Barefoot Contessa 53 – Crinkled Chocolate Chip Cookies

Well look at this! A Barefoot Contessa recipe! The first since sometime in May…I think?

I was in the mood to bake, but didn’t really want to have to go out and purchase any additional ingredients. Which basically means that I had the necessary items to whip up chocolate chip cookies. Then came the decision to make this version from Ina.

Continue reading “Barefoot Contessa 53 – Crinkled Chocolate Chip Cookies”

Magnolia Bakery #11 Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones

Friday was the first day of October, and to be honest, I couldn’t have asked for a better Fall day! The sun was out, but it was a cooler day, and the air was nice and crisp. After taking my usual morning walk, I had the urge to make yummy Fall treats. I was craving the scent of pumpkin spice, warm baked goods, and maybe even chocolate!

Continue reading “Magnolia Bakery #11 Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones”

Magnolia Bakery Handbook Recipe #10 – Chocolate Banana Pudding

Over the Labor Day holiday, we had some people over the house. It was mainly just family, but, as you could have guessed, I had to make the dessert. I was really in the mood for banana pudding but I also wanted to make something beyond the traditional vanilla –especially since most of the people who came to the little get-together are chocolate-lovers.

It took me almost no time at all to realize that the Magnolia Bakery Handbook had a recipe for chocolate banana pudding and I was sold! Simple and delicious, but also something a little different than the regular banana pudding.

In the recipe, it asks you to use the chocolate Nilla wafers, but I wasn’t able to find them, so I used the regular vanilla and it worked just fine. Plus I find that store-bought, chocolate cookies are not really chocolate-tasting. So, for me, personally, the vanilla Nilla wafers probably were for the best. Since the chocolate Nilla wafers would have added a bit more chocolate flavor, I did use extra mini chocolate chips.

Also to bring out the flavor of the chocolate, I took a page out of Ina Garten’s cookbook and added about a half teaspoon of espresso powder to the whipped cream. This provided a subtle hint of coffee-flavor, but not too much to overwhelm the flavor of the chocolate. And better still, the caffeine didn’t keep anyone awake past their bedtime!

Since I’ve made banana puddings a couple of times before, Ina’s recipe and one from the Magnolia Bakery Handbook, I didn’t take too many pictures. But, I do highly recommend this dessert. It’s the perfect twist on the classic, but without changing too much or making you go crazy. As usual though, banana pudding won’t keep in the fridge for more than 2 days. After that the wafer cookies become too soggy — but, to be honest, I’ve never had my puddings last longer than a day after being served!

Magnolia Bakery #9 – Billionaire Brownies

It’s been a minute since I baked something out of the Magnolia Bakery Handbook, no?

The last recipe I made was the fabulous Blueberry Jamboree which I still have dreams about!

This time, I was in the mood for brownies but I wanted something a little bit fancier than your usual brownies. So, I decided to make the brownies fit for the rich: Billionaire Brownies. A shortbread crust drizzled with some caramel then topped with a lush fudge brownie sounds like heaven, right?

Well, it didn’t turn out exactly the way I thought it would. Here’s what happened.

Continue reading “Magnolia Bakery #9 – Billionaire Brownies”

Barefoot Contessa Recipe 52

This recipe comes from Parties! page 236.

The second baking recipe I made over the weekend comes from the early days of Ina. Her second cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Parties! takes on a menu-based theme. Recipes are organized not by type, but by party theme.

The recipe I chose to make from this book is one of three variations on the same base recipe. Combined, all three would make wonderful treats for friends or family. But the star recipe of the bake on Sunday was the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk cookies.

There were surprisingly so simple to make. At first I was hesitant because there isn’t a lot of peanut butter in the recipe and it makes a lot of cookies…like over three dozen! At least that’s how many I got out of it. However, upon biting into one, they tasted like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup! I was in heaven!

In the recipe, Ina states that these cookies should bake for 17 minutes. I did that for the first tray of 8 cookies. But when I removed them from the oven, I found them to be too browned and overdone. When tasted, they were much drier and didn’t really have a lot of flavor. They were overdone.

So, I adjusted for the remainder of the batch. I baked them for only 16 minutes and they were perfect! What a difference 60 seconds could make, huh? Who would have thought so much could happen in such a short amount of time?

These cookies are super simple but packed with flavor. Everyone loved them. I think they belong on the Favorites list!

Magnolia Bakery Handbook 6: Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Pudding

Over the weekend, I was finally able to see some friends for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Both of these friends were former co-workers who have moved onto bigger and better opportunities. It is so strange, sometimes. You go from seeing certain people almost every day for years then suddenly overnight it’s over. It’s the same thing with graduating high school and even college.

We still keep in touch and had plans to see each other regularly, but the pandemic kind of put those plans on hold. We are now hoping to restart our regular visits.

We decided that I would host the little get-together, so naturally, I made a couple things. I made a lovely dip as an appetizer. In fact, it was Ree Drummond’s (The Pioneer Woman) Eight-Layer Dip. But the star of the show was the dessert!

This dessert is featured in the Banana Pudding chapter of the Magnolia Bakery cookbook. Banana Pudding seems to be their signature treat at the bakery. The chapter contains variations on the basic BP recipe: salted caramel, java chip, peanut butter, etc.

All of them look delicious. So, I figured combining the deliciousness of banana pudding with Nutella would be a hit! And it was!

But, I will say, I think the recipe for Banana Pudding that I made from Ina’s Garten’s cookbook tasted better. Maybe next time I’ll try that recipe with the Nutella addition!

The BEST Brownies for 2021!

You may remember back in May I purchased the King Arthur Baking Company All-Purpose Baker’s Companion. Well, I finally had an opportunity to make one of the fabulous recipes in the book. The hardest part for me was deciding which recipe to make. I wanted something easy and a recipe that I had all or almost all of the ingredients already. Once I got to the Cookies and Bars chapter, the answer jumped right out at me.

Brownies! Fudge Brownies to be precise!

Continue reading “The BEST Brownies for 2021!”

My Birthday and the Cake!

My birthday was earlier this week, and as hinted at in last week’s post, I decided to bake my own cake!

After many recipe page views and checking a handful of different food blogs, I finally settled on one! I ended up going back to a tried and true baking blog, Sally’s Baking Addiction. This website features so many options to chose from, that it took a while to narrow it all down. I eventually decided on German Chocolate Cake!

Continue reading “My Birthday and the Cake!”

Barefoot Contessa Recipe 49 Boston Cream Pie

This recipe can be found in Comfort Food.

Over the weekend, some members of my family got together for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. It was nice to see some of these people after many months of not being able to do so.

With my new interest in baking, it was requested that I make dessert. Of course, I obliged. In fact, I made not only one, but two different desserts for the soiree.

The first dessert is one that caught my eye immediately upon thumbing through Ina’s latest cookbook. I’m not sure if it was the stellar food photography, the head notes, or the dessert itself. But Ina’s Boston Cream Pie was one I knew I had to make — and soon!

In the cookbook, Ina states that it took her almost 9 years to develop and perfect this recipe! And let me tell you: it is amazing! It was also well-received by the party guests. Ina is famous for creating simple recipes and enhancing classic dishes. Her Boston Cream Pie is definitely unlike anything you have tasted before. The additions of brandy and Grand Mariner allow the orange flavors to come alive and throw your taste buds a dance party!

This recipe was a multi-step process, but nothing was too overwhelming. It also allowed me to work on many different skills such as making pastry cream, chocolate ganache, and a sponge cake.

Here’s some photos of the various parts in the whole

The pastry cream which was flavored with brandy and Grand Mariner.
Melting chocolate for the ganache! This recipe combined bittersweet with semi-sweet chocolate to make a ganache that wasn’t too sweet.

And finally….

The finished cake! If you ask me, it looks like an over-sized Boston Cream Pie donut. But I guess that’s the point, right?

Happy baking!

Weekend Baking May 8, 2021

For a few months now, I have been OBSESSED with a baking blog I stumbled across one afternoon. Sally’s Baking Addiction, is my go-to place to find wonderful recipes that are well-tested and taste just as good as they look!

So far, I’ve made a few of her recipes and they’ve always turned out great. Shortly after signing up to receive her blog’s emails, I learned that she offers a monthly baking challenge. Which I thought would be a great thing for me to do. Usually, the recipes she chooses for the monthly challenge are complex and have special skills or non-standard ingredients. Other times they are just technically involved. Such as macaroons or hand pies.

Continue reading “Weekend Baking May 8, 2021”