Saturday, October 18, 2014

Jif® Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies and a Give Away

Can't keep my hand out of the cooke jar.

I love cookies, always have and always will.  As you know from the numerous posts on this blog I also love peanut butter.  We go through a jar a week in our house.  It is a passion shared by my husband, son, and I.  Hopefully our daughter will love it too when she is old enough to eat it.  I love peanut butter so much, I have actually nicknamed my son "peanut butter".    Not long ago Jif® contacted me asking if I would be interested in writing a review of their famous Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies and hosting a Give Away.  Jif®  just happens to be the only peanut butter I use for baking so I was instantly eager to work with them.  I actually made these cookies twice.  The first time I used butter since I almost always use butter in a recipe that calls for shortening.  The cookies were good, but nothing to brag about.  I made them again following the recipe exactly using shortening and let me tell you it made a difference.  They were crispier on the outside, softer in the middle,  held their shape better, and overall just more delicious.  My son helped me make these.  He is only two and already has a passion for cooking and baking.  I love the memories he and I are making together.  I highly recommend you give these a try.  (see details below on the Give Away)

Jif® Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies
recipe from Jif® 

  • 3/4 cup Jif® Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 stick Crisco®  All-Vegetable Shortening

  • 1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 3/4 cups Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • Heat oven to 375°F. Combine peanut butter, shortening, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Add egg. Beat just until blended.
  • Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture at low speed. Mix just until blended. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2-inches apart onto greased baking sheet. Flatten slightly in a crisscross pattern with tines of fork.

  • Bake one baking sheet at a time 7 to 8 minutes, or until set and just beginning to brown. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet. Remove cookies to cooling racks to cool completely.

  • Give Away Details

  • The Give away includes everything pictured above:

  • Jif® Peanut Butter
  • Crisco® Baking Sticks All-Vegetable Shortening
  • Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
  • Jif® Apron
  • Cookie Jar
  • Branded Fork for Cookie imprint

All you have to do to enter the give away is leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite cookie.  Additionally, if you like Baked Perfection on Facebook and comment there, you will get a second entry.  All entries must be received by midnight on Friday October 24th.  I will announce a winner (through blog post) the following week.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Sticky Toffee Date Cake (a.k.a Sticky Toffee Pudding)

Go make this right now...and save me some.

This is by far my absolute favorite dessert.  I am not kidding. I would rather have this than pie, cookies, chocolate, chocolate and peanut butter, or even s'mores and you know I love s'mores.  If you are unfamiliar (which I was for a long time), Sticky Toffee Pudding is an English dessert and it is not at all a "pudding" in the American sense.  It is a moist date sponge cake topped with an incredible toffee sauce.  I was first exposed to Sticky Toffee Pudding when Haagen-Dazs came out with a limited edition "Sticky Toffee Pudding" flavor ice cream.  Unfortunately they discontinued the flavor (big mistake if you ask me).  From then on, whenever I saw Sticky toffee Pudding on a menu I would get it.  Zack and I went on a cruise many years ago and each night we had dinner and dessert in the fancy restaurant.  After dinner each night we would go up to the buffet and have second dessert of Sticky Toffee Pudding.  I miss that trip.  I never attempted to make this until recently.  I was watching Barefoot Contessa and she made a version that did not seem complicated at all.  I decided I would give it a try for Zack's birthday and we are both glad I did.  I will now be making this for my birthday too.  

Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake
adapted from Laura Donnelly, on Barefoot Contessa

Make 2 9-inch cakes or 20 individual cakes

For the cakes:
1 pound dates, pitted and chopped
2 teaspoon baking soda
8 ounces butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar 
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/4 tablespoons baking powder

For the Sauce (for 2 cakes):
1 pound butter
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Vanilla ice cream for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans or 20 muffin tins. 

Place dates in a large sauce pan with 3 1/2 cups cold water. Bring to a boil, stirring a little to break up the dates. Then leave to simmer for 1 minute before removing from the heat. Stir in the baking soda (which will cause mixture to bubble up).

Cream the butter and the sugar together in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, occasionally scraping down mixing bowl. Add the vanilla extract and then the flour and salt and mix briefly to give a lumpy dough.

Next, add the warm date mixture in two batches. Scrape down the sides of the bowl in between mixing. The dough will now be quite watery but don't worry. Finally, add the baking powder (this will bubble up also).

Pour the batter evenly into the two pans. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes for cake pans and about 20 minutes for muffin tins. Test for doneness with a toothpick, it should come out clean when cakes are done.

Meanwhile, to make the sauce, combine the butter, brown sugar, heavy cream and vanilla extract in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer gently for a minute or two until thickened and well blended.

When the cakes are done, let them sit on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Then, loosen the sides of the cake by running a knife around the edges, and invert onto a plate. Poke little holes with a toothpick all over the cakes; this will enable the sauce to be absorbed more easily. Pour the sauce over the cakes while they are still warm in a few batches. It takes a few minutes for one coat to soak in so you can add another.  Leave the cakes to soak into the sauce for at least 10 minutes. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Blueberry Muffin Cake

Wild about Blueberries.

As you have probably noticed over the past few months, I have been in a muffin phase.  I still have two more muffin recipes to share in addition to this one and plan on baking more next weekend.  This time around I thought I would try turning my favorite blueberry muffins into a cake.  The idea was brilliant because this cake was perfect!  I brought it to the birthday party of my good friend's daughter.  It was a morning party and I thought it would be a nice addition to the treats she was providing.  The cake was loved by everybody and I will definitely be making it again....and again.

Blueberry Muffin Cake
recipe from Baked Perfection

makes 1 loaf cake or 12 muffins


2 eggs1/2 cup white sugar1/2 cup brown sugar1/2 cup vegetable oil1 teaspoon vanilla extract2 cups all-purpose flour1/2 teaspoon salt1/2 teaspoon baking soda1 tsp cinnamon1/2 cups sour cream2 cups blueberries, dusted in 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/2 cup white sugar1/3 cup all-purpose flour1/4 cup butter, cubed1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a standard loaf pan with butter or non-stick spray.

In a medium bowl mix together flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. In a large bowl beat together eggs, white sugar, and brown sugar. Mix in oil, vanilla, and sour cream. Mix dry ingredients into wet mixture (be sure not to over-mix, batter will be lumpy). Gently fold in blueberries. Pour batter into prepared pan.

To make the topping: mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking. 

Bake in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.