Sunday, November 28, 2010

Baking Update

For Thanksgiving I tried Pioneer Woman's Chocolate Sheet cake:
http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2007/06/the_best_chocol/

I have to say, my recipe is better than hers. Although I've been making her recipes for months now, that is the first time I've said that. Here is my chocolate sheet cake recipe:

Chocolate Sheet Cake
CAKE
2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. buttermilk
2 eggs
1/2 c. melted butter
1/2 c. oil
1 c. water
1/4 c. cocoa
1 t. vanilla
1 t. cinnamon
FROSTING
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. cocoa
1/4 c. milk plus 2 T milk
1 t. vanilla
4 c. powdered sugar
Grease and flour a sheet cake pan. Set oven to 400. Mix dry ingrediants. In a large bowl mix all the wet ingrediants. Gradually add the dry to the wet. Bake for 20 minutes.
For the frosting, in a small saucepan melt the butter. Add in cocoa, milk and vanilla. Boil. Remove from heat and add in the powdered sugar. Pour over cake. I usually add chopped pecans on half of the cake.

Also this weekend, I made a yellow cake with yummy pioneer woman frosting. The cake is an easy doctored mix recipe. It is:
Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting
CAKE
yellow cake mix
instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 c. oil
8 oz. sour cream
Mix all together and bake according to directions for your pan size.
FROSTING
3/4 c. sweetened condensed milk
6 oz. milk chocolate chips
2 T. butter
Add to a saucepan and cook until melted. Stir together. Pour over hot cake.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Congo Bars


Well I attempted an experiment this weekend. It did not work. I thought wouldn't it be awesome if you could make Oreo Balls in a pan and just have Oreo Squares. We love Oreo Balls, but I hate rolling and dipping them. (Oreo Balls- mix one package of crushed Oreos with one box of cream cheese. Roll into truffle size balls. Chill. Dip in white chocolate.) Anyway, it did not work. The bars were too squishy on the bottom and too hard on the top. At least the kids enjoyed eating the mistake.



I did have one baking success this weekend. Congo bars have the texture of a brownie, but are chocolate chip blondies. These are super rich.


Congo Bars
2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 lb. light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
11.5 ounce package milk chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)


Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
Combine butter and sugar using a mixer until blended.
Add eggs, one at a time to sugar mixture, mixing on low in between each addition.
Add vanilla, almond extract, and vinegar and mix.
Add flour and mix until combined.
Stir in chips and then pecans.
Grease and flour  a 13 X 9 pan and spread batter evenly into dish.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until top is golden brown. Make sure you don’t over bake.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Recap of My Weekend Kitchen Activities

Sorry I only took a picture of one item I made this weekend...
Peanut Butter Chocolate Squares. They are delicious. And they happen to be gluten free. Here is the recipe:
1/2 c. Butter (I always use real butter)
1/2 c. Brown Sugar
1 t. Vanilla (I always use real vanilla, not imitation)
1 Small Jar of Creamy Peanut Butter
2 1/2 c. Powdered Sugar
2 c. Milk Chocolate Chips
1 T. Crisco

Melt the butter. Whisk in brown sugar, peanut butter and vanilla. Then add in the powdered sugar until it is smooth. Press into a 9 x 13 pan lined with parchment paper. Melt the chips and Crisco. Pour over the top of the peanut butter mix. Let cool until set. Cut into small (1 inch) pieces. Very rich. This makes quite a bit and would be a good candy to have for the holidays.

I also made some Oatmeal Raspberry Bars, but I will not be posting the recipe because I was not satisfied with them. They are just okay. Not fabulous.

I know I have stuck to baking items so far, but I am going to branch out today and post the other two items I made this weekend.

The first one, Chicken Tortilla Soup, is a recipe I got from work. I love it. Every time we take it anywhere everyone else loves it too.
Meat from 1 Rotisserie Chicken
2 Cans Cream of Chicken Soup
2 Soup Cans Full of 1/2 and 1/2 (just use the empty cream of chicken can)
1 Soup Can Full of Milk
4 c. Chicken Broth
1 Can Rotel
8 oz. Velveeta
1 Package Taco Seasoning
1/4 c. dried minced onion
Mix everything together in your crock pot. As soon as it is warm and the cheese melts it's ready to go. If you are going to let it cook longer be careful because the cheese will get all gloppy and curdled looking if it cooks too long or too hot. Serve with crumbled up tortilla chips and shredded cheddar.

Next is my recipe for Chili as adapted from a Martha recipe. We love this chili.
2 lbs. Hamburger
1/2 c. Dried Minced Onion
1 1/2 T. Minced Garlic (from a jar)
2 T. Paprika
1 1/2 t. Cumin
1 1/2 t. Oregano
1/2 t. Cayenne Pepper
1 T. Chili Powder
1 1/2 t. Salt
1/2 t. pepper
2 T. cornmeal
1 Can Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 Can Bush's Chili Beans
Mix it all together in your crock pot and cook all day on low.  

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cranberry Swiss Dip

I don't have a picture and the dip itself is not all that pretty, but here is the recipe.

Cranberry Swiss Dip
8 oz cream cheese
1 c. shredded swiss cheese
2/3 c. dried cranberries
1 t. orange zest
1/2 c. chopped pecans

Mix it all together and put in a little crock pot. I served with Almond Nut Thin crackers.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Homemade Brownies and a Pumpkin Roll

What a day. We did not get as much accomplished as we planned. I did get to bake a little. First I made homemade brownies. These are a very fast, easy base. You can add chocolate chips or nuts or M&M's, or whatever you want to these. They would also be good with peanut butter chips.

I have really been wanting to try King Arthur Flour's Double Dutch Process cocoa. (http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/double-dutch-dark-cocoa-16-oz). Of course I can't find it around here and I will have to order it online. I think it would be awesome in these brownies.
BROWNIES
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
1 stick butter
1/4 c. oil
2 t. vanilla
2 T. coffee
3 eggs
3/4 c. cocoa
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. baking powder
1 c. flour

Mix oil, butter and sugars in a microwave bowl. Heat for a 90 seconds. Whisk. Heat for 30 more seconds. Cool a little, then whisk in the eggs, vanilla and coffee. In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Gradually whisk into wet mixture. Pour into a 9 x 13 pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 375 degrees.

I used Libby's Pumpkin Roll recipe for the most part. Instead of using cloves, I substituted 1/4 t. of nutmeg. After I finished mixing these up and was pouring my mix into my parchment lined pan, I was thinking the mix looked a little short. While I was pouring I also started thinking about how much I like pumpkin flavored cake. That's when I realized, I forgot to put in the pumpkin. I had to scrape the mix off the parchment and put it back in the bowl to add the pumpkin. Still tasted great. Just airheaded.

LIBBY'S PUMPKIN ROLL
1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves ( I substituted 1/4 t. nutmeg)
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar (optional for decoration)

FOR CAKE:
PREHEAT oven to 375° F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax paper. (I use parchment paper). Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar.

COMBINE flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts.

BAKE for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. (If using a dark-colored pan, begin checking for doneness at 11 minutes.) Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.

FOR FILLING:
BEAT cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.