Thursday, July 30, 2009

Blackberry Cobbler

In the summertime, the fresh fruit that's available just makes me dream of pies, crumbles, buckles, and desserts galore. So I set my sights on this blackberry cobbler, and I was not disappointed.
One of the things that drew me to this recipe was that it called for you to do the mixing in the very pan you bake it in. Amazing! Recipes that actually cater to laziness. I'm in heaven.

So anyway, in the pan you mix the flour, baking powder, salt, milk and melted butter. Notice something missing? Yup, no sugar. That's because the sugar comes in later...
...with these babies. The recipe calls for you to let the 2 1/2 cups of blackberries in 1/2 to 1 cup of sugar for ten minutes before adding them.
After reading through a lot of the comments on recipezaar, I decided to add a little sugar to the batter as well, and then used about 3/4 cup of sugar with the blackberries. However when I added the berries to the batter, I had a lot of sugar left over in the bottom of the bowl. I sprinkled a little over the top and discarded the rest.
It looked delicious going in the oven and even more so coming out, but the moment of truth was biting into it...
....and it was good. Truth is, I'm not really sure exactly what a cobbler is, but after some googling, it appears to be a biscuit like dough with fresh fruit on top, and the dough rises and covers the fruit. I guess that's what happened here, but either way this was a winning dish with almost no clean up!

Tip of the Day: Most berries grow mold easily, so use fresh ones within a day or so, or freeze them. Also don't wash them until you're about to eat or use them - they're more likely to go moldy when wet.

Recipe: (via Recipezaar)

1 cup flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup melted butter
2 1/2 cups blackberries
3/4 cup sugar, divided

Mix blackberries and 1/2 cup of sugar, and let sit for 20 minutes or until fruit syrup forms.
Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, milk and 1/4 cup of sugar in ungreased 8 inch square pan.
Stir in melted butter until blended.
Spoon blackberries evenly over the batter. Sprinkle some of the excess sugar on top.
Bake at 375 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until dough rises and is golden.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Zebra Fudge Cookies

These are delicious. Promise. A little messy to get together, and not all that advisable to eat while wearing black, but delicious just the same.
These zebra fudge cookies (named, of course, for the black and white stripes) are a favorite of mine, and they come out great every time I make them.

It starts, of course, with a rich chocolate dough. Made with oil, no butter, so you can whip this one up unplugged.
After the dough is formed, you roll the dough into little balls. Size can vary based on your preference, but be sure to adjust the baking time if you do.
After you create the ball of dough, roll it around in some confectioner's sugar (or icing sugar, or powdered sugar, depending on who you ask.) Get it really nice and coated. Trust me. (I know you don't, especially after that apple pie disaster, but I'm trying.)
Now here is where the magic happens. Place the cookie balls on a parchment paper or foil lined baking sheet and stick in the oven. As the cookie spreads, cracks form and stripes of chocolate dough show through the powdered sugar coating. Some call these crinkle cookies as well.
See? Beautiful. I could eat one right now. I don't think I have to tell you that these are good warm.
Or cold. Or frozen, I'm sure. Or hanging upside down. You get my drift?

Tip of the Day: If you're running low (or completely out of) powdered sugar, you can make your own by running some granulated sugar through a coffee grinder or food processor.


1/2 cup oil
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
confectioner's sugar

Mix together oil and sugar until well mixed. Add in eggs, one at a time. Mix in vanilla.
Slowly add flour, cocoa and baking powder until completely integrated.
Form cookies into balls and roll in confectioner's sugar until well coated.
Place on parchment paper or foil lined baking sheet.
Bake at 350 F for 18 minutes for 18 large cookies, or 12 minutes for 24 smaller cookies.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Chocolate Swirl Cookies

Any of you who are frequent readers of Cake Wrecks, might recall a frequent feature where she shows a picture of the cake requested, and then a picture of what was ultimately delivered, often with disastrous results. (Good example here). I felt a little bit like that with this recipe for Chocolate Swirl Cookies.
The cookies came out tasting better than I expected, but they just didn't have the look I was going for. Instead they looked amateurish and messy. See, on the food network site where this recipe originated, the cookies looked like this:
Perfect lines, perfect circles, equal doughs - just right. Mine, however, were a little sloppier looking.

This cookie is made by creating the two different doughs - vanilla and chocolate - and then rolling each out into a rectangle. After chilling them both, you lay one on top of the other, like so:
Then you roll the dough up into a tight cylinder creating the spiral look inside. This is returned to the fridge for a few hours, or until you're ready to slice and bake.
Since I didn't have a great knife to cut this, I put it in the freezer for about half an hour before slicing.
The cookies actually came out pretty nicely - in 1/4 inch slices. Half way through the slicing I stuck it back in for a few minutes since it has softened up a little while out of the fridge. Some of them got a little squished while I sliced, but they were easy to morph back into a circular shape.
At this stage, I knew the cookies didn't look quite like the picture, since the spiral was crooked and uneven in places, and even broken in a few spots. Somehow though I imagined that during the baking process that would even out and "melt" into a perfect spiral.
Didn't happen. Oh well, they were all eaten - and were a great tasting cookie - not too sweet like a sugar cookie, so you could really taste the chocolate and the vanilla - not just sugar.

Tip of the Day: When making a chocolate and vanilla dough/batter, like these or these, always make the vanilla first so you dont' have to clean out the bowl before starting on the next dough.

Recipe: (via Food Network)

Vanilla Dough:
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp confectioners' sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups flour

Chocolate Dough:
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups flour

For the vanilla dough: Beat the butter until smooth. Add the two sugars and salt. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well. Gradually add the flour, mixing slowly until blended.

Turn the dough out of the bowl and divide in half. Place between 2 pieces of parchment or waxed paper. Roll into a 10 by 12 by 1/4 inch rectangle. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.

For the chocolate dough: Beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugar, cocoa and salt and mix well. Add the egg and beat until smooth. Gradually add the flour, mixing slowly until blended.

Turn the dough out of the bowl and divide in half. Place between 2 pieces of parchment or waxed paper. Roll into a 10 by 12 by 1/4 inch rectangle. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.

Take out one of the chocolate doughs and brush the top lightly with cold water. Place the vanilla dough carefully on top and lightly press to smooth and seal the doughs together. Trim the edges if needed. Brush the surface of the dough lightly with cold water. With the long edge facing you, roll into a tight cylinder. Position the sandwiched doughs with the long edge facing you. Using the edge of the paper as a guide, roll the doughs into a tight cylinder.

Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour. Repeat with remaining 2 sheets of dough.

Slice the dough into 1/4-inch thick cookies. Bake on parchment-lined baking sheets at 325 F until just golden - about 14 to 16 minutes.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Six Months and My Favorites

Today is my six month anniversary. Of blogging that is.

That's right, Baking and Mistaking was born six months ago today, and 70 recipes and almost 11,000 visitors later, I'm still standing.
Hopefully the next six months will be filled with more cakes, cookies, pies and tarts - and of course a few mistakes and catastrophes to keep you coming back!

So for those of you new and old, I'd love to share my top 5 recipes from the last 6 months. That's not to say I didn't enjoy the other 65, but these were my favorite to make (and eat!)

1. Linzer Tart Cookies
These were the prettiest cookies I've ever made, and they tasted really great too. Not for the beginning baker, but each step is pretty simple by itself.

2. Raspberry Chocolate Bar Cookies
Takes about ten minutes to make, but the flavor combination is out of this world! Don't leave the cinnamon out of the dough - it really makes the cookie complete.

3. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake
Sinfully delicious. Graham cracker crust, cheesecake and cookie dough - pretty much heaven on earth.

4. Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
These cookies were just the right balance of soft, chewy and chocolatey. Really easy to make with melted butter - you can leave the mixer in the cupboard for this one.

5. Cow Cake

Definitely my favorite cake that I've ever made, and how could I pass up a chance to show this picture again! As for the story behind it...well, that's for another day. Or year.

Well that's it folks: my favorite posts since this humble little blog was born in the snowy days of January. Do you have a favorite recipe from the site? Let me know in the comments or email at bakingandmistaking [at] gmail [dot] com.

Also celebrating an anniversary today: my friend Racheli (remember her?) Today is her birthday. Happy Birthday!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Double Decker Brownies

One of my co-workers keeps asking me to bring brownies in to work, but I've resisted thus far. Because...brownies? Not much of a challenge there - you can get some pretty good ones with 30 minutes and a box mix. So when I stumbled across these double decker brownies, I knew I had to make them for the office.
The recipe starts out with two pretty simple batters: one brownie-like and one blondie-like. Lucky for me, the recipe called for three egg whites - the exact amount I had left from making the lemon drop cookies before! Things are just working out this week.
The top, blondie layer, calls for M&Ms to be mixed in, but I went with chocolate chips instead. This is another one of those recipes where a multitude of mix-ins could be used.

First I spread the brownies bottom in the greased pan, and then the blondie on top. I suppose you could switch them around if you wanted as well. The top layer was a little harder to spread without disturbing the brownie underneath, but it was doable.
See? I managed.
If you didn't know better, you'd never even know about that secret layer of brownies underneath.
Until you cut into them of course. On of my coworkers renamed these interracial brownies. I'm all for diversity, so make these now!
Truth is, while these were good, they were not great. And it's all my fault. See I left these in the oven a wee bit too long, and they ended up more like cake than brownie. But cake is good too. I didn't take them for about 34 minutes, but I would recommend not going over 30.

Tip of the Day: While you can buy many different tools to separate eggs, I still think the best one out there is the shell itself. Just crack it open, and catch the yolk in one half, and pour it back and forth until fully separated. You might not get it the first time, but practice makes perfect!

Recipe: (via the M&Ms website)

3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3 egg whites and 1 whole egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour, divided
2 1/2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tbsp melted butter
3/4 cup M&M'S or chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugars together. Beat in vanilla, egg whites and whole egg.

Gradually add 2 1/4 cups flour, baking powder and salt.

Divide batter in half. To half of dough add mixed melted butter and cocoa, spread evenly into a 9x13" baking pan.

To the other half, stir in 1/4 cup flour and 3/4 cup M&M’S or chocolate chips. Spread over chocolate mixture.

Bake on 375F for 25 to 30 minutes or until edges start to pull away from sides of pan.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Lemon Drop Cookies

Alot of my recipes don't turn out exactly as planned. Sometimes cookies are crispy when I thought they'd be chewy, sometimes cupcakes are dense when I thought they'd be light, and sometimes brownies are cakey when I thought they'd be fudge-y.

Thus is the curse of baking, when sampling along the way doesn't tell you much about the finished product. But these cookies were exactly what I expected - and was hoping for. They were sweet and refreshing and just the right amount of chewy. The quick roll in sugar before baking made the outside just a little crispy. They even spread how I wanted and sunk a little in the middle the way I like.
If only everything in life could come out this well.

Though my love for chocolate and peanut butter and all things fudgy remains, sometimes I like a more light, sweet taste. Lemon is the perfect choice. This recipe called for the zest of three lemons, and I got right to work.
I know, I know, no microplane zester for me. But I managed. And without any scraped knuckles as well. And ten vigorous minutes of zesting later I had three naked lemons and a whole lot of lemon rind. Mission Accomplished.
After zesting comes juicing of course, and this cute little juicer worked perfectly, and even had a little barrier to catch the seeds.
Next step in the recipe called for me to put the sugar and zest in the food processor and mix together. Being entirely too lazy to bring out the food processor at that moment, instead I used my immersion blender in a bowl. Would have been easier if I used a bigger bowl, but it worked just the same. Half this mixture was used in the batter and the rest was for rolling the dough in before baking. I had way too much at the end, so you could definitely cut down on it.
Rolling the dough balls went pretty well - sometimes I find doughs too sticky to form properly into round balls - not the case here.
Finally, a whole tray done, and in the oven.
And baked! The smell was delicious - the whole kitchen was lemony fresh. And not the pledge kind.
This is another recipe that called for egg yolks, and left me with three egg whites at the end.
No meringues for me this time...stay tuned to find out how I used them!

Tip of the Day: One large lemon will yield about 3 to 4 tablespoons of lemon juice, and 2 to 3 teaspoons of lemon zest.

(via Oh Fransson)

1 stick unsalted butter
¼ Cup Shortening
¼ Cup Cream Cheese
3 Cups Granulated Sugar
Zest of 3 Lemons
3 Egg Yolks
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
½ tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Cream of Tartar
Dash of Salt
1¾ Cups Flour

Cream together butter, shortening and cream cheese until smooth.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine granulated sugar and lemon zest.
Add two cups of the lemon sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt to the bowl and mix well.
Add eggs yolks, lemon juice and vanilla and beat to combine.
Gradually mix in flour.
Roll dough into 1” balls, then roll in remaining sugar.
Bake 12 – 14 minutes on 300 F until just barely browned

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Peanut Butter Fudge Bars

All the no-bake recipes I have seem kind of similar: rice krispies, peanut butter, chocolate. So while these peanut butter fudge bars aren't all that revolutionary, they were in fact delicious. And still a little different than these.
This recipe, which came from, makes bars that have three distinct layers, but each layer still has all of the great flavors throughout.

The bottom layer, has chocolate and peanut butter and rice krispies. The trifecta, if you will.
Mix that up together over heat with some butter, and press it into the bottom of the pan.

Next up is a layer that has butter, peanut butter and icing sugar. Why icing sugar? No idea. But it works. Trust me. Spread that evenly over the bottom layer.
After that, sprinkle some more rice krispies on top - why on top instead of mixing them in? Got me again! I wouldn't question this recipe though.
After that is the final step, which involves a chocolate and peanut butter coating for the top. This one is a little more tricky to spread, since the rice krispies you just sprinkled on top really want to mix in with the chocolate. But you can do it.
After that, just pop in into the fridge for a little while to chill, and voila, you have crispy peanut butter fudge bars. What a treat.
They were really delicious, and I happen to like mine chilled, but you could eat them at room temperature as well. A few of them separated their layers a little, and lost their tops or bottoms, but most of them stuck together pretty well. I used a 9x5" loaf pan and cut them up pretty small into little bites, but because there is no baking time to adjust, you could really use whatever pan you want - you'll just have different thicknesses of the layers.
I like mine just the way they are.

Tip of the Day: Though most recipes will call for you to melt your butter, chocolate, peanut butter - you name it - in a saucepan or in a double boiler (meaning a bowl over your saucepan), if you're careful and do it in short sessions your microwave will work just fine for this.

Recipe: (from Cookie Madness)

3.5 ounces chocolate (about a heaping 1/2 cup of chocolate chips), divided
1/2 tbsp butter plus 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 1/2 cups Rice Krispies
1 cup peanut butter, divided
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup powdered sugar (to taste)

Line a 9×5 inch loaf pan with non-stick foil.

Melt 1 1/2 oz chocolate with 1/2 tablespoon of butter.

Stir in 1/2 cup of peanut butter. Add in 1 cup cereal.

Spread in bottom of lined pan and chill for 15 minutes.

Melt the remaining 1 stick of butter and salt together.

Stir in remaining 1/2 cup peanut butter. Stir in powdered sugar to taste.

Pour a little less than half of the peanut butter mixture over the chocolate crispy mixture. Sprinkle remaining ½ cup of cereal on top, pressing it gently into mixture.

Melt remaining 2 oz chocolate. Add to remaining peanut butter mixture and carefully spread over Rice Krispies.

Chill until firm, then cut into cubes.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Black and White Cake

When I peered into my fridge to find inspiration for a last-minute birthday cake, I found a little bit of leftover vanilla frosting and a container of chocolate ganache. So I set out to recreate one of my favorite snacks: the black-and-white cookie. In cake form, of course.
A couple months ago I used Paula Deen's 1,2,3,4 cake recipe, and converted the three-layer cake to a two layer one. This time, I needed even more math, to turn it into a one-layer dessert.

I don't like math.

After I managed all my calculations, I baked up the cake in one 9-inch round pan. All was looking good, until I turned it over onto the cooling rack.
Oh no! I'm missing some cake!

Found it....
Since I couldn't quite reattach this part of the cake...I just ate it. So I flipped the cake back over and hoped nobody would notice. After the cake had cooled to room temperature, I stuck it in the fridge for a few minutes to make it easier to frost. This way there would be less crumbs mixing with the frosting.

To create the black-and-white look, I placed a piece of scotch tape all the way down the center of the cake before starting the chocolate frosting. I microwaved the ganache for a few seconds before spreading so it covered the cake easily.

After peeling off the tape, I went for the vanilla (also microwaved), this time a little more carefully without my tape guideline.

The only thing that was left then was to clean off the plate! Black-and-White Cookie Cake - here I come!

Tip of the Day: Use a damp paper towel or cloth to clean off the edge of a plate before serving (or photographing). If its just for you - or family - you can always use a finger!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Chocolate Raspberry Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

I'm always looking for interesting cake recipes - batters I can pour into one pan and just stick in the oven. As much as I love cookies, I don't love the constant in and out of cookie sheets in my tiny oven. This cake caught my eye. A chocolate bundt cake with a raspberry cream cheese filling. Sounds perfect.
First thing I did was to make up the cream cheese filling. Cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and chocolate chips - I had to resist from eating it all right there.
Next came the chocolate cake mix, which was thick and heavy and also passed the finger-lickin good test. I poured half the batter into the bundt pan, and then spooned the cream cheese filling on top, being careful not to let it touch the sides of the pan. I didn't end up using all the filling, since it looked like alot already. Then came the raspberries. Those also lost a few to sampling!On top of that went the remaining batter. This was one heavy cake. It was a workout just getting it into the oven, but I managed. And when it came was worth it. The cake was thick and dense - almost more like a brownie than a cake - and the filling was delicious. However I did regret not using all the filling, I would have enjoyed more of it. I certainly liked what there was of it.
Tip of the Day: Fresh fruit usually works the best in baked goods, but frozen and thawed works when your berry of choice is out of season.

Recipe: (from RecipeZaar)

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
2 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa
2 tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

12 ounces cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup chocolate chips (I used 3/4 cup mini)
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries

Beat eggs and sugar together until pale yellow.
Beat in melted butter, vanilla, milk and water.
Gradually mix in flour, baking powder, cocoa and salt.

Beat together cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Stir in chocolate chips.

Pour half the cake batter into a greased bundt or tube pan.
Drop spoonfuls of filling over cake batter, not touching the sides. Sprinkle with raspberries.
Top with remaining cake batter.

Bake at 375 for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Top with sifted powdered sugar, if desired.