Monday, August 18, 2014

Caramel Stuffed Pumpkin Cookies

So I'm not sure about anyone else..but this girl is ready for fall! I'm ready for the cool crisp air, I'm ready for fires, and that awesome fall smell! The leafs changing colors, and falling ever so softly to the ground! And along with all these awesome fall favorites..I'm ready for pumpkins! Pumpkin pies, pumpkin rolls, pumpkin cupcakes and cookies! OK to make them. I hardly eat them (even though I do have to taste them excuse :) ) . So this weekend, I didn't want to wait. I wanted a little piece of fall early! So I made Stuffed pumpkin cookies! Three of my favorite flavors and putting them together. Pumpkin, cinnamon, and caramel! These cookies turned out beautiful!

OK not the best picture!! I need to work on my food photography..clearly. Too bad it's not a bird! These would be a perfect fall treat! The next time I make them I will do things a little bit different. I'll use more pumpkin, and cinnamon than what the recipes calls for. It's sort of like a lightly pumpkin flavored snickerdoodle. So here is the recipe..

Caramel Stuffed Pumpkin Cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 + 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1/3 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 + 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (14 ounce) bag Rolos (for soft middles) or Kraft Caramels (for hard, chewy middles) (unwrap about 30 of them)

OK now get out two large cookie sheets, and cover them with parchment paper, or silpats, if you are lucky to have them. I do not have them. But I want some so bad! Now if you are using parchment paper I highly recommend spraying it down with non stick cooking spray, or some kind of oil. 
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter, and 1 cup of sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes. If you do not have unsalted butter, do not worry. Just use salted butter and omit the salt. If you do not leave the salt out your cookies will taste salty. And no one wants that! Now the next time I make these, I'm actually going to use 1 and 1/4 cups of sugar. Because I'm a rebel like that! Now add the vanilla, and pumpkin and mix for another 2 minutes.
Now in a small bowl whisk together the flour, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, cloves, ginger, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add to the sugar mixture and beat on low just until combined. Now of course I would use 2 and half tablespoons of cinnamon.  Pop the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Now clean the kitchen, read a book, or get on Facebook. I do not recommend waiting by the fridge for 30 mins..that would get boring! 
Now the fun begins.. the messy fun! lol. When the 30 mins is up get out the dough and start making rounded tablespoon balls, placing the caramel or rolo's or you can do a mix of both in the middle of the cooking, and rolling it up inside it. I used both, and when I do it again I'm going to use caramels only. Rolos are really messy and gooey. Now take that extra sugar, and cinnamon and mix them together in a bow, and roll those babies in a bath of cinnamon goodness!  Now place them on the parchment paper. Now if you use parchment paper they will stick so oil oil oil lol!  I did not use two cookie sheets I only needed one. Whatever you NOT let them touch. Because they will stick together! Now pop them back in the fridge for at least 2 hours. I did mind over night. 
When two or so hours are up.. preheat the oven to 350. Prepare yourself some more cookie pans (I highly recommend oiled parchment paper and oil oil oil). Put some cookies on the sheet and bake for 14 mins. Then put the remaining uncooked cookies back in the fridge until you're ready for them. Make sure to do that! It's most important. OK no it's not. lol.. When they are done they will be hot. Shocker I know. So be careful. Touch them will burn you, eating them will burn you. So I highly recommend letting them cool completely before doing anything with them. Whatever you do DO NOT place them on a cooling rack. Or you'll have baby caramel kisses under the cookies, and no caramel's in the middle :) I learned the hard way!! 


ps. I so didn't spell check or anything.. this thing is probably full of mistake!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

French bread Pizza's.

So I have a secret to tell you. I love to cook!! And I love to take pictures of the food I cook. I just don't really post them. I take them with the intent of posting them, but never do. Simply because I know some people would rather not see what I ate or made that day!  Well today I was in the cooking mood, and gosh darn it..I'm going to post the pictures I took!

French Bread Pizza's.

Now I really wanted to get a picture of them after they were baked. It didn't work out that way. They do not last long in my house. They go rather quick. Now yes.. French bread pizza's are pretty easy. I mean come hard could it be? Right?

French Bread Pizza
PreheatOven to 350
1 loaf of French Bread (I like to get mine from Walmart. They are good, and only a dollar)
Olive Oil
Garlic Powder
Parmesan Cheese
Pizza Sauce
Mozzarella Cheese (or cheese of your choice..)
Toppings of your choice.

Take the French bread and cut it to the length you desire. Then cut it open length wise. So you have two sides. Next you want tear some of the bread out, making a well. I really wish I would have taken pictures of this. It would be easier to understand. You want to make the well so your toppings stay in! Next pour some olive oil in a bowl and sprinkle some (or a lot) of garlic powder. I do not measure this. I guess. So you really have to play with it and taste to see if you like it. . I suggest mixing it up and taking some of the bread you tore out to make a well, and dip in in the oil!  Now spread that oil over the bread..getting inside the well, and the outside edges. This will give your pizza's a garlic kick which I think actually makes the pizza! You're house will also smell like a pizzeria when it's all done!  Once you're bread is covered in garlic goodness sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on it (this is totally optional I do it because I like it). Next start topping your pizza's with the topping's of your choice! I use pepperoni, peppers, onions, mushrooms, olives, and tomatoes. You can use whatever you want. Skies the limit! Top with cheese, and then sprinkle with oregano if you choose. Now line a cookie sheet with foil. Place the pizza's on the cookie sheet and bake for 12 - 14 mins. Then crank up the broiler, and broil them for another 2 mins. Now watch them.. it can burn fast! Especially if your rack is closer to the flames!  This will give it just enough crisp! Then it's done! Enjoy. But be careful. It is hot.. it will burn your tongue!

Chicken Alfredo French Bread Pizza

OK so I didn't get any close up pictures of it, but this is how it started. Yummy, juicy, garlic marinated chicken! Which I made on my George Forman grill..which I LOVE! I love this little thing!  This chicken is so yummy, and juicy, and would honestly be great alone. But I used it for Alfredo... and then I used it on a French bread. It was actually really amazing!! So this is what you're need..

3 med-large boneless chicken breasts. Thawed.
Minced garlic - You can do this yourself, or buy it already minced. This is totally optional.
Olive Oil
Garlic powder
Freezer bag.

Now in Katie fashion.. I did not measure anything! I guess I need to. It would help with writing these recipes out. First you want to pat dry the chicken. Make sure you get all the moisture out of it. Next make small slits in the chicken, I made about 4 slits per chicken. The salt and pepper both side. Now I rubbed the minced garlic all over the chicken, on both sides. I like garlic (if you can't tell). If you are not a garlic fan, I would totally skip this part. If you do like garlic, like myself, and chose to rub it down with garlic.. you then want to place it in the freezer bag, and put it in the fridge for at least an hour. Let the minced garlic soak into that chicken! If you choose not to rub it in a garlic bath.. then you can skip right to this step! Now get out a medium size bowl, and since I didn't measure anything, I just eyed it I'm just going to give you an estimate on amounts here. Take 1/2 cup of olive oil, and 1 Tablespoon of garlic powder and mix in a bowl. Then pour the oil mixture in the freezer bag with the chicken.. give it a good shake, and massage the chicken getting that oil and garlic into the chicken. Then put in the fridge and let it rest in that bath for at least 4 hours. Then take it out and cook it. You can grill it, bake it, fry it in a skillet. Do whatever you want. Just make sure it is completely done. Meaning no pink. Once it is cooled cut into bite size pieces. Or however you would like. Now it's time to put this pizza together. You'll need..

To preheat the oven to 350.
1 loaf of French Bread
Garlic oil from the French bread pizza (above)
Alfredo sauce of your choice, or make your own!! I used Prego. No I didn't make my own..yet.
Cheese of your choice
Once again skies the limits!! Make it your own.

Now that you've gathered all your goodies, take that chicken, put it in a bowl and mix with the Alfredo sauce. Make it as saucy as you want. Then start to assemble the pizza's. This is basically the same as you would the pizza. You can even spread some Alfredo sauce before putting on the chicken and other toppings. It's totally up to you. Then bake it for 12 - 14 mins with 2 mins of broiling. Then enjoy!!

I do want to add that if you do not have garlic powder, garlic salt may be used instead. Just limit your salt if you choose to use the salt instead of the powder.