Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rolo Cookies



Mmmm…Anybody feel like a Rolo Cookie?
     First, I am excited to announce that I have received my first blog award!!! Thank you to Ashley at Kitchen Meets Girl for selecting me! (If you want to see some super-cute football cookies, click on her link.) So...here is my award!
    As an award recipient, I am supposed to tell you seven things you never knew about me, and then pass the award on to 15 deserving blogs.  Get all the dirt later in this post,  down past the Rolo cookie recipe and nutrition facts.
 
     Okay...let me introduce Rolo cookies. When Ben and I were in grad school in Alabama, we had a lot of friends in the same phase of life. We enjoyed Friday game nights with other young couples while the little kids “slept”.  I first tasted Rolo cookies at such an event. My friend Christine made them, and she always serves the best munchies! She’s Canadian, and I’m guessing Canadians hold a lot of game nights during the long winter up North.
      After grad school Ben and I moved up North too (well, not as far as Canada). In our new mid-Atlantic location, I brought these cookies to a church activity, where they were well-received. A few people asked for the recipe. Later at the COUNTY FAIR, I saw a plate of these cookies (entered by one of the church members) and they had a winning ribbon!!!
          Do you want a ribbon, too? Make these and see what happens J

Ingredients:
1 c. butter
The star of the show!
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 ½ c. flour
¾ c. cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
12 oz. bag Rolo candies (chocolate-covered caramels)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375° F.

2. In a large mixing bowl or electric mixer, cream room-temperature butter
with both kinds of sugar.

3. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix.

4. Add cocoa, baking soda, and 1 c. flour. Mix.

5. Add rest of flour. Dough consistency will be a little dry and crumbly, but you should be able to form a ball and have it stick together.

Dry…but not TOO dry.
6. Scoop out 1 Tablespoon of dough, wrap it completely around a Rolo, and set it on ungreased cookie sheet. (Note about cookie sheets: I highly recommend using “insulated” cookie sheets that are made of two layers of metal with air between the layers!)


Rolos are hiding inside!

7. You can probably fit about 16 cookies on a cookie sheet.

8. Bake 7-10 minutes, until cookies are slightly flattened (they’ll still be pretty round).


 9. Let cookies rest ON cookie sheet on a wire rack for a couple minutes.

Cooling
10. Remove cookies from pan and set them directly on the wire rack.

11. Cookies will become firm as they cool, but there’s no harm in eating a gushy one right now as long as you don’t burn yourself!




*Nutrition facts:

Ingredient
Calories
Sodium
(% RDA)
Fiber (g)
Protein (g)
Calcium (% RDA)
1 c. butter
1600
64
0
0
0
1 c. sugar
720
0
0
0
0
1 c. light brown sugar
720
0
0
0
0
2 large eggs
140
6
0
12
4
2 ½ c. flour
1100
0
5
30
0
¾ c. unsweetened baking cocoa
120
0
24
6
0
1 tsp. baking soda
0
48
0
0
0
38 Rolo candies
1031
16
0
8.5
32.5
Total
(~38 cookies):
5431 kcal
134 %
29 g
56.5 g
36.5 %
1 cookie:
143 kcal
3.5 %
0.75 g
1.5 g
1%

*Calculated from food packaging:
 I used “Great Value” brand (Walmart) butter, “Domino” brand sugar and light brown sugar, “ACME” brand egg,  “Bakers and Chefs” brand (Sams Club) all-purpose flour,  “Arm and Hammer” brand baking soda, and “Rolo” brand chewy caramels in milk chocolate.

7 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT ME:
1. I have a sweet tooth. (Oh sorry, did you already know that?)
2. I first learned to distinguish different types of sandwich meats when I was a teenager working at Subway.
3. My sister is another AWESOME vegetarian cook! I love staying at her house.
4. My “signature color” is aqua blue. My favorite color is red.
5. I am almost 5’10”. After a few washings, most of my shirts don’t reach my waistband anymore.
6. I played clarinet, mellophone, and trumpet in marching & concert bands in middle school, high school and all 4 years of college.
7. I hold a Masters degree in Aquatic Ecology.

I Now Bestow the VERSATILE BLOGGER AWARD on 15 Wonderful Blogs:
First, I’ll hit the blogs from whom I’ve lifted material for my own blog:
1. The Comfort of Cooking: Her photos are amazing! Very appetizing recipes.
2. What a Dish! : Pizza Hut Pan crust; Reese’s bars…need I say more?
3. The Pretend Chef: Taught me how to make my own microwave popcorn J
I now recommend a few more outstanding foodie blogs:
4. Herbivoracious: Creative vegetarian recipes using lots of fresh foods.
5. Our Best Bites: What’s not to love? Everything about this site is delicious.
6. Budget Gourmet Mom: Take a look at the Pizza Pretzels.
7. $5 Dinners: Who doesn’t need more of these? Adore her use of coconut milk.
8. Cafe Zupa's Blog: Love this restaurant in Utah! Thanks for putting recipes online!
9. Sew Sweet: Delicious food ideas + cute sewing projects.
10. Kahakai Kitchen: Because I’m interested in Hawaiian food, too.
11. Food is My Friend: Fun writing style; Arizona-Mex-Family recipes.
And here are a few non-food blogs I often visit :
12. Not Just a Housewife: Great house craft/project ideas and linky party!
13. D├ęcor Chick: Changing her world, one project at a time (in Texas, I think).
14. Blogging with Amy: She taught me about Picnik! Wow!!!
15. Adopt a ‘Do: For those of us who need help doing our daughters’ hair.

This post is linked to the following linky parties:



Somewhat Simple

It's a Keeper.






Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Movie Theater Popcorn

     Growing up, my family NEVER bought movie popcorn. I loved the smell, though. These days, I’m making up for lost time. The best part is my husband Ben worked at a movie theater in high school and is DONE with movie popcorn so I don’t have to share!
     Anyway, as I prepared this blog post today, I had my usual 2- and 4-year-old helpers. They brought me toy trucks to prop up the paper bags in the photo below.
      Little Z age 2 loves “hotcorn”! He says this recipe “’Mells good!” It really does. JUST like REAL movie-theater popcorn!
     I want to thank the The Pretend Chef from the bottom of my heart for teaching me how to make my own microwave popcorn! (Her version is a little healthier than mine.)

Ingredients:
Here’s my stuff…
Small paper bag
(lunch-bag size)
¼ c. popcorn kernels
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. margarine
1/8 tsp. salt


Directions:
1. Put popcorn kernels and oil inside the paper bag.
2. Roll top of bag down a couple times, but leave plenty of room for the popcorn to pop.
3. Put it on a microwave-safe plate and zap it the normal amount of time for popcorn. My microwave has a good “popcorn” button. Or you could set the microwave time for 3-4 minutes, and remove the bag when popping slows to 3 seconds between pops.
4. By now, the bag and plate will be HOT and oily!

Carefully remove the plate and bag out of the microwave and dump popcorn in a big bowl.
5. In a small bowl or measuring cup, microwave 1 Tbsp. margarine until totally melted (20-30 seconds).
6. Add melted margarine and salt to popcorn and toss.
7. Yum!
Cheap and delicious: my favorite combination


*Nutrition facts:

Ingredient
Calories
Sodium (% RDA)
Fiber (g)
Protein (g)
Calcium (% RDA)
¼ c. popcorn kernels
160
0
8 g
5 g
0
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
340
0
0
0
0
1 Tbsp. margarine
70
5
0
0
0
1/8 tsp. salt
0
12.5
0
0
0
Total (6 cups):
570 kcal
17.5%
8 g
5 g
0%
1 cup serving:
95 kcal
3%
1.25 g
1 g
0%


*Calculated from food packaging:
 I used “Act II” brand yellow popcorn kernels, “Wesson” brand vegetable oil, "Blue Bonnet” brand margarine, and “Morton” brand salt.

This has been posted on the following Linky parties:











 


Confessions of a Stay At Home Mommy




http://www.thethriftyhome.com

Friday, September 23, 2011

Toffee Bits Bars

Fall is REALLY here!  What I love most about cool weather is warming up the kitchen with good-smelling treats! As I photographed the Toffee Bits Bars, my 2-year-old and 4-year-old hung around, (im)patiently waiting for a  sample. When they finally got their snack, they were content (!) for a couple minutes while they focused on eating. When I wiped the crumbs off my 2-year-old’s face, he looked up at me and said gratefully, “Mmmm. Nummy.”
Anyway, I really love Heath and Skor candy bars—chocolate-covered crunchy English toffee.  When toffee baking bits came out several years ago, I was really excited! I love looking at a well-stocked baking bits section in the grocery store J That’s why I’ve posted three recipes this week using toffee baking bits (check out Toffee Crunch Dip and Heath Bits Peanut Butter Cookies. There are two varieties of toffee baking bits: Heath Bits o' Brickle and Heath English Toffee Bits (Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits). Of the two, I prefer English Toffee Bits, because they contain toffee WITH its chocolate coating. However, Bits of Brickle can also work in this recipe.

Ingredients:
2  1/3 c. flour
2/3 c. brown sugar
¾ c. butter
1 egg
2 c. chocolate chips, divided
1 c. chopped nuts
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
8 oz. (1  1/3 c.) package milk chocolate toffee bits, divided

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 °F.

2. Grease 9x13” pan (I like cooking spray).

3. In a large bowl, mix flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs (room-temperature butter works best). I use a pastry cutter for this, but a fork and butter knife would also work.

4. Add egg and stir with a fork.

5. Add the nuts (I use walnuts) and 1 ½ cups of chocolate chips. Stir.

6. Take 1 ½ cups of this mixture and set aside. 


Set-aside crumb mixture
  Put the rest of it in the bottom of your 9x13” pan, and press it (it’s the crust). Bake 10 minutes.

7. Pull the pan out of the oven. Evenly pour sweetened condensed milk over the whole thing.

8. Take ½ c. toffee bits and set aside. Evenly sprinkle the rest of the bag of toffee bits over the sweetened condensed milk.

9. Sprinkle reserved 1 ½ c. flour-nut-chocolate chip mixture over the whole thing.

10. Now sprinkle the remaining ½ c. chocolate chips and ½ c. toffee bits over the top.

11. Bake 25-30 minutes, until golden brown on edges.

12. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

I first made Toffee Bits Bars when I saw the recipe on a Skor Bar Bits package. However, I don’t know if Skor Bar bits are available anymore—my local stores carry only Heath Bits. Therefore, I’ve adjusted the recipe a little and added more chocolate chips, of course!

*Nutrition facts:

Ingredient
Calories
Sodium (% RDA)
Fiber (g)
Protein (g)
Calcium (% RDA)
2  1/3 c. flour
1027
0
4.5
28
0
2/3  c. light brown sugar
480
0
0
0
0
¾ c. butter
1200
48
0
0
0
1 large egg
70
3
0
6
2
2 c. chocolate chips
2240
0
0
16
0
1 c. chopped walnuts
800
0
8
20
8
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1300
20
0
30
100
8 oz. package milk chocolate toffee bits
1200
30
0
0
0
Total pan
32 bars):
8317 kcal
101%
12.5 g
100 g
110%
1 bar:
260 kcal
3%
0.5 g
3 g
3.5%

*Calculated from food packaging:
 I used “Great Value” brand (Walmart) butter, “Domino” brand light brown sugar, “ACME” brand egg and sweetened condensed milk, “Bakers and Chefs” brand (Sams Club) all-purpose flour, “Nestle” semisweet chocolate chips, “Diamond” walnuts, and “Heath English Toffee Bits”.

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