Monday, November 29, 2021

Chocolate Peanut-Butter Meltaways



· One 12-ounce jar peanut butter, preferably chunky

· 5 tablespoons (.5 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, at room temperature

· 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

· 1.5 cups crispy rice cereal

· 11 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

· 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening


1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a medium bowl, using a wooden spoon, cream the peanut butter and butter until combined. Gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar. Stir in the cereal, which will crumble. Using about 1 tablespoon for each, roll the mixture into balls, placing them on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate the balls while melting the chocolate.

2. In the top part of a double boiler over hot, not simmering, water, melt the chocolate and shortening, stirring occasionally until smooth and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the chocolate reads 115° to 120°F. Remove from the heat. Trasnfer the chocolate mixture to a small bowl and let cool slightly.

3. Place a dab of the chocolate in the palm of one hand. Pick up a ball and roll it between your palms to coat lightly with the chocolate. Return the chocolate-coated ball to the foil-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining balls. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set and the balls release easily from the foil, about 30 minutes. (The candies can be prepared up to two weeks ahead, stored in airtight containers, and refrigerated.

Note: The moisture in peanut butter varies from brand to brand. If the mixture seems too crumbly mix in additional softened butter.


From: Christmas 101: Celebrate the Holiday Season from Christmas to New Year’s

By: Rick Rodgers


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Carmel Apple Bars




· 2 cups all-purpose flour

· 1 cup regular rolled oats

· 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

· 1 tsp ground cinnamon

· 1/2 tsp ground ginger

· 1/2 tsp baking powder

· 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted


Filling and assembly

· 3 medium apples, peeled and thinly sliced

· 3/4 cup Butter Caramel Sauce, warmed, divided



1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. grease an line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.

2) For the base, stir the flor, oats, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and baking powder in a large mixing bowl by hand. Add the melted butter and stir until the mixture is rough and crumbly.

3) Firmly press two-thirds of this mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 12 minutes, until browned just a little at the edges. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

4) For the filling, arrange the sliced apples on top of the baked crust (it’s okay if it’s still warm). Drizzle 1/2 cup of the warm caramel sauce over the apples, and then top with the remaining crumble mixture, pressing down gently.

5) Bake for 30 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack to room temperature.

6) Drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup of caramel sauce over the pan and then chill until uncovered for at least 2 hours before slicing.


From: Set for the Holidays with Anna Olson: Recipes to Bring Comfort and Joy


Monday, November 22, 2021


Pumpkin pie, turkey, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, green bean casserole, stuffing -- what are you feasting on this Thanksgiving? If you’re searching for the perfect recipe, BPL has a large variety of cookbooks to choose from! Cook's Illustrated All Time Best Holiday Entertaining provides several ideas on how to serve turkey and offers a variety of sauces to accompany any dish. The Side Dish Bible : 1001 Perfect Recipes for Every Vegetable, Rice, Grain, and Bean Dish You'll Ever Need, has recipes for soups, salads, and casseroles galore! When Pies Fly : Handmade Pastries From Strudels to Stromboli, Empanadas to Knishes, by Cathy Barrow, is jam-packed with every type of pie you could possibly think of - the perfect dessert to finish off your Thanksgiving meal (if there’s still room). If you’re looking for a dish that’ll impress your friends and family, you’ve come to the right place! All of these titles (and more) can be found in the adult department and can be reserved through our website.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Baked Stuffed Shells


· Kosher salt

· .25 cup extra-virgin olive oil

· 6 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled

· One 35-ounce can peeled Italian plum tomatoes, preferable San Marzano, crushed by hand

·  .5 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

· 10 fresh basil leaves

· 1 pound jumbo pasta shells

· 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese

· 1.5 pounds fresh ricotta or packaged whole milk ricotta, drained overnight

· 1 cup freshly grated Grana Padano

· .3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

· Freshly ground black pepper to taste

· 1 large egg


1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Scatter the garlic over the oil, and cook, shaking the pan, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Pour the tomatoes into the skillet, slosh out the can with 1 cup water, and add that. Add the crushed red pepper, and season lightly with salt. Bring the sauce pan to a quick boil, then adjust the heat to simmering. Cook until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Stir the basil into the sauce a few minutes before its done.

2.  Stir the shells into the salted boiling water, and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly firmer than al dente, about 7 minutes. Fish the shells out of the water with a spider, and plunge into a large bowl of ice water. Let cool, then drain.

3. Thinly slice half the mozzarella, and cut the remaining half into .25-inch cubes. Turn the drained ricotta into a mixing bowl, and stir in the mozzarella cubes, grated cheese, and parsley. Season to taste with salt and
pepper. Beat the egg well, and stir into the
ricotta mixture.

4.  Remove the garlic and line the bottom of a 10-by-15-inch baking dish with about .75 cup of the tomato sauce. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture into each shell—the shell should be filled to capacity, but not overstuffed. Nestle the shells next to each other in the baking dish as you fill them, spooning the remaining sauce over the shells, coating each one. Arrange the slices of mozzarella in an even layer over the shells, coating each one. Bake until the
mozzarella in brown an bubbling, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let stand 5 minutes before serving.


From: Lidia’s Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine: Everything You Need to Know to Be a Great Italian Cook

By: Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and
Tanya Bastianich Manuali


Monday, November 15, 2021

Yankee Corn Bread


· 1 1/3 cups yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
· 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
· 2 tablespoons sugar
· 1 teaspoon salt
· 1 teaspoon baking soda
· 2 cups buttermilk
· 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
· 2 large eggs, beaten
1) Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375°F.
2) In a large bowl, whisk the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Make a well in the center. Pour in the buttermilk, 4 tablespoons of the melted butter, and the eggs. Stir just until smooth. Do not overbeat.
3) Pour the remaining 4 tablespoons butter into a 9x13-inch baking dish and place in the oven. Heat until the butter is very hot, but not browned, about 2 minutes. Pour the batter into the hot pan. Bake until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes.
4) Cut the cornbread into serving pieces, and remove from the pan with a spatula. Serve warm or at room temperature.
From: Thanksgiving 101: Celebrate America’s Favorite Holiday with America’s Thanksgiving Expert
By: Rick Rodgers


Braised Chicken with Mushrooms & Tomatoes



· 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

· 1 pound Portobello mushroom caps, gills removed and caps halved and sliced 1/2 inch thick (I used the stems too)

· 1 onion, chopped fine

· 3/4 tsp salt, divided

· 4 garlic cloves, minced

· 1 Tbsp. tomato paste

· 1 Tbsp. all purpose flour

· 2 tsp minced fresh sage

· 1/2 cup dry red wine (I used merlot)

· 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained

· 4 (5 to 7 oz.) bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed, trimmed

· 1/4 tsp pepper

· 2 Tbsp. chopped parsley

· Shaved Parmesan cheese


1. Using the highest sauté function, heat oil in Instant Pot until shimmering. Add mushrooms, onion, and 1/4 tsp salt. Partially cover and cook until mushrooms are softened and have released their liquid, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, tomato paste, flour, and sage and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in wine, scraping up any browned bits, then stir in the

2. Sprinkle chicken with remaining 1/2 tsp salt and pepper. Nestle chicken skinned side up into pot and spoon some of sauce on top. Lock lid in place and close pressure release valve. Select high pressure cook
function and cook for 15 minutes.

3. Turn off Instant Pot and quick-release pressure. Carefully remove lid,
allowing steam to escape away from you. Transfer chicken to serving dish, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest while finishing sauce. (I just let it release naturally.)

4. Using highest sauté function, bring sauce to simmer and cook until
thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon sauce over chicken and sprinkle with parsley and
Parmesan. Serve.


From: Mediterranean Instant Pot:
Easy, Inspired Meals for Eating Well
By: America’s Test Kitchen


Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Chicken BLT Wraps


Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves: 6
· 6 bacon slices
· 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
· 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
· .75 teaspoon salt
· .75 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
· .5 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
· 6 tablespoons mayonnaise
· 6 large butter lettuce leaves
· 1 tomato, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a sheet pan with foil and put a wire cooking rack on top of the foil. Line a plate with paper towels and set aside.
2. Place the bacon slices on the wire rack in a single layer.
3. Bake for 12 to 20 minutes, depending on ow thick the bacon is and your desired level of crispiness. Transfer the bacon to the prepared plate and let cool. Roughly chop the bacon and set aside.
4. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil.
5. Add the chicken and season with the salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Cook the chicken for about 15 minutes, turning it about halfway through the cooking time, until fully cooked (internal temperature of at least
165°F). Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and chop the chicken into a .5-inch pieces.
6. Spread 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise on each lettuce leaf. Layer .5 cup of diced chicken, some bacon, and tomato on each leaf. Wrap up the lettuce and enjoy!
From: Healthy Family Cookbook:
100 Fast and Easy Recipes for the Whole Family
By: Brittany Poulson, Rockridge Press


Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Alex's Staff Pick

BPL’s Children’s Assistant, Alex, said that her favorite cookbook is Baking with the Cake Boss : 100 of Buddy's Best Recipes and Decorating Secrets by Buddy Valastro. She loves this book because “Cake Boss was one of my favorite shows growing up and encouraged my love to bake.” Alex is now the proud owner of Stealy Sweets, a locally owned baking business! This is only one of Buddy Valastro’s eight books, and he has also been seen on seventeen different television shows. Baking with the Cake Boss includes so much more than just recipes; Valastro provides a tour of the kitchen, information on equipment, notes on ingredients, and basic baking techniques. If you’re in the market for a sweet treat, this is the book for you! It can be found in the adult department under the call number “641.86 Val.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake




· 9 whole graham crackers, broken into 1-inch pieces

· 3 tablespoons sugar

· 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

· 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

· 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted



· 1 1/3 cups sugar

· 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

· 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

· 1/2 teaspoon salt

· 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

· 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

· 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

· 1 can unsweetened pumpkin puree

· 1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, cut into chunks and softened

· 1 tablespoon lemon juice

· 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

· 5 large eggs, room temperature

· 1 cup heavy cream

· 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted



1) For the crust Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Pulse crackers, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves in food processer until finely ground, about 15 pulses. Transfer crumbs to bowl, drizzle with melted butter, and mix with rubber spatula until evenly moistened. Transfer crumbs to 9-inch springform pan and, using bottom of dry measuring cup, press crumbs into pan bottom. Bake until browned around edges, about 15 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Let crust cool completely on wire rack, about 30 minutes, then wrap outside of pan halfway through baking. Let crust cool completely on wire rack, about 30 minutes, then wrap outside of pan with two 18-inch square pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil and set springform pan in roasting pan. Bring kettle of water to boil.

2) For the filling Whisk sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice together in small bowl. Spread pumpkin over rimmed baking sheet and pat dry with several sheets of paper towels.

3) Using standard mixer fitted with paddle, beat cream cheese on medium-low speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape down bowl, then beat in half of sugar mixture until combined, about 1 minute. Beat in vanilla, lemon juice, and pumpkin until combined, about 1 minute; scrape down bowl. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined, about 1 minute. Give filling final stir by hand.

4) Being careful not to disturb crust, brush inside of pan with melted butter. Pour filling into prepared pan and smooth top with rubber spatula. Set roasting pan on oven rack and pour enough boiling water into roasting pan to come about halfway up sides of springform pan. Bake until cheesecake registers 150 degrees, about 1.5 hours. Let cake cook in roasting pan for 45 minutes, then remove from water; discard foil and set on wire rack; continue to let cool until barley warm, about 3 hours. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours.

5) To unmold, wrap wet, hot dishtowel around springform pan and let stand for 1 minute. Remove sides of pan slide thin metal spatula between crust and pan bottom to loosen, and slide cake onto serving platter. Let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.


From: All-Time Best Holiday Entertaining

By: Cooks Illustrated


Herbed Pork Sausages

  Ingredients ·   Ground pork, 1 pound ·   Sea salt or kosher salt, 2 teaspoons ·   Freshly ground pepper, 1 teaspoon ·   Fresh sage...