Hot Reuben Dip

Reuben Dip

I’ve never been a big fan of the Reuben sandwich and I really don’t know why. I love all the ingredients but for some reason when I’ve seen it on the menu, I shy away. I saw this recipe that turns the sandwich into a dip and I decided to try it. What I found was that all the ingredients complemented each other without overpowering one another. I’m so glad I tried this dip, I don’t think I’ll shy away from a Reuben sandwich ever again.


Hot Reuben Dip:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1½ cups (6 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
  • 4 ounces (about 4 slices) deli sliced corned beef, chopped
  • ½ cup Thousand Island dressing
  • ½ cup drained sauerkraut
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the cream cheese, 1 cup of the Swiss cheese, the dressing and corned beef. Spread in a pie plate or other shallow serving dish. Top with the sauerkraut and the remaining ½ cup of Swiss cheese.
  3. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until bubbly around the edges. Serve hot with cocktail-size rye bread squares.

Source: Brown Eyed Baker

Salted Caramels

Salted Caramels

If you have ever been scared to make caramels, please don’t be. As long as you have the right equipment (candy thermometer) than you can make perfect caramel candies. My son has been asking me to make these for some time now. He really enjoyed watching the process and especially loved seeing how the heavy cream reacts when you add it to the sugar mixture. We couldn’t wait for them to set up so we could test them out. These are amazing! The hit of sea salt, really makes the caramels sing in your mouth. The recipe says to keep chilled and serve chilled. I think it’s more of a personal preference for this. I liked the caramels at room temperature.

I’ll be making another batch of these babies this weekend. They tend to not last long once they are done.

Salted Caramels:

  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon fine fleur de sel, plus extra for sprinkling (fine sea salt will also work)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing it to drape over 2 sides, then brush the paper lightly with oil.
  2. In a deep saucepan (6 inches wide and 4 1/2 inches deep), combine 1/4 cup water, the sugar and corn syrup and bring them to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until the mixture is a warm golden brown. Don’t stir — just swirl the pan.
  3. In the meantime, in a small pot, bring the cream, butter and 1 teaspoon of fleur de sel to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  4. When the sugar mixture is done, turn off the heat and slowly add the cream mixture to the sugar mixture. Be careful — it will bubble up violently. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until the mixture reaches 248 degrees F (firm ball) on a candy thermometer.
  5. Very carefully (it’s hot!) pour the caramel into the prepared pan and refrigerate for a few hours, until firm. When the caramel is cold, pry the sheet from the pan onto a cutting board. Cut the square in half. (If the caramel is too hard, let it sit for about 15 minutes to get to room temp)
  6. Starting with a long side, roll the caramel up tightly into an 8-inch-long log. Sprinkle the log with fleur de sel, trim the ends and cut into 8 pieces. (Start by cutting the log in half, then continue cutting each piece in half until you have 8 equal pieces.)
  7. Cut parchment paper into 4-by-5-inch pieces and wrap each caramel individually, twisting the ends. Store in the refrigerator and serve the caramels chilled or at room temperature.

Source: slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa How Easy is that

Cherry Cheesecake Cookies

Cherry Cheesecake Cookies

I really wanted to get these recipes posted sooner, but we had some personal issues come up and I’ve been very preoccupied with that. But I haven’t forgotten about you! So today, I will be posting two recipes in hopes that gives you enough time to gather the ingredients and make these wonderful treats this weekend. My plan for the weekend is to get together with family and make some more goodies for Christmas Day. I hope you get to do the same.

These cookies taste exactly like the name says, cherry cheesecake! They take some time to make but they are well worth all the work. I did find draining the cherries was a bit of a hassle. Use a good mesh strainer set over a large bowl, the filling slowly does separate from cherries. Just be patient and take out one cherry at a time and you’ll have yourself perfect cherry toppings!

Check back in a few hours for my next treat: Salted Caramels, Yummm!

Cherry Cheesecake Cookies:

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 (8oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 20 tbs (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 (20oz) cans cherry pie filling, drained
  1. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese, butter, and sugar until smooth and creamy, 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla, and mix until incorporated. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture, and mix until the just combined. Divide dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, 2 hours. 
  2. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place graham cracker crumbs in shallow dish. Working with one dough half, roll into 1 1/2 inch balls, then roll in graham cracker crumbs. Place balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Using rounded tablespoon measure, make indention in center of each ball. Place 3 cherries (don’t be afraid of how large they are compared to cookie, it’ll puff up) in each dimple. Bake until cookies have cracked and are set, 12 to 14 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Cool 10 minutes, then transfer to wire to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.  The cookies will last in the refrigerate for a few days.

Source: Americas Test Kitchen Holiday Cookies 2010


Chocolate Mint Cookies

Chocolate Mint Cookies

I’ve been having a lot of fun the past week with baking up a whole bunch of goodies for you. First up are these amazing Chocolate Mint Cookies. These cookies are very easy to put together. But you will need to plan to make these ahead of time since the dough will need to be refrigerated before you bake them. What I ended up doing was making the dough the night before I wanted to bake them and it worked out great. How these cookies get their mint flavor, is by placing an Andes chocolate mint on top of the cookie as soon as they come out of the oven. The heat coming from the cookie will soften the mint and will easily spread over the top. Let me just say, these will knock your socks off! They are sooo good. Happy Holiday Baking!

Chocolate Mint Cookies:

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 tbs (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 36 pieces Andes chocolate mints, unwrapped

To Make Dough Ahead of time:

  1. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Melt butter and brown sugar in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add bittersweet chocolate, cover pan with lid, and let stand off heat until chocolate melts, about 4 minutes. Stir until smooth, transfer chocolate to bowl of electric mixer, and let cool, about 10 minutes.
  2. With electric mixer on medium speed, beat the egg into cooled chocolate mixture until thoroughly combined. Reduce speed to low and mix in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour or overnight.

Baking cookies:

  1. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Roll 2 tsp dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake until cookies are just set, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating and switching baking sheets halfway through baking time. Remove from oven, top each hot cookie with 1 mint, and allow chocolate to soften, about 1 minute. Using knife, spread softened mint over top of cookies and transfer to rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes. Store cookies in airtight container at room temp for up to 1 week.

Source: Americas Test Kitchen Holiday Cookies 2010

Tea Cake Cookies


The great thing about living close to my parents again is that I can drop by their house and then leave with some goodies. My dad made these amazing tea cake cookies and I stole a whole bunch so I could take their photo and of course eat them. These cookies taste a little like a snickerdoodle cookie but have a cake like quality to them. They are soft and chewy, which is my favorite kind of cookie. This recipe makes 6 dozen cookies, which makes it a perfect cookie for the Holiday’s.

On a side note: I am in the process of baking up a whole bunch of goodies for the blog. Be ready in the coming weeks for some great Holiday recipes. Happy Baking!

Tea Cake Cookies:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup cane syrup
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookies sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk flour and cinnamon together in a medium size bowl, set aside. Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add cane syrup and next 2 ingredients  beating just until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
  3. Gradually add flour, beating at low speed just until blended after each addition. Drop dough by rounded spoonfuls 2 inches on prepared baking sheets. (you can use a cookie scoop)
  4. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes or just until edges begin to turn golden brown. Cool on baking sheet for 1 minute then transfer to wire rack to completely cool. Cookies can be stored in airtight container for up to a week.

Source: Slightly adapted by Southern Living Magazine Nov 2012

Panera Mac-n-Cheese


Every Friday my kids have a half day of school and one of our favorite things to do is go to Panera for lunch. 9 times out of 10 all of us order the mac-n-cheese. It’s seriously one of the best we have ever had. When I learned that they have the recipe on their website, I jumped for joy. Not only is this one of our favorites to make at home, it’s super easy. It’s just as creamy and full of cheesy goodness like the one you can buy. I’m so happy to be able to make this at home when we have cravings but can’t get out of the house. I know you’ll enjoy as much as we do.

Panera Mac-N-Cheese:

  • 1 (16-ounce) package of rigati pasta (or other small pasta shells)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups 2% reduced fat milk
  • 6 slices white American cheese, chopped
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) shredded extra-sharp white Vermont cheddar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  2. Melt butter over low heat. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute, whisking constantly.
  3. Gradually whisk in milk (or cream); cook over medium heat, whisking until mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat.
  4. Add cheeses, mustard, salt, and hot sauce, stirring until cheese melts and sauce is smooth.
  5. Stir in pasta and cook over medium heat for 1 minute and serve.

Source: Panera

Halloween Bark


It’s inevitable that you will always have leftover Halloween candy. What better way to use it all up by making candy bark. What I love about this recipe is that it’s so versatile. You can use any combination of your favorite candy bars, nuts, and candies.

Simply melt chocolate and pour it onto a baking sheet, while the chocolate is still warm throw your chopped candy on top and press into the chocolate. Let it set up then drizzle white chocolate all over. I have found an easy way to drizzle the white chocolate is to put the white chocolate into a piping bag, and microwave it in 30 second intervals, massaging the bag till melted. Then cut the tip off and drizzle away.

This is a basic recipe, feel free to change it up with whatever candies and nuts you have on hand.

Halloween Bark:

  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 12 fun size Kit-Kat bars, chopped
  • 12 fun size Peanut Butter Cups, chopped
  • 1/2 cup M&M’s, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Peanut M&M’s, coarsely chopped
  • 3 ounces white chocolate, chopped or use the chips
  1. Line baking sheet with foil. Stir chocolate chips in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until melted and warm (not hot) to touch. Pour chocolate onto foil; spread to 1/4-inch thickness (about 12×10-inch rectangle). Sprinkle with Kit-Kat’s, Peanut Butter Cups, and M&M’s, press to adhere making sure all pieces touch the melted chocolate. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to let it set up.
  2. Put white chocolate in heavy small saucepan. (or use my trick above with piping bag and microwave) Stir constantly over very low heat until chocolate is melted and warm to touch. Remove from heat. Dip spoon into chocolate; wave from side to side over bark, creating zigzag lines. Place in refrigerator for another 30 minutes then take out and break into misshapen pieces and serve.

Source: Slightly adapted from Bon Appetit