Thursday, October 14, 2010

Balsamic Barbeque Sauce

Giada's Balsamic Barbecue Sauce opened my eyes to the fact that you can make your own BBQ sauce and that it tastes amazing--way better than the bottled kind you can buy at the store.

This stuff is sweet and tangy and delicious. I LOVE balsamic vinegar!

Combine in a small nonreactive saucepan and whisk until smooth:

1 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Simmer over medium heat until reduced by one third, 15-20 minutes.

Reserve some sauce for dipping.
Brush some BBQ sauce on chicken the last couple minutes of grilling/barbecuing.

Recipe from 'Giada's Kitchen'.

Home-made Graham Crackers

I came across this recipe in the cookbook 'From Emeril's Kitchens'. The kids love them (and so do the adults). They are reminiscent of shortbread. I intend to use them as the base of a smore's treat. I am going to recreate my favorite Disneyland treat (after I master marshmallow making!).

2 3/4 cups bread flour

1/3 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup honey

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup water, plus 3 or 4 teaspoons

Preheat oven to 300.

Combine bread flour, whole wheat flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add butter, honey, vanilla, and 1/4 cup of water. Work the mixture until a stiff dough forms, adding more water as necessary, 1 teaspoon at a time. (I use my Kitchen-Aid with the paddle attachment for this).

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 1/8-inch thickness. Transfer to a large ungreased baking sheet. (It's easy to pick up the dough and move it). With the tines of a fork, prick the dough every 1/2 inch. Score into 3 1/2-inch x 4-inch rectangles. You should get at least 16 crackers.

Bake until golden brown, 25 minutes. Transfer the sheet of graham crackers to a wire rack to cool.

Cut into separate cookies.
Recipe from Emeril's New Orleans Restaurant

Peanut Butter-Banana Muffins

These muffins are delicious, and as long as I thoroughly mash the bananas even Kian enjoys them! I keep a bag of muffins in the freezer most the time so Ryan can take one on his way to work. A tasty, on-the-go breakfast!

Yield: about 18 muffins

1½ cups flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. applesauce
¾ cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed banana (about 3 bananas)
6 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
1 cup low-fat buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir together with a fork to blend. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the applesauce, brown sugar, eggs, banana, peanut butter and buttermilk until smooth. Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix just until incorporated and fully blended. Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Yeasted Belgian Waffles

Do you waffle much? I highly recommend it if you don't. I had these amazing waffles for my birthday breakfast this morning. They were so good. I savored each bite.
This is a great recipe for me because I can make the batter before I go to bed and then just heat up the waffle iron in the morning and cook them.
These waffles NEED to be made the night before so they can fully develop the rich, yeasty flavor.
I suggest doubling the recipe because five waffles just doesn't seem like enough.

1 1/2 cups milk
6 tablespoons butter
2 to 3 tablespoons maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

Heat the milk till it’s very hot. Place it in a large mixing bowl (you’ll need lots of room for expansion), and add the butter, maple syrup, salt, and vanilla. Stir till the butter melts and the mixture has cooled to lukewarm. Add the eggs, flour, and yeast, stirring to combine; it’s OK if the mixture isn’t perfectly smooth. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour; the mixture will begin to bubble. You can cook the waffles at this point, or refrigerate the batter overnight to cook waffles the next day. (Make SURE it’s in a bowl large enough for it to at least double in size!)

Preheat the waffle iron. Spray with non-stick vegetable oil spray, and pour 2/3 to 3/4 cup batter (or the amount recommended by the manufacturer) onto the center of the iron. Close the lid and bake for the recommended amount of time, till the waffle is golden brown. Serve immediately, or keep warm in a 200°F oven. Serve with berries and whipped cream, if desired.

Yield: about five 7" round Belgian waffles.

Recipe from

Friday, October 1, 2010

Doughnut Muffins

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I have seen variations of these in some of my cookbooks and some of the food blogs I follow. Must be a popular treat! They are called by many different names; but if you call something a doughnut, who wouldn't eat it?
As you can see on the right-hand side of the picture I did frost some of them and added sprinkles for the kids (Mickey Mouse of course) and coconut for Ryan and I. The frosting was just a cup of powdered sugar with a few teaspoons of heavy cream. The cinnamon-sugar is perfect though, I was just getting fancy....

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 to 1 1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg, to taste
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 cup milk

For the topping:
3 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons Cinnamon-Sugar Plus or cinnamon sugar

1) Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a standard muffin tin. Or line with 12 paper or silicone muffin cups, and grease the cups with non-stick vegetable oil spray; this will ensure that they peel off the muffins nicely.

2) In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter, vegetable oil, and sugars till smooth.

3) Add the eggs, beating to combine.

4) Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, and vanilla.

5) Stir the flour into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined.

6) Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pan, filling the cups nearly full.

7) Bake the muffins for 15 to 17 minutes, or until they're a pale golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean.

8) Remove them from the oven, and let them cool for a couple of minutes, or until you can handle them. While they're cooling, melt the butter for the topping (this is easily done in the microwave).

9) Use a pastry brush to paint the top of each muffin with the butter, then sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar. Or simply dip the tops of muffins into the melted butter, then roll in the cinnamon-sugar.

10) Serve warm, or cool on a rack and wrap airtight. Store for a day or so at room temperature.

Yield: 12 muffins.

Salted Double-Chocolate Chunk Cookies

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Recipe from

Yes, this picture is ugly-but nevermind that! These cookies are an awesome salty-sweet combo! Really excellent underneath a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Yield: about 24 cookies

1 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. fleur de sel (sea salt), plus more for sprinkling
2 large eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Combine 1 1/3 cups chocolate chips and 4 tablespoons of butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, and heat until the chocolate and butter are melted and smooth, stirring occasionally. (Alternatively, heat in the microwave in 25-second intervals, stirring in between.) In another mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, brown sugar and vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until the sugar has completely dissolved, about 4-5 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the melted chocolate mixture, blending until incorporated. Add in the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Fold in the remaining chopped chocolate with a spatula. Drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2-3 inches apart.

Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until the cookies are just slightly soft in the center and crackly on top, about 10-12 minutes. Sprinkle lightly with additional salt and let cool on the baking sheets 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Chocolate chip-cookie dough cupcakes

I found this recipe on but it has been adapted from many different sources.
These are possibly the most jaw-dropping, eyes rolling back into your head, unbelievably delectable dessert I think I have ever made.

Enough said. Get baking!

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Yield:24 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups light brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (semisweet or bittersweet)

For the filling:
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tbsp. light brown sugar, packed
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
7 oz. sweetened condensed milk
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

For the frosting:
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
3½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. salt
3 tbsp. milk
2½ tsp. vanilla extract

For decoration:
Mini chocolate chips

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners (24 total). In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and brown sugar. Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir together to blend. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl on low speed, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, mixing each addition just until incorporated. Blend in the vanilla. Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the cookie dough filling, combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the flour, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until incorporated and smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the mixture has firmed up a bit, about an hour.

To fill the cupcakes, cut a cone-shaped portion out of the center of each cupcake. Fill each hole with a chunk of the chilled cookie dough mixture.

To make the frosting, beat together the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until creamy. Mix in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Beat in the flour and salt. Mix in the milk and vanilla extract until smooth and well blended.

Frost the filled cupcakes as desired, sprinkling with mini chocolate chips.

Banana-chocolate chip muffins

Recipe from Tasty Kitchen

I am always searching for healthy recipes that I can trick the kids into eating. This is one of those deceptive recipes. They are so tasty and I feel good about giving them to the kids for breakfast or a snack. Ryan is actually the one who sneaks a frozen one out for breakfast everyday. But that's okay, I want him to eat healthy too...
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Yield 12 muffins

•½ cup Unsalted Butter, At Room Temperature
•½ cup Granulated Sugar
•¼ cup Brown Sugar, Packed
•2 whole Eggs
•1 teaspoon Vanilla
•1 cup Whole Wheat Flour (I LOVE King Arthur's white whole wheat flour)
•1 cup All-purpose Flour
•1 teaspoon Baking Soda
•1 teaspoon Salt
•3 Tablespoons Ground Flax Seed (optional)
•4 whole Ripe Bananas, Mashed
•½ cups Mini Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips

Cream butter with sugars until light and fluffy. Then add eggs, one at a time until fully incorporated – mixture will look a little lumpy. Stir in vanilla.

In another bowl, combine flours, baking soda, salt, and flaxseed.

Add dry ingredients along with mashed bananas to butter/sugar/egg mixture. Stir until JUST combined, then fold in chocolate chips.

Using a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop, divide evenly into a 12-count muffin tin lined with paper liners.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Recipe courtesy of

I definitely recommend doubling this recipe. I noticed a trend around me of people eating these uncontrollably. They were so darn good!

Yield: about 18 sandwich cookies

For the cookies:
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup quick-cooking oats

For the filling:
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 tbsp. heavy cream

To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir together with a fork to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, peanut butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Blend in the egg and vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Stir in the oats until evenly blended.
Use a small cookie dough scoop to portion out the dough (about 2 teaspoons), rolling each portion into a ball, and place them on the prepared cookie sheet, a couple inches apart. Bake about 10 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking. The cookies will be light golden brown and slightly puffed. Let cool on the baking sheet 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cook completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Once the cookies have cooled completely, pair them up by size. To make the filling, combine the butter, peanut butter, confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Cream together until well combined. Mix in the heavy cream until smooth and fluffy. Use a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip to pipe a swirl of filling onto the flat side of one cookie of each pair. Sandwich together with the remaining cookie and press down so that the filling reaches the edges.

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