Thursday, March 21, 2013

Simple Country Apple Dumplings

You have all been to a local place that served up the best apple dumplings you had ever eaten. It was your favorite dessert and probably a place you snuck off to just to grab one from time to time. So, you try to whip them up at home and either A) They fall apart or B) take too much effort to bother. You end up going back and dropping a lot of cash on them, because well they are just sooooo good! Yeah, well those times are over. Here is a very quick and simple recipe that some of the ingredients might just surprise the heck out of you! I ran across this recipe years ago and tweaked it a bit to fit my own personal taste.

  • 1 Large Apple – Which ever is your favorite
  • 1 Can Grands Flaky Crescent Rolls
  • 1/2 Cup of Butter
  • 1/2 Cup of White Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch of Ground Nutmeg
  • 6 Ounces of Mountain Dew (I am not kidding!)

  1. Preheat your oven for 350 degrees and get out a glass baking pan.  
  2. Peel and core your apple. Then cut it into 8 slices. 
  3. Take 1 slice and wrap it up in your crescent roll dough, just like you normally would. Stretch it out to bit to make sure it is completely wrapped and sealed. 
  4. Place each one in your backing pan with a couple of inches clearance on each side – these will PUFF!!! 
  5. Take your butter and melt it over medium heat in a sauce pan. 
  6. Add in your vanilla, sugars, nutmeg and cinnamon. 
  7. Mix it well and then pour it over your apple dumplings.
  8. Take your Mountain Dew and pour it over everything. Don’t worry if it looks runny, watery or such. 
  9. Just take it and toss it in the oven now. Set your timer for 30 minutes and step away. 
  10. When your timer goes off come back and check for brownness. If it is golden brown on top, remove from oven, if not, check back every 1 minute or 2 till it is. 
  11. Take it out of the oven just place it on a wire rack and let it cook for about 20 minutes. Almost all of the liquid will be absorbed by the dumplings, the rest can be spooned over the top. 
  12. Serve and enjoy! 

I prefer to serve 1 dumpling in a bowl with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Also goes great with a slice of cheddar or american cheese on top – for those that like that southern twist. (Copied this post from my original post on my sister site Surreal Fare.)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Irish Crepe Cake

Cakes, good. Crepes, better. Guinness, good. Irish Cream, better. Chocolate, good. Frosting, better. A Chocolate Guinness Crepe Cake with Irish Cream Whipped Frosting....Top of the Morning To You, You Just Found The Pot Of Gold At The End Of The Rainbow, Holy Mary Mother Of God, Let Me Say A Few Hail Marys, This Is Sinful, Yes Please Pass Another Slice!!

Nothing more to say, I will get straight to the recipes because I know you want it.

Chocolate Guinness Crepes

  • 2 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour, Sifted
  • 1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder, Sifted
  • 5 Tablespoons Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 3 Cups Buttermilk
  • 1 Cup Stout Guinness
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  1. In a large bowl sift together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder and baking soda. 
  2. In a different bowl combine the buttermilk, beer, eggs, oil and vanilla. Keep separate until right before cooking.
  3. Heat a lightly oiled pan, non stick in good condition is best, over medium low heat. 
  4. Combine wet and dry mixture together. Mix until smooth but do not whisk or over beat. 
  5. Place a small amount of batter on the pan and swirl around until a thin coat forms over the bottom. Around 1/3 cup for a 7 inch skillet. 
  6. Cook until lightly set and then flip carefully. 
  7. Remove form pan when fully cooked and place on a plate to cool.
  8. Continue until all batter is gone. 

Irish Cream Whipped Frosting

  • 3 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 6 Tablespoons Bakers Sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons Irish Cream
  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  2. Whip until stiff peaks form.
(If you do not have Bakers Sugar, just measure out 6 tablespoons of granulated table sugar and run it through a clean coffee grinder real fast. ^_~)

Chocolate Guinness Crepe Cake With Irish Whipped Cream Frosting

  • 1 Batch Chocolate Guinness Crepes
  • 1 Batch Irish Cream Whipped Frosting
  1. Place a single cooled crepe on your serving plate.
  2. Place a large dollop of frosting in the center and spread around until a thin layer covers the crepe.
  3. Center another crepe on top.
  4. Continue with whipped topping and crepes until the cake is the height you wish. 
(For added decoration, use a large cookie cutter to cut a shape out of the top. I use a large shamrock. It is an Irish Cake after all. I am serving this one for St. Patricks Day ^_~)

Huge thanks goes out to Chef Jason Gibson of Cynical Cuisine for letting me alter his Basic Crepe recipe for this and cooking up the crepes for me. ^_^ 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

St. Patricks Rainbow Cupcakes

Top of the morning to you! (Yeah, okay done with that.) It is late and I am tired. I promised that I would do a quickie for my St. Patricks Day Cupcakes and here I am. ^_^

I made these last year and they were a huge hit. These are super simple cupcakes that anyone can honestly do no matter where you are or what you have. Whether you are a beginner or a pro, these are sure to please anyone this St. Patricks Day.

I normally go with a simple Chocolate Cupcake Recipe and then do a mint flavored buttercream in favor for the holiday but feel free to change up what you do. The ones I did this year are just simple plain vanilla cupcakes, some chocolate, and all have a buttercream icing.

Now, before we start I want you to head over to Glorious Treats and check out these various links. I swear it is the perfect place to get the best cupcake and icing recipe for this. Now I have used each recipe I am posting here for this very lesson and tested them myself. I know they work and give them my Surreal Approval Stamp!

Vanilla Cupcake Recipe
Chocolate Cupcake Recipe
Buttercream Recipe - For white white icing I substitute the butter with crisco, it works well.

While you are at it, read through these two pages to learn some more about cupcakes. It is well worth your time.

How To Bake Cupcakes - I reread this every time I make cupcakes
How to Frost Cupcakes - Good quick lesson on basic frosting techniques if you have tips.

Now onto the tutorial. You will need a few thing.
  • Batch of Cooled Cupcakes
  • 2 Batches of Buttercream - 1 white, 1 green. I recommend making the white first, setting it aside and then making the green. If you aren't careful the color will separate with the green after a bit, so best to make it last. 
  • "Pot O Gold" Candy - Rolos, Reeses Minis, Ferrero Rocher or anything in a gold wrapper
  • Rainbow Chew - Warheads Sour Rainbow Twists, Airheads X-Treme Rainbow Berry Sour or any rainbow like rope candy
  • Green Food coloring - Wilton or Americolor Leaf Green/Mint Green works best for me
  • Grass tip for your icing - or green sprinkles if you don't have one. 

Now for what you to.
  1. Use your grass tip and decorate half the cupcake with the green frosting. 
  2. Decorate the other half with the white, use a basic large round tip. 
  3. Cute your rainbow rope about 4 inches in length and stick one end in the icing. 
  4. Bend it gently and stick the other end on the other side of the cupcake.
  5. Place a Gold Foiled Candy at the end of a rainbow and done.
  6. Marvel how easy, complain to those you give them to how long it took. 

Seriously, that is it. You can do variations with what you have near you. Some with clouds, some without. Some on grass fields, some covered in candy shamrock sprinkles. Small rainbows, big rainbows, double rainbows (OMG WHAT DOES IT MEAN?!?!?! LOL) Just enjoy them. Super simple for the kids to help out with. ^_~

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Cakes

No, this is not a recipe or a tutorial on how to make a cake that looks like a Buffalo Chicken Wing - Though in all honesty that probably would be cool as anything for a guy or some Hooters waitress reunion party. This is something a tad different. You see, for weeks my husband has been craving Buffalo Wings, and who can blame him. Those things are nifty!

Thing is we are on a weight loss challenge, so needless to say deep fried skin covered chicken pieces drowned in blue cheese probably isn't the best thing to keep that hubba hubba hubby figure. Me personally, I have been craving crab cakes but hey I am cheap and don't want to spend the money on lump crab, as well as trying to keep a girlish figure. ^_~  I don't know why or how or what but some Bar Food God must have shot an arrow and hit me with a foodie epiphany. Buffalo Chicken Cakes!

So here we are. My messed up but, in my opinion, freaking nifty concoction! Shredded chicken, some vegis, buffalo wing sauce and crackers all mushed together and pan fried to give you this kick butt new bar food. (And what I love about it is that each large patty only has like 250 calories but over 30 grams of protein. Not fully diet friendly but hey we are making it work on out little diet. And no, it doesn't taste like diet food. Get ready for foodgasm!)

Buffalo Chicken Cakes

  • 1 Pound Cooked and Shredded Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
  • 1 1/2 Cup Buffalo Wing Sauce (We do 1 1/4 Cup Regular and 1/4 Cup Hot)
  • 1 Cup Crushed Club Crackers
  • 1/2 Cup Diced Celery
  • 1/2 Cup Diced Carrots
  1. Mix everything in a large bowl until nice and mushy. I recommend wearing gloves since you are working with hot sauce. 
  2. Take about 1/3 a cup or 100 grams worth of mix and form into a patty. (Or really just how ever big you want it.)
  3. Rest on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Continue until you use all the mix.
  4. Let rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  5. Take a large skillet and warm up on medium heat.
  6. Spray skillet down with non stick spray.
  7. Place patties on skillet, keeping room between each to flip. I normally do 4 at a time.
  8. Cook for 6-7 minutes on each side, flipping once.
  9. Rest on plate to cool. Continue until all patties are done.
  10. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce or just plain.
  11. Enjoy!!!!
Seriously, that is it and they are freaking nifty if I do say so myself. ^_^ 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Lavender And Roses

I must admit that I do love flowers. Granted I am not your usual girl who wants them in vases delivered to my door. I am more the....So, what can I cook with them? Spring is coming up, as well as St. Patricks Day so I wanted to do something weaving those two together. What better than taking a step back in time to when Vanilla and Chocolate wasn't the in thing and people looked more to their flower garden for flavor? With this I decided to take a trip with a classic pairing of flavors, Lavender and Rose. Both have been used for centuries to flavor baked goods and they pair perfectly together in this little duo.

My Shortbread recipe for this is a little different than my traditional Irish Shortbread recipe. It still uses the rich Irish Butter but it a much lighter and delicate cookie. This cookie can be rolled out and cut with a cookie cutter before hand, unlike my other recipe but it still does spread a little. I would recommend basic shapes or ones that you don't mind some rounding to. Don't use this recipe for cutters needing sharp edges and I really don't think you should mail these. They are just far too delicate. Now, onto the recipes!

Lavender Irish Shortbread

  • 195 Grams Unbleached All Purpose Flour. (Roughly 1.5 Cups)
  • 65 Grams Cornstarch (Roughly 1/2 Cup)
  • 226 Grams Salted Irish Butter, room temp. (8 ounces - 2 sticks)
  • 60 Grams Confections Sugar (About 1/2 Cup - Sifted)
  • 2 Grams Lavender Extract (1/2 Teaspoon)
**If you can use weight over volume for this recipe. If you need to substitute Dried Lavender, 2 crushed teaspoons.**

  1. Place butter in your mixer and mix until creamy smooth.
  2. Add in confections sugar, mix until smooth and no lumps.
  3. Add in lavender extract. Mix until incorporated. 
  4. Sift together flour and cornstarch.
  5. Add to bowl, mix until it just comes together.
  6. Place between 2 sheets of wax paper.
  7. Roll out until 1/4 inch thick. 
  8. Place on a cookie sheet and stick in the fridge for 3 hours.
  9. Remove from fridge, cut out shapes you wish.
  10. Place cut out cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Work fast, dough warms quickly.
  11. Place back in fridge for 1 hour. (This will help it keep a shape.) Scarp dough can be rerolled, chilled and cut. I usually repeat this until all dough is cut and chilled and just bake all at once.
  12. Preheat oven to 375F.
  13. Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until lightly browned edges, depending on how large a cookie. I bake 2 inch diameter rounds 10 minutes.
  14. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes on cookie sheet. Move to wire rack to cool fully. Careful! They are delicate!
  15. Cool fully and enjoy, or decorate. (Dip in dark chocolate or drizzle with rosewater icing - Recipe next!)

Rosewater Icing

  • 150 Grams Confectioners Sugar (About 1 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 - 1 Teaspoon Rosewater (Warning, strong stuff. I use 1/2 and slowly work up by drop if I want it stronger.)
  • 2-4 Tablespoon Milk (Will depend on how thick you want it. I usually use 3-4 depending on humidity for drizzling.)
  1. Sift sugar and place in a bowl.
  2. Whisk in the rosewater and milk until smooth. Add more rosewater for stronger flavor, little goes a loooooooooonnnnnggggg way. Add more milk to thin it out. Add more sugar to stiffen it up if you are wanting to pipe it. 
  3. **Optional Step** Add a smidgen of food coloring if you want it slightly pink.
  4. Drizzle over the top of the cookie and let dry for a few hours to set. 
  5. Enjoy!

And there you have it. Now this recipe does call for some items that people usually don't keep in their kitchen unless they cook constantly. You can find most items on Amazon or from various baking stores online and not for much.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Cookies For Lilly

This last week I had the honor and privilege to donate a small gift basket full of cookies to a good cause. You see, in the small town I live in currently there is a little girl who is going through a rough time, she is battling Cancer. Most of us cannot even begin to comprehend what they would be like - as a person first and foremost - if you have not gone through it personally. Imagine if your child was having to endure it? The thought alone breaks me down and makes me run to my kids to hug them. (Something I have done several times over the last week just working on these.)

As many of you know I lost my mother to Cancer just a scad few months ago, so when I was asked by a dear friend in the community if I could whip something up for a silent auction you bet your sweet britches I was all over that like a white on rice.

I sat down and tried to figure out what to do. I knew I wanted to use the Cancer Ribbon Cookie Cutter that I was gifted after my mother passed. It just seemed fitting. What else could I do though to make this set personal? After seeing a picture of the little girl, Lilly, I knew what to do. She was a little princess, what better theme? There was none.

Time to get to work. I wanted to ensure these has special details that I had not done before or very rarely did, so I got to work on getting together elements from some of the best places on the net. I was very lucky to have Karen's Cookies to be able to supply the Disco Dusts, Copper Gifts was the perfect place to get the fancy frame cutter, Fancy Flours for the Dragees and of course I went to Beanilla to get the special Madagascar Vanilla Beans.

Everything came together to create a very special and beautiful set of cookies. I dropped them off and hoped for the best once they were finished. They were sold at a silent auction at the local school that evening, Knolls Vista and I came to find out just today that the winning Bidder did not keep the cookies for themselves but instead turned around and donated them to Lilly herself! How wonderful is that?

I stopped by the Sock Hop/Silent Auction the evening it occurred and was totally blown away! So many people showed up and so many made donations. It was truly moving to see a small community come together like that for one small child. Needless to say it was a huge success!!!

If you would like to help the family, you still can! Thoughts and prayers for Lilly and her family are of course always welcome. You can visit here - Miss Lilly - On facebook to say hello and give support. If you would like to make a donation they will be opening an account at Sterlings Saving under the name of -  Friends of Lilly Hultberg - Or if you are in the Moses Lake area you can drop off donations at Knolls Vista. 

If I get any more information on how to help, I will edit this post and give you all an update!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Family Valentines Day Dessert

I don't know about you but I hate going out on Valentines Day, especially for dinner. Everyone in the stores are rushing around getting last minute cards, flowers, candies, stuffed animals or even lingerie, lol. People rush after work to get ready to go out to dinner, long lines, seated after forever only to be rushed through your meal so they can push the next family or couple into the booth.

Yeah, I got sick of it years ago and probably a good thing as well. When I married a chef I gave up any and all expectations of ever going out to dinner with him on 2 holidays - Mothers Day and of course Valentines Day. It is like asking your girl who works at the local clothing store to go shopping with you on Black Friday...They're working. So even if I wanted to go out, I am not going anywhere. LOL

Each year I make dinner at home. If the kids are with me we do a family thing. If not, we do a couples meal. Why not share that? It is wonderful! So I got together with Cynical Cuisine to come up with 2 menus for this Valentines Day. One for a couple all alone and one for the family. Both simple and delicious. Tonight we tackle the family dinner.

The Menu:
Glazed Meatloaf
Garlic Whipped Potatoes
Peppers of the Heart
Strawberry Fudged Filled Cupcakes

To get the recipes and "how to"s for the main course and sides - Visit Cynical Cuisine here - Dinner With The Kids

The last one is mine. So here we are. A quick and simple recipe.
Now to start off you will need 3 things. Ready?

What You Need:
Boxed Chocolate Cake Mix with a Fudge Filling
Strawberries - FRESH!
Ready Whip

Seriously, that is it. Okay, in the picture is frozen strawberries but I ended up using fresh in the recipe. They held together much better. Now, to make it more Valentiney I would suggest some cute cupcake wrappers and sprinkles that I am sure you can pick up at your local store. I found my sprinkles at Walmart and the wrappers - The Dollar Store. >.>

Now, what to do? Omg, so simple.

What to do:

  1. Cut up the strawberries into small bites. 
  2. Make the fudge filling as directed on the box, using 2/3's the amount of liquid stated.
  3. Fold the strawberries into the fudge filling, set aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  5. Mix the cake mix.
  6. Place liners into the cupcake pan.
  7. Fill 1/3 the way full - About a tablespoon.
  8. Add a teaspoon into the center of the fudge and strawberry mix.
  9. Top the filling with another teaspoon of the cake mix.
  10. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  11. Remove form oven, remove from pan right away to cool on a wire rack.
  12. Once fully cooled set aside until time for dessert!
  13. Once it is time to serve, place one in front of everyone, top with ready whip and sprinkles!
  14. Enjoy!
Okay, few things. Reason for less water than the recipe calls for is due to the moisture in the strawberries. Less temperature than your box recipe probably calls for and more time is because if you cook at a lower and longer heat, you get more even baking, less burning and less chance of raw center. Removing it from the pan right out of the oven helps with cooling and keeps the wrappers from pulling away from the sides later on. Lastly, why wait to top? Ready whip deflates fast, lol. Trust me, serve right away or just wait until you do. Otherwise it won't be pretty. >.>  

^_^ Enjoy!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Celtic Knot Love

Kicking off this years Valentines Day Cookies with some Irish Flair as it were. I adore Celtic Knots, in fact the only jewelry I wear is a Celtic Knot Pendent. So I figured I would start this year with some Celtic Knot Heart Cookies. ^_^ Enjoy!

Cookie: Rolled Sugar Cookie
Icing: Royal
Decoration: By Hand

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