Cookies & Cream Popcorn

Recipe and photo from Sing For Your Supper.

• 1 bag popcorn, popped (Tender/Fluffy White variety)
• 6 oz white chocolate baking squares
• 10 Oreos, crushed

Place the popped popcorn and Oreos in a large bowl. Heat the white chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between until melted and smooth.

Drizzle the white chocolate over the popcorn/Oreo mixture and stir to coat. Dump out on a large sheet of wax paper and spread into a single layer. Let cool and harden. Break into small pieces and serve.

My Variation
I made a double batch of the recipe as listed above, but when I sampled it I thought it was a little too sweet. So I popped an extra bag of popcorn and mixed it in. In my opinion, the extra touch of saltiness made it just right. So the ratio I ended up with was as follows:

• 3 bags of popcorn
• 12 oz white chocolate
• 20 Oreos


Peppermint Kiss Popcorn

I made this recipe up last night for a Girls Night Out treat.  It was so yummy!
1 bag Candycane Hershey Kisses
2 batches of air-popped popcorn (I think one batch makes 4 quarts)

Melt the Kisses in the microwave (or in a double boiler).  Put popcorn in a very large bowl or a brown paper grocery bag and pour the melted Kisses over the popcorn.  Mix (or shake the bag) to coat all of the popcorn.  Spread on a couple of cookie sheets to dry.

Breakfast Casserole

This recipe is from my sister-in-law, Heather.  These were her exact words.  Interpret as you wish.
1 lb. sausage
12 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 sleeve of saltine crackers, really smooshed
2 handfuls of shredded cheese

Brown sausage and set aside.  Beat eggs in a large bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients to the eggs and mix well.  Pour into a 9x13 pan (sprayed with cooking spray).  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Focaccia Bread

At Cheryl's request, here is the focaccia recipe I made for Thanksgiving. It comes from Peter Reinhart's book, American Pie. The recipe takes advance planning, and the extensive instructions may seem daunting, but great bread demands a little extra time and effort. One other thing—I highly recommend using bread flour as opposed to all-purpose flour.

Phase One: The Dough

• 5-1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
• 2 tsp salt
• 2-1/4 instand yeast
• 2-1/2 cups ice-cold water
• 1/4 cup olive oil

Stir together flour, salt, yeast, and water in an electric mixer. Mix on low speed for 2 minutes, or until all the ingredients are hydrated and begin to form a wet ball of dough. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Add the olive oil, and resume mixing on medium-low speed for 3 to 4 minutes, or until all of oil is incorporated and the dough is stick, supple, and smooth; it should clear the sides of the bowl and stick just a little to the bottom. If the dough seems like batter and does not have sufficient structure to hold itself together, mix in more flour by the tablespoonful.

Form the dough into a ball and place it in a bowl brushed with olive oil. Turn the dough to coat it with oil, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and immediately refrigerate it overnight. The next day the dough should have nearly doubled in size. Allow it to sit at room temperature for about 2 hours before making the focaccia.

Phase Two: Raising

Line a 12 x 17 inch sheet pan with baking parchment (or a silicone pan liner). Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil onto the parchment and spread it over the surface. Dip a plastic bowl scraper into water and, working gently, use it to scrape the dough from the bowl into the prepared pan. Be gentle with the dough so as to degas it as little as possible.

Drizzle 1/4 cup of olive oil over the surface of the dough. Using only your fingertips, press down on the dough, creating dimples and pockets all over the surface for the oil to fill. Do not press the dough outward toward the edges of the pan; instead, simply press downward at a slight angle toward the edges. The dough will spread on its own; any attempt to force it toward the pan edges will tear it or cause uneven sections. The dough will probably fill the pan a little more than half full before it begins to become elastic and spring back toward the center. When this occurs, stop pressing and let the dough relax at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Do not worry if some of the oil slides off the top of the dough; it will all be absorbed eventually. The pan of dough does not need to be covered, as the oil will protect it from developing a skin.

Repeat the dimpling process, beginning at the center and gradually working out toward the edges of the pan. This time the dough will nearly fill the pan. Try to keep the dough somewhat even across the top. Again, let the dough relax at room temperature for about 15 minutes.

Repeat the dimpling. This time the dough should fill the entire pan. Do not degas the dough any more than necessary as you spread it to fill the pan. Let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours.

Phase Three: Baking

Preheat the oven to 500ºF. Just before baking, sprinkle seasoning over the top of the dough. I used a mix of sea salt, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and rosemary (I also added grated Parmesan during the last few minutes of baking). Place the sheet pan on the middle shelf of the oven, lower the temperature to 450ºF and bake for 15 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes longer, or until both the top and underside are golden brown and slightly crisp.

Remove the finished focaccia from the oven and, using a spatula, loosen it from the sides of the pan. Slip the spatula between the focaccia and the parchment and lift up the edge of the focaccia. Then jiggle the focaccia out of the pan onto a cooling rack, leaving the parchment in the pan.

Let the focaccia cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting and serving.