Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fudgy Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars

Oh, my.  These are trouble.  Sinful, delicious, gooey trouble.

Fudgy Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars
{recipe adapted via}

1/2 cup butter, melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs {32 squares}
1 8 oz. bag toffee bits
2-3 cups of favorite chocolate chip cookie dough
{here's mine}
1 12 oz. bag chocolate chips
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Make your favorite cookie dough, set aside 2-3 cups and save the rest to bake later.

Grease 9x13 pan and heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together 1/2 cup of melted butter, 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs and 3/4 cup of toffee bits.  Pour mixture into the greased pan and press evenly until mixture covers bottom of pan.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

In a 2 qt. saucepan, stir the milk, chocolate chips and the tablespoon of butter over medium heat.  Stir frequently until chocolate chips are melted and mixture is smooth.  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.  Spread mixture over graham cracker crust.

In another bowl, break up the cookie dough and stir in 1/2 cup remaining graham cracker crumbs until well blended.  Crumble mixture evenly over the chocolate layer and sprinkle remaining toffee bits over the top.

Bake for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool completely before cutting.

:: notes from my kitchen ::
the original recipe calls for a tube of refrigerated cookie dough, but as i think that is disgusting, i gladly made my own.  you can do whatever you like best, obviously.

if you have a food processor, it works perfectly for making the graham cracker crumbs.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

Nothing tastes more like fall to me than pumpkin.  If I could, I would put it in everything this time of year.  Okay, maybe not everything...  This recipe comes from my mother in law and is one of my all time favorites.  It is moist and oh, so delicious.  Her recipe doesn't call for chocolate chips, but I say the only thing that could improve pumpkin would be chocolate, so I add away!  You do what you like.

Pumpkin Bread
3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
3 1/3 cups flour
2 cups pumpkin puree {1 small can}
1 cup nuts {optional}
1 cup chocolate chips {required} {just kidding}

Mix together sugar and oil until well blended.  Add eggs and water.  Sift in dry ingredients, then add the pumpkin, nuts and chocolate chips. {i don't add the nuts}  Pour into three *well* greased bread pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, then 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out almost clean.

:: notes from my kitchen ::
make sure your pans are very well greased, this bread tends to stick

this recipe also works very well as a bundt cake.  make as directed, and pour it into a buttered and floured bundt pan

Scones with Buttermilk Syrup

This is one of our family's very favorite special treats.  We only have it two or three times a year, because of that whole 'fried foods aren't healthy' thing, but they are totally worth the splurge every once in a while!

3 Tbsp yeast
4 cups warm water (115 degrees)
4 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp salt
3 Tbsp oil
about 9 cups of flour

Mix together water, yeast and sugar until yeast is dissolved.  Let stand for 5 minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients until flour is all pulled from the sides of the bowl.  Warning, this is an extremely sticky dough, so don't worry.  Cover and let stand for 30 minutes.  Pour dough out onto a well floured surface and roll out to 1/2 inch thickness.  Cut into squares and fry in hot oil {about 375 degrees}.

Buttermilk Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cube butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp light corn syrup
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

Mix sugar, butter, buttermilk, corn syrup and baking soda together in a medium sized saucepan and let come to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.

:: notes from my kitchen ::
the recipe for the scones, makes a *lot*.  so if it's just my family, we usually half it

watch your syrup very closely as it tends to boil over quickly

the buttermilk syrup, in my opinion doesn't make quite enough, so we usually double it for our family.

the syrup normally doesn't come out this dark, i think i let it boil just a tad too long, but it was still delicious

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

America's Test Kitchen Lunchbox Brownies.

My sister in law, Monica sent me this recipe last week after I had a disappointing run-in with another recipe.  As in, I threw the entire thing away.  It was that bad.  Thankfully, Monica had this little lovely up her sleeve and was willing to share.  Last year, she purchased the America's Test Kitchen cookbooks and I have to say, I've been slightly coveting them ever since.  I must have them...

Anyway, onto the task at hand.  Brownies.  Deliciously, fudgy, decadent brownies.  They are oh, so good.

America's Test Kitchen Lunchbox Brownies
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease 9x13 pan.

1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate; chopped coarse
12 Tbsp {1 1/2 sticks} butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts {optional}

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.  Melt chocolate and butter together in microwave for 1-3 minutes; stirring often.  Let cool slightly.  Gradually whisk in sugar, followed by eggs; one a time until combined.  Whisk in vanilla.  Fold in flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined.  Scrape batter into prepared 9x13 pan and smooth with spatula.  If desired, add chopped nuts to the top of the batter.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.  Brownies will be done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with just a few crumbs.  Do not overcook.  Let cool completely in pan for about 2 hours.

Heather's Junk in the Trunk Brownies.

This recipe comes from my dear friend Heather.  They are so good.  But be warned.  Once you eat them, you'll realize exactly why Heather gave them this name.

Junk in the Trunk Brownies

4 cups sugar
8 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups melted butter
1 1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 12x18 pan. (or 9x13 if you cut the recipe in half)
Mix cocoa and vanilla with melted butter, then add eggs, one at a time until well mixed.  Add the dry ingredients and combine.   Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes.  Let cool completely and frost.

Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Frosting
{makes about 2 cups}

1 stick {1/2 cup} butter
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Melt butter; stir in cocoa until smooth.  Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating on medium speed to spreading consistency.  Add more milk if desired.  Stir in vanilla.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Perfect Pound Cake.

I don't know about you, but the simplicity of a rich buttery piece of Pound Cake gets me every time.  Then you go and do something crazy, like topping it with fresh strawberries and freshly whipped cream, and I'm a goner.  Oh, the deliciousness...
I've been searching for just the right recipe for quite some time.  If you know me and my baking style, you know I'm not a huge fan of shortening.  I'm a butter girl, all the way.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that because of my love of all things butter, Paula Deen and I would be bosom friends.  I wanted an all butter Pound Cake, and many of the recipes (including Paula's shockingly) used a mix of shortening and butter.  But I was sticking to my all butter philosophy, so on I searched.

Then I came across this gem of a recipe.  Not only does it call for butter, butter and more butter...  But it also has a combination of three {3!} of my favorite extracts.  SOLD to the short blond girl in the back!

Perfect Pound Cake
{recipe via}

12 oz {3 sticks} of room temperature butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk- room temperature
1 tsp pure almond extract
1 tsp pure lemon extract
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups sugar
6 eggs- room temperature

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Butter and flour Bundt Pan or Tube Pan
{for the love of all that is holy, please do NOT use a non-stick spray for this!}

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.  Combine milk and extracts in a separate container and set aside.  Cream butter until light and fluffy {about 2 minutes} then add the sugar 1/4 cup at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl.  Beat about 3 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, allowing 15-20 seconds between each addition. {you must allow ample time for emulsification, otherwise you will have an overly dense cake}  Alternately add the flour and milk mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour.  Beat until batter is smooth and silky, but no longer.

Pour into prepared pan and tap it on the counter to allow batter to settle evenly.  Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Let cool in pan on a rack for 30 minutes.  Turn cake onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before serving.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Buckeye Cake.

Hi there.  It's been a while, no?  I haven't really baked very much over the last 3 + months since I last posted.  Mostly because I've been trying to be good and not eat so much sugar.  Because, um...I like sugar a little too much.  While I haven't missed the extra calories, I have missed the joy I feel when I bake something yummy.  I've missed trying out new recipes and sharing them with my family.  But I'm back now, with a handful of delicious recipes to share!

My dear friend Amy had a birthday this week, so I made this for a lunch I hosted in her honor.  Knowing her love of all things chocolate, I thought this cake would be the perfect ending to a delicious afternoon.

Buckeye Cake
{recipe via}

2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup flour
6 Tbsp melted butter
3 packets {1 oz each} Nestle Choco Bake
{can substitute 1 oz square of melted unsweetened baking chocolate per packet of Choco-Bake}
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt

Peanut Butter Layer:
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup powdered sugar

2 cups Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Decorative topping:
1/3 cup melted Peanut Butter Chips & Milk Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour 9-inch round cake pan.

For cake:
Combine eggs and sugar and beat until fluffy.  Stir in flour, melted butter, Choco Bake, {or 3 melted 1 oz squares of unsweetened baking chocolate} vanilla and salt until smooth.  Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of cake; cool for an additional 10 minutes.  Invert cake onto a serving platter or cake plate and cool completely.

For Peanut Butter Layer:
Beat peanut butter, butter and vanilla until smooth.  Gradually beat in powdered sugar.  Spread mixture on cooled cake and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

For Ganache:
Heat cream in a small saucepan to boiling, then remove from heat and add chocolate chips.  Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir until completely smooth.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until ganache is spreadable.  It should have thickened a bit.  Spread onto top and sides of cake.

For decorative topping:
Melt peanut butter chips and milk chocolate chips and stir until smooth.  Put mixture into a Ziploc bag and snip a tiny piece from the corner.  Drizzle topping over cake.  Refrigerate cake until 30 minutes before serving.

:: notes from my kitchen ::

:: this is an easy, yet challenging cake, but it does require a few hours

:: if you cannot find choco-bake, don't worry.  as stated in the recipe, you may substitute unsweetened baking chocolate.  just be sure to melt it completely before adding it in

:: the recipe says that it serves 8, but because it is such a rich and decadent dessert, a thin slice for each person really goes a long way.  i think 12 is a more accurate serving size for this recipe

:: the cake is actually not cake-like at all.  it has more of a rich, dense brownie consistency and is, in my opinion, divine