Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Heath Bar Cake

I have had this recipe printed out for a long time, waiting for the perfect time to make it. That window of opportunity nicely presented itself last week. This was a delightful cake, simply delightful. So moist and toffee-esque. Might have made that word up, go with me here. Here's the link to the original recipe over at Mel's Kitchen Cafe. If you don't follow her blog on google reader or facebook, you totally should. Good stuff, people, good stuff.

1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
5-6 (1.4 ounces each) chocolate covered toffee bars (like Heath), chopped


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and center a rack in the middle of the oven. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, white sugar, flour and butter. Crumble these ingredients together with a pastry blender, whisk or two forks until the mixture is crumbly and coarse. Remove 1/2 cup of the crumbs to a small bowl and set aside. To the large bowl with the remaining crumbs, add the buttermilk, egg, vanilla, baking soda and salt. Mix well.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing it to the edges. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the reserved crumbs and chopped Heath bars. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the center is no longer gooey but a toothpick inserted comes out with moist crumbs. The cake may fall slightly in the center leaving the edges raised. No fear! It will still be delicious.

*a note. I was in a state of frenzy when I was half way through making this cake because I realized that I forget to buy heath bars to crush up! Did I despair? Well, maybe for 5 seconds. Then, I grabbed my bag of skor bits and 1 8oz hershey's chocolate bar and went to town on the crumble. Mmmm, yum.

Monday, March 7, 2011

White chocolate walnut blondies with maple cream sauce

You know that yummy, spectacular dessert that Applebee's has? The one that's served hot with the cookie bar, ice cream and sinfully delicious sauce? You know that one? The one that I would drive all the way to Applebees and not order dinner, just this dessert? Yep, that's the one. Well, thanks to A Hint of Honey, I have found the best knock-off. Ever. Period. The end.
Two things, #1- really splurge and buy the pure maple syrup. suck up the price tag, its worth it. #2- Serve with a really fantastically creamy vanilla ice cream. Make your own or buy a quality brand. It makes or break this. Okay, enough soapboxing from me. Enjoy!

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
10 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 cups light brown sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup white chocolate chips

Maple Cream Sauce:
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (keep your Mrs. Butterworth's outta here!)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking pan.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. In a separate large bowl, whisk to combine the melted butter and brown sugar until well-blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla, mixing well. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, until moist throughout (be careful not to overmix). Stir in the walnuts and white chocolate chips. (The batter will be very thick.)

3. Pour batter into the prepared baking dish and baked in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool slightly before serving.

4. To prepare the maple cream sauce, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the maple syrup and heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat slightly and simmer for about 30 minutes, until thickened and reduced by 1/3. Let cool slightly before serving. (Or refrigerate and reheat prior to serving.)

5. Place a scoop of vanilla ice cream over top of a warm blondie. Drizzle with warm maple cream sauce, sprinkle with toasted walnuts and serve.

Serves 12.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Steak Fajitas

Have you checked out Our Best Bites? I have been missing out! So many yummy things, so many fun things, so many cool things like a new cookbook and blog make-over. Anyway, found this fantastic recipe and after making it, my husband said it needs to be moved into the "keeper pile." So there you have it. Its a keeper. Fo' sure. I have posted my photo and copied/pasted their exact words. We used 1 lb of skirt steak and my family (2 adults and 3 kids) devoured it, so I am absolutely doubling this next time. We cooked them on the grill, meat directly on the grill racks, veggies in a metal grill basket. Squeeze some fresh lime juice on the meat before you serve it and that really adds the finishing touch. Make this tonight!

Measurements of meat and vegetables are approximate. Adjust depending on your preference and the number of people you're serving. This will serve about 4-6.

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, chicken thighs, or steak
2-3 bell peppers, stem and membranes removed and peppers quartered
1 large onion (any color/variety) sliced into 1/2" slices

1/4 C fresh lime juice
1/3 C water
2 T vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
3 t vinegar
2 t soy sauce
1-2 t liquid smoke
1 t salt
1/2 t chili powder, or chipotle chili powder
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/4 t ground black pepper
1/4 t onion powder

*If you're not familiar with liquid smoke, you can find it near the bbq sauces. Don't make this without it! It's definitely one of the key components. It makes things yummy and smoky and super flavorful. And if you're wondering, it actually is real smoke in liquid form. Interesting, eh?

Place meat in a zip-top bag or shallow dish. Place vegetables in another. In a medium bowl, combine all marinade ingredients and whisk well. Reserve 3-4 Tablespoons of marinade for later use. With remaining marinade, add a splash to the vegetables (enough for a light coating) and the remaining to the meat. Marinate for 4-6 hours and up to overnight.

Preheat bbq grill (my preference), indoor grill pan, or large skillet. If you're using a grill, place everything on at the same time. If using a skillet, slice peppers and onions first. Cook chicken for a few minutes on each side until cooked through and remove from pan. Cover with foil to keep warm. Add vegetables and cook until crisp tender.

Remove vegetables from cooking surface and slice. Slice meat. Toss with reserved marinade and serve.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Pecan Bars

Every time I look at the name of these bars, I have a little voice in my head that says, " Pecan" in the twangest southern drawl ever. I obviously have issues. But moving on, lets talk about these, shall we? Shortbread base- a thousand times yes. Gooey caramel made with real cream- you know it baby. And finally, these bad boys are loaded with nuts, the good kind not the creepy kind. Sooo glad Staci wanted to make these. Good call mi amiga!
Thanks Martha Stewart Cookie Book!


for the crust-
1 cup plus 2 tbsp unsalted butter (2 1/4 sticks), softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups all purpose flour

for the filling-
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups (8oz) pecan halves
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 375. Make crust: Put butter and brown sugar into bowl of electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in salt. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing until fully incorporated after addition. Continue mixing until dough begins to come together in large clumps.

2. Press dough about 1/4 inch thick into a 9x13 pan. Pierce the dough with a fork. Chill until firm, about 20 minutes. Bake until golden brown, 18-20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Reduce oven to 325.

3. Make filling: Place butter, brown sugar, honey, white sugar, and heavy cream in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat; stir in salt, nuts and vanilla. Pour filling into the cooled crust.

4. Bake until filling bubbles, 15-20 minutes. Carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Run a paring knife around edges of the pan and invert onto cooling rack. Invert again on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut into 1 by 3 inch bars. Bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

* a note. I didn't invert my pan onto a cutting board. I'm low class I guess, we just cut them out of the pan when we served them.