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Entries in recipes (566)

Thursday
Aug122010

Bar Hopping: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Topped Bar Cookies Recipe

If I were, on this very day, pressed to answer the question "what treat would you most enjoy eating until you descend into morbid obesity?" I would have a ready answer: Peanut butter and Chocolate Chip-Topped Bar Cookies.

It all happened recently while baking the "Dream Bars" from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book and realizing that--duh--I basically had none of the ingredients for the top layer, which was meant to be made up of an almond-coconut topping. So there I was, with a somewhat sad expanse of beige batter for a bar cookie base.

Turning to my pantry (OK, my cabinet), I found half a jar of old-fashioned chunky peanut butter and half a bag of milk chocolate chips. Yes! In the mix they both went, scattered irregularly on top of the batter.

The result? Something lovely and amazing. Moist blondie-esque cookie bars with pockets of gooey-crunchy peanut butter and smooth, delicious chocolate. Something you won't...be...able...to...stop...eating. And if you don't like them? No problem, I'll finish the tray for you.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip-Topped Bar Cookies

adapted from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 jar (about a cup) peanut butter (I used chunky)
  • 1/2 bag (about a cup) milk chocolate chips

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Mix the butter and sugar thoroughly. Stir in flour. Press and flatten with hand to cover the bottom of a parchment-lined oblong pan, 13x9-ish. 
  3. Bake 10 minutes, then spread with the topping (irregularly spooned globs of peanut butter and a sprinkling of chocolate chips).
  4. Return to the oven and bake for 25 minutes more, or until golden brown. Cool slightly, then cut into bars. Makes about 20.
Wednesday
Aug112010

Brownie Heaven: The Baked Brownie

Now, I don't like to talk in absolutes, but...

...without a doubt, there's definitely something wrong with you if you don't think that the Baked Brownie is the finest brownie of all.

I recently used it as the base for Mimosa Brownies, which were most excellent--but really, this is a brownie that doesn't need anything added--and for that reason, I'd like to take a few moments to celebrate the beauty that is the Baked brownie in its purest form.

This is a brownie which is fudgy and chewy but not too extreme in either direction. Each bite is redolent of chocolate, and every bite is indulgently delicious. They're perfect (but it's ok if you don't like the espresso--while I don't necessarily understand what your problem is, they still taste great without).

Here's the recipe. As you can see from the top photo, it's not only CakeSpy-beloved, but gnome-approved.

The Baked Brownie

As seen in Baked: New Frontiers in Baking  

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons dark cocoa powder
  • 11 ounces quality dark chocolate (60-72%), chopped coarsely
  • 8 ounces butter (2 sticks), cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light colored metal pan 9x13x2 pan (I like to lay down a bit of parchment too, for easy removal from the pan).
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, the salt, and cocoa powder.
  4. Configure a large sized double boiler. Place the chocolate, the butter, and the instant espresso powder in the bowl of the double boiler and stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and combined. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water of the double boiler and add both sugars. Whisk the sugars until completely combined and remove the bowl from the pan. Mixture should be room temperature.
  5. Add three eggs to the chocolate/butter mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until just combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not over beat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.
  6. Sprinkle the flour/cocoa/salt mix over the chocolate. Using a spatula (DO NOT USE A WHISK) fold the dry into the wet until there is just a trace amount of the flour/cocoa mix visible.
  7. Pour the mixture into the pan and smooth the top with your spatula. Bake the brownies for 30 minutes (rotate the pan half-way through baking) and check to make sure the brownies are completely done by sticking a toothpick into the center of the pan. The brownies are done when the toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  8. Cool the brownies completely before cutting and serving.

 

Monday
Aug092010

Reading Is Totally Sweet: Honey-Yogurt Panna Cotta with Berries Recipe from Author Jenny Nelson

Eating is awesome, but what to do during those in-between meal times when you're not hungry? Work up an appetite by reading food-themed literature, that's what. Or at least that's what I do (when I'm not painting anthropomorphic pastries, of course).

So I was delighted to receive a review copy of Georgia's Kitchen, a novel wherein the namesake character is a New York chef who goes to Italy to find herself, both in a culinary and existential sense. The book is full of sensual descriptions of delicious food (hooray!). While there isn't a heavy dessert presence, happily I was able to catch up with author Jenny Nelson, who was able to answer the question: what type of dessert keeps authors inspired? Here's what she had to say about one of her favorite recipes, for Honey-Yogurt Panna Cotta:

Panna cotta, a deceptively simple Italian dessert that means, literally, cooked cream, is one of my favorite desserts to make, serve and – most important – eat! I serve it all the time -- at dinner parties, holidays and even as a weekday treat for my kids. It’s elegant, delicious and so, so easy to prepare. While tasty panna cotta recipes abound, this is one of my all-time favorites. You can make it even richer using all cream, but I opt for a more healthful 1 cup half and half, 1 cup whole milk. Either way, it’s delicious.

Honey-Yogurt Panna Cotta with Berries

Serves 8

  • 2 cups heavy cream (or 1 cup half and half, 1 cup whole milk; or 2 cups whole milk)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 envelope (1/4 ounce) unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup honey, plus more for serving
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are my favorites)

Procedure

  1. Place cream and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring cream to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cover pan, remove from heat, and set aside steep, at least 10 minutes.
  2. Place 1/2 cup cold water in a small bowl, and sprinkle gelatin over water; set aside to soften, at least 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk yogurt, honey, vanilla and salt until combined; set aside.
  4. Return cream to a boil. Remove from heat, and immediately stir in softened gelatin until dissolved.
  5. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into yogurt-honey mixture; mix until combined.
  6. Divide mixture among eight 4- to 6-ounce ramekins. Chill until firm, at least 4 hours and up to 2 days.
  7. Wash berries and, if necessary, cut into bite-size pieces. Mix together and set aside 
Thursday
Aug052010

Pie in the Sky: Blueberry Pie Recipe from Macrina Bakery

What with Monday's Pie Vs. Cake Showdown coming up, I was pretty excited to discover that this month's newsletter from Macrina Bakery included a blueberry pie recipe! Yielding a not-too-sweet filling with a very buttery crust, this one might just be prize material!

As they put it in the newsletter, "Few things in life are as wonderful as homemade blueberry pie. It is heaven on earth! I recommend using slightly tart organic blueberries whenever possible."

Photo credit: Macrina Bakery

Classic Blueberry Pie

Makes one double-crust 9-inch pie

Ingredients

  • 7 cups (3-1/2 pints) organic blueberries
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 recipe Flaky Pie Dough (see recipe), chilled
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • Egg wash made with 1 egg and 1 teaspoon water
  • Coarse raw sugar
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Procedure

  1. Sort through the blueberries, removing any stems and leaves. Gently rinse the berries and lay them out on paper towels to air dry.
  2. Combine 3-1/2 cups of the blueberries, granulated sugar, brown sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon, vanilla extract and flour in a medium saucepan. Mix with a spoon. Cook over medium heat until the fruit juices have been released and the mixture has thickened, 5 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently to keep the mixture from burning. Pour the cooked fruit into a large stainless steel bowl and add the remaining blueberries. Stir with a spoon and set aside until the fruit has cooled to room temperature.
  3. Divide the chilled pie dough into 2 pieces, making one piece slightly larger than the other. Coat your hands with flour and shape the larger piece of dough into a ball. Working on a floured surface, flatten the ball slightly, then roll it into a 12-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick. Fit the rolled dough into a 9-inch pie pan. Trim the edges of the dough to leave a 1-inch overhang around the pan. Roll out the remaining piece of dough 1/8-inch thick and trim it into a 10-inch circle. Set aside. This will be the top crust.
  4. Pour the cooled fruit into the pie shell and dot with butter. Brush the top side of the overhanging dough with a little egg wash. Lift the top crust onto the pie, folding it in half to make it easier to accurately position. Lift the overhanging dough onto the top crust and crimp with your fingers. Mark the crimped edges with a fork, then brush all of the crust with egg wash. Sprinkle with coarse raw sugar and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Place the pie on the prepared baking sheet. Using a sharp knife cut 4 slits in the center of the crust. Bake pie for 50 to 55 minutes. The crust will be golden brown and the fruit will be bubbling in the center of the pie. Let cool for 30 to 40 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
Wednesday
Aug042010

Sweet n Sour: Old Fashioned Sour Cream Cookies Recipe

There are many moments in life to enjoy over-the-top desserts (seriously--just read the responses in the "what would your last-meal dessert be?" giveaway).

But sometimes, you just need a good old-fashioned cookie. Or, as Betty Crocker of the 60's would say, a cooky.

After all, Betty Crocker's Cooky Book is where I found this understated gem of a recipe for Old Fashioned Sour Cream Cookies. It's listed in the "Heritage Cookies" section of the book, which is where you'll find, as I think of them, the frumpy forefathers of today's cookies. I don't mean this as an insult--I simply mean that while they're not the sexiest-looking cookies, they're substantial enough in flavor that it's no secret why these recipes have stuck around through the years.

This particular recipe yields a cookie that is lightly tangy, and yet somehow fluffy without being "light"--they have a compelling flavor which keeps bringing you back for more. And with a sprinkling of sugar on top, they have a satisfying crunch, too.

Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 425 F.
  2. Mix butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla thoroughly. 
  3. Sift the dry ingredients together; add to the sugar mixture alternately with the sour cream.
  4. The original recipe suggests rolling the dough out, but I simply pinched off pieces and rolled them into approximately 1 1/2-inch diameter balls and placed them on the baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. 
  5. Place on a greased (or parchment-lined) baking sheet. Sprinkle with sugar.
  6. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned on the sides. Makes about 36-48 cookies.
Monday
Aug022010

National Brownies at Brunch Month: Mimosa Brownies for Serious Eats

Hold the phone. Hold everything. Did you know that August is National Brownies at Brunch Month?

Don't waste time asking follow-up questions like why this month-long holiday exists—instead, bake up a batch of brunch-friendly Mimosa Brownies. Starting with the Oprah-approved brownie recipe from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, this version gets champagne-and-orange juice makeover for a treat which truly embraces the decadent spirit of both brownies and brunch, all in one delectable unit.

Note: You may notice that the actual amount of champagne (or sparkling wine) is actually quite small, leaving you plenty of bubbly to make actual mimosas to accompany your brownies. As for the use of orange juice concentrate versus orange juice, I found that it offered a bright flavor and better consistency than orange juice.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Saturday
Jul312010

Morning Mix: Peanut Butter Streusel Morning Bread Recipe

Confession: I sometimes, ah, mix it up.

It's true: I'm not adverse to using a mix every now and again. And I kind of have a guilty little spot of love in my heart for Cinnamon Streusel Quick Bread, a recipe made with Betty Crocker's Streusel Muffin Mix. 

It's not that streusel bread would be so hard to make without a mix...but there's something special about this one. What is it that you've hidden in the mix, Betty Crocker?

And as I discovered recently, when you add a generous helping of Mighty Maple peanut butter to the streusel topping, its deliciousness factor is increased, like, tenfold.

So here it is: my dirty little secret, my favorite mix for making a sweet breakfast bread.

Peanut Butter Streusel Morning Bread

-makes about 4 servings, in my house-

Adapted from Betty Crocker

Ingredients

  • 1 Box Betty Crocker cinnamon streusel muffin mix
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 4-6 tablespoons fairly smooth-textured, full fat peanut butter (I love it with Mighty Maple by Peanut Butter and Co.)

 Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 375ºF. Grease bottom of 9x5-inch loaf pan with shortening, or spray bottom with cooking spray.
  2. In medium bowl, stir Muffin Mix, flour, water, oil and eggs just until blended (batter may be lumpy). Spread batter in pan. 
  3. Melt the peanut butter in the microwave until it is thick but pourable. Mix the streusel topping in, give it a quick stir (it doesn't have to be completely incorporated) and pour it on top of the batter. Don't worry about making your coverage super-even: it's nice to find big chunks of peanut butter here and there.
  4. Bake 38 to 43 minutes or until top is golden brown and springs back when lightly touched. Cool 15 minutes. Run knife around edges of pan before removing; remove from pan. Cool completely before slicing, about 45 minutes.
Tuesday
Jul272010

Chess Pieces: Yellow Chess Cake Recipe

Is it just me, or does the phrase "light summer dessert" seem like a fancy way of saying "low fat, dull suffering"?

Luckily, there's an antidode: Aimee's Chess Cake, a recipe I found in The Cake Mix Doctor Returns . Similar to that St. Louis specialty called Gooey Butter Cake, this dessert is decadently, deliciously, delightfully, thick as a brick.

The recipe I adapted suggests cutting "into small bars because it's so rich"--but my vote goes for big, fat slices. Topped with candied nuts. Take that, low-fat dessert!

Yellow Chess Cake

Adapted from Aimee's Chess Cake from The Cake Mix Doctor Returns

Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil for the pan
  • Flour, for dusting the pan
  • 1 package plain yellow cake mix
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup candied walnuts (I used these ones ) --these are optional but I like the texture and flavor they add

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour one 9 x 13 inch pan.
  2. In a large bowl mix together cake mix, butter and 1 egg. Pat batter into greased 9x13 inch pan.
  3. In a medium size mixing bowl mix together cream cheese, 2 eggs and sugar. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the cake mix batter. Sprinkle the nuts on top.
  4. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown on the edges (the middle will still be soft but will set to a solid but gooey consistency as the cake cools).

CakeSpy Note: Like this cake? You might also enjoy Houdini Bars.

Monday
Jul262010

Role Reversal: Reverse Whoopie Pies for Serious Eats

What's a Reverse Whoopie Pie?

Basically, if you can imagine a Milano cookie going through a Hulk-like transformation into a supersized sweet treat, you've got the right idea.

That's right: these cakey whoopie pies pack all the flavor of the classic chocolate-filled buttery cookie sandwich, but without making any pretense of daintiness. This is treat of such proportion that it requires two hands to hold and all of your stomach to handle. Of course, if you want an even Hulkier variation, add peppermint extract instead of vanilla (and maybe a dash of green food coloring for good measure) for a chocolate-mint variation.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Wednesday
Jul212010

Fat Mint: Mint Chocolate Chip Whoopie Pies, and a Whoopie Pie Bake-Off Roundup

OK, so I don't want to make you feel bad if you weren't able to make it to the Whoopie Pie Bake-Off at Oddfellows Cafe this morning.

But.

Dude, if you weren't there, you totally missed out. For so many reasons...but for the sake of brevity, I'll focus on just a handful of reasons why the event was totally sweet (and suggest that you read the CHS roundup too):

John Roderick loves Whoopie Pie: photo c/o Capitol Hill SeattleThe judges, including all-stars from all arenas: Rocker John Roderick, Chamber of Commerce head Michael Wells, ice cream entrepreneur Molly Moon, the Stranger's Christopher Frizzelle and Chelsea Lin of Seattle CitySearch.

The event was very well-planned: the crew at Oddfellows did a fantastic job of presentation, planning, serving, and sharing the Whoopie Pie love. And the cute posters didn't hurt, either.

The whoopie pies: ranging from classic creations to inventive riffs on the Whoopie Pie, the entries were as varied as the entrants, who ranged from professional bakers (Volunteer Park Cafe, Street Treats, Mini Empire Bakery) to at-home enthusiasts (yours truly included). There was even a gluten-free s'more variety by Jeanne of Four Chickens!

Audrey takes the job of Whoopie Pie tasting very seriously.The prizes: winners made out like bandits, winning awesome prizes donated by both Oddfellows and by yours truly (of course, the humor of fact that young children won this prize isn't lost on me).

The enthusiastic crowd: well, a picture would show this best. Here's before:

...and here's after:

Yup: people were ready to eat some whoopie pies, all right.

Of course, I'm not going to totally leave you hanging. My entry for Mint Chocolate Chip Whoopie Pies (inspired by my favorite ice cream flavor) went over rather well, if I do say so myself--and I'm willing to share the recipe. So even if you didn't make it, you can make some Whoopie of your own, in the safety of your own home.

Mint Chocolate Chip Whoopie Pies

Adapted from King Arhur Flour's Reverse Whoopie Pies

Makes 12-24 pies, depending on size

For the cookies 

  • 1 cup (2 sticks 8 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) milk
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) chocolate chips
  • green food coloring, to taste (optional, but recommended)

For the filling

  • 4 cups (24 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) light corn syrup
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
  2. Make the cookies: In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, salt, peppermint extract, baking powder, and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour to the wet ingredients alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Add the green food coloring and mix until incorporated. Do this gently; there’s no need to beat the batter. Stir in the chocolate chips at the end.
  3. Using an ice cream scoop, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Leave 2 to 2 1/2 inches between each cookie, for expansion.
  4. Bake the cookies for 11 minutes, or until they’re barely set on top; if you see them browning on the bottom, they've baked too long. Cool them on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
  5. To make the filling: Place the chocolate chips, corn syrup, butter, and heavy cream into a large microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is very hot. Stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Add in the peppermint and stir one more time. Chill in the refrigerator, stirring occasionally, till the filling is cool room temperature. Remove from the fridge, and beat at high speed with an electric mixer until it lightens in color and thickens slightly. If the filling doesn’t lighten and thicken after several minutes of beating, chill for another 15 minutes, then beat again. Spread a generous amount of filling on one of the flat sides of the cookies; sandwich another half on top to form your pie. Repeat with the remaining pies. Store in an airtight container--it's better not to freeze these. Because the tops of the whoopie pies can be sticky, I'd suggest individually wrapping in waxed paper rather than plastic wrap.
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