Saturday, December 7, 2013

Buckeyes

I am sorry.






































I am sorry for two reasons. The first is because I have never shared this with you before and the second is because you are going to love these so much you will become addicted and want them all the time. At least that is what happened to me when I first tried them as a child.  I associate them with Christmas because that is when my mom used to make them and so I continue the tradition.  I like to give them as gifts and people love them.  They are super easy to make and freeze exceptionally well.  I will even admit that they taste great straight out of the freezer.

Buckeyes
recipe slightly adapted from allrecipes.com

1 1/2 cups peanut butter
1 cup butter, softened
1teaspoon vanilla extract
6 cups confectioners' sugar
4 cups semisweet chocolate

In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter, butter, vanilla and confectioners' sugar. The dough will look dry. Roll into 1 inch balls and place on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet.  Press a toothpick into the top of each ball (to be used later as the handle for dipping) and chill in freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.

Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler or in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir frequently until smooth.  Dip frozen peanut butter balls in chocolate holding onto the toothpick. Leave a small portion of peanut butter showing at the top to make them look like Buckeyes. Put back on the cookie sheet and refrigerate until serving.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Snowman Oreos

Frosty the Snowman....was a very tasty treat!






































I have honestly wanted to make these cookies for quite some time, they are just too cute.  No real recipe here, all you do is dip Oreos (holiday ones in my case) in melted white chocolate and decorate with candy corn and miniature chocolate chips.  I think this would be a really fun project to do with the kids. In my case, Noble is still a little too young to help out in the kitchen, but hopefully he will be baking with me next Christmas.

Enjoy!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Santa's Shortbread Bites

How festive.






































I know that Thanksgiving is this Thursday and I am definitely ready for it. Some people seem to get really ticked off that Christmas decorations are up and Christmas music is playing prior to Thanksgiving, but I am not one of those people.  I have not put up decorations at my house yet, but I must admit it brings a smile to my face when I hear "White Christmas" playing at the mall and see decorations.  I made these cookies because I know a lot of my readers like to plan their holiday baking menus early and I did not want to disappoint.  These cookies are truly adorable.  They are not overly sweet and I think a nice addition might even be dipping the bottom in chocolate.  It was pretty easy to eat a handful just the way they are.

Santa's Shortbread Cookies
recipe modified slightly from Good Housekeeping

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons red and green nonpareils

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

in a food processor with knife blade attached, pulse flour and sugar until combined.  Add butter and pulse until dough begins to come together.  Place dough in medium bowl.  With hand, gently knead in nonpareils until evenly blended and dough forms a ball.

On lightly floured wax paper, pat dough into a 8" by 5" rectangle.  Cut dough into 1/2 inch squares. Place squares 1/2 inch apart on an ungreased  large cookie sheet.  Baked 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom. Store cookies in tightly covered container at room temperature up to a week, or in the freezer up to 3 months.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce

Sooooo delicious!





































I turned 31 last weekend and to celebrate I was not in the mood for cake.  Each year for my birthday Zack will typically make whatever I request (often with a little help for me).  This year I told him I just wanted a hot fudge Sunday.  Zack, being the smart man that he is, suggested we make homemade hot fudge sauce.  I decided to make it myself and it was extremely easy and so worth it. This sauce is so incredibly delicious.  This would make a perfect holiday gift.  We have been eating it straight from the jar all week, it is just that good.

Hot Fudge Sauce
recipe adapted from allrecipes.com

makes 1 quart

1 cup butter
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder ( I used Ghiradelli)
3 cups white sugar
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine butter, cocoa, sugar, and evaporated milk in a saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil and boil for seven minutes.  Remove from hear; stir in vanilla.  Carefully pour hot mixture into a blender and blend for 2 - 4 minutes.  Serve warm.  Store in refrigerator.

Note:  I did not do the step where you put it in the blender and cannot speak to how important that step is.



Monday, November 4, 2013

Apple Pie

November means pie.






































Around here it really seems we eat the most pie in November and December, with a slight uptick in the summer when I make a decide to make a Berry or Key Lime pie.  Pie is by far Zack's favorite dessert. He asked me to make him a pie for his birthday, any kind of pie.  Unfortunately I was not the best wife when it came to his birthday and instead he got brownies...from a box.  Zack, being the type of guy to just let things go, reminded me weekly that he never got his pie.  I decided I needed an end to his yammering so I made this apple pie and I enjoyed it just as much as him.  The filling is from a recipe I found online and it truly fantastic.  It was  a little runny, but the flavor was incredible.  I highly recommend you add this to your upcoming holiday menus.

Apple Pie
crust recipe from  Cook's Illustrated, filling recipe adapted from allrecipes.com


1 recipe for a 9 inch double pie crust (see below)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
8 assorted tart and sweet apples - peeled, cored, and sliced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Mel the butter in a saucepan.  Stir in the flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon and bring to a boil.  Reduce temperature and let simmer.

Please the bottom crust in your pan. Fill with apples, mounded slightly.  Slowly pour butter sugar mixture over the apples.  Cover with lattice work crust.

Bake 15 minutes in preheated oven.  Reduce temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  COntinue baking 35-45 minutes, until apples are soft.


Vodka Pie Crust
recipe from Cook's Illustrated 

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



2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)

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.

Bakers Note: I have prepared this 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. This is by far the best pie crust I have ever tasted!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pumpkin Muffins with Pecan Streusel Topping

We love Pumpkin in this house!






































I am not kidding, we really do love pumpkin.  We have had pumpkin pancakes three times in the past month and there is no sign of slowing down.  Noble loves them just as much as Zack and I. Zack is already requesting a pumpkin pie which I am trying to hold out on making until Thanksgiving, but not sure if I will make it.  I have made pumpkin muffins a couple times before on Baked Perfection, and every recipe I have made so far has been fantastic.  I honestly don't have a favorite.  I decided to try a new recipe, because why not.  I did not put a cream cheese filling in these muffins because I did not have any cream cheese on hand and was not about to go out and get some.  Perhaps the cream cheese would have made these even more delicious, but I thought they were great just as they were.  

Pumpkin Muffins with Pecan Streusel Topping
recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

makes 12 muffins

For the Streusel:
½ cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup pecans, roughly chopped
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


For the Muffins:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
5 ounces (½ cup + 2 tablespoons) vegetable oil
½ teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.
Make the Pecan Streusel: In a medium bowl, use a fork to combine the flour, sugar, pecans, butter, and cinnamon. Set aside.
Whisk together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Pour the pumpkin mixture over the dry ingredients. Use a rubber spatula to gently combine the batter, mixing just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared liners. Sprinkle the pecan streusel on top of each muffin. Press on the streusel lightly to make sure it adheres to the batter.
Bake until golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, and then remove muffins to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Halloween Cupcakes

Halloween is almost here!






































Are you ready for Halloween? I know we are at my house.  We took Noble to a trick or treat event at a nice shopping center down the road this past Saturday and had a blast.  We dressed him up as Dracula and he could not have been any cuter.  Conveniently he also decided yesterday was going to be the day he started full on walking.  He has been taking a few steps here and there for the past two months, but yesterday he just took off and has not stopped since.  Needless to say, it made trick or treating with baby Dracula even more fun.  We plan to go to a couple houses in our neighborhood with him on Thursday, but want to be home for the kids who come to our door.  We are also going to a Halloween party at Noble's school this Thursday, it is going to be a busy Halloween week!  For those of you who are looking to make a quick and easy Halloween treat, you should try these cupcakes.  I used box cake mix because I needed something quick and easy myself. To jazz up the cupcakes I tinted a quarter of the bater orange and swirled it in (see photo at bottom of page).  I  also made homemade vanilla frosting and tinted it orange, green, and purple.  These were delicious and would be perfect for any parties this week!

Halloween Cupcakes
cupcake recipe inspired by allrecipes.com

Makes 24 cupcakes

1 package yellow cake mix1 package instant vanilla pudding mix1 cup sour cream1 cup vegetable oil1 teaspoon vanilla extract4 eggsorange food coloring 



Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


Place 24 cupcake lines in cupcake pan.  In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mix, sour cream, oil, eggs,  and vanilla extract until well blended. Remove approximately 1/4 of the batter and place in smaller bowl.  Add orange food coloring and stir in until well blended and you have reached your desired shade of orange.  Evenly divide the non-dyed cake batter into the cupcake pan.  Drop spoonfuls of the orange batter into each of the cupcakes.  Use a toothpick to swirl each cupcake.


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

Very Vanilla Frostingrecipe by Baked Perfection


2 sticks of butter, softened
6 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 -4 tablespoons milk
Orange, Green, and Purple food coloring


Beat butter and vanilla until creamy. Add salt. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until combined. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach desired consistency.  If desired, divide frosting into three bowls and add food coloring until you reach desired colors.



Friday, October 11, 2013

Halloween Chocolate Chip Cookies

Spooky and yet delicious.






































I have not mentioned in a while how much we love chocolate chip cookies in our house.  I don't make them nearly as often as I used and my waistline thanks me.  The other week I decided that we were due for some chocolate chip cookies and since it is almost Halloween (one of my personal favorite holidays), I decided to spook them up a bit.  I purchased some fun Chocolate and White Chocolate chips that are made by Nestle. The white chips are dyed orange and they are marketed specifically for Halloween which suited them perfectly for this cookie.  I added some green food coloring to the batter and made the perfectly spooky for Halloween.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
recipe from Baked Perfection

makes 4-5 dozen cookies

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 dash of cinnamon

3.4 ounce box instant vanilla pudding, not prepared
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips (Halloween themed, optional)

green food coloring, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 


In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt, package of vanilla pudding mix, and dash of cinnamon. In a second larger bowl beat together the butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Slowly beat in the flour mixture until smooth. If adding food coloring, beat in until you reach desired color. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Oreo Witch Hats

Spooky and Cute.


Halloween is getting closer!  I love Halloween.  I know I have mentioned that a few times over the years and this year is no different.  I already ordered something to wear for Halloween which I will share with you when we are a bit closer to the actual Holiday.  I also got my little guy a baby Dracula costume which should be arriving any day now in the mail.  To get in the Halloween sprit, I decided to make these adorable little Witch Hats. You may have seen them on Pinterest or various other websites.  It seems most people use Fudge Stripe Cookies turned upside down for the base of the hat, but I am more of an Oreo Girl myself.  I sprinkled the edges of the kiss with a little orange sanding sugar just to fancy it up a bit.  Since this is not really a "recipe" but more of an idea, I am going to just share the link to Betty Crocker, where they have instructions to create these cuties.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Nutter Butter and Hershey Kiss Acorns

Happy Fall!







































This is really more of a dessert idea than baking.  It took be less than 10 minutes to make a couple dozen of these babies.  I don't know about you, but Fall is by far my favorite season.  I look forward to it all year and am a little sad when it ends so quickly.  To welcome Fall I decided I would make these little cuties.  I have seen them all over the internet for years and did not even bother to read how they were made.  I just rant to the store and picked up some Nutter Butter Bites and some Hershey Kisses.  

Nutter Butter and Hershey Kiss Acorns
adapted from Taste of Home

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
48 Hershey Kisses
48 Nutter Butter Bites

In a microwave, melt 1/4 cup chocolate chips; stir until smooth. Spread the flat side of each kiss with a small amount of melted chocolate; immediately attach each to a cookie.

Cut a small hole in the corner of a  plastic bag. Fill with remaining melted chocolate. Pipe a dot onto each acorn and top with chocolate chip. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets; refrigerate until set. Store in an airtight container. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

For my baby.






































I mentioned in my last post that my baby boy turned one.  This past year has been truly incredible and I am thankful for every moment, even the first six months where he did not sleep through the night.  To celebrate my little guy we had a Monster themed birthday party.  We gave him his own little cake which he tore into and fun was had by all.  I made three types of cupcakes for the party, Lemon with Lemon Frosting, Vanilla with Vanilla Frosting, and Vanilla Oreo with Cookies and Cream Frosting.  I ate a Lemon Cupcake which is one of my favorite, but I can tell you that the Oreo went first and people raved about them.

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes
recipe from Baked Perfection

makes approximately 12 cupcakes

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cups sugar1 egg 

1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
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

12 chopped double stuffed Oreos

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 egg and egg white, one at a time. Add the vanilla; mix well. Add the flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream (batter will be thick), gently stir in Oreos. 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. 



Cookies and Cream Frosting
recipe from Baked Perfection

1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature1 - 2 cups powdered sugar12 Oreo cookies, finely chopped1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extractpinch of salt


Beat butter and cream cheese with until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time. Add salt and vanilla; mix until smooth. Place Oreo cookies in a fine strainer to remove any small particles. Gently stir Oreos into the frosting, careful to not over stir. Frost cupcakes as desired. Store any remaining frosting in the fridge.

Monday, September 16, 2013

M&M Sugar Cookie Bars

Cute and Tasty






































I apologize for disappearing on you. I let life get in the way of blogging and I must say that life has been pretty good.  Since I last blogged, we went on a family vacation to the beach, one of my best friends got married, we went to Washington, DC where I hosted a Bridal Shower for another of my best friends, then went to Las Vegas for her bachelorette party, and my sweet little boy turned one.  It has been quite an eventful few months and I have enjoyed every moment.  I have not been baking much either, but I did make these tasty cookies and some delicious cupcakes for Noble's first birthday party.  My sister will really appreciate that I am finally posting these because she LOVED them, so this is for you Jos.

M&M Sugar Cookie Bars
recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction

1 cup butter, room temperature2 cups sugar4 eggs2 tsp vanilla5 cups flour1 tsp salt1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup M&M Candies

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg. Add vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Add to wet mixture and mix until combined. Spread on a greased baking sheet (use a 13 x 18 pan).  Top with M&M's.


Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool completely before serving.




Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt Bars

Keep your cool.


Well summer is officially here.  I personally feel that summer starts in May, but officially it is not until June 21st.  What better way to cool off than with a light, refreshing low-calorie frozen treat?  I picked up a box of Honey Maid Graham Crackers (the only brand I will eat) to use for one baking project or another.  I don't typcially make too many recipes on the back of packages, but this one really peaked my interest.  I modified it slightly, but it turned out fantastic!  It even inspired me to make a couple other flavors.  I can't get enough of these things.  


Strawberry Frozen Yogurt Bars
recipe modified from Nabisco

10 1/2 Honey Maid Graham Crackers, broken into quarters (42 rectangles)
1/2 cup frozen strawberries, pureed
1 cup nonfat plain Greek style yogurt
1 1/2 cup thawed frozen reduced-fat whipped topping
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line 9-inch square pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides.  Arrange half the graham pieces, in 3 rows of 7 pieces each, on bottom of pan.

Spoon strawberry puree into medium bowl; stir in yogurt, whipped topping, and vanilla extract.  Spread over graham pieces in prepared pan.  Top with remaining graham pieces, aligning to match placement of graham pieces on bottom layer. Freeze 4 hours.  Use foil handles to remove dessert from pan; cut between grahams to form 9 square bars and 3 rectangular bars or 21 rectangular bars.  (square bars are pictured)


Friday, June 14, 2013

Pina Colada Cupcakes

If you like Pina Coladas.








































This is another one of those cupcakes recipes that has been in my head for ages.  They were inspired by the little paper umbrellas that I picked up at World Market a couple years ago.    They turned out just as delicious as I hoped.  I chose not to include alcohol or any rum extract in these because I did not think they would really enhance the flavor, but if you want a more authentic Pina Colada taste then go ahead and add either some rum or rum extract.  I decorated the edges of the cupcakes with toasted coconut which is completely optional, but a nice touch if you ask me. These are really perfect for a summer BB-Q or a Pool Party.

Pina Colada Cupcakes
recipe from Baked Perfection

makes 12 cupcakes

1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cups sugar
1 egg
1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup crushed pineapple in juice

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 vanilla; mix well. Add the flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with the coconut milk and pineapple (batter will be thick). Fill 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. 

Pina Colada Frosting
recipe by Baked Perfection

1 stick of butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons pineapple juice
2  1/2 tablespoons coconut milk

Beat butter and salt until creamy.  Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time alternating with pineapple juice and coconut milk until fully combined.



Friday, June 7, 2013

Orange Pound Cake

This was my birthday cake.

Did I mention that I turned 30 last November while Noble and I temporarily lived with my in-laws. I am very lucky to have loving in-laws that were more than happy to have Noble and I stay with them for three weeks before we moved to Georgia.  I often talk about the time "Noble and I lived in West Virginia" and I am sure Noble will have to hear stories about it the rest of his life.  You would think not much could happen in three weeks, but we had quite the time.  Noble experienced his first snow which happened to be a blizzard, we had no power for several days, we celebrated Noble's first Halloween, and I had my 30th birthday.  My mother-in-law, who I love dearly and is a fantastic baker, made my favorite cake for my birthday which was this Orange Pound Cake.  She made it several years earlier for one occasion or another and I fell in love.  I saved this post for this long because I think an Orange Cake fits much better in the summer...and I forgot about it. This cake is absolutely delicious and keeps well for many days.  I highly recommend it.

Orange Pound Cake
recipe from recipe.com

3 1/2 sticks butter, softened
2 3/4 cups sugar
8 eggs
1 teaspoon orange extract
2 teaspoons orange zest
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking power
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups orange juice

Drizzle:

3/4 cups confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Butter and flour a 10-inch tube or bundt pan.

Beat butter until creamy.  Gradually beat in sugar.  Add eggs one at a time.  Beat in extract and rind.  Combine flour, baking power, and salt in small bowl.  Gradually beat into butter mixture on medium speed, alternating with Orange Juice.  Beat until smooth. Pour into prepared pan.  Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.  Lower heat to 300 and bake an additional 45 -50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in pan 15 minutes.  Turn out cake and cool completely.

In a bowl, whisk confectioners sugar, juice, and water until smooth  Drizzle over cooled cake.  Let dry completely before slicing.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Neapolitan Cupcakes

Pretty and Delicious






































I dreamt up these cupcakes ages ago and it is about time that I finally made them.  It should be pretty obvious that these are inspired by Neapolitan Ice Cream.  You could easily make a vanilla cupcake with chocolate and strawberry frosting or even a strawberry cupcake with chocolate and vanilla frosting.   I made these for our neighborhood block party and they were a hit.  As expected, the kids loved the colors and sprinkles, but they were just as popular with the adults.  

Neapolitan Cupcake 
created by Baked Perfection (cupcake recipe from 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.


Very Vanilla Frosting
recipe by Baked Perfection

1 1/2 sticks of butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 - 3 tablespoons milk

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


Strawberry Buttercream
recipe from Baked Perfection

1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup strawberry jam
pinch of salt
4 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.

To pipe as pictured, place vanilla frosting and strawbr 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.


Friday, May 24, 2013

Strawberry Muffins

Pretty and delicious.






































Typically Zack and I eat cereal every day of the which can get redundant and quite boring. To change things up every now and then we will have pancakes or French Toast, but what I really love is a goof muffin.  They are portable, delicious, and fast!  They also freeze really well and can be popped in the microwave directly from the freezer for a warm treat.   I decided to make strawberry muffins because the strawberries have been fantastic lately.  I must say, the fruit in general has bene much tastier here in Georgia than it was back in Virginia.  The last time I made strawberry muffins was in high school home economics.  I must have really enjoyed them to still remember them after all these years.  These muffins turned out great.  I brought them to work and people devoured them!

Strawberry Muffins
recipe from Baked Perfection

recipe makes 12 muffins

2 eggs
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cups Greek yogurt
1 1/2 cups diced strawberries
sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.


In a medium bowl mix together flour, salt, and baking soda. In a large bowl beat together eggs and sugar. Mix in oil, vanilla, and Greek yogurt. Mix dry ingredients into wet mixture (be sure not to over-mix, batter will be lumpy). Gently fold in strawberries
. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups so they are 2/3 of the way full.  Dust each muffin with sugar

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. 



Friday, May 17, 2013

Lemon Meringue Pie

Getting ready for summer.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been very much in the mood to bake with citrus lately.  In fact, I have been baking with more fruit in general.  Expect a post to come shortly for some Strawberry Muffins.  Now, when I say shortly you may be doubting me because my posting has seriously dropped off since having Noble.  Well, Noble is nine months old now so I figured it is high time I get back to this little blog of mine.  I really hope to not disappoint you. For those bloggers who have full-time jobs outside the house and a little one running around, I really commend you for being on top of everything!

Now, back to this pie.  Believe it or not, but I had never made a lemon meringue pie prior to this one.  I went to my go-to source for new recipes, Allrecipes.com and came back with this recipe.  Overall the pie was really delicious, but a little too sweet.  In the future I will cut down the amount of sugar.  I have modified the recipe below to adapt for my suggested changes.


Lemon Meringue Pie
recipe from Allrecipes.com

1 (9 inch) graham cracker pie crust, prepared
2/3 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups water
2 lemons, juiced and zested
2 tablespoons butter
4 egg yolks, beaten
4 egg whites
6 tablespoons white sugar

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

To Make Lemon Filling: In a medium saucepan, whisk together 2/3 cup sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in water, lemon juice and lemon zest. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil. Stir in butter. Place egg yolks in a small bowl and gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of hot sugar mixture. Whisk egg yolk mixture back into remaining sugar mixture. Bring to a boil and continue to cook while stirring constantly until thick. Remove from heat. Pour filling into baked pastry shell.

To Make Meringue: In a large glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites until foamy. Add sugar gradually, and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over pie, sealing the edges at the crust.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until meringue is golden brown.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Clementine Cupcakes

Cuties are not just for kids.

Now that the weather has warmed up, I have been in the mood to bake with citrus.  This is evidenced by my last post for Key Lime Pie and my next post which will be a Lemon Meringue Pie.  There is also an Organe Pound Cake coming in the near future.   Zack and I love clementines and have them in the house whenever they are in season.  They are perfectly sweet, easy to peel, and seedless.  You really can't beat them.  The clementines made the perfect addition to these cupcakes and are a welcome treat after a rainy spring day.

Clementine Cupcakes from Baked Perfection
recipe from Baked Perfection

makes 12-15 cupcakes


1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cups sugar
1 egg
1 egg white
zest of 3 clementines
juice from 2 clementines
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 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 clementine zest, clementine juice and vanilla; mix well. Add the flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream (batter will be thick). Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 3/4 full with batter. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely.

Very Vanilla Frosting
recipe by Baked Perfection

1 sticks of butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 - 2 tablespoons milk

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



Monday, April 15, 2013

Key Lime Pie

Perfection.






































Zack and I had our first non-family visitor two weeks ago, Ellen. Having Ellen visit was amazing.  We really needed a visit from an old friend and now I am trying to convince her to move here.  Since one of Ellen and my favorite things to do when we are together is bake, the weekend of her visit we whipped up two pies.  This delicious Key Lime Pie  because Publix brainwashed me into needing one and a  Lemon Meringue since it seemed appropriate.

If you live in the South like I do, then you may have recently been inundated with commercials for Publix's Key Lime Pie.  I have not tried their pie, but I hear it is pretty tasty.  They really want me to buy there pie because it seems every time I get in my car I hear it on the radio and every time I turn on the TV I see there commercial.  I suppose in a way the commercial worked, because I did buy all the ingredients to make this pie at Publix, they got me in the store. 

Anyway, this pie is really fantastic and incredibly easy to make.  I highly recommend it.  I fancied our pie up a bit with some piped homemade whip cream and a homemade crust, but feel free to use a pre-made crust and some whipped cream in a can.

Key Lime Pie
recipe from Allreipes.com

1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker pie crust
3 cups sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup key lime juice
1 tablespoon lime zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  In a medium bowl, combine the condensed milk, lime juice, and lime rind.  Mix well and pour into the graham cracker crust.  Baked in preheated oven 8-10 minutes  until tiny bubbles burst on the surface of the pie.  DO NOT BROWN.  Chill pie thoroughly before serving.  Garnish with whipped cream if desired.






































p.s. Zack and I loved having you here Ellen.  We would love more visitors!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Peanut Butter Easter Basket Cookies

Happy Easter!

























I hope everybody is having a wonderful Easter and/or Passover.  I just wanted to get a quick post up before Noble wakes up from his nap....better type fast.  I picked up a bag of the Peanut Butter Easter M&M's not too long ago and had not thought of what to make with them until last night when I came up with these.  I used the Peanut Butter Cup Cookie recipe I posted on here over four years ago and just swapped out the peanut butter cup these peanut butter M&M's.  These cookies are adorable and delicious.  I think these would work really well with regular M&M's as well which would be adorable for a birthday party. I will have to keep that in mind for when Noble turns one.

Peanut Butter Cup Easter Baskets
recipe from Baked Perfection

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda1/2 cup butter, softened1/2 cup white sugar1/2 cup peanut butter1/2 cup packed brown sugar1 egg, beaten1 teaspoon vanilla extract2 tablespoons milkPeanut Butter M&M's

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.


In a small bowl mix together the flour, salt and baking soda; set aside. In a large bowl cream together the butter, sugar, peanut butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and milk. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture; mix well. Shape the dough into approximately 40 balls and place each into an ungreased mini muffin pan. 


Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press M&M's into each ball. Cool and carefully remove from pan.



Saturday, March 16, 2013

Fudgy Brownies with Peanut Butter Frosting

Yum!

























It is about time I posted something on here.  Little did I know that having a baby, selling a house, buying a new house, moving to a new state, and going back to work as an auditor during busy season was going to have an impact on this blog.  I miss blogging and I miss all the baking.  I wanted to post something for St. Patricks's Day, but the milkshakes I made this evening had way too much mint and ended up in the trash.  Then I remembered I made these brownies last month and thought I  better post something for you guys before you forgot about me.   I am really trying to find the time to get back to baking an blogging, so bear with me.

In the meantime, go make these brownies!  They are incredible.  My only tip to making this is to use really good chocolate.  There aren't many ingredients in here so it really makes a difference.  The first time I made these I did not put the peanut butter topping on them and have since decided this is my new go-to brownie recipe.  They are incredibly indulgent and absolutely delicious.

Fudgy Brownies with Peanut Butter Frosting
recipe from Tish Boyle, Sweet Dreams


Brownies:

9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
2 large eggs
½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
½ cup (108 g) light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (64 g) all-purpose flour

Peanut Butter Frosting:

3/4 cup (180 g) creamy peanut butter (not natural)
3 tablespoons (42 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (57 g) confectioners’ sugar
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the brownies:

Preheat the oven to 325°F.  Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil so that the foil extends at least two inches beyond the edges of 2 opposite ends.  Melt the chocolate with the butter in the top of a double boiler. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugars until well blended and smooth. Add the salt, then the melted chocolate and vanilla extract and mix until well blended. Add the flour and mix until blended. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth it into an even layer. Bake the brownies for 22 to 25 minutes, until the top is no longer shiny and the brownies are set (they will still be moist inside). Cool completely.

Make the frosting:

In a medium bowl, using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, beat the peanut butter with the soft butter until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until blended and smooth. Stir in the vanilla extract. Spread the frosting over the cool brownies and refrigerate for at least one hour before cutting.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Peanut Butter M&M Blondies

Getting back in the swing of things.

























I told you I wanted to get back to baking and blogging so here I am with another post.  I planned to take these little gems to work this past Monday, but alas I have a baby that attends day care which means he gets sick...a lot. I took Noble to the pediatrician Monday to find out he had an ear infection.  Poor little guy.  He also happened to bring me home a cold.  I am not certain that he was the carrier, but I am think it is safe to assume.    Noble and I are feeling much better now, but needless to say these blondies never made it into work.  Zack was able to take half to his work and then I ate a few too many at home.   They are really simple to make and very delicious.  The original recipe used Rolo's, but I thought it would be fun to use Peanut Butter M&M's and they turned out great.

Peanut Butter M&M Blondies
recipe ever so slightly adapted from Two Peas and their Pod


1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 cups light brown sugar1/2 cup creamy peanut butter2 large eggs1 teaspoon vanilla extract2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour1 teaspoon baking powder1/4 teaspoon baking soda1/2 teaspoon salt1 11.4 ounce package Peanut Butter M&M's



Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9-inch by 13-inch pan and set aside.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and brown sugar, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from the heat, and stir in the peanut butter, until creamy and combined. Set mixture aside to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Add the eggs, one at a time, to the peanut butter mixture, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared dry ingredients, and stir until batter is smooth. Stir in the M&M's.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, spreading the batter evenly to the edges of the pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden and the edges are slightly browned. Remove blondies from oven and place them on a wire rack to cool. Once cooled, cut into squares and serve.