Monday, December 13, 2010

Baking Days 7 and 8

Day 7 - Boston Creme Cupcakes:
I didn't care for these very much. :/ I liked that the cake was not super sweet (because you are going to put all that sweetness in) and the topping was wonderful... mostly because it is melted chocolate and butter. Hard to go wrong with that. But the filling was TERRIBLE. It never quite set up to that lovely custard consistency that makes the boston creme so good. It wasnt very tasty either... just a really poor effort. I am not even going to post the recipe until I can find a suitable filling because I don't want anyone else to be as disappointed as I was.

Day 8, part one - Chai Spice Snickerdoodles:
Taken from These also fell into the"meh" category. The outside topping was pretty good, but basically just a fancier snickerdoodle topping. The cookie part was a little too dense and had a dry mouthfeel. I would like to re-make these using my normal snickerdoodle dough and changing up the topping a bit to make it more spicy.

2 tablespoons granulated sugar plus an additional 2/3 cup, divided use
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (if anyone makes these, borrow some cardamom from me- it is EXPENSIVE!)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened (1/2 package)
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste (substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large cookie sheet. (I used parchment paper- my new best friend)
In a small bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cardamom until well combined.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat butter, cream cheese,
additional 2/3 cup granulated sugar, honey and vanilla paste until creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in flour mixture until combined. Chill dough in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, or until you can roll it into balls.

Roll the cookie dough into balls and roll the balls into spice mixture to coat completely. Place on sheet pan and flatten with hands to about 1/4-inch thickness. Bake at 350 degrees F for 9-12 minutes or until golden and puffed. Cool for 2 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool.

Day 8, part 2 - Cheesy Crackers:
I adapted these from who adapted them from Smitten Kitchen. They are WONDERFUL. I made them for Thanksgiving with white flour and they were all gone with my mom saying "Did you make more?"so I made them again, but used whole wheat flour this time. I think they are better if you use an extra sharp cheddar (which I did the first time), however you can really use any cheese or mix of cheeses. They come out very light and flaky.. more like a pie crust consistency than a true cracker. Make sure not to roll them too thin or they will lose some of that wonderful texture.

1½ cups (6 oz) grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
¾ cup (90 g) flour, plus more for dusting
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (order some pizza and use the little packets - thats what I did!)
1 tablespoon milk

1. Preheat oven to 350˚.
2. Put everything except the milk in a food processor. Pulse the processor, 5 seconds at a time, for about 5 or 6 times, until the dough is in coarse crumbs. (I couldnt find the food processor, so I used a pastry blender and did it by hand)
3. Add the milk and process until the dough gathers together in a ball.
4. Roll the dough out on a floured board with a rolling pin that has been floured until it is about 1/8 inch thick.
5. Cut the dough into 1-inch squares with a sharp knife or pizza cutter. You can put a bit of flour on the blade of the knife to keep it from sticking.Use the flat end of a wooden skewer to poke a hole in the center of each cracker
6. Place the crackers at least 1/4 inch apart on parchment paper on a baking sheet
7. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until the edges are just starting to brown. (you will smell them when they are almost done)
8. Put the baking sheet on a rack and let the crackers cool completely.

Day 8, part 3 - Homemade Granola: (yes I went crazy this day)

adapted from This granola is super awesome and much cheaper than buying it! The most annoying part is the baking time bc you have to mix it every 20 minutes and bake for about an hour. You can also change up the nuts and the fruits in it to suit your tastes or the season. This recipe makes a gallon bag full of granola.

6 C oats (NOT the quick cooking ones)
1 C sliced almonds
1 C chopped walnuts
1 1/2 C shredded unsweetened coconut
1 C applesauce
1/2 C honey
2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 C light brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 C raisins
1 C dried cherries
1 C dried cranberries
or dried apples, nectarines etc….

In your biggest mixing bowl, mix together; oats, almonds, walnuts and coconut
In a small bowl mix together: 1/2 C honey, 1 C applesauce, 2 Tbsp vanilla, 1/2 C brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Pour the applesauce mixture over the oat mixture and combine thoroughly. Use your hands (preferred) or a spoon and mix until thoroughly combined
Spread the mixture over two baking sheets and bake at 250 F for about 1 hour 20 minutes.
If the baking sheet is light it will take about 1 hour 20 minutes, if it’s dark/non-stick it will take about 1 hour (these are {abouts} it will depend on your oven, you want the granola to have turned a lovely golden brown. It will get crispy after it’s removed from the oven and allowed to cool
stir the granola every 20 minutes (also for even baking, i would make sure to rotate the pans in your oven when stirring)
remove from the heat and allow to cool, this is when it will crisp up
add in dried fruit: cranberries, raisins, cherries, apples etc…

Monday, December 6, 2010

25 Days of Baking! Days 4, 5 and 6

Day 4 - Marble Cookies: sister made these, so I do not have the recipe yet (will update later when I have it). These were yummy and great with this little glass of milk. Perfect after dinner dessert if you dont want something too heavy.

Day 5 - Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies: adapted from a recipe on (from Bon Appetit. I really liked these, they came out crispy with little bits of butterscotch goodness. Flavorful and yet simple. It was hard not to eat the batter (something I am notorious for)

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup old-fashioned oats (I used about a cup and a half)
2 cups butterscotch chips (heck just toss a whole bag in there- this would probably also be good if you switched out some of the chips for white chocolate or dried fruit.. yum)

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture and oats and stir until blended. Stir in chips.
Drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until edges are light brown, about 16 minutes. Cool on sheets 5 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool completely

Day 6 - Pumpkin Apple Puppycakes: (forgot to take a picture! Will add it later) recipe is taken from I neglected to add the "frosting" bc then they would require refrigeration and I just dont have the space :) These smelled SO good when they came out of the oven that I admit I tried a little bite.... don't be fooled like I was. Safe for human consumption, but not great for eating. I imagine that if I were a dog, they would be awesome though! I have some other dog treat recipes that I will be trying after the 25 days are over... I hope my pup friends are up for testing!

1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie – just plain pumpkin!)
1 medium apple (peeled + diced small)
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
3 eggs lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix oats, cinnamon and flour together. In another bowl mixed together pumpkin, apple sauce, eggs and apple together. Combine wet and dry ingredients and scoop into a greased muffin tin -all the way to the top. These are dense and will not rise. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack to dry out over night. yield- 6 cupcakes (I doubled the recipe and used a mini muffin pan and turned out with 24 lil cups. This also meant my baking time was around 15 min. You will smell them when they are done. Poke with your finger and if it springs back, they are ready!)

Friday, December 3, 2010

25 Days of Baking! Days 1, 2 and 3

Day 1 - Peppermint Brownie Cups: My recipe was adapted from who adapted it from Nestle's Very Best Baking. Its weird how recipes get tweaked and adapted and can end up all so different! I really liked these brownies and would definitely make them again for a holiday event.

3/4 cup granulated sugar (I substituted brown sugar for some extra moistness)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon water
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup mint chips plus about 1/3 cup more for garnishing (I use Andes brand peppermint chips - to die for!)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips plus about 1/3 cup more for garnishing

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray or grease 12 muffin cups.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine sugar, butter, and water. Microwave on high for 1 minute or until butter is melted. Stir in 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips until melted. Stir in egg and vanilla extract. Add flour and baking soda, stirring until blended. Allow to cool to room temperature. Then, stir in 1/2 cup each mint chips and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Fill muffin cups with batter - about 3/4 full.

Bake for 13-15 minutes or until top is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out slightly wet. Place pan on wire rack. Centers of brownies will fall upon cooling. If not, tap centers with the back of a teaspoon to make a hole. *mine did not fall and thus, there was no hole to fill with garnishing chips... however I still think they were great and I may have eaten some of the additional chips while they were cooling.*

While brownies are still hot, top with semi-sweet chocolate chips and mint chips. Cool completely in pan.

/a>Day 2 - Eggnog Cookies: Sister baked these, recipe came from a Mrs. Fields cookie book. They were good, but a little dry. If we made them again in the future, I would do some adjusting to make them more moist and yummy.

2½ cup Flour, all purpose
1 teaspoon Baking powder
½ teaspoon Cinnamon, ground
½ teaspoon Nutmeg, ground
1¼ cup Sugar, white
¾ cup Butter; salted, softened
½ cup Eggnog
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
2 larges Egg yolks
1 tablespoon Nutmeg, ground

Preheat oven to 300F. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. mix well with a wire whisk and set aside. In a large bowl cream sugar and butter with an electric mixer to form a grainy paste. Add eggnog, vanilla and egg yolks and beat at medium speed until smooth. Add the flour mixture and beat at low speed just until combined. Do not overmix. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased baking sheets, 1 inch apart. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg. Bake for 23-25 minutes or until bottoms turn light brown. Transfer to cool, flat surface immediately with spatula.

Day 3 - Cranberry Orange Scones: These are sooo yummy. I have had them for breakfast every day since. They were perfect the next morning when I had an early test. :) They are not too dry and perfectly flavorful.

2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp fresh orange juice, divided
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp orange peel, finely grated (I used about 2 Tbsp because I couldn't find the grater and used the zester instead- bigger chunks, which I actually love)
1 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2) sticks chilled unsalted butter, diced
1 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts coarsely chopped (optional)
1/2 cup half and half, chilled

Preheat oven to 375. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or use a non-stick mat. Whisk together 2 Tbsp sugar and 1 Tbsp juice in a small bowl. Set aside.

Whisk flour, baking powder, orange peel, salt and 1 cup sugar in a large bowl. Add chilled butter, mix using hands until a coarse meal forms. Mix in cranberries and walnuts (if desired). Add half and half and remaining juice. toss with a fork until dough forms moist clumps

divide dough in half. Press out each half onto floured surface into a 6-inch diameter (1 in high) round. Cut each round into 6 wedges and transfer to baking sheet. Brush with glaze. Bake until golden and tester comes out clean, about 18 min. Serve warm or at room temp.