Monday, July 30, 2007


I have never, not once considered making brownies from scratch. Why? Because of this: I've found that brownie mixes are so delicious... why bother with trying to make them from scratch?

Well, I decided that it would be nice to have a recipe for homemade brownies (even if they aren't likely to be as good as the mixes). So, I found a recipe on Cookie Madness for these brownies. She had lots of brownie recipes, but I chose these because I already had all the ingredients. And 28 minutes was wayyy too long to cook these brownies (at least for my taste), I should have taken them out after about 20-22, I think. I like my brownies moist and slightly undercooked. Mine were dry and overcooked. Damn.

I will try these again, I think though. They were easy and they make huge, thick brownies... I just wish I hadn't overcooked them.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Redemption Cookies...

(angels singing in the background)
Now... this my friends... this is a cookie recipe.

So, I was a little disappointed by the last cookies I made... Alton Brown's Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, but I did not let that defeat me. I soldiered on and decided to make a peanut butter cookie.

I used to make peanut butter cookies a lot when I was a kid, because we always had the ingredients for them. But the recipe I used was out of an old cookbook and made the kinda soft but sandy type. Well, I wanted a chewier (of course) but crispy around the edges type.

So, I found a recipe for Mrs. Fields Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies on recipezaar and then I doctored it up a bit (using peanut butter chips, reese peanut butter cups, and shorterning instead of butter).

They turned out so incredibly rich and decadent. Yum. Definitely a cookie for when you are in the mood for something sweet and rich. You can only eat a couple, so bask in the wonderfulness of every bite.. thank you Mrs. Fields. Thank you.

Reese's Cup Peanut Butter Cookies
makes about 36ish cookies.

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup butter flavored shortening
6 tsp water
3 large eggs
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 10oz package of reese peanut butter chips
36-40 minature reese peanut butter cups.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Mix dry ingredients and set aside.

On medium speed, in a large bowl, blend sugars with shortening and the 6 tsp of water, mix till grainy consistency. Add eggs, peanut butter (hint: spray the measuring cup with cooking spray before you measure the peanut butter so that the peanut butter slides right out) and vanilla extract. Beat until fluffy. Carefully stir in flour mixture with a wooden spoon and then barely mix on low speed with mixer until incorporated. Add the peanut butter chips and stir.

Drop by cookie scoop 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake until the edges are lightly browned, about 15 minutes (with my medium cookie scoop), as soon as you remove them from the oven, place a reese cup down in the center of the cookie and allow to cool for a minute before placing on a cooling rack.

Pour a glass of milk and enjoy...
They look like little fried eggs... weird.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

"The Chewy"

So, I wasn't content with the perfection of this chocolate chip cookie recipe I tried a month ago. Nooooo... I had to go and try to find a cookie that tasted just as delicious, but had a slightly softer outside texture.

I like chewy cookies. Think... oatmeal/raisin chewy. I like them moist and buttery, but not cakey. Definitely not cakey.

So, I found this recipe for Alton Brown's Chewy chocolate chip cookies. And... they are just okay. The flavor isn't really there for me. And the texture is too cakey. So, from now on, when I find perfection. I'm sticking with it.

Don't be fooled...

They look tasty, but they are pretty bland as far as chocolate chip cookies go.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Dump Cake

Yes, yes, the title alone will elicit numerous snickers from your friends and family. That is until they taste it, and then the name never sounds funny. "Did you just say dump cake? Where??? Who's making one??" Dump Cake is no laughing matter.

It's so named because you literally dump all the ingredients (in a specified order) into a 13x9 inch baking dish and in an hour... voila... you have a creamy, buttery, crunchy, healthy (well... okay, so its probably not healthy, but it does have fruit in it) cake. The first time my mom made this, I was a little put off by the idea of cherries and pineapple in a cake. It just didn't sound appetizing to me. Boy, was I wrong.

It's really hard to explain, the only thing I can say is... try it... you won't be disappointed. If you ever need to take a dessert to a potluck dinner, this would be a good one. All the ingredients (except the butter, which I already had) cost me $7.50 and took me about 5 minutes to prepare.

It's better once you let it set and cool. And yes, it's supposed to be a little gooey.

And now... without further adieu... I give you....

The Dump Cake
15 oz can cherry pie filling (I used no sugar added)
15 oz can crushed pineapples (I used no sugar added)
1 box yellow cake mix
¾ cup butter, melted
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350.

Dump the cherry pie filling and pineapple contents into the bottom of a 13x9 inch pan. Spread over bottom of pan.

Sprinkle the box of yellow cake mix over fruit.

Drizzle the melted butter evenly over the top of the cake mix.
Sprinkle chopped pecans over the top and place in oven and cook for about 50 minutes to an hour.
(Don't mind the size in the picture, I made a half cake this weekend).
Yes, it will appear a little powdery on top, thats okay. Mmmm... this is what comfort food is all about.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Fudge Scotch Bars

This recipe should be indexed under: Delicious Cookie for When you Are Drunk and Lazy. I made these while on vacation... I chose them because they were super simple and because they required few ingredients. Ergo: Great bars to make on vacation.

The recipe calls for a 9" square pan. Which I didn't have, so I think they would be even better (hard to imagine) if they were made in the proper pan, because they would be thicker. I made them in a medium sized cookie sheet. They still turned out delicious and everyone loved them.

Would make a great potluck dessert.

Basically, all you need to know is... semi-sweet chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, walnuts, graham cracker crumbs, and sweetened condensed milk. That's it. All that is in it. I will make these a lot more, without different variations.

Fudge Scotch Bars

Monday, July 9, 2007

Did I mention that this is an awesome recipe?

Okay, just look at that. Look at how yummy that cookie is.

I made another batch of the chocolate chip cookies from an earlier post . I devoured about 5 of them and then quickly stashed them in the freezer, so that I could take them along on my beach vacation this week. Homemade cookies will be so much better than chewy chips ahoy, no?

This time, I split the batch in two. One batch had your basic milk chocolate chips and semi-sweet chocolate chips (as a side note, I used hershey brand semi-sweet chips and they are awesome! they melted completely in the cookies. I used ghiradelli milk chocolate chips). Then in the other batch, I used up some remaining peanut butter chips and butterscotch chips and threw in some semi-sweet and milk chocolate for some chocolate-y taste, too. And they both turned out delicious!

On saturday, I had a Christie cookie... a chocolate chip one, and I noticed that the chocolate in it sucked, but that the cookie had an awesome buttery, soft texture (I had forgotten how great their texture was). So, while this cookie recipe is the best I've found... it does get a little crunchier on the top than I'd like sometimes... so, I think I'll try some more recipes soon just to see if I can find a softer, chewier one.

These are still awesome though. Mmmm... I wish I had one right now.

Saturday, July 7, 2007


So, yeah, pancakes aren't technically baking. But I needed a break from biscuits for a week. And I decided to make homemade pancakes for the first time!

I found a recipe on recipezaar and they turned out great! I added more milk than the recipe called for so that I could pour them. The recipe reflects the extra milk.

(makes about 10 small pancakes)

1 egg
1 cup milk
2 tbsps of butter, melted
1 cup flour
1 tbsp sugar
3 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Melt the butter and let come up to room temperature (so you won't scramble the eggs when you add it).
Beat the egg until bubbly and frothy. Add milk and melted butter. Add dry ingredients and mix well.

They turn out fluffy and cook up quick. Yum.

Mmmm.. buttery.... Yum!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Blueberry Muffins - Healthy ones.

So, I’d love to be able to say that I can make cookies everyday and eat them everyday and that I’m healthy as a horse (are horses even really that healthy? where did that phrase come from?). But, the truth is… May, June, and July are my gluttonous months. These are the three months that I give into my sugar cravings and my fatty carb cravings whenever I they strike. These are the three non-marathon training months.

Starting at the end of this month… the blog will be filled with healthy, whole grain, flax-seed filled, antioxidant rich, protein packed recipes… there will still probably be plenty of sweet recipes, too… but, hopefully there will be lots of healthy ones mixed in.

Back to the post at hand… last night, I noticed some blueberries that were fastly approaching toss-out condition. And I remembered a recipe that I printed from recipezaar awhile back for supposedly excellent low-fat blueberry muffins.

I pulled the recipe out, realized I had all the ingredients and whipped these up from start to done in about 35 minutes.

I tweaked the recipe, so I’ll post the recipe I made and you can find the original recipe here.

Next time, I will add more sugar (or something to sweeten it more) and maybe some nuts. They come out very mild in flavor, but have a great, muffin texture. Also, I think I'll cook mine till the toothpick comes out completely clean. This time it was still a little tacky and I thought it would be fine, but I'd like the texture to be a little drier. Overall... a recipe worth tweaking and trying again.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

2 cups whole wheat flour (I used king arthurs whole wheat organic)
1 tsp baking soda
1 ¼ cup buttermilk
2 egg whites
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup splenda
½ cup flax seed
1 cup blueberries
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.

Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.

Sift together flour and baking soda.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg whites, oil, sugar, flax seed, and vanilla until creamy, then stir in the blueberries.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold together with a rubber spatula until the batter is moist.

The batter is thick, scoop batter into 12 cups and bake for about 20 minutes, checking with a toothpick till it comes out clean. If you want smooth-topped muffins, be sure to smooth out the tops before you put them in the oven as they don’t spread.

Martha Stewart would call these "rustic."

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Cheesecake... my specialty.

My mom has her cornbread, my aunt Evelyn has her broccoli & potato casserole, my aunt Rita had her pecan pie, and I...well, I have cheesecake.

It all started when I was a kid.. when I was around 7 or 8, I remember my mom buying a turtle cheesecake to go with our christmas dinner. It was the first time I had ever had cheesecake that didn't come out of a box and it was marvelous. So, for years we had this cheesecake every christmas. We looked forward to it, almost as much as our presents!

A few years ago, I was watching the food network (as I often do) and caught an episode of Tyler's Ultimate about Cheesecakes. I printed the recipe and made my first cheesecake and it was so easy and it was amazing! I mean, like the perfect cheesecake. Light and moist (I don't like dry cheescakes), creamy and mild. It was a hit and since then, I've made the recipe at least 20 times. It's foolproof. I've overcooked it, I've undercooked it and it still always tastes incredible. My mom has made the recipe and just dumped all the ingredients in at once instead of following the directions and it was still delicious. I've even made a low carb version with a pecan crust and splenda. Delicious. Now, I always make it with splenda instead of sugar. Why add the extra calories when it tastes great without!

So, without further ado... here is the recipe. It's quick, easy, cheap, and fantastic!

Ultimate Cheesecake
Recipe Courtesy of Tyler Florence

2 cups finely ground graham crackers
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 stick of unsalted butter, melted

1 pound of cream cheese, 2 (8 oz) blocks, softened
3 eggs
1 cup sugar (I use a cup of splenda)
1 pint sour cream
1 lemon, zested
1 dash of vanilla extract (I actually measure 1 tsp)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and put on some water to boil because the cheesecake cooks in a water bath.

For the crust, in a mixnig bowl, combine the ingredients with a fork until evenly moistened. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray. Then cover the outside of the pan with lots of layers of foil tightly, to keep the water bath from soaking into the cheesecake.

Pour the crumbs into the pan and, using the bottom of a measuring cup or the smooth bottom of a glass, press the crumbs down into the base and up the sides of the pan to your desired crust thickness. (I usually bring it almost all the way up the sides). Refrigerate for 5 minutes.

For the filling, In the bowl of an electric mixer (I use a food processor), beat the cream cheese on low speed for 1 minute until creamy and free of lumps. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to beat slowly until combined. Gradually add the sugar and beat until creamy, for 1 to 2 minutes.

Add sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters. The batter should be well-mixed but not overbeaten. Pour the filling into the crust-lined pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

Place the cake pan in a large roasting pan. Pour the boiling water into the raosting pan until the water is abuot hafway up the sides of the cheesecake pan. Bake for 45 minutes. The cheesecake should still jiggle (it will firm up after chilling), so be careful not to overcook. Let cook in pan for 30 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for at least 4 hours.

We usually serve with a side of strawberries that have been cut and soaked with splenda. The original recipe seen here has an awesome lemon blueberry topping that I serve on the side sometimes, too.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut

Generally, I spend about 2 hours of my day at work reading recipes online. It's sad. But, it's fun. I have a thick stack of recipes that I have printed out that I want to try. But, I am most drawn to recipes that have pictures to accompany them, which is why I make so many recipes from my favorite food blogs. So, today is yet another recipe from Cookie Madness.

It is a recipe for a white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookie. And the recipe called for Baileys. Now, everyone who knows me, knows that I love all things irish (obsessively, really), so one would naturally assume that I would have two things in my liquor cabinet... 1. Jameson and 2. Baileys. Well, one out of two isnt bad, right? Next time I'll try to find a recipe for cookies that have Jameson in them.

Here is the recipe. They are called Masterpiece White Chocolate Chip Cookies. And instead of the baileys, I used a caramel liquor. I think they would be much better with the Baileys and I will definitely try them again when I pick up another bottle of Baileys... (note to self: must save some Baileys from irish car bombs and use it for cookies). You can taste the hint of the liquor and the cookies are chewy and firm (just the way I like them) and very tasty. Since I chilled the dough before baking, the cookies came out pretty thick and hearty. I had some white chocolate chips (ghiradelli, in fact) leftover from something else, but I think next time I'll use white chunks instead of chips.

Excellent cookies.

I use a medium size cookie scoop and got an enormous batch of cookies...

Monday, July 2, 2007

Biscuits, Redux.

This is the third time I've tried the biscuits... and the first time remains the best. However, I did prepare these for my parents and brother this weekend and they offered great feedback.
Most importantly, my mom told me that I was rolling them out too thin... and when I placed two biscuits on top of each other, that is about the size that I'd like them to be. It was then I noticed that you're only supposed to get 6-8 from the recipe and this weekend, I got about 14. So, that's obviously a major problem, that also means I've been overcooking them... making them too dry.

I can't wait to try again this weekend!