Tis’ the Season!

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I am obsessed with any holiday food. Something about the warm spices and bold flavors of seasonal holiday food that really gets me excited! One of my favorite types of cake is gingerbread. It is so intensely flavored, and if made correctly, decadently moist. Growing up I’ve always loved a company called Gingerbread Construction Company’s gingerbread muffins with cream cheese frosting. I have taken a recipe from a friend and molded it to remind of my childhood favorite. Here’s what’s in it…

Ingredients

1 cup Guiness Stout (helps with the rich flavor)
1 cup Molasses
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
2 cups AP Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
2 tablespoons ground ginger (this seems like a lot but its necessary!)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (you can used freshly grated)
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup Dark Brown Sugar
1 cup Light Brown Sugar
3/4 cup Vegetable Oil

Step 1:
Boil molasses and Guiness for one minute, take off heat and whisk in the baking soda. Cool.

Step 2:
In a separate bowl whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and spices. Set aside.

Step 3:
Whisk together sugar, oil and eggs. Slowly add in the room temperature molasses/stout mixture. Fold the dry ingredients to the wet. Bake at 350 degrees until done.

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I topped mine with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting and Homemade Candied Ginger!

 

Frosting

1 8 oz. Package Cream Cheese Frosting, softened
1 Stick Butter, softened
1 Tablespoon Orange Zest
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Powdered Sugar To Taste (Some like it sweeter, I like the tang of the cream cheese to be in tact)

Beat all ingredients until smooth and creamy. Top with candied ginger or any other garnish you may want…Try candied orange peel or sprinkle with cinnamon :-)

 

Thank you, Thank you very much

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Did you know Marshmallow Fluff was created in Lynn, MA? Me either..and if you did..Good for you!

Every year there is a ‘Fluff Festival’ with a recipe contest in which the product must feature Marshmallow Fluff. I came up with three ideas almost instantly…1.) Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcake 2.) S’mores Cupcake and 3.) Elvis Cupcake.

 

All three of these cupcakes would obviously incorporate Fluff…The tricky part was how? I wanted the Marshmallow Fluff to come through without overpowering the rest of the product. I tested all three out and to say the least my favorite was the Elvis Cupcake. Elvis loved a peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich…so this is my take on his favorite. This cake starts with a brown sugar banana cupcake, peanut butter- Fluff filling and a browned butter Fluff buttercream topped with crispy bacon, home made peanut brittle and dried banana chips! Here is the recipe…roughly…can’t give away all my secrets :-)

 

Brown Sugar Banana Cake

1 1/2 Cups Mashed, ripe bananas (I cannot stand the texture and taste of an unripened banana!)
3 Cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/8 Cups Light brown sugar
1 Cup Dark brown sugar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 Large Eggs
1 1/2 Cups Buttermilk
3/4 Cup Vegetable Oil

In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder. Whisk until incorporated.

In a separate bowl whisk together sugars, vegetable oil, vanilla and eggs until incorporated.

Fold in the mashed bananas to the wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet a little at a time until just incorporated…do not over mix! (This will make for a tough texture in your ending product)

Peanut Butter-Fluff Filling

This stuff is rich and each cupcake only needs about 1 Tablespoon each.

1/2 Cup Smooth Peanut Butter
1/2 Cup Marshmallow Fluff
Half and Half to thin it out

Browned Butter Frosting

1 Stick butter, browned and cooled
1 8 oz. Package Greek Cream Cheese (This product has a great tang that cuts through the sweetness of the filling)
1 Tsp. Pure vanilla extract
1/2 Cup Marshmallow Fluff
Pinch Salt
Powdered sugar to desired sweetness
Half and Half to thin out to desired consistency

 

The garnishes on mine were crushed banana chips, peanut brittle and crispy bacon bits :-) the saltiness from the bacon, crunch from the chips and the extra nuttiness from the brittle really round out this cupcake perfectly…Elvis would be proud!

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Tartlet Trouble? Peaches & Cream Goodness

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Sick of bringing the same desserts to a dinner party or family function? Me too. I have the most simple solution: Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough. This stuff is great and so versatile. The recipe to follow can be molded to your liking, the possibilities are endless. (sounds cheesy, but it is true!)

Mini Peaches & Cream Tartlets
1 package sugar cookie dough (you know, the kind in the tube!)
4 ripe peaches small diced (I say ripe because if they are not they are hard and not sweet whatsoever)
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 oz. “Greek” Cream Cheese and Greek Yogurt, softened
3 tbsp. powdered sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar (I am obsessed with this stuff)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
dash salt

Here we go…

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a mini muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Put about 1 tablespoon of cookie dough in each mini muffin tin and bake until golden brown about 12-15 minutes. Immediately take the cookies out and press down in the center of the cookie to form a little cup. (I used the back of a wooden spoon, lets not use our hands and burn ourselves!)

cookie

Set the cups aside to cool.

In a medium sauté pan cook diced peaches, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt until peaches are tender and the sugar is cooked down to a syrupy consistency.

peaches

I then pureed my peaches so until the mixture resembled a chutney consistency. You will want to go ahead and chill this mixture for at least a half hour. Feel free to not puree them at all and use the diced peaches in the tartlets instead!

Now take the cream cheese, heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract and beat with an electric mixture until light and fluffy. You may want to add more sugar to your topping but I like the tangy contrast to the sweet peach filling. Fill the cooled cups and top with the cream cheese mixture.
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See! They are so cute!

Low-Carb Crisis

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I was craving spicy food tonight…bad…Anything with salsa really lets be honet. But with summer approaching i’d rather not have all those carbs. Tonight I may have eaten the low-carb lovers dream… We all love Spanish inspired dishes and burgers, well my Jalapeno-Cream Cheese Stuffed Turkey Burgers will satisfy those cravings!

Jalapeno-Cream Cheese Stuffed Turkey Burgers

  • 1 lb. Ground Turkey
  • 1/4 cup salsa (whichever you like)
  • 1/4 cup onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (feeling frisky? add more!)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapenos (you know the kind you buy at the grocery store)
  • 4 oz. “Greek” Cream Cheese and Greek Yogurt, softened
  • Chicken stock
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salsa and lime infused sour cream for garnish!

Combine all ingredients except pickled jalapenos and cream cheese. Mix these with your hands until well combined and form into 4 small burgers.

In a separate bowl, whip with an electric mixer the cream cheese and minced jalapenos until combined. Put in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Indent each burger a bit and scoop a tablespoon sized ball of the cream cheese mixture inside. Cover the cream cheese with the surrounding burger mixture and re-form to a patty.

Sear these burgers over medium heat in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil for 3 minutes per side. Pour in about 1/2 cup of chicken stock and cover and simmer for 10 minutes. This allows the meat to cook through without burning and lets the cream cheese become extra melted and gooey!

To Stuff or Not to Stuff?

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Okay, I tried to make this dish as light as possible. Lets face it, sometimes on a Sunday morning you just need a big hearty breakfast. This Cream Cheese, Banana & Peanut Butter Stuffed French Toast will always do the trick….Elvis would be proud.

 

Cream Cheese, Peanut Butter & Banana Stuffed French Toast

  • 2 Slices Bread (not specific I know, but use whichever type you want, preferably NOT white bread because it will not hold up to the batter)
  • 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter (feel free to use chunky if it floats your boat)
  • 1 ounce “Greek” Cream Cheese and Greek Yogurt
  • 1 ripe banana (Unless you like the unripe taste…no thanks!)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk (usually heavy cream is used in some French toast batters, but it is not necessary)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 cup dark brown sugar (as I have said before, it is so much better than light brown sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Non-Stick cooking spray as needed

Using an electric mixer beat together the peanut butter and cream cheese. Spread evenly between the two slices of bread. Slice the banana to desired thickness and put it on the bread as well. Make a sandwich with the two slices and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, whole milk, cinnamon, dark brown sugar and pure vanilla extract until combined.

Spray a non-stick pan with the cooking spray and turn on medium-low heat. While the pan is heating up dip your sandwiches in the batter for about 5-10 seconds per side. (too long and your bread will fall apart) Sear the sandwiches until golden brown on each side and the batter is cooked about 3-4 minutes per side.

Drizzle the French toast with maple syrup and I topped mine with crispy crumbled bacon :-)