Saturday, April 30, 2011

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Today was a day of cleaning the apartment and grading final exam papers. Drinking beer, playing more Portal 2, and making cookies just seemed appropriate. Make sure you mix thoroughly. We had a problem with the dough at the bottom of the bowl being very soft. Hence the four mutant cookies. :D

1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk
24 miniature chocolate covered peanut butter cups, unwrapped

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Put the peanut butter cups in the fridge. (It is easier to work with cold peanut butter cups.) Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda; set aside.

2. Cream together the butter, sugar, peanut butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and milk. Add the flour mixture; mix well. Shape into 24 balls and place each into an ungreased mini muffin pan (I do not have a mini muffin pan, so I made little cups out of foil.)



3.
Bake for about 10-12 minutes.

4. Remove from oven and immediately press a mini peanut butter cup into each ball.

5. Cool and carefully remove from pan.

6. Stuff Face!

Thanks Katie for the cookie baking help and with shooting Portals in the right place. :D

Original Recipe

Thursday, April 28, 2011

No Frosting Chocolate Cake

This is another cake I made for our Friday BBQ. According to the recipe, it is so moist it doesn't need frosting, but I decided to add a chocolate glaze with some fruit instead. I unfortunately did not get to try this creation, but on the bright side there was none left to try. Note, the original recipe is for a bundt cake pan, but I used two 9 inch pans instead.

Cake
1 box (18.25 oz.) devils food cake mix
1 box (5.9 oz.) instant chocolate pudding mix
1 c. sour cream
1 c. vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 c. warm water
2 c. semisweet chocolate chips

Glaze Topping (for two cakes)
1.5 c. semi sweet chocolate chips
6 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
1/2 Tsp. vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.
For the cake, in a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into two well greased 9 inch round pans.

3.
Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake thoroughly in pan at least an hour and a half before inverting onto a plate.

4. For the glaze topping, in a double boiler over hot, but not boiling water, combine chocolate chips, butter, and corn syrup. Stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth, then add vanilla.

5. Spread warm glaze over top of cake, letting it drizzle down the sides. 6. (Optional) Add cut up fruit to the top and chocolate sprinkles (I used raspberries and strawberries).
7. Stuff face!

Original Chocolate Cake Recipe

Original Glaze Recipe

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

Our weekly summer BBQ's are starting up again tomorrow. My advisers students are hosting this week in honor of those who are graduating tomorrow. I am in charge of dessert. I decided to try this cheesecake. It has been on my "To Make" list for awhile now. I modified the recipe a bit. I double the crust portion and used crushed oreo cookies. The recipe says to reserve some of the raspberry sauce to pour on the cake later. I put it all in the cake...I love raspberries.

Crust:
2 c. crushed oreo cookies
6 tbsp white sugar
1/2 c. butter, melted

Raspberry Sauce:
1 (12 ounce) package frozen raspberries
2 tbsp white sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 c. water

Filling:
2 c. white chocolate chips
1/2 c. half-and-half cream
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. white sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. In a medium bowl, mix together cookie crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar, and melted butter. Press mixture into the bottom of a 10 inch springform pan.



2. In a saucepan, combine raspberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, and water. Bring to boil, and continue boiling 5 minutes, or until sauce is thick. Strain sauce through a mesh strainer to remove seeds.



3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). In a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt white chocolate chips with half-and-half, stirring occasionally until smooth.

4. In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Blend in vanilla and melted white chocolate.

5. Pour half of batter over crust. Spoon a few tablespoons of the raspberry sauce over batter. Pour remaining cheesecake batter into pan, and pour the rest of the raspberry sauce over the top. Swirl batter with the tip of a knife to create a marbled effect.


6. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until filling is set. Cool, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 8 hours before removing from pan.

7. Stuff face!


Original Recipe

Thanks Brandon for letting me borrow your pan!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

How To: Cut a Mango

I love Mangos. But they can be a pain to cut up. Here is the proper way to cut up a mango. (I used mine to make a smoothie!)

1. Mangos have a large flat seed. Look carefully and it can be seen the mango has two flat sides. Lay it on one flat side and cut a slice off the other flat side. Make sure not to cut too deep because you will hit the seed in the center.

2. Take slice anf cut a cross-hatch pattern. Try not to cut too deep as to pierce the skin.

3. Pushing on the outer skin, push the mango slice inside out. Slide knife over the skin to cut off the mango squares.

4. Slice the rest of the mango off of the seed. Cut into cubes.

5. Stuff face!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hidden Surprise Rice Krispies Treat Eggs

This might be one of the few times I saw a commercial and it actually made me go out and buy something. Rice Krispies Treats with candies inside...what a great idea!!! I had to try it. I modified the recipe a bit, changing the M&M for jelly beans. I also tried to using a larger plastic egg than the one recommended. Bigger is better in this case in my opinion. But FYI these are incredibly hard to mold. I wore gloves and greased them up with cooking spray. Then you have to let them cool just enough so they can be put together but also not fall apart. Then once you're are done with that some of them don't even look like eggs anymore...more like balls...or some deformed thing... And on top of that even when they cooled down, they don't hold their shape very well. They start to slump and have more of a pear shape. I had to put mine in the fridge to try to save the shape of the good one. In the end, I definitely had some mutants in my bunch (check out the one in very back...those sat in the pan too long and it definitely looks like something from Alien).

4 Tbs. butter
~8-9 c. of Rice Krispies Cereal
16 oz. of big marshmallows
1 bag of jelly beans
1 plastic Easter Egg

1. Rise and dry the plastic Easter egg. Spray the inside with cooking spray and sit aside.

2. Melt butter in a sauce pan over low heat.

3. Put marshmallows in the sauce pan and stir until completely melted.

4. Stir in Rice Krispies cereal.

5. Once completely mixed, put mixture into the plastic egg half and press firmly to hollow out the center. Set aside to cool slightly.

6. Fill halves with jelly beans.

7. Press the two halves together and sit on wax paper to cool.

8. Stuff face! (Seriously...how cute are these?!...minus the mutant)

Modified from Hidden Surprise Easter Egg Treats

Artichokes!

I love artichokes! I have been wanting to cook some recently but to be honest I was terrified. I had this irrational fear that I no matter how long I would cook them, they would always come out underdone. But when I went to Gainesvilles local Fresh Market and saw artichokes the size of my head I decided to give it a try. I would say the most difficult part is weighing the artichokes down in the boiling water. They tend to float but after using two pan lids and a pot...Success! Tasted just like moms!

Boiled Artichoke
1 artichoke
1 stick of butter
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar

1. Cut off the thorns on the scales on the outside of the artichoke. Cut the top portion of the artichoke off to remove the smaller thorns. Cut off excess stem.

2. Cut the butter into small pieces and stuff every scale of the artichoke. (Don't be stingy. I personally used a stick and a half in the picture below. )

3. Sprinkle the artichoke with sugar.

4. Boil the artichoke in water with a little salt for roughly 30 minutes. Weigh the chokes down so they are completely submerged. To check if it is done, stick a fork in the stem just below the bud. If it soft and starts to fall apart it is time to eat.

5. Stuff face (don't forget to dip them in Ranch Dressing).



Thanks mom for the help!