Happy National Hot Fudge Sundae Day!!!

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Today is National Hot Fudge Sundae Day! A sundae is the perfect treat to enjoy on a summer night. The cold ice cream paired with a warm, chocolate topping is one of the most delicious combinations known to man. Add some nuts, whipped cream, and cherries on top and you’ve got yourself a world-famous dessert!

The Guinness Book of World Records has documented several record-setting sundaes. For example, the most expensive sundae can be ordered at Serendipity 3 in New York City for the hefty sum of $1000. In 2009, the Kids Club in Brunswick, Georgia created the world’s longest sundae. It measured over 130 feet long!

Credit: Punchbowl

Photo Credit: Cupcake Blog

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Happy National Pecan Day!!! – New Orleans Chocolate Pecan Pie

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New Orleans Chocolate Pecan Pie

Ingredients

Crust:

pie crust

Filling:

4 ounces bittersweet, dark or semisweet chocolate, chopped

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter

½ cup packed, dark brown sugar

3 large eggs

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup light corn syrup

1½ cups pecan pieces

Instructions

Crust:

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Roll out dough on floured surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Trim overhang to 1 inch; fold under and crimp decoratively. Set aside.

Filling:

Stir chocolate and butter in saucepan over low heat until melted. Cool slightly.

  1. Whisk brown sugar, eggs and salt in large bowl to blend. Whisk in corn syrup and chocolate mixture.
  2. Sprinkle pecans over unbaked crust. Pour filling over pecans. Bake until crust is golden and filling is puffed, about 55 minutes.

Cool until just warm before serving.

Credit: keestothekitchen

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Happy National Blueberry Muffins Day!!! – To Die For Blueberry Muffins Recipe

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Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 
3/4 cup white sugar
  • 
1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 
2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 
1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 
1 egg
  • 
1/3 cup milk
  • 
1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 
1/2 cup white sugar
  • 
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 
1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • PREP 
15 mins
  • COOK
 25 mins
  • READY IN
 40 mins

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
  • Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
  • To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with…

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National Glazed Spiral Ham Day!!! – Tangerine-Glazed Easter Ham

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Ingredients

1 (8 to 10-pound) smoked ham, bone-in, skin on

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 bunch fresh sage leaves

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut in chunks

2 tangerines, sliced thin, seeds removed

2 cups tangerine juice

2 cups light brown sugar, packed

1 cup water

1/4 teaspoon whole cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

11/2 pounds carrots, peeled

Directions

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Put the ham in a large roasting pan, fat-side up. Using a sharp knife, score the ham with cuts across the skin, about 2-inches apart and 1/2-inch deep. Cut diagonally down the slashes to form a diamond pattern; season the meat generously with salt and pepper. Chop about 8 of the sage leaves and put it in a bowl; mix with the oil to make a paste. Rub the sage-oil all over the ham, being sure to get the flavor into all the slits. Bake the ham for 2 hours. Now there is plenty of time to bang-out the tangerine glaze.

For the glaze: Place a saucepan over medium heat. Add the chunks of butter, tangerines, tangerine juice, brown sugar, water, and spices. Slowly cook the liquid down to a syrupy glaze; this should take about 30 to 40 minutes.

After the ham has been going for a couple of hours, pour the tangerine glaze all over it, with the pieces of fruit and all. Scatter the remaining sage leaves on top and stick the ham back in the oven and continue to cook for 11/2 hours, basting with the juices every 30 minutes.

Scatter the carrots around the ham and coat in the tangerine glaze. Stick the ham once again back in the oven and cook for a final 30 minutes, until the carrots are tender, the ham is dark and crispy, and the whole thing is glistening with a sugary glaze.

Set the ham on a cutting board to rest before carving. Serve the carrots and tangerine glaze on the side.

Credit: Food Network

Happy Pecan Day!!! – Bacon & Cane Syrup Pecan Pie Recipe

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For the pie dough

  • 7-1/2 oz. (1-2/3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for rolling
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 6 oz. (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 5 to 7 Tbs. ice water

For the filling

  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/2 cup cane syrup, such as Steen’s or Lyle’s
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 cups pecan halves, toasted, cooled, and coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup crumbled cooked bacon (3 or 4 strips)

Make the pie dough

Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the largest pieces are about the size of corn kernels, 8 to 12 one-second pulses. Drizzle 5 Tbs. of the ice water over the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture becomes a moist, crumbly-looking dough that holds together when squeezed in your hand, 4 to 6 pulses. If the dough is still dry, add another tablespoon or two of ice water and test again.

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface. Gently gather and press the dough into a disk. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.

Let the dough sit at room temperature to soften slightly (it should be firm but not rock hard), 5 to 20 minutes, depending on how long it was chilled. Roll the dough on a lightly floured work surface with a lightly floured rolling pin until it’s about 13 inches wide and 1/8 inch thick. Roll from the center of the dough to the edges and try to use as few passes as possible to avoid overworking the dough. After every few passes, run an offset spatula or a bench knife under the dough to be sure it isn’t sticking, and give the dough a quarter turn. Reflour the work surface and rolling pin only as needed—excess flour makes the crust tough.

Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate by rolling it around the rolling pin and unrolling it into the plate. You can also fold the dough in half and unfold it into the plate. To fit the dough into the plate, gently lift the edges to create enough slack to line the sides without stretching the dough. Trim off all but 3/4 inch of the overhang. Roll the dough under itself to build up the edge of the crust. Crimp the edge of the crust with your fingers. With the tines of a fork, prick the crust all over. Chill for up to 1 hour in the refrigerator or about 30 minutes in the freezer.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Line the piecrust with foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and weights. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and continue baking until the bottom looks dry and the edges are golden, 5 to 7 minutes more. Cool on a rack while you prepare the filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and put a large, rimmed baking sheet on the oven rack.

Make the filling

Put the egg yolks in a medium heatproof bowl set on a kitchen towel and add the vanilla. Combine the sugar, butter, cane syrup, cream, and salt in a 1-quart sauce-pan. Heat over medium heat just until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot but not boiling, 3 to 5 minutes. Whisking vigorously and constantly, very slowly pour the hot sugar mixture into the yolks. Strain through a fine strainer set over a 1-quart measuring cup.

Fill and bake the pie

TIP:

Pour the filling over the pecans in a slow, spiral motion; if you go too fast, the pecans may move, leaving gaps in the finished pie.

Spread the pecans evenly in the piecrust. Sprinkle the crumbled bacon evenly over the pecans. Slowly pour the filling over the pecans. Put the pie on the baking sheet and bake until the center of the pie is slightly firm to the touch and the filling doesn’t wobble when the pie is nudged, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool for at least 1 hour before serving. 

Make Ahead Tips

The pie dough may be made up to 1 month ahead; wrap it well in plastic wrap and foil and freeze it. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before rolling it out. The pie can be made up to 1 day ahead (store covered with plastic at room temperature), but it’s best eaten warm.

Credit: Fine Cooking

Happy Peach Cobbler Day!!! – Fresh Southern Peach Cobbler Recipe

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Ingredients


8 fresh peaches – peeled, pitted and sliced into thin wedges

  • 
1/4 cup white sugar
  • 
1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 
2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 
1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 
1/4 cup white sugar
  • 
1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 
1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 
1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 
1/4 cup boiling water
  • MIX TOGETHER:
  • 
3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • PREP
20 mins
  • COOK
40 mins
  • READY IN
1 hr

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  • In a large bowl, combine peaches, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Toss to coat evenly, and pour into a 2 quart baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in butter with your fingertips, or a pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in water until just combined.

Credit: All Recipes

Happy Grilled Cheese Day!!! – How to make The Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich

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A grilled cheese is a grilled cheese, right? I mean, it’s the first meal that most of us learn how to cook at home by ourselves. It’s the perfect midnight snack or soup-dipper. It’s great for kids but is never turned down by an adult. It’s salty, gooey, crisp, buttery, and comforting in all the right ways.

But there’s grilled cheese, then there’s GRILLED CHEESE. When you’re faced with a perfect grilled cheese, globules of cheese slowly oozing out of the edges, a pure, even golden-brown face suffused deeply with butter, you know even before you bite into it if the experience is going to be transcendental. It’s the way you can feel the butter in the bread, but it doesn’t leave your fingers greasy (at least not too greasy). The way the crust is crisp but flexes ever-so-slightly so that you know there is a layer of tender crumb waiting underneath before you hit the molten core. The way the aroma—that buttery, brown aroma—curls up into your nose just before you take the first bite.

And that’s all before you even get that glorious cocktail of textures and fat into your mouth.

So how do you get there? What are the secrets to the best grilled cheese?

We’ve learned a thing or two about it over the years. Here are our best tips and our favorite recipe.

THE CHEESE

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A grilled cheese doesn’t work with just any old cheese. You’ve got to have a cheese with just the right melting characteristics. Dry, crumbly, fresh cheeses like goat cheese won’t melt properly. Ditto for overly aged cheeses like a parmesan or hard Pecorino. For the true classic flavor, nothing is better than ultra-gooey, not-too-sharp American cheese. As we found in our American Cheese taste test, so long as you aren’t going for vegan cheese slices, any old American cheese will do. I personally use Kraft Deli Deluxe Singles.

If you want to get fancy, a young cheddar, Swiss-style cheeses like Gruyère (or its French cousin Comté), or young Italian and French cheeses like young Fontina, Tallegio, or Brie go well, too. As long as it melts, it’s got a place in our sandwiches.

If you do like the flavor of a non-melter, it’s acceptable to treat it like another topping—that is, pair it with a cheese that does melt. A mozzarella and feta combo makes a fine sandwich, as does a Fontina and Parmigiano, for instance.

When at all possible, it’s best to go with sliced cheese as opposed to grated. It is easier to distribute evenly, is less prone to making odd holes in the interior of your sandwich, and melts better (many of the best melting cheeses are too soft to grate effectively).

THE BREAD

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Aside from necessarily being sliced, the only other rule here is that it can’t be too hole-y (or your cheese will drip out), and it can’t be sliced too thick (lest your cheese won’t melt). White bread and American is what many of us grew up on, but if you want to go fancier, feel free to use a nice hand-sliced Italian ciabatta, a good sourdough, or a French boule. Grilled cheese is a great way to use up day-old bread, as the grilling process will resuscitate it a bit.

I use either Pepperidge Farm or Arnold white sliced sandwich bread for my grilled cheese. It’s got a bit more substance than Wonderbread and its ilk, but not so much that it becomes tough. If you can get your hands on it, Japanese-style shokupan will make the finest grilled cheese you’ve ever had.

THE METHOD

Low and slow is the way to go with grilled cheese. Not so slow that the bread dehydrates, but slow enough that you can achieve a thick, even, golden brown crust on each side before the sandwich starts to burn. This means using a heavy pan. The easiest is to use a non-stick pan with an an aluminum core, which will distribute heat evenly and allows you to swirl your sandwich around, achieving more even cooking. A cast iron skillet that’s been preheated for about 10 minutes over low/medium-low heat will work as well.

Make sure to use enough butter so that it really forms a good layer of contact with the bread. Butter does more than add fat and flavor—it provides a medium through which heat is distributed. If you don’t use enough butter, you’ll get spotty browning. Also, do not allow your butter to burn or brown. The browning should be slow browning of the proteins and sugars in the bread, not the milk solids in the butter.

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Grill the bread on both sides.

The best method I’ve ever seen for making a perfect grilled cheese comes from Adam Kuban. His secret? Grill the bread on both sides. That’s right. Grill two slices of bread in butter, flip’em over so that the browned sides are facing up, add your cheese, and close your sandwich so that the cheese is sandwiched between the browned surfaces. Not only will this get you better tasting bread infused with more butter, but it’ll also give your cheese a head start on getting extra-melty.

I only ever use unsalted butter at home (it’s more versatile), but I always felt there was something missing from my grilled cheese sandwiches until I realized that without the salt added from salted butter, that childhood flavor just wasn’t there. Seasoning the cooked sandwich with a pinch of kosher salt solves that problem nicely.

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National Empanada Day!!! – Paula Deen’s Chicken Empanadas Recipe

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Ingredients

3 cups chopped, cooked chicken

1 (8-ounce) package shredded Colby and Monterey Jack cheese blend

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts

Water

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Lightly grease a baking sheet. In a large bowl, combine the chicken and next 7 ingredients. Unroll 1 piecrust onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 15-inch circle. Cut out rounds, using a 3-inch cookie cutter. Re-roll dough as needed. Repeat procedure with remaining piecrusts, making 12 to 15 circles total. Arrange 1 round on a clean, flat surface. Lightly brush the edges of crust with water. Place 1 heaping teaspoon of chicken mixture in the center of the round. Fold the dough over the filling, pressing the edges with a fork to seal. Repeat with the remaining rounds and chicken mixture. (Up to this point, the recipe can be made ahead and frozen for up to 1 month). Arrange empanadas on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.

Credit: Food Network

National Coffee Cake Day!!! – Streusel Coffee Cake

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Ingredients  

Cinnamon Streusel -1/3 cup Original Bisquick™ mix

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons firm butter or margarine

Coffee Cake

2 cups Original Bisquick™ mix

2/3 cup milk or water

2 tablespoons sugar

1 egg

Directions

  • 1
Heat oven to 375°F. Grease 9-inch round pan. In small bowl, stir streusel ingredients until crumbly; set aside.
  • 2
In medium bowl, mix coffee cake ingredients until blended. Spread in pan. Sprinkle with streusel.
  • 3
Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown.

Credit: Betty Crocker

Happy Peanut Butter & Jelly Day!!! – The Elvis Sandwich

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Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter, softened

8 slices white bread

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

1 large, ripe banana, sliced

1/4 cup honey

12 slices bacon, Sauteed until crispy (optional)

Directions

Spread the butter on 1 side of each slice of bread. On the other side of half of the slices spread peanut butter. Place banana slices on top of peanut butter. Drizzle honey over bananas. Place 3 bacon slices on top of the banana, then place the remaining buttered bread slices on top, butter-side-out.

Place sandwiches on a preheated grill pan or griddle. Flip them over when they become golden brown and crispy. When the sandwiches are browned on both sides, remove to plates. Slice in half and serve immediately.

Credit: Food.com

Photo: Purely Consumed