Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Chocolate Chunk Drops

Shortbread and chocolate, doesn't get much better than this!

2 cups butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped milk or semi sweet chocolate
Icing sugar for dusting

  1. Preheat oven to 300F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cream butter in a large bowl of an electric mixer on medium high speed until sugar is completely combined, about 2 - 3 minutes.
  3. Combine flour and cornstarch in a separate large bowl.  Add to butter mixture on low speed until well combined.  Add chocolate chunks.
  4. Place dough by 1 heaping tbsp 2" apart on prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake in preheated oven, 25-30 minutes.  Cool on wire cooling rack.
  6. Dust cooled cookies with icing sugar.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Salted Caramel Apple Pie with Ice Cream

A different take on the regular apple pie.

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup shortening, cold, cut into 1/2" cubes
4 - 8 tbsp ice cold water

2 tbsp butter
8 apples, peeled,cored, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 can Dulce de Leche Caramel flavoured sauce (300ml)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp sea salt

1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt

  1. CRUST:  Blend flour and salt in a large bowl.  Work shortening into mixture using a pastry blender or two knives, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some pea sized pieces.  Sprinkle half the water over mixture, distributing moisture evenly into flour.  Add water by the tbsp until dough holds together when pressed.  Shape in two, one ball slightly larger than the other.  Flatten balls into 1/2" thick round disks.  Chill, 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
  2. FILLING:  Cook butter and apples in a large deep skillet for 10 minutes.  Cool.
  3. Melt butter in a saucepan.  Add flour and cook over low heat for 1 minute, stirring frequently.  Add caramel flavoured sauce, cinnamon and salt.  Cook for 3 minutes.  Combine appleas and sauce in a medium bowl.
  4. Preheat oven to 375F.  Roll larger ball of dough on a lightly floured work surface into a circle 2" wider than pie plate.  Roll out remaining dough and set aside.
  5. Fill with apple mixture and top with remaining pastry.  Brush edges with egg and press to seal.  Flute edge.  Cut slits on top of pastry.  Brush top of pie with egg, sprinkle with sugar and salt.  Bake in preheated oven, 55-60 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown.  Cool on wire cooling rack.  Serve with your favourite ice cream.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Candy Cane Shortbread Bars

Festive and easy to make.  A really nice shortbread that is dressed up with candy canes and chocolate.

2 cups butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch

2 cups semi sweet, milk or white chocolate chips
1/3 cup chopped candy canes or peppermint candies

  1. Preheat oven to 300F.  Grease a 10" x 15" baking pan and line with parchment paper, overlapping two sides for easy removal.
  2. SHORTBREAD:  Cream butter in a large bowl of an electric mixer on medium high speed until very light in texture, about 5 minutes.  Add sugar and continue beating until sugar is completely combined, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Combine flour and cornstarch in a separate large bowl.  Add to butter mixture on low speed until well combined.
  4. Press dough evenly into prepared pan.  Bake in preheated oven, 45 to 50 minutes.
  5. TOPPING:  As soon as shortbread is removed from oven, immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over hot crust.  Wait 10 minutes for chocolate to melt and spread evenly over curst.  Sprinkle with chopped candies.
  6. Refrigerate until chocolate has set.  Cut into 1" x 2" bars.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Orchard and Berry Fruit Crisp

Who doesn't love fruit crisp??  This is simple and delicious, switch up the fruit for something seasonal or slip in your favourite. I halved this recipe and put it in an 8" square pan.

2 cups oats
3/4 cup Turbinado sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, melted

3/4 cup Turbinado sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 kg ripe pears, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2 " cubes (about 3 cups)
1 kg apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2 " cups (about 3 cups)
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Place 8, 1 cup oven proof ramekins on a baking sheet.
  2. TOPPING: combine topping ingredients in a small bowl.  Reserve.
  3. FILLING: Mix sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.  Add pears, apples and blueberries to sugar mixture.  Toss well to coat fruit.  Divide fruit mixture into prepared baking dishes.  Sprinkle with reserved topping mixture.
  4. Bake in preheated oven, 40 to 45 minutes or until topping is golden brown and fruit mixture is bubbling.  Serve warm or at room temperature.
  5. **If using frozen blueberries, simply add them directly from the freezer.
  6. **To make one large crisp, use a 9"x3" baking dish and bake in a preheated 350 F oven for 50-55 minutes.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Arugula, Mint and Watermelon Salad

The wind is howling and the snow is blowing, but this salad will make you think it is summer.  Lots of flavour here and combinations I have never tried before.  I loved it!  From Food & Drink Summer 2011

6 cups arugula
2 cups diced seedless watermelon
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 cup mint leaves

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Combine arugula, watermelon, feta and mint leaves in a bowl.  Whisk together balsamic, olive oil and salt and pepper.  Toss with salad.  Lay on a platter and garnish with almonds.

Serves 4

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Chicken Hurry

A quick dinner that everyone will love!  From Company's Coming Casseroles.

Chicken breast, skinless   1.5 kg
Ketchup 1/2 cup
water 1/4 cup
Brown sugar, packed 1/4 cup
Onion soup mix (envelope) 42.5 g

Arrange chicken in a small roaster or casserole.  In small bowl, combine ketchup, water, sugar and soup mix.  Mix well.  Spoon over chicken making sure some is on every piece.   Bake covered in 350F oven for at least 1 hour until very tender.  Serves 4 to 6.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Spiced Chicken with Curry Coconut Sauce

Spice up your boring chicken!  This chicken is spiced with typical Jamaican spices but is not as hot like the traditional jerk chicken.  The creamy coconut sauce adds another flavour dimension.  From Food and Drink Winter 2000.

6 boneless chicken breasts with skin on

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 tsp dried
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 tbsp canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 cup mango chutney
1 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup coconut milk
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander or mint

  1. Trim the chicken breasts of any excess skin or fat.  In a food processor or by hand combine 3 bsp oil, lime juice, thyme, garlic, paprika, allspice, cayenne, cloves, salt and pepper.  Spread over chicken breasts and under skin.  Marinate 2 hours or overnight in refrigerator.
  2. Preheat oven to 400F.  In a non stick skillet, on medium high heat, add remaining oil.  Brown chicken, skin side down, for 3 minutes.  Turn over and cook another 2 minutes.  Remove to a baking dish.  Bake for 20 minutes or until chicken juices are clear.
  3. To make sauce, drain fat from skillet and add oil.  On medium heat, saute onion until softened, about 4 minutes.  Add garlic, ginger and curry powder and cook another 3 minutes or until well incorporated.  Mix in chutney and chicken stock.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.  Add lemon juice and coconut milk, season with salt and pepper and bring to aboil. Reduce until slightly thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Strain sauce, return to skillet and stir in coriander or mint.  
  4. Place chicken on serving and drizzle with sauce.
Serves 6