Tag Archives: baking

Beer Bread

4 May

I found this recipe on My Baking Addiction last September.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned her blog a dozen times.  It is amazing.  Check it out.  I made this recipe when I first saw it last year, and we just loved it.  You only need one 12 oz beer to make it.  However, an extra beer in the fridge isn’t something we normally have (my fault).  Last weekend, I made a conscious decision to not drink my last beer so I could make this bread.  You can use any beer you want.  I used Zeigenbock, but whatever beer you have should be fine.

Beer Bread (My Baking Addiction)

yields | 1 loaf

Ingredients:

3 cups self-rising flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
12 ounces beer
2 tablespoons melted butter

1 handful of cheddar cheese (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Butter an 8×4 inch loaf pan and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt and beer; mix well. The mixture will be sticky. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for about 55 minutes. (I also sprinkled a little cheese on top before I popped it into the oven.)
3. At the last three minutes of baking, remove from oven, brush the top of the loaf with the melted butter and return to oven for the final three minutes of baking.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

23 Feb

I’ve been on a chocolate/peanut butter kick lately, and my boyfriend has been asking me to bake another cheesecake.  So, I decided to combine both of our cravings into one delicious dessert.  I have decided that I’m an evil genius, because this cheesecake is in-freakin-credible.  You could throw peanut butter cups in the cheesecake batter, or use an Oreo crust, but I decided to keep it simple.  Don’t skimp on the chocolate ganache, because that’s what takes this cheesecake to the next level.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

For the Crust:

2 Tbsp sugar

1 ½ C. Graham Cracker Crumbs

½ C. finely chopped peanuts

½ C. melted butter

Combine the peanuts, sugar, and graham cracker crumbs.  Slowly stir in melted butter, and mix ingredients together until moistened.  Pat mixture into a 9-in’ spring form pan, and place in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

For The Filling:

4 eight-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

5 eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup creamy peanut butter (I used Reese’s)

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Beat cream cheese in bowl of electric mixer until smooth.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Add sugar, peanut butter and cream; mix until smooth.
  • Stir in vanilla
  • Pour filling into prepared crust.
  • Place spring form pan into a larger baking pan.
  • Pour hot water into the larger pan so that the water comes 1 inch up the sides of the spring form pan.
  • Bake at 275°F 2 hours, or until the outside is firm and the middle jiggles
  • Turn the oven off, and leave the cheesecake in the oven to cool for one hour

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

When the cheesecake has completely cooled, prepare chocolate ganache (recipe follows), and top cheesecake.  Place the cooled cheesecake back in the refrigerator for another hour or until the ganache starts to set.

Ganache:

Heat 2/3 C. of Heavy Cream with 1 C. of semi-sweet chocolate chips in a double boiler.  (A glass bowl, over a pot of simmering water.)  Allow the ganache to come to room temperature before pouring it over the top of the cheesecake.  Using a spatula, spread the chocolate over the cheesecake, allowing some to drip down the sides.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

4 Feb

I knew I was going to be stuck at home all day today, because I was waiting for the cable guy.  So, I planned a day of baking cupcakes and making lasagna to occupy my time.  I was inspired to make Peanut Butter and Chocolate cupcakes when I was eating at Freddy’s Frozen Custard the other day.  They have a Triple Peanut Butter Concrete that is A-MAZ-ING! I forgot how much I love the chocolate/peanut butter flavor combination.  For these cupcakes, I used cake mix from a box, jazzed up a little, but definitely use your favorite chocolate cake recipe (if you have one).

Cake Ingredients:

  • Chocolate Cake Mix (prepare using the directions on the box) *I used the kind with pudding in the mix*
  • A handful (yeah, real technical stuff here) of semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirradeli)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Frosting:

  • 1 Cup Butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 3 Cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
  • (optional garnish: miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, halved)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Fix cake mix according to the directions on the package.  Stir in vanilla, and chocolate chips.  Spoon batter into cupcake liners, 2/3 full.  Bake for 18-22 minutes.

After the cupcakes are completely cooled, frost.

Frosting: Mix butter, peanut butter, and vanilla thoroughly with a mixture.  Add the powdered sugar, and mix well.  Add the heavy cream, and mix until the frosting is light and fluffy.

(Make sure to refrigerate any leftover cupcakes, because of the dairy in the frosting.)

Philadelphia Classic Cheesecake

29 Dec

I love cheesecake.  Not that fluffy french nonsense… or that  no-bake stuff… but rich, dense, delicious, cheesecake.  I had never made cheesecake before, because I didn’t have a spring-form pan.  I thought by the time I invested in the pan, plus the ingredients, I’d have a pretty expensive cheesecake on my hands.  On Christmas Eve, a beautifully wrapped package was presented to me by my parents.  Inside were all of the little things that I needed for my kitchen, but wasn’t prepared to purchase for myself.  They got me a bundt pan, a Paula Deen pie board, and a set of 3 spring-form pans.  I knew I was going to have to make a cheesecake before the end of the year.

But, baking cheesecake is a daunting task.  There are many recipes out there, so where do you start?  I thought about trying a recipe from one of my favorite blogs, but she bakes her cheesecake in a water bath, and I don’t even have a pan large enough for a water bath.  So, that was not going to work for me.  So, I thought Kraft (the makers of Philadelphia Cream Cheese) would definitely have a recipe on their website.  Bingo!  Their recipe could not be simpler!  I would have loved to try a complicated cheesecake recipe, but I thought, why not get the basics down first?

This recipe was a success for me.  Out of the four people I presented with a slice, not one complained.  One of those people claimed to not even care for cheesecake, but liked it.  This recipe doesn’t make a super dense cheesecake, but I still enjoyed it.  It’s creamy, and it melts in your mouth.  Plus, it is so easy!  No water bath, no complicated ingredients, and my cheesecake didn’t even crack.  Cracks don’t really matter to me though, and to quote Frank Barron from Everybody Loves Raymond, “The stomach knows not ugly.”  P.S. I actually screwed up on this a little one.  I used an 11 inch spring-form instead of the 9, because I assumed the largest in my set of 3 pans was the 9-inch.  I didn’t adjust the cooking time at all, and it came out just fine.

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups HONEY MAID Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 3 Tbsp.  sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 4 pkg.  (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp.  vanilla
  • 4 eggs

Directions:

HEAT oven to 325°F.

MIX graham crumbs, 3 Tbsp. sugar and butter; press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan.

BEAT cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and vanilla with mixer until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust.

BAKE 55 min. or until center is almost set. Loosen cake from rim of pan; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate 4 hours.

*Note:  Reduce oven temperature to 300°F if using a dark nonstick springform pan.

Snowflake Sugar Cookies

14 Dec

I love to bake things that are not only delicious, but are aesthetically pleasing.  These cookies are so beautiful, and who else do I have to thank but Paula Deen?  I just love her, and I find myself going back to her recipes more than any other TV Chef.  I think it’s because we’re both from the south, and even though I’m not typically southern, I certainly appreciate her love of butter and bacon!  (P.S. I make a Chocolate Chip Bacon Cookie, let me know if you’re interested in that recipe.)

Anyway, a few years ago, this cookie was featured in the series of recipes called “The Twelve Days of Cookies,” hosted by Food Network.  I knew I had to make these the moment I saw them.  They’re buttery, almondy (that’s not a word, but oh well), and just gorgeous.  Paula’s secret ingredient to making these sugar cookies a little extra special, is almond extract.

I will say, that these cookies can be a little pricey to make, initially.  When I made these three years ago, I didn’t have a snowflake cookie cutter.  Surprisingly, it is hard to find a pretty snowflake cookie cutter.  The one I ended up with was eight dollars, for ONE cookie cutter.  The dragees are also a little pricey, at around eleven dollars for a jar (You might be able to find them cheaper, but there was only one brand available where I shop.  You can find them with the specialty spices/sprinkles).   The good news is, they last forever.  You don’t need a lot of them.  As a bonus, this year I stocked up, because I found a bunch marked down to three dollars.  The meringue powder costs another five dollars or so.   I’m not trying to discourage anyone from making these cookies.  Just know, that if you make your grocery list, be prepared to spend a little more than you usually would for cookies.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Edible Paint Icing, recipe follows

Garnish: silver dragees, sugar pearls, sparkling sugar

Directions

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in eggs, vanilla and almond extract until combined.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add to sugar mixture, beating until smooth. Wrap dough in heavy-duty plastic wrap, and refrigerate 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut with assorted snowflake cookie cutters and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Chill dough 15 minutes. Bake for 10 minutes, or until edges are very lightly browned. Let cool for 2 minutes on baking sheet. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

Paint cookies with Edible Paint Icing. Garnish with silver dragees, sugar pearls and sparkling sugar, if desired.

Edible Paint Icing:

  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • Food coloring, optional

In a medium bowl, combine water and meringue powder; whisk until foamy. Whisk in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Add food coloring, if desired. Use immediately.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies (Santa’s Cookies)

14 Dec

Christmas is my favorite holiday.  Before working in retail, I thought everyone loved this time of year.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of scrooges out there.  However, the one thing a scrooge won’t refuse, is a delicious Christmas cookie.  This could very well be the cookie to bring some Christmas cheer to the scrooge in your life.

This cookie recipe is a family recipe.  We make it every year at Christmas, we called them Santa’s Cookies when I was a kid.  My sisters and I left 3 or 4 of these bad boys out for Santa with a tall glass of milk, along with a plate of oats for his reindeer.  You know what?  We always got awesome presents.

So, enjoy this cookie with a tall glass of milk.  And don’t forget to leave a few out for Santa on Christmas Eve.

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of butter (softened)
  • 2/3 cup of brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/8 Cups flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups oatmeal
  • 6 oz (half a bag) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 Cup of pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Cream butter with both brown and white sugar, and mix 1 egg. Add 1 tsp. vanilla, mix well.  In a separate bowl, sift 1-1/8 cup flour, 1/8 tsp. salt & 1 tsp soda & add to wet mixture, in batches.  By hand, add oatmeal, chocolate chips and pecans.  You will need to mix the last three ingredients by hand, because the dough will be thick.  You wouldn’t want to overwork your mixer, or break your favorite wooden spoon.

Roll about tablespoon sized cookie dough balls in your hands, and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for approximately 13 minutes.

Pumpkin Bread with Pecan Streusel Topping

15 Nov

The aroma that fills your home when you bake this pumpkin bread is heavenly.  Actually, heavenly isn’t even a good enough word to describe it.  I don’t think a word has been invented yet that could describe the incredible cinnamon-pumpkin fragrance that has drifted from my oven.  It almost makes me feel foolish buying pumpkin spice candles, reed diffusers, and room sprays.  I could just bake this recipe everyday!  The flavor doesn’t disappoint either.  Buttery and moist on the inside, with a lovely crunchy texture from the topping.  This is the ONLY pumpkin bread recipe you’ll need this season.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup melted and cooled butter (That’s two sticks, baby!)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 15 oz can of pure pumpkin

Pecan Streusel Topping

  • 1/2 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces

Method

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F and spray two medium loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, spices, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and set aside.

3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, with the wire whisk attached, add in the sugar and melted/cooled butter. Add the eggs, one at a time. Cream the three ingredients together on medium speed for about 2 minutes or until fluffy. Add the pumpkin and combine well.

Get fluffy!

4. In three batches, add the dry ingredients and mix gently until each batch is just incorporated. Scrape the sides between each batch.

5. To make the topping: *In a separate small bowl* Stir the sugar, butter, cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of toasted pecan pieces.  Sprinkle the topping over the loaves before baking.

6. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake side-by-side for about one hour or until an inserted knife comes out clean.