Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mini Maple Pancake Muffins 9/25

We were busy last week...with birthdays, dinners, and just stuff going on, then suddenly it was the end of the week and we hadn't taken the time to bake anything.  So we woke up early before our trip to New Orleans for the weekend and made these for breakfast. Plus we wanted to use this.

How cool is this little squeeze bottle cupcake/muffin filler?  We think it is pretty cool. Thanks Mom!

How can you beat buttermilk, maple syrup, and chocolate chips.  YUM!

We added the chocolate chips on the top instead of in the dough because we wanted to the squeeze bottle and the chips would fit through the nozzle.

We ended up baking them a bit longer than recommended on Bakerella's site.  We wanted to make sure they were completely cooked all the way through.  They were pretty tasty.  We had eggs too for some protein.

Lessons learned: Quick recipes make for tasty breakfast.  We'd use smaller chips next time to fit through the cupcake filler. We wanted to use what we had this time.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Birthday Baking: Us! 9/18

It's birthday time in our family. Erin's(and her twin sister Ellen's) birthday is the 20th and Sara's is the 15th. Since our birthdays are so close together and we all get along so well, we usually celebrate together. This year we celebrated on the Saturday that fell between our birthdays by hosting a movie in the back yard. We rented a screen and projector, borrowed some patio furniture, had all sorts of movie treats like candies, hot dogs, pretzels and watched "Singing in the Rain." A little over 20 friends and neighbors were there. It wouldn't be a birthday party without a cake so we made one, and 24 cupcakes, and 24 mini cupcakes. Maybe we got a little carried away.  But it is our birthday and really who doesn't want to take home a tasty treat from a party.

The best part...  You take your favorite vanilla cake recipe, our is this one, and add a row of Oreo cookies that you have run through the food processor to the desired consistency and viola Cookies and Cream Cake!

For the frosting, we used our favorite cream cheese frosting recipe.  Super easy and super yum.  One 8oz room temp cream cheese, one stick of room temp unsalted butter, 3 - 4 cups of confectioners sugar.  Again we added a row of food processed oreos for the cookies & cream taste.  This amount of frosting covered all 24 standard cupcakes and 24 minis.  We made a second batch to frost the cake.

Can't really beat Cookie and Cream Cupcakes and Cake.  Happy Birthday to us!

Lessons learned: Cookies and cream equals vanilla cake recipe and oreos.   Also, we're getting better at frosting cakes and cupcakes. Sorry there are no pics of the cupcakes but they were pretty too.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Verdure al Forno 9/10

It hasn't been the warmest of summers here in So. Cal, so home gardens haven't been doing too well but someone we know still managed to grow this huge zucchini.

Look, it is bigger than Genoa Puppy!

Zucchini is a vegetable that is pretty near and dear to our hearts.  Our Grandpa was a very successful gardener, some might say too successful, because every summer when we would visit there would be lots and lots of zucchini.  So our Grandma made zucchini bread, zucchini soup, zucchini pancakes and a cheesy like lasagna(but she used zucchini instead of noodles).  When I(Sara) saw this huge zucchini I thought of that dish she would make for us.  So I looked around on the Food Network site and found this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis.  She calls it Verdure al Forno which translates into "Baked Vegetables".

This recipe calls for three different kind of white cheeses.  All yummy on their own and super good together.

Because this was a form of cooking and we weren't super strict on the measuring.  We made sure there was lots of cheese and lots of bread crumbs.

It came out really yummy and much like the recipe our Grandma made, although I think she might have used Italian Bread Crumbs, which would probably be worth a try cause that will kick up the flavors a bit.

We even had enough zucchini left over to make zucchini bread from the Cooks Illustrated recipe.  We made it with dried cranberries and nutmeg.  We highly recommend trying it.

Lessons learned: Italian bread crumbs could make it taste even better.  Big produce can be used in multiple dishes, I guess that is why we always had so many growing up.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fruit & Nut Bars - 9/2

Sorry for the delay in posting....  We have a new family member.

Her name is Genoa.  Like the sail not the salami.  :)  Erin and her husband are sailors.

We decided to bake something on the healthy side of baking.  If there really is such a thing.  You could say that a homemade ding dong is healthier than a store bought ding dong because there are less preservatives and other stuff in them but you couldn't really say the a homemade ding dong is healthy period.
We figured less butter, eggs and sugar would constitute healthy so, we chose to make fruit and nut bars from the Joy of Baking website.  We had almost all the ingredients except for the dried apricots and the choice of figs, dates or prunes, of which we chose Dates. Erin particularly wanted to use dates because of her fond memories of the China Ranch Date Farm, which she visited over 10 years ago.  If you make it with any of the other combinations let us know how it tastes.  We also used Pecans instead of Walnuts because we had some left over from our Pecan Sandies post.

There was a good amount of chopping. The pecans had to be chopped. The apricots had to be chopped and the dates too. We aren't that great at it but anyone with limited chopping proficiency would have it done in a jiff.
Everything without the egg wash yet

The ingredients came together quite quickly.  In fact we would recommend making this if you have a bit of extra time instead of buying bars at the grocery store.  They don't use too much flour so you are mainly getting to enjoy the taste of dried fruits and nuts.

Mmmmm Fiber!

We were really happy with the way they came out. They smelled and tasted great. They were sweet without a lot of sugar, but not too sweet.  It's a perfect snack to make and keep around. According to the original recipe they can be stored for up to 10 days. Ours didn't last that long. They were eaten up by co-workers and family members long before that.

Lessons learned: We should bake more with dried fruit. It's really good and good for you.