Friday, September 27, 2013

Lil' Cowboy Baby Shower Cake


Pumpkin Gobs (aka Whoopie Pies)

To me, they're "whoopie pies".    I grew up in Virginia!   But here, in Western PA, they're known as "gobs".  Yep.  Gobs. 


Regardless, they're soft cake-like cookies, sandwiched together with sweet cream cheese icing.  Delicious, no matter what you call them!

I made them for a school bake sale, and word has it they were snatched up in a jiffy.   Who can resist cutely packaged, home baked treats??


Enjoy making these whoopie gobs (hey, let's combine both name, okay??) for your family this fall!

Pumpkin Gobs
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup cinnamon applesauce
1 small can pumpkin puree
2 eggs
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  In a medium sized mixing bowl, beat together brown sugar, eggs, applesauce, and pumpkin puree.  Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well.  Scrape down sides of bowl.  Add cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, and flour.   Beat on low until incorporated.
Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop batter, which will be soft, onto the parchment paper-covered cookie sheets.   Leave at least one inch of space between each cookie.   Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until you can press your finger lightly onto a cookie and the top springs back.   Cool on the cookie sheet for 1 minute, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Prepare the cream cheese filling:
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
6 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth.  Add vanilla.  Add powdered sugar in two batches and beat on low until incorporated.  Increase speed to medium-low and beat for 2 minutes until fluffy.
Fit a piping bag with a large round tip.  Fill with cream cheese filling.  Pipe a generous amount of the filling onto one cookie, on the flat side, and top with another cookie. 
Yield:  2 dozen whoopie pies or gobs!

Scooby Doo Cake

*~*~*   Happy 5th Birthday Michael!!!   *~*~*

Gerber Daisy Cake

*~*~*  Happy 16th Birthday Natalie!!   *~*~*

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

TWD: Espresso Profiteroles

This week's Tuesdays With Dorie recipe is Espresso Profiteroles.   Not challenging, per se, but time consuming.  Worth it?   Yes!   However, I did cut a few corners in order to fit this recipe into my busy family's schedule.

I've never made profiteroles (or cream puffs) before, but ya know what?   Easy!   The batter, called pate a choux, is made on the stovetop, then piped into small rounds onto a cookie sheet.  These yummy bite-sized puffs are coffee flavored.  Brewed coffee is used as the liquid, and also finely ground espresso beans are added to the batter.   We are not coffee drinkers, so I wasn't apt to buy a bag of espresso beans for only one tablespoon, so that ingredient was omitted.   I had some instant coffee in the freezer, so I steeped an extra strong cup, hoping that would provide enough of a coffee flavor. 

Once baked, the profiteroles are light and hollow inside.

The recipe calls for homemade cinnamon vanilla ice cream.  Here is where I took a short cut.   I bought Breyer's vanilla ice cream, allowed it to soften a bit, then folded in a sprinkle of cinnamon.  Ha!

The ice cream is spooned into the center of each profiterole.  I used my small scoop for this task.

A sprinkling of confectioner's sugar would be wonderful, but a homemade chocolate sauce is perfection!!   (I omitted the called-for Grand Marnier, and used vanilla extract instead.)

My kids have enjoyed these little treats this week!  I think the recipe is a keeper, but next time I'll fill them with homemade whipped cream or vanilla pastry cream.  Yum.

If you'd like the recipe, please send me a message!  Otherwise, you can look on pages 411 - 412 in the Baking With Julia cookbook, or visit our Tuesdays With Dorie webpage and take a peek at a few other TWD bakers' pages.   Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Dandy Cake

What a cute name for a cake, eh?  This is a Hershey recipe, which I found in one of my little Hershey cookbooks (the BEST recipes, I tell ya!).   Simple, common pantry ingredients yield a super yummy chocolate and peanut butter treat!   My favorite combination in the world.  :)

I made this for a church potluck dinner this past weekend, and it was a hit, both with the kids and the adults!   My children were thrilled there were a few pieces left over for their lunchboxes this week!   Enjoy!

Dandy Cake
1 cup water
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine
1/3 cup Hershey’s cocoa
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3  eggs
3/4 cup dairy sour cream
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups chocolate chips (Hershey’s Semisweet or Special Dark)
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 15-1/2 x 10-1/2x1-inch jelly-roll pan. Combine water, butter and cocoa in small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture boils; boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat; set aside.   Stir together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs and sour cream; beat until well blended. Add cocoa mixture; beat just until blended (batter will be thin). Pour into prepared pan.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Do not remove cake from pan; spread peanut butter over warm cake. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
Prepare the chocolate topping:    Place 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Chips or Hershey’s  Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips and 2 tablespoons shortening (do not use butter, margarine, spread or oil) in small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at medium (50%) 1 minute; stir. If necessary, microwave at medium an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, just until chips are melted when stirred. 
Carefully spread chocolate topping over top, covering peanut butter. Allow topping to set; cut into squares.
Yield:  20 to 24 servings.

Pumpkin Banana Bread

Fall is right around the corner!   That means I have free license to bake any and all pumpkin recipes, right?  

This pumpkin banana bread is such a yummy twist on traditional pumpkin bread.  So moist and extra yummy with the addition of banana!

Pumpkin Banana Bread
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup cooking oil
4 eggs
3 1/2 cups whole wheat or all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. apple pie spice OR 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, 3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg, and 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2/3 cup apple cider or water
1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
1 medium, ripe banana, mashed (1/2 cup)
6 ounces dried cranberries
Grease bottoms and sides of four small loaf pans or two large loaf pans;  set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, beat together brown sugar, granulated sugar, and oil.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each.  Set aside.  In another mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, salt, and apple pie spice.
Alternately add dry ingredients and apple cider (or water) to sugar mixture, beating on low speed after each addition, just until combined.  Beat in pumpkin and mashed banana.  Stir in dried cranberries.
Spoon batter into prepared pans.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 to 60 minutes (depending on pan size), or until a toothpick inserted in centers come out clean.  Cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove from pans and cool completely.  
Yield:  4 small loaves or 2 large loaves
I used half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour.  I also substituted half of the oil with cinnamon applesauce, and used apple juice instead of apple cider or water.  I omitted the cranberries (picky children!) and sprinkled some walnuts on top of two of the small loaves before baking.  I also splashed in about 2 tsp. of vanilla extract.  I *heart* vanilla!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

TWD: Blackberry and Raspberry Muffins

If you're a fellow TWD baker you've already noticed my first change in this week's recipe!!   We love blueberries around here, but I substituted blackberries and raspberries in this recipe for a few reasons.  First of all, we've had a lot of blueberry desserts around here lately with our summer blueberry picking escapades.  Secondly, I'm out of fresh blueberries, and my local store didn't have any!  The raspberries and blackberries were beautiful, so that's what I grabbed.  Ohhhh boy.  Muffin love!


I'm quite an avid muffin-baker, but this recipe surprised me by calling for cream of tartar, not a typical muffin batter ingredient.  As contributing baker Rick Katz says, the muffins achieve their lightness from the homemade baking powder---a combination of baking soda and cream of tartar.  

You know what?   He's right!  These truly are super light and just melt in your mouth.  Hot from the oven, they're amazing.   A day later, warmed in a toaster oven, they're just as wonderful.  Thawed from the freezer?   I have no idea.  These muffins won't last long enough to find out around here!!

As you can see, my blueberries and blackberries sank to the bottoms of the muffins.   They're heavier berries than blueberries, so I expected that.  No harm done!

I baked half of the batter in pretty paper cupcake papers, and the other half directly in a well-prepared pan.   Why?  I was curious which would bake up better, I suppose!

If you're interested in seeing other TWD bakers' results, please check out the blog roll here!

(Please note:  the recipe below is as it's written in the cookbook.  I substituted blackberries and raspberries, one half pint each, instead of the blueberries. In addition, I added 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the batter.  I couldn't help myself!   I'm a vanilla addict.   Finally, I did not sift the dry ingredients three times.  I mean, come on.  Seriously?)

Blueberry Muffins
~Rick Katz~
Baking With Julia
1 3/4 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
1 pint fresh blueberries
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Butter or spray 18 muffin cups or line them with paper baking cups.  (These muffins are best made in standard tins in which the cups are 2 1/2 inches in diameter.)   If you have 2 muffin tins with 12 cups, fill the 6 cups that will be empty in one of the tins with water----this will help the muffins bake evenly.
Mixing the batter.  Sift the cake flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt together twice, and leave the sifted dry ingredients in the sifter or strainer;  set it on a piece of waxed paper.  Remove a tablespoon or two of the dry ingredients and toss with the berries.  In a separate bowl, stir the milk and sour cream together and set aside until needed.
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or work with a hand-held mixer), beat the butter on medium speed until white and pale, about 3 minutes.  Add the sugar and beat until the mixture no longer feels grainy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the paddle and the sides of the bowl as needed.  Add the eggs and yolk and beat until the mixture is fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and sift half the dry ingredients into the bowl.  Add half the milk and sour cream mixture, and using a large rubber spatula, delicately fold the ingredients together, stopping when barely combined.  Add the remaining dry and liquid ingredients and fold in only until just mixed---don't be concerned about getting everything evenly incorporated.  Sprinkle over the blueberries and fold them in only to the just-mixed stage.
Baking the muffins.  Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling each cup at least two-thirds full, and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the tops, which will be flat, are golden and spring back when lightly pressed.  Turn the muffins out onto a cooling rack and allow them to cool 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Storing.  The muffins will stay light and lovely for a day.  If you are not going to serve them within a few hours of baking, pack them into a plastic bag;  they'll keep for 1 more day and will then best be sliced and toasted.  For longer storage, wrap airtight and freeze for up to a month.  Thaw, still wrapped, at room temperature.