PW Sweet Potato Casserole

Thursday, December 30, 2010

This sweet potato casserole has the perfect balance. A not too sweet sweet potato base and a great nutty brown sugar streusel topping. I love me some streusel. Remember when I used to be streusel crazy? I seem to have moved away from it. Ehh, maybe 2011 well reunite us!

I actually went the homemade route this time and bought actual sweet potatoes instead of canned ones I the had to mash. I felt very authentic. It was really easy, too. I love cooking with sweet potatoes. In fact, I had planned on doing a week of sweet potatoes like I did with pumpkin, but never got around to it. But hey, who says I still can't?!

Bottom line, I got this recipe from the Pioneer Woman, so you know it's good. I tried it and so did my family, and we all loved it. Go for it!

Sweet Potato Casserole

from The Pioneer Woman


4 whole Medium Sweet Potatoes
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Milk
2 whole Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup Pecans
½ cups Flour
¾ sticks Butter

Preparation Instructions

Wash 4 medium sweet potatoes and bake them in a 375-degree oven until fork tender, about 30-35 minutes. When they are finished cooking slice them open and scrape out the flesh into a large bowl.

Add 1 cup of (regular granulated) sugar, 1 cup of milk, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of salt. With a potato masher, mash them up just enough—you don’t want to be perfectly smooth.

Now, in a separate bowl, add 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup pecans, chopped (that means measure a cup of pecans, then chop them), ½ cup flour, and ¾ stick of butter. With a pastry cutter or fork, mash together until thoroughly combined.

Spread the sweet potato mixture into a regular baking dish and sprinkle the crumb mixture all over the top.

Bake in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin

Monday, December 27, 2010

This is about a month old, but I think you'll forgive me once you see what it is.
Possibly my favorite dish on our Thanksgiving table? Well, besides the homemade gravy made by moi. Okay, our immaculate stuffing is pretty top notch too... but I really did love this dish! I have decided that cauliflower has been so underrated. It's such an amazing vegetable and maybe my favorite one out there. I use to be all about the broccoli, but I think cauliflower is better because it's much softer and doesn't get stuck in your teeth.

I loved making the rue and cheese sauce for this dish. I don't get to do that often, but it was soo fun! The recipe made a ton, which was great. Please please please try this. I know I will be making this again very soon!

Cauliflower Gratin
Tracey's Culinary Adventures


1 (3-lb) head of cauliflower, cut into large florets

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups hot milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

3/4 cup grated Gruyere, divided

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1/4 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the cauliflower until tender but still firm, about 5-6 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to a medium saucepan set over low heat. Once it melts, add the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Slowly add the hot milk to the pan (to avoid dirtying another pot, I microwaved the milk in a 4-cup measuring cup for 2 minutes). Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking often. Once the milk begins to boil, whisk constantly for about 1 more minute, or until thickened. Remove the pot from the heat and add 1 teaspoon of coarse salt, the pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the Gruyere, and the Parmesan. Whisk together until you have a smooth sauce.

Pour about 1/3 of the sauce over the bottom of a 9-inch round pie plate (an 8x11 baking dish would work too). Spread the drained cauliflower evenly in the pan then pour the remaining sauce over the top. In a small bowl combine the bread crumbs and the remaining 1/4-cup of Gruyere. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the top of the gratin. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle them over the gratin. Finally, sprinkle the gratin with salt and pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is browned.

Monkey Bread

Saturday, December 25, 2010
Here's a scrumptious breakfast recipe to try for a special day like this=)

Monkey Bread is a dangerous, dangerous thing. It's right up there with cinnamon rolls and it's just as hard to stop eating once you've gotten started. It is something you can really only make once a year, two times tops. It's evil. Pure evil. Yet, at the same time, it's a beautiful, beautiful thing.

If you have some left over dough (which I did), then this is what you should do. Hav
e a brief talk with yourself and decide that this will be your annual monkey bread allowance. It is truly best to make monkey bread with homemade dough as opposed to store bought. It's so much more satisfying and healthy, but to each his own.

I will admit its not that fast to make. The process of dipping in butter, then the sugar mixture was a tad tiring. But it's all worth it, trust me. And once you put the cream cheese gl
aze on top, all bets are off. You turn into an animal. You cannot be tamed.

Monkey Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze

found at Butter + Cream

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) unsalted butter, divided (2 tablespoons softened, 2 tablespoons melted)

1 cup milk, warm (around 110 degrees, but don't sweat having a precise temperature. Just try to make sure it's warm to the touch, but not hot)

1/3 cup water, warm

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 package or 2 1/4 teaspoons rapid rise, instant or bread machine yeast (I used rapid rise)

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface

2 teaspoons table salt

Brown Sugar Coating
1 cup packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick or 4 ounces), mleted

Cream Cheese Glaze
3 ounces cream cheese, softened

3 tablespoons powdered sugar, plus extra if needed

2 tablespoons milk, plus extra if needed

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Get oven and pan ready: Adjust oven rack to medium-low position and heat oven to 200°F. When oven reaches 200, turn it off. Butter Bundt pan with 2 tablespoons softened butter. Set aside.

Make dough: In large measuring cup, mix together milk, water, melted butter, sugar, and yeast.

To proceed with a stand mixer, mix flour and salt in standing mixer fitted with dough hook.
Turn machine to low and slowly add milk mixture. After dough come
s together, increase speed to medium and mix until dough is shiny and smooth, 6 to 7 minutes. (The dough should be sticky but if it is too wet to come together into anything cohesive, add an additional 2 tablespoons flour.) Turn dough onto lightly floured counter and knead briefly to form smooth, round ball.

To proceed by hand, mix flour and salt in large bowl. Make well in flour, then add milk mixture to well. Using wooden spoon, stir until dough becomes shaggy and is difficult to stir. Turn out onto lightly floured work surface and begin to knead, incorporating shaggy sc
raps back into dough. Knead until dough is smooth and satiny, about 10 minutes. Shape into taut ball and proceed as directed.

Coat large bowl with nonstick cooking spray or a tablespoon of neutral oil. Place dough in bowl and coat surface of dough with more cooking spray or oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in warm oven until dough doubles in size, 50 to 60 minutes.

Make brown sugar coating: Place melted butter in one bowl. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in a second one.

Form the bread: Flip dough out onto floured surface and gently pat into an 8-inch square. Using a bench scraper or knife, cut dough into 64 pieces. Separate them from the rest of the “grid” as you cut them into small pieces.

Working one at a time, use a fork to dip each piece in melted butter, allowing excess butter to drip back into bowl. Roll in brown sugar mixture, then layer balls in Bundt pan.

Cover Bundt pan tightly with plastic wrap and place in turned-off oven until dough balls are puffy and have risen 1 to 2 inches from top of pan, 50 to 70 minutes.

Bake bread: Remove pan from oven and heat oven to 350°F. Unwrap pan and bake until top is golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes (no longer, or you’ll have trouble getting it out) then turn out on platter and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

Make glaze: Beat cream cheese with powdered sugar until smooth and light
. Add milk and vanilla, then taste and adjust — you’re looking for something that tastes equally tangy and sweet, and texturally thin enough to drape over the bread but thick enough that it will not just roll off completely.

Drizzle the glaze over warm monkey bread, letting it run over top
and sides of bread. Serve warm.

White Chocolate Brownies

Friday, December 24, 2010

These were to die for. So so so good. Obvi I'm not the biggest fan of chocolate. I've said it before and hopefully the shock factor has gone down at this point. But why can't I still find a way to enjoy brownies? When I saw this recipe I bookmarked it immediately and knew I had to try it!

Some comments about the recipe said it needed something throughout so that it wasn't just straight brownie. Another level of interest was needed, basically. Having that in mind, I added dark chocolate chips throughout. In the end, I don't think I needed the dark chocolate chips. As a white chocolate lover (nay, adorer) I could have handled just straight white chocolate brownie. And that's what I'll do next time, because yes, t
here will be a next time for these. The chocolate drizzle, however, may be more interesting to do instead. I opted out of it this time because I haven't had the easiest times with squeezing chocolate for a drizzle effect. But maybe next time. I loved how she baked it in a round pan as well. So I'd stick with that too.

White Chocolate Chunk Brownie Wedges

from Cookie Madness

4 oz butter (I used regular salted)
4 ounces white chocolate baking bar, chopped (Divided use)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour (spoon and sweep)
2 oz semi-sweet chocolate, cut into chunks

1 ounce semisweet chocolate
2 teaspoons butter or margarine

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 inch round metal cake pan with foil and spray foil with cooking spray.

Melt the butter and half (2 oz) of the white chocolate together in a heat proof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Alternatively, you can melt the butter in the microwave, add the white chocolate to the hot melted butter, stir well then microwave at 30 second intervals until melted. Let cool slightly.

Combine eggs, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat with a hand-held electric mixer for about 3 minutes or until lighter in color and slightly thicker. Add melted white chocolate mixture and vanilla and mix well, then gently stir in the flour. Fold in remaining 2 ounces white chopped chocolate plus the 2 oz of melted semi-sweet. Spread in prepared pan.

Bake for 23-28 minutes (mine took 28) or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled.

In a heat proof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, melt glaze ingredients until smooth, stirring often. Drizzle over brownies or transfer to a freezer bag, snip off the tip, and squeeze over brownies. Let stand until set. Cut into 18 wedges.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cups, or Bars

Thursday, December 23, 2010

These honestly taste like the real deal. The peanut butter part tastes EXACTLY like the filling of a Reese's peanut better cup. I thought I would be creative and use white chocolate instead of regular, but by then adding some marshmallow fluff to it, I just got a really stiff mixture that was unspreadable. Not cool. So I ended up molding it on like fondant. But worse. It looked pretty bad, but tasted beautiful. It was dead on. I think regular chocolate would have been fabulous too, though I am partial to white. And it would have spread nicer.

So for those of you who love Reese's cups and want to try and make them yourself, look no further! You could make them into cups by using cupcake liners to get the ridges like a real Reese's cup. But I just thought this method was easier and you got the same great taste.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
found at The Sweetest Kitchen
Makes 12-16 squares, depending on how you want to cut it

3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cups creamy peanut butter
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
6oz semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used white chocolate)
2 teaspoons Nutella (or peanut butter) (I used marshmallow fluff)

In a large mixing bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, peanut butter and butter and beat until combined. Press into a parchment-lined 8×8-inch pan, making sure top is smooth and level.

Melt chocolate and Nutella in a double boiler. Pour chocolate over peanut butter layer and spread out evenly (I tilted the pan around to get a smooth top, instead of spreading it out with a knife). Place pan in refrigerator just until chocolate is set and then cut into bars. Best served at room temperature.

Chocolate Pudding Pie

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

So obviously I haven't posted in a while. Thanksgiving hit, and it all went downhill. I went to New York with my Honors Chorus at school, and I had an amazing time! Now, I'm back into school and getting back to the way things were. The long break was so very lovely though=) I have been baking, though. It just seems whenever it comes time for me to post about it, I am unmotivated and something else grabs my interest. This must be a sign. I'm frustrated with Blogger sometimes, too, and just need a more relaxed blog style for a bit. That being said, I still want to post recipes and my creations.

However, I want to go back to the basics and blog for myself in more of a recipe book style. I might just post the pictures and recipe and say whether I liked the dish or not. This will just be a simple way of blogging for me since I still want to document my baking adventures. Hopefully this is acceptable and works out for me. By doing this I should be able to b
log more often without any pressure. Of course one day I will feel the need to actually blog about things and when that day comes I will certainly return refreshed and better than ever! The post seems highly hypocritical since I am writing quite a lengthy post as it is.

This was called a chocolate "cream" pie, but I would say "pudding". It's crazy that I would make this kind of dessert if you knew me. I am by no means a chocolate fan, and this is a pretty concentrated amount of chocolate! But, balanced out well by a heaping amount of fresh whipped cream, this was quite tasty. My whole family enjoyed it and I have to admit I did too.

(Gotta make some chocolate things to make the family happy, amirite?)

Chocolate Pudding Pie
found at The Kitchen Sink

For crust

1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For filling
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks
3 cups whole milk
5 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla

For topping
3/4 cup chilled heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder, for dusting

Make crust:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Stir together crumbs, butter, sugar and cinnamon and press on bottom and up side of a 9-inch pie plate (1-quart capacity). Bake until crisp, about 15 minutes, and cool on a rack.

Make filling:
Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt, and yolks in a 3-quart heavy saucepan until combined well, then add milk in a stream, whisking. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking, then reduce heat and simmer, whisking, 1 minute (filling will be thick).

Force filling through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, then whisk in chocolates, butter, and vanilla, stirring until the chocolate and butter is melted. Cover surface of filling with a buttered round of wax paper and cool completely, about 2 hours.

Spoon filling into crust and chill pie, loosely covered, at least 6 hours.

Make topping:
Just before serving, beat cream with sugar in a bowl using an electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks, then spoon on top of pie.

Place cocoa powder into a fine mesh strainer and sift the powder over the whipped cream. Serve chilled.

Cooks’ note:
Pie (without topping) can be chilled up to 1 day.

Cinnamon Ice Cream

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I mentioned cinnamon ice cream would be a great pairing for the apple pie I just made. Oh, and it was! I have posted this cinnamon ice cream recipe before, but I did not include pictures=( And to be completely honest, I didn't take any better ones this time around either. I can't figure out how to photograph ice cream! If anyone has any pointers, It'd be greatly appreciated! I'm not very good at food photography as it is. I'm not patient enough to get a good photo of my food because I'm too excited to try it!

I've always wanted to make ice cream sandwiches! This incidentally did not make that good of an ice cream sandwich, if I'm being honest. The cookie was way too hard and the ice cream spilled all out the sides. Also, it was hard to detect the gingerbread flavor once it got cold=/

But... add this to a slice of apple pie or have it on it's own! I love how quick this recipe is and how little involvement it has. It's a good solid recipe.

Cinnamon Ice Cream
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 teaspoons cinnamon (I put more in hehe)

Combine heavy cream and sugar then stir in milk. Add in vanilla and cinnamon. Pour mixture into you ice cream maker.


(The Big) Apple Crumble Pie

Friday, November 26, 2010
I guess I should get this started! I have a lot of recipes to post from Thanksgiving, and as usual, not a lot of time to post about them=( It is Thanksgiving break for me, but.....


You may have remembered me mentioning this in
previous posts, and now it's finally time!

To refresh your memory, here's the basic ne
ed-to-know's of the trip:

My school's Honors Chorus was asked to participate in composer
Tim Janis's American Christmas Carol concert on December 2nd at Carnegie Hall in New York. It is a live concert composed by Tim Janis featuring many soloists and a 200 person student choir (that's where we fit in!) Since we learned about our trip back in March, we've had to memorize a ton of music. 10 pieces in all. All are Christmas inspired and I can honestly say I like them all.

Here we all are at PBS filming Tim Janis's Celebrate America in Pittsburgh, where we first got to meet him. (I'm on the right side, second row, second one in!)

Some Highlights of the Trip:

-Ferry over to Liberty Island and Ellis Island

-See Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera

-Visit the Empire State Building

-Time Square, Macy's shop windows, and St. Patrick's Cathedral

-See West Side Story

-Guggenheim Museum and Planet Hollywood

-See Marry Poppins

- And... a SURPRISE??

We leave the 29th, and return the 4th. It's going to be amazing. The
best part is I get to share it with some of my closest friends=) Oh, and I'll do my best to take some food pics. If the food is worthy enough!

Okay, now on to the recipe at hand. The
Pioneer Woman and Joy the Baker. Two of the most amazing food bloggers out there? Quite possibly. And what happens when you team them together in a recipe? You, my friends, are about to find out.

As I thought of the desserts I would choose for Thanksgiving this year, my family gave me the general consensus that there MUST be pie. There ended up being 3, but we'll get there. First up, was an apple pie. I chose a "dreamy" version that I saw on the Pioneer Woman's blog. I liked how there was a bit more to the pie than just throwing you apples in. In this recipe, you also make a creamy filling to pour in as well. That intrigued me so I knew I definitely wanted to try this one out.

Where does
Joy come in? Well... the Pioneer Woman's pie dough recipe involves crisco, which is a no-go for me. I have already tried Joy's pie crust recipe and I knew I loved it, so I went with it instead. It NEVER fails. I might be getting ahead of myself, but it is the flakiest butteriest pie crust ever. It's pretty fool proof as well. I do believe that for this being my second time around it was a bit easier to make as well, naturally. I love this pie crust recipe, and you should too.
Note: You will have to half her pie crust recipe
since you only need 1 crust as there is a crumble topping.

This was not too hard to put together. I did it over three days ju
st because I felt like it. I made the apple filling one day, the crust another, and then put it together on the third day.
NOTE: I made one boo-boo. For some reason I cooked my apples in the cinnamon sugar mixture beforehand on the stove. To remedy this, I reduced the cooking time a tad, but otherwise I don't think it affected the outcome.

Served up with some cinnamon ice cream or whipped cream, this was luscious. It had more to it than your average apple pie thanks to the creamy filling. Secret time: We ended up finishing this pie before it was even Thanksgiving Day. Whoops!

Dreamy Apple Pie

The Pioneer Woman


1 whole Unbaked Pie Crust


3 whole Large (4 Or 5 Small) Granny Smith Apples, Peeled, Cored, And Sliced Thin

1/2 cup Brown Sugar

1/2 cup Sugar

1 Tablespoon All-purpose Flour

1 cup Heavy Cream

2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

1/8 teaspoons Cinnamon


7 Tablespoons Butter

3/4 cups All-purpose Flour

1/2 cups Brown Sugar

1/4 cups Pecans (more To Taste)

Dash Of Salt

Preparation Instructions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Roll out pie dough and place it in a pie pan. Decorate the edges as desired.

Add apple slices to a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together cream, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, vanilla, and cinnamon. Pour over apples. Pour apples into pie shell.

In the bowl of a food processor (or you can mix by hand) combine butter, flour, sugar, pecans (chop if you’re not using a food processor), and salt. Mix until everything comes together in clumps. Pour topping over apples.

Attach foil to the edges and lay a piece of flat foil loosely over the top of the pie. Place pie pan on top of a rimmed cookie sheet and bake for one hour. At the end, remove foil and allow to finish baking and browning. Can bake for up to 15 or 20 minutes more if necessary.

Remove from oven when pie is bubbly and golden brown.
Serve warm with hard sauce, whipped cream, or ice cream.

Joy's Pie Crust

Joy the Baker
makes a double crusted 9-inch pie crust

2 sticks (8 ounces) cold unsalted butter

2 1/2 (12 ounces) cups all purpose flour

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (5 to 6 ounces) buttermilk

1. Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces and place in the freezer to chill for 15 minutes. Measure out the buttermilk and store in the refrigerator to keep it cold (you could even put it in the freezer for a few minutes too).

2. Sift together the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Take the cold butter from the freezer and toss it with the flour mixture.

3. Dump the cold butter cubes and flour mixture onto a large work area for rolling. With a rolling pin, roll the mixture, flattening the butter cubes with the flour into long, thin, floured butter sheets. Work quickly to ensure that the butter stays cold. Below is what the rolled butter and flour look like after I’ve gathered them together on the work surface a bit.

4. Place the flour and flattened butter back in the large bowl and chill for 10 minutes. When the butter is cold, remove the bowl from the refrigerator, make a small well in the center of the flour and butter mixture. Add the cold buttermilk to the bowl all at once. Begin to bring the dough together with one hand ( keep the other hand free to answer the phone). Moisten all of the flour with the milk, using your hand to break up large clumps of milk and flour. The dough will be rather shaggy, but you can add another tablespoon of buttermilk, if you see that all your flour isn’t moistened. Form the dough into two disks. The disks will be rough, and hard to shape together, but once they rest in the fridge for an hour, they’ll be easier to roll out.

5. Chill the dough for at least an hour in the refrigerator. At this point, the dough will keep in the fridge for up to three days, or in the freezer for up to three weeks. For freezing, roll the dough out into sheets and wrap them in plastic film.

6. Roll out the top crust large enough to cut a 12-inch circle.

Transfer the pie filling mixture to the pie shell. Moisten the border of the bottom crust by brushing it lightly with water and place the top crust over the filling. Trim the overhang of the top crust so that there is only 1/2-inch of overhand. Tuck the overhand under the bottom crust boarder and press down all around to seal it. Crimp the border using a fork or your fingers and make about 5 evenly spaced 2-inch slashes starting about 1 inch from the center of the pie and radiating toward the edge. Cover the pie loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 1 hour before baking. This will chill and relax the pastry, preventing shrinking.

Carrot Spice Bundt with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I know it's almost after after National Bundt Day, but I still got bundt fever! The Food Librarian has so many good bundt recipes that it's hard not to want to make then all. Slowly but surely I'd like to pick away at her list, but I definitely don't have the will power like her to tackle them all in such a short amount of time!

This carrot spice bundt seem
ed look a good one to tackle and I was really interested in trying a lemon cream cheese frosting to pair with it. I made this four a bingo at my school as well. In all honesty, I'm not very good at picking items for bake sales. I do believe most people enjoy a good slice of carrot cake (or at least I'd like to think so), but it's not always the best seller at a bake sale. People want fun cookies, brownies, dirt cups (ohh yeah), pumpkin logs, etc. But a large slice of brown cake isn't the belle of the ball amongst the others. Which is sad=( 'Cause let me tell you, this cake was good.

(Confession: I treated myself to a certain amount of this batter before placing it in the oven. It was the best cake batter I have ever had. So nutty and sweet. LOVE.)

I made this while babysitting one evening, and it was super easy. Only one mistake happened... The recipe says to butter the pan, but it does not say to flour it. I made a bundt not too long ago and remembered flouring it, so I was slightly put off upon reading that (or lack thereof). I went ahead with only buttering it, but then it led to this problem whenever I returned home with my bundt to invert it:

Hmmm. It was the night before my bake sale. Yikes! But I am not easily defeated. I fought for this cake! So careful maneuvering allowed me to lift out the stuck part and place right on top. With a little frosting, no one would ever know;)

Carrot Walnut Cake

found at
The Food Librarian


  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups grated carrots (about 3 large)
  • 3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter 12-cup nonstick Bundt pan. Whisk flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in medium bowl until well blended. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, oil and eggs in large bowl on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add flour mixture, beating just until blended. Fold in carrots and walnuts.

    Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake cake until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack 1 hour.

    Invert cake onto plate. Cool completely. Drizzle icing over top of cake, allowing icing to flow down sides. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

    Cinnamon Chocolate Bundt (Yes, that is the word chocolate)

    Monday, November 15, 2010
    So for those of you new to my blog, I must confess I am not a chocoholic by any means. For those of you who have been with me a while, you already knew this. You may notice I don't really have any chocolate-y items on my blog. Though there are rare instances. But sometimes you really need to go out of your comfort zone, right? Often (always) members of my family complain to me about never making chocolate items. (*cough my dad and sister cough*) So, I decided to appease them.

    I just
    love browsing through The Food Librarian's countless numbers of bundts. If you haven't already heard about her obsession with them, go check it out asap! She's so crazy (about them) that she's, for the second time, making 30 straight days of bundts leading up to National Bundt Day. How cool! I think it's super amazing and so I've realized I haven't made a bundt in quite a while. In honor of her, I am making 2 bundts for National Bundt Day this Monday. The first I chose was of the chocolate variety and one she called her absolute favorite. If I was going to pick a chocolate cake to make, why not the best?

    I guess my dislike/fear of chocolate, among many other aspects, is the fact that it will be too dry and crumbly. Eww. This cake, however, was so far in the other direction. With the aspect of cinnamon involved, I knew it couldn't be too bad! And let me tell you, this cake was delicious. Yes, I just called a chocolate something delicious and I swear I'm in my right state of mind. I loved how the cinnamon worked with the chocolate and the gl
    aze I made was a perfect pair. I honestly must have glazes or frostings with most of the cake type things I make.

    This cake was gone in 24 hours, no lie. I think it turned out beautifully and held up well. I was really pleased with the taste and... I may be a slight chocolate convert. I can't say I've fallen in love with chocolate, but I definitely may be willing to give it a chance more often. This means you may be seeing more chocolate items popping up, but let's not get too eager;)

    Ps-This recipe is SOOO easy. One pan and one bowl. It's real fast too.

    Cinnamon Chocolate Bundt
    found on The Food Librarian


    1 cup water

    1/2 cup vegetable oil

    1 stick (1/2 cup) butter

    1/4 c plus 1 T (or 5 T) cocoa

    2 cups all-purpose flour

    2 cups sugar

    1/2 t salt

    1 1/2 t cinnamon

    1/2 c buttermilk

    1 t baking soda

    2 eggs

    1 t vanilla


    1. Bring to a boil in a pot: Water, oil, butter and cocoa

    2. In a large bowl, combine together with a whisk: flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon

    3. Add the chocolate mixture to the flour and mix until combined.

    4. Add the buttermilk and baking soda and mix.

    5. In a small bowl, combine the eggs and vanilla. Add to the batter and combine.

    6. Pour batter into greased 10 or 12-cup Bundt pan (I prefer to use Pam with Flour or Bakers Joy) and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30-35 minutes (the original recipe says 25 minutes, so start checking then).

    7. Cool in pan.

    8. Top with a dusting of powdered sugar or a simple glaze of powdered sugar and milk or water.

    Okay, so for this lush glaze I was mentioning... I didn't have any powdered sugar in the house, so I had to look up a very strange recipe for a type of glaze that didn't use any. This is what I ended up doing:


    6 tbsp butter

    3 tbsp corn syrup

    1/4 c brown sugar

    1 tsp vanilla

    1/2 tsp or so cinnamon

    Melt butter, corn syrup, and brown sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add vanilla and cinnamon. (I had a minuscule amount of powdered sugar left that I threw in as well.)

    Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    I made these super fast one day to use up the obnoxious amount of bananas we had. I didn't try too many of them as I was making them for a friend, but I liked this recipe. I'm not too sure, but I don't think I'm a huge banana fan. I don't bake with them too often, but when I do, the items aren't always amazing to me compared to other things
    . I really wish I baked with apple more, but the task of chopping and slicing apples always seems so time consuming or difficult. I really need to get over that and do it anyways.

    A side note: I'm reading Pride and Prejudice for the first time. Anyone out there read it? Love it or hate it? I actually surprised myself. I really like it. I started reading with a mindset that I wasn't going to like it, but surprisingly I really do!

    Also, For the past week or so I have been having a really hard time with applying to colleges and it has been very frustrating for me. With all the other activities I am involved in I have very little time to do much else and unfortunately college apps are pushed to the back. But I did managed to finish one application to the University of Pittsburgh. And I just got my letter from them today and.................. I GOT IN!!! It is really such a relief after the unbelievably emotionally stressful week I have been having. Pitt is my almost number 1 choice. It's slightly behind the University of Dayton, at the moment. SO, I can't rejoice just yet, as I still need to send some apps to a few more places. But, YAY!!!!

    Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

    found at

    • 1 3/4 cup flour
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp cardamom
    • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 cup mashed bananas
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
    • 2 ounces chocolate chips
    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a muffin pan.
    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, spices, and sugar.

    3. In another medium bowl, combine the oil, egg, and milk.
    4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients gradually until combined.

    5. Stir in the chocolate chips.

    6. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, filling each one about 3/4 of the way full.

    7. Bake 20-25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean .

    Go-to Sugar Cookies & Pics

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    Sometimes you just need something sweet. Simple and sweet and takes no time to come together. I didn't have a go-to sugar cookie recipe before, but I sure do now! When it comes to the perfect sugar cookie for me, I don't want it cakey. Also, I cannot cannot cannot stand eat n' park sugar cookies, or any hard sugar cookies for that matter.

    Obviously there needs to be a common ground here. I want a chewy cookie with a soft middle and a ever so gently browned edge that I can still chew without hurting my teeth. And that my folks is the very definition of a sugar cookie. Now technically, sugar cookies should be sprinkled or rolled in sugar before put in the oven... well I didn't even do that. I told you I wanted simple! But I think the addition of more sugar would be superb as well.

    In addition to this post, I'm posting some pictures from my school's Homecoming. I didn't take too many pictures because I wanted to enjoy the evening itself, rather than try to take pictures of everyone and everything.

    Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies
    found at Bunny's Warm Oven


    * 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    * 1 teaspoon baking soda
    * 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    * 1/2 teaspoon salt
    * 1 cup butter, softened
    * 1 1/2 cups white sugar
    * 1 egg
    * 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    * 1/2 cup sugar for rolling cookies


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
    2. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
    3. Using a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and very fluffy.
    4. Beat in egg, vanilla extract, lemon extract and lemon peel.
    5. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients.
    6. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and roll in sugar. Place on lined cookie sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart.
    7. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly browned.
    8. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

    Now for some schmancy dancey pics: