Cupcakes for Chanukah! Recipes and more

Sorry for the lag in posting, lots of travel and family commitments but now, shes back…………………..

cup3 There are times in your life (like after eating a dozen latkes) when you just gotta have that certain something sweet BUT you really don’t want the guilt associated with gobbling up 5 bags of candy coins or a calorie laden mega doughnut topped with chocolate and filled with custard (granted, there aren’t too many times when I DON’T want that kind of doughnut). For me that’s when I reach for a cupcake. Just enough cake and frosting to satisfy but not so much as that I feel like I’ve over indulged and the “oh I blew my holiday diet AGAIN” remorse isn’t omnipresent.

The origin of the cupcake isn’t all that clear. Some historians say it’s because the original recipe contained 1 cup measurements (I cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar etc.) Another source I checked with said that long ago that cake batter was cooked in tea cups, hence the name, cup-cake. Either way it came about I’m just glad the recipes evolved into the sweet treats we love today.

Deciding what type of cupcakes to make and what to top them with can be truly a personal and existential experience. You can fill them, frost them, and dust them with powdered sugar or cocoa. Sprinkles are always nice and so is a couple of pieces of candy or chocolate stuck into the top of the batter just before baking. The possibilities are endless and the results are always irresistible.

With cupcakes you can indulge in your love of lemon, banana, chocolate or vanilla or both at the same time and not have to commit to eating a whole cake. One of the beauties of making cupcakes is that most cake recipes can be converted into cupcakes. There are, however, some exceptions, like angel and sponge cakes, they don’t have quite enough structure to pull off the smaller size, but those to obvious exceptions aside, I say go for whatever recipe you want and see how creative you can get. I prefer to use cupcake liners in my pans as I find it easier to take them out after they’ve been cooked and they help keep all those pesky crumbs from falling all over your lap or shirt.

 

Just a few cup cake rules before you get started.

 

1. Always grease or line you baking pan, easier to remove the cupcake

2. Never over fill the pan, it will make an overly large cupcake top

4. Once the pan or pans are full, put them in the preheated oven immediately. The longer they sit out, the less they will rise.

5. Cupcakes should be baked in at least a 350 so that the structure sets quickly and the cake doesn’t dry while it’s baking

3. Make sure you test the cupcake with a toothpick before you remove it from the oven to make sure it cooked throughout.

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Depending on how you decorate the following recipe they can be served as a snack or at a formal dinner and are equally at home at a 5 year olds birthday party or a wedding reception. I make the peanut butter ones every Chanukah and decorate them with chocolate candy coins.  Enjoy!

 

PEANUT BUTTER CUP CUPCAKES (dairy)

1/3 cup margarine or butter
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
16 miniature peanut butter cups

Preheat oven to 350. Place paper cup cake liners in the muffin pan and set it aside. In a mixing bowl of an electric mixer combine the margarine or butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar.  Mix to combine and then add the eggs and vanilla. Mix to combine. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Alternate adding the flour mixture to the egg mixture with the milk. Do not over mix or you’ll get air bubbles in the cup cake. Fill each muffin cups about 1/2 full of batter. Place a peanut butter cup into the center of each and push it down so it almost touches the bottom but so there is still some batter underneath the peanut butter cup. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or till toothpick comes out clean (be careful not to test where the candy is, you won’t get a true test of if the cupcake is done). Makes approx 14 to 16

 

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BANANA SPLIT CUPCAKES (dairy or pareve)

2 cups sugar

1 3/4 cups flour

3/4 cup cocoa

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2 mashed ripe bananas

1 cup warm water

1/2 cup milk or non dairy substitute

1/2 cup oil

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

 

Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese or pareve cream cheese, at room temperature

4 tablespoon soft butter

4 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

 

Optional Toppings;

hot fudge sauce,

maraschino cherries

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 20 to 24 muffin cups or use paper liners. In a large bowl combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix to combine. In another large bowl combine the eggs, mashed bananas, water, milk, oil, and vanilla and whisk to combine.  Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full, and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool on a rack.

 

In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Gradually add the powdered sugar until blended.  Frost and top with fudge sauce and a maraschino cherry

 

Modified from the Joy of Baking

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ZUCCHINI AND PISTACHIO CUPCAKES (pareve)

This recipe uses self rising flour if you don’t have it for each cup of self rising flour use 1 cup of all-purpose flour and add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

2 eggs

1 cup oil

1 cup granulated sugar

4 zucchinis, grated

1 cup shelled pistachio nuts, chopped

2 teaspoon lime zest

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups self-rising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup dried cranberries

 

Preheat the oven to 325. Grease or line 2 12 muffin tin pans. In a bowl combine the egg, oil, and sugar and whisk until combined.  Add the zucchini, lime zest and nuts and stir together until well mixed.  Add the flour, cinnamon and baking powder, into the zucchini mixture and gently fold it in. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and bake and for 18 to 20 minutes until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a rack and then dust the top with powdered sugar. Makes 24.

 

Modified from about.com

 

GLUTEN FREE CHOCOLATE CREAM CHEESE CUPCAKES (dairy)

 

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup sugar

1 oz cream cheese

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

generous 1/3 cup potato flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon milk

 

Preheat the oven to 350.  In a bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and cocoa powder and beat until combined. Add the sugar and beat until combined.  Add the cream cheese, vanilla, milk and eggs and beat to combine.   Add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda and beat until just combined.  Spoon the mixture into the paper liners and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until risen and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool before frosting.

 

1 oz bittersweet chocolate

5 oz cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Melt the chocolate in the microwave but don’t over heat it, it should just be soft. Cool for about minutes. Place the softened cream cheese in a bowl and then pour the chocolate over the top. Add the vanilla and mix until the cheese and chocolate is combine. Add the powdered sugar and mix to combine. Frost and serve. Makes 12

 

Submitted by Roger Mancref and Cheryl Rodrego Naples FL

 

CANDIED CUPCAKES (dairy)

 

Topping

6 chocolate candy bars, chopped into pieces (your choice)

1, 12 oz bag of any kind of M&M’s you like

Crush, cut and mash into tiny pieces

Mix together in a bowl, set aside

 

Frosting

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 cup semi sweet chocolate

1/2 cup cream

 

Cupcakes

12 tablespoons softened butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 cup mini chocolate chips

 

 

Make the frosting first. In a microwave bowl melt the chocolate and cream together. Stir until smooth and then add the peanut butter and mix until combined. Cool in the refrigerator and when it is cool beat the frosting until it is spreadable.

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease or place paper liners in 24 cupcakes molds. In a bowl combine the butter, white sugar and brown sugar. Mix to combine. Add the buttermilk, vanilla and eggs and mix to combine. Add the salt, baking soda, flour, chocolate chips and mix to combine. Spoon the batter into the prepare tins filling each about 2/3 full. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool before frosting and then decorate with the chopped candy. Makes 24.

 

LUSCIOUS LEMON CUPCAKES (dairy or pareve)

 

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups sour cream or pareve substitute

 

FROSTING:

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

2 1/4 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon milk or pareve substitute

 

Preheat oven to 350 and grease or paper line 30 muffin tins. Set them aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and sugar. Mix to combine and then with the mixer running add the eggs. With the mixer still running add lemon zest and vanilla. In another bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  With the mixer running slowly add the flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. This will be a thick batter.  Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

 

In the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor combine the butter and powdered sugar. Mix until combined.  Add the lemon juice, vanilla, lemon zest and milk; beat until smooth. Frost the cooled cupcakes. Makes 30.

 

 

 

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Super Dupper Ice Box Cake Recipes/Kosher

Anyone who has ever read one of my columns knows I am a huge fan of dessert. In fact, if given the choice, I’ll eat it first. While baking something is my typical motis operandi when the temperature and humidity starts edging toward thermo nuclear meltdown my feelings lean towards less towards cooking and more towards how cold can I make the sweet for the end of my meal.

I suggest we all veer straight towards the quaintly named Icebox cake. For those of us not born before the 1930’s an ice box is the storage unit that was the precursor to the refrigerator where “big blocks of ice” were delivered to the home to place in the “ice box” to keep food cold. Yep, this is how they did it in the olden days when we walked 10 miles to school each day (both ways up hill) and when the Slurpee ®  didn’t even exist.

Ice box cake is a slight misnomer. It’s usually a dessert like recipe that contains layers  of custard or curd or whipped cream layered between, cake, graham crackers, cookies or graham cracker or cookie crumbs. These layers of yummy “rest” or “set up” in the refrigerator (as opposed to the freezer) for a several hours or overnight so that all the ingredients evolve into a single, luscious, creamy cake like dessert that will remind you of an  éclair, cake, cookie and the best thing you’ve ever eaten all rolled into mouth full after mouth full of delicious.

Now for the easy part, putting together you ice box treat. For expediency sake most people usually opt for store bought cookies or cakes for the key ingredient because, like I said, I don’t wanna cook when it’s too hot. Sometimes though, you do have to make the cake or cookie as it’s a key ingredient of the recipe.  That being said I typically make my own, whipped cream, custard, curd or pudding as I’m not a big fan of their “imitation” flavors. I usually avoid recipes that require gelatin as I’m not a big fan of the texture it creates.

Most of the following recipes are quite flexible and forgiving when it comes to the ingredients. You have the luxury, dare I say freedom to interchange most of the ingredients and individualize your creations according to your (or your guests) preferences. Hate strawberries? Use raspberries or blackberries. Don’t like chocolate cookies? Use a vanilla or pecan one. Lactose intolerant?  Get the non dairy whipped topping. Just remember, no matter what you put together, cold in 100 degree weather is always delicious. I am, however, making no comment on the amount of calories you will consume when you decide that leftovers are just not an option.

CHOCOLATE AND CREAM CHEESE ICE BOX CAKE

1 package (18-1/4 ounces) German chocolate cake mix

1 egg

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup chopped pecans

 

FILLING/TOPPING:

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

1 carton (12 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided

3 cups cold milk

2 packages (3.4 ounces each) instant French vanilla pudding mix

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon rum extract

2 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9X13 baking pan.  In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, egg, butter and pecans until they form a crumb mixture. Press the mixture  into the prepared pan. Bake  for 15 to 20 minutes . Cool completely.

 

In the bowl of an electric mixer or food processer combine the  cream cheese and sugar and beat or process for about 2 minutes or until combined. By hand, fold in 1 cup of the whipped topping. Spread the mixture over the top of the cooled crust. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

In another large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft set. Stir in nutmeg and extract. Spread over cream cheese layer. Top with remaining whipped topping. Sprinkle with pecans. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serves 16.

 

Submitted by Irene Koslowski Chicago IL source unknown

 

CLASSIC CHOCOLATE COOKIE ICE BOX CAKE

 

3 cups heavy cream

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 (9-ounce) packages chocolate wafer cookies [or, make your own!]

Unsweetened cocoa (or chocolate shavings)

 

In a large bowl, beat cream, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. On a flat serving plate, arrange 7 cookies side by side in a circle, keeping 1 cookie in the center. Spread with 1/2 cup whipped cream, making a 7-inch circle. Repeat with remaining cookies and cream, making 11 layers of cookies and ending with a layer of cream (there will be a few cookies left over). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. To serve, dust top lightly with cocoa powder or chocolate shavings.

 

Adapted from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

STRAWBERRY ICE BOX CAKE WITH FUDGE DRIZZLE

 

2 pounds fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced thin (save 5 or 6 whole ones for garnish)

3 1/4 cups whipping cream, divided (3 cup +1/4 cup)

2/3 cup powdered sugar, divided (1/3 +1/3)

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 sleeves (about 19 ounces, or 24 to 28 whole crackers) graham crackers

2 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped

1 tablespoon butter

 

In the bowl or an electric mixer, whip 3 cups of cream until they form medium peaks. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and whip to stiff peaks. .

 

Spread a dollop of the whipped cream on the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking pan. Place six graham crackers on top of the whipped cream. Gently spread more whipped cream on top of the graham crackers. Place a layer of sliced strawberries on top. Repeat this process to create three more layers (total four layers of graham crackers and 3 layers of strawberry slices) End with a layer of whipped cream.

 

To make the frosting, in a microwave bowl combine the chocolate butter and ¼ cup cream. Heat just until the chocolate and butter melt. Whisk slightly and then add the remaining powdered sugar. Whisk vigorously to remove any lumps. If there are lumps microwave for at 10 seconds and whisk again. Drizzle the fudge frosting over the top. Refrigerate for at least four hours. Garnish with the whole berries. Serves 10 to 12.

 

My files, source unknown

 

EASY LEMON ICE BOX PIE

 

1 small can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup lemon juice

1 graham cracker crust, readymade is fine

2 to 3 cups whipped topping or whipped whip cream

 

Mix everything together until smooth and pour into pie crust. Refrigerate until set about 1 hour.

 

My files, source unknown

STRAWBERRY PRETZEL ICE BOX PIE

I saw a version of this recipe in a magazine a few weeks ago and just had to make it. It was AMAZING!

 

2 cups finely crushed pretzel sticks

3/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened

2 cups whipping cream, divided

1/3 cup granulated sugar

 

Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl combine the crushed pretzels, melted butter and brown sugar then firmly press it on bottom, up sides, and onto lip of a lightly greased 10-inch pie plate. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned then let cool completely. In the bowl of a food processor chop up the strawberries, brushing down the sides as needed until they are in smallish pieces but NOT puréed. Remove them from the bowl. Place the sweetened condensed milk and cream cheese in the bowl (you don’t have to clean it out) and process until smooth. By hand, fold in the strawberries. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat 3/4 cup whipping cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into strawberry mixture. Spoon the strawberry filling into prepared crust. Cover and freeze 8 to 12 hours or until firm. Beat remaining 1 1/4 cups whipping cream at high speed until foamy; gradually add granulated sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Spread over pie. Freeze 1 hour or until whipped cream is firm. Serves 8

 

Modified from a recipe in Southern Living JUNE 2012

 

CHOCOLATE CRUST LEMON RASPBERRY ICE BOX PIE

 

1 (9 inch) chocolate cookie pie crusts (store bought or homemade)

 

Filling

2 (3 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (do not use low or no fat)

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

 

1 1/2 pints fresh raspberry (more for garnish if you like)

1 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted

 

In a bowl of an electric mixer or food processor combine the cream cheese and condensed milk. Beat or process smooth and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the lemon juice and continue beating for 1 minute. Add the vanilla and then spoon the mixture into the prepared pie crust. Cover with and refrigerate for at least 3 to 4 hours or overnight. When you’re ready to serve sprinkle 1 pint of the berries over the top.  Then in the bowl of an electric mixer beat the whipping cream until it has soft peaks. Add in the powdered sugar and remaining raspberries and beat until the mixture has stiff peaks. Gently spread the raspberry whipped cream over the raspberries on the top of the pie. Slice and serve right away, garnishing each slice with additional raspberries.

 

My files, source unknown

 

AMBROSIA ICE BOX CAKE

 

1/2 cup pineapple juice

3 eggs (2 yolks room temperature)

2/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 pinch fine salt

1 orange

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon sweet white wine

1 cup whipping cream

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

18 ladyfingers (soft)

12 cup shredded coconut (sweetened, lightly toasted)

 

In a sauce pan bring the pineapple juice to a simmer. In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, yolks, sugar and cornstarch. Slowly pour the hot pineapple juice into egg mixture, while whisking constantly. Return mixture to pan and cook, stirring constantly, until it boils and coats back of a spoon. Continue cooking about 1 more minute. Remove the  mixture  from the heat and then whisk  in the butter, lemon juice, and salt. Pour the mixture into a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

 

Zest 1 orange and place it in a bowl. Peel and section the orange, then cut the sections into pieces. Combine the pieces and the zest. In the bowl of an electric mixer whip the whipping cream together until it form soft peaks. Fold in the orange and zest. Whip cream and confectioners’ sugar together until soft peaks form and fold into chopped orange.

 

Combine the orange juice and white wine in a bowl. Lightly brush the ladyfingers with this liquid and then press into bottom and along sides of 6 ramekins. Evenly divide the pineapple curd among ramekins. Top each with the orange whipped cream and toasted coconut. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours or overnight. Release cakes from ramekins to serve. Serves 6

 

Modified from Yummly.com

Candy Cane Heaven

There are certain foods that have a finite season where the price is perfect and the taste sublime. You rush to the store at the first advertisement and shop with the motto “shop till you drop” and stock up.  Most the time this kind of hunting for the perfect specimen is conducted in the produce aisle. However, at this time of year, when you’re talking prime time a specialty item, it’s all about the candy cane.

The candy cane is that once a year item that you can find in abundance until December 26th and then it disappears (except for the 75% off rack for about 30 seconds) until Thanksgiving the following year. I say, plan ahead, buy now, buy a lot (because they store very well and I ‘m going to give you lots of yummy recipes) and store them the extras until you need them.

So, what is the best way to store candy canes? The best way to store any hard candy for a length of time is to place it in a zip lock bag and store in a dry place.  Do not store them in the freezer or refrigerator, the moisture is too high and will cause them to get sticky.

CANDY CANE TIP: In the event of a candy cane emergency (can’t find any) you can always substitute those round peppermint candies that are always available.

WHITE CANDY CANE FUDGE

 

2 (10 ounce) packages vanilla baking chips

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

1 1/2 cups crushed candy canes

1 to 2 drops red food coloring (not too much)

 

Line an 8 inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, and grease the foil. In a saucepan combine the vanilla chips and sweetened condensed milk. And heat over a low flame, stirring frequently until almost melted. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and continue to stir until totally smooth. Stir in the peppermint extract, food coloring, and crushed candy canes. Mix quickly and spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. Refrigerated (do not cover) for 2 to 3 hours and then cut into bite sized squares. Makes at least 24 pieces or more depending on how you cut the pieces.

 

Source unknown, my files

 

OREO ® MINT BALLS

 

1  12 oz package of Oreo cookies (plain not double stuff)

2/3 cup crushed candy cane pieces (not too big)

1 8 oz. package cream cheese

1 package Chocolate Almond Bark ®

Mini chocolate chips or sprinkles for decorating

 

Put a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet and set it aside. In the bowl of the food processor combine the cookies and broken candy canes. Process until combined and it’s totally crumbs. Add 1/2 of the cream cheese to the mixture and process to combine. Add the remaining cream cheese and process to combine. Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop the mixture into balls and place it on the prepared pan. When you use up all the dough place the cookie sheet in the freezer for at least 1 hour. Melt the dipping chocolate in a microwave bowl.  Remove the pan from the freezer. Using a long bamboo skewer dip the cookie balls, one at a time, into the melted chocolate. Place the dipped balls back on the waxed paper and then sprinkle the chocolate or sprinkle over the balls. Makes 24 to 30 depending on the size of the balls. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

Modified from about.com

 

CHOCO MINT PIE

 

Crust

2 cups plain vanilla wafer cookie crumbs (about 1 8 oz box crumbled)

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

6 tablespoons butter, melted

 

Chocolate Layer

3 tablespoons boiling water

3/4 cup chocolate chips

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup powdered sugar

 

Peppermint Layer

1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

1/4 cup milk

1 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup finely crushed candy canes (7 to 8 canes)

whipped cream, for toping optional

2 or 2 candy canes chopped into small pieces

 

Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl combine the cookie crumbs, cocoa and sugar.  Add the butter and mix to combine. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch spring form pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes and then cool to room temperature.

 

While the crust is cooling combine the chocolate chips and boiling water and mix until the chips are melted. Cool the chocolate mixture to room temperature. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the whipping cream with the powdered sugar until it forms stiff peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. Spoon the chocolate mixture into crust and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. While the pie is cooling place the candy canes in the bowl of a food processor and process until it becomes a fine powder. Place the marshmallows and milk in a small pan and cook over a low heat until the marshmallows are melted. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Beat the 1 cup of whipping cream to form stiff peaks. Fold the crushed candy canes into the whipped cream and then fold that mixture into the marshmallow mixture. Cool for 10 minutes in the refrigerator and then spoon the mixture over the chocolate layer. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. You can also freeze this pie and serve it frozen. Top with sweetened whipped cream and chopped candy canes.

 

Modified from food.com submitted by Ronnie Cohn Chicago IL

 

CHOCOLATE AND SOUR CREAM CANDY CANE BARS

 

Crust:

20 chocolate wafer cookies

3 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon instant coffee

1/4 teaspoon salt

 

Filling:

8 ounces milk or semi sweet chocolate

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

2 eggs

 

Frosting:

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon light corn syrup

2 tablespoons sour cream at room temperature

6 to10 candy canes, chopped

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8 inch square baking pan and then set it aside. In the bowl of a food processor combine the chocolate cookies, butter, sugar, coffee and salt and process until combined. . Press the crust into the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes and then cool to room temperature.

 

While the crust is cooling melt the milk chocolate in a microwave dish and set it aside. While it’s cooling, in the bowl of the food processer combine the sugar, sour cream, and cream cheese. Process until smooth. Add the eggs and process until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and process until smooth. Spoon the mixture over the baked crust. Bake 30 minutes or until the edges are slightly puffed but the center is set but still a little wiggly in the center. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature

 

In a microwave bowl combine the chocolate, butter, and corn syrup and cook for 1 minute or until the chocolate is melted. Add the sour cream and mix to combine. Spread the frosting over the cake. Sprinkle the chopped candy canes over top of the warm frosting .Cool slightly and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours before cutting. Serves 8 to 10.

 

Modified from Cricketcakes.com

 

CANDY CANE CHEESECAKE

 

8 ounces white baking chocolate, coarsely chopped, or 1-1/3 cups white baking pieces

2 cups finely crushed graham crackers (about 8 ounces)

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened

1 3 ounce package cream cheese, softened

1 8 ounce carton mascarpone cheese

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

3 eggs

3/4 cup finely crushed candy canes

2 ounces white chocolate or 1/3 cup white baking pieces

Crushed candy canes for garnish

 

For crust:

Preheat oven to 325. In a medium bowl, stir together graham crackers and butter until combined. Press crumb mixture firmly onto the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan (do not go up the sides of pan.) Bake for 10 minutes then cool to room temperature.

 

For filling:

In a microwave bowl melt the 8 ounces white chocolate and set it aside. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, mascarpone, sugar and salt with an electric mixer until combined. Beat in the melted chocolate and extract until smooth and combined, scraping sides of bowl. Add eggs 1 at a time until combined. Stir in 3/4 cup candy. Pour the filling onto the crust. Place pan on a cookie sheet and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a 2 1/2-inch area around the outside edge of the cheesecake seems set when gently shaken. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 15 then using a sharp small knife, loosen the cake from the sides of pan. Cool for an additional 45 minutes. Remove sides of the spring form pan and cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight in the refrigerator. When ready to serve place the cheesecake on a serving plate (keep the cheesecake on the bottom of the spring form pan.) In a microwave bowl melt the white chocolate and drizzle it over the top of the cheesecake and then sprinkle the chopped candy canes over the top. Cut in wedges with a sharp knife dipped in warm water. (To store any remaining cheesecake, cover and chill in refrigerator up to 2 days.)

Modified from Midwestliving.com submitted by Carin Silverston Chicago IL

Brown Sugar Is the Best

There are those among us carbohydrate addicted sugar junkies that prefer brown sugar to white when it comes to a choice of sweetener. While I know in my head and heart that there is no real difference in calories or sweetness between the two, brown sugar, with its mellow smoky taste is truly my favorite

For the uninformed, brown sugar is just white sugar combined with molasses. Molasses is actually a byproduct of sugar production. Normally, molasses is separated and removed when sugar is created from sugarcane. With brown sugar the molasses is either left in or reintroduced after the white sugar has been created.  Light and dark are the two most common styles of brown sugar. In general, the lighter the brown sugar, the more delicate its flavor. Dark brown sugar has a more intense molasses smoky flavor.

Most of us are familiar with the slightly moist, clumpy kind of brown sugar that turns into a door stop if left out in the air too long. Now a days a dryer granulated brown sugar and a liquid form of brown sugar is available. Be warned however that a 1 cup of the granulated brown sugar weighs about 5 ounces as opposed to a cup of packed regular brown sugar which weighs about 7 ounces.  Makes sure you weigh your granulated brown sugar (as opposed to just using a measuring cup) and your recipe should turn out just fine.

So the next brown sugar question is, have you’ve ever been confronted by a solid brick of brown sugar sweetness?  What looks like a catastrophe is actually a problem with a simple solution. You can re-soften it by including a few slices of apple in the bag of brown sugar and sealing tightly for 1-2 days or you can try microwaving it for about 20 or 30 seconds. You can also substitute 1 cup of packed brown sugar for 1 one cup of regular granulated sugar without any problem (other than a subtle chance of taste) in just about any recipe.

Brown sugar is super in both the main course and dessert sections of your life so it should be no surprise that the following recipes run the gamut from bbq rubs to cheesecakes. Bon Appitit.


WHIPPED SWEET POTATOES WITH BROWN SUGAR TOPPING

 

1 can (approx 22 ounces) red-skinned sweet potatoes or 3 large fresh, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces and cooked for 15 minutes in boiling water
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
6 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Pinch of salt

Topping
1 1/2 cups cornflakes crumbs
1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
6 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

 

Preheat oven to 400. Peel and cut potatoes into one inch cubes. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the sweet potatoes and butter. Beat until smooth. Add the egg, brown sugar, spice and salt; beat to blend. Transfer the mixture to 8 x 8-inch baking dish. (this can be made 1 day ahead). Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before continuing.) and prepare the topping. Bake potatoes until beginning to brown around edges and slightly puffed, about 25 minutes.

Prepare topping:
Combine all topping ingredients together in medium bowl and mix well. Spoon the topping evenly over potatoes. Bake until golden brown and crisp, about 10 minutes longer. Serves 6

 

BROWN SUGAR FROSTING

 

12 tablespoon brown sugar
4 tablespoon milk
6 tablespoon butter
1 cup powdered sugar (or a little more depending on the consistency you want)

 

Place the brown sugar, milk and butter one in a saucepan and boil for minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and mix in the powdered sugar. Let cool, then beat until smooth. Makes 1 cup

 

BAKED BEANS WITH BACON AND BROWN SUGAR

 

1 (14- to 15-oz) can crushed tomatoes in thick puree
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 (19-oz) cans small white beans, rinsed and drained (4 cups)
1 onion, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
6 bacon slices (1/4 lb)

 

Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl combine the tomatoes, brown sugar, mustard, and salt. Gently stir in beans and transfer to a -quart shallow baking dish. Arrange onion slices in 1 layer over beans, and then cover onion with bacon. Bake, uncovered, until bacon is browned and beans have absorbed most of liquid, about 1 1/4 hours. Serves 6.

BROWN SUGAR STREUSEL PIE

This recipe is by Danielle Nettuno of Titusville, Florida, won the 2008 Junior Chef Division Best of Show in the American Pie Council-Crisco National Pie Championships.

 

Crust
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
3-4 tablespoons water
1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon sugar

 

Bottom layer
4 ounces cream cheese
1/6 cup brown and white sugar mixed
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 egg

 

Top layer
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 eggs

 

Crumb topping
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

 

Combine flour, salt and cinnamon sugar in a medium bowl. Cut in shortening until it looks like crumbs. Add in the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough is flaky. Roll out on a floured counter and place in a 13- by 9-inch pie pan.  Fork the pie crust. In another bowl, cream the cream cheese with the sugars, and then add the salt, vanilla and maple syrup. When this is combined, add the egg. Mix until blended. Spread it out evenly on the bottom of the pie crust. Place it in the refrigerator and chill when making the next two layers. Melt butter and brown sugar together in a medium sauce pan until blended. Let it come to a boil, stirring constantly. Let the mixture cook an additional 2 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine cream, vanilla and eggs. Once the butter and sugar is ready, slowly combine the two. Let cool. For the crumb topping, combine brown sugar, flour and oats in another bowl. Cut in shortening. Add walnuts, salt and cinnamon. Slowly pour the brown sugar layer on top of the cream cheese layer (it is okay if it combines). Evenly distribute the crumb topping on the pie. Place in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, checking frequently after 20 minutes.  Take out and let cool, then refrigerate. Serves 10 to 12

 

BROWN SUGAR BANANA POUND CAKE

 

1 pound brown sugar

1 cup sugar

1 pound butter

5 large eggs

2 bananas, mashed

3 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons salt

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup pecan

 

Preheat oven to 350. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the brown and white sugars with butter until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the mashed bananas. Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Mix milk and vanilla together. Add each to the egg mixture alternately. Stir in the pecans. Pour the batter into a 10 inch well-greased bunt pan. Bake for 1-1/2 hours, or until firm. Place upside down on a cake rack; when cool, invert and turn out onto rack. Serves 12

 

BROWN SUGAR SHEESECAKE WITH BURBON SAUCE

A rich cheesecake made with bourbon and pecans

 

Crust

1/3 cup pecans

16 thin chocolate wafer cookies

4 (5 x 2 1/2-inch) graham crackers

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/4 teaspoon salt

 

Filling
24 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons Bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup packed brown sugar

 

Topping
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Make crust: Preheat oven to 350. In a baking pan toast pecans in one layer in middle of oven until golden, about 10 minutes, and cool. In a food processor finely grind pecans, wafers, and graham crackers. Add brown sugar, butter, and salt and pulse until combined well. Transfer mixture to a 9 1/2-inch spring form pan and press evenly onto bottom and 1 1/2 inches up side.

 

Make filling: In a bowl with an electric mixer beat cream cheese until fluffy and add eggs, one at a time, beating at low speed until just combined. Beat in Bourbon, vanilla extract and brown sugar until just combined. Pour filling into crust and put spring form pan in a baking pan. Bake cheesecake in middle of oven 35 minutes. Leaving oven on, transfer cake in spring form pan to a rack and let stand 5 minutes. (Center of cake will set as it cools.)

 

Make topping: In a bowl stir together sour cream, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Drop spoonfuls of topping around edge of cake and spread gently over center, smoothing evenly. Bake cake in baking pan in middle of oven 10 minutes and cool completely in spring form pan on rack. Chill cake, covered, at least 8 hours and up to 4 days. Run a thin knife around inside edge of pan and remove side of pan. Transfer cake to a serving plate and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Serve cake with sauce. Serves 12.

 

Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup bourbon
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter

 

In a dry 3-quart heavy kettle cook sugar over moderately low heat, stirring slowly with a fork (to help sugar melt evenly), until melted and pale golden. Cook caramel, without stirring, swirling kettle, until deep golden. Remove kettle from heat and carefully add water and bourbon down side of kettle (mixture will bubble and steam). Simmer mixture, stirring, until caramel is dissolved. Stir in butter until incorporated and cool sauce to warm. Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce may be made 1 week ahead and chilled, covered. Reheat sauce to warm before serving.

Makes about 1 3/4 cups.

 

Modified from epicurious.com

 

APPLE CAKE WITH COCONUT BROWN SUGAR TOPPING
3/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup vanilla yogurt or sour cream

1/4 cups oil

1 egg

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground, divided

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 1/4 cups flour

1 pounds apple, Granny Smith, cored and coarsely chopped (3 cups)

1 cup coconut, flaked

3 tablespoon butter

3 tablespoon sugar, brown (packed)

2 tablespoon milk

 

Preheat oven to 325. Line two 8x4x2-inch loaf pans with foil; coat foil with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.   In a large bowl, stir together granulated sugar, yogurt, oil, egg, the 1 teaspoon cinnamon, the vanilla, baking powder, salt, baking soda, ginger, and nutmeg. Stir in flour just until combined. Fold in apples (batter will be very thick and chunky).  Spoon batter into prepared pans; spread evenly. Bake about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean and tops are browned.  Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine coconut, butter, brown sugar, milk, and the 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Cook and stir over low heat until the butter is melted. Preheat broiler after removing cakes from oven. Gently spread coconut mixture evenly over tops of cakes. Broil 4 inches from heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until topping is bubbly and lightly browned.

Cool cakes in pans on wire racks for 45 minutes. Use foil to lift cakes from pans; remove foil. Serve warm. Serves 10 to 12

 

GARLIC BROWN SUGAR CHICKEN

 

1 broiler/ fryer chicken, cut up (3-1/2 – 4 lbs) or about 6 boneless skinless breasts

1 cup packed brown sugar

2/3 cup vinegar

1/4 cup lemon-lime soda (diet is fine)

2-3 tablespoons minced garlic

2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon pepper

 

Place chicken in a large ziploc bag. Combine remaining ingredients, pour into bag and seal. Shake several times to coat the chicken. Refrigerate 2-4 hours. Transfer chicken and marinade to a large skillet, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes or until juices run clear.

 

BROWN SUGAR SPICE RIB RUB
2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup garlic powder
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup lemon pepper
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil

In a bowl combine all the ingredients. Rub into both sides of ribs and let marinate. Makes 3 to 3 1/2 cups. Enough for 5 to 6 lbs of ribs

Oh Honey

            September is National Honey Month so now is the time to ponder an ancient question that has confounded learned scientists for eons. This deep and multifaceted matter has puzzled subsequent generation and rears its dubious head every year when summer rolls around. Of course I’m talking about the unsolvable dilemma, which came first, the honey or the bee.

I’m going to take a giant leap of faith and say, well, they both arrived at the same time and jump right into why using honey is so good for you. Honey is one of nature’s most perfect food. Very few people are allergic to it, it’s easy to digest, and has benefits that encompass, ensuring good health, beauty treatments AND it’s so and is just plain delicious. There’s lots of ways you can buy your honey. There’s honey comb, liquid, crystallized and whipped/creamed honey.

You should know that all honey will eventually crystallize given enough time so when you see it starting to get a little hard you can heat it to melt the crystals (I tend to zap it in the microwave for a 1 minute or so). While the consumers in the US seem to prefer the liquid variety many countries throughout the world prefer the whipped honey where it’s typically served at breakfast instead of jam.

If you’re planning on using honey instead of sugar in baking you can substitute it at a 1:1 ratio but I prefer to slightly reduce the amount of honey because it is so much sweeter. You also need to know that you’ll need to reduce the other liquids in the recipes by about 1/4 cup to compensate for the liquid/water in the honey. You should also lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees to prevent burning. I also add about 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda for each cup of honey to help counteract the honey’s acidity.

 I’m going to take this moment to suggest that any recipe with honey in it has got to be a reason to celebrate. Bees and what they do when they sting is a whole different kind of column

 

NOTE: Never EVER feed honey to a child under the age of 2. Their undeveloped digestive systems aren’t equipped to deal with some of the naturally forming bacteria that are in it.

CHOP CHOP SALAD WITH HONEY LIME DRESSING

 

2 heads chopped romaine lettuce

1 can (15.5 oz) garbanzo beans, rinsed and well drained

3 chopped seeded tomato

1 can sliced hearts of palm

1 cup fresh corn kernels, uncooked (canned, drained)

8 to 10 thinly sliced radishes

2 avocado, diced

1 to 2 red bell pepper, chopped

 

Lime and honey dressing:

 

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup honey

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 to 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

 

In a salad bowl combine the lettuce, garbanzo beans, tomato, hearts of palm, corn, radish, avocado and red pepper. Toss to combine and set aside. In a smaller bowl combine the lime juice, olive oil, honey, parsley, garlic and pepper flakes, and whisk to combine. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6 to 8. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

 

TOMATOES WITH HONEY THYME DRESSING

 

6 to 8 large tomatoes, sliced

3 to 4 shredded carrots

Salad greens

1/3 cup white wine or fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons lemon zest

3 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1 cup olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Black sesame seeds for garnish

Black olives (optional)

 

Place the salad greens on a platter and then place the shredded carrots on top. Lay out the sliced tomatoes in rows (deocorate with black olives if you like). In a small bowl, whisk together the wine or lemon juice, lemon zest, honey, and thyme. Whisk in the olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and then sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top for garnish. Serves 8 to 10.

 

HONEY PECAN CHOCOLATE PIE

 

1 readymade deep dish uncooked pie shell

 

1 stick butter or margarine

1 cup sugar

3 beaten eggs

1/3 cup corn syrup

2/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 to 3 cups of chopped pecans

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 to 2/3 cup chocolate chips

 

Preheat oven to 325. Melt the butter and then set it aside and allow it to cool slightly.  In a large bowl combine the sugar, eggs, corn syrup and honey. Whisk to combine.  Add the melted butter, vanilla, pecans and cinnamon. Mix to combine. Pour the pecan mixture into the uncooked pie shell and bake for 45 minutes. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on the top and return the pie to the oven. Bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven. Cool for at least 10 minutes and spread the melted chocolate chips over the top. Cool for at least 1 hour before serving. Serves 6 to 8.

 

APPLE AND HONEY FRUIT SLAW

 

1/3 cup honey

1/3 cup oil

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 to 2 lbs. coleslaw mix

2 to 3  tart apples, peeled and chopped (I like granny smith)

2 cans (11 oz) mandarin oranges, drained

1 cup dried cherries

1/2 to 3/4 cup pine nuts

 

In small bowl, whisk together the honey, oil, vinegar, poppy seeds and salt; set the mixture aside. In large bowl combine the coleslaw mix, apples, oranges, dried cherries and pine nuts. Mix to combine. Pour the dressing over coleslaw mixture and mix to coat. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving. Serves 6 to 8.

 

HONEY CURRIED BAKED CHICKEN

 

2 chickens, cut up about 4 to 5 lbs

1/2 cup butter, cubed

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup crushed pretzels

 

Preheat oven to 350. Line a large baking pan with foil. Place the chicken in the pan. In a sauce pan combine the butter, honey, mustard, curry and salt. Simmer until the butter melts and whisk to combine. Pour about 1/2 of the sauce over the top of the chicken and bake for 30 minutes. Turn the chicken over and pour the remaining sauce over the top of the chicken. Bake for 10 minutes and then baste the chicken with the sauce and sprinkle the pretzel crumbs over the top. Cook an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.

 

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PEANUT AND CHOCOLATE HONEY BARS

 

1 cup honey

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup chunky peanut butter

1 cup honey roasted peanuts

1 cup milk or semi sweet mini chocolate chips

7 cups crisp rice cereal

 

In large microwave-safe bowl combine the honey and brown sugar. Microwave on High for 3 to 5 minutes, or just until mixture begins to melt and become bubbly. Stir to combine. Stir in the peanuts, chocolate chips and cereal and mix to combine. Grease a large shallow 10X15 baking dish with cooking spray. Firmly the mixture into the pan. Let sit at room temperature or in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. When cool, cut into squares or use cookie cutters to cut it into fun shapes Makes 16 to 20 bars.

 

HONEY ZUCCHINI LOAF

 

1 egg

3/4 cup honey

3 Tablespoons oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

2-1/2 cups flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups grated zucchini

3/4 cup slivered almonds

Powdered sugar for dusting

 

Preheat oven 325.  Grease a loaf pan (9X5X3) in a bowl combine the egg, honey, oil and vanilla. Whisk to combine. In another bowl combine the flour, baking powder, orange zest, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix to combine. Add flour mixture, zucchini and almonds to honey mixture; mix until combine but don’t over mix. Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes then remove the loaf to a cooling rack. Let cool to room temperature. Dust with powdered sugar before slicing and serving. Serves 6

 

Modified from about.com

 

PUFF PASTRY APPLE TARTS WITH HONEY GLAZE

 

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed

2 7- to 8-ounce Golden Delicious apples, peeled, halved, cored, each half very thinly sliced

3 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, melted

4 teaspoons honey

 

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out pastry sheet on lightly floured surface to very thin 18×14-inch rectangle. Using small plate as guide, cut out four 7-inch rounds. Transfer 2 rounds to each prepared sheet; cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day.

 

Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 400°F. Overlap slices from 1/2 apple on each pastry round, leaving 1/4-inch plain border. Sprinkle apple on each tart with 2 1/4 teaspoons sugar, and then drizzle with 2 1/4 teaspoons butter.

 

Bake tarts until pastry is golden and apples are tender, about 25 minutes. Drizzle each tart with 1 teaspoon honey. Transfer tarts to racks; cool 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

From Bon Appétit October 2002 (this is one of my favorite recipes from Bon Appétit)

 

 

Bodacious Blueberries

 The Blueberry is one of my favorite fruits. Since it’s one of North America’s few native fruits I thought that it was wholly appropriate that we celebrate, glorify, and eat as much of them as we can on.

Since it’s a native plant it’s not surprising that North America is the world’s leading blueberry producer. While harvesting runs from mid-April through early October its harvest peaks in July. So, it’s no surprise that in our drive to create bigger and better holidays July is now designated as National Blueberry Month (I can’t wait to see the Hallmark cards).

Blueberries are incredibly good for you. They provide about 5 grams of fiber per cup- (more than most fresh fruits) and I cup of fresh blueberries contain about 15% of our recommended Daily Value of vitamin C.

It’s pretty easy to pick “good” blueberries if you’re lucky enough to have a farm that has a U PICK feature in close proximity to where you live or are vacationing. You should look berries that are firm and dry. The skin should be smooth and deep purple-blue, with a silvery-white bloom. Storing fresh blueberries is simple. They should be covered while stored in the refrigerator and used within 10 days of being purchase. They should be washed just before you serve them.

Everyone seems to be blue berry crazy these days. Lots of communities have festivals and the Internet abounds with sites that offer everything from recipes to on line ordering of anything blueberry (preserves, dried and wild). So  if you have the opportunity (at any time) to revel in (and eat) the fruit that is the blueberry, go for it.

 BLUEBERRY CAKE

This is a classic recipe that no self-respecting chef should be without

1 pint fresh blueberries

1 stick margarine or butter

2 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 cup milk

3 cup flour

1 teaspoon (rounded) baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. In a mixing bowl cream the margarine and sugar until fluffy; add the eggs and beat well. Add the vanilla, milk, and flour and mix well. Add baking powder and stir until blended. Gently fold in blueberries. Bake in a tube pan (angel food or bunt cake pan) for 1 hour. Cool in pan on a cake rack; invert onto rack while warm (but not hot). When cool, drizzle with a glaze made of softened butter, powdered sugar and milk (play with quantities until you achieve ‘drizzle’ consistency). Serves 8 to 10

BLUEBERRY SOUP

This simple start to a summer meal is very easy to make. You can keep pareve or add a little cream or milk to jazz it up.

3 cups water

4 cups fresh or dry-packed frozen blueberries, rinsed and drained

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons corn starch or potato flour

2 tablespoons cream or milk (optional)

dash of cinnamon (optional)

Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the berries and sugar and cook several minutes, stirring occasionally. In a small bowl mix the potato flour with a small amount of cold water. Stir into berry mixture and bring again to boiling point. Cool, cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours. A dash of cinnamon over the top just before serving is a nice touch. You can stir in the cream or milk just before serving if you like and can serve with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream as a garnish if you like. 4 to 6 servings.

CHEATERS BLUEBERRY BANANA BREAD

2 cups Bisquick

2/3 cup Sugar

1/4 cup Milk

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen, (drained if frozen)

 3/4 cup Quick-Cooking Oats

1 cup ripe banana, mashed

 2 eggs

 Preheat oven to 350. Grease bottom of a 9X5 loaf pan. In a mixing bowl combine all of the ingredients except blueberries and stir until mixed very well about 1 minute. Gently fold in the blueberries and pour the batter into the pan. Bake 44-55 minutes. (toothpick test it to see if it’s done)  Cool on a rack for 10 minutes then run a knife around the sides to loosen. Remove from loaf pan and cool completely before slicing. Serves 6

BLUEBERRY SPINACH SALAD

Dressing:

3 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Salad:

20 Oz fresh spinach

1 cup fresh blueberries

3 oranges

1/2 cup slivered almonds

Combine the sugar, vinegar, dry mustard, salt and oil in a small mixing bowl. Set

aside. Trim the stems on the spinach leaves then wash and drain them in a colander.  Dry on paper towels. Tear the spinach into bite-sized pieces and place them in a salad bowl. Wash blueberries; drain on paper towels. Peel the oranges; separate them into sections and cut into thirds. Add the oranges, blueberries, and nuts to the spinach. Pour the dressing over the salad. Toss lightly to mix. Serves 6.

BLUEBERRY CINNAMON ROLLS

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

 3 tablespoon butter or margarine

1 Pkg. dry yeast

1/4 c warm water (105-115 degrees)

2 1/4 cup flour — divided

1 egg

2 tablespoon butter or margarine, softened

1/4 cup brown sugar — firmly packed

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup blueberries — fresh or frozen

1 tablespoon butter or margarine — melted

1 cup powdered sugar — sifted

2 tablespoon milk

Combine 1/4-cup milk, sugar, salt, and 3 tablespoons butter in a saucepan; heat until butter melts and pour into the bowl of an electric mixer.  Cool to 105 degrees to 115 degrees. Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large mixing bowl; let stand 5 minutes and then add to the milk mixture. Stir the following into the milk mixture, 1-1/2 cups flour, and egg. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.  Stir in remaining 3/4 cup flour. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes).  Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, 1 hour  (dough will not quite double in bulk).

 Punch dough down; turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Roll dough into a 12- x 8-inch rectangle; spread with 2 tablespoons butter.  Combine brown sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle mixture over rectangle.  Sprinkle with blueberries.  Roll dough jellyroll fashion, starting at long side.  Pinch seam to seal (do not seal ends).  Cut roll into 1-inch slices; place slices, cut side down, in greased 8-inch square pan.  Brush tops with 1 tablespoon-melted butter.  Using a fork, gently lift center of rolls to form a peak. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, about 40 minutes (rolls will not double in bulk).  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.  Combine powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons milk, stirring well.

  Drizzle over warm rolls.  Makes 12.

BLUEBERRY OATMEAL BREAD

2 cups flour

1 cup quick-cooking oats

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon lemon peel — grated

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups skim milk

1/3 cup oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 eggs — slightly beaten

1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease bottom only of 9″ X 5″ loaf pan.  In large bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, lemon peel, baking soda and salt. In small bowl, combine milk, oil, vanilla, and eggs; mix well.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Gently fold in blueberries. Pour into greased pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool ten minutes; remove from pan.  Cool completely.  Wrap tightly and store in refrigerator. Serves 8

CHICKEN BREASTS WITH BLUEBERRIES

1 lb. chicken breasts, skinned and boned

1 tablespoon salad oil – or use spray oil

1/2 cup apricot jam

1 to 2  tablespoons Dijon Mustard

1/2 cup frozen unsweetened blueberries

1/3 cup white wine vinegar

Heat oil in frying pan over medium high heat. Add the chicken and brown on both sides. In small bowl combine the jam and mustard, mix well. Spread the jam mixture over browned chicken in the pan and sprinkle the chicken with blueberries. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and cook till the chicken is no longer pink in thickest part approx. 15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, take out the chicken and blueberries – keep warm. Add the vinegar to the pan, bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens and is reduced by a third (about 5 min.) Pour sauce over chicken. Serve.  Serves 4.

TURKEY BREAST WITH BLUEBERRY CITRUS SAUCE

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

6 tablespoon orange juice

6 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoon vermouth

2 teaspoon grated orange peel

2 Teaspoon grated lemon peel

1 Teaspoon fresh ginger, minced

3 Teaspoon margarine

1 lb turkey breast medallions

salt and pepper to taste

Combine blueberries, orange juice, lemon juice, vermouth, orange peel, lemon peel and ginger. Stir to blend and set aside. Melt margarine in a large, heavy skillet and saute turkey until brown and just cooked through. Transfer turkey to platter and keep warm. Add blueberry mixture to skillet and cook until mixture thickens, scraping up any browned bits (about 2 minutes). Spoon blueberry mixture over turkey and serve.  Serves 4

WHITE CHOCOLATE BLUEBERRY SCONES
2 1/4 cups flour, sifted
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup blueberries
3/4 cup buttermilk, plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Cut butter into small pieces on floured surface. Add to dry mixture and mix with pastry cutter until crumbly. Add white chocolate and berries and toss with flour mixture. Add buttermilk and mix until ingredients hold together. Place dough mixture on floured surface and pat into a 9 X 9 square. Cut into thirds. Cut each third into three triangles and place on cookie sheet. Lightly dust each scone with powdered sugar. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes. Makes 9 scones.

GRILLED CHICKEN WITH BLUEBERRY BBQ SAUCE

Making your own BBQ sauce, especially one with a unique flavor such as this one, immediately establishes you as a serious grilling aficionado.

6 bone in chicken breasts

2 cup fresh blueberries

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoon honey

3 tbsp ketchup

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

In a sauce pan combine the blueberries, vinegar, honey, ketchup, garlic powder and ginger. Bring the mixture to a low boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and allow the sauce to cool. Pour the BBQ sauce into a blender and blend until smooth. Put the chicken breasts and a 1/3 cup of BBQ sauce into a zip top bag and coat well. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour. Reserve the rest of the sauce for serving. Grill the chicken over medium high until cooked, 7-8 minutes per side. Top the chicken with the BBQ sauce and serve. Serves 6.

 

Yo Yo Yogurt

           
After watching Jamie Lee Curtis touting the benefits and joy of regularity that comes with of eating of Activia ® I was filled  with a fair amount of trepidation (and a few really good one liners) as I approached this column about yogurt. I figured I’d take a pass on the gas jokes and just get down to the basics of writing about the benefits and good stuff that comes from consuming of good old fashioned yogurt.
So what exactly is yogurt? While some of the less informed may immediately think of the creamy sweet stuff in little plastic tubs with fruit on the bottom or the frozen custard like stuff with flavors like caramel crème and chocolate mousse plain yogurt is actually milk that has had bacteria added to it. This good for you bacteria causes the milk to ferment and thicken. This fermented thick mixture is strained and the liquid is drained off. The end result is a tangy creamy mixture that has the consistency of sour cream. Besides being delicious yogurt is also full of calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. Regular yogurt is strained once or twice, the new kid on the block, Greek yogurt is, however, strained three times (or more) making for a much thicker and denser consistency.
           Which yogurt is better for you to utilize when climbing the food pyramid, you ask? On one hand Greek yogurt has almost double the protein and fewer carbohydrates than regular yogurt. However, regular yogurt has three times the calcium as the Greek variety so choose which ever one works best for you. Finally, it’s really a tossup when it comes to calories (watch what you add to it) and if price is your only concern the Greek yogurt is typically far more expensive.
On the technical side, I prefer to use Greek yogurt to replace cream cheese, sour cream, or ricotta cheese in baking or cooking. The regular yogurt tends to curdle more than the Greek variety when you cook with it.  I gravitate towards regular yogurt when I’m making dips, salad dressing, smoothies, desserts and sauces. When you add fresh fruit either variety works great.
So if there was a smack down cooking cage match between regular yogurt and Greek yogurt which should you bet on and buy? The answer is that it’s a draw you win with both and whoever gets to eat what you make takes home the prize.
   
Yogurt Tips:
1. Use yogurt as a substitute for mayonnaise or sour cream to reduce calories and fat.
2. Add yogurt to your marinades. Its high acid content is a great tenderizer.
3.  Add yogurt near the end of the cooking process to prevent curdling.
4. Use yogurt as a substitute for buttermilk, sour cream, or butter to reduce calories and fat in baking.
5. Don’t use aluminum pans when cooking with yogurt, the acid could cause a negative reaction.
YOGURT MASHED CAULIFLOWER

2 heads of cau¬li¬flower (flo¬rets only)
6 oz con¬tainer of Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons but¬ter
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1/2 to 1 tablespoon mince garlic
2 tablespoons chopped onion
2 to 3 chopped green onions for gar¬nish
Salt and pep¬per to taste

In a medium pot, bring the water to boil. Add the cau¬li¬flower flo¬rets to the boil¬ing water and let then cook it for about 8 min¬utes or until they are soft. Remove the florets from the heat and drain then in a colander. In a food proces¬sor, com¬bine the cau¬li¬flower with the yogurt, but¬ter, gar¬lic and minced onion and process with pulses until you have a con¬sis¬tency you like. Add the salt and pep¬per to taste. Immediately spoon the mixture into a serving bowl and mix in the parmesan. Top with green onions and serve immediately. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

GREEK YOGURT BERRY PIE
You can use a readymade pie crust if you like

Crust
1 cup flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 tablespoons water

Yogurt Cream Cheese Filling:
6 oz. Mascarpone cheese
8 oz Greek yogurt
4 oz cream cheese
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

2 to 3 cups mixed berries
3 tablespoons raspberry jam
In a mixing bowl combine the flour and brown sugar. Using a pastry cutter or 2 knives cut the butter in the flour mixture. Add the water the mixture. Mix with a fork until the dough is just moistened. Shape crust dough into a ball with your hands, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour. Roll out the dough into a 12 inch circle and then fold it in half then in half again. Place it in a tart pan with a removable bottom and unfold.  Press the dough evenly onto the bottom and sides of a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 to15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool the crust completely on a wire rack.

In the bowl of a food processor combine all the ingredients and process until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. When ready to assemble the pie spread the cream cheese filling evenly over the tart shell. Sprinkle the berries over the top of the filling. In a glass bowl heat the jam slightly and then drizzle the warm jam over the top of the berries. Serve immediately. Serves 8.

Modified from about.com

SEAFOOD LASAGNA

1 large egg, beaten to blend
salt and pepper to taste
12 to 15 lasagna noodles, cooked
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. butter
6 tbs. all purpose flour
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
3 cups Stonyfield Farm Lowfat (1%) Organic Milk
2 cups Oikos Plain Greek Yogurt (or substitute with yogurt cheese)
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 1/2 cups shredded gruyere
1 lb. lobster meat (slightly undercooked if possible), coarsely chopped
1 lb. small shrimp (uncooked)
1 lb. small scallops (uncooked)

Whisk flour in heavy medium saucepan to remove any lumps. Gradually add 1 cup milk, whisking until smooth. Add remaining 2 cups milk and nutmeg; whisk over medium heat until mixture thickens and boils, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in Parmesan, egg and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Can be made 1 day ahead, just cover and refrigerate. Reheat over low heat until heated through before using; do not boil. Preheat oven to 350. In a mixing bowl combine lobster, shrimp, and scallops together In a separate bowl fold together 1 1/4 cup gruyere, 1 1/4 cup mozzarella and yogurt. In 8 1/2 by 11 inch baking dish, start by coating the bottom of the dish with a thin layer of white sauce; next add a layer of lasagna noodles placing tightly together, cut to fit if necessary. Spread 1/3 of yogurt and cheese mixture, and sprinkle with 1/3 seafood. Repeat layers 2 times ending with lasagna noodles. Finish the top with white sauce and sprinkled with remaining cheese. Cook for 35 minutes on top of sheet pan in case it bubbles over

From stoneyfield.com

ZUCCHINI GRIDDLE CAKES WITH YOGURT SAUCE

3 to 4 medium zucchini, shredded
Salt and pepper
3  eggs, beaten
1/2 cup  flour
1 tablespoon  olive oil
1 cup shredded mozzarella
3 green onions, finely chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh dill or 2 tablespoons dried
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 to 6 tablespoons oil (or more as needed)

Yogurt sauce
2/3 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons minced cloves garlic
3 tablespoons chopped cucumbers
1/2 teaspoon salt.

Place the shredded zucchini in a colander over a bowl or in the sink and mix it with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Drain for five to 10 minutes and then place the zucchini in a towel and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Try squeezing it a second time just to make sure you got all the liquid out. Put the zucchini in a bowl and add the eggs. Mix to combine. Add the flour, salt, olive oil, mozzarella, green onions dill and pepper. Mix and add the baking powder. Mix to combine. Place the griddle on the heat and brush 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil on the surface Spoon heaping tablespoons of the batter several inches apart so they have room to spread (don’t make them too big). They may need to be flattened slightly. Cook until they are golden on one side (3 to 4 minutes) and then flip them and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes on the other side. The griddle cakes should be crispy. You can make them up ahead of time and keep them warm in the oven. Serve hot. Makes 12

For yogurt sauce: In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic, cucumber and salt. Mix well, and serve on the side or on pancakes.

Submitted by Brian Zimmerman NY, NY

APPLE AND CARROT YOGURT SALAD

1 cup yogurt
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 carrots, peeled and shredded (3 1/2 cups)
2 apples, cored and cut into 1/4-inch sticks (3 1/2 cups)
1 cup shredded jicama
1 head red leaf lettuce, torn in to bite size pieces
1 cup chopped pecans

In a salad bowl combine the yogurt, vinegar, pepper, salt and parsley in a bowl. Add the carrots, apples, jicama and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours to soften the vegetables slightly. Place the lettuce on a platter and then spoon the apple mixture over the top.  Sprinkle the pecans on the top and serve. Serves 6
 
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AVOCADO AND MANGO WITH SPICY TAHINI YOGURT DRESSING
I
1 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup tahini
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
3 ripe avocados, peeled and sliced
3 mangos, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

To make the dressing combine the yogurt and tahini in a bowl and whisk them together until smooth. Add the cumin, coriander, garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper and cayenne and whisk to combine. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Divide the avocado and mango slices between 6 plates. Spoon the dressing over and sprinkle with almonds.

Modified from Taste of Israel by Avi Ganor and Ron Maiberg

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FRESH HERB TUNA PASTA WITH YOGURT DILL SAUCE

1 cup orzo pasta
3 green onions (sliced thin tops included)
1 green bell pepper (minced fine)
1 red bell pepper (minced fine)
2 tomatoes (diced)
1/2 cup black or kalmata olives (finely diced)
2 eggs (hardboiled finely diced)
2 teaspoon fresh dill (finely minced)
1 tablespoons dill (fresh, finely minced)
2 teaspoons celery seeds
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)
2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup plain yogurt
6 oz water (tuna, drained)
1 cup Parmesan cheese (freshly grated)
 salt
 pepper

Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain, and rinse under cold water to quick chill, drain well and pour into large mixing bowl.  Stir in green onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, olives, egg, fresh herbs, mustard, and parsley; mixing well.  Add the lemon juice, yogurt, tuna and cheese, mix well; add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with a sliced bell pepper slice, sliced tomato or additional cheese if desired. Serves 4 to 6.

Submitted by Sharon Barlone West Bloomfield MI
RIGATONI WITH YOGURT LIME SAUCE

4 cups cooked rigatoni pasta
2 cups frozen peas
1 red pepper diced small

Sauce:
2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 teaspoon minced garlic
Zest of lime
Lime juice to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
4 green onions, sliced thin
Parmesan cheese to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions.  While pasta is cooking, in a bowl combine the yogurt, garlic, and lime zest. Mix to combine and add the lime juice, salt, and pepper to taste.  Stir well and set aside.

Just before draining pasta add the diced pepper and peas to the pot and let cook for 1 minute. Save 1 cup of the salted pasta water and then drain the rest.  Return pasta and peas to pot.  Stir in yogurt sauce.  Add the saved pasta water slowly mixing until you get the desired consistency for the sauce.  Serve immediately, topped with green onions and Parmesan. Serves 4

CHICKEN AND CHICKPEA CURRY

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/4 lb. package ground chicken or turkey
1 large onion, chopped in medium dice
2 tablespoons sweet curry powder
1 can petite dice tomatoes with juice (14.5 oz.)
1 can chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans, 15.5 oz. can)
12 oz. Greek yogurt
salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped parsley for garnish, optional

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy frying pan, add ground chicken or turkey, breaking it apart with the turner and sauteing until it is well cooked and lightly browned about 8 to 10 minutes.

Push the chicken or turkey to one side of the pan, add the 1 teaspoon olive oil, then add the chopped onions and cook 3 to 4 minutes, until onions are just starting to get some color. Sprinkle onions with the curry powder and cook about 2 minutes more, turning a few times, then stir the onion mixture into the chicken. Add the tomatoes with juice and drained chickpeas and let simmer about 5 minutes, or until some liquid has evaporated and flavors are well blended. Turn heat to low, stir in yogurt, and simmer about 3 minutes more. (Don’t let it come to a boil after the yogurt has been added.)

Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Serve hot, sprinkled with chopped fresh parsley or cilantro if desired. Serves 4.

Modified from Chicken Chickpea Curry Bowls by Rachel Ray

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