Sunday, July 28, 2013

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

Secret Recipe Club

It is time for The Secret Recipe Club again.  With this post comes my usual excitement for reveal day, but also a bit of sadness.  This will be my last month participating in The Secret Recipe Club.  I am not keeping up with this part of my life anymore and it is time to let it go.

Now,  I want your focus and attention to be on my assigned blog, My Beautiful Disasters.  This fun blog is written by a Casey a high school athlete and aspiring cook.  She makes the most wonderful things for her family and blogs about the food and her family!  I loved reading about their celebrations and the treats they enjoyed.

For my recipe I struggled to make a choice.  Casey's blog is full of all kinds of mouth-watering recipes, but when I saw this recipe for Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies I was drawn in.  My husband DEVOURS anything with peanut butter and chocolate, so I knew this was the right recipe for me.  Plus, I have been crazy busy this month and wanted something that was quick and easy.  This recipe fit the bill by using a brownie mix.

I am typically a brownie purist.  I like dark chocolate flavors without anything adorning the batter.  Simply put, I just want them to taste like chocolate.  These brownies were a nice change, and I will be making them again VERY soon :)  These weren't the most beautiful brownies I have ever made, but they were sure tasty!   I did doctor up the brownie mix with a tablespoon of instant coffee which enhances the chocolate flavor, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and reduced the white sugar to 1/4 cup.  If you wanted a homemade brownie you could make my recipe for Andes Mint Brownies and omit the mints. ENJOY!

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies
Recipe Source: Modified slightly from My Beautiful Disasters

1 brownie recipe prepared, or a box mix prepared according to the instructions
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup white sugar (Casey uses 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
2 Tablespoons flour
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 350 F and prepare an 8x8 or 9x9 pan with butter or cooking spray.

Prepare the brownie recipe or mix, and spread it into the prepared baking dish.

In a separate bowl, combine the peanut butter, sugar, flour and egg until well combined.  Then, drop the mixture by spoonfuls on top of the brownie batter.  Run a knife through the peanut butter to make a swirly design, (mine didn't swirl too well).

Bake 30-35 minutes or according to the package directions until the brownies are set.  Cool and serve.


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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Strawberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Secret Recipe Club

Hooray!  It is Secret Recipe Club time again.  This is such a fun group to be a part of.  My blogging has slowed down significantly over the last year, but I wouldn't miss one of these reveals!

This month I was assigned to Cooking Whims by Megan.  She not only shares recipes, but fun food finds, and her life experiences.  I really enjoyed getting to know her and her family through her blog.  She says, "I am no chef, but I do love to cook and bake and photograph everything under the sun."  She likes to try new recipes and document them on the blog.

When it came time to choose a recipe, I struggled to make just one for my post.  I pondered these Homemade Oatmeal Granola Bars because I have struggled to find a granola bar that I really, truly loved.  I also considered Rosemary Roasted Chicken and Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Burgers.  But, I finally settled on these Strawberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting because fresh strawberries are everywhere right now.


This recipe turned TASTY!!  Honestly, I think you could put cream cheese frosting on cardboard and I would eat it.  But, on top of these moist strawberry cupcakes, the frosting was heavenly.

The cake was sweet, and with a hint of strawberry flavor.  I think I will try upping the strawberries to get a stronger flavor next time, but that was just me.  The rest of my family enjoyed them just as they were.  Megan reminded her readers that this recipe isn't a quick one.  There are multiple steps involved, but, if you choose to make it, you won't be sorry. I kept it all original and didn't change anything.  ENJOY!

Strawberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipe Source: Cooking Whims

Cake:
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 tsp plus 1/8 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup softened butter
3/4 cup pureed strawberries (about 1 cup whole strawberries blended in a mixer or blender)
4 egg whites
1/3 cup milk
5-6 drops of red food coloring if you want a deep pink color

Frosting:
12 oz. cream cheese (1/3 reduced fat), softened
3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350 F and line your cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

Place the dry ingredients into the bowl of your stand mixer and mix for a few seconds on low to combine.  Add the butter and and strawberry puree, mix well until combined on low speed.  Increase the speed to medium and mix for 2-3 minutes of until the mixture is light and fluffy.  It will be very thick at this point.

In a large bowl, combine the egg whites, milk, and food coloring.  Add this mixtures to the flour and strawberry mixture in three parts, make sure to incorporate the each addition well.  Add more food coloring if desired to reach the desired color.

Fill your cupcake liners 3/4 full.


Bake 17-20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool on a cooling rack.

For the frosting, combine the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl.  If you like a sweeter frosting add more sugar 1 tablespoon at a time.  Pipe or use an offset spatula to frost the cupcakes. Top with fresh strawberry slices.
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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Pan Roasted Corn


During the warm summer months I am always trying to find new ways to make corn.  A few years ago I discovered this delicious fresh corn salad and a new way to make creamed corn.  Both dishes have been crowd favorites at family gatherings and potlucks. After seeing a post on Pinterest that instructed how to roast frozen corn in the oven, I decided to start experimenting.

The final product was beyond tasty!  It was sweet, caramelized, and just a tiny bit spicy.  My family loved it, and I think it will be my new summer corn dish.  I can't say enough how much I loved it.  Honestly, I probably would have eaten most of it by myself if my family hadn't been around. Next time you need to make a side dish make this one.  ENJOY!

Pan Roasted Corn
Recipe Source: Jenn 

1 tbl. olive oil
1 tbl. butter
3-4 ears of fresh corn, kernels removed from the ears
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/4 tsp. salt
a sprinkle of cayenne pepper (this is all about your taste here)
pepper to taste
chopped fresh parsley



In a non-stick pan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat.  Add the corn, red onion, garlic, salt, cayenne, and pepper. Allow the liquid to cook out of the mixture, then turn the heat down to medium-low.  Keep on eye on it, because once the liquid cooks out, the corn will burn easily.  Continue cooking until the corn begins to caramelize.  Add the fresh parsley and serve.
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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

Secret Recipe Club

It is time for another round of Secret Recipe Club recipes.  I love doing this every month, because it introduces me to blogs that I wouldn't otherwise see.  This month I was lucky enough to be assigned to Fantastical Sharing of Recipes written by Sarah.  What I love about this blog is that Sarah has a similar take on food as me.  She tries to cook at home and not from packaged meals, but she also cooks what her family loves.  Not everything is the healthiest but she is always trying new recipes and sharing them with her family.



As I started going through her recipes, I found many that I wanted to make.  Her one pot spaghetti looks awesome, and has been pinned for future reference.  I almost went for the cheddar baked potato soup, but the weather here is just too warm for that.  So, finally, I settled on this chocolate chip coffee cake.  I love coffee cakes, and Sarah says "adores," it and it is super easy to make.  I didn't feel the need to make any changes to this recipe.  I left it just as Sarah did.  It was light, with just the right amount of chocolate and cinnamon in every bite.  ENJOY!



Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powders
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips

Cinnamon Sugar Filling/Topping:
Combine in a small bowl and set aside

1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon


Greas an 8 inch square pan and preheat your oven to 350 F

In a bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

In your stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time and continue mixing until the mixture is smooth.  Add the sour cream, and vanilla.

Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. 

Spoon half the batter into your prepared pan.  Sprinkle with half the cinnamon sugar mixture and half the chocolate chips.  Spoon the rest of the batter into the pan and top it with the remainder of chocolate chips and cinnamon mixture.

Bake for 40 minutes and cool to room temperature.


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Cinnamon Baked French Toast


A while ago, my friend Ellie sent me this recipe to try. We used to work together in the same office before I left my job at that company.  At work we always talked food and shared recipes that we had tried.  When I started this blog she gave me ideas and was one of my first blog followers.  She was a huge supporter of me as I chased after my dreams of becoming a teacher.  I knew that when she sent me this recipe it had to be good, because her recipes always are.

I tried it soon after she sent it to me.  I have made it many times since.  But, I never took the time to take pictures and type a post about it.  I knew that it had to be shared because it is the best baked french toast I have ever had.  Finally here I am sharing it with all of you.

This recipe originates from the Pioneer Woman's website.  Now, there is another clue it's good. If the Pioneer Woman makes it, it is good!  The first time I made it, I followed the recipe exactly.  But, then decided to make some changes.  First up, I decided to use my own cinnamon swirl bread to add some more cinnamon swirl flavor.  Second, I used regular milk instead of heavy cream.  I don't usually have heavy cream on hand, and regular milk worked just fine for me.  Finally, I cut the bread portion of the recipe in half, but kept the cinnamon topping recipe intact because my family really, REALLY loved the cinnamon topping.  If you want to see the original recipe it is on Ree Drummond's site.  ENJOY!

Cinnamon Baked French Toast
Recipe Source: shared by Ellie from The Pioneer Woman

1/2 loaf of cinnamon swirl bread or regular french bread, torn into pieces
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups whole milk
3/8 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla

Cinnamon topping
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick cold butter


Grease a 9x9 pan.  Place bread in the pan evenly.

In a bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla.  Pour the egg mixture over the bread.  Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

Next, combine the cinnamon topping ingredients until crumbly.  Place in a baggie and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, pre-heat your oven to 350 F.  Remove the foil from the bread and egg mixture. Spread the cinnamon topping mixture over the top.

Bake for 45 minutes to achieve a custard like texture or 1 hour for a firmer texture.  (The top and sides will be golden brown)


 **If desired, you can sprinkle fresh fruit on top of the bread before the cinnamon topping goes on.

Serve with butter, syrup and powdered sugar.  




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