A few months back I bought The Sweet Melissa Baking Book on complete impulse after seeing a baking group using it. I participated in the group for two weeks and then the next recipe called for ricotta. At that point, the thought of ricotta made me nauseous so I dropped out of the group and I haven’t picked up the book since then until recently.

I was thumbing through the book looking for holiday-ish recipes (because having a newborn isn’t going to be enough to keep me occupied in December apparently) and these butterscotch cashew bars called out to me. They looked so simple and I’m a sucker for anything with cashews. And a shortbread base? Oh man, I went to the store that day to get the ingredients.

I made them on a football Sunday and the pan was gone by the time our guests left. They were just gobbled up and everyone raved about them.

Butterscotch Cashew Bars

from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book

Ingredients

1/2 pound (2 sticks, or 1 cup) butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 & 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
11 ounces butterscotch chips
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon water
2 cups roasted salted cashews

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9x 13 pan with cooking spray. Using two sheets of parchment paper, line the pans width and length, creating a parchment sling. Spray parchment paper with cooking spray.
  2. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, brown sugar, and salt for 1 to 1 & 1/2 minutes. Decrease mixer speed to low and add the flour. Mix just until combined. Lightly press dough evenly into the prepared pan. Poke holes in the dough with a fork. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the crust is a golden color. Remove to wire rack to cool.
  3. In a heavy saucepan over low heat, stir together butterscotch chips, corn syrup, and water. Stir until mixture comes to a simmer and butterscotch chips are melted. Pour over crust.
  4. Sprinkle cashews over the butterscotch caramel. Bake for 5 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. After cooling, remove from pan and use a very sharp knife to cut into bars.
http://fakeginger.com/butterscotch-cashew-bars/
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I read a lot of food blogs. I mean, a lot. I occasionally save recipes to make but for the most part, I just enjoy looking at the pictures and reading the reviews. So it was really weird when I couldn’t get this macaroni and cheese out of my head after seeing it on Ezra Pound Cake. I seriously couldn’t stop thinking about it.

It seems like a basic macaroni recipe with the elbow noodles and sharp cheddar. But then you mix up eggs and cream and all kinds of goodness to pour over top. I topped mine with more cheddar and panko before putting it in the oven.

It is absolutely the. best. thing. ever and this is coming from someone who doesn’t like macaroni and cheese that much. Since you cube the cheese instead of shredding it, you get super gooey cheese throughout it. And the grated onion? I’ll never make mac and cheese without it again!

Mac & Cheese

Ingredients

1 cup elbow macaroni
1/2 cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2/3 cup plain yogurt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup grated onion, loosely packed
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a baking dish
  2. Cook the macaroni according to the package directions. Drain, and transfer to the baking dish. Mix in the cubed cheddar cheese.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, salt, dry mustard, pepper, cayenne pepper and nutmeg. Add the yogurt, followed by the egg, and whisk to blend. Stir in the onion, cream and Worcestershire sauce. Pour this custard over the macaroni and cubed cheese, and stir to blend.
  4. Mix grated cheese and panko bread crumbs together. Sprinkle evenly over the surface of the custard.
  5. Bake until the custard is set around the edges of the dish but still a bit loose in the center, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, and cool for 10 minutes.
http://fakeginger.com/mac-cheese/

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I have been meaning to share this recipe forever now. It’s what I go to most often when I can’t think of anything else to cook or if I’m too tired to do anything else. It;s that easy and a definite man (and boy) pleaser.

All you do is take boneless chops and make little foil packets:

Sprinkle some lemon pepper (I like a lot, like the top picture but I usually go easy for the boys) and then dot with butter. Sometimes I’ll add a little worcestershire or steak sauce. Fold the packets up, place on a baking sheet, and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or so depending on the thickness of your chops.

Easy, delicious, and cheap!

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I’ve been hearing about NaBloPoMo, or National Blog Posting Month, since I began blogging back in 2007 but I’ve never had time to make the commitment to blogging everyday for a month. School, family, blah blah blah, you know the story. I’ve decided to take the plunge this year even though there will be a baby arriving sometime in the next 30 days. Yikes, right? Here’s hoping for hospital WiFi!

I’ve been reading other NaBloPoMo posts today and most people (especially food bloggers) seem to have a back log of recipes and photos to use, and well, I have nothing. We’re going day by day here. So you know what? You might hear about my dinner, or my failed attempt at frying shredded potatoes this morning (I wanted Waffle House style hashbrowns), or maybe even the stray cat that’s decided to sleep in a chair on my porch. I’ll be here everyday and that’s the important part.

This post, however, is about my newest BBA creation, focaccia. I love focaccia and I have a super simple recipe that we love and always turns out awesome, so I was a little put off by the 2 day event that this guy calls for. Lots of folding, waiting, folding, waiting, refrigerating, waiting, waiting, and waiting some more.

It’s good bread, not going to lie, but 2 days of waiting good? Maybe, but I don’t think it was any better than the recipe I usually use. That said, the outside pieces were amazingly crunchy (my favorite part of any bread) and the inside was super chewy. I did a simple herb oil with thyme, rosemary, garlic, and salt and it was really, really delicious. You can’t go wrong with thyme and rosemary in my book.

Visit the BBA blogroll to see where all the other baker’s are and pick up Peter Reinhart’s book next time you’re in the mood to bake some bread!

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My parents recently brought back some food goodies from their Tennessee vacation, including some big, beautiful apples. I’m usually not a huge fan of fruity desserts, but I really wanted to try these apples in a pie. I didn’t want a typical double-crust pie though and after a lot of searching, I settled on an apple custard pie. My husband’s favorite dessert is flan so anything custard-y is usually a winner around here.

 

This pie was easy, easy, easy. I had a storebought crust in the fridge that needed to be used and I have to say I’m super impressed with Pillsbury. I love a good crunchy crust and it was perfect. The only element that took any real time was cooking the apples but that just involved stirring them every few minutes.

The pie just tastes like fall. I tend to think of custard pies as warm weather food (probably because we usually have one on my dad’s birthday in April) but the cinnamon in this recipe totally changed that. Well that and the streusel, streusel makes everything feel like fall! It was delicious right out of the oven AND cold.

 

Apple Custard Pie

adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients

1/2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough (such as Pillsbury)
Cooking spray
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 1/2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
2 cups sliced peeled Granny Smith apple (about 1 large)
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup fat-free buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. To prepare crust, roll dough into a 14-inch circle; fit into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Fold edges under; flute. Place pie plate in refrigerator until ready to use.
  3. To prepare streusel, lightly spoon 1/3 cup flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine 1/3 cup flour, brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a medium bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Place streusel in refrigerator.
  4. To prepare the filling, heat a large nonstrick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add sliced apple, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; cook 10 minutes or until the apple is tender, stirring mixture occasionally. Spoon the apple mixture into prepared crust.
  5. Combine remaining 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, salt, and eggs, stirring with a whisk. Stir in buttermilk and vanilla. Pour over apple mixture. Bake at 325F for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300F (do not remove pie from oven); sprinkle streusel over pie. Bake at 300F for 40 minutes or until set. Let stand 1 hour before serving.
http://fakeginger.com/apple-custard-pie/

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