From that moment, I had spent every available minute (and brain cell, it seems) in scouring the internet and my cookbooks for delicious, unique, and portable appetizers. I was challenged by distance (3 hours travel time one way) and not having the comfort of my own kitchen for last minute preparation work. A flurry of support, encouragement and ideas from my long-time dear friend Jane, and blogging friends, Coleen of Coleen's Recipes, Ingrid of 3B's...Baking, Baseball and Books and Rhiannon Nicole of Hey Gorgeous poured in and kept me sane. Thank you, ladies, I owe my success in large part to you! Hugs!
So where to start. I brought eight items; some where more favored than others (which always happens doesn't it) and a couple where a surprise it. I'll break these down into two or three posts to keep them reasonable short.
This was a huge surprise. I made the bacon-wrapped dates more as an afterthought because I thought I hadn't made enough food (!) and wanted something quick and easy. Little did I know just how delicious they are.
Bacon Wrapped Dates
Chevre Cheesecake with Biscotti Crust
(from my esteemed blogging friend, Megan's Cookin')
6 ounces soft butter
1-1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup biscotti crumbs
1/2 cup ground walnuts
2 cups cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup goat cheese (chevre)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat over to 325 degrees. Place butter, confectioners' sugar, flour, walnuts and biscotti crumbs in a 5-quart mixing bowl with a paddle attachment. Beat on low speed until ingredients are incorporated. Do not over mix.
Press the dough into pan(s), being careful to press the dough evenly on the bottom and sides of pan. Place pan(s) in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow the dough to set.
Place cream cheese and goat cheese in a 5-quart mixing bowl with paddle attachment and beat on low speed until incorporated. Add eggs one at time until incorporated. Add sugar, rosemary, and salt. Mix for one minute.
Remove pan(s) with crust from the refrigerator and pour the batter into the pan(s). Place in oven and bake for 30-40 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick or cake tester. The toothpick will be clean and the cheesecake will not be fluid. If the batter is still runny, turn the oven off and allow cake to remain in the oven until firm. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Two Kinds of Biscotti
Biscotti(King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook)
This recipe is the first biscotti I ever made and is still my favorite and is the recipe I used for the Chevre Cheesecake, above.
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 (1 ounce) bottle (equals 2 tablespoons) anise extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg, plus 1 teaspoon water (beaten together for egg wash)
Preheat your oven to 325* Fahrenheit.
Combine the sugar, baking powder, butter and eggs. Blend in the entire bottle of extract and then the flour, one cup at a time. Remember that flour can absorb whatever moisture is in the air so on a humid day you may have to add a little more flour to your dough.
Spoon the dough onto a greased cookie sheet (I use parchment) to form two longs 1 1/2 inches wide by 1 inch high. to shape the logs, wet your hands and pat the top and sides of the dough. Brush the logs with egg wash and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove them from the oven and cut the logs diagonally into slices, 1 inch thick, to produce cookies. turn the cookies on its side and rebake at the same temperature for an additional 15 minutes.
The second version of biscotti I baked is a recipe I found on Allrecipes.com. It contains brandy and almonds, and is definitely a more "grown up" biscotti.
2 cups white sugar
1 cup butter, softened
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup brandy
1 1/2 teaspoons anise extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup almonds
2 tablespoons anise seed
|Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or foil.|
|In large mixing bowl, beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine brandy, anise extract and vanilla in a small bowl or measuring cup. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Alternately add dry ingredients and brandy mixture to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Stir in the almonds and aniseed.|
|Drop dough by spoonfuls onto prepared sheet, forming two 2 x 13-inch long strips on each sheet. Smooth dough into logs with moistened fingertips.|
|Bake about30 to 35 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch. Place cookie sheets on racks and cool completely. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.|
|Cut cooled logs on the diagonal into 3/4-inch thick slices using a serrated knife. Place slices on cookie sheets.|
|Bake for about 20 minutes, turning after 10 minutes, until dry and slightly brown. Remove to a rack and cool.|