Monday, November 29, 2010

peanut butter-chocolate rice crispy treats

My husband actually told me that these were the best rice crispy treats he has EVER had!

the goods:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for baking dish
4 cups miniature marshmallows
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 cups puffed-rice cereal
1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips, melted
1/4 cup chopped, salted peanuts (optional)

Butter an 8-inch square baking dish. In a large pot, combine marshmallows, peanut butter, butter, and salt. Cook over medium, stirring, until melted, about 4 minutes. Add cereal and stir to combine.

With a wooden spoon greased with cooking spray, press half the cereal mixture into dish. Spread half the melted chocolate on top. Repeat with remaining cereal mixture and chocolate.

Sprinkle with peanuts if desired.

Cut into squares.

Monday, November 22, 2010

blackberry-swirl pound cake

the goods:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
6 ounces blackberries
1 and 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cups sour cream, room temperature
whipped cream, for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan and line with parchment, leaving an overhang; butter parchment. In a food processor, puree blackberries with 2 tablespoons sugar. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together butter and 1 and 1/4 cups sugar until light and fluffy, 5 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat to combine, scraping down bowl as needed. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Transfer half the batter to pan and dot with 1/2 cup blackberry puree. Repeat with remaining batter and puree.

With a skewer, swirl batter and puree together. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Let cool in pan on a wire rack, 30 minutes. Lift cake out of pan and place on a serving plate; let cool completely before slicing.

Monday, November 15, 2010

apricot cheesecake bars

the goods:

18 graham crackers
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
10 ounces apricots (about 4), halved, pitted, and cut into eighths (if out of season you can use canned)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, process graham crackers, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until fine crumbs form. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in melted butter until crumbs are moistened. Wipe processor bowl clean.

With a flat-bottomed 1-cup measuring cup or glass, press crumbs evenly into a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Bake until crust is firm, 15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Reduce heat to 325 degrees.

In a small saucepan, bring apricots, 1/4 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt to a boil over medium-high, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until mixture is shiny, 10 minutes. In food processor, puree apricot mixture, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon water.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sour cream on medium until smooth. Add 3/4 cup sugar and beat until smooth. Add vanilla and a pinch of salt and beat to combine. Add eggs and beat until smooth, scraping down bowl as needed.

Pour cream-cheese mixture into cooled crust and smooth top.

Randomly drop small spoonfuls of apricot puree on cream-cheese mixture.

With a skewer, gently swirl puree.

Bake just until set, about 25 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan on rack, then refrigerate until chilled and firm before cutting unto squares, 2 hours.

Monday, November 8, 2010

red, white, and blue pops

the goods:

1/2 pound strawberries, hulled
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 pound blueberries
1 and 1/4 cups plain yogurt

In a food processor, puree strawberries with 1 tablespoon sugar. Transfer to a small bowl. In processor, puree blueberries with 1 tablespoon sugar. In another small bowl, whisk together yogurt and 2 tablespoons sugar.

Spoon the 3 mixtures, alternating into 3-ounce ice-pop molds, making 3 to 5 layers in each. With a skewer, swirl mixtures together in an up-and-down motion. Insert ice-pop sticks and freeze until solid, 3 hours (or up to 1 week).
Enjoy the happy faces!

Monday, November 1, 2010

blueberry slap pie

the goods:

5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups (4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 1 to 1 and 1/2 cups ice water

2 and 1/2 pounds fresh or frozen blueberries
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, plus 3 tablespoons lemon juice

Make crust: In a food processor, pulse flour, salt, and sugar until combined. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. With machine running, add 1 cup ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed. Do not overmix. Divide dough into 2 disks; wrap each tightly in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, 1 hour (or overnight).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Make filling: In a large bowl, toss together blueberries, cornstarch, sugar, and lemon zest and juice. On a floured work surface, roll out one disk to a 12-by-16-inch rectangle. Place  in a 10-by-14-by-1-inch rimmed jelly-roll pan. Pour in blueberry filling, then lightly brush edges of crust with water. On a floured work surface, roll out second disk to an 11-by-15-inch rectangle and lay over blueberry filling; press along moistened edges to seal. Fold overhung under, tucking it into pan, and crimp edges.

With a paring knife, cut slits on top to vent.

Place pie in oven, then reduce heat to 375 degrees. Bake until crust is golden and juices are bubbling, 50 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack 1 hour. Serve warm or at room temperature.