Sunday, April 15, 2012

Martha’s Double Chocolate Brownies!

I had told someone at work a couple weeks ago that I would make her brownies, since I was on a roll this past week I decided to bust out some brownies as well. I already had to go to my Martha Stewart Holiday Cookies Magazine for Scott’s Snickerdoodles (best recipe ever and the only one I make now!) I figured maybe there was a simple one in there. Sure enough there was; A simple recipe for a small 8x8 batch of brownies.  Are they good you wonder?? Duh!! It’s Martha Stewart and I have never had a bad recipe from her! These were amazing!!! Decadent little chocolate brownies that had just the right amount of fudgieness! I sprinkled a handful of chocolate chips on top as well as some crushed pecans because in my family every brownie should have nuts and almost every cookie as well.  Guess we are just a house full of nuts! 

I was able to find the recipe online at and will have the link attached to the recipe as well, it’s Martha and I don’t want to get in trouble for giving credit where credit is due! On a side note, I use her Holiday Cookie Special Issue Dec. 2005 every year, some Great recipes in it!!! 

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 6 ounces coarsely chopped good-quality semisweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a buttered 8-inch square baking pan with foil or parchment paper, allowing 2 inches to hang over sides. Butter lining (excluding overhang); set pan aside.
  2. Put butter, chocolate, and cocoa in a heatproof medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water; stir until butter and chocolate are melted. Let cool slightly.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl; set aside.
  4. Put sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on medium speed until pale, about 4 minutes. Add chocolate mixture; beat until combined. Add flour mixture; beat, scraping down sides of bowl, until well incorporated.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top with a rubber spatula. Bake until a cake tester inserted into brownies (avoid center and edges) comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, about 35 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan, about 15 minutes. Lift out brownies; let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares


Jumbo Banana Pecan Muffins

Yup again! This was one of the first 500 to come across and I am glad I did! My little brother and his new wife came home for the week.  Friday was my day to get some baking done for them and since we had ripe bananas ready and he mentioned banana bread I took the opportunity to test out these muffins! First let me tell you this is my new go to recipe! I may never actually make banana bread again (probably just totally lied because sometimes baking is a compulsion and so is trying out different recipes ha-ha) it is that good! 

I made 2 batches of them, one without nuts and one with chopped walnuts.  Everyone agrees they are soo good! Seriously just banana bread in a giant muffin with a sweet crumb on top, super moist and super flavorful! Awesome recipe!!! 

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (2 to 3 medium)
  • 1-1/2 cups (12 ounces) sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. In another bowl, combine the bananas, sour cream,eggs and butter. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. 
Fill greased or paper-lined jumbo muffin cups two-thirds full. For streusel, in a small bowl, combine the flour,sugars and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly; stir in pecans. Sprinkle over tops.  
Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Serve warm. Yield: 1 dozen 

    Cinnamon Rolls Your Way!

    As much as I loved the Pineapple Sweet Rolls I was haunted by a comment my Step-dad said after having one “Can’t she just make normal stuff??? Does she always have to change things and make them weird? What’s wrong with just plain cinnamon rolls??” My first response was.” Whatever!! I like different things and not just the plain old boring norm!” Then I said”you all stifle my creativeness!!!” Ha-ha.. but this got me searching for just a normal cinnamon roll, since Scott and Elizabeth were home I wanted to make some so they could eat them in the mornings and that is what I did at 8pm Wednesday night while Elizabeth made us an awesome Asian meal! 

    I decided to check out the Fleischman’s yeast website which is and found the perfect simple recipe, Cinnamon Rolls Your Way!  It gives you the option of simple cinnamon filling or Gooey caramel filling.  It took all my effort not to go gooey and I will make those in the future! 

    This is a great simple recipe, the dough was easy to work with and very light and flakey. I loved seeing the layers in the dough as you unrolled them to eat.  We are weird like that and enjoy unrolling pieces of our sweet rolls :D. I had added extra cinnamon and sugar and feel it was still not enough so next time I will increase the filling for them and perhaps add in some raisins which would be perfect in them.  I did not get to glaze them, I was not going to make them as I was out of powdered sugar but Mom pulled out an unopened box. Needless to say it was bad, and I had no idea that powdered sugar could go bad!! Wow what a horrible glaze because of that sugar and I could not put it on those beautiful rolls ha-ha.  So we had them without and they were a huge hit! The family loved them as is with no glaze or icing! Big, soft cinnamon rolls at 10:30pm J.
     Cinnamon Rolls Your Way!

    Cinnamon Roll Dough:
    1 cup warm water (100° to 110°F)
    1 envelope Fleischmann's® Active Dry Yeast
    1/4 cup sugar
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup butter OR margarine, softened
    1 egg
    3-1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour


    To make dough:
    Combine water and yeast in large mixer bowl; set aside for 5 minutes to soften yeast. Add sugar, salt, butter, egg and 1 cup flour. Beat 3 minutes at medium speed of mixer; beat in additional 1 cup flour. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
    Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead 6 to 8 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning once to coat. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled, about 45 to 60 minutes. 

    To Make Classic Frosted Cinnamon Rolls:
    3 tablespoons butter OR margarine, melted
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 tablespoon Cinnamon

    1-1/4 cups powdered sugar
    1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
    1 to 2 tablespoons half and half

    Punch down dough and roll out to an 18 x 10-inch rectangle. Brush dough with melted butter. Mix sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle evenly over dough. Roll up from long side; seal edges. Cut into 12 slices.
    Place rolls in greased 13 x 9-inch pan, cut side down. Cover and let rise about 1 hour until double. Bake in preheated 350°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly browned. Cool. 

    Mix powdered sugar, vanilla and enough cream to make icing of pouring consistency. Drizzle frosting evenly over rolls. 

    Apple Pie Baked Apples

    I was given the link for this recipe on Facebook and felt compelled to try it out.  The link gave very few instructions and was tied to The Ultimate Woman’s Expo. I don’t know much about it but I liked the look of the picture and the idea of the recipe so wanted to give it a try!
    The first change I did was no granny smith apples, I hate them. I like a sweet apple and my family loves Ambrosia’s so that is what I used.  I also added a handful of dried cranberries and chopped pecans to the filling because it’s what I like ha-ha. The following instructions are exactly as the post said.

    You will need 6 granny smith apples, 1 pie crust, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Cut off the top of 4 apples off and discard. Remove the inside of each apple with a spoon very carefully, as to not puncture the peel. Remove skin from 2 additional apples and slice very thinly. These apple pieces will give you filling needed to fill the four apples you are baking. Mix sliced apples with sugars and cinnamon in a bowl. If you prefer more or less cinnamon and sugar, make adjustments as desired. Scoop sliced apples into hollow apples. Roll out pie crust and slice into 1/4 inch strips. You can also add a strip of pastry inside the top of the apple almost like a liner to add a little more texture/sweetness to the pie. Cover the top of the apple in a lattice pattern with pie crust strips. Place apples in an 8×8 pan. Add just enough water to the cover the bottom of the pan. Cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and sliced apples are soft.

    Now my opinion: You can not carefully spoon out the inside of an apple! I bent a spoon several times and ended up just carefully cutting out the inside with a small paring knife then using a spoon to angle and pop out the inside of the apple.  It was definitely not simple and a bit time consuming. 
    I did the extra apples and ended up with quite a bit of filling left of which I just made a small crostata with the left over pie dough. True I had added the cranberries and pecans but not all that much the filling left was enough for a nice sized crostata.

    I also did the foil like stated and I did do a milk glaze to help with browning but the dough did get soggy being under foil for the first 20-25 minutes and took a bit of time to finally finish cooking than the amount listed. They did come out quite pretty and impressive and I would serve them in a bowl because trying to cut the little stinkers with a fork sends them sliding onto your lap! Speaking from experience with that one!
    Tasty of course but Mom says.. we could just as easily make apple pie and it is easier to eat ha-ha.

    Pineapple Sweet Rolls

    I am signed up for various recipes to be sent to my email account, of course since I do not pay attention I had set one up to go to an email account I do not really use regularly.  I opened said hotmail account and found over 500 emails sent to me from  Being the foodie I am, even though I do not post as much as I should or am as professional as I wish I was, I could not just delete them all! I am slowly going through each one and then I see something like it on that link and find myself all over this website ha-ha. Needless to say one of those off the email pages was this recipe for Pineapple Sweet Rolls.  Last year I discovered how much I like to make Cinnamon Rolls or variations of and with my family loving pineapple, how could I pass up trying this recipe!

    So I made it! Lovely rolls and of course I changed a couple of things. I used the left over pineapple juice and topped it off with the orange juice for the filling.  When I remake this I will opt for all pineapple, we felt that the pineapple flavor was not very strong and that the orange was more prevalent.  The kind of reminded me of glazed King Hawaiian Sweet Rolls.  I will also double the filling as the single batch did not give you much filling for them. The dough is wonderfully bready and they were quite tasty but next time I will definitely make adjustments.. maybe even add in some coconut and pecans ;). 

    • 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
    • 1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
    • 1-1/2 cups warm milk (110° to 115°)
    • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 6 to 6-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • FILLING:
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup orange juice
    • 2 tablespoons grated orange peel
    • 1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • GLAZE:
    • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
    • 1 tablespoon orange juice
    • In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the milk, butter, sugar, salt, eggs and 1-1/3 cups flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough. 
    • Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. 
    •  Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour until smooth; gradually add orange juice. Stir in remaining filling ingredients. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; cool. 
    • Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Roll each half into a 15-in. x 12-in. rectangle. Spread filling evenly over dough to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seam to seal. Cut into 1-in. rolls. Place with cut side down into two greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. 
    • Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes. Cool. Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over rolls. Yield: 2-1/2 dozen

    Monday, April 2, 2012

    I cooked!!

    It has been quite some time since I have posted anything.  I did bake during the holidays but as much as I kept meaning to post here I just kept putting it off.  But I am trying to get back into the mood to bake and cook. Much of life has taken the passion out of what I once greatly enjoyed.  So enough about that sad bit of information here I am cooking.. at least once! Here is hoping I cook and bake a little more.
    It was a cold night, Mom was sick and she just happened to have pulled out a recipe from People Magazines February 20, 2012 issue Gaga Family’s Tomato Soup! I have been itching to make homemade tomato soup but wasn’t sure if the family would be up for it, alas at least Mom was with super yummy grilled cheese sandwiches grilled on the foreman grill.  I did double the recipe and I left during that process opted for only 1 bulb of fennel as they have never had it before so I was playing it safe; either way the soup was awesome and the meal a hit!
    Gaga Family’s Tomato Soup:
    2 tbsp. olive oil
    ½ onion, chopped
    1 stalk celery, chopped
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1 fennel bulb, chopped
    1 can (14.5) diced tomatoes
    1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
    2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
    2 tbsp. chopped parsley
    Salt and pepper to taste

    In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onion, celery, garlic and fennel.  Cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. 
    Add tomatoes and broth; simmer 4 minutes. Remove from heat, add basil and parsley. Cool slightly. Puree in blender and season to taste and serve.  

    I used my new handy little immersion blender instead of the blender, I also sprinkled Parmesan cheese on our servings and for my picture I added a couple of croutons and fennel fronds.  And the sammies were whole wheat sourdough bread with mozzarella and provolone cheese pleasantly sandwiched between the slices of bread. Super yummy! This soup will definitely be made again!!