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Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Favorite Fudge Sans Marshmallow Recipe

I know, Valentine's Day has already passed but the truth is, I have always loved a decadent batch of homemade chocolate and nut fudge. Actually, I have gotten quite good at this lost art of candy making and hardly ever have to eat my fudge with a spoon anymore. Just like anything else done precisely and perfectly well, you have to practice, practice, practice. Not a hard thing to do with this ageless and perfectly wonderful Carnation Velvet Fudge recipe...sans marshmallow of course!

How to make Carnation Velvet Fudge:

3 oz semi sweet chocolate squares
3 cups sugar
2 T white corn syrup
1 cup Carnation evaporated milk
3 T butter
1 ts vanilla extract
1 cup chopped nuts

Place chocolate, sugar, white corn syrup, and milk in a large sauce pan on medium heat, stirring frequently. When candy thermometer reaches 240 degrees remove from heat...
Allow to cool, then add the butter, vanilla, and nuts...
Beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture loses its gloss and is easily poured into your favorite buttered fudge dish...
A recipe you would never want to live without!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Easy Cheesy Sausage Cornbread Muffins

Today, after a record snow at Deer Haven and no way of catching a fast lunch outside my Arkansas igloo, I have decided to just go with it and enjoy myself with a big ole bowl of soup (my choice) and my favorite Easy Cheesy Sausage Cornbread Muffins with a tad of Kickin' Cream Cheese Spread over the top! What's your  favorite comfort food during these long cabin fever days of winter?

How to make Easy Cheesy Sausage Cornbread Muffins 
Yields: 48 mini muffins in 30 minutes
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1 ts salt
1 ts sugar
1egg, beaten
1 cup buttermilk or milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 pound breakfast sausage, crumbled, fried, and drained

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a couple of 24 count mini muffin tins. Mix together the first five ingredients in a medium bowl. Dig out a little hole in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk, egg, and melted butter. Stir, then add the cheese and sausage and stir a little more. Place by tablespoons full into the sprayed mini tins. Bake for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees. And for the Kickin' CC Spread...whip up 8 ounces softened cream cheese, 2 T honey, and lots of splashes of hot sauce...yum, yum!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Easy Decadent Cream Cheese Truffles

Found this super easy and delicious truffle recipe in AY Magazine the other day. Couldn't wait to have a reason to make candy...Happy Valentine's Day to all you cream cheese truffle lovers out there! Enjoy!

Easy Decadent Cream Cheese Truffles
8 oz cream cheese,softened
3 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until well blended. Stir in melted chocolate and vanilla, until no streaks remain. Refrigerate for about 1 hour. Shape in to 1-inch balls. Roll truffles in ground walnuts (or any ground nuts), cocoa, coconut, confectioners' sugar, candy sprinkles, etc..

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Perfecting Standard Recipes

Tried and true recipes are always nice and I do have my fair share of them, however it never hurts to be open and flexible to new perspectives while cookin' in the kitchen by taking a standard old recipe and attempting to make it a wee bit better. For instance, perfecting my standard chili recipe with the addition of beer, chili paste, and chocolate has ultimately delivered a far superior collaboration!

Mix it up, add alternate ingredients, make it your own, and throw it out there for family and friends to condemn or consider. After all, recipes are meant to be improved upon, shared, and passed on to future generations...so they can then mix it up, add alternative ingredients, make it their own, and toss it out to the world in an attempt to make things a wee bit better. Change...you gotta love it!

Di's Perfected Chili 
Serves: 8-10
3 lbs ground chuck
Freshly ground pepper
1 T salt
1 1/2 ts ground cinnamon
3 ts ground cumin
4 T fresh chili paste
2 T cornmeal
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup shortening
2 onions, minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 jalapeño peppers, sliced thinly with seeds and stems removed
1 6oz can tomato paste
2 ts dried oregano
2 cans beer
1T sugar
1 can Rotel tomatoes with chilies
1 quart chicken stock
2 can Navy beans, rinsed and drained
2 squares semi sweet chocolate

1. In a large bowl, season the ground chuck with pepper, salt, 1/2 ts cinnamon, 1 ts cumin, and 2 T chili paste. Mix well.
2. Sprinkle the corn meal on the meat and mix well again.
3. Preheat a large Dutch oven over medium heat with the olive oil and then add the coated meat. Brown for about 10-12 minutes. Add the shortening. and cook a couple of minutes more. Remove from pan and set aside.
4. In the drippings, add the onions and garlic and Saute for 5 minutes over medium heat .
5. Add the jalapeño peppers and allow to cook for 2 minutes more.
6. Add the tomato paste, 1 ts cinnamon, 2 ts cumin, 2 ts oregano, and 2 T of chili paste. Stir well.
7. Add the beer, 1 T sugar, Rotel tomatoes, meat, and chicken stock.
8. Simmer on low for about 1 hour. Then add the beans and chocolate. Stir well to melt the chocolate. Serve when beans are heated.