Monday, October 1, 2012

Almond Bundt Cake


It's been a busy summer if you can't tell by the lack of posts. I can't believe it's fall already! A while back, some folks from work and I had to work late shifts for some 24-hr round the clock work. I was scheduled to go to work at 3pm, so I took some time in the morning to bake and bring something to perk people up during the overnight shift. I made this almond bundt cake and the oreo stuffed cookies. The cookies didn't make it past the first shift, and the bundt cake was gone by the time I left!

Since I reduced the amount of sugar, it was perfect for the non sweets people too. Some other alterations were made by looking at the comments on allrecipes. Since I wanted the almonds to shine, I added more almond extract and reduced the amount of vanilla. I only had soy milk on hand so I used that and it worked great. I didn't want the soy flavor to come out on the glaze, so I used warm water instead. The glaze didn't show as some people mentioned, but the almonds still stuck on the top because of the sticky glaze.

This cake was great to pair with the tons of coffee people were downing to keep awake. This is a great coffee cake or an anytime cake!


Almond Bundt Cake
made by cathy's kitchen journey
adapted from All Recipes





ingredients:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated suguar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1 cup milk (I used soy)
  • 1/4 cup milk or warm water
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 ccup toasted sliced almonds
directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a 10 inch bundt pan liberally with baking spray. Set aside
  2. Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, and ground almonds. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in eggs one at a time and combine well. Mix in the extracts.
  4. Add in flour mixture alternating with the milk, mixing until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 45-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. (Start checking early, as mine was done at around the 45 minute mark. Some ovens may take longer. )
  6. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes. Invert to a wire pan placed on top of a rimmed baking sheet and allow to cool for 10 minutes more. Using a toothpick, poke holes into the cake.
  7. Prepare the glaze by whisking together the powder sugar, milk or water, and almond extract. Once the mixture is smooth, add the sliced almonds. 
  8. Slowly pour the glaze on top of the cake, while patting the almonds to make sure it stays on. Some will slide off onto the pan. Once you've poured all the glaze, transfer to the rack to another rimmed pan and pour the remaining glaze from the first pan onto the cake. Repeat until you've poured as much  of the glaze on the cake as possible.
  9. Allow to cool, then serve
Yield: one 10 inch cake


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Monday, August 27, 2012

Whole Wheat Zucchini Brownies


My sister in law gave me a huge zucchini she grew in her garden. I really didn't know what to do with it savory-wise, so I ended up baking up a few things. One of the things I made were these "healthy" brownies, and it was a great decision! I've baked zucchini in a chocolate cake before and it was delicious, so I didn't hesitate any longer making this.

I first saw this on one of my friend's pins on pinterest. At first, I didn't give it a second look, I had pinned a few other zucchini recipes to try. When I was throwing out some ideas to the hubby, he wanted chocolate. Only one of the recipes I had included chocolate chips. I wasn't really feeling that recipe though, and neither was he.

Since this recipe was still front and center on my pinterest page, I decided to make this and it turned out great. When I told hubby it was "healthy", he didn't want to hear it! It does not taste healthy at all, and each square will cost you about 170 calories, which I don't think is bad at all. I love how hubby told me he liked the frosting, but he was actually talking about the gooey melted chocolate chips inside. Try this soon, you won't regret it!


Whole Wheat Zucchini Brownies
made by cathy's kitchen journey
adapted from Baltic Maid





ingredients:
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 cups grated zucchini (from 1 zucchini), excess water squeezed out (peeling optional)
  • 1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Liberally spray an 8x8 baking pan with baking spray, or grease and flour the pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon and cardamom. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract, sugar, salt, and applesauce.
  4. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients while whisking to combine. It's ok if it's thick at this point, the zucchini will help moisten the batter.
  5. Using a spatula, mix in the zucchini and chocolate chips until just combined.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean (we don't want it totally clean and dry!).
  8. Let cool in pan completely, then cut into 16 pieces.
Yield: 16 servings


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Monday, July 16, 2012

Cookies and Cream Cookies


I don't know how to describe these cookies except for heavenly! They're rich and buttery, and I love that they have my favorite cookies baked right into them!

I had a huge box of Oreos in my pantry because my sister helped me get them from Costco. I use some for the base of the red velvet cheesecake per my brother's birthday request, and still had a ton left over. Of course, since I love Oreos, I would have no problem eating the whole box..but it would take a while since I only eat one or 2 a day.

I pinned these cookies a while ago and I'm glad I made them! They're so easy to make and they taste great. It really is hard to describe! I had to stop myself from eating the whole batch! Luckily I was bringing them to a housewarming party, and they went like hotcakes!

I made these dairy free by swapping out the butter for Earth Balance Sticks. They still came out great! I also accidentally added 1 tsp of baking soda instead of the 1/2 it called for, but luckily it didn't make a big difference since there were enough cookies in the dough to keep it from totally flattening out. In the end, these still tasted like perfection. Try these, you won't regret it!


Cookies and Cream Cookies (Oreo Filled Cookies)
made by cathy's kitchen journey
adapted from Erica's Sweet Tooth





ingredients:
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter (I used vegan butter)
  • 6 TBSP granulated sugar
  • 6 TBSP light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 sleeve Oreo cookies, coarsely broken into pieces (13 cookies/sleeve from a bulk pack)

directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until fluffy.
  4. Add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine.
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined.
  6. Fold in Oreo pieces with a spatula.
  7. Using a small cookie scoop, drop cookies onto a greased cookie sheet or a sheet lined with parchment paper.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes on the top rack until edges start to turn golden brown.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool on the sheet on a rack for a few minutes before transferring to the rack to cool completely.
Yield: 2 dozen cookies


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Friday, June 1, 2012

Sauteed Spinach and Mushrooms


This is probably one of the easiest healthy side dishes to whip up even if you're pressed for time and have all the ingredients on hand. I purchased some fresh spinach, I think for the first time ever! Normally, I have frozen spinach on hand. However, I saw some fresh at the Chinese market and picked it up. It was crazy cheap, and it was a big bunch.

This dish is most definitely a power dish as well, considering all or most of the ingredients are basically super foods. Lucky for me, Gary loves all the ingredients, so I didn't have a hard time convincing him how delicious this was! The ginger and garlic added a nice flavor to the dish, and it wasn't too overpowering.

I used a wok for this, but a saute pan should work just as well. The spinach wilted significantly, so there was a lot more mushroom than spinach after it was cooked, so when I make this again, I might use 2 bunches or  try this with frozen spinach next time and see how it goes.


Sauteed Spinach and Mushrooms
a cathy's kitchen journey original




ingredients:
  • 1 TBSP canola oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TBSP fresh ginger, minced
  • 10 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 or 2 bunches fresh spinach (or a 10 oz package of frozen, thawed)
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

directions:
  1. In a hot wok, heat the oil. Add garlic and ginger and cook while stirring for 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
  2. Add the mushrooms and stir fry for a minute. Add the spinach and stir until it has wilted, continuing to stir for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Mix to coat well.
  4. Transfer to a bowl and serve.
Yield: 2 servings


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Friday, May 25, 2012

Spinach Potato Salad


Although these past few days have been rain filled spring weather, today marks the unofficial start of summer. While the official day doesn't start for another few weeks, people have already started their barbecues early this year!

We started a few weeks ago when the weather shot up to an unseasonable 80+ degrees. One of my favorite things to eat at a barbecue are actually the sides believe it or not. Since I don't eat too much red meat, I'm normally limited to grilled chicken and load up on sides.

One night, I was looking in my pantry and had a few odd and ends ingredients to use up. This recipe used up all my eggs, potatoes, and spinach! I decided to combine it all into this dish and it came out great! Although I didn't really measure the ingredients, I added mustard and mayo to taste, and that's about how much I used. Now with the weather warming up, this would be a great dish to add to your next cookout menu as well!


Spinach Potato Salad
a cathy's kitchen journey original recipe





ingredients:
  • 4 medium russet potatoes (or an equivalent amount of red potatoes)
  • one big handful baby spinach
  • 2 heaping TBSP mayo
  • 1 tsp spicy brown mustard
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

directions:
  1. Scrub the potatoes clean, peel if desired. Cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces.
  2. Steam in a pot with water for about 15 minutes, or until fork tender.
  3. Remove from heat, transfer to a large bowl and immediately add the spinach to wilt slightly. Mix in the remaining ingredients.
  4. Cool in the fridge before serving.
Yield: 4 servings


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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Nutella Oatmeal Thins


I first made these cookies as part of my Christmas cookie tins. They were such a big hit that I decided to make them again for Mother's Day, as it makes a lot of cookies! I celebrated with my mom, aunts, cousins, and many others, so I would need enough for everybody!

If the nutella didn't convince you that this cookie is awesome already, I don't know how else to sell you on it! It's a thin little crispy wafer that are small enough that you don't have to feel guilty eating 2 or 3 or more! It makes a whole lot to share with others. They're thin and They're just a nutella/chocolate version of cute lacy oatmeal cookies and they're just divine. These would go great in any party or brunch or whatever event you can think of!

Even though these were made slightly larger than the originals, I still got a few dozen cookies. I lost track after the first 4 dozen :). Even at 11 minutes in my oven, they were already crispy. These were very buttery, chocolatey, and just the perfect bites of cookie.


Nutella Oatmeal Thins
made by cathy's kitchen journey
adapted from Baking Bites





ingredients:
  • 1 cup plus 2 TBSP all purpose flour
  • 1 TBSP baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 6 TBSP nutella
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup quick cooking oats (not instant or regular)

directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with baking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together butter, nutella and the sugars until mixture is fluffy. Beat in the egg and the egg yolk, followed by the vanilla extract.
  4. Working at a low speed or by hand, gradually blend in the flour mixture and the oats (if you don’t have quick-cooking, pulse whole rolled oats in the food processor to chop them up a bit).
  5. Drop teaspoonfuls of the batter (1/2-inch balls) onto prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 2-inches between cookies to allow for spread. I used a cookie scoop, which is about 1" in diameter.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes, until cookies are set. (11 minutes if using the cookie scoop)
  7. Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. If spraying the pan, transfer to pan after a few minutes using a spatula. Otherwise, it may crack when lifted.
  8. Store in an airtight container when cool.
Yield: 5-7 dozen depending on how big you make them


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Friday, May 18, 2012

Garlic Breadsticks


One day, I brought over an experimental loaf of bread over to my family to taste test. The loaf was still steaming hot, fresh from my breadmaker. Nobody could resist, and I got some good feedback for future loaves. My brother then promptly asked if I can make garlic bread. I said ok, but never said when I would actually make it.

When I made the pizza for the baby shower, I wanted to use some dough to make garlic breadsticks as well, but I wasn't sure how many pizzas the batch of dough would make. Since I used up all the dough for pizza, I didn't get a chance to make it. Since my brother was the one who requested the garlic bread in the first place, I decided to make it for his birthday.

For the garlic lovers out there, there's an abundant amount of garlic. My family loves it, so beware our wrath after we eat this! For those who don't like too much garlic, I was told that the garlic wasn't to prominent. I'm not sure how it works, but there was just enough garlic to satisfy everyone! The garlic haters even came back for more!

Although the dough didn't brown as much as I want, I wanted to keep it chewy. If I baked it any longer, it would have been crispy breadsticks. I may turn up the heat next time to see how it turns out.


Garlic Breadsticks
made by cathy's kitchen journey
adapted from Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day





ingredients:

for the dough (use a half batch):
  • 3 cups + 3 tablespoons (25 1/2 ounces) lukewarm water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 TBSP instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 TBSP kosher salt
  • 9 cups (38 ounces) all purpose flour
for the glaze:
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, crushed or finely minced

directions:
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix until thoroughly moistened (use a spatula if necessary).
  2. Loosely cover and set aside in a warm area. Let rise for 2 hours.
  3. After 2 hours, transfer the covered bowl to the fridge for at least 3 hours, or up to 7 days.

to make breadsticks:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine the 1/3  cup olive oil and garlic in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. To make breadsticks, portion out 1/3 of the batch of dough.
  3. Roll between parchment or wax paper to a 9x6 in rectangle. Cut into 9 1" wide pieces. Transfer to a baking pan, lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Stretching out the dough to lengthen as desired. Repeat with remaining dough.
  4. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the breadsticks with the olive oil and garlic mixture.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on the edges (mine didn't darken too much).
  6. Remove from oven and brush on more of the olive oil and garlic. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
  7. Serve with your favorite marinara sauce.
Yield: ~27 breadsticks


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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Kale and Basil Pesto


With an abundance of kale left, along with a full windowsill basil plant, I decided to make some pesto. I've seen pesto using all sorts of greens before, so I decided to modify a recipe I've used before with success. This came out great, and Gary ate it even with the tri-colored pasta he hates so much :).


This is a great alternative to an all basil pesto. I've also substituted all spinach which works great as well. I only used about half the batch in the 12 oz pasta. Use this as a substitute for mayo or mustard for a great sandwich.


Kale and Basil Pesto
made by cathy's kitchen journey
adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance





ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup toasted nuts (I used walnuts)
  • 2 cups, packed baby kale
  • 1 cup, packed basil
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp lemon juice (half a lemon)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup olive oil

directions:
  1. Combine all ingredients (except olive oil) in food processor and blend together.
  2. Slowly pour in olive oil into the feeding tube while continuing to blend until desired consistency.
  3. Serve with pasta or spread on bread in place of mayo!
  4. To store leftovers, portion out the pesto into ice cube trays. Once frozen, pop out and place in a freezer bag. Defrost and use as desired.
Yield: ~1 1/2 cup


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Friday, May 4, 2012

Chocolate Cranberry Shortbread Cookies


For this recipe swap, we are assigned a random blog and we would choose any recipe from that blog. I was assigned JBean Cuisine. I had a tough time choosing which recipe to make. I probably bookmarked half a dozen recipes before I finally chose these chocolate cherry shortbread cookies. These look like a great sharable recipe, and I love that she also provide a vegan alternative.

I've never been a huge fan of shortbread cookies. I'm probably one of the few people in the world who doesn't like butter on everything. Give me plain lightly salted steamed veggies and I'm a happy camper! However, even though these shortbread cookies have a pound of butter in them, it isn't too rich and balances out nicely with the chocolate and fruit. I guess I'm not a fan of plain shortbread, but as long as they have some sort of mix-in to cut the butter taste for me it's fine. It was slightly powdery from the cornstarch, so I might reduce slightly next time to see how it turns out.  My family liked them, but my sister mentioned that there wasn't a lot of butter taste, even before I said anything.

I didn't need 7 dozen of these things, so I halved the recipe. I got about 2 1/2 dozen cookies from that batch. I also swapped out cranberries, since I have a lot of them!

Remember to check out Sarah's blog for the full swap round up!


Chocolate Cranberry Shortbread Cookies
made by cathy's kitchen journey
adapted from JBean Cuisine





ingredients:
  • 2 cups (1 lb) butter, softened (sub vegan butter to make it vegan!)
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, chopped

directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 300° F.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flour and cornstarch. Set aside.
  3. Using your stand-mixer with your beater blade (or in a large bowl) beat together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla.
  4. Add the flour mixture into the butter mixture until smooth.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips and cranberries to the cookie batter.
  6. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop dough and drop onto ungreased or parchment-lined cookie sheets. Press down to flatten (these don't spread) Bake 25-30 minutes (adjust to about 18-20 minutes if baking in convection oven).
  7. Remove from oven and transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  8. Store in an airtight container or freeze.
Yield: ~7 dozen (I got 2 1/2 dozen when halved)


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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Gingered Kale and Bok Choy


I swear that Gary changes is mind about foods every other day. One day, we saw a Vitamix demo at Whole Foods. The guy doing the demo made a green smoothie with all kinds of fruits and kale. He thought it tasted good. Meanwhile, I've tried to give him a green monster smoothie a while back and he didn't like it.

So fast forward to the present, I decided to pick up some kale for smoothies, or just to eat. I told him I would make a smoothie, but he didn't want any part of that! Of course, I mentioned that he liked it before, and he even likes the Bolthouse bottled ones as well as the Naked Juices, but NO!

OK, fine. I decided to find another way to use up the kale and found this recipe. It's a simple and quick stir-fried veggie dish that is similar to how I am used to frying vegetables, in a wok! I've used ginger with mushrooms, and I usually use garlic to stirfry vegetables. I don't know why I didn't think of stir frying the veggies in ginger too!

I had all the ingredients on hand. I omitted the cilantro since I'm not a huge fan. I've started to like it in certain dishes, but I wasn't sure how it would taste in this. I also added some almonds as a garnish for extra crunch.


Gingered Kale and Bok Choy
made by cathy's kitchen journey
adapted from All the Good Blog Names are Taken





ingredients:
  • 1 big handful baby kale, roughly chopped into 1" pieces
  • 5 heads baby bok choy or shanghai bok choy, roughly chopped into 1" pieces
  • 1 TBSP canola oil
  • 1 TBSP minced ginger
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • salt to taste
  • slivered almonds for garnish (optional)

directions:
  1. Clean and rinse the vegetables thoroughly to get the sand out. Roughly chop into 1" pieces.
  2. In a hot wok, add the oil and heat. Add ginger and mix continuously for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the vegetables, mix with the wok spatula until they're vibrant green, 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add a few sprinkles of salt, and soy sauce. Mix for another 2-3 minutes.
  5. Transfer vegetables to a bowl and top with slivered almonds.
Yield: 3-4 servings


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Friday, April 20, 2012

Grammy's Chocolate Cookies


I really feel like I'm in a rut lately, and I haven't been cooking or blogging as much. I'm grateful for the recipe swaps to get my butt into gear so I can actually make something in the kitchen!

The theme for this latest swap is Celebrity Recipes. I received this Martha Stewart recipe for Grammy's Chocolate Cookies. When I received it, I had to look back to make sure I haven't made it before! I've bookmarked this for a while now, but never had the chance to make it.

This past weekend was the first warm weekend of the year. It was over 80°, so my sisters decided to bring out the grill! I brought the bulk of the cookies over, and they went over really well. Even with 2 cups of sugar, it wasn't too sweet, and the turbinado sugar I rolled it in added a nice crunch (and added some nice sparkle). I used kosher salt for this, as I do with all baked goods now, and it added a slight hint of salt that was perfect. I brought the rest to work, and it was a huge hit!


Very rarely do I get the exact amount of cookies a recipe calls for. I actually used a Martha Stewart cookie scoop to portion out the dough, and it made exactly 3 1/2 dozen. I use this all the time for drop cookies as well.

As always, remember to check out Sarah's blog for the full swap round up, including my submission of Tyler Florence's shrimp scampi.


Grammy's Dark Chocolate Cookies
made by cathy's kitchen journey
adapted from Just Baked, originally from Martha Stewart's Cookies





ingredients:
  • 2 cups plus 2 TBSP all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • about 3/4 cup sanding sugar for rolling (I used turbinado sugar)

directions:
  1. In a medium bowl, sift or whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat to combine. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture; beat to combine. Form dough into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill until dough is firm, about 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350° degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment, or spray with cooking spray.
  4. Using a small cookie scoop, portion out dough and roll dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Roll each ball in the sanding sugar. Place on prepared baking sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until set, about 10 to 12 minutes, rotating halfway through.
  5. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.
Yield: 3 1/2 dozen


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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

No Knead Pizza Dough


This past weekend, my girlfriends got together to throw one of my high school girlfriend a baby shower. She is the first one of our group to have a baby and we wanted to do something special for her.


Since the mom-to-be has a dairy allergy, we set out to make everything dairy free. I made these vegan chocolate cupcakes that were a huge hit! I started out using the 2D tip, but the frosting ended up stringy since I used half shortening. It looked fine for the pink vanilla frosting since it looked like flowers but I just used a piping bag without a tip for the chocolate. I topped them with cupcake toppers from here.

We really had a mish-mosh of a menu that included Chinese and Italian cuisines. Since my friend loves pizza, I decided to make pizza for her using vegan cheese.


I've made pizza before, but I really hate kneading dough, even if it's with the Kitchenaid mixer. I've tried it in the bread maker with the dough cycle as well, but it wasn't quite right. This dough was perfect for me, since it required no kneading! All I had to do was dump all the ingredients in a bowl, mix, then leave it alone! Since I had so many other things to for the party, I decided to give this a go.

I halved the recipe and it made 3 good sized pies (about 12" each). I was going to try making garlic bread with this as well, but I ended up using it all for pizza.


No Knead Pizza Dough
made by cathy's kitchen journey
as seen on King Arthur Flour, originally from Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day





ingredients:
  • 3 cups + 3 tablespoons (25 1/2 ounces) lukewarm water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 TBSP instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 TBSP kosher salt
  • 9 cups (38 ounces) all purpose flour

directions:
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix until thoroughly moistened (use a spatula if necessary).
  2. Loosely cover and set aside in a warm area. Let rise for 2 hours.
  3. After 2 hours, transfer the covered bowl to the fridge for at least 3 hours, or up to 7 days.

to make pizza:
  1. Preheat oven and stone (if using) to 450° F.
  2. To make pizza, portion out a softball sized piece of dough (about 8 oz).
  3. Dust a piece of parchment with cornmeal and place the dough on top. Add another piece of parchment over the dough and roll the dough out between the 2 pieces of parchment. Leave the dough to sit for 30 minutes to reduce shrinkage.
  4. Remove the top piece of parchment, top with pizza sauce, cheese and choice of toppings. Transfer to baking stone or pan with the parchment. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, depending on the thickness of your pizza.
Yield: I halved the dough recipe, which yielded 3 pies


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Friday, April 6, 2012

Cheese Danishes


I love turnovers or hand pies. They're just so convenient and portable to eat, no utensils required!

For our fruit recipe exchange, I received these cheese danishes. I made these for as another snack for the get together I had. We all played this board game called Quelf. It was a pretty interesting game, as none of us played it before, and I had to crawl under a table at one point! One of the things we had to do whenever anybody rolled a 1 on the die was to yell "all hail the Chinese cheese biscuit!", which was quite coincidental because I had just served these.

I originally had some difficulty using the puff pastry since I took it out of the fridge ahead of time. I was concerned that it had not fully thawed in the fridge. BIG mistake! It made the dough too tough to work with. Make sure the dough is cold, straight from the fridge, or you'll have a tough time unfolding!

A few changes I made were using Neufchâtel cheese to lighten it up, using reconstituted lemon peel from Penzeys, and using the leftover egg whites as a wash. It came out great and everybody enjoyed it, even the cheese haters! I double this to feed everybody and as I thought, I had some cheese filling left. I ended up throwing it away, but I'm sure it can be used to spread on bread or something!

Remember to check out Sarah's blog for the full round up including my submission for blueberry buckle!


Cheese and Fruit Preserve Danishes
made by cathy's kitchen journey
adapted from Simple Gourmet Cooking





ingredients:
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, separated (reserve whites for egg wash)
  • 2 TBSP ricotta cheese
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 box frozen puff pastry, defrosted in refrigerator
  • 8 TBSP fruit preserves (I used raspberry)

directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.
  2. Cream the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on low speed until smooth. With the mixer still on low, add the egg yolks, ricotta, lemon zest, vanilla, and salt and mix until just combined (do not whip). Turn off the mixer, and set mixture aside
  3. Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface and roll it slightly with a lightly floured rolling pin until it's a 10 by 10-inch square. (Use one at a time, leaving one in the fridge until ready to use.) Using a sharp knife or pastry cutter, cut the sheet into quarters with a sharp knife.
  4. Place a heaping tablespoon of cheese filling into the middle of each of the 4 squares (I used a cookie scoop). If using, place an additional tablespoon of desired filling into each pastry.
  5. Brush the edge of each pastry with the egg wash and fold 2 opposite corners to the center, brushing and overlapping the corners of each pastry so that they stick together tightly. Crimp the edges together with a fork to seal.
  6. Lightly brush the top of the pastries with egg wash. Place the pastries on the prepared sheet pan. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry and refrigerate the danishes for 15 minutes.
  7. Bake the pastries for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan once during baking, until puffed and light brown. Serve warm.

Yield: 8 servings


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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chocolate Chip Pecan Blondies


I just realized that I've been making a lot of bar treats to share. It's just that it's so darn easy to make and share treats this way. Lots easier than waiting for each batch of drop cookies to bake for sure! This blondie recipe is no different in terms of a quick bar treat. This was super easy to make and took no time at all. The tough part was waiting for them to cool before slicing and devouring!

I made these the morning of the day some friends came over to hang out. It was a nice get together. They brought lunch, so I provided some treats and desserts. This was one of the desserts I made for everyone.

After I transferred the contents into my pan, I realized I didn't add any baking soda. I read and re-read the directions probably 10 times until I saw in the comments that there was no leavening needed. Because of that, the bars came out all even and level. It and a very nice caramel taste from the butter and sugar, and the pecans provided a nice crunch. To me, it was sweet, but not too overly sweet that it left a sugar aftertaste and headache. My brother ate 2 pieces and he's not a huge sweets fan!

I did cut this into 12 pieces, thinking that the 16 pieces would be too small, and 9 would be too big. I thought they were the perfect size for adults, but I would cut them smaller if serving to kids.


Chocolate Chip Pecan Blondies
made by cathy's kitchen journey
adapted from Once Upon a Chef





ingredients:
  • 8 TBSP (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour (spooned into measuring cups, then leveled off)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat melted butter with sugars until well combined, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla.
  3. On low speed, mix in flour and salt until just blended, do not overmix. Gently stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Transfer batter to prepared pan.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 23-25 minutes, until top is lightly golden and toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean. Set pan on a wire rack and let cool completely. Transfer the blondies to a cutting board and cut into 12-16 squares, or to desired size.
Yield: 12-16 servings


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Friday, March 23, 2012

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Snack Cake


For this latest recipe swap, I received Kate's blog. I had my choice of anything I wanted to make, but I had quite a difficult time narrowing it down to one recipe! I wanted to make a dessert, but didn't really have an occasion to make or bring a decadent dessert. While her chocolate peanut butter cheesecake looked amazing, I knew I had to make the peanut butter oatmeal snack cake when I saw it pop up.

I love how this dessert isn't too sweet and it's pretty healthy to boot. It had a great salty/sweet taste. My peanut butter loving aunt wanted to hoard this all for herself. Pretty much all the fat is from the peanut butter, and since I use natural pb with no added sugars or anything, I had no guilt eating this for breakfast! ;)

I did cut the cake into 16 pieces instead of 9. It was pretty dense, so a little when a long way, and you definitely want a glass of milk or coffee or something to wash it down with. I did replace the milk with soy milk powder with water since I usually don't have milk on hand. Doing this ended up making this vegan (as long as your chips are dairy free), which is a plus in my book!

As always, remember to check out Sarah's blog for the full roundup of recipe swap recipes. I'm curious to find out who got my blog and what they picked!


Peanut Butter Oatmeal Snack Cake
made by cathy's kitchen journey
adapted from Kate's Recipe Box





ingredients:
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used soy milk powder with water)
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a metal 8x8 pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Beat the peanut butter and sugar in your mixer at high speed until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and mix until combined.
  4. Slowly add in dry ingredients while beating at medium speed. The mixture will be dry and look like coarse sand.
  5. Reduce speed to low and slowly pour in milk. Mix until a dough ball forms. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Form a dough ball with your hands then transfer to the prepared pan. Press the dough evenly in the pan.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  8. Let cool, then cut into 16 pieces (or however big you want them!)
Yield: 9-16 servings


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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Vegan Stuffed Shells


As I mentioned earlier. Gary really missed stuffed shells. While I made the lasagna with the filling, he still wanted stuffed shells. I decided to make it since I wanted to try out the filling with the spinach.

I found it really weird that Gary has never mentioned anything about stuffed shells in the 6 years we've lived together. That might be one of the reasons I've never made before, but I digress.

Although the original said to scoop 2 TBSP of filling in each shell, I found that to be a bit much. I used a medium cookie scoop, which was about 1 TBSP of filling. It made it a lot easier to fill as well. Even doing that, I still have some shells left over. You can save them and serve with sauce or use them in another recipe.


Vegan Stuffed Shells
made by cathy's kitchen journey
adapted from PBS Food





ingredients:
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 16-oz block extra firm tofu
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 TBSP nutritional yeast
  • 1 10-oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1 box jumbo shells
  • 1 24-26 oz jar marinara sauce

directions:
  1. Drain the tofu and pat dry with paper towels, lightly squeeze out extra water. Crumble into the bowl of a food processor or high-speed blender along with olive oil, salt, oregano, garlic and nutritional yeast. Process on high until smooth and “ricotta-like”.
  2. Transfer mixture to a bowl and mix in the defrosted spinach to the blended tofu mixture.
  3. Cook shells in boiling salted water until el dente. Drain, and add cold water to so it's easier to handle.
  4. Preheat oven to 350° F. Pour about ½ cup pasta sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan. Using a medium cookie scoop, stuff shells with 1-2 T of filling and place in pan, seam side down. Repeat until all shells have been stuffed. (I had leftover shells)
  5. Pour remaining pasta sauce over shells, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Yield: 6-8 servings


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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Caramelized Baked Chicken Wings


A couple of friends were coming over for lunch and I wanted something easy to make that would also taste phenomenal. I saw this recipe on allrecipes.com and it looked pretty simple. I had all the ingredients, so I decided to make this. This was great for me because it took minimal prep time, and all I had to do was cook the sauce then pop it in the oven. Great for someone like me who wants to sleep late and still want lunch! ;)

As usual I went through some of the comments to see how some people have adapted the recipe. Most of the time, people don't rate honestly on all recipes. They've adapted the recipe significantly then still in turn give the recipe 5 stars. It's kind of unreliable, and I have to take the comments with a grain of salt. Especially when I know my own tastes.

One of the comments mentioned to cook the sauce to thicken it first before adding to the chicken. I decided to do that first, but in the end, my sauce wasn't too thick. Now, looking back at the comments, she also mentioned to add cornstarch. I've adjusted the recipe below to include the cornstarch. Even without the full caramelization of the wings, the flavor turned out great!


Caramelized Baked Chicken Wings
made by cathy's kitchen journey
adapted from allrecipes.com




ingredients:
  • 3 lb (about 20 pieces) chicken wings
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 TBSP ketchup
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 TBSP cornstarch
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • minced scallion for garnish (optional)

directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F (190° C).
  2. Mix together the oil, soy sauce, ketchup, honey, garlic, and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes.  
  3. Place chicken in a single layer in a 9x13 inch glass baking dish. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the chicken to complete cover.
  4. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until sauce is caramelized.
  5. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle any remaining sauce over the chicken.
Yield: 4 servings



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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Vegan Zucchini Lasagna


When I first saw this recipe for the tofu ricotta, I knew it would be a winner. I've used tofu as a ricotta replacement before, and it worked very well. However, at that time, I didn't have as much knowledge I have now about tofu.

I've always been a fan of tofu, but I never really knew the difference between firm or silken or whatnot. I just ate anything my mom fed me. Now that I have to find dairy alternatives, I have to be creative in what I use. This tofu ricotta worked out beautifully and you really wouldn't believe it's vegan until I tell you.

Gary had a hankering for stuffed shells earlier in the week. Lucky for him, I had this recipe in my back pocket and I was already planning on making it. He thought the filling was perfect for shells, and of course it worked well in lasagna too, as I first thought when I saw this. Try this, and I bet you won't miss the cheese either!


Vegan Zucchini Lasagna
made by cathy's kitchen journey
tofu "ricotta" adapted from PBS Food





ingredients:
  • 9 lasagna noodles
  • 1 block (16 oz) firm or extra firm tofu, drained
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 TBSP nutritional yeast
  • 1 large zucchini, peeled and slice lengthwise
  • 1 24 oz jar marinara sauce
  • vegan cheese (optional)
  • vegan parmesan (optional)

directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water, then boil lasagna noodles for 10 minutes. Once done, drain and add cold water.
  2. In a food processor, blend the tofu, oil, salt, oregano, garlic and nutritional yeast until smooth and the consistency of ricotta.
  3. Peel and slice the zucchini lengthwise with a mandolin. 
  4. In a 9x13 baking dish, add 1/2 cup of the sauce.
  5. Pat dry 3 lasagna noodles and add to the pan. Spread half the tofu mixture (you might have to use your hands), then layer with half the zucchini, overlapping slightly.
  6. Add 1/2 cup sauce then layer with 3 more noodles, the remaining tofu, and the remaining zucchini. Then top with another 1/2 cup sauce.
  7. Top with remaining 3 noodles, then pour the remaining sauce on top.
  8. Cover the pan loosely with foil, then bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes.
  9. During the last 5 minutes, top with cheese and sprinkle with parmesan if desired.
  10. Let rest for 5 minutes. Run a knife through to cut into 9 even pieces.
Yield: 9 servings


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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Filipino Grilled Chicken


When I first started documenting my kitchen journey, I never thought I would meet such a great community of food bloggers. I often visit forums and chat with a few online. We follow each other on twitter. We've become friends over the years and we've gotten to know each other, even when most of them are many miles away.

While I've met some in person, I've yet to meet Krystal. She's one of the ladies I've met chatting online. Her and her husband, Eric are having a baby soon, and I delighted when I was asked to make something for her virtual baby shower, hosted by our wonderful Joelen.

Since Krystal is Filipino and her husband is Cuban, we were asked to make something inspired by their heritage. I decided to make this Filipino grilled chicken. I originally wanted to bake this since it wasn't quite bbq weather, which would defeat the purpose of this being grilled chicken. Then I remembered that I had bought a stove top griddle way back when I was still living with my parents! I decided it was time to take it out and take it for a test drive.

This came out very well. Since I used the boneless chicken thighs, they cooked up fast. I only had 3/4 cup vinegar left, so I only used that much. There was still plenty of liquid to marinade the chicken. The sweetness of the sugar and soda cut the vinegar very nicely, and the flavors worked well together. I can't wait til grilling season to try this again!


Filipino Grilled Chicken (Inihaw na manok)
made by cathy's kitchen journey
adapted from The Ivory Hut





ingredients:
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 12 oz lemon-lime soda (such as 7-up, Sprite, or Sierra Mist)
  • 3 bay leaves, torn or crushed
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 TBSP ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs chicken (I used boneless skinless thighs)


directions:
  1. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients except chicken. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved.. Reserve half for basting in a separate container with a lid.
  2. Place the chicken in a plastic zip top bag. Pour the the marinade into the bag. Seal tightly and mix the liquid around to coat the chicken. Place in fridge to marinate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  3. When ready to grill, take the chicken out of the fridge and let come to room temperature. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on a plate. Discard marinade.
  4. In a sauce pan, bring the reserved marinade to a boil over medium-high heat until it has reduced to a sticky syrup.
  5. Bring the grill to 350° F or heat on medium heat. Grill the chicken for 10 minutes each side, basting each side with the sticky syrup. [Depending on the size of your chicken, cook time may be longer. My chicken pieces were flat, so they cooked fairly quick on the grill.]
  6. Cook until juices run clear. Take the chicken off the grill and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Yield: 6-8 servings


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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Braised Moroccan Chicken


Sometimes we get bored of the same old thing. Especially with chicken recipes. It's one of our main proteins, so there's so much you can do with chicken before you get bored with it. It's not like we've been in a rut lately. I have been trying new things in the kitchen, but we have our basics we always gravitate towards.

I'm glad I tried this recipe, even though I forgot about bookmarking it a while back from Weelicious. Even though her blog caters to kids, there are a lot of great recipes for everybody!

I had everything on hand to make this and it was so simple to make. The chicken was moist and flavorful because of the dark meat. If you haven't tried dark meat before because white is technically slightly better for you, try it! I didn't really think the short cooking time and the simple ingredients would yield such fantastic results, but I'm now a believer. Simpler is sometimes better, and this recipe proves it. This will definitely go in my rotation more often.


Braised Moroccan Chicken
made by cathy's kitchen journey
adapted from Weelicious





ingredients:
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 small onion, cut in half then sliced thin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
  • 1 lb (about 4-5 pieces) boneless, skinless chicken thighs

directions:
  1. In a hot pan on medium heat, heat the oil. Add onions and saute for 5 minutes or until translucent.
  2. Add the spices and tomatoes, then bring to a boil.
  3. Add the beans and chicken, and stir to coat thoroughly.
  4. Reduce heat to medium low to simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  5. Serve over your choice of grains.
Yield: 4 servings when served with rice or other grain


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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Peanut Butter Cup Blondies


February is heart health month, and we do various things in our office to raise money for the American Heart Association. We had a bake sale (oh the irony!) and I brought these peanut butter cup blondies plus some red velvet cupcakes decorated to look like roses!


I added a few drops of gel food coloring to get the pink shade of frosting. I used the 2D Wilton tip and piped from the inside out to create the rose effect. Not all of them came out as I liked, but everybody thought they were really cute and some told me they looked like a bouquet of roses.

Back to the blondies. When I first saw this recipe, I didn't think this recipe is in any way light. Come on, peanut butter cups, butter, eggs, and sugar? Then I looked and it was cut into 20 pieces. Well, if you eat an square inch blondie full of fat, I guess it's light? The picture on the site is really deceiving and it looks like it's a giant blondie.

I read the rave reviews, and most mentioned they had to bake for a lot longer, but they didn't mention how much longer. I played it by ear and tested it every few minutes. The batter seemed to come out clean at 23 minutes. When I cut into it, there were still a slight bit that was undercooked, but that's totally fine with me. If you need it cooked a little longer, by all means, go ahead.

To be more realistic, I cut this into 12 pieces, 16 would have worked too if I was sharing with my family. I brought it to the bake sale and it was the first to go within the first half hour of the sale. That has to say something right? Try this, you won't regret it!


Peanut Butter Cup Blondies
made by cathy's kitchen journey
adapted from Cooking Light





ingredients:
  • 5 3/5 ounces (about 1 1/4 cup) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup (half stick) butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 TBSP milk (whatever you have on hand, I used soy)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 15 mini peanut butter cups, chopped

directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly spray an 8x8 metal baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of your mixer. Stir to combine.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs, then whisk in the peanut butter, butter, milk and extract. Add to the dry ingredients.
  4. Beat the ingredients until just combined, then stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Pour batter into baking pan then use a spatula to spread evenly. Place the chopped peanut butter cups on top and press down.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 23-25 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. You may want to try a different section if peanut butter/chocolate comes up instead.
  7. Allow to cool completely in the pan before cutting into 12-16 pieces or however big you want them.
Yield: 12-16 servings


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