Chocolate Bark

chocolate bark

Looking for an easy dessert to bring to a party? Look no further than this chocolate bark recipe. It is versatile and can be customized to your liking! Add your favorite nuts and fruits. Use different types of chocolate, add marshmallows, crushed peppermint sticks, pretzels… the possibilities are endless!

Chocolate bark comes from the French word Mendiant; bars or disks of chocolate. Chocolate bark or Medniants differ from chocolate bars in that the nuts and fruit are left visible, giving the chocolate a pop of color and texture. It is made in large flat slabs and then broken into smaller pieces.

 

Here is my recipe:

 

Prep: 5 minutes   Cool: 1-2 hours

Ingredients:

16 ounces good dark chocolate ( I used Godiva Dark Chocolate Melting Wafers)

1 cup toasted, salted walnuts

1 cup dried cranberries

ingredients

 

Procedure:

1. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. In a double boiler, melt chocolate.

melting chocolate

2. Pour chocolate on pan and spread evenly using an offset spatula. Sprinkle with nuts and fruit. Allow chocolate to cool and harden. Break into smaller pieces.

chocolate chocolate

3. Enjoy 🙂

Continue Reading

Candied Cranberries

cranberries

These cranberries are the perfect garnish to all your holiday treats or to enjoy on their own 🙂

cran-orange cupcakes

This recipe requires a 1 to 2 hour dry process so it is best to make these ahead of time. I made a large batch to keep on hand as I made my Cran-Orange Cupcakes

 

Candied Cranberries
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1½ cups
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup sugar to roll cranberries in
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1½ cups fresh cranberries
Instructions
  1. Wash cranberries and ensure all stems are removed. Place in bowl.
  2. In a saucepan, heat water, ¾ cup sugar, orange juice and bring to a boil. Keep on high heat until all sugar is dissolved.
  3. Remove from heat and then add in orange zest. Pour over cranberries and allow them to sit in the syrup for 1 hour.
  4. Drain the cranberries from the syrup.
  5. Place ½ cup sugar onto a sheet tray.
  6. Roll cranberries in the sugar, remove and place on parchment paper.
  7. Allow cranberries to dry for 1-2 hours.
  8. Enjoy! 🙂

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading

Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Green Beans

garlic parmesan green beans

I enjoy Thanksgiving for several reasons. I appreciate a day that is set aside to remember, reflect and give thanks for all the blessings we have, to remember those less fortunate, to give thanks by sharing in our blessings and spending time with family.

Thanksgiving is now only a few days away. Is your menu planned? Have you done your shopping? Do you have things prepped and ready?

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Green beans are a traditional accompaniment to holiday dinners. They come dressed in sauces and spice, are blanched and baked and are so very delicious!

These green beans were inspired by roasted garlic and Parmesan potatoes by husband made a while back (recipe is in the comments section of my Instagram page: AmandasPlate).

 

Here is my recipe:

 

Prep: 10 minutes    Bake: 10 minutes    Servings: 6

 

Ingredients:

1 pound green beans, trimmed

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/4 cup sliced garlic cloves

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

ingredients

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss green beans in olive oil and place on baking sheet. Roast for 7 minutes. Remove from oven.

olive oil

2. Using the same bowl you tossed green beans in the oil, combine green beans with garlic, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese. Place back on baking sheet and roast for another 3-4 minutes.

IMG_3445 procedure

3. Remove from heat. Place on serving platter and add more freshly shaved Parmesan (optional but who doesn’t love extra cheese).

garlic parmesan green beans

4. Enjoy 🙂

 

*The sun set faster than I was able to cook, so I apologize for the poorly lit photos of the finished dish. Trust me they are delicious 😀

Continue Reading

Ratatouille

Ratatouille by Amanda's Plate

This dish has been in the back of my mind since I have watched Disney Pixars Ratatouille. Chef Remy created a marvelous dish of layered vegetables in a tomato sauce. The dish was stunning! Look it up 😉

Ratatouille is a great side for your holiday meal. It is an easy way to incorporate vegetables into a traditional Thanksgiving menu. It is also very flavorful! Using fresh rosemary and oregano brightens up the vegetables and creates a great earthy balance to the acidity from the tomato.

This dish can also be made into a meal with the addition of your favorite protein!

I added sweet potato and tomatoes to the layers of vegetables. It is important to use firm tomatoes so they don’t break down completely in the baking process.

 

Here is my recipe:

 

Prep: 20 minutes   Bake: 45 minutes     Serves: 6-8

 

Ingredients:

1 large sweet potato

1 large eggplant

1 yellow squash

1 green zucchini

3 firm tomatoes

2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons tomato sauce

1/4 cup red onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

1/2 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped

large pinch kosher salt

Fresh ground pepper

ingredients

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Thinly slice vegetables into 1/4 inch pieces. This is best done with a mandolin (or a super steady hand and equally sharp knife).

slice

3. In a casserole dish, pour 2 tablespoons olive oil and tomato sauce into the bottom on the pan. Add in chopped onion and garlic.

base sauce base sauce

4. Arrange chopped vegetables in alternating layers, atop the tomato olive oil mixture. Using a pastry brush, brush the vegetables with remaining olive oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, thyme and oregano.

layers of vegetables  brush with olive oil

5. Cover casserole dish with foil and place in oven for approximately 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

foil

6. Enjoy 🙂

 Ratatouille

Continue Reading

Sweet Sprinkle Sandwiches

sandwich cookies

I love a soft sugar cookie as much as the next person but they are a bit boring as far as cookies go. Add in some festive sprinkles and frosting and you have elevated a “boring” cookie into something extraordinary 😀

These cookies are so versatile because you can change out the sprinkles to fit any occasion! I will definitely be making these during my Christmas cookie bake-a-thon.

Not only are they perfect for any occasion, they are so delicious. I made a batch for a friend who said she ate 3 in one sitting!! (This is your warning haha!)

 

Here is the recipe:

 

Prep: 15 minutes      Cook: 10 minutes    Makes: 12 cookie sandwiches

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon table salt

ingredients

Filling:

2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon milk

1 1/2 to 2 cups powdered sugar

Sprinkles of you choosing

ingredients

Instructions:

 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter and sugars until smooth and fluffy. Add in vanilla and egg. Mix until smooth.

creaming ingredients

2. Add flour, salt and baking soda to wet ingredients. Mix until combined.mix

3. Place cookie batter into the refrigerator for 20 minutes. This is important and should not be skipped.

4. Using an ice cream scoop drop 1 tablespoon of batter onto lined cookie sheet. Top with sprinkles.

cookie scoop  sprinkles

5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges are slight golden.

6. While the cookies are cooling, make the frosting by cream together cream cheese, butter, vanilla, milk and powdered sugar.

cookies cooling

7. Assemble the sandwiches and then roll into sprinkles.

sandwich cookies  sprinkles

 

8. Enjoy 🙂

 

IMG_3206sandwich cookes

 

Continue Reading

Apple Bundt Cake

apple bundt cake

Is it a bunt? A boont? Why is there a ‘d’ in there? All of these questions about a cake pan? Why yes. This pan mimics a traditional European style fruit cake.

There is a scene in the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding  (which my sisters and I have watched at least 50 times), when Mrs. Portokalos receives a bundt cake and does not know what it is or how to pronounce it. You can view the clip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPvO53JHnmY

Throughout my childhood, my mom, would bake up amazing cakes. Can you guess where I get my love for baking from?

She never feared adding fruits or spices to her cakes. If we had a pineapple, she threw it into her carrot cake. If we had berries, she would create a delicious compote to top a moist golden butter cake. My mom would get requests from family members for her banana bread on a weekly basis!! She is my inspiration for this cake.

As the holiday season approaches, I will be posting more dessert recipes as they have been highly requested. Here is my apple bundt cake…

Ingredients:

2 cups Granny Smith apples, chopped

3 cups all purpose flour

2 cups white sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup orange juice

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 eggs

Ingredients

For the glaze:

2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon orange zest

1 cup confectioners sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2-3 tablespoons milk

1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans

glaze

Ingredients:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine apples with 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

2. In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, combine the eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla, orange juice, and sugar until combined.

mixing ingredients

3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Mix in with wet ingredients.

DO NOT OVERMIX!

4. Gently fold in the apples into the cake batter.

5. Spray your bundt pan with non stick spary. Pour batter into the pan and place in oven. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when poked into the cake.

IMG_2728 IMG_2729

6. While cake is baking, make your glaze. Using a whisk attachment on your mixer, whisk together cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and organge zest. Add in milk 1 tablespoon at a time. You want the glaze to be a consistency which is thinner than a traditional frosting.

frosting

7. Allow cake to cool and drizzle with glaze. Top with pecans.

8. Enjoy 🙂

bundt cake

I love my new spatula! I got it at Anthroplogie 🙂

bundt cake

Continue Reading

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

spicy roasted pumpkin seeds

When making my pumpkin puree, I kept thinking about the flavors I would use to season the pumpkin seeds. I knew I wanted more than just the traditional salt and I also knew I wanted some spice. It is really important to note that these are kid tested and approved 😀 wohoo!

Here is what I came up with…

 

Ingredients:

Seeds of one medium sized pumpkin

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

 

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Clean pumpkin seeds.

pumpkin seeds

2.Blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes.

pumpkin seeds

3. Strain pumpkin seeds and then pat dry. Add in spices, olive oil and Worcestershire sauce.

pumpkin seeds

4. Arrange on baking sheet and place in oven.

pumpkin seeds

5. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until seeds are crisp.

pumpkin seeds

6. Enjoy!

 

*These are great on salads and soups. The shells become crunchy and can be eaten with the inside seed!

 

Continue Reading

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin Patch

What do you get when you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter?  Pumpkin Pi… Baa-Dum Tshhh!! Lol.. I am funny right?

A few weekends ago we went to a pumpkin patch because it was a beautiful day and it is fun! We picked some pumpkins and since that I have been thinking about what I wanted to do with them.

The possibilities for pumpkin puree’ are endless.. but how do I get that from a large raw pumpkin to puree?

I did some research and the process is quite simple. Cut. Roast. Skin. Puree.

I want to share the details of this process with you all, as I imagine now that Halloween is over, you have many pumpkins around your home (if the squirrels didn’t get to them).

I also roasted the pumpkin seeds and wanted share that process because frankly I haven’t enjoyed pumpkin seeds as much as the ones I made 😛

 

Here we go..

You will need…

A pumpkin 🙂

pumpkin

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Cut off the top of your pumpkin and clean out the inside. Place seeds in a bowl (see next post for how to roast these).

3. Cut pumpkin flesh into 3 inch sections. Then cut those sections into smaller, equal size pieces. Arrange on baking sheet and bake with 40-50 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender when a fork is inserted into it.

pumpkin

4. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Using a knife, remove the skin off the pumpkin.

skinned pumpkin

5. Using a food processor, puree pumpkin until smooth. This took about 5 minutes.

IMG_2868 pumpkin puree pumpkin puree

6. Create your favorite pumpkin recipes using your fresh, homemade pumpkin puree 🙂

*This also freezes well!

 

Continue Reading