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Entries in recipes (578)

Wednesday
Sep302009

Disappearing Act: Houdini Bars

Houdini Bars
Leafing through The Cake Mix Doctor Returns (have you entered the giveaway, by the way?), the first recipe to catch my eye was for Houdini Bars. What's a Houdini bar? Named for the magician because because they're "so rich and delicious that they disappear quickly," these dense bars are comprised of a cakey crust filled with a buttery, cheesecake-y filling with nuts and coconut. Heaven on a plate? Yes indeed: they taste like birthday cake, cheesecake, and coconut cream pie--simultaneously--in every beautiful bite. If you love decadent desserts, these ones will disappear fast.
Houdini Bars
(P.S. If you love the pot holders shown above, they're from Rustbelt Fiberwerks!)
Houdini Bars
adapted from The Cake Mix Doctor Returns
Recipe says that it makes 30, but we only got 12 (gluttons)

  • 1 package (18.25 oz) plain yellow cake mix
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature (recipe calls for reduced-fat; I used full-fat)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (original recipe called for pecans; either way, the nuts are optional)

Spooning in the coconut-cheesecake mixtureReady to bake

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Set aside a generously greased 9x13-inch pan.
  2. Place the cake mix, butter, and one egg in a large mixing bowl and beat on low speed with an electric mixer until the ingredients are incorporated, about 1 minute. Press the batter into the bottom and partially up the sides of the baking pan (I used my hands) and set the pan aside.
  3. Place the cream cheese in the same mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until fluffy, 30 seconds. Add the remaining 2 eggs and the vanilla and the confectioners' sugar and beat on low speed until smooth and combined, about 1 minute. Fold in the coconut; pour mixture over the crust and smooth the top with a spatula. Scatter the nuts, if you've chosen to use them.
  4. Bake the bars until the edges are well browned and the center is firm to the touch, about 40 to 50 minutes. Transfer the baking pan to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes before cutting and serving (do not score the bars while still hot!)

These bars keep in the fridge for up to five days. If they last that long.

 

Tuesday
Sep222009

Puff Daddy: Reese's Puffs Bars with Buttercream Frosting

Reese's Puffs bars
So, I recently received a very large parcel of boxes of cereal from General Mills with which to try out some recipes for consideration for the Betty Crocker Halloween recipes section of their site. Naturally, I immediately set out to find as many delicious recipes as I could for baked goods which include cereal. One recipe for "Chewy Cereal Bars", which called for Grape-Nuts, intrigued me, but I suspected the recipe could be improved upon: first and foremost, by using Reese's Puffs instead. After making some other alterations to make the recipe uniquely my own, I can say that it's a pretty delicious end result, like chewy blondies with little crispy explosions of peanut butter and chocolate. Top 'em off with some buttercream frosting (and maybe even double deck 'em and decorate them for Halloween or the occasion of your choosing) and you've got yourself a cereal winner.
Layered Reese's puffs bars with frosting

Reese's Puffs Bars

Ingredients (bars):

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup Reese's Puffs Cereal
  • 3/4 firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Optional Halloween garnish: candy corn and mellowcreme pumpkins


Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan. In a medium saucepan, melt butter; once melted, add cereal and incorporate for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Remove from heat; stir in brown sugar until incorporated. Add egg and vanilla, and stir until completely blended.
  3. Add flour and baking powder; stir until completely blended.
  4. Spread into greased pan, and bake about 20 minutes or until golden around the edges. Let cool completely, and then frost. If desired, cut the batch in half and create double decker treats and slice them into thin fingers; if desired, garnish with candy corn and/or mellowcreme pumpkins.


Ingredients (frosting)

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions:
Cream the butter and about 4 cups of the confectioners' sugar until smooth and creamy; add the vanilla and the rest of the sugar bit by bit until the frosting reaches your desired consistency (you may not need all of it). For orange frosting, add about 1 drop of red and 4 drops of yellow food coloring and mix until the color is even; frost the cooled bars. Do not freeze or chill this frosting.

 

Wednesday
Sep162009

Getting Baked: Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies from the Baked Cookbook

Chocolate Chip walnut cookies
How many times have I said that you simply must buy Baked: New Frontiers in Baking?

Well, if you don't own it, clearly I haven't said it enough. Here's how the book has renewed its place in my heart yet again this week: the absolutely perfect Baked chocolate chip cookie.

Now, I have made a fair share of chocolate chip cookies in my life, and am more than willing to admit that while they've been good, they've never been perfect. And while I don't want to go all dramatic on you and say these are the best chocolate chip cookies ever, I can say with absolutely no hesitation that these are the best cookies that have ever come out of my kitchen: chewy in the middle, ever-so-slightly crispy on the outside, slightly puffy and not too flat.

The secret? Well, at their retail location I suspect that they probably put crack in the cookies, but the recipe owes its awesomeness to stressing the importance of fresh ingredients: I promise, if you use fancy butter, fresh eggs, and real vanilla, it really makes all the difference.

I only messed with their recipe slightly, omitting 2/3 cup of the chocolate chips and substituting walnuts. If you like your chocolate chip cookies a little fancy, it's a delicious variation.

Chocolate Chip Cookies, Ever so slightly adapted from the recipe in Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup walnuts


Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together until smooth and creamy. Scrape down bowl and add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Mixture will look light and fluffy. Add vanilla and beat for 5 seconds.
  3. Add the flour mixture, bit by bit, mixing after each addition.
  4. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Cover the bowl tightly and put in the fridge for several hours (Baked suggests 6; I did 2 and they were still delicious).
  6. Preheat the oven to 375 F degrees.
  7. If you want big cookies, use an ice cream scoop to scoop out 2-tablespoon sized balls. If you want smaller ones, use two teaspoons (one to scoop the dough and one to release it). Use your hands to shape into perfect balls and erase any imperfections. Place on prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 1 inch between cookies. Bake for 10-12 minutes for smaller cookies, 12-14 minutes for larger cookies. Make sure to rotate pans at the halfway mark to ensure even baking. They're done when the edges are golden and the tops are just starting to lose their shine.
  8. Remove pan from oven and cool on wire rack. They are great warm, but you could also let them cool, if you're so inclined.
  9. These babies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Doubt they'll last that long though.

 

Wednesday
Sep092009

Some Like it Hot: Hot Cocoa Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
Summer is totally awesome and all, but it seems to me as if there are way too many light, fruit-based and altogether too-virtuous desserts that prevail during those hot and sunny months. But as the days gradually start to get shorter and cooler, there's a sure-fire antidote, which can be summed up in three beautiful words: Hot Cocoa Cake. This is not a cake for wimps: it's unimaginably rich and decadent. Often, recipes for it call for a fudge-like frosting to be applied directly to the still-hot cake; however, as I've always preferred chocolate desserts that have a flavor contrast, I tried them with cream cheese frosting on a whim. The flavor combination works like a dream; when served at a party, they disappeared rather quickly.

Hot Cocoa Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting

For the cakes (makes about 18; adapted from this recipe):

Ingredients
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa
  • 2 sticks (4 oz. ea) butter
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Mix together flour, sugar, and salt. 
  3. In a saucepan, bring the butter, cocoa, and water to boil and pour over flour mixture. 
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients to the mixture and stir well. 
  5. Fill cupcake cups 3/4 full.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes. Because you won't see the cakes browning at the edges, use a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake to test doneness.
  7. Once cool, frost generously with cream cheese frosting; if desired, garnish with walnuts.
Cream Cheese FrostingWalnuts
For the frosting:

 

 

Ingredients
  • 1 (8)-ounce package of cream cheese, softened (do not substitute low-fat; it just doesn't work the same way)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 to 6 cups confectioners' sugar (depending on your desired consistency)
Directions
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and salt until the butter is completely incorporated into the cream cheese and it has a smooth consistency. Add the confectioners' sugar cup by cup, stirring after each addition, until it has reached the desired consistency.

 

Thursday
Sep032009

What a Brownie-Noser: A Sweet Recipe from Julia M. Usher's Cookie Swap

Brown(ie) Noser from Julia M. Usher's Book
The Brown(ie) Noser: photo from Cookie Swap by Julia M. Usher used with permission.

 

As promised in the interview with Julia M. Usher, author of Cookie Swap: Creative Treats to Share Throughout the Year (which you can win here!), here's a recipe for decadent butterscotch brownies with caramel and ganache on top!

Caramel Topping
  • 8 ounces caramel candies (about 27 cubes)
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4½ teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Butterscotch Brownies

 

 

  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3⁄8 teaspoon salt
  • 1¼ cups (2½ sticks) unsalted butter, chopped into
  • tablespoon-size pieces
  • 2¼ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum (optional)
  • 2 cups pecan halves, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • Ganache Glaze (optional)

    • 16 ounces premium semisweet chocolate
    • finely chopped or ground in a food processor
    • 1½ cups heavy cream
    • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
    Directions:
    1. Make the Caramel Topping. Unwrap the caramel candies and combine with the cream and butter in a small nonreactive (stainless steel or coated) saucepan. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring regularly to prevent scorching, until the caramels and butter are completely melted and the mixture has boiled. Remove from the heat. Stir in the flour, mixing well to break apart any lumps. Add the vanilla extract and set the topping in a warm place so the caramel stays fluid while you prepare the brownie batter.
    2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 10 x 15 x 2-inch glass baking dish (sometimes called a roasting pan, p. 10) with foil, leaving a 1-inch overhang around the top edge of the pan. Smooth out any big wrinkles in the foil and then lightly coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
    3. Mix the Butterscotch Brownies. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
    4. Place the butter in a medium (3-quart) saucepan over low heat. Once the butter has fully melted, remove it from the heat and stir in the brown sugar, mixing until smooth. (Note: Don’t be surprised if the butter and sugar do not completely come together at this point; some separation is normal.) Cool a few minutes; then add the eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and rum, if desired. Gradually add the flour mixture, whisking all the while to keep the batter lump free. Stir in the pecans. Turn the batter into the prepared pan and level with a small offset spatula. (The batter will be less than 1 inch thick, but it will bake to about twice its original thickness.)
    5. Drizzle the caramel topping evenly over the batter. (If the caramel has thickened and is difficult to drizzle, gently reheat it.) Marble the top (and break apart any large caramel blobs) by drawing a spatula through both the topping and the batter in a random pattern.
    6. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs on it, and the brownie has pulled away from the edges of the pan, about 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely in the pan. (Areas that had larger helpings of caramel topping may sink slightly, but don’t worry; the ganache will completely cover any holes.)
    7. Prepare and apply the Ganache Glaze (optional). Make the glaze only after the brownies have completely cooled. Follow the instructions for Ganache (below).
    8. While the ganache is fluid, pour it evenly over the brownie. Gently tilt or shake the pan so that the ganache completely coats the brownie top. Cover with foil, taking care to keep it from touching the ganache. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours, or until the ganache is firm enough to cut cleanly.
    9. Remove the brownies from the pan in one block by gently pulling up on the foil overhang. Place directly on a cutting board. Remove all foil, and trim any uneven edges before cutting into 1½-inch squares. For the neatest cuts, slice the bars while the ganache is firm and wipe the knife clean with a warm, damp cloth between slices. Serve at room temperature.
    Ganache Directions:
    1. Place the chopped (or ground) chocolate in a large bowl so it
    2. forms a shallow layer. Set aside.
    3. Pour the cream into a medium (3-quart) nonreactive (stainless steel or coated) saucepan. Place over medium to medium-high heat and scald the cream. (That is, heat the cream to just below the boiling point. The cream will put off steam, but no bubbles should break on its surface.)
    4. Immediately strain the hot cream through a fine-meshed sieve directly onto the chocolate. Let the mixture sit 1 to 2 minutes without stirring, and then gently whisk until the chocolate is entirely melted. (If the chocolate does not completely melt, set the bowl over barely simmering water in a double boiler and stir regularly until smooth. Do not overheat, or the ganache may break.) Stir in the corn syrup.
    5. To use the ganache as a glaze, pour it while lukewarm. Alternatively, for piping ganache, pour it into a shallow pan to a ½- to ¾-inch depth, cover, and refrigerate 20 to 25 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Stir occasionally during chilling to maintain a uniform consistency. (Hard, overchilled pieces of ganache should be broken up, as they can easily clog pastry tips when piping.) Chilling time will vary with starting ganache temperature, refrigerator temperature, and depth of the ganache. Watch the ganache closely, as it can quickly overchill and become difficult to pipe.


    For more information about Julia M. Usher, visit her site, become a Facebook fan or follow her on Twitter!

     

    Wednesday
    Sep022009

    Turning Trix: Tricked-Out Trix Treats

    Tricked Out Trix Treats
    It's already been established that Rice Krispies are not the only cereal treat on the sweet circuit. Trix Treats are one of the sweetest alternatives, and certainly one of the prettiest.

    But why stop at simple cereal treats? Having recently found myself with a bit of extra cream cheese frosting, I decided to tempt fate by making a good thing even better, and sandwiched a healthy dollop of frosting between Trix Treat halves. And after tasting the result, which was relentlessly rich and sweet and probably not low-carb, all I can say is that it only serves to reinforce my deep-seeded belief that frosting makes everything better.
    Trix Treats!

    If it's true that you are what you eat, then certainly eaters of these sweet treats are rich, colorful, and absolutely fabulous.

    Tricked-Out Trix Treats

     

    Makes about 12

    Ingredients for Trix Treats:
    • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
    • 4 cups miniature marshmallows
    • 6 cups Trix Cereal
    Ingredients for cream cheese frosting (note: this makes about 3 cups of frosting, so there will be extra. I had made a batch of this frosting for cupcakes and used the leftover frosting for the Trix Treats. I have not tried to halve the recipe, but that could be an option if you don't want extra.)
    • 1 (8)-ounce package of cream cheese, softened (do not substitute low-fat; it just doesn't work the same way)
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 4 to 6 cups confectioners' sugar (depending on your desired consistency)
    Directions for the Trix Treats:
    1. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.
    2. Add Trix cereal. Stir until well coated.
    3. Using wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch greased pan. Let cool completely. Cut into 2-inch squares.
    Directions for cream cheese frosting:
    1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and salt until the butter is completely incorporated into the cream cheese and it has a smooth consistency. Add the confectioners' sugar cup by cup, stirring after each addition, until it has reached the desired consistency.
    Assembling it all:
    Using a sharp knife, cut squares in half. Apply a liberal dollop of either vanilla buttercream or cream cheese frosting to the bottom and re-apply the top half. For extra flair, apply rainbow sprinkles to the exposed frosting on the sides to really trick out your treats. Serve immediately.

     

    Monday
    Aug312009

    Love Me Tender, Love Me Sweet: Elvis's Banana Pudding

    Elvis's Banana Pudding
    When it comes to Elvis and food, undoubtedly you're going to think of his famous favorite sandwich, comprised of peanut butter, fried bacon, banana, and (depending on who you ask) honey, all nestled between slices of white bread and prepared in a griddle, grilled cheese style.

    I know. With a dish like that associated with your name, you practically don't need to do anything else in life.

    But Elvis did.
    Elvis's Banana Pudding
    Not only did he give us a plethora of musical hits and aforementioned sandwich, but as part of his legacy he also gave us an intensely creamy, meringue-topped banana pudding. Apparently, it was part of the Graceland doctrine that a batch this pudding be prepared nightly; as rumor has it, the King would mash up various pills in it (although if they were a pick-me-up or come-down, I don't know). Of course, I learned this all from the best possible source: a postcard from Graceland from one of my oldest friends.
    Elvis PuddingPostcard about Elvis Pudding

    A banana pudding so craveable immediately had me intrigued, and of course I made up a batch right away. I cut the original recipe in half and omitted the meringue topping (the egg whites can be frozen for later use); it seemed to work out fine, and yielded an unbelievably creamy and rich pudding. While I think I still prefer the Magnolia Bakery banana pudding, this one definitely wins points for its rich history and taste.

    Elvis's Banana Pudding (With Some Liberties Taken)

    • 2 large (or three small) ripe bananas
    • 4 eggs, separated
    • 1 1/4 cups sugar
    • 1/8 lb butter
    • 3 cups milk
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
    • About half a box of Nilla Wafers


    Pudding
    1. In a large saucepan, mix together the milk, egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and butter and cook over medium heat until mixture thickens (for me, this was about 25 minutes--but you've got to be watching it the whole time). Add vanilla.
    Elvis's Banana PuddingElvis's Banana Pudding
    2. In a medium (9x13 inch) pyrex pan or similarly sized baking pan, layer the bananas and wafers.

    3. Pour the pudding over the bananas and wafers.
    4. If you want to add the meringue topping: beat the egg whites with 4 tablespoons sugar until soft peaks form. Cover the pudding with the meringue.
    5. With or without meringue, bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.
    * As a serving note, it's lovely served in a parfait glass with a thick dollop of whipped cream.

     

    Thursday
    Aug272009

    Butter Me Up: The Famous St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake

    Gooey Butter Cake
    Photos and recipe c/o CakeSpy buddy Kerry of Lollicakes.

    I first learned of the existence of the St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake a while back during the Regional Specialties cake poll. The name alone had me hooked: I had to know more.

    But first things first: what is a Gooey Butter Cake, this food that the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission calls "one of St. Louis' popular, quirky foods"? While variations exist, it seems that the most important aspects are a bottom layer of buttery yellow cake and a and a top layer of...well, gooiness: but depending on who you ask, the top layer will consist of either egg and cream cheese, or butter and sugar. But in general, it is served as a coffee cake and not as a dessert cake.

    As it turns out though, the foundation of the cake's story is about as soft as its gooey innards: there are varying accounts of who invented it and when.
    Gooey Butter cake

    Photo credit: Jen V., CakeSpy reader

    According to Wikipedia, a legend about the cake's origin is included in Saint Louis Days...Saint Louis Nights, a cookbook published in the mid-1990s by the Junior League of St. Louis:
    The cake was supposedly first made by accident in the 1930s by a St. Louis-area German American baker who was trying to make regular cake batter but reversed the proportions of sugar and flour.
    But then again, according to What's Cooking America, at least two families take credit for the cake. The first is the Danzer family:

     

    In late 1942 or early 1943, Johnny Hoffman of St. Louis Pastries Bakery was working on a Saturday and made what eventually turned out to be Gooey Butter Cake. You're right, it was a mistake! He subsequently called Herman Danzer, my dad, and told him he thought he may have something and asked to come to my dad's shop on Spring & Gravois to see if they could duplicate it.

    They worked all Saturday, and through many trials and errors got it pretty good. The final batch they made, my dad suggested they add glycerin to get it really gooey. It worked - whereupon my mom, Melba Danzer, came into the shop from the store to see what these two guys were doing. When she tried it she said "this sure is gooey" subsequently, the name.

    And then there's the Koppe family:

     

    My father, John Koppe, a St. Louis baker, also developed the Gooey Butter Cake in the early 1940s...he owned and operated Koppe Bakery during World War II on California and Arsenal Streets in South St. Louis. His shop was located on the corner of two major bus lines, so people who were transferring would often stop in while waiting for their bus.

    The Gooey Butter Cake was a smash hit with customers. The lines of customers spilled out the door and around the block. This cake was very gooey, rich, and exceptionally delicious! I remember that the goody butter cake is best described as very "GOOEY." You could eat it with a spoon! The top was sprinkled with powdered sugar and the edge was slightly crispy to hold it together - almost like a pudding. It was baked in a square shape and, of course, was light colored, like butter.

    But while the cake's origins may be up in the air, one thing's for sure: it's a St. Louis institution. One company, Gooey Louie, specializes in a variety of takes on the Gooey Butter cake, including a variety of different flavors (including a "design-your-own-flavor" feature) as well as individual-serving cakes and tiny "Gooey Butter Bites". Around the St. Louis area it's a common cake to find in bakeries. Though not as common elsewhere, at least one savvy Cake Gumshoe sighted a version of it in a Seattle area Safeway!
    Gooey Butter Cake
    And happily, another Cake Gumshoe, Kerry of Lollicakes, was brave enough to try out the recipe to see for herself. Here's the recipe she used:

     

    The Best St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake Recipe

    Ingredients:

    • 1 box yellow cake mix with pudding in the mix (Pillsbury works best) 
    • 4 extra large eggs 
    • 1 stick melted butter 
    • Pure vanilla extract 
    • 1 8 oz. package cream cheese 
    • 1 box powdered sugar (3 1/2 cups)
    • Crisco or pam for greasing pan
    Equipment:
    • 9 X 13 Pan 
    • Mixer 
    Directions:

     

    BUTTER CAKE MIXTURE:

    1. Get 9 x13 pan and grease with Crisco on the bottom and all sides. 
    2. Put yellow cake mix in mixing bowl. DO NOT FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS ON THE CAKE BOX. Add 2 extra large eggs, 1 stick of melted butter in microwave about 35 seconds, and 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract. Mix together in mixer. Batter will have a very most feel to it. Take cake batter and spread evenly through 9 x 13 pan so it evenly covers the bottom of the pan. 
    3. Clean off mixers and mixing bowl. 

    GOOEY MIXTURE:

     

     

    1. Melt cream cheese in microwave about 45-50 seconds. 
    2. Put 3/4 of the powdered sugar in mixing bowl setting aside about 1/4 of the box for topping to sprinkle on after the cake is baked and cooled. In mixer add 3/4 powdered sugar, melted cream cheese, and 2 extra large eggs. Mix together in mixer. This will have a very GOOEY consistency as this is the gooey part of the cake. Take the Gooey mixture and layer on top of the cake batter mixture in pan. 

    COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:
    1. Here at sea level we bake it at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until the top of the cake is browned (Note: Kerry baked hers for 35 minutes and thought it was perhaps slightly over-baked). You want to make sure the gooey mixture on top of the cake is not too gooey otherwise it will be like a liquid. It is okay if the edges are brown and the top of the cake is lightly browned as well. 
    2. Once cooked remove from oven and let cool about two hours before cutting and adding remaining powdered sugar. Add remaining powdered sugar to coat/cover top of cake, cut like brownies and serve. 

     

    Monday
    Aug242009

    Put a Lid On It: How To Ship Cupcakes in Mason Jars, from Beantownbaker.com

    How-to: Cupcakes in Jars, a guest blog post from Beantown baker
    Continuing our monthlong celebration of birthdays and all things sweet, Jen from the very sweet site Beantown Baker has dreamed up a thoughtful way to share birthday cake with friends who are far away: cupcakes baked in Mason Jars! Here she goes:

    One of the things I love most about baking is sharing my baked goods with other people. Whether it's baking something for a friend who had surgery, got a promotion, or for no reason at all, I get real joy out of baking for other people. Since most of my family is 1000+ miles away, they don't usually get to experience my baked goods. Last fall when we were coming into what I call birthday season, 6 birthdays from Oct-Dec, I really wanted to bake for my family members with birthdays coming up.

    Since cupcakes are my favorite thing to bake, I decided to send them cupcakes. I had seen this idea online and decided to give it a shot. I sent cupcakes in a jar to family members across the country. They were all pretty shocked when the packages came. It was fun to get the phone calls from each of them thanking me for the creative way to share my baking with them. My Dad loved it so much, I've been told that he tells everyone about it. As a not-so-subtle hint, he also gave me a box of new jars for my birthday. I think he's expecting more cupcakes in a jar this year for his birthday!
    Cupcakes in Jars: Guest Blog from Beantown BakerCupcakes in Jars: Guest Blog from Beantown Baker

    How to Make and Ship Cupcakes in Mason Jars

     

    You'll need: a batch of cupcakes (Jen's recipe for Funfetti cupcakes with chocolate frosting follows); one half-pint Mason jar per cupcake, plus ribbon for garnish.
    1. Bake cupcakes as directed and allow to cool completely. Remove cupcake liner and cut cupcake in half either vertically or horizontally. Place 1/2 of the cupcake into a sterilized 1/2 pint wide mouth jar. Add frosting to jar. At this point, add some fun extra, such as crushed Oreos or sprinkles. Place the other half the the cupcake in the jar (if you cut the cupcake vertically, it is easier to put both halves in the jar and pipe frosting between the two pieces). 
    2. Frost the cupcake as if it weren't in a jar. Add lid and ring to jar. Decorate with ribbon if you want. Be sure to tell your recipients to slide the lid off the jar as opposed to just pulling it up. Otherwise half of the frosting will stick to the lid.
    3. Mail immediately or place in freezer for a day or two then mail them. I like to freeze them and let the thaw as they are traveling to the unsuspecting recipients.

    Cupcakes in Jars: Guest Blog from Beantown Baker
    Yellow Funfetti Cupcakes
    • 3 cups cake flour
    • 1 Tbsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 cup unsalted butter, cubed and softened to room temperature
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 5 large eggs
    • 2 tsp vanilla
    • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
    • 1/4 cup sprinkles
    Directions:
    1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter and line with parchment paper two 8×2-inch pans (These cakes rose over the top of my 2-inch pans - you could very well have a mess on your hands if you try 1.5 inch pans). Set aside.
    2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Place butter in the large bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat for 3 minutes on MEDIUM-HIGH speed until the butter is light and creamy in color. Stop and scrape the bowl. Cream the butter for an additional 60 seconds.
    3. Add the sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl before each addition. Add the eggs one at a time. Reduce the mixer speed. Stir vanilla into the buttermilk. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk. Mix just until incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds longer. Stir in sprinkles.
    4. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a knife or off-set spatula. Lift up the pan with the batter, and let it drop onto the counter top a couple of times to burst any air bubbles and allowing the batter to settle. Center the pans onto the lower third of the oven and let bake 45 to 50 minutes or until the cake is lightly brown on top and comes away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    5. Let cool completely in the pans before removing the cakes and frosting.

    Chocolate frosting
    • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or margarine
    • 1/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
    • 3 cups powdered sugar - I used 2 1/2 cups
    • 1/3 cup milk
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Directions: 
    Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

     

     


    Keep updated on all of Jen's sweet adventures on beantownbaker.com!

     

    Thursday
    Aug202009

    Sea Biscuit: The Hermit Cookie of 1880-90

    Delicious Sandwich Cookie
    The late 1800s were a pretty eventful time in the USA: in New York, the Brooklyn Bridge was opened and Lady Liberty was installed; in the West, Billy the Kid and Jesse James bit the dust; the nation also grew, officially adding Washington, Montana and the Dakotas to the Union. And according to Betty Crocker's Cooky Book, the cookie of the decade was the Hermit:

    One of our earliest favorites--rich with spices from the Indies, plump with fruits and nuts, Hermits originated in Cape Cod in Clipper Ship days. They went to sea on many a voyage, packed in canisters and tucked in sea chests.


    Now, you may be wondering where this morsel got its funny name. There are a few theories uncovered on historycook.com:

     

    Some say that the cookies were named because they look like a hermit's brown sack-cloth robe, but the earliest recipes are for white and round cookies. One possible lead is that the Moravians, an ethno-religious group well-known for thin spice cookies in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, were sometimes called "herrnhutter" in German or Dutch, and that might have sounded like "hermits" to an English-speaking cook.


    Funny name and hazy origins aside, there's definitely another reason why hermits have lingered in our cookie jars: they're rich, cakey, moist, and satisfying. Adding raisins makes them taste vaguely virtuous, if you're into that--I'm not, so I substituted chocolate chips, and it worked out quite deliciously. They got even better when I sandwiched a slab of cheesecake filling between two of them (I think frosting would also work fantastically).
    Hermits
    Hermits


    - makes about 3 dozen small cookies or 24 large cookies; if you're interested in the cheesecake filling shown in the top photo, you can find the recipe here -
     
    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 1 cups brown sugar, packed
    • 1 eggs
    • 1/4 cup cold coffee
    • 1 3/4 cups flour
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 cup chocolate (or white chocolate) chips
    • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
    1. Mix butter, sugar and egg thoroughly. Stir in coffee.
    2. Sift dry ingredients together; mix bit by bit into the butter/egg mixture.
    3. Once incorporated, add the chocolate chips and nuts and stir only until incorporated.
    4. Chill dough for at least 1 hour.
    5. Heat oven to 400 F. 
    6. If you want small cookies, drop rounded teaspoonfuls of dough onto your cookie sheet; if you're not scared of a big cookie, do as I did and use an ice cream scoop. 
    7. Bake 8-10 minutes for small cookies, 12 or so minutes for larger ones, or until there is the slightest crispiness on the bottom (as they have a light brown hue from the coffee, you've got to be careful about this!).

     

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