Month: September 2010

Beer Bread

Ahhh, Sundays in autumn. Football season is in full swing. I love football. LOVE football. My beloved Green Bay Packers play tomorrow night against the Bears and I can’t wait to watch. But for all of you watching the NFL today, here’s a perfect and ridiculously easy treat to make. Beer bread would be a great side dish for chili! I found that it’s best served right out of the oven — as it becomes a little less magical the day after it’s made.

Beer Bread
Recipe Source: My Baking Addiction
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3 cups self-rising flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
12 oz beer (I used Blue Moon — but be aware that the flavor of your bread will be impacted by the beer you choose)
2 Tablespoons melted butter

1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
2. Butter an 8×4 inch loaf pan and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and beer; mix well. The mixture will be sticky. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for about 55 minutes.
3. At the last three minutes of baking, remove from oven and brush the top of the loaf with the melted butter. Return to the oven for the final three minutes of baking.

Puppy Chow

Okay okay, there isn’t really much baking involved in this recipe. Or much effort, for that matter. But Puppy Chow is one of the most simple and delicious treats imaginable. It’s one of those treats where I lose all control and the “I’m full” sensor in my brain shuts down. This is also a snack where you can really experiment with the ingredients. If you like dark chocolate, make it with that instead of milk chocolate. If you like really, really coated Chex – double the amount of peanut butter and chocolate used. Add other things to the mix after you’ve coated the cereal with powdered sugar — like nuts or seasonal candies (like candy corn!). Have fun with this recipe — it’s really, really hard to screw up!

Puppy Chow
Recipe source: Betty Crocker
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4-1/2 cups Corn Chex cereal
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup powdered sugar (you may want to use more to ensure a good coating)

1. Measure cereal into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
2. Microwave chocolate, peanut butter, and butter in an uncovered bowl on high for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave an additional 15-30 seconds or until the mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal – stirring gently until evenly coated. Pour into 1-gallon resealable plastic bag.
3. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Store in an airtight container or refrigerate.

* This recipe is gluten-free!

Black & White Cookies

I’ll be honest, if the recipe is good, one of my favorite cookies of all time is the Black & White Cookie. The soft, almost-cake-like consistency of the cookie. The subtle hint of lemon. And of course, the duo of chocoate AND vanilla (because really, after twenty six years of life, I still can’t decide if I’m a chocolate or vanilla person). Black and White cookies have a lot of history – with their story being rooted on the east coast. Deb, from Smitten Kitchen, writes: “Back in the day, black and white cookies were actually made by bakeries from their leftover cake batters, with just a little extra flour mixed in so the cookie didn’t spread all over the place. Sometimes called Amerikaner Cookies, they’re also occasionally referred to as “half-moons” Upstate and in New England.”

The cookie also made a famous appearance on Seinfeld. Jerry eats a black and white cookie and ponders race relations while doing so — and unfortunately, the cookie also causes Jerry to become ill. Try to catch the episode if you can – it’s called “The Dinner Party”.

On to the recipe! Enjoy these – they are wonderful, but because of their cake-like nature, they become stale rather quickly. Store them in an airtight container as soon as you finish frosting them.

Black & White Cookies

Recipe source: Smitten Kitchen
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1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/3 to 1/2 cup water
3 ounces very bitter or unsweetened chocolate
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1 to 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa (optional – but necessary if you want the chocolate side of the cookie to be very dark in color)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In large mixing bowl, combine sugar and butter. Mix until fluffy. Add eggs, milk and vanilla and lemon extracts, and mix until smooth.
3. In medium bowl, combine cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Stir until mixed. Add dry mixture to the wet in batches, stirring well after each addition. Using a large spoon, place heaping spoonfuls of the dough 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake until edges begin to brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool completely.

Vanilla icing:
1. Boil a cup or so of water in a small pot. Place confectioners’ sugar in large, heat-safe mixing bowl. Gradually stir in enough boiling water to the sugar to make a thick, spreadable mixture. Err on the side of caution because a too-thin frosting is hard to undo. Leave remaining boiling water on the stove.
2. Spread frosting on half of the flat side of each cookie.

Chocolate icing:
1. Place the bowl of the remaining vanilla frosting over the hot water and bring it back to a simmer (creating a double-boiler). Stir in the bitter or unsweetened chocolate until melted, as well as the light corn syrup. At this point, depending on the chocolate you used and your preferences, you might find the chocolate color to be a little lighter than the “black” of a black-and-white cookie. If so, a tablespoon or so of cocoa mixed in darkens the color nicely.
2. Ice the remaining half of the cookies with chocolate frosting. The chocolate icing — if you have used cocoa — will get dry and lose its shiny appearance. If this happens, whisk in an extra teaspoon or two of hot water. This will smooth it back into a shiny frosting.

Makes about 2 dozen large cookies.
I’ve also made a post about mini black and white cookies!

PB&J Chocolate Bars

I had mixed feelings about posting this recipe. Not because it’s not a good recipe or because the bars turned out badly — but instead because I didn’t like them! I always think that I should only post things on my blog that I would endorse or rave about. I decided to post these anyway because some people out there would love these — even if I don’t. They were too rich and too gooey (which is saying something, because I belong to the camp of people that loves gooey, ooey baked goods!). I think kids would enjoy these bars because it’s like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, in condensed form!

PB&J Chocolate Bars
Recipe source: Food Network Magazine
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For the base:
1 stick unsalted butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 large egg, beaten
1 sleeve saltine crackers, finely crushed
3/4 cup finely chopped roasted peanuts

For the filling & glaze:
1/4 cup grape jelly
7 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped

1. Make the base: line a 8-inch square baking pan with foil, extending it over the sides. Put the butter in a medium heatproof bowl; position the bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water (use a double boiler for this step if you have one!). Once the butter melts, stir in the sugar and cocoa. Whisk in the egg; cook, whisking, until the mixture is warm and the consistency of hot fudge (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat; mix in the saltine crumbs and peanuts. Press the crust into the pan. Set aside the saucepan of water.
2. Make the filling: Spread the jelly over the crust in the pan; place in freezer for a few minutes. Beat 5 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon butter, the peanut better, and powdered sugar with a mixer until light. Spread over the jelly layer; return to the freezer while you make the glaze.
3. Place the chocolate and the remaining 2 Tablespoons butter in a heatproof bowl; set over the pan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate is melted. Remove from the heat; stir until smooth. When cool, but still runny, spread the glaze over the chilled peanut butter layer. Freeze for another 30 minutes.
4. Bring the bars to room temperature. Use the foil flaps to remove the bars from the pan. Cut into squares.

Sweet Potato Cupcakes

A simple and delicious recipe for your Monday morning.

Sweet Potato Cupcakes
Recipe source: Paula Deen
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1 box spice cake mix
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 can (15 oz.) sweet potatoes, drained and mashed
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
3 large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
3. In a medium bowl, combine sweet potatoes, oil, water, and eggs; add to cake mix mixture. Beat a medium speed with a mixer until smooth. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling two-thirds full. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until a tester comes out clean (Mine had to bake for about 25 minutes — so check the timing!) Let cool in pan for 10 minutes and then cool completely on wire racks.
4. Spread cinnamon-cream cheese frosting evenly over cupcakes and garnish with cinnamon.

Cinnamon-Cream Cheese Frosting
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 Tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
7 cups powdered sugar

1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, cream, honey, and cinnamon at medium speed with a mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until smooth.