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What do you get when you combine 5 bags of Reese’s, two blocks of dark chocolate, and a jar of peanut butter? This masterpiece.

I made this cake for my brother’s graduation party.  He was a big fan of the Reese’s engulfed in a cookie cookies, but I wanted to make something a little fancier for his party.  Plus I figured you couldn’t go wrong with this many Reese’s, and it looks pretty darn cool.

A neighbor of mine even described it as breathtaking.  I have to say it is pretty funny to hear an 18-year-old guy describe a cake as breathtaking.  So if you want a breathtaking, peanut butter/chocolate overload cake, here it is.

I used Bakerella’s recipe.  While this cake is faster because it is made with cake mix, cutting up and placing all the Reese’s takes a long while.  My biggest suggestion is that you buy the new mini mini Reese’s that come unwrapped in a bag because I can’t imagine how long it would have taken if I had had to unwrap them all.  Also buy 6 bags if you plan on snacking cause I used every single one in the 5 bags (total it made a 2 layer 9-inch cake and 24 cupcakes).

Lately, I have been baking but not blogging so here is a bit of a catch up.

 

 

AMAZING Lemon Macarons!  These were all gone by the next morning.  Once again made using Master the Macaron.  The lemon curd is delicious and makes a ton.  I am going to be pulling the extra lemon curd out of my freezer any day now to make some more lemon macarons.

 

 

 

Red Velvet Cupcakes. These were good, but not great.  While the frosting was amazing, the cake was nothing special.  I have yet to find a really good red velvet cake recipe.  Any suggestions?

 

 

 

 

Baking Samoas Cupcakes with a friend.  I was told these were one of the best cupcakes I had ever made.  They were a delicious and fun interpretation of the girl scout cookie.  My only warning is to be ready for one really sweet cupcake.  The recipe is from Sugar Duchess.  The only change I made was melting milk chocolate chips in the microwave instead of making a chocolate fudge sauce.  Simpler and just as delicious.

Have fun baking!

This is a little late but for Father’s Day I made my dad homemade granola.  I often find store bought granola is too sweet and boring.  I like my granola natural, full of flavor, and full of stuff (nuts, dried fruit, coconut, etc.).  This granola is easy to make and you can make tons at once.  I doubled the recipe and that disappeared in less than a week.  It is the perfect breakfast paired with my mom’s homemade yogurt.

Homemade Granola

Adapted from Bon Appetite June 2010

3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
½ cup unsweetened coconut
3 tablespoons brown sugar
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoon canola oil
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup golden raisins

Note: You can use any mix of nuts or dried fruit that you want just estimate about the amount in the recipe.  Or if you want some really hefty granola throw some extra in.

Preheat oven to 300°.  Mix together oats, pecans, coconut, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.  Heat oil and honey in a saucepan til smooth.  Add honey/oil mixture to oats.  Mix well.  Spread oats out on parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.  Bake until oats turn golden brown (don’t be afraid of some color).  Enjoy! Makes about 5 cups.

Everyone knows the best part of a muffin is the top …  so I only made tops.  Banana bread muffin tops to be exact, and they were delicious.  So delicious that after only five minutes the pan looked like this.

Banana Bread

2 cups sugar

½ cup butter

4 eggs

6 ripe bananas

2 ½ cups flour

1 tsp salt

2 tsp baking soda

1 cup chopped walnuts

Cream together sugar and butter.  Add eggs.  Mix.  Add mashed bananas. Mix. Add all dry ingredients.  Mix.  Stir in nuts.  Bake at 350°.  For muffin tops bake 10-15 minutes.  For 1lb loaf bake 40-45 minutes.

Makes two 1lb loafs or one 1lb loaf and 12 muffin tops.

NOTE: I decreased the amount of butter from the original recipe so when creaming the sugar and butter the mixture will not fully cream, just mix until you no longer see butter clumps.

My macarons came out with feet and lots of them!! Woooh!  For those of you who don’t speak macaron, feet are the ruffly edge at the bottom, and they are kind of a big deal or so I have read.

 

I have to say macarons are the scariest cookie I have made.  Reading about them almost frightened me out of making them. They are also the cookie that involves the most waiting. Waiting for the eggs to age … waiting for the shells to develop a film before baking … waiting for them to be refrigerated for 24 hours before eating.  I have to admit I couldn’t wait that long to eat them and props to anyone who can wait that long.  Anyone who is considering making them, but is worried just do it!! They are delicious.  While my macarons look nothing like the perfect ones you buy in stores (just look at the really tiny ones below), they were tasty, and I had to stop myself from eating all of them.

 

I used the chocolate macaron recipe in Master the Macaron.   This is a really helpful intro to macarons.  Next I am going to try the lemon ones.

 

The baking continues.  Last post I talked about my favorite chocolate chip oatmeal cookie recipe but did not include the recipe.  Here it is. 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cubes unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 cup flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

3 cups old fashion rolled oats

1 cup chocolate chips

Optional:

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins

Anything else you would like to throw in

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, cream together butter and sugars and add egg and vanilla.  Add flour, salt, and baking soda.  Mix in rolled oats and then add chocolate chips, and walnuts, raisins or cranberries.  Drop dough by teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheet and bale for 8 to 10 minutes. 

Makes about 3 dozen

 

My other favorite cookie recipe is a ginger molasses recipe.  These would be my most requested cookies to the point that my friends will text me asking me for “Margo Cookies”, meaning the ginger molasses cookies.  There are two tricks to this recipe.  The first is to use large sugar crystals.  These are hard to find and generally can’t be found in your average grocery store.  Specialty cookie stores like Sur La Table or William Sonoma tend to sell them.  The other trick is to pull the cookies out of the oven early.  Do not wait till they look completely cooked like most cookies.  The cookies should be pulled out of the oven when they have a slightly hard edge and a pretty gooey center (they will almost look uncooked).  The reason to pull them out so early is that they continue to cook on the cookie sheet.  By doing this you will end up with a delicious soft-centered cookie.   Here is the recipe. 

 

Molasses Ginger Cookies 

3 sticks unsalted butter, melted

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup molasses

2 whole eggs, lightly beaten

3 1/2 cups flour

4 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. ground cloves

2 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. slat

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 cup granulated sugar, large multicolored crystals for dipping cookies before baking

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix melted butter, sugar, and molasses.  Add egg and mix.  Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until blended.  Chill dough 2 hour or more.  It is best to chill overnight. Form dough into balls.  Dip half the balls into colored sugar.  Place balls sugar-side up on the cookie sheet allowing plenty of room for the cookies to spread.  Bake 8-12 minutes, removing cookies while they are still soft.  Cool on cookie sheets to keep shape. 

Makes about 4 dozen

Enjoy!

64 is how many ounces of cream cheese I used when baking cheesecake.  I have been baking a ton.  I have been baking cheesecakes, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, and am just about to start baking chocolate cake. 

The cheesecake recipe that I used is the Top Secret Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake Recipe.  I have tried multiple cheesecake recipes and this is the best one I have found so far.  The only change that I made is using butter instead of margarine in the crust.  But don’t worry I didn’t use all 64 ounces in one cheesecake; I made multiple. 

These are pretty much the best chocolate chip oatmeal cookies ever! I have made the recipes dozens of times.  There are two cookie recipes that I am known for and this is one of them.  The great thing about this recipe is that you can leave it simple or add all different extras to the recipe such as dried cherries, nuts, toffee, etc.  Either way they are great.  Next time I make it I want to try adding pretzels and peanut butter.  While I have found an amazing chocolate chip oatmeal cookie recipe I am still on the lookout for a really good plain chocolate chip recipe, and I will let you know what I find.