BACON RUM TOFFEE

Bacon Rum Toffee adapted from Poet in the Pantry
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 50 mins
Total time: 1 hour 5 mins
Serves: 24

12 ounces (3/4 pound) Hormel Black Label Bacon
4 1/2 ounces unsalted Kerrygold Butter
1 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons warm water
2 tablespoons spiced rum
1 1/2 cups Guittard milk chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, grease it, and set aside.
  • Line another baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange the slices of bacon evenly on it.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, or until nice and crispy.
  • Place bacon on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  • Measure out bacon fat and add to it enough butter to equal 8 ounces all together (in my case, I had 3 1/2 ounces bacon fat, so I only needed 4 1/2 ounces of butter).
  • Crumble up bacon and set aside. (I used my kitchen shears to cut it up finely.)
  • In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, combine the bacon fat, butter, sugar, and warm water. Attach a calibrated candy thermometer and cook over medium heat until it reaches hard crack stage (about 30 minutes), stirring constantly with a silicone spatula. You can use a silicone brush dipped in water to try to wash down sugar crystals from the sides of the pan in the first few minutes of cooking, but try not to scrape too much after that to prevent crystallization.
  • Once the mixture has reached hard crack stage, remove from heat immediately.
  • Remove the candy thermometer and add to the mixture about half the bacon crumbles and the Frangelico. It will bubble up once the Frangelico is added–be careful!
  • Stir until the foaming mostly stops, then spread in the prepared baking sheet.
  • Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top and let sit for a few minutes.
  • Spread the melted chocolate chips over the top of the toffee and sprinkle over it the remaining bacon crumbles.
  • Let sit until chocolate is set, then break into pieces. (I was impatient and popped the sheet into the fridge to set.)
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Notes

Be very careful about achieving the hard crack stage. It appears I fell a little short of that and now my toffee is a bit soft at room temperature. Either that or the addition of bacon and liquor made it go soft. Eating it straight from the refrigerator, however, it is just fine.

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SQUIRT SODA APPLE DUMPLINGS

SQUIRT SODA APPLE DUMPLINGS
2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored & sliced into 8 wedges
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 cans Pillsbury crescent roll dough
1 cups sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 can Squirt soda
4 tablespoons butter, sliced thin
  • Preheat oven to 350˚.
  • Spray a baking dish with PURE.
  • Submerge apple wedges into a bowl of ice water with the lemon juice.
  • Separate the crescent roll triangles.
  • Remove the apples and dry on paper towels.
  • Roll each apple in a triangle, starting at the small end.
  • Put the rolls in the baking dish.
  • In a small bowl combine the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • Sprinkle evenly over the rolls.
  • Top with the thin slices of butter.
  • Pour the soda over everything.
  • Bake until golden brown (about 40-45 minutes).
  • Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
SUBMITTED TO TEMPT MY TUMMY TUESDAY.
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Green Tea Shortbread Cookies – (a little green for today)

Matcha or green tea powder is used in many recipes across the board…I’ve seen it used in pasta, cakes, breads and many cookies, including shortbread cookies. I first bought the green tea powder meaning to add it to drinks and such to help incorporate this healthy tea into my diet. Well to be honest, green tea is not one of my favorite drinks. So the ideas have been collecting for other ways to use it. I was able to find it in my local Asian market, I also saw it at Whole Foods, so I know you shouldn’t have much trouble finding it.

The other day I was reading the Mountain Rose news letter and they had a recipe for Matcha Shortbread Cookies on the Mountain Rose Blog and I thought these would be perfect for my post here since it is on St Patrick’s Day

Matcha Green Tea Shortbread Cookies
2 cups organic flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup organic powdered sugar
3 tablespoons organic matcha powder
2 sticks (1 cup) organic unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon my home made vanilla extract, instead of almond extract
Directions

Sift the dry cookie dough ingredients together in a small bowl. In another bowl, whip the softened butter by hand or with an electric mixer until just smooth. Add the extract to the butter and then combine with all of the dry ingredients. Divide the dough in half and shape into two discs. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill the discs for an hour or two in the refrigerator until completely firm.

Lightly flour your work surface, as well as the top of your dough, and roll out to about an 1/8”. Cut rolled dough with your favorite cookie cutters and place them on parchment paper lined baking sheets. They don’t expand much at all, so don’t worry about creating lots of space between the cookies. Bake them in a preheated oven at 325°F for 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden at the edges.

I really liked them so tasty good, and they have a strong green tea flavor, but if you don’t like that and want to cut back on the matcha powder add in a little more powdered sugar. I think had it in the refrigerator for too long, because it was so hard and I had to wait a while so it would be soft enough to roll out. By the time I had them on the baking sheet they were a little too soft, but they still tasted good. I think next time I won’t roll them so thin, or you could shape it in a log and just slice them off from that to make the cookies.

Even though they are not really an Irish dish, I think I’ve made a Cultural Connection! 🙂

Happy St Patrick’s Day!!

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MAPLE VANILLA CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

One of hubby’s favorite cookies is chocolate chip.  I’ve experimented for years on getting the right combo of flavors.  According to hubby I’ve finally done it.
MAPLE VANILLA CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
3 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/3 cups butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 Jumbo eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon maple extract
pinch cinnamon
12 ounce package milk chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 375˚,
  • Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda.  Set aside.
  • Cream butter.
  • Add sugars and cream again.
  • Add eggs and cream again.
  • Add vanilla and maple, beating until smooth.
  • Gradually add the flour mixture until we blended.
  • Add chocolate chips and nuts if desired.
  • Drop by spoon fulls onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Bake 10 minutes.
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CINNAMON ROLL CAKE

I can’t remember where I first saw this recipe, but it is soooooo good and needs to be passed around again and again!

CAKE
3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup butter, melted

  • Mix everything together except for the butter. 
  • Slowly stir in the melted butter and pour into a greased 9×13 pan.

TOPPING
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon

  • Mix all the ingredients together until well combined. 
  • Drop evenly over the batter and swirl with a knife. 
  • Bake at 350 for 28-32 minutes.

GLAZE
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
4-5 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

  • Mix all the ingredients together until well combined. 
  •  Pour over top of warm cake.
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MAPLE VANILLA CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

One of hubby’s favorite cookies is chocolate chip.  I’ve experimented for years on getting the right combo of flavors.  According to hubby I’ve finally done it.
MAPLE VANILLA CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
3 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/3 cups butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 Jumbo eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon maple extract
pinch cinnamon
12 ounce package milk chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 375˚,
  • Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda.  Set aside.
  • Cream butter.
  • Add sugars and cream again.
  • Add eggs and cream again.
  • Add vanilla and maple, beating until smooth.
  • Gradually add the flour mixture until we blended.
  • Add chocolate chips and nuts if desired.
  • Drop by spoon fulls onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Bake 10 minutes.
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White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cream Cheese Cookies–Save Room for Dessert

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday with family and friends.
White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cream Cheese Cookies
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 oz bag of white chocolate chips
2 cups macadamia nuts
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside until later.
  • Beat the cream cheese and the butter on medium speed until creamy and light, should take about 2 minutes.
  • Add the brown sugar and then mix well.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and add the egg and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute.
  • Slowly, add the flour mixture a little at a time, until well combined.
  • Fold in white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts.
  • I suggest placing the dough in the freezer or refrigerator for a few hours. In my experience the cookies come out better. But, this step isn’t necessary. Roll dough into walnut size balls then place on a greased cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 12 minutes, or until the edges are golden in your pre-heated oven. Let rest on cookie sheet for 5 minutes then move to a wire rack to cool completely
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PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons cocoa
2 large eggs
1 (12 oz) bag semi sweet chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 375F.  
  • Whisk together dry ingredients and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together butter and peanut butter until well blended.
  • Add sugar and brown sugar and cream well.
  • Gradually beat in flour mixture.
  • Fold in chocolate chips.
  • Drop dough from rounded teaspoons onto cookie sheets.
  • Bake 10-13 minutes.
  • Allow cookies o cool on the sheet for 2 minutes.
  • Remove cookies to a cooling rack. 
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    Poppy Seed Pinwheel Cookies


    Last year I picked some up poppy seed filling from a German/European Specialty store, thinking I would find some way to use it, besides in a strudel, then saw some spiral cookies with poppy seed. It seems Eastern European countries like poppy seeds and all seem to have their version of poppy seed cookies… From Kolache, pinwheels, logs and just poppy seeds mixed in the cookies. . .these are similar to Hungarian Pinwheel Cookies.

    Poppy Seed Pinwheel Cookies

    Ingredients:
    -1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened or 1 stick
    -1/4 cup granulated sugar
    -1 tsp grated lemon peel
    -1 large egg
    -1 Tbsp sour cream
    -1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
    -1 tsp baking soda
    -1/4 tsp salt
    -1/4 tsp ground cloves
    -1 tsp vanilla (I used my homemade vanilla extract)
    -*Poppy seed filling ¾ cup ( I bought mine made at the German Store and used the whole tub)

    *You can use canned or make your own, I bought mine at Geier’s Sausage Kitchen a German meat market and food store. If you make your own, here are a couple of recipes:
    •1/2 cup milk
    •1 Tablespoon honey
    •1 cup ground poppy seeds
    •2 Tablespoons sugar
    •1 teaspoon ground allspice
    or:
    1 cup poppy seed
    1/2 cup milk
    1/4 cup honey
    1/3 cup chopped dates
    1/3 cup chopped nuts
    Dash of cinnamon

    Make the Dough:
    With an electric mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, egg, and sour cream in a large bowl. Stir in the flour, salt, cloves (I added a little mace to mine too) and lemon zest to make a soft dough. (The dough may be made ahead and refrigerated covered, for up to two days.) I wanted to say I had to make mine by hand because my electric mixer burned up making my molasses gingerbread cookies. It can be done!
    I don’t think my dough was stiff enough, but I rolled it in between two sheets of waxed paper into a…err…rectangle..

    … which is easier said than done, so I adjusted it with a a little cut and paste.

    Spread the filling on the dough, which went on quite easy. Yes, it’s not the neatest, but you can get picky with yours if you like.
    When you roll it up start to peel back the waxed paper as you go. You can use parchment paper instead if that’s what you have. Some suggested to refrigerate before rolling… probably a good idea.

    At this point I tried to cut the cookies and the dough was just too soft, the end just mushed. So I refrigerated it for a bit until it was easier to cut. When you are ready, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.


    Then cut roll into ½-inch slices and arrange them about 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheets (or just use your stoneware jelly roll pan like I do). Bake for about 10 minutes or until edges are light brown.


    Cool pinwheel cookies on baking sheets for a couple of minutes before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar before serving if desired. That end piece is great for sneaking a taste of the cookies, and save the pretty ones for guests!

    These are now a seasonal regular with cookie baking in full swing!

    Cheers!

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