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Sweets For Your Sweetie!

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, February 11, 2017

(Photo: kevinandamanda.com)



Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and now is the time to start planning out the day! Most people will buy store-bought candy or pastries for their loved one. Why not kick it up a notch and earn some extra points by making something from scratch! Here is a list of some of our favorite sweets for your Sweetie!



Red Velvet Oreo Truffle Brownies


Ingredients:

1 box (18.25 oz) red velvet cake mix

1 cup butter, divided

2 eggs

1 package (about 36) whole Oreos

1 bag (11.5 oz) milk chocolate chips (about 1.5 cups)

1 bag (12 oz) mini chocolate chips (about 1.5 cups)

1 cup (1/2 pint) heavy whipping cream


Directions:

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 baking dish with foil and coat with cooking spray. Beat together cake mix, 1/2 cup melted butter, and 2 eggs until fully combined and smooth. Press into the bottom of prepared pan and bake for 15-18 mins, until just set.
  2. 2. Crush whole Oreos in a sealed bag. Stir together with remaining 1/2 cup melted butter and mix well. Pour over baked red velvet brownies and gently press down in an even layer.
  3. 3. Place the milk chocolate chips in a medium-sized bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a low boil, then pour over chips. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk together until completely smooth and thick. Pour over Oreo layer. Top with mini chocolate chips. Refrigerate for 30-45 mins to allow chocolate ganache to set up. Cut into bars and serve.

Chocolate Lava Cake


Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

3/4 cup butter

3 eggs

3 egg yolks

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Powdered sugar


Directions:

  1. 1. Using the 2 tablespoons butter, grease six 8- to 10-ounce ramekins, souffle dishes or custard cups. Place ramekins in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan; set aside.
  2. 2. In a heavy small saucepan, combine chocolate and the 3/4 cup butter. Cook and stir over low heat until chocolate melts. Remove pan from heat; set aside.
  3. 3. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, egg yolks, granulated sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer on high speed for 8 to 10 minutes or until thick and lemon colored. Fold one-third of the chocolate mixture into egg mixture. Fold remaining chocolate mixture and flour into egg mixture. Spoon about 2/3 cup batter into each prepared ramekin, dividing evenly.
  4. 4. Bake in a 425 degree F oven about 12 minutes or until cake edges feel firm. Cool in ramekins on a wire rack for 2 to 3 minutes. Using a knife, loosen cake from sides of ramekins. Invert onto dessert plates. Sift with powdered sugar. Garnish with fresh raspberries and mint leaves if desired. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.


Peanut Butter Truffles


Ingredients:

3/4 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces

8 ounces chocolate-flavored candy coating


Directions:

  1. 1. In a heavy small saucepan, bring whipping cream just to boiling. Remove from heat. Add peanut butter, stirring until combined. Add chocolate pieces, stirring until melted and smooth. Transfer mixture to a 2-quart baking dish. Cover and chill about 1 hour or until firm.
  2. 2. Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Use a spoon or a small cookie scoop to shape truffle mixture into 1-inch balls. Place on prepared baking sheet. Cover and freeze 30 minutes or until firm.
  3. 3. In a heavy small saucepan, melt candy coating over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Using a fork, quickly dip truffles, one at a time, into coating. Draw the fork across the rim of the saucepan to remove excess coating. Return truffles to baking sheet. Let stand 30 minutes or until coating is set.
  4. 4. Store truffles tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Let stand at room temperature about 30 minutes before serving.

Easy Mini Cherry Pies


Ingredients:

1 box Pillsbury™ Refrigerated Pie Crust, softened as directed on box

1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling

1 egg

1 tablespoon water


Directions:

  1. 1. Heat oven to 400°F. Unroll pie crusts; use rolling pin to slightly roll dough out.
  2. 2. Use 3-inch diameter round cutter to cut 12 circles from dough. Use small heart-shaped cutter to cut 12 hearts from remaining dough, rerolling scraps as needed.
  3. 3. Press circles into 12 ungreased regular-size muffin cups; fill with pie filling. Top each with heart-shaped cutout.
  4. 4. In small bowl, beat egg and water. Brush over crust on each.
  5. 5. Bake about 20 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.


Cookie Dough Trifle


Ingredients:

Cookie Dough

1 1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 c. brown sugar

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

3 1/4 c. crushed graham crackers

1/3 c. milk

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/3 c. mini chocolate chips


Whipped Cream Layer

2 pkg. Cool Whip, thawed

1 c. mini chocolate chips

8 chocolate chip cookies


Chocolate Pudding Layer

2 (3.4 oz.) boxes instant chocolate pudding mix

4 c. cold milk


Directions:

  1. 1. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter, brown sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Mix in graham crackers, salt, and milk. Fold in chocolate chips. Crumble and pour 1/3 of the mixture into the bottom of a trifle dish.
  2. 2. Make the whipped cream layer: Mix chocolate chips and Cool Whip. Pour 1/3 of the mixture on top of the cookie dough in the trifle dish. Top whipped cream layer with a layer of chocolate chip cookies.
  3. 3. Make chocolate pudding layer: Combine pudding mixes and milk, whisking until granules have dissolved. Let pudding has set, 5 minutes, then pour 1/3 of the mixture on top of the cookies, smoothing to create an even layer.
  4. 4. Repeat layers until you've reached the top of the dish.
  5. 5. Cover the entire trifle with remaining whipped cream. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, to soften the cookie layers. Top with chocolate chips and crumbled cookie pieces before serving.

Big Game Day Snacks!

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, February 04, 2017

                                                                                (Photo by Becky Luigart-Stayner)

Have you been looking for some delicious and easy snacks to serve tomorrow for the big game? You’ve come to the right place! We have compiled a list of some of our favorite snacks to have while watching football!


Cheesy Pretzel Twists


Ingredients:

1 can biscuit dough

8 cheddar cheese sticks

4 c. water

1/4 c. baking soda

1 large egg, beaten

Coarse sea salt for sprinkling


Directions:

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
  2. 2. Place cheese sticks on the tray and freeze for 30 minutes.
  3. 3. Cut each biscuit dough in half and roll into a long strip. Wrap tightly around each frozen cheese stick so that no cheese is exposed. Pinch to seal the edges. Repeat with the remaining cheese sticks and dough.
  4. 4.In a medium saucepan, combine water and baking soda. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Drop in wrapped cheese sticks and let cook for 1 minute, remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to baking sheet, making sure the pretzels aren't touching.
  5. 5. Brush beaten egg over each pretzel. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Garlic Bread Pizza Dip


Ingredients:

2 c. shredded mozzarella

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/2 c. ricotta

1/4 c. plus 1 tbsp. grated Parmesan

1 tbsp. Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Kosher salt

1 can refrigerated biscuits (such as Pillsbury Grands)

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp. Freshly Chopped Parsley

1/4 c. pizza sauce or marinara


Directions:

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Make dip: In a large bowl combine mozzarella, cream cheese, ricotta, 1/4 cup Parmesan, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper flakes and season with salt. Stir to combine.
  2. 2. Halve biscuits and roll into balls. Place in skillet in a ring. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, garlic, and parsley. Brush on biscuits.
  3. 3. Place dip inside of ring and spoon over marinara. Top with remaining 3/4 cups mozzarella and mini pepperoni. Sprinkle remaining tablespoon Parmesan all over.
  4. 4. Bake until biscuits are golden and cheese is melty, about 30 minutes. (Brush biscuits with more olive oil halfway through if necessary.)

Guacamole


Ingredients:

5 avocados, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped

1 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 16-ounce bag tortilla chips


Directions:

  1. 1. In a large bowl, combine the avocados, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper.
  2. 2. Stir well. Serve with the tortilla chips.

Sausage Sliders


Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, thinly sliced

Kosher salt and black pepper

1 bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 bunch spinach, thick stems removed (about 4 cups)

1 pound sweet Italian sausage

12 small rolls, split


Directions:

  1. 1. Heat broiler. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. 2. Add the onion, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to soften, 5 to 6 minutes.
  3. 3. Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 6 minutes.
  4. 4. Add the spinach and cook, tossing, until the spinach is just wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. 5. Remove the sausage from their casings and form into twelve ½-inch-thick patties. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet and broil until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side.
  6. 6. Form sandwiches with the rolls, sausage patties, and vegetable mixture.

Loaded Nachos


Ingredients:

2 tsp. olive oil

3/4 lb. fresh chorizo, casings removed

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 (15-ounce) can Black Beans, rinsed

8 oz. Tortilla chips

10 oz. sharp Cheddar or pepper Jack cheese, grated (about 2.5 cups)

1/2 small head iceberg lettuce, shredded

3/4 c. Fresh salsa

1 avocado, chopped

fresh cilantro

pickled jalapenos

sour cream


Directions:

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. 2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chorizo, onion, and garlic and cook, breaking chorizo into pieces with a wooden spoon, until browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in beans and cook until warm, 2 to 4 minutes.
  3. 3. Spread chips on prepared pan. Spoon chorizo mixture over chips and sprinkle with cheese. Bake until the cheese is melted and chips are toasted, 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. 4. Serve topped with lettuce, salsa, avocado, cilantro, jalapeños, and sour cream.


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