Evolution of a Muffin

Posted by C. A. - Categoriezed under: Quick Breads, Recipes

I recently came across a recipe for peanut butter chocolate banana muffins that sounded like they were right up my alley.  Loads of chocolate and creamy peanut butter and calling them muffins meant I could eat them for breakfast!  It doesn’t get much better than that so I printed the recipe and gave them a try.

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Toffee Coconut Chocolate Chippers

Posted by C. A. - Categoriezed under: Cookies, Recipes

Prince Charming and I both love coconut and chocolate so the moment I came across this recipe on  Two Peas & Their Pod I knew it belonged on my must bake list (that makes me sound much more organized than I am; mostly I just keep multiple browser tabs open on my computer for online recipes and I tuck scraps of paper in my cook books).  This also happens to be one of those recipes that inspired me to make a few changes and develop my own version.

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“Perfect” Chocolate Chip Cookies

Posted by C. A. - Categoriezed under: Cookies, Recipes

I have seen any number of posts around the blogosphere recently touting the perfect chocolate chip cookie.  While some of them are repeats of recipes that I’ve seen before, many of them are subtle variations made in an effort to achieve perfection.  Which, of course, leads to the question: How does one define the perfect chocolate chip cookie?

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Zucchini Bread

Posted by C. A. - Categoriezed under: Quick Breads, Recipes

I remember growing up there were three quick breads my mother made quite regularly; banana bread, pumpkin bread and zucchini bread.  Of the three, zucchini bread was far and away my favorite, I loved the moist slightly dense texture, the flavor with its hint of spice, but most of all I loved the crisp melt in your mouth top crust.  I would eat each slice from the bottom up saving the top crust for last then eating it in tiny nibbles to make it last as long as possible.

Later, probably late middle school through high school years, I was baking as frequently as my mother would allow and I loved to make the zucchini bread almost as much as I enjoyed eating it.  In fact, I made it so frequently I actually had my mother’s recipe memorized.  Then I moved from where zucchini grows the size of a hefty club to where zucchini is not only pathetically stunted but frighteningly expensive.  Starting out on my own, first as a college student, then at my first real job and in my own apartment, I couldn’t afford the luxury of zucchini to be turned into bread and so the details of the recipe blurred and faded from memory.

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TWD: Tall and Creamy Cheesecake

Posted by C. A. - Categoriezed under: Cakes, TWD

Welcome to the final TWD installment of 2008.  I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season; I know I am!  I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to participate this week since I am still out of town visiting family, but my mother graciously permitted me to take over her kitchen long enough to make Anne’s  (of AnneStrawberry) choice of Tall and Creamy Cheesecake (found on pages 235-237 of Dorie’s Baking: From My Home to Yours).

Since I’m sitting in my mother’s kitchen on a laptop essentially ignoring my family long enough to write this, I’m going to do my best to keep it short.

Cheesecake is definitely rated among my favorite desserts so I was excited to make this one.  For the most part I followed the recipe as it was written, but I couldn’t resist making a few changes…

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Thanksgiving Feast

Posted by C. A. - Categoriezed under: Pie, Recipes, Thanksgiving

I had every intention of posting this a little closer to Thanksgiving, I planned to post it on Friday, which then got postponed until Saturday and I’m not entirely sure where Sunday went.  I think we all know what they say about “good intentions” and “best laid plans” which is why I’m here on Monday writing a post that I should have shared on Friday.  But, moving on…

It has been said a time or two (or 3 or 4 or 20) that I tend to go every so slightly (read insanely) overboard with my holiday menus and preparation.  If that is true (and I’m not admitting that it is!) I’m sure I come by it quite honestly by way of my mother.  Every holiday meal I’ve ever made has fallen short of the abundance my mother spreads on the holiday table multiple times a year; of course I think the largest number I’ve ever had at my holiday table is 5 (this Thanksgiving it was only 2, and that included me), but that doesn’t stop me from striving for the Holiday feast perfection that my mother serves up at every major holiday.

So did I truly go over board this Thanksgiving?  I’ll let you be the judge, but I will say that the leftovers are going to be enjoyed in several forms for quite some time…

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English Toffee

Posted by C. A. - Categoriezed under: Candy, Recipes

Every year around this time I find myself going through the exact same thing.  I go to store after store looking for the Heath toffee baking pieces (the ones without the chocolate), only to be disappointed at every stop.  I used to be able to get them easily; they were in the baking aisle of every grocery store, right there with the rest of the assorted baking pieces almost always next to the selection of nuts.  Then, about 3 or 4 years ago they quietly disappeared.

How could this be?  I asked at several grocery stores and I was informed that the Heath baking pieces were just not popular enough to keep them in stock and I should try a specialty store.  Well, I tried several to no avail.  Last year I actually bought full size Heath bars, melted the chocolate off them and crushed them myself.  I’ve looked online, and sure, I can find those wonderfully convenient baking pieces but the shipping costs are staggering.

This year I decided to finally give up on the idea of convenience (really, is it still convenient if you have to go to a dozen stores to not find what you’re looking for?), I decided I would try my hand at making my own toffee baking pieces.  It turns out that it is quick, easy, and well worth the (minimal) effort.

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Peanut Butter Caramel Candy Bar Squares

Posted by C. A. - Categoriezed under: Bars, Recipes

Two things have recently come to my attention:

1) I haven’t actually shared a recipe with you in about a month

2) My last few posts haven’t had very much (if anything) chocolate in them

I simply cannot permit this situation to continue.  This recipe not only rectifies both issues but it satisfies every craving for sweet, gooey, chocolaty goodness that I’ve had lately.  Not to be completely immodest, but these little bars are positively to die for.  And I’m not the only one to hold this belief – they vanished in under a day at the office and every single person gave them a rave review.

I won’t keep you in suspense any longer, grab the recipe here and let’s get baking…

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Wedding Cake: Chocolate Fudge Cake

Posted by C. A. - Categoriezed under: Cakes, Recipes, Wedding Cake

We have a winner!

After the disappointment of the Deep Dark Rich Chocolate Fudge cake, we had to scramble to try out new recipes.  Would you believe we got lucky with the very first one we tried?  This recipe is adapted from one that I found on Epicurious.  I was a little hesitant to try it because the user reviews were a mixed bag ranging from people claiming it was a dry crumbly disaster to people claiming it was the best chocolate cake they had ever made or tasted.

I decided it probably fell somewhere in the middle and hoped that it fell closer to the positve side of that bell curve. I chose to give it a whirl, after all, what is the worst that could happen?  But, I did take the Epicurious reader comments to heart and adjusted the recipe accordingly.

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Wedding Cake: Deep Dark Rich Chocolate Fudge Cake

Posted by C. A. - Categoriezed under: Cakes, Recipes, Wedding Cake

If you remember, in my first post I said I would be sharing my trials and tribulations as well as my successes on this blog.  Despite the absolutely divine sounding name of this cake, it unfortunately does fall into the “trials and tribulations” category.

First, I’d like give you all a little bit of background on why I was attempting this cake.  In just under two weeks “Prince Charming” and I are getting married.  I’m sure you’re wondering now what that has to do with attempting a new cake recipe.  Well, back when “Prince Charming” proposed, I asked my mother if we could make my wedding cake as a  mother-daughter project and she agreed (Thank you mom!).  My mother is absolutely amazing in the kitchen and she has done some wedding and anniversary cakes in the past (including my little brother’s wedding cake) that have been just phenomenal.

Since my entire wedding is Fairy Tale themed, you can imagine that the cake I designed isn’t exactly simple or straight forward…

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