Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Love Bug Truffles

I saw this idea on Pinterest,and fell in love with it!My children helped make them ,and we all enjoyed ourselves.If making the love bugs seems too difficult,feel free to simply dip the truffles into melted chocolate and sprinkle with your favorite sprinkles!

Oreo Truffles:
30 Oreo cookies,crushed
1- 8oz. bar of cream cheese softened
  Blend ingredients together and shape into balls as shown.Freeze for 30 minutes.Remove from the freezer and dip into red chocolate melts.Let set for about 10 minutes.Adhere a chocolate melt to the front of the truffle with a few drops of melted chocolate.Melt different colored chocolate to make the eyes,and mouth,or use a heart shaped candy for the mouth.
   You can also place a lollipop stick inside each one to turn them into another fun treat.One word of caution....these are super-sweet.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Peanut Butter Mousse Cups

This recipe is for the die hard peanut butter fans.It comes from Marcel Desaulniers,the chef at Trellis in Colonial Williamsburg.I have piped the mousse into chocolate cups for a sweeter presentation.

Mousse Ingredients:
1- 8oz. package of cream cheese,softened
1 c. creamy peanut butter
1/4 c. sugar
2/3 c. cream
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. mini chocolate morsels
    In the bowl of your mixer,with the paddle attachment,blend together the cream cheese,peanut butter and sugar.Beat on medium-high for one minute.Transfer to another bowl.
   Using a balloon whip attachment,whip the cream and vanilla together until stiff peaks form.Gently fold the cream mixture into the peanut butter mixture.When blended,add the chocolate chips.If desired,place the
mixture into a piping bag with a large star tip,and pipe into chocolate cups.

Chocolate Cups:
    Melt some melting chcolate in the double boiler.Once melted,brush the inside of paper cupcake liners with the chocolate.Let it set,then repeat two more times.After the chocolate is set,carefully peel away the paper liner.Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.(These are also a great for serving ice cream,or filling with sweet treats for party favors)!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Chocolate Dipped Oreos

Here is a fun,easy cookie idea,with only two ingredients required,Oreos, and melting chocolate.It doesn't get any easier than this folks.It is also a great way to spend a cold winter afternoon with your kids,and they make a  nice treat to send in to school for Valentine's Day.The molds used for these cookies are available at http://www.fancyflours.com/ .They also offer a variety of other Oreo molds for different occasions.Have fun!

Oreo cookies
Melting chocolate(various colors if desired)

   In a double boiler,melt the chocolate.If desired,use colored chocolate to highlight the hearts as I have done.Let set for a few minutes.Pour in a small amount of melted chocolate,until it comes half way up the mold.Place an Oreo into the chocolate.Press down slightly.Cover the Oreo with more chocolate.
   Let the cookies set on your counter for about 10-15 minutes.Then refrigerate for about 15 more minutes.Remove from the refrigerator,and carefully turn over the molds,and gently remove the cookies.

Like us on Facebook (Tsp spices)

Like us on Facebook (Tsp spices) Here is a great way to add a few new ,organic spices to your collection.Tsp Spices,is offering some free spice samples to those who "like" their facebook page by January 31st!Check out their page,and enjoy some fresh spices too!Let them know that you were sent by Parnell's Pantry!Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

nickwilljack: Share the love

Here is a wonderful post from a fellow blogging mom, who,like myself,has a child with autism.Throughout February,she will donate 10 % of all of her sales on her Etsy shop to Autism Speaks!Way to go!!Check out her post,and visit her blog,and Etsy shop!                                                                              nickwilljack: Share the love: You may or may not know that two of my three boys have PDD-NOS which is basically mild autism. Autism affects 1 in 110 children and 1 in...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Lemon Tea Cookies

Here is a cookie from Better Homes & gardens that is neither too sweet,nor too tart.The hint of almond extract in the cookie,and the subtle flavor of the lemon in the icing,make it the perfect accompaniment for a cup of hot tea.

1 c. butter,softened
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. almond extract or vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2-2 1/2 c. flour
   In the bowl of your mixer,blend together the butter & sugar.Add the salt and extract.Add as much flour as you can without letting the dough become too crumbly(at least 2 cups).
  Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface.Cut into desired shapes.Bake at 325 degrees for about 10 minutes.they should be golden on the edges.
   Once cooled,frost with the lemon icing.

Lemon Icing:
1/4 c. butter,softened
1 Tbsp. milk
2 tsp. lemon juice(fresh)
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
2 c. confectioners' sugar
    In the bowl of your mixer,blend together the butter,milk,lemon juice & zest.Add the sugar.Add a bit more milk if necessary to make it easy to spread on your cookie.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Berry Baskets

I received some new pans for Christmas this year,and have been anxious to use them.This pan is designed to look like mini baskets,and the finished cakes can be filled with a variety of goodies.The cake recipe comes from Williams-Sonoma.This would make a sweet treat for Valentine's Day!If you do not have a pan like this,no worries,use a regular cupcake or muffin pan.When the cakes are done,using a spoon,make a small well in the center of each cupcake and fill with toppings.

2-1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 sticks butter,softened
1-1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
3/4 c. sour cream
optional toppings such as whipped cream,lemon curd,berries,pudding,custard or ice-cream

  In the bowl of your mixer,blend together the butter and sugar.Add the eggs and vanilla.Add the baking soda,salt, and half of the flour.Add the sour cream,then the remaining flour.Blend until just combined.
   Spoon approximately 1/3 c. of the batter into each well of the pan.Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.Remove from the oven,and let cool for 15 minutes.Invert cakes onto a wire rack and fill with desired fillings.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Minestrone Soup

It is so cold up here(NY),so it is a perfect night for a nice,hot,hearty soup.Minestrone is a great way to use up the extra veggies you have,and its flavors develop the longer it sits,which makes it great for lunch the next day...just add a bit of water so it isn't too thick.I have listed some vegetables here,but feel free to throw in whatever your family likes.Pancetta works well too,if using add it with the onions.I like to throw in a rind of parmesan as well, for that delicious extra flavor.

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion,chopped
3 cloves of garlic,minced
2-14oz. cans of chopped tomatoes
2-14oz. can of chicken stock OR 4 c. of homemade chicken stock
1 medium zucchini,chopped
2 celery stalks,chopped
2 medium carrots,chopped
1 potatoes,peeled and chopped
1/4 c. of fresh spinach or parsley,chopped
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
salt & pepper
1/2 c. small pasta(I used ditalini)
1/2 c. dried navy beans,soaked overnight OR 1 can of cannellini beans
parmesan rind
fresh parmesan & pesto for garnish,if desired
   In a heavy pot,add 2 Tbsp. of olive oil.Add the onion & pancetta ,if using.Saute for about 5 minutes,Add the garlic and saute for a minute more.Add the tomatoes,chicken stock,all of the vegetables,thyme,salt & pepper.Bring to a boil.Once boiling,lower to a simmer,cover and let cook for approximately one hour.
   After the soup has cooked,add the pasta and let cook 10 minutes more.If it becomes too thick,add water or more stock.Check your seasonings,then ladle into soup bowls.Granish with freshly grated parmesan,and pesto if desired.Enjoy!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Red Velvet Brownies

I saw these in a magazine a few years back,I believe it was in Southern Living,and I just had to try them.It is a nice dessert for Valentine's Day.Here's the recipe....

1-4oz. bittersweet chocolate baking bar,chopped
3/4 c. butter.softened(1 1/2 sticks)
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
1-1/2 c. flour
1 -1 oz. bottle of red food coloring(I used a little less)
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp/ salt

   In a double boiler,or in the microwave,melt the chocolate & butter(checking every 30 seconds if using a microwave).Cool slightly.Whisk in the sugar,then the eggs.Stir in the flour,salt,baking powder,vanilla & food coloring. Pour into a greased 9 inch square pan.Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes.Remove from the oven and let cool.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1- 8oz. bar of cream cheese,softened
3 Tbsp. butter,softened
pinch of salt
1-1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
    In the bowl of your mixer,blend together the cream cheese and butter.Add the salt and powdered sugar.Mix until combined.Add the vanilla.Use to frost the Red Velvet Brownies.Garnish with white chocolate curls,if desired.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Stained Glass Valentine Cookies

This cookie is not only fun to eat,it is fun to make with your children.If you like,you can also poke a hole in the top of each cookie with a straw,before baking, and hang it up as a decoration  for everyone to see!

2-1/4 c. flour
2/3 c. sugar
1 c. butter,softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
1/2 tsp. salt
jolly ranchers or lifesavers(pink & red for Valentine's Day),crushed
2 cookie cutters,same shape,different sizes

   In the bowl of your mixer,cream together the butter and sugar.Add the vanilla & lemon extracts.Add the yolk,salt ,baking powder & flour.Mix until combined.
  Roll into a ball,then flatten into a disk.Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

   Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface.Cut out a large heart,and transfer onto a parchment lined baking sheet.Once on the sheet,cut out a smaller heart and remove it from the center of the cookie.Fill the center with crushed candies.Bake at 350 degrees until golden on the edges and the candy is melted.Let cool completely before removing from the cookie sheet.Have fun!

***I place the candies in a plastic bag,and hit them with a rolling pin to crush them.Another method would be to use a food processor.