Sunday, December 4, 2016

Christmas Crackers





 

For the past few Christmas seasons I've done some wonderful but time consuming cakes.  This year, I'm taking a totally opposite direction!  Keep It Simple Sweetheart!

Don't you just love it when you get a last minute request for a cookie exchange, a classroom party or an office food day!  You have little to no notice and you need to produce something from what you already have in your pantry.  These recipes are tasty solutions to an urgent need or when you just want to do something out of the box for the holidays!

Cracker Brittle aka Little Bricks of Golden Goodness.  This is my son's favorite - they will still hang out near the cooling rack with glasses of milk to get the first shot at these!

You'll need:

20  graham crackers
2 sticks butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans

Place crackers on a deep cookie sheet.  Melt the butter in the microwave for 1 minute.  Add sugar and heat for an additional minute.  Whisk and add vanilla and pecans.  Pour the butter mixture over the crackers and brush to make the nuts even over the crackers.  Bake at 350* for 10 minutes.  Place on cooling rack  - they will set when they cool. 


Firecrackers!  My friend Michelle introduced these to me about a year ago!  She said they were addictive and boy was she right!  These are GREAT alone or with cheese and meat assortments.  Super quick and easy and a great make ahead item for your parties!


You'll need:

1 1/4 cup canola oil,
1 pkg ranch dressage mix
2 tbsp. red pepper flakes (more if you like it really spicy)
2 sleeves of saltine crackers.

Whisk oil, dressing mix and pepper together.  Place your crackers flat in one layer on an edged cookie sheet then drizzle the spice mix over the crackers. Use a pastry brush to baste each cracker to coat them well.  Bake at 250* for 10 minutes.  Remove and turn each cracker over and bake another 10 minutes. Remove crackers to cool on a paper towel lined (absorbs excess oil) cooling rack.  Store in an air tight container for up to 5 days.

Cracker Toffee - this was new for me but I'm so glad I tried this!

You'll need:

40 saltines (about 2 sleeves)
1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate
1 tsp canola oil
8 oz English Toffee bits

Melt the butter in the microwave for 1 minute, add sugar and heat for an additional minute and stir well.   Brush over crackers and bake at 350* for 10  minutes.  While the crackers bake, microwave the chocolate chips with the canola oil for 1 minute, stir well to melt the chips -  heat an additional 30 seconds if needed to melt completely.  Pour chocolate melt over the crackers when they come out of the oven.  Sprinkle with English toffee and nuts.  Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour to set then slice or break into sections to serve.

These are three different options that are "outside the box" but wonderfully delicious ways to make your holiday season simple and spectacularly delicious!  I hope you enjoy these and have yourself  Merry Little Christmas Now!!!

 
 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler







It's Fall Ya'll and it FINALLY cooled off enough to prove the calendar right!  I love all things Fall, the leaves, sweaters, football, fireplaces and FOOD!  Every Thanksgiving, we all see the same pies -   one pumpkin and one pecan.  I got all twisted up this year and threw the two together into a cobbler!!!  When I first learned of this hot water baking technique, I was a complete skeptic but my kitchen adventurer still lives within me and I went for it.  Here's what you need:

Dry Mix:
1 cup + 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
 
Wet Mix:
1/2 cup pumpkin pie mix
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter or vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
 
Topping: 
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups very, very hot water

Extra:
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Set aside.
  3. In a smaller bowl, stir pumpkin, milk, melted butter and vanilla together to combine. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix to create a thick batter. Pour into a greased 8-inch casserole dish with high sides.
  4. In a separate bowl, stir sugar, brown sugar and pecans together. Spread over the top of the batter evenly.
  5. Pour hot water over the entire thing {WITHOUT STIRRING A THING!} and bake for 40 minutes or once the middle is set. {Be sure to place on a baking sheet in case it bubbles over.}
  6.  Cool 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve with more pecans and vanilla bean ice cream.
 
 
This recipe takes some faith as I did not believe for one minute that this hot water baking would work but  oh my goodness it did the trick!  There is a lava quality goodness to this and it will become our new Thanksgiving Favorite for years to come!!! Grab a spoon and Fall in Love!!!