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Chocolate Cups (aka Truffle-in-a-Cup)

Chocolate Cups (aka Truffle-in-a-Cup)

Chocolate Cups (aka Truffle in a Cup)

These are tied for first place for the easiest dessert with the biggest impact. When you make them, you'll see why. They definitely have the WOW factor but they are SO easy to make and so easy to customize.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 8 mins
Course Dessert
Servings 6

Equipment

  • small, heavy bottomed sauce pan
  • whisk
  • scale or measuring cups, measuring spoons
  • Silicone spatula
  • little cups or bowls

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 c heavy whipping cream (not ultra-pasteurized)
  • 7 oz dark chocolate, 70% or higher
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp brandy*
  • 1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter

Instructions
 

  • Chop the chocolate into little chunks about the size of chocolate chips. Alternately, you can pound it (inside the packaging) with a rolling pin (not too hard) and it will break up nicely.
  • Heat the cream on medium heat until just starting to bubble around the edges. Keep and eye that you don't overheat the cream. Dump all the chocolate into the cream remove from the heat. Stir with a whisk until all combined and creamy (trust me, it will get pretty and shiny).
  • Wait a few minutes for the mixture to cool a bit then add the egg yolks and whisk until fully combined.
  • Add the brandy (or rum or whisky or high-quality booze...or don't add any booze) and stir until combined. Last, add the butter and continue to stir until all the butter is mixed in well and no oily streaks are left.
  • Pour into little cups, tiny bowls, espresso mugs, etc. It should make 6 to 8 little pots of deliciousness depending on the size of your vessel.
  • Refrigerate until chilled or overnight. Before serving, bring to room temperature and add a dollop of whipped cream, chocolate shavings, berries, a small sprinkle of Maldon salt, or whatever sounds good to you. Serve with a crisp cookie or just with a spoon.
  • This is the recipe that your friends will rave about. You don't have to tell them that it was super easy to make.
Keyword chocolate, dessert, easy
Classic Peanut Butter Cookies

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies

The BEST Peanut Butter Cookie I Have Ever Made

Peanut butter cookies are not my strong suit but these came out perfect if you like them soft in the middle, firmer at the edge, and not crumbly.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

Equipment

  • good quality baking sheets (I used NordicWare but I also like USA Pan)
  • a hand mixer or stand mixer
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • a spring-loaded cookie scooper
  • a potato masher (the kind with little squares)

Ingredients
  

  • 1 c butter, unsalted
  • 1 c peanut butter, crunchy or creamy, as you wish
  • 1/2 c white sugar
  • 3/4 c dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions
 

  • Cream together the butter, peanut butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in the eggs slowly until combined.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together (yes, with a sifter) the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir it into the wet mixture.
  • Put the batter in the refrigerator for about an hour. Scoop (or roll with your hands) into @ 1" balls and place on baking sheets leaving room to spread. Flatten each ball with your potato masher (or use a fork to make hash-marks).
  • Bake in a preheated 375F oven for about 10 minutes or until cookies just begin to brown. Do NOT overbake (unless you like that sort of thing).

Notes

Keyword cookies, peanut butter
Macaroni & Cheese

Macaroni & Cheese

Macaroni & Cheese

This was served with love by some wonderful people to whom we are grateful that they shared--the recipe and the finished product.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 12

Equipment

  • casserole dish
  • sauce pan
  • whisks and spoons
  • cheese grater

Ingredients
  

  • 6 slices white bread, crusts removed torn into 1/4" to 1/2" pieces
  • 1 stick butter, unsalted
  • 5 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 1/2 cups sharp white cheddar cheese, grated (about 18 ounces)
  • 2 cups Gruyere cheese, grated (about 8 ounces) or 5 ounces grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni

Instructions
 

  • Heat the oven to 375 F. Butter a 3 qt casserole dish and set aside. Place bread pieces in a medium bowl.
    In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp of butter. Pour the melted butter over the bread pieces and toss to coat. Set them aside.
    In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk.
    Melt the remaining butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When the butter bubbles, add the flour, stirring constantly for about 1 minute
    Slowly pour the hot milk into the flour-butter mixture while whisking constantly. Continue cooking and whisking until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Add the 3 cups of the cheddar cheese and 1 1/2 cups of the Gruyere (or 1 cup Pecorino Romano, if using) and stir until combined. Set aside.
  • Prepare the macaroni according to the package instructions EXCEPT cook them 2-3 minutes short of done. Strain the macaroni through a colander and rinse under cold water, running water. Drain well.
  • Stir the macaroni into the cheese sauce mixture. Pour all that into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheeses on top. Scatter the buttered bread crumbs over the top.
  • Bake until browned, about 30 minutes. Transfer the casserole dish to a wire rack to cool for five minutes. Serve and enjoy.
Keyword cheese, macaroni, bread crumbs
Delicious Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls

Delicious Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls

Delicious Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls

These are made with pureed squash - a great way to get some winter veg into your diet.
Course Bread
Cuisine American

Equipment

  • mixing bowl
  • baking sheets

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cups warm milk
  • 2 1/4 tsp dry yeast
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup pureed squash of your choice
  • 5 tbsp butter or coconut oil
  • 4-5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds or poppy seeds

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, combine milk, yeast, sugar, and salt. Let it stand for 5 minutes, then add the egg and beat well to combine.
  • Add the squash and butter (or coconut oil) to the liquid; mash with a fork until the butter is in small pieces. Add 1 1/2 cups flour and mix well with a wooden spoon. Gradually mix in more flour by the cupful until the dough collects around the spoon and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. You might not need all the flour.
  • Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 2 minutes. Put dough in a greased bowl and cover with a tea towel. Let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour or so.
  • Preheat the oven to 400F and butter a large baking sheet.
  • Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead until it is smooth and supple, about 7 minutes. Cut the dough into four equal pieces. Then cut each piece into 4-6 smaller pieces.
  • Roll each piece into a round ball and around the rounds on the baking sheet so they barely touch. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.
  • Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool, then pull apart to eat.
Keyword rolls, dinner rolls, yeast, squash
Banana Nut Cookies

Banana Nut Cookies

Banana Nut Cookies

yields about 4 dozen cookies
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

Equipment

  • baking sheets
  • mixer
  • Silicone spatula
  • mixing bowls

Ingredients
  

  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup butter, salted and softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp milk
  • 3/4 cup banana, mashed (about 2 bananas)
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350F
  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, using an electric mixer blend the sugars. Add the butter and mix to form a grainy paste. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the egg, milk, and banana and beat at medium until smooth.
  • Add flour mixture along with the nuts and chocolate chips and blend at low speed until just combined. Do not over mix.
  • Drop rounded teaspoons onto an un-greased cookie sheet, 2" apart.
    Bake for 20-24 minutes or until the edges of the cookies begin to brown. Transfer immediately to a cooling rack with a spatula
Keyword cookie, cookies, banana
Easy No-Knead Bread

Easy No-Knead Bread

No-Knead Bread

The Kitchen Company
This is the easiest way (that I know of) to make delicious bread!
Prep Time 18 hrs 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 19 hrs
Course Bread, recipe, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 12 people

Equipment

  • Cast iron dutch oven
  • glass mixing bowl
  • Silicone spatula

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups flour, all purpose
  • 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 1 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Instructions
 

  • Stir together dry ingredients. Add water all at once. Stir until all flour has been incorporated. Cover with a tea towel and leave for 12-18 hours. Try not to leave it in a drafty or particularly cold area. If your house is really chilly, let it rest inside your oven--NO HEAT.
  • After 12-18 hours, fold the dough a few times putting the seams on the bottom. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 15 minutes. (if pressed for time, you can actually skip this step without affecting your final product too much).
  • Sprinkle your work surface with flour and tip the dough onto it. Quickly shape it into a ball. Sprinkle with more flour or some cornmeal. Cover with a cotton (not terry cloth) towel and let rest for 2 hours. TIP: If you place your dough on some parchment paper at this stage, it is easier to pop it in the pan and remove it from the pan.
  • Preheat your oven to 500F with your cast iron Dutch oven inside. After the 2-hour resting period and a preheated oven is ready, carefully flip your dough ball inside the hot pot. Lower the oven temp to 450F then cover and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Uncover and continue to bake for another 15-30 minutes or until sufficiently browned. Cool the loaf on a wire rack. Try to resist cutting it until it's cooled as it's still cooking inside the crust.

Notes

This recipe is very easy to tweak by adding herbs or cheese or whatever. Add-ins can be stirred into the dough at the very beginning. Crust toppings can be added either before the 2 hour rise or just before baking. If adding spices to the crust, a light spraying of water will help the spices stick during baking.
Keyword bread, no-knead