Sunday, February 19, 2012

Desserts is Stressed Spelled Backwards!

You can never have too many desserts! Ok, maybe at some point but for there can be a such a thing as too many desserts but for now we will pretend that isn't true! Recently, I signed up for Pinterest which has increased the amount of desserts I want to make exponentially. Actually, I have found a ton of new meals from Pinterest but so far have only made the desserts. This weekend I made two desserts, Red Velvet Cupcakes and Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies. I've made several different Red Velvet recipes but I really liked this recipe. Also, I bought an icing kit back in December and used it for the first time when I iced the cupcakes, I absolutely love it! It made the icing go so much quicker and be more presentable!! Now I just want to make cupcakes every day just to use my decorating tool! Now on to the recipes! I got this recipe from a blog called "Annie's Eats".
Red Velvet Cupcakes Serves 24
Ingredients for the Cake
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp (1 oz.) liquid red food coloring
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp distiller white vinegar

Ingredients for Frosting
8 oz cream cheese
5 tbsp unsealed butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
3. Combine cake flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt; whisk to blend.
4. With electric mixer, combine eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar. Beat on medium speed until well blended.
5. Mix in dry ingredients on low and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.
6. Divide batter evenly. Bake, rotating pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Let cool in pans for 5-10 minutes then cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Frosting Steps
1. Combine cream cheese and butter with electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in vanilla extract. Gradually best in powdered sugar until incorporated. Increase speed and beat until smooth.
2. I used a star tip to ice these cupcakes (if using a tip I would increase the frosting recipe to have plenty for all the cupcakes.)

Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies Serves 36
I got this recipe from Christina who found it via Pinterest. I was looking to try something new and knew she was the perfect person to ask for dessert suggestions so she sent me a recipe she had been wanting to try! You can never go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter! I'm sorry I didn't get a better picture of one of the bars alone but hopefully this will give you and idea of what it looks like.
Brownie Base
1 box Betty Crocker Original Supreme Brownie Mix
Water, Vegetable Oil, Eggs (specific amounts called for on the box)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup of creamy Peanut Butter (May actually want a little more. I used 3/4 cups)
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons milk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter

1. Heat oven to 350. Grease bottom only of 13 x 9 inch pan with cooking spray or shortening.
2. In medium bowl, stir brownie mix, pouch of chocolate syrup, water, oil, and eggs until well blended. Spread in pan. Bake 28-30 mins (the box called for 23-25 but I actually went for 20 and tested it with a toothpick, had experience burning it the first go around). Cool completely, about an hour.
3. Beat filling ingredients with an electric mixer on medium speed. Spread mixture evenly over brownie base.
4. Microwave topping ingredients 30-60 seconds; stir until smooth. Cool 10 minutes spread over filling.
5. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cut into 9 rows by 4 rows.
6. Store covered in refrigerator and remove about 15 minutes before serving (allowing the top chocolate layer to soften a little).

Enjoy. It takes a while just to let the brownie cool completely but is actually a very easy recipe.

Until the next time in the kitchen! Let me know if you try any of the recipes and what you thought about them!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

French Toast with a little Twist

As we grow up and move further away from our friends it is important to make time to see everyone when you're all in the same area. Some of my high school girlfriends and I have an annual brunch the day after Christmas to catch up and make sure there is time to see everyone. Plus no one ever turns down food! This year brunch was simple I made Overnight Orange French Toast, Cheese Grits, and set out some eclairs to enjoy. The Overnight French Toast was a new recipe for me from Southern Living and I'd say it was an absolute hit!
Ingredients for the toast
8 slices of French bread (3/4inch thick)
4 large eggs
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons orange juice
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1. Place bread in an ungreased 13x9 baking dish.
2. Combine eggs, milk, orange juice, vanilla, salt, beat well.
3. Pour mixture over bread, turn slices over to coat evenly.
4. Cover and chill overnight.

Ingredients for Orange Sauce
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons grated orange rind
½ cup orange juice

Steps for Orange Sauce
1. Combine all ingredients in saucepan, stirring well.
2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until thickened.

Cook the toast on top of the stove before serving and drizzle the orange sauce and powdered sugar over the finished toast. I also added a slice of orange to each piece but that is certainly optional. No syrup is needed for this French toast. It has a natural flavor and just a hint of orange in every bite! The photo is a bit blurry but you can still get the idea.

Another dish that is always good for large (or small) groups is Cheese Grits. Being Southern I love cheese grits! My mom's recipe is my all time favorite so I am happy to share it with you.
1 1/2 cups grits, uncooked
6 cups water
3 beaten eggs
1 stick margarine
1 pound grated cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons salt
Dash of Tabasco

*Do not add salt to water when cooking grits.*
1. Bring water to a boil and add grits slowly and cook until done.
2. Add a little of the cooked grits to the beaten eggs. Adding a small amount at a time until eggs are heated. Then add the eggs to the pot of grits.
3. Stir in margarine and cheese until they melt.
4. Turn into a 9 x 13 baking dish, bake at 250 for 1 hour.

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'Tis the Season

First, I'd like to apologize for not updating the blog in so long. I hope the recipes will make up for my tardiness.
Last year I had started an annual tradition of having some friends over after the Birmingham-Southern Christmas choral concert for Christmas desserts. So this year that time came around again and what better time to spend with friends than the holidays? This year I made Cranberry Bliss bars, Seven Layer Magic bars, Date Rolls, and Icebox Fruitcake.
A little bit about each of these desserts- Cranberry Bliss Bars every year starting in about November, Starbucks puts out their Cranberry Bliss Bars, a little piece of heaven if you ask me! So I was determined to find a recipe to duplicate the recipe, well luckily I was able to find a recipe. I made this last year and it was too cakey but it seemed to work a bit better this year. I was much more pleased with this go around, I was at least able to cut it into bars this year. Last year it was more a dollop of cranberry bliss crumble. Ha! I found this recipe off a blog titled, "Loving' from the Oven" but different variations are easy to google.
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1–1/4 cups brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1–1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Dried Cranberries, minced
1/4 cup plus 1/4–1/3 cup White Chocolate Chips
1/4 cup Crystallized Ginger Slices, minced
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1–1/2 cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease a 9×13 pan.
2. Beat together the butter and sugar. Mix in the eggs and vanilla.
3. Add the flour, ginger, and salt into the batter. Beat well. Lightly stir in the 1/4 cup cranberries, 1/4 cup chocolate chips and minced ginger.
4. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 20-25 minutes, depending on your oven.
5. Make the frosting by beating the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar and beat until you reach the desired consistency.
6. Spread the frosting onto the cooled cake.
7. Cut the frosted cake as desired into bars or triangles. Sprinkle the remaining minced cranberries and chocolate chips on the top.

Seven Layer Magic Bars
This really is magic, plenty of ingredients and really makes it quite enjoyable. This recipe usually is on the inside of the Condensed milk label but here is one I found from
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch-flavored chips
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
1 cup chopped nuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (325 degrees F for glass baking pan). In small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and butter; mix well. Press crumb mixture firmly on bottom of 13x9-inch baking pan.
2. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture. Layer evenly with remaining ingredients; press down firmly with fork.
3. Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Chill if desired. Cut into bars or diamonds. Store covered at room temperature.

Icebox Fruit Cake
Now this isn't your normal fruitcake that would make one turn up their nose and this one is a staple from at an Anchors Christmas gathering, this is my GranMary's recipe and I always remember her while making the cookies.
1 box graham crackers, crumbled into fine crumbs
1 can of condensed milk
1/2 cup white raisins
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

1. Mix all ingredients up with your hands, will be sticky!
2. Roll in tubes about two inches in diameter.
3. Wrap in wax paper and store in refrigerator for up to a month.
4. Cut slices off as needed.
If you want to add other candies you can.

I don't have the recipe for the date rolls on hand but I will try to post that in the future. This was a dessert mom helped me make and she just knew the recipe off hand. They are so much better than they sound! Here is a little teaser for you...

Enjoy your Christmas desserts! But remember they can be served any time of year! Maybe that is why I posted this in February! Happy Baking!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad