Monday, December 30, 2013

Break for life

I took a break. I took a long break. Sorry! I've still been baking(even winning first place in a bake-off with a Holiday Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream Frosting). I got my Sixth Year Degree and finally finished that thesis in May. I had every intention of starting the blog again,  but life got in the way.

Unfortunately, my grandmother passed away in October. I have so much I could say, but really I just miss her. I miss her everyday.

So what have I baked lately? There's the Holiday Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream Frosting( yes, I won first place but my husband was apparently supposed to be the baker and so we lost- we'll get'em next year Hun!), Dutch Apple Pie, Cinnamon Buns, Pizzelles( I got a pizzelle maker!), gingerbread men, no-bake mini cheesecakes, and so much more.

The holidays have forced me to start moving on, start new traditions. I'll remember the old ones but it's too much to stay in the past all the time.

So, I am saying hello once more before 2014. I'm not sure what the new year will hold but I'm praying for peace, health, and happiness.

Hope you've all been doing well. I wish nothing but goodness for you and your families this year!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Back to Basics

You may have noticed that I haven't posted in a bit. I started this blog as a place to keep track of my favorite baked goods, but also to keep in touch with friends I was leaving behind in my move. Baking has always been a favorite past time of mine. It helps me to de-stress. However, since starting the blog, I've found that keeping up with weekly entries has become a stress, a chore. It's another thing I need to add to my Sundays as I think about getting ready for the week. I enjoyed doing it at first, when I didn't have quite so much going on. Then I started going back to school and adding a million things to my plate. I still love baking and I will still be continuing to write posts on the blog. However, I won't be posting every week. I've decided to post when I have something to say and a good baked good to recommend. I need to go back to the basics, back to when I first started this whole thing.
The baked good this week was a test to see if this would be added to the Easter menu. It was pretty good for having almost nothing in it. I still love the good old-fashioned full calorie, full sugar carrot cake. But, if you can't have all of that (or don't want it) this is a good substitute.

Flourless, Sugarless Carrot Cake
Makes 1 9-inch cake.
Oven 350

Cake
4 eggs, separated
1/2 cup splenda or sugar substitute
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup almond meal/flour
1 1/4 cup finely shredded carrots

Frosting
1/2 cup cream cheese (can use Tofutti Vegan Cream Cheese)
2-3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash of cinnamon

Coat cake pan with non-stick spray. Separate 3 of the eggs, placing the egg whites and yolks in separate bowls. Add the last egg (white and yolk) to the 3 egg yolks. Beat together. Add the sugar substitute and honey, continue beating. Add the lemon juice, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and vanilla. Finally, beat in the almond meal/flour and carrots.

In a new mixing bowl, with a clean mixer attachment, beat the 3 egg whites with 1 tablespoon sugar substitute for 2-4 minutes until stiff peaks form.

Gently fold the egg whites into the carrot-almond mixture. Spoon into cake pan.

Bake for about 20-30 minutes, or just until set. The top should be slightly browned and should spring back when you push on it lightly, and a toothpick inserted into the middle should come out clean. Remove from oven and let sit on cooling rack for about 5 minutes. You can remove from pan at this point or leave it in. Allow to cool at least 45 minutes before frosting.

For the frosting, mix all the ingredients together until there are no clumps. Drizzle or spread over cake in a thin-layer.Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Showered with Love

Lots of exciting news this week....my new nephew Ian was born on Wednesday, we celebrated Valentine's Day on Thursday, family from Virgina came to visit on Friday, and I hosted a Surprise Champagne Brunch Bridal Shower for a special cousin. I have recipes to share but I have many photos too. I'll make an attempt to upload the Pink Cake Pops Recipe soon!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Warm Puffin

Friday was a snow day, a blizzard day to be exact. The snow accumulated slowly, but we ended up with about 20-24 inches. Ms. Bailey has been enjoying leaping through the snow drifts and catching snowballs.
We stayed warm by the fire inside (except for the shoveling and snow blowing to clear the driveway) and started thinking about vacationing in warmer weather. It's exciting to think that we might be able to take our "annual" summer vacation again! It doesn't have to be anywhere extravagant, just some time away for the two of us.

 Puffins (Pancake Muffins)
Oven 375

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar (or splenda)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
7 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup nonfat milk
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, and baking powder together. Set aside.



Add the butter to a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. The butter will melt then begin to bubble and foam. Eventually it will start to turn brown and smell nutty - be patient and watch carefully, it can go from brown to burned quickly. Once the butter is browned, remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool slightly while you prepare the rest of the batter.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, egg yolk, maple syrup and vanilla until well combined. Mix in the cooled brown butter until incorporated. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and gently stir just until combined.







Divide the batter evenly among the wells of the muffin pans, filling each about 2/3 to 3/4-full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.










Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the muffins cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan to the rack. Best served warm with a drizzle of maple syrup on top.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sisterly Advice

You may remember the Christmas Cookie Exchange with my family, where we made what seemed like a million cookies(post). My sister, Kimberly, made some very popular Oreo cookie truffles. Inspired by her recipe, I decided to create a healthier sugar free version. I went to the store with the intention of swapping the regular Oreos with sugar-free Oreos. However, I guess I invented those....I found reduced fat, but those still had a good amount of sugar. My sister-in-law Kelley suggested using the sugar-free chocolate wafers that come in the 80 calorie packs. So this recipe is a creation with lots of sisterly advice!

Sugar-Free Oreo Cookie Truffles

6 packs Murray Sugar Free Chocolate Bites
1 pkg 8 oz. Neufch√Ętel Cream Cheese
about 2-4 oz Sugar Free Chocolate










In a food processor, crush cookies into fine cookie crumbs.












In a separate bowl, blend together cookie crumbs and cream cheese. Allow to chill in refrigerator for about 20 minutes.

















Scoop mixture and roll into balls (makes about 14, but you could make more by making them smalled). At this point you can add the lollipop sticks or leave as is. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Melt chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between. Drizzle chocolate over truffles to coat fully. Place back in the refrigerator to set.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sweet Enough

I was asked to create a sugar free cupcake for my husband's work party. I will say that this is not an easy or inexpensive thing to do. It's no wonder so many people eat too much sugar! I used a basic chocolate cupcake recipe from splenda.com and I adapted a recipe for chocolate chip cookie dough frosting from a cookie dough dip recipe on pinterest. I will always love the full sugar cupcakes, but these are a nice alternative.
 

Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes 16
Oven 350

1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 cup SPLENDA® Sugar Blend
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 
Combine cocoa and boiling water, whisking until blended. Set aside.
Combine flour, SPLENDA® Sugar Blend, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture with a fork or a pastry blender until crumbly. (This procedure may be done with a mixer at the lowest speed.)







Combine eggs, milk, cocoa mixture and vanilla in a small mixing bowl; add 1/3 of the egg mixture to flour mixture. Beat at low speed of an electric mixer until blended. Beat at medium speed for 30 seconds or until batter is smooth, stopping to scrape down sides of the bowl. Repeat procedure 2 times.







Spoon batter into paper lined muffin tins.
Bake 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan; cool completely on a wire rack. Dust with powdered sugar or frost.
 








Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frosting
 
2 cups almond flour/almond meal (Trader Joes)
1/2 cup shortening or butter
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips
 
Blend together flour, shortening, honey, vanilla, and salt. Stir in chocolate chips, saving a few for decoration on top of cupcakes.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Discounted Doughnuts

We've started to finally think more about decorating the house. Thankfully, we painted before we moved in, because I doubt that even that would get done now. We used this weekend to really look at mirrors, artwork, bath mats, new pillows, and many other random but necessary accessories. We're getting there, I just wish decorating your house was as easy as finding what you like on Pinterest!

In my quest for house accessories, I stopped into Stonewall Kitchen and purchased a Christmas discounted doughnut pan and mix. The mix was for their Chocolate Doughnuts with a Chocolate Glaze. Overall I would give them a 7 out of 10. They were healthier than most doughnuts, since they were baked and I could add as much or as little glaze as I wanted. I will definitely be using the pan in the future, but I'm interested in creating my own recipes.



Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sweet Substitute

Since my father-in-law was in the hospital and had so many surgery complications, I have been thinking more and more about being healthy. My husband and I have tried to live a healthy life but sometimes life seems to get in the way. Since I'm in charge of cooking dinner, for the most part, I've been making healthier choices and watching portions/measurements more. That one little thing has seemed to make me a bit more conscious of the things I eat throughout the day.

The hardest part is that we both have a sweet tooth. So, for today's baked good, I was inspired by a cookbook from Diabetic Living. My father-in-law happens to be diabetic and I wanted to create a baked good that we could all have. The good thing about these brownies is that no one would ever know how low in fat and calories they are!

Peanut Butter Swirl Chocolate Brownies
from diabeticlivingonline.com
Oven 350

Nonstick cooking spray
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar or sugar substitute blend
1/3 cup cold water
3/4 cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed, or 3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour or 3/4 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate pieces
 
Line a 9x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil up over the edges of the pan. Lightly coat foil with nonstick spray. Set aside.                  
In a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat; remove from heat. Whisk in sugar and the water. Whisk in egg, oil, and vanilla until combined. Stir in 1 cup of the flour and the baking powder until combined. (Batter will be thin at this point.)






Place peanut butter in a small bowl; gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of the batter until smooth. Set aside. In another small bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup flour and the cocoa powder. Stir into the plain batter; stir in chocolate pieces. Pour chocolate batter into prepared pan.
Drop peanut butter batter in small mounds over chocolate batter in pan.







Using a thin metal spatula, swirl batters together. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes* or until top springs back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 20 bars. (151 calories per bar, 8 grams of fat per bar*)

* If using sugar substitute: decrease baking time to 15-18 minutes, 140 calories per bar, 2 grams of fat per bar.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Happy, Healthy, Patient

It's the start of a new year and everyone is making resolutions. Unfortunately, all too often, those resolutions last for a few days or weeks and then end. My resolution is to be healthy, happy, and patient. Things that are not always easy but are very necessary. I hope all my friends and family keep their resolutions and stay healthy and happy this year!

Coffee Cake Muffins
www.marthastewart.com
Oven 350

For the Muffins
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
For the Streusel Topping
  • 1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

 
Prepare streusel topping: In a medium bowl, stir together brown sugar, flour, and salt. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles large coarse crumbs; refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffins: Butter and flour a jumbo 12-cup muffin tin (or two 6-cup muffin tins). In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together butter, sour cream, granulated sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well combined. With mixer on low, beat flour mixture into butter mixture.
 
Divide half the batter among prepared muffin cups. Top with half the streusel mixture, then remaining batter, and top with streusel. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
 
I gave these as favors after our Christmas Eve party.