Monday, July 26, 2010

Angus Barn Sour Cream Pound Cake - July Dessert

July dessert time! I've never made a pound cake before. This monthly dessert donation is really giving me an opportunity to try things I otherwise might not attempt...and I like it!

The cake was dense, and I think a little too crusty. But when I cut into it (she wanted me to slice of a chunk for her son), it had a lovely crumb and smelled really good.


The Angus Barn Sour Cream Pound Cake

Ingredients

  • 3C sugar
  • 1C butter, softened
  • 6 eggs
  • 3C cake flour
  • 1t baking powder
  • 1C sour cream
  • 2t vanilla

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 1 (10-inch) tube pan or 2 (9-by-5-inch) loaf pans; set aside.
  2. With an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended. In a separate bowl, sift together flour and baking powder. Add flour alternately with sour cream to sugar-butter-egg mixture, beating until well-combined. Add vanilla and mix through.
  3. Pour mixture into prepared pan or pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean (about 1 hour for loaf pans, 15 minutes longer for the tube pan).
It took longer (as it always seems to) for the cake to fully bake. I think it came out too dark and had to cut away some of the crust to make it presentable. I baked it in a tube pan, but I think on my next pound cake attempt I'll use clear loaf pans so I can keep a closer eye on the color (and cut down on the baking time, I hope).

I used my silicon tube pan and I have to say that I'm becoming more and more disappointed with my silicon bakeware. Sure, it's easy to clean, but I'm not usually happy with how it bakes things. I'm contemplating replacing them with regular bakeware. Any suggestions?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Chocolate-Covered Bacon-Stuffed Peeps

Chocolate-covered bacon? Awesome. Chocolate-covered Peeps? Awesome! (At least the homemade ones, not that crap the Peeps company is trying to sell). So, chocolate-covered bacon-stuffed Peeps? MIND-BLOWINGLY FANTASTIC!!!

Now, THIS would be an example of a recipe that I couldn't find anywhere. The closest I got was a chick Peep with a strip of bacon wrapped around it. But that did me no good. So there I was with a package of bacon, some bunny Peeps and my chocolate baking bark, wondering how in the world I was going to get these things to stay together. Take a look at this baking masterpiece.


Chocolate-Covered Bacon-Stuffed Peeps
Ingredients
  • 36 Bunny Peeps
  • 22 pieces of bacon
  • 1 pkg chocolate baking bark
Directions (I'll discuss the process in much more detail below.)
  1. Cook bacon until crispy. Pat dry and let cool to room temp.
  2. Prepare Peeps for bacon
  3. Put bacon in Peeps
  4. Melt baking bark.
  5. Dip Peeps and let cool.
I began by cooking the bacon. I figured I could get two Peeps filled per piece of bacon and I had 36 Peeps on hand (been saving these boys up since Easter). I wanted to have some wiggle room, so I cooked up around 22 pieces of bacon.

I then had to figure out how to get the bacon to stay together with the Peep so I could surround them both in chocolate goodness. Scratching my head....scratching my head....LIGHTBULB! I took my kitchen shears and cut the bunnies up their sides leaving the ears as a kind of joint. I then stuck in a piece of bacon and gave it a little smooooooosh.


I melted my baking bark, got my cookie sheet lined with wax and started dipping. It was tough because the sides of the Peeps wanted to separate and let that precious precious bacon just fall right out of there, but I prevailed. The results were phenomenal. I took them to the All-Church Pig Pickin' and they were a hit. Life changing, I was told.

But wait...it gets better. While we were setting up for the festivities, Mike (a gentleman and a scholar) looked over at the hushpuppy makin' station and said to me, "Hey Becky, how about we deep fry a couple of these things?" My immediate thought: Marry me.

So that's exactly what we did (the deep fried part, not the marriage part). Mike put two of those suckers in the freezer and after the hushpuppies had been fried, we threw the choco-bacon Peeps in the leftover batter, dropped them in the hot oil and the universe immediately collapsed on itself from the pure-unadulterated awesomeness.


The chocolate melted off a little, but OH MAN there are NO WORDS. But wow, just wow.

Beer Cheese Cupcakes with Bacon Cheddar Cream Cheese Frosting

Wait....what?!?! Let's break this mess down: cupcakes with beer and cheese in them, topped with a cream cheese frosting that has bacon and more cheese in it. Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-diculous. Some guy friends were having a "we're men and we like to eat meat" party, so I thought I'd whip up a dessert that would finish off the evening on a manly note.

People often ask me if I make this stuff up, or if I find these recipes. It's a little bit of both. Usually, I think, "Hey, I want to make a dessert using _____, ______, and _____." So I do a few different Google searches to see what I come up with. Sometimes I'm successful in finding a recipe and other times I have to venture out on my own.

This time, I said to myself, I'd like to make a cupcake with beer and bacon. And BLA-DOW, this fabulous recipe was at my fingertips in mere seconds.
I snagged the recipe from the Cupcake Project. Didn't make any changes really, but I'll still post it here for easy access (because I KNOW you are going run right to your kitchen to make these bad boys).


Beer Cheese Cupcakes
Ingredients

  • 1c beer
  • 1 stick, plus 1T unsalted butter
  • 1c grated cheddar
  • 2c dark brown sugar (yea, that's an entire box)
  • 3/4c sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1T vanilla extract
  • 2c flour
  • 2 1/2t baking soda
Directions
  1. Combine the beer and the butter in a large sauce pan. Heat to melt butter. Add cheddar.
  2. Remove from heat, and whisk in the sugar.
  3. In a bowl, whisk the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla, then add to the beer mixture.
  4. Sift together the flour and baking soda, and fold into the batter.
  5. Pour into cupcake wrappers and bake for 25 minutes at 350.
Makes 18 to 20 cupcakes.

Bacon Cheddar Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients
  • 8oz cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/4c butter, room temp
  • 4c powdered sugar
  • 3/4c grated cheddar
  • 1c bacon crumbles
Directions
  1. Beat together cream cheese and butter until creamy.
  2. Add grated cheddar.
  3. Slowly mix in powdered sugar.
  4. Stir in bacon.
A few things of note: The original recipe suggests using a nice sharp block of cheese as opposed to pre-shredded cheese. I used a block, but eh, if you are pressed for time, use the pre-shredded stuff, but be sure to get extra sharp. The original recipe also said to use bacon bits. WHATEVER! If I'm adding bacon to something, I'm going to cook it up. So I crisped and crumbled it.

These were a bear (not the word I'd prefer to use) to frost because of all the mess of cheese and bacon in the frosting. But it was soooooooooo worth it. They were GUUUUUUUUUD. If you are looking for a man-tastic dessert for a sporty-good time, these are the way to go.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Strawberry Sorbetto

I recently signed up for Kraft First Taste. So I get recipes that yoooooooooooou don't. Although I'm totally posting one right now for all to see. It's another summer dessert. It's similar to the bavarian that I just posted, except you take away the cake and add lemonade concentrate.

Strawberry Sorbetto
Ingredients
  • 1c boiling water
  • 1 pkg. (3 oz.) JELL-O Strawberry Flavor Gelatin
  • 1/2 of 12-oz. can frozen lemonade concentrate (Do not thaw.)
  • 3c strawberries (I just defrosted some already sliced unsweetened ones.)
  • 8 oz. COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
Directions
  1. STIR boiling water into gelatin mix in large freezer-proof bowl at least 2 min. until completely dissolved. Stir in lemonade concentrate. Refrigerate 15 min. or until slightly thickened (consistency of unbeaten egg whites).
  2. MASH berries. Add to gelatin mixture along with COOL WHIP; stir with whisk until well blended.
  3. FREEZE 4 hours or until firm. Remove from freezer 15 min. before serving. Let stand at room temperature to soften slightly. Freeze leftovers.
The lemon and strawberry together was wonderful! It was sweet and tart and my church community group gobbled it down quick. Wait until it is a bit thicker than ice cream consistency before digging in.

Angel Strawberry Bavarian

It's summer, which means lighter fruity desserts are a main stay. Before I branched out to loving cake in general more than I love...well lots of things, my favorite cake was Angel Food with Cool Whip and Strawberries. I managed to find a recipe that crammed all of this in to one gelatinous concoction: Angel Strawberry Bavarian. I don't know if it's technically a meta-dessert, but you take Angel Food Cake and chop it up to put into a jell-o, cool whip mix that you then put in a Angel Food Cake mold. So it's kind of like a cake within a cake. I got the recipe from Duncan Hines.

Angel Strawberry Bavarian
Ingredients
  • 1 pkg Duncan Hines® Angel Food Cake Mix
  • 10 oz frozen sweetened sliced strawberries, thawed
  • 1 (3 oz) pkg strawberry gelatin (I used sugar-free!)
  • 1c boiling water (my water was sugar-free, too)
  • 8 oz Cool Whip (I used Cool Whip Free)
Directions
  1. Bake and cool cake as directed (or shoot, just buy one from the store) and cut in to 1 inch pieces.
  2. Drain thawed strawberries, reserving juice. Combine gelatin and boiling water in small bowl. Stir until gelatin is dissolved. Add enough water to strawberry juice to measure 1 cup; stir into gelatin. Refrigerate until gelatin is slightly thickened. Beat gelatin until foamy.
  3. Fold together whipped topping, gelatin and strawberries.
  4. Alternate layers of cake cubes and strawberry mixture into 10-inch tube pan. Press lightly. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours. Unmold cake onto serving plate. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Man it was good! Light and creamy and the flavors, of course, go great together. All in all, it was easy to make and Bavari (get it? get it? I'm soooooooo clever) tasty.

Oh! This really isn't bad for you either. I cut it into 16 slices and each slice is only 3 points according to Weight Watchers. Good times.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting - June Dessert

I love that I donated a free-year of homemade dessert to the Bachelor Auction because it guarantees me at least one opportunity to bake a month. This month I was asked to make a yellow cake with chocolate frosting.


Again, I went to the Cake Doctor for inspiration. I used her Classic Yellow Cake recipe: plain yellow cake mix, a packet of vanilla pudding, milk, eggs, oil, and vanilla extract. And I used her Fluffy Chocolate Frosting: butter, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla.

Both turned out well and the cake wasn't too difficult to frost. There were some other frosting options but all of her notes said "Frost quickly as this will set fast." No thanks man.

I hope everyone enjoyed the cake. I should hear from her soon about what she wants this month, but I think it might be another Key Lime Pie. No need to repost if that's the case.

Note about adding pudding: The Cake Mix Doctor recommends using Duncan Hines mixes when she calls for "plain" cake mix. The other brands already have pudding in them. You could certainly add extra pudding but it causes the cake to shrink and be a bit gooey. So when she calls for a plain mix, that's what she means, or she says you could buy another kind and not add pudding. But she recommends against doubling it up.

That being said, a Pilsbury yellow cake mix with an addition package of vanilla pudding makes an aaaaaaaaaaaaaawesome dense, moist, slightly gooey bundt cake. We used to actually make ones of those a week, and then we realized wait...that's a lot of cake for us to be eating. So we stopped. Probably a good call.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

The company I work for has workshops at our office several times throughout the year. It's a great chance for me to interact with the clients on an extended basis. I've baked a few things for them in the past and while they were here in June, I was asked what I was going to make them this time. I had just the recipe.

I'd been meaning to try out these cookies for a while and just couldn't find the right venue, so this worked out well. Although they all enjoyed the cookies, no one was able to guess the surprise ingredient. Since you are about to read it in the recipe, I'll just go ahead and spill the beans...ketchup.

It's not that much ketchup really. I think it just adds a little sweetness and a little color to the cookie. I found the recipe on the Heinz website; their official name is Tic Tac Toe Cookies, but I like mine better.



Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

Ingredients

1.5c flour

1/2t baking soda

1/2t salt

3/4c PB (I usually use chunky)

1/2c butter or margarine, softened

1/2c sugar

1/2c packed brown sugar

1/4c ketchup (Heinz will tell you it has to be their brand)

1 egg

Directions

  1. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Cream together peanut butter, butter or margarine, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add ketchup and egg; beat until well mixed.
  3. Thoroughly blend flour mixture into peanut butter mixture.
  4. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. With fork dipped in flour, press cookie flat, making impressions in two directions.
  5. Bake at 375 for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.
  6. Feed them to people you know and see if they can figure out the secret ingredient.
People were surprised, that's for sure. But they went over well.

And apparently my dad really liked them as he ate all of the ones I brought home to share with my family...

Not Your Mother's Jell-o Mold

This baby has bite. It's a sangria jell-o, complete with yummy fruit. I got this recipe from the Kraft Foods website. They really have some great stuff. It turned out well, especially when you put Cool Whip on top. The only thing I would do different next time is possibly soak the fruit in brandy for an extra kick!


Sangria Jell-o (modified Sangria Party Cups from Kraft Foods)

Ingredients

1-1/2c boiling water

1 pkg. (3 oz.) JELL-O Strawberry Flavor Gelatin
1 pkg. (3 oz.) JELL-O Lemon Flavor Gelatin

Ice cubes
1c dry red wine (or grape juice…uh LAME!)

8 fresh strawberries, quartered

1 can (11 oz.) mandarin orange segments, drained
1 cup seedless red grapes, halved

Directions

  1. Add boiling water to combined gelatin mixes in medium bowl; stir at least 2 minutes until completely dissolved.
  2. Add enough ice cubes to wine to measure 1-1/2 cups.
  3. Add to gelatin; stir until slightly thickened. Remove any unmelted ice.
  4. Put it whatever container you want to serve it from and refrigerate 4 hours or until firm.
Throw some Cool Whip on top and enjoy! It's a great summer dessert.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Flourless Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

I had one banana left from Emily's house, so I needed to make something else. Beats me if this is the actual recipe I used, but who's to say it wasn't. They were tasty. Again, these cookies, along with the bread turned me towards bananas.

I have a friend in my church community group who has gone gluten-free because of a gluten allergy. I made these with her in mind, but she wasn't able to attend that week's bible study. Oh well. I'll find another gf cookie recipe to make for next time.



Flourless PB Banana Choc Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1c peanut butter
  • 1c sugar
  • 1 small-medium very ripe banana, mashed or pureed
  • 1t baking soda
  • 1/2t vanilla
  • 3/4c chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix everything except the chocolate chips in a food processor until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
  2. Using moistened hands, form generous 1 tablespoon (use more if you want bigger cookies) dough for each cookie into ball. Arrange on 2 ungreased baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart.
  3. Bake cookies until puffed, golden on bottom and still soft to touch in center, about 12 minutes. Cool on sheets 5 minutes. Transfer to racks; cool completely.
When making PB cookies, greasing the cookie sheet is definitely unnecessary. Then again, I pretty much always use parchment paper, so I guess for me it doesn't matter. Like I said, these were tas-tee.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Mini-Cheesecake Bites - May Recipe

May's donated recipe was Blueberry Cheesecake Bites. The woman who won the raffle for the year of homemade desserts also won a wine tasting, so I made these for that event. It's like two prizes in one!

I used blueberry pie filling for the topping, but didn't put the topping on myself as I didn't want the cheesecakes to get soggy. So the pic below does not include the topping.


Mini-Cheesecake Bites (from Big Oven)
Ingredients
Crust:
  • 1 c graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/8 c sugar
  • 1/4 c butter, melted

Filling:

  • 16 oz cream cheese (I used the 1/3 fat kind)
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 can pie filling any flavor
Directions
  1. Line mini muffin pan with mini muffin cups.
  2. Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter.
  3. Add 1t crumb mix to each cup.
  4. Firmly press down in cup to pack the crumbs.
  5. Combine cream cheese, vanilla, eggs, and sugar. Mix well.
  6. Add 1T of cream cheese mixture to each cup.
  7. Bake 14 minutes at 350.
  8. Top with a dollop of pie filling flavor of your choice.
  9. Cool at least one hour prior to serving.
Kyle tried one and he really enjoyed it. I am now adding the remaining graham cracker crumbs to my key lime yogurt with some cool whip for a treat. Awesome.


Chocolate Banana Bread



My dear friend Emily, who has recently moved to Boston, had a cat named Cheerio. I would visit him when Emily was away and make sure he was fed, etc. During one trip, I noticed that Emily had some beyond ripe bananas in her kitchen. Knowing she wouldn't be back in time to eat them, I snagged them and decided to find something to bake with them. I was not a big fan of bananas in general, but after this recipe, I am now totally into them.

Chocolate Banana Bread (from Joy of Baking)

Ingredients

1/2 c pecans, coarsely chopped

1
3/4 c flour
1/4 c Dutch-processed cocoa powder

1
c sugar

1 t baking powder

1/4 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

1/2 c white or dark chocolate chips (guess which I chose)

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 c butter, melted and cooled

3 ripe bananas , mashed well (about 1-1/2 cups)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place oven rack to middle position.
  2. Butter and flour (or spray with a non stick vegetable/flour spray) the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pan.
  3. Place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 - 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Let cool and then chop coarsely.
  4. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. In a medium-sized bowl combine the mashed bananas, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla.
  6. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, lightly fold the wet ingredients (banana mixture) into the dry ingredients until just combined and batter is thick and chunky. Fold in the nuts and chocolate chips. Scrape batter into prepared pan and sprinkle the top of the bread with brown sugar.
  7. Bake until bread has risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 to 65 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool and then remove the bread from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 1 - 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf.

Yum, yum, yum! Good stuff. I need to add bananas into my regular rotation of baking. It was DANGEROUS warmed up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on it.


Key Lime White Choc Chip Cookies

After I made the Key Lime Pie, I had a bunch of left over key lime juice. So I thought I'd try out a cookie recipe. I think I got it from Cookiemadness.net, so I'll post that recipe here.

Key Lime White Choc Chip Cookies

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter — softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup key lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons lime zest
3/4 cup white chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Cream butter, sugar, egg, egg yolk in a large bowl.
  2. Blend in flour, baking powder, salt, lime juice and lime zest.
  3. Fold in white chocolate chips.
  4. Roll dough into walnut sized balls and place on ungreased sheet.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes.
I think they turned out well, but Kyle isn't particularly into citrus in general, so he wasn't feeling the lime. Although he said that the lime taste was slight. However, other people said that they were quite lime-y. I liked them.