Goji Brownies

I came across Once Upon A Tart's Browniebabe of the Month event rather on accident. To be quite honest, I don't know how I got there, but I'm glad I did. Because, truly, how can you go wrong with brownies? :D

Somehow it got into my head that I would walk over to Whole Foods today, since they sell Vosges Chocolate at a slightly better price than the actual Vosges stores do. I didn't know exactly what I'd get to work with, but I knew it'd be fabulous.

I went with their Goji bar, since it was a milk chocolate, therefore I wouldn't eat these all by myself (the boyfriend doesn't like dark chocolate *gasp*). The bar is 41% cacao, with goji berries and pink Himalayan salt. You taste the chocolate first, very smooth, and then as it melts, you pick up on the berry flavors, with a slight salty kick. Different, but yummy.

I digress, of course. ;)

by himself

..and with a friend.

½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
½ cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa
¼ tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1 3-oz. Vosges' Goji bar, chopped into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla in bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in chopped chocolate. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.

Bake at 350F for 20 to 25 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

I couldn't resist and tried one after about 45 minutes. Warm, gooey deliciousness. The berry flavor is a bit 'quieter', but it's definitely there still. Very yummy. Worth the extra money for the chocolate ;)

(And do pardon the pictures, of course. I'm still learning how to make food pics pretty!) :D


Apple Spice Muffins

I know, muffins again. But I'm finding them to be perfect to bring to work, as a snack either mid-morning when the blood sugar starts to get low, or mid-afternoon, when the energy starts to get low. Plus I like that the cleanup is relatively minimal, what with using the "found-on-clearance-after-Valentine's Day" muffin liners. :D

I found the original recipe on Allrecipes, but I did alter it a bit. When I make them again (as it's already been requested :D), I'm going to add a bit more spice to them, although I haven't figured out yet what will work best. Any ideas?

½ cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1½ cups flour
1½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice*
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 cup applesauce

(*I didn't have it, so I just put in some ginger and nutmeg)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, spices, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth. Alternately add flour and applesauce, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix just until blended. Spoon batter into muffin tins, about 2/3's full.

Bake at 350F for 17-20 minutes.


Oatmeal Muffins

It's just another manic muffin...

Oops. So I'm probably not supposed to be baking. It's late (for me), I rarely ever bake at night, and, oh yeah, I'm recovering from the laparascopic surgery that I had last Friday (yes, the 13th). But after watching Grey's Anatomy, I was feeling restless, and all of a sudden I knew: muffins would make everything better. Don't know how, but I just knew, and I'm really hoping that the pain that's in my belly right now is worth it. :D

taken from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

2 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
1½ cups milk
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cinnamon (I upped it to ½)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 tsp. vanilla

(I also added in a handful of dried cranberries and maybe a quarter cup of raisins?)

Preheat oven to 400F. Line 12-16 muffin tins with paper liners.

In a medium sized bowl, mix the oats and the milk; set aside for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, making a well in the center. Stir in the liquid ingredients and the oatmeal mixture until just combined, being careful not to overmix. Batter may be lumpy. Fill muffin cups about three-quarters full.

Bake at 400F for 16-18 minutes, until lightly golden or a cake tester inserted near center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Do not overbake.


Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes

These are from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook, by Jennifer Appel (sp?), and let me tell you - they are divine. I've made them on multiple occasions, and every single time, people want more. And more. Sometimes I think they want me to turn into a Cupcake-Makin'-Machine. It's nice to know that people like what I make. That warm fuzzy feeling inside always makes for a good day. :)

(do pardon the quality of the picture; it was the original digital camera that i had used)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly-packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temp
6 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a small bowl, sift together flour and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large bowl, on medium speed of your mixer, cream butter until smooth. Add sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add chocolate, mixing until well incorporated.

Add dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter inthe bowl to make sure ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 fulls.

Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes until the tester toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the tins for 15 minutes before removing them from the tins and cool completely on cooling racks before frosting.

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
(makes MORE than enough for 2 dozen cupcakes)

8 oz cream cheese, softened and cut into small pieces
3 tbsp unsalted butter, soften and cut into small pieces
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

In a large bowl, on medium speed of electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla and beat well. Gradually add the sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating continously until creamy and smooth. Cover and refrigerate icing for 2-3 hours, but no longer, to thicken before using.

Butterscotch Pumpkin Cake

The first words out of my mouth upon trying this cake? "If I were to marry a cake, this so would be it!"

When pouring the butterscotch sauce over it, a lot of it pooled in the middle of the cake. So when that first slice was cut, it was this mini-flood of sweetness. What I really enjoyed was taking a forkful, then dipping into the sauce. :)

1-2/3 cups (11-oz. pkg.) butterscotch morsels, divided
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin
½ cup applesauce
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp powdered sugar (optional)
1/3 cup evaporated milk (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 12-cup Bundt pan.

Microwave 1 cup morsels in small, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on medium-high (70%) power for 1 minute; STIR. The morsels may retain some of their original shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until melted. Cool to room temperature.

Combine flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in medium bowl. Stir together melted morsels, pumpkin, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract in large bowl with wire whisk. Stir in flour mixture. Spoon batter into prepared Bundt pan.

Bake at 350F for 40 to 50 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 30 minutes; remove to wire rack to cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve with Butterscotch Sauce.

For Butterscotch Sauce:
Heat 1/3 cup evaporated milk in medium, heavy-duty saucepan over medium heat just to a boil; remove from heat. Add remaining morsels; stir until smooth. Return to heat. Stirring constantly, bring mixture just to a boil. Cool to room temperature. Stir before serving.


Cooking to Combat Cancer : Mixed Berry Tarts

When I read about the above over at Mele Cotte, I knew I had to take part. Between three of four grandparents dying of cancer, my dad is currently going through his third round of chemo.

I went through the Mayo Clinic's recipe webpage, and finally decided upon their Mixed Berry Pie. Which are really mini tarts, but, hey. I won't be picky. ;)

(At least we know with this blog, my close-up-photography skills are bound to improve!) :D

12 to 15 medium strawberries, sliced
3/4 cup raspberries
1/2 cup fat-free, sugar-free instant vanilla pudding made with fat-free milk
6 single-serve (tart-size) graham cracker pie crusts
6 Tbsp light whipped topping (optional)

In a small bowl, mix together the strawberries and raspberries.

Spoon 4 teaspoons of the pudding into each pie crust. Add about 2 tablespoons of the strawberry-raspberry mix to each pie. Top the fruit with 1 tablespoon whipped topping.

Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

So, I altered it a bit, because I wanted to make pretty designs. :) I also chose to do both chocolate and vanilla, for some variety. I ate one already - very yummy. Good for summertime, too, for a quick dessert. :)


Snickerdoodle Muffins

I saw these posted over at Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, and immediately added them to my "wanting to try" file. A random fit of baking occurred tonight, and, since I had the sour cream, I went for it.

Of course, mine didn't come out nearly so pretty as hers, but it's okay. Some of the tops spread like anything and seriously looked like a snickerdoodle. And the taste? Soft, fluffy, and moist - with just the right amount of spices. I almost want to call them muffcakes, because they don't seem overly muffin-y to me.

(I'll refrain from posting the 'during' pictures. I don't have a cookie scoop, so rolling these babies in the cinnamon sugar was not a pretty process!)

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. cream of tartar
3/4 tsp nutmeg
2¼ cups flour
1¼ cups sour cream

1 cup sugar and 2 Tbsp. cinnamon for rolling

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 12-18 muffin cups with paper liners.

Cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until well blended.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cream of tartar, and nutmeg. Set aside.

Alternately add the flour mixture and sour cream, starting and ending with the flour.

Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out muffin batter one at a time and drop into a shallow bowl filled with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll the muffin around in the mixture until it is covered completely in cinnamon sugar. Place muffin into muffin tin. (From Peabody's directions)

Bake at 350F for 20-22 minutes, or until golden brown.