Wednesday, October 28, 2009

White Chocolate Macadamia Muffins And A Shout Out To Taylor

Sunday afternoon I was at home working on the computer and when I checked my email I saw that one of my Facebook buddies had written on my wall.  This is my Facebook buddy:

This was her comment that I have copied and pasted:

 "I just read through your ENTIRE blog. (The rice and beans one.) I am printing out some of the recipes. You are the coolest person I know."   (Emphasis mine)

Let me tell y'all, my head swelled to four times it's normal size and I was giddy the rest of the day.  You know you've really made it in life when a middle schooler thinks "you are the coolest person I know."  And for her to read through my ENTIRE blog?  I have no words, people....I AM QUEEN OF THE BLOGOSPHERE, I AM!!!!!!

Taylor, sweetie, I'd like to dedicate this entire post to you.  Keep cooking and maybe one day I'll be reading your blog, or better yet, watching YOU on Food Network!

The other day I was in Sam's and I was doing some major bulk shopping and while I was in the baking aisle I heard the faint calling of my name.  I turned around and it sounded like it was coming from a HUGE bag of roasted and salted macadamia nuts and then I heard it again and indeed, it WAS coming from a huge bag of macadamia nuts.  I quickly answered back, because, hello, I am not going to NOT answer someone who calls my name, even if it is a bag of nuts, so I said YES and put them in my buggy.

And I immediately went to Wal-Mart and bought several of these:

Because everyone knows that you just shouldn't have one without the other.  No.

Oh, I made cookies alright, but the real star has been the muffins.  This past summer I was in a little store in Georgia that carried imported items and right by a big jar of Nutella was what looked like a white chocolate version of Nutella, and I am SO kicking myself for not buying it because how good would that have been slathered on these muffins?  Note to self:  Work on a recipe for white chocolate butter.

If you make these:

-Take care not to overbake them.  I did once and they were just not as good. 

-I love chopping my own nuts because I like 'em kind of big, but you could certainly used the pre-chopped kind.

-I sometimes add in a whole cup of white chocolate chips.  I also used extra drizzle because I have a tendency to overdo things like white chocolate.

This recipe won me a second place prize in Taste of Home Magazine a few years ago.  I've copied and pasted the recipe below, but you can click here if you want to see how much fat and calories are in one muffin.  Beware.  It's not pretty.   

White Chocolate Macadamia Muffins

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup butter, melted

3/4 cup white baking chips

3/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts


1/2 cup white baking chips

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

1.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, combine the egg, milk and butter; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in chips and nuts.

2.  Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 400° for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

3.  For glaze, in a microwave, melt chips with cream at 70% power for 1 minute; stir. Microwave at additional 10- to 20-second intervals, stirring until smooth. Drizzle over warm muffins. Serve warm. Yield: 1 dozen.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Orzo With Basil Pesto

This is an easy, quick side dish that I make often.  No, it will not change your life, but it's good. I like to serve it with grilled chicken or fish.  And guess what, my hometown friends?  Wal-Mart has orzo now.   Check the pasta section.  

It's so easy, you don't even have to have a recipe.  Just cook some orzo (as much as you want) according to the package directions.  Drain all the water.  Drizzle with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil.  Stir in some pesto (as much as you want-a little goes a long way).  The pesto has olive oil in it but I found the orzo needs a little extra olive oil drizzled into it to make it stir better.
So to recap: 

Cook (orzo)

Drain (water)

Drizzle (olive oil)

Stir (in pesto)

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dara's Sugar Pigs

This little pig statue is probably one of the most sentimental items I have in my home right now.   I made this for my Aunt Dara when I was about ten or eleven.  She was absolutely my best friend at the time and we remained close until she passed away earlier this year.  I can't even tell you how much I miss her.  Before she died, she gave me this little pig statue back.  I had completely  forgotten about it, but I was so touched that she had kept it for so many years. 

She lived with my mother for a short time before she passed away and during that time I developed a cookie recipe for a contest and shared it with her.  She fell in love with these cookies.  I call them Sugar Pigs and they're oatmeal cookies with toasted pecans and bits of candied bacon in them and she requested them on more than one occasion.  Let me tell you, when a dying woman requests cookies, you stop what you're doing and bake cookies.  It was my pleasure, though.

Even though these cookies never won the contest, they are still a family favorite and I will never ever make them again without thinking of her.

Sugar Pigs

1 cup packed light brown sugar

12 slices plain bacon

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups quick-cooking oats

1 cup chopped toasted pecans

2-3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 1 cup light brown sugar in a pie plate.  Place each slice of bacon in the brown sugar and coat both sides, pressing sugar into bacon and gently shaking off excess.  Place flat on a wire cooling rack in an aluminum foil lined baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes or until done.  Outside pieces may get done before the inside pieces, so remove as needed.  Let bacon cool completely, then finely chop with a knife; set aside.

2.  Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.  Beat the butter, shortening, 1 cup light brown sugar, the dark brown sugar, the eggs, and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Mix in the flour mixture until combined.  Stir in the oats, chopped pecans, and reserved chopped bacon.  Chill dough for one hour.

3.  Drop dough by a 1-tablespoon measure cookie scoop onto an ungreased baking sheet, spacing about 2-inches apart.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown around edges.  Cool on pan for 1-2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Drizzle each cookie with a small amount of maple syrup.  (Cool pan completely between bakings.)  About 5 dozen cookies.

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Muchas Gracias!

I want to thank everyone who voted for my recipe in the Jose Ole recipe contest.  I was notified today that I am one of the fifteen first place winners and I received a $100.00 gift certificate to  Yay!!!!  

I couldn't have done it without your help.  Thank you.   I'm not sure who won the grand prize, but I'm sure they will be posting it on their website soon.

Now, I must shop... 
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