Saturday, May 30, 2009

Peanut Butter with Chocolate - Cookies

I was in need of some peanut butter the other day and while in the isle and trying to decide if I wanted smooth or crunchy, I found this:

That is right, Peanut Butter with Chocolate. I knew I had to get it. I got it home and dug in, well, it tasted more of peanut butter with a faint chocolate taste in it, but it was okay. Now what to do it, my first thought was cookies so I tried on of my favorite peanut butter cookie recipes ( Grandma Ruth’s recipe from the 4H cookbook), just used this instead of regular peanut butter. The result was a yummy cookie, with just a hint of chocolate flavor - the color gives you an indication that they is something different about this cookie despite the peanut butter aroma.

Peanut Butter Cookies
½ cup butter
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
½ cup Chocolate Peanut Butter
1 tsp Vanilla
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt

Cream together the butter and the sugars, add in the egg, peanut butter and vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients and mix well.
Roll cookies into a ball and place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Using a clean fork press the cookies down creating a criss cross pattern on the top of each cookie.
Bake at 350F for 10 to 12 mintues.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Rum and Coke Cupcakes

I am still proving to my H that cupcakes are just as good if not better than brownies, and so I decided to do a more grownup version of cupcakes – and these were perfect. He always appreciates a good rum and coke (not to mention so do I), and I happened to actually have some coke in the house for once. This grown up version of a cupcake is also perfect for my friends birthday that was on the weekend – Happy 25th!

I found the recipe for Rum and Coke Cupcakes on I Heart Cuppycakes site and couldn’t wait to try them. I followed her recipe (well I halved everything, but otherwise didn’t make any changes), and the turned out great!

I loved these, H loved these, my friend loved these and H’s coworkers loved these. Even his boss couldn’t wait to get his hands on one. One of his coworkers told me “oooooh, they are just like a rum and coke! I knew they tasted familiar” after a couple of bites, so they were bang on.

Thanks for the great recipe Clara.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Neiman Marcus Cookie

While I was on Vacation in Maui this spring, H and I stopped in at Hula Cookies and got a Kona coffee cookie Ice cream sandwich. It was fantastic!

Ever since I got back, I had been craving that delicious coffee flavoured chocolate chip cookie. After some searching I came across the Neiman Markus recipe and decided to try it. I had to add a little milk (1/4 cup) to the dough, as it was a little dry, and used instant coffee instead of instant expresso.

They were really good and H loved them. It was a great chocolate chip cookie with a hint of coffee flavour, it just didn’t have quite enough coffee flavor to be the cookie I wanted. So after trying the first batch that came out of the oven, I kept adding coffee until the color was right (and they smelled about right). I ended up adding another 2 tbsp of coffee (to about ¼ of the batch of cookie), and they were great. It probably would have been fine with only 1.5 tbsp though. The final product was a nice coffee brown cookie that tasted great, especially with a little vanilla icecream.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Quick Catch Up

So, my picture taking has not been able to keep up with my H’s ability to quickly finish all my baking. If I don’t get a picture before he knows that it is around, it isn’t likely that I am going to get one. Along those lines, I have also been really busy with work and haven’t been as on top of picture taking and writing up the recipes as I would like, so I am going to do a quick review of what I have been making for the past little while.
1. I did make some actual food this week! In flipping through my old posts one day, I found Chicken Lasagna and then wondered why I hadn’t made this again (now I remember why I do this blogging thing). Anyways, I made this earlier this week and it turned out fantastic. Removing the milk from the recipe was a great idea, it wasn’t soupy at all this time. Oh, and I substituted the mozza cheese for some swiss, which was also great.
2. Nutella Cupcakes from I Heart Cuppycakes. Alright, so this is midstream in my campaign to prove to my H that cupcakes are good. Apparently he has never been a cupcake fan and I just had to set him straight. He thinks they are boring as it just cake and icing, and he also doesn’t like all the icing piled up on top (he doesn’t really have a big sweet tooth), so I wanted to make something I knew he couldn’t resist. Now who can resist Nutella? I had a bunch left over from the brownies, and so rather than just pig out with a spoon, I decided to make these lovely cupcakes. They were fantastic, although my mixing in of the nutella could have been better. Oh and Clara, you are right, I didn’t even need the icing.
3. Apple dumplings. So someone not to long ago pointed me in the direction of The Pioneer Woman. I don’t know how I have not come across this before, but hey, at least I am catching up now. I have made these twice now, once for a surprise for the guys that my H’s work (they had been having a slow week) and once for my Dad’s 50th birthday. They worked fantastic and everyone raved about them (actually the guys that H works with almost swarmed me when I brought them in, and it took them no more than 1.5 minutes to polish off the whole batch). At my Dad’s party, a couple people took one look at them and asked if they were from Pioneer Woman, apparently they had been meaning to try them for a while. These were fantastic, a big hit, and are a keeper for those days when I need a quick dessert to take somewhere, thanks Pioneer Woman.
4. Chili Brownies. I love chili and chocolate, and I love the gooeyness of brownies. So I decided to try and make come chili chocolate brownies. I found this recipe on Rachel Ray’s site and decided to try it, it had all the elements I was looking for. I used a yummy 72% cocoa bar instead of the bittersweet baking chocolate, which worked great. The brownies were delicious and gooey, but sadly there was not enough chili powder (or my chili powder is old and needs to be refreshed with I am thinking is a contributor). Everyone liked them, but no one noticed that they had any heat to them. I will have to try again on this one.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Nutella Brownies

While doing some brownie searching I came across a delicious idea - nutella in brownies. Now, I am a lover of Nutella, and don't really need anything to eat it with (spoon and occasionally fingers are all I really need), and do to my lack of self control there is rarely Nutella in the house. What better excuse for picking up a nice big jar of the chocolate goodness than "But I need this for a recipe".

The recipe I found and used (For the most part) was Nutella Chocolate Fudge Brownies. I modified the recipe by cutting it in 1/2 and cooking it in a 8x8 pan instead of the full 9x13 recipe. With all the baking that goes in my house this is usually essential, if I made full batches of everything I would either be 300lbs or tossing a lot of perfectly good baking.

Now, in the intro they said they swirled Nutella into the batter, but in the instructions I did not see this, so of course I swirled Nutella into the brownies. I swirled about 1/4 of a cup of nutella into the batter before baking (I didn't really measure, just kept plopping tablespoons in until I thought it looked good).

I did follow the instructions and spread Nutella over the top as well, mmmmmm, so good.

These turned out great, albiet a little overcooked (the Nutella can make it a little deceiving about when they are finished apparently, so watch out.). Everyone loved them and only one person besides myself (that would by my lovely H) figured out I had left them in the oven a little longer than I should have.

I will have to try these again.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Summer Garden Pasta

Alright, so I know I haven't put up anything other than baking for quite some time - I swear I am cooking things other than brownies and cupcakes! Well summer is here, and I was a little anxious for the light summer foods, so I got a bunch veggies when I went to the market and then had decide what to do with them. I found this recipe for Summer Garden Pasta, and decided to modify it my needs.

Summer Garden Pasta al la Vikki

16 ounces bowtie pasta
1 small to medium zucchini sliced
2 small to medium green peppers
1 medium to large red pepper
1/2 medium oinion finely chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tpsp butter
1/2 a tomato chopped
1 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt

Cook pasta according to package directions, when al dente drain and set aside. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the zucchini, peppers, onions and garlic in butter until crisp-tender.
Add both and tomato; bring to a boil. Cook and stir until liquid is reduced by half.
Stir the pasta into vegetable mixture. Cook 1 minutes longer or until heated through. Transfer to a large bowl. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and salt; toss to coat. Serve immediately.

I thought this was great, it was nice and light with a good sumer feel to it. Owen liked it, but of course thought it could use a little meat or something more. He did enjoy it though, and finished up the leftovers (it made a lot of food, so I actually had leftovers!).

Strawberry Banana Muffins

So while shopping at costco I picked up some strawberries, well of course there were too many for me to eat and they were getting a little ripe. I decided that I might as well bake with them. I had been craving banana muffins for a while, and had some bananas ready to go, so I decided to try Strawberry Banana Muffins.

Strawberry Banana Muffins

1 ½ cups mashed ripe bananas ( appox. 3 large bananas)
¾ cup white sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup of melted butter/margarine
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 ½ to 2 cups chopped fresh strawberries

Add the sugar and the egg (slightly beaten) to the mashed bananas and mix.
Add the melted butter and mix.
Mix the dry ingredients together and mix. Fold in the strawberries.

Fill muffin cups about ¾ of the way full of batter.

Bake at 375F for about 20 minutes (until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean).

These were delicious brownies and they taste wonderful. They stay soft and moist for quite a while after being done.

Side note: I also use the same banana muffin recipe to make banana chocolate chip muffins by substituting the strawberries for chocolate chips.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Fudgy Brownies

Alright, so at 9:30 at night, I am having a major chocolate craving – you know, it happens once a while. Well my Easter chocolate is somehow already gone (I did notice the H sneaking some throughout the week), so a no go with that easy fix. But what else helps a chocolate craving – good old fashioned brownies. Now I have made a few different brownies in my time, orange brownies, cookie dough brownies, butterless brownies, mississippi mud brownies and cream cheese brownies. I also have a few more sitting in “to try” recipe collection. However, I immediately knew exactly what brownies I needed to satisfy myself, and what do you know I can’t find the recipe anywere. It was to late to call my mom who has a copy or my Aunt who originally gave me the recipe. I had a slight recall of what might be going into it, but really it was pretty vague. I decided to give it a try anyways and see what I could come up with.

The result of my “I think it had some of this” baking, was a delicious fudgy and gooey brownie (what I was going for), but sadly not quite the original. Still they were great, and I am saving this one in a couple of places now incase Mom has lost her copy of the original (it has been known to happen).

Fudgy Brownies:
½ cup margerine (I know this sounds weird to use marg, but it was still really tastey, and they do taste different with real butter)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup Cocoa powder
½ cup AP flour

In a saucepan melt the margerine and then mix in the sugar and the egg. Be careful not to add the egg when the butter is too hot or you will get a friend egg.

Mix in the vanilla. Add the cocoa powder and stir in. Fold in the flower.

Pour into a 8x8 pan (I always line mine with parchment paper, which it makes incredibly easy to get the brownies out). Bake in an oven preheated to 350F for about 20 minutes. The center of the brownies will still look wet under a baked crust.

Let the brownies cool in the pan for about 5 to 8 minutes and then remove from the pan to finish cooling. The middle of the brownies will still be quite soft and gooey. Enjoy.

I always like eating these slightly warm, and they are still my favorite brownie recipe. My H really enjoyed these, and took ½ the pan to work today.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Rainbow Cupcakes

Alright, so I know it is past easter, but spring needed some encouragement around here (seriously, why is it snowing on April 27th?), and I wanted to do something fun as three coworkers have birthdays this week.

I used to exact recipe from I Heart Cuppycakes found here, and they turned out great!

I only used four colors for my dough, but the colors were nice and bright.

After baking:

Well alright, I experimented with a new icing recipe, as a lot of people around here don’t like lots of icing on their cupcakes (I know, what is wrong with them?). I got the icing recipe out of an old church cookbook and it looked interesting.

Icing (I halfed their recipe and it was plenty, but it can be stored in the fridge for 3 months apparently)
2 tbsp Cold Water
4 ½ tbsp White sugar

2/3 cup cooking oil
1 egg
1 tps vanilla
4 ½ cups icing sugar

1. Mix the water and white sugar together, set aside and let dissolve (stir often).
2. Beat together the cooking oil, egg, vanilla and icing sugar until it resembles whipped cream (now mine never got light and fluffy, but it did get thick and creamy.)
3. Add in the water and sugar mix. (At this point I had to add another cup of icing sugar to thicken it up a bit, but that seams to always happen, must be something about were I live, or how I measure, which umm, I have to admit a “close enough” method most days)

I really liked this icing, it smoothed itself on the top, and looked really good, as well and really stuck to the sprinkles. My H was really grateful that I hadn’t put a bunch of buttercream on top as well.