The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of mankind than the discovery of a star. -- Anthelme Brillat-Savarin --

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Oatmeal Brittle

HOWDY friends!  Wow…can’t believe it’s only a few days until Christmas!  Yikes…where does the time go?  I’ve been busy in my kitchen all day today, preparing Christmas goodies for my friends and family.  In addition to some of my “tried & true” holiday recipes, I decided to try a few new ones as well.  I spent a good bit of the day testing various cookie brittle recipes, and out of the four I tried, this one is far & away my favorite!

It is so unbelievably quick & easy, that I knew I just had to share the recipe with you, in case you’re looking for something yummy to throw together for a great gift or party food.  It’s
a buttery, crunchy, delicious treat, AND…it’s gluten free!

I found the recipe online over at Anna’s “Cookie Madness” blog site, and I am sooooooo glad I did.  I will definitely be making this one again, as it has now been added to my “tried & true” favorites list!

I only made minimal adaptations (using Karo“Lite” Syrup in place of regular light corn syrup, and adding some cinnamon).  I also took it out of the oven a few minutes early and “scored” it with a pizza cutter, then returned it to the oven for the last few minutes.

Anyway, here’s the recipe…go make some tonight!

Oatmeal Brittle

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup (I used Karo “Lite” Syrup)
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1-3/4 cups oats (I used old-fashioned oats…NOT the quick cooking type)
1/3 cup sweetened, flaked coconut
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (this was not in the original recipe, but I thought it added a nice flavor)

Preheat oven to 325°F, and while it’s heating, line a 13x18” rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  (I sprayed my parchment paper with cooking spray, and brushed it with a pastry brush to make sure it covered the entire paper.  After the fact, I don’t think it was really necessary.  There is so much butter in this cookie that it probably wouldn’t stick anyway!)

In a large bowl, stir together the butter, corn syrup, brown sugar, salt, vanilla and baking powder.  Add the oats and coconut and stir until thoroughly mixed.

Spread the mixture as thinly as possible across the baking sheet. (NOTE:  The mixture is VERY sticky, and will stick to anything you use - including fingers - making it hard to spread unless you use a well-greased utensil.  I used a large spatula coated with non-stick cooking spray, and it worked very well.)

Bake for about 15 minutes or until the edges are just starting to brown.  Remove from the oven and score with a pizza cutter.  (This will make it easier to break after it has cooled.)  

Return to the oven for an additional 5 minutes or until the edges are nice and brown.

Remove from oven and slide the parchment paper of the hot pan and directly onto a large cooling rack.  (I have a nice large one, but you could also use two smaller ones placed side by side.)  Let cool completely.  When cool, the cookie will be very crisp.  Break into pieces along the scored lines and enjoy!

NOTE:  If you find that your cookie is not crisp enough when you try to break it (that probably means that you didn’t get it thin enough), just slide the parchment back onto the baking sheet and return it to the oven (at a lower setting - about 250°F), and allow it to crisp up a bit.  Then return it to the cooling rack and let it cool again.

I couldn’t resist tasting this stuff while it was still warm and a bit chewy.  It was delicious that way too!
I can’t wait to share this yummy stuff with my friends and family.  I’m sure they’ll love it as much as I do, and I’m sure you will too!

Let me know if you try it, and stop by “Cookie Madness” and tell Anna thanks for the delicious recipe!!
Gotta run…I still have lots to do in preparation for Christmas!

I pray that you and yours will have a holiday filled with good food, lots of laughter, precious memories, and a joyous celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ!!


Friday, December 20, 2013

"Magic" Mint Chocolate Bark

HOWDY friends.  Just popping in for a sec to share one of my favorite holiday recipes.  It is SOOOOO easy that even your children can easily make it (with a little supervision of course).

I got the recipe years ago off a bag of  NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Dark Chocolate & Mint Morsels , and I've been making regularly ever since.  I will warn you's addictive once you start taste-testing, so be sure you make plenty!

You can find the original recipe on the Nestlé Very Best Baking website.  I've substituted a variety of flavored morsels and nuts, etc.:
  --dark chocolate & white chocolate morsels (or either one alone) with crushed peppermint candy in place of the nuts
  --dark chocolate/raspberry swirl morsels with the chopped almonds
  --semi-sweet morsels with crushed toffee chips in place of the nuts
  --white chocolate morsels with chopped dried cranberries
  --dark chocolate morsels with chopped dried cherries or blueberries

Just pick your favorite combination and go crazy.  It won't take you any time to make a yummy gift for someone special or a sweet treat to serve at a holiday party.

Be sure to try this one!  Easy-peasy, and oh so good!!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

“Use It Up” Soup

HOWDY friends!  Brrrrrrrr…it’s cold outside!  Temps are only in the mid 30’s here in South Texas...all day today!  This weather put me in the mood for some hearty soup, so I went looking in my refrigerator & pantry to see what I could throw together.  I decided to just experiment today, and this is what I came up with.  It turned out REALLY good, so I thought I’d share the recipe with you.  Feel free to adapt it to fit whatever you have in YOUR pantry or refrigerator.  LOL!  If you come up with something really yummy, please share your recipe with me too!

Can you smell this?  It smells heavenly!

“Use It Up” Soup
3/4 cup chopped celery (I had some celery & carrots left over from Thanksgiving, that needed to be used)
1/2 cup diced carrots
1 large sweet onion, diced
1/8 cup chopped jalapeño peppers (I had a few small ones left in my garden that had to be pulled before last night’s freeze)
3 cloves fresh garlic, chopped (because I put garlic in practically everything I cook!)
1 Tbsp. butter
1 (15.5 oz) can dark red kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 (15 oz.) can mayocoba beans, rinsed & drained (or any white bean you like)
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed & drained (I used some that had jalapeño & lime in them)
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced, fire-roasted tomatoes
1 (32 oz) carton low-sodium beef broth (you could also use chicken or vegetable broth)
1 small link smoked sausage, diced (I used a pork/beef sausage with hatch green chili - you could leave this out if you want, the soup is very hearty even without it)
6 cups water (I started out with 4 cups, and added more as the soup cooked…just use your own judgment on this and make it to the consistency YOU prefer)
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. dried thyme (fresh would be better if you have any - my thyme plant didn’t survive the past few weeks)
1/4 tsp. soul seasoning (or whatever seasonings you prefer)
1/3 of a 16 oz. bag frozen chopped collard greens (spinach - or some diced cabbage - would be good too)
1 large baking potato, diced
4 Tbsp That Green Sauce, mild (I got some of this stuff free with some other purchases at the grocery store.  I don't like it much on it's own, but it really added a nice flavor to the soup!  Glad I finally found a way to use it!)

Sauté celery, carrots, onion, jalapeños & garlic in butter until softened.  Add all remaining ingredients (except for That Green Sauce) and stir well.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until reduced and thickened a bit.
All the veggies are in, and starting to cook!
Stir in That Green Sauce about 10 minutes before serving.

If you want a creamier, less chunky soup, you can use an immersion blender to emulsify some (but NOT all) of the veggies.

Serve with a nice loaf of crusty bread or some hot biscuits!
I found some Hatch Chili & Cheddar scones in the freezer that needed to be used...
that worked out well!
This stuff really hit the spot for me today.  Hope you like it too!

Stay warm out there!