Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

It's fall here in Utah, we've even had some wintry like weather. I happened across this recipe last week on Our Best Bites website and knew that I needed to make this recipe for our last dessert recipe in National Dessert Month! This recipe went together quickly and it was amazing! Let's just say these loaves didn't last long at our house! I loved that these didn't seem greasy and heavy, they were all around perfect! 


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
2 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup white sugar
6 ounce container vanilla yogurt
3 eggs, slightly beaten
15 ounce can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (plus a few to garnish tops of loaves)
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and spraying two 9x5"-ish loaf pans with baking spray (I love the kind with flour added!). 
When I get flour, I take a spoon and spoon it into the measuring cup, that seems to work well for me and it worked on this recipe just great! Combine the flours, spices, baking powder and soda and salt in a large bowl and set aside. 
In a different bowl (I used my stand mixer) place the brown sugar and white sugar and mix them together until there aren't any clumps of brown sugar. Add yogurt, eggs, pumpkin, oil and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. 
Add your dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until moistened (don't over-mix!). Stir in the chocolate chips (gently!). Then divide batter between your two pans evenly. Garnish with chocolate chips.
Bake for 45-60 minutes. I set my timer for 45 minutes and then checked with a toothpick. There were only a few crumbs and no wet gushy looking stuff on the toothpick, so I knew it was done. If it's not done when you check the first time, just let it bake about 5 minutes longer, check again. Repeat process until the toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs on it. Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes, then gently remove to a wire rack and cool completely.



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Perfectly Amazing Chocolate Cake

This cake recipe comes from Real Mom Kitchen, another cooking blog that I love to read. I made this cake for a family birthday last summer and this last weekend I just knew it would be awesome to make again! This cake is one of the few, including cake mixes, that actually has turned out for me in our oven. We live at a high-ish altitude, so that might be part of why they don't turn out, but I just don't know. This cake is amazing, so chocolaty, and the frosting that goes with it is awesome too!


Perfect Chocolate Cake

2 cups less 2 tablespoons sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa 
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water

I did adjust some of these for high altitude baking, so if you live at an elevation less than 3,000 feet use:

2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and prepare two 9 inch round cake pans. You can grease and flour them, or you can use baking spray with flour, it makes it so much simpler, plus the spray smells so yummy!

Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. 

Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla to the bowl of your stand mixer and combine then add dry ingredients to the wet ones. When everything is mixed well, add the boiling water. Make sure you use a spatula to clean the sides of the bowl and mix again. Pour mixture into prepared pans, it will be really runny, don't worry it'll turn out great!



Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for 10 minutes then remove to wire racks and cool completely.






Frosting

1/2 cup melted butter
2/3 cup cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place cocoa and melted butter in the bowl of your stand mixer, mix until combined. Then you want to add your milk and powdered sugar. You alternate powdered sugar and milk until all of the powdered sugar is in, and the frosting is a good spreading consistency. It seems like a lot of times the recipe calls for way more milk than actually works in the frosting so if you have extra, don't worry! Mix in the vanilla. 

To frost cake: place one layer on your serving dish, frost with a thin layer of frosting. Place the second layer on the top and frost the whole thing with the rest of your frosting.





Wednesday, October 17, 2012

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Bars

This is our 3rd recipe for October's National Dessert Month. I've been having a great time finding and making dessert recipes! I don't think that my family has complained either. Today's recipe is No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Bars.  This is a recipe that I tried when I was able to go to Orson Gygy, an amazing local kitchen store, a fixture really, to meet the awesome bloggers from Our Best Bites. They had amazing samples from their new cookbook, Savoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites.  After one bite I knew that I had to make this recipe. There's a similar recipe floating around Pinterest right now, but this one is better, simply because it's no-bake! These taste just like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, but in a bar shape, you must try them!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Bars
Savoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites by Sara Wells and Kate Jones, pg 187

25 chocolate sandwich cookies, such as Oreo's
1 cup plus 4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 1/2 cups plus 3 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter, divided
1 pound (about 3 1/2 cups) powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 (12 ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips

Make a foil sling in your 9 x 13-inch baking pan by putting foil in it and making sure that the foil extends over the edges of your pan. I have to confess that I didn't do this and it still worked, although I probably wouldn't have ruined the first one if I had done it!

Put the cookies in your food processor, and pulse until finely ground. You can also use a large zip-top bag and crush them with a rolling pin until their crushed into crumbs, this gets rid of extra frustration! Melt the 4 tablespoons of butter and combine with the crumbs until the crumbs are all coated. Press the crumbs into your 9 X 13 pan that you've put the foil in and stick in the refrigerator while you make the peanut butter filling.

Melt the cup of butter. Beat 1 1/2 cups peanut butter, melted butter, and powdered sugar in your stand mixer until they combine into a dough. Add the graham cracker crumbs (you can either buy them as crumbs at the store or make your own in the same manner you made the chocolate layer), mix until combined. Press the peanut butter dough evenly onto the refrigerated chocolate layer.




Next, place 3 tablespoons peanut butter and chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl. Heat in 30-second intervals, make sure to stir in between, until everything's melted and smooth. Pour chocolate over the peanut butter dough layer and spread evenly. Stick the pan into the fridge for 2 hours. When you're ready to cut, simply lift out the foil and use a knife to cut into bars.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Check this out!

Last week we had a special visitor at our bakery.  Si from A Bountiful Kitchen, one of our very favorite food blogs, came in to learn how we make our special cookie for fall—Pumpkin Chocolate Chip (just click to check out her post). 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Gingerbread Cookies

Here's our second dessert recipe for National Dessert month. 

This is a recipe that comes from our summer vacation. We went to Nauvoo, Illinois. Nauvoo is a little pioneer town, and they do things in pioneer ways. There is a little replica of an actual bakery that would have been there in the 1840's and they make cookies to let people sample there using a recipe that would have been used in the 1840's.  MMmmmm, they were soooo good! We had to sample them several times. We couldn't resist buying a little gingerbread boy cookie cutter to make our cookies look the same as they did in Nauvoo. As you can tell from the picture, they turned out really cute! I wasn't sure they would taste the same way when I made them at home, but they were really great! I can't wait to make these again!

Gingerbread Cookies
from www.historicnauvoo.net

2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
2 tsp ginger
3/4 cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup molasses
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup hot water
6 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Mix together cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Set aside. Spray your mixing bowl with cooking spray before adding your ingredients so that the dough will come out more easily when you're ready to roll it our! Cream together oil, eggs, molasses. and sugar in the mixing bowl of your stand mixer. Then add 1/2 cup water (I actually forgot to add this here and was wondering why my dough was so dry, so I added it very last and it did work. So if you mess up like I did, it will still be okay, but I do recommend adding it here!) In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt and the spice mixture you set aside earlier. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mix until combined, you can add more flour if your dough seems too wet. Refrigerate your dough overnight. 

Roll out chilled dough on a floured surface, I like to use this mat. Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. Bake at 350 degrees for 7-8 minutes for soft cookies; 9-10 minutes for crisp cookies. These cookies freeze great! Freezing them actually makes them softer and the flavors of the spices become more pronounced. 


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Root Beer Float Cupcakes

Did you know that October is National Dessert Month???!!! I'm thinking we need to celebrate!

There are two ways you can celebrate National Dessert Month: The first is come in to our store and get some amazing cookies!

The second is to stay right here on our blog. Every week on Wednesday, I will be posting a new dessert recipe that I've tried so you don't have to, I'm nice like that!

This weeks recipe is Root Beer Float Cupcakes. Our daughter had a birthday last week and she requested a Root Beer Cake, but I had no trouble getting her to change her mind and have these instead! I really loved how simple this recipe was. Only two ingredients for the cake part! I was kind of nervous that they wouldn't work, we tend to have problems with our oven getting cakes and things to rise, but they turned out great, and so yummy! I loved this recipe, next I want to try using orange soda and a butter cream frosting to get kind of a Dreamsicle effect.

Root Beer Float Cupcakes
101 Gourmet Cupcakes in 10 Minutes by Wendy Paul pg 101

Cupcakes

1 white cake mix
1 cup root beer

Mix these two items together. Put batter in cupcake liners, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes, when done, cake should spring back when lightly touched. Allow to cool in pan for about 5 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost.



Root Beer Butter Cream Frosting
101 Gourmet Cupcakes in 10 Minutes by Wendy Paul pg 154

1 stick of butter, room temperature
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons milk, depends on how thick you want it
1 tsp root beer flavoring

Place butter in a large mixing bowl, beat for about 30 seconds, or until the butter is light and fluffy. Add your sugar (you should add with the mixer stopped for a smaller mess!), milk and root beer flavoring. Mix the frosting, you want to start out with a slower speed and increase the speed as the frosting gets creamy. I add the milk really slowly, I start with just a splash, then add more as needed to make the frosting the consistency that I want. 

The recipe says that you should get 18-20 cupcakes out of one cake mix, I only got 12, so I grabbed another cake mix that I had, which happened to be French Vanilla flavored and used it also, it worked just as well as the white and I had the 2 dozen cupcakes that I wanted. I also ended up needing triple the frosting to frost them the way I did. Worked out great. Then I took some bendy straws, cut off the top third and poked them into the cupcakes. So cute and simple!