Top Ten Recipes of 2012

Happy Holidays, imaginary internet friends! And congratulations on surviving the end of the world. Now I’m off to Barnes and Noble to demand a refund for my Mayan wall calendar. Wish me luck!

In the meantime, I hope you’ll take another look at the 10 most popular recipes I shared this year.

S’mores Fried Ice Cream with Chipotle Chocolate Sauce

 

Asparagus Lasagna Slice

Asparagus Lasagna with Pancetta, Goat Cheese, and Lemon

 

Baked Churros with Cinnamon Ice Cream and Dulce de Leche

 

Loaded Baked Potato Grilled Cheese Sandwich

 

Cinnamon Roll Grilled Cheese Sandwich

 

Oatmeal Cream Pies

Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies

 

Cookies and Milk

Toffee Cashew Cookies

 

pie crust crackers

Chicken Pot Pie Soup with Pie Crust Crackers

 

Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich

And the most popular recipe of 2012:

Pepperoni Stuffed Chicken

Pepperoni Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Here’s to a delicious (and gooey) new year!

S’mores Fried Ice Cream with Chipotle Chocolate Sauce

It was a dark and stormy summer night. The rain beat against the windows and a vulgar blaze of lightening tore open the night sky. Full of green chile enchiladas and cocktails, Mom, Handsome Greg, Professor Meowington, and I gathered in a circle on the living room floor, passing the flashlight and sharing ghost stories (like that one about the young couple whose car breaks down during a storm when there’s a serial killer on the loose.)

Another chorus of baritone thunder sang through the quiet, and I returned to the kitchen for my 2nd (OK, 4th) vodka lemonade. A blood-curdling scream escaped my throat as my eyes fixed on a most horrifying sight: my toasted marshmallow ice cream balls, carefully coated in two layers of graham cracker crumbs had been left on top of the refrigerator to melt in the summer heat. Nnnnooooooooooo!

The flaccid, lifeless ice cream balls squished under my finger. I threw them back in the freezer, and wondered, who could’ve done such a thing? Who’d been in my kitchen? Oh, my god! The ice cream killer was inside the house.

As it turns out, Handsome Greg left our dessert on top of the fridge when he got out the ice for the last round of drinks. Actually, he was a dead giveaway; Handsome Greg is the only one of us tall enough to reach something above the refrigerator. And the ice cream balls were saved in the nick of time. They hardened up in the freezer as the oil was heating and the chocolate was softening and the thunder was thundering.

Handsome Greg was forgiven, and we all enjoyed a ridiculous and delicious dessert.

In light of my happy ending, I suggest you host a slumber party, tell ghost stores, and fry up some ice cream of your own. You’ll break through the crispy graham cracker coating and toasted marshmallow ice cream will ooze out. Then drag it through the smoky chocolate sauce, and you will have constructed a perfect homage to s’mores in a single, hot-and-cold, campfire-smoky, crunchy-creamy bite.

And all without anyone getting killed and left hanging from a tree branch making thumping noises on the roof of your ‘87 Acura.

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Chocolate Cherry Napoleons

Last night I made a special Valentine’s Day dinner for Handsome Greg.

Valentine's Day Napoleons
He arrived at 7:30 sharp, looking handsome as ever, with a bottle of wine, the sweetest Valentine ever, and a box of heart-shaped chocolate truffles. I, on the other hand, was still wearing my bathrobe and slippers, having only just emerged from the shower. Dinner was a good 45 minutes behind schedule, but I managed to buy a little time by convincing Greg to drop the gifts and take out the garbage. (Yeah, he is pretty much the nicest guy in the universe.)

Valentine's Day Napoleons3

I knew Saturday would be a mad rush — preparing a special dinner is an all-day affair for me, and I lost a big chunk of time earlier in the day at my web programming class. So, I planned to simplify preparations by following a complicated dinner menu with a mostly store-bought dessert.

And it was a good thing I did. Once we finally ate dinner, dessert came together quickly and easily. I’d cut out the pastry hearts earlier and they were waiting on a parchment-lined baking sheet in the fridge. After dinner I popped them in the oven, heated the cherry pie filling, made the ganache, and dessert was warm and flaky and squishy in no time.

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Winter-Spiced Molten Chocolate Cakes with Rum-Ginger Ice Cream

This is a guest post and recipe from my dear friend, Jenny Karstad. Jenny is a phenomenal cook and baker, and a truly lovely person.

Happy Valentine’s! Or Christmas! Or Presidents’ Day! Really, there is no bad time of year (in the winter anyway) for these amazing, wonderful, tasty, and above all, impressive lava cakes. I read somewhere a few years ago someone complaining that “every restaurant in New York has a lava cake offering” or some such, said in a derisive way; a dessert that may have been impressive once but had gone the way of the Baked Alaska or the Floating Island.

For these people I say balderdash! Poppycock! I have served these several times now, and despite the fact that they are just about the easiest thing to make, people are still impressed, and don’t seem to mind they are now ‘out of fashion’. By now, of course, you have probably realized that most people who don’t cook or bake much are impressed by anything homemade. I do hope that in the future, people will be doing more home baking and cooking so that bakers and chefs will have to try that much harder to impress their friends and families. Having said that, let’s just go forward on the assumption that people are going to be impressed by anything that is a) chocolate, b) made at home, and c) full of ingredients that you’ll need to make them guess at. This recipe has all these things, all wrapped up in a delicious 3/4-cup ramekin. One could even have a little contest to see if everyone can guess all the spices.

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S’mores a la Mode

"Please, sir. I want s'more."

S’mores are my secret shame.

I fancy myself a foodie, but I just can’t resist the gooey, sticky campfire treat.

So I’ve been searching for recipes that re-purpose the flavors, to “elevate” the whimsical s’more.

This most recent version starts with a sweet, chewy blondie packed with graham cracker crumbs and chocolate chips. It’s topped with toasted marshmallow ice cream and drizzled with hot fudge.

Really, I don’t know why I’m embarrassed by my love of s’mores.

I need to get over it. It’s a dessert, not a sticker collection.

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Blue Umbrella Bake Sale!

Blue Umbrella Productions is hosting an ongoing bake sale to help raise money for our summer musical, Those Were the Days: A Tribute to Television Themes. I’ll be taking and fulfilling orders Girl-Scout style, plus filling any special requests (like scones for Mother’s Day!) until rehearsals begin in June.

I’ve got a menu of both sweet and savory treats to choose from posted below. Email info@blueumbrellaproductions.com to place an order for pick up or delivery. (Twin Cities only. $10 minimum on orders outside of the Banks Building.)

Menu

Popcorn with Truffle Salt
Fresh, fluffy popcorn is tossed with aromatic, savory truffle salt for a luxurious movie-night upgrade.

3 cups: $1.75
6 cups: $3

Lemon Meltaways
These bite-size, buttery lemon shortbread cookies will melt in your mouth.

Half dozen for $2.75
Dozen for $5

Coconut Macaroons
Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, light as a cloud, with coconutty goodness all the way through.

Half dozen for $4.25
Dozen for $8

Snickerdoodles with Cinnamon Chips
Classic snickerdoodles (sugar cookies rolled in cinnamon sugar) get an extra boost of flavor with creamy cinnamon chips.

Half dozen for $5.50
Dozen for $10

Homemade “Oreos”
They’re bigger, they’re better, and they’re baked fresh with no mystery ingredients.

Half dozen for $8
Dozen for $15

Oatmeal Cream Pies
A grown-up version of the classic treat – the cookies are rich and spiced, and the creamy filling is not overly sweet.

Half dozen for $8
Dozen for $15

Mini Strawberry Hand Pies
Light, flaky butter crust filled with sweet strawberry jam.

Half dozen for $8
Dozen for $15

Sweet and Spicy Candied Nuts
Crunchy almonds and pecans baked in a party-perfect blend of cinnamon, sugar, and a pinch of cayenne.

4 oz. for $4
8 oz. for $7.50
12 oz. for $11
1 lb. for $14.50

cap’n crunch cookies

Back in December, I made candies with Cap’n Crunch for the company holiday potluck, because I thought it would be hilarious.

Less hilarious? Trying to use up a nearly-full $4 box of intensely sweet cereal.

I really hate to be wasteful, but between the Cap’n Crunch buckeyes and today’s chocolate chip (and Cap’n Crunch!) cookies, I’ve barely made a dent in the mountain of expensive cereal.

These cookies are actually pretty tasty. A standard chocolate chip cookie, but with chewy-crunchy little nuggets throughout. Not a favorite, but definitely not a fail.

Next up, I’m considering Cap’n Crunch French Toast, or Cap’n Crunch-crusted Chicken. Or I suppose I could use it as packing peanuts.

Recipe below the fold

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