Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hanky Panky Cupcakes

Alright, so I am in love with I Heart Cuppycakes - I rarely look anywhere else when i want to make cupcakes anymore. I will often browse through old posts when I am waiting for something to finish at work, and that is how I stumbled upon these delightful little cupcakes.

As a kid one of my favorite cakes at potlucks and 4H lunches was the skor cake, essentially chocolate cake covered in caramel sauce, broken skor bars and topped with whipped cream. Not a dessert you can eat everyday! I hadn't given this dessert much though in the last few years, but when I saw them adapted into Hankie Pankie Cupcakes the cravings began and it was only a matter of time before I had to try it.

I was in a hurry the day I went to make these, and did use a cake mix (added touch devils food mix - made 12 cupcakes), but they were fantastic. A trip back to the good old days - just in a form that is a little more limiting than the giant cake I was used to. I did fill my cups a little too full and ended up with a rather messy end product, as the caramel leaked down the sides of the dome before it could all melt into the cupcake. However they were still delicious and an extra cup quickly remedied the problem of the sticky bottoms.

Chocolate Chip Blondie

My husband is a huge brownie fan, and try as I might to convert him to cookies or cupcakes he is still stuck on brownies. He loves marshmallow brownies - I don't get it, they are good, but I don't get the love affair he has with them. When browsing around on allrecipes.com one day I came across a recipe for Disappearing Marshmallow Brownies. I thought it would be interesting to try a new marshmallow brownie recipe for O.

Anyways, I would not call these brownies, in my mind a brownie is chocolate and a nice rich brown. These however are a butterscotch flavour and a golden color - and while they are very tasty and I can't bring myself to call them a brownie, so I will henceforth refer to this yummy square as a chocolate chip blondie.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup butterscotch chips
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

How to:
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a 9x13 inch pan with parchment paper (or grease it).
2. Using a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butterscotch chips and butter together in the microwave, stirring occasionally until chips are smooth. (The recipe said it should be smooth, but I didn't get all my butter to work in, and was left with a layer of butter on the top. It didn't seem to hurt anything though, so don't worry about it too much). Set aside to cool.
3. In a large bowl, stir together the brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix in the melted butterscotch chips, then the flour, baking powder, and salt until smooth.
4. Stir in the marshmallows and chocolate chips last. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking pan.
5.Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in preheated oven. Cool, and cut into squares.

I took 1/2 of these to my friends cabin when we visited on the weekend and they didn't last long! Everyone loved them, and couldn't seem to get enough. The second half went with my husband to work - weeks later I came by and people were still telling me that they were amazing. I don't know if these will replace the marshmallow brownies my husband so loves, but they might give them a run for their money.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Grilled Stuffed Chicken

We were visiting our friends at their cabin one weekend, when they brought out the Weber How To Grill book, and raved. Well I spend a few hours that weekend flipping through that book, again, and again, and again. Everything in there looked so good and I couldn’t wait to try some of them. However, I have had some trouble finding the book at a reasonable price so I tried to make this one from memory.

2 chicken breasts
2 slices provolone cheese
Fresh Basil
Butcher string

How to:
1. Thaw the chicken breasts. Put the breasts between saran wrap and flatten with a heavy skillet or a tenderizer.
2. On top of the flat chicken breast layer 1 slice of cheese, prosciutto and 1-2 leaves of basil (I suggest 1 small leaf, but if you really like basil go for more).
3. Roll the breast around the fillings and tie with butchers string.
4. Grill on medium heat for about 15 minutes. (Turning every 3-4 minutes), until chicken is cooked.
5. Enjoy!

These were really good, but as I said, watch how much basil you put in each of them. I can’t wait to make them again!

Pasta with Red Pepper Sauce

We eat a lot of pasta in our house – it is delicious, it is cheap and O loves it as a pregame meal. Due to the amount of pasta consumed in our house, I often crave something new to do with my pasta other than tomato sauce or cheese. When watching the food network one day I heard a mention of red pepper sauce, which brought back memories of the delicious red pepper soup my little brother makes (sadly I don’t know how he does it, I really need to find out on of these days) and I decided that sounded like a great idea. However, in my dreams of soup I didn’t notice what show this was on and so had to go looking for a recipe. It just so happens that while browsing some blogs I found the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for Red Pepper Sauce.

I made a few changes, and came up with a delicious sauce.

2 red peppers
½ medium onion chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
½ cup half and half cream
2 tsp parsley
Parmesan cheese
¾ pound pasta

How to:
1. Roast the peppers until the skin is charred ( I used the BBQ for this), then place in a Ziploc and seal. Let them sit for a few minutes.
2. Cook the pasta according to the directions, drain and swet aside. Do not rinse, as the starch helps the sauce adhere to the pasta.
3. In a sauce pan sauté the onion and garlic until softened.
4. Remove the skins from the peppers (They should peal off), and remove the seeds. Place the peppers in a blender with the onion and garlic. Puree until smooth.
5. Pour into the saucepan and add the cream, heat.
6. Mix with pasta and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

This was delicious, I really enjoyed having something new for a sauce. I will make this again. O figured it needed a little more pepper and salt, but enjoyed it.

Strawberry Surprise Cupcakes

I saw these Straw-Berried Treasure Cupcakes on I Heart Cuppycakes blog (oh how I love her blog. She is a genius), and I have a friends birthday coming up. I love to make fun cupcakes for people's birthday and these seemed like so much fun, and the strawberries would be a great surprise when you bite into the cupcakes.

However, I didn't need 18 cupcakes as I was also planning on doing some Canada day baking later this week, and I really just needed a few for my friends birthday, so I cut down the recipe a bit. I ended up with 9 cupcakes which was a great amount.

Chocolate Cupcake:
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup, 2 tbsp cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/8 tsp baking powder (this is an estimate when measuring)
3/8 tsp salt
1 lg egg
1 1/2 tbsp safflower oil ( you can use any vegetable oil)
1/4 cup, 2 tbsp butter milk (I used skim + a little lemon juice)
1/4 cup, 2 tbsp warm water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

9 strawberries, washed and tops removed

1 7oz jar marshmallow creme
1 8oz block cream cheese, softened

Brown sugar (optional, I didn't put it on all cupcakes and they were still delicious)

How To:
1. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.
2. Add the wet ingredients and mix with a mixer on low until all ingredients are incorporated.
3. Pour into cups (2/3 to 3/4 full), and bake for 17 - 20 min (I needed 19 minutes) at 350F.
4. Allow to cool completely.

Combine marshmallow creme and cream cheese in bowl of mixer and mix with flat beater until smooth.

1. Remove a cone from the cupcake about the size of the strawberry ( I placed the strawberry on top and went quickly around it with a knife and then removed the cone. This way the strawberries fit snug in the whole I made for them).
2. Place strawberry in the whole of the cupcake.

3. Top with frosting ( I squirted a little frosting into the hollow strawberry as well).

These were delicious. I love this chocolate cupcake recipe and it is going to be a recipe I go back to again and again. It is easy and makes a delicious dark chocolate cake. The topping was not to sweet and worked really well, the strawberries are a fun surprise when you bite into the cupcake.

Owen loved these, he decided he wanted the extras to himself, and ate 2 in the first hour after I had made them. He loved the strawberry in the middle, and loved that the whole thing wasn't too sweet. I can't remember the last time he ate so many cupcakes so quickly.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


I have been noticing for the last few weeks that homemade bagels keep popping up all over the place. After checking out my friends blog Food Revolution, I decided i would try my hand at making these. She had some great step by step photos of for her recipe that made it really easy to follow.

I love bagels, but don't eat them more than once a week, and the Hubs only eats one a day or so when he is working mornings as a quick breakfast. With that said I didn't think we really needed a giant batch of bagels around and was scared they would go bad before we had a chance to eat them all - how sad would that be? So this is the cut down recipe I used:

1 3/4 cups bread flour
1 packages yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
3/4 cups hot water (120-130 degrees)
3 quarts water
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg white – beaten with 1 teaspoon water

The How To: ( I have tried to include pictures of some of the steps, especially those that were missing on Food Revolution)
1. put the dry ingredients (flour (1 1/2 cup), yeast, sugar and salt) into the bowl of the mixer and use the Stir setting to mix briefly.
2. Slowly add the hot water to the dry ingredients with the mixer set on Low (2-4). Let mix in and then slowly add the extra flower as needed using the Stir setting.. The dough will stick together and become thick and heavy.
3. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and need for about 10 minutes until dough becomes smooth and firm.
4. Now it is time to let the dough rise. I keep my apartment cold so I put the dough in a glass bowl and put it in a slightly warm oven for an hour to rise. Don't forget to use some spay or oil so that the dough will not stick to the bowl as it rises.


While the dough is rising bring the water to a boil and add the sugar. Then bring to a simmer, don't have the water too hot as it simmers or you will kill the yeast.
5. Place the dough on the floured surface and push flat.

6. Divide into equal amounts and form balls. This recipe will make 5-6 good sized bagels. Making 5 some of them got a little big for my liking and 6 seemed to work really well - it just depends on how big you like your bagels.
7. Let the dough balls rest for a couple minutes then push flat and poke a hole in the middle of the dough. I took the advice on Food Revolution and spun the dough around my finger to make the holes bigger - this was a great tip!

8. Let the finished bagels do a second rise for about 10 minutes. While they are rising, beat the egg white with the water and set aside. Heat the oven to 400 if you are not using it for the bagels to rise.
9. Drop the bagels into the simmering water and flip them after 30 seconds (should be on each side for 30 seconds) and then removed. Repeat with all bagels.

When they come out they will be shiny from the sugar in the water.
10. Place on a cookie sheet and brush the tops of the bagels with the egg white and water.
11. Place in the oven and bake for 25 - 30 minutes

These were really great and we finished them after a few days. I have finished my second batch and they are just as yummy - and so much cheaper than buying bagels at the store.

Peanut Butter with Chocolate - Brownies

So after the cookies, I was trying to figure out what else I could do with the peanut butter with chocolate, and someone suggested brownies. I used my Fudgey Brownie recipe and swirlled in 3 heaping tablespoons of the Peanut Butter with Chocolate before baking. These were pretty good and didn't last long in the house!