Friday, December 25, 2009

Gingerbread Pancakes

I messed these up a little. Actually, MY HUSBAND messed these up a little. Or blame Acme because they didn't have buttermilk on Christmas morning! I found out after the fact that you can substitute milk & vinegar (or lemon juice) if you don't have buttermilk. My husband thought the substitute would be sour cream, which led to our pancakes being very thick. They were still tasty and gave a very Christmas-y feel to breakfast before opening our gifts. (I could not wait until afterwards - Hungry Laura would have come out!)

Adapted from:

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 salt1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
pinch nutmeg
pinch black pepper
1 1/8 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 tbsp melted butter (or vegetable oil)
2 tbsp dark molasses

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg and black pepper in a medium bowl. In another medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, melted butter and molasses. Pour into flour mixture and stir until just combined.Heat a nonstick or lightly greased pan over medium high heat, until a drop of water sizzles on it. Drop dollops of batter to make 3-inch pancakes. Turn when the edges of the pancakes begin to look dry and the bottom is golden brown, 2-3 minutes. Cook second side until it is golden, 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately.Serves 2-3 people with lots of maple syrup.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

This is the BEST cake I have ever made. It's incredibly rich. However, I only made this a 2-layer cake instead of 3, so I made 2/3 of the recipe. I can only imagine another layer....:) This is also the messiest cake I've ever made. It does not look pretty! (Hence, the picture is of the slice of cake and not the entire thing.) Maybe that's something I will have to work on... I've baked this cake twice and this time it seemed a bit undercooked. That is not a problem though! It just adds to the intensity of the chocolate! :)

Adapted from:

INGREDIENTS for chocolate cake (frosting & glaze below)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as canola, soybean or vegetable blend
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanut brittle (I skipped this)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cakepans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.
2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans.
3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely. (These cakes are very, very soft. I found them a lot easier to work with after firming them up in the freezer for 30 minutes. They’ll defrost quickly once assembled. You’ll be glad you did this, trust me.)
4. To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup cup of the Peanut Butter Frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.
5. To decorate with the Chocolate–Peanut Butter Glaze, put the cake plate on a large baking sheet to catch any drips. Simply pour the glaze over the top of the cake, and using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely. Remove about 1 hour before serving. Decorate the top with chopped peanut brittle.

Peanut Butter Frosting
Makes about 5 cups
10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.
2. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup half-and-half
1. In the top of d double boiler or in a bowl set over simmering water, combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Cook, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, beating until smooth. Use while still warm.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Amazing Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Oh my God, these were so good! My favorite of the Christmas cookies that I baked this year! Though these can have to baked around Christmas - they may be added to a staple recipe of mine. I didn't toast the coconut since I was being lazy - I had so many other cookies to bake! I also omitted the pecans, since I'm not a fan.

Adapted from:

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup coconut flakes, toasted (I didn't toast it)
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped, toasted (I omitted)

Preheat oven to 325°F and line baking sheets with silicone baking mats.In a large mixer bowl, beat butter and sugars at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, corn syrup, and vanilla. Beat until combined. With the mixer running, mix in the flour, salt, and baking soda, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. With a large spatula, stir in the coconut, white chocolate, cranberries, oatmeal, and pecans. Drop by tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for about 12 minutes, until edges are golden and top of the cookie is dry but still soft. Let cool on baking sheet for a minute or two, and then move to a wire rack to cool completely

Chocolate Crinkles

I'm finally getting all of the recipes I baked over Christmas up on this blog! It's about time :) These chocolate crinkles were very Christmas-y indeed. They were bite-sized and fudgy. Though maybe next time I might add some more chocolate. I know, I can never get enough chocolate! It just seemed like it could be kicked up a notch...:)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
In a stainless steel bowl, over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Remove from heat and set aside.
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the eggs and sugar until thick, pale, and fluffy. (When you slowly raise the beaters the batter will fall back into the bowl in slow ribbons.) At this point beat in the vanilla extract and then stir in the melted chocolate mixture.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture, stirring just until incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to shape into balls (3-4 hours or overnight).
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.
Place the confectioners sugar in a shallow bowl. With lightly greased hands, roll a small amount of chilled dough to form a 1 inch (2.54 cm) diameter ball. Place the ball of dough into the confectioners sugar and roll the ball in the sugar until it is completely coated and no chocolate shows through. Gently lift the sugar-covered ball, tapping off excess sugar, and place on prepared baking sheet. Continue forming cookies, spacing about 2 inches (5 cm) apart on baking sheets. (If you find the dough getting too soft for rolling into balls, return to the refrigerator and let chill until firm.)
Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes or just until the edges are slightly firm but the centers are still soft. (For moist chewy cookies do not over bake. Over baking these cookies will cause them to be dry.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
These cookies are best eaten the day they are baked.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Chewy Sugar Cookies

Ah, time for Christmas cookies...:) Too bad I'm posting this a week later! These were exactly what I was looking for - I never made sugar cookies (well, in my adult years anyway) so I wanted to try them out. These did flatten out more than I expected, but they were still very chewy and delicious! This recipe makes A LOT of cookies. It says it yields 30, but I must have made my cookies smaller. I had to have my husband bring some into work because I could not have these lying around the house!

Adapted from:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups margarine
2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup white sugar for decoration

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until just blended. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls and roll the balls in remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Place cookies 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets and flatten slightly.
3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly browned at the edges. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Friday, December 18, 2009

White Chocolate Gingerbread Blondies

Oh. My. God. Fabulous. These are the winner for the Christmas Party. They were so good and very holiday-esque. (Can you tell I'm obsessed with Gingerbread lately?) I even put the tree in the background of the picture for added effect ;) I almost didn't try them out, but as I was asking my husband's opinion on what to make he said "I love blondies!". Thank you, Dan. This recipe calls for a 17x12 pan, which I don't have and even if I did I didn't want 4 dozen bars if they were terrible. So, I made them in an 8x8 pan and made 1/3 of the recipe. I set the timer for 13 minutes (which wasn't enough) and kept checking every couple of minutes until they looked done. You don't want to overbake these - I think mine were slightly underbaked and they were very chewy! I will definitely be making these again (most likely in a 13x9 pan using half of the recipe).

Adapted from:

INGREDIENTS - Makes about 4 dozen 2-inch squares
Vegetable-oil cooking spray
2 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 1/2 sticks (20 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsulfured molasses (I used honey)
10 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 17-by-12-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Line bottom with parchment cut to fit, and coat parchment. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
2. Beat butter and brown and granulated sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs and yolk, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla and molasses. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture, and beat until just combined. Stir in white chocolate.
3. Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake until edges are golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 2-inch squares or desired shape. Blondies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Snickerdoodle Blondies

Another one of my experiments for the Christmas party but this also didn't win. These cookie bars are good, don't get me wrong. I've seen these on a few blogs before and they get rave reviews, which is maybe why I was slightly disappointed. I was thinking they were going to be the best thing I ever tasted! Worth making again though :)

Adapted from:

INGREDIENTS - makes 30 bars
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch pan. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. In large bowl, beat together butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture until well blended. Spread evenly in prepared pan (mixture will be somewhat cookiebatter-ish). I used my wet hands to spread the batter into the pan. Combine white sugar and cinnamon in a little bowl. Evenly sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over the top of the batter.Bake 25-30 minutes or until surface springs back when gently pressed. Cool slightly. While still warm, cut into bars with a sharp knife.

Gingerbread Bars with Lemon Cream Cheese Icing

These were yummy :) They are cakey and muffin-like and the icing gave it something extra. I made half of the recipe in an 8x8 pan since I made a few desserts in testing them out for my parent's Christmas Party this weekend. I love trying new recipes but hate serving them if they're not great or just okay. These were good, however, I will be going with another dessert for the party (Gingerbread Blondies - fabulous!!) in addition to the obligatory Premier Cranberry Cheesecake Bars and Cookies n' Cream Mint Brownies (recipe for that will be up next week after I bake them!).

Adapted from:

1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg1 tablespoon McCormick® Ground Ginger
1 teaspoon McCormick® Ground Cinnamon
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup molasses (I used honey since I didn't have molasses)
2 tablespoons water

Lemon Cream Cheese Icing
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Lemon Extract

1. Grease 9x13x2-inch baking pan. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
2. Cream butter in large mixer bowl. Beat in 3/4 cup sugar, egg, ginger, and cinnamon.
3. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Add to butter mixture and mix well. Stir in molasses and water; mix until just blended. Spread in prepared pan.
4. Beat Lemon Cream Cheese Icing ingredients until smooth. Using 1/2 cup lemon icing, spoon dollops (about 1 teaspoon each) over batter in pan. With a knife, swirl through ginger base with large strokes. Bake 28-30 minutes or until batter begins to pull away from pan edges. Cool 30 minutes.
5. Spread remaining lemon icing over bars. Cut using a sharp knife. Store in refrigerator. (My kitchen counter was fine since our heat isn't working....the beauty of living in an old house!)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

I kind of made these wrong. They were still very good (and festive!) but probably didn't turn out the way they were supposed to. I didn't refrigerate the dough for 2 hours, used ground ginger instead of freshly grated ginger and rolled the cookies in sugar after I baked them instead of before. Oops! Oh, and I did not use "best-quality semi-sweet chocolate" (I used Nestle). And I substituted honey for molasses (which is perfectly acceptable). Hm...this all doesn't sound too good for me as a baker. However, I wasn't too upset that I made all of these mistakes since I wasn't bringing these to anyone's house or serving them at a party. I just wanted to kick off the Christmas season and got lazy in the process...oh well. They were still delicious!

Adapted from:

7 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Line two baking sheets with parchment. Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and grated ginger until whitened, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.
In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking-soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture. Mix in chocolate; turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to about 1 inch thick; seal with wrap; refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or more.
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Roll dough into 1 1/2- inch balls; place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Roll in granulated sugar. Bake until the surfaces crack slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

STOVE TOP Spinach Balls

Ah, the infamous spinach balls...I've been making these for a few years now. They're so easy and I get raves about them. I usually leave out the chopped onions because I'm not a fan (I think the stuffing flavoring of mushroom & onion is enough). They also freeze well. For a party, I will make twice the recipe (mix in separate bowls) and freeze a couple of weeks ahead of time. You bake them first, put in a freezer bag, defrost and then bake again at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes the day you are serving them. (Can be frozen for up to 3 months)

Adapted from:

1 pkg. (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix Monterey Style with Mushroom & Onion
1-2/3 cups hot water
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
2 pkg. (10 oz. each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained and patted dry
1 cup KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 eggs
HEAT oven to 400ºF.
MIX stuffing mix, hot water and butter in large bowl until well blended.
ADD remaining ingredients; mix lightly. Shape into 60 (1-inch) balls. Place in single layer in 2 (15x10x1-inch) pans sprayed with cooking spray.
BAKE 15 to 20 min. or until lightly browned.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Melting Moments Cookies

It's Christmas time! And therefore, time for Christmas cookies. These cookies do melt in your mouth - tiny shortbread cookies rolled in powdered sugar...yum! My husband said they would even be better with a Hershey's Kiss in the middle. I would not oppose chocolate being added to anything! Maybe next time...

Adapted from

1 1/2 cups All purpose flour
1/2 cup Cornstarch (corn flour)
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 cup Powdered (confectioners or icing) sugar
1 cup Unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

1 cup (110 grams) powdered (confectioners) sugar, sifted

In a medium sized bowl whisk together the flour, cornstarch and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat until incorporated. Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least one hour or until firm. (I on the other hand, did not have an hour to spare, so my dough was refrigerated about 20 minutes...)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. When dough is firm, form into 1 inch balls and place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets spacing about 1 inch apart. Bake for about 12 - 14 minutes or until the edges of the cookies start to brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, line another baking pan or tray with parchment or wax paper. Sprinkle about half of the confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar onto the bottom of the pan and then place the slightly cooled cookies on top of the sugar. Put the remaining sugar in a fine strainer or sieve and then sprinkle the tops of the cookies (or you can just roll the cookies in the sugar - I put the powdered sugar in a bowl and rolled the cookies in that. Much simpler!).
These cookies store very well. Place in an airtight container between sheets of wax paper and they will keep a couple of weeks.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Premier Cheesecake Cranberry Bars

Adapted from:

This are the best bars (and while we're at it, dessert) I've ever made. I credit these bars to getting me into baking a few years ago. That says a lot being that I'm a chocoholic. They're a staple around the holidays. I will have to say that they are a bit messy and fall apart easily but the best way to avoid that is lining the pan with foil. Before cutting, place them in the fridge for at least a few hours. Then you can take the whole dessert out with the foil and cut them into bars. Otherwise, it can be a crumbly mess and you will end up eating half of them before you even get to serve them! Trust me!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups quick or old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) White chips
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 oz.) Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 can (16 oz.) OCEAN SPRAY® Whole-Berry Cranberry Sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch


Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease 13 x 9-inch baking pan. I find the way for these to be as neat as possible is to line the pan with foil and grease the foil. This way you can take the entire thing out of the pan and cut into bars when you're finished. Combine flour, oats and brown sugar in large bowl. Add butter; mix until crumbly. Stir in morsels. Reserve 2 1/2 cups morsel mixture for topping. With floured fingers, press remaining mixture into prepared pan. Beat cream cheese in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and vanilla extract; mix until smooth. Pour over crust. Combine cranberry sauce and cornstarch in medium bowl. Spoon over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle reserved morsel mixture over cranberry mixture. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until center is set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cover; refrigerate until serving time (up to 1 day). Cut into bars.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pineapple Casserole

I have been making this for years and it's super easy! It actually goes with dinner, though it tastes as sweet as a dessert. I also double the recipe and make it in a 13x9 pan and bake for 1 hour - 1 hour 15 minutes. Keep checking to make sure it's browned and not burning around an hour. This picture shows it is a LITTLE burnt, which is actually my husband's fault and not mine. ;) I asked him to check on it, he said it looked done and then left it in the oven until 15 minutes later I realized it was still in there. He almost ruined Thanksgiving ;)

1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
3 eggs, beaten
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice
3 slices white bread, cut into cubes
6 tablespoons butter (If you double the recipe, you probably won't need 12 tablespoons - more like 8 or 9 for pouring on top.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 1 quart baking dish.
In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, flour and salt.
Add eggs, pineapple and juice. Mix well.
Pour into 8x8 baking dish, top with bread cubes and dot with butter. Bake for 45 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Gorganzola Fig Tarlets

Yes, I can do other things besides sweets! These tartlets were so good and very easy! It was great as a Thanksgiving appetizer (and I will probably end up making these for my parent's Christmas Party as well). I didn't have a 2" cookie cutter so I used a small glass we had that was about 1.75". Because of this I didn't need as many figs and baked them for 7 minutes. I also omitted the walnuts because 1 - I didn't have them and 2 - I'm not a big fan of them! I also was out of honey, which I think if it was drizzled on top would've made them even better!

1 Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crust (from 15-oz box), softened as directed on box
6 dried figs or pitted dates, coarsely chopped (1/3 cup)
1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup Fisher® Chef's Naturals® Chopped Walnuts
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (2 oz)
1 tablespoon honey

1. Heat oven to 425°F. Unroll pie crust on flat surface. Using 2-inch cookie cutter, cut 24 rounds from pie crust, rerolling crust scraps if necessary. Gently press 1 round in bottom and up side of each of 24 ungreased mini muffin cups.
2. In small bowl, mix figs, brown sugar, cinnamon and walnuts. Spoon slightly less than 1 teaspoon fig mixture into each cup. Break up any larger pieces of cheese. Top each tartlet with slightly less than 1 teaspoon cheese.
3. Bake 7 to 11 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Remove tartlets from pan to serving plate. Drizzle tartlets with honey. Serve warm.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake

I was told this cheesecake "might possibly" be the best cheesecake ever tasted by my brother-in-law, so I'm going to ahead and say this cheesecake was fantastic. However, the white chocolate was supposed to be melted - I burnt it the first time and didn't have the patience to try it again, so it was more of a white chocolate chip pumpkin cheesecake. I guess I didn't do that bad of a job on it since I got great reviews at Thanksgiving!

2 cups cinnamon graham cracker crumbs (about 2 sleeves)
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons of sugar, divided
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup white chocolate, melted
3 eggs-1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons caramel sauce for topping
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. For crust, combine graham cracker crumbs (I used a blender to crush them) with melted butter and 2 Tablespoons of sugar. Mix together and press into a lightly greased 9-in. springform pan. Set aside.
3. For filling, mix cream cheese and remaining sugar until smooth. Add pumpkin, white chocolate, eggs, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice, and mix until combined. Pour into springform pan and place pan on in a shallow baking pan.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or until center appears nearly set when gently shaken. Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and drizzle caramel topping over the cake. Chill until ready to serve.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Triple Espresso Brownies

Oh, how I love brownies from a box...they are better than any brownies I've ever made! This recipe uses boxed brownies (I used Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge since I couldn't find their "Rich & Moist Fudge Brownie Mix") and espresso. I also didn't have instant espresso powder so used instant coffee. I thought it still had a strong coffee taste but my husband said they didn't taste like coffee. (He also likes Starbucks where as I have to water it down!). All in all, these brownies from were very good and had the "brownies from a box" taste that I love so much!

1 (19.5-oz.) pkg. Pillsbury® Rich & Moist Fudge Brownie Mix
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee granules
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee granules
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (I omitted)
12 oz. sweet dark or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1/8 teaspoon instant espresso coffee granules
1 to 2 teaspoons milk or whipping cream

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom only of 13x9-inch pan. In large bowl, combine all brownie ingredients; beat 50 strokes with spoon. Spread in greased pan. Bake at 350°F. for 28 minutes. Remove from oven.
2. Meanwhile, in small bowl, beat 1/4 cup butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add 1 egg, 2 teaspoons coffee granules and 1 teaspoon vanilla; blend well. In medium bowl, combine walnuts and chopped chocolate. Add brown sugar mixture; blend well.
3. Spoon and carefully spread filling over baked brownies. Return to oven; continue to bake an additional 17 to 20 minutes or until light brown.
4. In small saucepan, melt chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon butter over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat. With wire whisk, stir in 1/8 teaspoon coffee granules and enough milk for desired drizzling consistency. Drizzle over warm brownies. Cool 45 minutes or until completely cooled. Cut into bars.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

You can never go wrong with Chocolate and Peanut Butter - it's my favorite combination! These "brownies" turned out more like candy than a brownie but were still fabulous. I still have half of the batch in my fridge which may be dangerous when a craving kicks in... I found this recipe on Pillsbury's website.

1/2 cup dark corn syrup (I used light since that was all that I had)
1/2cup butter
6 oz bittersweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups chunky peanut butter (I didn't use chunky, just preference)
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 cup whipping cream
6 oz bittersweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used semi-sweet chips because I ran out of baking chocolate!)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Chopped roasted peanuts, if desired (I omitted)

1. Heat oven to 325°F. Grease bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan with shortening and lightly flour, or spray with baking spray with flour.
2. In 2-quart saucepan, heat corn syrup, 1/2 cup butter and 6 oz chocolate over low heat, stirring frequently, until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat. Beat in eggs, one at a time, using wire whisk. Add flour, granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat with wire whisk until batter is smooth and shiny. Spread in pan.
3. Bake 23 to 25 minutes or just until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (do not overbake). Cool completely, about 45 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat peanut butter and 1/2 cup butter with electric mixer on medium speed until blended. Add powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon vanilla; beat until smooth and fluffy. Spread over brownies.
5. In 1-quart saucepan, heat whipping cream and 6 oz chocolate over low heat, stirring frequently, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Cool 5 minutes. Spread frosting over peanut butter filling. Sprinkle with peanuts. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. For brownies, cut into 6 rows by 6 rows.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Caramel Apple Bars

These were yummy apple bars as well, also from Recipe Girl ( There is more homemade sauce than the recipe says to add to the bars. You could either cut the ingredients down or use it for something else!

1 cup heavy whipping cream (I used half & half)
2 cups brown sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
4 Tbs butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt

1 cup brown sugar
¾ cup butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup ground pecans (again, I omitted)
2 cups rolled oats

3½ cups sliced apples (about 24 ounces)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup homemade caramel

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 9×13-inch pan with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.
2. Prepare caramel: Mix caramel ingredients in a 2-quart saucepan. Heat over medium, stirring constantly, until it reaches soft-ball stage (230-234 degrees). Remove from heat. (I'm not sure exactly what that means...I just heated it until it thickened up a bit!)
3. In a medium bowl, beat the brown sugar and the next 4 ingredients (through baking soda) until thoroughly combined. Mix in the flour, ground pecans (if desired) and oats until crumbly. scoop out 1 cup and set aside. Place the remaining crumbs into your prepared pan and press down firmly to coat the bottom.
4. Toss apples in a large bowl with the salt and cinnamon. Arrange them over the crust. Drizzle 1 cup of warm caramel over the top and the sprinkle with the remaining crumbs you set aside.
5. Bake 35- 40 minutes until bubbly and the apples are just tender. Remove and let cool until they are just warm to the touch. Cut into squares. Try and let the bars rest until the caramel has set before serving.

Apple Harvest Blondies

Wow, were these bars good! I wasn't expecting much from them, but they were fantastic. This was one of the apple recipes I tried on Thursday night, hoping to find something to add to the Thanksgiving desserts (or Christmas Party desserts...). I think I found it! They are from
**Edit - I orignally made a small batch of these and loved them - they tasted very buttery. I made them a second time in a 13x9 pan and they were much thicker and cakey. Not bad, but I feel in love with them the first time and they didn't turn out quite the same the second! (Maybe my calculations were wrong the first time! I'll have to find out what that was...)

2/3 cup unsalted butter
2¼ cups packed brown sugar (divided)
3 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 medium apples, peeled and chopped
3 ounces cream cheese, frozen for 1 hour (I used more than 3 oz., probably 4)
2 ounces finely chopped pecans or walnuts (I omitted the nuts - not a fan of them in desserts!)
1 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 13×9-inch baking dish.
2. Melt butter in large microwave-safe bowl (just until melted). Remove from microwave and stir in 2 cups of brown sugar. Mix well, then add eggs, flour, baking powder and vanilla. Mix just until combined. Fold in apples.
3. Spread batter into prepared dish. Chop cream cheese into small bits and mix with nuts, cinnamon and remaining ¼ cup of brown sugar. Sprinkle evenly over batter.
4. Sprinkle over batter and bake 35 to 40 minutes.
Yield: About 24 blondies

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

I got this recipe from in my search for the perfect Thanksgiving recipe. It kind of tastes like Pumpkin Pie over cake - pretty good!


1 (18 1/4-ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 egg
8 tablespoons butter

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the cake: Combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Pour batter into a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan. Prepare filling.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to overbake as the center should be a little gooey. Serve with fresh whipped cream.
*I tried to make a topping for this recipe as well - it looked like it needed something else - since I only did half of the recipe in an 8x8 pan, I took some of the extra cake mix and mixed with with butter and sugar. It definitely added to the goodness of the cake, but I think a crumbly cinnamon topping might be better.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

With the upcoming holiday season, I keep coming across recipes for pumpkin and chocolate, which seems like an odd combination to me. (I'm not sure why I would think that anything is odd with chocolate though!) I decided to try baking a Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread. I found this recipe from Magnanimity's blog ( She says it can make bread or cookies but I found the consistency too watery to form cookies. I also added more chocolate chips than the recipe called for. The bread was excellent! I plan to try more recipes with this combination.
Makes 3 (9×5″) loaves

3 cups sugar
1 T ground nutmeg
1–15 oz can pumpkin puree
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup water
1 cup miniature semi-sweet chips (I used regular semi-sweet chips and added about 1.5 cups)
4 eggs
1/2 cup walnuts, optional (I omitted)
3 1/2 cups flour
1 T ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour three 9×5″ loaf pans. (I only made one loaf and cut the recipe in thirds.) Combine all dry ingredients in large bowl; set aside. In large bowl, combine sugar, pumpkin, oil,water, and eggs. Beat until smooth. Blend in the dry ingredients. Fold in chocolate chips, and nuts (I omitted, not a fan of nuts in bread), if desired. Pour batter into prepared loaf pans. Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire racks before removing from pans.
*Note: This bread should freeze well, half of it is actually in my freezer and I'll let you know how that is after Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 2, 2009

White Chocolate Ribbon Pumpkin Cake with Maple Glaze

This was actually supposed to be made as a full bundt cake, but I don't have that type of pan (some kind of baker I am!). I have mini-bundt pans, so I made mini cakes. ;) This picture is also before the maple glaze was added on top. I found this recipe from Cookie Madness (

3/4 cup white chocolate morsels or white chips or 4 oz white chocolate
8 oz cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour (13.5 oz)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 sticks (8 oz) butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 (15-16 oz) can pumpkin

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon maple syrup (I used sugar-free)
1/2 teaspoon maple extract (imitation can be used too)
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream (I used half & half)
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a large bundt pan or spray with flour added baking spray.
Prepare filling. Place white chips in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes, stopping every 30 seconds to stir. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla into melted chips. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract. Beat in eggs, one by one and continue beating on high speed of electric mixer for 1 minute or until mixture is light. Stir in pumpkin. By hand or using low speed of mixer, stir flour mixture.
Pour about one third of the pumpkin batter into bundt pan. Pour white filling over pumpkin batter, keeping white batter away from sides of pan as much as possible. Pour remaining pumpkin batter over white batter.
Bake for 55 minutes or until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes; Turn from pan. Let cake cool completely before glazing.
Prepare glaze. Stir together sifted powdered sugar, maple syrup, 2 tablespoons of cream and salt. Beat until smooth. If glaze is too thick, add remaining tablespoon of cream. Drizzle over cooled cake; Store cake in refrigerator.
20 Servings

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Blueberry Boy Bait

I had some frozen blueberries that I wanted to use, so I searched and found this recipe from The cake was very tasty! Quick and easy to whip up as well. I didn't want to make as much as the recipe called for, so I half'd the ingredients in an 8x8 pan and baked for about 30 minutes.

Serves 12, generously
2 cups plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk (I used skim, that's all we had)
1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen, do not defrost first as it tends to muddle in the batter)

1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (do not defrost)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

Whisk two cups flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl. With electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium-high speed until fluffy, about two minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated and scraping down bowl. Reduce speed to medium and beat in one-third of flour mixture until incorporated; beat in half of milk. Beat in half of remaining flour mixture, then remaining milk, and finally remaining flour mixture. Toss blueberries with remaining one teaspoon flour. Using rubber spatula, gently fold in blueberries. Spread batter into prepared pan.
For the topping:Scatter blueberries over top of batter. Stir sugar and cinnamon together in small bowl and sprinkle over batter. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan 20 minutes, then turn out and place on serving platter (topping side up). Serve warm or at room temperature. (Cake can be stored in airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Raspberry Brown Butter Bars

I got this recipe from I altered the original recipe (they used cherries instead of raspberries). I'm not a big fan of cherries. Everyone raved about these bars!

Makes 16 square bars

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
Pinch of salt

1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced
30 raspberries

Make crust: Preheat over to 375°F. Cut two 12-inch lengths of parchment paper and trim each to fit the 8-inch width of an 8×8-inch square baking pan. Press it into the bottom and sides of your pan in one direction, then use the second sheet to line the rest of the pan, perpendicular to the first sheet.
Using rubber spatula or fork, mix melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in medium bowl. Add flour and salt and stir until incorporated. Transfer dough to your prepared pan, and use your fingertips to press the dough evenly across the bottom of the pan. Bake the crust until golden, about 18 minutes (it will puff slightly while baking). Transfer crust to rack and cool in pan. Maintain oven temperature.

Make the filling: Cook butter in heavy small saucepan (a lighter-colored one will make it easier to see the color changing, which happens quickly) over medium heat until deep nutty brown (do not burn), stirring often and watching carefully, about six minutes. Immediately pour browned butter into glass measuring cup to cool slightly.
Whisk sugar, eggs, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Add flour and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Gradually whisk browned butter into sugar-egg mixture; whisk until well blended.
Arrange raspberries, or the berries of your choice, in bottom of cooled crust. Carefully pour browned butter mixture evenly over the fruit. Bake bars until filling is puffed and golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool bars completely in pan on rack.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Oreo Fudge Bars

Wow, these bars are sweet! I am a huge chocoholic, but not the biggest fan of fudge (it tastes too sugar-y and not chocolate-y enough for me). These bars are rich and a big sugar-y for me. However, I got raves about them. I got this recipe from Baking Blonde's Blog ( (I also forgot to take a picture of these after they were finished, but here it is before it went in the oven!)

1 16oz. package of Oreo cookies
1 stick butter, melted
1/4 tsp satl1
(14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (I used Fat Free)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (could use another 1/2 cup semi-sweet chips if you like - I did because I didn't have milk choc chips)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (I didn't have these, so I used regular semi-sweet)

Preheat the oven to 325. Line a 9×13 pan with foil and lightly spray with PAM. Set aside 6 Oreo cookies for the toppings. In a small food processor (or blender) grind the rest of the cookies. Add the salt to the crumbs and stir to combine. Melt butter and gently stir together with the cookie crumb mixutre. Press firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Coarsely chop the remaining cookies into chunks and set aside. Over a double boiler or in the microwave, melt 3/4 cup semi-sweet and 1/2 cup milk chocoalte chips together with the condensed milk and vanilla.Stir frequently until smooth. Spread evenly over the prepared cookie crust. Sprinkle the mini chocolate chips and the Oreo cookies chunks over the top of the filling. Press down gently into the chocolate topping. Bake for 20-22 minutes oven. Allow to cool on counter for 1 hour. Chill in fridge until completely cold and set before cutting into bars.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Mike's Chocolate Cake Cookies

Ok, these are really titled "Amazing Chocolate Cake Cookies" from However, my brother-in-law Mike likes them so much that I have decided to rename them for my blog. :) They really are amazing - very chocolatey! It's probably the amount of sugar that makes them so good (and so bad for me). I actually did sustitute some Splenda the last time I made them (only about 1/4-1/3 cup) and couldn't tell a difference.

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups white sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups semisweet (or chip of your choice!) chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix to incorporate. Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.Mix together flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder in a separate bowl with a fork or whisk until even in color. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and stir until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips.Bake for 11 minutes at 350 F. The cookies will appear to be just barely firm with a sheen to their surfaces. Allow to cool on the sheet for a couple of minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in airtight containers.

Notes: Follow the baking time EXACTLY! They come just right at 11 minutes! I tried these with peanut butter chips (in picture), which were good but doesn't quite have the same effect as the chocolate chips. Next time I am trying a mixture of milk chocolate and peanut butter chips.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Berry Oatmeal Crumble Bars

This recipe is from Baking Bites ( and is actually pretty healthy! I made it since my dad & sister would be over (both diabetics...nevermind me, I still go for the chocolate!). They were not very sweet...more of a snack instead of a dessert in my option. Still tasty though!

3 cups fresh or frozen berries (I used 2 c blueberries, 1 c strawberries)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar2 tbsp cornstarch

Crumble and Crust
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats (quick-cooking or regular)
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened and cut into 7-9 large chunks
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt1 tsp vanilla extract

Filling: In a medium saucepan, stir together berries and lemon juice and cook medium heat until fruit is tender, about 8-15 minutes, depending on type of berries being used (strawberries take longer than other berries, usually).In a small bowl, whisk together sugar and cornstarch, then stir into fruit mixture. Continue cooking until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 1-2 minutes, until thick. Scrape berry filling into a medium bowl and set aside.

Crust: Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease a 9×13″ baking pan.In a food processor (or large mixing bowl), combine flour, oats, brown sugar, butter, baking soda , salt and vanilla extract. Pulse until mixture is thoroughly blended and resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside 1 1/2 cups of this mixture in a medium bowl. Pour remaining crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish, spread evenly and pat down. Place filling in dollops over crust and carefully spread to cover entire surface. Squeeze reserved crumb mixture into large clumps with your fingers and sprinkle evenly over the top of the fruit filling.Bake until golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.
Cut into 20 bars to serve.