September 25, 2011

Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Swirl Fudgy Cookies

This is procrastination at it's finest. I'm back at school, and while I desperately need to be studying my journalism notes, I'm writing this blog post. Oh well. Everyone needs study breaks, right? Anyway, I had a wonderful weekend at home, and in addition to making the pumpkin doughnuts and milky way cupcakes I posted yesterday, I made some Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Swirl Fudgy Cookies. Phew. That's a long cookie name. I included the recipe (from one of my favorite blogs, Picky-Palate) below the pictures if you want to give it a shot :)

Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Swirl Fudgy Cookies

Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Swirl Fudgy Cookies

1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 sticks softened butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups chocolate chunks 
1 cup cocoa powder

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. 
2. Place peanut butter into the freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.
3. In a stand or electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until well combined. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until well combined. 
4. Place flour, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Add to wet ingredients along with cocoa powder and chocolate chunks, slowly mixing until just combined. Drop dollops of frozen peanut butter into dough and turn mixer on for just a few turns of the mixer to get swirls of peanut butter through the dough. With a medium cookie scoop, scoop dough onto prepared baking sheet, about 1 inch apart from each other. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, until cooked through. Let cook on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Serve with milk.
Makes 3 dozen cookies.

September 24, 2011

Fall Beginnings

Colorful leaves. Cool air. College football. My birthday. Smells of pumpkin spice. Jeans and sweaters. Boots. Sunflowers. These are all things I LOVE about fall, but my ultimate favorite would have to be...fall food! I love anything involving pumpkin, apple, or cinnamon. Or a combination of them all! Because of this, I decided to make pumpkin doughnuts this morning to celebrate the first weekend of fall. To make my time of baking even better, the house was decorated in colors of orange, yellow, brown, and green, the windows were wide open, letting the cool air blow in, and the fall Yankee candle was burning. It was a glorious morning. Anyway, here's the finished product and recipe...

Pumpkin Doughnuts 

Pumpkin Donuts

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons butter

2 eggs 

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 cup pumpkin puree

Canola oil for frying

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, spice and sugar. Whisk together all of the remaining ingredients (except for the canola oil) in a
second, medium bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir them around the bowl until the mixture is well combined. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, rolling the donut dough to approximately1/4-1/2″ thick.  (I know this will seem quite thin, but the donuts puff up immensley while frying).  Cut with a donut cutter.
Heat 2 inches of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot, gently slide the donuts into the oil, frying on the first side until the edges of the donut are lightly browned, flip carefully and allow to cook on the other side until lightly browned.  Remove and dunk immediately into buttermilk glaze.  Allow to air dry on a cooling rack before serving.

Buttermilk Glaze

3 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Whisk together in a small bowl until smooth. Dip hot donuts in the glazed, then allow to air dry on a cooling rack

My sweet friend Mari's birthday is today, and we're celebrating with PF Chang's and time with friends tonight. I'm so excited to see them all after being away from them for almost a month! Mari LOVES my Milky Way cupcakes, so upon special request, I made them for tonight. 

Milky Way Cupcakes 

Wish Mari a happy birthday if you see her! She's 19 today :) By the way...GO DAWGS! I'm in the process of watching the UGA vs. Ole Miss game right now, so let's hope the Dawgs pull through for me. 

Look for more fall foods soon to come. I add about 3 recipes to my recipe wish-list per day. Looks like I've got a lot of baking to do!

September 7, 2011

Home Again

After this wonderful labor day weekend at home, I'm finally able to say I have new food pictures to post to the blog! I had a FANTASTIC long weekend. I loved being at home. And I loved being able to bake. Here are a couple of things I made...

Soft Pretzel Bites 
(Cinnamon Sugar with a Vanilla Glaze and Parmesan and Garlic with a Cheddar Dip)

Soft Pretzel Bites
Texas size Rhodes Frozen roll dough (each roll makes 4 bites, so as many as you like) 
Coarse salt, parmesan, garlic, cinnamon, and sugar
Vanilla glaze

Directions: Take a thawed roll. Cut it in 4 equal sections. Place dough bites on greased sheets. Cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, and let dough rise until double in size (about 35-45 minutes). Bring a large pot of water to a gentle boil. When dough has risen, plop about 10 pieces into the boiling water, tossing gently for about 45 seconds. Remove with slotted spoon, and place bites on paper towels to drain slightly. Move bites to greased baking sheets, and bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes or until done and golden brown. 

Brush bites with melted butter, sprinkle with Kosher or Sea salt, garlic, and toss in Parmesan cheese. You can also make Cinnamon and Sugar bites. Make a mixture of cinnamon and sugar: about 1 cup sugar and 1 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon. Mis together well. After you butter the pretzel bites, toss in cinnamon and sugar mixture. 

You can serve the Parmesan Pretzel bites with a cheddar dip and the Cinnamon and Sugar Pretzel bites with a vanilla glaze if you wish. I would definitely recommend it :) 

Vanilla Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine sugar, milk, butter, and vanilla and mix well.

Cheddar Dip:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 1/2 to 2 cups of grated Cheddar Cheese

Melt the butter in a medium size saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir until blended, and butter has turned lightly golden brown. Slowly whisk in the milk and cook until thickened slightly. Remove from heat and stir in the Cheddar Cheese until smooth and all of the cheese has melted. Season with salt and pepper. Shake a few red pepper flakes into sauce for added zing. 

Mini Oreo Cheesecakes

Mini Oreo Cheesecakes 
1 1/2 packages (15.25 oz each) Oreo Cookies, leave 30 cookies whole and 15 coarsely chopped
4 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, room temperature 
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
Pinch of salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line standard size muffin tins with paper liners. Place 1 whole Oreo cookie in the bottom of each lined cup. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Gradually add sugar and beat until combined. Add vanilla. Drizzle in eggs, a bit at a time, beating to combine and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add sour cream and salt, beat well. Stir in chopped Oreos by hand. 

Divide batter evenly among cookie filled cups, filling each almost to the top. Bake until filling is set, about 22 minutes. Transfer wire racks to cool completely. Refrigerate (in the tins) at least 4 hours. Remove from tins just before serving. 


The Oreo Cheesecakes were made on gameday, so in honor of my Georgia Bulldogs, they were represented on a nice "Go Dawgs" Cracker Barrel Tray. 

I feel like I need to apologize for my serious lack of photography skills. I wish I had some. I know the pictures are what make food blogs, but I'm just not good at taking them. I should work on that.

Anyway, I also made some homemade cinnamon rolls, but never got around to taking a picture of them. Sad, I know. They were quite delicious. Well, that's all for now. There will be more to come in about 3 weeks...which sounds so far away right now!