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Archive for the ‘Baking’ Category

There are certain specifications my cookies generally need to meet. For the most part, I do not like hard cookies. I prefer them soft. For the most part I do not like flat cookies. I prefer them fluffy. And for the most part, I require that my cookies have a very sweet element to them, whether that be chocolate chips or icing or whatnot.

This last requirement has kept me away from peanut butter cookies in the past. I’m not completely opposed to them, but if I’m going to eat a cookie, it better have all my requirements.

Then I realized the obvious-chocolate chips could just be added into a peanut butter cookie recipe…

A little bit of chocolate and these cookies met all my requirements! Of course, now I don’t think I could ever go back to eat a simply peanut butter cookie…from now on, these cookies will have to have chocolate.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Cream together margarine and sugars. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Add peanut butter and mix.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Mix into peanut butter mixture. Add chocolate chips.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper and spoon dough onto sheets.

Bake for ~12 minutes @ 375F

This recipe is very easy and the cookies quick to make. I definitely recommend it!

Today’s Sweetness: Hubby has been out of town since Monday and he comes home tonight!

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Last week, a lemon meringue pie was brought into my work. Lemon meringue pie is one of my favorite types of pie and it inspired me to make a lemon creation of my own. I stumbled upon lemon-limoncello cupcakes at www.browneyedbaker.com and couldn’t wait to try them!

These cupcakes are the perfect dessert for a summer evening and will satisfy any lemon lover out there. I brought them to a family dinner and they were the perfect end to the meal!

Cupcakes
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons limoncello
½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup lemon juice
Zest of one lemon

In an electric mixer, beat the butter, cream cheese, and sugar on medium speed until light and creamy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the limoncello and beat for a minute.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternatively, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Add the lemon juice and the lemon zest and mix until just incorporated.

Divide the batter into cupcake tins (mine made 17 cupcakes). Bake for 18-20 minutes at 350F or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely

Lemon Curd
Zest of 2 lemons
½ cup lemon juice
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk

In a saucepan, combine the zest, lemon juice, and sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat. In a bowl, whisk together the egg and egg yolk. Whisk the lemon mixture into the eggs to temper them and then pour back into the saucepan. Over medium heat, whisk the mixture constantly until it thickens (should only take a few minutes). Remove from the heat and place in the fridge to cool completely.

I misread the instructions to this and put the juice of two lemons instead of the zest. That first batch was TART! Luckily I had just enough lemon juice to make a second, correct batch!

Icing
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon limoncello
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Beat together the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until light and creamy. Add in the limoncello and beat for an additional minute. Gradually add the icing sugar and beat until fully incorporated and smooth.

Now it’s time to assemble these cupcakes!

Scoop out the middle of each cupcake. I didn’t have a good spoon to do this so I just used a knife to cut a circle in the middle of the cupcake and then popped out the center. Spoon the lemon curd into the center of each cupcake.

Put the icing into a pastry bag and top each cupcake. Garnish with fruit.

The cupcakes turned out great and very delicious. A little messy to eat, but that’s what napkins are for!

When I first read the recipe it sounded like a lot of lemon so I made a raspberry curd to go in the middle of some of the cupcakes. The curd didn’t thicken very well though so I ditched that idea and just went with straight lemon. The all lemon cupcakes weren’t overwhelming so that was good. I think a different fruit curd would taste delicious in these cupcakes though. I will have to bake this recipe again soon and try that.

Today’s Sweetness: A night to myself tonight to relax at home.

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I had a lot of fruit in my fridge so I decided to use some of it in baking last night. I didn’t really have a recipe to use so I just kind of combined a few recipes into…something. I don’t know what exactly I would call it…

So I might have had a few bites before I took the picture…

Crust:
1.5 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 tbsp butter

Fruit Filling:
1.5 cups rhubarb
1.5 cups strawberries
1.5 cups blueberries
2 tbsp water
2 tsp cornstarch

Topping:
2/3 cup flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup chocolate pieces

Melt the butter and mix it with the graham cracker crumbs. Press into the bottom of a 9 x 9 greased pan.

Place all three fruits in a saucepan, over medium-high heat until they are warm (don’t boil them). In a separate bowl, mix together cornstarch and water. Once the fruit is warm, mix in the cornstarch/water mixture and stir until it has thickened up.

Spread the fruit on top of the graham crust.

Mix together the flour and brown sugar until combined. Use a pastry cutter or fork to cut the butter into the mixture until it is crumbly.  Spread over the top of the fruit.

The Hershey Kisses chocolate pieces got added in because they were sitting in my pantry and I was starting to feel bad about sneaking a couple every hour or so. They need to get used up so they went on top of the crumbs. Adding chocolate to things is usually a pretty good idea.

Bake at 350F for approximately 45 minutes.

It turned out to be a bit crumbly but that was alright with me. I bet it would taste 100 times better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream but we didn’t have any in the house.  Next time…

Today’s Sweetness: A beautiful sunny day outside! It has been 5 days since I woke up to blue sky

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Rainy Weekend

Well it was a very rainy weekend in our neighborhood. It poured all day Saturday and rained off and on Sunday. There were a few sunny breaks though and I managed to take advantage of those and take the dog for a walk. He tried to show me the joys of splashing through puddles but I left that to him and just enjoyed the sun.

On Friday night Hubby took me on a beautiful date to a fancy restaurant downtown. Neither of had been there before and it was a great experience!

The food was delicious and the service great. I even got some flowers out of the deal!

The rainy Saturday was a perfect day for baking! I had some fresh strawberries laying around and wanted to put them to use so I decided to make some cupcakes.

We all know that strawberries are 100% better when chocolate is included so I stuck some pieces of chocolate in the cupcakes before they went into the oven.

Unfortunately, I filled the cupcake cups too full on a couple of the cupcakes so they overflowed and made a bit of a mess.

Fortunately, Hubby and I took care of the problem.

I added some strawberries to my tried and true icing recipe and it turned out beautifully! Add some more fresh strawberries and a bit of chocolate to the top and they were compete.

The cupcakes were fresh and summery, unlike the weather. They were the perfect way to forget about the wet day outside.

Luckily I have strawberries left over because yesterday I got a bagfull of rhubarb from my mother in law’s garden. Now to find a good strawberry-rhubarb recipe for tonight…

The Weekend Sweetness: The little robin who has made it’s home in my neighborhood, even with all the construction going on. I love hearing it’s little song every morning and night.

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My Cute Little Cookbooks

A few years ago I received a set of cute little cookbooks from a friend for Christmas

Each little book combines two ingredients into about 20 different recipes. Rightfully so, chocolate has its own book all to itself.

I have had these books for a few years now. And in all those years I have only made one recipe a couple years ago. Since then, they have just been a nice decoration on my cookbook shelf.

Well last night I decided that I needed to start trying out some of these recipes. I sat down with all the books and began to go through them, trying to find the recipe I would make.

Unfortunately, the cookbooks use kind of obscure ingredients so I couldn’t do a lot of the recipes with what I currently had in the house. Humphrey was also pretty restless last night so I didn’t want to do a recipe that was too involved as he seemed pretty intent on completely destroying one of my couch cushions.

I finally settled on a recipe from the Chocolate Book called “Chocolate Pots”. It seemed fairly easy and quick and it involved chocolate so really, how could I go wrong?

I’ll tell you how I went wrong.

It started pretty good. I mixed everything together and it was smelling good. Then came the cornstarch to thicken up the cream mixture I had prepared. I stood by the stove stirring and stirring and trying to be patient but after 15 minutes and no thickening, I was pretty frustrated. So I decided what I needed to do was put in some more cornstarch. Sounds easy, right? It would have been if Humphrey hadn’t pushed his way under my feet, causing about a cup of cornstarch to come out of the container instead of a teaspoon.

Now that my stove looked like it had been snowed on, I officially gave up on the Chocolate Pots. I’ve decided those cookbooks are my baking nemesis. I think they are destined to spend their life as decoration in my house. Oh well. At least they’re still cute.

Today’s Sweetness: A beautiful blue sky after a few days of rain

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