Snickerdoodle Bars

Snickerdoodle bars

Yes, you guessed it, another Pinterest find.  Whenever I see the word snickerdoodle and it’s not a cookie, I am immediately interested. Why? Well, because it’s my husband’s favorite cookie.  But, you can only have so many snickerdoodle cookies.  Or, maybe not, if you are a die-hard snickerdoodle fan.  I have seen quick breads, cupcakes, muffins, even pancakes.  All are worth trying because who doesn’t like just about anything covered in cinnamon sugar?

It was Thursday night and I was supposed to make these snickerdoodle bars for a coworker’s last day in my department.  But, my husband is back coaching volleyball, so by the time I fed and bathed the kids, and then prepared everything for school the next day, I was way too tired.  My husband gets up for work at 5am and I couldn’t go back to sleep.  I don’t start work until 9, so I got up to make the bars.  Let me warn you, the first layer of batter is really hard to spread.  The problem is sticky batter and a well-greased pan are not conducive to spreading.  But, by dolloping and a lot of patience, something I didn’t have much of at 5am, it will spread.  The rest is easy. You just cover it with a generous layer of cinnamon sugar and dollop on the remaining batter.  Luckily, there is no more spreading. You want to see that cinnamon peaking through.  After the bars bake and cool, you drizzle them with a quick vanilla-scented, powdered sugar glaze.  That’s it.

Everyone at work was raving about these bars. I had to grab a small piece, you know, for quality control.  How else could I tell you how they taste?  And, I must say, they taste pretty amazing.  Hands down one of the best things I’ve baked in a while. So, good in fact, I made a another pan for my husband the very next day because I just couldn’t keep the deliciousness of these bars from him.  Justin proceeded to eat 6 bars for dessert, stuffing himself until he was sick.  These bars are so good, he went ahead and did the same thing at breakfast. I guess they’re worth it.

Snickerdoodle Bars
Yield: 13×9 pan

2 1/3 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cinnamon filling

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar

1 to 2 tablespoons milk

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1 tsp of melted butter  Optional   (Note tsp not tbsp)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray the bottom only of a 13×9-inch baking pan with Pam. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of your KitchenAid, beat butter on high until creamy. Beat in both sugars.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Beat in the vanilla.  On low, beat in dry ingredients until combined.

Spoon half of the batter into pan by the dollop.  Spread evenly. It takes awhile to spread the batter since it is sticky and the pan is slick. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar evenly over batter.

Dollop the remaining batter by the teaspoon evenly over cinnamon-sugar

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown, turning the pan at 10 minutes.  Test with a toothpick inserted in center. The bars are done when the toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely, ~ 1 hour.

In small bowl, stir glaze ingredients until smooth and thin enough to drizzle.  I put the glaze in a Ziploc bag, cut off the corner, and drizzled over the bars.

Source:  Betty Crocker

Cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon rolls

Ahhh…cinnamon rolls. One of my most favorite breakfasts.  But, I don’t make them too often mostly because of the time they take to prepare. You know, all the waiting for the rising, makes cinnamon rolls more of a brunch fare. We usually have a light breakfast, while waiting for the cinnamon rolls. But, when I do make them, the time we wait is always worth it.  These rolls are the big, Cinnabon-at-the-mall-style cinnamon rolls.  I  always have a hard time passing them up, but they are so expensive usually I leave with just the Mochalatta chill.  I mean, one can only have so much willpower. Besides, I need the caffeine. So I tell myself anyways.

So, I started these rolls at 7:30am and we sat down to eat them at 10:30am.  This explains why the photo is of a half pan of rolls. NO ONE was going to wait any longer for photos. My husband, Justin, and I loved them.  But, my kids wouldn’t eat them.  They only eat the ones in the blue can, but with my homemade frosting only.  Even they have standards.  I’ll admit, I like those too. I’m no food snob. They are great in a pinch and something I know everyone will eat when I don’t feel like fighting the please-eat-something fight.  Ugh, oh well, more for me.  I ate one for breakfast everyday that week and they were delicious, just 1 minute in the microwave.   These cinnamon rolls bake up tall, with a crisp exterior and tender interior.  The cream cheese frosting is just plain amazing.  It is really thick and cheesecake-like. In fact, my daughter Sammie, after not eating her cinnamon roll, took the frosting bowl and was about to eat it like oatmeal before I grabbed it from her.  This is the same kid who only eats the frosting off her doughnut. Who does that?

Cinnamon Rolls

Yield: 12 large rolls

1 cup whole milk
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup butter, melted
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, melted

3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Warm the milk in a small saucepan until ~105 degrees F.   I used the microwave

Pour the warm milk into the bowl of a stand mixer.   Add the yeast and a pinch of sugar.   Stir into the milk.   Let stand until foamy, ~5 minutes.

Add the sugar, butter, salt, eggs, and flour.  Mix well.  Knead with the dough hook on medium for ~4 minutes, or until the dough is smooth.

Shape the dough into a ball and place in a bowl.  Cover with a damp towel.  Let rise in a warm place ~1 hour or until dough has nearly doubled in size.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon.  Mix well with a spoon, spatula or even your hands.

Lightly flour your work surface (I used a pastry mat) and rolling-pin.  Roll the dough into a 16×21 inch rectangle,  ~1/4 inch thick.

Brush the dough with 1/3 cup melted butter.  Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the butter.

Roll the dough up starting with the longer side.  Cut into 12 rolls.   I cut the log in half, then each half in half.  Then you have 4 even pieces to cut into 3.  This way you get even sized rolls.

Spray a 9×13 inch glass baking dish with Pam. Arrange the 12 rolls in the dish.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for 30 minutes.

While the rolls rise, pre-heat the oven to 350F. Bake until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes.

While the rolls bake, make the frosting.  Beat together the cream cheese, soft butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Spread the frosting on the rolls while they are still warm.

Source:  Cate’s World Kitchen; originally from All-Recipes

Sprinkles Cookies

Sprinkle cookies

Hello!  I’m sorry to have been gone so long.  I’ve really missed you and my blog….and I just had to share these sprinkles cookies from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen.  I was scanning through Pinterest and the cuteness of these cookies caught my eye.  You know I’m always a sucker for sprinkles. Reading through the recipe, I was intrigued by the buttery sweet dough emulsion it called for.  Have you ever heard of this?  No?  Me neither.  Kristan said you could find it at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby, but I could not.  And, while she said the ingredient was optional, it was not going to be for me.  I get my mind set on something and that’s it, it’s happening.  So, I just ordered it on Amazon and thank goodness with Prime I only had to wait 2 days.  Was it worth it?  Yes!  I loved the flavor it gave the cookies.  It’s the flavor of bakery cookies, you know the one you just can’t put your finger on and can’t seem to replicate? This is it.

At first, I thought these cookies were too sweet and I was disappointed. But, I swear, overnight some magical transformation took place and they were just perfect.  The cookie is buttery and soft.  The glaze hardens, adding sweetness and serving as glue for all those crunchy sprinkles.  My kids and husband went crazy for these, eating a fistful at a time.  I got about 50 adorable cookies, but that was not nearly enough. These cookies barely made it a day in this sugar-cookie-loving house.  Note to self: double recipe next time, okay?

Sprinkles Cookies

Yield: ~ 3 dozen ( I got 50)

Cookies

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp buttery sweet dough emulsion  optional

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Glaze:

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup water

1/2 tsp almond or vanilla extract  – clear if you want white glaze

3 oz jar rainbow nonpareils

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of your Kitchenaid, beat butter and sugar, on medium, until light and fluffy, ~ 3 minutes. Add eggs, vanilla, and buttery sweet dough emulsion, if using. Beat until combined.

On low, slowly add the flour mixture. Mix until a smooth dough forms.

Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour minimum.  I took the dough out of the bowl, shaped it into a thick rectangle and wrapped it in Saran Wrap.

Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness on lightly floured counter or pastry mat. I found this dough to be crazy sticky- be liberal with the flour.  

Cut using a 2 1/2 inch round cutter. I used a 2 1/4 inch scalloped cutter.  Place on baking sheet ~1 inch apart. They don’t spread so you can fit a lot of cookies on a sheet.

Bake for 6 minutes. Watch carefully. There should be little to no color.  Remove and let cool completely on wire rack.

For the glaze:

In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, water and vanilla extract until smooth.  You may need to add water to get the glaze consistency you want.

Dip the cookies in the glaze face down, letting the excess drip off.

Place the dipped cookies on a wire rack set over wax paper and sprinkle liberally. Let set for about an hour before serving.

Source:  Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

Sprinkles cookies

Boston Cream Pie

Boston Cream Pie

My good friend Eva, from Eva Bakes, and I thought it would be fun to tackle something off of our baking bucket lists together.  We would both make the same thing, choosing our own recipe, and then post the results.  First up? Boston cream pie.  Funny, I think I have only made about 5 layer cakes in my whole life.  Layer cakes to me are kind of fancy.  I am more of a cookie/brownie kind of girl.  But, I certainly have never turned cake down.  I love a challenge.

So I got up early Saturday morning to tackle this multi-step cake.  Unfortunately, my husband didn’t sleep well the night before and went back to sleep when I got up.  Let me just say, making this cake with baby Alex was not an easy feat.  He only took out the fire extinguisher, almost dumped a newly opened jar of cornstarch all over the floor,  shook salt onto the table, spilled a glass of water, and put a cup of dog food into the dog’s water. Ugh, I think that was it.  Given the circumstances, I think my cake came out pretty darn good.

Honestly, the cake really isn’t hard to make, it just takes a few steps.  To make the cake, you need to separate eggs and beat them in separate bowls, finally folding them together with flour. While the cakes bake, you make the pastry cream on the stove.  You then have some wait time for the cakes to cool and the pastry cream to set in the fridge.  After assembling the cake, you make a quick chocolate frosting to pour over the cake.  So, all easy…it just takes time.  You know the hardest part? Transferring the finished cake from the cooling rack to the serving plate.

The verdict? I thought that cake was delicious. You have a spongy buttery cake, filled with smooth, vanilla scented pastry cream, topped with thick chocolate glaze. How bad could it be? (I love Ina!)

So, one down, so many more to go. Thanks for baking with me, Eva! I can’t wait to see your cake!

Foolproof Sponge Cake

½ cup (2 oz) cake flour

¼ cup (1 1/4oz) all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

3 TBSP milk

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

½ tsp vanilla

3 large egg whites, room temp

¼ tsp cream of tartar

¾ cup (5 1/4oz) sugar – DIVIDED

3 large egg yolks, room temp

2 large eggs, room temp

Place oven rack in middle position and preheat to 350F. Grease and flour two 8in or 9in round cake pans (ATK recommends 9 in) and line with a circle of parchment. Grease the paper.

Whisk together the 2 flours, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.  In a small saucepan, heat the milk and butter together on low until the butter is melted.   Off the heat, stir in the vanilla. Cover to keep warm.

In a large bowl, whip 3 egg whites and cream of tartar together with an electric mixer, on med-low until foamy, ~ 1 minute.  Increase speed to med-high and whip the egg whites until soft, billowy mounds form, ~ 1 minute.  Gradually whip in 6 Tbsp of sugar, ~ 30 seconds. Continue to whip until until shiny and form soft peaks, ~ 1 to 3 minutes.  Do NOT overbeat.

In a separate large bowl, whip the 3 yolks and 2 whole eggs with an electric mixer on med-high. Gradually add in the last 6 Tbsp of sugar, ~ 1 min. Continue to whip the mixture until very light in color and voluminous, ~ 4-6 minutes.

Gently pour the thick, yellow egg yolk mixture on top of the soft peaked egg white mixture.  Sift the flour mixture on top of that.  Now you have a white layer on the bottom, yellow yolk mixture in the middle and flour on top. Very gently, fold everything together with a rubber spatula, just until combined, ~ 12 folds. Pour the warm milk, in a steady stream, against the side of the bowl. Continue to fold until evenly combined and there are no streaks of flour, ~ 8 folds.

Immediately scrape the batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake until lightly brown and a toothpick in the center comes out with just a few crumbs, ~ 12-18 minutes. Do NOT rotate cakes while baking.

Immediately run a knife around the edges of the cakes and flip onto a parchment lined plate. Peel  off the parchment bottom and flip the cakes right side up onto a wire rack. Let the cakes cool completely, about 2 hours.

Pastry Cream

2 cups whole milk

6 large egg yolks

½ cup (3.5 oz) sugar

¼ tsp salt

¼ cup cornstarch

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 tsp vanilla

In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer. Meanwhile, whisk the yolks, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Whisk in the cornstarch until pale yellow and thick, ~ 30 seconds.

Slowly whisk the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture to temper, then return the mixture to the saucepan and cook on medium heat. Whisk constantly until thick and glossy, ~ 1.5 minutes.  Remove from heat. Whisk in the butter and vanilla. Transfer the pastry cream into a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap directly pressed onto the surface, to avoid skin from forming.  Refrigerate until chilled and set, ~ 2 hours.

Chocolate Glaze

2/3 cup heavy cream

¼ cup light corn syrup

8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped fine

½ tsp vanilla     

Put all the ingredients into a medium bowl. Microwave, stopping frequently to whisk.  Continue until all melted and smooth, ~ 1-2 minutes. Let the glaze cool, uncovered, until thick but still pourable, ~ 20 minutes.

Assembly:

Line a large baking sheet with parchment and place a wire rack on top. Place one of the cake layers on the rack. Spread the pastry cream on top of the cake, right to the edges. Place the other layer on top and press lightly to adhere.

Pour the chocolate glaze on top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Refrigerate uncovered, until the chocolate sets- at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.  Before serving, transfer to a serving plate/cake stand and let warm up to room temperature, 30 to 60 minutes.

Source: The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

Dahlia Bakery’s All-American Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Dhalia Bakery's Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Wow. I finally found myself a pocket of time and my head was swimming with ideas of what to bake.  I’m sure you are thinking, with all these ideas, why did she end up making chocolate chip cookies?   Well, to be honest, I just really had a taste for them.  When I was flipping through The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook, of course, the chocolate truffle cookies caught my eye first. But, the chocolate chunk cookies were a close second.  There isn’t much better than a big, chewy chocolate chip cookie and a tall glass of ice cold milk.  And these looked like my kind of cookie.

Most chocolate chip cookies have essentially the same ingredients, just in different proportions. If you are looking for a special ingredient, I hope you aren’t disappointed that there isn’t one in these cookies.  Why are they so good then? It must be that the ratios are just right.  The cookie tastes just as it should, of butter and brown sugar.  It has a very slight crispness to the edges, but is perfectly chewy throughout, and they stayed chewy for three days.  At Dahlia, Tom Douglas uses a mixture of milk and bittersweet chocolates.  I used all semisweet cut from a Callebaut bar, as unbelievably, I was out of milk chocolate.  I also used only 14 oz of chocolate (only??), instead of the 19 oz called for in the recipe. As much as I love chocolate, with too much, I believe you can’t taste the deliciousness of the cookie.

As you probably know, I don’t make many recipes more than once.  But this one is a keeper.  I’m looking forward to trying the two chocolates next time or M & Ms or Reese’s cups or……

Dahlia Bakery’s All-American Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Yield: 24 to 26 cookies (I got 24 big cookies)

3 large eggs, room temperature

2 tsp pure vanilla

3 1/2 cups (482 grams) all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 cup plus 5 tablespoons  (10.5 ounces/298 grams) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (25o grams) packed, moist brown sugar

1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups (9 ounces/255 grams) milk chocolate chunks

1 1/2 cups (9 ounces/255 grams) bittersweet chocolate chunks

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line your cookie sheet(s) with parchment.

In a small bowl, break the 3 eggs, add the vanilla and whisk to combine. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and kosher salt. Set aside.

Into the bowl of your Kitchen-Aid, add the butter and both sugars.  Cream on medium-high, with the paddle, until very light in color and fluffy, ~ 4-5 minutes.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.  Beating on medium, pour in half of the egg-vanilla mixture and beat until incorporated.  Scrape down the sides again and add the rest of the egg-vanilla mixture.  Beat briefly to combine.

Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of the electric mixer, beating on low until evenly distributed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and mix just 10 more seconds.  Don’t overmix.  Add the chocolate chunks and mix just until combined. Remove the bowl from the stand and using a spatula scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure all the flour is mixed in.

Use an ice cream scoop to portion the cookies in 2.5 ounce portions (~ 1/4 cup), placing them evenly apart, 6 cookies per cookie sheet.

Bake until mostly golden brown on the edges but still pale in the middle, ~ 16 to 18 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking time.  If you are baking 2 cookie sheets at a time, also rotate them between racks.  Do not overbake.

Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before using a spatula to remove the cookies from the sheets.

Source:  The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook: Sweetness in Seattle

Dahlia Bakery Chocolate Truffle Cookies

Dahlia Bakery Chocolate Truffle Cookies

Chocolate truffle cookies.  That was all I had to read before I decided I had to make them immediately.  I’m not sure if it is just me,  but I honestly don’t get it when someone says a dessert is too rich or too chocolately.   There is no such thing.  The more chocolate, the better.  And these cookies have a trifecta of chocolate:  bittersweet, cocoa powder and chips.   Sounds like perfection to me.  Besides, I have heard wonderful things about the famed Dahlia Bakery and I already love Tom Douglas as a Top Chef guest judge.  Though, I have to say, Top Chef has been pretty disappointing this season.  I am a huge fan, but Seattle is almost as bad as Texas, I’m afraid.  But, I keep watching anyways.  I think I just love Tom 😀

These cookies were easy enough to make.  I wouldn’t even bother with the double boiler. I have always had good luck melting my chocolate in the microwave.  I just melt it on defrost at 15-20 second increments and mix before putting it back in the microwave.  Just be careful to not melt until totally smooth or it will be overdone and bitter.  There should still be small chocolate chunks and the residual heat will melt the rest.  Make sure to beat the batter after you add the eggs for several minutes so you get the pretty shiny tops.  When you add the flour, fold lightly just until combined and your cookies will be tender.  As they bake, the smell of chocolate is intoxicating.  I love how the top cracks, hinting at the dark, delicious fudgeyness underneath.  These cookies were so good, I immediately ordered the Dahlia Bakery Cookbook.  I have a feeling that these cookies are just a hint of the deliciousness to come…..

Dahlia Bakery Chocolate Truffle Cookies

Yield: 30 cookies, 3.5in diameter

1 1⁄4 cups (7 1⁄8 ounces/205 grams) all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (3 ⁄4 ounce/20 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder     I used Valrhona

1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1 pound plus 4 ounces (567 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped        I used Callebaut

1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1⁄4 sticks/5 ounces/140 grams) unsalted butter, softened

2 1⁄4 cups (1 pound plus 1⁄4 ounce/460 grams) sugar

6 large eggs, room temperature

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups (12 ounces/340 grams) bittersweet chocolate chips   I used semisweet mini chips

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, and baking powder.  Stir in the salt. Set aside. Place a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan filled with about 1 inch of water.  Heat the water until very hot but not boiling.  Put the chocolate in the bowl and stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove the bowl of chocolate from over the water and cool for ~ 5 – 10 minutes.    I melted in the microwave at 15 second intervals, stirring in between.

Combine the softened butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle.  Cream on medium until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time.  Mix on medium until the eggs are incorporated.

Increase the speed to high and beat for a few minutes until the mixture is very light, creamy, and pale in color. Scrape down the bowl as needed. This is what gives the cookies the shiny, cracked tops. Add the melted chocolate and  vanilla. Mix just until combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the dry ingredients with a spatula. Do not overmix or the cookies with be tough. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Start scooping the cookies as soon as the batter is made. The batter is very soft and sticky at first.  But it starts firming up quickly as it sits, making it difficult to portion. The easiest way to portion the cookies is with a 2- oz ice cream scoop. Pack the scoop 3/4 full. Or use a scant 1 ⁄4 cup or 1 1 ⁄2 ounces of cookie dough for each cookie.

Scoop the cookies onto baking sheets lined with parchment, about 2 inches apart.  Flatten each mound of dough slightly with a dampened hand.

Immediately after scooping the batter, place them in the oven. If baking in batches, don’t refrigerate the scooped dough.  Instead, leave them at room temperature. They will not spread properly if the dough is chilled.

Bake until the cookie tops are evenly cracked and they are soft set, ~14 to 16 minutes. Rotate the pan at ~ 7 minutes. If you have 2 pans of cookies in the oven at the same time, also switch them between the racks.

Remove the pans from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Allow the cookies to cool completely before removing them from the baking sheets with a metal spatula.

Source: The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook via In Sock Monkey Slippers

Dahlia chocolate truffle cookies

Brown butter blueberry streusel muffins

Brown butter blueberry streusel muffins

I was looking for a recipe to use up some leftover blueberries and well, this recipe had me at brown butter. Okay, at streusel too.  You know how I am a sucker for streusel!  Please don’t be intimidated by the brown butter. It sounds fancy, but really you just melt butter in a saucepan until it turns golden brown.  As long as you don’t burn it, that’s all there is to it.  The first time I made brown butter, I was nervous.  I almost dumped it because there was a bunch of brown specks.  I thought for sure I messed up.  It sure wouldn’t be the first time. But after a quick check online, I realized that’s just right.

I only used half the amount of the blueberries called for in the recipe because that was all baby Alex would spare.  But, I liked it this way because the berries didn’t overwhelm the taste of the muffin. And, oh my goodness, the muffin itself is delicious.  I am the only one in the family who likes blueberry muffins.  I have told you before that my family is a little crazy, right?  I didn’t want to eat all the muffins, so I brought them to work and had some very happy coworkers.  As I was eating my muffin, I was thinking how good it was, even without the blueberries.  It would make a lovely crumb cake muffin that my coffeecake-loving husband would go crazy for.  I think I’ll try that next time, maybe even with a ribbon of cinnamon sugar or sweet cream cheese?  This is the perfect base for experimenting with different flavors. But, I have to say, blueberry is a darn good place to start.

Brown butter blueberry streusel muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

For the muffin:

7 Tablespoons unsalted butter cut into a few pieces

1/3 cup buttermilk    I used regular milk

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups fresh blueberries   I used about 1 cup

Place rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat to 375 F. Line a standard muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.  Set aside.

Place a small skillet (not nonstick or you won’t see the color change) over medium heat.  Add the 7 tablespoons of butter.  Move the butter around with a spoon until it is melted, turns a medium brown color and smells nutty. Remove from the heat right away, before it turns black.  Transfer to a bowl to cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, yolk, and vanilla until well combined. Stir in the cooled brown butter.

In a separate medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pour in all the milk mixture and stir gently with a spatula. Do not over mix. Carefully fold in the blueberries then divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin pan.  I used a medium cookie scoop.   Make the streusel topping.

For the streusel topping:
3 Tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar

Combine the 3 ingredients in a small bowl.  Rub together with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the muffin batter in the cups.

Bake the muffins for 20 – 22 minutes, or until a little golden.  Test with a toothpick.  Cool in the muffin tin for 15 minutes before removing. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Source:  Joy the Baker Cookbook via Pennies on a Platter

Top 12 of 2012

Wow! I can’t believe that my blog is old enough to even have a Top 12 of 2012 post!  Well okay, since my blog only a year old, it is more like a Top 12 of my entire blog…period.  😀

So, here are your favorites of 2012:

12.  Blueberry Swirl Streusel Muffins  Big, fat bakery style muffins, filled with blueberries, swirled with homemade jam and topped with streusel.   Perfection.  For now at least…

Blueberry Swirl Muffins

11.  Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I had to make these because I kept seeing them all over Pinterest as the best chocolate chip cookies.  It seemed like a challenge to me.  The secret ingredient is cornstarch which makes them extra puffy and chewy. Giant chunks of gooey Callebaut semi-sweet chocolate didn’t hurt either. Are they the best?  I almost never say that…there are just too many recipes to try.  But, I will say they are pretty darn good.  And, I like to consider myself a chocolate chip cookie connoisseur.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

10.  Lemonade Sugar Cookies

These chewy cookies taste just like a tall glass of lemonade.  They are the perfect ending to a backyard BBQ.

Lemonade Sugar Cookies

9.  Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

If you are anything like me, you always have a bunch of brown, borderline “time to throw in the garbage” looking bananas around.  Are you tired of banana bread too?  Wait until you try these.  And the frosting. Oh my gosh, don’t get me started……

Banana bars with cream cheese frosting

8.  Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Who needs a birthday cake when you can pop this baby in the oven and about a half hour later pull out a moist chocolate cake that has made its own hot fudge sauce.   Scoop out a giant hunk and make sure to scrape all the chocolate goo from the bottom.  All you need now, is a giant scoop of good ice cream.  Hagen Daz vanilla bean please…

Hot fudge pudding cake

7.  Chocolate Dreams

Don’t you just love the  glossy, cracked coat these cookies get on the outside, just like you get on a perfect brownie?  But, it’s not just about the looks.  When you bite into the cookie, the bold chocolate flavor is almost shocking in its richness and then the gooeyness….oh my goodness!!  If you love chocolate, you have just met your ideal cookie.

Chocolate dreams

6.  Vanilla Whoopie Pies

What’s not to love?  Cake-like vanilla cookies filled with creamy marshmallow filling?  Squeeze the two cookies together so the frosting peeks out enough to roll them in sprinkles.  In this house, if there is an opportunity to use sprinkles, we take it.  These are my husband’s favorites.  He has declared me the whoopie pie queen.  In 2013, I see some new flavors in my future.

vanilla whoopie pie

5.  Cookies and Cream Popsicles

My kids went nuts for these popsicles.  We are all a bit obsessed with Oreos.  Oreos in a sweet ice cream base, frozen onto a stick?  Pretty much the perfect summer treat.

cookies and cream popsicles

4.  Hot Pretzels with Sweet Mustard and Cheese Sauce

Early this fall, a bunch of bloggers threw a baseball themed baby shower for our friend Jessica from The Jey of Cooking.  When I think of baseball food, besides hot dogs, I think of hot pretzels. And as good as these pretzels are by themselves, they are even better dipped in sweet mustard or cheddar cheese sauce.

Homemade hot pretzels with sweet mustard and cheese sauce

3.  Mini Rainbow Vanilla Bean Donuts

I made these baked vanilla bean donuts from Sprinkle Bakes a few times and they were delicious.  But then, I’m not sure what came over me because suddenly I envisioned them in rainbow.  I was probably just inspired with how amazing everything on Heather’s blog is.  While these took a bit of time, they really aren’t hard.  I love how they turned out.  While I promised to get another mini donut pan or two,  I still haven’t.  Which is probably why I haven’t made any more donuts.  Add it to the list…

Mini rainbow Vanilla Bean Donuts

2.   Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

My father in law likes coffee cake more than just about anyone I know. Since the 5 of us were using his house as a base for trick or treating, I thought it was only fair that I bring him a treat.  The cake is moist and buttery, with a cheesecake like swirl in the middle, some texture from the streusel and sweetness from the powdered sugar glaze.  I mean, really, how could you go wrong with this combination?

Cream cheese coffee cake

1.  Downtown Bakery and Creamery’s Cinnamon Donut Muffins

These muffins caught my eye while watching the Best Thing I Ever Ate.  Candace Nelson, the owner of Sprinkles, declared these cinnamon donut muffins as her favorite snack. I figured if Candace would rather snack on these than her delicious cupcakes, then must be pretty fabulous.  I couldn’t believe it when I saw that Downtown Bakery and Creamy shares the recipe on their website.  I must say, Candace has great taste.  The muffins bake up tall with a crust on the outside and they are fluffy and tender on the inside.  While they are still hot, you brush them all over with melted butter and roll them in cinnamon sugar.  Does breakfast get much better than that?

Downtown Bakery and Creamery's Cinnamon Donut Muffins

Thank you so much for reading!  The fact that there are so many amazing food blogs to read and that you have taken the time to stop by mine wows me.  I love that I have found so many delicious new recipes and conquered some of my baking fears through my blog.  I hope you have too.  I can’t wait to see what goodness 2013 brings….

Wishing you and yours the happiest of new years,

Kim, Justin, Jack, Sammie, Alex and Walter (the pug)

Just Baked Top 12 of 2012

What’s Baking November Round-Up- Oh My, It’s Pie!

I am so excited to be hosting November’s round-up for What’s Baking.   I was trying to think up a theme and decided it would be a good idea to try to incorporate Thanksgiving.  When I think of Thanksgiving, besides spending time with family, the turkey and all the fixings, I can’t help but think of dessert.  And, dessert for Thanksgiving always seems to include pumpkin pie.  But it doesn’t have to be pumpkin, does it?  There are so many different delicious kinds of pie. So, let’s ditch the pumpkin and make pie the theme!

My good friend, Eva of Eva Bakes, recreated the old-fashioned Southern sweet potato pie that was the perfect ending to a real barbecue meal on a recent trip back to her Southern college town.  For this pie to be authentic, a recipe with pumpkin pie spice would just not do.  It was not easy, but Eva found the perfect recipe, without the spice, that allowed the sweetness of the potato to come through.  My husband is crazy about sweet potatoes.  He would totally love this pie!

sweet potato pie

After scoring a bunch of peaches at the farmer’s market this summer, Heather Lynn at Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks, made and jarred peach jam.  Luckily she had enough fruit to make this delicious peach pie filling too.  Heather Lynn had a mini-Thanksgiving dinner with some friends and all she had to do for dessert was make a pie crust for the sweet, spicy and juicy peach filling she already made.  Now, that’s easy entertaining. Ina would be proud!

peach pie1

Part of what Jenna from Jenna’s Cooking Journey likes about What’s Baking is that she spends a lot of time reading through blogs, looking for the perfect recipe.  She has found some great new blogs this way, including Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. where this blueberry cheesecake pie caught her eye.  Mel’s is one of my favorite blogs, too.  Mmmm…cheesecake with fresh blueberry topping? Sign me up!

blueberry cheesecake pie

Yudith, from Blissfully Delicious, didn’t really like coconut cream pie until she tasted this one that she made special for her mother’s visit.  This pie sounds delicious with a chocolate wafer crust, coconut pudding, sweetened whipped cream and toasted coconut.  And, congratulations to Yudith and her family on a new addition due this May. How exciting!

coc-cream-pie-913x1024

Ange, from The Tiny Tyrant’s Kitchen, likes to steer clear of pumpkin pie for the holidays and do something different. This time she decided to give sugar cream pie a try. Although it smelled good while it baked, Ange was disappointed with the consistency and sweetness.  I’m sorry Ange, I have had more than my share of baking disappointments.

Sugar Cream Pie

Joanna, from Kosher Kitchen, decided to make chocolate pecan pie with homemade pie crust.  Although she was nervous at first, thankfully, it was easier than she thought.  The pie was well received at her Thanksgiving dinner.  After eating it, her second cousin declared Joanna’s husband a lucky man.  Her husband couldn’t help but agree, for this pie and a list of many other things. 😀

chocolate pecan pie

Sandra, of She Cooks and Bakes, just had a baby (congratulations) and was hosting Thanksgiving, so she needed a quick and easy dessert.  This peanut butter icebox pie fit the bill.  Peanut butter and chocolate just happens to be my favorite flavor combination.  In fact, I am eating mini peanut butter cups from Trader Joe’s as I type this. They are so good and I am now sad that they are almost gone.  Now, I have to buy more and make this pie!

Peanut butter icebox pie

Cookie Dough Cream Pie, say what?  Carrie from Carrie’s Sweet Life made this pie from The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook, which I own. I have made several recipes from the book and they have all been wonderful. Honestly, I don’t know how I missed this recipe because it looks and sounds delicious.

Cookie-Dough-Cream-Pie-716x537

Stephanie, at Brownies and Blondies, was talking to her fiancée about his mom’s coconut cream pie recently and decided to make it for What’s Baking.  But, it seemed too summery, so she decided to add cranberries.  And then what the heck, throw in some white chocolate because it goes so well with cranberries.  And that is how this white chocolate coconut cranberry pie was born!

pie

Nicole, from Seven Ate Nine, decided to make Paleo Pie because her husband and his dad are on the Whole 30 Program, which doesn’t allow for anything in a dessert pie. So, she made an egg “crust” and filled it with eggs, sausage, peppers and onions to make a quiche of sorts.  I never think of savory pies, but we love eggs in my house.

GetAttachment.aspx

And, I made French silk pie. It has always been a favorite of mine and apparently it is now Jack’s and Sammie’s favorite too. Of course baby Alex loved it, but really that is no feat, he eats everything.  The great thing about this recipe is that you don’t have to worry about raw eggs.  ATK found a way around it and the filling is actually cooked. So now it is safe for small children and it is still delicious.  Really, crazy delicious!

ATK French silk pie pie

Carrie, from Carrie’s Sweet Life, is the December hostess for What’s Baking.  So, at the end of next month, make sure to head over to her blog for a round-up of some delicious peppermint recipes!

November WB collagePM

French Silk Chocolate Pie

ATK's French silk pie

I’m sorry to have been absent this month.  I am very excited to have a great, new FT job!!  Then I also have my PT teaching job, three children, a husband, a dog….so, as you can imagine, November has been a bit busy. But, in a great way! 😀

I am happy to be the November hostess for What’s Baking.   I chose pie for the theme, figuring with Thanksgiving and all, it would be very fitting.  This year, we went to my mother-in-law’s for Thanksgiving and of course, I was in charge of dessert.  I decided to make a French silk pie because it has been my favorite ever since I was a little girl and my grandpa would bring one from Baker’s Square every time he visited.  I hadn’t made it since college, then  using a Pillsbury pie crust and a recipe with raw eggs.  But, with three kids, I figured this would just not do.  So, I thought the cooked version from ATK would be the perfect solution. And, I would scrap the store-bought crust and make my own pastry crust.  Oh, I always have grand plans…

So, I set off to make Martha’s pastry crust that I made last Thanksgiving.  But, I either forgot or didn’t read the directions carefully that the prepared crust had to be refrigerated for 1 hour before baking.  At this point, it was already noon and there was no time for that. So, I just put the crust in the oven as is and hoped for the best. When time was up, to my dismay, the crust totally shrunk down to about 1/2 inch tall.  Yeah, no way was this crust going to hold the French silk filling.  Oh, geez.  Now what?  Thank goodness we had some Oreos and so I made a quick cookie crust.  Problem solved.

For the filling, you will need a hand mixer to beat the eggs and sugar over a double boiler for ~8 minutes until they reach 160 degrees.  Midway through this process, my husband yelled for me to come upstairs.  He didn’t sound too happy, so I turned off the stove, put the mixer down, and went upstairs.  There I see Justin, holding Alex with blue, purple and green marker all over his face, hands, and the walls of his bedroom. Apparently Alex crawled out of his bed after his nap, found his sister’s markers, and decided that he and his room were in need of a makeover.  So, Justin had to put out that fire, while I went back to my pie.  Luckily, the rest of it went off without a hitch.

The pie was ready just in time to leave for my mother-in-law’s house.  I hadn’t made the whipped cream and chocolate curls yet, but the kitchen was all a bustle in apps, turkey and sides preparation.  So, I figured I should have an apple bourbon drink and just wait until after dinner to finish my pie.  But, the problem is, I cannot take pictures inside.  No matter how I adjust the white balance on my camera or how I edit it, I cannot get the color right on indoor pictures.  Of course, after dinner it was dark, so I didn’t get a photo 😦  But, this pie was crazy delicious and went fast.  So, what the heck, I would just have to make another one.  I mean, after all, I was hosting What’s Baking, I chose the theme of pie and then I had no pie?  This could not be.  I can think of many worse things than having to eat two French silk pies in one week.

French Silk Chocolate Pie

Yield: one 9 inch pie

For the crust:

18 Oreo cookies

3 Tbsp melted butter

Place cookies in the food processor and process until they are fine crumbs. Pour in the butter and process until well combined.

Press crumb mixture onto bottom and up the sides of 9-inch pie plate.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees until the crust is fragrant, ~ 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Source: I combined the recipes from Martha Stewart New Pies and Tarts and Kraft.

For the filling:

1 cup heavy cream, chilled
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and softened

With an electric mixer on med-high, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks, ~2 to 3 minutes. Put the whipped cream in a small bowl and refrigerate until needed.

Prepare a double boiler with a medium-sized saucepan filled with ½ inch of barely simmering water and place a large heat proof bowl on top. Put the eggs, sugar, and water into the bowl.  With electric mixer on medium speed, beat until the egg mixture is thick and registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer, ~ 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat.  Continue to beat the egg mixture until fluffy and cooled to room temperature, ~ 8 minutes.

Add the cool chocolate and vanilla to the cool egg mixture. Beat until incorporated. Beat in the softened butter pieces, a few at a time, until well combined. Using a spatula, fold in the whipped cream until no streaks of white remain. Scrape the filling into the pie shell. Refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours.

Garnish with sweetened whipped cream and chocolate curls if desired.

Source:  Cook’s Country Feb/March 2009

For the sweetened whipped cream topping:

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

Chocolate curls, if desired

With an electric mixer on med-high, whisk cream just until soft peaks form.  Add confectioner’s sugar and whisk until stiff peaks.  Spread whipped cream over the chocolate filling.

Garnish with chocolate curls just before serving if desired.  To do this, heat a thick bar of milk chocolate in the microwave for 15 second increments until it softens a bit, but doesn’t melt. Use a peeler along the long side of the chocolate bar to make the curls.  Don’t worry, it’s easier than it looks.

 Source: Martha Stewart New Pies and Tarts

Whats Baking Badge
%d bloggers like this: