Buttermilk Oatmeal Muffins

March 30, 2011

The March’s What’s Baking Challenge was baking something from my heritage. Unfortunately I didn’t have a lot of luck finding ingredients for any of the Indonesian recipes that I had. Since I still wanted to participate, I decided to blog about these muffins instead, because the flavor reminded me of a similar cupcake/muffin recipe that I grew up eating in Indonesia (minus the chocolate chips). The quick cooking oats were moistened by the buttermilk; and really added a nice delicate texture to these muffins. These muffins, however, aren’t very sweet, which is why the chocolate chips are important if you have a sweet tooth, or just skip them if you want something less sweet 🙂  To see what delicious goodies everyone else baked up this month, check out our host Amanda’s round up, on Our Italian Kitchen. Happy baking!!

Adapted from Sweet Savory Southern as seen on And then I do the Dishes

Directions
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Handful of chocolate chips (optional)

Ingredients
In a large mixing bowl, soak the quick cooking oats in buttermilk for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, preheat oven to 400 F. Grease a muffin tin or line with paper muffin cups.

Mix in eggs, sugar, oil, applesauce and vanilla in the oat and buttermilk mixture.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir into oat mixture just until moistened.

Fill prepared muffin tin three-fourths full. Sprinkle with chocolate chips, if using. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center of muffin comes out clean.

Cool in pan 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Yield: 16 muffins

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Baby Shower Dessert Party

March 20, 2011

Recently, I hosted a dessert theme baby shower for a friend and co-worker. After a lot of discussions on theme and menu, we agreed on having a dessert and drink shower for a small group of her co-workers. There were only two desserts that she requested: carrot cake or cupcakes and lemon bars; and  I was basically left to go with the rest of the menu. I wanted to take more pictures of the party; but really ran out of time but here are a few pictures of the desserts I made. I thought that this was really a fun idea for a baby shower.

In addition to the desserts I listed below, her family made dessert crostini with ricotta spread, sliced strawberries and balsamic vinegar glaze and baked brie with apricot jelly, sugar cookies and Italian fried cookies (I have no recipes for those).  For drinks, we had coffee, iced tea, cold soft drinks, and bottled water.

Here are the desserts I made:

Carrot Cupcakes and Cream Cheese Frosting with Royal Icing Yellow and Purple Pansies


Chocolate Truffles

S’mores Pops (recipe coming up soon, I promise–these were divine!)

Lemon Bars (No pictures)

Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipster (No pictures)

Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies (No pictures)


Chocolate Scotcheroos

March 16, 2011

I have amazing co-workers, and I really mean it. A few weeks ago, our group had to cover some super early morning meetings, like 5 and 6 o’clock meetings *blah* and we couldn’t really get away from them. There are three of us who were responsible to do these, and between the two of them, they volunteered to cover those early slots for me so I didn’t have to disrupt my daughter’s morning routine. Isn’t that amazing? One of them actually took  all three of my morning slots three days in a row. When I asked him what was his favorite treat, he said chocolate scotcheroos. I was glad to bake these for him and brought them to work. He was kind enough to share with the rest of the people in the office, but happy to have four big pieces himself.  I really don’t think I need to “review” this recipe… if you have had them, you know how addictive they are! 🙂 Happy baking!

Adapted from Mrs. Sullivan

Ingredients
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
6 cup rice krispies cereal
1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
1 cup butterscotch hips

Directions
Place corn syrup and sugar into 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil.

Remove from heat, stir in peanut butter. Mix well. Add cereal, stir until everything is well coated.

Spray a 13x9x2 baking pan with cooking spray. Press mixture into the pan. Set aside.

Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips together in large 1-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Spread evenly over cereal mixture. Let stand until firm. Cut into 2×2 inch bars when cool.

Yield: ~24 bars


What’s Baking: Triple-Chocolate Espresso Brownies

February 23, 2011


My brother in-law sent me a text one afternoon asking me for a brownie’s recipe. Of course, I quickly suggested Ina’s Outrageous Brownies which won a lot of nods from my crowd. I warned him that it makes a ton. When Red heard that we were talking about brownies, we just realized that since we loved these Outrageous Brownies so much, I have never really felt the need to try any new recipes. However, his text got me thinking about brownies so much that day, I ran to my stack of cookbooks and quickly saw this recipe that I just had to try This brownie was chewy and chocolatey, with a hint of espresso, which I loved. The smokey coffee really enhances the chocolate flavor. This brownie is slightly less moist and much less cakey than the Outrageous Brownies; and even closer to fudgy. They were also very rich; therefore the recipe recommended smaller pieces for serving.

Our What’s Baking Group Challenge is hosted by Dunne from With a Cherry on Top, with a theme of “Baked with Love”.  I think first of all, nothing says love more than home cooked meals and homemade baked goods. This fudgy and chocolatey espresso-hint homemade brownie recipe definitely fits the bill! Happy Baking!

Adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

Ingredients

5 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into quarters
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1-1/2 tablespoons instant espresso, or coffee powder
3 large eggs
1-1/4 cups (8.75 ounces) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoons salt 1 cup (5 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour

Direction
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray 8-inch square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Fold two 16-inches pieces of foil-length wise to measure 7 inches wide. Fit one sheet in bottom of greased pan, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan (overhang will help in removal of baked brownies). Fit second sheet in pan in same manner, perpendicular to first sheet. Spray foil with non-stick cooking spray.

In medium heatproof bowl set over pan of almost simmer water, melt chocolates and butter, stirring occasionally until mixture is smooth. Whisk in cocoa and espresso powder until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

Whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in medium bowl until combined, about 15 seconds. Whisk warm chocolate mixture into egg mixture; then stir in flour with wooden spoon until just combined. Pour mixture into prepared pan, spread into corners, and level surface with rubber spatula; bake until slightly puffed and toothpick inserted in center comes out with small amount of sticky crumbs clinging into it, 35 to 40 minutes.

Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, then remove brownies from pan using foil handles. Cut into 1-inch squares and serve. (Do not cut brownies until ready to serve; brownies can be wrapped in plastic in plastic and refrigerated up to 5 days).

Yield: (64) 1-inch squares


Chocolate Cream Pie

February 13, 2011

It seems like as soon as we hit the month of February, we’re surrounded by chocolate.  I definitely want to take advantage of it by baking something chocolatey! (Not that I need any reason really to bake, as my friends have probably noted!) Nothing seems to say “love” or “Valentine” like chocolates, so here comes the Chocolate Cream Pie. One thing that I would like to make a note is that recipe highly recommends good quality chocolate like Callebaut semisweet and unsweetened chocolates or Hershey’s  Special Dark and Hershey’s unsweetened. I chose the later, because I didn’t have access to the gourmet store that carries Callebaut.

This classic diner pie, with its luscious chocolate cream topped with light whipped cream sitting on a bed of cooled Oreo crumb crusts is really a special treat… whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day tomorrow, or any other occasions that require that special treat that you may not normally take the time to make. This light, airy and very chocolatey dessert was a perfect treat for our house! Happy Baking!

Adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

Ingredients
Chocolate Oreo Cookie Crumb Crust
16 Oreo cookies (with filling), broken into rough pieces, about 2-1/2 cups
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Chocolate Cream Filling
2-1/2 cups half and half
Pinch Salt
1/3 cup (2.3 ounces) sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
6 large egg yolks, room temperature, chalazae removed
6 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract

Whipped Cream Topping
1-1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled, preferably pasteurized organic
1-1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions

For the Crust

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. In bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade, process cookies with fifteen 1-second pulses, then let machine run until crumbs are uniformly fine, about 15 seconds. (Alternatively, place cookies in a large zipper-lock plastic bag and crush with rolling pin). Transfer crumbs to medium bowl, drizzle with butter, and use fingers to combine until butter is evenly distributed.

Pour crumbs into 9-inch Pyrex pie plate. Press crumbs evenly onto bottom and up sides of pie plate. Once crumbs are in place, line pan flush with large square of plastic wrap and use spoon to smooth crumbs into curves and sides of pan. Refrigerate lined pie plate 20 minutes to firm crumbs, then bake until crumbs are fragrant and set, about 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack while preparing filling.

For the Filling

Bring half and half, salt and about 3 tablespoons sugar to simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high, heat, stirring occasionally with wooden spoon to dissolve sugar. Stir together remaining sugar and cornstarch in small bowl. Whisk yolks thoroughly in medium bowl until slightly thickened, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle cornstarch mixture over yolks and whisk, scraping down sides of bowl, if necessary, until mixture is glossy and sugar has begun to dissolve, about 1 minute. When half and half reaches full simmer, drizzly about 1/2 cup hot half-and half over yolks, whisking constantly to temper, then whisk egg yolk mixture into simmering half-and half (mixture should thicken in about 30 seconds). Return to simmer, whisking constantly until 3 or 4 bubbles burst on surface and mixture is thickened and glossy; about 15 seconds longer.

Off Heat, whisk in butter until incorporated; add chocolates and whisk until melted, scraping pan bottom with rubber spatula to fully incorporate. Stir in vanilla, then immediately pour filling into baked and cooled crust. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface of filling and refrigerate pie until filling is cold and firm, about 3 hrs.

Just before serving, spread or pipe whipped cream over chilled pie filling. Cut pie into wedges and serve.

For the Whipped Cream Topping (~ makes about 3 cups)

Chill deep bowl and beaters of electric mixer in freezer for at least 20 minutes. (If freezer is too crowded to fit bowl, place beaters in bowl, fill bowl with ice water and chill on counter). When bowl and beaters are well chilled, dump out water and dry thoroughly).

Add cream sugar, and vanilla to chilled bowl. Beat on low speed until small bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and continue beating until beaters leave a trail, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and continue beating until cream is smooth, thick, and nearly doubled in volume, about 20 seconds for soft peaks or about 30 seconds for stiff peaks. If necessary, finish beating with whisk to adjust consistency. Serve immediately or spoon into fine sieve or strainer set over measuring cup and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.


Red Velvet Cake Truffles

January 29, 2011

Since I discovered these addictive Oreo Truffles, I learned how easy it is to turn your favorite ingredient into these delightful little treats. And just about anything covered in chocolate has to be good right? Then I saw Jen from Beantown Baker turning her leftover slice of Red Velvet Cheesecake cake into truffles… brilliant!!! I didn’t quiet have a leftover cake, but I did have some trimmings from my Red Velvet cake when I tried to stack the layers together and some  cream cheese frosting left, so I went to work on making these! I brought these to work to the excitement of my co-workers who called them divine and dangerous… because they were quite addictive! There is really nothing that can go wrong with bits of red velvet cake mixed with cream cheese frosting, dipped in chocolate…  Many thanks to Jen for the inspiration.

Ingredients
3 cups of crumbled Red Velvet cake
1/4 cup of Cream Cheese Frosting
1/3 lb of melting chocolate

Directions
Mix all of the crumbled cake and cream cheese frosting together. Form them into a 1/2-inch diameter balls. Refrigerate for approximately 10 minutes.

In the meanwhile, melt chocolate either in microwave (at 50% power), or over double broiler.

Dip cake balls into melted chocolate. Let set for a few minutes and store them in airtight container in the refrigerator.

Yield: approximately 2 dozens


Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

May 29, 2010

I decided to try a new recipe for chocolate chip cookies while getting ready to see my folks, who live about 10 hours away from me.  I always try to bring home some homemade cookies  for both my mom and dad, who each has their own cookie preference. My dad loves most things chocolate, but he definitely appreciates good old fashioned chocolate chip cookies.

My mom, on the other hand, is probably one of the very few people who doesn’t care for chocolate very much. So back to my dad and his chocolate chip cookies. I have a recipe already that I think is pretty good; but I thought that I’d try the recipe from the back of my Nestle chocolate chip morsels.  Who can beat with the old fashioned classic Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies? And the legend really stood true to its rave!

These cookies, however, spread a little bit more than what I had expected; but I guess with the amount of butter called for in this recipe, it shouldn’t have been a surprise for me. But, while they turned out thinner than I would like, they are soft in the inside and crispy in the outside, which are fantastic.  This recipe got a nod from my dad and hubby; so it looks like now I have two go-to chocolate chip cookie recipes.

Adapted from The Very Best of Baking

Ingredients
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 cup chopped nuts

Directions
Preheat oven to 375° F.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Yield: 5 dozens