Jelly Stuffed Cinnamon Donut Holes

They HAVE to be healthy... they contain fruit!

I get into this recipe, I feel it is necessary for me to say a few words about Joe Paterno.  As many of you know, he passed away today after a short battle with lung cancer. Joe Paterno dedicated over fifty years of his life to Penn State, donating millions of dollars, and positively influencing thousands of young men and students. To look past all of the good he has done for my university, and to instead focus on his one mistake is wrong. He was quoted as saying, ‎”They ask me what I’d like written about me when I’m gone. I hope they write I made Penn State a better place, not just that I was a good football coach.” His family has requested donations to be made in his name to THON, the worlds largest student-run philanthropic organization that helps fight pediatric cancer.

Now on to happier subjects…

Last week, I received an EXTREMELY unexpected (but none the less AWESOME) gift from my friend Giulia: a Babycakes Cake Pop Maker! There are certain things that I, as a baker, are afraid to make. This list includes (but is not limited to): cinnamon rolls, fried donuts (or fried ANYTHING for that matter), and cake pops. I don’t know, the whole process of making a cake (only to ruin it), mixing with frosting, shaping into a ball, etc.etc. seems SO lengthy and time consuming. With this new gadget, I can make cake pops in FOUR minutes.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have all the ingredients I needed to make this awesome cake pop recipe today. However, this cake pop maker can make another one of my favorite treats…Donut Holes!!! I made a batch with grape jelly, and one without (since some hate fruit with their dessert!).

The results? They turned out great! A flavor-filled pop-in-your mouth dessert. They are sweet, moist, and the grape jelly really makes the donut hole THAT much better. The best part was how quick they were to make! It’s dangerous to have an awesome recipe that you can make and fill in less than 30 minutes!

If you don’t have a Babycakes Cake Pop Maker, don’t worry! You can still make this recipe in a mini muffin pan! 

This recipe is from the Babycakes Cake Pop Maker Instruction Manual.

Ingredients:

1/2  cup sugar

1/3 cup shortening

1 egg

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup milk

6 tbsp butter, melted

Cinnamon-Sugar Topping:

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions for Cake Pop Maker:

  1. Beat together sugar and shortening in mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in egg.
  2. Stir together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
  3. Alternately blend in flour mixture and milk into shortening mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  4. Fill each cooking reservoir with about 1 tbsp batter ****
  5. Bake 4 to 5 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into puffs come out clean.
  6. For cinnamon-sugar topping, combine cinnamon and sugar in small bowl. Immediately roll hot puffs in melted butter then in cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  7. Once cooled, stuff donuts with your choice of jelly, jam, or even chocolate! Mine came with a little tool for stuffing, but you can stab the side of your donut holes with a pastry bag tip and fill it through the pastry bag!

**** I found it easiest to put the batter in a ziplock bag, and snip the bottom corner to pour the batter into the machine.

Directions for Mini Muffins:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and generously spray a mini muffin tin.
  2. Beat together sugar and shortening in mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in egg.
  3. Stir together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
  4. Alternately blend in flour mixture and milk into shortening mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  5. Fill each muffin cup half full. Bake for 9-12 minutes, or until tops are golden brown.
  6. For cinnamon-sugar topping, combine cinnamon and sugar in small bowl. Immediately roll hot mini muffins in melted butter then in cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  7. Once cooled, stuff donuts with your choice of jelly, jam, or even chocolate! Mine came with a little tool for stuffing, but you can stab the side of your donut holes with a pastry bag tip and fill it through the pastry bag!

 

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1,000 views! And Oreo Stuffed Brownies

I started this blog two months ago, not expecting much at all. It was meant to simply be a hobby and a way for me to share recipes with friends for treats that they have enjoyed in the past. Though it may not seem like much to some, I am SO EXCITED that in 60 days I have accrued over 1,000 views. I am so glad that I have the ability to not only spread my love for baking to friends, but also to strangers around the world! I promise you that this year will bring bigger, and better (if at all possible :P) recipes!

As my fellow bakers know, baking can be dangerous! Me, being as clumsy as I am, is at even higher risk of injury. Yesterday, while making the delicious treats pictured above, I endured quite a large baking war wound: a burn  to the hand. I was horrified that it would turn into a nasty blister, but luckily none have appeared.

I survived the great burn of 2012.

In the end, these oreo stuffed brownies turned out delicious and the prognosis for my hand is good!

If you haven’t checked out my previous posts, I love to incorporate different flavors and combinations of a variety of baked goods into one epic dessert. One of my favorite things to do is to add oreos to any ol’ recipe; oreos make EVERYTHING taste better! Luckily, Picky Palate (one of my FAVORITE blogs!) shares my love for adding oreos to everything. She adds icing and sprinkles to her creation, but I am not a humongous fan of icing on brownies.

The end result for this recipe is a delicious, moist, chocolate-y and creamy (from the center of the oreo) brownie. This is a great recipe for my fellow college students; it is quick, extremely simple, and the portion sizes are perfect (one muffin cup!).

Ingredients:

1 brownie mix (I buy the 9×13 variety, although I don’t believe that matters!)

1 box of oreos ( I use the double-stuffed variety…more yummy cream!)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare brownie mix, following the instructions on the box; leave in mixing bowl. Generously spray two muffin tins. Dip oreos in brownie batter and place in bottom of muffin tin.
  2. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until brownies are cooked through. THIS IS THE IMPORTANT PART: immediately upon removal from the oven, use a knife and run along the edges of each brownie; this will make it possible to later remove the brownies from the tin.

Cinnamon Swirl Loaf Cake

Cinnamon-y goodness

I am THIS close to being finished with the first week of classes  for the semester and I CAN’T WAIT for this upcoming three day weekend. I am not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination; I am the type who NEEDS her beauty sleep or I become what I like to call a “cranky pants”. Most people describe me as cheerful or outgoing, however if you stumble into me at 8:00 in the morning I am more like a grumpy, hungry zombie.

With the extra day of relaxation, I will definitely be catching up on some sleep AND some recipes that I have been dying to make! One recipe that I have always wanted to try have been Cinnamon Buns. For a college student who lacks a ton of free time, though, most Cinnamon Buns recipes seem complex and time consuming. However, I have found the PERFECT solution: Cinnamon Swirl Loaf Cake!

This recipe is super simple to make, using ingredients that bakers have right in their kitchen! It is also extremely quick to put together: in less than 15 minutes I had this bad boy in the oven. The delicious cinnamon scent filled my entire apartment (and made me salivate :P). I didn’t think it was possible, but the only thing better than the aroma given off by the loaf cake was the TASTE. It tasted exactly like a cinnamon bun! The cake was moist and filled with flavor. My official lab taste testers, Cori and Giulia, gave this recipe two thumbs up calling it “amazing”. Even Nicholas ate it up and praised the recipe!

This recipe is from Tried and Tasty.

Ingredients

1/3 c sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 c sugar
2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg (I didn’t have an egg, so I used applesauce and it infused a great flavor!)
1 c milk

1/3 c vegetable oil

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease/flour/spray the bottom and sides of a 9″x5″x3″ loaf pan.
  2. Combine 1/3 cup of sugar, and cinnamon. Set aside. Combine 1 cup of sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl or mixer bowl. In a separate bowl, beat egg. Then, stir in milk and oil .
  3. Make a well in the flour mixture, and add the egg mixture. Stir just until mixed. Do not over mix. Pour half of the batter into loaf pan. Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon mixture. Repeat.
  4. With a wide rubber scraper or spatula, swirl mixtures together with a down and up circular motion. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until done. Cool in pan for about 10 minutes. Then, cool completely on a wire rack.

Cherry Cheesecake Bars

There are cherries on here...does that mean it's healthy?

I’m baacckkkk…. at school that is. Which means two things: my stress levels are going to go through the roof, and the quality of my blog pictures are going to go WAYYYYY down.

When I went home my father made a baking request; these are rare and always granted. He told me that both himself and my mother LOVE Cherry Cheesecake.  Now, I don’t know if you have noticed, but I don’t like to make “traditional” desserts: I combine things, and I love to change their form. So when I saw this Betty Crocker recipe,  I KNEW that I had to try it.

I was never a humongous fan of cheesecake; I enjoyed cream cheese exclusively on my bagels (and in certain crock pot recipes). After trying out this recipe, however, I have to admit that my position has changed. This recipe was SPECTACULAR. It was simple (with my KitchenAid Mixer), decadent, and delicious. The rich, creamy cheesecake layer was paired perfectly with the sweet cherries. What makes this even better? The crust! Instead of a traditional graham cracker crust, this recipe calls for sugar cookie mix instead! A sweet treat and a great alternative! I omitted the almonds that the recipe calls for since my mother doesn’t like them, but I am sure that they would have made this dessert even better.

Ingredients:

Cookie Base and Topping:

1 Pouch Sugar Cookie Mix (1 lb 1.5 oz)

1/4 cup cold butter or margerine

4 oz (half of 8 oz package) cream cheese

OPTIONAL: 1/2 cup sliced almonds

Filling:

2 1/2  packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

2 tbsp all-purpose flour

1 tsp almond extract (I did not have this on hand, so I substituted vanilla extract)

2 eggs

1 can  (21 oz) cherry pie filling

1.Heat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom and sides of 13×9-inch pan with cooking spray. Place cookie mix in large bowl, or bowl of a standing mixer. Cut in butter and 4 oz cream cheese, using pastry blender or fork, until mixture is crumbly (I personally just mixed this in with the mixer). Reserve 1 1/2 cups mixture for topping. Press remaining mixture in bottom of pan. Bake 12 minutes.

2.Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat 20 oz cream cheese, the sugar, flour, almond extract (or vanilla) and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.

3.Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over partially baked cookie base. Spoon pie filling evenly over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with reserved topping and almonds.

4.Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 30 minutes. Refrigerate about 2 hours or until chilled. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.

Banana Dark Chocolate Chip Bread/Cake

It's almost healthy!

First and foremost- HAPPY NEW YEAR! Today is an exciting day; as I type this post, Nicholas is on his way back from the airport! Tomorrow I finally get to see him again, which means a lot more cuddles and a lot less baking.

Chocolate is my favorite, but sometimes I just feel SO guilty indulging. When these feelings arise, I start eating dark chocolate (it has a bunch of health benefits, ya know…). And when I REALLY feel guilty, I try to bake with fruit.

I dont know what to call this recipe…is it a bread? is it a cake? Lets not focus on semantics, lets just call this DELICIOUS. The texture is spectacular, the taste phenomenal. The mixture of banana and dark chocolate is like a love affair in your mouth. Oh, and did I mention it is super simple to make? It’s a unique treat to make and will only break your New Year’s Resolution a little :P.

This recipe is from Things For Boys. It makes one standard loaf, or two smaller aluminum foil loafs.

Ingredients:

2 cups AP Flour

2 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup sugar

7 tbsp unsalted butter (melted)

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 ripe bananas

1 heaping cup dark chocolate chips

An additional 1/8 cup sugar for sprinkling

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, lightly grease your loaf pan.
  2. Mash the bananas, I used a regular ol’ potato masher.
  3. Sift the flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Mix in 3/4 cup sugar. Make a well in the center and add the eggs, melted butter, mashed bananas, and vanilla extract and stir to combine. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Sprinkle the top with 1/8 cup sugar and bake for 50 minutes- 1 hour. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies and Pure Joy

Am I the only one who is drooling?

There are few things in this world that go together as well as Peanut Butter and Jelly (or Nick and I :P).  One of these perfect pairings are (is??)  Cookie Dough and Chocolate Brownies.

I needed to bake something that would match how I am feeling: pure joy! I get to see Nicholas in THREE MORE DAYS! I could have made cookies, or I could have made brownies, but what makes these two separate desserts even better is when you combine them.

This is THE baked good for the sweet tooth in your life. The brownie layer is sweet, moist and full of flavor. The cookie dough is safe to eat (contains no eggs) and tastes exactly the same as your regular ol’ dough, without the risk of salmonella!

What makes this recipe especially dangerous is how easy it is to make!

This recipe is from Recipegirl!

Ingredients

BROWNIE:
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour

COOKIE DOUGH (EGG FREE!)
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
3 Tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup semisweet chips + 1 teaspoon shortening for drizzle, optional

1. Prepare the brownies: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch pan with nonstick spray. In a medium glass bowl, melt chocolate in the microwave in short bursts of 30 seconds; stir after each burst and remove from microwave when melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly. In a large mixing bowl, mix butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract. Mix in melted chocolate. Blend in flour and mix just until combined (don’t over-mix). Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake 25 to 35 minutes. Watch closely and remove from oven when toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.

2. Prepare the cookie dough: In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to combine butter, brown sugar and white sugar. Mix in milk and vanilla. Mix in flour just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

3. Spread cookie dough over the cooled brownies. Refrigerate until the dough is quite firm. It’s okay to speed up the process and place it in the freezer too. The firmer the dough, the easier it will be to cut into neat squares.

My First Attempt At Making Bread! Quick and Easy French Bread

My First Loaf!

Bread has always been an intimidating, scary area of baking for me; the concept of kneading is downright frightening. Since receiving my new KitchenAid Standing Mixer, I have decided to let go of my fears since this nifty kitchen gadget can do all of the kneading for me!

This recipe was great for beginners! Simple, direct, and yielding excellent results. My family is bread lovers; being Italian, bread is served at essentially every dinner. When my dad told me that this bread was excellent, I knew that I was on to something! The bread is perfect: not to light, and perfectly heavy. The interior is soft with a nice and perfectly crispy exterior. It pairs perfectly with some butter, margarine, or some olive oil!

This recipe is from Urban Strawberries! Thanks for the phenomenal bread!

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 Tbsp. yeast
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
5 1/2 cups flour
1 egg white (or 2 Tbsp olive oil)

Directions
Preheat oven to 450*F.

In a large bowl, mix warm water and yeast until yeast has dissolved.  Next add sugar, salt and flour. Knead ingredients together till it’s a soft uniform dough.

Now place a thin towel over the bowl with the dough in it and let it rise in a warm place for 15-30 minutes.

Seperate dough into two, and begin shaping dough into long loaves, and place on a baking sheet.

Make slits with a knife and brush with egg white or olive oil. If you are garnishing with herbs or cheese, do so now.

Cover the dough with the towel once more and let rise 5 minutes or so (the longer the better).

Remove towel, and bake for 12-15 minutes or until tops are brown and crusty.

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