I hate when I have to go to a potluck and the people in charge tell me what to bring. I completely understand why they do this -- who wants to end up eating only brownies for dinner? -- but seriously! I am a baker. A baker, people! So when Melanie had her class potluck at school and I got assigned fruit or vegetables...well, you can imagine my disappointment.
I decided I need to be a bad, bad girl, ignore the powers that be, and bring pie instead.
Pie, you ask? The Fabulous Baker girl made a pie?
I know what you're thinking. I still really don't like fruit pie. If I've said it once, I've said it a million times. Fruit is fruit. Chocolate is dessert. Therefore, when I found this recipe on another blog for Smores Pie, I knew I had to try it. It seemed like a perfect, authority-defying, addition to our potluck.
Here are some comments I received about this pie:
"I think I'm in love. If I could, I would run off and marry it!"
"This pie means business!" (Not sure what this means, but it sounded good.)
"This may just be my new favorite food."
Want to know a little secret? All these comments came from my family.
Because the pie never made it to the potluck.
We took watermelon instead.
So much for defying authority...
From Cookiesandcups.com adapted from Hershey’s
WARNING: This pie is very, very rich. A small piece will suffice...for most of you. For some of you, you will go back for a second piece. That happened at our house. I'm not naming names, but, honey, you know who you are.
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup salted butter (1 stick)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 7oz container of Marshmallow Creme6 Regular sized Hershey Bars, broken into pieces (I think I used about 7 1/2)
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9″ pie pan with baking spray.
Beat butter and sugar together until combined. Add egg and vanilla. On low add flour, graham cracker crumbs and baking powder. Divide the dough in half. Press half the dough in the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pie pan.
Spread Marshmallow Creme on top of the crust. Top that with the broken chocolate.
Lay the remaining half of dough on a sheet of waxed paper. Cover with another piece and roll out to a 9-inch circle. Take off the top piece of waxed paper. Carefully flip the crust over on top of the pie. Peel of paper. Pinch top and bottom crust together to seal.
Bake for at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until the crust is light brown and set.
I am an avid reader. Always have been. I never quite feel myself if I'm not reading something. It's just part of who I am. When I walk into a bookstore I feel a reverence akin to going to church. All that information. All that imagination. All in one place. It amazes me. When I'm feeling blue, a trip to the bookstore always cheers me up. I figure no matter what the problem -- somewhere in that relatively small space, there's an answer to all that ails you.
That is why I have taken the closing of Borders so hard. I'm going to miss my old hangout very much. I feel as though my lifelong therapist has decided to shut down his practice. Or at least I think this is how it would feel. I wouldn't know for sure but I do feel a little disoriented.
However, the more practical side of me (although my husband would argue this is far from practical) was kind of excited about the sales. I mean it's a clearance
!!! On books
I'm sure some of you know me well enough to know that there was no way I'd walk out of a store closing without a cookbook. Sure enough I bought at least one (maybe more). It is a compilation book from Food and Wine Magazine that showcases recipes from the year's best 25 cookbooks. There are actually several volumes. This one happens to be volume 11. It was a $30 book that I got for $4.79. Score!
Near the back of the book there are recipes from a little book known as Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey
by Jill O'Connor. This is a fairly well-known cookbook in the baking world, although I don't own it. One of the recipes is for Quicky Sticky Biscuits. These are like sticky buns made without yeast dough. Which means you can have sticky buns any day of the week without having to wait for the dough to rise. It's brilliant!
These buns deliver on their name. They are quick (relatively, with preparation) and sticky and utterly delicious. You would be hard pressed to really notice a difference between these and their yeasted counterparts. There is a slight difference in texture because the dough is basically a biscuit and is prepared as such but the flavor is so amazing you won't care. I promise! I'm hoping that I can use this same technique to make cinnamon rolls. I'll be sure to post my results.
Don't be scared that this has three "recipes" to to prepare. They're all easy, especially if you prepare yourself by getting out all the ingredients first. I recommend making the cinnamon/sugar mixture and mixing all your dry ingredients for the biscuits first. Then while the sticky pecan sauce is boiling, add in the butter and buttermilk to the dough.
Make this recipe. It is so good and it will make you so warm and happy. This recipe makes 12 large buns and considering it uses a pound of butter, you may want to wait and make them when you can share.
Or not...It's really your call.Quicky Sticky Biscuits
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13" pan with butter.For the Sticky Pecan Sauce
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup (I used light)
1 1/2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted
Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, and butter. Melt over low heat. When the butter is melted, increase the heat to high and bring to a gentle boil. Cook, uncovered until the mixture thickens, 3-5 minutes. Stir in the chopped nuts. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Set aside.For the Biscuits
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 sticks very cold (or frozen) butter, cut into 16 pieces
1 1/2 - 2 cups cold buttermilk
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients thoroughly. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or your fingers until the mixture is like coarse crumbs with some butter the size of small peas.
Make a shallow well in the middle of the flour and pour in 1 1/2 cups buttermilk. Use a fork to blend creating a soft dough. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of buttermilk if the mixture is too dry. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead slightly to make sure it all comes together. Pat the dough into a 3/4-inch-thick rectangle. Cut into 12 squares.For the Topping
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick butter, melted
Mix together sugar and cinnamon. Brush biscuits with the melted butter and thing sprinkle with half the sugar. Place the biscuits sugar-and-cinnamon side down in your prepared pan on top of the sticky pecan sauce. Brush the tops of the biscuits (once the bottoms) with more butter and sprinkle on remaining cinnamon-sugar.
Bake biscuits until golden brown and puffy and the pecan sauce is all bubbly, 15-17 minutes. Cool slightly. Place a large serving platter over the pan and invert it. Remove the pan and allow the pecan sauce to drizzle around the biscuits.
My friends...if I still have any...I am happy to back in the blog-o-sphere. I have been on a very long vacation. Although I offer my apologies, I can't make any excuses. The truth is, I just haven't been baking much. Seriously.
Last night I began a new book. It is called A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table
by Molly Wizenberg. She is also the the author of the award-winning blog Orangette
. As I began reading her charming tales of kitchen-life lessons, I realized how much I missed being The Fabulous Baker Girl (and after viewing that pitiful picture of the Tarte Tatin on the home page, a little guilty).
I don't know how much of a following I have out there (especially now after such a long absence) but, to be honest, this blog has always been more for me than anyone else. I like writing it as much as I do the baking. In fact, I was thinking of expanding it so I have more to write about. That may happen in the future. Or it may not. For right now I am just happy to be back home.
It seems appropriate that my first recipe back would be from Molly herself, the one who inspired me to get back at my desk and slip on my fabulous baker hat once more. One of the early recipes in her book is for banana bread with chocolate and crystallized ginger -- an intriguing combination, I must say. I just pulled it from the oven and it is wonderfully golden brown and beautiful and smells heavenly.
I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of flavor. Banana, chocolate, and ginger are kind of outside of my flavor radar. I like banana and chocolate, but combine with ginger? Hmmm...
Here's what I found. This recipe was really easy to make and didn't even require an electric mixer. The loaf baked up perfectly golden, rising just the right amount. It was hard for me to wait until it cooled to eat it. I sliced a piece off for myself figuring it would cool faster. I went about my business but kept coming back to pick up the plate and sniff it. I could definitely smell the ginger and something else that was very subtle, the banana I presume.
Finally, I had waited long enough. I made myself a cup of tea and sat down at the table, taking full advantage of the fact my girls were occupying themselves for the time being. This wasn't something I wanted to share. It seemed a far more grown-up thing than your average banana bread.
So...I took my first bite. It tasted like...well...it tasted like banana bread. This isn't a bad thing, mind you, just a bit surprising. I was expecting the flavor profile to have some sort of synergistic property. That said, I really enjoyed the ginger in this. The larger pieces had a bit of chew to them. The flavor wasn't overpowering and there wasn't that tell-tale heat that ginger usually has. In fact, I think I may have chopped the ginger a little too fine because I found myself wanting more of it. I actually added a thin layer of raw sugar to the top and I really liked the crunch it added to the bread. The chocolate was in perfect amount -- neither leaving me wanting more nor taking over the whole recipe. I did want to taste more banana though. It was almost there but not quite. That could be my fault though. I didn't actually measure the banana. I just guessed.
To be honest, I wasn't as wild about this recipe as I had hoped. On the other hand, I do keep coming back to it. I actually made it for a meeting and I had to stop myself from eating more than one (okay, two) pieces before I left. And boy was happy that it hadn't all been eaten at the meeting!
Given that banana bread is probably one of my favorite foods, it's no surprise that I do like this recipe. I just wish it had been more. More of what I'm not sure but it doesn't matter. Banana bread is supposed to make you feel all warm and fuzzy and like it should be eaten straight out of the oven. And in that regard....mission accomplished! Molly Wizenberg's Banana Bread with Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 3 large bananas)
1/2 cup whole milk plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Set a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Grease a standard-sized (9"x5") loaf pan with cooking spray or butter.
In a small bowl, microwave butter until just melted. Set aside to cool slightly. I actually used half butter and half canola oil, not because I have anything against butter. That's just all I had as I forgot to buy butter when I went to the grocery store.)
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate chips and ginger. Whisk well to combine. Set aside
In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs with a fork. Add the mashed bananas, yogurt, melted butter and vanilla. Stir to mix well. Pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir gently with a rubber spatula, scraping down the sides as needed, until just combined. Do not overmix. The batter will be thick and a little lumpy, but there should be no unincorporated flour. Scrap batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
Bake until the loaf is a deep shade of golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 minutes to an hour. If the loaf seems to be browning too quickly, tent with aluminum foil
Cool the loaf in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Then tip it out onto the rack and let it cool completely before slicing.
I am so excited to have a new food channel to watch. If you haven't had the chance, you need to check out The Cooking Channel
. It is a sister channel to Food Network. It's a lot like Food Network used to be -- with cooking shows and no competitions. I think it's getting back to the basics of actually cooking. I like it. My new favorite show, not surprisingly, is Rachel Allen: Bake
Rachel Allen is from Ireland, so you get the fun accent, but what I really love about her is that she makes baking accessible. I think people shy away from baking sometimes because they think it is too hard or takes too much time. I really love how she debunks that through segments of the show where she is teaching regular, every day people how to bake. The recipes seem to be pretty European in nature and the measurements given on the show reflect that (luckily, it's "translated" for American bakers on the channel's website) but I think you'll find something for everyone!
I was watching the show the other day while folding laundry. She was making a tarte tatin. As soon as she flipped it over, my three-year-old says, "Oooo...that looks good!" Oh how I love her! And I had to agree. It looked amazing.
For those of you who don't know, a tarte tatin is kind of like the French version of an upside down apple pie. Apples are baked in caramel and topped with pastry dough. Once cooked, it is flipped over to reveal the sugary, sweet apples.
You may be wondering why I decided to make this because many of you know I am not a pie fan. Well...as the saying goes, you eat with your eyes first and this truly looked delicious. Plus, it looked easier than an apple pie. No slicing of endless apples -- just the quartering of four. I thought I could handle that and surprise my family.
I do have to say, it was easier to make than a pie. The crust was easy and came together quickly, although the recipe was very disorganized and I ended up adding too much sour cream because I didn't read until later that I also needed to add an egg. I don't think it mattered though. The crust was still tasty and flakier than I've ever made.
I had the most trouble with the caramel. I mixed the water and sugar and waited for it to caramelize. It took a bit longer than I thought and by the time it started to brown, I felt like I should have gotten it off the heat right then. When I added the apples, I was really scared that the caramel was going to burn. Luckily it didn't.
I finally got it in the oven to bake (still worried it would burn -- but it didn't!). When it was done, I let it sit a bit before I flipped it onto my plate. All but one little apple came right out. I rearranged the apple on the plate and showed my prize to my husband and asked, "Isn't it pretty?" He looked at it and noncommittally said, "Interesting."
I thought it was pretty.
I decided to wait until my girls were in bed before eating my piece. My two younger daughters opted for Halloween candy for dessert instead, but Ella, as always, was up for giving it a try. Unfortunately, for her, it fell flat. She liked the crust but not the top. I have to say that the apples cooked really thoroughly. While they held their shape, itt was almost like thick applesauce and I don't think that appealed to her. I was a little annoyed, to be honest. I thought she was going to like it.
I had cut a second small piece, thinking that one of my other girls would eat it, so when my husband took the girls upstairs to help them get ready for bed and I stayed downstairs to "wash the dishes", I had to give it a try. I took one bite. Better than apple pie, in my opinion, but I still wasn't sure about it. I took another bite. Pretty good. I took another bite and went through the crust too hard, thus knocking the last bite onto the floor. I stood back and watched my dog lap it up. She seemed to like it. She drinks out of the toilet so I wasn't sure if that was a good sign or not.
After the girls were asleep, I had my official piece. It was good. I liked it but I thought it had a bit of a metallic taste. I'm thinking it was from the cast iron pan I used to make it. I'd like to give it another try in a different pan. Once I got passed that, I decided I liked it. It won't ever be my favorite but that's just my own personal taste. It has a comforting, familiar quality about it -- perfect for cool fall evenings curled up with someone you love. An the other hand, it's fancy enough to impress dinner guests and easy enough not to drive you crazy when you make it.
Goodness all around.
From Rachel Allen
Sour Cream Short Crust Pastry
7 ounces all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
7 tablespoons very cold butter, cut up
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 egg, beaten
In a food processor, pulse together the flour, salt and butter until it looks crumby, Add on tablespoon sour cream and pulse again. The mixture should be moist enough to come together when pressed. If not, add the remaining sour cream. Add in your egg, slowly, until the dough comes together into a soft ball.
On a piece of plastic wrap, press out the dough into a disc. Wrap up and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Caramel and Apples
4 1/2 ounces sugar
3 1/2 ounces water
2 tablespoons butter
4 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In an oven proof saucepan, set over low-medium heat, stir the sugar and water together until the sugar melts. Turn up the heat to medium-high and allow syrup to boil. Once it begins to boil, do not stir. The syrup will crystallize. Once the syrup starts to turn golden brown, swirl it around and take off the heat. Add the butter and swirl to combine. Place the apple quarters in a circle around the outside edge of the pan. Place any remaining pieces in the middle. Be sure to get them all in and cover the entire pan. They will shrink as they cook and fit in better.
Place the pan back on medium heat and cook apples for 10 minutes -- to just cook them a little bit. While they cook, on a lightly floured surface, roll out your pastry dough into a circle 3/4 of an inch wider than your pan. You may need to make the circle bigger and then cut it out. Your dough should be about an 1/8 of an inch thick.
After the apples cook. Turn off the heat. Cover the apples with your pastry dough. Tuck the edges in around your apples with a spoon or fork.. Brush top with beaten egg. Prick dough in several places with a fork.
Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the apples are cooked when you poke them.
I suggest serving with some whipped cream or ice cream. Yum!
I love when I get requests!
Okay...maybe this wasn't exactly a request but a friend of mine did ask if I had a good fudge recipe and I figured I might as well run with it.
I am, surprisingly, not a huge fan of fudge. I know that is bizarre coming from me but it's true nonetheless. I like fudge but I just don't go crazy for it. It's not something I make regularly. My mom is the fudge maker in the family. She usually makes it for the holidays. Her favorite recipe is Fantasy Fudge
which comes from the back of a jar of marshmallow cream. I didn't want to use this recipe because the marshmallow makes it really hard to stir.
A couple of years ago, Ella had a cooking birthday party. It was a blast! My best party idea, ever! I asked everyone to send me a recipe and then I compiled them into a little cookbook to give our guests. One of the recipes we got, from one of Ella's good friends, was for fudge. I decided to give it a try. It is from Cooks' Illustrated and is pretty simple to make.
I like it for a couple of reasons. First, it doesn't require any weird ingredients. Most of them I already had in my pantry. Although it does have a "secret" ingredient: baking soda. This apparently makes the fudge firmer and drier. Second, it wasn't overly sweet. I think that because it wasn't so sweet, it really highlighted the chocolate. If you make this, be sure to get the best quality chocolate you can get. Since the chocolate is so prominent you want to make sure you like the chocolate you use.
One thing I didn't like about it is that it wasn't as creamy as I would have liked. I suspect that has more to do with me than the recipe, but I'm not sure. The recipe calls to mix together the chocolate and sweetened condensed milk before melting the chocolate but I wonder if it would be creamier if you started to melt the chocolate first. When I mixed it together, the chocolate didn't melt smoothly and wasn't all shiny like regular chocolate and at times it looked grainy. I just couldn't tell if it was melting properly. You definitely don't want grainy chocolate as it is a sure sign the chocolate is seizing up and will soon be inedible.
Although, I think I might like Fantasy Fudge better (only because of it's creamier texture -- not necessarily because of the taste) I would definitely make this again. It was really easy and has a nice rich, chocolate flavor. Plus, I didn't have to go to the store for marshmallow cream. Next time I do want to try melting the chocolate a bit first to see if that makes a difference in the texture.
All in all, I'd give this four stars out five. It really did taste good. I really liked the flavor and if you are someone who doesn't mind the less than creamy texture, you might even give five stars, Try it yourself and let me know what you think!
15-Minute Chocolate Walnut Fudge
Note: I skipped the walnuts. My kids won't eat things with nuts. Normally, I like things nut-less (like chocolate chip cookies and brownies) but fudge is the one thing I prefer with nuts. I would definitely add them next time!16 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped fin2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine1/2 tsp. baking soda1/8 tsp. salt1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk1 Tbsp. vanilla extract1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Line 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, allowing extra foil to hang over edges of pan. Lightly coat with vegetable oil spray.
Toss chocolates, baking soda and salt in medium heatproof bowl until baking soda is evenly distributed. Stir in condensed milk and vanilla. Set bowl over 4-qt. saucepan containing 2 cups simmering water (or double boiler). Stir with rubber spatula until chocolate is almost fully melted and a few small pieces remain, 2 to 4 minutes.(Make sure to remove fudge because if it stays in the double boiler too long, it's possible that the chocolate will separate producing a greasy fudge.)
Remove bowl from the heat and continue to stir until the chocolate is fully melted and mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes. Stir in the walnuts. Transfer the fudge to the prepared pan and spread in an even layer with a spatula. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. Remove from the baking pan by lifting the foil extensions. Cut into squares.
Fudge can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored in a cool place up to 2 weeks or frozen up to 3 months. This fudge will change texture and become drier the longer it is stored. If freezing, do not cut the fudge into squares; thaw at room temp, then cut.
I didn't mean to take the summer off -- but it turns out that's exactly what I did. I just jumped ship and swam out to sea. Actually, the truth of the matter is that I was busy. Very...very....very busy. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. As busy as it was, it was also very nice. We did a lot of fun things -- baseball games, swimming, vacation! Good times!
But now the time has come to set my sights back on baking. I wanted to get back in the swing of things earlier but I really haven't made any recipes worth sharing.
That is until now! And trust me, I am back in a BIG way!!!
A couple of days ago, I realized that I was supposed to bring the snack for the board meeting (for which I have the privilege of being secretary) for Norah's preschool. I realized this the day of the meeting, of course. I figured I'd take something savory and something sweet. I scoured my pantry and came up with the savory. I scoured my recipes and came up with Millionaire's Shortbread.
Surely these things are named, not because they are expensive to make, but because they are so rich and quite frankly they make you feel like a Queen (or King, as the case may be). They are incredibly easy to make and require no fancy ingredients. Just my kind of recipe...super simple and with a definite WOW factor!
I have to say that my fellow board members were impressed just by looking at them (love that!). Everyone asked if I made
them. I heard such comments as, "I wasn't going to have any, but since everyone says they are so good..." and "I am going to lick my plate."
Really...what better compliment can a baker get?
So if you want to feel like a millionaire and want some accolades to go along with it make these.
Go on! I'll be here when you get back.Millionaire's Shortbread
taken from The English KitchenFor the Shortbread
9 ounces flour
3 ounces caster (superfine) sugar
6 ounces butter, cut into chunksFor the Caramel
4 ounces butter
4 ounces light brown sugar
2 cans of sweetened condensed milkFor the Chocolate
7 ounces good quality chocolate (dark, milk, white, or a mixture is up to you)
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 13 by 9 inch baking sheet (the kind with sides). Set aside.
Weigh the flour, sugar and butter into a bowl. Cut the butter into the flour and sugar with your finger or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Knead the mixture until it forms a dough. Press the dough into the prepared pan. Smooth out evenly. Prick all over with a fork. Bake for 20 minutes, until firm to the touch and very lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
To make the caramel, place all the caramel ingredients into a saucepan. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, stirring constantly. Bring to the boil, still stirring. Reduce the heat to low and cook very gently for about 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens. Do not stop stirring as the mixture will catch and burn if you don't keep it moving (I don't know if this is true -- but why chance it?). Remove from the heat and pour over the cooled shortbread. Allow to cool completely.
To make the chocolate topping, break the chocolate into pieces and place into a heatproof bowl. Bring a small amount of water in a saucepan to a simmer. Set the bowl on the top of the pan. Don't let the bowl to touch the water. Melt completely, stirring occasionally. Pour over the cold caramel and leave to set. Cut into squares or bars to serve.
Note: These bars do not have a lot of ingredients so the ingredients that you do use are very important. Use the best that you can get.
Tom Cruise may have had Renee Zellweger at hello, but chocolate is all you need to capture my heart. Add cookie and cheesecake to the mix and you might as well get a net to catch me as I swoon. I'm not sure where there bars originated. I saw them on several different blogs so I thought I'd throw mine in the cyber mix too. Why not? These are just too good not to share. Even though there are three parts to this recipe, they are easy to make. Give them a try and I promise you will be thanking me!
Just a note: These are really rich, so a little goes a long way!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 Tablespoons butter, melted
2/3 cup miniature chocolate chips
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9″-square baking pan. Line pan with parchment paper, leaving enough to extend over the sides. Butter the parchment paper. (I just sprayed my pan with no trouble.)
To prepare the crust combine graham cracker crumbs and butter until crumbs are moistened. Stir in the mini-chocolate chips.
Press crust mixture into bottom of pan and 1 inch up sides. I forgot to go up the sides and it was just fine. Bake for 6 minutes. Set pan on wire rack to cool.
Next Prepare the cookie dough. Using an electric mixer, mix butter, brown sugar, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract at medium speed until smooth. Decrease mixer speed to low and add flour
To prepare the filling, using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar just until smooth. Add egg and vanilla extract, beating just until blended. Pour batter into baked crust. Drop cookie dough by teaspoonfuls over the top of the filling.
Bake about 30 minutes, or until set. Transfer to wire rack.
To decorate with drizzled chocolate, place chocolate in a sandwich bag on a microwave safe dish and microwave in 30 second intervals moving the chocolate around between. Using scissors, cut the very tip off the sandwich bag. The smaller your cut, the smalled the drizzle. I skipped this step...it didn't seem necessary. Okay, I was just being lazy.
Using the edges of the parchment paper, remove bars from pan. Cut into bars and serve.
A couple of things:
1. This recipe is easily doubled.
2. You can make the crust ahead of time.
3. You can make the cookie dough a head of time too.
4. I wouldn't recommend making the cheesecake part ahead of time because it would have to be refrigerated and you'll need it at room temperature to pour over the crust.
If I've said it once, I've said it, well, I've said it a lot.
I love bread. If I were stranded on a desert island and could only take three food items they would be bread, fries, and chocolate. What can I say? I love my carbs.
I've made this particular bread a few times now and it is quickly becoming a family favorite. The recipe makes 2-3 loaves and it rarely lasts us more than a day or two. The "mama" referred to in the name of the recipe is not my mama. It actually refers to Paula Deen's grandmother. This is her recipe and you can find it in Paula's book Paula Deen's The Dean Family Cookbook.
This bread is soft, but not squishy. It's a bit tangy and oh so flavorful. It's great by itself or with butter alone or with jam. You can use it for sandwiches and it makes fantastic toast. Unfortunately, it is not a recipe for the impatient. It takes at least 2 days to make. Yes...two days
but it is oh so worth it!
To begin, you have to make a starter that sits for 24 hours. Once you make this, you only use a bit of it. According to Paula if you keep feeding the remaining starter it will last for years. The first time I made it the starter definitely did not last for years. By the time I used it for my last loaf the dough barely rose (yeast is added only to the starter). I ended up tossing it. I just made some more so I'm not sure how long this batch will last. A long time, I hope.
I do know how long the loaves last -- not long at all. In fact, I only have a few slices left of my last batch. I'm going to have to whip up some more soon.
If you give this recipe I try, I promise it will not disappoint and you too will find yourself longing for it. I just hope you remember to pack it when you head out to your own desert island.
Enjoy!Mama's Old-Fashioned White BreadStarter
2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast (or on 1/4-ounce package)
2 1/2 cups warm water
1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes
1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons salt (since salt inhibits the growth of yeast, I left this out)
In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in water. Add the potato flakes, sugar and salt. Stir to combine. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave out at room temperature for 24 hours.For the Bread
1 cup starter (refrigerate remaining starter)
1 1/2 cups water
6 cups bread four (more or less, as needed)
1/2 cup corn oil (I've used olive or canola)
1/2 cup sugar (I usually use honey)
1 tablespoon salt (if you omit the salt in the starter, you may want to add a touch more here)
Mix the starter and the water together. Add the flour,oil, sugar, and salt. Knead once or twice in the bowl then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until a stiff dough forms (add more flour by the quarter cupful if necessary). Place the dough in a greased bowl. Brush the top with more oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Leave dough out at room temperature for 6-8 hours, until it has tripled in size.
Lightly grease three 9 X 5-inch bread pans. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into three equal pieces. Knead each piece once or twice, form into a loaf, and place in the prepared pans. Brush the tops with oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Leave out at room temperature for 6-8 hours or until dough has again tripled in size. The dough will be puffed over the tops of the pans.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the loaves for 25-30 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer comes to 190 degrees. (I always take my bread's temperature. It's the most accurate way to make sure it's done.) Gently turn out bread. Allow to cool. Cut into thick slices and serve.
To Feed Starter: combine 1 cup water with 3/4 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons potato flakes and stir into the starter. The starter will keep for years if you feed it regularly and keep it refrigerated.
I can't believe how long it's been since I've been here. I hope you didn't give up on me! I'm not sure why, but I just haven't been baking much lately. It may be because I've been trying to lose a few pounds and me in a room full of baked goods is like a moth and a flame. I can't stay away. It's only been in the last couple of weeks that I've felt that familiar desire to get in my kitchen and start baking. Ah...it felt good. I think I may have forgotten how much I love it.
The other night I found myself alone with my 2 1/2-year-old and wanting to do something fun with her, I pulled out a chocolate chip cookie recipe I wanted to try. I think I may have found my new love! I know a while ago, I made the cookies from Cooks' Illustrated and I really liked them...but let's face it. Those are too complicated. I've never bothered to make them again. This recipe is actually a bit similar since it uses melted butter but it is much easier to make. Trust me -- if I was going to make them with my daughter, it had to be easy! The result is a nice, thick cookie that is soft but still has some body to it. The crisp outside edge make them good for dunking, but they're soft enough to skip that part if, like me, you aren't a dunker. Just be sure not to overbake or you won't get the same consistency and texture. They'll still be good -- only crunchy.
You can never have too many diamonds (not that I would know about that) or chocolate chip cookie recipes and this one is definitely worth adding to you collection.Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Stressed Spelled Backwards who got it from Lovin' From the Oven)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I also added 1 cup pecans)
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
4. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
I love homemade rolls, especially on special occasions like Easter. I never make them though because with everything else that needs to be done, mixing and kneading dough falls by the wayside. Luckily, I found this recipe for overnight rolls in the April 2010 issue of Cooking Light magazine
These rolls are easy to throw together at night. You don't even have to let to let it rise before putting it in the refrigerator. The recipe calls for these rolls to be flavored with thyme and Paremigiano-Reggiano cheese. I followed the recipe, but you could probably flavor them anyway you want.
I got lots of complements on these rolls. They were very popular at our Easter table and before we ate when they were still in the oven and filled the house with delicious smells! I thought they were really good too but needed a touch more salt. I would probably add a whole teaspoon next time. I also forgot the black pepper which I think would have added a lot to them. The recipe also called for the dough to be rolled up and cut but I just rolled them into balls. They didn't rise much and they looked a little flat but they were very flavorful so I didn't worry too much about that. Rolling them may have given them a bit more volume, but I didn't feel it was necessary.
No-Knead Overnight Parmesan and Thyme Rolls
Makes 8 rolls...I tripled the recipe.
1/2 teaspoon dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grated Parmigiane-Reggiano cheese, divided
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (I would use a full teaspoon)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1.1 ounce (about 1/4 cup) whole-wheat white flour
5.6 ounces (about 1 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl. Let stand 5 minutes, until bubbly.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add thyme and cook one minute, until bubbly and fragrant. Add thyme mixture and milk to yeast. Stir with a whisk. Add 1/4 cup cheese, sugar, salt, and egg. Stir well.
Stir all of the whole wheat into mixture. Stir in 4.5 ounces of the all-purpose flour into the mixture. Stir well. Add enough of the remaining AP flour, one tablespoon at a time, to form a smooth but very sticky dough. Place dough in a bowl coated with cooking spray. Turn to coat top of dough.
Cover and refrigerate overnight. The dough will not double in size.
Remove dough from refrigerator. Do not punch down. Turn dough out onto a floured surface., sprinkle the dough lightly with flour.
Roll dough into a 12 X 7-inch rectangle. Brush with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and black pepper.
Beginning with a long side, roll the dough up, jelly-roll fashion. Pinch seam to seal (do not seal ends). Cut into 8 (1 1/2-inch) slices.
Place slices cut side up on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts for one hour or until the rolls have risen slightly.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place pan in oven and immediately reduce heat to 375 degrees. Bake rolls at 375 degrees for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.