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Cinnamon French Toast Bake

9 Feb

Wow, it’s been a while since I posted a recipe. The weeks sure can go by quickly, especially when most of my life feels like it’s spent dealing with my new little bladder.

Anyway, after dealing with our plumbing issues of last week, I decided we needed a yummy breakfast so we tested out a new recipe I’d bookmarked. Cinnamon French Toast Bake.

This recipe was simple (always a plus), however, not quite what I was expecting. I know the title says “french toast” but for some reason I was still expecting more of a cinnamon roll taste. It was good, not something to write home about, but certainly worth a taste.  It didn’t hit the spot for us, perhaps it will for you though! I’ll probably do a little tweaking to the recipe before making it again.

Recipe

1/4 cup melted butter
2 cans (12.4 oz each) refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing
5 eggs
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup maple syrup

Garnish

Icing from cinnamon rolls
Powdered sugar
Maple syrup, if desired

Directions

Melt butter and pour on ungreased 13×9 inch glass dish.

Separate cans of dough into 16 rolls reserving the icing for later use.  Cut each roll into pieces and add to buttered baking dish. Then beat eggs in medium bowl. Add cream, cinnamon and vanilla and beat until well blended. Pour over cinnamon roll pieces in pan. Drizzle 3/4 cup syrup over the top.

Bake at 375 for 20 to 28 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 15 minutes.

Warm icing you’ve set aside so that it’s thin enough to drizzle. Then drizzle it over the cinnamon french toast bake and you’re ready to eat!

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Semi-Homemade Mint Chocolate Chip Pie

16 Jan

What more does a pregnant woman want than ice cream? Not much, that’s what.

So, for Christmas I asked for the KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment. Well, it finally came in this week! Even though it looks like this outside….

I’ve been planning ice cream recipes.

For my first go-around I decided on mint chocolate chip. After looking around, I found a basic recipe, nothing fancy but with good reviews and a yummy looking photo. (Yes, I do judge some recipes according to their photos as well.) Here a little tip if you’re a newbie with your ice cream maker as well: chill the ice cream mixture before putting it into the mixer.

This was yummy, but made more than I expected. It was just over two quarts worth. So with the extra batch I decided to make a pie! Nothing complicated just a quick throw together. Here’s what you need:

Recipe

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

  • 4 cups 2 percent milk
  • 4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 8 drops green food coloring
  • 2 cups miniature semisweet chocolate chips
In large bowl, stir together the milk, cream, sugar, salt, vanilla and peppermint until the sugar has dissolved. Let mixture chill in refrigerator for at least an hour.
Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and follow the directions from your manufacturer. After the first 10 minutes, open the lid carefully and add the chocolate chips, then return to churning. Once the machine has stopped churning, remove the thickened ice cream and put into a freezer safe container. Freeze until hard (about 2 hours), then serve.

For the pie:

  • Chocolate pie crust
  • Oreos (crushed)
  • Chocolate sauce

Chill the pie crust before filling it with a proportional amount of your ice cream. Cover with crushed Oreos (about eight cookies was plenty). Then top with the chocolate sauce and place in the freezer.

Fauxstess Cupcakes: The Best EVER

12 Jan

I’ve been looking around for inventive cupcake ideas when I came across this miraculous recipe. Faux Hostess Cupcakes.

All I have to say after making these is, Thank you, Google. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

First of all, the chocolate cupcakes for this recipe will now officially be my “go-to” chocolate cupcake. It’s light and moist and not overly chocolatey. Moving on to the cream filling. Oh the cream filling. Also another recipe I’ll be reusing. It could easily be used as frosting for a S’mores cupcake, which is an exciting prospect. Sweet and creamy, what more do you need? Lastly, chocolate ganache needs no explanation. I mean it’s chocolate.

All of these components combined made for a cupcake that was heaven-sent. The entire batch has been gobbled up over the past few days, and that was with us even trying to pace ourselves!

One little warning in assembling these little cakes: do not pipe in the filling from the top. The blogs I read said “don’t worry the ganache will cover the filling.” Well, it didn’t. I’d recommend either piping it in from the bottom or cutting out a little crater in your cupcake and recovering. Also, I realize my piping swirls aren’t perfect. I’ve never really done much detail piping. For a first time, it’s acceptable though.

Take my word, you MUST try these cupcakes. It will change your world.

Recipe adapted from Bake at 350 and Family Kitchen:

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup hot coffee

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl sift together sugar, Dutch process cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla and then add into the dry ingredients. Whisk in the hot coffee.

Fill lined muffin cups 2/3 full and bake at 350 degrees F for 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

For the filling:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla exrtact
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 cup marshmallow creme

Using a mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar. Add the vanilla and 1 tablespoon heavy cream; beat until smooth. Beat in the remaining 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons heavy cream in batches, alternating after each addition. Beat in the marshmallow creme; set aside or refrigerate.

Inject each cooled cupcake with 1-2 tablespoons of the filling with a piping bag.

For the ganache:

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 7 ounces chocolate
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Heat the cream in a saucepan over medium heat stirring frequently until the cream is hot and just starts to boil. Immediately pour the cream over the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Spread warm but slightly cooled ganache over the tops of the filled cupcakes. Level off ganche with knife or spatula and let cool for 15 minutes.

First Love: Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

10 Jan

Remember when you were just a kid and your favorite dessert was the basic yellow cake and chocolate icing? Always so moist and perfectly sweet, great for every birthday.

Well that’s what we’ve got here.

My first batch was dry and honestly overcooked by a couple of minutes. I thought I’d try something new and substitute sour cream for the milk just to see if this really made for a moister cake. Sure enough it did!

I loved the flavor of this cake. While still being a more dense little cuppie, it kept a beautiful texture and taste. I must warn you though this frosting may be a little rich for all the kids. For me though, a big chocolate lover, it was heavenly.

 

Recipe

(Printable Version)

Classic Yellow Cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 cups AP Flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 STICK) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream

Directions

Sift flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl. Set aside.

Beat butter on high until soft. Add sugar and continue beating on medium-high until light and fluffy (3 minutes). Then add eggs one at a time as usual, beating slightly in between. Make sure this mixture is well mixed and fluffy before adding the dry ingredients.

Measure sour cream and vanilla. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients followed by 1/2 of the sour cream and so on and so on ending with flour.

Scoop batter into cupcake paper-lined muffin tins filling them 3/4 full. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Rich Chocolate Buttercream

  • 4 T butter room temp
  • 3 oz baker’s chocolate melted
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 tsp whipping cream

Melt chocolate and set aside.

Beat butter then add melted chocolate and vanilla to mixing bowl. Mix ingredients together completely, scraping the sides of the bowl to incorporate all ingredients.

Slowly add the powdered sugar, milk and whipping cream to chocolate mixture alternating between dry and wet ingredients. Continue to beat until the frosting has reached a light and fluffy consistency.

Christmas Dessert Almost Didn’t Happen

3 Jan

I decided to bake a cake to bring to my Grandmother’s for Christmas. It really wasn’t needed, there would be other goodies there, but I took the opportunity to bake a little something anyway. Rather than re-tackling the Vermont Spice Cake as my hubby requested I thought I’d test out my unused bundt pan. It was a wedding gift that has sat unloved for over two years, and Tina from My Life as a Mrs. had a recipe I just couldn’t resist.

Chocolate Chip Cake. Did I mention it has chocolate ganache drenched over the top? Tell me you could say no this because I know you can’t.

Because I love you readers, I cannot lie to you, I had a few issues with this cake. Don’t get me wrong the flavor here was AMAZING! Very moist while still being sweet and the ganache (I used Ghiradelli chocolate chips) was perfection.

However, the instructions said to let the cake cool completely before flipping it to the plate. Here’s where I hit a snafu. I began this cake a little too late and just had to go to sleep before it could cool completely. I covered the cake and left it to do in the morning. Upon going to flip the cake to the platter the next morning it didn’t budge, not one centimeter.

I thought this was the end of my Chocolate Chip Cake attempt. Then, with a little help from my mom I got it out, but some of the top stuck to the pan. No worries, I pieced it back together and figured my ganache would cover the trouble spots (which it did).

My other issue with this cake is that the wonderful little chocolate chip all sunk to the bottom (er well top) of the cake. After eating a few too many pieces of this cake, I’ve decided next time I’ll only sprinkle the chocolate chip on the top of the batter once in the pan. The ganache on top was plenty sweet for the rest of the cake. I’ll either try  that, or whip my badder a little more to see if I can’t get a thicker consistency to hold the chips in place.

Like I said, even with these minuscule mess-ups this cake was a big hit and one I’ll definitely be making again.

Recipe

(Printable Version)

Ingredients

For the Cake:
1 Box Yellow Cake Mix (She used Duncan Heinz, as did I)
1 Large Box of Instant Vanilla Pudding
4 Large Eggs
1 1/2 Cups Water
1/2 Cup Oil
2 tsps Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Chocolate Chips

For the Ganache:
1 Cup Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Directions

For the cake:

Preheat Oven to 325 degrees.

Mix together the first 6 ingredients in a stand mixer until combined. Fold in chocolate chips with a spatula. Spray a Bundt Pan with non-stick cooking spray (don’t be afraid to be generous with the spray). Pour the cake batter into the pan and bake for one hour.

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Do not leave it overnight as I did. Once cool, invert to cake pan.

For the Ganache:

Once the cake is cool prepare the ganache.

Melt all ingredients over medium-low heat in a small saucepan. Stir constantly until smooth then let set for 10-12 minutes. Slowly drizzle over the cake when ready, if you do it too early it will all slide off of the cake. (As you can see I could have let mine set a minute or two longer).

Once on the cake allow it to cool further then cut yourself a slice and enjoy!

Vermont Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

27 Dec

Last weekend my office held their annual Christmas party at the boss’ house. He makes a decadently delicious prime rib and all of the other dishes are divvied up. I lucked out with dessert! After the excitement settled, I realized I had to choose a recipe! With so many wonderful ones to choose from I was in a bit of a debacle.

Conferring with a friend at the office after a night of Googling, it turned out we both ended at the same recipe. It must have been fate that this Vermont Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting was to be our dessert at dinner.

This cake was no simple feat, but well worth the work. My photos of this cake do it’s taste and beauty no justice.

The cake was so yummy I wasn’t able to snag a picture of a piece before it was gone, so let’s take a look at Sing for Your Supper’s photo…(hers is prettier anyways)

Mouth watering, right? The cake has a wonderful flavor of pumpkin and cinnamon and the creamy frosting is just unspeakably good. It balances the cake perfectly. Ive got to work on the aesthetics of my cake, but the flavor needs no changing! That’s what really counts in my book, at least for a first attempt.

Recipe courtesy of Sing for Your Supper

(Printable Version)

For the Cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (I used a mixture of 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. cloves and 3/4 tsp. nutmeg)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 2 9-inch round cake pans. Combine flour, baking powder, spices, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Beat sugar and butter in a large mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment until creamy.

Add eggs one at a time; beat for 2 minutes. Beat in pumpkin, evaporated milk, water and vanilla extract. Gradually add the flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared cake pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in the pans on wire racks for 15 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

For the Maple Cream Cheese Frosting:
11 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup butter, softened
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 teaspoons maple extract
squeeze of lemon juice

Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Gradually add in the powdered sugar and beat until fluffy. Add in the maple extract and lemon juice. Mix well. Refrigerate until needed.

To assemble:
Cut each layer in half horizontally with a long, serrated knife. Frost between layers and on top of cake, leaving sides unfrosted. Garnish as desired.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

4 Dec

What’s better than chocolate and peanut butter? Nothing, that’s what. Ok well maybe cheesecake, but that’s just my pregnant mind jumping in. Anyway, back to this whole chocolate peanut butter thing. I’ve been craving pie. While browsing the Jamie Cooks It Up blog, my eyes wandered across more than a few tasty looking pies. And these days once I get my mind set on something there’s just no changing it.

So, here we are. Not only have I made a pie, this is my very own recipe. I love getting recipes to try from fellow bloggers, but it’s nice to concoct one of your own every now and then. I was concerned the peanut butter would be too rich, but it was surprisingly just right. The texture was nice and creamy, and the crust made for the perfect balance of flavors. Oh and this time I cheated a little. Rather than make my own pie crust a purchased one of the pre-mades from the grocery. I won’t tell if you don’t.

Here’s the only catch, I’m knew to this whole make your own recipe thing, so this recipe made a little more than a pie’s worth. Stay tuned for what I’ve done with the extra filling, it should be just as yummy as the pie itself!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

adapted by Jamie Cooks It Up!

1 Package Chocolate Instant pudding

1 1/2 cups Milk

8 oz. Package Cream Cheese

1 cup Peanut Butter

1 1/4 cups Powdered Sugar

4 oz. Cool Whip (thawed)

1 Graham Cracker Pie Crust

  1. Beat the peanut butter and cream cheese in standing mixer until smooth.
  2. Add powdered sugar to mixture, beat until smooth.
  3. Add Cool Whip, beat. Make sure all ingredients have combined well.
  4. In separate bowl whisk pudding mixture with milk and add to peanut butter mixture.
  5. Now put the filling in your crust and let set in the refrigerator for at least one hour. I suggest serving with a glass of milk.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Squares

21 Nov

Working in a new kitchen is always an interesting adventure to say the least. And our new-to-us kitchen is very, very old. With an odd layout and barely-there water pressure, let’s just say I hit a few snags during this baking process.

That said, this semi-simple bake was well worth the first time struggles.

I’m a cheesecake lover. Put any kind of cheesecake in front of me and I will certainly not turn you away. My husband tolerates my cheesecake love and while he enjoys it his fondness of cheesecake doesn’t stretch as far as mine. That is until now. As he said, “When you say ‘Wow’ to your own food, you know it’s good.”

Now, on to the recipe.

(Printable Version)

Cake:
1 box German chocolate cake mix
1 stick butter, softened
1 egg
1 ounce red food coloring

Cheesecake:
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9×13 baking pan lightly with cooking spray and set aside.

Beat with an electric mixer on low speed cake mix, butter, egg, and food coloring until combined. Press cake mixture into prepared pan. Have a bit of flour set aside to dust your hands, this makes the process of patting the cake into the pan.

Beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, beat to combine. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake layer.

Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until bars barely start to pull away from sides. Cool completely before cutting.

New Treats, New Eats

8 Aug

M&M has created yet another “melt in your mouth, not in your hand” treat.

This time with a mini pretzel in the middle.

If you made me choose a favorite type of M&M I’d have to say peanut butter, but I figured I should give these new sweets a fair chance. After seeing some of my favorite foodies talking about their wonderful experiences with the new M&M a new recipe had to be done.

The pretzels certainly melted in your mouth when you ate these cookies, absolutely delicious. If the pretzel M&M sticks around, so will this recipe.

Pretzel M&M Cookies adapted by Two Peas and Their Pod

(Printable Version)

Ingredients: (Makes 2 dozen)

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups pretzel M&M’s
  • dash of cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder  in a bowl. Set aside.

Beat butter and sugars together in a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until smooth. Add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Then on low speed, slowly add in the flour mixture until just combined.  Stir in chocolate chips and pretzel M&M’s.

Then cover the dough and let it cool in the fridge. I like to do this with my cookies because it makes them easier to handle when getting them on the baking sheets.

Place heaping tablespoonfuls of dough on a baking sheet 2 inches apart. Bake 10-12 minutes until cookies are slightly golden around the edges. Move cookies to wire racks to cool. Voila.

Other Eats: Chicken Salad

7 Aug

One of my favorite summer meals is a chicken salad sandwich with a tall glass of classic lemonade. And with this being one of the hottest summers ever, I’ll take every refreshing meal I can get.

Growing up, my mom always made a very basic chicken salad. None of that celery or grape stuff, just good ol’ chicken. I’ve added a few spices here and there over the years. It’s an easy treat to whip together whether you eat it with crackers or as a sandwich.

Happy cooking!

Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. chicken
  • 1 cup mayonaise
  • 2 tbl Durkee’s Sauce
  • Rosemary, garlic pepper, garlic salt, italian seasoning

Directions:

Rub the chicken with rosemary, italian seasoning, garlic pepper and garlic salt. For a nice deep flavor let the spices marinate over night. Grill the chicken the next day, I use my George Forman (one of my favorite kitchen appliances). Let the chicken set to cool, this also helps to keep the chicken juicy with all those spices.

Once cooled, put the chicken in a food processor until all chicken is shredded into small bits.

In a bowl mix chicken with mayonnaise and Durkee’s sauce. Add more garlic pepper and garlic salt to taste.