I Am Baker

gluten free fudgy brownies

One of my favorite things to do is bake.  I love getting into the kitchen, getting out bowls and measuring spoons, opening the pantry door and standing before the sugars, flours and baking ingredients.  There is a nervous, almost giddy excitement about it that brings me to a calm, comfortable, happy place in my often stressed out and anxious mind.

Gluten Free Fudgy Brownies!

 

Until today.  I was trying out a gluten free recipe, something that is not my norm.  I had placed a very high bar for this recipe, wanting to make sure it was completely gluten free, that it was accessible, and that it tasted good.

So I spent quite a bit of time researching just how to bake gluten free.  It is not just about ingredients, it is also about quality and safety.

Some people choose to go gluten free, but for others it is a real necessity.  Seeing as I do not fall into the latter category, I wanted to make sure that safety was at the forfront of my thoughts, so that everything about this recipe screamed delicious, sound, comfortable, just-plain-good.

Gluten Free Fudgy Brownies!

 

Since there was no way I was going to be developing a gluten free recipe from scratch, I went to a trusted source.  McCormick has a number of well tested and scrumptious gluten free recipes on their site, and this Fudgy Brownie was calling my name in a big way.

Gluten Free Fudgy Brownies!

 

gluten free fudgy brownies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 4 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 tablespoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix sugar and cocoa powder in large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Gently sift cornstarch, sorghum flour, tapioca flour, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
  4. Microwave butter in large microwavable bowl on HIGH 1-2 minutes or until melted. Pour into cocoa mixture and stir until well blended.
  5. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well.
  6. Gradually stir in flour mixture until well blended. Spread in fparchment-lined 13x9-inch baking pan sprayed with no stick cooking spray.
  7. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.
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Recipe just barely adapted from McCormick.

Gluten Free Fudgy Brownies!

 

For my first venture into intentional gluten free baking, I would call this a success!  So excited to try more and see if we will be incorporating any more gluten free baking into our lives.  With results like these, it would be hard to resist!

I am not able to offer suggestions on substitutions at this time (still learning!) but if you need some insight, check out this post from thekitchn.  You can also check out my friend Johnna’s blog, In Johanna’s Kitchen for some great recipes!

I Am Baker

Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies on a Stick

I am out at the Minnesota State Fair today.  Did you know that:

“It is the largest state fair in the US by average daily attendance. It is also the 2nd largest state fair in the US by total attendance, trailing only the State Fair of Texas, which generally runs twice as long as the Minnesota State Fair.” -Wikipedia

One more fun fact.  I have lived in MN for over 10 years… yet have NEVER been to the fair! Twin Cities Live to the rescue! Today I will be a guest on the the show, and for the first time ever, my husband and kids will be there to see!

Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookies Brownie Bite on a Stick and covered in Snickers!

 

So, in the spirit of the fair, I am making something pretty darn insane.  I mean, not insane by fair standards, but definitely insane by normal-everyday-food standards.

Three years ago my friend Amanda made these Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie n’ Oreo Fudge Brownie Bars, which some folks know as “slutty brownies”. (I dislike that term immensely, but that is what people usually know they by.)

I decided to make a pan of Amanda’s creation. Then using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, I cut out nine sweet brownie bites.

Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookies Brownie Bite on a Stick and covered in Snickers!

 

Loving that beautiful brownie Oreo cookie bliss!! (I made this simply to show the layers and drizzle, my final product has the stick inserted into the sides of the layers, not directly into the top of the brownie)

Next I covered them in milk chocolate. My original plan was to use semi-sweet, but my taste testing crew unanimously approved of the milk chocolate.

Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookies Brownie Bite on a Stick and covered in Snickers!

 

Lastly, we added on a layer of chopped Snickers bars and called it a day.

Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookies Brownie Bite on a Stick and covered in Snickers!

 

I had to call it a day, I was exhausted! I mean, really. Brownies, Oreo’s, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Milk Chocolate coating, and Snickers Bars? Can we say over-the-top?

But in a really, really good way.

Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies on a Stick

Ingredients

  • 1 16-ounce package of chocolate chip cookie dough
  • 1 box brownies (I prefer the 9x9 pan size, it often comes in a bag)
  • 9-12 Oreos
  • 6 ounces milk chocolate
  • 1-2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 bag Snickers kept chilled, you will want about 2 cups of chopped pieces total

Instructions

  1. Prepare a 9x9 inch baking dish by lining it with parchment then spraying sides with baking spray.
  2. Press cookie dough into bottom of pan.
  3. Place one layer of Oreo's on top of cookie dough. You will most likely only have room for 9 cookies, but can cut cookies in half and squeeze into edges if you want full coverage.
  4. Prepare brownies according to directions on package and pour over Oreo's and cookie dough.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-45 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick is removed mostly clean. (A couple crumbs are ok)
  6. Allow brownies to cool to room temperature, then using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, punch out nine sections.
  7. Place those section in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  8. Prepare chocolate coating by melted the chocolate and oil in the microwave for 1 minute. Remove and stir well, then place back in microwave in 30 second increments until chocolate is completely melted.
  9. Grab the stick and dip it into the chocolate (just an inch or so) then gently insert stick into cut edge of the brownie. Do this to all brownies then place back in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
  10. Chop all snickers into very small pieces. This works best when snickers are chilled. Place in a flat layer (pieces not touching if possible) until ready to assemble.
  11. Prepare a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Set aside.
  12. When ready to coat the brownies, pick one up by the stick and hold over the chocolate. Drizzle the chocolate over the brownie and coat completely. Shake off excess.
  13. Take about a tablespoon of snickers pieces and gently press into the top of the brownie. Place the brownie bite SNICKERS SIDE DOWN onto the baking sheet covered with parchment. Coat all 9 brownies, then place in refrigerator to allow chocolate to set. Can be served at room temperature.
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Extra Supplies Needed: parchment paper, sticks for brownie bites, container for melted chocolate that is wide enough to drizzle chocolate over bites, 2-inch round cookie cutter

Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookies Brownie Bite on a Stick and covered in Snickers!

 

These are obviously pretty amazing. I mean, with all that sweet goodness, how could it not be?

So excited to share these at the fair! I just hope it lives up to the awesome reputation that fair food has. I mean, there is some stiff competition!

Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookies Brownie Bite on a Stick and covered in Snickers!

 

But just in case, I made one in the shape of the state of MN. Who can resist a good ole’ hometown treat? :)

I Am Baker

coffee sugar cookies

I was hanging out on Pinterest the other day and came across some Coffee Sugar Cookies.  Intrigued by the picture I clicked on the pin and low and behold… I made them!  Ha.  Talk about forgetfulness.  I think it’s post-pregnancy-i-have-five-children-and-nine-chickens-brain.

Coffee Sugar Cookies!

Seeing how horrible my original pictures were I decided to update the recipe and shoot some new shots.  Also, the idea of coffee sugar cookies seemed fabulous!  Two of my favorite things in one place.

Sugar + Coffee = Happiness Coma

Coffee Sugar Cookies!

 

 

However, I actually decreased the amount of coffee in the recipe.  You can see that the gorgeous flakes of caffeinated awesomeness are still thoroughly dispersed throughout.  There is more than enough to add a little spring to your step!

Which leads me to another alteration… I made it with decaffeinated grounds. I am still a nursing mom and in the slight chance that my kids might sneak one I figured it was for the best.  You can certainly opt for full caffeinated fun!

coffee sugar cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. fresh ground coffee (you can also use instant crystals or powder)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (I used kosher)

Instructions

  1. In a mixer, cream together butter and sugar.
  2. In a small bowl, combine eggs, vanilla, and coffee until fully incorporated.
  3. In separate bowl add together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  4. Slowly add your egg mixture to the butter mixture until well combined. Slowly add flour mixture until fully combined, do not over beat.
  5. Chill this dough for at least one hour, preferably overnight.
  6. When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Roll out dough on floured solid surface to about 1/2 inch thick. Using a circle cookie cutter, punch out circles and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges are slightly golden. Allow cookies to cool completely before covering in any icing.
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Coffee Sugar Cookies with Pink Buttercream

 

Here is the thing with these cookies.  They are good, they live up to their name well.  But I actually prefer them when a few adaptations are made.  For instance, adding mounds of glorious pink buttercream frosting.  Cherry buttercream frosting to be exact.

The combination of the slightly bitter cookie with the subtle cherry frosting is kinda sorta totally awesome.

Then I took it one step further.

I made ice cream sandwiches.

Coffee Ice Cream Sandwiches with Chocolate Ice Cream!

 

The ice cream was Double Chocolate Chunk and it was seriously amazing.  I keep trying to think of descriptive words and say things about how delicious they are and all I can think of is… amazing.

Double Chocolate Chunk Coffee Sugar Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches.

Pretty sure I can officially retire from food blogging now.

Well, until the next crop of zucchini comes in.  Hello double chocolate zucchini cupcakes!

I Am Baker

Double Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

Um, have you noticed?  I am putting zucchini in everything.  I can’t say I am sorry though, because everything I am making is so darn delicious!!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

 

This one is a favorite so far, as it is over-the-top chocolatey.  Everything is rich and creamy and moist and amazing.  It’s pretty much the best cupcake to ever be made in the history of all the cupcake making world.

I wish someone could just slap me when I am being so overly dramatic and pompous.

Forget I just said that.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

 

Since I have been baking with zucchini so much lately, I thought I would write  a little poem about it.

And now, Poetry with i am baker.

 

Double Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

 

Zucchini

You grow fast

and have hardly any flavor

Yet I love you

and your green innards.

Pretty good huh?

Don’t worry.  I will stick to baking.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 eggs room temperature and lightly beaten
  • 1 cup oil
  • 3 cups finely grated and drained zucchini
  • 3/4 - 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare cupcakes pans with liners. (Yields roughly 26-28 cupcakes)
  2. In a large bowl add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. With a whisk gently sift ingredients.
  3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the eggs and oil. Mix by hand. Batter will be fairly thick. Add in grated zucchini and chocolate chips and fold in with spatula. Batter should loosen up a bit with the moisture from the zucchini.
  4. Using an ice cream scoop, fill up cupcake liners 2/3 full.
  5. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick is removed mostly clean.
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Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

 

Some things worth mentioning:

This is a one bowl cupcake recipe.  One bowl.  I LOVE that.  I dislike dishes.  A lot.  One bowl!  Well, excluding the bowl you beat the eggs in.  Darn it.

I used this Chocolate Frosting recipe for the cupcakes.  Using an ice cream scoop, I just dropped a dollop on each cupcake.  It’s my new favorite way to decorate!

These suckers are rich.  RICH I TELL YOU.  Make sure you have milk and loose fitting pants near by.

http://iambaker.net/white-zucchini-cake/

 

This recipe was adapted from a cake recipe, and I am making it into a cake today! It’s my son’s birthday soon and we are having a big party tomorrow… his request was Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Frosting and White Zucchini Cake with Strawberry Frosting.  (Ok, so I added the zucchini request in there, but he will love it!)

I am also make these Chocolate Chocolate Zucchini Cookies and these Snickers Zucchini Cookies and this Peanut Butter Buttersctoch Pizza.

I just hope there is enough food.

I Am Baker

blueberry zucchini cake with lemon buttercream

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s to the garden I go!

And come back with loads of zucchini.  And then bake with it.  It’s in my blood people.

Blueberry Zucchini Cake with Lemon Buttercream

 

Finding new ways to use all the zucchini has proved to be much more fun than I thought!  I mean, eating cake everyday isn’t such a bad gig in life.

Add in blueberries and buttercream and you can officially chalk me up as satisfied.

Blueberry Zucchini Cake with Lemon Buttercream

 

I found this recipe over at allrecipes.com and it is officially labeled as Blueberry Zucchini Bread.  I studied the ingredients and thought, there is no way I can pass this off as bread!  Why not just make it in an 8-inch round cake pan and see how it goes.

It went.

Right into my belly.

Blueberry Zucchini Cake with Lemon Buttercream

 

This cake is moist!  Like amazingly so.  I popped my cake into the freezer right after baking only because I wanted a nice clean cut.  But I do recommend eating when it is still warm and the zucchini bits are lounging around the bursting blueberries in a delightful way.

Because this recipe is technically designed as a bread, this cake is pretty dense.  Densely packed with deliciousness that is. ;)

I am in full-on cheesy mode today.

Blueberry Zucchini Cake with Lemon Buttercream

 

blueberry zucchini cake with lemon buttercream

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups finely shredded and drained zucchini
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries (you can reserve a few for garnish if so desired)
  • Lemon Buttercream
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest of (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 8-inch round cake pans.
  2. Grate a large zucchini (or two small zucchini) and place in a clean dish towel. Squeeze until most of the liquid comes out. You will want to have 2 total cups of shredded zucchini after it has been drained. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl and using a hand mixer, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Fold in the zucchini.
  4. Slowly add in the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Gently fold in the blueberries. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans.
  5. Bake 35-40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes in pans, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.
  6. Lemon Buttercream
  7. Combine butter, sugar and salt and beat till well combined.
  8. Add lemon juice and vanilla and continue to beat for another 3 to 5 minute or until creamy.
  9. Fold in zest*.
  10. *If you are piping this buttercream, I recommend leaving out the zest.
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Cake recipe adapted from allrecipes.com and frosting recipe from food.com.

Blueberry Zucchini Cake with Lemon Buttercream

 

I would really love to try this cake with raspberries, as my love for blueberries has inadvertently excluded all other fruit on my little baking blog.  Maybe even a berry medley!  Oh yeah.  Definitely.   Off to bake!

I Am Baker

Giant Sugar Cookies with Pink Buttercream

Somedays just call for obnoxiously big cookies covered in pink frosting and sprinkles.

Giant Frosted Sugar Cookies!

 

I have been fighting the impending-winter-blues.  It’s almost a brain sabotage if you will.  The summer has been so lovely with so many blessings and so many adventures and I just can’t seem to enjoy the beauty in the moment, I have to go and dwell on winter coming.

Darn my silly tendencies and inability to just relish the moment!

Giant Frosted Sugar Cookies!

 

Anyway, in a somewhat pathetic attempt to live in the moment and make amazing memories with my babies, I made these cookies.  Well, we made these cookies.  They (my sweet kiddos) are quite good at the art of sugar cookie dough, and even better at licking the spoon.

That is the true reward right?

Giant Frosted Sugar Cookies!

 

I used my favorite (and seriously amazing) sugar cookie recipe and then a new recent love, this Cherry Frosting.

The combination is, it’s… well.

I need a moment.

Done.

It’s amazing.  I love it.  I want to eat all of it all the time ever.

And then head back to school for grammar lessons because, well, obvious.

Giant Sugar Cookies with Pink Buttercream

Ingredients

    Cookies
  • 1-½ cup butter or 3 sticks(I use unsalted)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Cherry Buttercream
  • 3 cups powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 cup maraschino cherry juice

Instructions

    Cookies
  1. In a mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until well combined, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add in 3 eggs, the extracts and mix until just combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Slowly (about a cup at a time) add flour to butter mixture and combine. (You can use a mixer or not, just depends on how strong you are.)
  4. I usually just mix ingredients until they are combined, if you over-mix this dough it will get tough.
  5. Put dough in some Saran wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. (If your dough is sticky, add more flour, up to 1 cup.) When you are ready to bake, heat oven to 350 degrees. (325 for convection)
  6. Roll dough out, use a 4-inch round cookies cutter to cut out cookies, and bake for 6-8 minutes on a parchment lined baking sheet. The cookies are better when slightly under-done, not golden around the edges.
  7. Cherry Buttercream
  8. In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.
  9. Add almond flavoring and cherry juice continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more juice if needed for spreading consistency.
  10. Top with Rainbow Sprinkles.
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Giant Frosted Sugar Cookies!

When I was a teenager I went to visit my aunt in Idaho and there was a bakery in the mall there that sold a cookie like this.  It was a sugar cookie with pink frosting.  I cannot remember the exact flavors, other than it was sweet and wonderful and brilliant.  I was trying to recreate that feeling and look, and just happened to recall that lovely pink cherry buttercream , so went with it.

I honestly had no intention of covering these in sprinkles, but it just seemed right.

Giant Frosted Sugar Cookies!

Can sprinkles ever be wrong?

I Am Baker

White Zucchini Cake

It is full-on zucchini season here, and I have no less than (and not even kidding) 50 zucchini’s to use up.  That is a tease and a warning, all wrapped up into one.

I decided to try and re-do my white zucchini cake with yellow zucchini, then cover it in gobs of chocolate frosting of course.  The moisture and delicate flavor in zucchini always make cake amazingly moist!!

White Zucchini Cake

Will you indulge me for a moment?  I would like to share a little story with you.

As I was standing in front of my KitchenAid® mixer it occurred to me that I should add blueberries to my cake.  But then I thought about all the other blueberry desserts I do (seeing as it is my favorite fruit and all) and how they are probably the least popular theme on my blog.  It seems I am the only one who love blueberry brownies and blueberry pizza and rustic blueberry tart and blueberry pie muffins.

So I abandoned the idea.  Then it turned into “that” time of day where everyone says, “Mom, I am hungry.”  “Mom, I lost my ipad.”  “Mom, the snakes are missing.”  “Mom, Olivia is eating something brown.”  “Mom.”  “Mom.” “MOM.”

And I was on my last nerve.

White Zucchini Cake

But, as I mentioned, I was standing in front of my mixer and it was on low and it was in the process of combining the butter, cocoa, milk and sugar I had added.  Chocolate frosting was in my immediate future, and that seemed to make things bearable.

Then it was all five kids in front of me at once.  And then my husband came home.  And then it was not bearable anymore.

Intuitive to the child-induced twitch that had me unable to see out of my left eye, my husband gathered up the kids and said, “When you are done with that cake, come and get us and we will have dinner.”

And they left.  And I had a moment to breath.  And so I took my time in frosting that white zucchini cake.  And I decided that the blueberry idea I had earlier was not such a bad idea after all.  And then I took my sweet time in adding blueberries, one at a time, all lined up just-so, all around the cake.  Then I did another row for good measure.

And we ate dinner and all was right with the world.

White Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Frosting and Blueberries

 

White Zucchini Cake

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup room temperature butter (1 stick)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp good quality vanilla
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup drained (mostly dry) finely shredded zucchini
  • Frosting
  • 1/2 cup room temperature butter (1 stick)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2-4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • pinch of table salt

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 8in baking pans.
  2. In mixer with paddle attachment, combine butter, sugar, vanilla and egg whites. Beat on medium speed for 30 seconds, then on high for 2-4 minutes. You are looking for a light and fluffy sugar mixture.
  3. In separate bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Alternating as you go, add the flour mixture and milk to sugar mixture. Mix on low until just combined. Remove bowl from mixer and zucchini, folding in by hand.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake 25-30 minutes.
  5. Frosting
  6. Add room temperature butter to mixer with paddle attachment and cream for 1 minute.
  7. Add in cocoa, sugar, vanilla and salt and mix on medium speed. You will be mixing that for a total of 3-5 minutes.
  8. After about 30 seconds, turn mixer to low and add in heavy cream, one tablespoon at a time. You can use more or less cream to reach your desired consistency. When I am using the icing to do a rough frost (like in the images with the recipe) I will use all the heavy cream so my frosting is very creamy and easy to spread.
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I love (and I do mean love) the little bittersweet burst of flavor from the blueberry in contrast with the rich buttercream, but if you want to save time, feel free to throw them onto the center of the cake and call it a day.

White Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Frosting and Blueberries

 

So let me tell you a few things about this cake.  It is moist.  As in, probably the most moist cake I have ever made.  The cake melts in your mouth, and the frosting and blueberries put it right over the top.  I am talking amazing.

Like one of my Top 10 Desserts EVER amazing.

White Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Frosting and Blueberries

If you do not have yellow zucchini you can swap out green zucchini.  If you do not want green flecks, you can simply peel the zucchini first.

The moral of the story with this cake is this: Make one and all the noise in your life will be dulled for a moment.  And your taste buds will be happy.  And your belly satisfied. And your heart full.

#socheesy #icanthelpmyself

I Am Baker

Banoffee Pie (and win a $100 Gift Card!!)

I have developed a newfound respect for all things U.K. lately, but most especially when it comes to food. The food traditions there date back much further than in the U.S., and it is fascinating to me how these recipes have been passed down for hundreds of years! Banoffee Pie! One specific recipe that seemed really interesting is the Banoffee Pie. A Banana + Toffee Pie! I had heard of a Banoffee Pie, but never experienced one.In my research, I would compare this pie to an American Apple pie in terms of adaptations. There are vast variations, modifications and differences in recipes. Each family seems to have a preferred style and texture that often varies from the next!

Banoffee Pie!Using a traditional base recipe, I simply modernized the look a bit by adding a (very American!) whipped cream swirl with sprinkles on top then drizzled in more caramel. I also used high-quality ingredients in my recipe, one of them being a Organic Turbinado Raw Cane Sugar from Tate + Lyle®.

This made a huge difference in the flavor of my toffee pie, and had everyone begging for more. Upon looking into it more, I discovered that Tate+Lyle® Sugars has graced Britain’s finest tables, including those of royalty, making it an integral part of England’s epicurean history for over 130 years.

So basically this means the Queen and I are friends right? Since we are eating the same sugar and all. ;)

Banoffee Pie

Ingredients

    Crust
  • 12 ounces fine shortbread crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • Pie
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 1/2 cup Tate + Lyle® Organic Turbinado Raw Cane Sugar
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2-3 ripe bananas
  • Whipped Cream Topping
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar

Instructions

  1. Prepare 8-inch springform pan.
  2. Crust
  3. In a bowl, combine shortbread crumbs and 4 tbsps melted butter with a fork. Press mixture into springform pan.
  4. Pie
  5. In a medium saucepan, melt 1 stick butter and 1/2 cup Tate + Lyle® Organic Turbinado Raw Cane Sugar over a low heat, stirring all the time until the sugar has dissolved.
  6. Add the condensed milk and bring to a rapid boil for about a minute, stirring all the time for a thick golden caramel. (It took about 6 minutes for the mixture to come to a boil.) Spread the caramel over the base, cool and then chill for about 1 hour, until firm or until ready to serve.
  7. After pie has chilled, you can add the banana's. Slice banana's into 1/4 inch slices and place over the top of the pie. This can be done in concentric circles or just piled on, as the banana's will be covered with whipped cream.
  8. Whipped Cream
  9. In a stand mixer with whisk attachment, whip cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. (about 1 1/2 minutes) Beat in confectioners sugar until peaks form. Make sure not to over-beat.
  10. Place whipped cream in pastry bag and pipe out swirls onto the chilled pie, then cover in chocolate jimmies. (sprinkles)
  11. Drizzle with caramel sauce if desired.
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Banoffee Pie!

The final result of this dessert is nothing short of amazing.  That rich buttery toffee filling paired with the buttery shortbread crust then covered in the light and airy whipped topping is phenomenal.  I can completely understand why this dessert is so popular and has been for so long!

And something that I know is important to so many people is the value in quality of product.  Tate+Lyle® Sugars are Fairtrade Certified, so your purchase means fair prices and opportunities for small scale sugar cane farmers to invest in their communities for a sustainable future. (Learn more about how Fairtrade makes a difference: http://goo.gl/Am8VfU)  

We have such a huge focus on ‘farm to table’ and sourcing our ingredients here that finding this out about a British brand really makes me want to support them!  

 

Banoffee Pie!

These delightful British sugars are available at Walmart. Watch for their new Tate+Lyle® Gourmet Flavored Beverage Syrups that are coming soon in Fall 2014 for brightening up coffee and tea time! Like their Facebook Page and join their email list for inspiring recipes and special offers from Tate+Lyle® Sugars. Now available at Walmart.

Just a note: If you are anything like me, you want to serve up a nice big slice of pie to your friends and family. I do not recommend that with this pie! Just a sliver will do! Anything bigger and you may have a few sugar comas on your hands. ;)

Now for the fun, would you like to win a $100 GIFT CARD TO WALMART?

Simply answer in the comments below, “Have you ever eaten a traditionally British food?”

Sweepstakes Rules:
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You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 8/6-9/6

Be sure to visit the  Tate + Lyle Sugars® brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

I Am Baker

chocolate zucchini cookies

Every now and then I get an idea for a recipe.  Usually it is simple as thinking about it, googling it, finding a previously published recipe, making it into my own, and getting on with my day.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Cookies!

 

That was not the case with these cookies.  I really wanted to find a zucchini cookie that was not too ‘cakey’ and that actually had a significant amount of zucchini in it.  I wanted it to be full of deep, dark, rich chocolate.  And I could not find it anywhere!

And after quite a bit of testing (it all involved chocolate so I am definitely not complaining) I finally found a recipe we all loved!

Triple Chocolate Zucchini Cookies!

 

It has three kinds of “chocolate.”  Cocoa, milk chocolate, and semi-sweet chocolate.

The combination is pretty darn tasty.

Triple Chocolate Zucchini Cookies!

 

Concerning chocolate chips in cookies, I have to share something that I have been doing lately.  Instead of adding all of the chocolate chips to the dough, I reserve a handful then add individual chips to the top before baking.  This helps people to identify what the cookies is should the chips not naturally be on the surface.

As you can see above, it is easy to see that there are two kinds of chips in the cookie!

triple chocolate zucchini cookies

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or bittersweet)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt (fine table salt)
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup grated and drained zucchini

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 325. Prepare cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, melt 2/3 cup of semi-sweet chocolate for 30 seconds. If chips are not melted, return to microwave in 10 second increments until mostly melted. Stir frequently. When melted, set aside.
  3. Using a grater, finely grate a medium sized zucchini. This should yield about 2 cups of zucchini. Place zucchini in a clean dish towel and squeeze vigorously, removing most of the liquid. You should now have about 1 cup of drained shredded zucchini. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, add flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Sift together with a whisk. Set aside.
  5. In a stand mixer or bowl with hand mixer, add in butter and sugars. Mix for about a minute, or until mixture is fully combined and starts to fluff.
  6. With stand mixer (or hand mixer) on low, add in egg and vanilla. Combine fully.
  7. Pour in melted chocolate and mix completely.
  8. Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture and mix on low speed until just incorporated.
  9. Remove bowl from stand mixer (or remove beaters) and fold in zucchini and milk chocolate chips by hand.
  10. With an ice cream scoop (or large spoon) drop balls of dough onto cookie sheet, about 8 per sheet. Leave 2-inches between each ball of dough. (I did not flatten cookies at any point)
  11. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  12. Remove from oven and let sit on pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
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One thing about zucchini recipes is people often refer to “small” or “medium” sized zucchini.  Since we tend to grow them huge around here, what exactly does that mean?  In my mind, a medium sized zucchini is about a foot long and has a larger girth than a golf ball.

I would consider a small zucchini (like what you buy in the grocery store) to be about 6-8 inches long and the girth of a half-dollar.

My preference in all zucchini consumption?  HUGE zucchini that rival baseball bats.  Not even kidding.

Also, I usually leave the skins ON, as I prefer for people to see the zucchini and know what they are in for.  If you want to be more ninja-like in your baking, simply peel the zucchini.

Chocolate Zucchini Cookies!

 

These are one of the best cookies I have ever had, zucchini or not.  The depth of flavor is going to be heaven to any chocolate lover.  And the fact that there is so much zucchini in there makes you feel good about what you are eating.

Triple Chocolate Zucchini Cookies!

If any of these cookies make it to day 2 or 3, be sure to pop them in the microwave for 10 seconds before nibbling.  (Love that you can see the milk chocolate and dark chocolate right next to each other in this picture!  I was mid-bite, but had to share)  There is something about the warm, oozing chocolate bits that make your eyes roll up in your head.

#trustme

I Am Baker

blueberry pie muffins

I have quite a few blueberry muffin recipes on my blog.  Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffins and Blueberry Breakfast Cake and Blueberry Banana Banana Bread with Brown Butter Glaze.  (not to mention all the other blueberry recipes and desserts!)

Blueberry Pie Muffin!

 

I had honestly thought there was no need to add a new blueberry muffin recipe here because you can’t (and shouldn’t) mess with perfection.

But, as is often the case, I was wrong.

There is a unique step in this recipe which involves making a “pie crust” crumb and then topping the muffin with it.

Blueberry Pie Muffin!

 

I was skeptical, because it adds a good 30 minutes to the prep time.  In this fast-paced world, who has time to let crumbs cool?

Well, I did it.

And I am so glad I did.

They add a texture that isn’t like other crumbs.  It isn’t bursts of sugar.  It isn’t flour-y clumps.

But let me tell what it is:

Buttery.  Crisp.  Firm, yet tender.  Flakey.  Golden.

Blueberry Pie Muffins!

 

That unique step is totally worth it.  (I can’t wait to try these on other muffin recipes!)

blueberry pie muffins

Ingredients

    Pie Crust Crumb
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Muffins
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups (12½ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (about 10 ounces) fresh blueberries, picked over

Instructions

  1. For the Pie Crust Crumb:
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray or butter a cast iron skillet.
  3. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and paddle on low speed until well mixed. Add the butter and water and paddle on low speed until the mixture starts to come together in small clusters.
  4. Spread the clusters in skillet. Bake for 10 minutes. When done the crumbs should still be a little moist to the touch; they will dry and harden as they cool.
  5. Let the crumbs cool at least five minutes before adding to muffins.
  6. For Muffins
  7. Heat oven to 425 degrees. (400 in convection oven)
  8. Prepare two muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray. (or goop, recipe below)
  9. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl.
  10. Mix sugar and eggs together in stand mixer until combined, about 45 seconds.
  11. Add in butter, buttermilk and vanilla and mix until until just combined.
  12. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in the flour mixture. Once mostly combined, gently add the blueberries into batter.
  13. Use ice cream scoop or large spoon to divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (approximately 1/4 heaping cup batter).
  14. Sprinkle top of muffins with pie crust crumble, about a teaspoon per muffin.
  15. Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17 to 19 minutes.
  16. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack.
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Adapted from a periodic table blog.

How to Make Pie Crust Crumbs!

 

Here is how my crumbs looked directly out of the mixer (on the left) and then after they had cooked and been crumbled. (right)  To crumble the pieces I used two forks and just separated as many big bits as I could.  They cooled enough to use after about 10 minutes.

(Snacking right out of the oven is not advised.  I totally did it anyway and the burnt tongue was worth it.)

If you do not have a cast iron skillet, you can brown crumbs on a cookie sheet.  You may need to cook for about 10 minutes longer and to break up crumbs half way through baking.

Blueberry Pie Muffin!

 

It’s been awhile since I made muffins and did not use cupcake liners.  Not using liners is something I should do more with breakfast muffins, as it allows the edges and sides to develop a nice crust that you just don’t achieve with cupcake liners.

More golden buttery flakey awesomeness.

You can butter or spray your pans or use my homemade goop, which is just homemade pan release.  It works great!

Blueberry Pie Muffin!

 

At the end of the day, I totally consider myself a blueberry muffin snob… they have to be amazing to earn my seal of approval… and these did.

That crumb adds such amazing texture and the recipe is seriously delish!  They are subtle perfection.