Friday, April 30, 2010

Jalapeno Cheddar Bread

This is quick easy and tastes amazing right out of the oven! I made the recipe with a change or two, and then decided that next time (there will be a next time) I'd make a few more changes. This made (8) mini loafs (I had to have something small to mail to my husband) or (2) regular loaf pans.

Jalapeno Cheddar Bread
(adapted from Recipe Zaar)

1 1/2 tablespoons dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm water
4 cups flour (more as needed)I used around 4/12ish
2 large jalapeno peppers, coarsely chopped, and seeds removed (can use more jalapeno if desired) I used 3 and kept seeds in one of them. Next time I'd use 5 and keep seeds in 3 of them- I LOVE HEAT
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg (room temperature, let egg sit in hot water for about 5-7 minutes to warm)
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (optional)- I used a good amount...I'd do more next time!
1 cup milk, warmed
2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese (chopped into about 1/2-inch cubes or a little larger if desired) I chunked up an 8oz block of sharp cheddar. Next time, I'd use a bag of sharp cheddar shredded as well. Or freshly grate the cheese...that'd probably be better!

1. Prepare a heavy-duty stand mixer with a kneader blade.
2. Proof yeast in water with 1 teaspoon sugar for 8-10 minutes, or until foamy.
3. Heat milk in the microwave for about 50 seconds on HIGH.
4. In the stainless steel bowl, add in 4 cups flour, chopped jalepenos, salt, sugar, egg, hot pepper sauce (if using) and warmed milk.
5. After the yeast has proofed, add to the bowl and start kneading, adding in more flour as needed to create a soft smooth semi-sticky dough, keep kneading for about 8-10 minutes.
6. Towards the end of the kneading add in the cubed cheddar cheese, and mix until combined (the dough can be removed from the bowl and you can add/mix in the cheese by hand if desired).
7. After the kneading, let the dough sit out on a board or counter top to rest, covered with a clean tea towel for 8-10 minutes.
8. Gather up dough and knead gently for 30 seconds.
9. Then place the dough in a well greased bowl, and let rise until doubled (about 1-1/2 hours or could take a little longer).
10. Punch down dough and slice into two even pieces.
11. Shape into two large balls, and place on a cookie/baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Or in (2) loaf pans. Or if using mini pans- split into 8 sections and put in 8 separate pans
12. Cover with a clean tea towel and rise again for another 1 hour or more until doubled.
13. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 25-35 minutes or until the crust is a dark golden brown.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hip Hugger Bars

And that's where they go! Straight to your hips! These are hip hugger bars! My in-laws gave me the recipe several years ago in a secret mission attempt to make me weigh 300lbs. Lucky for me it didn't work. Although, they are hard to resist!
These are a soft oatmeal base with a creamy chocolate layer and MORE oatmeal mix on top. They require butter, chocolate and sweetened condensed milk. AND a treadmill. OR strong willpower. Make them - try ONE - then give them away!

Hip Hugger Bars
1c brown sugar
1/2c butter- softened to room temp, plus 1T DIVIDED
1 1/4c flour
1 egg
1 1/2c oatmeal (I use Quick Oats)
1/2t baking soda
1/4t salt
1t vanilla


12oz semisweet chips
1T butter (from above)
1 can sweetened condensed milk

1. Line a 9x13 with parchment paper. Set oven to 350.

2. Mix the first set of ingredients together in the usual fashion. Cream butter and brown sugar, add the vanilla, and egg. Then mix in the oats, flour, soda and salt..

3. Press 2/3rds said mixture into bottom of a parchment lined 9x13.

4. In a microwave safe bowl dump chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk and 1T butter. Microwave 1 minute, stir and continue to nuke until combined...stopping and stirring every 30 seconds.

5. Pour the most awesome mixture of chocolate onto the oatmeal base. Then break up the reminding 1/3rd over the top in little chunks. Covering what you can. It will spread- SOME.

* I've started to deviate from the recipe here. Lately I've been going back and mixing up a 1/2 batch of the oatmeal to put on top and spreading the entire initial batch onto a 9x13 to give it a deeper crust. Personally I like it that way. Just 1/2 the base recipe for the topping. To get the 1/2 egg it'd call for- I scramble one up and dump 1/2ish in. Scientific I know. But it's rather hard to screw up the recipe here trust me I can make this in my sleep!

6. Since we're back on track and we've 'sprinkled' the remaining topping on the chocolate layer pop that baby into the oven for 20-25minutes until the topping looks lightly golden.

7. Cool COMPLETELY on a wire rack before cutting. It makes a horrific mess if not. Trust me. Get a LARGE glass of milk and indulge later.

Makes 20ish bars. IF you are lucky enough to store - room temp in a sealed container up to 3 days is good.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Choconut Chip Cookies

Chocolate, Chocolate Chips and Coconut. YUM. Some of my favorite things. I was on the phone with my husband and gave him the option of Nutella cookies or the Choconut Cookies...he asked of course what the Choconut was and I happily informed him of the marriage of chocolate chips, and coconut. He was sold. But don't fear- next week I'll have the Nutella cookies a rolling!! Oh and these are originally a blonde coloring- but I had this cocoa from King Arthur (double dutch!) and HAD to toss it into something this week!

Choconut Chip Cookies
Adapted from All Recipes
1c butter
1c white sugar
1/2c light brown sugar
2 eggs
1t vanilla extract
2 1/4c all-purpose flour
1t baking soda
1t salt
2T of cocoa (double dutch baby!)
2c semisweet chocolate chips
2c flaked coconut

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the creamed mixture. Fold in chocolate chips and coconut. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto cookie sheets.

3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in a tight container for 3 days if you're lucky enough to keep them around for that long.

*yeah I know the picture stinks- I was in a hurry!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Strawberry Blueberry Cobbler

Sweet Melissa Sundays...sort of. The actual SMS recipe is Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler Pie. I got lazy. I'll admit. We'd just come back from a full day shopping with the Amish and I was tuckered out. The kids were tired and cranky...but I still felt like I needed it give it a go of sorts. So we ended up with Strawberry Blueberry Cobbler. For one I had no rhubarb in the house, and secondly I didn't feel I had it in me to complete the pie crust from scratch. So I followed the directions - sans the crust and reduced the sugar by 1/2c. Turned out well! I actually made this in a pie dish- but took the photo the way I'd make it next a little ramekin. I love things individualized. I'll be sure to update who the host if for this week so you can read the recipe...for the life of me I can't find find who it is!

Okay! The wonderful host this week was Tracy!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Chocolate Chip Oreo Cookies

These aren't your regular Oreo cookies- they're cookies with Oreo's in them. Oh yes. And chocolate. Oreo's AND chocolate. These were pretty darn good- good enough I had to give them away to a friend so I would quit eating them. It's just what good friends do- disable other friends diets.

Chocolate Chip Oreo Cookies
2 sticks softened butter
3/4c sugar
3/4c brown sugar
2 egg
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2c cup flour
1t baking soda
1t salt
18 broken (into pieces) Oreo Cookies
2c chocolate chips (in my case I mixed, Hershey milk and special dark chunks)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream butter, and sugars until well combined. Add egg and vanilla until mixed well.

2. Place flour, baking soda and salt into a large bowl, stir to combine. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients then stir in oreos and chocolate hunks until just combined.

3. With a medium cookie scoop, scoop onto baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until cooked, but still soft. Let cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Store in airtight container for 3ish days.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cinnamon Blondies

I was making a box of goodies for my husband and realized that I didn't have a 'bar' to send in there. The last ones were received so well (butterscotch cashew)that I knew I needed to include another- if all else fails just to keep the box 'standardized'. I have a bit of OCD. Since it was the end of my baking day I was running low on ingredients so I had to scour for something that didn't involve nuts and chocolate chips (I know takes out most of the fun stuff)...came across these babies. I'm really glad I did! These have a great texture to them...I see them as a jumping board for some really awesome treats! If I left them simple next time...I'd do a big ole cinnamon sugar sprinkle before I baked them. Give them a bit more 'oomph' than the coarse sugar I just did. I'm thinking - add some cinnamon chips and they'd be pretty darn tasty!

Cinnamon Blondies
(adapted from Sugarlaws)
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract

1. Oven to 350. Line a 9x13 with parchment paper.

2. Sift together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.

3. In your hand dandy mixing bowl mix up the butter and sugars until creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla.

4. Slowly add the dry to the wet. Mix until incorporated.

5. (here is where you can add extras- think cinnamon chips, white chocolate chips, walnuts would rock here too) I figure about a cup.

6. Spread into prepared pan - smoothing with a spatula or do like I did and spray your hands with some Pam and pat it down.

7. Bake 25-30 minutes or until an almost clean toothpick. Cool completely before trying to cut. Makes approx 30 bars.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

I love a good Oatmeal Cookie. I'm personally a fan of the soft and chewy vs the thin and crispy. These are my favs, defiantly soft and chewy. My favorite way for an oatmeal cookie is perhaps chocolate chip with pecans. Healthy I know. My second favorite is with dried blueberries. Oohhh next week you may see dried blueberries and white chocolate chips..THAT would be an awesome cookie! However, I'm currently out of blueberries in dried form. So that brings me to today's recipe.

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
1c butter, softened
1c white sugar
1c packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1t vanilla
2c flour
1t baking soda
1t salt
1 1/2t cinnamon
3c quick cooking oats
1c dried cranberries or blueberries or whatnot...

1. Oven to 375. Spray the baking sheets or use parchment paper.

2. Cream the butter, sugars. Beat in eggs one at a time, add vanilla.

3. Combine the flour, soda, salt and cinnamon. Mix into the butter/sugar mix until combined.

4. Stir in oats and cranberries.

5. Spoon in cookie ball size onto pans and bake for 8-10. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Keep in airtight container for 3ish days.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookies

These are the cookies that you sit down with a glass of milk to dip them into. They're the kind of crispy crumbly peanut butter cookie that many of us fondly remember. I had just got in my Baking: From My Home To Yours with Dorie Greenspan and flipped to the cookie section because my oven was still on from making tomorrow's cookies. And there they were- looking so pretty. Peanut Butter....I love peanut butter. I could eat it by the spoonful and be happy (sans the bigger pants I'd need).

Sorry,on to the recipe.
Peanut Butter Cookies

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of nutmeg
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup creamy peanut butter (chunky will work too)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup chopped salted peanuts
Extra 1/2 cupish of sugar for rolling

1.Oven to 350.

2.Line baking sheets with parchment or cooking spray.

3.Combine dry ingredients and set aside.

4.Then beat the butter on medium speed in a mixing bowl until smooth and creamy. Add the peanut butter and beat for another minute. Add the sugars and beat for 3 minutes more. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to fully incorporate the sugar and eggs. *By the way I timed a minute- just cause my timer was handy- holy moly that minute goes by so slow!*

5.On low speed, add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they just disappear.

6. Add chopped peanuts if you are using them. (I did they gave a nice texture)

7. Pour the 1/2 cupish of rolling sugar into a large shallow bowl. Working with a level tablespoonful of dough for each cookie, roll the dough between your palms into balls and drop the balls, a couple at a time, into the sugar. Roll the balls around in the sugar to coat them, then place on the baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between them. If the dough is too sticky, cover it and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

8. To make the criss crosses, use a fork and press down on top of the sugar crusted cookies.

9.Bake for about 12 minutes. Mine only took about 9ish. Watch your oven. When done, the cookies will be lightly colored and somewhat soft.

Store in an airtight container for 3 days.

Later this week I'll be making another type of peanut butter cookie. My favorite kind the uber chewy kind...with extra, extra peanut butter.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday 4/19

Fear not! I haven't slacked off yet! Today is baking day! I figure most Monday's will be like I'll have new things to post later on in the week! Coming up this week: Peanut Butter Cookies, Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies, Cinnamon Blondies, White Chocolate Blueberry Bread and probably another batch of Peanut Butter Cookies (just to try a new recipe).

I do have to say that I ordered some very fancy Double Dutch Process Cocoa from King Arthur Flour today. That and some Espresso Powder (enhances Chocolate!). Then I checked my mail and found like 3 more things I wish I'd have ordered! If you check out their site and decide to order something use code CWP13 for 10% off (better than nothing!). I'm eagerly awaiting it's arrival to try out some new glorious looking brownies next week! YUM! I'm such a sucker for brownies...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sweet Potato Bread with Cinnamon-Rum-Orange Glaze

This is my first baking with Sweet Melissa Sundays! This recipe was chosen by Loreli of Mermaid Sweets so be sure to check out her blog for the recipe!

This was good, super??? I don't know. My glaze ended up being way thicker because I got distracted as it was reducing (kids!) it's more of a sticky toffee glaze vs a nice thin glaze. Oh and I also only had like 5 pecans (that I dug out of a mixed nuts jar) vs a 1/2cup so the rest got subbed in with roasted cashews. Eh a little this a little all bakes up in the end!

I'll probably keep this recipe in that "oh why not" section of my cookbook! Next Sunday's SMS selection is Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler Pie by Tracey’s Culinary Adventure...stay tuned for more recipes coming this week! I'm for sure feeling a peanut butter cookie in there!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Butterscotch Cashew Bars

I bake a lot for my husband. It makes me feel all circa 1950's in a good way. I even have a frilly apron. I don't go as far as the pearls and the high heels...well not unless you count my slippers. Anyway- on to the recipe.

These combine the sweetness of the butterscotch in with a mix of caramelness and the saltiness of the cashews..the base is almost like a shortbread...but not quite. Anyway...I made up a word or two in there to try and describe these bars. They're a hit here.

This is from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book- slightly modified.

2 sticks butter- soft
1c firm packed brown sugar
1 1/4 t kosher salt- NOTE KOSHER!
21/2c flour
1 bag (11oz) butterscotch chips
3/4c light corn syrup
1t plus 1T water
2c ROASTED slated whole cashews- please take the time to good!

1. Oven to 350. Take a 9x13 and cover in parchment. Spray with the Pam.

2. In a mixer mix, cream butter, brown sugar, and salt on medium speed for a minute..get it creamy. Then slowly add in the flour on low speed. Mix just till combined.

3. Lightly press the dough in the bottom of the sprayed parchment pan. Poke lots of holes with a fork...all over that baby. Bake 35-40minutes or until the crust turns a golden color. Wire rack to cool.

4. In a large sauce pan over low heat, stir the butterscotch chips, the corn syrup and water. Heat until the mixture comes to a simmer and the chips are melted. Remove and pour the mixture evenly over the prebaked crust.

5. Sprinkle those beautifully toasted cashews over the top and pop back in the oven for 5 minutes.

Let cool completely before you remove the parchment to cut. Makes around 2dzn bars depending on how small you they made around 12. ;)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Salted Caramels

My husband fell in love with me all over again when I made these for the first time. A man who isn't a 'sweets' kind of man ate majority of these little glorious chunks of caramel within a week. And they make quite a few...

Caramels aren't really hard to make- you just have to have a good thermometer , a pot and a patience. This recipe is easy to follow and yields great results!

Salted Caramels
2c sugar
2c heavy cream
1c lt corn syrup
1/2t salt
5T unsalted butter
1t vanilla

1. Cover a 9x9 square with lightly buttered parchment paper (butter after covering pan!)

2. Combine sugar, syrup, salt and 1c of cream. Stir continuously and bring to a boil (over med-med high heat). Once it's boiling add the remaining cream slowly.

3. Reduce to a low boil for 5-6 minutes without stirring. (this will 'rise' a lot- don't stress just make sure you have a deep enough pot).

4. Add butter chunks. Boil to 242. This will take 30-45minutes. Will result in a golden brown...when reaches 242 pour into the buttered parchment pan...don't scrape the sides of the pan (that's the ugly stuff). Let sit till firm. These are SOFT caramels...think more than a Snickers type caramel but less than a Soft Werther's.

5. Sprinkle with Fleur De Sel Sea Salt OR do like I did and use a little bit of coarse regular sea salt..they were still glorious.

These make quite a few and I cut generous pieces. For ease of cutting use a buttered knife (re-butter for each cut).

It has been brought to my attention that this must have originated from Not So Humble's blog. It was not my intention to with hold credit due.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Caramel Filled Chocolate Cookies

Sinful. Like eat the entire batch, at one time, while staring at the television, and not realizing that you just devoured the last cookie until it's too late to savor it.

These are that amazing. Make them. NOW. It's worth unwrapping an entire bag of Rolos.

Caramel Filled Chocolate Cookies
(slightly modified from : Culinary in the Desert

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
48 ROLO candies

1. Oven to 350. (for when you're ready to bake them- they do need to chill first)

2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, 1 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar until creamy. Mix in eggs, one at a time, until combined, add vanilla. Add in dry ingredients, beating until just combined. Cover and place bowl into the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours. (you need to chill or else it's too sticky)

3. Get out your cookie scoop and filler up. Unscoop it onto your hand and create a hole...put the Rolo in and cover with the cookie. I usually added another 1/2 scoop here just to get the Rolo completely encased in glorious chocolate cookie batter.

4. Roll the cookies round and dip the TOP in the sugar. Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes (mine were perfect @ 11).

Store in airtight container.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Buttered Rum Meltaways

Oh these are good.

They remind me of a pecan sandie type texture...almost 'dry', then you let it sit in your mouth, for just a moment and you meld in the powdered sugar and's good. I call these my Grandma cookies. They just seem like something served at a dainty tea luncheon.

With two little boys...I'm not having dainty tea anytime soon. But I'll enjoy the cookies during nap time!

Recipe from Martha Stewart's Cookies
1 3/4 c plus 2T flour
2T cornstarch
2t ground cinnamon (I used Saigon Cinnamon- YUM!)
2t freshly grated nutmeg (I used already ground)
3/4t coarse salt
3/4c (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1c powdered sugar- DIVIDED
1/4c dark rum (I used regular rum- it was in the cute little airplane bottles- I imagine with a great rum these would be even better)
1t vanilla

1. Wisk flour, cornstarch, spices and salt in a bowl. Put butter and 1/3c powdered sugar and beat on medium speed in your mixer until pale and fluffy. Mix in rum and vanilla. Reduce to low and slowly add in flour mixture.

2.Divide dough in half. Place each on a piece of parchment paper and roll into a tight log (you know, by folding the parchment over onto itself and then using a ruler to make a tight roll) about 1 1/4 inch in diameter. Chill in freezer at least 30 minutes or up to 1 month (great for slice and bakes!)

3.Oven to 350 and bake on parchment for 15minutes or until just golden. Cool on wire racks for 10minutes and while still slightly warm put them in a ziploc bag and coat with powdered sugar (a few at a time so they don't break).

Can be stored in airtight containers at room temp for up to 2 weeks.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sweet Melissa Sunday's!

I'm very excited to announce that I'll be joining the Sweet Melissa Sundays baker group!

I just got this book- and I'm sad to say that I can't believe I'm starting so late! I'm in love with a ton of the recipes and can't wait to get baking! Next Sunday's (my first) is going to be Sweet Potato Bread with Cinnamon-Rum-Orange Glaze by Lorelei @ Mermaid Sweets I can't wait to get started!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lemon Cupcakes

My second cupcake I made for Easter was Lemon with a Lemon Buttercream. What can I say? I love Buttercream! The lemon was a box mix starter, so that means I added several different things to extend the mix. Don't judge. It's super easy and yummy!

Lemon Cake:

1 lemon cake mix
1 c all purpose flour
1 c sugar
3/4 t salt
3 eggs
1/2 box lemon instant pudding
juice of 2 lemons + water to = 1 1/3c
2T oil
8oz sour cream
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 t Princess Cookie and Cake Emulsion (you can get this at hobby lobby , michaels and joann's craft stores)

Combine dry- add wet- add eggs in one at a time- save sour cream for last. Bake at 350 for 14 minutes and rotate 1/2 way through. These dome beautifully!

*If I use this for a cake- I drop my temp to 325 and bake for longer- for (2) 8x2 rounds.

I'd make this again in a heartbeat! It was SO very good. Moist and gave a great lemon flavor!

Be nice- I'm trying to be all artsy with the photos!!

Coconut Cupcakes (from Easter)

Coconut Cupcakes for Easter....

I made (2) types of cupcakes for Easter. A coconut and a lemon- I only get coconut a few times a year and I make sure I get it for Easter. Now that I typed that out I'm not sure why I limit my coconut. I love the stuff. What's up with not having what you love?!

Anyway, I used a new recipe. Ina Garten Coconut Cupcakes. This is one of her first recipes I've ever tried (as I find it's hard to watch her on Food Network). And I'm bummed at the results. They weren't BAD, they just tasted like white cake with coconut shreds. No real coconut flavor. I used my own buttercream icing- flavored with coconut extract. That tasted good!! I dyed the coconut with neon liquid food coloring- I thought they went well with the wrappers. From now on however, I'll go back to my favorite coconut cake recipe Put the Lime in the Coconut Cake.