Tuesday, March 31, 2009

TWD: Coconut Butter Thins

Coconut, Butter, Macadamia Nuts... hard to go wrong, with that combo. These shortbread-y cookies were chosen by Jayne of The Barefoot Kitchen Witch.

These cookies were easy to put together and are amazing light with all that butter in them. They have a hint of lime and are supposed to have cardamom, but... I mean, you know me... does that sound like a spice I'm going to have in my pantry? Um. No. But, despite that, I thought they were really nice cookies.

Check out the blogroll at Tuesdays with Dorie to see the rest of the baker's versions.

Sorry this is short, but I'm literally drowning in work... I've got tons of recipes to post though, so hopefully I can get around to some of them this week!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

TWD: Blueberry Crumb Cake (Muffins)

Another easy and delicious pick for Tuesdays with Dorie. Sihan of Fundamentally-Flawed picked the blueberry crumb cake. And let me just take a moment here and give a mad shout out to crumb toppings. I mean, seriously... is there anything more delicious than a crumb topping? And everytime I make one, I'm like.. DAMN. Why don't more baked goods have crumb toppings? More sugar and butter and nuts???? When is that EVER bad?

Ummm... pretty sure... NEVER. I halved the recipe and made muffins instead of the cake and even with overcooking the muffins a little (the crumb topping got a little TOO crunchy, but still delicious!!!) they turned out yummy. I couldn't stop picking at them... and the little pieces of nuts that stuck out of the topping.

And once I started picking at one of them...

I had a hard time stopping. Too bad I had to use frozen blueberries. These would have been amazing with fresh, in season blueberries.

Check out the recipe at Sihan's Blog.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Bailey's Irish Cream Cheesecake

I've said it before... and I'll say it again: I'm obsessed with all things Irish. From the color green, to Guinness to shamrocks to irish car bombs (the shot, not the real thing) to Ireland, itself... I love any and everything associated with Ireland.

So, it makes sense that my favorite holiday is St. Patrick's Day.

This year, I hosted my 2nd Annual St. Patrick's Day Party. And amongst the Guinness, Harp, and Irish Car Bombs (I think we did 6-7 car bombs during the course of the party. I think 10 was the max that I made at once), I had some Irish-y themed baked goods as well. This cheesecake is one of those items.

I made this cheesecake last year, as well. But, this year, I made a few changes to it. I love Baileys, don't get me wrong... but I wanted something a little less IN YOUR FACE Baileys, this year. If you like Baileys, you'll love this cheesecake. And like all cheesecakes, this one is super easy. (Although, we bakers should make a pact right now... we should stop insisting to people how easy cheesecakes are to make... we wouldn't want to take away the wow factor when we present our yummy treats, right?)

Bailey's Irish Cream Cheesecake
Original Recipe Here

First of all, I made this recipe with your regular graham cracker crust. But, I think next year... I might switch it up again and use a vanilla wafer crust or possibly a shortbread crust.

Also, I think this cheesecake would be just as delicious without the addition of the chocolate chips. They look pretty in and on top of the cake, but it's almost overkill for me. The cheesecake is so rich on it's own, it doesn't need too much embellishing (then again, I'm a SUCKER for a plain cheesecake).


2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
6 tbsp of melted butter
pinch of salt

2 1/4 lbs of cream cheese, softened (I used some 1/3 less fat packages)
1 2/3 cups sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup Baileys Irish Cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Crust Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix all crust ingredients together and press into the bottom of a 10 inch springform pan.

Bake for 7-10 minutes and then allow to cool before you pour in cheesecake filling.

Filling Directions:

Beat cream cheese with electric mixer until smooth. Beat sugar in gradually, make sure to keep the sides of the bowl scraped down during this whole process. Add eggs in one at a time and beat until incorporated.

Beat in Baileys, heavy cream, and vanilla.

Sprinkle half of the chocolate chips onto the cooled crust (before you pour the cheesecake filling in). Then gently pour in the filling and sprinkle the rest on top of the cheesecake.

Place a pan of water on the bottom rack of your oven and then place your cheesecake on the rack above it and bake at 325 for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until puffed, springy in center and golden-y brown.

Cool cake completely. And in a perfect world, refrigerate for at least a day before serving.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

TWD: French Yogurt Cake

First and foremost... HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY. My favorite day of the whole entire year. I had a St. Patrick's Day Shindig over the weekend... and I have a ton of recipes to share from that, so I'll talk more about that later this week... (It's never too early to start planning for next year, eh?).

So, this week for Tuesdays with Dorie the selection was made by Liliana of My Cookbook Addiction. She chose French Yogurt Cake with Marmalade Glaze.

Ummm... SUPER, DUPER easy. Like, I was done in about 10 minutes... and one bowl! (although, technically you were supposed to pre-measure and stir your dry ingredients in a separate bowl... I didn't. I'm lazy).

I didn't use ground almonds (too lazy AND cheap), I used grapefruit zest instead of the suggested orange zest and I couldn't find Lemon Marmalade (although, I REALLY wanted to... I mean, how good does that sound?), so I opted to just smear some orange marmalade on a slice. This cake was delicious! It would be perfect on a brunch table or even for a lazy Sunday breakfast. The texture isn't as silky or rich as a pound cake, but it's not as loose and hole-y as a sponge cake. It's interesting... firm and sturdy texture, but still light and cake-y.

Dude, I can't explain it... you just need to go here for the recipe and make it.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Grapefruit Muffins

I buy and eat a ton of fruit. In my kitchen, on any given day, you are just about guaranteed to find the following fruits: Oranges, Bananas, Apples, Strawberries, Blueberries, Grapes, Plums, Pears and in the summer... Peaches, Watermelon, Cantalope and Cherries. Yes, I'm the chick you don't want to be behind in the grocery lane...

And I'm a sucker for a bargain... so, when a particular fruit is on sale... I'll stock up on it and forgo another fruit that isn't on sale that week. This also means I'll impulse buy on occassion if something is on sale... for instance... Nectarines. Normally, not something I would think to buy... but at .79/lb, I'm buying some.

Enter Grapefruit.

I've never been a fan of grapefruit. I don't like the bitterness. I don't like the messiness of eating it with a spoon. But the oranges weren't on sale and the grapefruit were and so... I bought some grapefruit.

Poor, poor grapefruit. They sat on my counter for a good while... until finally I thought... well, maybe now, as an adult... I'll like it. So, I cut one open and grabbed myself a spoon and went to town.

Yeah... still don't like it. So, I ended up juicing that grapefruit and freezing the juice for use in another recipe (possibly a martha stewart cookie recipe that calls for grapefruit). But that still left me with another grapefruit. There are lots of recipes for salads that call for grapefruit segments... but... finally, I found a recipe for some Grapefruit Muffins.

They aren't much to look at, but they are moist and sweet, with a hint of the grapefruit flavor. I made mini-ones (thank goodness) and pawned some off on my running partner and then stashed the rest in the freezer before I ate them all.

You can find the original recipe here: Texas Grapefruit Muffins, but I've typed the recipe up below using my own instructions, because theirs REALLY confused me.

Grapefruit Muffins
courtesy of TexaSweet Citrus Marketing

Beware: This batter is like nectar of the gods. Seriously, I could have held the bowl up to my mouth and drank the batter, it's so freaking good.

I used half white whole wheat flour instead of all white flour and I also made a half batch. A half batch completely filled my mini-muffin tin.

2 red grapefruit
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Peel and section the grapefruit into a strainer over a bowl, separating (and reserving) the juice from the liquid. Set the sections aside, for now.

Measure the grapefruit juice and add enough water to make 1 1/4 cups of liquid. Pour this liquid into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in oats and butter; let stand for 20 minutes covered.

After the 20 minutes, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and grease a muffin pan. Combine remaining ingredients (including your grapefruit segments) into a mixing bowl. Stir in the oats mixture and blend well.

Pour into the greased muffin pan and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

TWD: Chocolate Armagnac Cake

AKA The Cake That Got Dorie Fired.

But, it's not because of what you'd think... she didn't get fired cause the cake sucked... she got fired for insubordination. I like that. I was psyched when this recipe was finally picked by Lyb of And Then I Do the Dishes for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie. I'd seen the pictures of the cake in the recipe and it looked so rich and delicious... I was dying to try it.

This is a rich chocolate cake with a couple of surprise guests thrown in... 1. Booze (well, I guess that doesn't really count as a surprise, since it's actually in the name of the recipe). 2. Prunes.

So, there... prunes and booze... it's like a wednesday night at bingo (well, at least the fun bingo).

I bought some prunes used Amaretto (in place of whatever the hell Armagnac is) and got to work.

There were lots of steps and lots of bowls... but I found it soothingly un-complicated to put together. Just the way I like my baking. I did have some issues on when to pull it from the oven... pulled it too soon and had to pop it back in for a bit. And even though I was afraid that I had overcooked it through all that, the cake turned out awesome!

Super moist (from the prunes, I'm sure) and with a twang from the Amaretto... not enough to be able to pinpoint it, but enough to make you say hmmm.. what is that? I like it!

I would make this again... Check out Lyb's blog for the recipe.