Recipe: Russian Sweet Cheese Dumplings

Mrs. Fields Secrets Russian Sweet Cheese Dumplings
Ladies and gentleman, we have a winner. Rounding out our series featuring Russian desserts, we have discovered our favorite. These creamy, sweet and crisp dumplings are an amazing treat. Drizzled with a chocolate sauce or a dollop of cream, these pillowy treats are a wonderful indulgence. We like them best with a spray of powdered sugar and fresh berries.

Russian Sweet Cheese Dumplings

2 eggs
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
15 oz. Ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups flour (plus more for dusting)
4 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 tablespoon salt for boiling water

Directions
Place a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil with the 1/2 tablespoon of salt. Whisk eggs, sugar, and salt together, then add to a mixing bowl with dough hooks and combine with the ricotta. Once you have a creamy texture, add flour and mix until you have a consistent dough ball, but don’t over mix. Transfer dough ball to a floured surface and divide into four quarters. Roll each quarter into an inch-thick rope, then cut rope into half-inch dumplings on the diagonal. Toss in a trace amount of flour to keep them from sticking. Repeat with remaining quarters of dough.

Carefully drop dumplings one batch at a time into the boiling water. They will sink to the bottom and then pop up on the surface once they are cooked. Remove and allow to drain. Continue with remaining dumplings until they are all cooked. Rinse dumplings with cold water to remove extra starch and allow to drain while you preheat a frying pan. Drizzle melted butter over the dumplings and toss to thoroughly coat. Fry them one batch at a time until golden brown on either side. Remove and serve with your favorite toppings.

Recipe: Russian Tea Cookies

Mrs. Fields Secrets Russian Ginger Cookies
It’s time to explore another Russian recipe to go along with your Olympic viewing. These sweet, soft tea cookies called pryaniki are a Russian favorite, filled with the flavors of honey, lemon, ginger and spice. Try them with a cup of hot tea and some prime time Olympic broadcasting for the full experience. (Notice that they are golden circles? Purely coincidence!)

Russian Tea Cookies

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon dry ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely grated
1 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest

Directions
Sift the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and salt together. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar on high until pale and thick. Gently heat the honey and fresh ginger in double boiler until warm, but not hot. Stir the vanilla into the honey and then slowly incorporate into the egg mixture. Add the dry ingredients to form a stiff dough. Cover and chill for at least an hour. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place 12 even scoops of dough on a prepared baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are barely golden brown. While cookies are baking, prepare the icing by combining the powdered sugar, lemon juice and zest until smooth. Spread a dollop on each cookie while still warm.

Recipe: Russian Blinis

Mrs. Fields Secrets Russian Blinis
One of the best parts of the Olympic Games is learning about different countries and cultures around the world. Since Russia is playing host this year, we’re putting together some great Russian recipes for you to try at home. Today’s recipe, the blini, has been a staple in Russian culture for generations. Similar to a crepe, but with a bit more chew and substance. This recipe is authentic and delicious, perfect for pairing with sweet toppings for a breakfast, brunch or dessert. Of course, you could also skip the sugar and wrap up savory fillings. The batter is very versatile! Try a batch and go for the gold!

Russian Blinis
adapted from Olga’s Flavor Factory

1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 3/4 cups flour
2 3/4 cups boiling water
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Butter and sugar (optional)

Directions
Whisk the buttermilk, egg, salt and baking soda together in a saucepan and heat over medium heat until mixture heats until about 120 degrees, or very warm, but not burning to the touch. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl and whisk flour in to create a thick batter. Pour in boiling water and quickly whisk to incorporate without getting too many lumps. Finally, stir in oil. Batter should be slightly runny, similar to pancake batter. Add more water if necessary.

Heat a non-stick pan on medium-high heat and pour about 1/2 cup of batter in the middle and turn pan to spread out as evenly and thin as possible. Allow to cook until top looks dry and full of tiny holes. Flip over and cook an additional couple of minutes. Remove from heat and immediately melt a thin layer of butter over blin and then sprinkle generously with sugar. Then, roll the blin up and serve with your favorite toppings: jam, jelly, berries, honey, syrup, peanut butter, Nutella, fresh fruit and/or cream.

Recipe: Cheesy Pull-Apart Bread with Dipping Sauce

Mrs. Fields Secrets Cheesy Pull-Apart BreadFebruary is all about love and this recipe will make you fall hard and fast! And even though true love can be a bit cheesy, in this case cheesy never tasted so good! This pull-apart bread fresh from the oven is so delicious, you’ll want to write it love poems, shout it from the rooftops, and whisk it away for a long evening. Enjoy it yourself or share it with someone you love. Go ahead, embrace the cheesy!

Cheesy Pull-Apart Bread with Dipping Sauce

3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cups flour
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons basil
2 teaspoons marjoram
2 teaspoons parsley
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 bottle marinara sauce

Directions
In a large mixing bowl with a dough hook, combine brown sugar and yeast. Pour warm water on top and allow to sit for 5 minutes, or until top is foamy and thick. Add salt, oil and flour, then mix until a ball of dough forms. Knead on low speed for three minutes, then transfer dough to a large cutting board and roll out into a rectangle. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into two-inch squares and allow to sit while you prepare the other ingredients. In a small mixing bowl, combine the parmesan cheese, garlic powder, oregano, basil, marjoram and parsley. Liberally spray a bundt cake pan with non-stick spray, then drop a layer of dough squares along the bottom. Next, sprinkle two liberal spoonfuls of the parmesan mixture onto the dough, followed by a layer of shredded cheddar cheese. Repeat with additional layers of dough, parmesan mixture and cheddar cheese until the dough is used. (You should have about half of your parmesan mixture leftover.) Drizzle the warm, melted butter over the top then cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise 30-45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on top. While bread is cooking, combine marinara sauce and remaining parmesan mixture in a saucepan over low heat. Stir occasionally and allow the sauce to thicken and reduce while the bread bakes.

Once the bread is out of the oven, allow it to sit for a few minutes before transferring to a serving plate. Serve warm with warm dipping sauce.

 

Recipe: Corn and Black Bean Salsa

Mrs. Fields Secrets Corn and Black Bean Salsa

Looking for the perfect salsa for the Big Game? This salsa is my absolute favorite, go-to pick for game days. This salsa has big, bold flavors,  great texture and scores big with every crowd! Put it together a couple hours before and let the flavors marry, and serve with a fresh bag of chips. No matter the final score, you’ll be the winner.

Corn and Black Bean Salsa

1 lime
honey (about 1-2 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon spicy season salt
1 red onion
3 fresh corn cobs or 2 cans of sweet corn
2 cans black beans
3 tomatoes, diced
2-3 avocados, diced
1 bunch cilantro

Directions
Juice the lime and add equal part honey. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and season salt, then whisk until well combined. Pour into a large serving bowl. Dice red onion and add to the dressing, letting it marinate a bit while you prepare the other ingredients. (This will help take any sharp flavor our of the onion.) Cut the corn off the cobs and add to the serving bowl. Rinse and drain black beans before adding to the bowl, followed by diced tomatoes and avocados. Finally, take a large handful of cleaned, fresh cilantro, and chop it up before adding it to the bowl. Stir everything together and add additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve with chips.

Recipe: Peppermint Marshmallows + Other Ideas to Spice Up Your Hot Cocoa

Mrs. Fields Secrets Peppermint Marshmallows

Keep warm from the inside out with these delicious ideas for spicing up your hot cocoa. Homemade marshmallows are a fun indulgence, especially with peppermint flavoring to add a little kick to your hot cocoa. Plus, try out our favorite recipes for Mayan-style Hot Cocoa and a Hot Cocoa cocktail for adults.

Peppermint Marshmallows

vegetable shortening (for preparing foil)
1 cup cold water
3 tablespoons (3 envelopes) unflavored gelatin
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

Directions
Prepare a 9×13 inch pan as follows. Invert the pan. Cut a piece of aluminum foil long enough to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. Place the foil over the inverted pan and fold down the sides and corners just to shape. Remove the foil and turn the pan right side up. Place the foil in the pan and press it gently into place. With a pastry brush or crumpled wax paper coat the foil thoroughly but lightly with vegetable shortening. Set aside.

Place 1/2 cup cold water in the large bowl of an electric mixer, Sprinkle the gelatin over the surface of the water and set aside. Place the sugar, corn syrup, salt and the other 1/2 cup water in a heavy 1-1/2 quart or 2 quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture comes to a boil. Cover for 3 minutes to allow any sugar crystals on the sides of the saucepan to dissolve. Uncover, raise the heat to high, insert a candy thermometer, and let the syrup boil without stirring until the temperature reaches 240 degrees. Do not overcook. Remove from the heat.

Beating constantly at medium speed, pour the syrup slowly into the gelatin mixture. After all the syrup has been added, increase the speed to high and beat for 15 minutes until the mixture is lukewarm, snowy white, and the consistency of whipped marshmallow, adding the vanilla a few minutes before the end of the beating. (During the beating, occasionally scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula. The marshmallow will thicken and become sticky — if the mixture crawls up on the beaters as it thickens, carefully wipe it down with a rubber spatula.)Pour the slightly warm and thick marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan and, with your forefinger, scrape all the mixture off the beaters. Smooth the top of the marshmallow. Let stand uncovered at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours or longer if it is more convenient.

Then sift or strain confectioners sugar generously onto a large cutting board to cover a surface larger then your pan. Invert the marshmallow over the sugared surface. Remove the pan and peel off the foil. Strain confectioners sugar generously over the top of the marshmallow. To cut into even 1 inch strips use a ruler and toothpicks to mark it every 1 inch.

Prepare a long, heavy, sharp knife by brushing the blade lightly with vegetable shortening. Cutting down firmly with the full length of the blade, cut the marshmallow into 1 inch strips. (After cutting the first slice, just keep the blade sugared to keep it from sticking.) Dip the cut sides of each strip into confectioners sugar to coat them thoroughly — you should have enough excess sugar on the board to do this. Now cut each strip into 1 inch squares. (You may place three strips together and cut through them all at once.) Roll the marshmallows in the sugar to coat the remaining sides. Shake off excess sugar. Store in a plastic box or any airtight container — or plastic bag.

Mayan Style Hot Cocoa
from Allrecipes

1 cup milk, warmed
3 tablespoons hot cocoa mix
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch cayenne pepper

Directions
Mix the dry ingredients together in a mug, then pour hot milk in and whisk until combined.
RumChata Hot Chocolate

8 ounces hot chocolate
1.5 ounces RumChata rum

Directions
Stir hot chocolate and rum together and sip.

Recipe (and Giveaway Winner): Crockpot Clam Chowder

Mrs. Fields Secrets Crockpot Clam Chowder

We enjoyed warming up with over 175 entries for our Favorite Winter Soup Giveaway and had to narrow it down to our winners. Today’s recipe is from Tina Brown and it’s a simple, delicious clam chowder that can slow cook all day and be ready for your evening meal. Give it a try (and check out our other favorite recipes below).

Crockpot Clam Chowder
from Tina Brown

4 (6 1/2 oz.) cans minced clams with juice
1/2 lb. salt pork or bacon, diced
1 cup chopped onion
6 to 8 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 c. water
3 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoons pepper
4 cups half and half cream or milk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Directions
Cut clams into bite-sized pieces if necessary. In skillet, saute salt pork or bacon and onion until golden brown; drain. Put into slow cooker with clams. Add all remaining ingredients, except milk, cornstarch, and parsley. Cover and cook on high 3 to 4 hours or until vegetables are tender. During the last hour of cooking, combine 1 cup of milk with the cornstarch. Add cornstarch mixture and the remaining milk and stir well; heat through. Top each serving with a little chopped parsley and serve with crackers or crusty French bread.

Runners Up!

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
from Laura at Tide and Thyme

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch thick
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
8 cups of chicken stock or broth
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 2 lemons
1 bay leaf
8 oz (1.5 cups) orzo pasta
2 cups cooked shredded chicken
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions
In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
Add the chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice,and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and orzo to the pot and cook for about 10 minutes, until the orzo is tender. Discard the bay leaf and stir in the parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

 

Chocolate Soup
from blog reader David
(great for dipping cookies)

4 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
5 tablespoons cornstarch
5 tablespoons cold water

Directions
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together the whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla bean. Bring the mixture almost to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and let it steep for 20 minutes. Strain and return mixture to the pan minus the vanilla bean. Put the pan on low heat, add the chocolate, and whisk until the chocolate melts. Combine the cornstarch and water to form a slurry. Add the slurry a little at a time, whisking constantly, until the soup is thick and smooth. You will know it is ready when the bubbles are gone and the chocolate has thickened, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Recipe: Rice Pudding

Mrs. Fields Secrets Rice Pudding

If you’ve never made rice pudding before, it’s time to give it a try. Creamy, rich flavor comes together in a few simple ingredients to create a hot or cold treat. I love it warm for dessert with a handful of raisins or slices of mango. Give it a try on a cold winter night.

Rice Pudding
adapted from Mark Bittman

1/3 cup rice
1/3 cup sugar
4 cups milk
pinch of salt
1 cinnamon stick (optional)
1 star anise (optional)

Directions
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a casserole dish or oven-safe pot, stir all ingredients together and place in oven, uncovered, and bake for 30 minutes. Stir mixture thoroughly and bake another 30 minutes, and repeat the process again two more times for a total of two hours cooking time, or until rice is plump and soft and pudding has reached desired thickness. Remove cinnamon stick and star anise and serve warm with a fresh sprinkle of nutmeg.

3 Ways to Spice Up Your New Year’s Ham

Ham is a New Year’s tradition for many, but it doesn’t have to be a boring tradition. The salty, robust flavor of a juicy ham pairs perfectly with spicy and sweet sauces and spreads. Here are a few home-run recipes to serve with your ham, on the side or spread on sandwich bread. Either way, it’s a great way to spice up the new year!

Southern Jezebel Sauce

1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/2 cup pineapple preserves
1/2 cup apricot jam
3-10 tablespoons horseradish, depending on taste
1 teaspoon ground mustard
dash of salt
dash of pepper

Directions
In a small saucepan over low heat, stir all ingredients together, using a minimum amount of horseradish. Taste and add more horseradish if desired. I like it to give a sweet bite, with a little bit of resonating heat in the back of my mouth. (Remember, you can always add more heat, but you can’t take it out!)

Hot Mustard Sauce

1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup hot water
1/4 cup vinegar

Directions
In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, mustard, salt, pepper, and cornstarch. Stir in hot water and vinegar over medium heat until  mixture is thick and boiling. Serve  as a gravy or sandwich spread.

Maple Mustard Sauce

1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup spicy mustard (dijon or deli)

Directions
Heat ingredients together in a sauce pan over medium heat until well combined and warm. Serve hot or cold over ham. HINT: The finer the syrup and mustard, the better and more interesting the flavor. This sauce is worth a splurge on the good stuff!

Recipe: Orange Pistachio Cookies

Mrs Fields Secrets Orange Pistachio Cookies
From all of us at Mrs. Fields and Mrs. Fields Secrets, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and thank you for letting us be part of your celebrations. Today’s recipe is beautiful, festive, delicious—something fun to make in a kitchen full of friends, family, or your favorite music. Fresh orange zest and crushed pistachios make up the creamy filling and crushed pistachios adorn the outside. Every bite is pure delight. They are as pretty as they are delicious.

Orange Pistachio Cookies
adapted from Star Tribune

For cookies
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter, at room temperature
½ cup sugar, plus extra for rolling dough
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange extract

For filling
1 cup raw shelled pistachios, divided
½ cup butter, room temperature
1 orange, zested and juiced (see below)
1 teaspoon orange extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, cream of tartar and baking soda, and reserve.  In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter,  sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, vanilla and orange extract and beat until thoroughly combined. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, in thirds, mixing until just incorporated.

Form dough into ½-inch balls. Roll dough balls in granulated sugar and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake until cookies are set but not browned, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 2 minutes before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

To prepare filling: In food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse ½ cup pistachios until very fine. In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter with orange zest until light and fluffy. Add orange extract and vanilla extract and mix until thoroughly combined. Reduce speed to low and add powdered sugar, in thirds, alternating with juice, beginning and ending with powdered sugar, and beat until smooth (you may need another tablespoon or so of liquid to reach desired consistency). Fold in pistachios, mixing until thoroughly incorporated.

Finely chop remaining ½ cup pistachios and place in a shallow dish. Spread a generous dollop of filling on bottom of a cookie. Top with another cookie, bottom-side up as if making a sandwich, and gently press cookies together until filling is just at edge of cookies. Roll filled edge in chopped pistachios. Repeat until all cookies form sandwiches.

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