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Monday, July 11, 2011

Happy Belated 4th of July!

Happy Independence Day everyone!

This year for the 4th, we went to an awesome party at our friends', Janet & Terry, hanger at the Boca Airport. The invite said to bring a dish to share and, well, I love to bake & share.

There is really nothing I love more than to channel a 50s housewife and think up a few goodies to make for a party. It took me about two weeks to settle on what I was going to make, but being me, I didn't just bring one thing. Or two. I brought three.

It was overkill and there was already enough food to feel an army, but I had a blast making everything.

Here was my contribution:
Water Chestnut Stuffed Dates Wrapped in Bacon
Pepperoni Roll w/ Marinara
Caramel Chocolate Nut Bars

Oh yeah. Yummy.

The stuffed dates were easy but a bit tedious, but they were a huge hit. The whole pan was gone!
All I did was pit a big bowl of dates, stuffed them with sliced water chestnuts, wrapped them in a half slice of bacon and baked them in the oven (400 degrees, ~15-20 minutes).

The Pepperoni Roll was also pretty simple. I just took a store bought pizza crust, rolled it out into a long circle, put one layer of pepperoni down, then a layer of cheese, another layer of pepperoni and then carefully rolled it up. I gave it a wash of egg yolk before putting it in the oven to give it a nice color and sheen then cut the slices in the top so that it didn't explode. I baked it for ~20 minutes (until it looked done) at 450. I used store bought marinara sauce to dip it in. I would have take a pic of a slice, but it was gone before I could get one.

 Last, I made a recipe that I grew up with. These bars are pretty much a candy bar. Amazing. Also, I didn't have the evaporated milk I needed for the caramel mix but I learned I could use powdered milk (which I had one had from the time I made edible play-dough with the kids I babysit) mixed with a little less water to make an evap. milk substitute. Seemed to work fine.

Here's the recipe:

 Melt and Cool:
14 oz caramels (unwrapped of course)
1/2 c. evap. milk (or substitute)

1 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. oatmeal
1 c. brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 c. butter

1/4 c. chopped nuts of choice
12 oz. chocolate chips

Mix the combined flour/oatmeal mix like a pie crust. Its best to use your hands and warm the butter first. Split this mix in half and put the first half into a greased 13x9. Push it and flatten it into the bottom of the pan, then bake at 350 degrees for ~10 minutes.

Sprinkle the chocolate chips onto the crust (you don't have to let it cool) then sprinkle on the nuts. Then, pour the caramel mix on top of the nuts and chocolate (be sure to leave some in the bowl for licking). Last, sprinkle on the rest of the crust mixture. It doesn't have to be even... the texture is nice. Bake for 25 minutes at 350. Then cool and enjoy!

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