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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

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Cake for breakfast? I’m there.  I’ve had this recipe to try for quite awhile but I just never got around to making it. I do breakfast for dinner pretty often for two primary reasons: a) I love breakfast foods and b) I don’t get up early enough to make it all that often. Answer: breakfast for dinner.

I always keep buttermilk around but if you don’t you can make your own by souring milk. For instance, if you need 1 cup of buttermilk stir 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice into 1 cup of milk and let stand for 5 minutes until it thickens. Also, I raided my frozen blueberries earlier in the week so I didn’t have a full 2 cups. I used mixed fruit instead which was delicious but you’ll have to watch baking time, etc. because fruits like strawberries and cherries have a lot more moisture than just blueberries. I liked the mixed fruits but my husband prefers just blueberries.

Buttermilk-Blueberry Breakfast Cake

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest or more — zest from 1 large lemon
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries and flour for dusting00
  • ½ cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cream butter with lemon zest and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Meanwhile, toss the blueberries with some flour, then whisk together the 2 cups of flour, baking powder and salt.

Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the blueberries. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan (or something similar) with butter or coat with non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan. Bake for 35 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness. If necessary, return pan to oven for a couple of more minutes. (Note: Baking for as long as 10 minutes more might be necessary.) Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

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Triple Chocolate Oreo Cookies

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When I was in graduate school I had a great friend who would eat dinner with us every night. It was heaven! She and I both loved to cook and we would happily putz around my apartment kitchen and cause trouble. We didn’t have a dishwasher (besides my husband) but he generally kept quiet because we would concoct some pretty good stuff. Sadly, she now lives far away and I’m on my own in the kitchen. However, she sends great recipes my way for which I am endlessly grateful. On Mother’s Day she emailed this winner to me.

This recipe is incredible and I recommend that you drop what you are doing and get the ingredients. The Oreo flavor comes through and couples with the other flavors perfectly. I’m not usually one for white chocolate but in these it is wonderful. Don’t worry about chopping the Oreos perfectly, just throw them in a sandwich bag and get rid of whatever tension ails you.

 Triple Chocolate Oreo Chunk Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ¾ cup Dutch Cocoa (Or Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa)
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped Oreos (around 8 cookies smashed)

Preheat oven to 375. Cream butter and sugars. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Gradually incorporate into butter mixture. Mix in white chocolate chips, chocolate chips and Oreos . Bake for 8-10 minutes

No-Bake Cookies

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It has been unseasonably warm around here and I’m not one to heat up the house. So the oven has been largely quiet. That does not mean, however, that I have been going without. I’m pretty good at finding ways around whatever inconvenience may present itself. Especially when the end result is chocolate.

I made no-bake cookies quite a bit as a kid but (like Twinkies and Fritos) I forget how good they are. Then when meandering around the grocery store I saw them in the bakery. $4 for a dozen of these little boogers!! Are you kidding me?! I had some “natural” peanut butter that my husband accidentally bought at Costco and I finally had a way to dispose of the stuff.

I used around 4 cups of oats because the natural peanut butter is thinner than the usual stuff. I recommend starting on the low end and then seeing what you need. Another warning, these babies are addictive and they were a regular go-to during middle of the night baby feedings (until they disappeared). She isn’t the only one who gets hungry!

No Bake Cookies

  • 1/2 C Butter
  • 2 C Sugar
  • 1/2 C Milk
  • 4 Tbsp Cocoa
  • 1/2 C Peanut Butter
  • 3- 4 C Quick cooking Oats
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla

Add the first 4 ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Stir in the next 3 ingredients and drop onto parchment or foil lined cookie sheets. Let cool until set.

Banana Strawberry Muffins

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How do you make bananas even better? You add strawberries. I’m a big fan of the flavor combination of banana and strawberry so how I never thought to combine them in banana muffins I really can’t say. Luckily, someone else had the idea and I swiped it.

Fresh strawberries are going to be here soon but at this point in the season they aren’t good enough nor cheap enough for me to work with. Just thaw some frozen ones and go with that. I always keep frozen fruit around. It is great for the sudden smoothie craving and baking. Plus, frozen fruits and veggies are packaged when the produce is at its freshest so only in-season produce can compete. Oh, and definitely put the strawberry garnish on top of your muffins. Not only does it look cute but it adds quite a bit of flavor. I made them both ways and the ones with a topping are definitely better.

Banana Strawberry Muffins

  • 6 oz (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/4 cups mashed banana (2-3 medium bananas)
  • 1/2 cup small diced strawberries, plus 2-3 more for topping

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Prepare a muffin tin (I got 18 muffins from this recipe).

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla, and  buttermilk.  Whisk in the mashed bananas.  Whisk in the butter.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  Stir, scraping the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any hidden pockets of flour.  Fold in the diced strawberries, being careful not to over stir.

Spoon batter into prepared pan and top with thinly sliced strawberries.   Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Black & White Cheesecake Squares

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I don’t think that it is any great secret that I am a bit of a chocolate addict. Also, I spend a lot of my time perusing Pinterest. There is a little something I have noticed about Pinterest: the theory seems to be circulating the Internet that EVERYTHING is better with cream cheese. Frankly, I don’t disagree. That is why when I came across this little gem from Martha Stewart I was in the kitchen trying it out in no time.

Just a couple of little things. Chill these before you eat them. Much like a cheesecake these are better cold. I took a little nibble while they were only room temperature and I was none too impressed. A few hours in the fridge and they were delicious. Also, a whole cup of dough to crumble is a lot. I just nibbled on it while I was crumbling. What?! Waste not, want not.

 Black and White Cheesecake Squares

  •             2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  •             3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  •             1 teaspoon baking soda
  •             1/2 teaspoon salt
  •             10 ounces (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  •             2 cups granulated sugar
  •             3 large eggs
  •             2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  •             8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  •             1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on both long sides, then spray foil.

Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Cream butter and granulated sugar with a mixer until smooth. Add 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla, and beat until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture. Increase speed to medium; beat until incorporated.

Reserve 1 cup of dough; cover, and refrigerate. Press remaining dough into bottom of prepared dish. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Bake until base is set and edges are puffed, about 25 minutes. Let cool in dish on a wire rack.

Mix cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and remaining egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a medium bowl. Spread over cooled base; crumble reserved dough on top. Bake until filling is set, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in dish on wire rack, then lift out using overhang. Cut into squares.

Chocolate Cupcakes

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It’s my birthday! Let’s not go into details about years, grey hairs, or anything else. Suffice it to say, my husband and I are the same age for a few months. Every year I spend copious amounts of time perusing recipes and deciding what cake to make myself this year. Yes, I make my own cake. No, I don’t consider that narcissistic at all.

My cake (or this year, cakes) is always chocolate and this year is no different. In fact, these little cakes are especially deep and dark in the chocolate department. If you haven’t noticed, I really prefer glazes on cupcakes. I have a couple of reasons for that: a) the flavor is better and more intense (icing is for pansies) and b) it is sooooo much easier and it looks nice (I’m lazy). Note: This recipe makes a lot of cupcakes, share them with friends or break out large cupcake tins.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup freshly brewed coffee (I used espresso- don’t judge it is MY cake)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare muffin tins (I got 36 cupcakes from this recipe).

Put the butter, coffee, water, and cocoa in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on HIGH until the butter melts, about 2 minutes. Whisk to combine.

Meanwhile, whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Beat the sour cream with the egg and vanilla in a small bowl. Whisk the hot cocoa mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir in the sour cream mixture just to combine; don’t overmix. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin tins, filling each one about 3/4 of the way full. Bake cupcakes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Cool the cupcakes completely in the tin on a rack. Remove from liners and return cakes to a rack.

Chocolate Glaze

  • 6 ounces  chocolate, finely chopped (I used milk chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons corn syrup

Put chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring cream and corn syrup to a boil (or just microwave 1 minute), then pour it over the chocolate. Let the mixture stand for about 10 minutes, then stir until smooth. Spread 1 tablespoon warm glaze evenly over each cake, or dip cupcakes tops into glaze.

Better Than Sex Chex Mix

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Okay, just ignore the name of this snack. I made this for a fundraiser at church and I spent a large part of the evening trying to think of a new name for it. I’ve come up with ideas like: Jesus is My Episco-pal Chex Mix or Meow Mix (instead of Puppy Chow). This is why I have a degree in Divinity and not in Marketing. One kid tried it and asked what it was, her aunt quickly responded, “It’s kinda like Puppy Chow.”

Whatever family-friendly name you choose to use, the recipe really is worth trying at least once. My husband has requested a few small changes because he doesn’t care for marshmallows and I think mini Rollos would be amazing. Let’s just say, it is a work in progress.

Better Than Sex Chex Mix

Ingredients

  •             8  cups Chocolate Chex® cereal (that’s 1 box)
  •             3/4  cup packed brown sugar
  •             6  tablespoons butter
  •             3  tablespoons light corn syrup
  •             1/4  teaspoon baking soda
  •             1  cup Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, MINI size
  •             1 cup mini marshmallows
  •             1/2  cup milk chocolate baking chips
  •             1/2  cup white chocolate baking chips

Into large microwavable bowl, measure cereal; set aside. Line cookie sheet with waxed paper or foil.

In 2-cup microwavable measuring cup, microwave brown sugar, butter and corn syrup uncovered on High 1 to 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute, until melted and smooth. Stir in baking soda until dissolved. Pour caramel mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Microwave on High 3 minutes, stirring every minute. Spread on cookie sheet. Cool 10 minutes. Break into bite-sized pieces.

Make sure Chex mixture is cool to the touch (so candy doesn’t melt.) Evenly sprinkle mini peanut butter cups candy and miniature marshmallows over Chex mixture.

In small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips uncovered on High about 1 minute or until chips can be stirred smooth. Use a spoon or fork to drizzle over snack. Repeat with white chocolate baking chips. Refrigerate until set. Break apart and store in tightly covered container.