Sunday, June 27, 2010

M&M Bars

I was asked to bake for a co-workers baby shower this week. Of course I was excited for the business. My mind went crazy automatically thinking of all the things I could do. Cupcake towers! Pink frosting! It's a girl wrappers! Such an excuse to be dorky...oh wait, the shower is in 2 days? And I'm working everyday until then. And you just want M&M bars.Alright.

Yes, I am bummed. It was the first time I would be baking for a baby shower and I just kept thinking of all the people that would be there. I really wanted to impress everyone and give them something great. The M&M bars are amazing, seriously so good, but I wish I could have done more. 

I ended up making a batch of  Reese's Pieces bars too. Same recipe but I used...yes you guessed it...Reese's Pieces. Apparently they were a hit. Everyone loved them. Best part is today someone who was at the shower asked me if I could bake for her daughters birthday. You will never guess what she wants me to make......
M&M BARS (swanked from)
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter, melted
2 1/4 cups brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups M&M's (I only used about a cup and a half and still felt like it was a ton of candy)

Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly spray a 10 X 15" jelly roll pan with non-stick spray. (I used a 9x13 dish)

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In another large bowl, combine the melted butter and brown sugar, stirring until evenly distributed. Allow to cool slightly. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating very well after each one. Mix in vanilla extract. Stir in the flour mixture and when combined add in the M&M's. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 24-26 minutes, until they are shiny and golden brown on top. Try not to overbake these or they will be dry. A cake tester will most likely not come out clean. Remove from the oven and cool completely before cutting.

As I said I didn't use the jelly roll pan, and I baked it for 25 minutes. I let it cool for a while and even after I cut into it they didn't look done. They tasted amazing though. After letting them cool for even longer I feel like they started to look more cooked and did not taste cakey. The pictures of these bars that were posted on the site where I found the recipe looked very dry on top and not quite how mine did. I even looked at the site where that person found the recipe and they looked super brown and dry. Maybe it was the pan I baked it in or the time or something but mine came out so moist and light colored. They were addicting. They must contain some kind of crack because everyone loves them and wants me to make them all the time!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Chocolate Marshmallow Pie

Last week Greg and I attempted to make s'mores pancakes for breakfast, silly us. We literally just threw marshmallows, chocolate chips and graham crackers in with regular pancake batter and called it a day. They were not the best thing we ever made but it did leave me with left over ingredients that I felt obligated to use come the next day.

I knew I had to find something that incorporated all of these things, but I didn't want to just make s'mores. Going through the closet I spotted my pie plate and decided it needed to be used. Poor thing hardly ever leaves the shelf. After some thought I came up with chocolate marshmallow pie. I have never made anything like it. Never made a chocolate pie, actually never made more than that one strawberry pie I posted before. I was pleased with the outcome, which means it didn't taste like dirt and that was a plus. The consistency was very odd, but not in a bad way. Sort of gummy. Maybe I should have used slightly less marshmallows? Or maybe, after the filling set I should have taken it out of the fridge before serving. All in all it was interesting.

Chocolate Marshallow Pie

10 graham crackers
5 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

Break up graham crackers and combine them with the butter until coarse crumbs form.  (I opted to keep the pieces a little bigger)

Press mixture into a 9-inch pie plate using a spoon and your hands.

Bake for about 10 minutes in an oven at 375 F.

4 cups mini marshmallows
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a medium saucepan, heat marshmallows, milk, and chocolate chips on low heat until the mixture is melted together. Be sure to stir constantly.

Then combine the marshmallow mixture with the half and half  in mixer until it is well blended.

Pour the filling into the baked crust and leave the pie in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Jelly Doughnut Cupcakes and rant

I feel as though I have been really hard on myself lately. Mostly for not being able to find time to do more baking and work on the blog. Of course I pick a hobby that involves putting out a lot of money, money that I don't really have to be putting out in the first place. I really get unhappy when a full week has gone by and I haven't made anything. Not baking equals not blogging. Everyone told me that blogging would be a full time job and that I would have to be very committed to it. I understood the risks before I went into this. What is the point in having a blog when I am posting so infrequently? When I do get the chance to bake there is a brief moment of happiness, like 'yay I can go blog about this now'. That moment is short lived because I then remember how all we have is a crappy digital camera that does not do my food justice. It is such a long and stressful process trying to get decent pictures for my posts. The lighting in our apartment is pretty terrible too, so that does not help either. I see other blogs and I am blown away by the pictures and the long passages that accompany the recipes. All the followers that these bloggers have, all the comments. I just wonder what am I doing this all for. Baking makes me happy. Baking makes me feel good and makes me feel useful. I enjoy making something that others can appreciate. I love playing with flavors and ingredients and tools that I never have before. I just feel like that isn't enough. I don't know what to do, how to get my name out there. How to get my food out there. I feel stuck in a rut right now. Money is tough and time is short and life is stressful. There are days I just want to give up and go back to not having a passion or hobby. But what good would that do? I apologize for my rant :( 

Moving on, I made jelly doughnut cupcakes! They were a bit of fun to make mostly because I am a nerd and was excited to use lemon zest for the first time. Plus I have never made filled cupcakes either. Surprisingly simple. I just used my smallest circular cookie cutter and stuck in in the top and twisted and tada the middle of the cupcake came right now. The only negative things I could say about these cupcakes are I did not like the jelly filling. I used raspberry jam and I guess I now know I do NOT like raspberry jam. I would like to make these again, just have to figure out something different to fill them with.

1 cup flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
½ cup milk
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1 egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt

good quality red jelly (any flavor)

powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and flour or line 6-8 wells in a cupcake pan. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, zest and milk beat well. Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Beat until the batter is light and fluffy. Fill each well 2/3 of the way filled. Bake approximately 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the middle cupcake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack and take a small corer, knife or melon baller and scoop out some of the center of the cupcake. Fill with jelly (I just spooned it in). Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
From Coconut & Lime