Monday, June 27, 2011

TWD: Chocolate Sour Cream Cake Cookies

This week's recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) was chosen by Spike of Spike Bakes.

Dorie calls these more handmade then handsome and she is right. There's nothing overly attractive about them and truthfully they do look pretty plain compared to iced sugar cookies or statuesque chocolate-dipped biscotti. But people keep reaching for another once they've tried one. I think part of their appeal is in their simplicity.

Truth be told I have never been totally sold on the cake cookie. Straddling both worlds, they are trying too hard to please and never quite excelling in either. But these ones, these sour cream chocolate cake cookies are good!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Graham Cracker Bars

This chewy, chocolatey bar is so easy and so fast because it uses purchased Graham crackers. Buy the graham cracker crumbs if you want to save yourself the work of crushing them. I don't mind crushing them myself. It takes seconds in the food processor or take out your frustrations by putting the crackers in a ziplock bag and pounding them with a rolling pin.

I don't have words to describe the amazingly medley of flavors bound together by rich, caramelly sweetened condensed milk. Even if you don't like coconut (I am not usually a coconut fan), I still strongly recommend these bars.

I had such an awesome weekend. As I type this the sun is setting and making me sad that it's Sunday night, meaning that Monday is just around the corner. I tried riding a tandem bike for the first time around Stanley Park. I also slept in my new condo for the first time on Saturday night. Life is good. So are these bars.

Graham Cracker Bars
8" pan | adapted from

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups flaked coconut
1/4 cup margarine, melted
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
3 oz. milk chocolate chunks
3 oz. white chocolate chunks

1.Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8" square baking dish.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs and coconut. Pour in the condensed milk and melted margarine, mix until well blended. Stir in chocolate chunks. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.

3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven or until baked through. Chill and cut into squares.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

TWD: Apricot Nut Bread

Today's TWD recipe was chosen by Mary of Popsicles and Sandy Feet. Recipe can be found at her blog HERE or on page 228 of Baking by Dorie Greenspan.

I'm not a fan of dates so I used chopped, dried apricots and baked this in a cake pan with a sprinkling of streusel topping instead of a loaf pan. It turned out kind of like a coffee cake. Yum!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Blueberry Bran Cake

This cake recipe tastes just like a blueberry bran muffin. It was adapted from a recipe by Anna Olson of Food Network Canada. This easy quickbread starts out with 2 cups of bran cereal (raisin bran or plain). It was perfect for father's day breakfast.

Blueberry Bran Muffin
9x13" pan | Anna Olson

2 cups raisin bran cereal
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup fresh blueberries

1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. and grease a 9x13 inch pan.

2.Toss cereal with sugar, flour, baking soda and salt.

3.In a separate bowl, whisk oil, egg and buttermilk. Add buttermilk mixture to cereal mixture and stir just until blended. Stir in blueberries and spoon into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Jalapeno Bacon Cheese Bites

These rolls start out with regular plain pizza dough (homemade or storebought) and get filled with a delicious mixture of crispy, crumbled bacon, and then sprinkled with tex-mex cheese (or use a mixture of sharp cheddar and jalapeno jack cheeses).

They can be made bigger for a portable meal or smaller for irresistable appies. Nobody can resist these tasty littflavor-packed bite-sized treats. Cheese, bread and bacon. What's not to love?

Jalapeno Bacon Cheese Bites
Makes 14

1 lb pizza dough, homemade or storebought
2 Jalapeno Peppers, halved, seeded, blanched, and sliced 1 1/2 tsp Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Coarsely Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Mixed Dried Herbs (Oregano, Parsley, Basil)
3 slices cooked, crumbled bacon
1/2 cup Tex-Mex Shredded Cheese Blend

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Press down the dough on a lightly flour surface. Then pull and stretch the dough into a rectangular shape.

3. Spread the oil onto the dough, and gently press it into 14 x 8 inch rectangle. Then sprinkle some sea salt, mixed herbs, bacon, black pepper, and scatter the cheese, and Jalapeno peppers on top.

4. Roll up the dough as tightly as you can. Pinch both ends, and slice the log into 3/4 to 1-inch rounds. Place the rolls on the baking sheet, cut side up, and bake for about 18 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted, and light golden brown in color.

Monday, June 13, 2011

TWD: Chocolate Biscotti

Jacque of Daisy Lane Cakes chose Chocolate Biscotti on page 144. Am I the only one who doesn't like dunking cookies in coffee/tea/milk? I prefer my cookies undipped. Even when they are really hard ones like biscotti.

I used hot chocolate mix instead of cocoa powder because I was out of cocoa. Oops. That's why they are a lighter shade of brown rather than the deep, rich brown you would expect them to be. I had to cut down on the sugar a little because the hot chocolate mix had added sugar already. We enjoyed them and I would make them again with cocoa as originally called for.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Wonderbread White Bread Copycat

Fluffy, super-soft and slightly sweet. This Wonderbread clone is perfect for grilled cheese sandwiches or toasted with butter and jam.

It must be a nostalgia thing, but every now and I again I love a slice of white Wonderbread despite all the wonderful artisnal breads I have been exposed to and the fancy breads I have baked in my own kitchen.

Wonderbread White Bread Clone
Makes 1 loaf

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
1 tablespoon white sugar
3 tbsp melted cooled butter
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup instant potato flakes
1/4 cup powdered milk
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons butter for brushing the top

1. Whisk together the yeast, 1/4 cup warm water and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Allow to sit for 15 mins. Stir in melted butter.

2. In a separate bowl combine the flour, potato flakes, powdered milk, salt and 1/4 cup sugar. Add this mixture to the yeast mixture using dough hook. Add more flour if needed. Dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom. Try not to add too much flour.

3. Knead dough by hand a few times and place in greased bowl, covered, to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size. After rising, gently deflate and turn out onto a floured surface to knead and shape into a loaf (roll it out into a rectangle and roll it up starting at the short end). Place the roll in a buttered 9x5 inch loaf pan. Cover loosely with a tea towel and let rise until approximately 1-2" above the rim of the pan, 30-40 mins. Brush top with melted butter.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 15 mins before rising is complete. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until thermometer reads 190.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Copycat Club: June 2011

This month's Copycat club was full of sweets:

Leite's Culinaria made Twinkies:

Chaya of Bizzy B. Bakes blog made Cheesecake Factory's Cheesecake:

The Talking Spoon Blog made Panera's Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich:

I made Veselka's Banana Crunch Muffins:

Suzette Cooks Blog made Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookies:

Thanks everyone!

Monday, June 6, 2011

TWD: Blueberry Brown Sugar Muffins

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was chosen by Cindy of Everyday Insanity. This Bueberry-Brown Sugar Plain Cake had delicious caramelly undertones. It baked up beautifully in muffin form. Just remember to grease and flour the heck out of your muffin tins.

The berries sunk a little bit more than I would have liked but the muffins were still a hit.

Check out her blog for the recipe or pick up a copy of Baking: From My Home to Yours.

Orange Chocolate Bundt Cake

This moist, dense Bundt tastes like a Terry's chocolate orange. It is a wonderful picnic cake with a tight crumb similar to that of a pound cake but not heavy in the least.

This recipe comes from Barefoot Contessa Parties! cookbook by Ina Garten. The combination of tart, citrusy orange with sweet chocolate is a winning combination. Because I was taking this out with me instead of serving it at home, I opted out of the ganache. It was still amazing.

Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake
10-inch Bundt | Barefoot Contessa

For the cake
1/2 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1/4 cup grated orange zest (4 large oranges)
3 cups all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3/4 cup buttermilk at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups good semisweet chocolate chunks

For the syrup
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

For the ganache
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan.

2. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the orange zest.

3. Sift together 3 cups flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the orange juice, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately in thirds to the creamed butter, beginning and ending with the flour. Toss the chocolate chunks with 2 tablespoons flour and add to the batter. Pour into the pan, smooth the top, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, make the syrup. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the sugar with the orange juice until the sugar dissolves. Remove the cake from the pan, set it on a rack over a tray, and spoon the orange syrup over the cake. Allow the cake to cool completely.

5. For the ganache, melt the chocolate, heavy cream, and coffee in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally. Drizzle over the top of the cake.

Friday, June 3, 2011

White Chocolate Raspberry Scones

White chocolate and raspberries are a wonderful combination of flavours. The sweetness of the creamy chocolate contrasted against the tangy raspberries is divine especially when they are eaten warm and the chocolate is slightly melty.

This scone recipe is quick and easy to make. The trick is not to over-mix them in order to keep them flaky rather than rubbery. The sprite has enough sugar so that you don't need to add much to the dough. the carbonation also keeps the scones light and airy. Note: do not use diet soda.

White Chocolate Raspberry Scones
Makes 10

3 cups flour
6 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup white chocolate chips or chunks
1 cup raspberries
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sprite/7up (not diet)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl sift the flour, baking power and salt.

2. Add the cream and sprite. Mix through until almost together then add the raspberries and white chocolate. Fold in gently. The mix should be slightly lumpy, not perfectly smooth.

3. Roll out dough and cut into 10-12 wedges. Place on a baking tray. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Leave to cool slightly before serving.