Monthly Archives: February 2012

Valentine’s Day Special: Gifts to you and Pretzel-Crusted Caramel Chocolate Chip Brownies

Valentine’s Day:  a day where everyone can make an excuse to eat chocolate.  Am I right?

Yes.

So, please, make your chocolate excuse be these brownies.



Pretzel-Crusted Caramel Chocolate Chip Brownies


Crust:
4 cups whole pretzels

1 stick butter, softened
¼ cup powdered sugar
1/8 tsp baking powder
Brownies:
Use your favorite recipe.  I used these, but I only used 1 ½ cups of sugar instead of 2 ¼ and I also used ¾ cups butter instead of 1 cup.
Caramel Filling:
1 can 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 cup caramel pieces
½ cup chocolate chips
½ cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Crush up pretzels in food processor until finely ground.
  3. Mix with butter, powdered sugar, and baking powder. 
  4. Press into bottom of 9×13 inch pan.
  5. Bake for 5 minutes. (While preparing brownies.)
  6. Prepare your brownie recipe of choice.
  7. Pull crust from oven and pour brownie batter over the crust.
  8. Layer caramel filling on top.  Bake for 30-45 minutes, until an inserted fork comes out clean.

P.S. My gift from Denby, to me, to you: You can, for a limited time, get exclusive Valentine’s Day deals from Denby by clicking here: Denby USA.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Denby Logo
Setting the Mood with Denby
With Valentine’s Day heartbeats away, it’s time to start planning for the big night. Before you make a reservation, though, Denby, producers of pottery for over 200 years, offers the following tips to help create a truly special dining experience in the privacy of your home.

  • Vday CheesecakeBack to Basics: Using a tablecloth is a great way to add an instant splash of color, which in turn provides a beautiful backdrop for your dinnerware.  For Valentine’s Day, try using a solid red tablecloth as your base and layer a sheer silver or gold tablecloth on top to create visual interest.  If you prefer a clean look where your dinnerware is the main attraction, follow the above steps, but swap out the red tablecloth for white linen.
  • The Right Spot: Just like life, setting the table comes with many rules, but achieving restaurant-quality results is easier than you might think.
    • Dinnerware: Place the dinner plate directly in front of each seat, about two inches from the table’s edge.  Place salad and bread plates to the left, and if you’re serving soup, place the bowl directly on top of the dinner plate.  Remember that with each course you should remove the used dinnerware.  Also, if you’re having seconds, serve them on a clean plate.  Dinnerware is meant to be functional, but by giving a fresh plate, it’s also frames your meal beautifully.
    • Silverware: This is where most people become completely lost.  Start by placing the forks to the left side of the plate with the smaller salad fork on the outside.  Then place the knives and spoons to the right, making sure that the cutting edge of the knife is facing the plate. Butter knives should go directly on the bread plate.  For dessert silverware, lay the spoon about a half inch above the dinner plate with the mouthpiece facing left and the fork above the spoon, with the mouthpiece facing right.  If you’re being served and not sure which piece to grab first, a general rule of thumb is to start from the outside and work your way in.
    • Glassware: Traditionally, the water glass should go to the right, directly above the knife.  If you’re drinking wine, place the glasses, one for each type of wine, directly to the right of the water glasses.  To complete your tablescape, finish by laying cloth napkins, never paper, on top of the dinner plates.
  • Hide Love Notes: It’s not enough to show someone you care; you should also use every opportunity to tell them.  Try incorporating little messages into your tablescape by hiding them under plates and glasses so that the messages are revealed when your loved one takes a drink or begins working on their next course.  It’s a fun and flirty, not to mention inexpensive way to convey your emotions while building the anticipation.   
  • Light the Night: Candles are one of the easiest and quickest ways to set the mood.  For best results, strategically place clusters of candles at varying heights around the room, creating little areas of ambient light.  Just remember to use unscented candles.  Not only are they less expensive, but they won’t overpower the space with fragrance that can take the focus away from the aroma of your wonderful meal. 
Denby USA Limited and The Denby Pottery Company (UK) are manufacturers of high quality stoneware. Hand-made glassware, imported porcelain and bone china, and cookware are also part of the company’s merchandise offerings. 

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Review: Skinnygirl White Cranberry Cosmo

I just turned 21 in January, and I waited until then to drink.

Since then, I’ve only had a few drinks, so it’s safe to say I definitely wouldn’t classify myself as a drinker.

However, Skinnygirl is a gamechanger.


I was super lucky to receive a whole bottle sample from the wonderful people at Skinnygirl Cocktails.  When I opened the package, I almost couldn’t wait to drink it.  It was night and I had to take some pictures, but I definitely wasn’t waiting until the next day to drink it.  Which is why the pictures are more “artistic” (taken with my iPhone) than normal.

Anyway, it was love at first sip.  Skinnygirl is:

  • Low calorie (100 calories per serving)
  • Super tasty
  • Light and crisp tasting
  • Perfect for any girl.
  • Available in the U.S. and Canada
  • Ready-to-serve
I want to personally thank Bethenny Frankel, a renowned natural foods chef and the creator of Skinnygirl for making the best alcoholic drink ever!  I didn’t feel gross and weighed down drinking it and it wasn’t overly sweet.  This isn’t just a drink for girls, either.  Kellen, my mom, and I finished this in about an hour. Haha!  
After we finished drinking it, my mom wanted some more for the next day.  Unfortunately, I’m from a small town and I was home for the weekend, and our liquor store was sold out. (Told you it’s good.)  Anyway, I’m going to have to bring her some home next time I go back. (Don’t tell her! ;)) 
Guys: If you haven’t bought your girlfriends/wives/significant others a Valentine’s day present yet, this is it.  If you already have a present, go ahead and add this to it.
Girls: If you’re single this Valentine’s day, celebrate with Skinnygirl instead.
Anyone else: Buy this for someone for Valentine’s day, or any other occasion, really.  Or no occasion.  Just buy it.  This is my new drink of choice. 

I received this complimentary sample from Skinnygirl. I was not asked or influenced to say any of the above statements.  This is all personal opinion.

So good, even your cat will like it.

Parmesan Cheddar Quick Bread

I don’t post a lot of savory recipes.

Mainly because I don’t make very many, but if you guys want more, I’ll give you more.

Would you like to see more savory recipes on What Katie’s Baking?
Yes
No

  

pollcode.com free polls 

This bread turned out so much better than I was expecting.  I had never made a savory quick bread, so I was a little hesitant.  That hesitancy was silly because it turned out awesome.  If you’ve ever had the biscuits from Red Lobster, then you will love these because that’s exactly what these taste like.

Kellen and I paired this with garlic spaghetti.   I suggest you do this for dinner tomorrow and impress whoever you’re cooking for.  Dooo ittt.

On a side note, my friends at Glass of Milk Cake Company created a Facebook page just recently and would really appreciate your “likes,” so…

…by clicking HERE!

Thank you, it’s very much appreciated.  Check out this cute cupcake I got from them.

What’s the link to your Facebook page? 

Parmesan Cheddar Quick Bread
All Recipes

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese, leave some to sprinkle on top
  • ½ cup parmesan shredded cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cheese. 
  3. In another large bowl, beat together egg, milk and oil. 
  4. Stir the flour/cheese mixture into the egg mixture, stirring until just moistened. 
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle extra cheese on top.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Brittle- Last Minute Super Bowl Snack

Sorry for the lack of posts this past week.

It’s been super busy and my computer decided to malfunction, so I’ve been without it this week.

I hope you’re all having an awesome Super Bowl Sunday.


If you haven’t made any dessert, it’s not too late to whip this cookie brittle up before the game.  It’s super, super good.  It’s exactly what the title says; a mixture between a chocolate chip cookie and brittle. It’s crunchy and thin like brittle, but the taste is like chocolate chip cookies.  Seriously the perfect mixture.

Want to impress some guests today? Make this!

What are you doing today for the Super Bowl?



Chocolate Chip Cookie Brittle
Adapted from: All Recipes

Ingredients

  • ½ cup butter (no substitutes), softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup white corn syrup
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cups chocolate chips
  • ½ cup thinly sliced almonds

Directions
  1. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and corn syrup.
  2. Gradually add flour; mix well. Stir in chocolate chips and almonds. 
  3. Line a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan with foil; coat with nonstick cooking spray. 
  4. Gently press dough into the pan.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. 
  6. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Invert pan and remove foil. Break brittle into pieces; store in an airtight container.

Skinny Super Bowl Snacks

POM Wonderful

I don’t know about you, but I tend to eat super unhealthy on Super Bowl Sunday.
I was pleased to receive an e-mail from POM Wonderful with some healthy snacks that I thought I’d share with you guys.

The following recipes and pictures are courtesy of POM Wonderful.

POM Spinach Dip
Ingredients:
1 cup arils from 1-2 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates or POM POMS fresh pomegranate arils
1 8-oz. package cream cheese or 1 cup cottage cheese
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
 
Preparation:
Score 1-2 fresh pomegranates and place in a bowl of water. Break open the pomegranate underwater to free the arils (seed sacs). The arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top. Sieve and put the arils in a separate bowl. Reserve 1 cup of the arils from fruit and set aside. (Refrigerate or freeze remaining arils for another use.).
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Mix together cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, garlic, Swiss cheese, chopped spinach, mayonnaise, artichokes and arils.
Spread into a 1-quart baking dish or 9-inch glass pie pan. Bake until bubbly around the edges and cheese has melted, about 15 minutes.
Serve with fresh vegetables to dip.

 

 
Pomegranate, Gouda and Pear Quesadilla with POM Salsa
Ingredients:
Quesadilla
1 cup arils from 1-2 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates or POM POMS fresh pomegranate arils
6 8-inch flour tortillas
4 oz. smoked Gouda cheese, thinly sliced
2 large firm pears, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

POM Salsa
 

Ingredients:
Juice from 1 large POM Wonderful Pomegranate*, or ¼ cup POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
2 cups arils from 2-3 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates or POM POMS fresh pomegranate arils
3-4 teaspoons chopped jalapeno pepper
¼ cup finely chopped yellow bell pepper
4 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
 
Preparation:
Quesadilla:
Score 1-2 fresh pomegranates and place in a bowl of water. Break open the pomegranate underwater to free the arils (seed sacs). The arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top. Sieve and put the arils in a separate bowl. Reserve ½ cup of the arils from fruit and set aside. (Refrigerate or freeze remaining arils for another use.)
Place 2 strips of cheese on each tortilla
Using fingers, press 1 teaspoon of arils into cheese.
Add 2 slices of pear, sprinkle with sugar. Fold tortilla in half.
Add ½ teaspoon oil to a nonstick skillet and heat.
Place folded tortillas in the pan and brown lightly; turn over and cook until crisp. Add remaining ½ teaspoon of oil if needed.
Cut each tortilla into halves and serve with
POM Salsa

POM Salsa:
Score 2-3 fresh pomegranates and place in a bowl of water. Break open the pomegranate under water to free the arils (seed sacs). The arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top. Sieve and put the arils in a separate bowl. Reserve 2 cups of the arils from the fruit and set aside. (Refrigerate or freeze remaining arils for another use.)
Prepare fresh pomegranate juice.*
Thoroughly mix to combine all ingredients. (Salsa will keep covered, in the refrigerator, for 2 to 3 days.)

 

 
POMojito
Ingredients:
1 oz. POM Cherry 100% juice
1 ½ oz. light rum
½ oz. fresh lime juice
¾ oz. simple syrup (equal parts sugar and cold water dissolved together)
Soda
4 mint leaves
Mint sprig for garnish
Preparation:

In the bottom of a double old-fashioned glass bruise the 4 mint leaves with the fresh lime juice and simple syrup.
Add crushed ice then the POM Cherry and rum.
Top with a splash of soda and stir. Garnish with the mint sprig.

POM Velvet Cupcakes with POM Cream Cheese Frosting 
Time to Table: 35 Minutes Prep, 20 – 25 Minutes Baking and 20 Minutes Cooling
Servings: 30 regular cupcakes
Ingredients:
POM Cream Cheese Frosting
Juice from 3-4 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates*, or 1-½ cups POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
1 cup arils from 1-2 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates or POM POMS fresh pomegranate arils
4 oz. soft unsalted butter
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
14 oz. powdered sugar

POM Velvet Cupcakes
Juice from 6-9 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates*, or 2-½ cups POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
16 oz. granulated sugar
12 oz. soft unsalted butter (3 sticks
4 ea large eggs
1-½ cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
15 oz. all-purpose flour
1-½ oz. cocoa powder
¾ oz. baking soda
pinch salt
¼ cup heavy cream

Preparation:

POM Cream Cheese Frosting:
Prepare fresh pomegranate juice*, score 1-2 fresh pomegranates and place in a bowl of water, break open the pomegranates under water to free the arils (seed sacs), the arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top, sieve and put the arils in a separate bowl. Reserve 1 cup of the arils from fruit and set aside, (refrigerate or freeze remaining arils for another use), reduce the pomegranate juice, over low heat, down to 3 fl. oz., Allow to cool, place butter into electric mixer bowl with paddle attachment and cream on medium-high speed for 1 minute, add the cream cheese and continue to mix for 2 more minutes, turn the speed down to low and slowly add in the powdered sugar and the pomegranate juice reduction, mix until the sugar is fully combined, remove icing from the mixer and place into a piping bag with a round or star tip.

POM Velvet Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350ºF, reduce the pomegranate juice, over low heat, down to ½ cup, place sugar and soft butter in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream on medium-high speed, until the mixture is pale yellow and fluffy, turn the speed down to low and add the eggs in one at a time, in a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, pomegranate juice reduction, white vinegar and vanilla extract, and then slowly add half of this to the mixer, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt, and then sift at least two times until well mixed, add half of this to the mixer, add the remaining half of the liquids to the mixer, and then the remaining dry ingredients, finish off with the heavy cream, beat just until combined, place cupcake liners into cupcake pan, and using a spoon, fill with cake batter until it is just about ¾ full, bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, allow the pan to cool slightly, and then remove cupcakes to a wire rack to cool fully, once the cupcakes are cooled completely, they can be iced with the pomegranate cream cheese frosting and topped with fresh pomegranate arils.

 

What are you going to make for Super Bowl Sunday? I’m waiting on samples so I can make the POM cupcakes… yum!