Goblin Bar, The Best Halloween Cookie

So, I’ve been trying to get a post out every Tuesday this quarter… As you can tell by the giant lack of posting last week, that didn’t happen.

Sorry guys, 4 exams, my parents were in town, and I got the stomach flu. That leaves surprisingly little time for baking, cooking, or knitting.

Not to worry, because my lovely craft club came over last Friday anyways for a little party, and I was all over refreshments.

Halloween happens to be my favorite holiday. Funny thing about that is, I don’t particularly like being scared. But I do love dressing up. I love any excuse to eat chocolate. I love pumpkins, apple cider, and fall. And most of all, I love Goblin Bars.

Goblin Bars
(Before the yelling starts, I am aware that these cookies go by many other names. This is just what I call them)

  • 1/2 Stick of Butter
  • 1-2 Cups of Graham Cracker Crumbs, (from a box or freshly smashed)
  • 1 Bag Chocolate Chips with Peanut Butter Chips
  • 1 Can of Sweetened Condensed Milk 

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and insert either a 12 inch round cast iron pan or 8by13 inch rectangular baking dish with the butter. 

 When butter is melted, sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs.  Press the crumbs together to form a crust, using crumbs as needed to make a 1/4 inch crust. Make sure all of the crumbs are held together by the melted butter, or your crust will fall apart.

Cover the crust with your chocolate and peanut butter chips. This won’t take the whole bag… Oh darn, you’ll need to snack on a couple.

Now is when you’ll want to open your condensed milk.

Drizzle the milk over the chips, try to keep it as even as possible.

Place your cookies into the 350 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the milk is caramel colored and bubbling.

Allow to cool before cutting into squares. These are quick and delicious cookies, very handy for when you forget you’re having people over.. not that I’d ever do that…

 

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Plum Strudel

No I don’t mean apple in that title and no I haven’t fallen on my head anytime recently. I just happened to fall victim to a good sale. 2 pound bags of plums, $1.98 each. I happen to love plums and couldn’t pass up a bag.

The problem with this is that I really only loved the first pound… and then ended up with a pound and a half of quickly ripening plums sitting on my counter.

After a quick Google search, I started to feel very badly for plums. All of the plum pie recipes I ran across were a little too gourmet to sound appetizing.. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I mean. There was nothing simple, a tad spicy, a little sweet, and would use a good number of my plums.

So, I worked off of a basic Strudel recipe, changing to based on what I had on hand and what I know to work well with plums. This created a very tasty plum strudel that my knitting club devoured.

Plum Strudel  

  • 2 cups skinned, sliced plums (around 6 plums)
  • 3 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemonade (lemon juice works too, but this is what I had)
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 2 Sheets of Puff Pastry – defrosted
  • 1 Egg
  • Cinnamon Sugar for dusting

Vanilla Icing

  • 3 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla

 Start by peeling and slicing your plums. This is the most tedious part of this. But well worth it. Be careful getting that pit out.

Next, melt the butter in a cooking vessel large enough to contain your fruit.

Once melted, add the plums into the pot, and cook until tender and aromatic. You want them to be a little tender before you move on.

When the plums begin to soften, you want to add your sweet and spicy team. Cinnamon, cloves, brown sugar, honey, and lemonade all go into the pot.  Mix and cook until the plums are soft and a bit golden in color.  Let your filling cool. I hurried this process along by placing the whole dang pot in the fridge.

 Unfold your puff pastry, then refold in half. Make half inch cuts on the folded side. Then fill with half of your plum filling. Seal your ends, and place your newly formed strudel on a baking sheet seam side down. Brush the top of the dough with your egg, and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. It’s nice when things look pretty… Lather, rinse, repeat with the other sheet and the rest of the filling.

Bake according to your package of puff pastry. Watch carefully, mine got a little crispy because my oven is possessed.

Now for the grand finale. The frosting. So simple, so tasty. Melt butter. Add sugar and vanilla. Mix. Thin with water or milk if it’s too thick to drizzle. Use a spoon to drizzle onto the strudel. This is the best glaze I have ever used. You’ll never go back to using just milk again.

I’m going to take a moment to apologize for the lack of detailed pictures at the end. I was hurrying to finish these, and spaced on taking a couple pictures for you fine folks. Feel free to comment any questions you have, I can clarify anything. I just couldn’t wait to share this tasty recipe.

Freezer Minestrone

I don’t know about where you live but in Rochester,  NY fall is upon us. The tree are changing color, the breeze kicks around the fallen leaves, and icy rain pours like you wouldn’t believe about 3 times a week.

With weather like this, even taking the bus home from campus can be a task that ends with me being soaked from head to toe. After a full day of classes, battling a waterfall to get into my apartment was not what I had in mind.

Luckily, on days like this, I can walk from my freezer to my microwave, and in no time at all be greeted by a warm, thick, delicious soup… If I’ve planned ahead.

I am a firm believer that the freezer is there to be used and I’m not just talking about for booze and ice cream.

This recipe is tasty hot off the stove, but just as wonderful defrosted throughout the cold months.

Freezer Minestrone

1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 an Onion
2 cloves of Garlic
3 small Potatoes
1 large Zucchini
1 can Cannellini Beans
3 cans of Low Sodium Beef Stock
2 cans Stewed Tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
1 teaspoon Oregano
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 pound of Dried Pasta

 Dice 1 large white onion, and mince the garlic.

Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent.

Peel and dice the potatoes and add to the pot with 1 of the cans of beef stock.

Cover and cook until the potatoes are fork tender. The potatoes break down a bit, making the soup very thick.

While these are cooking, cut up the zucchini into quarters.

When the potatoes are cooked, add the zucchini to the pot.

Then add both cans of stewed tomatoes.

And the second can of beef broth and the Cannellini beans.

Now is time to add the seasonings. These can be adjusted to taste very easily. My ratio is heavy on the spice. (I love the red pepper.) Let this stew on low until you are about ready to eat.

Then, add half a box of pasta, and cook until the pasta is al dente. This will thicken up the soup a lot, so save the last can of beef broth to add right before you eat.

Enjoy! For the first time.

Once the soup has cooled off a little, spoon into cups lined with quart freezer bags.

Close the bags and place, cups and all, into the freezer. Take the cups off once they are frozen, and you will have nicely shaped, individual servings of soup to defrost all winter long.