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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies


Who doesn't love to bake cookies on the weekend? They're easy and make the house smell wonderfully and homey.  Everyone in your family (or friends, roommates, neighbors--whatever your case may be) comes running as soon as the smell of butter, sugar, and chocolate fills the kitchen.  These cookies are an especial favorite of mine because they combine two of my favorite flavors all in one cookie:  chocolate and peanut butter AND toasted pecans.  While a lot of cookies call for nuts and you might just glance at this with a "huh, so what" there is something about toasting the pecans that gives this cookie an added depth of flavor. Toasting the pecans brings out their flavor and gives them an added sweetness and depth that you would not get if you just threw them in plain while you were mixing in the rest of the ingredients. So take the extra few minutes and do not omit this step and you'll be treated to a delicious cookie with bites of pecan, creamy peanut butter, and delicious chocolate.  Just use me as a cautionary tale and make sure you set your timer and check on your pecans as I have burned many a pan.  They can go from untoasted to charred in the blink of an eye and your kitchen will go from smelling beautifully to a smoke-filled acrid mess.

Anyway, here is the recipe and happy weekend everyone!


Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 Tbs. milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans, toasted (see note)
1 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions:


Note:  To toast the pecans, place on a baking sheet in a 350-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Watch carefully that they do not burn.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugars until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Add the egg, milk, and vanilla, and beat well.  Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Stir in the pecans peanut butter chips, and chocolate chips.  Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Cool the cookies on the sheets for 5 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack and cool completely.

Adapted from More from Magnolia





Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Meyer Lemon and Mixed Berry Muffins


I was excited to find Meyer lemons on sale at the grocery store this week.  I've been seeing lemon recipes popping up on a lot of the blogs that I peruse regularly and there is nothing that I love more than a good lemon recipe.  Its that time of year when citrus is in abundance and I have a stack of new citrus recipes that I'm itching to try.  When I saw Meyer lemons at our local grocery store, I was very pleasantly surprised as they are hard to find around where I live.  Usually I have to go to Trader Joe's or Whole Foods.  If you are unfamiliar with them, they are sort of a cross between a lemon and orange with a sweeter, less tart taste than a regular lemon.  They are delicious to use in baking.  Meyer lemons are in season during the winter months so now is my time to dust off the stack of recipes I've been saving for the past year.

While this muffin recipe was originally made with regular lemon juice, I thought it was especially good made with the Meyer lemons.  I used both zest and freshly squeezed juice and it was such a nice combination with the berries.  You can use your favorite berry with this muffin and either fresh or frozen works for this recipe.  I just happened to have a bag of frozen mixed berries from Trader Joe's in the freezer so I used that and really liked the results of having raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries in this muffin.  Yum!  The turbinado sugar added a nice little crunch topping and some added sweetness to the top.

Meyer Lemon and Mixed Berry Muffins

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 salt
1-2 Tbs. freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice or 1 Tbs. regular lemon juice
2 eggs
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup milk
6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbs. finely grated Meyer lemon zest or regular lemon zest
1 cup frozen mixed berries or any combination of your favorite fresh or frozen berry, such as raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries.
Turbinado sugar, optional

Instructions:
Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F.  Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and brown sugar until blended.  Whisk in the milk, butter and lemon zest.  Add in the egg mixture to the flour mixture and, using a rubber spatula, stir until just evenly moistened.  Gently fold in the berries until just evenly distributed.  Do not over mix.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins,  filling them nearly full.  Sprinkle the muffins with turbinado sugar.  Bake until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 15 to 18 minutes.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes, then turn the muffins out onto the rack.  Let cool briefly and serve.

Adapted from Williams and Sonoma

Monday, February 21, 2011

Chocolate Whoopie Pies


I have most definitely jumped on the whoopie pie bandwagon.  What's not to love about these handy little sandwich treats where you get cake and filling all in one? The sky's the limit for combinations of cake and filling variations too.  My family moved from Florida to Pennsylvania when I was a kid and that was the first time I ever encountered a whoopie pie.  Obviously it made an impression.  The kind I remember having back then were like the recipe here today, the only difference is that I've switched out the more traditional whipped vanilla filling and filled mine with a cream cheese icing. My apologies to any whoopie purists out there.  I gave some of these to my Dad and his friends who were out playing golf and they kindly served as my taste-testers.  Its always great to get feedback before posting a new recipe but I think with this recipe you really can't go wrong.  The chocolate cake is enhanced with a tiny bit of espresso powder and hot coffee which is such a good combination with chocolate. I thought this rich chocolate cake was a good combination with the cream cheese filling.  The recipes for both come from one of my favorite cookbooks at the moment, Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented.  The authors, Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito have really created a treasure trove of favorite American desserts and every one I've tried has been delicious.

Chocolate Whoopie Pies

Ingredients:


For the Chocolate Cookies:
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. instant espresso powder
1/2 cup hot coffee
1/2 cup hot water
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk, shaken

For the Cream Cheese Filling:
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

Instructions:


For the Chocolate Cookies:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and set aside.

In another large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and espresso powder.  Add the hot coffee and 1/2 cup hot water and whisk until both powders are completely dissolved.

In a medium bowl, stir the brown sugar and oil together.  Add this to the cocoa mixture and whisk until combined.  Add the egg, vanilla, and buttermilk and whisk until smooth.

Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.  Make sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as you fold.

Use a small ice cream scoop or a tablespoon to drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto the baking sheets about 1 inch apart.  Bake for 10 to 15 minute until the cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean. Be careful not to let these over bake.  Mine didn't even need to bake for 10 minutes so make sure you keep an eye on them. Let the cookies cool completely on the pan while you make the cream cheese frosting.


For the Cream Cheese Filling:
Sift the powdered sugar into a medium bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until it is completely smooth. Add the cream cheese and beat until combined.

Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt and beat until smooth.  Be careful not to overbeat the filling or it will lose structure.  The filling can be made 1 day ahead.

To assemble the whoopie pies, turn half of the cooled cookies upside down (flat side facing up).  Use an ice cream scoop or a tablespoon to drop a large dollop of filling onto the flat side of the cookie.  Place another cookie, flat side down, on top of the filling.  Press down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edges of the cookie.

Adapted from Baked Explorations








Friday, February 18, 2011

French Fridays with Dorie: Pancetta Green Beans


This week's recipe very easy and straightforward which was welcome after the multi-step process of making the tart last week.  The group was making sauteed green beans with crisp pancetta and boy, was it another winner from this great cookbook.  Green beans are briefly boiled in salted water, then plunged into an ice bath to stop the cooking process.  Then they are sauteed with pancetta and butter and seasoned with salt and pepper.  See? What could be easier than that? This would be a great side with chicken or steaks but in my case it was my lunch as the crisp green beans and the smell of bacon were calling my name. :)  Dorie says that leftovers could be served as a salad with a splash of lemon or sherry vinegar, but silly Dorie, there will never be leftovers with this recipe.  Its impossible to not eat the entire thing right away!

I'm so glad I joined French Fridays with Dorie and really look forward to the new recipe each week.  So far, I'm 2 for 2 as far as loving both recipes that I've made and putting them in the "I will make this again" category.

To see more green bean goodness see posts from the other members here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dad's Favorite Chocolate Cake


If you decide to make this cake prepare to take a long nap after you eat it because it is rich! When you think of old-fashioned American style chocolate cake, this recipe should spring to your mind.  This dense, chocolaty 2- layer cake is iced with an icing that is kind of a cross between a ganache and a buttercream. The recipe calls for a 1/2 cup of hot coffee for the cake which you can't taste but definitely enhances the flavor and helps keep the cake moist. Heavenly!  A few years ago I was searching for a great chocolate cake recipe to make for a friend's birthday and thankfully I stumbled upon this puppy.  I have been making it ever since and its a crowd-pleaser every time!  My husband and father are particular fans.  Make this for the chocolate lover in your life!

Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:


1 1/2 cups good unsweetened cocoa powder (plus more for dusting)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup strong coffee, still hot

Instructions:

Butter the bottoms and sides of 2 9-inch cake pans.  Flour the pans or line with parchment paper.  I always use a baker's spray that contains both grease and flour such as Baker's Joy or Baking Pam.  Dust the pans with a few tablespoons of cocoa powder, shaking out the excess.  Coat the bottoms and sides completely.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift together the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Place in the bowl for your mixer.  Add the sugars to this and mix these dry ingredients together lightly.  One at a time, with the mixer going on very low, add the buttermilk, vegetable oil, eggs, extract, and finally the water and coffee.  Mix together on low for 2 minutes.

Pour the batter between your 2 pans.  Bake for about 30 minutes but check at 25.  An inserted toothpick should come out clean when the cakes are done.  Let the cakes cool in their pans for 30 minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  After the cake has cooled, frost and serve.  This will make 2 very tall layers and will serve at least 10-12.

Chocolate Ganache Buttercream Frosting


Ingredients:

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 12-oz bags semi-sweet chocolate chips, or chopped bars of chocolate
2 cups of powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:


In a small saucepan, stir together the cream, corn syrup and 1 stick of butter over medium low heat until the butter melts and the mixture barely comes to a simmer.  Place the chocolate chips in a large bowl and pour in the hot cream.  Stir until the chocolate is completely melted.  Let this cool.

Using an electric mixer, cream together the remaining stick of butter and powdered sugar.  Once this is smooth, beat in the vanilla extract.  Once the chocolate ganache is cooled (enough so that it is mildly  warm but not hot) pour it into the mixer and whisk on medium speed until thoroughly combined.  Do not over mix this as the frosting can become grainy.  This frosting is thin, but let it sit for a few minutes and it will thicken up, or place it in the refrigerator for 5 minutes.  The frosting will harden if refrigerated too long but can be stirred together again before using to loosen the consistency.

Adapted from Chez Megane adapted from baking911.com and Martha Stewart

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Its a Major Award! (Name that Movie)


One of the things I have most enjoyed about blogging is getting to meet other bloggers out there from all over the world who share the same interests and passion for cooking that I do.  People have been so nice and encouraging and it has really been a blast. Allison over at the blog, French Whisk was sweet enough to honor me with this blog award.

The only rule for this award is to pass it along and notify the winning blogs!  So my blog choices are:

Sarah at http://burdfeeder.blogspot.com/

Briarrose at Flour Dusted

Marcie and Katelyn at The Ladies at Bake

Jennifer at My Morning Chocolate

Congratulations Ladies!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Strawberry Streusel Muffins


This is one of my favorite muffin recipes ever!  I don't know why strawberries aren't as popular as blueberries in muffins but after making this recipe, I definitely think they should be.  The fresh strawberries help keep the muffins light and moist and then a little lemon zest is thrown in for added flavor.  The muffin is then topped with a glorious cinnamon pecan streusel.  Florida strawberries were on sale this week at the grocery store, and as a Florida native, I always feel like I need to support my home state by buying some Plant City, FL strawberries.  These muffins were the first thing that came to mind to bake.  I'm glad we have strawberry season to look forward to as I will be making these many more times this year!

Strawberry Steusel Muffins


Ingredients:


Streusel Topping:
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (or walnuts), 


Muffins:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cups light brown sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. grated lemon zest (you can also use orange zest)
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups diced strawberries

Instructions:


For the Topping:  
Mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl or workbowl of a food processor; add butter.  If mixing by hand, use fingertips, a pastry blender, or 2 forks to blend the fat into dry ingredients until mixture looks like coarse irregular crumbs, with no visible lumps of fat.  If mixing in a food processor, pulse about 10 times, then process 5 to 10 seconds, until there are no visible lumps or fat; stir in nuts and set aside.

For the Muffins:
Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat to 400 degrees.  Lightly grease the top surface of 1 to 2 12- cup muffin pan and then add muffin liners.  The recipe says that it makes a dozen muffins but I got about 15 from it so you may want to prepare more than one pan.

Whisk 2 1/2 cups flour with baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together brown sugar, oil, lemon zest, and egg;  whisk in buttermilk and vanilla.  Gently whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients to partially blend.  Continue mixing batter with a rubber spatula, making sure that ingredients at the bottom are incorporated into batter;  fold in the strawberries.

Fill muffin tins to the brim.  This will give you that nice domed muffin that you see in the picture.  Sprinkle a portion of streusel topping over batter in each muffin cup.

Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees;  reduce heat to 350 degrees and then bake until muffins are golden brown and spring back when lightly pressed with fingertips, about 10 to 12 minutes more.  Let muffins cool in pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Adapted from A Singleton in the Kitchen originally from Cook's Illustrated


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Red Velvet Pancakes


What could be more perfect for a Valentine's weekend breakfast than red velvet pancakes?  We made these for the first time last year and they are so good and festive-- not to mention easy to make.  These are basically buttermilk pancakes with a hint of cocoa and a little red food coloring.  They are great served with maple syrup and fresh berries but if you want to be especially sinful, I think they would be delicious served with chocolate syrup.  It is Valentine's Day after all!

I had a few mishaps getting my heart shaped pancakes to turn out and after several wonky pancakes, I figured out that the easiest way to pour these is to use a small glass measuring cup with a spout.  Pour the batter into the measuring cup and then free form pour a heart shaped pancake on your griddle or frying pan.  You can control the flow of the batter that way.

Red Velvet Pancakes

Ingredients:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp. melted butter or vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 tsp red food coloring

Instructions:
Preheat a lightly greased or nonstick skillet on the stove-top.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  Add in egg, melted butter or oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and food coloring and whisk well until batter is smooth and very few lumps remain.

Drop the batter onto the hot skillet in heart shapes using measuring cup, or a spoon or heart-shaped mold- and cooked until edges start to set and bottom is lightly browned.  These cook fast so be sure to watch closely.  Turn once, and cook until bottom is lightly browned.  Serve immediately.

Serves 2-3.

Adapted from Baking Bites

Friday, February 11, 2011

French Fridays with Dorie: Orange- Almond Tart


This is my first week cooking along with the online group, "French Friday's with Dorie" where we cook through Dorie Greenspan's amazing new cookbook, Around my French Table. For those of you not familiar with the wonderful Dorie Greenspan, you can read more about her here.  Her cookbooks really teach you how to cook and take the time to explain each complicated step so you are not left hanging if you are whipping up a multi-step layer cake or a complicated French pastry.  I was very excited to hear that she had released a cookbook on French cooking because I knew she, if anyone, would be able to walk me through it in a way that would not end in dismal failure! My sweet husband gave me her cookbook for Christmas and so here I am baking my first recipe out of the book, Dorie's Orange Almond Tart.

I relied heavily on my food processor for this one and, again, thanks to Dorie, explaining in-depth what each step should look like, I have a successful tart! This tart uses a sweet crust dough called a pate sablee which basically tastes like a sugar cookie.  You then make an almond cream filling using almond flour, butter and sugar and process that until it forms a sort of paste.  Finally, you layer orange slices on top and bake.  I think this tart would be really good with all different sorts of fruit- especially any type of tart fruit to contrast with the sweetness of the filling and crust.  The almond cream was absolutely delicious, especially when pared with the pate sablee.  I admit, if I were just looking at this recipe, I probably would have just skipped on by it but I'm so glad I was required to make it by being in the group.  Its wonderful and something totally different for me to bake.  I had a lot of fun going through the various steps and watching the tart come together.

I'm looking forward to cooking my way through this book with the rest of the group. Check out some of the other's adventures in tart making here. If you want to join the group and cook along with us click here.  All you need is a copy of the book to begin!

A special thanks to my Dad who found the almond flour for me!  I had no luck finding it in my local grocery stores so he brought it back for me when he was out traveling on business this week and found it at Wegmans! Yay Dad! 


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Valentine M&M Chocolate Cookies



I love these cookies! I found this recipe on one of my favorite cooking blogs, bakingbites.com and they have quickly risen to become one of my favorite cookies to bake.  They are so chocolaty-- kind of a brownie but in a crunchy cookie form.  It also doesn't hurt that they are filled with M&M's and mini chocolate chips. How can you go wrong with 3 types of chocolate in one cookie? I usually switch out the seasonal M&M's and make these for fall, Christmas, Easter, etc. but I think they look especially pretty with the Valentine colors.  These are very easy to make and are great for a mid-week treat!

Valentine M&M Chocolate Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup of butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups Valentine M&M's (or whatever colors you prefer)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a mixing bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla.  In a separate bowl sift flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa.  Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and blend until smooth.  Stir in M&M's and mini chocolate chips.

Drop dough on ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 9-11 minutes.  Do not over bake! The cookies will appear just set.  Cool on sheet for 2 minutes and remove to a wire rack to cool.

Recipe makes about 3 dozen.

Adapted from bakingbites.com

Monday, February 7, 2011

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies


I am loving baking from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook right now and the picture in the book of this beautiful 3-layer dessert was the reason I bought the cookbook in the first place.  I’m a sucker for frilly pink desserts—what can I say?  Luckily, this tasted even better than I’d hoped and I know its one that I will make over and over again.  With Valentine’s Day coming up, I thought I’d share this recipe so you could share this with your significant others, loved ones, friends, relatives, co-workers, or whatever and they will love you forever!
This dessert starts with a fudgy brownie layer, followed by a silky cheesecake layer and then as if that is not rich enough, it’s topped off with a layer of sweetened raspberry whipped cream. Heavenly! I adapted it slightly by using semi-sweet chocolate instead of the bittersweet the recipe called for because that is what I had on hand.  I also added a pinch of salt to both the brownie batter and the cheesecake batter and thought it enhanced the flavor of both.


Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease and flour a 9x13 baking pan or line with parchment paper.

Ingredients:

Brownie Layer:

6 ½ oz. bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped (I used semi-sweet because that is what I had on hand and it worked fine, my brownies were just a little sweeter than the original recipe which I happen to like).
1 stick plus 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
3 eggs
1 scant cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt

Cheesecake Layer:
14 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 ¼ cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
Pinch of salt

Raspberry Whipped Cream:
1 ¼ cups whipping cream
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 cup raspberries plus extra to decorate

Instructions:

For the brownie layer:  Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (do not let the base of the bowl touch the water).  Stir until melted and smooth.  Put the butter and sugar in a freestanding mixer with a paddle attachment and beat until all the ingredients are well incorporated.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition. Gradually beat in the flour and pinch of salt, mixing well after each addition, then turn the mixer up to high speed and beat for a little longer until you get a smooth mixture.  Slowly pour in the melted chocolate and mix thoroughly.  Pour into the prepared baking pan and smooth over with a palette knife. 

For the cheesecake layer:  Put the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla and pinch of salt in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment and beat on slow speed until smooth and thick.  Add one egg at a time, while still mixing.  Scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition.  The mixture should be very smooth and creamy.  The mixer can be turned up to a higher speed at the end to make the mix a little lighter and fluffier, but be careful not to overmix, otherwise the cheese will split.  Spoon on top of the brownie base and smooth over with a palette knife.  Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the cheesecake is firm to the touch and light golden around the edges.  In my oven, the cheesecake was done in exactly 30 minutes so make sure not to overcook.  The center should still be pale.  Let cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight if possible.

For the raspberry cream topping:  Put the cream, sugar, and raspberries in an electric mixer with a whisk attachment and beat until firm but not stiff.  Turn the brownies out onto a board and turn right-side up.  Spread the topping evenly over the brownies and decorate with more raspberries. 

Adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hot Bean and Cheese Dip


I can't say enough good things about this dip.  I found this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Annie's Eats a year or so ago and its been a big hit in our house ever since.  This dip is great because you can keep the ingredients on hand and whip it up on the stove top if you have unexpected guests show up or if you just get really really hungry. :)  Don't see the title of "Bean Dip" and think this is boring.  There is a ton of flavor here.  Its creamy from the sour cream and the 2 kinds of cheese and there is a great tang from the jalapeño and the cumin.  Whenever I make it it never stays around for long in our house!  However, this dip is best served warm so serve it immediately or reheat in the microwave if it gets cold.

Hot Bean and Cheese Dip

Ingredients:


1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 onion, minced
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 14.5 oz. can refried beans
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/3 cup cubed cheddar cheese
1/3 cup cubed pepper jack cheese
1 tbsp. sour cream

1.  Heat oil in a pan.  Saute onions and jalapeño for 3 minutes or until softened.

2.  Stir in refried beans.  Cook until smooth, stirring occasionally.

3.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Cook until cheese melts.

4.  Serve hot with tortilla chips.

Adapted from Annie's Eats via  Life's Ambrosia


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Baked Tex-Mex Pimiento Cheese Dip



Its Super Bowl week here at Ryan Bakes and in honor of that great American event I'm going to be rolling out some super dips and treats for you to bring to your football parties.  Because, what is the Super Bowl without chips and dips, right?

First up is this Tex-Mex version of Pimiento Cheese Dip by Southern Living.  Don't you just love Southern Living? Seeing the magazine on my coffee table makes me so nostalgic as it was always on my Mom's coffee table when I was growing up and her Mom's coffee table and it just says home to me.  Anyway, I love their recipes and this dip is delicious as well as beautiful with the green and red flecks of roasted red peppers and jalapeños. Its got that yummy cheesy/ pepper taste like pimiento cheese but with a kick from the jalapeño and the pepper jack. You can serve it with chunks of French bread or Tortilla chips would be good too.  This dip is really easy to put together and makes a ton so its good for a crowd.

Baked Tex-Mex Pimiento Cheese Dip


Ingredients:


1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 of a 12 oz jar roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1 (8 oz.) block extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (8 oz.) block pepper Jack cheese, shredded
Garnish: fresh cilantro leaves or more chopped green onions
Serve with: French bread cubes or Tortilla chips

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Stir together the first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in cheeses.  Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 2-qt. baking dish.

2.  Bake at 350 F.  for 20 to 25 minutes or until dip is golden and bubbly.  Garnish with cilantro or more green onions, if desired.  Serve with French bread or Tortilla chips.

Adapted from Southern Living Magazine


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