Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cookie Carnival—Chiquita Banana Breakfast Cookie

Cookie Carnival

I finally got on the ball and made the Cookie Carnival recipe for this month.  You can join in the fun, too.  Just click here!

We had the choice of two cookies this month, these Chiquita Banana Breakfast Cookies or some Apple Butter Cookies from the Food Network Canada website.  I really wanted to make both, but this month has gotten away from me.  I wanted to make the Apple Butter Cookies and use the peach butter I recently made instead.  I still might make them soon.

IMG_3758

Since I seem to always have overripe bananas on the counter, I decided to make the banana cookies.  I felt that the Chiquita website posting for this recipe was missing a few things, but it wasn’t too big of a deal.  There is supposed to be shredded carrots in the recipe, but it doesn’t say when to add them.  And I felt like they were totally unnecessary to the recipe.  I love carrot cake and muffins and such, but the carrots in these cookies just didn’t seem like they belonged.  The recipe calls for 1/2 cup carrots, but I only put 1/4 cup.  Rebel me, I know.

The recipe includes raisins, but that also just wasn’t going to happen as I knew certain people around here wouldn’t eat them if they had raisins.  So mini chocolate chips it was!  These cookies are spiced up with some cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg, which I found to be a noticeable taste and actually liked.  I know that bananas make things moist and these were definitely that.  The flavor is great, so I don’t mind a very soft, flat, moist cookie. 

I didn’t even realize these were meant to be breakfast cookies until I sat down to start writing the post and with all the goodness in them, I can see why they would work perfectly as a quick breakfast.  We’ve just been enjoying them for snacks.  They have whole wheat flour, oats, bananas, carrots, walnuts—and an egg—all wholesome things.  Just don’t look at the butter, sugar and chocolate. ;)  No, really, it’s not bad.

I think these were a great way to use up some of those overripe bananas I always have on the counter!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Caramel-Banana Muffins

IMG_3596

Months ago, while waiting in line at a checkout counter, I saw some muffins on the cover of Midwest Living Magazine (Jan. 2010.  Speaking of the Midwest, we used to live there.  We miss it.) and of course they caught my eye because they were banana muffins.  I was also drawn to the dripping caramel that was oozing down the side of the muffin.

These muffins were SO good.  So good in fact that the evening I made them, each of the boys ate two.  They aren’t super strong on banana flavor, I wonder if I didn’t tell some people they were banana muffins if they’d even know.  This is a good thing, I think, as there just seems to be some people who don’t like the delicious banana.  There is cream cheese in the batter as well as some butter, which I thought added some great flavor to these muffins.  I may play around with the recipe and try a few other things with a few of the same thing.  These are totally worth making when you have an overripe banana sitting around!

Caramel-Banana Muffins, adapted from Midwest Living Magazine, Jan. 2010, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

1/2 cup chopped pecans

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 ounces cream cheese, softened (I used the 1/3 less fat kind)

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 medium banana, peeled and mashed (1/2 cup)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour (150 grams)

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons caramel-flavored ice cream topping, plus more for drizzling is optional

1 medium banana (not too ripe), thinly sliced (optional) I only put banana slices on a few.

Line 12 muffins cups with paper liners (I only got 11.)   Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a small bowl, mix chopped pecans, the 2 tablespoons of sugar and the cinnamon.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer until well combined, 2-3 minutes.  Add egg and beat well.  Scrape sides of bowl.  Beat in the mashed banana and vanilla until combined.

In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add to the banana mixture, beating on low speed until just combined.

Stir 1/4 cup of the pecan mixture into the batter with a spatula.  Spoon half the batter into the prepared muffin cups, about 1 good tablespoons for each cup.  Drizzle  1/2 teaspoon caramel topping over batter in each cup.  Top with remaining batter.  Sprinkle with remaining pecan mixture. 

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes.  Remove muffins from pan and allow to cool another 5-10 minutes.  Serve warm with banana slices and more caramel topping, if desired.  (The boys thought they were great as is.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

TWD—Tarte Fine

Our recipe for TWD this week for Tarte Fine (page 315) was chosen by the lovely Leslie of Lethally Delicious.  Thank you, Leslie.  What a great, easy, fine-tasting recipe this was. 

IMG_3535

Puff Pastry, I love you. (I used Pepperidge Farms, that’s all I can find around these parts.)  Dangerous love—lethal, let’s say. ;)  Really, the problem I have with it is that it isn’t filling at all, so it’s easy to eat too much.  Especially when it just has some thinly sliced apples on it.  Then I find myself reasoning that it’s not bad since all it has is apples.    Enough about that. You almost don’t need a recipe.

Thaw some puff pastry.  Lay it out and place thinly sliced apples over the top.  Sprinkle it with a little bit of sugar.  Bake.  Before baking, brush the puff pastry with a little milk and the apples with an egg wash.

When it it finished, gawk at those flaky layers.

IMG_3533

Brush the apples with some apricot jam for a little shine.  Cut the tart in to slices and serve it with a little vanilla ice cream on top.

IMG_3553

Thank you, Leslie.  You can get the recipe for this fine tart on her blog.  I ate more than my fair share.

Coming up this Friday our first recipe for French Friday's With Dorie as we begin cooking and baking from Dorie Greenspan’s new book, Around My French Table.  Here we go!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ghostly Cocoa Puffs Cupcakes

I was recently lucky enough to be asked to come up with a fun Halloween treat idea for Betty Crocker using Big G (General Mills) cereals.  While for some reason I’ve been thinking of ways to make a healthy treat and haven’t quite solidified anything yet, I did make some fun, yummy, spooky (ha) cupcakes that I wanted to share with you.

IMG_3385 

BOO!  Ahhh!

These little ghosts could not have been more simple to make.  First, I used a Betty Crocker French vanilla white cake mix.  I’d never used the French vanilla cake mix before and thought it tasted great.  I was making mini cupcakes for a baby shower I made some treats for, so I used half of the batter for 24 mini cupcakes and made nine regular cupcakes with the rest.  You can adjust what size and how many cupcakes to make for your needs. 

Next I melted some white vanilla almond bark, then with a spoon spread little ghost bodies on a wax paper lined baking sheet.

IMG_3372

Before each ghost hardened, I made their eyes with Cocoa Puffs cereal.  (I tried a mouth on a few of them, but liked them better without.)  Aren’t they cute?  (I like my ghosst and all Halloween things cute rather than scary.)

IMG_3451

Cupcakes, done.  Ghosts, done.  Frosting, coming up.  I was in the mood for chocolate, but of course, you can use any frosting you’d like. 

I recently received The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook so I skimmed the book and decided to make their chocolate buttercream recipe.  I halved the recipe.  You can find the recipe all over the internet.

I frosted the nine regular sized cupcakes and one mini one with the chocolate frosting.  I also took some of the Cocoa Puffs cereal and put them in a plastic zip top bag and crushed them with a rolling pin.  After frosting the cupcakes generously, I dipped each one in the crushed cereal, then stuck one of the ghosts in the top.   How fun would these cupcakes be for a preschool or class party or even just your own little trick-or-treaters?

IMG_3392

Come on, you know you want one of these!  Besides being cute as can be, they were pretty tasty!  Bwahahahaha.  Scare up some Ghostly Cocoa Puff Cupcakes for your little trick-or-treaters.

Ghostly Cocoa Puffs Cucpakes

1 box Betty Crocker cake mix, made according to directions for cupcakes (your choice)

Favorite frosting of your choice

4 ounces vanilla almond bark, melted

1 ½ cups Cocoa Puffs Cereal, crushed (minus enough for ghost eyes)

Make the cake mix according to the directions on the package for cupcakes. Bake and cool on a wire rack. While the cupcakes are baking, melt the almond bark in a microwave safe dish in 30 second intervals. Once melted and smooth, spoon melted almond bark onto a wax paper lined baking sheets and swirl it into ghost shapes. Put two Cocoa Puffs on the ghosts as eyes before it hardens. Put the baking sheet with the ghosts into the refrigerator or freezer to harden. Put the remaining Cocoa Puffs cereal in a plastic zip top bag, seal it and crush them with a hard object, such as a rolling pin. Pour the crush cereal into a bowl.

Once the cupcakes are cooled, frost them generously. Dip each frosted cupcake into the crushed cereal and coat it generously. Place one of the ghosts upright down into each cupcake. Serve.

IMG_3387

Note: *I was invited by General Mills to participate with other bloggers in creating a fun recipe idea for Halloween using select Big G cereals.  I am being compensated with a $50 gift card.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

TWD—Chocolate-Break Muffins

It’s no secret that I don’t drink or use coffee.  So when I saw this week’s chosen recipe for Coffee-Break Muffins (page 15 in Baking From My Home to Yours), I knew exactly what I would do to adapt them and it actually worked great. 

Get ready for it, wait, wait—I used chocolate!  Surprise.  not.  If figured I’d use hot cocoa in place of the coffee.  Try it.  Makes a pretty darn good muffin.  I even used some gingerbread cocoa that I have, which only added well to the spice that is already in the recipe.  Along with the cinnamon in the recipe, I also added a little more ground ginger and a few pinches of freshly grated nutmeg.  So in place of the one cup of coffee, I used the gingerbread hot cocoa mix. 

IMG_3240

I couldn’t stop there with the chocolate, so I added four ounces of chopped Lindt 70% Excellence dark chocolate.  This recipe made 12 regular muffins and four minis.  

IMG_3238

While I thought the muffins were good, I really didn’t think I could eat all of them.  Well, I suppose I COULD, maybe that I shouldn’t eat all of them.  You see, I knew the boys wouldn’t eat them if I said, “Here, have a chocolate gingerbread muffin.”  So I sort of told them a little fib.  First I decided they WOULD eat them if they thought they were cupcakes.  So I called them cupcakes.  But cupcakes need frosting.  So I made a frosting for them. 

I made a chocolate ganache with 4 1/2 ounces of chopped chocolate and 1/3 cup heavy cream.  I pour the  boiling cream over the chocolate and let it sit for a minute, then whisked it together until it was smooth.  I LOVE ganache.  I dipped about half of the “cupcakes” in the ganache, then I thought it would be fun to make frosting with the rest of the ganache.  So I added two tablespoons of butter to the ganache and beat it in the electric mixer for a few minutes, then I added 3/4 cup powdered sugar and let it beat for a few minutes. 

Frosted fake cupcake gingerbread cocoa muffins--

IMG_3250

And the boys ate the cupcakes.  These muffins have a nice kind of crisp outside and are moist and flavorful on the inside.  Want the real recipe?  Rhiani at Chocoholic Anonymous chose this week’s Tuesday’s With Dorie recipe.  You can find the recipe on her blog.  Check out the other TWD blogs and their cupcakes muffins. ;)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Oreo Jack-O-Lantern Pops

Last week Megan at Megan's Cookin' and I were admiring some really cute Oreo in Disguise cookie pops that are dressed up as apples over at Cookies and Cups.  They are really cute and as we chatted about them, we both thought it would be fun to try them out, but make pumpkins/jack-o-lanterns.  The apples are just Oreos on a stick, dipped in red candy melts and a pretzel in the top for the stem.  The pumpkin idea would be just as simple, but with a face frosted on.  A green ribbon is tied to the stem to look like leaves. 

IMG_3269  IMG_3268

I must tell you that while I made the Oreo Pumpkin Pops and for the most part it was fun, making yummy treats really cute looking is just not my forte.  For that same reasoning, I have never attempted cake decorating.  I actually would like to take a few classes someday.  I can’t even swirl frosting on a cupcake and make it look good.

Anyway, these are super easy to make with candy melts.  I did the faces with some fondant icing that comes in a perfect little tube with a small tip.  The boys like these more than I thought they would.  You want to be sure to use Double Stuf Oreos so the stick and pretzel stem fits inside.  I used some Oreos I hadn’t seen before called Heads and Tails.  One side of the cookie is the vanilla cookie and the other side is the traditional chocolate Oreo.

IMG_3399 

You could do these with all kinds of themes-Christmas ornaments, basketballs, baseballs.  What other ideas can you think of?

Check out Megan’s pumpkin Oreos.  If you check and she hasn’t posted hers yet, keep checking.  I can’t wait to see hers.  (I know they’ll look much better than mine, I’ve seen some great sugar cookie decorating she’s done!)  You can also check out the Apple Pops at Cookies and Cups (links are provided above).  Thanks for cookie poppin’ along with me, Megan! ;)

IMG_3271

These would be really cute wrapped individually to give to someone or for a school class party.

IMG_3267  

Sorry about the poor quality of photos (lately that’s me, it seems).  Plus, I didn’t finish these and take pictures until it was late one night.  

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Boston Cream Whoopie Pies

IMG_3204

When I saw these cookies over at Kristan’s super yummy blog, Confessions of a Cookbook Queen, I knew one thing—that I had to make them to see if Kevin liked them.  A few months ago he saw a Boston Cream Pie in a grocery store and thought it looked good and wanted to buy it.  Good thing I was with him—I told him I would not BUY a pie, cake or cookie and that I could MAKE him one.  (I’ve never made a Boston Cream Pie, but that doesn’t stop me!)  I’ve still never made him that pie. 

Then our friend Bob told me that he wants a Boston Cream Pie for his birthday (it’s not until February).  But when I saw these whoopie pies on Kristan’s blog, I knew I had to make them.  They seemed a lot easier than a whole pie (not sure if that’s really the case).  Another thing that helped me decide to make them is while I try not to bake from boxed mixes (and I almost never EAT them), they seem to be what Kevin prefers.  I know, sad isn’t it.  Really.  Sigh.  Anyway, these cookies are made with a yellow cake mix, a box of pudding mix and canned frosting.  Never fear—I did not use canned frosting.  Can’t do it.

Kevin LOVED these.  Most of the boys and Bob liked them, too.  Later that evening, Kevin even said they are up there with his top favorites of things I’ve made.  (I WILL be trying these from scratch.  I haven’t taken the time yet, but will look for a plain whoopie pie recipe.  I know they’re out there.  Maybe I just need to get this new cookbook, Whoopie Pies, a whole cookbook of whoopie pies.  Maybe I’ll just put that on my Amazon wish list.  And if Kevin wants more whoopie pies, I just might get that for my birthday in November.  ;)

I used the cake mix.  And I used the pudding mix for the filling.  That’s good stuff.  Just take a vanilla pudding mix, one cup of milk and one cup of cream and beat it in an electric mixer for a few minutes.  Kinda beats making eggy pastry cream over the stove.  But, shhh, don’t tell certain people I said that.

And for the chocolate on top, I made a super simple, delicious ganache.  Just added some hot cream to some chocolate and let it sit for a minute, then whisked it together until it was perfectly smooth.  I spread it on the cookies after it sat for about an hour.  Perfect!

I made about 12 sandwich cookies and just didn’t feel like scooping anymore.  So I took the remaining batter and spread it in a 9 inch square pan that I lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. 

It made a somewhat thin cake, but I knew it would.  Once it was cooled, I cut it in half, slathered a nice thick layer of the pudding cream on one half, then topped it with the other and spread it with ganache.  Boston Cream Pie, the fast, cheap, easy way.  And what was really important was that Kevin loved it.

IMG_3207 

We sliced this in to four slices.  Kevin felt a little sick (he was full!) thinking about how much of it and two cookies he’d eaten in one day.  I took one bite of it.  I don’t know why, but I do not like eclairs.  This reminded me of them.  Many love eclairs and Boston Cream Pie.  These whoopie pies are a great way to go if you know anyone who loves it, too!

Boston Cream Whoopie Pies, adapted by Katrina at Baking and Boys! from Kristan at Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

For the chocolate ganache:

1 cup (6 ounces) semi sweet chocolate chips (or any chocolate you’d like

1/2 cup heavy cream

Put the cream in a microwave safe glass bowl (or in a small saucepan) and bring to a slight boil.  (If using the microwave, do it in 20-30 second increments, cream boils over quickly and makes a mess!)  Pour the cream over the chocolate that is sitting in a medium sized bowl.  Let sit for one minute.  Beginning in the center, stir together the now melting chocolate and cream, working towards the edge of the bowl.  Keep stirring until the chocolate is smooth and satiny.  Let sit for about an hour—while you make the cookies and filling, by that time, it will be of perfect spreading consistency.      

For the cookies:

1 box yellow cake mix

3 large eggs

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix the cake mix, eggs, water and oil with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined.  Drop by tablespoonfuls (only 6-8 per sheet as they spread) on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for 7-9 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.  Cool cookies for about five minutes on baking sheets, then remove to cooling racks to cool.

For the filling:

1 box (4 servings) vanilla instant pudding (French vanilla would be good, too!)

1 cup milk (I used 2%)

1 cup heavy cream

Beat pudding mix, milk and cream in an electric mixer fitted with wire attachment for 2-3 minutes.  Scrape sides of bowl once during mixing.  Refrigerate until ready to fill cookies.  When cookies are cooled, spread a couple tablespoonfuls on the flat side of one cookie, then top with the flat side of another cookie.

Spread the chocolate ganache over the top of each sandwich cookie.  Serve!  These are best the day they are made, but though the cookie is softer after a day in the fridge, they’ll still be good.  (They should be refrigerated.)

IMG_3213

Sam loved these almost as much as Kevin.  He ate two of the cookies (his and Taylor’s) in one sitting!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

TWD—Spiced Peach Upside-Downer

This cake was supposed to be the Cranberry Upside-Downer for Tuesday’s With Dorie.  Cranberries say holidays to me.  They aren’t quite in season yet.  Plus, I don’t want them to be—I’m still “playing” summer.  It’s supposed to be in the high 80’s all week!

We’ve sure had some great peaches lately.  Kevin’s brother gave us a box of peaches from their tree.  Those were some of the best peaches I’ve ever had.  It’s amazing how much more flavorful fruit is when it comes from homegrown and cared for trees!

IMG_3194

I made this Spiced Peach Upside Cake after Sabrina from Superfluous chose Cranberry Upside-Downer.  With some of the peaches we received from Blaine, I decided to make peach butter.  I’m sorry that I didn’t write down the recipe, which I kind of made up as I went along.  But I did get the gist of the idea from www.pickyourown.org.  Basically, I just peeled and diced 25 peaches or so and put them in the crockpot with about two cups of sugar and some spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.  I left that in the crockpot for the better part of a day.  That evening I took about half the mixture and pureed it in the blender.  I wanted some to be smooth, as a “butter” would be and I wanted some left chunky.  Both made close to a quart each.  The smell throughout the house alone was worth making the peach butter!  In fact, the next morning, I put the pureed butter back in the crockpot just to simmer it some more for the smell alone!  (It tastes great, too!)

Last Friday I was asked to help with a dinner for a neighbor who had a death in their family.  I quickly volunteered to make dessert and a salad.  I made this (pictured above) Spiced Peach Upside Down Cake that day and I sweetened up some cream and whipped it and sent it off to the neighbors.  I almost felt a little bummed (and worried) that I had no idea what the cake tasted like and if it was good or not.  But I was happy with how it looked, so I figured it couldn’t be bad. 

The only 8 inch round pan I had was a springform pan, so I double lined it with foil and proceeded as directed, sort of.  I followed the recipe, but decided to do the top/bottom different.  Instead of melting the butter and cooking the sugar with it, I just melted four tablespoons of butter (six seemed like a lot!) and poured it into the pan.  Then I sprinkled three tablespoons of brown sugar over that.  I sliced up a few peeled peaches and lined those around the pan as well as sprinkled 1/3 cup (instead of 1/4 cup) of toasted chopped pecans around the pan.  Then I also spread one cup of the chunky peach butter over that.  I made the cake batter just as instructed and spread it in the pan.  The cake took 54 minutes to bake, smelled great and came out of the pan beautifully.  I haven’t asked the neighbor if they liked the cake as I thought that was certainly unimportant compared to their family loss. 

But I did keep wondering how it was.  So Monday I caved in and made the cake again.  This time just for fun I made the cake in a six inch pan and three four inch pans that I have. 

IMG_3221

IMG_3225

I forgot to add the chunky peach butter to the six inch cake (bummer!) and will say after tasting both that the cake is definitely better WITH the added spicy peaches.  I only put half a tablespoon or so of melted butter in the bottom of each of the smaller pans and about half a tablespoon of brown sugar.  So I’d like to convince myself that these cakes are much more healthy—that and I used 2% milk instead of whole milk.  Little rebel me.  ;) 

I made some ice cream to go with the cake on Monday.  I wanted to see what the peach butter would be like in an ice cream.  It’s GOOD!

Spiced Peach Butter Ice Cream, by Katrina at Baking and Boys!

3 cups half and half

3/4 cup sugar

pinch salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup spiced peach butter (I used the pureed one)

Heat one cup of half and half on the stove in a saucepan with the sugar and salt, just until the sugar is dissolved.  Whisk together the remaining two cups of half and half, the vanilla and the peach butter in a medium sized bowl.  Pour the heated half and half with the dissolved sugar into the bowl and whisk to combine everything.  In a large bowl, make an ice bath.  Set the bowl with the ice cream mixture into the large bowl with ice water.  Stir the ice cream mixture every few minutes.  It becomes chilled in 10-15 minutes.  Churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Freeze the ice cream in an airtight container.

IMG_3230

This is a great cake with many other fruity possibilities.  I love the bit of tartness in cranberries and will probably make this again when the season is right for it.  You can get the recipe for this cake on Sabrina’s blog (linked above).  Check out the TWD blogroll and see what the other’s have done with this Upside-Downer!

I’ll leave you with a beautiful sunrise we had here the other day!

IMG_3144

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bulls Eye Baking Co. Parchment Paper, Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookies and Brownies

I want to tell you about a company that contacted me to see if I wanted to try their parchment paper and a couple of their baking mixes.  I love the opportunity to review products—especially baking products!

Bulls Eye Baking Co. is a newer company with some great people just trying do and sell what they love—baking products.  I can get behind that. 

IMG_3150  

The parchment paper is unique in that it is marked with bulls eyes—thirteen of them.  You can always bake up a baker’s dozen cookies at a time!  (I suppose you could on any baking sheet, but I thought it was fun and clever to have it marked with a bulls eye for you.)

IMG_3161

The chocolate chip toffee cookie mix was also unique.  You just add softened butter to it but work it in with a fork like you would a pastry dough.

IMG_3159

And then mix in an egg.  The dough turned out perfectly.  (And tasted great, too.)  I liked that this cookie mix is FULL of lots of chocolate chips, two different sizes and tons of toffee.

IMG_3160

I was also pleasantly surprised and happy with how perfectly the cookies baked.

IMG_3165

Did I mention also that the ingredients in the packaged mixes are all natural—no processed stuff-no hydrogenated oils, no high fructose.  And it was so easy to make these that Sam helped and he loved it.  Part of the whole idea and motto behind Bulls Eye Baking Co. is “bake it fun”.   The lines on the parchment are also great for perfect size cutting of treats and they give a great (short) video instruction on their website for how to perfectly fold a piece of parchment to line a loaf pan.  I will be trying that for sure.

IMG_3172

I really liked the chocolate chip toffee cookies!  You might be thinking I would never use a mix and while I rarely do, THIS is the kind I would use and not feel bad about having a few in my pantry to use in an emergency.  The cookie and brownie mixes will not be available on their website until October as they are in the process of relocating, but I think they’d be worth the $5.99 per mix.  To make it more enticing for you to try some of their parchment and mixes, when you order from their website, if you tell them Baking and Boys! sent you, they’ll give you free shipping!

IMG_3181 

The brownies really turned out great as well!  Again, their only ingredients are just what you would use at home, but these really saved time in baking up a quick, yummy treat in no time.  Sam also helped me with the brownies.  These are also packed with lots of chocolate chips.  They came out perfectly fudgy and were a nice sturdy brownie.

IMG_3174

All we added to the brownie mix was some oil (suggested oil is olive, but I was almost out, so I used canola oil), and two eggs.  I would be very tempted to throw in some pecans to this as I’m kind of a nut-in-my-brownies kind of gal, but the boys were sure happy with these.  I was able to make a plateful of cookies and brownies to share with a neighbor who had a death in their family as well as some cookies for another neighbor’s birthday.

IMG_3186

Thank you, Richard from Bulls Eye Baking Co. for letting me try your great cookies and brownies and for the really handy parchment paper.   I think it’s great to support companies like this who are doing something they love and baking it fun!  Check them out.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

TWD—Peanut Butter Crisscrosses and Parker’s 9th Birthday

I do find it amazing how quickly the weeks go by from Tuesday to Tuesday.  Here we are again with another recipe from Dorie Greenspan as we bake our way through Baking From My Home to Yours in our Tuesday's With Dorie group.  This week’s recipe was chosen by Jasmine from Jasmine Cuisine.  She chose Peanut Butter Crisscrosses (page 78). 

Good ol’ classic peanut butter cookies.  I made the full recipe, which makes a lot of cookies.  I only had creamy peanut butter, so that is what I used.  I left out the nutmeg.  And I didn’t have any peanuts to add to the dough.   I made a few dozen cookies with just the recipe (sans peanuts).

IMG_3084

These are good peanut butter cookies.  I only baked them for 10 minutes, not the suggested 12, because I wanted them to be more soft and chewy than crispy.  They are.

With some of the dough, I added about half a cup of semi sweet chocolate chips.  Almost nothing is better than chocolate and peanut butter.  I liked these better than the plain ones.

IMG_3075

With even more of the dough, I decided to add some chopped up Butterfinger Candy Bars.  It worked great with the recent Butterfinger Cookies I made and posted.  I love the texture Butterfingers give to cookies.

IMG_3081

These were my favorite of the cookies.

IMG_3079

Thank you Jasmine, great pick.  You can get the recipe for these peanut butter cookies on her blog.

Guess what, if you haven’t heard?  Dorie has a new cookbook out, Around My French Table.  A new cooking/baking group is starting (October 1).  You can join in, too.  Get a copy of Dorie’s book and cook/bake along with the group, French Friday's with Dorie!

_________________________________________________________________________________

Parker had a birthday and turned 9 years old.  I made him a special breakfast that he likes—Banana/Nutella Crepes.

IMG_3060

Taylor made him a birthday crown.

We all went miniature golfing as a family on Monday for Parker’s birthday.  Since it was Labor Day, it was super crowded and quite the fun time golfing with Sam hitting the ball all crazy and not waiting his turn, but all in all, it was fun.  Later in the evening, after making a steak dinner (Parker LOVES A-1 Steak Sauce!), Parker opened his presents and we had cake and ice cream. 

IMG_3097

IMG_3101 IMG_3102

IMG_3108

I’m loving all these fairly normal, cute, smiley pictures of Parker, since almost always usually goofy in pictures.

IMG_3111

Oh well, it couldn’t last forever.  ;)

For Parker’s big gift, which is what he really wanted, we sent him on a little compass driven scavenger hunt.  Kevin had placed little notes hidden outside with different directions on them and Parker had to use a compass to get to each one, with the final one being under the deck where his new skateboard, helmet and pads were hiding.  It turned out really well.

IMG_3114

IMG_3115

IMG_3116

IMG_3120

Almost there.

IMG_3122 IMG_3124

IMG_3126  IMG_3128

Parker decided he wanted banana cake after he really liked the Banana Caramel Cake I recently made.  So I made Dorie’s Lots of Ways Banana Cake.  I made it pretty plain-no nuts, no coconut, just bananas.  I put a layer of caramel ice cream topping in between the two cake layers.  And I made a Caramel Frosting recipe from Paula Deen that I found on Food Network’s website.  The frosting set up super fast and wasn’t creamy like I wanted it, but it actually tasted pretty good.

IMG_3092 

IMG_3137

Kevin even ate a slice of cake, including the frosting.  He later said it was because it was smothered with chocolate ice cream.

Happy Birthday, Parker!  We love you and are happy you are part of our family!  I love the way you always enjoy life and make the most of everything you do!

IMG_3129