Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Gingerbread and Orange Cream Cheese Heaven!

There have been a lot of birthdays at work recently! My friend does not like sweets which posed a challenge for me so I decided to make a Gingerbread Cake (in the spirit of the holidays) with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting (WOW!!!). I followed the exact time the recipe said to do it for, which I never do I always go a little less the first time, and it came out a little dry in my opinion. However, the birthday girl loved it and even non gingerbread fans really liked it so I call this a succesful recipe!! The recipe calls for a 9 in square pan but I used my rectangular pan and it was great!

I had some left over cream cheese frosting so I added that to this recipe and changed around the recipe a little bit. This is the Original recipe but here is what I did: I used 2 packages of Cream Cheese (plus my other left over cream cheese), roughly 2-3 tablespoons of butter, roughly 2 teaspoons of orange zest (I didn't measure it but zested roughly 1/2 an orange), 6 tablespoons of orange juice, and 2 1/2 C. of confectioners'sugar. This has to be one of the best frostings I have ever made! It was delicious and I don;'t think you can screw it up!

(Source: allrecipes.com)


1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1 cup molasses
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup hot water


- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Greased and flour one 9 inch square pan. I used a regular rectangular pan.
- Cream together the sugar and butter or margarine. Add egg, and beat well. Mix in the molasses.
- Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and clove. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture; add the hot water, and mix well.
- Pour batter into pan and bake for one hour. Allow to cool in pan and serve.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting!

For my friend's birthday I decided to make my first attempt at Red Velvet Cupcakes. They were good, a little too chocolatey I think, but the Cream Cheese Frosting was amazing! I didn't realize that you needed 1 oz. of red food coloring and the food coloring variety pack is only 1/4 oz; however, after 5 stores I finally found a 1 oz container! I made both minis and regular cupcakes and everone loved them!

Next time I would use a little less butter in the frosting and it has been a busy week so I can't remember if I used a little bit of milk or not but I think I might have used just a touch!

(Source: allrecipes.com)


1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 fluid ounce red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt


- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two 12 cup muffin pans or line with 20 paper baking cups.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, buttermilk, red food coloring and vanilla. Stir in the baking soda and vinegar. Combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt; stir into the batter just until blended.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing evenly.
- Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan set over a wire rack. When cool, arrange the cupcakes on a serving platter and frost with desired frosting.

(Source: on the comments page of the Red Velvet Cupcake recipe)


1/2c. of unsalted butter (softened)
2- 8oz. packs of cream cheese (softened)
3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
1 tbsp of vanilla extract.


Cream the butter and cream cheese together and then add the powedered sugar and vanilla.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Minty Delicious Bars!

I love Andes Mints and a few months ago I made Brownies with them but when I found this recipe it seemed like a perfect December recipe to me, I always associate mints and chocolate with the Holidays. These came out soooooooooooo much better then I could have expected, it somehow got around the office that I had them and people were randomly stopping by the office for them. These were excellent!!

The only caveat I would say is that the recipe says to bake the first part for 12 to 15 minutes; however, I think mine were in for almost 30 minutes...just keep checking on them and make sure they don't get hard and are still soft! I used just a regular rectangluar pan.

(Source: cooks.com)


1 c. butter
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
3/4 tsp. peppermint extract
1 c. flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter and chocolate; set aside to cool. Beat sugar, eggs, peppermint and flour, add chocolate mixture. Pour into a greased 10 x 15 inch pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes; do not over bake. Allow to cool.


6 tbsp. butter
3 c. powdered sugar
3/4 tsp. peppermint extract
2 drops green food coloring
3-4 tbsp. milk

Mix butter, sugar, peppermint and food coloring. Add enough milk to make desirable spreading consistency. Spread over cooled base. Chill for 15 minutes.


4 oz. chocolate chips
4 tbsp. butter

Melt chips and butter. Allow to cool. Carefully spread over filling. Chill. Cut into squares. Makes 30.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Peppermint Patty Cupcakes!

I love chocolate and mint together!!! For my officemate's birthday this week I decided I wanted to try and make a Mint Cream Cheese Frosting; unfortunately, I couldn't find a recipe for it so I combined different ones and made one up. I hate cooking because a lot of times it is just a pinch of this and a pinch of that but baking is very precise and so I was a little nervous on making this recipe up. However, everyone loved it - even the non cupcake lovers. They were Devils Food Cupcake and with the Mint Cream Cheese Frosting they tasted like a Peppermint patty and they were perfect for a December birthday!!

I have to apologize the recipe below is not exact measurements on sugar or milk. But you can play with it and see. I remembered the next day that I did have a regular mint frosting recipe that I could have used but o well it turned out okay!

Mint Cream Cheese Frosting


- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 3 cups confectioners' sugar - totally play this by ear because I didn't measure it
- 4-6 tablespoons of Milk


Beat cream cheese, butter, and peppermint together until smooth and fluffy. Add confectioners' sugar and milk. Beat until creamy. Add more icing sugar or milk as needed for easy spreading.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Thankful for Desserts!

Thanks to traveling for work and visiting my family in NY I am a little behind. Also, I apologize for all the nice comments that were left for me that I didn't respond to yet....the past few weeks have been super hectic but nothing like baking to help me relax!

I made the desserts for Thanksgiving dinner and I made Cheesecake, correctly this time and it came out delicious!!! I also made an Apple Oatmeal Crisp, which I didn't try but it looked delicious and it wsa interesting because there is a crisp layer on the bottom and on the top! (Read the note below). I topped it off with some homemade whipped cream, which came out fantastic this year. I think it is because I made a huge batch, five times the amount!

It might not look pretty but it tasted fantastic!

(Source: allrecipes.com)


1 cup brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 cups apples - peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C.) Lightly grease an 8 inch square pan.
- In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, oats, flour and butter. Mix until crumbly.
- Place half of crumb mixture in pan. Spread the apples evenly over crumb mixture.
- Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and top with remaining crumb mixture.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown.


- I didn't think an 8 inch square pan would have been enough for Thanksgiving so I put it in a rectangle pan and used 6 apples and did all the ingredients at 1 1/2 times EXCEPT for the Sugar

(Source: allrecipe.com)
I did the recipe times 5


1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar


In a large bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. Beat in vanilla and sugar until peaks form. Make sure not to over-beat, cream will then become lumpy and butter-like.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Daring Bakers: The World of Caramels!

It's crazy caramel time! This months Daring Bakers Challenge is all about Caramels! I was very excited about making the caramels but a little nervous if the cupcakes with the caramel frosting would be too sweet but my guinea pigs loved them, they said the cupcakes were dense but good and the frosting made it! The guys at work were taking two at a time and we ran out super quick!

I was sooo excited to make the caramels but in my excitement I added way too much sea salt! But I fixed it by covering them in melted chocolate (some melted chocolate chips and butter) - they were like ghetto Riesens - they were delicious!!!!

Thank you to Shauna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater for her signature caramel cake. Also, thank you four our wonderful Daring Bakers hostess Dolores and her helpers Alex and Jenny

I couldn't find any Golden Syrup but Jane came to our rescue and found a recipe from Recipe Zaar. The recipe makes 3/4 C so I had to double it.

I can't wait to see all of the delicious recipes!


10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 Cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
2 each eggs, at room temperature
splash vanilla extract
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk, at room temperature


Preheat oven to 350F

Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.

Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.

Sift flour and baking powder.

Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients. {This is called the dry, wet, dry, wet, dry method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high proportion of liquid in the batter.}

Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan.

Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely before icing it.

Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.



2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for "stopping" the caramelization process)


In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush. Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.

When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.

Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers. {Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.}

Note: For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.



12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons caramel syrup
Kosher or sea salt to taste


Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.

Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner's sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner's sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.

Note: Caramelized butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month.
To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth and light

GOLDEN VANILLA BEAN CARAMELS- makes eighty-one 1-inch caramels -


1 cup golden syrup
2 cups sugar
3/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons pure ground vanilla beans, purchased or ground in a coffee or spice grinders, or 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks, softened


A 9-inch square baking pan - I used an 8 inch
Candy thermometer


Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with aluminum foil and grease the foil. Combine the golden syrup, sugar, and salt in a heavy 3-quart saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to simmer around the edges. Wash the sugar and syrup from the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes. (Meanwhile, rinse the spatula or spoon before using it again later.) Uncover the pan and wash down the sides once more. Attach the candy thermometer to the pan, without letting it touch the bottom of the pan, and cook, uncovered (without stirring) until the mixture reaches 305°F. Meanwhile, combine the cream and ground vanilla beans (not the extract) in a small saucepan and heat until tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Turn off the heat and cover the pan to keep the cream hot.

When the sugar mixture reaches 305°F, turn off the heat and stir in the butter chunks. Gradually stir in the hot cream; it will bubble up and steam dramatically, so be careful. Turn the burner back on and adjust it so that the mixture boils energetically but not violently. Stir until any thickened syrup at the bottom of the pan is dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, to about 245°F. Then cook, stirring constantly, to 260°f for soft, chewy caramels or 265°F; for firmer chewy caramels.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, if using it. Pour the caramel into the lined pan. Let set for 4 to 5 hours, or overnight until firm.

Lift the pan liner from the pan and invert the sheet of caramel onto a sheet of parchment paper. Peel off the liner. Cut the caramels with an oiled knife. Wrap each caramel individually in wax paper or cellophane.



1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon water
1/3 cup light corn syrup


1. Put sugar in a small heavy pan and shake pan so the sugar is in an even layer.
2. Sprinkle it with vinegar and water.
3. Cook over low heat, without stirring, for 5 minutes.
4. Increase heat to medium and cook until syrup has taken on a light caramel color, 5 to 6 minutes.
5. Immediately remove from heat and pour in the corn syrup. DO NOT STIR, but let it bubble for 2 to 3 minutes. When the bubbling stops, stir well.
6. Pour into sealed container. It can be stored at room temperature for several months.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tis the Season.........

Pumpkin season that is! I had an extra can of pumpkin in my cupboards and I know my officemate loves pumpkin so I found a delicious recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars. I am not a huge pumpkin fan nor am I a big pecan fan and that is basically all this recipe is. I did not like these when they first came out of the oven BUT the next day when I was work they were taunting me all day and when I had one I was pleasantly surprised - they were pretty good. I found that pumpkin and non pumpkin fans both liked these - so that makes them a hit in my book!

I didn't have any allspice at home, it is one of those ingredients that I always think I have but never do, so instead I just used a little less then 1/2 tsp. of nutmeg and it tasted great. Also, when they came out of the oven the first time the edges were not lightly brown and I didn't let it cool off before I added the cheesecake filling but it still worked out well. It also took me longer then 35 minutes to bake these, I kept waiting for them to brown and set firmer but they didn't I think I might have actually had them in for an extra 20 minutes but after a nite in the refrigerator they came out perfect. Enjoy!!

(Source: Allrecipes.com)


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
5 tablespoons cold butter or margarine
1 cup finely chopped pecans (I used pecan chips)
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cooked or canned pumpkin
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice


- In a bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in pecans; set aside 3/4 cup for topping. Press remaining crumb mixture into a greased 8-in. square baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

- In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar. Beat in the pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and allspice. Pour over crust. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Store in the refrigerator.

Friday, November 21, 2008

GUEST POST!! Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies with Almond Butter!

My cousin made these delicious cookies for her husband and daughter's class (my adorable goddaughter!)

I have been wanting to make cookies different from what I usually make and then I got the December edition of Cooking Light. I decided to try Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies, with some adaptations, of course. I used Barney Butter (see picture), an Almond Butter that I have been reading about on some other blogs. I also used ¼ SmartBalance blend rather than canola oil.

These were surprisingly delicious. My husband really liked them, which was surprising because I don’t think he likes peanut butter cookies, but the almond butter is very subtle. My daughter’s kindergarten class gobbled up the ones I sent in. The recipe says it makes 3 dozen, but I made 4 dozen. They were nicely chewy and not as flat as in the picture, although now I think that is maybe because I didn’t add the water.

(Source: Cooking Light)


1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup creamy peanut butter (or almond butter)
¼ c water (whoops, I never added that, didn’t even notice it until now)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
12 ounces all-purpose flour (2 2/3 cups)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate minichips (I used more like ¾ cup)


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.

3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture, stirring just until combined. Stir in minichips. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on 2 baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Simple and Perfect Chowder

I am not a cook and I don't like to cook, it is all about baking for me! But the other day I wasn't feeling well and I was on a soup kick for a few days. I found this great recipe but ofcourse forgot to bring it with me to the food store so when it came to making the stew I revised it a little bit.

Instead of using water I used vegetable broth, instead of peeled potatoes I used 3 small to medium sized Red potatoes and left the skin on (not the cute mini ones), I forgot celery but added a bag of frozen corn the last 8 to 10 minutes, and threw in some basil at the end. I didn't measure 1 pound of mushrooms but instead bought a container of the precut mushrooms and a container of baby bellos, which I chopped up a little bit. I also used a little less then 1/4 C. of butter. Also, next time I wouldn't throw the parmesan cheese into the soup but throw ontop as a granish.

The original recipe is below but have fun with it, if I didn't screw it up I don't think it is possible!!

(Source: allrecipes.com)

1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cups water
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup diced peeled potatoes
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 cup light cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


In a large kettle, saute onion in butter until tender. Add flour, salt and pepper; stir to make a smooth paste. Gradually add water, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, celery, potatoes and carrots. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add cream and Parmesan cheese; heat through.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies!!

I am off to Philly to visit one of my best friends and I figured since she always listens to what I am baking it is only fair that I bring her something - plus a great excuse to try a new recipe. After my original recipe idea went down in flames (I didn't have a key ingredient)I looked for a recipe where I could still use the miniature Reeses Peanut Butter Cups I bought (and started eating). This recipe was so simple and came out great!

Some key things I found for this recipe was that my mini offset saptula was awesome in getting the cookies out of the mini muffin tin. Also after I took them out of the tin I let them sit on a plate in the fridge for a little bit so it would be easier to pack them and then they sat patiently in my fridge over nite but they are delicious when they are first done all melty and gooey! When they came out of the oven they don't look cooked but they are and the bottoms are defiently more cooked then the top so don't fret! The recipe said that it made 40 - I got about 33-35. I unwrapped the peanut butter cups while the cookies were in the oven.

Before they went into the oven

All ready to go!


(Source: allrecipes.com)


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
40 miniature chocolate covered peanut butter cups, unwrapped


- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
- Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda; set aside.
- Cream together the butter, sugar, peanut butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and milk. Add the flour mixture; mix well.
- Shape into 40 balls and place each into an ungreased mini muffin pan.
- Bake at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press a mini peanut butter cup into each ball. Cool and carefully remove from pan.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Birthday Cheesecake!

My dad loves cheesecake and so when he came down I made it per special request for his birthday! I used a new recipe and it was delicious but of course in my haste I misread the directions and added a 1 1/4 C. sugar to the crust instead of 1/4 C., the word divided is very important! But it still came out great!!! I also used packages of Fat Free and Low Fat cream cheese instead of regular cream cheese and it tasted delicious! If possible I always use the light, low fat, or no fat ingredients.


(Source: Kraftfoods.com)


1 3/4 cups HONEY MAID Graham Cracker Crumbs (I used 2 coups)
1/3 cup margarine or butter, melted
1-1/4 cups sugar, divided
3 pkg. (8 oz. each) Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup Sour Cream
2 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1 can (21 oz.) cherry pie filling


PREHEAT oven to 350°F if using a silver 8- or 9-inch springform pan (or to 325°F if using a dark nonstick 8- or 9-inch springform pan). Mix graham cracker crumbs, margarine and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Press firmly onto bottom and 2-1/2 inches up side of pan; set aside.

BEAT cream cheese and the remaining 1 cup sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add sour cream and vanilla; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until blended. Pour into crust.

BAKE 1 hour to 1 hour 10 min. or until center is almost set. Turn oven off. Open oven door slightly. Let cheesecake set in oven 1 hour. Remove cheesecake from oven; cool completely. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Loosen cheesecake from rim of pan; remove rim. Top cheesecake with pie filling just before serving. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator.

Friday, October 31, 2008


I am not a creative person but these came out so cute and were so easy!!! Somebody told me they looked professional!!! I got the idea from allrecipes.com and it was so easy! All you need is cookies split in half, Hershey Kisses, and red gel (and cupcakes of course!) I made peanut butter cupcakes with chocolate frosting and they came out delicious!

After the cupcakes have cooled frost them and keep the extra frosting. I first placed the hershey kiss down and then used a little extra frosting on the edge of each cookie (like glue)to stick them into the cupcake and had the kiss slightly touching the cookies. I left some space between the back of the cookie and the rest of the cupcake. I put them in the fridge over nite and they succesfully made the metro trip this morning!

(Source: Peanut Butter& Co. Cookbook)


1 1/4 C. flour
1 1/2 tspn. baking powder
1/2 tspn. salt
1 C. light brown sugar
6 Tbs. ( 3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 tspn. vanilla extract
1/2 C. peanut butter
2 large eggs
1/2 C. milk ( it says whole I used 2%)


- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 12-15 muffin cups with paper bakin cups.
- In a large bow, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
- In a seperate large bowl, cream together the brown sugar, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer. Add the peanu butter and beat until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, and then add milk. Slowly add the flour mixture and combine until batter in uniform - do not over mic.
- Fill muffin cups with batter until amost full (I did mine a little less and got 15 instead of 12). Bake for 20 minutes or until the cucakes sprin back when lightly touched.

(Source: allrecipes.com)


2 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons evaporated milk (I used regular milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


- In a medium bowl, sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa, and set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream butter until smooth, then gradually beat in sugar mixture alternately with evaporated milk. Blend in vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. If necessary, adjust consistency with more milk or sugar. ( I used more milk)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Daring Bakers: Pizza Time!!

I LOVE pizza, I am from NY it's in my blood, and I could honestly eat it every day! So that is why I was so excited when the October Daring Bakers Challenge was announced! I do not like to cook but this was an exception! The recipe made 6 balls and I have only used 3 so far: 1 regular cheese pizza, 1 carmalized onions, mushroom and goat cheese pizza, and 1 calzone type pizza filled with onions, mushrooms, spinach, and cheese.

My pizza did not come out round and were a little thin but were still good, for the rest of the dough I might actually take the 3 balls and make 2 pizzas instead of 1. But were still yummy!! Check out the rest of the Daring Bakers!

If anyone would like the pizza recipe - let me know! It is very long!!!!

Just plain cheese pizza - the sauce was actually really good (I am not a sauce fan!)

Carmelized Onions with mushrooms and Goat Cheese!

My attempted "Calzone"

The ingredients were cooked when I put them into the dough and were too hot so it fell apart right away and I had to flip it over but it was still delicious!

(Source: allrecipes.com)


1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 tablespoon ground oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons dried minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground paprika


In a medium bowl, Mix together tomato sauce and tomato paste until smooth. Stir in oregano, garlic and paprika.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Perfect Fall Muffins!

The other day I was randomly looking at recipes online and printed out a recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, well when my officemate picked the recipe off the printer to give it to me she said that I could make them anytime that she was in the office. I am not a huge fan of pumpkin pie and am kind of ambivalent about pumpkin in general but I decided for the good of the office I would give these a try. These were a HUGE hit, with one person saying "I think it was the best thing you baked. And that's saying something." Other people disagreed with that statement but said they were still excellent. And even though I am not a huge fan pumpkin fan I am a huge fan of these.

I made 2 batches - regular size and minis - and they were excellent; very moist and delicious. I also used mini chocolate chips, I only put in 1/2 C but next time might throw in some extras if using the mini chips again.

(Source: Allrecipes.com)


3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips


- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease and flour muffin pan or use paper liners.
- Mix sugar, oil, eggs. Add pumpkin and water. In separate bowl mix together the baking flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt.. Add wet mixture and stir in chocolate chips.
- Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cherry Love!

I love Comstock Cherries and have made them with Devils Food Cake before but one of my officemates kept suggesting that I make a cherry pie for work and after weeks of these friendly reminders I finally did make one, except work didn't get it!

I didn't really have a recipe to work off of so I took bits and pieces and winged it. The crust I liked but didn't love, it was a little rubbery and I can't figure out if it is something I did or the recipe itself. I also have way too much strudel topping left over - need to come up with some ideas on how to use it.

I followed the recipe for the crust then added 2 cans of Comstack Cherries and then topped it off with the streusel topping. I baked it at 425 for about 30 - 40 minutes, I waited until it was bubbling all around before I turned off the oven and let it sit in the oven for a little bit.

It was yummy piping hot with some vanilla ice cream!

(Source: allrecipes.com)


1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons brown sugar


- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- In a medium bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs, cocoa powder, yogurt, and brown sugar.
- Press mixture firmly into a 9 inch pie pan.
- Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes.

(Source: Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook)


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature


In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender until large, moist clumps form. Unused streusel can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Update and Cute Boxes!

I made the Lemon Cupcakes again but this time I left them in for 18 minutes and they didn't deflate!! They weren't super high but at least they weren't concave!

October is a very busy month for birthdays for me and since cupcake stores are all the rage in DC I decided to make my own, package them, and give them as gifts. Look at the cute boxes I got at Target!! I filled each box with regular size and mini Devils Food Cupcakes with Mint Frosting and the regular size Lemon Up Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese frosting. Though they weren't as pretty as the cupcake stores I think they tasted better and were big hits!! Happy Birthday to all October Birthdays!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Better Late Then Never...........

I am a little behind and just got to September's Daring Bakers Challenge, I was also inspired by all the great Daring Bakers!

Some of the crackers came out too thick and honestly, they were just okay - not great.....I will probably throw them in some soup and see how they work. After a few days they tasted better because they were a little harder. Since everyone else has posted the directions I am not going to but if you would like the recipe just let me know and I will forward it on. I made whole wheat crackers with sesame seeds.

I made a Black Bean and Hummus Dip which was great! I first didn't add the garlic (shopping mishap) but once I added the garlic it was great!

Black Bean and Chickpea Hummus
(Source: Allrecipes.com)


1 cup canned black beans, drained
1 cup canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt
2 tablespoons water
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
salt and pepper to taste


Place black beans, garbanzo beans, olive oil, lemon juice, yogurt, water, and garlic into the bowl of a blender. Season with curry powder, salt, and pepper. Cover and puree until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Mint Love and Cupcake Obsession

Washington D.C. has a slight obession with cupcakes and stores keep popping up everywhere...I actually don't think some of them are that good but I recently had a devils food cupcake with mint frosting and it got me thinking are mine better then these $3 a piece cupcakes? I already love my Devils Food Recipe and I just needed to find a good Mint Frosting recipe and I think I did....it is very minty!!!

Note the recipe below NEEDS to be doubled to make enough icing for all of the cupcakes!

(Source: Cooks.com)


1 1/2 c. confectioners sugar
2 tbsp. milk
1 tbsp. shortening
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. pure mint or peppermint extract
2 to 3 drops green food coloring (optional)

Combine all ingredients in the order listed in small mixing bowl. Beat until spreading consistency. Additional sugar may be needed if frosting is too thin.