Welcome to our kitchen! Our goal is to create tasty kitchen concoctions and share them with friends and family. We hope you enjoy browsing through our favorite appetizers, breads, breakfasts, desserts, meals, and sides, as well as looking through general baking and cooking tips. Feel free to leave comments and suggestions of how to make these recipes even better. Enjoy!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Mint Chocolate Crinkle Top Cookies

These cookies are the perfect melt-in-your-mouth fudgey consistancy. They are one of Mitch's favorites from childhood. I slightly modified the recipe and added peppermint extract - it was the perfect touch, but I can imagine they are also good without the peppermint. I made them for the first time this week for a group of friends, and they were quickly eaten up. These are going to be a new regular in our house!

2 C chocolate chips, divided
1 C sugar
6 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/4-1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 1/2 C flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C powdered sugar (for rolling)

1.) In a small bowl, microwave 1 C chocolate chips until smooth (about 1 minute) - it is very important to stir every 10-15 seconds to prevent burning.
2.) In a separate bowl, cream sugar and butter.
3.) Beat vanilla and peppermint extract into butter mixture.
4.) Beat melted chocolate and eggs into butter mixture.
5.) Mix in dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt).
6.) Add remaining 1 C chocolate chips. Stir.
7.) Chill dough until firm (about 30 minutes).
8.) Roll dough into 1 1/2" balls.
9.) Cover balls with powdered sugar.
10.) Place balls on an ungreased cookie sheet.
11.) Bake at 350 F for 10-15 minutes.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cheese Swirl Bread

I had some time this weekend, so I decided to be adventuresome and try a new bread. This one was tasty, but a little dry. I think I will add more butter and more cheese next time. I think I would also add some herbs (perhaps basil or Italian seasoning) next time. I modified the original recipe, which was a ham and cheese bread with Boursin cheese. Below is the recipe, as I modified it. For step-by-step directions (with pictures) on how to make the bread into this beautiful shape, see cookingbread.com. Next time I make cinnamon rolls, I may use this fancy shape, rather than individual rolls.

1 C scalded milk
3 tsp yeast
4 C flour
1/4 C butter
2 T sugar
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 C mozzarella cheese, sliced
1/2 C cheddar cheese, shredded

1.) Scald milk (do not let boil) and cool to about 105F.
2.) Add in 1 C flour and mix until smooth.
3.) Add in yeast and 1 C flour. Mix well.
4.) Allow dough to rest for 10 minutes.
5.) Meanwhile, mix butter, sugar, salt, and eggs until blended.
6.) Add the butter mixture into the dough and mix until smooth.
7.) Add in another 1 C flour and mix.
8.) Knead dough, adding flour as needed.
9.) Cover dough and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
10.) Punch down dough onto a floured counter top.
11.) Roll the dough into an 18" circle.
12.) Follow directions here for forming dough into a fancy shape (stuffing mozzarella cheese into dough while twisting it).
13.) Transfer dough onto cookie sheet.
14.) Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top of dough.
15.) Cover dough and allow to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
16.) Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes.

Makes 10 large rolls.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Beef Barley Stew

We made a huge Crockpot of this stew yesterday, and we will be enjoying it during lunchtime for days to come. If you're not familiar, beef barley stew is basically a beef stew that substitutes potatoes for barley. In the grocery store, you can find the barley in the aisle with dried beans. It's perfect on these blustery cold days we've been having!

2 lbs. beef round, diced into 1" cubes
6 carrots, cut into coin slices
1 large onion, diced
1 large can (28 oz) diced tomatoes (including juice)
1 C frozen corn
1 green pepper, diced
1 C dried barley
2 cubes beef bullion, dissolved in 2 C water
1 1/2 Tbsp pepper
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried parsley

1.) Prepare all ingredients.
2.) Place meat on the bottom of large Crockpot.
3.) Add all other ingredients (except dried herbs) into Crockpot.
4.) Cook on high for 5 hours. (Add basil and parsley during last hour of cooking.)

Makes 10-12 servings.