Sunday, October 31, 2010

Lemon Tea Bread

What you will need:
3 ounces of unsalted butter
1 cup of granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup of milk
1 1/3 cup of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of lemon zest

For the glaze:
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 cups of powdered sugar
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 tablespoon of water

Cream the butter with the granulated sugar.  Once the butter and sugar is light and fluffy, add the 1/2 cup of milk.  Add the eggs in one at a time.  The mixture will be really soupy.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together and then add the dry ingredients to your batter.  Mix just until the batter comes together.  It will be very creamy and light yellow.  Fold in the lemon zest when done. You can portion the batter into a muffin pan or a bread loaf pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes if you are using the loaf pans (about 15 minutes for muffins) until light brown on top.   

While the bread is baking, mix the lemon juice, water, oil, and powdered sugar together in a bowl.  This will become your glaze. 

Once the bread is done and cooling on a rack, pour the glaze over the top. Make sure you have a piece of parchment paper or a paper towel underneath when you pour the glaze. Unless you mind cleaning up lemony sugary goodness all over your countertop.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pumpkin Spiced Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes for a luncheon at work this week.  I was told by a co-worker that she didn't even like pumpkin, yet she ate the whole thing. They are that me.  It's almost like eating pumpkin pie.  Mmm...pumpkin pie.

I found this recipe in the Fall Baking magazine by Betty Crocker.  You know the little magazines in the check out aisle at the grocery store.  Ever wonder who buys all the gossip magazines and recipe books right before you check out in the express lane?  Ladies and gentlemen, that would be me. The recipe was meant for a cake and I changed the ingredients just a little. But here is what I used for the cupcake batter.

1 box of Betty Crocker spice cake mix
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
(1) 15 ounce can of Libby's 100% pure pumpkin

Add all the ingredients together in a bowl. With a stand mixer or hand mixer, mix together for about 30 seconds on low speed.  Just enough to break up the eggs and get everything moistened.  Then turn the mixer on medium speed and mix for 2 to 3 minutes.  Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and divide the batter evenly.  

If you have an ice cream scoop handy (one with the release button), you can use it to portion out the batter perfectly.  I have had an ice cream scoop for muffin and cupcake batter and the one time my husband used it to scoop out ice cream this broke. You can also divide the batter between two large plastic ziploc bags.  Since most cake mixes yield about 24 cupcakes, you can throw a bag in the fridge until you need it.  Just cut a hole in the corner and use it to distribute the batter.  It helps keep batter from getting everywhere.

Bake at 350 degrees for 19-21 minutes.  The cupcakes stay SUPER moist when they are done.  So if you run into a problem....such as the humidity in Florida....just store the cupcakes in the fridge in an airtight container until you get ready to frost them.

While the cupcakes were baking, I made a really quick cream cheese frosting. For this frosting you will need the following:

3/4 cup of unsalted butter (softened)
12 ounces of softened cream cheese
1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract
1 pound of sifted powdered sugar

It is really important that you sift the sugar or the frosting will be all lumpy. And also leave the butter out on the counter for a bit too.  If the butter is too cold, it can cause lumps as well.  I know, I know.  So much to think about.  But if you remember those few things, it will help produce a frosting that I ended up tasting about 4 know, for quality assurance purposes. 

Beat the softened butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Add vanilla next. Slowly add in the powdered sugar.  Just spoonfuls here and there.  Don't dump the whole thing in at once. Scrape down the bowl after every few scoops added.  If the icing is a little too thin to frost the cupcakes, just place in the fridge for about 30 minutes.  

And there you have it.....just in time for Halloween.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hockey Puck Cookies

I got this recipe from one of those cookie swap cookbooks a few years ago. They are really called Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies.  Because you see, when you bite into them you realize there is a layer of peanut butter gleefully waiting for you.  Over the years, the name has evolved into Hockey Puck cookies because of their resemblance to pucks.  Really good dense chocolatey hockey pucks.  

The list of ingredients seems long.  Don't be intimidated.

Here is what you need:
1 1/2 cups All Purpose flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter (softened)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter; divided
1 egg
1 Tablespoon milk
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla
3/4 cup powdered sugar

The first step will be to combine the flour, cocoa, and baking soda together in a medium size bowl.  Once that is sifted, set aside.  The next step will be to cream the butter, sugars, and 1/4 cup of peanut butter.  Once that is mixed well, add the egg, milk, and vanilla. 

Then you will add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture you set aside earlier. 

Once the two are mixed, you end up with a very dense thick chocolate dough. Place bowl in the fridge.  Now it's time to make the gleeful peanut butter center I mentioned earlier.  Take the remaining peanut butter and powdered sugar and mix together in small bowl.  It will be very crumbly.  Roll the peanut butter mixture into small 1/2 inch balls. When done, pull the chocolate dough out of the fridge.  You will roll this dough into 1 inch balls.  

Now comes the magic...

Flatten out the chocolate dough ball a little.  Ignore the chubby hands and pajama t-shirt.  Place the smaller peanut butter ball in the middle and fold the chocolate dough around the peanut butter center.  Roll back into a ball shape. Place onto a cookie sheet with plenty of space in between.  

Then take a small glass and dip it in powdered sugar.  Flatten out the chocolate dough.  If you want, sprinkle the top with mini chocolate chips.  Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.  Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.  Voila!   Hockey Puck Cookies!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

It's Alive!!!

Ever looked in your fridge and thought hmmmm.......I have leftover pie dough from class.  I also have cream cheese and a little bit of dark chocolate chips. Let's experiment!!!!   Just me??  

Not sure if this going to taste alright.  I took leftover linzer tart dough that we made in class.  It has crushed hazelnuts, cinnnamon, crushed cloves and citrus zest.  I know. I know.  You are supposed to make a tart with this stuff.  Who eats tarts anyways?  I also made a quick cheesecake batter and poured it into the tart shells that I par-baked.  

Anyone ever been afraid to taste what comes out of your oven?  I will keep my fingers crossed and keep you posted.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Really Simple Peanut Butter Cookies

So I have something to admit.  I kinda "borrowed" this idea from Bakerella. I have been using this peanut butter cookie recipe for months now.  You can ask my husband because he has mentioned on multiple occasions on how we should have stock in Smuckers Natural Chunky peanut butter.   But the dipping half in chocolate part is from the Bakerella blog.  Simple, but genius I tell you....Genius.  

What you will need:
1 cup Natural peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all ingredients together.  Pretty simple, right?  Roll the dough into a ball and flatten with a fork.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes.  I made my cookies pretty big and came out with about 12 cookies.  While cookies are baking and cooling, melt baker's chocolate in a double boiler.  Once cookies are cool enough to hold, dip one half into the chocolate. Place back on cookie sheet and refrigerate until chocolate hardens or you catch your husband in the fridge.