Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

As you all know, today is New Years Eve!  

For me, that means getting together with all my friends for food, games, and some awesome bonding time.

So of course, with so many people to try my baking, I decided to try another new recipe I found on Pinterest!

These cupcakes are great as cupcakes but could also be used as muffins (maybe add some crumble to the top)!  And the frosting!  It is too good!  Any peanut butter lover will not be able to get enough!

Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
Recipe Adapted from: Crunchy Creamy Sweet

2 1/4 C all purpose flour
1 C granulated sugar
1/2 C packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C mashed ripe bananas (about 2)
3/4 C buttermilk
1/2 C vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs at room temp, beaten 
2 C powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened 
1/4 C + 1 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbsp heavy whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place cupcake liners in a cupcake pan.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In another large bowl, beat together the bananas, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients and beat on low, just until combined.

Add eggs and beat for 2 minutes.

Fill cupcake tins about 3/4 full and bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

With an electric mixer, beat sugar, butter and peanut butter until crumby.

Add the vanilla and whipping cream and beat until smooth.

Increase speed to high and beat until fluffy (about 3 minutes).

When cupcakes are cool, frost.

Enjoy! :)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Eggnog Cheesecake Bars

When I'm on break and back home where my parents fund my baking, I go a bit crazy.  

I spend lots of time on Pinterest finding different recipe's that sound great and make a giant grocery list of all the ingredients I'll need.  I mean, I plan out meals and desserts for an entire week, and then do it all over again until it's time for me to get back to reality.  

These were just one of the many desserts I found.  The creamy cheesecake was just the right texture, and the ginger cookie crumbs made an excellent crust!

Pumpkin Spice Eggnog Cheesecake Bars
Recipe Adapted from: Jen's Favorite Cookies

 2 C. ginger cookie crumbs
1/2 C. butter
8 oz. cream cheese, softened 
1/2 C. pumpkin spice eggnog (can substitute regular eggnog)
1 T. flour
1/2 C. sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. rum extract (or actual rum)
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and get out a 9x13 baking pan.

Slightly soften the butter so that it can be cut without too much effort.  Use a fork to combine the butter and cookie crumbs and then press onto the bottom of the pan.  

Bake the crust for 10 minutes.

While crust is baking, combine cream cheese, eggnog, flour, and sugar.  Mix until completely uniform. 

Add egg and egg yolk to mixture, mix well.

add in the rum extract and nutmeg and combine ingredients together thoroughly.

Pour cream cheese mixture over the cooked crust and bake for another 25 minutes.  Bars are done when the center is set. 

Allow to cool completely before cutting.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Peppermint Puppy Chow

I absolutely love all the different peppermint flavored chocolate and other goodies that come out during the Christmas season.  I could sit down with a bag of peppermint kisses and they would be gone within the hour.

So when I found this recipe for peppermint flavored puppy chow (an already scrumptious treat) I couldn't resist trying it out!

And I am really glad I did.  It took all the restraint I could gather not to sit down and eat the whole bag right after I made it.

Peppermint Puppy Chow
Recipe Adapted from: What's Cooking, Love?

5 Cups Chex Cereal
1 10oz Bag of Candy Cane Hershey's Kisses
1 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
1/2 Cup Crushed Candy Canes

Crush the candy canes (4-5) and have them ready in a small bowl.

Measure out the powdered sugar and place it in a separate bowl.

Measure out 5 cups of Chex cereal and put into a large bowl.

Unwrap all the kisses and place them into a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for about 45 seconds and stir until completely melted.  (If they aren't melted enough microwave for 15 second intervals until they are.)

Pour melted chocolate over the Chex cereal and stir until cereal is completely covered.  

Put half of the powdered sugar into a plastic baggie, then dump the cereal into the bag.  Pour the remaining powdered sugar over top the the cereal.  Seal the bag and shake it up until all the cereal is coated.  Pour the crushed candy canes into the bag and shake.

That's all there is to it!  This is so simple to make, but so delicious!  Enjoy your holidays!  :)



Sunday, December 22, 2013

Rocky Road Oatmeal Bars

My after finals baking frenzy continued with this scrumptious dish!  

All the goodness of oatmeal, chocolate, peanuts, and marshmallows is beautifully orchestrated into this wonderful dessert!

Rocky Road Oatmeal Bars
Recipe Adapted From Will Cook For Smiles
1/3 C unsalted butter, softened 
1 C brown sugar
2 eggs, best at room temp
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 C old fashioned oats
1 C mini marshmallows
2/3 C peanuts (can substitute your favorite nut)
2/3 C chocolate chips
**1/4-1/3 C honey

 Preheat your oven to 350 and grease and line a 9x9 pan with parchment paper.

Beat together the butter and brown sugar until it is nice and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla extract.

**Beat in the honey, on low.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add to the butter mixture and either beat on low, or mix with a wooden spoon until combined.

Add oats and fold in with a wooden spoon.  

Spread the dough evenly over the parchment lined pan.

Bake for 20 minutes.

While the dough is baking, combine the last three ingredients: marshmallows, nuts, and chocolate chips.  After the dough is done baking spread them evenly over the top and bake for another 10-12 minutes.  Be sure not to over-bake or the marshmallows will become stiff and chewy.

**When I made this I found the base to be just a bit dry.  Adding honey to the recipe will help it retain moisture and make it less dry.  I haven't tried it with the honey yet so the measurement is just a guess!  :)


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Oatmeal Cookies

It's that time of year again.  When temperatures are down and stress levels are high. 

Here's a little of what I've had going on these past few weeks:
  • Elections for my sorority
  • Exams before my final exams (I took Organic Chemistry)
  • Working as much as possible
  • Figuring out what to do about Christmas presents
  • Final Exams and practicals
  • Still attempting to have some sort of social life
Somehow, even with everything I was doing, I managed to survive and took my very last final exam today!

To celebrate this awesome accomplishment I decided a little time in the kitchen was in order.

There's something about the basics that is comforting.  The basic peanut butter and jelly sandwich, the simple cheese pizza or the classic macaroni and cheese all have the power to satisfy and just make you feel better.

That's why I decided to go with these simple oatmeal cookies.  There is absolutely nothing fancy about them, and they're just perfect this way.

Oatmeal Cookies
Recipe Adapted From: Lil Luna

1 1/2 Sticks of unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 Cups packed brown sugar (I used dark)
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 Cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/4 Cups oats (I used instant because that's what I had, but steel cut or old fashioned work too!)

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and place parchment paper on your cookie sheet.

Cream together the butter and brown sugar until it is light and fluffy.

Add the egg and vanilla and continue to beat until the ingredients are fully incorporated, about 1 minute.  

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  

Pour the flour mixture over the butter mixture and mix until combined.  This step is sometimes better to do with a spoon to prevent over mixing.  

Add the oats and stir to combine so you do not break them up too finely.  

Drop tablespoon size portions onto the cookie sheet leaving about 2 inches in between.  

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges start to brown.  let them cool for another minute or two on the pan before removing them.  

**These cookies are also great starter cookies!  You can add your favorite chocolate, nut, or berry to them to make them more your own!**

I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as I do!  Happy Holidays!