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Posts Tagged ‘dessert’

No kneading, no waiting for it to rise – just mix it in a bowl, and pop it in the oven!  You don’t even need to break out the stand mixer for this one.  I doubled this recipe, and am very glad that I did!  It was a big hit with the coworkers and the husband.  Delicious the day after as well, as I felt like the flavor intensified and the topping still stayed crisp.  Check out the picture of the crispy crumbly goodness that is the topping in the picture below.  Mmmmmmm

I bought the cinnamon chips from King Arthur Flour, which is my new favorite website.  Tons of great recipes and unique products!  I have heard from the blogosphere that Hershey’s makes a cinnamon chip too, which is probably available in some stores.  But check out King Arthur’s website – you’ll probably find a bunch of other things you want to buy!

Banana Cinnamon Chip Bread with Cinnamon Sugar Topping, courtesy of Two Peas and their Pod

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 over-ripe bananas, smashed up
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup cinnamon chips

For the cinnamon sugar topping:

1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbs cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 loaf pan with cooking spray. Dust it lightly with flour and set aside.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Mix the bananas, butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla together in a medium bowl. Add in the flour mixture and carefully stir. Don’t over mix. Add in the cinnamon chips and gently stir.
  4. In a small dish, mix together the 1/3 cup sugar and 1 Tablespoon of cinnamon.
  5. Add the batter to the loaf pan and smooth out with a spatula. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar topping generously over the batter.
  6. Bake bread  for 50-60 minutes, or until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack.
  7. Let bread cool for 1o minutes and then remove from pan. Cool, slice, and enjoy

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I pretty much love browned butter anything.  The nutty smell and caramel color – sometimes I feel like I could just drink it down by itself…but don’t worry, I don’t.  I am, however, drawn to any unique recipes incorporating browned butter.  This simple recipe for rice crispy treats is courtesy of the Smitten Kitchen, who never disappoints.  They’re like an adult version of rice crispy treats – but kids will love them too!

Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats, makes 16 2-inch squares or 32 1- x 2-inch small bars

4 ounces (1/4 pound or 1 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for the pan
1 10-ounce bag marshmallows
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal (about half a 12-ounce box)

Butter (or coat with non-stick spray) an 8-inch square cake pan with 2-inch sides.

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Don’t take your eyes off the pot as while you may be impatient for it to start browning, the period between the time the butter begins to take on color and the point where it burns is often less than a minute.

As soon as the butter takes on a nutty color, turn the heat off and stir in the marshmallows. The residual heat from the melted butter should be enough to melt them, but if it is not, turn it back on low until the marshmallows are smooth.

Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the salt and cereal together. Quickly spread into prepared pan. I used a silicon spatula.

Let cool, cut into squares.  Enjoy!

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I’d been eyeing recipes for these cute little candies for months, especially now that it’s citrus season.  My husband’s aunt Bridget, who is an amazing cook, had these candied goodies at Christmas Eve dinner.  I improvised a bit with what I had on hand in the house.  Below are the two recipes I used for the cranberries, lemon, clementine, blood orange and grapefruit peels.  They look so pretty, and taste delicious too!

Candied Orange Peels, adapted from the Food Network website

Yields about 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 6 thick-skinned Valencia or navel oranges (or any type of citrus peel)
  • 4 1/2 cups sugar, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Directions

Cut tops and bottoms off of the fruites and score them into quarters, cutting down only into the peel and not into the fruit. Peel the skin and pith of the fruit in large pieces, use the inside of the fruit for another recipe. Cut the peel into strips about 1/4-inch wide. Put the orange peel in a large saucepan with cold water to cover, bring to a boil over high heat. Then pour off the water. Repeat 1 or 2 more times depending up how assertive you want the peels to be. (Test kitchen liked the texture of a 3 time blanch best, it also mellowed the bitterness. But it is a matter of preference.) *Note:  I blanched the grapefruit peels 6 times because they were more bitter than the oranges and lemons.  Remove the peels from the pan.

Whisk the sugar with 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 8 to 9 minutes (If you took the sugar’s temperature with a candy thermometer it would be at the soft thread stage, 230 to 234 degrees F.) Add the peels and simmer gently, reducing heat to retain a simmer. Cook until the peels get translucent, about 45 minutes. Resist the urge to stir the peels or you may introduce sugar crystals into the syrup. If necessary, swirl the pan to move the peels around. Drain the peels, (save the syrup for ice tea.) Roll the peels in sugar and dry on a rack, for 4 to 5 hours. Return to the sugar to store.

Sugared Cranberries, yields 9 1/3 cups servings

Ingredients

  • 2  cups  granulated sugar
  • 2  cups  water
  • 2  cups  fresh cranberries
  • 3/4  cup  superfine sugar

Preparation

Combine granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring mixture until sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer; remove from heat. (Do not boil or the cranberries may pop when added.) Stir in cranberries; pour mixture into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Drain cranberries in a colander over a bowl, reserving steeping liquid, if desired. Place superfine sugar in a shallow dish. Add the cranberries, rolling to coat with sugar. Spread sugared cranberries in a single layer on a baking sheet; let stand at room temperature 1 hour or until dry.

Note: The steeping liquid clings to the berries and helps the sugar adhere. Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to a week.

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It’s not too late for holiday candy making. If you’re like me, holiday plans and get-together seem to run well into January these days.  Truffles would be the perfect thing to make for a New Year’s Eve party to share, or as a hostess gift!  Below are two recipes I concocted for friends and family gifts this year.  Chocolate Peppermint (which tasted like Frango Mints) and a Toasted Coconut Rum.  You can be as creative as you’d like with truffles though by adding different extracts and coatings.  Anything goes really! 

Basic Truffle Recipe

11 ounces good quality chocolate (I used Ghiradelli’s 60%cocoa chocolate chips, this is just under two cups)

2/3 cup heavy cream (make sure you don’t use light cream or their won’t be enough fat content for the ganache to thicken properly)

various coatings (i.e. cocoa powder, chopped nuts, toasted coconut, colored sugar, crushed peppermint candies, candied ginger, etc.)

optional – 1 tsp  flavored extract

Bring heavy cream to a boil in a small heavy saucepan.  Pour the cream over the chocolate, then stir with a whisk (don’t beat or you’ll incorporate air), until the ganache is smooth.  If this doesn’t quite melt the chocolate, you can put the bowl of chocolate and cream in the microwave and heat in 15 second intervals, stirring in between.  This would be the time to add a flavored extract or alcohol if you desire.

Chill the ganache in the refrigerator for at least an hour, or until it holds it’s shape.  When ready to form the truffles, I prefer using a small scoop or teaspoon.  Roll the pieces of chocolate into a ball between your hands.  If you plan on coating the truffles with cocoa powder or dipping them in chocolate, it’s a good idea to chill them again for a few minutes so they don’t lose their shape. 

Toss the truffles in the coating of your choice.  I use a fork to do this, again so you keep their in tact.  If you want to coat your truffles in chocolate, you’ll need to temper the coating chocolate so that it hardens.  You can find a good how-to on tempering here.  If you are lazy, or over-commit yourself like I do and want a quick coating, just melt some of the Wilton chocolate melts to dip your truffles in!

Store in refrigerator.

Chocolate Peppermint Truffles

11 ounces good quality chocolate

2/3 cup heavy cream

1 tsp  peppermint extract

1 bag Wilton chocolate melts, dark chocolate variety

Follow instructions in Basic Truffle recipe, but chill formed truffles for about 20 minutes longer before dipping in chocolate melts.  Melt or temper chocolate, and use a fork to roll the formed truffle around before setting on a parchment lined baking sheet to cool.  Store in refrigerator. 

Toasted Coconut Rum Truffles

11 ounces good quality chocolate

2/3 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup shredded sweetened or unsweetened coconut, toasted

1 tsp  coconut extract

1 tsp Malibu coconut rum (optional)

Follow instructions in Basic Truffle recipe, but roll in toasted coconut after truffles are formed.  Store in refrigerator.

I apologize for the lack of pictures in this post, but my hands were full of chocolate during this WHOLE process and my husband wasn’t at home to be on camera duty!  I will have to make again and post pictures later. 🙂

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This year I have gotten my holiday baking off to an early start.  I baked a couple of batches over the weekend, and then smartly (if I do say so myself) have been making subsequent batches of dough each night this week.  The first two holiday cookies are Sugar-topped Molasses Spice Cookies, a holiday staple in my kitchen, and a new addition: Polka Dot cookies.  Now, due to my husband erasing most of my how-to photos while playing with the new camera, I only have the finished product for the Polka Dot cookies.  I happen to make a second batch of the molasses cookies though because said husband ate half of those before I put them away, so the pictures were replaced!  The Polka Dot cookies are off the back of a bag of Guittard Green Mint Chips, and the Molasses cookies are from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From my Home to Yours.

I found these mint chips at Cost Plus World Market, impulse buy, but the cookies turned out good!  Below is the recipe I used from the package.

Polka Dot Cookies – Yields 4-5 dozen 2-inch cookies

2 cups (12oz) semisweet chocolate chips

½ cup butter

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

3 large eggs

½ cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups (12oz) Guittard Green Mint Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt semisweet chips and butter, stirring constantly until smooth.  Set aside to cool.  In small bowl combine flour baking soda and salt; set aside.  I used the microwave to melt the chocolate and butter instead of a double boiler.  If you choose to melt the chocolate this way, make sure you only heat it little by little so it doesn’t burn.

In large bowl beat eggs, sugar and vanilla until light.  Blend in melted chocolate then dry ingredients.  Stir in green mint chips and chill for 10-15 minutes or until stiff.  Drop by well rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake 8-10 minutes; cookies will be soft in centers but will harden as they cool.

Make sure you have a glass of milk on hand when these come out of the oven!

Sugar-topped Molasses Spice Cookies – Yields 24 large cookies

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsps baking soda

½ tsp salt

2 tsp ground ginger

½ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground allspice

Pinch of cracked or coarsely ground black pepper

1 ½ sticks (12 T) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup (packed) light brown sugar

½ cup molasses (not blackstrap)

1 large egg

About  ½ cup sugar, for rolling

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and pepper.

Working with a stand mixer, preferable fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy.  Add the brown sugar and molasses and beat for 2 minutes or so to blend, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Add the egg and beat for 1 minute more.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing until the flour and spices disappear.  If some flour remains in the bottom of the bowl, to avoid overbeating the dough, mix in the last of the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula.  You’ll have a smooth, very soft dough.

Divide the dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap.  Freeze for 30 minutes, or refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  The dough can be kept refrigerated for up to 4 days.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

Put the sugar in a small bowl.  Working with one packet of dough at a time, take about a teaspoon of dough and roll each piece into a smooth ball between your palms.  One by one, roll the balls around in the bowl of sugar, then place them on one of the baking sheets.  Dip the bottom of a glass into the sugar and use ti to press down on the cookies until they are between ¼ and ½ inch thick.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the tops feel set to the touch.  Remove the baking sheet from the oven and, if the cookies have spread and are touching, use the edge of a metal spatula to separate them while they are still hot.  Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to room temperature.  Repeat with the second batch of dough.

These cookies freeze very well, so they’re a good variety to bake early on in the season.  Just make sure you wrap them very tight.

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I have  been searching my kitchen high and low for this recipe for the past three years, only to be disappointed.  Finally my mom dug up the original copy that she had and shared with me about 5 years ago!  A crumb topping is my favorite way to make (and eat) an apple pie – I could probably eat a whole pie plate full of crumb topping actually.  I have no idea where this recipe came from, but it is the best I’ve found yet.  I’ve spiced it up a little bit, and it is now perfection.  I think I’ll go have another piece now…

Crunchy Crumb Apple Pie

1 refrigerated pie crust or enough dough for a 9 inch pie pan

For the topping:

½ cup plus 2 T all-purpose flour

½ cup packed light-brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 stick (1/2 cup) cold butter, cut in small pieces

For the filling:

7 medium to large tart apples (about 3 ¼ lb)

1 T lemon juice

½ cup granulated sugar

3 T all-purpose flour

½ tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp allspice

Have ready a 9-inch pie plate and a baking sheet.  Place oven rack in lowest position in oven.  Heat oven to 450 degrees F.  I use Emile Henry pie pans – they’re also THE BEST.

Line pie plate with pie crust, flute or crimp edges.

Topping:  mix flour, sugars and cinnamon in a medium bowl.  Cut in butter, or rub in with fingertips, until mixture forms moist, coarse crumbs that clump together easily.

Filling: peel, half and core apples.  Cut in 1/8 inch thick slices.  Place in a large bowl, add lemon juice and toss to coat.  Mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl, sprinkle over apple slices and toss to coat.

Layer apple slices in pie shell, mounding them higher in center.  Pat topping evenly over apples to form a top crust. Place pie on the baking sheet to catch any drips.

Bake 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake 45 minutes longer or until a skewer meets some resistance when center of pie is pierced and topping is golden brown.  If topping browns too quickly, loosely cover the pie with a piece of foil.

This is great right out of the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or some whipped cream.  Enjoy!

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In my opinion, chocolate and peanut butter is one of the best combination of flavors.  This brownie epitomizes the combination with a layer of chocolate brownie studded with salted peanuts, crunchy peanut butter frosting, and bittersweet chocolate ganache to top it all off.  I made these brownies a few years ago for a Super Bowl party, and decided it was time to try them again this past weekend when we had some family over for dinner.  I was in a bit of a hurry when making these, so they didn’t turn out to be the prettiest things I’ve ever baked, but THAT did not hurt the flavor one bit.

The recipe can be found on www.epicurious.com here.  A couple of notes:  make sure to let the brownies cool completely before spreading on the layer of peanut butter frosting, or you’ll mangle the brownie layer (as I did).  Also be sure to whip the frosting until it’s smooth, or it won’t spread evenly (as pictured below).  Make sure you have milk in the fridge too – you’ll need it with these!

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