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Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Baking Goal: Irish Potato Candy

Look like potato right? It's really candy, honest! I can't wait to give this a go!
Check out the recipe at Cooking Creation

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Baking My Way: Glazed Cheesecake Brownie

 I wasn't too sure I'd like this bar. It didn't seem super interesting and I've had those chocolate cream cheese cupcakes that everyone seems to make and I find them pretty boring and dry so when I tried this I was seriously surprised. This brownie is super moist, just the right amount of sweetness and chocolate, and then you have that wonderful glaze, OMG, I eat two pieces without even realizing it, it was so good I just kept going! (Blush).

I highly suggest this brownie, especially if you want a cheesecake dessert that's a little different then the usually.
(Note: It also freezes really well!)

Topping
1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons margarine, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

Brownies
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
3 tablespoons margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Glaze
1 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
2 teaspoons margarine

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 9-inch square pan. In small bowl, combine all topping ingredients; blend well. Set aside.

In medium saucepan, melt 4 oz. chocolate and 3 tablespoons margarine over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat; cool 15 minutes. Add 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla; blend well. Beat in 2 eggs 1 at a time, blending well after each addition. Add flour, baking powder and salt; stir just until blended. Pour into greased and floured pan. Pour topping over batter.

Bake at 350°F. for 40 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.

In small saucepan, melt glaze ingredients until smooth, stirring constantly. Drizzle over brownies. Refrigerate at least 4 hours. Cut into bars. Store in refrigerator.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Breakfast

My girl friend Sara and I went for crepes at The Forks at a place called Caramel Crepe. I'll be honest, not the best crepes I have had and pretty pricey. Still, like usually I'm glad I tried it and I had a coupon!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Health Tip of the Week: How to Eat to Help Speed up your Metabolism


Breakfast is essential. Your body has been deprived of food throughout the night, therefore your metabolism has slowed. If the cells do not receive sufficient nutrients they will begin to function less efficiently on smaller amounts, and they will actually store more fat to use during these times of nutritional deprivation.

Eat six small meals a day to keep your body's fuel supply consistent and keep your metabolism revved up. Avoid eating late at night because your metabolism naturally slows down in the afternoon and evening, so eat a hearty breakfast. Consistency is important because your body metabolism adapts to your current weight. If you have been dieting or skipping meals your body's metabolism slows down to compensate for the lack of nutrients. When lean people overeat their metabolism speeds up and when obese people diet their metabolism slows down. The key is a balance of exercise and diet.

Eat fewer high-fat foods and less total calories. Choosing healthy foods, such as lean protein and vegetables, can actually increase your metabolism as well. Increase dietary fibre and limit sugary foods, alcohol, caffeine and don't smoke. The best foods to increase your metabolism and help you lose weight are fish, dark green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, blueberries and other fruits, whole grains, and at least 8 glasses of water a day.

When your cells need energy they will break down carbohydrates first, then fat and finally protein. Your body converts carbohydrates into a form of sugar called glucose which is easily used as fuel by your body. Any excess carbohydrates you eat will be turned into fat for storage. Of course, any fat you eat will be stored as fat as well. Your body converts the fat you eat into body fat very efficiently. If you exercise and eat wisely, however, you will burn those fat stores and increase your metabolism.

Information found at www.consumeraffairs.com

Baking My Way: White Chocolate Cranberry Bars

Have you ever tried the cranberry bliss bar at Starbucks? Well I love that bar, but don't get it very often because, well I could each tons of it, so it was almost just as bad when I made this recipe the other day. I took it to a friends and thankfully everyone else liked it too and I didn't come home with much.

This bar is super rich, very chocolaty and chewy gooey good. it's almost exactly like the one from Starbucks but thankfully I have the rest of this Baking My Way challenge to go through before I'll allow myself to bake this again.


Ingredients
2 1/4 cups all purpose or unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 (12-oz.) pkg. (2 cups) white vanilla chips
1 tablespoon shortening

Heat oven to 350°F. Line 13x9-inch pan with foil, extending foil over sides of pan. Grease foil. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; mix well.

In separate large bowl, combine brown sugar, sugar and butter; beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla; blend well. Gradually add flour mixture; blend at low speed just until combined. Fold in cranberries, walnuts and 1 1/2 cups of the vanilla chips. (Reserve remaining chips for topping). Spread batter in greased foil-lined pan.

Bake at 350°F. for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.

In small saucepan over low heat, melt reserved 1/2 cup vanilla chips and shortening, stirring occasionally. Drizzle over warm bars. Cool completely. Cut into bars.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Baking My Way: White Chocolate Chunk Brownie Wedges

This brownie wedge was a hit at the cabin this year! I know something is good when I come home with nothing left! It's a very white chocolate rich soft and chewy brownie. It almost taste like cheesecake it's so rich and creamy with the white chocolate melted into the crust!

Brownies:
1/2 cup butter
4 ounces white chocolate baking bar, chopped
2 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 oz semi-sweet chocolate, cut into chunks

Glaze:
1 ounce semisweet chocolate
2 teaspoons butter or margarine

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 inch round metal cake pan with foil and spray foil with cooking spray.

Melt the butter and half (2 oz) of the white chocolate together in a heat proof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Alternatively, you can melt the butter in the microwave, add the white chocolate to the hot melted butter, stir well then microwave at 30 second intervals until melted. Let cool slightly.

Combine eggs, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat with a hand-held electric mixer for about 3 minutes or until lighter in color and slightly thicker. Add melted white chocolate mixture and vanilla and mix well, then gently stir in the flour. Fold in remaining 2 ounces white chopped chocolate plus the 2 oz of melted semi-sweet. Spread in prepared pan.

Bake for 23-28 minutes (mine took 28) or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled.

In a heat proof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, melt glaze ingredients until smooth, stirring often. Drizzle over brownies or transfer to a freezer bag, snip off the tip, and squeeze over brownies. Let stand until set. Cut into 18 wedges.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Baking My Way: Vanilla Sandwich Cookies

 I LOVE these cookies! I'm getting down to a lot of more boring granny like recipe in my Baking My Way challenge so I didn't have high hopes with this one but as the recipe started to take form I started to get excited that I might actually really like the flavor and wow, did I ever....I'm not sharing these cookies, I've eaten so many of them myself already and Marshall has had a few but I'm putting them in the freezer to enjoy one at a time! These cookies are super rich, soft and very decadent; so worth making!!



Cookies
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon sugar

Filling
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa (or more if you want it even chocolatie, which I did!!)
4 teaspoons hot water
2-3 tablespoons coffee flavored liqueur or coffee (I used Amaretto)


Cookies
Combine sugar, butter; beat until light and fluffy. Add milk, vanilla, egg; beat well. Add flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt; mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours.

Heat oven to 425. Flour rolling pin and flat surface. Roll out dough to 1/8'' thickness, sprinkle with sugar and cut with 1 1/2'' cutter.  Place cookies 1'' apart on cookie sheet.

Bake for 3-5 minutes or until edges are lightly golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet.

Filling
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine all filling ingredients, adding enough liqueur for desired spreading consistency.  To make sandwich cookies, spread rounded 1/2 teaspoon filling between 2 cooled cookies, placing flat sides together.

Baking Goal: Rosewater Turkish Delight

Yum!! 
Check out the recipe at Cooking Creation

Monday, 16 July 2012

Baking My Way: Homemade Chewy Granola Bars

I was happy to finally get to make this recipe. I will for sure keep it in my back pocket for when we have kids and I'm going to work on it some more to make it healthy, but all and all it was really yummy! I love that it's chewy!

1 cup firmly pack brown sugar
2/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 coconut
1/2 cup shelled sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup wheat germ
2 tablespoon sesame seed
1 cup chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350. Grease 13 x 9 pan. In a bowl, combine brown sugar, peanut butter, syurp, butter and vanilla. Add all remaining ingredients; mix well. Press evenly in greased pan.

Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool an hour, cut into bars. 

Baking Goal: Homemade Caramels



Don't these look great? I have a lot of recipes that call for caramels so I'm wanting to try and make my own instead of buying them and I think this would be a great option! Check out the recipe here!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Cooking Goal: Sausage Pastry


I can't wait to make these! Don't they look amazing?! Check out the great (and easy!) recipe here!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Substitution for Cream of Tartar


Cream Of Tartar Recipes
If you don't have any cream of tartar in your pantry, you can use one of these substitutes in its place:

For beating egg whites - use an equal amount of white vinegar or lemon juice, or omit the cream of tartar entirely

As a leavening agent - replace the baking soda and the cream of tartar in the recipe with baking powder. One teaspoon of baking powder replaces 1/3 tsp of baking soda and 2/3 tsp cream of tartar

For frosting - leave the cream of tartar out. No substitute is necessary.

Cooking Goal: Baked Garlic Shrimp

Oh yum! I love shrimp and I know I would just love this! I can't wait to try it!
Check out the recipe at This Skinny Chick Can Bake!!!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Cooking Goal: Easy Potato and Bacon Breakfast Casserole

Doesn't this look wonderful! I would get up early if I knew this was the breakfast waiting for me!
Check out the recipe at Our Best Bites

Monday, 9 July 2012

Baking My Way: Lemon Brown-Eyed Susan Cookies

I found these cookies seriously boring when it came to taste. I think if I were ever to make them again I would make a yellow icing and ice the cookies around the chocolate chips. I even had some left over icing from something else and iced a couple of them and tried them that way and it makes them 70% better. I found these cookies sort of dry and again pretty boring on flavor. I skipped the egg yolk and food coloring part but it seems that all the other photos and blogs that I found have done the same. (unless you're bringing them somewhere there's sort of no point as it doesn't add any flavor). I'll be honest, I'm never going to make this one again, but it's crossed off the list and one less recipe to make!


1 cup sugar
1 cup margarine or butter, softened
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 egg
3 cups Pillsbury’s Best All Purpose or Unbleached Flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon water
Few drops yellow food color
¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

In large bowl, beat sugar and margarine until light and fluffy. Add lemon juice and egg; blend well. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt; mix well. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate 1 hour for easier handling.

Heat oven to 400ยบ F. On lightly floured surface, roll half of dough to ¼-inch thickness. Cut with floured 2 to 3-inch flower-shaped cookie cutter. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Repeat with second half of dough. In small bowl, combine egg yolk and water; blend well. Stir in food color. Brush tops of cookies with egg yolk mixture.

Bake at 400° F for 5 to 7 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Immediatley place chocolate chip in center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheets. 5 ½ dozen cookies.

Recipe Source 

Friday, 6 July 2012

Baking My Way: Chewy Date Drops


When I first read this recipe I thought it was going to be really grannyish but these cookies are really tasty and with a couple of changes could be really healthy (take out a lot of the sugar and use honey instead and take out the white flour and use whole wheat instead).

They're a good cookie for hiking, camping, or just a little shot of energy. 

2 cups chopped dates
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
4 cups flower
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans


Combine dates, 1/2 cup sugar and water. Cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring occasionally.  Cool for 30 mins.

Heat oven to 375.

Combine brown sugar, 1/2 cup sugar and butter. Beat until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs; blend well. Add flour, baking soda and salt; mix well. Stir in date mixture and walnuts. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart.

Bake for 8-10 mins. Immediately remove from cookie sheet.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Baking My Way: Peekaberry Boos

I'll be honest, these cookies didn't turn out as good for me as they sound in the recipe. They may look good in the photo but looks can be deceiving, these cookies (above) don't have the filling in them.

My first batch, wow, they looked bad. They were flat and the filling was all over the pan. I added some more flour and bake a few more and they seemed to work out well (above).

I'd like to try it again with the filling but I was scared after the first bad batch to add the filling in the second...in any case I'm sure they are wonderful!


1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon almond extract or vanilla
2 eggs
3 cups flour
2 cups oatmeal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup fruit preserves

Heat oven to 400.

Beat brown sugar, sugar, and butter until light and fluffy. Add water, almond extract, and eggs. Blend well.

Stir in flour, oatmeal, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Make a divot in the center of each cookie. Fill with 1/2 teaspoon of preserves. Drop scant teaspoon of dough over preserves. Bake for 6-9 minutes.

Health Tip of the Week: Jump starting your Metabolism


The best way to jump-start your metabolism is to exercise. Exercise will reduce body fat and increase lean muscle mass. By increasing lean muscle mass, metabolism will increase and aid in the weight-loss process. Muscle tissue uses more calories than fat tissue because it has a higher metabolic rate. Aerobic exercise, like walking, swimming or cycling, has the added bonus of speeding up your metabolism for 4 to 8 hours after you stop exercising. Additional calories will be burned off long after you stop exercising. Weight lifting, resistance or strength training, does not speed up your metabolism, but it does burn fat and increase your lean muscle mass which increases your resting metabolic rate.
Information found at www.consumeraffairs.com

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Baking Goal: Sweet Pull Apart Roll

Wow! I can't wait to try making this!
Check out the recipe at Kimmy's Kitchen

Monday, 2 July 2012

14 Layer Cake

Oh my gosh! Wow! I want this cake, all to myself, right now! Doesn't it look amazing?! I've never taken on a cake like this before but I think I'm going to give it a go. I need a good reason, and I already have all the valentine's day stuff covered for this year, so maybe next year? Or my birthday? Or Marshall's birthday? But then I really would be waiting a while. Well either way I'm going to do it and I'll show you my take on it when I do!

In the mean time check out these great photos (I'm using them as inspiration!) and the recipe!




The Cake
Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour , sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter , at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs , at room temperature
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder , preferably Dutch process
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter , cut up
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Pecan halves, for garnish
Directions
Position racks in the center and bottom third of the oven and preheat to 375°. Lightly butter four 8 1/2- to 9-inch cake pans (you will bake the cakes in three batches) and line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper. Flour the pans and tap out the excess.

To make the layers, sift together the sifted flour, baking powder and salt. Sift the mixture one more time, and set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar in the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle blade on high speed until light in color and texture, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl and be sure the mixture is well-blended. On low speed, add the flour in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of the milk, beginning and ending with the flour, and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl often with a rubber spatula. Beat in the vanilla. Using a scant cup for each layer, spread the batter evenly in the pans. It will make a thin layer.

Staggering the pans on the racks so they are at least 2 inches from each other and the sides of the oven and not directly over each other, bake the layers until they feel firm when pressed in the centers and are beginning to pull away from the sides of the pans, about 12 minutes. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes. Invert the layers onto cake racks, remove the parchment paper, and cool completely. Wash and prepare the pans. Repeat the procedure until all 12 layers have been baked and cooled.

To make the icing, bring the sugar, cocoa, butter and evaporated milk to a full boil in a large saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the icing has thickened slightly (it will resemble chocolate syrup but will thicken as it cools), about 3 minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Let the icing cool until thick enough to spread, but still pourable.

Place a layer of cake on a wire rack set over a jelly-roll pan. Spread with a few tablespoons of the icing, letting the excess run down the sides. Stack the remaining cakes, icing each layer. Pour the remaining icing over the top of the cake. If you wish, smooth the icing on the edges to cover the sides. Place pecan halves around the top perimeter of the cake. Let stand until the glaze sets. (The cake is best served the day it is made. To store, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 day.)

Recommended technique: If you buy inexpensive aluminum foil cake pans at the grocery store (they can be saved for another time as well), you will be able to knock out layers in no time. And no washing between baking!
Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder ( I used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa)
1 box (1 lb) confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1-3 Tbsp milk
  • Cream the butter and cream cheese with a mixer.
  • Add the cocoa and vanilla.
  • Add the confectioner’s sugar in small batches and blend on low until combined. Scrape down sides with each addition.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time until you get the consistency you desire.
For all the yummy details check out the original post!
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