Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Oven-Roasted Plum Cakes



This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is for oven-roasted plum cakes. The original recipe makes 12 small cakes, which calls for 12 8-ounce baking dishes. I didn’t have dishes of the right size, so I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to do. I was out shopping with a friend and I came across a set of 4 square baking dishes that were the right size so I picked them up. Other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers asked about making one large cake, so I expect a lot of variations for this week’s recipe. Make sure you check out the links from other bakers on the Tuesdays with Dorie site.

Obviously, I only made 4 cakes, since that’s how many pans I had. I made a half recipe of the batter, and just had extra. Sometimes when you cut a recipe down too much, it just doesn’t work as well. This recipe is a bit unusual, in that you only use 2 tablespoons of batter for each cake. When I was assembling the cakes, 2 tablespoons just didn’t seem like enough. While the cake did puff up, I think that I would have preferred more cake. Maybe it would have been different with a differently shaped pan?

I baked these up and they looked nice. Not the fanciest dessert, but that’s ok. They are mainly plum and just a little bit of cake, so you can pretend that they are healthy! I think that next time I would just add more cake batter, as I liked the plum and liked what cake there was. At least my new dishes worked out ok!

Recipe from Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan, pages 255-256

Friday, August 29, 2014

5 Ingredient Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies



It’s the end of the summer and I have been doing some cleaning and organizing in the kitchen. While I do go through baking ingredients fairly quickly, I often end up with small quantities of nuts, chips, etc. I also needed to clean out some of the nuts that I didn’t use quickly enough. Why on earth did I buy that giant bag of walnuts at Costco? Those had to go! 

I discovered that I had a lot of milk chocolate chips and a lot of peanut butter. So my goal this week was to find a recipe to use them up. My husband had been asking for soft peanut butter cookies, too. I usually make peanut butter cookies with butter, which makes them crisp rather than soft. This recipe used peanut butter and milk chocolate chips and I figured they would be soft, too. I had seen recipes for these 3 or 4 ingredient cookies out on the web, so I figured I would give them a try.

These are so easy to make and my cookies turned out picture perfect: perfectly round and perfectly crinkly. The original recipe said it made about a dozen cookies, but I made exactly 2 dozen cookies. It’s a little hard to tell when they are baked through, because the spread just a tiny bit and don’t really brown. 10 minutes was just right for my cookies. My husband and I really liked these cookies: they had a great peanut butter flavor and we nice and soft. They were a great success (and didn’t last very long).


5 Ingredient Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

In a large mixer bowl, mix the peanut butter, brown sugar, egg, and baking soda. Mix on medium until incorporated. Add the chocolate chips and stir just until combined. The dough will be sticky.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 9-10 minutes, until set and the cookies are browned on the bottom. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for several minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Tablespoon.com

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

It's my 6th Blogiversary!


It's my 6th Blogiversary and I've had a lot of fun making so many different recipes! I wasn't too organized this summer so I don't have a special recipe to share today, but I wanted to thank my readers over the years. I'm already planning my fall and Christmas baking and I can't wait for the seasons to change and the prime time for baking to begin.

~Nicole



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Banbury Cakes



I recently joined a new baking group called What’s Baking. Every other month a host selects a theme and we all select a recipe that fits the theme. This month, the host is Ali from Sparks from the Kitchen and the theme she chose was to bake something celebrating our heritage. I’m pretty much American through and through and I don’t really identify with a heritage beyond that, so this was tricky. My husband is British, so I chose to bake something from his heritage.

I asked my husband what I should bake and he sent me a couple of recipes that he recommended. I looked at the Banbury cakes and thought that they looked great. I talked to him some more and he said that Banbury is a village in Northamptonshire that is closest to where he grew up: Brackley. What a perfect choice then!

These are little puff pastry cakes filled with a spiced currant filling. I don’t always have the best luck with puff pastry, because I try to rush the thawing process. I took my time and I was ok this time. I had all the ingredients on hand except candied orange peel. I used orange marmalade instead and it worked out great! The picture on the BBC website wasn’t very good and I honestly didn’t know what these were supposed to look like. My husband came home the day I made these and he said they looked perfect, which was such a relief! These are flaky little pastries with a lovely sweet/spicy filling. These were such a success and I had a lot of fun making this recipe.

Banbury Cakes
1 package puff pastry (17.3 ounces)
3-1/2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon honey
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp ground cinnamon
3.5 ounces currants
2 ounces candied orange peel or marmalade
1 egg white, beaten
1 tablespoon clear sanding sugar

Thaw the puff pastry at room temperature for 30-60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat and set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, honey, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Add the currants and the orange peel and mix well.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the pastry to 1/8” thick (the thickness of a £1 coin). Cut out 4” circles; I was able to get 4 circles from each sheet of puff pastry. Divide the filling between the circles.

Bring up the edges of the pastry to enclose the filling and crimp the edges of the pastry together to look like little purses. Turn the pastries over, with the folds underneath. Roll or pat each pastry out gently to an oval shape, taking care not to expose the filling. Place the pastries on the prepared baking sheet, making sure the folded side is down. Brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle with sanding sugar.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or, if served cool, with butter.



Friday, August 22, 2014

Red Velvet Oreo Fudge Bars



I know I made chocolaty bar cookies last week, but I came across this recipe and I knew this was the next one to make! I had some sweetened condensed milk left over in the refrigerator and this used just the right amount. I don’t often make cookies that use a cake mix as the base, but every once in a while it’s a nice convenience. Plus, I would have to buy Oreos and Oreos are one cookie that you just can’t replicate at home. (Yes, I know there are recipes out there, but they aren’t the same!)

The only struggle with making these is that you have to be careful that the red coloring in the dough doesn’t stain anything in your kitchen. The dough is sticky, but there is plenty of it so it isn’t too hard to press in the pan. I rushed drizzling the milk/fudge topping over the bars and as a result one edge of the bar got too wet. Even after baking, that edge of the bar was very gooey. Just be careful with that! The red velvet looks great, but it doesn’t taste all that different than chocolate brownies topped with Oreos. I liked these and I enjoyed the convenience of making these bars.

Red Velvet Oreo Fudge Bars

1 Red Velvet cake mix
½ cup butter, room temperature
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
18 Oreo cookies, broken in chunks
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 dark chocolate hot fudge topping
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9” x 13” baking pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large mixer bowl, combine the cake mix, butter, egg, and vanilla until a soft dough forms. Press the dough evenly into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the Oreo pieces on top of the dough.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk and hot fudge until it is completely mixed. Evenly drizzle the milk/fudge mixture over the dough. Sprinkle the mini chips over the bars.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until set. Allow the bars to cool completely before cutting into bars.

Lift the bars from the pan and peel away the foil. Cut into bars.

Recipe from Inside BruCrew Life