Dessert

Gooey Peanut Butter Reese’s Bars

Last week at school we had a “senior shadow day” where we were supposed to spend the day learning from someone who works in a profession in which we are interested. I contacted Jen and Chris Creed, advice two wonderful and kind photographers who I have been lucky enough to get to know the past couple of months. I have to admit I was nervous about asking if I could shadow them because I didn’t want to be annoying, visit but they were so kind and enthusiastic about it. They asked me what I wanted to get out of the experience, what I wanted to improve on, and got a couple for us to shoot in Downtown Franklin. The photo session was so fun! I’m posting a couple of my favorites from the session (you can see the full session on my photography website).

I loved watching Jen and Chris shoot. They really try to push their creativity and some of my favorite shots are things I never would have taken on my own. Absolutely check out their photography! They are amazing people and super talented :)

I knew I wanted to make something for Jen and Chris as a thank you for allowing me to spend the day with them. After checking that they both like peanut butter (which they probably thought was a little strange ;) I made these Gooey Peanut Butter Reese’s Bars. Oh my goodness. These were incredible!

I had asked my dad to get the ingredients for the bars while he was at the store, and he accidentally got fat-free sweetened condensed milk! I was afraid the bars wouldn’t taste good or bake as well with the fat-free version, but I asked Jenny from Picky Palate on Twitter what she thought and she said it would be fine. And it was! So you shouldn’t feel guilty about eating these…they’re practically a health food ;)

Jen and Chris loved these, as did my family. The next day I brought in leftovers to school and my teachers and classmates loved them as well. Success all around! I will have to say that you do want to eat these at room temperature…I usually like things when they’re all warm and melty but definitely preferred these after they had cooled down the next day.

Gooey Peanut Butter Reese’s Bars

Ingredients:

1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick butter, softened
1 egg
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk (fat-free works great!)
15-20 (or however many you want) Reese’s peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 inch baking dish with foil and spray generously with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, butter, and egg until a dough forms. Press the dough onto the bottom of the prepared baking pan.Top the dough with chocolate chips.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter until well combined and pour over the dough. Top with the chopped Reese’s.
  4. Bake at 350 for 23-30 minutes, until the bars are golden brown and the center is set (doesn’t giggle when you move the pan). Let them cool completely before you cut them into squares.

Enjoy!

Note: The original recipe says the cook time is 23-25 minutes. I ended up cooking mine for closer to 30 because the bars wouldn’t set. When you take them out of the oven, they will be incredibly gooey. That’s ok, just let them cool completely (I know…willpower) before you eat them. It’s worth the wait!

Source: Kevin and Amanda

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Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

I have a confession to make. I know as a food blogger, story I’m supposed to be all sorts of snobby about the food I eat and make everything from scratch. Oh and I’m also supposed to love eating all this fancy food and talk about organic ingredients all the time. Well, about it if you hadn’t noticed, cialis I don’t do any of those things. I am a (somewhat) picky eater and I love boxed cake mixes and canned frosting. The other day when I made that…interesting cake for Einstein’s birthday, I used canned frosting and ended up dipping pretzels in it and munching on it all night (it was delicious!). Usually I make my cakes from scratch and I think that there is no cake mix (that I’ve tried) that can beat a homemade chocolate cake. However, I have never successfully made a yellow cake that I thought was better than the boxed mix. In fact, I think I’ve only ever made yellow cake from scratch once! I knew I wanted to attempt it again and make vanilla vanilla cupcakes. It was hard for me to resist adding chocolate to these cupcakes, but I resisted and they turned out great!

I made these on St. Patrick’s Day, hence the slightly green frosting. The store only had Easter pastel colors, so I couldn’t get a deep green. Oh well! I practiced piping on frosting and think I did ok-ish…I just need to make lots more cupcakes so I can become a good cake/cupcake decorator :)

I used Sweetapolita’s yellow cupcake recipe (I love her recipes and photos!). The cupcakes were easy to make and tasted delicious- the vanilla flavor really shone through. I made two different buttercream frostings to see which I liked better, but they tasted pretty much the same to me. I combined them both for the frosting recipe bellow. I’m not a huge fan of buttercream frosting because it’s so sweet, but the vanilla frosting I made wasn’t over-the-top sweet and the cupcake helped tone it down.

So…what’s the verdict? Have I turned from my evil box-mix-cake-using-ways? Hem…probably not. These yellow cake cupcakes tasted really good, but honestly I like ones you get from a yellow cake mix just as much (they taste really similar). But, if you want to make something from scratch or if you don’t like using cake mixes, these cupcakes are really good. I can definitely see myself making them again and maybe putting chocolate frosting on them :)

There’s a slight possibility that I took these photos in the morning and a tiny chance that in order to get this shot, I had to eat part of a cupcake at 7am. But that probably didn’t happen *cough cough.*

Oh and how do you like my new logo thingy? I had fun designing it this afternoon. The font for the “Amilia” is called soymilk! I think it’s super cute :)

Vanilla Cupcakes

Source: Sweetapolita

Yield: 24 standard cupcakes

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups (190 grams/6.5 ounces) self-rising flour

1 1/4 cups (160 grams/5.5 ounces) all-purpose flour

1 cup (2 sticks/227 grams/8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened

2 cups (400 grams/14 ounces) granulated white sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup (250 mL) milk

1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 standard muffin tins with cupcake liners of your choice (24 total).
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flours and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended.
  5. Use a 3 Tablespoon cookie scoop to spoon the batter into the cupcake liners (you can use a spoon but the cookie/ice cream scoop makes them uniform in size). Bake in the middle of the oven for about 18 minutes, until the cupcakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into center comes out just clean (a few crumbs is okay).
  6. Cool the cupcakes in tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Note: Makes enough to generously frost 12 cupcakes. Double this if you are making the vanilla cupcakes above.

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks, 16 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whip the butter (with a stand mixer or electric hand mixer) until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  2. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in the powdered sugar until completely incorporated.
  3. With the mixer on medium speed, add the vanilla and salt and beat for about 2 minutes, until fluffy.

Note: My frosting had an almost grainy texture for some reason. Once the frosting was on the cupcakes, though, you couldn’t tell.

Store cupcakes covered or in a plastic container in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!

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Pi Day

Happy Pi day everyone! While I really don’t care about pi, rehabilitation I do care a whole lot about pie! For some reason, stomach I don’t bake pies very often. But every time I do, I absolutely love them. Here are some of my favorites:

Dreamy Apple Pie. It’s incredible. Eat with ice cream :)

Brownie Nutella Mousse Pie. Soooo fudgey and creamy and nutella-y.

Marshmallow Pie. I always make this pie for Thanksgiving!

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So what kind of pie am I making for today? Well..I’m not (gasp!). My mom bought a pie at the store since I already made a cake  because today is Einstein’s birthday! In Physics we had a project where part of it was making Einstein a birthday cake. There were a lot of impressive cakes! Mine was ummm interesting ;) I’m a baker, not cake decorator for sure!Don’t judge me! Haha I think it would have been better if I had remembered to add eye brows and ears…oh well! Live and learn. I hope you guys have a great pi day!

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Eat a Cupcake

This is a stop-motion video I made for my photography class and I hope it encourages you to eat something delicious today :)

I did not make this cupcake (I bought it at a local cupcake shop) but I hope that I can someday make cupcakes that look that pretty!

Have a wonderful week :)

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Gooey, Delicious, Incredible S’mores Bars

Whenever I look at other people’s food blogs, esophagitis I wonder how they stay healthy. It seems like most food bloggers that I follow are pretty much all pretty thin and healthy looking, which makes me wonder if they work out and how many of their desserts they eat. I’ve always struggled with my weight and self-esteem, and I love baking and creating food because it makes me see food as something fun and a form of art and self expression, instead of something that will make me fat. I think that one of the things young girls (and really women of all ages) struggle with most is their weight and feeling beautiful, and that’s why I decided to start workshops, called Beautiful, for middle school girls.

Beautiful strives to instill in girls that they are gorgeous and special because they are God’s creation. We had a workshop this past Saturday and it was so fun. We talked about the messages the media sends girls and how we as women get our ideas of what beauty is from the media, our friends, family, etc, but how we don’t get our idea of beauty from God. I think that when we are able to be confident that we are cared for and special in God’s eyes, other things start to become less important. After we talked about this, I gave each of the girls a deck of cards and we spent the rest of the time writing positive things about each other and about ourselves on the cards. It was fun for everyone (including me) and I’m excited to start putting my cards in places that I’ll see them daily :)

Those are some of the cards I made :)

I made this dessert for the girls and they all loved them and each ate several pieces. While I think it is very important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, it made me happy to see them eat them without worrying about weight-gain. We talked about a quote I read on Pinterest that said “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” and how that’s just a terrible statement. I understand that it’s trying to say that eating a dessert or whatever isn’t worth the calories and isn’t as satisfying as being skinny, but I think it communicates that food and eating isn’t as important as being thin. As someone who has struggled with anorexia, I know that being skinny is not as important as food and that depriving yourself of food is not healthy. Why spend your life counting every calorie and agonizing about food? Food is fuel. It is not the enemy. And you know what? The girls and I decided that these bars taste a whole lot better than skinny :)

I honestly think these S’mores Bars are one of the tastiest things I have ever made (and that’s saying something!) The bottom layer is a fudgy brownie layer then there’s a layer of graham cracker, chocolate chips, marshmallows, buttery cookie layer, and sweetened condensed milk. Mmm!!! <– You know it’s good when I use three exclamation points. It’s sweet, gooey, and all-around delicious.

This is a really simple recipe to make, too. First you mix your brownie mix (or make from scratch brownies if that’s how you roll) and pour it in a 9 by 13in pan lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil (aluminum foil is probably easier). Cover it with a layer of graham crackers. Dump a ton of chocolate chips and lots of mini marshmallows on the graham crackers. Next, mix up your yellow cake dough and gently press it on top. Drizzle on about a cup of sweetened condensed milk and bake! It’s really easy and sooo tasty. Really, make these soon. They’d be a great Valentine’s Day dessert or every day dessert- because really, who needs and excuse to tell someone you love them?

S’mores Bars

Ingredients:

1 family size box mix of brownies and the ingredients to make the brownies (probably canola oil, water, and 2 eggs)
9-ish honey graham crackers
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips (or more!)
4 cups mini marshmallows
1 box yellow cake mix
1 egg
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sweetened condensed milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 by 13in pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil that has been generously coated with cooking spray. Make sure your lining goes all the way around the pan.
  2. Mix up your brownie mix according to the box directions and pour it into the pan.
  3. Cover the brownies with the graham crackers. You want to fit as many of the graham crackers on there as you can.
  4. Pour the chocolate chips onto the graham crackers and then add the mini marshmallows.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the box of yellow cake mix, egg, and stick of softened butter. Use your hand to mix the dough all together.
  6. Top the marshmallows with the dough. I found the best way to do this is to take some in your hand, press it so it’s flat, and place it on top of the marshmallows. Repeat this until all the marshmallows are covered (it does not have to be perfect) and then drizzle on the cup of sweetened condensed milk.
  7. Bake it in the oven for 18-22 minutes. It’s hard to know when it’s done, but the top layer should be a nice golden brown. I took mine out after 18 minutes and it turned out wonderful- the brownie layer was really fudgy.
  8. It takes a long time for this to cool enough to cut. I was really impatient and tried to lift this out of the pan too early…it was a bit of a messy disaster. But if you wait for it to cool completely, you can cut nice, even squares (you can see the difference in the ones I cut right away and the ones I cut the next day).

This recipe was inspired by this and this recipe from Picky Palate <–she’s awesome!

Ok…I know I said in this post that I wouldn’t keep posting pictures of my puppy…but I can’t help myself! I think he’s just too cute :) And in desperate need of a haircut…I promise he does have eyes under there.

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