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Posts Tagged ‘Desserts’

…has been on my mind for months with the availability of pumpkin this year and the cooler months.  I finally was able to make a batch this week and served it with Papa Lawson’s Award-Winning Chili, which made for an absolutely fantastic meal.  When I was growing up, we always had pumpkin bread with our chili, so I figured it was rather common.  Apparently, combining the sweet bread and spicy soup is not a well-known tradition, and Schatzi was in for a real treat when he was introduced to the excellent combination!  If you have not tried it, I highly recommend you get baking!

For my family’s pumpkin bread you need:

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves

Begin by preheating the oven to 350 and greasing/flouring 2 large loaf pans.  Then, cream together the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and pumpkin.

Add in the flour, soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and pecans.  Then, pour the batter into the two prepared pans.  Bake the bread for 60-65 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let the bread rest and cool for a few minutes, then remove it from the pans to a cooling rack.  Slice yourself a piece and enjoy.

Ah, this bread was well worth the wait.  And, it freezes very well, so if you can’t finish off two loaves in a timely fashion, just wrap one in some foil, pop it into a bag, and into the freezer it goes.  But, I’m betting you won’t have a problem polishing it off–Schatzi and I are plowing through ours!

*sc

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…and cookies are wonderful things.  Schati received some early birthday gifts this year, one of which was a fantastic set of Star Wars cookie cutters from Williams-Sonoma.  Being the total nerds we are, we were both pretty excited to whip up a batch of star wars themed sugar cookies!

For sugar cookie goodness you need:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Beat the butter with a mixer until it is creamy.  Then, beat in the sugar until the butter becomes fluffy.  Add in the egg and vanilla and beat the mixture for another minute.  Proceed to add the flour slowly.  Beat everything until a stiff/crumbly dough forms.  Divide the batter into two balls and roll them into disks.  Wrap the disks in saran wrap and refrigerate them overnight.

The next day, let the dough stand for about 5 minutes outside the fridge and preheat the oven to 350.  Then, on a floured surface, roll the disks until they are about 1/4 inch thick.   Cut out your shapes and place them on parchment-lined cookie sheets.

Bake the cookies for about 13 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely before icing with your favorite frosting.

These cookie cutters are ridiculously awesome and super-fun.  And, the sugar cookies themselves are pretty darn tasty!

*sc

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…is an absolutely heavenly dessert, is it not?  This week marked the end of my church choir season, so we decided to have a dessert party.  I made a peanut butter pie and it was to die for!

For a perfect peanut butter pie you need:

  • 1 refrigerated pie crust, slightly softened
  • 1 15.5 oz. box of brownie mix
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp. water
  • 1 egg
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 8 oz. container of frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 2 tbsp. mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 and roll the pie crust out.  Press it into a glass pie pan and fold the edges over, pressing them with a fork to seal.

Mix the brownie mix, egg, water, oil, and peanut butter chips until everything is moistened.  I like to use a wooden spoon for batters and doughs because the batter doesn’t stick to it as badly as a spatula or metal/plastic spoon.

Pour the brownie batter over the pie crust.  Bake it for 20 minutes, then cover the edges of the crust with foil and bake it for another 20 minutes.  t may not take a full 40 minutes, depending on your oven.  The crust is done when the middle of the brownie has set and a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool the crust on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then pop it into the fridge to finish cooling completely, about an hour.

When the crust has cooled, beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and peanut butter until smooth.

Then, fold in the whipped cream.

Spread this luscious mixture over the crust and top it with the chocolate chips.

Put the pie in a sealed container and refrigerate it for at least 3o minutes before you cut it–it helps the peanut butter topping set and makes it much easier to slice!

Words do not express how perfect this pie is!  Not only is the peanut butter topping incredibly smooth and creamy, but the crust is a gooey brownie!  If you have an upcoming event in need of a dessert, MAKE THIS.  It is absolutely heavenly!!

*sc

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Healthy cupcakes…

…actually exist.  And, they taste good to boot!  While browsing in Barnes and Noble a couple weeks ago, I came across a book that I couldn’t leave without–Cupcake Heaven.  This wonderful find has about 200 recipes solely devoted to the wonder that is the cupcake.  Healthy banana cupcakes were my first on my list of recipes to try from the book, and they are quite excellent!

For a cupcake you can feel good about eating you need:

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped banana (about 2 bananas)
  • 1 1/4 cups granola
  • 2 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour, sifted twice
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup honey (I used half honey, half blue agave nectar)
  • 1 lightly beaten egg
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins

Heat the oven to 350 and line a muffin pan with 12 baking cups.

Start by mixing the banana, granola, flour, and baking powder together with a spoon.  The original recipe calls for regular flour, but I wanted to use the whole-wheat to bump up the nutrition even more.  If you use the wheat, make sure you sift it well.

Beat together the orange juice, honey/agave, oil, and egg with a mixer.

Add the dry ingredients to the liquid mixture and stir just til the two mixtures are combined.  Then, fold in the golden raisins.  Make sure you actually fold in the raisins; stirring them in will make your muffins tough from over-mixing!

Pour the batter into your muffin pan and bake for about 20 minutes.  Let the cupcakes cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then remove them to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.  Then, enjoy!

These cupcakes are a yummy treat that you really can eat anytime–they are great for breakfast or a mid-day snack.  The original recipe is already quite healthy, but the additions of the whole-wheat and agave really make these cupcakes guiltless!

*sc

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…is a wonderful thing, especially when it is baked into a cookie!  I threw this recipe together earlier this week as a surprise for Schatzi, and the result was quite tasty!

For my huge, chewy peanut butter cookies you need:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 6 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with some parchment paper.

To start the dough, cream the butter with both sugars.

Add in the egg, peanut butter, and vanilla and beat until the batter is smooth.

Then, mix in the flour, soda, and salt.  When that mixture is smooth, add in the oats.

Shape the dough into balls and make a criss-cross pattern with a fork.  The dough is quite sticky, so these cookies don’t press out as nicely as a regular peanut butter cookie.  Trust me–once you taste it, you won’t mind that it’s a rather ugly cookie!

Bake the cookies for 10-15 minutes, then let them cool for a bit in the pan set on top of a cooling rack.   This recipe makes 12 huge, delicious cookies.  don’t forget to store them with a piece of bread to keep them soft!

My father-in-law makes these amazing giant  cookies that he calls “Big S Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies.”  Hmm…maybe I should call these “Big S Peanut Butter Cookies”…

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Sugar cookies…

…are just so darn delicious!  Whenever mom and I go to Subway, we always get a cookie for dessert and my choice is (without fail) a sugar cookie.  Believe it or not, Subway actually has some incredibly tasty cookies.  I am constantly surprised by this!  Anyway, our church is having a bake sale this weekend, so I made some delicious sugar cookies for the event.

For a sweet, soft cookie you need:

  • 3/4 cup butter (Don’t use margarine. Ever. It is no better than butter in the health category and is beyond better for cooking!)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt

Start by heating your butter slightly in the microwave (10 seconds ought to do the trick) to soften it.  Softened butter is much easier to mix than butter straight from the fridge.  Cream the butter and sugar with your mixer until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Then, add in your eggs and the vanilla.  Use the mixer again to get everything nice and smooth.

Next, sift together all of your dry ingredients.

Add your dry ingredients to the moist ones and beat until everything is smooth and well-incorporated.

Stick the dough in the fridge for at least 1 1/2 hours to get it to stiffen up some.  The dough will be quite sticky and hard to cut if you don’t chill it adequately!

When it has chilled for awhile, roll the dough out on a floured surface until it is 1/2 inch thick.  Cut it with whatever shape of cookie cutter you would like and pop the cookies into a 370 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.  Every oven cooks differently, so this may not be the best temperature for you.  Watch the cookies carefully and adjust the temperature or cooking time as you go.  Also, make sure you either grease the cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper.  I think the parchment paper is MOST definitely the way to go–it is foolproof!

After the cookies have cooled a bit, you can either frost them or eat them plain.  I personally think a sugar cookie is perfect as is, so I skipped the frosting bit.

Yum!!  Heads up: when you store your delicious cookies, throw a piece of bread into your storage container.  The bread will actually keep your cookies gooey and soft as ever!  This is a tip from my mom and I never can believe how well it works.  Make some cookies and try it for yourself!

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…in brownies?!  I know, I know, I must be kidding–right?  Nope.  Rocco wins AGAIN with this recipe for brownies and one of the main ingredients in the batter is indeed black beans.  The end result is a yummy brownie with a consistency not unlike cheesecake and you probably won’t believe how much you like it!

For guiltless brownie delight you need:

  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups black beans, rinsed/drained
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp. espresso powder (espresso grounds)
  • 3/4 cup egg substitute
  • 2 tbsp. reduced-sugar chocolate syrup (Hershey’s makes some that uses less sugar, not aspartame)
  • 2 tbsp. reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 7 tbsp. sugar (he actually calls for Truvia or Splenda, but no way!  I refuse to cook with aspartame!!!)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Start by heating the oven to 350 and spraying an 8×8 glass baking dish with the nonstick spray.

Then, throw the beans, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and egg sub into your food processor and grind until the mixture is nice and smooth.  Add the chocolate syrup, sour cream, butter, sugar, and vanilla, and keep processing until the new mixture is smooth.

Pour the batter (trust me, it smells great!) into your baking dish and make sure it is nice and even/smooth.  Then, just put it in the oven and bake for about 29 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let the brownies cool for awhile in the pan set on top of a cooling rack, then cut them into 12 squares.

We love these brownies, and especially the fact that almost a serving of veggies is hidden in them!  And, while our exact nutrition facts are a bit different from those in “Now Eat This!”, the following stats are still oober impressive:

old brownies:                                                  “beany” brownies:

fat: 70 grams (who made these?!)           1.6 grams (score)

calories: 1,500 (???!!!)                                  53 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Yes I will have my brownie and eat it, too!

Now, I’m not going to lie.  When I am reallllllly in the mood for a brownie, I will want and probably make the typical box-mix (hopefully homemade soon!) brownies because nothing else will hit the spot.  However, for what they are worth nutritionally and the great taste, I will certainly continue making these guys.  They are delicious, especially the next day (refrigerate your leftovers) or mixed with some strawberry or vanilla yogurt!   Do something adventurous and different, and be sure to eat your beany brownies.  It will make your mama proud!

*sc

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