Monthly Archives: October 2012

My Sincere Apologies

Ok, first I want to apologize for the extreme lack of posts in the past few weeks! It is certainly not because I haven’t been busy in the kitchen, just not sure what happened…did not seem to have any free time for myself any time recently! So this post is going to be a compilation of some of the better things I’ve made over the past few weeks! I apologize for the lack of pictures as well and will get back on track and start posting again, I promise!

Pumpkin Granola:

  • 3 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or regular flour is fine)
  • 1/4 cup coconut
  • 1/2 T cinnamon
  • Dash of cloves, ginger and nutmeg (I used less cloves and ginger because that is what I prefer, but completely up to you)…could also sub pumpkin pie spice and get everything in one shot!
  • 1/2 can of pumpkin (don’t worry, plenty of uses for the rest of that can)!
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce or vanilla yogurt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 T honey

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl combine the pumpkin, applesauce and honey. Add to dry ingredients, mixing well to coat everything. Pour into an 8X8 baking pan and bake for 55-60 minutes, turning every 15 minutes or so.

Pumpkin Cheesecake:

adapted from Paula Deen

Crust:

  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick melted butter

Filling:

  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces whole milk ricotta (Paula uses 3 packages of cream cheese, I have made it that way as well and it is fabulous)!
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
  • 3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt (Paula uses sour cream)!
  • 1  cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (Paula uses all white sugar)!
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • dash of cloves and dash of nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan very well.

For crust: In medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter. Press down flat into prepared pan.

For filling: Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and the spices. Add flour and vanilla. Beat together until well combined.

Pour into crust. Spread out evenly and place in oven for 50-55 minutes. Center will still be wobbly (2-3 inches out from center is ok, it will set up as it cools and refrigerates)! Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. You may have heard/read other recipes where a water bath is necessary to bake a cheesecake but since this one has flour added in, it isn’t necessary. However, I have made this recipe in the past and used a water bath and it turned out just as good, just not necessary!

Pumpkin Spice ‘Donut Holes’:

For the Holes:

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1/2 t allspice
  • dash of  ground cloves
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used vanilla silk)

For the coating:

  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 T cinnamon

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a mini-muffin tin with cooking spray. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and spices, whisking to combine. In large bowl, beat oil with sugar until dissolved. Add in pumpkin, egg, milk and vanilla. Add dry ingredients to wet, mixing until just combined. Fill mini-muffin tins until almost full, bake 8-9 minutes. While baking, melt butter in small bowl. In another bowl, mix cinnamon and sugar together. When donuts are done, let cool until able to touch and remove from pan. Coat hole with butter (can either paint them with butter or just roll them around in the butter) then roll in cinnamon/sugar mixture. Set on cooling rack to finish cooling and eat as many as you can warm because these babies are delicious!

Pumpkin Beer Bread:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • dash of salt
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t ginger
  • dash of nutmeg and allspice
  • 3 T butter
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 10 ounces pumpkin ale
  • cinnamon sugar mix

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9X5 loaf pan. Combine flours, powder, soda, salt and spices in medium bowl. In small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Remove pan from heat, mix in pumpkin and brown sugar until sugar dissolves. Add in the eggs, one at a time, whisking the entire time. Finally, stir in the pumpkin ale. Add wet mixture to dry mixture, mix until just combined. Transfer to prepared pan and top with cinnamon sugar. Bake 45 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake:

Syrup:

  • 4 T butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 T apple cider or juice
  • 1/4 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup

Cake:

  • 2 apples, sliced (reserve top of 1 apple with stem intact)
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 T cider or apple juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ginger
  • dash of cloves and salt
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 apple, diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9-inch round cake pan thoroughly. Place top of apple with stem in center of pan, stem-side down, then line bottom of pan  with apple slices overlapping in a circle around  apple top. 

 Next, make the syrup. In a saucepan over low heat, combine all of the syrup ingredients and heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and pour a little over half the syrup over the apple slices and set aside rest of syrup. In a large bowl, combine oil, sugar, cider, and eggs. Mix until combined and sugar is dissolved. In separate bowl, whisk flour, spices and soda. Add dry into wet, mixing to combine. Fold in chopped apples. Pour batter over apple slices and bake for 45-50 minutes. Remove from oven and scrape around edges of cake with a spatula, let cool on wire rack 5 minutes then turn out onto a serving plate, bottom side up. Scrape any remaining sauce out of the pan onto the cake. Pour remaining syrup over cake when serving.

Strawberry Bread:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t baking soda
  • dash of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups strawberries, halved
  • 3 T milk (I used vanilla silk)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9×5 loaf pan with spray. Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a bowl, whisk to combine. Put strawberries and milk into a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth. Add oil and applesauce, blend until combined well. Add strawberry mixture to dry ingredients. Stir until justl incorporated. (Overmixing will produce a tough bread). Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes.

Your Trip Begins at Michigan.org!

We finally made it back to Michigan for some much over-due family time! It has been forever since we’d been back there to spend some quality time with everyone so once we heard Josh had the weekend off from coaching hockey, we grabbed the opportunity to rush out there! I knew that all four nieces and nephews were going to be around Friday when we arrived so I wanted to bring something fun and kid-friendly yet also delicious and adult-friendly with as a treat! I figured cake balls would be the perfect thing…what kid or adult doesn’t like a gooey, chocolatey ball of goodness?! One cake makes quite a lot of cake balls (even more, if you count the 13 I ate while making them)…so I decided to do three different frosting options instead of having 50 of the same kind. After much deliberation, and for those of you that know me and my ridiculous indecisiveness, I meant MUCH deliberation, I eventually settled on peanut butter, rich chocolate and homemade marshmallow fluff. Side note…homemade fluff was incredibly easy, I will never buy a jar of Fluff again and wish I would have made more since peanut butter and fluff sandwiches are one of my favorites! First things first, you have to bake a cake as a starting point. I went with my tried and true Ina Garten chocolate cake recipe I use for almost everything.

Crumbled cake!

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten, Beatty’s Chocolate Cake

  • Butter, for greasing the pans
  • 1 3/4 cups flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2  eggs, at room temp
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9X13 inch cake pan or line with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low-speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low-speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour batter into pan and bake 30-35 minutes.  Let cake cool completely on wire rack.  Once cooled, crumble cake into a bowl (or in my case, 3 separate bowls)!

Peanut Butter Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 T butter
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 2 T heavy cream

Beat peanut butter and butter until smooth. Add in powdered sugar until completely dissolved and smooth. Add in vanilla, then heavy cream (more or less than the 2 T depending on what you need to reach desired thickness/consistency). You want it a little thick so that it holds the cake together and forms a nice moist ball.

Chocolate Frosting:

  • 4 T butter
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, melted and cooled

Combine cocoa and boiling water, stir until cocoa has dissolved, set aside. Beat on medium-high, butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low, add in melted and cooled chocolate. Beat until well combined, add in cocoa mixture.

Doesn’t that just look amazing!?

Homemade Marshmallow Fluff:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • dash of salt

In a double boiler placed over simmering water, beat egg whites, sugar and salt until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot to the touch, about 5 minutes. (Whisk this mixture the entire time). Once dissolved, pour the mixture into a cool bowl, add vanilla and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Sooooo good, really wish I would have made more!

Ok once the cake is cooled and crumbled into bowls, it’s time for the cake ball assembly! This is kind of tedious and takes a little while, but is worth it if you have the time! I like to use the food processor for this part, it just makes a much smoother and well combined ball, but you can just mix it by hand if you prefer. Pour the cake crumbs into the food processor and add in the frosting, process until combined. Dump back into bowl and start forming balls, any size will do, just depends on how big you want them! Roll balls until mixture is gone and place in fridge until cooled (at least a half hour). Repeat with remaining cake and frostings, and let cool in fridge. I am sure you can speed this process along by putting them in the freezer for a little while instead of the fridge, but I haven’t tried it!

See how smooth and moist? Easy for ball rolling!

Once the balls are all cooled, melt a bunch of chocolate with a few teaspoons of shortening in a double boiler or the microwave. (I used an entire bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips and 3 teaspoons of shortening). The shortening helps keep the chocolate smooth and prevents clumping and also leaves a nice shine! Place some parchment or wax paper on a sheet pan and dip or roll each ball in the melted chocolate until well coated, then place on wax paper to harden. In order to tell the three balls apart, I crushed up some Reese’s peanut butter cups and Graham Crackers in different bowls and rolled the peanut butter balls in the peanut butter cups and the fluff balls in the graham cracker crumbs (kind of a s’more type thing). Once all of the balls are covered, set the pan back in the fridge to finish setting up.

Finished products! From left to right: peanut butter cup, triple chocolate and s’more!

 

Any Reason to Celebrate is a Reason to Bake!!

So this past weekend we celebrated my ‘grandma’ Katie’s 89th birthday. I use the quotes around grandma because she is not actually my grandma but may as well be! She has been around since long before I was born and is my mom’s Godmother. Katie does not have any grandchildren of her own, but we are as close as can be to her actual grandkids! Katie has done more for us than most ‘real’ grandmas do for their grandkids! We do not get to see Kayster (as I like to call her) very often anymore so I had to jump at the chance for a little celebration in her honor…couldn’t miss it! And of course, since there was something to be celebrated, I got to try out a few recipes I’ve been wanting to try!

I had made some pumpkin spice syrup for lattes earlier in the week and had the majority of a can of pumpkin left over in the fridge so definitely wanted to use that up; gooey pumpkin butter cake, done! Next I have been wanting to try out this brownie batter dip recipe I saw a while and figured that if I combined it with chocolate chip cookies, I could use it as a ‘cream filling’ for a cookie sandwich rather than a dip! So I also baked up a batch of chocolate chip cookies using a new recipe I saw on Pinterest! The cake turned out really good…tasted like pumpkin pie on top of buttery cake…not a bad combination! I did overcook it a tad though so the center was mostly where any ‘gooeyness’ was but it was still tasty! The cookie recipe I used yielded some very moist and chewy cookies, definitely using that recipe again in the future! And the brownie batter dip is simply sinful, I was just eating it with a spoon, no dippers needed…and sandwiched between two soft, chocolatey cookies was so good…my mouth was doing a little happy dance!

Gooey Pumpkin Cake 

Adapted from Paula Deen

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 8-ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • 10-12 ounces powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-inch square pan. For the bottom layer, combine the cake mix, egg and melted butter until smooth and all mixed. Pat the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Beat together the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth and combined. Add in eggs, one at a time, then vanilla and melted butter. Next add the powdered sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Beat until combined and pour over cake mix in bottom of pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Do not over-bake this, it is supposed to be ‘gooey!’ The center should still be a tad ‘wobbly’ when it is finished cooking but the edges will be brown and starting to pull away from the pan.

Not exactly the same size, but how pretty do those look?!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray or lay down a silpat on a cookie sheet. Sift together the flour and baking soda, set aside. In separate bowl, beat together butter and sugars until smooth and dissolved. Add in vanilla, egg and egg yolk, beating after each addition. Add in dry ingredients, then fold in chocolate chips. Making larger cookies, this will not yield all too many, I think I got about a dozen or 15 tops! But I used a 1/4 cup or so of batter per cookie! You can make them any size you’d like, but I wanted big, chewy bake-shop style cookies! If you go with larger cookies, make sure they are spaced apart more than the usual amount and bake for 13-15 minutes. Center will appear slightly undercooked but bottoms should be brown and the center will set up when cool.

Don’t you just want to eat those up!?

Brownie Batter Dip:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 T flour
  • 5 T cocoa powder
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 T milk

Combine cream cheese and butter, mixing until incorporated and smooth. Add in powdered sugar, flour, cocoa and brown sugar. Add in vanilla, then milk, 1 tablespoon at a time. Adding more if thinner consistency is desired. Try not to eat the whole thing, honestly!