Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Double-cheese ziti with bacon, s'mores cupcakes and marshmallow frosting

Today I tried 2 different recipes. One was called Double-cheese ziti with bacon found in one of those small leaflet like recipe books called Tasteofhome Best Loved Casseroles Recipe Cards (with something about displaying until December 8, 2009).

1 package (16 ounces) ziti or small tube pasta
3 cups (24 ounces) 4% cottage cheese
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter, divided (only used 1/2 cup butter)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper (I just used regular pepper since I didn't mind black specks)
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
3 cups half-and-half cream
1 cup milk
4 cups (16 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup crumbled cooked bacon, divided (only made 4 slices, 3 inside and 1 on top)
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs (didn't add this)

1. cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, place cottage cheese in a food processor; cover and process until smooth. set aside.
2. in a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and garlic salt until smooth. Gradually add cream and milk. Bring to a boil: cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
3. drain macaroni; transfer to a large bowl (make sure it's a very big bowl, I thought I'd used one big enough but needed something bigger. had a tough time tossing). Add the cheddar cheese, white sauce and 3/4 cup bacon; toss to coat. Transfer to a greased 13-in. X 9-in. baking dish. (Dish will be full.) Melt remaining butter. Add bread crumbs; toss to coat. Sprinkle over casserole.
4. bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining bacon. Bake 5 minutes longer or until bubbly.

This recipe was pretty good. I feel that the bacon helped to make this dish even tho I'm not a big fan of bacon. I will be making it again since everyone in my family enjoyed it.

I also tried a recipe called S'mores Cupcakes that I found in the book called Cupcakes! from the Cake mix Doctor by Anne Byrn. I have a lot of cake mixes and I volunteer my time and a cake (or cupcake) helping out at PADS (people who provide food, a place to sleep, etc for the homeless).

24 paper liners for cupcake pans (2 1/2 inch size)
7 whole graham crackers, coarsely chopped
1 cup sour cream
1 package (18.25 ounces) plain German Chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 cup milk chocolate chips
Marshmallow Frosting (after S'mores cupcake directions in this post)
2 Hershey's Milk chocolate bars, broken into 24 small pieces, for garnish

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners. Set the pan aside.
2. Place 1 scant tablespoon of chopped graham cracker crumbs in the bottom of each liner. Set these aside. Reserve the remaining graham cracker crumbs for garnish. Set aside 3 tablespoons of the sour cream for the frosting.
3. Place the cake mix, pudding mix, remaining sour cream, water, oil, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides again if needed. The batter should look thick and well combined. Fold in the chocolate chips, making sure they are well distributed throughout the batter. Spoon or scoop 1/4 cup batter into each lined cupcake cup, filling it 2/3rds of the way full. (you will get between 22 and 24 cupcakes; remove the empty liners, if any.) Place the pans in the oven.
4. bake the cupcakes until they spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 19-22 minutes. Remove the pans for the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Run a dinner knife around the edges of the cupcake liners, life the cupcakes up from the bottoms of the cups using the end of the knife, and pick them out of the cups carefully with your fingertips. Place them on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes before frosting.
5. meanwhile, prepare the Marshmallow Frosting.
6. Carefully remove the liner from each cupcake, taking care that the graham cracker crumbs don't fall off, before you frost them. Place a heaping tablespoon of frosting on each cupcake and swirl to spread it out with a short metal spatula or spoon, taking care to cover the tops completely. Garnish with the reserved coarsely chopped graham crackers and a piece of milk chocolate. The cupcakes are ready to serve.

Marshmallow Frosting
1 jar (13 ounces) marshmallow creme
3 tablespoons regular or reduced-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. remove the lid from glass jar of marshmallow creme and place the jar in the microwave on high power for 45 seconds. (not sure if that might have been too long because mine overflowed but mine was also in a plastic jar) With a small rubber spatula, scrape the creme out of the jar and into a mixing bowl. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract. With an electric mixer, beat the mixture on medium speed until the frosting is fluffy and well blended, 1 minute.
2. Use to frost any chocolate cupcakes of your choice.

The cupcakes are real rich. I feel like you'll have to have a cup of milk handy/on the side. The frosting didn't turn out the be what I thought it would be like. I'm not sure if I added too much vanilla or sour cream was too warm but the frosting didn't seem right. These cupcakes smelled exactly like S'mores. I also made little changes here and there (very tiny chocolate pieces for garnish, no wire rake, kept cupcake liners on, etc.). Overall, was a good recipe and I'd probably make it again some time.

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