Saturday, June 27, 2009

Brownie Bites

1 9 by 13 recipe box of brownies

1 c semi sweet chocolate chips
1 c milk chocolate chips
1/4 c creamy peanut butter

1. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions. Bake until toothpick comes out nearly clean from center but still slightly undercooked. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes. When you are able to touch brownies comfortably, scoop brownies with a medium cookie scoop, roll tightly into a ball and place onto a wax paper lined baking sheet. Continue rolling until brownies are gone. Freeze brownies until very firm, a couple hours or overnight.

2. Melt chocolate chips, then stir in peanut butter until creamy smooth. Roll each frozen brownie ball into chocolate and place onto wax paper to dry. Enjoy room temperature or chilled.

*From Picky Palate.

Banana Bread

1/2 c butter
1 1/2 c sugar
1 t vanilla
2 eggs
2 c flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
4 T buttermilk
1 c mashed bananas
brown sugar

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs one at a time on low speed until creamy. Sift flour with salt and soda. Combine buttermilk and bananas. Add flour and bananas alternating between the two three times ending with bananas. Pour into 2 prepared loaf pans. Prepare pans by lining with nonstick cooking spray and combining 2 T flour with 2 T brown sugar. Coat the inside of pan with flour/brown sugar mixture. Top with a generous layer of brown sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 4o min. Turn heat down to 325 degrees and bake about another 10 minutes or until knife comes out clean. SO good and SO moist!!

*Adapted from my aunties banana bread recipe

Cars Cake

2 boxes Devils Food cake mixes

1 recipe cream cheese frosing, recipe here

Fondant Icing

Green sprinkles

Red, green, black, blue, and yellow food coloring gels

Make 1 box of cake mix and bake in 2 medium to large loaf pans. Remove from pans and cool completely. Wrap in saran wrap and foil and freeze overnight. Remove from freezer and cut and carve to create the car shape...sorry - I have no other steps here because I just cut and pasted until it looked like a car. Crumb coat your finished product with red colored frosting. Put in fridge for at least an hour...this hardens the crumbs so you don't have crumbs in your finished product. Then frost again and smooth to finish with a metal knife dipped in hot water. Put in fridge to harden again. Color and cut fondant for the eyes, lightening bolt, windows, numbers, and headlights.

Bake the 2nd box of cake mix and bake in a sheet cake pan for about 15 minutes or until knife comes out clean. Cool completely. Frost with green colored frosting. With a toothpick, trace a track into the frosting. Frost the track with back-colored frosting. Pipe white lines. Put green sprinkles on green frosting to make it look like grass.

Carefully place the car cake into the middle of the sheetcake. ENJOY your awesome cake!!!!

It's easiest when you have a car model right with you to go off of...but make it your own.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

2 cups flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1/2 t salt
2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar, plus more for rolling
2 large egg yolks
2 T heavy cream
2 t vanilla
Chocolate and Vanilla Ganache (below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, cocoa powder, and salt into a small bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium, and add yolks, cream and vanilla. Scrape sides of bowl. Beat in flour mixture until just combined. The dough will appear dry, but will come together when you start rolling it into balls.
Roll balls using 2 t dough for each and roll in sugar (I used a 1 inch scoop baller.) Place 1 inch apart on parchment paper. Using your finger, make an indentation in the center of each ball. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through until cookies are just set, about 10 minutes. (If indentations lose definition, press centers lightly again.) Let cool slightly on baking sheet. Transfer cookies to wire racks and let cool completely.
Spoon warm ganache into center of each cookie. Let stand until firm, at least 15 minutes. Cookies will keep, covered, for up to 3 days.
Chocolate Vanilla Ganache
Makes about 1 cup
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 T vanilla
4 oz (about 1/2 cup) semi-sweet chocolate (I used chocolate chips)
2 T butter, cut into pieces and softened
Combine honey, cream, and vanilla in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook stirring until honey dissolves. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 10 minutes
Place chocolate in a small bowl. Pour cream mixture over chocolate and let stand for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Add butter and continue to stir until incorporated. Let cool slightly and then spoon immediately into cookies.
*SOOO delicious and PERFECT for a baby or bridal shower because they are small and dainty.
*Makes about 50 cookies

Rigatoni Bake

1 lb box Rigatoni noodles
1 lb ground beef
1 large jar favorite spaghetti sauce
1 cup cottage cheese
1-2 c shredded mozzerella
minced onion
seasoned salt
garlic powder

Bring large pot of water to boil. Add 1 t salt and noodles. Cook until just before al dente. You don't want it too overdone because it will continue to cook in the oven. Brown meat with a sprinkle of minced onion, seasoned salt and garlic powder. Once meat is brown, drain fat and add spaghetti sauce (you may need to add an extra can of tomato sauce if it's not enough). Add cottage cheese and cooked noodles. Transfer to a 9 by 13 dish. Top with a layer of parmesan cheese and then mozzerella (I also add a little cheddar cheese for the extra tang...I recommend.) Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Enjoy!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

German Chocolate Cake

Happy Fathers Day! This is my dad's favorite cake, so I went all out and made a 3 layered German Chocolate Cake. It was intense, but SOOO worth it!!! I don't think I'm ever going to eat the frosting out of the can again! You should definitely try this!

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 egg yolks
4 eggs whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour**
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk

Pour chocolate chips in a bowl and pour 1/2 cup of boiling water over top and let sit 3 minutes. Stir to dissolve. Let this cool slightly. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mix 1 cup of butter with 2 cups of sugar until light and fluffy - usually about 2-3 minutes on medium speed, scraping sides so it all gets incorporated.
Slowly add in your egg yolks one at a time while beating the mixture. Once there are no more streaks, or spots of yellow remain they have been mixed in well enough. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
Add chocolate liquid and 1 teaspoon vanilla after the egg yolk is completely mixed in to the batter.
It is important to sift the flour in order to remove all the lumps. I usually do this by putting all of the dry ingredients into one large bowl and run a wire whisk through it quite a few times so that everything is incorporated. This is the time when you add 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the flour.
Add the milk and flour to the mixture at the same time, but alternating between the two (milk, flour, milk, flour...) Don't stop mixing as you do this. Once you are done beating in the milk and flour, make sure that it is smooth.

Take your four egg whites and beat them at a very high speed. When you lift the beater out of the bowl it should have a peak, or pointed tip at the end of it. This means they are done being whipped. This process should take about 5 minutes. You will want to move quickly on to the next step to keep the egg white fluffy. *Make sure that there is no egg yolk mixed into your egg whites.
Now fold in your egg whites SLOWLY. DO NOT STIR OR BEAT THEM IN!! This would ruin the cake!
Pour cake batter into 3 prepared 8 inch round pans. You can either butter and flour them, or cut wax paper to fit inside of the bottom of the pans. This cake is VERY soft and fluffy so to be safe, you might want to put the wax paper in.
Bake for 30 minutes until the centers don't jiggle and a toothpick comes out clean. Let sit for 10 minutes and then remove from pans by loosening the sides with a knife and flipping over. Let cool on a cooling rack until COMPLETELY cool.
Frost with Coconut Pecan Frosting:
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/3 cups Sweetened Coconut Flakes
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Stir together sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks and butter in medium saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly - about 10-12 minutes. In the meantime, in a skillet, toast pecans on medium heat for about 5 or more minutes...until you can smell the aroma of toasting nuts. Remove everything from heat; stir in vanilla, coconut and pecans. Cool to room temperature. Makes about 2-2/3 cups of frosting.
*I had to double this recipe for the 3 layered cake. SOOO GOOOD!!!
**To make cake flour, add 2 T cornstarch to a 1 cup measuring cup the add enough flour to fill the 1 cup. That equals one cup of cake flour. To make 1/2 cup, add 1 T cornstarch and fill with enough flour to fill the 1/2 cup measuring cup.
*Cake recipe adapted from
*Frosting recipe from Sadies Kitchen

Monday, June 8, 2009

Reeces Peanut Butter Cup Cake

It was my Mom's birthday when I made this and I forgot to take pictures before I put the candles on so you get to see it as a birthday cake!
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup tightly packed brown sugar
½ Cup creamy peanut butter
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup Mini Reeces Peanut Butter Cups Baking Chips (You can usually find these where they sell chocolate chips...they might be hard to find. You can also sub with a mixture of peanut butter chips and chocolate chips if you can't find them.)

8 oz softened cream cheese
½ Cup powdered sugar
¼ Cup creamy peanut butter

2 packages Recees Peanut Butter Cups, chopped
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour two 9 x 1 1/2 inch pans. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix together brown sugar, peanut butter and butter for two minutes. Add egg and egg yolk and mix for another 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and mix for another minute. Add half of the flour mixture and mix until incorporated about 20 seconds. Then add the sour cream, mixing again for 20 seconds. Gradually add the remaining flour mixture. Add the hot water in a slow, steady stream and mix on low to combine, about 30 seconds. Add the vanilla and mix for another 10 seconds. Add the mini peanut butter cups and use a rubber spatula to finish mixing the ingredients until thoroughly combined. Divide the cake batter into the prepared pans, spreading it evenly. Bake for about 15 minutes. Use a toothpick to see if it is done. Remove from oven and wait about 5 minutes to remove from pan to a cooling rack. Let cool completely.

Place cream cheese, powdered sugar, and peanut butter into a medium bowl. Use hand mixer to blend until smooth. Once cakes are cooled completely, spread cream cheese over top of one of the cakes. Sprinkle 3 roughly chopped Reeces Peanut Butter Cups over cream cheese layer. Top with 2nd cake.
Chocolate Ganache:
1 Cup semisweet chocolate chips
¾ Cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
Place chocolate chips into a medium mixing bowl. Place cream and butter into a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat cream/butter until just boiling. Remove and pour over chocolate chips. Let sit for 3-5 minutes then stir until smooth.
To Assemble: Place layered cake on a cooling rack. Place rack on top of a cookie sheet so that the extra chocolate has a place to drip onto. Pour chocolate ganache over cake and using a narrow metal spatula, quickly pared it evenly over the top and sides of the cake. Garnish with chopped peanut butter cups in center of cake.

**SUCH an AWESOME cake!!! LOVE IT!
**Adapted from Picky Palate.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Strawberry Shortcake Cake

IMPORTANT!!: You MUST bake this in a 2-inch deep pan! I didn't have a round cake pan that deep, so i just used a standard 8by8 square baking dish and it worked perfectly. I am warning you...THIS IS DELICIOUS!!!! and SO pretty - perfect for a bridal or baby shower!
1 1/2 c flour
3 T corn starch
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
9 T unstalted butter, room temp
1 1/2 c sugar
3 eggs
1/2 c sour cream, room temp
1 t vanilla
1 (8oz) cream cheese, room temp
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
1 pound strawberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sift together four, salt, baking soda, and corn starch. In electric mixer, cream 9 T butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well each time. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until combined. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just barely combined. Pour into greased and floured 8-inch cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, or until no longer jiggly in the middle. Remove from cake pan as soon as you pull it out of the oven and place on a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely.
Stem and halve strawberries. Place in a bowl with 3 T sugar. Stir together and let sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, mash the strawberries to release juices and sprinkle with about 2 T more sugar. Allow to sit for another 30 minutes.
Make icing: combine cream cheese, 2 sticks butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl with electric mixer and whisk attachment (or hand mixer). This allows air to be whipped into the icing to make it light and fluffy. Mix until very light and almost looks like whipped cream.
Slice cake in half through the middle. Spread strawberries evenly over each half (cut side up), pouring on all the juices. Place cake halves into the freezer for five minues, just to make icing easier.
Remove from freezer. use a little less than 1/3 of the icing to spread over the top of the strawberries on the bottom layer. Place the second layer on top. Add half of the remaining icing to the top, spreading evenly, then spread the remaining around the sides.
You can either leave it plain with few strawberries showing through or garnish with strawberry halves.
IMPORTANT: Cake is best when served slightly cool. The butter content in the icing will cause it to soften at room temp. For best results, store in the fridge!!

*From The Pioneer Woman - my new favorite cake recipe!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos

1 (8oz) cream cheese
1/4 C salsa
1 t chili powder
1/2 t minced onion
1/4 t granulated garlic
2 T sliced green onions
2 C shredded cooked chicken
1 C grated pepperjack cheese
small corn tortillas
cooking spray

Heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray. Heat cream cheese in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds so it's soft and easy to stir. Add salsa, chili powder, minced onion and granulated garlic. Stir to combine and then add green onions. Add chicken and cheese and combine well. You can prepare up to this step ahead of time. Just keep the mixture in the fridge.

Work with a few tortillas at a time and heat in the microwave until they are soft enough to roll without cracking. It helps to place them between damp paper towels. Usually 20-30 seconds will do it. If you find yours are cracking when you roll them or are coming unrolled right away, just try heating them longer and try the paper towel thing.

Place 2-3 T of chicken mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges.Then roll it up as tight as you can. Place seam side down on the baking sheet. You can also secure with toothpicks if necessary.

Lay all of the taquitos on the baking sheet and make sure they are not touching each other. Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray or an oil mister and sprinkle some salt on top.Place pan in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown. Makes about 20+ taquitos.

*These are my new Go-To Appetizer!!! I could just eat the filling by the spoonfull! They are SOOO GOOD and are healthier because they aren't deep-fried. They are so crisp and delicious! You MUST try these! You won't be disappoined. I am even going to serve these for dinner! To make things easier, I used canned chicken. I was a little skeptical at first but they were AMAZING! I would definitely recommend that.

*Adapted from Our Best Bites - go there for better pictures.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 c real butter
1/2 c butter flavored Crisco
1 c brown sugar
1 c granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 c flour
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
3 c oats
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together butter, Crisco, and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat well. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix well. Stir in oats and chocolate chips. Drop rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet and remove to wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 4 dozen.
*OH MY GOODNESS!!!! These are SOOO good!!! They are thin, a little crispy on the edges and SUPER chewy! Everyone that had one was RAVING! This is my new FAVORITE chocolate chip cookie recipe!
*From: Mom.

Cookies and Cream Swirled Brownies with Chocolate Ganache

These are my new Go-To Brownies!!! This is a picture before the ganache:

After ganache:
1 box Brownie Mix (9x13 size)
8 oz softened cream cheese
1/3 Cup sugar
10 Oreo Cookies, broken into pieces
1 Cup semi sweet chocolate chips
3 Tablespoons half and half

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions and place into a 9 by 13 inch baking dish that has sprayed with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, stir together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Stir in Oreo Cookie pieces until combined. Using a spoon, spoon cookies and cream mixture evenly over brownie mix. Using a knife, gently swirl cookies and cream into brownies without scraping the bottom of the dish.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean from center. Cool completely.

Place chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips until smooth. Place back in the microwave for 15-30 more seconds if not smooth. Stir in half and half until glossy smooth, then spread over cooled brownies. Cut into squares and serve.

*Adapted from Picky Palate.