Tuesday, November 30, 2010

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Program

 

I was just sent this email from a board member of ITMS PTSA.  I know many of you have school age children and even if you don’t, you know of  a local school that could use the help.

Borders will donate $15 gift card to the school of your choice for any in store purchase you make regardless of amount of purchase. It doesn't even have to be a book - food items count as well. Please take advantage of this on Saturday and Sunday. See details below.

Borders gives schools free gift cards worth $15 The much discussed documentary "Waiting for Superman," which offers a harsh portrait of the country's public schools, has inspired a promotional collaboration among the Borders Group superstore chain, an education fundraiser and the publisher of the movie's companion book.

On Dec. 4 and Dec. 5, any Borders customer making an in-store purchase, whether of a book or a bagel or a latte, will receive a $15 gift card to donate to a public school of choice through DonorsChoose.org, an Internet-based charity.


Anyone purchasing the book "Waiting for 'Superman': How We Can Save America's Failing Public Schools" will receive a second $15 card. The companion text was published by PublicAffairs, part of the Perseus Books Group, which along with Borders and DonorsChoose.org announced the campaign Sunday.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Desserts

pumpkin-roll

Libby’s Pumpkin Roll

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Brownies with PB Chips, Mini PB Cups, & Chocolate PB Ganache

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Cherry Almond Pie Bars

Here are the three desserts I made for Thanksgiving.  They were all very good but the surprise standout was the almond cherry pie bars.   Everyone thought thought they were amazing.  Even those that normally go for the pumpkin or chocolate desserts went back for seconds of the pie bars.  Another plus, besides their overall deliciousness they are also waaaay easier than baking an actual pie!

This recipe comes by way of Amanda’s Cookin’ and her blackberry pie squares recipe.  (If you haven’t yet, check her out.  I’ve made a few of her recipes and have been please with each one.  She also has a pretty cool craft blog. )  I’ve adapted her recipe twice now.  The first time I used Lucky Leaf’s blueberry pie filling and upped the lemon factor by adding the zest of one lemon to the sugar. This time around I used Lucky Leaf’s cherry pie filling and subbed in almond extract for the vanilla. 

Almond Cherry Pie Bars, adapted from Amanda’s Cookin'

Bars:

1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temp
4 eggs, room temp
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
30 ounces cherry pie filling,* (21 oz. is one can of pie filling but I added another half a can)

Glaze:

1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons heavy cream, enough to make the glaze pourable

1/4 teaspoon of almond extract

almond-cherry-pie-bars1

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Cream sugar and butter in mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Add the almond and beat well. Whisk together flour and baking powder. Turn mixer speed down to lowest setting and slowly add flour mixture until completely combined.

Spread half of mixture onto an ungreased 15x10 jelly roll pan. (Amanda weighted hers out.) Spread pie filling over the top of the batter. Drop remaining batter onto the pie filling layer by spoonfuls.  Spread gently.  (I use a damp offset spatula to do this. Don’t worry about it not being perfect.  It all works out.)

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. (I took mine out at 38 minutes. Do not under bake. Remove to a wire rack.

Whisk together the powdered sugar, melted butter, and heavy cream.  Drizzle over warm bars. (Toasted almond slices would be nice sprinkled on top.  I didn’t add them because my Dad doesn’t care much for nuts. He’s weird! :))

Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.

Printable recipe

*Note:

lucky-leaf

I have been very fortunate to receive Lucky Leaf’s pie fillings.  Each one I have tried has been wonderful.  In the past I’ve never cared for the other brands I’ve tried. I found that they were too sweet and artificial tasting.  Not so with Lucky Leaf.  And for those of you staying away from high fructose corn syrup you’ll be happy to hear that Lucky Leaf’s does not contain any!

Disclosure:  While I received Lucky Leaf pie fillings to try.  The opinions expressed here are all my own.



If you haven’t yet, click here to enter my Thankful Giveaway! 

 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cranberry Cobbler

cranberry-cobbler

Are you wondering what to do with that “buy one get one” bag of cranberries? Are you’re looking for a quick recipe and love the tart and tanginess of cranberries?  If you answered yes to either question then I’d give this recipe some serious consideration.  Besides the glorious reds of the cranberries the true beauty of this cobbler is the ease in which it comes together.

The Pioneer Woman called this Nantucket Cranberry Pie and when I did everyone kept asking how was it a pie. To save you the aggravation may I introduce you to cranberry cobbler?

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Before we move on to the recipe I’d like to mention that I did think the “cobbler” part a tad too sweet.   On the other hand my parents, specifically my Dad thought the filling a little too tart.  Depending on how tart or sweet you like things I would adjust the amount of sugar used in the filling and/or the cobbler. 
Cranberry Cobbler
Ingredients
  • Butter, For Greasing
  • 2 cups (heaping) Cranberries
  • ¾ cups Pecans, Chopped (measure, Then Chop)
  • ⅔ cups Sugar, (Next time I would bump this up to 3/4)
  • 1 cup Flour
  • 1 cup Sugar, ( Next time I would cut this to 3/4)
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 2 whole Eggs, Lightly Beaten
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Almond Extract,  (I used vanilla) 
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar For Sprinkling (I used Turbinado)

cranberries

Preparation Instructions
*Adapted from a recipe by Laurie Colwin*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Generously butter a cake pan or pie pan. Add cranberries to the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle on chopped pecans, then sprinkle on 2/3 cup sugar.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, 1 cup sugar, melted butter, eggs, almond extract, and salt. Stir gently to combine.

Pour batter slowly over the top in large “ribbons” in order to evenly cover the surface. Spread gently if necessary.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes (Mine was done in 40 minutes). 5 minutes before removing from oven, sprinkle surface with 1 tablespoon sugar for a little extra crunch.

Cut into wedges and serve with ice cream or freshly whipped cream.

Click here for printable recipe with my changes.


Click here if you haven’t entered my Thankful Giveaway.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Double Apple Bundt Cake w/Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce & A Giveaway

We have lots to talk about today but let’s talk about double apple bundt cake over first.  I’m sure you saw it as it was all over the blogosphere last month when the baking group TWD made it. I don’t recall anyone going crazy over it but I was intrigued by the addition of apple butter.  I didn’t want to buy any just to make cake so I set the recipe a side.  As luck would have it I not only received homemade apple butter from Maranda but soon after I also received some from Musselman’s.  Score!

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The cake recipe suggests allowing the cake to sit overnight.  Do it.   The flavors need time to develop.  The first night I baked the cake and we tried it we were all underwhelmed.  We changed our minds after we tried it again the next night but if you really want your taste buds to sit up and take notice pour on some bourbon butterscotch sauce. 

When Kristen over at The Kitchen Sink Recipes blogged about this sauce she said she couldn’t get it out of her head.  I believed her because I made her Salted Caramel Sauce and it was every bit as good as she said it was so, I knew I had to try this one.  This sauce is even better than it sounds I think you could pour it on a bowl of raisins and I’d eat ‘em.  Okay, that may be a bit extreme but you get my drift.  I’m not gonna lie to you though I had issues making it. It seized up when I slowly poured in the bourbon and water. To say that I was disappointed was an understatement.  Instead of this wonderful sauce, I had a big lump of  caramelized sugar sitting in my pot.  Because I couldn’t just toss the whole thing into the sink I set it a side.  When I came back to check if it had cooled enough to clean. I noticed that my lump of sugar was smaller.  I put it back on the stove with the heat set at low and stirred it off and on for almost an hour! In the end it was worth. 

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Double Apple Bundt Cake

From Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking: From my home to yours”

  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 cup apple butter
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and grated
  • 1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (I left out)
  • ½ cup plump, moist raisins (You could add these but WHY?)
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 9- to 10- inch (12 cup) Bundt pan. If your pan is not nonstick, dust the interior of the pan with flour, then tap out the excess. Don’t place the pan on a baking sheet – you want the oven’s heat to circulate through the Bundt’s inner tube.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed, scarping the bowl as needed, for 3 minutes, or until the mixture is smooth, thick, and pale. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each addition; you’ll have a light, fluffy batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the apple butter – don’t worry if it curdles the batter. Still on low, add the grated apples and mix to completely blend. Add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the batter. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the nuts and raisins. Turn the batter into the Bundt pan and smooth the top of the batter with the rubber spatula.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a think knife inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for 5 minutes before unmolding and cooling the cake to room temperature.  If possible, once the cake is completely cool, wrap well in plastic and let it stand overnight at room temperature to ripen the flavors.

bourbon-butterscotch-sauce

Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce, The Kitchen Sink Recipes

Yield: 1 3/4 cups

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup bourbon
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
pinch salt
2 tablespoons heavy cream

In a dry 3-quart heavy kettle cook sugar over moderately low heat, stirring slowly with a fork (to help sugar melt evenly), until melted and pale golden. Cook caramel, without stirring, swirling kettle, until deep golden. Remove kettle from heat and carefully add water and bourbon down side of kettle (mixture will bubble and steam). Simmer mixture, stirring, until caramel is dissolved. Stir in butter and a pinch of salt until incorporated and cool sauce to warm.  When the sauce has cooled to warm, stir in the cream.

Butterscotch bourbon sauce may be made 1 week ahead and chilled covered. Reheat sauce to warm before serving.



Can you believe next week is Thanksgiving and Christmas is not far behind?  I’ve been thinking a lot about the things I’m thankful for in my life and outside of the obvious ones (family, health, & a job) one of the things I’m grateful for is my blog.  It has given me so much.  The most important thing it has  given me is an opportunity to “meet” and interact with all of you.   So, to show my thanks for sticking with me through the “quiet” times, for your words of praise and encouragement I’m giving away two $35 William Sonoma* gift cards to two commenters. 

Giveaway Info

Rules:

  • Leave a comment on this post by midnight December 1st. (Please be sure to leave contact information.)

Yes, it’s that easy.  You don’t need to be a follower, you don’t have to “like” or “fan” me, and you don’t need to tweet about how awesome a giveaway this is.  :) I mean, you can if you want but you’ll only get my appreciation and not another entry.

Disclosures:

  • This is my giveaway and it is being funded by me
  • *The giveaway is open to everyone.  For those of you overseas I will send you an Amazon gift card.  It appears Amazon is the only one that will ships overseas. Sorry.
  • Two names will randomly be selected on December 2nd. 

Good Luck!

 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Wanna Bite?

double-apple-bundt-cake

Come back tomorrow for the whole cake and giveaway info!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Flourless Chocolate Cake With Spiced Cranberry Sauce

flourless-chocolate-cake1

Did you do a quick double check to see if you were on the right blog? lol Yes, you read that correctly.  Chocolate, here on 3B’s.  :)  It doesn’t happen often but it does happen.  See here and here.   I know that for some of you it doesn’t happen often enough.  And that is why you are now seeing a flourless chocolate cake. (Naomi, I made this cake before I saw your/my tart.  Had I seen it first I would have been ALL over it!)  I’m trying to keep my chocolate lovin’ peps happy. For those of you that are  raisin lovers don’t hold your breath for them as it ain’t happenin’!  Sorry.  :)

flourless-chocolate-cake2

So about this cake.  I’d like to say that it changed my opinion on chocolate but it didn’t.  That’s not to say you chocolate lovers wouldn’t go crazy for it;  just that it didn’t have me or the kids rethinking our position of chocolate.   (94% of the 259 reviewers would make it again)Because we found the cake super rich and chocolatey we topped it with whipped cream and Faith’s delicious spiced (and tart) cranberry jam.  Once we did, the cake slices were quickly eaten with no complaints of it being too chocolatey.

flourless-cake

The flourless chocolate cake recipe is from Epicurious and the spiced cranberry jam/sauce is from An Edible Mosaic.  If you haven’t been to Faith’s blog yet you need to stop and click here.  She has a wonderful variety of recipes and lovely photos to go along with them.

flourless-cake-3


Here’s Babygirl in her Halloween costume.  She was a Hogwarts's student.

McKenna Halloween 10

Everyone meet Jeter the newest member of our family. We’ve had him for almost a month and needless to say Babygirl is beyond thrilled!

Jeter1

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cinnamon Chip Banana Coffee Cake

This baby got gobbled up the very night I made it.  It didn’t even get a chance to come to room temperature before the kiddos and several of their friends came running to the kitchen to see if it was done.  I did manage to save a piece to photograph the next day so you could see its lovely inside.  I barely managed. I had to boxed it up, tape a note to the top, and hide it. :)

CC-banana-coffee-cake

I have Monica to thank for emailing  me the recipe along with a request that I make it and send her some.  At my house in order to get a piece of anything you have to be there when it’s being served or run the risk of losing out.  Sorry, Monica.  The piece I saved was eaten with breakfast by Devon who called “dibs” on it the night before.

cc-banana-coffee-cake2

Cinnamon Chip Banana Coffee Cake, adapted from Lovin’ From the Oven

cc-banana-coffee-cake1

  • 1 cup cinnamon (or butterscotch or chocolate) chips
  • 2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, I left out as I used cinnamon chips
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • about 4 mashed bananas, I used 3 but would have used a 4th if I had it.
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter and flour 8x8x2-inch baking pan. Stir chocolate chips, brown sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon in small bowl until well blended; set streusel aside.
  3. Mix the all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Set aside.
  4. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, room temperature butter, and egg in a separate bowl until fluffy. Beat in mashed bananas and buttermilk.
  5. Add dry ingredients and blend well.
  6. Spread half of batter in prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with half of streusel. Repeat with remaining batter and streusel.
  7. Bake coffee cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool coffee cake in pan on rack.

Printable Recipe

cc-banana-coffee-cake-3

Devon topped his warm cake with vanilla ice cream.  I like how he thinks. :) 

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Thanks for all your kind words on my new “look” and a special thank you to Monica who made my new header!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars

pumpkin-cream-cheese-bars2

Jamie from My Baking Addiction described these as tasting like her nana’s pumpkin roll and while I’ve never tried her nana’s pumpkin roll they didn’t taste like any of the pumpkin rolls I’ve eatened.  They were however still  very good.  Good enough, in fact, for my pumpkin disliking son, Jalen to gobble up two and tell me pumpkin’s not so bad.  :)

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars

pumpkin-cream-cheese-bars

Bar

6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (288 grams)

2 large eggs

1 cup canned pumpkin (240 grams)

1/3 cup water

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (220 grams)

1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice*

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Cream Cheese Layer

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar (48 grams)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg

*Pumpkin Pie Spice mix, makes 1 tablespoon

1  1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoons ground ginger

3/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3/8 teaspoon ground allspice

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with non-stick foil or parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar until smooth. Beat in 2 eggs, pumpkin, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1/3 cup water until well blended, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
3. In another bowl, mix flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until and combine until well blended. Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan
4. In a bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese, 1 egg, 1/4 cup sugar, and  ½ teaspoon of vanilla until smooth.
5. Drop cream cheese mixture in evenly spaced portions over the pumpkin batter. Pull a knife tip through filling to swirl slightly into batter.
6. Bake in a 350° oven until center of the pumpkin batter (not cream cheese mixture) springs back when touched, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely in pan, then cut into 24 bars.

Printable Recipe

pumpkin-cream-cheese-bars1

~ Notes ~

~ I did not swirl my cream cheese filling directly into the batter.  Here’s how I did things.  I put 2/3 of the pumpkin batter into my pan and spread  the filling over it.  With the balance of the batter I dolloped it over the  cream cheese layer in small amounts and smoothed out as best I could.  After smoothing it out I then dragged a chop stick through the batters to get a swirled effect.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010