Friday, November 28, 2014

Homemade Samoa Bars

We are always on the lookout for a new sweet treat. I am constantly baking with my boys to keep us all entertained during the day, especially in the winter. To top that, my hubby is constantly searching magazines and the internet for new food that he or I can whip up. He found these and I just had to make them. They are super impressive for company, so perfect for this season! I will tell you, I double the shortbread recipe, we LOVE to have a thick shortbread on the bottom of these decadent bars. Actually, we love double the crust on pretty much everything!

Homemade Samoa Bars

Shortbread (I DOUBLE this shortbread recipe, we prefer thick crusts)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar

Coconut topping
4 cups shredded sweetened coconut
20 ounces store-bought
3 Tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 ounces dark chocolate

Make the shortbread cookie base:
Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line a 13-by 9-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Turn the mixer to low, and then carefully add the flour mixture to the bowl, beating just until combined and scraping down the sides as needed. (Do not overmix the shortbread dough or it'll be too crumbly to cut once baked.) Transfer the dough into the prepared baking pan and press it into an even, flat layer.
Bake the shortbread until barely golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let it cool completely while you make the topping.

Make the coconut topping:
Turn the oven up to 350ºF. Spread the coconut flakes onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the coconut for about 10 minutes until it's toasted, stirring frequently to ensure even browning and so that it does not burn. Alternatively, you can do this in a large skillet on the stovetop over medium low heat, stirring constantly.  Remove the toasted coconut from the oven and set it aside.
Melt the caramels, milk and salt in a double-boiler by placing the ingredients in a medium saucepot set over a large saucepot of simmering water. Cook, stirring, until the caramels are fully melted. Remove the saucepot from the heat and combine the caramel mixture with the toasted coconut in a large bowl. Immediately spread the coconut mixture over the cooled shortbread, pressing it to adhere to the shortbread base. Work quickly, as the caramel mixture will begin to firm up and won't adhere if it cools too much. Let the bars sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Using the parchment paper overhangs, lift the shortbread out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Slice the shortbread into bars by spacing your cuts to make 3 columns down and 10 rows across to form 30 roughly 2-inch by 1-inch cookie bars.
Melt the dark chocolate in a double-boiler or in the microwave. Dip the bottoms of each of the cookie bars into the chocolate and place them on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Use a fork to drizzle the tops with chocolate. Let the cookies sit until the chocolate hardens fully.

Recipe from
Makes About 30 cookie bars

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Butternut Squash Burritos

Yum Yum-these were amazing. I am absolutely addicted to butternut squash, as is my 1 year old. I cook 2-3 a week, and right when it pops out of the oven he runs over and starts hyperventilating until I get some in his mouth. The other day we just sat on the floor in the middle of the kitchen and ate every last bite of roasted squash-it was one of those moments that I will never forget as a mom. It was heaven. I love my boys, and I almost love butternut squash just as much:) Not really, but I do love it alot. Usually I just toss it in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast it for about 40 minutes at 400. From there you can do anything with this sugar-tasting veggie! My sweet, healthy friend told me that I had to try this dish, and after a day of thinking about it, I whipped it up. It’s great. I mean, really...a vegetarian, guilt-free version of a meal that is usually 1000 calories. I think yes. I couldn’t stop eating it, and I can’t wait to have it for lunch again tomorrow!

Butternut Squash Burritos

1 medium butternut squash
1/2 cup cooked rice or quinoa
1-2 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped sweet onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red pepper, chopped
1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
2 tsp ground cumin, or to taste
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
One 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup monterrey jack cheese
4 tortilla wraps
Toppings of choice: (avocado, salsa, sour cream, spinach/lettuce, cilantro, etc)
Preheat oven to 400F and line a large glass dish with tinfoil. Peel and cube squash, then drizzle olive oil on squash and add salt and pepper. Coat with hands. Roast for 40 minutes or until tender.
In a large skillet over medium-low heat, add oil, onion, and minced garlic. Sautee for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add in salt and seasonings and stir well.
Add chopped red pepper, black beans, and cooked rice/quinoa and sauté for another 10 mins. on low.
When squash is tender remove from oven and cool slightly. Add 1.5 cups of the cooked butternut squash to the skillet and stir well. You can mash the squash with a fork if some pieces are too large. Add cheese and heat another couple minutes.
Add filling to tortilla along with desired toppings. Wrap and serve. Leftover filling can be reheated the next day for lunch in a wrap or as a salad topper.

Makes 4 burritos
Recipe adapted from