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June 28, 2009

::SMS:: Double Dark Chocolate Cherry Cookies

Please forgive me but this is going to be a very short post. I had a very busy weekend -- it was just too nice to stay indoors. Megan of My Baking Adventures chose Double Dark Chocolate Cherry Cookies. Click here to see the recipe on her blog. This cookies were super quick to put together. I assembled the dough early Sunday morning, before heading out and came back in the afternoon and threw them in the oven. I didnt do the roll & cut version like the recipe states. I scooped and baked.

I scooped out half the recipe to make a batch without the cherries (for the hubs) to see what they would taste like. I must say... with or without cherries, these cookies were awesome!
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June 25, 2009

Fresh Blueberry Muffins

Fresh blueberries were on sale this week... only 99 cents for a pint! I dont remember if i ever made muffins with fresh blueberries. If i did, i'm sure i would have the recipe somewhere. Seeing how I couldnt find one in my recipe binder, i searched online for one and found this with rave reviews. Original recipe by Ina Garten.

Recipe with my changes are below (i used what i had in my pantry):
Was out of sour cream so I used buttermilk. I substituted granulated sugar with raw sugar AND i used less -- these muffins werent overly sweet -- in my opinion, these were just right (although they werent puffy looking as i expected)!

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups raw sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup milk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup fresh blueberries, picked through for stems

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place 16 paper liners in muffin pans.
(I ended up with 18).

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, sour cream, and milk. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed add the flour mixture to the batter and beat until just mixed. Fold in the blueberries with a spatula and be sure the batter is completely mixed.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling each cup just over the top, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the muffins are lightly browned on top and a cake tester comes out clean.
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June 22, 2009

::People's Choice:: Triple Citrus Cupcakes

Earlier this month, Martha Stewart's Cupcakes was released and I couldn't wait to get my copy. There are some really interesting recipes & tips in this book.

You helped decide which of the cupcakes I was to bake first...

Triple Citrus Cupcakes.
"A trio of citrus zests brightens simple cupcakes."

(Recipe makes 36 cupcakes)

3 1/3 cups of all purpose flour
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 lb of butter (4 sticks)
2 cups of sugar
3 tablespoons grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons grated orange zest
3 tablespoons grated lime zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
9 large eggs
Citrus Glaze (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line pan with cupcake liners.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter & sugar until light & fluffy. Add in zests. Reduce speed to medium, and add in vanilla. Add eggs, 3 at a time. Reduce speed to low and add in four in 4 batches, beating until completely incorporated after each. Divide into pans and bake for 20 minutes, rotating halfway through. Cool, then glaze if desired.

Citrus Glaze
1.5 cups of powdered sugar
3 tablespoons of citrus juice (I used lemon)
1/4 teaspoon of zest (I used lime)
Zest for garnish (I used lime again)
Stir ingredients until smooth. Spoon onto cooled cupcakes. Garnish with zest.

The cupcakes were a little dense, in my opinion, but the flavor of the zests made them a little better. The addition of the glaze made the cupcakes MUCH BETTER.

{Summer's here and I'll be spending the next few weekends outdoors (if it ever stops raining). So I'm going to put People's Choice on hold for a little bit. But dont worry, I'll still be baking & blogging with Sweet Melissa Sundays and whenever I feel like doing something indoors.}
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June 21, 2009

::SMS:: Butterscotch Cashew Bars

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!!! Pamela of Cookies with Boys chose this Sunday's recipe, which can be found here. My dad is not a butterscotch fan. Hubs is not a fan of nuts. And i wasnt about to eat this all by myself. I actually made this Friday night and brought it to a housewarming party on Saturday.

This was another super easy recipe. First, make the crust which took less than 5 minutes to put together. Bake for 30 minutes.

Then melt butterscotch chips and pour over the baked crust. This, too, took less than 5 minutes to do.

Finally, top with cashews and put it back into the oven for 5 minutes.

Cool, then cut.

This was ooey-gooey goodness! The saltiness from the nuts plus the sweetness from the butterscotch made for a very nice treat.

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June 19, 2009

Nestle Recalls Toll House Cookie Dough

- List of recalled products

NEW YORK – Nestle USA on Friday voluntarily recalled its Toll House refrigerated cookie dough products after a number of illnesses were reported by those who ate the dough raw.

The company said the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control are investigating reported E. coli illnesses that might be related eating the dough.

In a statement, the FDA said there have been 66 reports of illness across 28 states since March. About 25 people have been hospitalized, but no one has died.

The FDA advised consumers to throw away any prepackaged, refrigerated Nestle Toll House cookie dough products in their homes. Retailers, restauranteurs and employees at other food-service operations should also not sell or serve any of the products.

Nestle spokeswoman Roz O'Hearn said "this has been a very quickly moving situation," adding the company took action less than 24 hours after hearing of the problem.

O'Hearn said the company will "cooperate fully" with the FDA's investigation.

The recall includes refrigerated cookie bar dough, cookie dough tub, cookie dough tubes, limited edition cookie dough items, seasonal cookie dough and Ultimates cookie bar dough. It extends to chocolate chip dough and other varieties, including gingerbread, sugar and peanut butter cookie dough. It does not affect any other Toll House products, including ice cream that contains Toll House raw cookie dough.

The FDA also said consumers should not try to cook the dough, even though eating cooked dough would be safe, because consumers might get bacteria on their hands and on counters and other cooking surfaces.

E. coli is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration and, in the most severe cases, kidney failure.
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June 17, 2009

Bran Muffins

Would you be surprised if I told you my 19-month old loves BRAN MUFFINS?
My mom takes care of her while I work full-time. So Monday through Friday BabyM is with her grandma & grandpa (when he's not working), and usually has breakfast, lunch & dinner with them. My mom is always thinking of new foods to introduce to her. One day my dad brought home some bran muffins from work and BabyM gobbled one up! The next day she demanded one for breakfast. I just sat there in awe and watched her eat the whole thing. I'm not a huge fan of bran muffins --- TOO HEALTHY for my tastebuds. But if BabyM demands, momma has to make 'em!

Recipe from:
Epicurious, January 1999
by Sarah Phillips
The Healthy Oven Baking Book

WARNING: This is a super healthy, very nutritious, high fiber muffin!
(My additions, based on some comments from the site, are in red.)
Makes 12

1 cup unprocessed (miller's) wheat bran
2/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup raw sugar crystals (such as Sugar in the Raw)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 large egg
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins (soaked in apple juice)
1/8 cup of milled flax seed (cause i had it and had to do something with it)

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°.
Lightly spray nonstick muffin cups with oil.

In a medium bowl, whisk the bran, flours, baking soda, (cinnamon, flax seed) and salt until well combined. Set aside.

In another medium bowl, using a handheld eletric mixer set at high speed, beat the buttermilk, sugar, applesauce, egg, oil and vanilla until frothy, about two minutes. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Using a spoon, stir just until combined. Stir in raisins. Do not overmix.

Divide the batter equally among the prepared muffin cups.

Bake until the tops spring back when pressed gently in the center, about 20 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from the cups. Serve warm or cool completely on the rack.

I admit it -- i had one -- just to taste it. It's actually not so bad. Very moist & light and not too sweet which is a plus, since BabyM doesnt need all that sugar.
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June 15, 2009

::People's Choice:: Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

The first time i made ice cream, i didnt need my ice cream maker. Seeing as how I plan on using it a lot this summer, i finally opened it and put it to good use.

You voted for Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream & BabyDaddy thanks all who voted -- this is one of his favorite flavor combos. And as an added treat, i added in some peanut butter cups -- another one of his faves.

Recipe from Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments by David Lebovitz

2 cups half-and-half
¼ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
½ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
½ cup smooth peanut butter
add in: roughly chopped peanut butter cups

Whisk together the half-and-half, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in a large saucepan. Heat the mixture, whisking frequently, until it comes to a full, rolling boil (it will start to foam up). Remove from the heat and whisk in the peanut butter, stirring until thoroughly blended.

Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Fold the peanut butter cups into ice cream as you remove it from the machine.

BabyDaddy & I agree -- this has to be the richest chocolatey-peanut buttery ice cream we've ever had!!! This is a winner for all you chocolate peanut butter lovers!
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June 14, 2009

::SMS:: Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toasted Almonds

It's been awhile since i baked cookies. Hubs is getting pretty tired of seeing all the cupcakes & other desserts I make. Sometimes a cookie is all he wants.

How about a good ole chocolate chip cookie?
How about a top-selling chocolate chip cookie with toasted almonds?
How about baking along with Melissa Murphy, herself!??!!?
How cool is that??? Today's Sweet Melissa Sundays recipe can be found here.

The recipe is simple & easy: butter, eggs, flour, sugar, brown sugar, chocolate chips, toasted almonds. I only had slivered almonds in my pantry so i just toasted those. I doubled the recipe and made two batches of dough. One without almonds for the hubs and one with the almonds. The instructions say that after you mix the dough, refrigerate for an hour, then roll into a log and refrigerate some more til its firm, then slice up the cookies and bake.

Uhhhh.... first batch.... without the nuts.... hubs & i couldnt wait for dessert so i refrigerated the dough, put our lil one to bed, ran back into the kitchen and just scooped some of the dough onto a cookie sheet and baked for 14 minutes.

O M G!!! Awesome cookies! I cant even describe it. These were THAT good. Better than Toll House's refrigerated cookie dough which i usually have on hand when i want a fast cookie.... not anymore! These cookies baked up much lighter and "plumper" than the Toll House dough and were much chewier... which the hubs loves. And with these, I add as much or as little sugar as I want (usually less cause there's chocolate). And I can add as much or as lil chocolate chips as i want (usually a lot)! This is now MY GO-TO chocolate chip cookie recipe!

The batch with nuts which i ended up rolling, cutting & baking.

Don't forget to check out everyone else's cookies!
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June 10, 2009

Fresh Mango Bread

Ever since I started baking again, I started blogging. I also started to follow blogs. One of my favorites is Tuesdays with Dorie (aka "TWD"). TWD is a group of bakers who, like my Sweet Melissa Sundays group, bake together and post on Tuesday. They're all baking from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. Every Tuesday I look forward to see what savvy bakers, like fellow SMS-bakers Lorelei & Tracey, create.

When I read that the following recipe was coming, I was super excited cause I LOVE mangoes. When they're fresh & in season, I buy them by the caseload and share with my family (cause, unfortunately, the hubs doesnt like mangoes and although i could, i refuse to eat them all myself). Recently, I bought a case of really juicy & sweet mangoes. I saved 2 cause I was over-mangoed. Then I saw this recipe coming and I couldnt wait for it to be published so I could make my mini loaves. I cant help it but i love the pan so much. Its great to have lil portables of all my bread items.

There aren't many but my changes to the recipe are in red.
3 large eggs
3/4 flavorless oil, such as canola
2.5 cups all purpose flour
1 c sugar (3/4 cup sugar)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp ground ginger (1 tsp)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 c diced mango
3/4 c moist, plump golden raisins (omitted)
grated zest of 1/2 lime (lemon)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pan, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess. Put the pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked one on top of the other. (This extra insulation will keep the bottom of the bread from overbaking).

Whisk the eggs and oil together.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Rub the brown sugar between your palms into the bowl, breaking up any lumps, then stir it in. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry, switch to a sturdy rubber spatula or wooden spoon and mix until blended — the batter will be very thick (really more like a dough than a batter) and not easily mixed, but persevere, it will soon come together. Stir in the mango, raisins, and zest. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.

Bake the bread for 1.5 hours, or until it is golden brown and a thin knife inserted ino the center comes out clean. (If the bread looks as if it’s getting too brown as it bakes, cover it loosely with a foil tent). The mini loaves took 45 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before running a knife around the sides of the pan and unmolding. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up on the rack.

I think they're supposed to be this flat. I didnt care.... I waited approx. 2 minutes before i tasted it. My house smelled wonderful while these were baking. This recipe is easy, quick and the bread came out fantastic!!! I love this recipe!

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June 08, 2009

::People's Choice:: Carrot Cake w/Cream Cheese Frosting

With all of your help, I turned a family favorite recipe into my mom's birthday cake.
The recipe can be found here. I made it a 3 layer cake and it was, of course, frosted by the hubs cause he says he can do a better job than me. Unfortunately, it was enjoyed by all before I could take a pict of it. Happy Birthday, Mom!
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June 07, 2009

::SMS:: Bear's Peach Cobbler

A few years ago, my father found a recipe on Food Network for Peach Cobbler that he swore by. I'm not sure which chef's recipe he chose but he and my mom loved it & loved it so much that he made it and brought to every family gathering for the next few summers thereafter. I, on the other hand, wasnt too fond of the hard crust that laid on top of the scrumptious fruit underneath.

This year..... it's my turn! Thanks to Melissa Murphy, there's a recipe (on pgs. 154-155) for Bear's Peach Cobbler in her cookbook. And thanks to Andrea of Nummy Kitchen for picking it this weekend. The complete recipe can be found on Andrea's blog. Also, be sure to check out how the other SMS Bakers made out with this one.

Immediately after my first read of the recipe, i was petrified --- oh, NO! --- another recipe that involved DOUGH! Something about working with dough just gives me the eebie jeebies --- but i have to overcome this and somehow get use to making dough because its not always about cakes & cupcakes & cookies --- there are other yummy treats to be made!

To my surprise, the cobbler topping (aka dough) came together nicely. I was psyched! Peeling & slicing the peaches was sorta tedious.

The recipe said to cut the dough into rounds and place them neatly on top of the peaches when you're ready to bake. I opted NOT to do that. I didnt want to mess with the dough anymore than I had to so i left it alone and just placed the whole thing in one piece on top of the peaches.

A nice golden brown crust after only one hour!

I couldnt find my casserole dish so I just used my 8x8x2 pyrex.
I love to see what the side of my dish looks like.

THE VERDICT: yummmmmmmmmmmmm!!! This is a winner! This recipe is really easy to put together. I liked this one a lot and so did my parents. I gave my dad the recipe so he can use it from now on.

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June 03, 2009

Blueberry Mochi Cake

Before I ventured off to Tokyo for my honeymoon in 2006, friends asked me to bring back Mochi. I had no idea what mochi was until my honeymoon. Mochi (Japanese: 餅) is a Japanese rice cake made of glutinous rice pounded into paste and molded into a shape. In Japan, it is traditionally made in a ceremony called mochitsuki. While also eaten year-round, mochi is a traditional food for the Japanese New Year and is commonly sold and eaten during that time. Mochi is also a prominent snack in Hawaii and Taiwan.

So when I stumbled on JustJenn's recipe for Blubeberry Mochi Cake I knew I had to make this. She adapted it from Hawaii's Best Mochi Recipes by Jean Watanabe Hee

The main ingredient in the mochi cake is Mochiko Flour (aka Sweet Rice Flour), a type of flour milled from mochi rice, which is a short-grained, glutinous rice common in Asia. A popular brand of mochiko flour is made by Koda Farms. I'm sure you can find this in a Japanese, Asian, or health food store (it's gluten-free), but I couldn't find this particular brand.

But I did come across this type at my local Chinese market... and it only cost me 85 cents! Glutinous Rice Flour becomes moist, firm and sticky when cooked, a result of its higher proportion of waxy starch molecules.

Life couldn't be sweeter when i dont have to pull out the huge & heavy Kitchenaid. I love ONE-BOWL recipes!

2 cups (1 lb) sweet rice flour
1 cup butter (2 sticks), melted
2 cups sugar
1 can evaporated milk
4 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
12 oz frozen blueberries (or 1 can blueberry pie filling)

In a large bowl, combine the sugar and melted butter. Add evaporated milk and mix well. Add eggs and mix. Finally, stir in baking powder, sweet rice flour and vanilla. After mixing the batter, spoon a thin layer in a 9 x 13 pan. Add semi-thawed blueberries. Add the remaining batter and then blueberries again. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees until toothpick clean and golden brown.

I loved making this... it was super simple and one of the easiest recipes. This came outta the oven nice & golden and looked fabulous. I couldnt wait to have a piece. I hate to say this... but the taste wasnt all that. The texture was a lil on the chewy side and even with 2 cups of sugar... wasnt sweet enough. I served this at my Sunday BBQ & my guests felt the same way... *sigh* Sorry, folks, but this wasnt a crowd pleaser.

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June 01, 2009

::People's Choice:: Matcha Cupcakes

Thanks for voting everyone! You're making my baking more enjoyable because now i dont have to sit there and think of something to bake.... you're all doing it for me.

This week you chose Green Tea (aka Matcha) Cupcakes. I love green tea! I used the recipe from the Chocolate-Matcha Cupcakes that I made previously. I omitted all the chocolate and doubled the green tea mixture.

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup matcha powder (use less if you dont want a strong tea flavor)
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • ¾ cup + 2 tbsp. milk, room temperature
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin pan w/paper liners.
  2. With a wire whisk, mix the dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, milk and vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Slowly add the matcha mixture to the creamed mixture and mix thoroughly.
  5. Bake for about 18-22 minutes.

Add 1-2 tablespoons of matcha powder to your favorite cream cheese frosting!

NEXT People's Choice: Decide on my mom's birthday cake!

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