Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fudge Crackle Cookies

It's been very busy around the cafe' these past several weeks. We haven't had a lot of time to post to the blog, so we wanted to take a minute today to share another recipe with you. Since we've had such an overwhelming response to our Blueberry Cheesecake Cookies, we want to share another delicious cookie recipe with you...Fudge Crackle Cookies. These moist cookies are always a huge hit. We hope you enjoy them!

Fudge Crackle Cookies

1 pkg. fudge brownie mix (13x9 size)
1 C. all-purpose flour
1 egg
½ C. water
¼ C. canola oil
1 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
Confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, beat the brownie mix, flour, egg, water, and oil until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips.
Place confectioner’s sugar in a shallow dish. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls into sugar; roll to coat. Place 2 inches apart on greased or parchment-lined cookie sheets . Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until set. Let cool on cookie sheets for 2 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Cookbook of the Month: September 2012

Today, we are starting a new feature here at the Inspiration Cafe': Cookbook of the Month. Each month we will feature a cookbook that we have enjoyed and would like to recommend to you. Our first featured cookbook is "Anyone Can Cook". This is a wonderful cookbook for beginner cooks and would be a great gift for college students or young newlyweds who are just getting started on their own.

Review from Publishers Weekly
"This all-purpose, accessible book provides great information in a visual, easy-to-find-in-an-instant format. More than 550 recipes—appetizers through desserts—are illustrated by 1,000 helpful photographs that effectively demonstrate techniques in addition to showing finished dishes. The opening section covers everything from where to find ingredients in a grocery store to the method for cutting up a pineapple or to chop nuts. Recipes are all labeled with a skill level range from absolute basic to more inventive (but still simple); there's a straightforward Guacamole a couple of pages away from Avocado-Feta Salsa; and basic French Toast right before Stuffed Croissant French Toast. The editors anticipate questions and either answer them on the page with the recipe (with the Herbed Leek Gratin, for example, is an explanation of What's a gratin?) or direct them to the location in the book where a technique or ingredient is described, via an Ask Mom box on the bottom of each page. (A box on the Herbed Leek Gratin page points to answers for What is a leek? How do I prepare leeks? How do I snip fresh herbs?) It's a great resource for beginner cooks." (Oct.)
(Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.)

Product Description
No other book looks or cooks like this one! Whether you're a novice or seasoned cook, this book is for you.
Intro to Cooking: An 84-page visual guide answers any question you might have about ingredients, tools, and techniques.
Skill Level: A skill level icon lets you know if a recipe is easy, easier, or easiest to make.
Ask Mom: At the bottom of every recipe you'll find questions you might have about that recipe and a cross-reference to the page with the answer. It's that easy!
550+ Recipes: There's everything from the comfort foods you crave (mashed potatoes and mini meat loaves) to the world flavors (Indian curries and Thai-style wraps) you enjoy in restaurants.
900+ Color Photos: 600 step-by-step photos show you everything you need to know; 300 finished recipe photos entice you to cook.
700+ Tips: Learn from the experts with helpful advice, tips, tricks, and more.

Helpful Hint #1

Today, we would like to share some Cooking Measurement Equivalents that are sure to come in handy at some point...

Cooking Measurement Equivalents

1 tablespoon (tbsp) = 3 teaspoons (tsp)
1/16 cup = 1 tablespoon
1/8 cup = 2 tablespoons
1/6 cup = 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons
1/4 cup = 4 tablespoons
1/3 cup = 5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon
3/8 cup = 6 tablespoons
1/2 cup = 8 tablespoons
2/3 cup = 10 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons
3/4 cup = 12 tablespoons

1 cup = 48 teaspoons
1 cup = 16 tablespoons
8 fluid ounces (fl oz) = 1 cup
1 pint (pt) = 2 cups
1 quart (qt) = 2 pints
4 cups = 1 quart
1 gallon (gal) = 4 quarts
16 ounces (oz) = 1 pound (lb)

a Hint = tiny amount (1/2 drop)
a Drop = 1/64 teaspoon (1/2 smidgen)
a Smidgen = 1/32 teaspoon (1/2 pinch)
a Pinch = 1/16 teaspoon (1/2 dash)
a Dash = 1/8 teaspoon (1/2 tad)
a Tad = 1/4 teaspoon
1/4 stick butter = 2 tablespoons
1 stick butter = 1/2 cup
juice of a lemon = 3 tablespoons
juice of an orange = 1/2 cup

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Today's Words of Wisdom

Tombstone Cupcakes

Yes, I know Halloween is still over 2 months away, but Fall is my favorite time of year and knowing that it is just around the corner is so exciting! It's never too early to start planning for Halloween parties and events. These cupcakes are a great, simple treat that are sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike.

Tombstone Cupcakes

1 recipe of your favorite cupcakes, prepared
1 can of white frosting (with food coloring added to make green or orange)
Oreo cookies
Nutter Butter cookies
Black gel icing
Pumpkin candies

These cupcakes are so easy to decorate. Simply make your favorite cupcake recipe (chocolate works best). Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, frost them with green or orange frosting. Place several Oreo cookies in a food processor and pulse until you have crumbs. Using black gel icing, write R.I.P. on one half of a Nutter Butter cookie to make the tombstone. Push the Nutter Butter into the cupcake. Sprinkle the Oreo crumbs in front of the Nutter Butter to simulate the graveyard dirt. Place a Pumpkin candy on the cupcake.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Gooey Heath Bar Cake (a.k.a. Tom Selleck Cake)

Several years ago, I worked with a dear older lady who always brought this cake to company potluck dinners. It was so popular that she was expected to bring it every time we had a potluck. After a few years, I finally convinced her to share the recipe and I was amazed at how simple it was to make. She always called it "Tom Selleck Cake" (I guess you can draw your own conclusions as to why she did.) Here at the Inspiration Cafe', we simply call it "Gooey Heath Bar Cake". Hope you enjoy it!

Gooey Heath Bar Cake (a.k.a. Tom Selleck Cake)

1 box German Chocolate cake mix (plus water, eggs, and oil per pkg. directions)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 jar caramel ice cream topping
1 tub whipped topping
3 Heath candy bars, crushed

Bake cake according to package directions. While still warm, poke holes over entire cake with the rounded end of the handle of a wooden or plastic mixing spoon. Pour ice cream topping over cake. Pour sweetened condensed milk over caramel topping. Refrigerate overnight.
Spread whipped topping over cake and scatter crushed Heath bars.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper Cheese Spread

Today, we are featuring a wonderful cheese spread that becomes the perfect little appetizer when paired with your favorite crackers.

Roasted Red Pepper Cheese Spread

2 (8oz.) pkgs. cream cheese
1 (8 oz.) pkg. finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
¼ C. roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
½ tsp. garlic powder
1½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Dash of cayenne pepper or paprika

Mix everything except for roasted red peppers together with a hand mixer until smooth. Stir in roasted red peppers. Form a ball or place mixture into a small storage bowl with a lid. Chill for at least 2 hours. Serve with your favorite crackers.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Oreo Raspberry-Chocolate Mousse

On the dessert menu today is a wonderful Oreo Raspberry-Chocolate Mousse.

Oreo Raspberry-Chocolate Mousse

1 pkg. Oreo cookies
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 pkgs. (3.9 oz.) instant chocolate pudding
1¼ C. milk
3 (8 oz.) containers of Cool Whip
1 (12 oz.) jar of seedless red raspberry jam

Place 18 Oreo cookies in a food processor and process them until they are crumbs. Combine crumbs and butter in a 3 quart bowl with high sides. Press into bottom of bowl to form a crust; set aside. Blend chocolate pudding mix and milk in a large bowl using a whisk. Stir in 1½ containers of Cool Whip and mix well. Spoon the pudding mixture evenly over the crust. Place half of the remaining Oreo cookies in the food processor and pulse until the cookies are small chunky crumbs. Sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the pudding layer. Place jam in a large bowl and stir until smooth. Fold in remaining 1½ containers of Cool Whip and mix well. Spread evenly over cookie crumb layer. Place the remaining Oreo cookies in the food processor and pulse until the cookies are small chunky crumbs. Sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the raspberry layer. Cover and refrigerate 3 hours or overnight before serving. Keep refrigerated.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday Red Plate Special: "Melt in Your Mouth" Chicken

I came across this incredibly simple recipe on Pinterest and knew I had to try it for our very first "Red Plate Special". It is absolutely amazing and the smell throughout the cafe' while it was baking was incredible. I chose shells & cheese, butter & herb mashed potatoes, and biscuits to go with this delicious chicken to make the ultimate comfort food meal. Enjoy!

"Melt in Your Mouth" Chicken

4 boneless chicken breast halves (or 8 chicken breast tenderloins)
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix mayonnaise, cheese and seasonings.
Spread mixture over chicken breast and place in baking dish.
Bake at 375°F for 45 minutes.

(Original recipe can be found at: )

Monday, April 23, 2012

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

Today we are serving these wonderful Pepperoni Pizza Puffs. These delicious puffs can be served as appetizers or a light main dish. Enjoy!

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

3 cans (10 count) Grands Jr. Homestyle Buttermilk biscuits (NOT flaky layers)
1 jar Ragu Garlic Parmesan cheese sauce
1 pkg. Kraft Pizza shredded cheese
1 pkg. Hormel sliced pepperoni
1 egg, beaten
Parmesan cheese
Italian seasoning
Marinara or Pizza sauce for dipping

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Separate biscuits and flatten each one with your fingers. Brush each flattened biscuit with Garlic Parmesan cheese sauce. Layer two pepperoni slices (slightly offset) in the center of each biscuit. Place a pinch of shredded cheese on top of pepperoni slices. Layer two more pepperoni slices (slightly offset) on top of shredded cheese. Fold up the edges of the biscuit and pinch to seal. Place the biscuits in 2 greased 9X13 baking pans (seam side down). Brush the top and sides of each biscuit with beaten egg. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with Marinara or Pizza sauce for dipping.

YIELD: 30 puffs

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Quote of the Day: April 22, 2012 "Happy Earth Day!"

"And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything." ~ William Shakespeare

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Blueberry Cheesecake Cookies

Today, we are serving one of our most popular desserts: Blueberry Cheesecake cookies!

***PLEASE NOTE***While we have made these cookies for quite a while and never had an issue with the quality of the finished product, we have received a few comments from people who have tried the recipe and ended up with "flat-as-pancake" cookies. We plan to take the recipe back to the Test Kitchen in the near future and try a couple of tweaks to see if we can figure out how to help resolve this issue. These cookies are too good to have people disappointed in the quality of the finished product. We will post the results of the Tests as soon as possible. In the meantime, we would suggest baking a small batch at first...if they come out flat, try to chill the batter for a while longer. This really seems to be a key step with this recipe. Thank you so much for the input and we apologize to those who have been disappointed with the results of this recipe. ~ the Inspiration Cafe'

Blueberry Cheesecake Cookies

2 boxes Jiffy Blueberry Muffin mix
4 oz. cream cheese
1 stick “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter”
½ C. light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
1 ½ C. white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Cream together butter, cream cheese, and brown sugar. Add eggs one at a time until blended. Combine muffin mix with the butter mixture and mix well. Fold in white chocolate chips. Chill for at least one hour. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake for 14-15 minutes or until just turning brown around the edges. Cool on cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes. Transfer to wire rack until completely cooled.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Strawberry Cobbler

On the menu today, we have a simple and delicious Strawberry Cobbler.

Strawberry Cobbler

1 large tub of frozen sliced strawberries
2 C. sugar, divided
½ C. water
1 stick of butter or margarine
1½ C. self-rising flour
1½ C. milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the strawberries, 1 cup of sugar, and water in a saucepan and mix well. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat.

Put the butter in a 9x13 glass baking dish and place in the oven to melt.

Mix remaining 1 cup of sugar, flour, and milk slowly to prevent clumping. Pour mixture over melted butter. Do not stir. Spoon fruit on top, gently pouring in syrup. Bake 35 minutes. (Batter will rise to the top while baking.)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Stuffed-Crust Pizza

The Inspiration Cafe has re-opened and on the menu today is a delicious Stuffed-Crust Pizza! The recipe below is for a Pepperoni & Beef pizza, but you can use the basic crust and add whatever toppings you prefer. Enjoy!

Stuffed-Crust Pizza

2 tubes (13.8 ounces each) refrigerated pizza crust
10 pieces string cheese
1 ½ - 2 lbs. of ground beef
Pepperoni slices
1 small jar of marinara or pizza sauce
2 pkgs. (8 oz. each) shredded mozzarella or Italian Blend cheese

Unroll both pizza crusts and place in a greased 15x10x1 inch jellyroll baking pan, letting dough drape 1 in. over the edges. Pinch center seam to seal.
Place string cheese around edges of pan. Fold dough over cheese; pinch to seal. Bake at 425° for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown ground beef until no longer pink, seasoning to taste.
Spread a layer of sauce over crust with ladle. Sprinkle with a handful of shredded cheese to cover sauce. Layer pepperoni slices on top of cheese. Layer ground beef on top of pepperoni. Repeat layers of sauce, cheese, pepperoni, and ground beef. Cover top with a layer of cheese.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown.