Friday, December 16, 2011

Creamy Caramel Flan

My mom loves Flan, I mean LOVES it. She was known to eat only a garden salad at dinner so she could order 2 flan servings for dessert. I tried it from several Mexican places and was not impressed by the texture. It just simply was not that good, sometimes a little chunky or spongy, and as someone very texture sensitive it even worse. I am more of a cheesecake person myself, so I needed a smoother, creamy texture (envision caramel cheesecake that is just a little ore solid than custard or pudding).

The only time I really could say that I really liked flan, was back in college when a friend and I made his mom's recipe. She is Columbian and her recipe involved putting all the ingredients in a blender (genius I tell you, no other recipe for flan is as easy as doing that). We baked it in a water bath, cooled it overnight, it turned out pretty spiffy.

I went to make it on my own a few years later as part of a Mexican dinner for some family. I stumbled upon a recipe on called Creamy Caramel Flan. I make use the directions from my friends mom, and the recipe from this one. Enjoy, it sounds complicated, but it really isn't, and it is a perfect dessert to make ahead of time. As it needs to cool at least 8 hours before serving. It is also an awesome dessert because the ingredients are easy to keep on hand. Bonus it is gluten free, which dessert wise is very uncommon.

Bold=My directions

Creamy Caramel Flan


  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a small, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, cook sugar, stirring, until golden. Pour into a 10 inch round baking dish ( I use an 8" by 8" because I find it fits nicely into a 9" by 13" pan which will get use as a waterbath in the baking process), tilting to coat bottom and sides. Set aside. (If the caramel cracks dont worry it will melt again while baking
  3. In a blender combine everything but the sugar (which was made into caramel) and pour into the 8" by 8" pan, place that pan into a 9" by 13" 1/3-1/2 filled with water. Place in the oven. 
  4. Bake in preheated oven 50 to 60 minutes, until center is just set. Cool one hour on wire rack, then chill in refrigerator 8 hours or overnight. To unmold, run a knife around edges of pan and invert on a rimmed serving platter.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Peanut Butter Fudge

My mother-in-law retired this summer and has relished finally having the time to experiment with various Christmas candy recipes. Our waistlines are showing the affects of her efforts. I myself usually do not care for things like Tofee, Divinity, Almond Bark, Chocolate Fudge etc. However her Peanut Butter Fudge is amazing. I seriously ate almost all of what she gave me the very first night we had it at home. I asked her for the recipe, something I now regret now that half a nine by thirteen is gone. So if you have immense self control, or are actually capable of giving away deliciousness, go ahead and whip up some of these bad boys.


2 c. sugar
1/2 c. milk
1 1/3 c. peanut butter
1- 7 oz. jar marshmallow creme

Line a 8" by 8" with foil and then lightly butter the foil.  Set aside.  In a saucepan, bring sugar and milk to a boil on medium heat, stirring constantly.  Boil for 3 minutes and continue to stir.  Remove from heat and add peanut butter and marshmallow creme.  Mix well and quickly pour into the buttered pan.  Chill until set.  

Tips as provided by Sherri Freestone

"I doubled this recipe and it filled one of my LARGE cookie sheets. The recipe says to use an 8x8 pan, but if you make a single batch I think I would put it in a 9x13.  The 8x8 pieces would be super thick.  Use the heaviest saucepan you have and stir it with a wooden spoon (me- C. suggests a silicone spatula instead).  As you stir, try to keep it scraped from the sides so that it doesn't crystalize there. Instead of putting it in the fridge to chill, I set it on the floor of the cold garage. :)   Another trick...  when it is cool, lift the whole thing out of the pan using the foil.  Place it on a cutting board and cut it into small squares with a pizza cutter.  I'm making it sound hard, but it is super easy and simple...."


Mr. B etc.

Toddlerness is in full swing at our house. Mr. B is into everything, and insists that all attention be 100% dedicated to him. He likes to spend his days ransacking cupboards, dumping drawers, and attempting to steal and break our electronic devices. When these activities get boring he reads some books, dances to any music he hears (and sometimes does not hear) and resisting sleep. For example yesterday he got ahold of powdered eye shadow, and in less than two minutes this was the result.

I spent yesterday preparing some Mexican food for G's mission president and his wife (he served in Mexico City so they stakes of authenticity were pretty high). Not wanting to get too over my head I made from scratch refried beans, mexican rice, carne asada tacos (mexican style steak tacos, and my signature creamy flan. Aside from a placing on the plate mishap that left the flan with an ugly blemish on the top, everything was perfect. The flan tasted so amazing that the guests were speechless. I had not known that his mission president having served in Argentina had grown to love their creamy flan and missed it terribly (mexican flan is not nearly as creamy), so that worked out awesome.

As a part of making the beans, I cooked up a batch of bacon (you cook the beans in their grease). I set the bacon on the kitchen table. Mr. B not content with the tiny piece I had given him, reached from his high chair, pulled the table runner until the entire plate of bacon was on his tray. I walked over and saw this mischievous smile.

If you want to make your own mexican feast you can use these recipes:

Creamy Caramel Flan-, although make sure to just put all the ingredients in a blender, it is the easier way to make it Mexican Rice II

Refried Beans- Homesicktexan.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Baked Potato Heaven

Just after high school I worked at a restaurant that made a delicious Baked Potatoe Soup. I craved it for years after working there. Finally as a newlywed I combed through various for a recipe that would taste similar. I made one, liked it buy found it cumbersome. I played around over the years trying to find one that I could make in my crockpot. Finally I found one at I used it as my guide (if it does not involve baked goods I rarely make something as written. I bet hers would have been delicious as written but I put my own spin on it, and man was it good.

Crockpot Baked Potato Soup: (yields 5 quarts, or enough to feed 7 adults)

5 lb bag of potatos, peeled and cubed
8oz block cream cheese (I used fat free and it worked great)
1/2 cup sour cream ( I also used FF)
9 cups chicken broth (I used a product called Better than Bouillon to make this)
4 tbs minced garlic (or garlic powder or the real deal)
2 tbs onion powder
1 tbs. Tony Sacherees Creole Seasoning (which includes: salt, red pepper, basil, oregano and thyme)
1 tbs. Salt
(additonal seasoning as desired)

Crumpled Bacon (at least 1 cup for the whole batch)
2 cups Cheddar Cheese (or similar cheese)
Green Onions (if desired)

Cook potatoes in chicken broth for 6 hours on high, turn to low until 30 min before serving. When you are 30 min from serving take out 1/3 of the potatoes and broth and put it in a blender with the block of cream cheese and sour cream. Blend until liquefied. If their is not enough take out additional chicken broth from the crock pot). Return the creamed mixture to the crock pot. Season additionally as desired. Technically it is ready to serve, but I like giving it the extra bit of time to thicken up.

Serve with desired garnishes and enjoy :)

Special Note:
When reheating the soup, milk will need to be added to the soup to thin it, as it tends to thicken immensely after being refrigerated.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Cooking Up a Storm

The first night we were in our home as a family we got a hankering for some good ole fashioned chocolate chip cookies. For those of you who are unfamiliar with my family history regarding baking, basically my mom and mother in law are both experts at baking. Both make famously delicious crescent rolls. My mom is known for chocolate chip cookies and my mother in law makes a fruitcake that will make anyone change their mind about the stuff (its really really good).  

So basically I am a cookie snob (and a roll snob, but I can't seem to make those on my own yet). I have finally found (okay so my sister found it) a chocolate chip cookie recipe that is mine and G's personal favorite. Behold yummyness:

Well this baking/ eating yummy treats urge hit again yesterday. So I made another ourbestbites gem.

They are unique lemon bar wise because they have a glaze instead of the classic sugar on top. This basically means that you get the same sweetness but none of the choking or gagging on powdered sugar when you inhale these bad boys.

I made these before and overcooked my crust, while the filling was undercooked. I was able to remedy this problem by lowering the oven temp to 340 this allowed me cook the filling long enough with out burning the shortbread crust. I also added extra lemon juice because I love mine a little stronger.

To round out my baking madness I made an additional batch of cookies. For these I made my staple favorite Oatmeal Cookies. Sadly I forgot to let the dough completely freeze before making them, meaning I was left with pancake cookies. The dough tasted phenomenal and so did the finished cookies, they just won't be winning awards for looks anytime soon. If you have a hankering for cookie dough this dough is great one to keep in the freezer (if you dare).

Happy Baking :)