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Entries in recipes (566)

Tuesday
Feb022010

Peanutty Buddies: The Famous Salted Peanut Crisps of 1950-55

So, I wasn't actually alive in 1950, but if I had been, I can tell you what cookie I would have been eating: the Salted Peanut Crisp. According to my favorite source for all things cookie, the Betty Crocker's Cooky Book , this cookie was in high demand mid-century. As the recipe introduction notes,

Cookies Please the Younger Set -- The baby boom, begun following World War II, continues in the new decade. With "kids" in the house, cookies disappear like magic and "moms" need quick and easy cookies like this one.

Now, perhaps it's not so unexpected that recipes containing peanuts in general were rising in popularity during this time--during the war, when meat shortages were common, peanuts and peanut butter became a much valued source of inexpensive protein. Of course, after becoming hooked on its deliciousness, peanut butter sandwiches were to become an enduring staple in lunches everywhere, and the cookies and confections containing the rich, flavorful stuff were here to stay.

And to that point, as is further noted in the recipe intro,

One of our home testers wrote, "My 12-year old son carried them out by the handful." "Only modesty prevents me from calling them perfect plus," said another tester.

And you know what? Over 50 years later, I concur. Of course, I made a couple small alterations in the recipe to better suit them for modern times--first, where the original calls for 2 cups of salted peanuts, I did about 1 cup salted peanuts and 1 cup peanut butter; this gave them a nice density and chewiness. Second, instead of dropping the dough on the cookie sheet by teaspoonfuls, I went ahead and used an ice cream scoop--so instead of 6 dozen small cookies, I got about 2 dozen jumbo cookies, some of which I stuffed with mini peanut butter cups inside the dough for an even more decadent outcome. And it turns out that bigger and more decadent is even better: these cookies managed to turn at least one peanut butter cookie hater into a believer, and I hear that they even derailed an Atkins Diet follower. Yes!

Here's the recipe:

Salted Peanut Butter Crisps 

(Note: Though they are officially "Salted Peanut Crisps", since I added peanut butter too I have taken liberties)

Adapted from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book  

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup salted peanuts
  • 1 cup peanut butter 

(Note: original recipe calls for 2 cups salted peanuts and no peanut butter; feel free to play with the ratios)

Procedure

  1. Grease or line a baking sheet with parchment; put to the side.
  2. Heat oven to 350 degrees F (original recipe calls for 375 but I found a longer bake at the lower temperature worked better, possibly because I made my cookies bigger).
  3. Mix butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla thoroughly.
  4. Sift flour and blend with soda and salt; stir in with wet ingredients. Mix in peanuts and peanut butter.
  5. Using a cookie or ice cream scoop, scoop the dough and release onto your prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 2 inches between cookies. If desired, place a mini peanut butter cup in the center of the dough while it is still in the scoop, shaping the dough around it so that the dough fully covers the candy before releasing it on to the baking sheet. 
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown on the edges (if you make your cookies smaller, it may be more like 8-10 minutes).
Monday
Feb012010

Soup's On: Tomato Soup Cake Recipe from Baker's Cakes, Durham NC

Per Danielle of Baker's Cakes, "here's our family's cake recipe! I'm pretty sure this recipe originated during times when certain ingredients were in limited supply, much like the popular chocolate "crazy cake." Today, I guess it's vegan! This is essentially an interesting spice cake."

Nana Murphy's Tomato Soup Cake

(Makes 9" square pan)

  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 can's worth of water
  1. Preheat oven to 35 degrees; grease a 9x9-inch baking pan (circle or square).
  2. Sift the dry ingredients, except for the baking soda.
  3. Mix 1 teaspoon baking soda into 1 can of tomato soup- stir vigorously then add to the dry ingredients.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons oil and 1 can of water and mix well.
  5. Stir in 1 cup of raisins and 1 cup of chopped pecans.
  6. Bake 35-45min in preheated oven, lightly greased pan, at 350 degrees.
  7. Frost with cream cheese frosting.

Danielle's Note: I like to make a White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting: Melt 1 bag (12oz) of white chocolate chips and beat into 1 package (8oz) room temp. cream cheese.

Monday
Feb012010

Snack Attack: Salty and Sweet Super Bowl Brownies for Serious Eats

Super Bowl Sunday is one action-packed afternoon. There's so much going on: commercials, performances, deliciously salty snack foods, and I hear a rumor that sports are involved too.

But with all of this sensory overload, what sweet treat could possibly compete for your attention?

How about brownies so packed full of sweet and salty flavor they practically tackle your taste buds? Starting with a basic brownie recipe, I made these ones extreme by packing them chock-full of gooey caramel and dark chocolate, roasted peanuts, and salty pretzels. The sweet plays offense, pummeling your taste buds with a rich, chocolate-filled flavor, with salty bringing up the defense, with a crunch and savoriness from the peanuts and pretzels. Yes indeed, when sweet and salty team up, everyone wins.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Sunday
Jan312010

Sweet Freedom: Wheat, Egg, and Dairy-Free Figaro Bar Cookie Recipe

If pressed to name the basic building blocks of a delicious baked good, most people would probably include flour, eggs, butter, and sugar.

But not Ricki Heller, author of Sweet Freedom, a book comprised of "dessert recipes you'll love without wheat, eggs, dairy or refined sugar".

Dude. Really?

I was willing to take that challenge.

I decided to start out with familiar territory. One of the best vegan baked goods I can think of is the Vegan Oat Bar from Seattle's Caffe Ladro--a gooey, fruit-filled bar cookie which isn't just "good...for a vegan baked good" ('cos we all know there are some of those), it's just good, period. I saw echoes of the oat bar in the recipe for "Figaros", a fig bar with a dense cookie crust and crumb topping, and so I decided to try that one first.

I took some small liberties with the recipe: lacking figs I tried it out using frozen organic raspberries instead; right before baking, on whim, I melted about 1/2 cup of peanut butter and drizzled it on top of the cookie base before putting the crumbs on top. I also played around with the flour ratios--where the initial recipe called for spelt and barley flour, I subsituted the barley flour with part oat and part coconut flour (you know, for fun).

The result? Goodness, were they good. Dense, chewy and decadent, these bars didn't taste like dull suffering for health's sake at all. The natural sweetness of the berries really shone, and the bars were excellent for breakfast the following morning.

Of course, sweet freedom isn't without its cost--for my pantry, which was not equipped with the various flours, agave nectar and sunflower seeds, the recipe did throw me back about $20 (of course, I did have leftovers which could be used in the future). However, if you're looking for a slightly more virtuous baked good that won't leave you feeling at a loss, these are a great bet. And I already know what I will be trying next from the book--the "Dark and Decadent Chocolate Pate"--which features--of all things--avocado along with dark chocolate, which judging by the book's pictures yield a rich, thick slab of yum.

The book can be purchased here, and for more of Ricki's writing and adventure, check out her site, Diet, Dessert and Dogs!

Figaros

Makes 12-16 squares

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 3 tbsp agave nectar, light or dark
  • 1 tablespoon grapefruit zest
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 10 ounces frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter, melted

(Note: the original recipe does not call for the frozen raspberries or peanut butter--if you want to use the original, use 10 1/4 ounces soft dried figs, cut in half with hard stems removed instead)

Cookie Base and Topping:

  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar, light or dark
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup oat flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup whole spelt flour (I used light spelt)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground flax seeds

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9 inch square pan with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick spray.
  2. Make the filling: in a small, heavy-bottomed pot, comine the juice, agave nectar, zest and figs. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, covered, 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 1 more minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make the cookie base and topping. IN a small bowl, whisk together oil, 1/3 cup agave nectar, and vanilla. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder and soda, salt and cinnamon. Add the flax and stir to combine.
  5. Pour the wet mixture over the dry and stir until you have a soft dough. Pat about 2/3 of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan (it will be fairly thin). Spread the fig mixture over the base, then crumble the rest of the cookie mixture over the top of the filling.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, rotating pan about halfway through, until edges are golden. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares. Makes 12-16 squares. These freeze well.
Tuesday
Jan262010

Double Pleasure: Decadent Brownie Pie

Brownies. Pie. Relegated to separate quadrants of the baked good world, always on separate shelves in bakery cases.

But why, when they're so much better together?

And so, in the spirit of sweet unity, I've baked what may in fact be a masterpiece: the Brownie Pie.

Comprised of a chocolate graham crust, rich, fudgy brownie filling, and topped off with a copious amount of luxuriant cocoa buttercream frosting and a festive array of malt balls, this baby weighs about the same as (if not more than) a newborn. Of course, it's a good thing it's not actually a baby--otherwise you might be coming closer to understanding why some species eat their young.

One may be tempted to call this beast of a baked good "too much", but based on how quickly it disappeared at a Pie Day party, I'm inclined to say it's "just enough".

Brownie Pie. Now, instead of asking what's been keeping these treats apart for so long, it's time to ask--what are you waiting for?

Here's how to make it.

Brownie Pie

Elements:
Procedure
  1. Prepare your pie crust (either make it or take it out of the package); leave it off to the side.
  2. Prepare your brownie batter to the directions specified in your recipe (or on your box mix--I won't judge). But at the point where you would normally put the batter in a pan, instead put it in your pie crust. Fill it about 2/3 full; you might have extra brownie batter.
  3. Bake on top of a cookie sheet (just in case of overflow) at the temperature and heat specified in your recipe; test the doneness the same way you normally would, by inserting a pick in the center and making sure it comes out clean. 
  4. When it's ready, remove your brownie pie from the oven, and let it cool. I didn't let mine cool very long because I was pressed for time; but ideally, you'd let it cool until it reached room temperature.
  5. Prepare your cocoa buttercream or whatever chocolate frosting you'd like, but make sure that it is a fairly spreadable (not too stiff) consistency--because brownies have a flaky texture on top, you want to make sure that you can spread it with ease and won't bring up too many of the crumbs on top (that just looks messy!). Spread it on top of the brownie pie, leaving a little bit of the brownie showing on the sides.
  6. If desired, garnish with malt balls (I used Malteasers).
Recipes I used:

Fudge Brownies

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

 Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Have your prepared crust ready on the side.
  2. In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it's hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.
  3. While the sugar heats a second time, crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla till smooth.
  4. Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth.
  5. Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Note: If you want the chips to remain intact in the baked brownies, rather than melting in, let the batter cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before stirring in the chips.
  6. Once you've put this batter in your crust, bake for about 30 minutes (I baked mine on top of a cookie sheet in case of overflow; it didn't end up being a problem but better safe than sorry) or until a cake pick comes out clean (it may be longer depending on the thickness of your crust and cookie sheet).

Cocoa Buttercream

 Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk, as needed
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2-3 cups (use more or less, to your desired consistency) confectioners' sugar, sifted

Procedure

Cream butter; add cocoa, mixing well. Add milk and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Slowly beat in confectioners' sugar until it has reached your desired spreading consistency. Spread immediately. 

Tuesday
Jan262010

Well Bread: Chocolate Bread Parfait Recipe from Lidia Matticchio Bastianich

Totally sweet: a guest recipe from Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, author of Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy: A Feast of 175 Regional Recipes!

Per Lidia: This recalls for me the chocolate-and-bread sandwiches that sometimes were my lunch, and always a special treat. And it is another inventive way surplus is used in Umbrian cuisine, with leftover country bread serving as the foundation of an elegant layered dessert. Though it is soaked with chocolate and espresso sauce and buried in whipped cream, the bread doesn't disintegrate, and provides a pleasing textural contrast in every heavenly spoonful.

Chocolate Bread Parfait

Pane di Cioccolato al Cucchiaio

Serves 6

Ingredients

 

  • 8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces country-style white bread, crusts removed
  • ½ cup freshly brewed espresso
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ cups chilled heavy cream
  • 1 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Recommended equipment

A large rimmed tray or baking sheet, such as a half-sheet pan (12 by 18 inches); a spouted measuring cup, 1 pint or larger; 6 parfait glasses or wineglasses, preferably balloon-shaped

Procedure

  1. Put the chopped chocolate in a bowl set in a pan of hot (not boiling) water. When the chocolate begins to melt, stir until completely smooth. Keep it warm, over the water, off the heat.
  2. Slice the bread into ½-inch-thick slices, and lay them flat in one layer, close together, on the tray or baking sheet.
  3. Pour the warm espresso into a spouted measuring cup, stir in the rum and sugar until sugar dissolves, then stir in half the melted chocolate.
  4. Pour the sauce all over the bread slices, then flip them over and turn them on the tray, to make sure all the surfaces are coated. Let the bread absorb the sauce for a few minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, whip the cream until soft peaks form, by hand or with an electric mixer.
  6. To assemble the parfaits: Break the bread into 1-inch pieces. Use half the pieces to make the bottom parfait layer in the six serving glasses, dropping an equal amount of chocolatey bread into each. Scrape up some of the unabsorbed chocolate sauce that remains on the baking sheet, and drizzle a bit over the bread layers.
  7. Next, drop a layer of whipped cream in the glasses, using up half the cream. Top the cream layer with toasted almonds, using half the nuts. Repeat the layering sequence: drop more soaked bread into each glass, drizzle over it the chocolate sauce from the tray and the remaining melted chocolate. Dollop another layer of whipped cream in the glasses, using it all up, and sprinkle the remaining almonds on top of each parfait. This dessert is best when served immediately while the melted chocolate is still warm and runny.

©2010 Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali, authors of Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy: A Feast of 175 Regional Recipes

Monday
Jan252010

Pony Up: Kentucky Derby Bourbon Cupcake-Pies by Cake Gumshoe Melanie

The Kentucky Derby may not be 'til May, but the chocolate-nut flavors associated with the race are delicious all year long. But unless you want to get sued for using the copyrighted "Derby Pie" moniker, you'd better get creative, like CakeSpy reader Melanie , who recently sent on the recipe (and gorgeous photos) for "Kentucky Derby Bourban Cakes", wherein cupcakes are served inside of a pie shell for ultimate carbohydrate bliss and complete deliciousness. Run, don't walk, to the kitchen for this:

Kentucky Derby Bourbon Cakes

Ingredients

  • 2 boxes Jiffy Pie Crust mix (love it in a pinch!)
  • 1 box butter cake mix or yellow cake mix(and ingredients on box)
  • 1/2 cup Kentucky Bourbon
  • 1 3/4 cups walnuts (some to sprinkle on top)
  • 1 1/2 cup chocolate chips Bourbon Fudge Ganache (recipe follows)

 Procedure

  1. Prepare the Jiffy pie crusts as directed on the box. Chill dough until ready to assemble cupcakes for baking. (Note: I would start the Bourbon Fudge Ganache now, as it needs to cool in the fridge for some chill time!)
  2. Prepare the cake mix as instructed and then mix in bourbon.
  3. Roll the pie dough out to 1/4 inch on a floured surface. Cut (approximately) 5 inch circles out of dough using a large cup or bowl as a guide.
  4. Gently fit the circles into 2 cupcake pans prepared with nonstick spray. Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides.
  5. Place approximately 1 tsp. each of walnuts and chocolate chips in the bottom of each cupcake/piecrust.
  6. Spoon approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons of cake batter into each cupcake (until it looks 2/3 (plus a little) full. You can’t put as much batter as usual cupcakes since the crust/nuts/chips are in the bottom!
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes (’til they don’t jiggle in the middle!). Remove cupcakes and allow them to cool on a wire rack, and then use a butter knife to loosen and remove each cupcake.

 

Bourbon Fudge Ganache

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) heavy cream
  • 4 teaspoons of Kentucky Bourbon ( or more if you like it strong!!!)

Procedure

  1. Place the chocolate in a large bowl.
  2. Heat the cream in a saucepan until it just starts to boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate.
  3. Cover the bowl, and allow the cream to melt the chocolate. Add the bourbon.
  4. Whisk the chocolate until its dark and shiny. Place the icing in the refrigerator until the cupcakes are cooled.
  5. Check frequently, and give it a quick stir. When it gets to a spreadable consistency, pull it out. Otherwise, it will be too firm(like fudge…yummm!). Either spread the ganache on the top of the cupcakes or pipe it with a bag. Sprinkle each cupcake with some walnuts. Then let the race to your belly begin!!!
Wednesday
Jan202010

What a Fruitcake: A Retro Graham Cracker Marshmallow Fruitcake, Circa 1950

When it comes to cakes, sometimes the line between awesome and awful can be very fine. 

And then sometimes they race right past the line into awful and never look back. Hey, that is what the delectably snarky Cake Wrecks is built on, isn't it?

That having been said, it's time to talk about the Graham Cracker Fruit Cake

Apparently there was, at one time in the 1950s or 60s, a back-of-the-box sort of graham cracker fruitcake recipe. When a reader recently asked me to help unearth it, I found a few different versions online. But when it came to testing it out, I'll be honest--I went for the one that sounded easiest, consisting of just a few ingredients: marshmallows, milk, graham crackers, maraschino cherries, and pecans.

While it wasn't evidently a wreck from the get-go, it definitely did seem to fall into the category of retro-kitchy desserts that jiggle that perhaps dropped in popularity for a reason. Unfortunately the "fail" signs became highly evident when it was removed from the pan--not only was the jiggle unsettling, but so was the hue which could best be described as "fleshy":

When served at a dinner party, the reactions were polite-- along the lines of "it's not as bad as I thought it would be" or "it's...interesting". But the fact is that it was hard to get past the fleshy tone and jiggling texture--it remained largely uneaten.

Now, I'm not ready to throw in the hat completely on this one--while I realize the recipe chosen wasn't the best, that doesn't mean that there isn't a delicious version out there (and if you've got one, feel free to send it along).

But if you're feeling lucky (or just want to know what to avoid) here's the recipe:

Graham Cracker Ice Box Fruit Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. pkg. graham crackers
  • 3 c. pecans (broken into small pieces)
  • 1 / 2 lb maraschino cherries
  • 1 lb. pkg. miniature marshmallows
  • 1 1/2 c. milk

Procedure

  1. Crush graham crackers. Mix with pecans and cherries.
  2. Melt about half of the marshmallows in milk over low heat. Allow mixture to cool.
  3. Stir in crackers, cherries and pecans; mix. Add other half of marshmallows and mix lightly. Pour into an extremely well-greased cake pan (I used a bundt pan) and press firmly.
  4. Refrigerate 4-6 hours. Using a sharp knife, gently ease the cake from the sides of the pan. It should be sort of malleable so you'll be able to feel when it has pulled away from the sides to the point that you can safely flip it. First, turn the plate upside down on top of the bottom of the pan, and then swiftly and confidently flip the whole operation. If the confection comes out perfectly, bask in a moment of well-deserved glory--if it tears and fails massively, don't fret--I've still got plenty of leftovers.

 

Tuesday
Jan192010

Sweetness Down Under: Lamingtons Recipe

CakeSpy Note: This recipe was contributed by Cake Gumshoe Erin, who says "I always make it near Australia Day. It is a great treat and very yummy!" 

Lamingtons

Ingredients for cakes

 

  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs 1 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1 1/4 tea spoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded/desicated coconut (for the topping)

 

Ingredients for Iceing

 

  • 3/4 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup boliling water
  • 20 g melted unsalted butter

 

Procedure

 

  1. Preheat oven to 160c.
  2. To make icing place all icing ingreadients in a bowl and whisk to combine set aside ( I do this when the slice is in the oven).
  3. Place butter,sugar and vanilla in a bowl and beat until light and fluffy (use the beaters for this) gradully add the eggs and beat well.
  4. Sift the flour and baking powder togeather over butter mixture and mix until well combined. Stir in the milk.
  5. pour into a 20cm X 30cm tin lined with grease proof paper and bake for 20 minutes or untill cooked.
  6. while still warm cut into in squares and poor over the icing (you MUST do this!) sprinkle with the coconut and you have your lammington slice!

 

Tuesday
Jan192010

Sweetness Down Under: ANZAC Biscuits Recipe

ANZAC Biscuits

From CakeSpy Friend Let Them Eat Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 4oz flour
  • 6oz sugar
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 oz butter
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water

Procedure

  1. Mix together flour, sugar, coconut, & rolled oats.
  2. Melt butter and golden syrup. Dissolve bicarb in boiling water and add to the butter and golden syrup.
  3. Make a well in the centre of flour, stir in the liquid. Place in spoonfuls on cold greased trays.
  4. Bake 15 to 20 minutes at 350F (180C) I would normally make them a bit flatter than those in this picture. That would make them crunchier.

 

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