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Peanut(ty) Butter Cookies

Otherwise know as “Whole Jar” Peanut Butter Cookies, this recipe is my very favorite.  Having had a “peanut free” bakery, I often found myself craving peanut butter.  Occasionally on my day off the car would lead me to a nearby bakery, aptly named “Happiness Is..” for their delicious peanut butter cookie, which I believe to be this recipe.  I’m guessing the original recipe came from one of the peanut butter companies, because of the “whole jar” of peanut butter called for.

As an aside, who didn’t grow up eating peanut butter??!!  Really, we practically lived on peanut butter sandwiches as did every other kid in my school.  For what I believe must be environmental, many children find themselves allergic, so Perfect Endings Bakery was a peanut-free bakery.

If you are fortunate enough to not have a loved one with a peanut allergy, do enjoy these cookies, as you won’t get any more peanut butter flavor than this.

In a mixer bowl, cream:
1 cup Butter, room temp.
 
Add to the butter and cream well:
1 cup Sugar
1 cup packed Brown Sugar
 
Add to above and mix well:
2 Eggs, whole
1 Egg Yolk
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 whole jar (18 ounce) Peanut Butter, creamy
 
Combine dry ingredients in another bowl and then add to above:
2 cups AP Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
 
Stir in:
1 cup Peanuts, coarse chopped
 
Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.  Roll into 1-1/2″ balls and place on parchment lined cookie sheets, leaving room for spread.   Bake in pre-heated 350 degree oven for 9-12 minutes, or until lightly browned, but still soft in the center.  When removed from the oven, immediately press down the cookie with a flat spatula.  As with most cookies, these freeze well. 
 
  
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Pumpkin Roll with Maple Cream Cheese Filling

Perfect for any fall or Thanksgiving meal, the pumpkin roll appeals to all. Rather than serve a pumpkin pie, or maybe in addition to a pumpkin pie, this cake is soft and slightly spicy and has a creamy cream cheese filling.  The maple extract really compliments the pumpkin, but if you don’t like maple, just use the vanilla extract.

Traditionally, the recipe says to dump the cake out on to a towel while it is hot from the oven and then roll the cake lengthwise.  Did you know there is an easier way?  Use parchment on the bottom of the sheet pan.  Then allow to cool before removing – It works great and there’s no chance of getting burned on a hot pan.

 

 

 

In a mixer bowl, whip until light colored and fluffy and doubled in volume:      
3 Eggs, whole
1 cup Sugar
2/3 cup Pumpkin
 
Sift and fold into above ingredients:
¾ cup Cake Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Pumpkin Pie spice or ½ tsp. Cinnamon and ¼ tsp. Ground Cloves and 1/4 tsp. Ginger

Spread the mixture into a parchment lined 1” sided cookie sheet.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 12 minutes or until it springs back when touched.

Allow the cake to cool completely, remove cake from the pan by pulling the parchment off on to the counter.  Flip over the cold cake and remove the parchment.

Maple Cream Cheese Filling:
Cream until smooth:
8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
2 Tabl. Butter, softened
 
Add:
½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
½ tsp. Maple Extract
 
Add and beat until smooth:
1 cup powdered Sugar
 

Spread the filling onto the cooled cake.  Roll the cake lengthwise, rolling it tight.  Dust with powdered sugar.  Place on serving tray and cut into 1″ slices to serve.

Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie

One of the recipes floating around the internet, which is by Abigail Dodge, that I’ve wanted to try is a “skillet” cookie.  Called so, because it is made, mixed, baked in and served from, a cast iron skillet.  The picture on the right pretty much sums up how much your family and guests will enjoy this quick dessert.  My two and a half year old grandson, Joey, was so excited he kept exclaiming “giant cookie!!” and decided to lick his plate clean (NOT something I’ve seen him do ever before)!

Within a half hour, you can whip up this dessert because it truly mixes up in less than 5 minutes and is baked for 18-20 minutes.  Serve warm with scoops of vanilla ice cream.

I made this in a 12″ cast iron pan and it served 10.  If you have a smaller skillet, cut the recipe in half.

 

In a 12″ cast iron skillet, melt:
1- 1/2 sticks Butter
 
Stir into the butter and allow to melt:
3/4 cup Sugar
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

  

Remove from heat, cool 5 minutes and then stir in:
2 Eggs
 
Add and stir:
2-1/4 cups AP Flour
3/4 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt

  

Stir in:
1/2 cup Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup Pecans (optional)

Pat the dough down to evenly cover the bottom of the pan.  Place the pan in a pre-heated 325 degree oven for 18-20 minutes.  Cool briefly before serving.

     

Coffee Cake Muffins

If you want a quick to “whip up” breakfast muffin or after-school snack this one fits the bill!  It tastes like a cinnamon coffee cake but takes a fraction of the time to make.  This muffin is light and airy and the cinnamon streusel begs to be both a filling and a topping.  And why not?  Put the streusel in the middle so there’s an extra surprise of cinnamon deliciousness.

 

This recipe makes 8 muffins.  Freeze any leftovers in a plastic Ziplock bag.  Place in a microwave to “re-fresh” for approx. 20 seconds.

 

 
In a bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients:
1-1/2 cups AP Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
 
In another bowl mix together the wet ingredients:
3/4 cup Whole Milk
1 Egg, whole
1/4 cup Melted Butter
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry.  Do not over-mix.  Place one spoonful into each of 8 paper liners.  Sprinkle with topping.  Divide the remaining streusel to top all the muffins.

STREUSEL TOPPING:
Mix all ingredients together to form crumbs:
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 Tabl. Flour
1/4 cup Butter, room temp.
1-1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

Bake in 350 degree oven 25 minutes or until tests done with toothpick.*  Enjoy warm!

     

* Toothpick test for doneness – insert toothpick int he center of a muffin and pull out.  Toothpick should be clean and not wet.

Baked Apples with Apple Caramel

On a cool, fall day, nothing beats the aroma of cinnamon and apples baking.  In fact, sometimes I just place some apple peels, a cinnamon stick and some lemon on the stove in a bit of water to simmer – just so the house smells wonderful (fewer calories that way too)!  After a trip to a local farm, I decided to make baked apples for the family.  Baked apples are easy to make and healthier than apple pie.  these are so delicious, you won’t even miss the rich pastry of a pie.

Not quite a “recipe” but more a method, this makes 4 servings.

 

4 Apples, washed and cored, hollowed out – but not cut all the way through. 
In a small bowl, mix together:
4 Tabl. Brown Sugar
3/4 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
2 Tabl. Raisins or Currents
2 Tabl. Pecans or Walnuts (optional)

Place the apples in a 8″ X 8″ pan.  Divide the sugar and spice mixture between the four apples, stuffing it down in the hollow.  Place 1 tsp. cold butter on top of each apple.  Pour 1/2 cup of Apple Cider in the pan.  Without covering, place the apple sin a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 40 – 45 minutes or until tender.

        

     

Remove the warm apples from the pan and plate.  Empty the remaining cider into a small pan and on medium temperature, reduce the cider by half.  Whisk in 2 Tabl. cold butter to form the caramel.  Spoon the caramel over the apples and serve.

Banana Layer Cake

Sometimes in life, we make a mistake and find out that it wasn’t a mistake after all.  Recently, I offered to bring a celebration cake to a dinner.  The Birthday celebrants were men, so I chose my go-to favorite: Banana Cake with a Browned Butter Icing.

Since we were a small group, I opted to make only half of this recipe to make a single layer cake.  In full disclosure, I mistakenly added only 1/2 as much butter as called for and I did not realize my mistake until after baking.  All of the guests were told of my “mistake” in advance and all agreed the cake was perfectly moist, and not dry as I expected.  So, if you are trying to reduce fat, feel free to make this same “mistake”, otherwise enjoy the recipe as written!

 
 
In a mixer bowl, cream with paddle attachment:
1 cup Butter, softened
2 cups Sugar
 
Switch to the whip attachment and add:
4 Eggs

Whip on high speed for 5 minutes.

In a small bowl mix together:
2 cups Banana Pulp
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2/3 cup Buttermilk
 
In another small bowl sift together:
4 cups Cake Flour
2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt

Add to the creamed mixture the dry and wet ingredients alternately, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.

     

Pour the batter into 2-9″ cake pans, lined with parchment paper and greased.  Bake in a 350 degree oven 40-45 minutes or until tests done with a toothpick.  Cool completely on a rack.   Run a knife around the edge of each cake pan and remove the cake from the pans.  Fill and frost the cake with the following Browned Butter Frosting:

  

Browned Butter Frosting:

In a small pan, slowly brown:
6 Tabl. Butter, stirring constantly
 
Beat in the mixer bowl using the whip attachment:
2# Confectioner’s Sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt
Browned Butter from above

While mixer is mixing, slowly add 1/2 cup Evaporated Milk to nice spreading consistency.  Ice the cake quickly as soon as the frosting is made as this is a “crusting” recipe (meaning it dries to the touch). I placed walnuts on this cake by cupping them in my hand and pressing against the sides of the cake.

 

Pumpkin Spice Scones

October typically rushes in fall: brightly colored leaves, cool crisp weather, fireplaces and pumpkins.  Our October started out with weather in the 70’s and even 80’s, so I put the pumpkin to the back burner for a bit.  Now, just in time for a cool October morning, comes the pumpkin scone.

This scone is “cakey” not biscuit-y”, but is full of pumpkin and spice flavor ~ perfect with a cup of morning coffee or tea.  This recipe makes 6-8 scones, depending on how you cut them.

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients:
2 cups AP Flour
1 Tabl. Baking Powder
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 Tabl. Pumpkin Pie Spice
 
Mix into the dry ingredients with fingers:
5 Tabl. Butter, cut into small cubes
 
In a smaller bowl, whisk together the liquid ingredients:
1/2 cup Pumpkin, solid (not pie mix)
1/3 cup Half and Half
1 Egg, whole

Slowly pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and stir to form a dough.  Empty the bowl onto the counter and press into a ball and then down into a disk, approx. 1″ high by 8″ round.

         

Transfer this disk to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Use a sharp knife to cut through the dough into 6 or 8 wedges.  Brush the top with half and half and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until tests done with a toothpick.  Serve warm.

Pumpkin Praline Dessert

Betty Crocker has a recipe which, while delicious, is confusing because its not quite a cake, a bar, or a pie.  Using canned pumpkin and a cake mix (I know ~ shocking!), it’s actually a combination of those and frankly, I find it better served upside down so that the soft, creamy filling is on top and the praline is on the bottom.  You can serve it any way you’d like, but you will definitely be serving this to your family and guests, preferably with a side of whipped cream!  This recipe serves 12.

For the bottom layer, combine in a bowl and whisk:
15 oz. can Pumpkin, solid (not pie mix)
12 oz. can Evaporated Milk
3 Eggs, whole
3/4 cup Sugar
1 Tabl. Pumpkin Pie Spice (or make your own mix with 1 tsp. each of Cinnamon, cloves and ginger)
 
     

Pour this mixture in the bottom of a greased glass 9″ X 13″ pan.  Spread 1 whole box of Yellow Cake Mix (dry) on top of this filling.

Melt:
3/4 cup Butter

Pour melted butter over the top of the dry cake mix.  Sprinkle the top with 1 cup of Pecans, chopped.  Bake in 325 degree oven for 45-55 minutes.  Cool completely before serving.

  

Snickerdoodle Muffins

I have a confession: I’m hooked!  Hooked on Pinterest.com.  In case you’ve never heard of it, which I can NOT imagine, it is a virtual bulletin board where you can “pin” pictures/articles you find on the internet (for FREE!).  For me, this is amazing, because I often find something I want to share with someone and then can’t find it when I need it.  Anywho…Pinterest also allows you to look at what others are “pinning”.  In a way, it helps to keep up on trends. (You can also “follow” people – like me, for example, http://pinterest.com/bakingway/  if you have similar interests.  Not that I’m trying to get you “hooked” too ; )

Right now, one of the trends that everyone seems interested in is Snickerdoodle anything: muffins, cakes, cookies.  I became so interested in this recipe, I looked it up and tried it.   Of course, I made a few adjustments to the original recipe to better suit my tastes.  Looking at the top of the muffins, you’d swear you’re looking at Snickerdoodle Cookies.  I think you’ll enjoy it too!  This recipe makes 12 large muffins.

In a mixing bowl, cream until light colored and fluffy:
1 cup Butter, room temperature
1 cup Sugar
 
 
Add to above:
1-1/4 cups Yogurt
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
 
In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients:
2-1/4 cups Flour
3/4 tsp. Baking Soda
3/4 tsp. Baking Powder
3/4 tsp. Cream of Tartar
1 tsp. Nutmeg

Stir dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, careful not to over-mix.

For dipping, combine:
1 cup Sugar
2 Tabl. Cinnamon

Drop scoops of muffin batter in a shallow plate or bowl with cinnamon sugar mixture.  Turn each scoop of batter over in order to thoroughly coat all around with sugar.  Place the scoop in muffin paper/pans.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 22-25 minutes, or until done in center.

  

Calvados Apple Muffins

The calendar and the weather are both telling us: Fall is here.  The beauty of fall makes up for the loss of the warmth of  summer.  We tend to find warmth and comfort in foods during these cold(er) months.

Each of us has heard of, tasted and/or made an apple cake, as they are quite popular.  I determined to make mine “better than” by replacing some of the oil with yogurt to add flavor and moisture and sauteing my apples before adding them to the batter.  A splash of Calvados or Applejack – an apple brandy, intensifies and accentuates the apples.

I made this recipe into muffins for a special brunch, but have made it in a bundt pan for years.  Just sprinkle the top of cooled cake with powdered sugar – it’s taste can stand on its own!

In a Saute pan, melt:
2 Tabl. Butter
 
Add to hot pan:
3 Apples, peeled, cored and diced
3 Tabl. Sugar
1 tsp. Cinnamon

Saute apples until just soft.

Toss into the saute pan:
2 Tabl. Apple Brandy (Calvados or Applejack) * Optional

Toss the brandy with apples, and allow to flame a bit (this burns off alcohol).  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

     
 
In a large bowl, whisk together:
1-1/4 cups Sugar
2/3 cup Yogurt, plain
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
3 Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
 
  
 
In a small bowl, mix together dry ingredients:
2 cups AP Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Cinnamon
 
        

Stir the dry ingredients into the wet.  Add the cooled apples and stir to coat.  Place in muffin cups by scoop.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until done.

     

If baking in a bundt pan, bake in 350 degree oven for 35 – 40 minutes or until tests done with toothpick.  Cool cake and dust with powdered sugar.

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