Saturday, February 28, 2009

Daring Bakers: Flourless Chocolate Cake with Homemade Ice Cream

I wanted to start by saying that this will be my last post until I get home and get settled. I don't know about all of you, but I am a little disappointed with my recent posts. They have been extremely rushed and kind of boring. I want to get my blog back up and running and as soon as we get back to Germany (flying on Tuesday) and over the jetlag, I will start working on getting everything back on track. I really appreciate those of you who have continued to read and comment on my blog through these crazy months. It means a lot to me!

The February challenge for The Daring Bakers was a flourless chocolate cake and homemade ice cream. The cake consists of three ingredients; eggs, butter, and chocolate. I decided to use white chocolate and, with the advice of other DBers, cut the butter in half to compensate for the extra butter in white chocolate.

The cake was eh. Not good. Not horrible, but I will admit that it ended up in the trash. One serving and that was it. I'm sure it would've been better had I used real chocolate and had I been at home I would've tried again. Maybe I'll try it again in the future.

The ice cream on the other hand was a hit. I LOVE making ice cream. There were so many possiblilites running through my head and I just couldn't decide on one. So, I turned to my mom and made her choose. She decided on strawberry ice cream and I used a Ben & Jerry's recipe. It was so delicious!!! Believe me, the ice cream did not get thrown away!

I will share the pictures, but please know that I am disappointed by the cake. It really didn't turn out pretty at all. I only took the picture as proof of my failure - I mean, participation. :)

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

February Cheese of the Month

The cheese for February is one of my all time favorites: FETA! I love feta. It is soooooooo good! I was wanting to try something new and fancy with feta this month, but with being on vacation (is anyone sick of that excuse yet???) I just didn't have the time. I still wanted to participate, though, so I am sharing one of my favorite lunches. I know it is really simple, but I hope that it still counts!

My friend, Monica, made these Chicken Caesar Wraps for me a few years ago and they are so yummy. I love making these for lunch, or on really busy nights, as a quick dinner before running out. Load up on the feta... it is fantastic!

Chicken Caesar Wraps


Grilled Chicken Breast

Black Beans (warmed)



Black Olives


Newman's Own Creamy Ceasar Dressing

Warm chicken with dressing. Pile everything onto a tortilla and wrap up. ENJOY!

February Cookie Carnival

This months cookie selection was Chocolate Fudge Cookies with Tofee and Dried Cherries from Regan Daley. I love chocolate cookies, so I was excited about this selection. I don't care for toffee that much, though, so I knew that I was going to make some of these without the toffee.

I split the dough in half and added toffee to one half and just the dried cherries to the other. I really enjoyed the cookies without the toffee. The addition of the toffee was weird to me. Not just because I don't like toffee, but mostly because it just seemed to be too much going on.

I would make these cookies again (without toffee). They were fantastically delicious.

As always, thanks to Kate from The Clean Plate Club for hosting this wonderful group!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

TWD: Caramel Crunch Bars

See? I promised I made this week's recipe! Whitney of What's Left on the Table chose Caramel Crunch Bars. These were phenomenal!!! I didn't think that I would like them because they have toffee on top and I am not much of a toffee fan, but I couldn't stop eating them. I think my mom actually scolded me for making these because she couldn't stop eating them either!

The bars start with a shortbread crust and are then topped with chocolate and toffee bits. Mmmmmmmm!!! Another no-fail recipe from Dorie. This woman may just be the baking queen!

(Don't judge my ability to write posts lately! Crazy life right now, but in a good way! The zoo was fun but now I am pooped!)

TWD: To be continued...

I did make this week's recipe and I have the pics to prove it. ;) But... I am taking the kiddos to the zoo right now and don't have time to upload the photos and write. So... I will try to get my post up when we get home from the zoo. :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

TWD: Devils Food White Out Cake

I am still on vacation in Arizona and even though I have promised to find computer time, I just haven't been able to. We have been so busy visiting family and friends and doing cool stuff! We are having a blast! I have been cooking, too, so I will at least have posts ready for when I get home to Germany.

I wanted to get this post up (as boring as it may be!) so that I was sure to get credit for this weeks recipe. This cake was FANTASTIC! It was so much fun to put together, too. Usually you are worried about getting crumbs in your frosting, but with this cake you get to crumble a layer and press it on in! Dorie doesn't disappoint with this cake. Seriously... buy the book and make the cake!!!

Thanks to Stephanie of Confessions of a City Eater for picking the beautiful cover cake! I have been wanting to make it ever since I bought the book! As always, check out the blogroll! (Hopefully I will be able to do that!!!)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Raspberry Muffins

I made these muffins the day I saw them on Conversations With A Cupcake (AWESOME blog, by the way!) and they were absolutely fantastic!!! I am always on the lookout for new muffin recipes and I really enjoyed these. Give them a try... I'm sure you'll enjoy them, too!

Raspberry Muffins

2 bananas
1 egg
1/4 c. olive oil
1/2 c. applesauce
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. baking powder
1 T. lemon
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. raspberries1/2 c. white chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients together, except raspberries and white chocolate chips. Once batter is beaten, fold in chocolate chips, then raspberries. Spoon into 24 muffin tins prepares with cupcake liners. Bake 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until muffin tops spring back when touched with finger.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Dried Cherry Scones

It's no secret that I love scones, so here is another wonderful scone recipe! And... I will use any excuse I can to have chocolate for breakfast! Enjoy!

Dried Cherry Scones
Recipe from Baking Delights

3 1/2 c flour
2 tbs baking powder
1/2 c cold unsalted butter (freeze it for 5 minutes or so)
1/2 c sugar
1 1/3 c half and half
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond
2 cups dried cherries
1 cup dark chocolate, melted with 1 tablespoon butter

Mix the dry ingredients, except cherries, together.

Grate butter into the dry ingredients. Add cherries and stir to mix in evenly. Add vanilla, almond and1/2 and 1/2 and mix until you have a soft dough that holds together.
Roll out gently to about 3/4 inch thickness and cut out with a biscuit cutter. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and allow to stand for 20 minutes. During this time preheat oven to 400F.

Bake for 12 minutes or until done.

Melt chocolate and butter together in the microwave.

Drizzle over warm scones with a fork.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

World Nutella Day

What a wonderful day! It's World Nutella Day and if you know anything about me, you know I LOVE Nutella!!! My blogging friend, Brittney (Adventures in Gluttony) was such a sweetheart and sent me an email a few days ago to tell me about the event and I am so glad she did. Unfortunately, my Nutella file is in Germany so I was off to find something different to make.

I didn't want a cookie or cake because I have had A LOT of chocolate baked goods lately. I found a wonderful recipe for grilled pineapple at the Food Network and decided to give it a try. I changed it up a little and didn't really follow a recipe, but it worked perfectly!

This morning I grilled up the pineapple and topped it with Nutella and mascarpone sweetened with brown sugar and a little vanilla. Oh.... my.... goodness! What an incredible and decadent breakfast!

Thanks to Ms. Adventures in Italy and Bleeding Espresso for hosting World Nutella Day. Seriously, if any food needs a special holiday, it's Nutella!!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Pumpkin Oatmeal

A few months back I was on a huge oatmeal kick and was eating it a few times a week. I think I got burned out on it and I didn't eat it for a while. Then I rediscovered Kath Eats Real Food. This girl has some amazing oatmeal combinations.

The pumpkin oatmeal with butterscotch chips was calling my name and it was fantastic. The pumpkin puree made it so creamy and thick. It was so filling and the taste was out of this world. YUM YUM YUM!

Pumpkin Oatmeal
Adapted from Kath Eats Real Food

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup oats
1-2 TBSP brown sugar (depends on how sweet you like it)
Butterscotch chips

Bring water and milk to a boil. Add in oats and pumpkin. Cook until desired consistency is reached. Mix in brown sugar. Top with chips, coconut, and walnuts.

TWD: World Peace Cookies

Ah... world peace. According to Dorie, if everyone had these cookies there would be world peace because they are just that good. I don't know if I agree....

While making them, I wanted to change the name to "Frustrating Crumbly Cookie". This was a VERY dry dough. The recipe is meant to be shaped into logs, chilled, and then sliced. I poured the crumbly dough onto some saran wrap and used that to help mold the dough into a log. I popped it into the fridge in hopes that it would be solid in the morning.

I woke up and went to slice the cookies and the log just crumbled into one big mess. Grrr.... So... I threw the dough into a bowl, added a splash of milk, and worked the dough into little balls. I placed the balls onto a cookie sheet and hoped for the best.

Dorie says that these cookies won't look done or be firm out of the oven. Man was she right! I had to leave them on the cookie sheet to cool because the first one I moved wanted to fall through the slats of the cooling rack!

They firmed up a little upon cooling and that is where the the BIGGEST problem came in to play. I ate 3 of these in like 15 minutes. I couldn't resist. They really are amazing. Fudgy and delicous. YUM YUM YUM! I am trying to stay away from the plate, but I'm not sure I have the willpower.

So, will these cookies help to create world peace? For the taste testers, absolutely. For the baker, well, not until the frustration wears off! :)

Thanks to Jessica of CookbookHabit for choosing these fantastic cookies. Check out the blogroll to read more about them! I'm sure there were plenty of people who didn't find them frustrating. Heck... I'll just blame the jetlag!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Hello from AZ!!!

Hello, hello, hello! Sorry I haven't posted in a few days, but we have been traveling for what seems like FOREVER! It took us 40+ hours to get from Germany to Arizona. We sat on the tarmac for 3 hours in Germany before taking off which caused us to miss our connecting flight in Baltimore. So, we ended up getting a hotel room for a couple hours and flying out to Arizona the next day. The kids did AMAZING! I am so blessed to have such wonderful kiddos who are such troopers. They are adjusting well to the time difference, although Eric is waking up a bit more than usual. Oh well... he is only 8 months, so I expected as much!

I wanted to share this cookie recipe that I found at Bunny's Warm Oven. As soon as I saw it posted, I knew I had to make them! I made a batch the day before we flew out so that we could have some yummy cookies on the plane. These were soooo good! But, seriously, how could they not be good with 5 different chips in them!!!

Five Chip Cookies
1 c. butter or margarine, softened
1 c. creamy peanut butter
1 c. granulated sugar
2/3 c. packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. old-fashioned oats
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 c. EACH milk chocolate chips, semisweet chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, vanilla chips and butterscotch chips
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, peanut butter and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, oats, baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in chips.
Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2" apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake @ 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 2-3 minutes on baking sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
Makes about 4 1/2 dozen.

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