Petite Fudge Cups

I used to make these for Kirby House catered events, so when I needed desserts for a club meeting, I naturally thought of Petite Fudge Cakes. They are fudgy and yummy . . . and can be made ahead and frozen.

Petite Fudge Cups    Makes about 68 small cupcakes
5 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (I use 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup chopped pecans
1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs, unbeaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
Powdered sugar for garnish.
  1. Prepare oven to 325°. Line mini muffin tins with cupcake papers.
  2. In a heavy saucepan, melt chocolate and butter over low heat.
  3. Add pecans to chocolate-butter mixture and stir until well coated; remove from heat and cool slightly.
  4. In a bowl, combine and mix sugar, flour and eggs. Add chocolate mixture and stir until just mixed. Add vanilla.
  5. Divide batter among paper-lined cupcake tins – about ¾ to 1 tablespoon batter per tin.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Be careful not to overbake; they should be gooey and will slightly crack on the surface.
  7. Cool and dust with powdered sugar. Or if freezer, add to a freezer-safe container before dusting with powdered sugar. Then thaw and dust with the sugar as needed.
    Petite Fudge Cakes that have been dusted with powdered sugar.
Recipe without photos
Petite Fudge Cups    Makes about 68 small cupcakes
5 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (I use 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup chopped pecans
1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs, unbeaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
Powdered sugar for garnish.
  1. Prepare oven to 325°. Line mini muffin tins with cupcake papers.
  2. In a heavy saucepan, melt chocolate and butter over low heat.
  3. Add pecans to chocolate-butter mixture and stir until well coated; remove from heat and cool slightly.
  4. In a bowl, combine and mix sugar, flour and eggs. Add chocolate mixture and stir until just mixed. Add vanilla.
  5. Divide batter among paper-lined cupcake tins – about ¾ to 1 tablespoon batter per tin.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Be careful not to overbake; they should be gooey and will slightly crack on the surface.
  7. Cool and dust with powdered sugar. Or if freezer, add to a freezer-safe container before dusting with powdered sugar. Then thaw and dust with the sugar as needed.

French-born delicacy . . . crisp and hollow — CREAM PUFFS

Pâte à Choux (pronounced shoe) pastry may sound very daunting but translated to English (from French) they are simply Cream Puffs – made with only four ingredients. I always use my Betty Crocker cookbook and follow the easy-to-use instructions. I made today’s batch into mini puffs (Petits Choux), again as instructed by Betty Crocker!
They are typically filled with a cream pudding (I used lemon cream) but I have filled them with ice cream.  Mini puffs can also be filled with savory appetizer fillings (chicken or ham salad), and once I even made the regular sized ones and filled them with a creamed egg filling for Easter brunch.

Cream Puffs    Makes 10 to 12 large puffs / 30 to 31 small puffs (Petits Choux) 
French-born delicacy . . . crisp and hollow  
1 cup water
½ cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
  1. Heat oven to 400° (moderate hot).
  2. Heat water and butter to a rolling boil in saucepan over medium heat.

  3. Reduce heat to low and stir in flour. Stir vigorously until mixture forms a ball (about 1 minute). 
    Mixture is beginning to form into a ball. I use a wooden spoon for this step.
  4. Remove pan from heat. Stir in eggs thoroughly, 1 at a time; beat after each addition until mixture is smooth.
    After adding first egg.
    Mixture after third egg has been added.
  5. Drop from spoon onto ungreased baking sheet into slightly peaked mounds about 3”  apart for large puffs; about 1 ½ to 2” apart for small puffs. Small puffs are generally about the size of a walnut.
  6. For large puffs: bake 45 to 50 minutes until puffed, golden brown and dry. For small puffs: bake 35 to 40 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool slowly, away from drafts. Note: Unfilled puffs can also be frozen after cooled.
  8. Cut off tops with sharp knife. Scoop out any soft dough.
    Puff on the left still has some soft insides; the insides have been pulled out from the one on the right.
  9. Fill as desired. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
    Cream Puffs filled with lemon cream pudding.
Recipe without photos . . .
Cream Puffs    Makes 10 to 12 large puffs / 30 to 31 small puffs (Petits Choux)  
French-born delicacy . . . crisp and hollow  
1 cup water
½ cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
  1. Heat oven to 400° (moderate hot).
  2. Heat water and butter to a rolling boil in saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Reduce heat to low and stir in flour. Stir vigorously until mixture forms a ball (about 1 minute). 
  4. Remove pan from heat. Stir in eggs thoroughly, 1 at a time; beat after each addition until mixture is smooth.
  5. Drop from spoon onto ungreased baking sheet into slightly peaked mounds about 3”  apart for large puffs; about 1 ½ to 2” apart for small puffs. Small puffs are generally about the size of a walnut.
  6. For large puffs: bake 45 to 50 minutes until puffed, golden brown and dry. For small puffs: bake 35 to 40 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool slowly, away from drafts. Note: Unfilled puffs can also be frozen after cooled.
  8. Cut off tops with sharp knife. Scoop out any soft dough.
  9. Fill as desired. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Blackberry Jelly

Normally, I include pictures of the process, but this one is an exception. Why? We took a jar of  Blackberry Jelly to our Bread Making 101 class at the Culinary Center of Kansas City today to use as a spread on the many breads we made. I thought I'd already posted a recipe for on this site. . . but discovered I had not. I simply use the recipe from the Sure Jell package, so I've copied it from their website. Next summer when I pick a fresh batch of blackberries, I'll add some pics!

SURE.JELL Blackberry Jelly

Prep time: 45 min
Total time: 3 hour 0 min
Makes: 6 (1-cup) jars or 96 servings, 1 Tbsp. each
What You Need
3-3/4 cups prepared juice (buy about 2-1/2 qt. fully ripe blackberries, boysenberries or dewberries)
1 box SURE-JELL Fruit Pectin
1/2 tsp. butter or margarine
4-1/2 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl
Make It
Bring boiling-water canner, half full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain jars well before filling.
Crush berries thoroughly, one layer at a time. Place three layers damp cheesecloth or a jelly bag in large bowl. Pour prepared fruit into cheesecloth. Tie cheesecloth closed; hang and let drip into bowl until dripping stops. Press gently. Measure exactly 3-3/4 cups juice into 6- or 8-qt. saucepot.
Stir pectin into juice in saucepot. Add butter to reduce foaming. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar. Return to full rolling boil and boil 1 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.
Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 5 min. Remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middles of lids with finger. (If lids spring back, lids are not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)
Nutritional information per serving
Calories 40 , Total fat 0g , Saturated fat 0g , Cholesterol 0mg , Sodium 0mg , Carbohydrate 11g , Dietary fiber 0g , Sugars 11g , Protein 0g , Vitamin A 0%DV , Vitamin C 0%DV , Calcium 0%DV , Iron 0%DV .

Since I have no pics from making blackberry jelly, here are a few from our Breadmaking 101 class at the Culinary Center of Kansas City, located in Old Overland Park . . .







Irish Reuben -- Celebrating St. Pat's Day!

In honor of St. Pat’s day, Barry smoked a corn beef brisket and used it to make a Reuben sandwich — one very reminiscent of those he prepared at the Kirby House Restaurant. Although theirs was referred to as a Continental Rueben, I took the liberty to rename it for this special day. Beside, Thomas Kirby, who built the Kirby House in 1885 was an Irish immigrant.

Irish Reuben      Yield:  1 sandwich
Thousand Island spread, enough for spreading
Marbled rye, 2 slices             
Deli sliced pastrami, 2 to 4 slices   (Barry smoked corn beef brisket, and sliced it thin)
Sauerkraut, drained, about ¼  cup
Swiss cheese, 1 slice
Melted butter for grilling bread
Honey mustard, enough for spreading                             
  1. Preheat a griddle or skillet on medium heat.
  2. Spread Thousand Island dressing on inside of 1 slice of bread. Layer with pastrami/smoked corn beef, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese.
  3. Spread inside of the other slice of bread with honey mustard and lay on top of stacked ingredients. Brush top of bread with melted butter.
  4. Flip over and place, buttered side down on griddle/skillet and grill until nicely browned. Meanwhile brush top of sandwich with butter.
  5. Flip sandwich when nicely browned and continue to grill until underside is nicely browned and sandwich is heated through.
  6. Cut in half for serving.

Recipe without photo . . .
Irish Reuben      Yield:  1 sandwich
Thousand Island spread, enough for spreading 
Marbled rye, 2 slices              
Deli sliced pastrami, 2 to 4 slices   (Barry smoked corn beef brisket, and sliced it thin)
Sauerkraut, drained, about ¼  cup 
Swiss cheese, 1 slice 
Melted butter for grilling bread
Honey mustard, enough for spreading                               
  1. Preheat a griddle or skillet on medium heat.
  2. Spread Thousand Island dressing on inside of 1 slice of bread. Layer with pastrami/smoked corn beef, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese. 
  3. Spread inside of the other slice of bread with honey mustard and lay on top of stacked ingredients. Brush top of bread with melted butter. 
  4. Flip over and place, buttered side down on griddle/skillet and grill until nicely browned. Meanwhile brush top of sandwich with butter.
  5. Flip sandwich when nicely browned and continue to grill until underside is nicely browned and sandwich is heated through. 
  6. Cut in half for serving.

Thumbs-up to Cornmeal Crusted Veggies

Cornmeal Crusted—we used green beans, asparagus,
and red pepper strips.
 Dipping sauces included ranch dressing
and honey mustard.
Cornmeal Crusted Veggies were a hit at a recent USD 435’s Parents as Teachers playgroup session that included the first of a series of cooking sessions funded through a “Good, Cheap & Nutritious” grant from the Dickinson County Community Foundation.
These cooking sessions are centered around a cookbook Good and Cheap, by Leanne Brown, that features healthy, easy, and budget-minded recipes.
            The widely acclaimed cookbook has been receiving lots of positive media coverage. One parent, in an online review, applauded Brown for providing economical recipes (each recipe includes price per serving). “It's about stocking the pantry with basics to build meals from things like garlic, canned vegetables, dried beans and butter.” Brown's cookbook also emphasizes flexibility, and avoids prescribing strict meal patterns and methods.
             Children, parents and even some teenagers that were on hand at the playgroup goggled up the veggies (green beans were the favorite); this recipe received a thumbs-up!

CORNMEAL CRUSTED VEGGIES    Serves: 4-6    Cost: $2.50 total / $0.60 per serving
½ lb. green beans, stems cut off*
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
¼ cup milk
1 cup cornmeal
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp garlic powder

*VEGGIE ALTERNATIVES – try any of these veggies instead of the green beans
zucchini
green pepper sticks
winter squash
cauliflower florets
broccoli florets
okra
carrot sticks
  1. Heat the oven to 450° F.
  2. Set up your 3-part breading station! 1) On one plate, spread out the flour. 2) Crack both eggs into a bowl, add the milk, and mix lightly with a fork. 3) On another plate, spread the cornmeal, salt, black pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. Mix the plate with your fingers.
    Here I am setting up the 3-part dredging/breading stations. Notice that I used  8x8" baking pans to hold the flour, egg & milk and seasoned cornmeal.
  3. Spread a small amount of oil or butter across a baking sheet.
  4. Dredging the veggies: 1) A few at a time, take the green beans and dredge them in the flour. 2) Next, transfer the flour-covered beans to the egg mixture. Cover the beans lightly with egg mixture, being careful to shake off any excess egg. 3)Then transfer to the cornmeal mixture and coat them evenly.
    National Honor Society students from Abilene High School assisted with the playgroup and the cooking session. Here they help one of the young children in the program coat green beans, asparagus and red pepper strips.
  5. Carefully spread the crusted green beans onto the baking sheet.
  6. Repeat until you’ve done them all. If you run out of any of the three mixtures, just mix up a bit more.
  7. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden and crispy.
  8. Enjoy hot with your favorite dipping sauce! (We used Ranch Dip and Honey Mustard.)
    CLEAN PLATE —The children attending the playgroup gobbled up the crusted coated veggies!
    YUM, YUM! The veggies are not only yummy, they are finger foods that can easily be managed by young children.
Recipe without photos . . .
CORNMEAL CRUSTED VEGGIES    Serves: 4-6    Cost: $2.50 total / $0.60 per serving
½ lb. green beans, stems cut off*
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
¼ cup milk
1 cup cornmeal
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp garlic powder

*VEGGIE ALTERNATIVES – try any of these veggies instead of the green beans
zucchini
green pepper sticks
winter squash
cauliflower florets
broccoli florets
okra
carrot sticks
  1. Heat the oven to 450° F.
  2. Set up your 3-part breading station! 1) On one plate, spread out the flour. 2) Crack both eggs into a bowl, add the milk, and mix lightly with a fork. 3) On another plate, spread the cornmeal, salt, black pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. Mix the plate with your fingers.
  3. Spread a small amount of oil or butter across a baking sheet.
  4. Dredging the veggies: 1) A few at a time, take the green beans and dredge them in the flour. 2) Next, transfer the flour-covered beans to the egg mixture. Cover the beans lightly with egg mixture, being careful to shake off any excess egg. 3)Then transfer to the cornmeal mixture and coat them evenly.
  5. Carefully spread the crusted green beans onto the baking sheet.
  6. Repeat until you’ve done them all. If you run out of any of the three mixtures, just mix up a bit more.
  7. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden and crispy.
  8. Enjoy hot with your favorite dipping sauce! (We used Ranch Dip and Honey Mustard)

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad – creamy and packed with flavor

For years we’ve been making Roasted Potato Salad using either red or white potatoes so when Barry ran across a similar recipe that uses sweet potatoes, he just had to give it a try.
He made a few adjustments to the original recipe that can be found on the Better Homes and Gardens website. It's yummy!
Creamy roasted sweet potato salad.
Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
4 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 ½ lbs.), peeled and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped
2 to 3 tablespoons pickled yellow peppers slices, or jarred red peppers, diced -- optional
3 green onions chopped
About 1 tablespoon dried dill weed or ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
⅓ cup mayonnaise
⅓ cup soup cream or plain Greek yogurt
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. In a large bowl combine potatoes and oil. Season with salt, and pepper. Roast for 18 minutes or until just tender but still hold their shape. Remove.
  3. Return potatoes to large bowl. Drizzle with vinegar; stir to coat. Cool completely.
  4. Add eggs, peppers, green onions, and dill.
  5. In a small bowl combine mayonnaise and sour cream/yogurt. Pour over mixture; toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Make Ahead How To: Assemble salad; prepare dressing separately. Cover; refrigerate up to 24 hours. Toss salad with dressing before serving.

Recipe without photos . . .
Roasted Sweet Potato Salad 
4 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 ½ lbs.), peeled and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped
2 to 3 tablespoons pickled yellow peppers slices, or jarred red peppers, diced -- optional
3 green onions chopped 
About 1 tablespoon dried dill weed or ¼ cup chopped fresh dill 
⅓ cup mayonnaise
⅓ cup soup cream or plain Greek yogurt
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. In a large bowl combine potatoes and oil. Season with salt, and pepper. Roast for 18 minutes or until just tender but still hold their shape. Remove.
  3. Return potatoes to large bowl. Drizzle with vinegar; stir to coat. Cool completely.
  4. Add eggs, peppers, green onions, and dill.
  5. In a small bowl combine mayonnaise and sour cream/yogurt. Pour over mixture; toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Make Ahead How To: Assemble salad; prepare dressing separately. Cover; refrigerate up to 24 hours. Toss salad with dressing before serving.