Monday, August 29, 2011

Overnight Waffles with Buttermilk Syrup

I tried these this weekend and WOOOW! I love breakfast and waffles especially, but I find it's hard to find that great flavor and crispness that you get at a restaurant when you make them from scratch at home. These are BY FAR the best homemade waffles I've made only coming second to my "Golden Malted Waffle Mix" available at This recipe took seconds to throw together the night before and makes for an impressive and quick meal.
Recipe courtesy of BigOven


1/2 teaspoon Instant yeast
2 cups All purpose flour
1 tablespoon Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 cups milk
8 tablespoon Butter; melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract; optional
Canola Oil; for brushing on waffle iron
2 eggs

How to Prepare Overnight Waffles
1. Before going to bed, combine the dry ingredients and stir in the milk, then the butter and vanilla. The mixture will be loose. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside overnight at room temperature (I found a gallon pitcher worked best)

2.Brush the waffle iron lightly with oil and preheat it. Separate the eggs and stir the yolks into the batter. Beat the whites until they hold soft peaks. Stir them gently into the batter. (I did NOT do this step I simply just beat the eggs with a fork for a minute and threw the eggs into the batter without separating them. Seemed to work well.)

3. Pour batter onto the waffle iron and bake until the waffle is done, usually 3 to 5 minutes, depending on your iron. Serve immediately or keep warm for a few minutes in a low oven.

I watch for the steam to stop rising from the waffle iron before I check for doneness. Also, these freeze well if you have extras. A quick toast in the toaster oven crisps them up again and they taste almost as good as fresh.

Buttermilk Syrup Recipe

This syrup is like pouring caramel over your breakfast and truthfully I would use it over all sorts of desserts if you wanted to make your own caramel sauce...the flavor of this one is out of this world!

1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a LARGE saucepan, stir together the sugar, buttermilk, butter, corn syrup, and baking soda. Bring to a boil, and cook for 7 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in the vanilla.
**This stuff really "grows" as it cooks so make sure your pan is at least 4 qt.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Veggie Lasagna

Mix together:

30 oz container part skim ricotta cheese
1 c Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 handful fresh parsley (1 T dried)
1 clove garlic


2-3 peeled and shredded zucchini
2-3 peeled and shredded carrot
10 oz fresh spinach washed
1/2 c mushrooms chopped (optional)

You can mix all the veggies together once prepared, or just put them in layers on the lasagna...doesn't matter.

Additional Ingredients:
1 box Lasagna noodles*** (see note)
1/2 c additional Parmesan for top
2 c shredded mozzarella
2 containers of your favorite pasta sauce


You can make this dish into 2 small 8x8 pans (one for now, one to freeze) or one large 9x13 pan. Begin by spraying your pan with cooking spray. Then pour a small amount of tomato sauce on the bottom just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Then layer uncooked REGULAR (you DON'T need the no boil kind) lasagna noodles, 1/2 cheese mixture, 1/2 veggies, sauce, then repeat....noodles, cheese mixture, veggies, sauce and noodles. This is the top of your lasagna and you should cover the noodles with any additional sauce you may have. Then sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and additional Parmesan. Bake at 375 for 1 hour.

***This lasagna is very moist due to all the veggies and so do not feel tempted to precook your noodles, otherwise it might turn into lasagna soup. When the lasagna comes out of the oven your pasta will be cooked perfectly al dente....prego!

Zucchini Bread --Regular and Chocolate

(Chocolate Zucchini Bread shown)

This is my favorite way to get rid of those garden zucchini that are going crazy right now!!! None of your neighbors want to take your zucchini's but I bet they won't be able to say no to your delicious zucchini bread!
This recipe is adapted from the favorites cookbook. The adaptations I have made make it healthier, more flavorful, and moist. That's a win, win, win. It's my favorite recipe I've tried....and I've tried a few. So enjoy!

1 c whole wheat flour
2 c all purpose flour
1 T cinnamon
1 t salt
1 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
3 eggs beaten
1 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c oil
1/2 c plain yogurt
1 T vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini...(to peel or not to peel you decide)
1/2 c chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 8x4 loaf pans with cooking spray. Set aside.

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Then beat eggs, sugars, oil, yogurt and vanilla. Slowly mix in dry ingredients. Blend in grated zucchini and nuts.

**Now....if you want CHOCOLATE zucchini bread you would add 2/3 c cocoa powder to your dry ingredients. And you could add 1/2 c chocolate chips instead of the nuts. Sometimes I can't decide if I want regular or chocolate so I pour half the regular batter into one prepared pan, and then add 1/3 c cocoa to the remaining batter and mix well. Then voila! You have one of each. Genius.

Bake for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy!!!

Hint: These also make great muffins! Just adjust the baking time for 20-25 minutes for regular and 30-35 minutes for the jumbo size.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Hershey's Caramel Pecan Bars

I made these years ago (like maybe 8 years?) for treats for my mom's choir singers, and a former singer just reminded me of them today, and remembers how amazing they were.  So, there you have it.  These brownies will linger in your mind and in your mouth for 8 years and counting!

·         1/2 C sugar
·         2 Tbl butter
·         2 Tbl water
·         2 C (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips – divide in half
·         2 eggs
·         1 tsp vanilla
·         2/3 C all purpose flour
·         1/4 tsp baking soda
·         1/4 tsp salt

Caramel topping:
·         Bag of caramels (need 25 pieces)
·         1/2 stick butter
·         2 Tbl milk
·         1 C chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350*.  Line a 9” square baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Grease and flour the foil.

In medium saucepan, combine sugar, butter and water.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until mixture boils, then remove from heat.  Immediately add 1 C chocolate chips and stir until melted.  Beat in eggs and vanilla until well blended.  Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; stir into chocolate mixture.  Spread batter into prepared pan.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan.  Meanwhile, prepare Caramel Topping.  Remove brownies from oven; immediately and carefully spread with prepared topping.  Sprinkle 1 C chocolate chips and pecans over the caramel.  Cool completely in pan.  When cooled, use the foil to lift brownies out of the pan.  Cut into bars.

Caramel Topping:

Remove wrappers from 25 caramels.  In medium microwave-safe bowl, place 1/2 stick butter, caramels and 2 Tbl milk.  Microwave at HIGH for 1 minute; stir.  Microwave an additional 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until caramels are melted and mixture is smooth when stirred.  Use immediately.

Friday, August 19, 2011

South by Southwest Brownies

This was brownie bake-off recipe #2.  I think I saw it in a Southwest Airlines magazine, and ripped it out to take home with me.  I become violent when I see chocolate.  This brownie has more of a cake-like texture than #1, and didn't have the more sophisticated semi-sweet/bittersweet taste of brownie #1.  But it was very moist inside -- if you pinch the crumbs together, it turns to mush.  And I've eaten the whole pan myself, so there!

- 1 C unsalted butter
- 2 C sugar
- 4 large eggs @ room temperature
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2/3 C unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 2/3 C unsweetened cocoa
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 d.  Grease and flour a 9x9 pan, tapping out extra flour.  I used cocoa powder, not white flour. (I only had an 8x8 glass pan, so the brownies were thick.)

Melt butter in microwave or in a sauce pan over medium heat on the stove.  Remove from heat.  Whisk or stir in sugar, followed by eggs and vanilla.  Carefully stir in flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.   Make sure the dry ingredients are well-incorporated and batter is smooth.  Pour in the pan and bake 35-40 minutes (since I used a smaller pan and brownies were thicker, it took 40 minutes.)  Toothpick test should have a few small clumps on it.

Let brownies cool completely (yeah, right) before cutting and eating.

Gramercy Tavern Chocolate Brownies

This was my "Brownie Bake-Off" #1 recipe that I tested while my family was enjoying Scotland.  (Hmmm, a brownie vs. Scotland.  Tough choice!)  This recipe is from chef Claudia Fleming of Gramercy Tavern in NYC.  I think this was my favorite between #1 and #2 -- it has a more sophisticated chocolate taste and texture.  At least, this is the one I would bake for a gourmet gift.

The texture was like a truffle brownie, although it was slightly on the dry side (the brownie was stiff to cut into), but I think I baked it 2 minutes too long.  Seriously, ANY over-baking of brownies leads to no good, so I recommend under-baking these.

- 8 oz unsalted butter
- 4 oz premium unsweetened chocolate (e.g. Scharffen Berger)
- 2 large eggs
- 1-2/3 C sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 C unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2/3 C chocolate chips (can also use chopped pecans, but why???)

Preheat oven to 350 d.  Grease a 9x9 pan (I only had an 8x8 glass pan, so they were a little thicker, but it worked nicely!)

Melt butter and chocolate together in a bowl, stir until combined (can melt slowly in microwave, or in a double boiler on the stove.)  In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla together.  Add the melted butter/chocolate mixture, and whisk until incorporated.  Fold in the flour and salt.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour into the pan and bake for approx. 30 minutes (the recipe says 35 min.  I baked them for 32 and I think it was 2 minutes too long.)  The center should be moist but not runny.  Cool 5 minutes, then take a knife and gentle loosen the edges.  Let cool completely before serving/eating -- if you can wait that long!

Kim's South of the Border Brownies

This recipe was adapted from a Hershey's brownie recipe.  Mine is better, of course!  You can add the "special ingredient" for a little kick, or leave it out for a gooey, chocolatey brownie.

- 1 C margarine
- 2 C sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 4 eggs
- 2 Tbl light Karo syrup
- 3/4 C cocoa
- 1 C flour + 1 Tbl
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste.  **optional)

Preheat oven to 350 d.  Grease a 9x13 pan. 

Melt margarine on stove.  Stir in sugar, vanilla, Karo syrup.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well with a spoon (I always use a  wooden spoon -- just works best!)  Mix in cocoa, flour, baking powder, salt, and cayenne pepper.

Pour into pan.  Bake 25-30 minutes depending on oven (but best if "underbaked.")  YUM!

King Arthur Fudgy Brownies

These brownies are the BEST!  They make a thick, decadent brownie in a 9"x13" pan.  I use this recipe for holiday brownies when I'm taking gifts to people, etc.  You can "dress them up" to make them fancy, or just leave plain.

·    1 C (8 oz) salted butter
·    2 ¼ C sugar
·    1 ¼ C premium Dutch-processed cocoa powder
·    ½ tsp salt (or 1 tsp if unsalted butter)
·    1 tsp baking powder
·    1 Tbl vanilla
·    4 large eggs
·    1 ½ C flour (unbleached, all-purpose)
·    2 C (1 12 oz bag) dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350*, lightly grease 9x13” pan.

In medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in saucepan over low heat, melt butter and remove from heat, then add sugar and stir to combine.  Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just till hot but not bubbling.  Mixture will become shiny as you stir it over heat (this will dissolve the sugar and provide a shiny top crust on the brownies).  Transfer to a mixing bowl.

Stir in the cocoa, salt, baking powder, and vanilla.  Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating till smooth; then add flour and chips, beating till well combined.  Spoon the batter into the pan.

Bake brownies for 28-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out dry (though might have a few crumbs on it.)  The brownies should feel set both on the edges and in the center.  Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes, then loosen around edges with a table knife (this helps brownies from sinking in the middle as they cool.)  Cool completely before cutting and serving.

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