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Category Archives: Baking

Cookie Cheesecake Bars

I love cheesecake bars because it’s cheesecake, bite-sized!

I wasn’t sure how they’d turn out, because I’ve had mixed results with this magazine.  The only problem I had was that the cream cheese mixture didn’t pour over the cookies and crust really well, so it had a cookies and cream kind of appearance.  Which is what it tasted like, come to think of it.  So while it doesn’t look very pretty (or in nice layers like it did in the magazine), they taste really good!

I think next time I make these, I’ll mix the cookies and the cheesecake together.  Or maybe I’ll add the cookies to the crust.  I crushed them by putting the cookies into a plastic bag and using a rolling pin.

Enjoy!

Cookie Cheescake Bars

Slightly adapted from Betty Crocker Best Baking Recipes

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely crushed Oreo’s

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, beat 2 cups of flour, the brown sugar and butter on medium speed.
  3. Press mixture into ungreased 13×9 inch pan for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. Beat cream cheese, granulated sugar, 1/4 cup flour and the eggs until thick and fluffy.
  5. Sprinkle cookies over the crust, then pour the cream cheese over the cookies.
  6. Bake 12 to 16 minutes or until the topping is set.
  7. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes and then refridgerate for about an hour, or until firm.

Browned Butter Peanut Butter Crispy Rice Treats

The more I bake from the Joy The Baker cookbook, the more I love it.  These rice krispy treats are so good and I love that they have peanut butter in them!  I also love that they’re no-bake, which is great because it’s been really hot here over the last week, and I didn’t really want to turn on the oven, you know?

I love how they’re not perfectly shaped.

For some reason, I’m really hesitant to post this recipe, and I think it’s because I actually stuck to the recipe.  But I’m posting it anyway, because of peanut butter.  I’ve seen the Peanut Butter and Co brand in the grocery store, and finally got some last week.  The’yre known for selling gourmet peanut butter, with honey or chocolate added into their peanut butter.  Their Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut is so good, and I was really tempted to add some in.  But I still have half a box of cereal, so I may have to use that next time.

But back to my point.  I definitely think one of their peanut butters would work, but since I haven’t tried it, I don’t know how well it would work.  But it’s worth a try, right?  Come to think of it, that might work with marshmallows too.  Wait, do they even make, like, chocolate-flavored marshmallows?  Because if they do, that could be just as fun as “special” peanut butter.  Next time, I think I will cut them into smaller bars.  I don’t mind the bigger ones, but smaller bars next time would work better for me.

Enjoy!

Browned Butter Peanut Butter Crispy Rice Treats

From the Joy the Baker cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1 10-ounce bag of marshmallows (any kind will do)
  • 1/2 cup smooth all-natural peanut butter (the recipe calls for your standard all-natural peanut butter, but I imagine something like Peanut Butter & Co’s Dark Chocolate Dreams would work just as well)
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups (around half a box) of crispy rice cereal
Directions: 
  1. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan.  Set aside.
  2. In a large, heavy bottom pan, melt the butter over medium heat until just browned.  Whisk the browned bits off the bottom of the pan.
  3. Just as the butter starts to brown, add the marshmallows, peanut butter and salt.  Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth.
  4. Remove from heat and add cereal.  Quickly stir, until all of the cereal is coated in the marshmallow mixture.
  5. Put the mixture into the pan.  Press into the sides and bottom with buttered or oiled fingertips.
  6. Let cool and set for 30 minutes (or more).  Cut into 9 blocks (or 12 if you want something smaller).
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Simple Vanilla Cupcakes

There is nothing better than a cupcake.  I love cupcakes because they’re bite-sized pieces of cake, and they are so much easier to eat, serve and store than cake.

Cupcakes seem like the perfect summer treat.  I’m not sure why, but all of a sudden, they make me think of summer.  In my case, that is pretty much every single day of the year, so why this only occurred to me, I don’t know.

I love how simple this recipe is.  Otherwise, they wouldn’t be simple vanilla cupcakes, right?  It should be no surprise that I needed to change the recipe a little, but that’s only because I didn’t realize the recipe called for vanilla beans.   I used vanilla extract instead of the vanilla bean, and while I’m not sure if I want to buy vanilla beans for future use, the cupcakes.  These are so good, and they’re the perfect shade of yellow, with the right amount of vanilla.

I ended up using a peanut butter cream cheese frosting (found in the cookbook), because I didn’t have all of the ingredients for the best chocolate buttercream frosting.  I think I’ll go with that next time I make these.  I really do recommend the Joy the Baker cookbook.  The more I bake from it, the more I love it.  I think I shall be making Sausage with Garlic and Lentils this week too, and that will be posted either tomorrow or on Saturday!  Enjoy the cupcakes!

Simple Vanilla Cupcakes

Slightly Adapted from The Joy The Baker Cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (or 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 35o degrees.  Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, or 3 to 5 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after adding each egg.
  4. Beat in the vanilla extract (and vanilla beans, if using) until incorporated well.
  5. Add half of the flour and beat (on low speed) until almost incorporated.
  6. Add the milk and blend.
  7. Add the rest of the flour and beat until almost incorporated.
  8. Finish incorporating the ingredients with a spatula.  Divide the batter amongst the liners and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
  9. Cool and frost with your favorite frosting!

June: Required Cooking

A lot of people do required reading, so I thought I’d do my take on that, with required cooking.  Or menu planning, if you will.  I like the idea of required cooking.

Here’s what I plan on making this month:

  • Cheesy Beefy Mac, from Never Enough Enough Thyme
  • Browned Butter Peanut Butter Crispy Rice Treats, from the Joy The Baker cookbook
  • Peanut Butter Birthday Cake (because I never made one for myself last month), from the Joy The Baker Cookbook
  • Simple Vanilla Cupcakes, from the Joy The Baker cookbook
  • Cookie Cheesecake Bars, from Betty Crocker’s Best Baking Recipes magazine
  • Coconut Swirl Brownies, from Betty Crocker’s Best Baking Recipes magazine
  • Chocolate-Glazed Pecan Pie Bars, from Betty Crocker’s Best Baking Recipes magazine

So, right now, it’s focused on baking, because I’m still waiting to pick up Supernatural Cooking by Heidi Swanson from the library, so I’ll be cooking from that cookbook this month.

Speaking of required reading, though, I’m almost finished with Candyfreak, which is an interesting read.  I’ll either post a link to my review or talk about it here when I finish it.  Maybe even both.  I think it’s time to make to sure I have all the ingredients I’ll need, so I’ll have to make a list and head to the store.  It’ll be fun deciding what I should make first.

Betty Crocker, I Am So Disappointed

I was flipping through a baking magazine put out by Betty Crocker.  A recipe for Cinnamon Espresso Bars caught my eye, and I knew I had to make.  Would this be my birthday treat?

No, of course not.  It sounds delicious, and it looked really good in the magazine.  But I was disappointed with the recipe.

Problem One: It didn’t rise like it did in the picture.  In fact, it barely rose at all. I know it’s not the baking powder or the baking soda.  Actually, I think it’s the pan the recipe called for.  A 9×13 pan did seem a little big when I made it, and I spent some time making sure the batter wasn’t too thin.  An 8×8 pan might be a little small, but if you pour the batter in 2 of them, it might work.  Is there a pan size that’s in between?  Because that size pan would probably work.

Problem Two: The glaze tasted good, but unfortunately didn’t come out as good as I expected.  There was a lot of flour and some cinnamon, but very little liquid.  I generally don’t make glazes, so I’m not sure about the dry ingredient to liquid ingredient ratio.  But it seemed off, so I added waaaaay too much liquid, and then the glaze was all runny.

I’m disappointed, because it’s Betty Crocker, and I expected a better recipe from something with the Betty Crocker label slapped on.  I’m wondering whether they tested the recipe…

I’m sure it tastes fine, but since I haven’t tried it, I can’t say for sure.  But it did smell good, and the batter tasted pretty good.  I just think they messed on the pan size.  Maybe the amount of ingredients should be adjusted?  I honestly have no idea.  I think I’ll try a few other things in the magazine before I really make up my mind.  It would be really silly to make a decision after 2 recipes.

Hopefully I’ll have some better luck this weekend with the baking.

Almond Toffee Blondies

I was in the mood for blondies and a recipe for Toffee Blondies caught my eye.  I think I love blondies even more than brownies, because blondies are brownies without the chocolate.

And sometimes I want a n0-chocolate brownie.  Blondies are certainly interesting.  I just love the texture and taste of them.  This one caught my eye because of the toffee.  I’m surprised the bag of toffee pieces last long enough for me to use it for the blondies, because I love toffee!  I need more toffee in my life, because I really don’t eat enough of it.

I would definitely make these again, because they are sweet, chewy and delicious.

Brown Butter Toffee Blondies

Adapted From Best Baking Recipes Magazine; makes about 16 squares

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and browned
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup toffee bits

Directions: 

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 8-inch square pan with cooking spray.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Beat butter, vanilla and almond extract, egg and brown sugar on low speed until combined.
  4. Gradually add flour mixture.
  5. Stir in half (1/3 cup) of the toffee.
  6. Spread batter into pan and sprinkle with remaining toffee.
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean.
  8. Cool on a wire rack and serve.

Chocolate Frogs

I love Harry Potter.  It is not funny how much I love Harry Potter.  And I don’t make enough of the treats found in the series…in fact, I don’t really make anything at all.

I got a chocolate frog mold months ago, and I’ve used it once or twice.  I don’t know why I don’t use it more, because I have chocolate in the kitchen that’s not being used.  And I can’t let chocolate just sit there, not being used.

I decided to make chocolate frogs, because they are so good!  Because what is better than chocolate in frog form?  I definitely want to try making butterbeer, and someday, I’d like to try making some of the other sweets.  The recipe isn’t exactly my own creation, but most chocolate frog recipes are probably really similar…if not exactly the same.  So here’s my version of chocolate frogs.

Chocolate Frog Recipe:

Ingredients/Supplies

  • 8 ounces of any kind of chocolate (it can be baking chocolate, which is found in the baking aisle, chocolate melts, found at cake decorating shops, or chocolate chips)
  • chocolate frog mold (online or cake decorating shops)

Recipe:

  1. Melt chocolate (in microwave or double broiler), and cool for a couple minutes.
  2. Spoon into chocolate frog molds.
  3. Refrigerate for around 2 hours.
  4. Remove from mold and enjoy!