Friday, January 28, 2011
10:31 AM | Posted by Brandy K | | Edit Post
When I was young and had no gray hair...a very long time ago...I wanted to be a history teacher or an archaeologist. I did the whole college deal and got myself a degree in Historical Studies. I have done nothing, nada, zero with that degree. :) What I should have done is go to culinary school and become a pastry chef! People are generally much more interested in cupcakes and muffins, rather than discussing pre-Roman Britain. I know I am! I love baking, and maybe working in a bakery is still in my future. I wish I would have know 20 years ago what life was going to hand me, and I could have planned accordingly. I have no regrets though--life is good!
These little muffins are good too. You should make them for breakfast this weekend. They really do taste just like a cinnamon-sugar donut, minus the trip to the donut shop! This is a small-batch recipe because they are best warm from the oven. I get 8 muffins, which is just perfect for my little family. The recipe is easy to double though, if you have a larger crowd. Enjoy!
Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins
yield: 8 regular size muffins
For the muffins:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
For the topping:
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350. Spray muffin pan with non-stick spray. In a medium size bowl, whisk together sugar, milk, butter and egg until smooth. Add flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg to sugar mixture. Stir just until combined and moistened-do not over-mix. Spoon batter into muffin cups and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until muffins spring back when lightly touched.
While the muffins bake, prepare the topping mixture. Combine sugar and cinnamon. Cool muffins in pan for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and dip the tops of the muffins in butter and then roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Serve them warm.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
12:49 PM | Posted by Brandy K | | Edit Post
I'm so excited about this cupcake--it's true love, really. I have a ton of recipes, blog bookmarks and cookbooks. They clutter my mind and my kitchen. Even with all of those resources, I do not have a GREAT recipe for a white cake. I've tried a bunch and they all fall short in some way. I've been on a quest to find a fabulous white cake recipe--it's been tough, so many disappointments. I found one though, and I'm going to share it with you because you need this recipe in your life. People in your life need this recipe to be in your life. What?! That makes sense, right? See below and you'll know what I mean.
This recipe is what I consider to be perfect! No difficult baking tasks, no illusive ingredients, just a beautiful cupcake experience. :) It is tender and moist, and very flavorful. The cupcakes puffed up perfectly, just peeking over the edge of the wrapper. I made cupcakes, but I know this would work just as well as a 2 layer cake. I'll be doing that next. Who needs a birthday cake?
Perfect Party Cake
(from Dorie Greenspan in Baking: From My Home to Yours)
This recipe makes 24 cupcakes or a 2 layer cake (with 9 x 2" pans)
For the Cake:2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups whole milk or buttermilk, at room temperature
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
Getting Ready: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9-x-2-inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet. If you are making cupcakes, line cupcake wells with paper liners.
To Make The Cake: Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter and, working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is well blended, then add the last of the dry ingredients.
Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a toothpick inserted into the centers should come out clean. (Cupcakes will need to bake about 20-22 minutes.) Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then remove them from the pans. Cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting:
This is my own simple buttercream starting point. I start with this, and then I add more/less cream or powdered sugar depending on what consistency I want the frosting to be. There is a lovely buttercream tutorial at My Baking Addiction if you would like more information.
1 cup butter (2 sticks), very soft
2-3 oz. cream cheese (you can leave this out, I just like to add it because I cuts the sweetness somewhat)
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
4-8 Tbsp cream or milk
Cream the butter and cream cheese, add the vanilla and powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and blend well. Add enough cream or milk to bring the frosting to a spreadable consistency. And then, whip it, and whip it good.
Friday, January 21, 2011
2:21 PM | Posted by Brandy K | | Edit Post
I don't know about you, but I am in need of CHOCOLATE today. It just seems like it's been a really long week. I know, I know, it's actually been a short week with the holiday and all, but I am beat down! These little brownies helped lift my spirits...much. :) I hope you'll give them a try. They are really easy. You can get your kids to unwrap the caramels for you. I did. :) I sorted out 25 caramels, and put 2 more to the side. I told my littles if they could unwrap the caramels without arguing with one another, they could eat the 2 extras. BINGO! A 7 minute truce! Hey, I'll take what I can get, and I'm not above bribing with sweets. :) They fight...a lot. It drives me nuts. Maybe that's why I needed chocolate so badly?!
Here is the recipe. It's from my trusty, beloved Hershey's-Best Loved Recipes cookbook.
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp water
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chopped pecans, or other nuts
25 caramels, unwrapped
1/4 cup butter
2 Tbsp milk
1. Heat oven to 350. Line a *9" square baking pan with foil (let foil hang over edges). Grease foil.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, butter and water. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Remove from heat. Immediately add 1 cup chocolate chips; stir until melted and smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well blended. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Spread batter into prepared pan.
3. Bake about 20 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. Meanwhile, prepare caramel topping. Remove brownies from oven; immediately and carefully spread with caramel topping--reserve a couple tablespoons to drizzle on top. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup chocolate chips and pecans over topping. Drizzle with reserved caramel topping. Cool completely on wire rack--several hours. Lift out of pan and cut into small squares.
Caramel topping: Remove wrappers from 25 caramels. In medium microwave safe bowl, place caramels, 1/4 cup butter and 2 Tbsp milk. Microwave for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until caramels are melted and mixture is smooth when stirred.
*Do use a 9x9" pan for this. I've tried it in an 8" pan, and the brownies just don't bake correctly. You'll have dry edges and a soggy middle, and that's just sad.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
8:17 AM | Posted by Brandy K | | Edit Post
I had a light-bulb moment. It doesn't happen often.
I was purchasing croissants...because I made chicken salad. You MUST eat chicken salad on a croissant. I think that is written in stone somewhere. Anywho... I love those little plastic containers that croissants come in. I think they are universally packaged in the same adorable clear plastic containers. I was thinking, this is perfect for....something. Perfect to pack a lunch in! Liiight Buuulb! (Despicable Me, anyone?)
I packaged this little lunch for my first-grader's teacher.
Everything fit perfectly:
-chicken salad on a croissant
-fruit salad-kiwi & blueberries
-a black bottom cupcake
-a little bottle of juice
-and a fork, straw and napkin
I love it when a plan comes together.
Do something nice for someone today! Show them how much you appreciate them. It will make you happy.
Monday, January 17, 2011
12:59 PM | Posted by Brandy K | | Edit Post
Sometimes only a cinnamon roll will do. Like for breakfast, beside scrambled eggs (like THESE- omg!). Or warmed in the microwave and topped with a healthy pat of butter as a mid-morning snack. Or! Fresh out of the oven, warm and gooey, as breakfast, or an afternoon snack, or (would you believe I've done this?!) dinner! Ha! I like my cinnamon rolls not too sweet, and without nuts or raisins. Nuts and raisins are good things, but not in my cinnamon rolls. Want to make some? It's easy to do, really, it just takes a little time.
Here is what you're going for--a nice soft dough, not too sticky. Don't be like me and be tempted to add more flour, just keep kneading, it all comes together. Also, don't be like me and be an over-kneader. Know when to stop! I don't...but, I've accepted my over-kneading condition and have taken measures to counteract my problem. I add all the ingredients to my bread machine and set it on the dough cycle-perfect every time! If you don't have the compulsion to over-knead, then you should be fine mixing the dough by hand.
Let the dough rise, and then dump it on a clean, flat surface and let it rest for about 5 minutes.
Roll it out!
Spread with butter and then sprinkle with brown sugar.
Roll it up, cut little 1" rolls and put them in a pan to rise again.
Bake and drizzle with icing. Enjoy!
Here is the recipe. I hope you give it a try.
(slightly adapted from The Farm Chicks in the Kitchen)
1 cup whole milk
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks, divided)
2 large eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Make the dough: Heat the milk in a small saucepan over low heat or in the microwave until it's warm, not hot. Add it to a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the milk and let it sit until dissolved-about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, melt 1/4 cup butter in a small saucepan over low heat or in the microwave. Whisk the granulated sugar, eggs and melted butter into the milk mixture. Stir in the flour and salt with a wooden spoon, mixing until the ingredients are well combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean damp kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
Proof the dough: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 3 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. Lightly oil another large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl; turn to coat with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm, draft free area until doubled in size-about 30-40 minutes.
Make the filling: While the dough is rising, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl for the filling and set aside.
Form the rolls: Butter a large jelly roll pan. Once the dough has risen, punch it down; then transfer it to a lightly floured surface and roll it (gently!) into a 15 x 20 inch rectangle. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup butter evenly over the dough and then sprinkle with the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture. Starting at one long side, roll up the dough jelly-roll style, forming a log. Pinch seams to seal. Use a serrated knife to cut the log crosswise into 12-15 equal sections. Arrange the rolls about 1 inch apart, spiral side up, in the prepared pan. Cover with parchment paper and a kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in size--about 1 hour.
Bake the rolls: Preheat oven to 375. Once the rolls have risen, uncover them and bake until light golden brown- about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Spread or drizzle with icing (see below) and EAT!
Icing: Cream cheese icing: Blend together 4 Tbsp softened butter with 2 Tbsp softened cream cheese, add 3/4 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract until well blended. Or you can blend together 1 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla and 2-4 Tbsp milk until mixture is just the right consistency to drizzle on the rolls.
Friday, January 14, 2011
3:18 PM | Posted by Brandy K | | Edit Post
No verbal rambling from me today--just an amazing cupcake recipe. Black Bottom Cupcakes--the best of two worlds. A rich chocolate cupcake surrounding a creamy cheesecake filling--a cheesecake filling studded with bittersweet chocolate. Heaven! Drop what you're doing, and go make these now. They are easy, and so, so delicious. They are even better the day after you make them (if you have any left), so get to it! You don't even need your mixer for this, just a couple bowls and a whisk. Enjoy!
Source: Brown-Eyed Baker
For the Filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
For the Cupcakes:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 tablespoons naturally unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the Filling: Beat together the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and egg until smooth. Stir in chopped chocolate pieces. Set aside.
Make the Cupcakes:
1. Adjust the rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter a 12-cup muffin tin, or line the tin with paper muffin cups.
2. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.*
In separate bowl mix together the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla.
3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients, stirring just until smooth. Stir any longer and you will over mix the batter and end up with less-than-tender cupcakes.
4. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Spoon a few tablespoons of the filling into the center of each cupcake, dividing the filling evenly. This will fill the cups almost completely, which is fine.
5. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden brown and the cupcakes feel springy when gently pressed. These moist treats will keep unrefrigerated for 2 to 3 days if stored in an airtight container.**
*I do not own a proper sifter, I just use a mesh strainer.
**I refrigerate these cupcakes, if I have any left. They taste best (to me) chilled.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
8:14 AM | Posted by Brandy K | | Edit Post
Muffins! I adore muffins, even more than cupcakes--shock! I always keep a stash of muffins in the freezer for breakfast and lunchbox treats. I wrap each one individually in plastic wrap and then put them in large zip-lock bags, and into the freezer they go. I just take them out as I need them. Pop one in the microwave-shazaam!-breakfast! Unwrap one and put it in my favorite first-grader's lunchbox-wham!-happy little fellow in the lunchroom. The muffins are perfectly defrosted and tasty by lunchtime. Needless to say, I make lots of muffins-banana muffins, zucchini muffins, chocolate chip muffins, and so on. My personal favorite though is this blueberry muffin. In the summer when blueberries are cheap, I buy tons of them and freeze them. Seriously, I thought Sprouts was going to ban me from the store this past summer. They always had great deals on beautiful blueberries and I bought tons...I mean, give-the-girl-a-strange-look, tons. And now I'm glad I did, because I have blueberries in my freezer to make these yummy muffins.
Here's the recipe! Enjoy!
Blueberries and Cream Mall Muffins
(recipe from Marcy Goldman in A Passion for Baking)
2 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
4 large eggs
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp each pure lemon extract and orange extract, optional
4 1/2 cups flour, divided
1 Tbps baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 sour cream
2 cups semi-frozen blueberries
Preheat oven to 425. Spray 2 standard muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray or line with paper muffin liners.
In a large bowl, blend sugar, oil and butter. Whisk in eggs, vanilla and other extracts. Fold in 4 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Blend somewhat before adding buttermilk and sour cream. Batter should be quite thick; if not, add a touch more flour. Gently fold in berries with a spatula, trying not to break them apart. (That's why it's best to use semi-frozen berries. They are not as fragile, and it makes the batter easier to scoop.)
Bake for 15 minutes at 425; then reduce the oven temp to 350, and continue to bake until the muffins are golden brown and spring back when lightly touched, about 12 more minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before removing from pan.
Monday, January 10, 2011
1:29 PM | Posted by Brandy K | | Edit Post
Before we begin...just know that I am working on improving my photography!
I'm going to study this post by the amazing PW and learn, dang it! I'm going to get better at this!
But for now... this photo is all I got before my hubby and I dived into this dish. We were hungry, and these looked & smelled so very good. Okay, let's move on...
Oh my goodness, these enchiladas,...they are...(words fail me) so utterly, completely DELICIOUS! I saw the recipe posted on Sing for Your Supper, and knew they would be amazing--if also a little more involved than my stand-by chicken enchilada recipe. That's okay! It's good to try new things! The recipe is very simple, and uses ingredients that are most likely in your pantry already.
Here are some of the ingredients.
*Shredded chicken-I used my crock-pot and cooked 3 chicken breasts in a bit of salsa for about 5 hours. Perfect, flavorful chicken-and so easy to shred.
*Grated cheese-I used a block of Colby/Monterey Jack. Grate your own--it's so much better that way.
*Salsa Verde-Use your favorite kind, but use a mild version, rather than spicy. Just sayin'! You're going to be using 16 oz. of the stuff and a jalapeno pepper-that's a whole lot of spicy.
*Crema or Sour Cream-Use whichever you prefer. Crema is easy to find in most grocery stores. It's usually by the sour cream, cream cheese & Mexican cheeses.
*Tortillas-I used mostly corn tortillas for these enchiladas--for a certain gluten-intolerant individual. My preference is flour tortillas though. It worked well with both, so use whichever you prefer.
Here is the recipe. Make them today, you'll be so glad you did!
Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas
(slightly adapted from Sing for Your Supper)
3-4 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & minced
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups crema or sour cream
16 oz jar mild (or medium if you're a stud) Salsa Verde
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
12-15 flour or corn tortillas, small fajita size
2 cups grated cheese
Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter over medium-high heat. Saute jalapeno until soft and then add the garlic, cooking for 1 minute. Stir in the flour and let cook 1-2 minutes. Slowly, whisk in the chicken broth until smooth and let cook until bubbly and thickened. Stir in the salsa verde and spices (cumin, cayenne, salt & pepper). Lower heat and stir in crema or sour cream--do not let sauce boil at this point. Let the mixture warm through and then remove from heat.
Spray/grease a 9×13 baking dish. Add 1 cup of sauce to the bottom of the pan. Add chicken and cheese to the center of each tortilla and roll, placing seam-side down in the dish. Pour the sauce over the enchiladas, top with leftover cheese (if you have any), and bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until top is brown and bubbling.
*This makes about 15 enchiladas. I ended up using a 9 x13 pan as well as a smaller gratin dish.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
7:52 PM | Posted by Brandy K | | Edit Post
Snow! We have snow! We rarely get snow in this little corner of north Texas, so this was a very exciting day for my little people---and a heavy laundry day for moi. Whoopee! No, really, it was fun. I like to see my kids enjoying the snow. This is the second winter we've had enough snow (in one day) to make a snowman. Loving that! We usually only see just enough snow to make dirty mud slushies along the side of the road. Now...the question is...will there be school tomorrow?
Griffin had to make his very own snowman. :)
I hope you all enjoyed your day as much as we did. :)
Friday, January 7, 2011
12:23 PM | Posted by Brandy K | | Edit Post
Can we talk? About butter? It's the start of all things good and tasty, no? I generally have to purchase sticks of butter each and every time I go to the grocery store, I'm always running low. Butter has a permanent place on my grocery list. Don't even get me started on the tubs of butter, the spreadable kind! I have to search high and low for my favorite spreadable butter. If I'm lucky enough to find it, I buy several tubs and hoard it like a Y2K nut. What?! One could survive on butter in the aftermath of a disaster, right? I won't mention any brands, but this particular little tub of butter lists cream and salt as the ingredients, with a little buttermilk thrown in. Sweet! I'm frightened by the butter that is one molecule away from being plastic, really...it's scary stuff.
But I digress, my love of butter is topped by one thing...browned butter. The aroma, the taste...all so yummy! Swirl some butter around in a little saucepan for a few minutes, and you are rewarded with such deliciousness--with little effort. You can't beat that! Make yourself some browned butter and use it to bake this bread. It will make you happy. :) I saw this recipe on Sing For Your Supper, and now, my life would not be complete without it in my recipe book. Enjoy!
Browned Butter Banana Bread
(slightly adapted from Sing For Your Supper)
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
2 cups flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
3 medium bananas, mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8 inch loaf pan.
2. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Once it is melted, lower the heat to medium and swirl the butter around the pan instead of stirring it. Swirl, swirl, swirl, it will take about 3-5 minutes to start browning. You want to see little bits of amber-colored butter start to appear, keep up the swirling for 30 - 60 seconds, then take it off the heat and give it a few more swirls. (This is not the time to check e-mail, it browns fast and burnt butter = ewww.) Let it cool while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
3. In a large bowl whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. In another bowl, whisk the eggs; then add the mashed bananas, vanilla and the semi-cooled butter.
Add the liquid to the dry mixture. Mix just until incorporated, don’t over mix. Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes, until it is browned on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for at least 15 minutes, and then remove the bread from the pan and cool on a rack.
*One note, please don't use a non-stick pan to brown the butter. It's too dark...you won't be able to see when the butter starts to change color. It will make you sad...and then mad. I know this...
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
3:44 PM | Posted by Brandy K | | Edit Post
(My Baking Addiction) for Symphony Brownies--made with Hershey's Symphony chocolate bars. The photo of the brownies looked divine, and her recipes never disappoint. Must bake! I was in the mood for brownies, and desperately needed to take myself to the grocery store (hungry kids, ya' know...) anyway. No big deal to add Symphony bars to the (long) list.
I have changed my tune with regard to candy bars--or at least Symphony bars when they are wrapped in BROWNIE!
Let me just say, anything that starts with these ingredients is going to be good! It just is...
This is a great brownie recipe--so easy, so good. Try it and see for yourself!
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate; coarsely chopped
3/4 cup butter
1 ½ cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 (4.5 ounce) Symphony Chocolate bars; broken into little rectangles
1. Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8 x 8 baking pan with parchment paper or foil, and butter or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Microwave chocolate and butter in a large bowl (slowly and at low power-don't burn the chocolate!) for 2-3 minutes (30 seconds at a time) or until butter is melted.
3. Whisk until chocolate is melted. Stir in sugar and add in eggs, vanilla and salt. Whisk until smooth. Gradually add in flour and stir until just combined.
4. Spread ½ the batter into prepared pan. Add an even layer of Symphony bar rectangles and cover with remaining ½ of brownie batter. Gently spread the batter, making it smooth and even. Bake for 30 - 32 minutes; do not over bake.
5. Let brownies cool completely on a rack before cutting.
Source: My Baking Addiction
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