Friday, August 24, 2012

Cheesey Twice Baked Potatoes

I LOVE summer time and I hate to see it coming to and end already. However, I do love the hearty, warm comfort food of fall and winter and drinking hot chocolate just because it's the season. I first saw this recipe about 8 years ago in a Reader's Digest magazine of my mom's that was sitting on the counter at home. I happened to pick it up and flip through the pages and stumbled on this recipe. I ripped it out, tried it, and have kept it since. If you're having other sides, it would be wise to cut these in half because they are filling, and hearty, and warm. Just what you're going to want when it starts to get cold out.  

Cheesey Twice Baked Potatoes

4 medium potatoes, baked
1/2 c. ranch dressing
1 10 oz. box frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
8 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
cheddar cheese (sorry no measurement, add how much looks good to you!)
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper

Pre-heat oven to 425 deg F.
Cut lengthwise slice from each potato. Remove skin from top. Remove pulp leaving 1/4 inch shell, and put pulp in a large bowl.
Add dressing to bowl with pulp and mash to combine. Stir in broccoli, cheese and bacon. Equally spoon filling into shells.
Place on baking sheet and bake uncovered 15 min.
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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

PayDay Bars

Here's another quick and simple dessert that feeds a crowd, making it perfect for group activities. I chose to take them to a bbq and let me just say, they didn't last long. I had someone come ask if I made them because he really liked them but they were gone when he went back for another. Being the chocolate fan I am, I had to add a layer of chocolate on top. In fact, next time I would even try using a chocolate mix for the crust. I guess that takes away from the whole "PayDay" thing, but my philosophy is if you can add chocolate, what better option is there?? ;)

PayDay Bars
Girls in Aprons

1 box yellow cake mix
1 egg
1/3 cup melted butter
3-5 cups marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all  ingredients together and press in a 9x13 pan sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 13 minutes then remove and sprinkle crust with 3-5 cups of marshmallows, evenly placing them over the entire crust. Bake an additional 2-3 minutes until marshmallows become puffy then remove and set aside.
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups peanut butter chips (like Reese's)
2 cups salted peanuts
1 1/2 cups rice crispy cereal
1 bag semisweet or milk chocolate chips

Over medium heat, stir together all ingredients except peanuts and cereal in a large saucepan until melted then stir in cereal and peanuts. Spoon mixture over marshmallows and spread evenly. Chill in refrigerator for at least an hour. Melt chocolate chips either in the microwave at 50% power stopping to stir every 30 seconds or in a double boiler on the stove top. When melted, spread on top then return to refrigerator/freezer until set. Cut into squares. Follow TawnyAlexander on Twitter

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Giant S'mores Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm sure if you're on pinterest you've seen this one floating around from Smells Like Home. With my love of cookies and smores, how could I NOT give it a try? I made it for dessert one night and decided on just doing 1/2 batch (2 large cookies) since I knew 1 would be plenty for both of us. It's always fun mixing things up and this was a really good cookie (best warm!) I was thinking it would even be fun to do mini smores (maybe even try roasting the marshmallows first??) inside regular sized cookies. I'll have to keep that in mind for next time :)   
Giant S'more Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
For the cookie dough:
Ingredients:2 cups plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
12 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

For assembly:
1 cookie dough recipe, at room temperature
8 graham cracker squares, broken into halves
4 marshmallows, snipped in half lengthwise
1 full-size Hershey’s bar, divided between each of the cookies

Directions:To make the cookie dough: Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or by hand, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly combined. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add dry ingredients and beat at low-speed just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

To assemble and bake: Lay half of the graham crackers out on the baking sheets – two crackers per sheet. Top each cracker with 3-4 pieces of chocolate then top the chocolate with two marshmallow halves, laying them side-by-side. Lay the remaining graham crackers on top of the assemble s’mores. Sandwich the s’mores between two large spoonfuls of cookie dough and using the remaining dough to wrap around each of the s’mores; the result should resemble a small cookie brick.

Space the cookies at least 4 inches apart on the two baking sheets. Bake for 20-24 minutes or until the tops and edges are lightly browned and the edges just lift off the pan with a spatula.Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and cool the cookies on the sheets for at least 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to the wire racks and cool for another 5-10 minutes before serving. Follow TawnyAlexander on Twitter