Thursday, June 30, 2011

Strawberry Blondies

Remember when I made a bunch of lemon stuff?  Yeah, it's time for strawberries.  Because Dave and I went to pick them in a strawberry field.  And they are delicious, but I had 12 cups of them and didn't want them to go to waste before we could eat them all.  (Except this recipe doesn't use any of those strawberries.)  You're welcome.

This recipe is from the May 2011 Food Network Magazine.  And it's better when I make it properly.  And by properly, I mean when I don't double the flour by accident because I can't read.  Or read in a straight line.  I made these and kept going back to the recipe to make sure I was measuring the right amount of flour.  I must have checked it 3 or 4 times.  And each time, my eyes skipped the line and instead of measuring out 3/4 cup of flour, I measured 1 3/4 cups of flour.  Oops.  And I didn't notice until after they were in the oven.  Except, the thing is, the resulting bars were actually pretty good.  They were dense and I couldn't get the jam to swirl in the batter the way I wanted, but they were still tasty.  When made correctly (as below), they were even better, with a more chewy and moist inside but thick and crunchy edge.  The butterscotch and walnuts blend nicely with the strawberry to give a sweet, nutty flavor.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

M&M Cashew Pretzel Bars

There is a lot going on in these bars and it's all delicious.  The soft bar includes chopped pretzels, topped with a thick layer of ganache and decorated with cashews and M&Ms.  It's a nice balance of salty and sweet.

One of the treats up for bid during the Bloggers Bake for Hope bake sale, I've been eying this recipe from Kerstin at Cake, Batter and Bowl for some time now.  I didn't alter anything on the recipe, but I used a different pretzel since it's what I had on hand.  And I used the "spring mix" M&Ms since I don't pay full price for candy and those were in the candy bag.  I could have done dark chocolate or peanut butter M&Ms, but Dave wanted to try the original recipe.  And it turned out quite well.  I'll be making these again.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lemon Bars

Finally, I'm claiming victorious over lemon.  I officially win the battle with these bars, which are amazing.  Never having made lemon bars, I wasn't sure how these would turn out, but I was determined.  And I so won.  These were delicious.  Tart and tangy without being overly sweet or sour.  The crust was the perfect base for the soft lemon curd.

I made these for a Memorial Day cook-out/birthday baking for a friend.  Everyone loved them, and the birthday recipient even texted me the next day all excited because she forgot she had them in the fridge, so it was a surprise when she found them.  The recipe comes from the Brown Eyed Baker, who I must say I am enjoying.  She really does a good job finding recipes, explaining them and putting together fun flavors.  I didn't do anything different to these. (Unless you count forgetting to sprinkle extra powdered sugar on the top for decoration.  No one noticed.)  Although, I will admit that my conquering of the lemon may be because although I followed directions to zest 2 large lemons, it resulted in slightly more than 2 teaspoons of zest.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cheesecake Brownies

Oh, brownies.  They make everything better.  Unless my husband is trying to steal mine, like he did as I finished the last one of these.  I was on the phone and cleaning up the kitchen.  After dinner there were two brownies left, of which Dave promptly ate one.  I decided to have the other, so I took a bite, set it back down in the open container and enjoyed it and my conversation while cleaning.  Suddenly, Dave appears and says, "Ooh, a brownie," and picks it up to his mouth.  Like a good doobie, he correctly interpreted the death glare he was sent and immediately put down the brownie.  And promptly left the room.

These yummy, nearly brawl-inducing treats we made as a thank you to another group I work with and were incredibly well received ( I suppose in Dave's defense it's worth noting that I gave away most of the pan and only left 4 brownies at home).  Much appreciation came my way, including a comment that, "That was so nice of you to bring us those.  And homemade no less."  Clearly this individual doesn't know me as well as others.  It's the basic brownie recipe that I've used before, but this time I added a cheesecake-like topping.  I would have liked a more swirled topping, integrating the cheesecake mix into the brownie a little more, but I think my brownie batter was too thick to accommodate a swirl.  A better option would have been to layer most of the brownie batter, then the cream cheese filling, then the rest of the batter and try to swirl that together.  Nonetheless they are delicious, pretty and will potentially start riots when you only have one left.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lemon Whoopie Pies

In perusing the breadth of lemony treats I've posted, I've come to the realization that lemon may be the bain of my existence.  There has been something wrong with literally every lemon recipe I've made.  Allow me to recap:

Stained-Glass Flower Lollipops: the candy wasn't right the first time, so I had to replace the Dum-dums with Jolly Ranchers
Cherry-Lemon Meringue Mini Pies: got stuck in the pan so I had to finished them off in the pan and give the whole pan to Cindy (minus the one that I tried to get out, broke, and subsequently ate)
Glazed Lemonade (aka Revamped Soft Lemonade): ok, these weren't a fail, but they were the corrected version of my super fail...
Soft Lemonade: which failed to taste lemony.  But as least I could salvage them into lemon macaroons for Soft Lemonade--Salvaged

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Blueberry Sour Cream Muffins

So not my best moment in the kitchen.  I'm not sure how to classify these.  They tasted awesome (I really thing a scoop of vanilla ice cream with one of these guys crumbled in the bowl would be amazing), but the visual execution was a complete FAIL.  I think my problem was that the recipe stated it made 12 muffins, but I probably could have made 15 and been successful.  The batter was very full in the muffin tin, so when they rose in the oven, they stuck to the stoneware and were a mess to get out of the pan.

This casualty was super yummy, but I didn't think about adding ice cream until I finished it.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Orange Creamsicle Cookies

I have been dreaming of these little guys ever since I made the first Cherry Cordials back in October.  And they turned out exactly like I expected.  Dave commented that they really did taste like an orange creamsicle with a lovely blend of orange cookie and white chocolate.  Don't let the pictures scare you--I'm terrible with my camera and couldn't figure out how to balance the light so the orange wasn't so intense.  They are actually much paler than they appear.

These bake up quick thanks to prepackaged mix and flavor from orange gelatin.  They'll be a great addition to your summer cook outs.  Sandwich two cookies together with a little vanilla ice cream, pop them in the freezer for 15 minutes and you've got a treat that everyone will be craving.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Oreo Cheesecake Cookies

These are some seriously yummy cookies.  Oreos and cheesecake rolled into a tasty little cookie.  Do you really need anything else?  Well, a glass of milk would serve you well with these.  They are fairly light, but big on flavor.  The dough lacks eggs and baking powder, so though they are puffy when coming out of the oven, they'll flatten when cooling.  I'm ok with that.  They still look good and taste amazing. 

This recipe comes from the Brown Eyed Baker, self-proclaimed queen of cheesecake.  So when I saw she made a cheesecake cookie, I knew it would be a winner.  I made two alterations to this recipe, although minor--I doubled the recipe and made the cookies smaller.  Michelle (the Brown Eyed Baker) said the recipe would only make 12 cookies.  I don't get out a measuring cup for 12 cookies--I mean, really?  So I figured I'd make them a bit smaller (1 inch balls instead of the recommended 1 1/2 to 2 inch balls).  But then the idea of only having 24 cookies also saddened me (partially because I knew I could eat 12 cookies by myself and I intended to share these for my cousin's graduation party).  So I doubled the recipe.  I don't think doubling caused any problems, so feel free to either make these as I note below, or cut the recipe in half.  Either way, you've got an amazing cookie coming out of your kitchen.