Peanut Butter Mud Pie

Peanut Butter Mud Pie Print

This Peanut Butter Mud Pie has to be the most decadent and indulgent recipe I’ve brought you yet! But, it’s July, right?! And July is National Ice Cream Month, so that’s all the reason we need to splurge! I’ve been wanting to make Mud Pie for the blog for some time now, and as much as I love the original, I thought I’d change it up by substituting peanut butter ice cream for the coffee ice cream. And oh my gosh, if this isn’t a slice of heaven! If they made a calorie-cancelling potion, I would eat this every day…well, maybe once a week, but oh, that would be something to anticipate. If you brought this pie to a large family function or a big company event, and sliced it thin, you could make the indulgence a little less guilt producing and you’d still have the joy of experiencing this amazing Peanut Butter Mud Pie.

Ingredients

  • 24 Famous Chocolate Wafers or 1/2 package of Oreo cookies, crushed (I used a food processor)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 recipe peanut butter ice cream (see below)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Peanuts, chopped and lightly toasted

Directions

    For the crust:
  1. Using food processor, crush wafers or Oreo cookies; blend together with the melted butter. Press into a 9” deep-dish pie plate. Bake crust at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Cool crust.
  2. For the chocolate ganache layer:
  3. Pour chocolate chips into a heat-resistant bowl. Heat the heavy cream until hot but not boiling and pour it over the chocolate chips, whisking until smooth. Pour ganache on the cooled cookie crust and spread across the bottom of the crust until you have a ¼-inch layer. Chill in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  4. For the pie filling:
  5. Set out *peanut butter ice cream to soften, stirring a bit so that it’s spreadable but not too melted.
  6. Mound the ice cream into your chilled crust; carefully spreading into a slightly domed pie shape. Return to the freezer for at least 1 hour.
  7. Pipe whipped cream on top of the pie. Drizzle warm ganache over the top of the pie. Chop toasted peanuts; sprinkle over the whipped cream on the top of the pie.
    *For the peanut butter ice cream:
  • 1 3/4 cup maple syrup-sweetened condensed milk. (*Recipe below)
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter, divided
  • 2 cups heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
  • /2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Combine *condensed milk, peanut butter, and vanilla, whisking until smooth. Gently fold in whipped cream until completely combined with no white streaks remaining. Pour into a loaf pan and freeze overnight or at least 5 hours.
    *For the maple-syrup sweetened condensed milk:
  • Bring 2-14 oz. cans of full-fat condensed and 1/2 cup maple syrup milk to a boil in a sauce pan. Lower the heat and whisk in the maple syrup until fully incorporated. Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until it thickens slightly (It won’t be as thick as the canned, but that’s OK).
  • Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator until you are ready to use.
  • It makes about 16 ounces of maple sweetened condensed milk and should last a week or so refrigerated.
Serves: 8-10

Adapted from: Handle the Heat
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Raspberry Margarita

Raspberry Margarita Print

This Raspberry Margarita just might be your new favorite summer drink! I know it’s mine! Raspberries and lime really do make the perfect pairing in this frosty, oh-so-pretty summertime drink. And it’s just in time for the 4th of July holiday as one more way to celebrate. I pureed the raspberries in this drink because I’m not fond of the seeds and I know a lot of people who don’t love them too, but if they don’t bother you go ahead and save a step by leaving them in when you blend the ingredients. I hope you’ll add this delicious and lovely Raspberry Margarita to your list of must make summer beverages. Happy 4th, everyone!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries, pureed
  • 1/2 cup raspberry liqueur
  • 1/2 cup white tequila
  • 3 tablespoons orange liqueur
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • Lime slices for garnish
  • Raspberries for garnish
  • 5-6 cups ice

Directions

  1. To puree raspberries: place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl, pour raspberries into the strainer and press with the back of a wooden spoon to force the juice from the berries. All that should remain in the strainer are the seeds and pulp. Discard seeds.
  2. Blend raspberry puree, raspberry liqueur, tequila, orange liqueur, honey and lime juice. Add ice and blend. Garnish with lime slices and raspberries.
Makes 4 servings
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Banana Cream Pie

Banana Cream Pie Print

I have to admit that I rarely eat bananas straight from the peel; by themselves they just aren’t my fruit of choice, but put them in a bread or a cake or a cream pie and suddenly I’m all about the banana. This Banana Cream Pie is a perfect blend of creamy vanilla custard, banana, flaky crust, and of course, whipped cream to top it all off. This is such a classic pie and everyone has their favorite, go-to recipe, but I thought I’d bring you this maple-syrup sweetened version of Mel’s Kitchen Cafe’s Old Fashioned Banana Cream Pie. It’s best eaten the day it’s made or the bananas will brown and not look so appetising, but as good as this yummy pie is that shouldn’t be a problem.

Ingredients

Pie Crust:
  • Marie Callender’s or any 9-inch pie crust you prefer
  • Banana Cream Filling:
  • 1/3 cup real maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
  • 5 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 2/3 cups milk (2% or whole)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 medium bananas
  • Whipped Cream Topping:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

    Preheat oven to 400ºF

    For the crust:
  1. Remove from the fridge and let sit for half an hour to soften.
  2. Carefully transfer crust from the pie tin it came into a 9-inch glass pie. (See Note) If it cracks, lightly moisten your fingers and press it back together.
  3. Prick all over the bottom and sides of the crust with a fork, then place in the fridge for an hour to chill.
  4. Line the chilled pie shell with a layer of aluminum foil, covering the edges so they don’t burn, and fill with pie weights, dried beans, or rice. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove the weights and foil and continue to bake the crust until golden brown, about 5-10 minutes more. Set aside to cool completely.
  5. For the filling:
  6. Whisk the cornstarch and salt together in a medium saucepan, pour in maple syrup and stir to blend. Whisk in the half-and-half or heavy cream, followed by the egg yolks and the milk until the mixture is smooth.
  7. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens. The resulting texture and thickness should be that of an almost set pudding. Remove pan from heat and let the mixture cool until warm.
  8. Pour one-third to one half of the warm filling into the pre-baked pie shell.
  9. Peel the bananas and slice on top of the filling, then cover with remaining filling. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap over filling surface. Refrigerate pie until it is completely chilled, at least 3 hours.
  10. For the topping:
  11. Whip the cream, syrup and vanilla together until soft peaks form. Spread the whipped cream over the top of the pie (if you are going to pipe the whipped cream, you’ll need to whip the cream to stiff peaks) Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Barely adapted from: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

 

Note: You can certainly leave the crust in the original tin pan, if you prefer; it just makes a “prettier” presentation in a glass pie pan.
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Apple Pie Crepes

Apple Pie Crepes Print

Don’t you love those rare Sunday mornings when you have time to make a special breakfast for the family? Or just for yourself? Apple Pie Crepes are just that kind of special. I know, I know, I always thought that crepes were difficult and scary too, but they really aren’t. All you need is a non-stick pan and some spray oil to insure they don’t stick to the pan, and easy-peasy, you have crepes! And if you make the crepes and filling ahead of time, then all you need do is a little “construction” and you have yummy apple crepes sitting on your breakfast table in no time at all. They smell soooo good and disappear far too quickly. Which is why making extra crepes to have on hand (they keep really well for a few days in the fridge) is a smart thing to do.

Ingredients

    For the filling:
  • 4 large apples, cored and peeled
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • For the crepes:
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Directions

For the crepes:
  1. Mix all ingredients (milk through maple syrup) in a large bowl and whisk the mixture until lumps dissolve.
  2. Heat non-stick frying pan on high until very hot, spray it with oil spray. Using a soup ladle, pour small amount of batter into the frying pan as you roll the pan in a circular motion to cover the bottom of the pan evenly with a thin layer of crepe batter. Depending on the size of your soup ladle, you could use a whole ladleful, or slightly less. The important thing is to cover the bottom of the pan with just a slightly thick layer of batter. If you coat it too thickly, it will be dough-y.
  3. Let this thin layer of crepe batter cook for 1-3 minutes until the batter on top bubbles and loses all of its sheen and the edges are dark golden brown, then flip the crepe to the other side and let it cook for another minute on that side. To flip the crepe, run the edge of a spatula around the sides of the crepe, until you reach the center of the crepe from all sides and the crepe comes away from the pan. Transfer cooked crepes to a plate, stacking them as you go.
  4. For the apple filling:
  5. Chop apples into small cubes, place cubed apple in a medium bowl, add maple syrup and cinnamon, and toss everything together to fully coat the apples. Let sit for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Melt butter on medium-low heat in a 10” skillet, add chopped apples and saute until soft, about 25-30 minutes.
  7. To serve, spoon about 1/2 cup sauteed apples down the center of a warm crepe, fold the sides of the crepe over the apple filling. Top with whipped cream, if desired.
Serves 4

 

Adapted from: Julia’s Album
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Summer Fruit Tart

Summer Fruit Tart Print

Okay, so I might be pushing it a bit making a summer fruit tart in mid-May, but truth is, you could make this tart pretty much any time of the year if cost isn’t a factor for you. (Out of season fruit can be a little on the pricey side depending on where you live….) But that, my friends is the only possible drawback to this oh so pretty tart, that will garner many oohs and aahs when served at your next gathering. I used strawberries, blueberries, kiwis, and raspberries, but blackberries and/or mandarin oranges are a couple of other options that would be tasty – and pretty, as well. If you are short of time, you can easily make the crust and cream filling a day or two in advance; putting the fruit topping on the day you’ll be serving the tart. I hope you’ll try this delicious and easy tart, whatever the season!

Ingredients

    For the crust:
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup pecans, very finely chopped
  • 1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened and cubed
  • For the filling:
  • 1 8-ounce package light cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks
  • For the fruit topping:
  • Fresh strawberries, kiwi slices (cut in half), blueberries, raspberries
  • For the glaze:
  • 1/2 cup of orange marmalade

Directions

    Preheat oven to 350⁰F

    For the crust:
  1. In a food processor, combine the flour, butter, nuts, and maple syrup and process until the mixture forms a sticky ball.
  2. With your fingers, press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of a 12-inch removable-bottom tart pan (You may need to dip your fingers into some flour to keep the dough from sticking to them as you press it into the pan). Bake for 12-14 minutes, until lightly browned. Set aside to cool completely.
  3. For the cream filling:
  4. Beat the cream cheese, maple syrup, and vanilla together until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream until completely incorporated. Spread over the cooled crust.
  5. For the fruit topping:
  6. Cut the strawberries into 1/4-inch slices and arrange around the edge of the crust in a double layer. For the next circle, use 1/4-inch kiwi slices (cut in half). Add a circle of blueberries, then a circle of raspberries in the middle, or just mound raspberries in the circle of blueberries. (See photos).
  7. For the glaze:
  8. Strain orange marmalade into a small bowl, using a fine mesh strainer. Microwave the resulting jelly on high for 15-20 seconds, just to warm it. Using a soft brush, gently brush the jelly over the fruit until completely covered. (There may be a little jelly left over)
  9. Keep the tart in the refrigerator. Remove about 15 minutes before serving. Serve with whipped cream.
Serves: 8

Adapted from: The Food Network
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Oatmeal Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies Print

Most everyone has their favorite Girl Scout cookie; I’ve certainly had my favorites over the years (frankly, I wouldn’t turn any of them down…), but the one that’s stood the test of time is the Do-si-do. Those yummy cookies with the creamy peanut butter filling sandwiched between tender oatmeal cookies somehow keep going in my mouth one after the other. These Oatmeal Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies are a copycat of those wonderful Do-si-dos, but they’ve been made without refined sugar; which, despite the abundance of butter and peanut butter, still makes them more healthful than the original version. When you’ve depleted your stash of Do-si-dos, this recipe for Oatmeal Peanut Butter Sandwich cookies will be waiting for you, calling your name….

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies

Ingredients

    For the cookies:
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), room temperature
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (smooth)
  • 5 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 1 cup, plus 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup of quick oatmeal
  • For the filling:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (smooth)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Directions

    Preheat oven to 350⁰ F

    For the cookies:
  1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. With a stand or hand mixer cream together the 3/4 cup butter, 1/2 cup of peanut butter and 1/4 cup of maple syrup until well combined.
  3. Mix in the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt until just combined.
  4. Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Using a two-inch cookie cutter, cut out the cookies.
  5. Place cookies onto a baking sheet, about an inch apart, and chill on the sheets for about 20 minutes before baking.
  6. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack while you make the peanut butter filling.
  7. For the filling:
  8. Add the butter, peanut butter, and remaining 2 tablespoons maple syrup to a medium bowl and mix on medium speed until fully combined and fluffy.
  9. Pipe or use a spoon to spread a generous tablespoon of the filling on one of the cookies and top with another cookie to make the sandwiches.
Makes: 12 Sandwich Cookies

Adapted from: Dinner, then Dessert
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White Chocolate Mousse In Chocolate Eggs

White Chocolate Mousse in Chocolate Eggs Print

So, I got all kinds of confident after my layer cake success for my last post and decided, “what the heck! – I’m going to make pretty chocolate eggs with some kind of super yummy filling in them for Easter”! Keep in mind that I had never tempered chocolate, nor had I ever used a candy or chocolate mold. We’ll call it a learning experience…. At the end of a full day, I completed this delicious White Chocolate Mousse in Chocolate Eggs treat. I have to say, that I’m really happy to have learned the process for tempering chocolate and know that it’ll be valuable in my future candy making adventures. If you don’t feel like you’re up to the challenge of molding chocolate and filling it with mousse, you can just make the super easy and wonderfully delicious white chocolate mousse and serve it in pretty glasses with a few raspberries and/or shaved chocolate on top. It looks elegant and tastes like you spent hours on it. Happiest of Easters, everyone!!

[fruitful_ibox_row] [fruitful_ibox icon=”fa-coffee” styleicon=”background-color:#7bd4c2; color:#fff; border-radius: 50%;” styletext = “font-size:14px” title=”Ingredients”]
    For the chocolate eggs:
  • 12 ounces dark chocolate (I used Guittard bittersweet) Do NOT use chocolate chips.
  • For the white chocolate mousse:
  • 6 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, cold
  • [fruitful_ibox_row] [fruitful_ibox icon=”fa-spoon” styleicon=”background-color:#7bd4c2; color:#fff; border-radius: 50%;” styletext = “font-size:14px” title=”Ingredients”]
      For the chocolate eggs:
    1. Using a large, sharp knife, chop the chocolate into small pieces, about the size of a pea. Divide the chocolate; 8 ounces into a medium glass bowl, and 4 ounces in a small bowl. Set aside.
    2. Put the medium bowl of chocolate (8 oz.) into the microwave and melt on high in 20 to 25 second increments, stirring until it is melted and with a temperature of 115° to 118° F. When the chocolate is almost melted, reduce your microwave time to as little as 5 seconds so the chocolate doesn’t burn.
    3. Begin “seeding” the melted chocolate by adding the chocolate pieces in the small bowl (4 oz.), a little at a time, gently stirring until they are completely melted. Stir and seed until the temperature of the chocolate is 88° to 91° F, and the seeding pieces are fully melted.
    4. Your chocolate has now been tempered. Use the chocolate in its tempered range. If it begins to cool, you can microwave it at half power to bring it back up to temperature. Alternatively, you can place the pan of chocolate on a heating pad turned to low; place a towel on top of the heating pad. Check the temperature of the chocolate frequently to insure that it stays in the recommended temperature range.
    5. To “build” the chocolate eggs, simply follow the instructions on the mold package. I found mine here, but you can find all kinds of chocolate molds on-line that will work just as well.
    6. Using a sharp knife, cut “holes” in the top of each chocolate egg half, so that when you glue them together with more chocolate it leaves a hole in the top of the egg for the mousse to be piped into.
    7. For the white chocolate mousse:
    8. Place white chocolate in a large glass bowl. Add ⅓ cup heavy cream and microwave until melted and smooth. Heat in 20-30 second intervals, stirring in between. Allow to cool until it reaches room temperature.
    9. In a large, chilled bowl beat the remainder of the heavy cream with either a stand or hand mixer until soft peaks form. Add 2 tablespoons of the whipped cream to the white chocolate mixture and whisk by hand until smooth. Add half of the remaining whipped cream, folding gently until combined. Add the remaining whipped cream and fold until combined and smooth. Chill the mousse for about 2 hours, or until set.
    10. Fill a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle with the mousse and carefully fill each chocolate egg through the hole you left on top.
    11. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings or top with a couple of raspberries.
    White chocolate mousse recipe adapted from: Pretty. Simple. Sweet

    [/fruitful_ibox][/fruitful_ibox_row]
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Better for you Banana Cake

Better for You Banana Cake Print

Oh my gosh, it’s going to be Easter in just a couple of weeks!! Yeah, I know…news flash! Clearly this holiday has sneaked up on me, so I got busy experimenting with some Easter dessert options.

My first is: Better for You Banana cake. Until now, I haven’t brought you a layer cake recipe and that’s because I’ve always had such bad luck with them – they’ve all been “leaners”. You know…the ones that no matter which way you turn them, are always tilted. Which is kind of embarrassing since I’m supposed to be a baker, and that includes making layer cakes that don’t look like they’re going to fall over.

So I stepped out of that comfort zone I’m so fond of and went about learning the “technicalities” of making a straight up, level, flat cake layer. And it wasn’t nearly as scary or daunting a task as I had thought it would be. Imagine that? Basically, you just need to wrap some wet strips of towel around the edge of the cake pan in whatever width the pan is, usually 2-3″, attaching them with large safety pins. The moisture from the wet towel strips help the cake to bake more evenly, preventing the dome that forms, which is the primary reason layer cakes lean. You can find more detailed information for the procedure on one of my favorite blogs: The Kitchn.

You really should give this Better for You Banana cake a try. It’s been lightened up from the original recipe; both the butter and sweetener has been reduced (as usual, I used real maple syrup for the sweetener). This banana cake is moist, flavorful, and downright irresistible. So why resist?

[fruitful_ibox_row] [fruitful_ibox icon=”fa-coffee” styleicon=”background-color:#7bd4c2; color:#fff; border-radius: 50%;” styletext = “font-size:14px” title=”Ingredients”]
    For the Cake:
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup butter, room temp
  • 1 cup real maple syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 ripe bananas mashed, about 1½ cups
  • For the Frosting
  • 8 ounces (1 package) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut, optional
  • [fruitful_ibox_row] [fruitful_ibox icon=”fa-spoon” styleicon=”background-color:#7bd4c2; color:#fff; border-radius: 50%;” styletext = “font-size:14px” title=”Directions”]
      Preheat oven to 325°F

      For the Cake:
    1. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans or two 9-inch round cake pans with Baker’s Joy (or similar) spray. Set aside.
    2. Whisk the milk and lemon juice together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
    3. Combine flour, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside.
    4. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter and syrup in a large bowl until combined, adding in the syrup a little at a time until fully incorporated (The mixture will appear slightly “curdled”, but don’t worry, it’s just fine).
    5. Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
    6. Add in the milk and flour mixture in alternating additions, beginning and ending with flour, mixing on low and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
    7. Finally, mix in the mashed bananas until just incorporated.
    8. Divide the batter evenly among the pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Rotate the pans in the oven halfway through baking.
    9. Cool cakes in the pans for 15-20 minutes; then remove from the pans and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
    10. For the Frosting:
    11. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix the butter and cream cheese together for 2 minutes until creamy. Mix in the maple syrup.
    12. Add in the vanilla and 1 tablespoon of milk.
    13. With the mixer on medium, blend until creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
    14. Add remaining tablespoon of milk, if needed and mix until combined.
      Frost cake.
    15. For the Toasted Coconut, Optional:
    16. Place the coconut in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, stirring gently but constantly. The coconut will start to turn light brown; watch carefully, because it burns quickly.
    17. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the coconut to cool completely. (I spread mine out on a paper plate so it wouldn’t continue to brown in the warm pan and would cool faster.)
    18. Sprinkle cake with the toasted coconut.

    Adapted from: Cookies & Cups
    [/fruitful_ibox][/fruitful_ibox_row]
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Chocolate Mint Ganache Brownies Print

It’s St. Patrick’s Day week and whether we’re Irish or not, it’s so much fun to celebrate any and all things “Irish”! My contribution to this most green of days are these Chocolate Mint Ganache Brownies. Leave off the minty-green piping and you can serve these amazing ganache-glazed brownies any time of the year… I found this Grasshopper Brownies recipe on a favorite blog, Smitten Kitchen and adapted it using my standard maple syrup sweetener. Doing so, slightly reduces the amount of butter and egg in the recipe, which, along with the use of an unrefined sweetener, helps to make these just a wee bit more healthful. I hope your St. Patrick’s day celebrations are filled with fun, some wearin’ o’ the green, and just maybe a chocolate mint ganache brownie…or two… Sláinte!

[fruitful_ibox_row] [fruitful_ibox icon=”fa-coffee” styleicon=”background-color:#7bd4c2; color:#fff; border-radius: 50%;” styletext = “font-size:14px” title=”Ingredients”]
    For brownies:
  • 1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Guittard)
  • 1 cup maple syrup (the real stuff)
  • 2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • For chocolate mint ganache:
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • 1 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • For mint piping, optional: (See note below)
  • 1/4 cup half & half (light cream)
  • 3/4 cup quality white chocolate chips (I used Guittard Choc-au-Lait)
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • McCormick’s Color from Nature food coloring (see package on how to make the color green)
[fruitful_ibox_row] [fruitful_ibox icon=”fa-spoon” styleicon=”background-color:#7bd4c2; color:#fff; border-radius: 50%;” styletext = “font-size:14px” title=”Directions”]
Preheat oven to 350°F

    Brownie layer:
  1. Spray Baker’s Joy spray oil (or similar) on a 13 x 9-inch baking pan lined with a sheet of heavy-duty foil, leaving a 2 inch overhang on the long side.
  2. Melt butter, chocolate, and maple syrup in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat. Whisk in eggs and vanilla until combined. Whisk in flour, cocoa, and salt until just combined. Don’t over stir; it makes for tough brownies!
  3. Spread batter evenly in baking pan and bake on the middle oven rack until set and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs adhering, for 20 minutes. Cool completely in pan, about 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Chocolate mint ganache:
  5. Bring light cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan; remove from heat. Pour light cream over bittersweet chocolate in a bowl. Let sit for about a minute; then whisk until smooth. Stir in extract and set aside for 20 minutes to cool and thicken.
  6. Spread chocolate mint ganache evenly over the top of cooled brownies. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes. Remove brownies from pan using the foil overhang. Cut the brownies into squares using a large sharp knife. (If you’re fussy like me and want all of your brownies to have tidy, clean edges, I’d recommend wiping the knife clean after each cut).
  7. Mint piping, optional: (See note below)
  8. Bring light cream to a simmer in a small saucepan; remove from heat. Pour light cream over white chocolate in a bowl. Let sit for about a minute, then whisk until smooth. Stir in extract and set aside for 15-20 minutes until it cools and thickens enough to pipe easily.
NOTE: The piping I put on these brownies was in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, obviously, but feel free to leave it off; they’ll still be completely scrumptious.

Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen
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Orange Poppy Seed Olive Oil Cake

Orange Poppy Seed Olive Oil Cake Print

How many times have you tried a new recipe and upon taking that first bite, knew you had a “keeper”? Well, this Orange Poppy Seed Olive Oil Cake is one of those! I know I’ll make this cake again and again; moist and full of flavor, and so easy to pull together! I found some Cara Cara navel oranges at our town’s version of Whole Foods and was keen to try them in this cake; they’re a little larger and sweeter than the regular navel oranges you find in most grocery stores. The juicy flesh is a pretty deep orange color, which doesn’t affect it’s flavor at all, but sure makes for a lovely accent in the photos; and food lover/geeky photographer that I am, I pay attention to those things…. I would love to know if you try this recipe and what you think of it. Please feel free to send your comments.

[fruitful_ibox_row] [fruitful_ibox icon=”fa-coffee” styleicon=”background-color:#7bd4c2; color:#fff; border-radius: 50%;” styletext = “font-size:14px” title=”Ingredients”]
    For the cake:
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (from Cara Cara navel oranges)
  • 3/4 cup maple sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • For the glaze:
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
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Preheat oven to 350°F

    For the cake:
  1. Line a 9-inch round baking pan with parchment paper; spray with Baker’s Joy or similar.
    In a large bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together; set aside.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the oil, milk, melted butter, vanilla, and 1/4 cup of the orange juice; set aside.
  3. Mix the maple sugar and zest together until thoroughly combined. Mix the orange-sugar blend and eggs in a large bowl and using either a hand mixer or stand mixer with the paddle attachment; beat on medium-high, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Reduce mixer speed and add the flour mixture and milk mixtures alternately, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix well after each addition.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean; check at 45 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 25-30 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  6. For the glaze:
  7. In a small saucepan, bring the maple syrup, 3 tablespoons orange juice, and orange extract to a low boil, simmering for 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat to cool and thicken. Drizzle over the cooled cake. Let cake set for about an hour before serving.
Adapted from: Baker by Nature

NOTE: If you can’t find Cara Cara oranges in your grocery store, regular navel oranges will work just fine.
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