Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies

I don't start working until July, so until then I've been baking up a storm in my kitchen. And yesterday I decided to make dulce de leche sandwich cookies. This particular cookie has been on my "To Do List" for a while, but it has constantly been put on hold because I couldn't find this:

But, yesterday afternoon I was determined to make these cookies. Therefore, I made the dough before I left the house to prevent myself from retreating... which made me even more determined to find the can of caramel-y goodness- but I had no luck. AND I was not going home empty handed! Hence, I grabbed a bag of caramel squares and a can of condensed milk.

When I got home I whipped up a batch my own dulce de leche. And hey anything home-made is better than stored bought, right? Afterall, I made each individual batch with love :-)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Banana Crumb Muffins

I am my toughest critic, really I am. I usually have a number of brave and eager guinea pigs who are willing to taste test my baked goods. Therefore, I hardly ever have to try anything I bake. They tell me "yay" or "nay" and that is all I need to know.

But when these scrumptious muffins came out the oven, I couldn't resist! If there was a banana crumb muffin scented candle- this would be it. The smell of these muffins perfumed my kitchen that afternoon and I succumbed to the temptation when I pulled them out the oven. Moist, banana-y and just perfect. They are hands down one of the best things I've ever baked in life- EVER.

Banana Crumb Muffins

1/2 cup oil
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
3 mashed banana
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Crumble Topping:
2 tablespoons cold butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Mix together oil and sugars
2. Add the eggs, baking soda, salt and cinnamon
3. Add the mashed bananas
4. Stir in flour until well incorporated
5. In a separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients of the topping, add the butter and break them apart with your fingers, until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
6. Spoon the banana batter into a lined muffin tin and top with a heaping tablespoon of the crumble topping
7. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Cookies & Creme Brownies

I was twelve when I made my first batch of brownies and MY GOODNESS... they were one of the most awful tasting things I've ever encountered. That was probably an exaggeration because I was going through a drama queen stage of life... Nonetheless, that is what I recall. Biting into a dense, chewy (not in a good way) square that had a very distinct raw flour taste, which over powered the chocolate. It was a horrendous experience and and from that day on I never made a brownie.

The End

... That is until my sophomore year in high school, my friend pitched the idea of making brownies because it was his favorite. I found a couple of recipes, but this one in particular caught my attention. It wasn't because it had the most ratings or gold stars, but the idea that you mixed everything in a sauce pan on the stove. I thought it was a genius idea because mixing everything on top of the stove would cook out the raw flour taste! So, I followed the directions and waited patiently for 40 minutes. Once they were ready, I cut myself a piece and took a bite. I had anticipated that raw flour taste that I had once experienced and to my surprise it was delicious! Rich, chocoately, and definitely not "flour-y". It was everything I wasn't expecting. This brownie recipe is the only one I've used ever since because it works and I am always satisfied with the finished product. I made these cookies and creme brownies for a BBQ my friend had and they were a hit!

Cookies & Creme Brownies
Adapted from Recipezaar
1 cup butter
1 cup cocoa
2 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons espresso powder
1 and 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
20 Oreo Cookies
I doubled the original recipe because I was feeding a large crowd. The doubled recipe fit a 9x12 jelly roll pan.

Melt the butter in pot over medium-low. Once melted, add the cocoa powder until the two are well incorporated. Next under LOW heat (I used the lowest setting on my stove), add in the sugar by half cups (this step might take a while because we are using a large amount of sugar and don't worry if the butter separates from the rest of the batter, it will look better once you add the eggs)

Once you added all the sugar is added and it is mixed in with the rest of the batter. Temper the eggs by putting them in a separate bowl and putting in several spoonfuls of the chocolate mixture. If you don't they will scramble on you! When you finish tempering the eggs, pour the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture and stir thoroughly. Next add the espresso powder and mix until the mixture is smooth.

Lastly add the flour (add the flour in by 1/3 cups), baking powder and salt, until they are well incorporated. Pour the mixture in your pan and crush the oreos on top. Bake in a 350F oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes (everyone's oven is different so keep an eye on it!) Allow it to cool and then cut them into squares. Makes 20 brownies.

Prior to oven entry I

Prior to oven entry II

Post oven entry

Happy Baking!