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Neiman Marcus Dip

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I was perusing Minda’s Cooking after a long hiatus and I pinned everything I saw and then made it within a week.  OK, so it was three things, but that’s kind of epic for me. I pin tons of things (seriously, I’m almost at 8,000 pins), but rarely make them, let alone all at once. Minda’s blog was speaking my language, though.  First it was the  Frito Salad. Then it was this dip.  Then it was the Crockpot Chicken & Stuffing. Bring on the easy-to-make comfort food.

OK so we’ve already established that dip is my thing.  Dip is like majorly my thing.  If dip were a man, I would marry him and then eat all our dip babies. OK, maybe that’s going a little too far, but not by much.  And this dip is so, so good.  Totally meets my dip standards because it’s fat, plus more fat, plus some more x 2, with onions, which means it’s delicious. Can’t go wrong with quadruple fat plus onions.

All kidding aside, this dip is some serious goodness.  It’s creamy, crunchety, bacony goodness.  Make it, and you’ll be a superstar at your next potluck, game day, or to yourself as you spend some quality alone-time with it.

Neiman Marcus Dip

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

5-6 green onions, sliced (both white and green parts)
1 (8 oz) package cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (3 oz) package real bacon bits
1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds, toasted & cooled completely
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

Stir all ingredients together well in a mixing bowl.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe source: Minda’s Cooking

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Chocolate Mocha Punch


Seriously, a recipe today! :D I drafted this November 14th so it’s about time I posted it-lol.  I’ve shared a few of my friend, Teri’s, recipes before (see them all here), and this one is just as wonderful as the others.  She made this punch for my last baby shower and it was delicious! I’m sure once you scan the ingredients, you won’t have a hard time figuring out why.  It’s very decadent!  She also made it for her daughter’s wedding and the holiday party at her home last week, and I think it’s great for any occassion.  New Year’s Eve, maybe? :)

Chocolate Mocha Punch

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

3 quarts water
1 cup Nesquik
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup instant coffee granules (decaf is fine)
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
1/2 gallon chocolate ice cream
2 cups whipped cream (Teri uses Cool Whip)
Chocolate curls for garnish

In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat and add Nesquik, sugar and coffee; stir until dissolved. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. About 30 minutes before serving, pour into a punch bowl. Add ice cream by scoopfuls, stir until partially melted. Garnish with dollops of whipped cream and chocolate curls.

Guiness Brownies with Bailey’s Cream Cheese Swirl

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In the name of culinary exploration, I bought a single bottle of Guiness to make Wednesday’s cupcakes, knowing I could never use an entire 6-pack.  Unfortunately, the bottle was pretty ginormous so I still have more than half of it left.  I also have quite a bit of Bailey’s left, and since I can’t give this stuff to people I know who drink because they either don’t drink anything but the occasional wine or have drinking problems, I’m either going to have to toss it or keep baking up a storm with it.  And you guys know I can’t waste anything, right?

Hence, these brownies.  These crazy, rich, gooey, decadent brownies.  I went with my Kahlua brownies recipe, switching out the Kahlua for Guiness, and then went a little crazy with the mix-ins, adding butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, and walnuts.  Then I glanced the cream cheese in my fridge and got excited, thinking of my Brownie Cakes recipe and using it as a springboard to create a Bailey’s Irish Cream cheese swirl.

I liked these a lot, despite the Guiness.  I’ve discovered from reading Guiness & chocolate recipe reviews on blogs that I may be the only blogger alive not in the “Yay, Guiness and chocolate are the best combo evarrrr!” camp, but at least the flavor was not overpowering here, thanks to the sweet chips and cream cheese swirl.  There is a slight yeasty flavor from the Guiness, which is interesting but not off-putting.  For most people, that would translate to, “Yaaaaaaay, Guiness brownies are the best thing EVARRRR!!!!”

The only bad thing about these brownies (unless you want to count the calories, but who counts dessert calories??), is that they used up so little of this leftover alcohol.  I’m giving up on the Guiness, but as for the Irish cream…Bailey’s Banana Bread anyone?

Guiness Brownies with Bailey’s Cheesecake Swirl

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Guiness Brownies:
1 brownie mix
½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
¼ cup Guiness Extra Stout beer
1 egg
Optional mix-ins (add up to 1 ½ cups total): chopped walnuts or pecans, caramel bits, butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips, or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheese Swirl:
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon Bailey’s Irish Cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom only of a 9×13” baking pan and set aside.

Combine the first four ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk until shiny and smooth, about a minute. Add optional mix-ins and stir until well combined. Spread into prepared pan; set aside.

Beat the cream cheese and sugar in a small mixing bowl until creamy, then beat in the egg and Bailey’s Irish Cream. Drop batter by spoonfuls on top of the brownie batter and swirl through with a knife.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until the cheesecake is golden on top and the brownies are puffed in the middle but firmer at the edges. Allow to cool completely before cutting.

Optional Reading:

OK, so this blog was too long to include this story before the recipe, but I wanted to put it at the end for those whose patience is still holding.

In high school drama class, we were doing a project where we were creating a spoof episode of the X-Files.  I remember nothing about the episode we came up with, except that some genius decided to cast me as an evil leprechaun.  (Speaking of evil leprechauns, doesn’t that one in my first picture look a little sadistic?)  We were actually filming it, just like a real TV show.

I showed up on filming day dressed head to toe in bright green.  I had no idea what I was going to wear for the role, but my mother happened to have a pair of bright green corduroy pants (oh, the glorious high fashion of the 90s!) stashed away in her closet.  She was a tiny woman and even at 115 pounds, I really had to stuff myself into those things and could hardly breathe all day.  I paired it with a matching shirt and called it golden (or emerald, if you will).

For my scene, we were filming in the hall and I was told to run off laughing after delivering my line.  It wasn’t until the camera started rolling that I thought to wonder how long I should run while laughing.  Convinced I should fight my urge to do it only a few seconds, thinking it was just my shyness trying to get the better of me, I tore off down the hall, squealing insanely with evil leprechaun laughter, throwing my hands up over my head and swinging them wildly back and forth as I ran…all the way down the hall.

That’s right.

I passed about five classrooms, squealing with high-pitched insane laughter at the top of my lungs.

When I turned back around, hoping I’d laughed long enough, there were curious heads leaning out of every single closed door I had passed, and in the far distance, I could see my classmates rolling with laughter while my drama teacher looked like he wished he could crawl under a rug.

I could have died.  The walk back to join my drama group was the longest walk of my life.  Every classroom stared at me as I passed, surely wondering who the crazy girl dressed in green was and if there was anything beyond my insanity that spurred the laughter that disrupted their class.

And of course, after that day, I was known far and wide as “the evil leprechaun.”

The end.

 

Guiness & Bailey’s Chocolate-Caramel Cupcakes

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This seems to be happening to me more and more, the longer I blog: I either create a recipe out of my own head, or I see a blog with a recipe and I immediately think of a new direction I want to take it in.  I type out the recipe, including the measurements and steps.  Then, after I’ve made my new and improved recipe, I discover that someone else already did it.  Kinda takes the wind out of my sails!

This has happened twice just this week.  I typed up a recipe for banana bread (I always type up baking recipes before I actually go to town, since they require more precision than just throwing things in a pot and tasting as you go along) that I thought was pretty stinking original, but before I’d even made it, I found that same recipe, almost exactly with the same ingredients and measurements except for just a few things, on Steak & Potato Kinda Girl’s blog (it was a Joy the Baker recipe, though, from her new cookbook).  I kinda had a freak-out and changed my recipe just so I wouldn’t be a copycat, even if I did come up with it on my own.  (I really want the banana bread recipe I win with at the fair this year *knock on wood* to be my own creation.  I’m in the process of creating the BEST recipe (or discovering, if I must) so I can beat my baking nemesis–more about that here.)

Then I decided I was going to make some Guiness chocolate cupcakes for St. Patrick’s Day and came up with my own decadent recipe, using this cake recipe, and using inspiration from this cake to add in some caramel to compliment the Guiness, chocolate, & Bailey’s Irish Cream flavors.  Then I happened to stumble upon Annie’s Eats, who has a spookily similar recipe.  She’s got the Guinness cupcake, the Bailey’s ganache filling (sans caramel), and Bailey’s Irish Cream frosting.

How is this even possible?  Is this some weird phenomenon among food bloggers that we’ve read so many of each others blogs that we start thinking the same?  Or am I just a freak of nature?  (Don’t answer that.)  Well, whatever it is, I’m considering myself flattered to have come up with similar recipes as the likes of Joy & Annie, who I respect greatly.  Who knows, maybe I’m becoming one of these “great minds” that “think alike.” :)

Well, despite these cupcakes having doppelgangers in who-knows-what corners of the blogosphere, I’m pretty proud of them because, besides the cake recipe, they are my own creation.  They are very decadent, as I intended, and are tremendously delicious.

Now, I need to tell you that I absolutely detest beer (except in beer bread, of course), and Guinness is at the top of my hate list *shudder*, but it somehow works in the chocolate cupcakes.  Although I would definitely prefer a Guiness-free cupcake, the stout flavor does add depth to the chocolate, making it deeper and more sultry, with a slightly bitter edge.  The rich caramel ganache is thick and sweet, and the frosting is like a fluffy silken dream-both elements a perfectly sweet compliment to the dark chocolate cake, and in my opinion, absolutely required to balance the cupcake.  You get quite a heady feeling when taking a bite of these–although low in alcohol*, they are very “boozy” tasting (at least to my virgin palate), but not in an offensive way.  Still, I wouldn’t recommend you try serving these to your toddler.

*A last note to those worried about the alcohol content.  It bakes off from the cupcakes, leaving only the flavor behind, and the amount in the filling and frosting is not much more than you’d get from using vanilla.  So never fear, you will not get intoxicated from eating one of these, though I still consider them to be an adult treat.  To nix the alcohol completely, I believe you could use Irish Cream coffee creamer in place of the real Irish Cream in this recipe.   I hope you enjoy!

Note: I didn’t edit my photos, but this one is pretty washed out so I did try to darken it, but just couldn’t capture the true color so I apologize it does not represent the cupcakes accurately. The cake is much darker than this.  The other photos are pretty spot-on, even without editing.

Guiness & Bailey’s Chocolate-Caramel Cupcakes

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Guiness Chocolate Cupcakes:
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter (cold is fine)
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup Guinness Extra Stout (cold is fine)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs

Bailey’s Chocolate-Caramel Filling:
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
¼ cup caramel sauce, plus more for garnish (I used homemade)
1 tablespoon Bailey’s Irish Cream
½ cup powdered sugar, as needed

Bailey’s Irish Buttercream:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 lb. (4 cups) powdered sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two dozen cupcake tins with papers.

In a small saucepan, melt butter and whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Stir in the Guinness and vanilla extract and remove from heat.

While the Guinness mixture is cooling, whisk together the sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt. Pour the Guinness mixture onto the dry ingredients, then add the eggs and whisk until the batter is shiny and smooth, about a minute. Divide batter between cupcake tins, filling half full. Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Remove from pans to cool completely on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, make the filling. Combine the chocolate and caramel sauce in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on 50% power for 1 minute. Stir until the mixture is smooth and glossy, then stir in the Bailey’s Irish Cream. Set aside to cool and thicken.

Lastly, make the buttercream. Beat the butter until creamy, then add the sugar and Bailey’s. Beat on low until mixed, then increase speed to medium and beat until fluffy, light, and silky, about five minutes. Set aside.

Return to the filling, which should be room temperature by now. (If not, refrigerate for five minutes and stir, repeating until cooled completely.) Remove two tablespoons to a small bowl, then stir in powdered sugar ¼ cup at a time into the remaining filling, until the filling is your desired thickness.

Put the filling into a pastry bag fitted with a round tip or a squeeze bottle with a nozzle. Insert the tip into the top of each cupcake and squeeze briefly to fill, stopping once the top starts to rise. Once all are filled, pipe or spread the buttercream on top. Drizzle with the reserved filling and caramel sauce. Serve at room temperature. If making more than two days in advance, you can keep the cupcakes in the refrigerator and remove them two hours prior to serving.

Recipe source: cake recipe from Global Table Adventure, cupcakes inspired by Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, filling & frosting recipes and method by Veronica Miller

Andes Mint Cupcakes

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Guess what???  It’s Monday and I have the day off with my husband.  I’m SO excited!  Before I became permanent and my schedule changed, we had the weekends off together, but now we only get one day off together once every five weeks so it’s cause for celebration.  I’m going to relish it.

Speaking of my husband and celebrations, I made these cupcakes for his birthday in December, and everyone at the party fell in loveMel calls these “over-the-top” and I’d have to agree.  It starts with a moist, deep chocolate cupcake.  Then there’s the cool & creamy mint frosting.  Garnished with peppermint ganache and an Andes mint.  But there’s more to these cupcakes than what meets the eye, and my only regret is that I did not have the chance to snap a photo of the inside to show you they are also filled with the same peppermint ganache that is drizzled over the top.  Making them, you might say, over the top. :)

These would be great for your St. Patrick’s Day festivities!

Andes Mint Cupcakes

Printable recipe
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1 recipe of your favorite chocolate cake*, baked into 24 cupcakes and cooled completely

Chocolate Mint Filling:
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
2/3 cup powdered sugar

Mint Buttercream:
1 cup (2 sticks, 16 tablespoons) butter, softened to room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2 lbs. powdered sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
Green food coloring

24 Andes mints for garnish

For the mint filling, place the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a small microwave-safe bowl and heat for 1 minute at 50% power. Stir. Repeat the process until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the peppermint extract and powdered sugar, whisking until smooth. Let the mixture cool to room temperature (but don’t let it get too stiff) and pour it into a disposable pastry bag fitted with a small round tip, or a squeeze bottle with a tip.

Insert the decorating tip or tip of the squeeze bottle into the center of the cupcake and press gently to fill the middle of the cupcake with the mint ganache.  You can be pretty generous, squeezing until you see the top of the cupcake start to rise a little. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes.

For the frosting, in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add the heavy cream and peppermint and vanilla extracts. Beat until light and fluffy. Add green food coloring until the color you like is achieved.

Frost the cooled, filled cupcakes with frosting (using a large star tip, I used Wilton # 1M) or simply spread the frosting in a large dollop (again, you can be generous-there is plenty) with a butter knife or flat spatula. Garnish with a drizzle of leftover ganache (make sure the ganache is completely cool or it will melt the frosting when you drizzle it on top of the cupcake), and an unwrapped Andes mint.  Serve at room temperature.

*I used a devil’s food cake mix, but this is my favorite from-scratch chocolate cake recipe.

Recipe source: adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

***

I had to share a few more photos from his party, which was actually only half for his birthday (our preacher and his wife had a holiday dinner/birthday party combo).  One of the games we played was holding paper plates on top of our heads and trying to draw a picture of Dennis playing his guitar without looking.  You have no idea how difficult this is until you try to do it!  This is what I ended up with:

https://i1.wp.com/sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/s720x720/375983_10150501251206480_541706479_10934912_410175853_n.jpg

However, this is what his best friend, Jack, came up with:

https://i1.wp.com/sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/s720x720/386399_10150501252261480_541706479_10934919_836445075_n.jpg

Highly suspicious.

Here’s Dennis and Jack trying to look natural after I urged them to try embracing each other for a photo.  I don’t think this is natural for most men, but they pulled it off better than I expected. :)

https://i0.wp.com/sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/s720x720/384593_10150501252876480_541706479_10934928_1748743330_n.jpg

And here’s Dennis practicing his Kung Fu moves with our preacher’s bat’leth (a Klingon weapon…as in something a Trekkie would totally recognize but me, not so much) shortly before we left (and yes, this thing is super sharp and dangerous! Yet he was swinging it like the pro he is.):

https://i0.wp.com/sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/s720x720/382966_10150501256611480_541706479_10934943_332731381_n.jpg

Your Klingon Kung Fu is strong, honey.

***

Reminder: this is the last week to get your postcards out to Beverly! You can get the deets here if you missed the announcement: Operation Postcard for Beverly.

Cheddar Bacon Dip

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I can’t believe it has been a month since I last shared a recipe!  After my blogging hiatus, I’m feeling refreshed and ready to return to my online cornucopia of recipes, life adventures, and Thankful Thursdays.  Thank you for bearing with me through January, and thank you to the wonderful guest posters that kept my blog alive in my stead. I now have a clean, OK, cleaner house, have worked my way up to Judges in my quest to read the Bible from cover to cover, have gotten enough sleep almost every night for a month, have spent valuable time with my nephew, and have taken up a new hobby of funky manicures (you can see some of them here), which will probably die hard now that I’m back to blogging.  But as one of my co-workers said, “Who cares about your nails? We need to EAT!”  Enough said–here we go! :)

I have so many recipes to share with you guys, and most of them savory if you can believe it.  Since the Super Bowl* is next Sunday, I figured I’d start with something football party-appropriate: a fattening dip!  This was my least favorite recipe I made while I was away (though you wouldn’t know it by the ungodly amount I ate), but it’s tasty, it’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s a man-pleaser so I’m sharing it for those of you who need a quick man-pleasing dip to add to your Super Bowl party spread.

For other party food ideas, check out my index of snacks and appetizers here.

Cheddar Bacon Dip

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16 oz sour cream
1 packet Ranch dressing mix
3 oz bacon bits (in the bag not jar)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Mix together and refrigerate 24 hours. Serve with chips and/or veggies.

Recipe source: Plain Chicken

*True fact: at the age of 12, when a convenience store clerk asked if I was looking forward to the Super Bowl, I replied, “No, I don’t really like bowling that much.”  My younger sister gave me a cringing look and after we left the store, she explained that the Super Bowl is the NFL’s championship football game. Shows you how much I know about sports!  The only difference is now I love bowling.  I still am clueless about football.

White Trash


I drafted this post on December 26th, 2009. It is the oldest draft in my collection, so I’m pretty excited to finally have a fairly decent photo of it so I can share the recipe with you!

On my wedding day eleven years ago, my new Grandmother (this one) gifted me with her church’s fundraiser cookbook*, which included many recipes from her and other members of my new family.  I treasure it!  I love spiral-bound recipe books like these because they are filled with tried-and-true recipes that real people use–simple, unpretentious, and delicious.

Love that it has a cornucopia on it--perfect for my blog! :)

Take this one, for example. I had to giggle when I read the name “White Trash.” I really like the name because it’s funny and does accurately describe the appearance, but it is also known in classier circles as “Christmas Crunch.” I don’t care what you call it, it’s salty and sweet and addictively-delicious!

So this is the last recipe I’ll be sharing before the holiday, and I think you’ll find it a perfect treat to whip up if you need a last-second snack or gift.  Dennis and I are heading to Abilene as soon as we get out of church to spend Christmas** with his family, and will be back some time on Monday so I won’t be posting anything else until Tuesday at the earliest.

I wish you a merry Christmas! Be safe and have fun!

White Trash

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3 cups Rice Chex Cereal
3 cups Cheerios cereal
2 cups salted, roasted peanuts
2 cups pretzel sticks, broken in half
1 lb. white chocolate or vanilla almond bark*
1 (12 oz) bag M&M’s in seasonal colors

Mix all ingredients except chocolate or almond bark in a large bowl. Melt chocolate or almond bark as package directs; pour over mixture, mixing to coat well. Spread out onto waxed paper to dry. Break into chunks and store in airtight containers or Ziploc bags. Saves well for several weeks.

*1 lb. of almond bark is 8 rectangles.

Recipe source: tweaked from Donna A’s recipe.

*Although I’m very thankful for this cookbook, I don’t advocate any church fundraising beyond the weekly collection.  You can click here for a good article that reflects my thoughts on church fundraisers.

**You can also click here to find out why I’m a Christian that doesn’t celebrate Christmas as the day of Christ’s birth, and why the mention of it is never on our holiday cards!  Don’t be too alarmed, we will be honoring our savior in worship on Christmas, because it is the Lord’s day, just like every Sunday. :)

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