Monthly Archives: August 2010

Old Favorites

Last night I baked some of my old favorites… Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (in muffin form) and Mandelbrodt (a.k.a. mandel bread). Growing up, we could always count on Donna to be in the kitchen baking one of the two special treats. If she wasn’t baking them, we would be requesting them. My favorite banana bread had chocolate chips (shocking that I love anything with chocolate), and my favorite madel bread did not include nuts… nuts take away from the chocolate!

I started with the Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Muffins following this recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine the egg, oil, yogurt and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in bananas and chocolate chips. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees F for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

I substituted butter for the vegetable oil and vanilla Greek yogurt for the plain yogurt because that is what I had on hand.

You know the drill:

Combine the ingredients, mix them up (used the hand mixer for this one- then remembered why I love my mix-master so much!)

Poured the batter into one mini-muffin pan and one regular muffin pan and put them in the oven:

Mini muffins out of the oven, on the cooling rack:

Regular muffins out of the oven:

Kim… these are for you. Sorry- no chocolate frosting.

Next time, I plan to make my mom’s Banana Bread recipe that my fabulous bridesmaids included in my cook book:

I’ll have to stock up on shortening for this one : )

I then baked the Mandel Bread:

I used Donna’s recipe, which is her mother Esther’s recipe, that they have both followed for many years:

Again, mixed everything up, this time using the mix-master:

Separated the dough into 4 parts and rolled it out on the baking sheets:

Once this was baked for 30 minutes, I took rolls out of the oven, sliced them up (taste tested “the ends” my favorite pieces):

Sprinkled cinnamon sugar on the rest and put it back in the oven for 5 minutes. End result:

Yummy delicious Mandel Bread that reminds me of my childhood.

I’m going to drop some off for Donna so she can be my official taste-tester!

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Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I saw the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies on Jenna’s Blog last week- I knew I had to make them. They looked and sounded amazing. These cookies took a little more time and patience than what I’m used to- but I went for it. I realized that I could take my time and go for the quality over quantity. Typically when I bake- I like to bake 2-3 things at a time and I’m rushing through it. I followed each step very carefully to make sure that my cookies turned out perfect.

I started with the following ingredients:

Sifted together the flour and baking soda

Cut up 14 tablespoons of butter (yes, 14)

10 of the 14 tablespoons went into a pan over medium heat. This was the part that made me the most nervous! I had to brown the butter without burning it. This is the step that makes the cookies “perfect”

I was really excited to use one of my new pans for the first time! We’ve finally unpacked all of our gifts and organized them.

The recipe said that it would take about 2 minutes to melt the butter… it took longer for me

When all 10 tablespoons of butter were melted, this is when you start swirling the pan. You swirl so you don’t burn. I was told by the recipe that I would just know when the butter was ready. Again, this took longer for me, and made me super nervous…. But finally, after swirling the pan for about 5 minutes, I achieved the dark golden brown color, and the amazing caramel smell.

I pulled the butter off of the heat, poured it over the rest of the butter, and whisked it until all was melted.

Added the white sugar

Dark brown sugar

Vanilla

And salt

Whisked again

Whisked in 1 egg and 1 egg white

Then waited patiently for 3 minutes

Whisked again for 30 seconds- then I repeated this a few times in order to make the mixture thick and shiny.

Added the flour and baking soda and whisked until just combined

Chocolate chips

3 tablespoons of batter were scooped onto the cookie sheet to form each perfect cookie

By the way, the batter smelled AMAZING! Like caramel… yum!

I baked the first batch on parchment paper and the second on a silicone baking pad. It’s interesting because the batch baked on parchment paper turned out much better than the other. It’s strange because I’ve used it before without any problems. They cooked for a shorter amount of time- but still turned out fine.

These turned out to be delicious! I had one tonight… Marc will need to be the official taste tester so he’ll have a couple as well. I’ll have about 13 left after that. Who wants one?!??!

If you guys have any requests, please let me know. I love to bake, but I don’t love to eat everything by myself! I don’t make cakes or cupcakes that often, but would love to. Anything you’re craving that I can whip up for you?

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Recipe Fail

Thursday night was game night at Megan’s house. I was so excited to play our new favorite game- the Mexican Train. It’s a dominoes type game… lots of fun and very competitive (well the players get pretty competitive). I had originally planned to make a blueberry cobbler to bring for dessert. Instead, I decided to find a recipe that would use ingredients that I already had in the kitchen. I searched allrecipes.com and came up with

Peanut Butter Bars:

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Peanut-Butter-Bars-I/Detail.aspx

I gathered all of the ingredients:

Added softened butter (should have melted it) to the mix-master bowl

Crushed the graham crackers:

Added the graham crackers to the bowl

Then the powdered sugar & peanut butter

And mixed away

Once all of the ingredients were mixed up well, I added them to a 9×13 baking pan

Instead of chocolate chips, I chose to use Hershey Kisses because I had about a thousand of them left over from a bridal shower. This is what I concocted to melt the Kisses and the last of the peanut butter

It worked pretty well

I then spread that on top

The final product:

I refrigerated this overnight.

When it was time to serve the bars- I attempted to slice into them… unfortunately that did not go so well….

The bars came out o.k. They weren’t that bad, but weren’t my best creation. They totally fell apart when I served them (I had a feeling they would), and I thought they were too sweet and not peanut-buttery enough. I used the Kitchen-Aid Mixer and I think I should have mixed the bottom layer by hand and left it a little chunkier. If I ever need a peanut butter mousse I would make it like this again!

Confession:

I did not have enough graham crackers. I had about a cup and a half and the recipe called for 2 cups. I may have also skimped on the peanut butter…

Brooke said that she still loved them : )

A few of the Mexican Train players- Megan, Amy, Mike & Kevin:

Game night ended up being a blast! I was asked why I didn’t make Snickerdoodles (which I made for a previous game night) and when I would be making them again. The Snickerdoodle recipe came from my Martha Stewart cookie cook book. Everything that I have made from that book so far has turned out great. Just proves to me that I should stick with Martha!

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My New and Improved Blog!

I have switched to Word Press. Please visit http://www.chicagosweetsandtreats.blogspot.com for my original posts. Check back in a few days for a new and exciting post!

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