Recipes Revisted

With Spring weather finally here, I haven’t been in the kitchen long enough to bake anything worth blogging about lately. I have received several emails asking for recommendations for desserts so I thought I would take a minute to link back to a few of my favorite recipes over the years. One would think that the top rated recipes on my site would be the only ones I recommend, however, there are so many recipes that I remake time and time again that my Taste Tester or friends and family love.

Here are a few that I think are worth taking a look at and giving a try:

Quick Berry Tart
The dessert my Taste Tester requests most often

The Best Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Dream Bars

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Oat Bars

The Ultimate Bar Cookie
*Don’t judge by my poor picture

White Chocolate Toffee Pecan Blondies

Double Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirled Brownies

Frozen Dream Crunch Bars
*I love this dessert in the summer!

 

 

 

Cowboy Cookies

I have had this recipe for what seems like years (probably because it has been years, my time flies). I first made this recipe after a pretty bad break-up and these soon became my go-to-when-ever-you-need-a-big-hug cookies. The recipe is very simple to follow though the ingredient list is a bit longer than cookies I typically make. I don’t know where they got their name as the recipe was given to me from a friend. I have noticed other similar recipes and it seems the recipe below is based off of Laura Bush’s cookie recipe (though I had this recipe long before Laura Bush’s was made public, go figure).

What you end up with is a sturdy but not dry, oatmeal cookie with tons of flavor. I have described these cookies as a little party in your mouth with all of the flavor and texture going on. With each bite you get a subtle hint of cinnamon, the crunchy pecans, a bit of coconut and smooth creamy chocolate. Really, what more could a girl ask for to put a smile on her face?  I know some of you don’t like cinnamon (I am not a lover, especially with chocolate) but the flavor here is mild and just provides that little ‘extra’ flavor profile without taking over the cookie. 

I like making the dough one day and baking the next, I find the chill time really enhances the flavor of the finished cookie, but I have also baked these right away and did not have any go to waste (if you know what I mean??).

There is really nothing I would change about this recipe, I will caution not to overbake or the cookies will become crunchier than what they should and the coconut can burn a bit (espeically if it is sticking out of the dough ball).

I rate these cookies a 9.5

Cowboy Cookies
based on this recipe

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon. baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups butter, at room temperature
1  cup sugar
2 cups packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips
3 (to 3 1/2 cups)  cups old-fashioned rolled oats (depends on wetness of dough, start with 3 cups and increase from there)
2 cups sweetened flake coconut
2 cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in bowl.

In a large bowl of your stand mixer, beat butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 1 minute. Gradually beat in sugars; beat to combine, 2 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Beat in vanilla.

Gently stir in flour mixture a little at a time until just combined.

Stir in by hand the chocolate chips, oats, coconut and pecans.

For each cookie, drop 1/4 cup dough onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart.

Bake in 350 F oven 17 to 29 minutes, until edges are lightly browned; rotate sheets halfway through. Remove cookies from rack to cool.

NOTE: I make regular size cookies and bake for 8-12 minutes or until golden on the bottem and the sides are set. I allow to cool on the baking sheet 5 minutes and then transfer to a papertowel lined cooling rack.

Big, Fat, Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

I, personally, am not a huge biscuit fan. However, my Taste Tester loves a fat flaky biscuit. I have tried several recipes over the years but each time they just didn’t ‘hit the mark’ for what we were looking for. That all changed when I tried this recipe. Even I (the non biscuit lover) really really enjoyed these biscuits. They were exactly what I was trying to achieve.

These biscuits baked up big, fat and flaky but best of all, not only did they look great, they tasted great! These would be the perfect sidekick to fall meals like beef stew, chicken potpie, and smothered in gravy. Of course, they are also perfect for peeling apart layer by  layer and eating in your kitchen. Or with a smothering of butter and honey like my Taste Tester eats his

The recipe is easy to follow, uses ingredients you probably already have and take less than 30 minutes from start to finish. You really have no excuse not to make these.

I rate these a 9.5

 Big Fat Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits
found here 

4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 1/2 cups cold buttermilk
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter, melted, for brushing over biscuits
Preheat oven to 450°F.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Scatter the cubes of cold butter over the top of the flour mixture; cut in and mix using a pastry cutter or fork until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
Add the buttermilk and cream and continue to mix using fork or pastry cutter until mixture just begins to come together.
Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured counter and pat the dough into a 10 by 12-inch rectangle about 3/4-inch thick. Use a 3-inch round biscuit cutter to cut out biscuits and place them on a lightly greased baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
Brush the tops of the biscuits with heavy cream.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush tops with melted butter. Serve warm and enjoy!Makes 12-15 biscuits. 

Dutch Apple Pie

1Fall is here and so is the cooler weather. Nothing says fall to me like the smell of apples and cinnamon in the kitchen. After a fun-filled trip to a local apple orchard, my Taste Tester and I thought it was time to make one of our favorite pies (confession: I am not much of a pie person in general). We have been making this pie for a few years now. The first time we made it and took it to a get-together, after we were kicking ourselves for sharing it since it was so good.

Ever since, we have only made it for ourselves. I have never made another apple pie, but what I like about this is that the apples are cooked on the stove before adding them to the crust to bake. This eliminates any worries about crunchy apples after baking. I also love the crumb topping. My Taste Tester LOVES the crumb topping, he asks for it on muffins when ever I make them (it does work great on muffins as well). We do cheat and use a store-bought crust (we have made our own, but in a pinch just use the premade stuff)

If you are looking for a great homemade apple pie, look no further. This one is the perfect combination of sweet, cinnamon and is a bit creamy and caramel-like on the inside. The crumb topping takes it over the top. I like mine warm with  icecream but, really, this is good  alone.

I rate this recipe a 9

Dutch Apple Pie
from America’s Test Kitchen

  • 1 single-crust pie dough
Streusel ingredients.
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 TB cornmeal (optional)
  • 6 TB (3/4 stick) butter, melted
Filling ingredients.
  • 2 TB (1/4 stick) butter
  • 4 or 5 apples, cored, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup golden raisins (optional)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
For the streusel, in a medium bowl, mix together dry ingredients and then drizzle the butter over it a little bit at a time, using a fork or whisk until mixture is clumpy. Set aside.
For the filling, in a medium pot (or Dutch oven), melt the butter and cook the apples, sugar, cinnamon, and salt over medium-high heat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples have softened (about 6 or 7 minutes). Add raisins (if desired) and cooked another 7 minutes covered. Transfer cooked apple mixture to a bowl with a slotted spoon leaving the apple juice in the pan. Add cream, stirring frequently, and cook until reduced by half, about 3 or 4 minutes. Add the cream to the apple mixture.
Bake the crust blind for 10 – 12 minutes, then remove crust from oven. Spread the apple filling evenly into the warm, partially baked pie crust. Sprinkle the top of the pie with the streusel mixture.
Bake the pie until the crust and streusel have lightly browned, about 25 – 28 minutes. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and cool to room temperature before serving.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

And the Winner is………………..

STEPHANIE!

Here is her comment:

 

I have been eyeing the G. Cooper dress for work for so long. I just can’t pull the trigger!!

 

I used my trusty Taste Tester (my husband) to randomly select a (comment number) winner of this giveaway. Since it was my first I wanted to get him involved in the process.

*Stephanie, please email me by midnight Friday July 1, 2011 to claim your prize:

I will need:
Your name
Your address
Your email
Your dress size

Congratulations!!

Email me at: bakingblonde at yahoo dot com

Alton Brown’s Chocolate Chip Cookie

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Oh yes, the Chocolate Chip Cookie. I may have found my new Go-To recipe!!
Many bakers seem to be searching for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I too, have been searching for the ‘perfect chocolate chip cookie’ I do have a tried and true recipe that I fall back on that I know will not fail me but like many bakers, continue to seek out and try new versions of this classic. I have received almost a dozen emails from my blog readers requesting I try another chocolate chip cookie recipe and several have requested this recipe in particular. It comes from my beloved Alton Brown.

Several bloggers have already tried other versions of his chocolate chip cookie recipe so I decided to go with a recipe that I have had saved for over a months now. I was emailed the recipe by a friend and I do not own the book from which it originates, if my citing is wrong, please drop me a line and let me know.

I chose this recipe for a few reasons. It calls for no special ingredients,  it calls for an unusual method of mixing the ingredients and it implements the use of unconventional baking temperatures. Like my last cookie recipe, no mixer is needed to whip up this recipe, however, a little arm power is essential for adequatley mixing the chips into the dough. The dough came together in less than 15 minutes and after a short chilling in the fridge (the recipe does not require this but I feel it enhances the flavor of the baked cookie) these were ready to bake.  As stated before, unlike usual cookie recipes that call for one constant baking temperature, this one starts the cookies out at a higher temperature and then has you lower the temperature right after placing them into the oven to bake. I am asuming the higher initial temperature helps set the edges and the lowering of the temperature ensures consistent baking (no burnt bottoms and underbaked centers) producing a cookie with crisp edges and soft, chewy centers. What better combination in a cookie??

The texture of these cookies is great, everything I would look for in a cookie, phenomenal actually. They are slighlty crisp around the edges and soft and chewy in the middles.  They taste great out of the oven (after cooling for 10 minutes). I can’t wait to try them after they cool completly.
The depth of the flavor is also phenomenal, the perfect combination of brown sugar and butter. I was surprised that the cookies came out as chewy as they were and that thebrown sugar flavor was as pronounced as it was, given I used equal proportions of white and brown sugar. Once again I used a combination of milk and semi-sweet chocolate chips and found that proportion was just perfect in my opinion, sweet but not overly so.

I do have two complaints about this cookie. First, the finished cookies were too greasy in my opinion.  After realizing this with the first pan, I allowed the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the sheet and then transferred to paper-towel lined cooling racks to cool completly. This seemed to help soak up a bit of the grease. Second, you really need to monitor the cookies closely while baking as you need to constantly increase and decrease the temperature of the oven. This was fine today as I was in the kitchen cleaning, however, these may not be ideal for those who are multi-tasking and want to bake up a batch of cookies quickly (it took my oven 5 minutes to reheat to 375 between baking the batches).

Overall I loved these cookies. So much so that I am going to make another batch tomorrow for a party. I will decrease the butter by a 1/2 stick to see if that helps with the greasiness of the baked cookies. If I can make these less greasy while maintaining the flavor these may be my new favorite cookie. If you try adapting this recipe with great results PLEASE leave me a comment and let me know!

One last thing, Alton also gives directions on how to bake the dough as one large pan cookie which would be perfect for birthdays, anniversaries and parties. I would love to try baking it this way and then decorating with a little buttercream frosting!

I rate these cookies an 8
Only because I thought they were too greasy in my opinion, these would be at least a 9 for flavor and texture alone

Chocolate Chip Cookie #10 
Alton Brown’s I’m Just Here for More Food Cookbook

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt (I only used 1/2 tsp and felt that was enough)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup un salted butter, melted and slightly cooled (I used salted butter, like always) **
2 cups chocolate chips (1 used 1 cup semi-sweet and 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees*.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the melted and cooled butter, sugars, egg yolks and vanilla until may-128combined. 

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, pour in the butter mixture and  fold the ingredients together just until combined. Add the chocolate chips and fold to combine. Do not overmix.
I chilled my dough for 2 hours because I always do, but Alton does not call for this step.

For individual cookies, use a spoon or a disher and dish out your cookies, 2 inches apart, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. *

Bake for 12-15 minutes (Mine were done in 12).
Let cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack or paper towel-lined counter top.

*As soon as you put the cookies or cookie cake into the oven, turn the temperature down to 350 degrees. Alton Brown swears by this initial temperature boost.

Alternate Option:
For a cookie cake, dump the dough into an ungreased pizza pan or whatever kind of pan you have and gently press down until the dough is evenly distributed around the pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or light golden brown.

**UPDATE: 5/4/09:
I made these again, only this time I used only 1 1/2 sticks butter (12 TBS) and found the baked cookies to be less greasy without sacrificing the flavor. I did chill the dough overnight so that may help keep and enhance the flavor of these cookies. I highly recommend chilling the dough at least a few hours before baking.
I also allowed the cookies to cool on paper-towel lined cooling racks for about 5 minutes and then transferred them to a regular cooling rack to cool completley. I found the paper towels to help absorb any grease from the warm cookies while the regular cooling rack allowed the bottoms of the cookies to firm up alowing the edges to become crisp upon cooling achieving the texture I  desire.
All in all I would recommend this recipe and suggest you play around with butter amounts and cooking/cooling methods that suit your tastes and preferences. I can’t wait to make them again!

I will be back.

I recently saw that my fellow blogger Katie has decided to take a break from blogging during the season of Lent.  She is using that time to spend with her husband and on other devotional activities. I was so inspired by her post that I too, have decided to step back from blogging, but only for the month of March. 

I will be reading and searching through recipes all month deciding what to make for my first post after I return in April (any suggestions??).

Why the short break?  I feel that stepping back for a month will force me to bake soley for the enjoyment of myself, friends and family. I will get hugs and thank-yous instead of comments. I will only have the memory of the dessert instead of  photos to swoon over.  I will not be sharing each new goodie with thousands but instead with a handful. A select handful of individuals that are the sole reason that I began the blog in the first place.

I LOVE to blog and share my feats and failures with the blogging community. I take pride in my goodies even if they do not turn out as expected. I love sharing my recipes and get super giddy reading your comments and feedback. It can be a real ego bosster.  But, I don’t want to ever take you guys for granted (as I have with some of my friends and family) and this temporary seperation will only make my heart grow fonder for blogging.  Trust me, this hurts me more than it will hurt you.

I do not want to minimize how important you, fellow bloggers and visitors, are to me. The blogging community is like a second family to me and trust me, I will miss you greatly and hope you will return with me in April!

Before I return I will need your help! If you have a cookie, bar, cake or dessert recipe you want me to make upon my return, leave the link or recipe in the comments section or email it to me. The selected goodie will be my first post back! You will get the credit and a shout out!

Peppermint Brownie Cups

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I am at it again! I can’t seem to get enough of chocolate and peppermint this time of year! This time I used one of my favorite recipes and adpat it a bit. I based this recipe off of this recipe and this one.  I wanted to mix it up a bit and this time decided bake them in muffin cups instead of in a cake pan. Even if you don’t use my recipe, feel free to try your own brownie recipe as the base for these yummy treats!

These have become one of my favorites this holiday season. Aside from being delicious, they are cute and festive. The perfect combination of chocolate and peppermint with a dense brownie texture. I love that they are individually portioned making them perfect for any Holiday party, treat tray or to pack in a lunch!

The best part is unlike baking a pan of brownies, these are a snap to portion for later. If you are anything like me, you rarely bake brownies unless you know others will be consuming them as well. If not you have two options, eat a few and allow the rest of the pan to stale or eat the entire pan yourself in a day or two (I usually do the latter of the two options.)  The solution my friends?? Bake your brownies in a muffin pan!
I baked these on Wednesday night and took a few to work. I froze the rest of these after they baked and cooled. I sealed them individually in heavy duty freezer bags and placed them carefully in the freezer (you don’t want anything to crush them so you may need a good deal of freezer room). To enjoy, I just took one out of the freezer and allowed to come back to room temp. So yummy! I microwaved it for 7 seconds to warm up and enjoyed with a mug of hot chocolate!

If you are looking for a treat that is sure to please now and later, you have to give these a try!

 I rate this recipe a 9

Peppermint Brownie Cups
6 TBS butter
6 oz  semisweet chocolate (chopped
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate (chopped)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
1/4 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Milk Chocolate Chips
2 cups Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Lightly spray liners with cooking spray.

In a heat-proof bowl, melt together butter and chcolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals stirring after each interval until smooth. Allow to cool for 5 mintues.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

Whisk or beat the sugar into the chocolate mixture. Add eggdecember-057s and peppermint extract mixing until combined and smooth. Add flour mixture and mix until combined. Gently fold in the 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips.

Carefully pour batter to prepared each muffin liner filling about 2/3 full. Sprinkle a few Andes Peppermint chips over the top of each individual brownie. . Bake for 18-23 mintues or until a cake tester comes out with a few crumbs.

*Baking time will depend on your oven, watch carefully so you don’t overbake! Mine were done in 20 minutes.

Allow to cool before removing from muffin pan.
Keep brownies in cupcake liners until ready to serve  to help prevent them from drying out.

*I got 14 brownies, it will depend on how you fill the muffin cups on how many you get.

I’m It

I have been tagged by SugarPlum, so here goes nothin!!

1. Last Movie I Saw In A Movie Theater?
The Dark Knight (A+)

2. What Book Are You Reading?
I am not reading any books right now but I have been reading the Wall Street Jouranl and NYT daily.
 
3. Favorite Board Game?
I love Scattegories (though it is not a ‘board’ game) and Scrabble

4. Favorite Magazine?
Entertainment Weekly.

5. Favorite Smells?
Fresh baked bread, fresh cut grass, light crisp floral scents (not all at the same time)

6. Favorite Sounds?
The oven timer sounding that my goodies are done baking and ready to be eaten

7. Worst Feeling In The World?
Having disappointed someone you care about

8. First Thing You Think of When You Wake?
What day is it??

9. Favorite Fast Food Place?
QDoba

10. Future Child’s Name?
Hmmm,

11. Finish This Statement—“If I Had a Lot of Money, I’d…go on vacation and pay off debt.”

12. Do You Drive Fast?
The cops think so, ha ha

13. Do You Sleep With a Stuffed Animal?
No.

14. Storms—Cool or Scary?
Cool.

15. What Was Your First Car?
Family Station Wagon, soooooooo NOT cool

16. Favorite Drink?
Iced Tea

17. Finish This Statement—“If I Had the Time, I Would…
learn a foreign language”

18. Do You Eat the Stems on Broccoli?
Yes

19. If You could Dye your Hair Any Other Color, What Would It Be?
Strawberry Blonde.

20. Name All the Different Cities In Which You Have Lived.
I plead the fifth, ha ha, very non-impressive I assure you

21. Favorite Sport to Watch?
Football

22. One Nice Thing About The Person Who Sent This To You
She inspires my inner baker with her blog recipes and photos

23. What’s Under Your Bed?
Wicker Baskets with a variety of cards (in case I need to send one: birthday/anniversary/baby, etc)

24. Would You Like to Be Born As Yourself Again?
I know no different so, probably.

25. Morning Person or Night Owl?
Morning!! Get er up and Get er done!

26. Over Easy or Sunny Side Up?
Over Medium

27. Favorite Place to Relax?
In a hammock (preferable in a tropical location, ha ha)

28. Favorite Ice Cream Flavor?
Soft Serve Vanilla

29. Of All the People You Have Tagged, Who Is the Most Likely to Respond First?
Whoever reads this first, I guess.

 

I am now tagging some wonderfull fellow bloggers, Please, Please, PLEASE go to their sites, they have great recipes sure to put a smile on your face!! Promise:

Ally

Katie

Sing for your Supper

Erin

Michele

I’ve been Tagged!

Even though I am traveling, I see that I have been tagged by SweetSavorySouthern. If you have not checked out her blog yet do so NOW! She has some wonderful down home comfort foods that all sound delish!

So here are the Tagging Rules:
Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

What was I doing ten years ago?

I had just graduated high school and was working two jobs all summer to save up for college so I could live it up my Freshman year (and that I did! ha ha).

What are five (non-work) things on my to-do list for today?

1. Finish writing a report for work.

2. Iron my dress pants.

3. Eat at a highly rated restaurant for dinner.

4. Go on a walk down by the river.

5. Watch The Next Food Network Star.

Five snacks I enjoy:

1. Peanut Butter

2. Fat free chocolate pudding

3. Baby Carrots

4. Fresh Fruit (apples, bananas, strawberries)

5. Warm fresh baked bread (more specifically, my grandma’s)

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

1. Pay off all debt

2. Donate money to Non-Profit charities and foundations (cancer research, homeless vets, animal shelters, children’s hospitals, etc)

3. Fund a Scholarship Program at my old high school and undergrad college

4. Pay for the education of my sisters

5. By my parents a new house

6. Hire a personal trainer

Places I’ve lived:

1. My parent’s house

2. A Co-ed dorm

3. A small apartment with a femal roommate

4. A Condo

5. A House

Jobs I’ve had:

1. Babysitter

2. Data Entry Specialist (collge job)

3. Human Resource Assistant

4. Teaching/research Assistant

5. Counselor

I am tagging…

1. Visions of Sugar Plums

2. And a Cookie for Dessert

3. Our Sweet Life

4. Taste and Tell

5. The Picky Palate