Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Petite White Chocolate Cranberry Scones

I made these tonight for a church youth activity and couldn't wait to share them with all of you! We had a "tea" party and what's better to serve at a tea party than scones? The original recipe calls for cranberries, but when I got home from the grocery store, I realized that we had eaten the cranberries at Disneyland the week before, so I used Trader Joe's dried blueberries instead (I think they were an upgrade!) I may always make them with blueberries now. These scones are like a shortbread, but are not dry like some scones. Recipe adapted from landolakes.com

Begin by mixing the flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, salt and butter in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until fine. 
Add the cream and mix just until dough holds together. Stir in fruit and white chips with a spoon.
Divide the dough into 4 sections and shape into a rectangle on a floured surface. Begin by cutting into half, then into fourths. Dip your knife into flour each time to keep it from sticking to the dough.
Cut each fourth into 2 rectangles. You will end up with 8 scones for each section of dough, for a total of 32 scones.
These spread quite a bit during baking, so space them out at least an inch (Mine ended up touching after baking!)
After the scones are baked and cooled, finish with a drizzle of white chocolate and you're good to go! 
So pretty!

Petite White Chocolate Cranberry Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour*
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries, coarsely chopped (I used blueberries)
1 1/4 cups white baking chips
2 teaspoons shortening

Heat oven to 400°F. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest and salt in large bowl; cut in butter with a stand mixer and a paddle attachment or fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in whipping cream; mix until dough holds together. Stir in cranberries and 3/4 cup white baking chips with spoon. *I added another 2 Tbs. of flour because my dough was too sticky.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead 5 to 10 times or until dough is smooth. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces; shape each piece into 8-inch log. Cut each log into 4 (2-inch) pieces; cut each piece in half diagonally to form small triangles. Dipping your knife in flour between cuts will help stop it from sticking to the dough.

Place scones, at least 1 inch apart, onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Cool completely.

Combine remaining 1/2 cup baking chips and shortening in small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on MEDIUM (50% power) 30 seconds; stir. Continue microwaving and stirring every 30 seconds until chips are melted and smooth. Drizzle scones with melted chocolate.

Each scone has: Calories: 130, Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 15mg, Sodium: 95mg, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 1g

Monday, September 17, 2012

Rose Cake and Buttercream Frosting

I needed to make a cake for my cute little one's birthday and my sister Natalie had made a rose cake that was darling, so I decided to give it a try. The original idea came from the "I Am Baker" blog, but I adapted it a little to my taste. You need a good thick frosting so that the roses will hold their shape. This is what I used and I thought that it worked great and tasted amazing!

1/2 cup butter- softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp. vanilla
1 scant tsp. lemon extract
8 cups (2 lbs.) powdered sugar
1/3-1/2 cup milk

Soften butter and shortening at room temperature for a couple hours and then mix together well with vanilla and lemon extract. Slowly add powdered sugar and blend until well combined. Add milk just until you reach the right consistency. Remember that this frosting should be a little stiffer than normal. Add coloring if desired.

You can use any cake mix or recipe that you like and bake it in 2- 9 inch round pans. Allow the cakes to cool and then flatten off the top of one of the cakes. Place the flattened cake on your serving stand, spread with an even layer of frosting, and then place the other cake on top. Spread on a good crumb coat before putting on the roses.

You will need a Wilton 1M tip and a good frosting bag. Start with the sides and create roses by starting in the middle and swirling the frosting outward in a circle. Continue all the way around the edge and then do the roses on top. You can fill in the dead spaces with a little extra swipe from the frosting bag. Super easy for a beautiful result!

Turkey Ragu with Fontina and Parmesan

Yum! This hearty meal was a hit with my whole family. I used whole grain penne pasta in place of the elbow macaroni. Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com

1 (16 ounce) package elbow macaroni
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 sweet onion, diced
1-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 (14.5 ounce) can canned diced tomatoes with their juice
1 (14.5 ounce) can canned crushed tomatoes
2 Tbs. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cup grated fontina cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions until pasta is al dente (still a little firm). Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and stir in garlic. Cook for 1 minute, then add the ground turkey. Cook and stir until the turkey is no longer pink. Mix in the diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, parsley, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Combine pasta with the tomato sauce in the skillet. Toss pasta with the fontina cheese and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese until the cheese is melted. Serve pasta in a large bowl with 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. Serves 8.

Crowd-Pleasing Taco Salad

This is an easy and delicious salad that's great for feeding a crowd. I made it again recently for my family of 5 and cut this recipe in half. There was no need to simmer the beef, ketchup and spices with the smaller recipe. Recipe from Taste of Home.

1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 medium head iceberg lettuce, torn
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup taco sauce
1 package (10-1/2 ounces) corn chips (I used Fritos)

Cook beef in a large saucepan over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the ketchup, oregano, chili powder, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, olives and beef mixture. Combine mayonnaise and taco sauce; pour over salad and toss to coat. Sprinkle with corn chips. Serve immediately. Yield: 14-16 servings.

Tutorial: Easy Shredded Chicken

My sister Natalie told me of this easy way to shred chicken and it's one of my favorite cooking secrets now! It's so much easier than shredding with 2 forks and it creates perfect chicken for Mexican recipes, salads or casseroles. I almost always use frozen chicken breasts, but the magic number is 165 degrees F for an internal temperature.

Uncooked, skinless, boneless chicken breasts
For flavor: Dried minced onion, chicken broth or lemon slices (optional)

  • POACH ON STOVE: Place chicken in a large skillet and add 1-2 cups of water or chicken broth and add onion or lemon slices for flavor, if desired. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and cook for 10-15 minutes until chicken reaches 165 degrees F. 
  • POACH IN OVEN: Place chicken in a single layer in a roasting pan. Add lemon slices or dried onion for flavor. Bring 4 cups of water or chicken broth a boil and immediately pour over chicken. Cover and bake at 400 degrees F for 20-35 minutes, checking for an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  • BOIL: Place uncooked chicken breasts in a pot and barely cover with water. Season with a few shakes of onion for flavor, if desired. Bring to boil, then turn heat down to a gentle simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. 

When chicken breasts are cooked, add them to a stand mixer and mix with the paddle attachment until finely shredded. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve or immediately add to recipe.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Salad de Maison

2 heads romaine lettuce, washed and torn
2 c. cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 c. grated Swiss cheese
1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2/3 c. slivered almonds
salt and pepper to taste
1 c. croutons

1/2 c. canola oil
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 cloves garlic, crushed

*Dressing is best if made the night before and refrigerated.

Serves: 10
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