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Posts Tagged ‘Baking’

Since it is now February (Wow, how did that happen so fast?), I decided to share a few sweet treats I made during the Christmas holidays.  These were awesome at Christmas, but I bet someone would love getting these homemade goodies for Valentine’s Day as well?  Hint, hint! Winking smile 

I usually make candy bags for my co-workers at Christmas, but the rainy weather just wasn’t cooperating so I turned my attention to COOKIES instead.  This recipe comes from Two Peas And Their Pod and they are so good.  The dark brown sugar and toffee combine to give great flavor and the texture is perfect.  Try these…soon.  Yes, that is an order!

Brown Sugar Toffee Cookies

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cornstarch

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup Heath toffee bits

Extra dark brown sugar for rolling cookies, about 1/2 cup

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Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat if you have one.  (I have two and they are nice.) 

Sift together the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, salt and cinnamon.  Set aside. Beat the butter and 1 1/4 cups brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Turn off the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.

Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients.  I like to sift my dry stuff onto a paper plate so then it is easy to transfer to the mixer.  See:

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Stir in the toffee bits.  Form tablespoon size balls of cookie dough then roll the dough balls in the remaining brown sugar.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges.  Don’t over bake the cookies.  You want them to be nice and soft.  Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days (if they last that long).

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I LOVE bread of any kind!  One of my favorite winter meals is soup and cornbread.  I just can’t get enough.  I found these Maple Cornbread Muffins on Yesterfood and knew they had to be good.  How can you go wrong combining cornbread and maple?  You can’t because they are wonderful!

Cook up a batch of the Chuckwagon Stew from last week and fix these muffins.  Your family will thank you, I promise.

Maple Cornbread Muffins 1

1 cup sifted all purpose flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 cup milk (I used 2%.)

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup real maple syrup

2 tbsp. melted butter, slightly cooled, for batter

3 tbsp. additional (not melted) butter for muffin pan

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Put about 1/4 teaspoon of the non-melted butter into each cup of your muffin pan.

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In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and set aside.  In a second bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.  Pour the wet into the dry and mix until just combined.  You don’t want to over-mix the batter.  The batter will be a little thin and have a few lumps left. That’s ok.  Let it rest for a minute or two before filling the pan.

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While the batter rests, put the muffin pan into the preheated oven until the butter just melts.  Remove it from the oven and swirl the melted butter carefully to coat the muffin cups. 

Evenly divide the batter into the cups, filling each about 3/4 full.  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool in the pan for 5 minutes then remove.  Serve warm with whatever you want to eat with them. 

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Maple Cornbread Muffins 2

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I was so pleased when Lady Behind The Curtain decided to continue her monthly Dessert Challenge, but it sneaked up on me a little bit.  Thankfully the two ingredients that we have to use this month are some of my favorites: hot chocolate mix/chocolate pudding mix and marshmallows! 

Since taking part in this challenge, I have tried to come up with ideas of my own instead of just copying other people’s recipes.  I have had a few failures along the way, but this is not one of them.  I started with my favorite simple chocolate Bundt cake recipe and just upgraded it a little bit.  One thing I had not counted on was the marshmallows melting completely during baking.  Oops!  You can’t see them in the cake, but they are definitely there in these soft little gooey spots throughout the cake.  Yum!!  Hope you enjoy!

 

rocky road bundt cake1

1 chocolate cake mix of your choice

3.9 oz. box instant chocolate pudding mix

1 3/4 cup milk

2 eggs

1 cup chocolate chips

10 large marshmallows cut into quarters

1/2 cup chopped almonds

 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare a Bundt pan by spraying it with baking spray.  I just love my new Nordicware pan that I got for Christmas.  The cake looks like a big chocolate flower.

Combine the cake mix, pudding mix, milk, and eggs.  With an electric mixer, beat on low until just combined and then beat on medium for 2 minutes.  Fold in the chocolate chips, marshmallow pieces and almond pieces.

Bake for 1 hour then cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Remove the cake from the pan and let it completely cool before slicing and devouring!

rocky road bundt cake2


Lady Behind the Curtain Dessert Challenge

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I have been participating in a monthly dessert challenge hosted by The Lady Behind The Curtain and have really enjoyed stepping out of my comfort zone to try new ingredient combinations.  Unfortunately, due to the hostess’ travel plans, the December challenge has been cancelled.  I had already made my choice and it is a great pairing of two classic holiday flavors: cranberry and eggnog.

I really like cranberries, but eggnog is not really my thing so off to Google I went in search of a recipe using both ingredients that looked appealing to me.  I found this cheesecake bar recipe at Baked By Rachel and it fit the bill.  The eggnog really goes well into the cheesecake part and the cranberry swirl is delicious.  In fact, if I make this again, I may double the cranberry amount.

cranberry eggnog cheesecake bars

Cranberry puree:

1 cup whole cranberries

2 tbsp. granulated sugar

2 tbsp. water

Crust:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. apple pie spice**

4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Filling:

20 oz. cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup eggnog

3/4 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. apple pie spice

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tbsp. all purpose flour

2 eggs

**The original recipe used ground nutmeg and I didn’t have any so I used apple pie spice instead.

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In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the cranberries, water and sugar.  Stir occasionally, cooking until all of the berries have burst.  Press the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl.  Discard the berry solids.  Cover and chill the strained mixture.

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Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9×13” baking dish with parchment or wax paper and spray the paper with non-stick spray.  Set aside.  Add all of the crust ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine.  Press the dough firmly into the bottom of the prepared dish.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

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Beat the cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth.  With the mixer on low, add the eggnog, vanilla, salt, spice and flour.  Gradually increase the mixer speed while adding the eggs.  Beat until combined and no lumps remain.  Pour the filling into the prepared crust, spreading evenly.

Dollop the cranberry puree over the cream cheese layer.  Using a toothpick or knife, swirl the puree to create a pretty design.

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Bake for 40 minutes or until the filling is set.  Cool in the pan until the cheesecake is room temperature then chill in the refrigerator.  After the cheesecake is chilled, carefully lift it out of the pan by the paper and slice into even squares.  Serve immediately or store chilled.

cranberry eggnog cheesecake bars

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October is in full swing and that means that bloggers everywhere are embracing pumpkin as an ingredient.  I must admit that pumpkin is not my favorite flavor, but I like it well enough.  This month’s Dessert Challenge at Lady Behind The Curtain features pumpkin and cream cheese so I went searching for a new recipe to try.

I really like muffins and it was an easy decision when I found this recipe at Sweet & Crumby.  Her recipe makes 24 muffins so I made a half batch instead.  The muffins are really moist and have a great flavor, but if I make them again, I will probably sweeten the cream cheese just a tiny bit before I put it in the muffins.  Otherwise, this was a really tasty treat!

pumpkincreamcheesemuffins

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp. apple pie spice

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup canned pumpkin

5 oz. vegetable oil

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

4 tbsp. brown sugar

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees and put liners in a muffin pan. Sift the flour, spice, baking soda and salt together on a paper plate and set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin, oil, sugar, and eggs.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and gently stir until combined.  Don’t over mix the batter and don’t worry if there are a few lumps left.

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Using a small cookie scoop, fill the muffin tins about 2/3 full. You will have a little batter left over. Cut the cream cheese into 12 pieces and put one piece into each muffin, pressing it down into the batter.  Then spoon a little extra batter over the top to completely cover the cream cheese.

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In a separate small bowl, combine the brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon and butter until crumbly.  Sprinkle a little of the topping over each muffin.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool and enjoy!

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pumpkincreamcheesemuffins

Please join me and others at the Lady Behind the Curtain Dessert Challenge.


Lady Behind the Curtain Dessert Challenge

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While browsing on Pinterest one day, I came upon a pin for these iconic New York deli cookies called, simply enough, Black & White Cookies.  The recipe was posted from Brown Eyed Baker and the cookies looked so yummy!  I pinned the recipe for later and decided to try it one Sunday afternoon.

These are somewhat of a classic cookie so I am glad I tried them, but I am not sure if I will ever make them again.  The cookie is just your basic butter/sugar cookie with black and white frosting on them.  The white portion of the frosting turned out great but as soon as I added some of the white in with the melted chocolate to make the black frosting, disaster struck. 

My chocolate seized and there was nothing I could do to make it smooth again.  I put the bowl over another bowl of simmering water to loosen it and that didn’t work.  I even tried microwaving it for a few seconds and NOTHING!  So, the “black” part of my cookies is just melted semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Don’t get me wrong…the melted chips worked find, but it just wasn’t the same.  Oh, well, you win some and you lose some.

I am listing the original recipe, but there won’t be any photos of the chocolate frosting.

bwcookies

For the cookies:
4 cups cake flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup milk

For the frosting:

2 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, finely chopped

1/3 cup water

1/4 cup light corn syrup

5 cups powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a cookie sheet with a baking mat or parchment paper. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

Beat the butter at medium speed for 30 seconds then gradually add the granulated sugar.  Slow increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat for about 3 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs and vanilla extract.  Beat at medium speed for about 30 seconds.  Scrape the sides of the bowl again.  On low speed, add the flour mixture and milk alternatively, starting and ending with the flour.  Mix just until combined. 

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Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet.  Gently press each cookie dough mound until it is about 2 1/2 inches wide.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until the edges are set and light golden brown.  Cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet and then put on a wire rack to cool completely.

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Now let’s make the icing: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the water and corn syrup to boil.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the powdered sugar and vanilla.  Transfer 3/4 of a cup to another bowl.  Melt the chocolate and add it to the 3/4 cups of frosting.  Combine and that makes the chocolate frosting.  (That is also where mine seized and wouldn’t do a thing so I just used melted semi-sweet chips instead.)

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Ice half the cookie with the white frosting and half with the melted chocolate.  Allow the cookies to dry completely before eating or storing.  They will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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bwcookies

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Lady Behind the Curtain Dessert Challenge

Who doesn’t love peaches?  They are one of my favorite fruits and when Lady Behind The Curtain decided to use peaches and cream as the special ingredients for the August edition of her Behind The Curtain Dessert Challenge, I knew I had to participate.  I have an easy peach cobbler recipe that I use a lot, but I had never used both peaches and a creamy ingredient together so I got to experiment a little.

I found this recipe at Mel’s Kitchen Café where you will find all sorts of tasty new treats to try.  I have followed her blog for a long time and always enjoy her recipes and photos.

Peaches&CreamCake

For the cake:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tbsp. cornstarch

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 cup milk

6 tbsp. butter, melted

29 oz. can sliced peaches in juice

For the topping:

16 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

6 tbsp. reserved peach juice

cinnamon sugar for sprinkling

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Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a 13×9” baking pan.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar & cornstarch.  Make a well in the center and add the vanilla, eggs, milk, and melted butter.  Stir until well combined and spread the batter into the prepared baking pan.

Drain the peaches, reserving the juice.  Chop the peaches into bite sized pieces and sprinkle over the cake batter.

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In a separate bowl, combine the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, and reserved peach juice until the mixture is light and creamy.  Carefully spread this over the peaches and cake batter.  If a few peach pieces are showing through, it is okay.  Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the cream cheese layer liberally. 

Bake for 55 to 65 minutes or until the edges of the cake are done.  The center may still jiggle just a little, but it will firm up nicely as it cools. Let the cake cool completely before slicing and eating.  This will let the cream cheese layer “set”.

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Peaches&CreamCake

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