Thursday, December 25, 2008

homemade marshmallows

This is a Martha Stewart recipe and they're so much better than the ones you buy. My friend Tiffany puts peppermint extract in hers and swirls red food coloring in it after pouring them, but I haven't tried that yet. If any of you do, let me know how they turn out!

2 1/2 tbsp Knox unflavored gelatin (about 3 envelopes)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vanilla
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Combine gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer with whisk attachment. Let stand 30 minutes.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small heavy saucepan; place over low heat, and stir until sugar has dissolved. Wash down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to dissolve sugar crystals.

Clip on a candy thermometer; raise heat to high. Cook syrup without stirring until it reaches 244 degrees(firm-ball stage). Immediately remove pan from heat.

With mixer on low speed, slowly and carefully pour syrup into the softened gelatin. Increase speed to high; beat until mixture is very thick and white and has almost tripled in volume, about 15 minutes. Add vanilla; beat to incorporate.

Generously dust an 8-by-12-inch glass baking pan with confectioners’ sugar. Pour marshmallow mixture into pan. Dust top with confectioners’ sugar; wet your hands, and pat it to smooth. Dust with confectioners’ sugar; let stand overnight, uncovered, to dry out. Turn out onto a board; cut marshmallows with a dry hot knife into 1 1/2-inch squares, and dust with more confectioners' sugar. Makes about 40 marshmallows.

holiday punch

Our friend Aaron makes this every Christmas and it is so good. He calls it Jolly Juice but I think it needs a new name.

1 (750 ml) bottle 100 proof Southern Comfort liqueur
6 ounces lemon juice
1 can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 can frozen orange juice concentrate
3 liters Sprite
2 drops red food coloring
1 orange, sliced into rounds
1 lemon, sliced into rounds

In a large punch bowl combine Southern Comfort, lemon juice, lemonade concentrate and orange juice concentrate. Stir in soda, and add red food coloring. Float orange and lemon slices for garnish.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

texas sheet cake

I grew up with my mom making this and I'm making it for Thanksgiving this year. It's good because you don't need a mixer to make it, it's enormous, and it kind of makes three gooey layers because you pour the icing on when it's hot out of the oven so you have the frosting on top, then a fudgy layer and then (I hate this word, but) moist cake part on the bottom. My mom always put pecan halves on each piece but I think it's easier to toast (you totally gotta toast them) and chop them and just spread over the whole thing.

You need a rimmed baking sheet for it.

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla
8 oz chocolate chips
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup cocoa powder
4 tbsp butter

1 stick butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tbsp light corn syrup
3 cups confectioner's sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

For the cake:
Preheat to 350 and spray the baking sheet with Pam (Baker's Joy if you have it).

Mix the flour, sugar, soda & salt together. In another bowl whisk the sour cream, eggs, yolks & vanilla together.

Melt the chocolate chips, oil, water cocoa & butter together in a large saucepan on medium heat till smooth (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the flour mixture until just combined. Whisk in the egg mixture till combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared baking sheet and kind of tap it on the counter to settle the batter. Bake it 18 - 20 minutes till a toothpick in the middle comes out with crumbs on it.

For the icing:
During the last five minutes of the cake baking, heat the butter, cream, cocoa and corn syrup together in a saucepan over medium heat till smooth. Off the heat whisk in the powdered sugar and vanilla.

Spread the warm icing evenly over the hot cake and sprinkle with the pecans. Let it cool to room temperature, about an hour, then refrigerate till the icing is set, about one hour longer, before serving it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

hot fudge pudding cake

This is officially my favorite food. The national food of Stephanieland.

6 tbsp butter
2/3 cup cocoa powder
2 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (= 1/2 cup chocolate chips)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup milk
1 tbsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups coffee, at room temperature (*I have used water instead and that works fine too)

Heat the oven to 325 and spray an 8x8" baking dish with Pam.

Melt the butter, 1/3 cup of the cocoa, and the chocolate together in the microwave, stirring often, until smooth (1 to 3 minutes).

In a separate bowl, stir the brown sugar, 1/3 cup of the granulated sugar, and remaining 1/3 cup of the cocoa together. In another bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder together.

Mix the remaining 2/3 cup of the granulated sugar, milk, vanilla and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in the yolk, then the melted chocolate mixture until combined. Whisk in the flour mixture till just combined.

Spread the batter in the baking dish. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture evenly over the batter. Pour the coffee gently over the brown sugar mixture. Whatever you do, don't stir it! Bake 45 minutes. It's best, if you can stand to wait, to let it cool about 20 minutes before spooning it into bowls. You absolutely must serve it with a ton of vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

chicken strips

You don't need to measure hardly anything for this. Take 4 chicken breasts and pound them to about 1/2 inch thickness (if you don't have a meat tenderizer use a rolling pin or something like that), then cut into strips and salt them a little bit.

Pour about 3/4 cup of vegetable oil in a pan and heat over medium. While that's heating get 3 bowls out and put about 2 cups of breadcrumbs in one, 3 beaten eggs in one, and about a cup of flour in one. Cover a strip in flour, then dip in the egg, then roll in the breadcrumbs and cook 4 or so at a time in the oil for about a minute on each side. You can keep them warm in a 200 degree oven while you cook the rest.

Then serve them with honey mustard (1/2 cup Dijon mustard mixed with 6 tablespoons of honey).

Saturday, September 20, 2008

german apple pancake

1/2 cup flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup half-and-half
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp butter
3 or 4 large apples, peeled, cored, quartered, and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
powdered sugar

Heat the oven to 500 degrees. Put the butter in a large skillet and melt over medium-high heat. While waiting for it to melt, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl whisk the eggs, half-and-half and vanilla. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry until there are no more lumps.

When the butter is melted add the apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cook until the apples are golden brown and soft, about 10 minutes.

Quickly pour the batter around the edges of the skillet, then over the apples. Put the skillet in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 425. Bake 18 minutes. Loosen the edges from the hot skillet and invert onto a serving platter. Dust with powdered sugar and cut into wedges. Serves about 4.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

beef stroganoff

1 lb round steak, cut into bite-size pieces OR pre-cut stew meat
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 diced onion
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup water

Brown the meat in a skillet. Add the onion and cook until soft. Add the remaining ingredients then cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes. Serve over white rice or noodles.