. Bake at 350 for 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving.Recipe from Kevin K. on
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...