Frangelico Fudge Topping

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Next Step: Frangelico Fudge Topping! It may have been awhile, but the smooth taste of Frangelico Italian liqueur is not forgotten. Need I remind you it has the same hints of chocolate and toasted hazelnut you practically eat out of a jar? Think Nutella, silly. If it were a cocktail, it would go by this name, with an added punch of alcohol. And since we’re talking dessert, let’s move on to this amazing fudge topping that works on anything from ice cream to waffles. Now I’ve got your attention.

FRANGELICO FUDGE TOPPING

Ingredients:

1 cup butter

1/3 cup cocoa powder

3 cups sugar

12-ounces evaporated milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons Frangelico liqueur

Instructions:

Combine butter, cocoa powder, sugar, and evaporated milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Add vanilla extract and Frangelico liqueur. Stir well. Serve immediately over desserts or waffles. Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator.

Belgian Waffles

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Take a Seat at the Table: Belgian Waffles! Call me crazy, or call me lazy, but truth be told sometimes you need to take a shortcut in preparing a meal. Just because you’re short on time doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice taste. Here’s a perfect example: Belgian Waffles made from starter pancake mix in a box. Add a few extras like pure vanilla and fresh fruit to turn an ordinary waffle into a spectacular one. Make a batch for breakfast, brunch, or dinner. Let the cheers begin!

BELGIAN WAFFLES

Ingredients:

2 cups Log Cabin All Natural Pancake Mix

4 tablespoons oil

2 eggs

1 1/3 cups milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

Preheat waffle iron. Combine pancake mix, oil, eggs, milk, and vanilla in a blender. Blend 30 seconds until lumps are removed. Let batter rest for a few minutes. Grease waffle iron if necessary. Pour batter by scant cupfuls onto center of hot waffle iron. Bake 3-5 minutes or until steaming slows and waffle is golden brown. Carefully remove. Serving suggestions: Fresh fruit, melted butter, dark amber maple syrup, pecans, whipped cream, and a side of bacon.

Bourbon Balls

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Festive Foods: Bourbon Balls! Remember the scene from “The Grinch Stole Christmas” where the adults in Whoville are throwing a key party? Well, I’m convinced they may have been nibbling on holiday Bourbon Balls based on the way they were flirting and having a crazy-fun time. Be forewarned. This recipe does contain chocolate and alcohol. You may want to mention it.

BOURBON BALLS

Ingredients:

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels

3 tablespoons corn syrup

1/2 cup bourbon

2 1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 cup pecans, finely chopped

Granulated sugar

Instructions:

Pulse vanilla wafers in a food processor to make crumbs. Set aside. Over hot (not boiling) water, melt chocolate morsels; remove from heat. Blend in corn syrup and bourbon. In a large bowl, combine vanilla wafer crumbs, powdered sugar, and nuts. Add chocolate mixture. Blend well. Chill 30 minutes. Using a melon ball utensil, scoop dough into 1″ balls. Roll in granulated sugar. Store in covered container for several days to season flavor.

Judy’s Pumpkin Sea Salt Caramel Sauce

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Appetizers to Desserts: Judy’s Pumpkin Sea Salt Caramel Sauce! I always get excited when I receive the gift of food. My friend, Judy, thrilled me beyond measure when she shared this treat from her kitchen. It’s the perfect combination of sea salt caramel and pumpkin purée. It not only transforms a cup of coffee into a pumpkin spice addiction, but it also tastes incredible on a breakfast muffin. If you ask my husband, he’ll say you can eat it over ice cream by the spoonful.

JUDY’S PUMPKIN SEA SALT CARAMEL SAUCE

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon water

3/4 cup heavy cream, room temperature

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/3 cup pumpkin purée

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions:

In a 2-quart heavy-bottomed pan over medium-low heat, combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring often to avoid scorching. Continue cooking until sugar turns light amber in color and all sugar crystals have dissolved, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter and mix well. Change utensils to a heat-resistant whisk and quickly whisk in the cream and pumpkin. Lastly, add cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth, removing all lumps. Transfer to a jar. Cool at room temperature, seal, and store in the refrigerator.

Mango Rice Pudding

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Equal Measures: Mango Rice Pudding! One of my fondest childhood memories is eating cinnamon sugared rice pudding warm from the stove. It’s funny how we associate traditional recipes with comfort food. Being a child of the ‘50s, it was the norm to have dessert with supper every night. ‘Course we also played outside till after dark. Sometimes it was “Kick the Can”, “Capture the Flag”, “Red Rover”, or “Spud”. I think my favorite was the neighborhood themed, “Boys Chase the Girls”. Being a tomboy who could run like the wind, I never did get caught. After all, who wants to be kissed by one of their brothers?!

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup sweet rice

1 1/2 cups half milk and half cream

1 cup whole milk

1 cup water

1/4 cup evaporated milk

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cinnamon sticks

3 mangoes; peeled, diced, and cubed

Zest of 1 lime

Pinch ground nutmeg

Cinnamon sugar, to taste

Instructions:

Using a rice cooker, add sweet rice, half and half, whole milk, water, evaporated milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and cinnamon sticks to the removable pot. Close and lock the lid. Set to risotto function. Regulator knob must be set to “pressure”. Cook 18 minutes. Once the function is complete, use the natural release method to release pressure. Open the lid. Stir until the ingredients are all mixed together. Fold in half the chopped mangoes. To serve, spoon rice pudding into dessert bowls. Top with reserve mangoes and lime zest. Garnish with a sprinkling of nutmeg and cinnamon sugar.

Urban Lemon Curd French Toast

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Clean Plate Club: Urban Lemon Curd French Toast! Shortcuts, gotta love them. Just because you’re preparing food at home doesn’t mean everything has to be made from scratch. Betty Crocker, an American cultural icon, is proof of that. I used a store-bought lemon curd instead of making it from scratch. And if you want to take this recipe one step closer to simplifying your life, merely substitute the fresh berry compote with frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed of course. After all, the main attraction is the lemony rich oven-baked French toast sprinkled with vanilla bean and nutmeg. Everything is prepared the night before so all that’s needed is baking time the next morning. See? Simple isn’t so bad.

URBAN LEMON CURD FRENCH TOAST

Ingredients:

4 eggs

2 cups milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out and reserved

10-ounce jar lemon curd

1 loaf Hawaiian Sweet Bread, sliced

1/2 cup blueberries

1/2 cup cherries

1/2 cup mulberries

1/2 cup cranberries

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Powdered sugar, garnish

Instructions:

To make the French toast, butter an oval baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, heavy cream, and vanilla bean seeds. Fold in the lemon curd. Stir well. Arrange the Hawaiian Sweet Bread slices evenly in the prepared dish, slightly overlapping them. Pour egg mixture over bread. Spoon to coat all slices. Cover and refrigerate overnight. To make the fruit compote, in a saucepan over medium heat, combine blueberries, cherries, mulberries, cranberries, and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the fruit breaks down, about 15 minutes. As the juices are released, the fruit will thicken. Remove from heat, cover, and refrigerate. Warm in the microwave the next day before serving. The next day, to bake the French toast, preheat oven to 350°. Let the French toast stand at room temperature 15 minutes before placing in the oven. Remove lid. Bake 45-50 minutes. To make the whipped topping, chill the mixing bowl and beaters beforehand. Place the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract in the mixer bowl. Beat on medium speed until the cream begins to thicken, about 4-6 minutes. The whipped cream will double in volume and form soft peaks. Remove the French toast from the oven. Let it cool for 10 minutes. Top with warm berry compote, whipped cream, and dusting of powdered sugar. Serve warm.

Quinoa Buckwheat Pancakes

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Clean Plate Club: Quinoa Buckwheat Pancakes! Before you roll your eyes and walk away, let me assure you these pancakes are amazing. My husband had no idea the secret ingredient was quinoa. Honestly. Since I cooked the quinoa the day before, it blended nicely with the buckwheat batter resulting in moist and light pancakes. Better yet, there was no heavy feeling afterwards. You should try it.

QUINOA BUCKWHEAT PANCAKES

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked quinoa

3/4 cup buckwheat pancake mix

1 egg plus 1 egg-white

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Fresh blueberries

Mint for garnish

Instructions:

In a medium bowl, whisk together quinoa and buckwheat pancake mix. In another bowl, whisk together egg, egg-white, melted butter, milk, vanilla extract, and maple syrup. Blend until smooth. Add egg mixture to flour mixture. Mix well. Coat a hot griddle with butter, vegetable oil, or nonstick spray. Drop batter by heaping tablespoons. Cook 2 minutes until bubbles appear. Flip buckwheat cakes to cook underside for 2 minutes longer. Repeat with remaining batter. Reduce heat to medium to avoid burning, if necessary. Serve a stack of quinoa buckwheat pancakes with fresh blueberries, unsalted butter, and pure maple syrup. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired. Garnish with chopped mint.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Hummus

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Clean Plate Club: Peanut Butter Chocolate Hummus! You don’t have to be vegan to appreciate the benefits of hummus, especially this version. It’s more like a reward than a punishment. The peanut-ty taste combined with dark chocolate makes it only a few steps removed from eating a candy bar. But that’s where the dippers come in handy to turn it into a healthy appetizer or afternoon snack. Think celery, gluten-free pretzels, and juicy apple slices. I couldn’t resist a dollop of hummus between two shortbread cookies. Graham crackers would work just as well. Think of the fun you’ll have coming up with more ways to “spread the joy”!

PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE HUMMUS

Ingredients:

15-ounce chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup natural peanut butter, creamy

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

3 tablespoons milk

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions:

Once chickpeas are drained and rinsed well, add to a food processor. Pulse to mix. Combine remaining ingredients: natural peanut butter, pure maple syrup, milk, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract. Blend together until hummus is smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Transfer mixture to a covered dish. Refrigerate one hour. Serve with pretzel sticks, apple slices, shortbread cookies, and celery.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter G

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Clean Plate Club: Green Tea Berry Cobbler! Now you can drink your tea and eat it too. Presenting a unique twist on an old favorite. Green tea combines its earthy flavors with a touch of bitterness to complement the natural sweetness of fresh fruit. The results will astound your taste buds, rounding off the cobbler’s cake-like topping. Choose any combination of fruit; blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, or mulberries. One hint for best results: Spoon the cobbler topping in small portions leaving room for the fruit to “pop” through and become caramelized. That’s the part that makes our eyes roll back in satisfaction.

GREEN TEA BERRY COBBLER

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup boiling water

1 Green Tea bag

1 cup blueberries

1/2 cup raspberries

1/2 cup mulberries

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1 egg, room temperature

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup granola

Powdered Sugar, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a baking dish or iron skillet with butter. Set aside. Place teabag in 1/2 cup boiling water. Steep for 3 minutes. Discard tea bag. Cool tea to room temperature. In a medium bowl, combine berries, sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Toss gently to coat; do not crush berries. In a large bowl, vigorously whisk together egg and sugar. Continue for one minute. Add sea salt, Greek yogurt, and vanilla extract. Whisk until completely blended. Add green tea. Mix well. Gradually add flour and baking powder. Stir until incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan, leaving about 5 tablespoons reserved for topping. Gently layer berries over batter. Spoon remaining batter in dollops over fruit. Bake 10-12 minutes. Scatter granola over the top of the batter. Bake 20 minutes longer or until cobbler is golden brown and a tester comes out clean. Just before serving, dust with powdered sugar.