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Archive for November, 2009

Peppermint Brownies

Yummy goodness...

So my favorite holiday treat is a Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks.  They also make a peppermint brownie that’s really yummy.  I couldn’t really pick a dessert to make for Thanksgiving so I asked Brian to pick one.  We went through Tastespotting for some ideas and came across a few that looked really good.

We finally decided on a peppermint brownie that we saw on this site.  Since I love peppermint brownies, I thought it was perfect.  I didn’t try the Katherine Hepburn brownies that was featured on TWD, instead I found a recipe on King Arthur Flour that looked pretty good.

It turned out great!  I like my brownies more on the fudgy side and not cakey and these were perfect.  The peppermint filling was great as well, it wasn’t too sweet and it had the perfect amount of mint flavor.  These were a hit!

Notes:  I had to make more mint filling since it didn’t seem to fill up my brownie pan.  Make sure you let the brownie layer cool completely before putting on the mint layer or else it’ll melt the icing.

Fudge Brownies from King Arthur

Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups Dutch-process cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 cups chocolate chips

Directions:
1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan

2) In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it’s hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it’ll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

3) While the sugar heats a second time, crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla till smooth.

4) Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth.

5) Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Note: If you want the chips to remain intact in the bakedbrownies, rather than melting in, let the batter cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before stirring in the chips.

6) Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9″ x 13″ pan.

7) Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.

Mint Layer adapted from Cooking Light
MINT LAYER:
  • 2  cups  powdered sugar
  • 1/4  cup  butter, melted
  • 2  tablespoons fat-free milk
  • 1 1/2  teaspoon peppermint extract

Chocolate Ganache Icing from King Arthur

2 cups (12 ounces) chocolate chips or chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
1 cup (8 ounces) heavy cream or whipping cream

In a microwave-safe bowl, or in a small saucepan set over medium heat, heat the cream till it’s very hot. You should see wisps of steam beginning to rise from it, and some very tiny bubbles around the edge. Add the chocolate to the cream, and stir till smooth. Don’t panic—at first, the mixture will look disarmingly soupy, but just keep stirring. Very shortly it’ll become a rich brown, thick, shiny spreadable icing. Yield: 2 cups icing.

Once brownie layer has cooled, spread mint layer over the top of the brownies.  Now you can have as thick of a layer as you like but I prefered mine to be a thin layer.  Spread the layer of ganache over the brownie mix and let cool.  You can put it in the fridge to set if you like.  Cut up and enjoy!

Chocolate chips in the brownie batter gives it more texture....

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Mixed Berry Cheesecake

Mixed Berry Cheesecake

Last year I had seen a special on the food network that featured Ina Garten’s Mixed Berry Cheesecake.  Ever since I saw that, I’ve always wanted to make that yummy looking cheesecake.  So for thanksgiving this year, I decided to go for it.  My family isn’t big on pumpkin pie so I didn’t bother with any desserts that had pumpkin in it.  I thought this cheesecake would be perfect because they all love cheesecake.

This cheesecake was delicious!  My hubby and father in law couldn’t get enough of it!  The texture of this cheesecake is a lot lighter than most cheesecakes I’ve made.  I really love the texture, it was light and fluffy and didn’t feel like you were just eating a block of cream cheese.  Although it is a bit more work, it is so worth it!

I love Ina Garten.  She’s one of my favorite chefs on the food network.  So far, all of her recipes that I have tried have always turned out great.  You really should give this a try!

Ingredients

For the crust:

nocoupons

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

nocoupons

  • 2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 whole extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the topping:

nocoupons

  • 1 cup red jelly (not jam) such as currant, raspberry, or strawberry (I used strawberry)
  • 1/2 pint sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 pint fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 pint fresh blueberries

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the crust, combine the graham crackers, sugar, and melted butter until moistened. Pour into a 9-inch springform pan. With your hands, press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and about 1-inch up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees F.

To make the filling, cream the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium and add the eggs and egg yolks, 2 at a time, mixing well. Scrape down the bowl and beater, as necessary. With the mixer on low, add the sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly and pour into the cooled crust.

Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 225 degrees and bake for another 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and open the door wide. The cake will not be completely set in the center. Allow the cake to sit in the oven with the door open for 30 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature for another 2 to 3 hours, until completely cooled. Wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the cake from the springform pan by carefully running a hot knife around the outside of the cake. Leave the cake on the bottom of the springform pan for serving.

To make the topping, melt the jelly in a small pan over low heat. In a bowl, toss berries and the warm jelly gently until well mixed. Arrange the berries on top of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Fresh fruit really does make a difference

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