Tag Archives: Baking

Biscoff Blondies

21 Oct

So after Biscoff Brownies, my first experiment with cookie butter, I was both completely enthralled by Biscoff and I still had some left in the pantry. So since brownies had already been done, I tried my hand with blondies. And this is rare for me, because as you know, I’m a straight-up chocaholic, but…

OH MY STARS Y’ALL THESE ARE SO GOOD YOU HAVE NO IDEA STOP READING AND MAKE THESE RIGHT NOW. RIGHT. NOW.

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Here’s the thing. Once cooled and cut into bars, these are just as good as any other brownie or blondie. Delicious, but not completely insane.

But if you bake these, pull them out of the oven, and then proceed to immediately eat them with a fork out of the pan? You will think you have died and gone to heaven. Oh yes you will.

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Like, after I cut them up the next day into actual bars, I tasted one, and it was good. But really, I was trying to give the bars to family and friends and coworkers to get rid of them as fast as I could in order to justify baking another batch to eat straight out of the oven. I guess it would have been smarter to leave them in the pan and re-heat them in the oven the next day, but I just didn’t know any better. Please, learn from my mistakes. I beg you.

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Here’s the recipe. You’re welcome.

Biscoff Blondies from The Traveling Spoon

3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup Biscoff cookie butter spread
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8×8-inch baking pan lightly with butter. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter, Biscoff spread, and brown sugar until just combined. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In a small mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Stir egg and vanilla into the cooled Biscoff mixture until just blended. Add the flour mixture, and stir until smooth. The batter will be very thick. Fold in chocolate chips.

Transfer mixture into the prepared pan, spreading evenly with the back of a spoon (or mush it with your fingers, if necessary). Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown. Eat directly from warm pan! (Or, if you just gotta be like that, cool in pan on a wire rack before cutting and serving.)

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Linking up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Block Party from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Inspiration Monday from I Should Be Mopping the FloorTwelve O Eight,Redhead Can Decorate, and Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom
Melt In Your Mouth Monday from Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows WildInside BruCrew LifeThe Recipe Critic, and The Gunny Sack
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
Full Plate Thursday from Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove and My Fashion Forward Blog
Foodie Friday from Simple Living & Eating

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Chinese Chai Cookies

12 Dec

In my random internet roamings a couple months ago, I stumbled across the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. I was so excited to find it! The concept is very simple and right up my alley: I bake some cookies and mail them to 3 people. 3 different people bake some cookies and mail me a batch. We all have a chance to try delicious homemade treats and spread a little holiday cheer. How nice.

I knew that the shipping deadline was right around the time that I had a huge work event, so I even managed to get my cookies baked and shipped early. AMAZING. Seriously. Doing something before the last minute is a huge accomplishment for me.

I had a free afternoon a few weekends ago, so I started doing a little research. I narrowed it down to four recipe options and invited my BFF Lauren (a.k.a. Betsy Bundt) over to help. I was mostly concerned about durability — making sure the cookie could withstand shipping — and lasting freshness, since it would take a few days for me to bake, package, ship, and arrive across the country.

We found a delicious-sounding recipe for a Chai Spice Cookie. Based on preference and the ingredients I had on hand, we altered the recipe a bit and settled on a “Chinese Chai Cookie.” Chinese because instead of allspice, we included Chinese 5 Spice.

Chinese Chai Cookies

Chai is one of my favorite hot drinks, especially in the fall. As soon as fall season looks like it might be even just beginning, my car starts driving itself to Starbucks for chai lattes. This lasts until Christmas season, when my car knows that I really want peppermint hot chocolate. I make it through winter, and then I’m set. Until the next fall, anyway.

Tea & Cookies

These cookies were really good. They have a great texture and durability like a traditional sugar cookie. But they have an extra little flavor to them. They’re really not intense at all — the chai spice flavor is much more subtle than most chai lattes. But like a chai latte, they start out with a sweet flavor and finish with a warm spicy note on the back of your tongue. Amazing.

After we baked the cookies, I packaged them by rolling up a stack of cookies in clear cellophane wrap and tying the ends with a cute little bow.

Happy Holidays!

Really. I said a cute bow. See?

Tied with a bow

I hope you enjoy these! They make an excellent, sophisticated snack. Perfect for afternoon tea!

Chinese Chai Cookies, adapted from My Baking Addiction

2 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups white sugar
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons Chinese 5 Spice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 egg
1/2 tablespoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In another bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, Chinese 5 Spice, nutmeg, and black pepper. Reserve 1/4 cup of this mixture; set aside to reserve for rolling cookies.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and remaining sugar-spice mixture on medium for about 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla; mix until incorporated.

Slowly blend in dry ingredients until just combined.

Using a small scoop, form into balls and then roll in the reserved sugar-spice mixture. Place dough balls on prepared baking sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart.

Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes. Let stand 2 minutes, then remove to cool on wire racks.

Yield: Approx. 3 dozen cookies

Linking up for:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Ups from Covered in Grace
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Make Something Monday from Sarahdipities

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

3 Dec

Whew! I am exhausted. Last night was our huge annual fundraiser at work — our Holiday Auction. As the fundraising person, I’m in charge of planning and executing the whole thing. With 250 people, 250 items, dinner, and more, it’s quite a task. With mostly 10- and 12-hour workdays for the past couple weeks, let’s just say that things at home have been a little… neglected.

My closet is about two feet deep in clothes and random detritus right now. (I wish I were exaggerating.) The dirty clothes basket has been re-appropriated to serve as a second clean clothes basket, with those and another load in the dryer waiting to be folded and put away. The kitchen and fridge are full of take-out boxes that need to be thrown away and the trash taken out. And I think the BF misses me, since I’ve mostly been working or sleeping.

So… hello, December! The month for me to get back into the swing of things. I’m planning on doing a little less working, which will leave a more time for other verbs, like celebrating, relaxing, cooking, cleaning, and yoga-ing. And with the holidays coming up, I’m of course looking forward to baking. I’m already brainstorming what I can make!

One thing I’ve decided: I’m definitely making this apple cinnamon baked oatmeal for Christmas morning. In hindsight, since I’ve eaten take-out and fast food at my desk for the majority of my meals the past two weeks, I really wish I had made up a batch of this last weekend to munch throughout the week.

Baked Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

This baked oatmeal is amazing. I’m not a big fan of goopy, thick oatmeal — the texture grosses me out. So instant, microwaveable oatmeal really isn’t for me. But this bakes into a more cake-like texture, a little more solid. Much more my speed. And the apples are the best part — cooked in cinnamon sugar before baking, they are so sweet and delicious. But the oatmeal is pretty healthy, so overall, is comes out to a pretty balanced breakfast.

The best part? It’s just as delicious re-heated. So you can bake some up on the weekend and then have breakfast ready for those busy work mornings. Or… I can bake some up a couple days early, and then warm it in the oven on Christmas morning. Mmm… I’m already looking forward to it.

Mmm... Breakfast!


Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal
adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod and Annie’s Eats

For the cooked apples:
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
5 small or 3 large apples, peeled and diced into small 1/4″ pieces
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar

For the oatmeal:
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk*
1/2 cup skim milk*
1/2 cup cinnamon applesauce
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 8 by 8 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

In a skillet over medium heat, cook the apples with 2 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons brown sugar for about 15 min or until soft. Layer in bottom of greased pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, applesauce, butter, egg whites, and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and stir until combined. Pour oatmeal mixture over top apples.

Bake for 20 minutes or until oatmeal is golden brown and set. Remove from oven and serve warm. Add additional toppings to baked oatmeal, if desired.

* You can use any milk you want to reach 1 1/2 cups total. I used a mix of the two since that’s what I had in the fridge. You could use skim, 1%, 2%, whole, or any mix of those. I’d imagine soy or rice alternatives would also be successful, but I don’t know for sure. If you try those, let me know how it goes!

Linking up for:
YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Ups from Covered in Grace
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Linky Party with Fine Craft Guild

Pumpkin Brownies

12 Nov

After the Pumpkin Spice Cake and the Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins, here’s my last pumpkin recipe to share with you: Pumpkin Brownies! I’m not sure what goes better with pumpkin than chocolate. After looking through a million versions, I finally settled on a recipe from Delishhh.com.

Mmm... look at that swirl

I thought these were exceptional, and the addition of Ghiradelli chocolate chips was a stroke of genius. They were slightly more cake-like than fudge-like, and while I usually prefer the latter, they were amazing. Especially when warmed and topped with a scoop of ice cream, which I must admit I enjoyed probably 5 out of 6 nights last week. As I mentioned with my previous pumpkin recipes, I used pumpkin pie filling instead of regular pumpkin puree, which the original recipe called for. But I think you’re good either way — the pie filling makes the brownies a little sweeter and richer in the end.

Oh my goodness, look at that chocolate chip right there.

I baked these in my brand-new Bake and Store Baker from Crate and Barrel — a highly convenient wedding gift. After they cooled, all I had to do was snap the lid on and throw them in the passenger seat to take to a party. Perfect.

Oh, and by the way — one can of pumpkin pie filling is the perfect amount for this recipe, Whole Wheat Pumpkin Spice Muffins, AND the Pumpkin Cake with Spiced Buttercream. Just to give you a heads up there.

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies from Delishhh.com

¾ cup all purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¾ cup butter (melted)
1 ½ cups white sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup pumpkin pie filling
1tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp nutmeg

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8×8 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

In a bowl, whisk to combine flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix together melted butter, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in each egg one at a time. Add in the flour mixture a little at a time, and mix until combined. Divide the batter in half evenly into 2 separate bowls.

In one of the bowls, blend in the cocoa powder and chocolate chips. In the second bowl of batter, stir in pumpkin pie filling, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.

Spread the chocolate batter into the bottom of the baking dish. Pour the pumpkin batter over that. Drag a kitchen knife or spatula through to mix it a bit. (This creates a mostly chocolate base with a mostly pumpkin top. If you want a more marbled brownie, pour half of each batter in at a time for a total of four layers, and then swirl the knife through it.)

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool and cut into squares.

Linking up for:
YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Ups from Covered in Grace
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Linky Party with Fine Craft Guild

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

31 Jan

O. M. G. This is so good, and so worth the hassle. Bear in mind that since it calls for fresh strawberries, the quality of your strawberry is going to be really important. You may want to save this one for the summer time. But, one reason I wanted to post this now is because it’s pretty common for grocery stores to get shipments of decent quality strawberries for Valentine’s Day. So if you’re looking for a seasonally appropriate frosting, this may be a great pick.

First, set out a stick of butter to soften and prepare your strawberries. I first cup them up, discarding the stems and slicing the rest into manageable pieces.  My pieces measure up to about 1/2 cup strawberries. (I would buy at least a pint, but probably two, just to make sure you have enough.) Then I use the back of a spoon to push the strawberry chunks through a fine-mesh sieve. The strawberry goo that comes out the other side of the sieve is exactly what you’re looking for.

Start out with 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter. Add it to your mixing bowl with 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Beat with a hand mixer until soft and creamy. Then alternately add 4 cups powdered sugar and the strawberry goo, using the hand mixer to incorporate the new additions. That should do it, but of course you could add extra sugar, strawberries, or vanilla to your taste preference.

The frosting is a beautiful light pink color, usually with some pink specks in it. But since you pressed the strawberries through the sieve, it’s nice and smooth.

I topped vanilla cupcakes with this frosting for a pink-themed bridal shower:

Strawberry and Coconut Cupcakes

And I topped my rainbow tie-dye cake with some strawberry frosting:

Rainbow Cake with Strawberry Frosting

Fresas deliciosas!

6/7/8 Layer Magic Bars

1 Feb

Seven-layer bars are not anything new or exciting, but I had been craving these “magic bars” for days. I have no idea why — I haven’t had a seven-layer bar in years. But I pulled out my bar pan, and two trips to the grocery store later (I forgot stuff), I set to work on the bars. This is a classic recipe and can be found anywhere online or even on the back of a can of sweetened condensed milk. I probably know this one of the top off my head now, it’s so easy.

Graham Cracker & Butter Mixture
Once it was completely mixed, I pressed a small amount into each  of the 12 cups of the bar pan, pressing flat to make a solid crumb layer along the bottom.

Graham Cracker Crumb Layer
Then I set about filling up the layers. What I like about using the bar pan is that you can change up the ingredients. Someone doesn’t like nuts? Leave out the nuts on one row. No coconut? Leave out the coconut. What I don’t like about using the bar pan is that it takes more time, it’s difficult to spread the layers evenly, and it can be hard to remove the bars too. So if you want to use a normal baking pan and cut them into squares, that’s cool too.

Bar Layers
I managed to pry out a few bars and keep them whole, and they look delicious. (All the bars that I broke I dumped into a bowl and I just eat them with a fork. Talk about guilty pleasure.)

Magic Bars
I picked out the three best-looking bars and packaged them in a gift bag with a ribbon. Adorbs!

Magic Bars Gift Bag

I consider these true seven-layer bars because they include seven layers: graham cracker crust, white chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, walnuts, coconut, and sweetened condensed milk. Other recipes do not include the white chocolate chips, but still call it seven layers by counting the butter that’s mixed into the graham cracker crust as a layer. And I call b.s. on that.

Be careful not to add in too much sweetened condensed milk, which is really easy to do in the small bar cups. I definitely should have used a spoon to drop in a small amount rather than being impatient and trying to pour it in. Some of my bars ended up with WAY too much sweetened condensed milk — these looked funny, and they were the ones that wouldn’t come out of the pan in one piece. Check out this picture — the bars in the front of the shot are nearly overflowing with sweetened condensed milk. Too much!Too Much!And next time I’ll probably add in the coconut at the end, after I spoon in the sweetened condensed milk. The coconut got kind of mushed under the weight of the milk, and it looks better when the coconut is fluffier.

Enjoy!

6/7/8 Layer Magic Bars

1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
3/4 cup butterscotch chips
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup shredded coconut
1 can of sweetened condensed milk

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Mix the graham cracker crumbs and butter together. Press into the bottom of a bar pan or a 9×9 baking dish.

Layer on the chips and nuts evenly. Pour in the sweetened condensed milk. Spread the coconut evenly over top.

Bake for about 18 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.

Let cool completely, and then carefully cut into squares and remove from pan.

Halloween Cake Pops

28 Oct

Last weekend we had two major baking projects going on at the same time, both of which were pretty messy. The kitchen was even more of a disaster than usual, and that’s saying something. While Betsy took the lead on Mini Mocha Cupcakes with Chocolate Glaze, I led the charge on these Halloween Cake Pops.

A word about the cake pops. This was our attempt to replicate Bakerella’s famous cake balls on a stick, and as the BF had a pumpkin carving party coming up at his work,  I decided to make pumpkins for him. The project took forever – upwards of 4 hours – but they were a HUGE hit. They disappeared so fast, people arriving late at the party were fresh out of luck. So if you have a whole day looking for something to do, try this. But if you need something for your kid’s class party tomorrow morning, just bake some cookies. As always, the recipe below is how we made them, which is not necessarily what the original recipe recommends.

Supplies:

  • baking stuff
  • 5″ lollipop sticks
  • orange (vanilla-flavored) candy melts
  • styrofoam
  • black gel food coloring
  • tiny paintbrush

The Process

First, we baked a cake. We used a prepared mix of extra moist devil’s food cake and baked according to package directions. (Trust us, this process is complicated enough, you will thank yourself for using a mix. There’s no need for scratch-made here.) Then we crumbled up the cake into a big mixing bowl (though a cookie sheet may have been better) and stuffed it in the fridge to help it cool faster. Once it was completely cooled, we mixed in about 3/4 of a can of buttercream icing. I may or may not have eaten the rest of the can after Betsy left.

Baking a Chocolate CakeAfter we got our hands in there and got the cake/icing mixture to a nice smooth consistency, we rolled the mixture into balls and placed them on wax-covered cookie sheets. Then I melted just a few orange candy melts (we bought them at A.C. Moore) and dipped the tip of the lollipop sticks (also A.C. Moore) in the orange candy, then speared the cake balls about 3/4 of the way through the ball. Bakerella recommends this little process of candy coating before spearing so that the stick stays put in the cake ball. The speared cake balls went in the fridge to firm up.

Spearing the balls with lollipop sticks

A few hours later, after driving to my sister’s for family dinner, I returned to finish the cake pops. I melted the rest of the orange candy melts and rolled each cake ball until they were completely coated. I thought it was easier to use the back of a spoon to make sure everything was covered instead of trying to actually roll them. If I got a little too much, a few soft taps on the side of the bowl got all the drips off. Then I added a chocolate sprinkle on top for a stem and stuck the pops into styrofoam to let them firm up. The orange candy hardens quickly enough that when the last pop was rolled, I could start painting the first pop.

Coating the cake pops with melted orange candy

I took the jar of Wilton’s black gel food coloring and put a bit into a small bowl. It turns out that black food coloring turns your fingers purple for a couple days and stains jeans, so I would suggest being careful here. I added a tiny splash of vodka until I achieved a good consistency. Then I dipped my paintbrush in and got to work. Vodka?! What?! Yep — this was Betsy’s idea, and it worked out fantastically. You need liquid to make the ink smooth enough to paint with, but water makes it runny. The vodka achieves the right consistency, and as it dries, the alcohol completely evaporates away, leaving the thick paint-like ink behind. Cool, huh?

Making jack-o-lanterns!

Ta-da! They’re done!

Spooky!Pumpkin Patch

How Sue Sees It:

  • Estimating for supplies was difficult. Of course batches will vary, but here’s some numbers that might help if you try to make some cake pops: The cake/icing mixture made 53 balls. One bag of orange candy melts covered 39 balls. I had to use chocolate – which I always keep on hand – to cover the rest. And I greatly underestimated the need for styrofoam. I used a 12″ by 9″ piece of greenHalloween Cake Balls styrofoam to make my pumpkin patch, and rested it on top of a cookie sheet. Spaced about 2″ apart, I only fit 24 pops. Because I was rushing to have them the next day, I didn’t go out for more supplies. Instead, I took the leftover orange and chocolate pops, let them harden, and then served them on a tray in paper mini muffin cups.Colanders come in handy!
  • And without styrofoam, I didn’t have anywhere to let them dry, so I turned a colander upside down and stuck the sticks through the biggest holes.
  • They are soooo delicious and soooo rich! Because the cake is rolled down into balls, it’s very dense. Pace yourself — it’s very easy to eat a few quickly and then regret it. One cake pop is like a whole slice of cake.