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June 8, 2009

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cake

Filed under: Dessert, Holiday — Tags: , — bettylou79 @ 10:10 pm

Or Happy Birthday to my husband and Happy Mother’s Day!  I realize this post is a bit late coming but there really isn’t any good excuse other than it got buried in all the other posts waiting.

I made this cake for my husband’s birthday but also for my Mom who was coming down to have dinner with my husband and I before she and Lance headed out for Mexico the next morning.   My husband loves anything that has peanut butter in it and when I showed him this cake I had to file it away for his birthday cake or another special event involving him.

This cake was delicious but oh so rich!  The chocolate cake was so nice and moist.  I think my favorite part of the whole cake was the yummy peanut butter frosting.  I had so much fun decorating this cake from frosting it to putting on the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups on it.  I’m so glad that it wasn’t just my husband and I eating this cake for dessert that night because it would have taken us weeks to finish it.

This cake does take some time to create but it is so worth it!  Enjoy!

This fabulous recipe popped up in my Google Reader and I have found that I’m always oogling over things on Annie’s blog.  Go check out the yummy treats on Annie’s Eats.

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Reese’s Cup Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

source: Annies Eats blog


Ingredients:
For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled (optional)

For decorating:
1 ½ – 2 batches peanut butter frosting
miniature Reese’s cups, halved and/or chopped

Directions:
For the cake, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 9×2” round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper. Place the pans on a baking sheet.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for about 2 minutes, until thoroughly blended into the butter. Add the eggs and yolks one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk; add the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the buttermilk in 2 (beginning and ending with the dry ingredients). Mix each addition only until it is blended into the batter. Scrape down the bowl and add the melted chocolate, if using, folding it in with a spatula. Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans.

Bake for 26-30 minutes or until the cakes feel springy to the touch and start to pull away from the sides of the pans. Transfer to wire racks to cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.

To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a cardboard circle covered in foil. Spread peanut butter frosting on top of the cake layer. (If desired, sprinkle with chopped Reese’s cups.) Place the second cake layer on top of the frosting. Frost the top and outside of the cake with remaining peanut butter frosting. Decorate with halved and chopped Reese’s cups as desired.

Source: inspiration from Smells Like Home, cake from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, frosting from Ina Garten

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March 18, 2009

Irish Soda Bread

Filed under: Bread, Holiday — Tags: — bettylou79 @ 11:52 am

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from your favorite little Irish redhead!  My husband and I went up to my mom’s house for the weekend to celebrate the holiday with her and Lance with a traditional feast of Corned Beef, carrots and cabbage.  I must confess that this is only the second time we have had this traditional meal.  This year we even celebrated with some Guinness too.  The first time that I had a glass of Guinness was in Ireland with my friend to celebrate our graduation from college.  The trip was a present to ourselves.  We toured the factory in Dublin and at the end of the tour you get a pint of Guinness.  If you’ve been to Dublin then you’ve seen the River Liffey and it makes you a little scared of drinking the dark stuff!

I decided that the meal wouldn’t be complete with out Irish Soda Bread.  My mom found a bunch of recipes for all of the foods that would be part of a traditional Irish meal in the local newspaper.  I was in luck!  Soda bread was there too.  I thought that soda bread was supposed to be pretty bland and heavy but this bread did not turn out bland at all!  I was amazed at how sweet it was and I loved the raisins too.

Enjoy!

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Irish Soda Bread

source: www.frugalvillage.net

Ingredients:

3/4 cup raisins
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 pint sour cream (2 cups)
1 tablespoon caraway seeds

Preheat oven to 350 F. Soak raisins in warm water for 20 minutes to plump them. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In a small bowl, beat eggs and stir in sour cream. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients, and stir with a wooden spoon or use hands. Stir in the raisins and caraway seeds. Place dough in a greased 9-inch springform pan. Dust the top with flour to prevent hands from sticking, and pat the dough evenly in the pan. With a knife, make a shallow crisscross slash on the top. Bake for 50 minutes.

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February 19, 2009

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Filed under: Bread, Breakfast, Dessert, Holiday — Tags: — bettylou79 @ 1:52 pm

I’m starting to think that my resolution is turning out to be quite easy to keep!  This past weekend when my husband and I were wandering around downtown Seattle we went into Sur La Table and I was drooling over a pasta maker.  I told my husband that once I feel like I have mastered bread I’m going to move on to pasta.  He of course had no objections!  I will need more storage space for all the pasta as it dries or my husband could build me something!  We sampled the bread last night and I intend to try it today, toasted.  I’m sure it will be great!

I was amazed at how long this bread took to make from start to finish.  I’m starting to wonder how bakeries manage to have fresh bread in the mornings.  Coming in to bake before the sun rises is not my idea of fun!

I would love to try this recipe next time and add the raisins.  I wanted to make the bread so badly but I didn’t want to go out and get some of the ingredients I didn’t have (potato flour, dry milk and raisins).  Enjoy!

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Cinnamon Swirl Bread

source: seen on Two Fat Als, originally from Cook’s Illustrated

Ingredients:
(dough)
1/2 cup milk
4 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 package dry active yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1/2 cup warm water
1/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra

(filling and glaze)
1/4 cup sugar
5 tsp ground cinnamon
milk for brushing
1 large egg
2 tsp milk

Instructions:
Begin with the dough. Heat milk and butter together in a small saucepan until butter melts. Cool to lukewarm. Meanwhile, sprinkle yeast over warm water in a large bowl. Using a wooden spoon, stir slowly in a circular motion while adding sugar, eggs, salt and lukewarm milk mixture. Continue stirring a bit more quickly, and add 2 cups of flour until mixed thoroughly, then add remaining 1 1/4 cups flour until mixed through. Add more flour if dough seems extremely sticky. Remove dough from bowl, and knead on a floured surface for about 10 minutes, adding more flour as necessary, until dough is smooth and elastic. Place in covered, greased bowl to rise for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until doubled in size. Once risen, punch dough down once in the center, and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix cinnamon and sugar together for filling, and grease 9×5 inch loaf pan. Roll dough into an 8×18 inch rectangle, with the 8 inch side facing toward you. Brush milk over dough, and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over it, leaving a 1/2 inch edge on the side farthest away. Beginning with the side closest to you, roll dough into a log shape, pressing ends together to make sure that it does not become more than 8 inches. Pinch dough ends together to form a tight seam, and push ends of dough toward the center. Pinch outside dough edges together to form a seal. Place the dough seam-side down into the loaf pan, and press down evenly. Let the dough rise more until it is about 1 inch above the edge of the pan (30-60 minutes). Preheat oven to 350, and combine milk with egg. Before baking, brush this mixture over the top of the loaf. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown, and let cool for 45 minutes before serving.

February 17, 2009

Fettuccine Alfredo

Filed under: Holiday, Italian, Main Dish, Pasta — Tags: — bettylou79 @ 12:34 pm

When I was planning our menu for the week my husband and I decided to stay home for Valentine’s Day dinner but to go out to Seattle during the day.  My husband requested Fettuccine Alfredo with chicken.  I had to hunt a bit but I ended up finally going with my old stand by, Cooking Light.  Cooking Light has yet to fail me!

This recipe came together quite quickly and I love that I had almost all of the ingredients on hand.  The sauce turned out a bit thick when I added the Parmesan cheese, so I thinned it down with a little more milk.  My husband and I loved this recipe and were surprised at how much it tasted like something you would get in a recipe. My husband loved the consistency of the sauce too. We paired this with a fabulous bottle of Barefoot Pinot Grigio.

Enjoy!

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Fettuccine Alfredo

source: cookinglight.com

Ingredients

  • 1  tablespoon  margarine
  • 2  small cloves garlic, minced
  • 1  tablespoon  all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3  cups  skim milk
  • 2  tablespoons  light process cream cheese
  • 1 1/4  cups  freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 4  cups  hot cooked fettuccine (cooked without salt or fat)
  • 2  teaspoons  chopped fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground pepper

Preparation

Melt margarine in a saucepan over medium heat. Add minced garlic, and saut 1 minute. Stir in flour. Gradually add skim milk, stirring with a wire whisk until mixture is blended. Cook, stirring constantly, 8 minutes or until mixture is thickened and bubbly.

Stir in cream cheese; cook 2 minutes. Add 1 cup Parmesan cheese, stirring constantly until Parmesan cheese melts.

Pour sauce over hot cooked fettuccine, and toss well to coat. Top fettuccine with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, chopped parsley, and pepper.

Quick Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Filed under: Cookies, Dessert, Holiday — Tags: — bettylou79 @ 12:04 pm

You will notice that the picture below isn’t just of frosting but actually the sugar cookies that the frosting is gracing too!  I got the recipe for the sugar cookies from my 5k running buddy and friend from high school.  I had to beg for the recipe and she made me promise her my first born (no plans for any of those anytime soon!).  I promised my first born or that I would name him/her after her.  I will however give you her blog address to look at her other yummy things!  Here is her blog with pictures of her cookies.

This frosting recipe was great and came together quickly, even though I was nervous at first.  I also got to use my new small spreader from Pampered Chef.  It made frosting the cookies a dream!  I’m going to have an online/catalog party next month and I will definitely get the larger spreader too.  Here is what my spreader looks like:

spreaderMy only problem with the frosting was that now I have about 3/4 of a cup left over!  Hmm!  What to do!  I’ve thought of making cupcakes.  We’ll see what I decide on!  Eating it straight out of the bowl also sounds tempting too!  Here are my cookies.  Don’t mind the tacky paper plates!  I was sending them with my husband to work. Enjoy!

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Quick Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

source: foodnetwork.com

Ingredients

  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream

Directions

In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.

February 3, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip

Filed under: Appetizers, Dessert, Holiday — Tags: — bettylou79 @ 1:12 pm

Goodness!  I’m noticing a trend!  The last few posts have been about chocolate.  I must like chocolate or something!

This is actually the 2nd time that I’ve made this dip.  The first time I made it to bring to a party after a Cougar football game.   It was very well received especially by the women their!  I think this dip would be perfect to bring to either a bridal or a baby shower.

I brought this dip to the Super Bowl party that my husband and I attended this weekend.  I seem to have a tough time going to a party or gathering and not bringing something.  I guess it could always be worse!  I’ve heard some people call certain dips that are super addictive, Crack Dip.  I think this might just be one of them! I spotted this dip on The Nest a few years ago when I was just discovering food blogs.  I don’t remember where I first found it though!

This recipe comes together very easily.  So easily that I bought the ingredients on our way to the party and made the dip at the party!  Thanks for letting me dirty up your kitchen Brooke!  I alwasy love recipes that include ingredients that are easy to find and are decent in price!  This recipe is both of those things!  I brought graham cracker sticks to dip, but I have also tried it with Nilla wafers.  Both were great!  I don’t have a picture because I forgot to grab the camera!  There are pletny of pictures of this recipe out there!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip

source: www.recipezaar.com

Ingredients

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the brown sugar over medium heat. Stir continuously, until the brown sugar dissolves. (You can also do this in the microwave but watch it closely. The butter/sugar mixture will boil over fast. Stir every 30 seconds or so.)
  2. Remove from heat, whisk in the vanilla and set aside to cool.
  3. Beat the cream cheese and confectioner’s sugar for 1 minute.
  4. Slowly beat in the cooled butter mixture and beat again for another minute.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts, if using.
  6. Pour into a serving bowl and refrigerate.
  7. Garnish with additional chocolate chips or nuts, if you choose.

Hot Chocolate Fudge Cakes

Filed under: Dessert, Holiday — Tags: — bettylou79 @ 11:50 am

As I have mentioned in previous posts my mom used to give me her Cooking Light magazines after she had read them.  I spotted the picture for this recipe on the cover and knew as soon as I opened the magazine that I would be on the hunt for that recipe!  The editors certainly did make me work!  They put the recipe at the very end!

I knew just the occasion that I would make these delicious cakes for dessert.  My husband and I have a little quirky tradition of celebrating our half anniversary.  We started it during our first year of marriage and now 2 and half years later we are still celebrating.  We always celebrate at home with a fun new menu, but this year the main course was pretty unexciting (steak, baked potato, and salad) but dessert was very exciting!  We also started this tradition because my husband’s aunt gave us a gift card for a local grocery store for Christmas.  She intended for us to use it for our dinner menu for New Year’s day but we used it to celebrate our 6 month anniversary in January.

I also thought these cakes would be perfect because we both have a love for Chocolate Lava Cakes at our favorite restaurant in town.  These cakes did not disappoint us.   I didn’t put the cakes in to 4 ounce ramekins but instead into 8 ounce ramekins.  I baked them for about 5 more minutes than the recipe suggests.  We were left with some cakes to enjoy later this week!  Enjoy!

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Hot Chocolate Fudge Cakes

source: Cooking Light

Ingredients

  • 3.4  ounces  all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2/3  cup  unsweetened cocoa
  • 5  teaspoons  instant espresso powder
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  baking powder
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  cup  unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3  cup  granulated sugar
  • 2/3  cup  packed brown sugar
  • 1  cup  egg substitute
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  vanilla extract
  • 1  (2.6-ounce) bar dark (71% cocoa) chocolate (such as Valrhona Le Noir Amer), finely chopped ( I used Amano chocolate)
  • 2  tablespoons  powdered sugar

Preparation

1. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Sift together flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt.

2. Place butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 1 minute. Add granulated and brown sugars, beating until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add egg substitute and vanilla, beating until well blended. Fold flour mixture into sugar mixture; fold in chocolate. Divide batter evenly among 10 (4-ounce) ramekins; arrange ramekins on a jelly-roll pan. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or up to 2 days.

3. Preheat oven to 350°.

4. Let ramekins stand at room temperature 10 minutes. Uncover and bake at 350° for 21 minutes or until cakes are puffy and slightly crusty on top. Sprinkle evenly with powdered sugar; serve immediately.

January 4, 2009

Guacamole

Filed under: Appetizers, Holiday, Mexican, Vegetables — Tags: — bettylou79 @ 10:54 am

This might become a recipe that I will bring to parties and large gatherings more often. I brought this to our New Year’s Eve celebration for when we had the munchies later in the evening. This recipe was quite easy to put together. I enjoyed the tomatoes because they gave the dish a bit of color. My husband also enjoyed the tomatoes because they were cut up so small!! I came across this recipe in my new Barefoot Contessa cookbook and decided that I should try it. The fact that avocados were on sale at the grocery store, helped too! Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the guacamole, but I trust that you know what it should look like!

Enjoy!

Guacamole

source: Food Network

Ingredients

  • 4 ripe Haas avocados
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
  • 8 dashes hot pepper sauce
  • 1/2 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded, and small-diced

Directions

Cut the avocados in 1/2, remove the pits, and scoop the flesh out of their shells into a large bowl. (I use my hands.) Immediately add the lemon juice, hot pepper sauce, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper and toss well. Using a sharp knife, slice through the avocados in the bowl until they are finely diced. Add the tomatoes. Mix well and taste for salt and pepper.

Creamy Herbed Spinach Dip

Filed under: Appetizers, Holiday, Vegetables — Tags: , — bettylou79 @ 9:20 am

This spinach dip has quickly become my favorite dip to bring to parties or large gatherings. I brought this to our low key, relaxed New Year’s Eve celebration. I love the little kick of the Tabasco sauce. I first saw this recipe on an America’s Test Kitchen show on PBS. I loved how simple the recipe was. I would direct you to the actual recipe on the website but you have to be a member to view it. I am not a member yet because I don’t use their website often enough, even though I would love to have one of their cookbooks!

I don’t have a picture to show you because I forgot to take one at the get together! Oops! I’m pretty sure you know what Spinach Dip looks like though!

Creamy Herbed Spinach Dip

source: Cook’s Illustrated

Ingredients:

10 oz frozen chopped Spinach

1/2 cup Mayonaise

1/2 cup Sour Cream

2 TB chopped shallots

1 TB chopped fresh dill leaves

1/2 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves

1 small garlic clove-minced

1/4 tsp Tabasco

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 medium red pepper, chopped (I omitted)

Directions:

Thaw spinach for 3 minutes at 40% power. Squeeze partially thawed spinach of excess water through a clean tea towel. Put all ingredients into a food processor. Process until smooth and creamy. Dip can be refrigerated for 2 days.

Serve with pita chips.

December 24, 2008

Chocolate Cherry Upside-Down Cake

Filed under: Dessert, Fruit, Holiday, Uncategorized — Tags: — bettylou79 @ 6:26 am

I made this the past weekend and it is quickly becoming one of my favorite desserts. My husband and I went to my mom’s house to celebrate Christmas early with her because we will be celebrating Christmas with my husband’s family. Over the past ten years or so I have been in charge of dessert for Christmas Eve dinner. We always made a special dinner on that night. In the past when my grandparents were alive they would come over to my mom’s house for dinner and our traditional one gift opening that night. My mom usually made her fabulous Lasagna or sometimes a quiche. This year I talked her into the Lasagna!

This year I made this dessert. I have a confession though, I made this last year too but I thought it was so great that I had to make it again! Usually my mom makes a Cherry Pie for Christmas dinner dessert but since I wasn’t sure if there would be one at dessert this year I had to make something with cherries! I love cherries and I also love chocolate cake. As soon as I read this recipe in the Hershey Holiday Recipe cookbook (you know those little magazines tempting you at the cash register in the grocery store), I knew that I had to make it! I also love that this recipe has everyday normal ingredients that you most likely have around your house, even if you don’t have them you will find a use for them after you purchase them.

Enjoy! Happy Holidays!

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Chocolate Cherry Upside-Down Cake

source: Hershey’s Kitchens

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon almond extract(optional)
  • 1 can (21 oz.) cherry pie filling
  • 1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Stir together cornstarch, 1 tablespoon water and almond extract, if desired, until cornstarch is dissolved. Gently stir in pie filling; spread mixture evenly on bottom of ungreased 9-inch square baking pan.

2. Stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add 1 cup water, oil, vinegar and vanilla; beat with spoon until batter is smooth and well blended. Pour batter evenly over cherries.

3. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; invert onto serving plate. Serve warm with whipped cream. About 9 servings.

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