Sunday, May 31, 2015

Lime Raspberry Swirled Blondies


For this month's Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned to the blog, "Baking and Creating with Avril."  When you read her profile, you'll find that it's short and sweet.  She states that she started her blog to share her love of being in the kitchen.  Then, once you start perusing her blog, you'll find that it's totally sweet and anything but short.  She has recipes that will have you bookmarking for days, which naturally made it difficult to choose just one to share.  As a result, I went ahead and made TWO of her recipes instead - the Cranberry Almond Cake, and the Raspberry Swirl Blondies.

I dressed up the blondies a bit by adding some lime zest to the batter.  Just so you know, the batter will not look like a lot when you put it into the pan (I almost thought about making more), but it puffs up beautifully in the oven.  Once baked, I finished them off with drizzled white chocolate and chopped almonds.  The flavor combo of the raspberry and lime was fantastic!  And the blondies themselves were chewy, cakey, and melt in your mouth good.  I would love to try these out again using a different type of jam, maybe blueberry, or apricot, yummmmy!!!

Thanks Avril for giving me a keeper of a recipe!

Raspberry Swirl Blondies (adapted from Baking and Creating with Avril)

1 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted
3/4 c. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. lime zest (I added this)
1/3 c. raspberry jam

white chocolate, melted for drizzing
1/4 c. chopped almonds

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line an 8x8 pan with foil.  Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Rub the lime zest into the sugar with your fingers until fragrant.  Combine the sugar with the melted butter, then beat in the egg and vanilla.  Stir in the dry ingredients.  Spread evenly into the pan and dollop with the raspberry jam.  Use a butterknife to swirl it into the batter.  Bake for 25-30 min., or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool, then drizzle with the white chocolate and sprinkle with the chopped almonds.  

Friday, May 22, 2015

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

I always find it interesting when I find out what someone's favorite dessert is, whether it be a cookie, cake, pie, etc.  Take my own family for instance.  I love ice cream, my sister loves cookies, my mom's fave is cake, and my dad will take pie over anything else.  The neat thing about knowing someone's favorite treat is that you get to see their eyes light up when you make it for them.  

Case in point.  My friend recently had a birthday.  As I do every year, I gift her with a cookie assortment.  Over the years, I've given her various types - peanut butter, chocolate chip, chocolate mint, snickerdoodles, etc.  But, last year, I happened to make these Chocolate Crinkles for her, and voila!  I found her FAVE cookie in the world just like that.  She raved about them and couldn't get enough.  So, this year, when her birthday rolled around again, I remembered and made these cookies for her.  She was thrilled!!!  As soon as I gave them to her, she opened up the bag and began eating them in complete and total delight.  I have no doubt that the dozen cookies did not last long.  And, who can blame her?  These cookies are amazing!  Rich, chocolatey, fudgy, like a cookie and brownie rolled into one.  With the powdered sugar adding a crispy, sweet, outer shell to counteract the soft, dark middles, they are simply irresistible.  Try them and you're sure to find that they'll be your new favorite too.    
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies (from The Moveable Feasts)

 4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1/4 c. butter
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
4 large eggs
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. powdered sugar

Combine the butter and chocolate in a double boiler and stir until the mixture melts.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla until well combined.  Mix in the chocolate mixture.  Stir in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt until well combined.  Chill the dough in a covered container for at least 2 hours. 

Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and roll into 1-inch balls.  Roll the balls in the powdered sugar until completely coated.  Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake at 350F for 12 minutes.


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Banana Bread

For this month's Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned to Danielle's blog, Mostly Food and Crafts.  She is a stay at home mother to two lovely children.  And, from the looks of her blog, she is one amazing mother too. There are so many posts about recipes and crafts that she made, not by herself, but with her children.  I can only imagine how much fun they must have together and how much they are learning every day.  And, since Danielle herself is a fantastic cook and crafter, you know that they're learning from the best!  

While browsing through her blog, I came across some very yummy recipes that I wanted to try:  Toffee Squares (which I still intend to make this week), Rosemary Sriracha Chicken (oh yes!), and her Swirled Pumpkin and Chocolate Cheesecake (decadent and so pretty).  But, the recipe I decided to go with was her Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Banana Bread.  It seemed to combine all of my favorites - banana bread, pumpkin bread, and cinnamon bread, all in one.  Now how could I resist that?

The bread was super moist and flavorful.  And it was interesting because sometimes you would take a bite and taste more banana, and other times you would take a bite and taste more pumpkin.  Of course, all the bites were super delicious and that cinnamon swirl completed the trifecta.  I thoroughly enjoyed it!  

Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Banana Bread (adapted from Mostly Food and Crafts)

2 c. flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (I increased this to 1 1/2 tsp.)
3/4 c. pumpkin puree
2 ripe bananas, mashed
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1/3 c. plain Greek yogurt
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

For the swirl:
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon (I increased this to 1 Tbsp.)

Combine the bananas and pumpkin and mix well.  Add in the brown sugar, butter, and yogurt, then beat in the eggs and vanilla.  Combine the dry ingredients and add to the wet ingredients, mixing till just combined.  Grease 4 mini loaf pans.  Fill each pan with 1/2 c. batter.  Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. of the cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Top off with 1/2 c. of batter and spread evenly.  Sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar.  Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.