Friday, March 30, 2012

Soft and Chewy Caramel Corn



I absolutely love caramel corn. It is one of my favorite treats of all time. I have searched long and hard for the perfect caramel corn recipe. I have made countless failed attempts at it. The caramel was either too hard or not gooey enough or too dark or too sweet, but this... this right here is perfection. I have made it almost every weekend since finding it, and every last kernal gets devoured.

FYI: It makes a 'TON.


Soft and Chewy Caramel Corn

(4) Bags of Microwave Popcorn or 8 - 10 cups air popped.
*I like to pop them first and sift out the un-popped kernels.

1/2 C. Butter
4 1/2 C. Sugar
2 1/2 C. Brown sugart
1 (12oz.) can Evaporated milk
2 C. Heavy Whipping Cream
1 tsp. Salt
1 1/2 C. Light Corn Syrup



Bring to a boil: Butter, Sugar(s),Milk and cream.
Then stir in Salt and corn syrup. Boil to a "Softball" stage. Use a candy thermometer for this.
Stirring constantly.
Pour over popped corn, mix well.
Lay out to "dry" on wax paper.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rolo Bars

When I am baking, I make it a point never to use a cake mix if at all possible because to me it just has a distinctive taste that I don't really like. I do let my girls make cake mix cookies because they are easy and fun and don't taste half bad, but that's about as far as I go. So.... when I saw these incredible rolo bars started with a cake mix, I was highly skeptical! I didn't want to get my hopes up even though they looked so incredible. But, I was in for a wonderful surprise! They taste just as good as they look. I'm glad that I made them for a crowd because I would have devoured them all myself. They are so so easy and so so delicious. You just can't go wrong with Rolos!

Note: It is my personal opinion, that the brand of a cake mix can make or break this recipe. I used Betty Crocker brand and had great success... however, I made them again using a generic Western Family brand cake mix, and I could definitely taste the cake mix-y taste. Still good, but not over the top delicious.

* Found on Cookies and Cups

Cake Mix Rolo Bars

Ingredients

  • 1 box (18.25 oz) yellow, vanilla or white cake mix ( I used Betty Crocker), dry
  • 5 oz evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 40 Rolo Candies, unwrapped and cut in half

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
  3. With your mixer, beat cake mix, evaporated milk and butter until combined. Mixture will be thick and sticky.
  4. Divide batter in half and press 1 half into the bottom of the pan.
  5. Bake until just set, approximately 8-9 minutes.
  6. Remove base from oven and place Rolo candies, caramel-side down on top.
  7. Drop remaining batter on top of Rolos in teaspoon sized amounts.
  8. Bake for 20-24 minutes longer until top begins to golden.
  9. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cream Cheese Lemon Bars

I was so excited to make these after I saw them on Pinterest. What a light, delicious, different recipe! They just scream, "Spring"!!! I took them to a meeting I had, and got rave reviews. I'll definitely be making these yummy bites of deliciousness again!

Cream Cheese Lemon Bars

1 box lemon cake mix
1/3 cup butter or margarine - softened
1 egg
8 ounces cream cheese - softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 lemon - grated
2 tablespoons lemon juice or 1/2 fresh squeezed lemon
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a mixing bowl, blend dry cake mix, butter, and 1 egg. Press into an ungreased 9 x 13 pan.. Beat the cream cheese until smooth. Gradually blend in the powdered sugar. Stir in lemon peel and lemon juice until smooth. Reserve 1/2 cup of this mixture and refrigerate it for later use. Beat the remaining 2 eggs, add the vanilla, and then beat this mixture into the remaining cream cheese mixture until well blended. Spread over the cake mixture. Bake at 350° until set, approximately 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely. Spread the reserved cream cheese mixture onto the bars. Refrigerate until firm; then cut into squares and serve.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Almond Poppy Seed Muffins with Glaze

My husbands favorite muffin is Almond Poppy seed. He has made it clear on numerous occasions that it is not lemon poppy seed but almond poppy seed. I often think about making him some as a special treat, but never get around to it. I bought an almond poppy seed loaf at the grocery store several weeks ago and both my daughter and husband raved about it. Last weekend, my daughter kept begging me to make some poppy seed muffins but I was too busy, so she determinedly set out to do it herself. She is quite the baker and bakes all of the cookies and brownies at our house, but has never attempted these. I found a recipe off of All Recipes that I thought looked good, and she went for it. They turned out perfect. Between my husband and her I barely got a taste. She is quickly becoming the head baker at our house. I can't wait until she takes over at dinner time too.

Almond Poppy Seed Muffins

3 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 1/2 tsp poppy seeds
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp almond extract

Glaze:
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat the eggs, milk, oil, an dextracts. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fill greased muffin cups two thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees F for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Combine glaze ingredients; spoon over warm muffins.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Lava Flows

We had a Hawaiian themed dinner the other night and it was so much fun! I love making themed dinners. Our menu consisted of Hawaiian Sammies, Lava Flows, Fresh Pineapple, and Mango. It was a huge hit.
The Lava Flow drinks were AMAZING! They were a little bit of work, but so worth it! The recipe makes a lot and I'm so glad because I just kept refilling my cup and drinking to my hearts content. Mmmm... so delicious!

Lava Flows

46 oz pineapple juice
40 oz coconut milk
1 pint half and half
ice
frozen strawberries in syrup
2 tablespoons water
clear cups
straws

The measurements aren't very exact so you just have to feel your way through the recipe. It's one part pineapple juice to one part coconut milk. Usually it takes about three cans of coconut milk to one big can of pineapple juice. Then you add half and half until it turns white. In a separate bowl puree strawberries, sugar and water. Or you can puree frozen strawberries in syrup with a little water that seems to work a little better. You want it to be somewhat thick, almost like a syrup texture. Pour strawberries in the cup about an half an inch to an inch high. Put ice in your blender and pour the coconut mix in unitl it's at an even height with the ice. Blend, then pour in the cup with strawberry mix. The strawberries should come up the sides of the cup. If it doesn't, either thin out your strawberries a little bit, or before pouring the coconut take the cup and swish the strawberries around so they stick on the sides of the cup. I had to think out my strawberries the first time I tried it. Enjoy!

Recipe from: The Coterie Blog

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Pepperoni String Cheese Roll Ups



I like to make fun dinners for the nights when my husband is away on business. It has become something the kids and I really enjoy and look forward to. I found this excellent idea for Pepperoni String Cheese Roll Ups on The Girl Who Ate Everything. The Garlic butter glaze on top really takes these to the next level. We loved them!!! The kids loved them so much that they begged me to make them for dad when he got home. So we ate them 2 nights in a row. Yum!

Pepperoni String Cheese Roll Ups

1 (8 ounce) package refrigerated crescent roll dough
4 cheese sticks, halved
1 (3.5 ounce) package sliced pepperoni
optional - marinara or ranch sauce for dipping

Garlic Butter Glaze:
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasonings
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Take each triangle of crencent roll dough and place about 6 pepperoni on the bottom of the triangle. Place half of a cheese stick on top and roll up. Place seam side down on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-14 minutes or until golden brown.

While rolls are cooking, combine the melted butter, Italian seasonings, garlic powder and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl.

When rolls are done remove from the oven and brush with the garlic butter glaze. Serve with marinara or ranch for dipping.