Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Frango Tango

on December 21, 2011 in Recipes | No Comments »

The first of our Holiday! Spectacular! Candy! Recipes!

Frango Mints
1 (12 ounce) package milk chocolate chips or semi-sweet chocolate chips
(= 2 cups)
1/4 lb butter, room temp (not margarine)
1 1/8 cups powdered sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons imitation vanilla
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract or rum extract

Melt the chocolate over hot water, then cool.
Cream butter.
Add powdered sugar.
Add eggs; beat well.
Add cooled chocolate, vanilla and flavoring.
Mix well and drip on waxed paper.

Things we do:
Use dark chocolate chips. So tasty, sets a little firmer as well.
Play with flavorings – orange is great.
Use a pastry gun. Makes cute little shapes possible.

why she needs supervision

works better when attached to mixer

Creaming butter, the easier way

adding powdered sugar. May want to stop after this step, it's yummy.

eggs from our lovely ladies

add flavor

add flavoring & vanilla


Ooooh pretty

oooooh, pretty.

lock & load.

weapon at the ready

finished product

I got some awesome gingerdead men cookie cutter/press from my “bestie” of many years (don’t ask how many “many” is, I try not to think about it).

Not having any good, fresh ginger around, I got a recipe from a cousin for chocolate gingerbread. I figured the chocolate would make up for the stale ginger powder, right?

Ah, if only that had been the worst of my problems.

I made a few changes to the recipe. I used special dark chocolate chips, demerara sugar, dark molasses. Otherwise I left it alone.

Let me say that the world can breathe a sigh of relief that I am not involved in any kind of medical care. The carnage is pretty ugly.

The results…the cookie cutters are great. The recipe was pretty good, with my adjustments.
The baker…could really use some work.

It went like this:

I have been craving butterscotch ice cream topping for a couple of weeks, but I wince every time I see the price at the grocery store. Suddenly, it occurred to me that it should be possible to make at home, right? So I googled.

I found several different recipes, and settled on one that looked simplest. And then modified it.
It started like this:

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons, 2 ounces or 1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (about 109 grams) packed dark or light brown sugar (I used dark)
1/2 cup (118 ml) heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) flaky sea salt (or 1/4 teaspoon regular salt), plus more to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons (8 ml) vanilla extract, plus more to taste

It ended like this:

1/2 cup butter (salted, it’s all I had handy)
1 cup demerara sugar (why use sugar that has had molasses added back in, when you can use sugar that never had it taken out?
1 cup half-n-half (again, it’s what I had handy. Left over from the amazing potatoes the roommate made for dinner)
couple healthy pinches of course sea salt
a splash of imitation vanilla (because I’m usually pretty cheap)

I did follow the cooking part – throw all ingredients into a heavy saucepan, stir to a simmer, let bubble for 5 minutes or so.
Like this.

It’s now sitting in a mason jar, cooling off a bit. Initial taste-testing gave positive results.
For the video-lovers out there, here’s my taste-tester with her take on it.

and then

Let this be a lesson to you!  Bloodletting + booze + burners = DOOM!

Glad you survived, I’d have to listen to everyone say, “That Riko, I knew he’d get burned up in a drunken housefire” every family gathering.

Today was the annual inventory day at work. That meant that we all came in after closing and counted. Everything. To make things a little more pleasant, some of us brought treats. My mom brought crackers and salmon/cream cheese spread, someone brought bakery cookies, I brought brownies, someone brought double-stuff Oreos.

The brownies were from scratch – first time I’ve ever done that. I am generally lazy and use a mix – not realizing all this time that brownies are so incredibly simple. I found a recipe online (it hurt me to use this site, but it was a great recipe), and used the brownie pan Mom got me for my birthday (self-serving gift if ever there was one).

They turned out fantastic. Really. I hate looking at That Woman and her Ever-Smiling Face, but it was worth it. I may add chips or something to it next time…or…

So I’m having an Oreo, realizing that the best part is the filling. Why can’t we just buy Oreo filling? Or make it ourselves? And, I dunno, use it to fill brownies? We should do that.

And we can.

And I will. Soon. As soon as we wake up from the sugar-coma brought on by the cookies and brownies tonight. Stay tuned!

Tonight, I made a Dutch Baby, which I’ve made before.  But I had read a bit about adding apples and sugar to the butter, and hmmm…

I started with this recipe.  I’ve made it several times, it generally turns out pretty good.  But I got an email from Instructables today, and in the comments they mention adding apples…

So I did that.

As the pan was heating, I peeled and sliced the apples and mixed in some demerara sugar.  Then I mixed up the batter, using fresh eggs, of course.  When the pan was very hot, I added the butter and the apple/sugar mix.  When the butter was melted, I added the batter.  Cooked for 23 minutes or so, and viola!

The center was thicker and moister, due to the apples.  It was almost custardlike.  The sugar and butter made their way up the edges and made a fantastic crust.

For a topping, I mixed up some whipping cream with nutmeg and vanilla.  The usual lemon & powdered sugar would have been pretty good as well, I’m sure.

I think that the next time I try this, I’ll use different apples – I’d had my kid pick up some at the Kiva, and they didn’t have any that were good for baking. I think we ended up with Fuji, or maybe it was Gala, but either way, the flavor of the apples was sort of lost.

Verdict: Good stuff, I’ll be making it again.

Banana mini muffins - Swiped from another site, modified a bit to suit my whims.


1 cup demerara sugar
1/2 cup margarine, at room temp
3 very ripe bananas, mashed well
1 cup bread flour
1 cup unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup plain soy milk, mixed with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray your mini-muffin pan with cooking spray.  Or a muffin-top pan, which I also used.  Or I suppose you can use a bread pan, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and spices.

Cream together the margarine and sugars. Add bananas, soy milk and vanilla.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix well. Pour batter into pan. Bake for…a while.  I wasn’t really paying attention.

I got the recipe from the Betty Crocker website.  First thing I thought was OOOH that looks so good.  Second thing, why did they use peanuts instead of walnuts?

Therefor, I waited until I could get to the store and buy walnuts before I made them.

Let me say this: I am not a wimp when it comes to rich foods.  I love ‘em.  A little too much, perhaps.  But this right here…it’s borderline death.  Mostly because of the 4 cups of powdered sugar used just for the filling.  Really good, but really, really sweet and rich.

It was like someone took the best parts of a maple bar and shoveled it onto a brownie.  Maybe with a backhoe or something.

Here’s what I ended up with:

Verdict: good stuff, but if I were to make them again, I’d make some modifications.

I’d decrease the amount of filling.  There has got to be a better way than using 4 cups of sugar to make it thick, I just have to figure it out.

I’d probably make it in a 9×9 pan or a regular brownie pan, instead of the 9×13 it calls for.  Even with a reduced amount of filling, I think it sort of overwhelms the chocolaty happiness of the brownies.

I’d stick with walnuts.  Save the peanuts for…dunno, squirrels or something.

But overall, not a bad brownie.

I don’t know what to call this, but damn, it turned out so good. It was sort of like Spanish rice, but I don’t want anyone smacking me for calling it that.

Here’s what it was:

Brown rice in the rice cooker. Water to the first knuckle. Added a can of diced, stewed tomatoes (non-seasoned). Added a tablespoon or so of fresh minced garlic (thank you, Sunrise!) Added both of these:
Pico & Carne

Put the cover on, pushed the button. If you read my last post, you’ll see that I have a very very basic, small rice cooker. So of course, some of the liquid burbled out over the top.

While that was cooking, I took some pork parts…basically a package of odd pieces I got at the grocery for cheap. Sliced them all about 1/2 an inch, poured on a little olive oil and the seasonings shown above, as well as a ton of fresh ground pepper. Let that sit for a while.

When the rice cooker popped, I left it sitting on Warm while I cooked the meat and tossed one of those steam-in-the-bag packages of corn in the microwave. The meat I cooked pretty high, since it wasn’t cut thick. I wanted it seared a bit, and it turned out great. I guess there’s enough sugar in the seasonings I used that it caramelized just a bit. When that was ready, I turned to the rice.

Into a big bowl went about half the rice, the corn and a small can of sliced olives. mix mix mix. A dollop of sour cream for me, but the roommate had it without and though it was damn good. Served up with the meat, it was one hell of a meal.

And since it was mostly cooked in the rice cooker, it didn’t heat the house overly much.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to duplicate it exactly again, but I hope so. I’m eating the leftovers today, and it might actually be better. The meat sat on the rice in the fridge, so it’s all sort of blended together. Really good.

Go eat.