Sunday, November 28, 2010

Brownie Bottom Pudding Pie

I've been wanting to make this for a long time. It just looked so good! And it is. I think it's one of the best things I've ever made. My mom brought this to Thanksgiving at my uncles house and she said it was a hit! She said it was gone pretty quickly, but she brought me back a piece.

I'm so glad I got to try it, it tastes amazing! I've never made a pie that had a brownie bottom. Next time, I think I might try making a Blondie bottom with a different type of pudding filling. The best part is, it takes almost no effort to make! I'll for sure be making this again.

Brownie Bottom Pudding Pie
recipe from Kraft Foods

4 squares Bakers Semi-Sweet Chocolate
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped Planters Pecans
2 1/2 cups cold milk
2 packages (4-serving size each) Jell-o Chocolate Fudge Instant Pudding
1 tub (8 oz) Cool Whip Whipped topping, thawed
Grated Bakers Semi-Sweet Chocolate (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwavable bowl on High 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Add sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix until well blended. Stir in flour and nuts. Spread into greased 9-inch pie plate.

Bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. DO NOT OVER BAKE. Cool Completely on rack.

Pour milk into large bowl. Add dry pudding mixes. Beat with wire whisk 2 minutes. Let stand 2 minutes. Spread over pie. Top with whipped topping; Sprinkle with grated chocolate. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Store leftover pie in refrigerator.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Ideas

I'm really excited about Thanksgiving now. I'm having a vegetarian thanksgiving with my dad (and I'll share the recipes later) so I don't have to worry about not getting protein. But, If you haven't figured out what to make or bring for Thanksgiving, here are some ideas.

If you aren't sick of pumpkin yet, Pumpkin Pie Pudding!

I made this a while ago. Mocha Pumpkin Cheesecake. It was a hit. My dad keeps telling me to make it, but I'm not making it for Thanksgiving. Maybe I'll make it again for Christmas.

I thought this one was pretty cool. Baked Brie with Pecans. You could bring this as an appetizer and it's super easy to make.

Curry-Spiced Sweet potatoes. Yum! I love sweet potatoes. I'm for sure making something with sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving.

Deviled Eggs. These have always been a favorite of mine. And these ones have tofu in them! If you're always short on protein like I am at thanksgiving, These would be the thing to make.

And lastly, Sweet Potato Pie with Pecan Strudel. I'm sad I just found this recipe! I'm definitely going to make this soon. Maybe I can even make it for Christmas.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars

I've wanted to make these for the longest time. The recipe pictures made them look so good! And really easy too.

The were actually pretty easy, but I just made a few changes to the recipe. The crust is the hardest part, it kept sticking to my fingers! But I just floured a spatula and pressed the crust into the pan no problem. These would be great to make for Thanksgiving because you can make them in advance. And the recipe can easily be modified and changed.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars
recipe adapted from Splenda

1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup Splenda brown sugar blend
1/2 Splenda sugar blend
1 cup old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup light margarine
8 oz fat free cream cheese
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 CUP canned pumpkin
1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup Splenda sugar blend
1 cup chocolate chips or mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9 pan with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

Combine flour, Splenda brown sugar blend, the Splenda sugar blend, and oats. Cut in the margarine with a fork until mixture is crumbly.

Press the crust mixture into the bottom of prepared pan.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool.

Beat cream cheese and pumpkin together. Add eggs, one at a time and beat until combined. Add the vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and the 1/2 cup Splenda sugar blend and beat until blended.

Pour the cream cheese mixture over the pre-baked crust and sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until set. Lift from pan to cool. Cut into 24 bars.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pistachio Pudding Cookies

These are probably the favorite cookies I've made so far. And you really only need four ingredients to make them! My mom's lovess Pistachio and it was her birthday so I wanted to make something Pistachio flavored. First I wanted to make a pistachio cheesecake, then a pistachio layer cake, but I finally decided on the Pistachio cookies. And she loved them!

These cookies are really easy to make and can easily be switched with a different pudding. You can also add any chocolate and nuts to them you want. I added some white chocolate chips and some milk chocolate chips to it. Next time, I think I'll make Vanilla or Cheesecake pudding cookies.

Pistachio Pudding Cookies
recipe adapted from Eggless Cooking

3/4 cup butter, softened
Instant Pistachio Pudding Mix- 1 package (3.4 oz)
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons milk chocolate chips
2 tablespoons white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 Degrees F

In a small mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, cream butter and pudding mix together until smooth.

Gradually beat in flour.

Fold in chocolate chips.

Grease a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

Take a tablespoon of dough and drop it on the baking sheet sheet 2 inches apart.

Bake for 10-13 minutes until light golden brown.

Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet 5 minutes. Then transfer to cooling rack and let cool completely before transferring to airtight container.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mistakes in Baking

I'm sure everyone has made mistakes when they're baking or cooking. Baking is a learning experience, everything can't be perfect alll the time.

I wanted to bring some kind of cupcakes to Thanksgiving so I decided to try and make Tiramisu Cupcakes. I've never made them before, so it thought it would be fun. Um.. wrong.

The recipe was very bad/: Sorry, but it's true. The directions were not very good at all and the steps were very complicated. The recipe had me form stiff peaks with egg whites once, and whipped cream twice! That's a lot of whipping. And I only have a hand mixer so it takes longer than it would with a kitchen aid.

But, the good part is I made my own frosting! The custard for the tiramisu came out very runny but the cupcakes were fine so by that time, I just wanted to make a simple frosting and be done with it. Everyone liked the frosting a lot!(: I'll be making that again soon.

White Ladyfinger Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
5 egg whites

Sift together flours, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.

In mixing bowl, (if using a stand mixer use paddle attachment), cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Add vanilla extract and beat until Incorporated.

In separate small bowl, combine oil and milk.

Add flour and milk/oil mixture alternately to the butter and sugar mixture. Beating on low speed after each addition.

Pour mixture into large bowl. Scrape down the sides to make sure you get all of the batter.

In small mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter to "lighten" the batter. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites.

Grease and lightly flour two muffin pans. Fill each cup half full.

Bake at 350 Degrees F for 18-20 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool on wire rack.

Mascarpone Frosting
recipe by Me

8 oz mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon almond milk (or regular milk/soy milk will work)
1 teaspoon vanilla
(butter can also be added to the recipe, if needed)

Using an electric mixer, beat mascarpone cheese and powdered sugar together. Slowly add almond milk in 1/2 teaspoon measures. Add the vanilla. Mixture should be thick, but not runny. Do not over beat.

If you want to make the tiramisu cupcakes, the recipe is here.

What was your biggest mistake/fail in the kitchen?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Lemon Blueberry Bread

This bread is probably the best way to remember summer. Now that it's getting cold out, I'm missing summer a lot. It's even going to snow tomorrow! Warm baked bread takes me away from that for a little bit :)

This bread is pretty easy to make. I've made it before, but the first time it didn't go so well. If you make it, make sure to leave the bread in the pan for at least 20 minutes! Last time I left it in there for 5 minutes and tried to get it onto the cooling rack and it fell apart! But this time it stayed together. If you are going to make it, don't be afraid for the bread to get soggy from the glaze. The more glaze, the better.

Lemon Blueberry Bread
recipe from Joy of Baking

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (outer yellow skin of the lemon)
1/2 cup milk
1 cup blueberries (can be frozen or fresh. I used frozen)
Lemon Glaze:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

For the bread: Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter (or spray with a nonstick vegetable spray) the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 loaf pan.

In separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter until softened (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture (in 3 additions) and the milk (in 2 additions) alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Mix only until combined. Gently fold in the blueberries.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 55-65 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the 1/4 cup sugar and the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

When the bread is done, remove from oven and place on wire rack. Pierce the hot loaf all over with a wooden skewer or a toothpick and then brush the top of the loaf with the hot lemon glaze. Cool the loaf in the pan for about 30 minutes then remove from pan and let cool completely on wire rack.

Makes 1 loaf.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sweet Potato Pie

I know that I wanted to make some kind of pie for Thanksgiving. I just didn't know what kind of pie. I've never really made a real pie before, not counting the quick pies just made from pudding and milk and poured into a pie crust.

Since this was my first one, it wasn't perfect, but it was pretty good for my first try. I did use an already made pie crust, so next time I think I'll just make one from scratch. Me and my mom didn't like it, but my dad loved it! He ate the whole pie (except for one slice) all by himself! I think that's a good sign :) The only problem with this recipe, was that it was a little bit too sweet and a little watery. Next time I'll add less sugar and milk.

Sweet Potato Pie
adapted from Food Network

2 cups peeled, cooked sweet potatoes
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 stick melted butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2/3 cup milk
9-inch unbaked pie crust
3 eggs whites
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees F.

For the filling, using an electric hand mixer, combine the potatoes, 2/3 cup sugar, the butter, eggs, vanilla, salt, and spices. Mix thoroughly. Add the milk and continue to mix. Pour the filling into the pie crust and bake 35-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Place the pie on a cooling rack and cool to room temperature before covering with meringue.

For the meringue, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Beat in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is glossy and stiff, but not dry. With a rubber spatula, spoon the meringue onto the pie, forming peaks. Make sure the meringue touches the crust all around. Sprinkle with a pinch of granulated sugar. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until delicately browned. Cool and serve.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Chocolate Yogurt Pops

Okay, this isn't exactly a Thanksgiving recipe, but trust me it's really good!

Me and my mom lovee Skinny cow Truffle bars. We buy them every week and run out of them within 3 days. So I wanted to see if I could create something similar and that I can make whenever. These aren't like the skinny cow truffle bars, but they're pretty good! And the best part is, you can make them in a variety of flavors. Next time I'll probably make a french vanilla flavor or a chocolate vanilla swirl one. Either way it would be delicious!

Chocolate Yogurt Pops
recipe from Splenda

1 (8 ounce) container plain nonfat yogurt
1/4 cup sugar free cocoa mix
1/4 cup Splenda no calorie sweetener, granulated
4 Popsicle sticks

Mix all indigents together in small mixing bowl. Spoon mixture into four, 3 ounce paper cups. Set cups in a muffin pan or on a flat plate. Place Popsicle sticks in the center. Freeze about four hours, or until solid.

Peel paper cups away and thaw 3-4 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gingerbread-Sour Cream Muffins

I haven't really baked much in the past week, but starting this week I'm going to start baking a lot more. Why? Because I'm in charge of making all the desserts at Thanksgiving and I want to test out a bunch of recipes to see which are best :)

This recipe isn't exactly for Thanksgiving, but it's sort of in season so I wanted to try it out. I saw these in Better homes and gardens and they looked really good. Well.. every recipe in that issue looked delicious! I think I book marked every page. These muffins aren't too sweet, which is probably why I didn't like them as much but my parents loved them! They said they're almost as good as the Zucchini Muffins. Next time, I'll probably add a little less ginger and a little more molasses, but I'll definitely make these again. They were a hit!

Gingerbread-Sour Cream Muffins

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon allspice or cinnamon (I used allspice)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 8-ounce carton sour cream
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup mild-flavor molasses
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons finely snipped crystallized ginger (I omitted this)

Preheat oven to 400 Degrees F. Grease the bottoms of twelve 2 1/2 inch muffin cups. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, ginger, baking powder, allspice, baking soda, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in center of flour mixture.

In another medium bowl, combine egg, sour cream, milk, brown sugar, and molasses. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each nearly full.

In small bowl, combine granulated sugar and crystallized ginger. Sprinkle over muffin batter.

Bake in the preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Remove from pan. Serve warm. Makes 12 muffins.