Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies

Recipe Review- make ordinary brownies extrodinary with rapsberry cheesecake topping!

Whattt??? A baked goods post that isn't about cupcakes?? Yep- I actually make other desserts too! I hadn't planned this as a blog, but I made some brownies that got rave reviews so I thought I'd share. I think I need to be up front and say that this is not a from scratch recipe. (gasp!) I needed to make gluten free brownies, and if you've even seen gluten free reciepes they are incredibly intimidating. I've never done any gluten free baking so I decided to play it safe and go with a mix- but I doctored it up a bit.

I chose the Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Brownie mix from Henry's. (I guess is going to be called Sprout's soon, but the sign still says Henry's for now.) After searching online I subbed the melted butter for vegetable oil, and the water for milk. The instructions suggested adding in mini chocolate chips, so I threw in some of those too. I also made a cheesecake topping with raspberry swirls. This could be added on top of any brownie recipe to change it up a little. I loved it! 

Raspberry Cheesecake Topping for Brownies
yield: enough topping for an 8x8 inch pan

8oz of cream cheese at room temperature
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup raspberry preserves

In a medium bowl beat cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Pour on top of uncooked brownies and smooth with a spatula for even distribution.  Drop dollops of raspberry preserves onto cheesecake mixture and swirl with a knife. Bake according to brownie recipe. 

How to make pretty swirly patterns: Drop dollops of raspberry jam onto the surface of the cheesecake. Using a rubber spatula or knife draw parallel lines across the surface of the cheesecake. Next cross those lines, alternating the direction each time to make pretty swirls. Don't mess with it too much or it will all blend together.

I used a round cookie cutter to cut the brownies, which made them look super cute, but wasted a bunch of brownie. Obviously I couldn't let something that yummy go to waste- so I had to eat the scraps!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

Recipe Review- The perfect summer cupcake- tastes just like a glass of pink lemonade.

I've taken a break from cupcakes lately. It's summer and with that comes a million social obligations and the calendar fills up fast. Also its the busiest season for my job so I've been putting in some extra hours. To top it all off we don't have air conditioning- its usually not too bad, but turn the oven on and it gets HOT. Well it had been about a month and I got the cupcake itch again. My good friend Liz was leaving her job to go back to school, so I decided to make some cupcakes to help her celebrate. I needed a summer-ey cupcake, that was refreshing and bright. Whats more summer than Lemonade! Specifically Pink Lemondae, just so I could make the cupcakes super pretty and girly for Liz.

After referencing various blogs online I deciding on adding powdered lemonade mix to my go to vanilla cupcake recipe. The result? Cupcakes that tasted exactly like lemondae! They were sweet with a little sour zing at the end. Really refreshing.

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes
adapted from Vanilla Cupcakes by Amy Sedaris
yield: 24 cupcakes

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup milk 
2 packets of Pink Lemonade flavor "On The Go" Crystal Light

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease or line a cupcake pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add salt, and baking powder.

Add Crystal Light to the milk and stir until combined. Add flour in three batches, alternating with the milk mixture. Mix until batter is smooth with no lumps, but do not over beat.

Divide batter evenly among cups, and bake for 18- 20 minutes or until tops are just golden and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool on rack to room temperature before frosting.
printable recipe

I frosted with a basic butter cream, and added another packet of crystal light to it. The frosting really absorbed the lemonade flavor so be careful and add it a little at a time. The cake batter tasted too sour before baking, but it mellowed a bunch so don't worry about that. I added a little bit of pink Wilton Gel Color to both the frosting and the batter, to give it a better pink color. I piped the frosting on with a closed star tip,  and then topped with some gummy candy that I got a local candy store.

So pretty! Love it :-)

P.S. feeling lazy? A bunch of the recipes that I referenced online were adding the crystal light to a boxed vanilla cake mix. I made them from scratch but I thought that I'd throw the info out there.  

Monday, August 15, 2011

Spicy Chicken Cakes

Recipe Review: A favorite recipe for a twist on weeknight chicken!

I got a food processor!! Wahoo! So very exciting. This is one of the last major purchases that has held me back from having a fully functioning kitchen with all the necessary gadgets and appliances. Thanks so an amazing sale at Bloomingdale's I now have a Cusinart food processor. I brought it home, unpacked it got to cooking right away.

The summer before I moved to San Diego this recipe was published in cooking light. I remember being so excited when I read it and pestering my mom for when we could make it for dinner. 5 years later i still remember how much I liked this meal, and I have wanted to make it many times since then, but I've never had a food processor. Naturally this was the first thing I made. Its simple and easy to make. Almost all of the prep is done in the bowl of the food processor so it doesn't create a huge mess which is nice. Also you could make the patties ahead of time and just pop them in the frying pan when you get hungry. Finally something different to do for week night chicken!

Spicy Chicken Cakes with Horseradish Aioli
from: Cooking Light
yield: 4 servings

2 slices whole wheat bread
1 lb chicken breasts
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
3 tablespoons low fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons canola oil

2 tablespoons low fat mayonnaise
2 teaspoons horseradish
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon salt

To prepare cakes, place bread in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure 1 cup. Set aside

Place chicken in a food processor; pulse until ground. Combine chicken, chives, 2 tables spoons of mayonnaise, seasoning, salt egg whites, and breadcrumbs in food processor. Divide mixture into 8 equal portions. shaping each into a patty, 1/2 inch thick. 

Heat oil in a large non stick skillet over medium heat. Add patties; cook 7 minutes on each side or until done.

To prepare aioli. combine 2 tablespoons mayonnaise and remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Serve with cakes.
Nutrition Info: Serving size- 2 cakes 2 teaspoons aioli. Calories: 242. Fat: 7.1g. Saturated fat: 1.3g. Protein: 29.5g Carbohydrates: 12.5g. Fiber: 0.5g. Cholesterol: 66mg. Sodium: 749mg.

printable recipe

I know I haven't been blogging much lately. Summer seems to bring on all sorts of social obligations that eat up my time. Also my work life has been a mess. What used to be a somewhat predictable schedule has now gone all helter skleter and I never know what to expect. I wish I could do awesome cooking projects every night. I'm hoping that as summer calms down I'll be able to be in the kitchen more. We don't have A/C so its a bit hot for baking projects but I have a whole list of cupcakes I need to make!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Cake Balls for Jen!

Last blog post I had a cake ball giveaway. I'm happy to announce that my good friend Jen's name was drawn from the hat and so this week I made her some custom cake balls. Jen's favorite color is purple, its even her wedding color, so made her some chocolate raspberry cake balls- with purple candy coating. I used white chocolate candy melts, and tinted it purple with a little gel color. I happened to have some extra purple nonpareils from an earlier project so I threw those on too! If you want instructions and recipes for making your own cake balls you can check out my previous post here.