Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pecan Streusel Quick Bread


Why do they call it bread when it is really cake?


I made this quickbread a couple weeks ago and am only just not getting around to posting it.   I have not had much time to bake.  Between having a newborn son and packing our house for a move, there is not much time to bake or blog.  You see, in just under a month we will be leaving our home in Washington DC and heading south to Atlanta.  We are excited for this next journey in our lives together, but are definitely sad to leave friends and jobs we love.  We are very much looking forward to being closer to family.  In the meantime, I will try to get as many recipes to you as possible.

This bread, which is really a cake, is delicious and perfect for a autumn breakfast. The recipe is from Cooking Light and called for walnuts, but I am a much bigger fan of pecans so I swapped them.  I was actually surprised how delicious this recipe turning out being that it is a dessert from cooking light.  I will definitely be making this again.

Pecan Streusel Quick Bread
recipe adapted from Cooking Light

Streusel

1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash of salt
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Bread:

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup fat-free buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

To prepare streusel, combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add 2 tablespoons melted butter, stirring until well combined. Stir in nuts. Set aside.

To prepare bread,  combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Combine 5 tablespoons butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium-high speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition; beat in vanilla. Beating at low speed, add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat just until combined. Scrape half of batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with baking spray; sprinkle with half of streusel mixture. Spread remaining batter over streusel; swirl. Sprinkle remaining streusel on top of batter. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan; cool completely on wire rack.




Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pumpkin Monkey Bread Muffins

Fall Baking is here to stay.

























Fall is by far my favorite season and the past couple days it has begun to feel like Fall here in DC.  The morning low today was only 50 degrees today and the afternoons are beautiful.   I will definitely be taking my little man for a walk today. With the change in seasons comes baking with pumpkin.  I could not wait to break out the pumpkin so in addition to these muffins, I also made pumpkin pancakes for dinner one night last week.  These muffins are a little time consuming, but are incredibly delicious. They perfectly embody everything about the season.  I think they would be perfect with a Pumpkin Spice Coffee.

Pumpkin Monkey Bread Muffins
recipe from Baked Perfection

recipes makes 18 - 20 muffins

3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon mace
1/2 teaspoon fresh  nutmeg
1 cup milk
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons maple extract

For cinnamon coating:

6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon +  teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line 2 muffin pans with paper or foil liners. 

Mix flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, mace, and nutmeg in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl whisk together the milk, pumpkin, egg, 2 tablespoons melted butter, vanilla, and maple extracts.   Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until combined.  Batter will be a moist dough.

Meanwhile combine 1 cup up sugar and the 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cinnamon.  Drop rounded teaspoons of batter into the 6 tablespoons of melted butter.  Once coated in butter, drop and roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Drop four coated dough balls into each prepared muffin cup, pressing down slightly.  Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until tops of muffins spring back when touched.



Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Chocolate Banana Muffins and an Early Arrival

Delicious.

























I apologize for the lack of posts recently.  I have been a little busy and rather distracted with my newborn son, Noble.  He was not due until the end of August, but decided to make an appearance a few weeks ago.  Due to an unplanned last minute c-section, I have not been able to spend much time in the kitchen, but am finally ready to be baking again.  I decided my first attempt baking post baby would be these Chocolate Banana Muffins.  You may think this is an odd choice if you have followed Baked Perfection for any amount of time, as you know that I do not like bananas one bit.  Well, apparently giving birth can also change your food preferences.  I did not have a single craving during pregnancy and yet here I am a couple weeks post delivery, eating a banana almost everyday.  

As for Noble, he is absolutely perfect and Zack and I are completely in love with him.  In fact, it seems just about everybody we know loves our son as much as we do.  We are lucky to have such wonderful family and friends to be part of our and Noble's life.

Chocolate Banana Muffins
recipe slightly adapted from hotpolkadot.com

makes one dozen muffins

3 large bananas
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
1/2 cup peanut butter chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a muffin tin with baking cups and set aside.

In a large bowl mash the bananas with a fork then mix in the sugar, vanilla, egg, and oil. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.  Gently fold the flour mixture into the banana mixture.  The batter should be just moistened, do not over mix.  Gently stir in the chocolate and peanut butter chips.

Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups and bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Chewy Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Flat in appearance but not in taste!

























I was looking for something to bake the other week with ingredients that I had on hand and came across this recipe for Chewy Coconut Cookies on Allrecipes.com.  They are one of my favorite sites because the reviews tend to be very accurate.  These cookies were rated 4.5 out of 5 stars by 939 people, which means they must be pretty good.  Well, I made them and I loved them.  The original recipes does not call for chocolate chips, which I decided to put in half.  I like then equally with and without the chips.  The pictures that accompanied the original recipe also showed pretty fluffy cookies and you can see mine came out very flat.  I read several of the comments which recommended chilling your dough before baking, which I did and they were still flat.  In the end the cookies were incredibly chewy and delicious so I did not mind one bit that they came out flat.  I will definitely be baking these again.

Chewy Coconut (Chocolate Chip) Cookies
recipe from allrecipes.com

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.  In a medium bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth.  Beat in the egg and vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually blend in the flour mixture, then gently mix in the coconut and chocolate chips.  Drop by teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 8 - 10 minuted in preheated oven, or until lightly browned.  Cool on wire racks.



Sunday, August 12, 2012

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes


Beautiful and Delicious.

























If you are a fan of chocolate covered strawberries then you are going to love these cupcakes.  The cupcakes are rich, moist, and delicious and the frosting tastes like a strawberry milkshake.  You really can't go wrong.  I decided to top half my cupcakes with strawberries that I dipped in melted dark chocolate.  Of course this is completely optional, but I thought it added a nice touch.   

In other news, I am still pregnant.  Less than two weeks until my due date and I am hoping this little guy decides to make his appearance before then.  


Chocolate Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting
Chocolate Cupcakes recipe slightly adapted from allrecipes.com

Makes 24 cupcakes

1 package chocolate cake mix
1 package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 tablespoon instant espresso dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water 
2 cups chocolate chips (dark chocolate or semi-sweet), dusted in 1 tablespoon flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mix, sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla extract, and espresso dissolved in water.  Gently stir in the chocolate chips

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



Strawberry Buttercream
recipe from Baked Perfection

2 sticks butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup strawberry jam
pinch of salt
6 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk

Beat butter and vanilla until creamy. Mix in strawberry jam and salt. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until combined. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach desired consistency.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies Bars

Easy and Delicious.

















These bars are really easy to make and incredibly delicious as I mentioned above.  Sometimes you need  or want to bake something and just don't have time for the fuss or muss.  Well, these are your cookies.  They taste great too, so it is a win win.  I made these in a half sheet pan, 11x17, and think it would be fun to make as a birthday cookie cake.  I also think a fun alternative to slicing squares would be to use cute cookie cutters since the bars soft and quite easy to slice.  I used a Martha Stewart recipe and it is a good thing I read the comments first.  I baked these for 20 minutes and you can see they came out perfectly.  The original recipe said to bake them for 40-45 minutes and they would have been completely burnt.  Please keep that in mind when you try them.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
recipe from Martha Stewart

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
4 cups  all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanille extract
1 (12-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, with rack in center.  Generously butter a 11x17 rimmed baking sheet; set aside.   In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs and vanilla; mix until well combined.  Add flour mixture; beat on low speed until just combined.  Beat in chocolate chips.

Spread dough on prepared baking sheet.  Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until edges are brown and top is golden, 20 - 25 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack; cool completely on baking sheet before cutting.



Sunday, July 22, 2012

Creamsicle Cupcakes

Perfect for summer.

























I have had the idea to make these cupcakes for ages and I am so glad I finally got a chance to make them.  When I was pretty young my family and I lived in California.  I was pretty young when we moved away so I don't have too many memories, but I do remember that the ice cream truck used to come through our neighborhood (big shock that one of my early memories is about dessert).  My brother, sister, and I was get so excited when we heard the familiar tune of the ice cream truck coming down the street.  I would always get either a Creamsicle or Strawberry Shortcake.  If I remember correctly, my sister was a big fan of the Drumstick, but I really can't remember what my brother would get.  I still love the familiar flavor combination of vanilla and orange paired perfectly together and this cupcakes tastes exactly like the Creamsicle Ice Cream pop I would get as a kid.  I think it is a perfect summer cupcake.

Creamsisle Cupcakes
recipe from Baked Perfection


1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg white
4 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
zest of two oranges 
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cups sour cream

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla bean paste and orange zest; mix well. Add the flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream (batter will be thick). Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups with 1/4 cup of batter. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 - 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Recipe makes approximately  14 cupcakes.

Creamsisle Frosting
recipe from Baked Perfection

(note: this is a recipe for half vanilla and half Creamsicle frosting)

1 stick of butter, softened
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar, divided
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
2 -4 tablespoons milk
zest of 1 orange
juice of half an orange
orange food coloring

In a mixing bowl beat butter and vanilla until creamy, add salt. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until combined, until you have added 3 cups of powdered sugar. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach desired consistency.  At this point, take slightly more than half the frosting out of the of the bowl and set aside.

Add the orange zest, orange juice, and orange food coloring to the frosting left in the mixing bowl.  Add additional 1/2 - 3/4 cup powdered sugar until you reach desired consistency.

To pipe as pictured, place vanilla frosting and orange frosting in separate piping bags.  Place the two piping bags filled with frosting into a larger piping bag.  Squeeze gently until both frostings are piping at once.



Saturday, July 7, 2012

Pretty Pink Cookie Dough Truffles

Some things don't go out of style.

























I have posted these little gems several times before.  They are just so cute and delicious I wanted to share them with you again.  I made these for a friend's baby shower.  You can guess she was expecting a little girl.  If you have not got around to trying these yet, you really should.  They are easy, delicious, and everybody loves them!


Cookie Dough Truffles

recipe from Baked Perfection

1 cup all purpose flour1/4 tsp saltdash of cinnamon1 stick butter, softened (it is even okay if it is melting a little)1/2 cup brown sugar1/4 cup sugar1/2 tsp vanilla extract3/4 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips1 - 2 tablespoons water
Assorted candy melts


In a medium bowl combine the flour, salt, and dash of cinnamon. In a second larger bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until creamy. Slowly beat in the flour mixture until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Add water if mixture is too dry to form into balls. Roll the mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet lined with wax paper (Should make approximately 20). Chill for several hours or freeze for 15-20 minutes until firm.


Melt candy melts in the microwave per directions on package (30 sec intervals, stirring in between). Gently dip the cookie dough ball into the candy coating. Once covered, remove and let the excess chocolate fall off. Place back on wax paper to dry.


To decorate with drizzled chocolate, place melted chocolate in a plastic sandwich bag. Using scissors, cut the very tip off the sandwich bag. The smaller your cut, the smaller the drizzle. Use the sandwich bag to pipe the chocolate back and forth over the cookie dough truffle until you reach the desired look.  If you chose, top with sprinkles.





Monday, July 2, 2012

Bananas Foster French Toast

This was for Zack.

























I still don't like bananas, but Zack continues to love them.  Since I love him, I made Bananas Foster French Toast for him on Father's day.  Our little baby boy is due in less than 8 weeks so I wanted to make something special for Zack and knew he would love this special breakfast.  Fortunately for me, you add the bananas in the last step, so I was able to enjoy a banana free breakfast.  This breakfast was really delicious and very easy to make.  It would be perfect for any special occasion.

Bananas Foster French Toast
topping recipe adapted from Paula Deen, French Toast recipe from Baked Perfection

serves 5


French Toast:

6 eggs
two cups whole milk or heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 loaf Challah, sliced into 10 slices
Cinnamon for sprinkling
Butter for pan




Topping:


1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup chopped pecans
5 ripe bananas, sliced
1 teaspoon rum extract


Set a baking sheet in the oven, and preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat a griddle over medium heat.  In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk or cream, and vanilla extract until somewhat frothy.  Dip 2-3 slices (however many will fit on your griddle at a time) into custard mixture until completely moistened, and place on buttered and pre-heated griddle.  Sprinkle top of each slice of bread with cinnamon while it is sitting on the griddle.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown, flip and cook and additional 2 - 3 minutes.   When both sides are golden brown and bread is no longer soggy, remove from griddle and place on the baking sheet in the oven to keep warm until you have cooked all the French Toast. 


To make topping:


In a large skilled, combine corn syrup, brown sugar, maple syrup, and pecans.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat, and simmer for 2 minutes.  Add banana slices and rum extract.  Coat the bananas with syrup mixture and simmer 1 minute.  Spoon over French Toast.  Serve immediately.












Sunday, June 17, 2012

New York Crumb Cake

It is all about the topping.

















I love crumb cake.  I am pretty sure it has to do with the fact that my mom would make it when I was little.  It also fits quite nicely with my love of cinnamon.  This crumb cake is not just an ordinary crumb cake, because it is a New York Style Crumb Cake.  Anybody of you from New York or the northeast will know, that to be a a New York crumb cake there needs to be significant crumb topping.  In fact, this cake may be a little shy on the topping for some real New Yorkers.  I am sure if you tasted it though, you would forgive the fact that the crumb topping should probably have been a little thickener because this cake is delicious!


New York Crumb Cake
recipe from Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis & Renalto Poliafito


Crumb Topping
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted (and still warm)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Cake
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sour cream, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray.  

To make the crumb topping: Whisk the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt and cinnamon together in a large bowl.  Add the melted butter and whisk to combine.  Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour.

To make the cake: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, letting the first incorporate fully before adding the second.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for an additional 30 seconds.  Add the sour cream and vanilla to the mixer and beat until just incorporated.  Finally, add the flour mixture in thirds, beating just until combined.

Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan.  The batter will be thick, use a spatula to spread it evenly.  Pick up the crumb topping by handfuls, and break off chunks, scattering them over the top of the batter.  Use all of the topping.

Bake for 45-55 minutes (rotating the pan at 15 minute intervals), or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Let the cake cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes before serving. 



















































p.s. Happy Father's Day Dad and Happy Father to-be Day Zack.  I love you guys!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

S'mores Cupcakes

Don't you just want to take a bite.

























If you have been following Baked Perfection for a while now, you know that I absolutely love just about anything S'mores.  I have made S'mores Bars, S'mores Cookies, S'mores Cookie Dough Pops, S'mores Cracker Candy, and the list goes on.  Clearly it is a favorite of mine.  Surprisingly I have never featured S'mores Cupcakes on my blog.  The thing is, most S'mores Cupcake recipe have a chocolate cupcake with a graham cracker crust.  I personally don't feel that is very representative of a S'more and have been left disappointed when I tried that type of S'more Cupcake.  I came across this recipe a couple weeks ago and was pretty pleased with  the results.  The cupcake recipe comes from Bon Appetit and the frosting is from Martha Stewart.   The cupcake part was pretty tasty, but a little crumbly and dry.  It needs a little tinkering to be perfect.  The frosting on the other hand was perfection and allowed me the chance to use my handy dandy kitchen torch.  I will definitely be making these again, perhaps with a little variation in the cake batter.


S'mores Cupcakes
cake recipe from Bon Appetit and Frosting recipe from Martha Stewart


recipe makes 12 cupcakes


1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 15 whole crackers ground in processor)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole milk
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), chopped
1/2 cup (scant) heavy whipping cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners.


Whisk graham crumbs, flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating to blend between additions. Beat in vanilla. Add graham-cracker mixture in 3 additions alternately with milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with graham-cracker mixture. Divide batter among muffin cups.  Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center come out clean, about 22 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to rack; cool completely.


Place chocolate in medium bowl. Bring cream just to boil in small saucepan; pour over chocolate. Let stand 1 minute; stir until smooth. Cool ganache until lukewarm.


Using a small knife or apple corer, cut a small whole in the top of each cupcake, approximately 1 inch deep.  Spoon chocolate ganache into each whole, until full.  Top with Frosting.


Marshmallow Frosting
Frosting recipe from Martha Stewart


4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer.  Set over a saucepan of simmering eater.  Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to touch, 3 - 4 minutes.

Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat, starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff gloss peaks form, 5-7 minutes.  Add vanilla and mix until combined.  Use immediately and store leftover in fridge.

Bakers Note:  I chose to use my kitchen torch to toast the frosting. This can also be done by placing the cupcakes in the oven under the broiler.  It will not take long so keep a very close eye on the cupcakes.

Also, I kept the cupcakes in the fridge fully prepared until 1 hour before serving where I let them sit out and come to room temperature.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

Should have made this long ago.

























This pie is delicious.  It literally is a chocolate chip cookie in a pie crust.  I saw it in my Nestle Tollhouse Cookbook years ago and never really gave it much thought.  I was flipping through that same cookbook several weeks ago and this recipe really jumped out.  I wondered why I had never made it considering how much Zack and I both love chocolate chip cookies and pie.  I was going to make it that very day...only to realize I was out of butter and sugar.  Hard to believe somebody who bakes as much as I do would run out of those crucial baking building blocks, but I was indeed out.  So I put this recipe on the back burner a couple more weeks.  When I finally made this pie last weekend I honestly asked myself "Why didn't I made this sooner?"  This pie is so tasty.  If you ask me, I think it is best served warm with either a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a glass of milk.


Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie
 recipe slightly adapted from Nestle

1 unbaked 9-in pie shell (recipe to follow)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips, dusted in 1 tablespoon flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Beat eggs in a large bowl on hugh speed until foamy.  Beat in flour, both sugars, and salt.  Beat vanilla extract and butter. Stir in chocolate chips.  Spoon in to unbaked pie shell.  Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between edge and center comes our clean.


Vodka Pie Crust
recipe from Cook's Illustrated

recipe makes two 9-inch pie crusts

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening , cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup vodka , cold
1/4 cup cold water

Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.


Baker's Notes:

  • I used my homemade pie crust and I highly suggest you do as well, because store bought frozen crust is just not the same.  I have prepared the pie dough recipe in the food processor and by hand using a pastry cutter. It is definitely easier with the food processor, but tastes just as great doing it by hand.
  • I did not dust the chocolate chips in flour before mixing them into the batter, hence why it looks like there is a chocolate layer in this pie.  To prevent your chocolate chips from sinking, just dust them in a tablespoon of flour before mixing them in the rest of the batter.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Overnight Nutella French Toast

You can thank Zack for this one.

























Although I am not quite a mother yet, I am a mother-to-be (only 3 months left until Baby is here). Zack being the loving husband he is, wanted to do something me on Mother's Day.  I am not sure how he came across this recipe, but  knowing I love french toast, nutella, and breakfast in general he thought this would be the perfect thing to make for me and man was he right!  I helped him a little with the preparation, not because it is difficult, but because I like to be in the kitchen.   You prepare the french toast the night before you want to make it, then just pop it in the oven in the morning.  Zack let me sleep in while this was baking; such a thoughtful guy.  This french toast is incredibly delicious.  I loved it so much that I asked if it could be a Mother's Day tradition.  

Overnight Nutella French Toast
original recipe found on mint.com

served 6 -8 depending on how large your slices

6 eggs
two cups whole milk or heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 loaf Challah or Brioche, sliced into 10 slices 
Nutella
Butter

Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish. Pour a half-cup maple syrup on bottom.


In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk or cream, and vanilla extract until somewhat frothy and set aside. 


Smear five slices of bread generously with Nutella and top with another slice each to make five sandwiches.  Cut each diagonally into quarters. Soak each quarter in custard mixture for one to two minutes, flipping to coat evenly. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Pour the rest of the custardover the top and dot the top with butter.  Refrigerate overnight. 


Bake at 365 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Sweet Peach Tea Cupcakes

I am from Georgia after all.

























It is true, I grew up in Georgia and to this day love the smell and taste of ripe peaches.  Last summer when I was trying to come up with flavors for a friends bridal shower I thought a sweet tea cupcake with be a fun addition to accompany the Mint Julep Cupcakes and Luscious Lemon Cupcakes.  Coming up with this recipe was a bit of a gamble, since I was not sure of the best way to develop the flavor, but in the end I was more than pleased with the results.  I ended up using Crystal Light Peach flavored Iced Tea powder to flavor these cupcakes and could not believe how well it worked.  They are delicious and perfect for summer


Sweet Peach Tea Cupcakes
recipe from Baked Perfection


recipe makes approximately 30 cupcakes

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 packets Crystal Light in Peach Iced Tea Flavor (each packet makes 2 Quarts of Crystal Light)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

In a medium bowl combine the flour, crystal light mix, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and mix well. Add the flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream (batter will be thick). Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups with 1/4 cup of batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. 

Sweet Peach Tea Frosting
recipe by Baked Perfection

2 sticks of butter, softened
6 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 packet Crystal Light in Peach Iced Tea Flavor (each packet makes 2 Quarts of Crystal Light)
1/2 cup milk

Beat butter and salt until smooth.  Mix half the packet of Crystal Light with the milk.  Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time to the butter, beating until combined. Add milk/ Crystal Light mixture 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach desired consistency.  If the peach flavor is not strong enough for your tastes, just sprinkle in a little bit of the remaining Crystal Light packet and mix until combined.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Mint Julep Cupcakes

It's Derby Time

























In honor of the Kentucky Derby this upcoming weekend, I decided to share with you my recipe for mint julep cupcakes.  To tell you the truth, I have never been to the Kentucky Derby nor have I tried a Mint Julep.  I am not going to lie, I am allured by the sun dresses and large hats, but could honestly do without a horse race.  I suppose for now I will stick to baking.  I made these cupcakes in miniature version for a friends bridal shower last summer and have been saving them just for this occasion.  The mint and bourbon are very delicate and add just a little something special to these cupcakes.  I was surprised by how much I enjoyed them and I think you will too.  I think they would be great garnished with a mint leave and a drinking straw.  The recipe below is for the full sized version.

Mint Julep Cupcakes
recipe by Baked Perfection

recipe makes approximately 30 cupcakes

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
6 tablespoons bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon mint extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the bourbon, vanilla and mint; mix well. Add the flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream (batter will be thick). Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups with 1/4 cup of batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. 

Mint Julep Frosting
recipe by Baked Perfection

2 sticks of butter, softened
6 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon mint extract
4 tablespoons bourbon
2 - 4 tablespoons milk
green food coloring

Beat butter, bourbon, mint, and salt until smooth.  Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until combined. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach desired consistency.  Add drops of green food coloring until you reach desired color.

























(Also pictured: Luscious Lemon Cupcakes and Sweet Peach Tea Cupcakes)