Saturday, March 22, 2008

apricot glazed easter ham

Serves 15 to 20

1 bone-in smoked ham (10 pounds)
1/4 cup whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup apricot preserves

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Wrap ham completely with parchment paper-lined aluminum foil and place on a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan. Transfer ham to oven and bake for 1 hour. Place apricot preserves in a 1-quart saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Transfer preserves to a blender and puree until smooth, about 2 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve set over a small bowl; discard solids. You should have slightly less than 1/2 cup remaining. Add mustard and vinegar to bowl of preserves; stir to combine.

Unwrap ham; discard parchment and foil. Transfer ham to a cutting board. Using a large sharp knife, score fat in a diamond pattern, making the lines about 3/4 inch apart. Return ham to roasting pan.

Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees. Brush ham evenly with 3/4 of the preserve mixture and return to oven. Bake ham for 30 minutes. Brush ham with remaining glaze and continue cooking 10 minutes more. Transfer to a cutting board until ready to carve.

easter egg bread

This traditional bread comes from Greece and Italy. It is by far my most favorite Easter Recipe. It's a great way to use up some of those died eggs, it looks great and of course tastes delicious!

Preparation Time: 30 minutes plus rising
Baking Time: 35-40 minutes
Makes 10-12 servings

4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 envelope (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
3/4 cup hot milk (120F-130F)
1/4 cup hot water (120F-130F)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
2 large eggs
5 hard-cooked eggs, colored
Vegetable oil

Place 1 cup flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl; mix well. Add milk, water and butter. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Beat on medium-high speed for 1 minute. Add the 2 uncooked eggs; beat until well combined. Stir in enough remaining flour until a soft dough forms.

Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in a warm place until almost double in size, about 45 minutes.

Grease a baking sheet. Punch down dough. Place dough on a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Roll each piece into a 30-inch rope. Loosely twist ropes together.

Shape twisted ropes into a ring, about 12 inches in diameter, on prepared baking sheet; press ends to seal. Rub colored eggs lightly with oil. Place eggs in spaces between twists. Cover; let rise until almost double in size, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F. Uncover dough; bake bread ring until golden, 35-40 minutes. Remove from baking sheet; cool completely on a wire rack.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing

Chocolate Cupcakes

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup good cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Kathleen's Peanut Butter Icing, recipe follows
Chopped salted peanuts, to decorate, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 2 sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it's completely blended.

Divide the batter among the cupcake pans (1 rounded standard ice cream scoop per cup is the right amount). Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Frost each cupcake with Peanut Butter Icing and sprinkle with chopped peanuts, if desired.

Peanut Butter Icing

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

fortune cookies

I have had more fun with this recipe than any other. I used to teach children's cooking classes and the kids absolutely loved these. They are simple, delicious and you get to write your own fortunes. I like making them for birthdays with sprinkles and putting birthday fortunes in them. The same can be done with Valentines Day or for just about any occasion. They are fun to dip in chocolate (white, milk, or dark) and sprinkle.

3 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter -- melted
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Combine ingredients in order, mixing well after each addition. Chill 20 minutes. Make cookies 2 at a time. On greased cookie sheet, drop a spoonful of dough for each cookie. It is very important to spread dough very thin with back of spoon to about 3 inch diameter. Bake about 5 minutes or until edges are lightly brown. Working quickly, place a fortune** in the center of each cookie. Fold cookie in half enclosing fortune, to form a semi-circle. Grasp rounded edges of semi-circle between thumb and forefinger on one hand. Place forefinger of other hand at center of folded edge, and push in, making certain solid sides of cookie puff out. Place each cookie in small size muffin tin, open edges up, until cookie is set. Store in airtight container. Beforehand: Cut some paper into 2 inch x 1/2 inch strips. Type or write fortunes on them, to insert in cookies.

pan fried onion dip

There are not words to describe how good this is. It's out of control addicting and WAY better than the mix or pre-made onion dip. Men love it, woman really can't go wrong. Serve with crinkle potato chips or fresh veggies for an irresistable appetizer!

2 large yellow onions
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup good mayonnaise
Cut the onions in half, and then slice them into 1/8-inch thick half-rounds. (You will have about 3 cups of onions) Heat the butter and oil in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the onions, cayenne, salt and pepper and sauté for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 more minutes, until the onions are browned and caramelized. Allow the onions to cool.
Place the cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat until smooth. Add the onions and mix well.
Taste for seasonings. Serve at room temperature.