Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lemon Glazed Triple Berry Scones

Don't hate me.


I have been working non-stop the past few weeks. Not even "Snowmagedon" stopped me from working. I am not going to get into too may details, but work put me and my team up in a hotel a block from the client to make sure we would be able to make it to work during the blizzard. With all the work and staying in a hotel for three days I have not had much time to bake. Last night I wanted to get back into the kitchen, but I knew I wanted to make something fast and easy. In comes these scones. They came together in minutes and only had to bake 10 minutes. I brought them in to work today and they were devoured. One of my co-workers said to me today "I hate you for making these." as he ate his third scone. Enjoy!

Lemon Glazed Triple Berry Scones
recipe from Baked Perfection
Scones:
2 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mixed dried berries (I used a mix of blueberries, cherries, and raspberries)
1 1/4 cups heavy cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, salt, and dried berries. Pour in heavy cream. Mix or knead by hand, just until combined. Mixture will be sticky. Flour surface. Divide dough into two sections and pat into two rounds, each approximately four inches. Using a pizza cutter, cut each round into 8 pieces and place on a greased large cookie sheet. Bake 9 to 11 minutes. Let cool five minutes, then glaze.

Icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon

Mix together until a thin icing consistency; pour over warm scones.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars (with a touch of chocolate)

It's Peanut Butter Jelly Time!



I don't know about you, but I never grew out of my love for peanut butter and jelly. Conveniently, Zack never grew out of it either so peanut butter and jelly is often a staple around here. Of course the sandwich now is not the same as when we were kids. Now we use all natural peanut butter and organic fruit spreads on double fiber bread. When I was a kid it was JIF creamy peanut butter (which is the peanut butter I bake with still) and Smucker's Grape Jam on white bread. Every now and then for an extra special sandwich when I was little my mom would sprinkle a few chocolate chips in between the layers. If you have not tried this you definitely should because it really takes peanut butter and jelly to the next level, and that is what I tried to do with these bars. Martha's recipe would have been great on its own, but I wanted to recreate that childhood favorite of mine. I used JIF creamy peanutbutter, Smucker's Grape Jam, and instead of sprinkling the top with peanuts, I used mini-chocolate chips. If you are a peanut butter and jelly lover than you will love these.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
adapted from Martha Stewart Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups grape jam, or other flavor
1 1/2 cups miniature chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan with butter and coat inside of pan with flour; set aside. Place butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. On medium speed, add eggs and peanut butter; beat until combined, about 2 minutes.

Whisk together salt, baking powder, and flour. Add to bowl of mixer on low speed; combine. Add vanilla. Transfer two-thirds of mixture to prepared pan; spread evenly with offset spatula. Using offset spatula, spread jam on top of peanut-butter mixture. Dollop remaining third of peanut-butter mixture on top of jam. Sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Bake until golden, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool; cut into about thirty-six 1 1/2-by-2-inch pieces.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Chocolate Lovers Cupcakes

What better way to say "I love you"?


Valentine's Day screams chocolate to me. Perhaps it has something to do with all the heart shaped boxes of chocolate you find at the store this time of year. I am not complaining though because I LOVE chocolate. If you are not a chocolate person then this post is nor for you so you should just turn around and come back next week. I wanted to fully embrace chocolate for my Valentine's Day post. It was my intention to make these double chocolate cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Frosting, but then a blizzard hit the DC area. By the time we made it to the grocery store they were completely out of heavy cream. Now I have no idea why people preparing for a blizzard need to stock up on cream, but apparently they did. I worked with what I had and made a delicious chocolate buttercream that was incredible. I did not even miss the ganache. To jazz these cupcakes up a bit, I used melted chocolate to create heart toppers...so simple, yet very impressive.

Chocolate Cupcakes
recipe from allrecipes.com

1 package chocolate cake mix
1 package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (dust these in flour to keep them from sinking to the bottom of the cupcake)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs, and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into 24 lined muffin cups.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
recipe from Baked Perfection

1/2 cup butter, softened
3 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 -6 tablespoons milk

Cream the butter on medium speed until it is very light in texture. Add the confectioner's sugar, cocoa powder, melted chocolate, and vanilla extract and mix on a low speed until the sugar and butter are blended, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Increase the speed to medium, with the mixer running, add the milk one tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

Chocolate Hearts
from Baked Perfection

1/4 cup white chocolate, melted
1/2 cup semisweet or milk chocolate, melted

Transfer your melted chocolate into a plastic sandwich bag; cut the tip of the corner of the bag. Pipe your chocolate into the shape of a heart (or any other shape) onto wax paper, let harden completely before transferring to cupcakes.