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Posts Tagged ‘baking’

It’s been forever since I made an entry here. And I’m not even going to and excuses. Life was no crazier than usual. But I’ve been too busy enjoying it to take time to write about it. 😉

The diet / healthy eating / whatever you want to call it has practically gone out the window. I still do a pretty good job of cooking and making lunches for work. But I’ve also been doing a ton of baking.

One of the new recipes I tried out recently was for Oreo Dirt Cake. Hubby just loooooves anything and everything Oreo, and I love trying out new things in the kitchen. So it was a no-brainer. And it was SO YUMMY. I could have just sat down with the pan and a spoon and eaten the entire thing. I’m not sure how I didn’t know about its existence before now.

Oh. Spoiler alert. It’s not really cake. 😉

Ingredients

– One package of Oreo cookies
– Two packages of vanilla instant pudding
– Three cups of milk
– 16 ounces of cool whip
– One cup of confectioner’s sugar
– Eight ounces of cream cheese

Directions

– Place the Oreos in a plastic bag and crush them. The easiest way to crush a large amount of Oreos at one time is to put them in a gallon size plastic bag and crush them by using a rolling pin. Mix the vanilla instant pudding, milk, cool whip and cream cheese until smooth. Slowly add the confectioner’s sugar until well blended.

– Place a layer of crushed Oreos on the bottom of the cake pan. Then alternate layers of the cream cheese mixture and Oreos. Sprinkle Oreos on top for garnish.

So easy.

And even more delicious.

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Vanilla Mug Cake

If you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time, you’ll probably remember that I went through a phase where I was completely addicted to Brownie in a Cup! It started way back when I was dairy-free and yummy dairy-free baked goods were hard to come by. It continued because it’s a delicious brownie that can be made in 60 seconds with ingredients I pretty much always have on hand.

Well last night I wanted cake. But I was home alone with a sleeping toddler. So I thought to myself “If someone was genius enough to figure out a way to make a brownie in a cup in the microwave, I’m sure someone has figured out a way to do the same with cake!” A quick google search revealed that OF COURSE people have figured out how to make cake in a mug in the microwave! Pretty much any variety of cake you could want!

I picked the first one listed here!

2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 large egg
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup granulated sugar
6 tbsp self-rising flour
pinch of salt

Place the butter in a large mug and microwave it for 20-30 seconds until melted. Add the egg and whisk it in with a fork. Stir in the milk, vanilla, and sugar. Add the flour and salt. Beat the batter until smooth. Divide the batter between two mugs. Microwave separately for 1.5-2.5 minutes each until risen and firm.

I didn’t need two cakes (well, let’s be honest – I didn’t need one cake, haha!), so I just made half the recipe. I had some liquid egg on hand, so it was easy for me to get half an egg. If you only want one cake but don’t have liquid egg, I wouldn’t recommend making one cake with a whole egg. Instead, I’d beat the egg in a separate mug/bowl before adding it to the melted butter and just pour in half.

I also didn’t have any self-rising flour. So I used all purpose flour and 1/4 tsp baking powder. My cake rose up wonderfully.

When my cake was done and had cooled for a minute or so, I used a butter knife to loosen it up and popped it out of the mug to cool because I don’t like warm cake. While waiting for it to cool, I made a makeshift icing by smushing together some butter, icing sugar, and milk. No measuring – I just played with it until it looked/tasted right.

And voila! Cake!

It was a little tougher than regular cake. But it served the purpose of being cake when I wanted cake. And it had a great vanilla flavour. I’d definitely make it again!

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Hello 2015 readers!

I’ll spare you the long drawn out “it’s a new year and I’m going to blog more and eat healthier” post because I say it every year, and I never follow through. Instead I’m going to skip straight to a fabulously delicious recipe I made this morning and let you question my sanity when I tell you that these bran muffins are actually AMAZING. They’re seriously so good!

Let’s give credit where credit is due. I found the recipe on Pinterest, and it seems to have originated here on a page called “The Recipe Rebel”. And I definitely plan on perusing through the page some more because this recipe was such a hit! Hopefully the rest of the recipes on the page are as impressive!

Anyway, enough with the suspense!

INGREDIENTS
1¼ cups All-Bran Original cereal
¾ cup milk
3 large overripe bananas
1 egg
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
½ cup chocolate chips, plus additional for top if desired

INSTRUCTIONS
In a large bowl, combine cereal and milk. Let sit 3-4 minutes until soft.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pans with about 16 paper liners.
Add bananas to bowl and mash with a whisk. Whisk in egg, applesauce and brown sugar.
Add flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the bowl. Stir in with a spatula. Stir in chocolate chips.
Ladle into prepared muffin pans and bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes (Mine baked exactly 19 minutes) until a toothpick comes out clean or mostly clean.
Let cool to room temperature (you can dive in before that, but the paper liners are difficult to remove from warm muffins!).

Yield: 16 muffins

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Surprisingly enough, this recipe actually did yield 16 muffins. Sometimes I find that muffin/cookie/cupcake recipes are very unrealistic with their predicted yield. But I used large size muffin pan liners, and this turned out spot on!

And they’re delicious.

Seriously, go make them!

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Tonight I had a craving for something sweet.

I’ve also been reading up on home remedies for increasing your milk supply. I don’t have any reason to think that my supply is necessarily low. But I’d like to get a bit of a stash in the freezer. And having a child who still feeds every three hours around the clock doesn’t leave me with much extra milk for pumping.

The solution to both problems? Oatmeal cookies!

The evidence to support that eating oatmeal (in any form, even cookies!) increases milk production is mostly anecdotal. There are some theories to support the science behind it. But not a whole lot has been proven. Either way, I figured it was worth a shot. If it really did increase my milk supply, well fabulous! If not, hey, I still got to eat cookies! 😉

I just used the Robin Hood Oatmeal Cookies Recipe found on the package of quick oats.

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Ingredients:

¾ cup (175 mL) margarine
¾ cup (175 mL) brown sugar, packed
½ cup (125 mL) sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp (30 mL) water
2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla
¾ cup (175 mL) Robin Hood® All Purpose Flour
¾ tsp (3 mL) baking soda
2 ½ cups (625 mL) Robin Hood® or Old Mill® Oats
1 ½ cups (375 mL) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Cream first 6 ingredients together on medium speed of electric mixer until light and creamy. Combine flour and soda. Add to creamed mixture, beating on low speed until blended. Stir in oats and chocolate chips. Drop dough by heaping spoonfuls onto greased or parchment paper lined baking sheets.
2. Bake at 350ºF (180ºC) for 12-15 minutes, or until light golden. Don’t overbake.

It called for chocolate chips, but I left those out to make them dairy-free. I finely chopped a little unsweetened chocolate and added it in to give them a little taste of chocolate, but they honestly should have gone without it. It was a little bitter for my liking.

Now I’m off to pig out on cookies… umm, I mean “increase my milk supply”. 😉

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This morning marked my attempt at making heart-shaped chocolate chip cookies for my husband for Valentine’s Day. As I stated last night, we don’t ever make a big deal of Valentine’s Day, but I usually always bake him something. Most often it’s a cake or some pretty cupcakes, but this year I decided to make his favorite cookies in heart shapes! This would have been a muuuuch easier task if his favorite cookies were, say, sugar cookies or shortbreads. But, no, they are Nestlé Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies. The only adjustment I make to the original recipe is that I use milk chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet, and I don’t add in the nuts.

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1 cup chopped nuts

Directions

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

If you’ve ever baked chocolate chip cookies, you understand my dilemma – they get all puffy and don’t hold shape very well. Hence, my first batch…

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Epic cookie fail!

So, I gave up on making heart-shaped ones and just made a couple of dozen regular cookies. However, when I got near the end of my dough, I had an idea! I added in some extra flour to make the dough more the consistency of shortbread dough, and I rolled it out as thin as if I was making sugar cookies. I cut that into heart shapes with my cookie cutter. I was a little worried that the top of the heart would rise together and not look like a heart, so I used the handle of a spoon to make the indentation more exaggerated, and popped them in the oven. I watched them very carefully. When they were about half baked, but still a bit gooey, I took them out of the oven for a second and reshaped the tops of the hearts. Again, I used the handle of a spoon to shape out the little indentation at the top. Then put them back in the oven to finish baking. These ones didn’t turn out too bad!

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At least they actually look like hearts!

Now I’ve just got to get them cooled and hidden away in the freezer before hubby sees them, so I can take them out Tuesday morning as a Valentine’s surprise!

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I first saw this recipe on Throwdown with Bobby Flay, and immediately fell in love with it. I’m one of those people who adores the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, and I couldn’t wait to make it myself. I also have a little celeb crush on Bobby Flay – not because I think he’s at all attractive looking, but because I happen to think men who can cook are damn sexy. So I’ve wanted to try a Bobby Flay recipe (any Bobby Flay recipe) for quite some time, just to say I had. This one seemed to be the perfect one! They’re homemade brownies swirled with a homemade peanut butter caramel. YUM!

Bobby Flay’s Peanut Butter Caramel Swirled Brownies

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 6 ounces high-quality unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped, plus 4 ounces
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown muscavado sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

Bring the cream to a simmer over low heat in a small saucepan. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over high heat and cook, without stirring until amber brown. Slowly whisk in the warm cream until smooth and let cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and whisk in the peanut butter, corn syrup, sea salt and 1/8 teaspoon of vanilla extract until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and let cool until thickened at room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Put a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on the narrow ends. Spray the foil and pan with nonstick spray.

Combine the butter, unsweetened chocolate, 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate and espresso powder in a medium bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Let the chocolate melt over low heat, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, both sugars, vanilla and salt until smooth. Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the flour in 2 additions (the batter will be thick). Stir in the remaining 4 ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate.

Scrape half of the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Using a tablespoon, drop dollops of half of the peanut butter caramel every 2 inches over the top of the batter. Carefully add the remaining batter and smooth over the caramel. Smooth the top and dollop the remaining caramel over the top. Use a butter knife to swirl through the batter to get a marbleized effect.

Bake until the top is set but still soft and the edges are puffed and just beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 23 to 25 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center will come out still gooey (be brave!–underbaking the brownies is one of the secrets to their fudgy texture). Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the neatest cuts, refrigerate the pan for about 20 minutes before cutting the brownies. Using the foil, lift the brownie slab out of the pan. Carefully peel off the foil and put the brownie on a large cutting board. With a large sharp knife, cut the brownies into 48 squares.

This is one of very few recipes that I follow almost to the tee. (Usually I make major adjustments or don’t follow a recipe at all.) The only thing I do differently in this particular recipe is omit the espresso powder, because I never have it on hand and can’t be bothered to buy it for just one recipe. They’re still fantastic without it! I also bake them a little longer than recommended. I understand that brownies should be a little soft to give them a gooey texture, but there’s a big difference in gooey brownies and brownie soup! So I add 5-10 minutes to the baking time. And I usually cut them into 32 instead of 48.

Enjoy! 🙂

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Bleh

Today was just one.of.THOSE.days. I woke up feeling grumpy and it has continued throughout the entire day. Ugh.

It’s not entirely without reason. I’ve been waiting to hear back from a job interview that could start me on the road to having a career instead of just having to take a crappy minimum wage job. They were supposed to make a decision and contact the successful candidates this week. Thursday has come and gone without any news, and I’m quickly becoming more and more discouraged. If I don’t get this job (well, actually one of these two jobs because there are two positions), I’m going to have to give in and start applying for crappy unskilled positions. *siiiiiigh*

Due to my major grumpiness, I spent a lot of today in the kitchen. Cooking and baking always makes me feel better. This afternoon I made peanut butter caramel swirl brownies, and I just finished making chicken parm for supper. It was DELISH. Mmmmm. (Recipes and pictures to follow later!)

While my time in the kitchen did help reduce the level of my grumpiness, I’m still not feeling 100% back to normal. So I plan to spend the evening curled up watching TV – which is perfectly fitting since Thursday happens to be the best night of television. First I’ll watch The Big Bang Theory and get my nerdy Shelly fix, and I’ll round out the evening with Grey’s Anatomy. 🙂

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