Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cinnamon Crispas

So I was going to a party tonight and wanted to bring something along to share.  I had some leftover flour tortillas and decided I could make something yummy out of them.  Back in the '80's, Taco Bell used to have a treat called Cinnamon Crispas on their menu.  They weren't puffs like the Cinnamon Twists they have now;  they were simply fried flour tortillas that were dredged in cinnamon and sugar.  Simple, yet delicious.  I put them out at the party and they were gone before I could get one for myself.

Cinnamon Crispas

1.  In a pie plate, mix together 1/2 cup granulated sugar with      
2 tablespoons cinnamon.

2.  Cut 6-8 soft-taco size flour tortillas into 1-inch strips or into wedges.  Meanwhile, heat 1/2-inch oil in a large skillet* until hot enough for frying.

3.  Fry a few strips at a time until light golden brown.  Drain briefly on paper towels, then dredge the strips through the sugar-cinnamon mixture.  Repeat with remaining strips.

These would be delicious served with a scoop of your favorite ice cream.

*An electric skillet set at 350-degrees works well for this recipe.  I received this one for Christmas and it performed well for me.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Krispie Kisses

A few years ago, I was looking for a cute Valentine treat idea to make for Sweetpea's pre-school class.  I found what I was looking for when I came across these "kisses" made from Rice Krispy treats in lieu of chocolate.  I decided to resurrect the idea for some friends this year.  These are easy and fun and are adaptable to any occassion.

1.  Make a batch of Rice Krispy treats.   When I made mine, I added pink food color to the melted marshmallow mixture.

2.  Lightly spray a desired-size funnel with cooking spray and pack it with the rice krispy mixture.

3.  Tap the "kiss" onto a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper.  Repeat step 2 with remaining mixture.  My funnel made 7 treats per recipe.

4.  While the treats set until firm, cut an 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper into 3/4" x 11" strips and stamp a message on one end.

5.  Place one end of the paper strip under the treat on a square of foil.  Pleat the foil up around the treat and trim the tops as necessary.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Chocolate Cream Cupcakes

On the day that my new issue of Cook's Country magazine comes in the mail, the dust bunnies are allowed to linger in the corners and the kiddos head to bed early, 'cause Mama needs time to read this thing from cover-to-cover.  Not too long ago, I received the February/March '10 issue and promptly found many recipes to drool over.  With Grandma's birthday coming up, one recipe I knew I had to try right away was one for Chocolate Cream Cupcakes (think Hostess).

They looked like they would be really yummy, but I was wondering how to make them more fancy for a birthday.  I remembered seeing some similar cupcakes in a Martha Stewart Living magazine that were dolled up for Valentine's Day and knew just what to do:


To say that these were delicious is an understatement.  Everyone was silent as they were eating and only a few scattered crumbs remained on the plates.  I think I might need to whip up another batch for Valentine's Day this weekend.   

Chocolate Cream Cupcakes

1. Heat the oven to 325-degrees and put cucpcake liners in a standard muffin tin (or you can grease and flour the tin).  Combine 1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teapoon salt in a bowl.  In a large bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup boiling water, 1/3 cup cocoa powder (I used dutch-processed), 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli), and 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder until smooth.  Add 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 large eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla and mix until combined.  Whisk in the flour mixture until incorporated.  Divide the batter evenly among 12 muffin cups and bake 18 to 22 minutes (check doneness with toothpick).  Cool them in the tin for 10 minutes and on a wire rack until completely cooled.

2. For the cream filling, combine 3 tablespoons water and 3/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin in a large bowl and let sit for 5 minutes to let the gelatin soften.  Microwave until the mixture bubbles around the edges and the gelatin is dissolved, about 30 seconds.  Stir in 4 tablespoons softened, unsalted butter (cut into small pieces), 1 teaspoon vanilla and a pinch of salt until combined and the butter is melted.  Let it cool for 5 minutes, then whisk in 1 1/4 cups marshmallow creme until smooth (be gentle and patient, the creme will eventually loosen up and smooth out).  Refrigerate the mixture until set, about 30 minutes.  Place about 1/3 cup of the filling into a pastry bag with a small, round tip to use for piping the swirls on top of the cupcakes.

3.  When you are ready to assemble the cupcakes, microwave 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips with 3 tablespoons unsalted butter until you can stir it smooth.  Cool the glaze to room temperature, about 10 minutes.  Cut a cone out of the top of each cupcake with a sharp knife (this is easier if the cupcakes have been partially frozen for about 30 minutes first) and then cut off all but the top 1/4-inch of the cone (this will be placed back over the filling).  (I'm sorry I don't have a picture of this step.  Check out the magazine- it's worth it for all the great recipes!)  Fill each indentation with 1 tablespoon of the filling and replace tops.  Spread 2 teapoons of cooled glaze over the tops and let set for 10 minutes.  Use the reserved filling in the pastry bag to pipe curlicues across the tops.

4.  Prepare to wow your friends and family.  

Friday, February 5, 2010

Corn Muffins

It's a cold, rainy day in my neck of the woods; a perfect day for baking.  I just may have to whip up some of these yummy corn muffins to go with dinner tonight.  This recipe comes from the  America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book and is one of my favorites.

Corn Muffins

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin.

2. Whisk 2 cups (10 oz) all-purpose flour, 1 cup (5 oz) stone-ground, medium-grind yellow cornmeal, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teapoon baking soda and 1/2 teapoon salt together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk 3/4 cup sour cream, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup whole milk, 1 stick melted butter and 2 large eggs together until smooth. Gently, fold the sour cream mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined (do not overmix).

3. Using a greased 1/3-cup measure, portion the batter into each muffin cup. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the pan half-way through baking.

4. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then flip out onto a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.