Sunday, April 29, 2007

Pistachio Dessert

I am not sure, but maybe it is National Pudding Awareness Month. OK...it is probably ONLY my house that is celebrating.

Really, what is better than a big ole bowl of pudding?? My favorite has got to be homemade butterscotch. And it has to be warm...right out of the pot, too.

When I was a kid, I used to make pudding for dessert all the time. It didn't matter really if it was made from scratch. I was just as happy to have a boxed pudding cooked. Or even instant pudding would do.

I think when pudding is set in front of you, there is some kind of mutation that evolves. There is an instant desire to take a big blob of it on a spoon and make sucking noises. Or pudding bubbles, only in reverse...lol. With all the talk of keeping young, and finding the fountain of youth, I think the strategy may need rethinking. Perhaps if the fountain were made of pudding, then we would all be a kid again. **Mental note to buy stock in the Jello company**

One of my specialties as a preteen was Pudding in a Cloud. I remember thinking I was some kind of culinary goddess at 12 years old, when I had this dessert whipped up. I would use mom's ruby red footed dessert dishes. The most awesome compliment to the pale green Pistachio pudding, nestled oh so lovingly inside the Dream Whip clouds. I remember how all my sisters would ohh and ahh when it was dessert time. I am sure it was my mother telling them behind my back to make a fuss. It is ALL about the presentation, I always say!

Pudding is still playing a part in my cooking. It is incorporated into desserts, and trifles, even my cookies sometimes use pudding. One of my favorite recipes comes from my sister Kim. It is Pistachio Dessert. Oh. My. Gawd. For such simple ingredients, it truly is a confection worth creating. It sounds all simple, but when you get a taste of that shortbread bottom, exploding and blending with cream cheese, Pistachio flavor and Cool Whip (Yay for edible oil products!!!) you are hooked!!! My kids think the sun rises and sets on this recipe. This recipe requires no special skills...only the ability to whisk!!

So when you feel like being young again, forget the Botox, the butt implants and the puffy Goldie Hawn lips. Just turn left at the pudding aisle!

Pistachio Dessert
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Crust:
1 cup butter (or margarine)
2 cups flour

Cut butter into flour. Pat into a 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes until golden brown; cool.

Filling:
8 oz pkg of cream cheese (I use light)
1 cup icing sugar
1 cup of Cool Whip

Mix above ingredients together a spread carefully over cooled crust.

Beat 2 packages of instant Pistachio pudding and 2 1/2 cups of milk together and pour over cream cheese layer. Top with more Cool Whip. Just before serving, garnish with toasted almonds. Cut into squares and serve!! YUM!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Pudding Cookies

Who doesn't love an old standby?? Like your favorite pair of jeans that just refuses to die, or a book you have read 5 times and still it fascinates you enough to read it again.

I still have favorites to this day. Some I will NEVER give up. A HUGE piece of home made bread, warm from the oven, with molasses. Or chewy chocolate chip cookies that just make almost anything right. Or chatting with your best friend on the phone for hours, talking about nothing you can remember after you're off the phone. You simply enjoy the conversation, albeit trivial or intellectual.

I think I have lucked out in the best friend department. My best friend's name is Laura, and I have to say that she has always been there for me...she has been my standby.

We have been best friends for 15 years...maybe more. The very first time I met her was in the dressing room at a hockey game. Both her husband and mine played hockey, so the women went to chat it up where it was warm. The first words out of her mouth were something to the effect about how men all belonged in a commune somewhere...I knew then that she was my kind of girl. I do love my husband, but there have been a few moments that the commune had sounded pretty good...lol.

Over time we became best friends, with many antics and tales stored in our memories. We could really talk about almost anything from clothes to recipes to men for hours without fail. To this day we have not had a fight about anything...only over who was paying for whose meal when eating out.

Laura has been there for me through thick and thin. There were some days that I was so grateful just to have her to talk to. She really is the most generous person I know, too. She has always gone out of her way for me...so much more than most friends do. She helped me out when I needed it, in many aspects.

Laura is fun, spontaneous, beautiful, humorous and kind. She would never hurt a flea. I think if one were dying on her carpet, she would be down on her hands and knees, trying to resuscitate it by blowing through one of those coffee stir sticks into it's miniscule mouth. Really.

I do consider myself lucky to be her friend. I think we all need someone in life, separate from our families (whom I love and adore), to share things with. Laura is my chocolate chip cookie. Without her, my life would be just an oatcake.


Pudding Cookies (aka: chocolate chip cookies!)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
INGREDIENTS:
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 (3.4 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix (I use chocolate, pistachio..whatever you feel like)
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips(mix it up, add white choc, skor bits,peanut butter chips, etc)
2 cups chopped pecans (optional...use what you want)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour and baking soda, set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown.

**I tend to under bake mine a bit for a chewier cookie**

The best thing about this recipe is that it makes a ton!! I always freeze one container for later consumption.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket