Memorial Day is just around the corner and what better way to celebrate than with a red, white and blue cocktail.
Chocolate, raspberry, cream cheese; what more could you ask for in a dessert? This recipe has it all, the crispiness of a cookie, the creaminess of a cheesecake and the glazing of a cake – a baking trifecta. It comes from a Taste of Home submission and hits all of the right notes for this family.
Chocolate raspberry bars
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup confectioners' sugar
¼ cup butter, cubed
½ cup raspberry jam (with or without seeds)
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons milk (2% or whole)
1 cup white chips, melted
¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons shortening
Shortbread layer: Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine flour and confectioners' sugar cutting in the butter until crumbly. Press the mixture into an ungreased 9-inch square baking pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until browned (see helpful hints). Spread jam over warm crust and set aside.
Cream cheese layer: In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese and milk until smooth. Add the melted white chips and continue beating until smooth. Spread carefully over jam layer and cool completely before refrigerating for 1 hour or until set.
Glaze: Melt the chocolate chips and shortening in a microwave and stir until smooth. Spread the glaze over the filling and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Cut into bars, chill for an additional hour or until set and store in the refrigerator.
If you have trouble with layers separating, try adding the jam to the crust halfway through the crust’s baking time. If you’re not a fan of raspberry, try it with blueberry, strawberry or your favorite jam.
Avocados go with Spanish foods like peanut butter goes with jelly and when I was a little girl I wasn’t a fan of either. My mother would ask me regularly if I wanted avocado with my dinner and I would tell her, “No, you know I don’t like it.” When I got older I still wasn’t a fan that is until I discovered guacamole. Now there are probably as many guacamole recipes as there are spaghetti sauce ones. This next recipe is a variation of a many I’ve tried over the years. Bien provecho.
3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
1 lime, juiced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon cayenne
¼ medium red onion, diced
½ jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced, optional
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 large clove garlic, minced
Tortilla chips for dipping
In a large bowl, toss the avocado pulp with the lime juice to coat. Drain, and reserve the lime juice. Using a potato masher add the salt, cumin and cayenne and mash until smooth but still chunky. Then, fold in the onions, jalapeno, tomatoes, cilantro and fresh garlic. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice and mix. Let stand ½ hour before serving.
To prevent the guacamole from browning right away, place a pit in the center of the guacamole, add a little more lime juice to the top of the mixture and cover tightly making sure to press the plastic wrap against the mixture so that there is no air between the guacamole and the plastic wrap.
My son Sebastian is the only one of my kids who may love breakfast as much as I do. Eggs, pancakes, bacon, hash browns – the list goes on. So being the good mother that I am, I make sure that he regularly gets a hot breakfast of eggs, bacon or sausage with hash browns or pancakes before heading off to school every morning. I know, sorry future daughter-in-law, but a boy’s gotta eat. This next recipe makes sure he can have some hot eggs with bacon or sausage every morning, even if I’m not home. It comes from a Taste of Home reader and while I’ve made a few adjustments, the original is very good.
Scrambled egg muffins
½ pound bulk pork sausage (may substitute or add bacon)
1 dozen eggs
¼ cup milk or cream (my addition)
½ cup chopped onion
¼ cup chopped green pepper
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese (or substitute your favorite)
Preheat oven to 350 degree F. In a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. If using bacon, cook bacon until crisp, drain and set aside. The original recipe calls for raw onion and green pepper, but I like to sauté the vegetables in the bacon fat or sausage grease.
Beat the eggs and milk in a large bowl, then add the sautéed onion, green pepper, salt, garlic powder and pepper. Stir in the sausage (bacon, or both) and cheese.
Spoon by 1/3 cupfuls into muffin cups coated with cooking spray and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
Some readers had trouble getting the muffins out of the tins without losing some of the muffin, but a parchment liner or silicone muffin tin will alleviate this problem. You can also add spinach or mushrooms to the vegetable portion for different varieties of muffins. Ham is also a great substitute. This recipe can also be made in mini muffin tins, just cut the cooking time to 12 to 15 minutes so that they don’t overcook and become rubbery.