Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Spooky Oreo Bundt Cake


This is my post for Halloween. I saw this cake about a year ago on Cookie Madness and have been wanting to bake this ever since! The oreo cookies look so cute in this cake. I just love the way it looks and it is delicious too! If you love pound cakes, this if for you.

I probably won't have any more posts before Halloween. I am leaving tomorrow to hike the Blue Ridge Mountains with my youngest son and oldest son. It's about a mile and a half to the top of the mountain we are hiking and I have a feeling it will kick my butt! It's been a very long time since I have done a hike like this so we'll see exactly what kind of shape I am in! I'll let you all know! I'll try and get some nice pictures to post also. Have a great Halloween....my youngest is going as Michael Meyers....very scary mask! He walked around the house with it on and kept staring at me and I told him to take it off. It was making me nervous!

18 whole Oreo cookies (Halloween colors)
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 oz (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cool, room temp
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
3 whole eggs, large, cool, room temp
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup sour cream, cool, room temp

Preheat over to 350 degrees F. If you are using a black Bundt pan, preheat to 325 degrees F. Spray a Bundt pan with flour-added cooking spray.
Break the cookies into quarters and set aside.
Sift together flour, salt and soda. Reserve.
Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer for about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in extracts and sour cream.
Add flour mixture and stir just until it is well mixed - it should be fairly thick.
Spoon about 1 1/2 cups batter into the bottom of prepared pan. Form a shallow trench in the center of batter.
Fold Oreos into remaining batter and finish filling pan, spreading the batter up the sides a bit to prevent a dome shape.
Bake for 50 - 60 minutes, until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for about 10 minutes and remove from pan. Dust with powdered sugar and cocoa powder (I only used the powdered sugar).

Monday, October 26, 2009

Toffee Brownies


Hope everyone had a nice weekend. I went to an Oktoberfest this past Saturday night and had a blast. I went with family and we stood from opening till closing. Needless to say it was a late night. My youngest son has discovered the chicken dance and the electric slide and loves it! He's definitely not as shy as I thought he was! The food however was lacking.....the bratwurst was okay but the potato pancakes and sauerkraut were barely edible. Desserts were another matter. There was a bakeshop there from Ohio who brought along fresh breads, pastries and German cakes. OMG...the black forest cake was to die for! Now THIS was the real thing. A huge assortment of German cakes and pastries and one was better than the next one. Thank God I wore off some of the calories dancing!

These brownies however would require hours of dancing to burn away any calories. I don't know how fattening they are but let's start off by saying they are another Deen family recipe, this one from Paula. I am going to tell my husband that this just has to stop. He wanted these brownies so badly and was telling me how she had put whipped cream on top of them and then for a vegetable so they would be healthy she added a mint leaf. When I saw this recipe I told him no way was whipped cream coming into the picture. Enough is enough!!! They are really, really good.....but a bit over the top since they contain 3 large chocolate bars in the middle!!!! I'd make them again but only for something special. They are too good and I could never have them around here long since I would just keep digging in and picking at them every time I'd pass them. They are also super easy to make since they are made from a brownie mix. If you don't like mixes and prefer home made brownies, I'm sure you could make your brownies the way you normally would and just add the layer of chocolate bars in the middle just like with a mix.......Be careful. They are addicting!

1 (17.6 ounce) package brownie mix with walnuts (I used a plain family size mix)
Vegetable oil cooking spray
3 (6 ounce) candy bars with almonds and toffee chips (recommended: Symphony brand)

Prepare the brownie mix according to package directions.
Line a 9x13 inch cake pan with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable oil cooking spray.
Spoon in half of the brownie batter and smooth with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Place the candy bars side by side on top of the batter. Cover with the remaining batter.
Bake according to package directions. Let cool completely, then lift from the pan using the edges of the foil. This makes it easy to cut the brownies into squares.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Deen Brothers's BBQ Chicken


My son has recuperated from being sick earlier this week. Seems it was just a virus that aggravated his asthma. Now we're all sitting tight and hoping we don't get the H1N1 virus. I work in a local hospital and we have seen a number of cases this week. We also ran out of the vaccine that were given to the employees and I was one that had not received it yet. Oh well.....let's keep our fingers crossed.

This recipe was another husband requested one. Most of the recipes that involve Paula Deen are! This was very good. Since we're not grilling anymore this time of year I just baked these in the oven and they were very tasty. And very simple. Give them a try if you are looking for a new BBQ recipe!

1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar (I used light brown which was fine)
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke (I did not use this)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (3 1/2 pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces (I used legs and thighs)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F or prepare a grill (brush the grill grate lightly with oil).
In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients except the chicken. Reserve 1/3 cup of the BBQ sauce; set aside. Add the chicken to the remaining sauce in the bowl, turning to coat.
Arrange the coated chicken in a roasting pan or on the grill. Cook (covered, if grilling) for 40 to 45 minutes or until cooked through, basting with the reserved 1/3cup sauce after 20 minutes.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

American Idol


For all you out there who watch American Idol here is a picture of me with Jason Castro! Oh is he ever cute! He made a brief appearance here last night at Potomac Mills Mall and sang a few songs. He was there to promote his new cd which is coming out sometime in November. As you can see he stood for a while after performing to signs autographs and take pictures. There was a lady standing next to him that looked a little like him and I asked if they were related. It was his mom - how sweet is that? She and his brother evidently travel with him. Anyhow, just thought I would share this with you all and I'll be posting a recipe again tomorrow!!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Apple Cranberry Streusel Pie



First off let me say that I did see Paranormal Activity this weekend and loved it! It was very creepy. I highly recommend it to all the horror film buffs out there. If you like gore though then this might not be for you. No gore, just creepy. Did not do much of anything else this weekend since my son is sick with a cold. My middle son is also sick and most of his friends are sick. I know my youngest is so worried about getting the swine flu and I just keep reassuring him that all he has is a cold.

I made this apple pie today because I had a pie shell in the freezer that I needed to use already. Usually I make my own crust or use the refrigerated ones but this one definitely came in handy. This pie is ok.....I don't think that it was bursting with flavor but that could be my fault. I didn't have any apple pie spice which is what the recipe called for so I used pumpkin pie spice. I'm sure it would be much better with the applie pie spice. But it's still good and very simple to make. Besides, I still have lots of apples to use up!!!

1 baked pastry shell, unpricked (I used a premade one)
1/2 cup dried cranberries or dried tart cherries
6 large cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I used Granny Smith's)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon apple pie spice (I used pumpkin pie spice - big mistake!)
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup half and half or light cream
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup toasted finely chopped pecans or walnuts
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoons butter

Prepare a baked pastry shell or premade one, but do not poke holes in it.
For filling, pour boiling water over cranberries or cherries. Let stand for 5 minutes; drain. Mix cranberries or cherries and apples; place in baked pastry shell. Combine granulated sugar, the 3 tablespoons flour, spice, lemon peel and salt. Stir in half and half. Pour over fruit.
For topping, combine 1/3 cup flour, the nuts, brown sugar and nutmeg. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until pieces are pea-size. Sprinkle over filling.
To prevent overbrowning, cover edge of pie with foil. Bake in 375 degree F oven for45 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes more or until topping is golden and fruit is tender. Cool for 45 minutes on a wire rack; serve warm. Store any leftover pie, covered, in refrigerator.

This recipe comes from Better Homes and Gardens New Baking Book.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fresh Apple Cake



This is the first recipe I have made using the apples we bought at the mountains this past weekend. It comes from good ole Paula Deen from the latest issue of Good Housekeeping. Like all her recipes, it's very, very good. I would definitely make it again and again. Even though she uses a 10 in tube pan with a removable bottom, I used my usual Bundt pan since I did not have the other kind. It came out just fine.

I'm looking forward to seeing the new horror movie "Paranormal Activity" this weekend. I am a horror movie fan and this one looks good. I've also just seen the movie "Twilight" (better late than never) and it was great. I had seen the preview recently for the sequel which is opening in November and knew I would want to see that. I was telling a coworker at work how much I liked "Twilight" and she brought in the book for me. I just started it and love it. Usually I only read non-fiction but I'm enjoying this. Evidently, I must have been living on Mars for quite a while since I didn't even know that this series of books existed!

Hope everyone has a great weekend! If you live down here in Virginia it's supposed to be cold and raining.....good movie weather!

1 cup chopped walnuts
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 1/2 cups chopped Granny Smith apples (from 3 medium apples, cored and peeled)
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Coat 10 inch tube pan with removable bottom with nonstick cooking spray with flour.
Place walnuts in 15 1/2" by 10 1/2" jelly roll pan; toast in oven for 7 minutes or until golden and fragrant. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Meanwhile, in large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt. In another large bowl, combine walnuts, vanilla, cinnamon and 3 cups of apples. Reserve remaining 1/2 cup apples (only if you are using removable pan).
In large bowl with mixer on medium-high speed, beat granulated sugar, oil and eggs until well blended. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture, scraping bowl occasionally with rubber spatula. Beat 1 minute longer or until well combined. With spatula, fold in apple mixture (batter will be thick). Spoon batter into prepared pan. Scatter remaining apple over top of batter; with fingers, press into top of batter (only if you are using removable bottom of tube pan).
Bake 1 1/2 hours or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Unmold cake and transfer to cake plate. Dust cake lightly with confectioners' sugar to serve.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Peachy Pork Chops


We are back from Graves Mountain and had a terrific time. The weather on Friday was beautiful and still warm enough that you didn't even need a sweater. Luckily we decided to take the nightime hayride that night instead of Saturday because by Saturday it was cooling down. The hayride at night was really nice. They take you out into a large field where there is a huge bonfire. You get to toast marshmallows and make smores. Who can resist that? We also saw 2 shooting stars in the sky. The night sky is so clear in the mountains and there are tons of stars we normally can't even see. On Saturday we went to the apple festival the lodge has every year and visited all the craft booths and listened to bluegrass bands (my husband's favorite). We snacked on fresh apple donuts when we weren't eating large homestyle meals at the lodge. I think I put on 5 pounds and I'm not happy about that! Why is it that it's so easy to gain weight but not easy to lose it? Of course the recipes I cook don't help either....Oh and I brought back a ton of apples! I'll be baking with them the next few days (weeks) to you will be seeing plenty of apple recipes!

This is similar to a recipe I saw on Allrecipes that was made with apples instead of peaches. When I made this I did not have any apples so I used peaches since that is what I had on hand and changed it so much that it really is not even the same recipe anymore so I am not going to bother to even link to the original. This is nice for a change and the flavors really blended well. I'd make this again and was surprised how well it turned out. It's very simple too. I served this with rice and poured some of the sauce over the rice and the flavor was very good.

5 pork chops (cutlets would work well too) about 1/2 to 3/4 in thick
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar (divided)
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1 stick butter
1 can peach pie filling (Comstock is very good for this)

Preheat over to 325 degrees F.

Brush pork chops with oil and cook over medium high heat in a large skillet for 5 to 6 minutes until nicely browned. Transfer to baking pan.

In the same skillet melt one stick of butter. Add peaches, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg. Mix together well and when warmed, pour over pork chops in baking pan. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon brown sugar over pork chops and bake additional 15 minutes uncovered.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon


This is probably the most involved recipe that I've made to date. I really would not be a good judge of this dish since I really don't care much for this type of beef. My husband on the other hand loves these types of meals and he said it was very good. He enjoyed it very much and ate most of it. My 10 year old, needless to say, did not like it at all. I did love the gravy, since it had lots of wine in it. I do love sauces and gravies made with wine. I also have to say that I followed the recipe exactly as written and my gravy came out with the perfect consistency. I did not have to thin it out or thicken it up. Perfect. I couldn't find the onions the recipe called for so I used jarred ones but did brown them nicely. The inspiration for me making this, of course, was the movie which I loved. I plan on making more of the recipes from Julia's book, but not too often since they involve lots of time and work. But the effort is well worth it. I am not going to post this recipe myself since it is soooo long, but you can find it here. (This link also has a video you can watch of Julie Powell cooking Julia's recipe while she is being interviewed and also has some clips of Julia Child cooking. It really is worth watching.)

We are leaving tomorrow morning for Graves Mountain which is a wonderful mountain lodge with homestyle, home cooked meals! All the desserts have something baked with apples and ice cream on the side. Dessert comes with lunch and dinner. Nothing like putting on a few easy "weekend" pounds!!! The lodge has a huge apple festival in October every year so we always come home with a boxful....Look for lots of apple recipes from me in the next few weeks. Please feel free to let me know if you have any good apple recipes for pies, cakes, etc.....I'd love some suggestions!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Toffee Gooey Butter Cake



Paula Deen strikes again! My husband saw this recipe of Paula's and asked if I would make it. How could I resist? I've discovered (via my husband) that just about anything Paula makes is very good. I don't want to imagine the calorie content because I have watched her show many times on Food Network and don't know how anyone could possibly eat her meals on a regular basis without blowing up. Boy is her food fattening - but I have no problem making her recipes every now and again. This is one that I will make however, not now and again, but again and again and again! It is sooo good and would be great to bring to a get together, party, etc. You don't want this hanging around your house because it is too tempting to just keep "picking at."

We had a blast at the State Fair this past weekend. I saw my first live rodeo. I had only seen rodeo's on TV before so I really enjoyed it. I just wish they had bull riders. I LOVE to watch bull riding. I always am pulling for the bull!!!! We also saw a demolition derby and my son had a blast watching that. There was more food there than you could imagine. I'd never seen a state fair with so much food. An added bonus was perfect weather! We also stopped by King's Dominion on the way home since we promised my son we could go there for a bit. That is a huge amusement park in Virginia. Needless to say, by the time we were home that night my feet were aching. Lots of walking, but that's ok since I needed to work off all the pounds from Paula's Gooey Cake!

Here's the recipe:

Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 (18.2 oz) package yellow cake mix
1 large egg
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

Filling:

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (1 pound) box confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 cup toffee bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan with vegetable oil cooking spray.

In the bowl of an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the cake mix, egg and butter and mix well. Pat evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan and set aside.

In a bowl, mix together the cream cheese, eggs, vanilla extract, confectioners' sugar and butter. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Fold in the toffee bits with a spatula.

Pour the filling over the cake mixture and spread it evenly. Bake until the center is just a little bit gooey, about 40 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into pieces and serve.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Lime Banana Coconut Cake



This recipe comes courtesty of Reeni of Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice. It's a great cake and one of those recipes that when you see it makes you want to immediately make it! I seem to always have extra ripe bananas on hand so this was perfect. The lime gives it a little extra zing and really makes it stand out. So the next time you have extra bananas that are a bit too ripe, instead of making a banana bread, try this recipe! Thanks Reeni for another great recipe!

Have a great weekend everyone. We are going to the Virginia State Fair on Sunday. Hope the weather is good since it's no fun to walk around in the rain!

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup mashed bananas (about 3)
1 tablespoon grated lime zest (about 3 limes, save them after zesting for the glaze)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour (sift first, then measure)
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Lime Glaze to follow

Preheat over to 350F degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan.

In a dry saute pan toast the coconut flakes over medium low heat until golden brown, turning often. Set aside.

In a medium bowl beat the sour cream, banana puree, lime zest and vanilla together about 2 minutes with an electric mixer on low.

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, 3/4 of the toasted coconut and salt. Add the butter and 1/3 of the banana puree. Beat for a minute on medium speed. Add another third of the banana puree and beat until well incorporated. Repeat with the last third of the banana puree.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes and remove the sides. While still warm, brush with glaze.

Lime Glaze

Juice of one - two limes
Confectioners' sugar

Make a very thin glaze, start with the juice of one lime and gradually add the sugar a little bit at a time. Whisk well. If it gets too thick add more lime juice, it should be very thin. Almost a watery consistency.

Poke holes in the cake with a chop stick or butter knife about an inch apart over the entire cake while still warm. Brush with glaze over the cake and especially into the holes. Repeat.

Let the cake finish cooling. Use the remainder of the glaze to make a thicker icing. If there isn't any left, start again with the juice of one lime, add confectioners' sugar a little bit at a time and whisk well. This should be thicker than the first glaze but not as thick as a standard frosting. Taste - it should have a very strong, pronounced lime flavor. Add more lime if needed. Once the cake is cooled, glaze and sprinkle the rest of the toasted coconut.