Friday, May 31, 2013

Peanut Butter Cake To Celebrate


              May 18 is now a double celebration in our house. It not only happens to be the day my oldest son was born, but it also marks the day we landed in The Netherlands. This year it marked the 15th birthday of my son and our 6th anniversary of when we landed in Amsterdam. I honestly don't know where the time went on both accounts. I have a 15 year old! I mean seriously.. Fifteen!! That poor kid thinks he has it all figured out. I try not to let on that he really has no clue at this stage of the game. I'm 38 and still don't have it figured out.


    What he does have figured out at this point is that I must bake a peanut butter cake every single year for him. This started when we moved here and no matter how much I try and get him to request something else, he just won't do it. It must be peanut butter and it doesn't matter if it's a new recipe as long as I stay within the 1 requirement. So I can live with that.

I spotted this recipe and saved it right away. I knew this was the one. It has buttermilk and peanut butter plus peanut butter in the frosting. You just can't go wrong. I can't tell you how right I was about this recipe. The cake is by far, our most favorite one since I started making them for him. It was moist and slightly dense and the peanut butter flavor was incredible. I put the cake in the fridge after we had all had a piece and we all agreed that we loved it even more when it was cold. The peanut butter had longer to sit and the flavor came out even more..and well needless to say, this cake never made it beyond May 18.

I halved the recipe of frosting and that was plenty in my opinion but feel free to pile the entire thing on top. I baked this in a 9x5 inch cake pan but the recipe also states it can be baked in a 13x9.

So..6 years of living here..I don't have any witty words to say about this. I miss home..that goes without saying. I miss my family..that also goes without saying..but I'm here now and making the best of it and living life the best way I cake,bread,cookie and muffin at a time.

Peanut Butter Cake

1-1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
1/3 cup Peanut Butter
1 cup Brown Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 cup Buttermilk
1 tsp. Vanilla

Halved Frosting Recipe
1/2 cup Peanut butter
1/4 cup Butter,softened
1-1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
1/4 cup Milk

Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Grease a 9x5 inch round cake pan with nonstick spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder,  baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl, add the oil,peanut butter and brown sugar and beat until combined and creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat just until combined.

Alternately add the flour and buttermilk to the wet mixture,beating just until not over mix!

Pour batter into prepared pan evenly. Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted towards middle comes out moist ( Not wet with batter but moist. If toothpick is dry,the cake is over-baked and will be dry). It took 40 minutes for my cake to test moist.

Cool cake in pan for 5 mnutes before removing and allowing to cool on wire rack.

To make frosting: In a bowl, combine peanut butter and butter and beat until smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar and continue to beat. Add in the milk and continue to beat until a smooth consistency is reached ( I needed about 2 tablespoons more to make that happen).

Spread the frosting on top of the cake. Serve and enjoy!

Yield: 8 servings
Source: The Daring Gourmet

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Whole Wheat Carrot Raisin Muffins


           It's time for another muffin recipe! Ever since I finally discovered Spelt flour while shopping in Germany I use it every chance I get. My family and I don't have issues when it comes to using regular whole wheat but I just love using different varities of flours and seeing how they turn out in recipes.

The original recipe only called for all purpose flour so just use that if you wish..but I used spelt instead. I made other changes by reducing the amount of brown sugar and using non fat yogurt in place of the sour cream. My muffins were moist,slightly dense (in a good way),froze beautifully, and made a perfect breakfast with low fat yogurt!

Whole Wheat Carrot Raisin Muffins

1-1/4 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup All-purpose Flour..I used Spelt
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Baking  Powder
1 cup Light Sour Cream..I used non fat plain yogurt
2 Large Eggs
1/2 cup Unsweetened Applesauce
1/2 cup Brown Sugar..I used 1/4 cup
1 tsp. Vanilla
1-1/2 cups Shredded Carrots
1 cup Raisins

Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Lightly grease a muffin tin with cooking spray, or line with muffin liners.

In a medium bowl,whisk together flours,cinnamon,pumpkin pie spice,salt,baking soda, and baking powder.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sour cream, eggs, applesauce, brown sugar and vanilla. Add flour mixture to the wet and stir just until combined. Stir in shredded carrots and raisins.

Divide batter evenly into 12 muffin cups. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs. Cool in pan for 2-3 minutes before removing from pan and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack.

Yield: 12 Muffins
Source: Barbara Bakes

Monday, May 27, 2013

Orange Buttermilk Rolls


          Growing up I never realised how different dinner time was at my house until I started eating elsewhere for dinner. We never had bread or rolls with butter on the table,we never drank soda with our meal, and my mashed potatoes came from actual potatoes and not from a box. I always left in a very envious way. I wanted what they had and didn't know why. My mom always made sure there was a hot meal every single night. She came home and prepared everything herself. Instead of being grateful I really wanted the tv dinners my friends were having and I too wanted that giant glass of soda to wash everything down with.


            I am grateful for the skills my mother had as a cook and baker because she passed those on to me..I suppose when you are younger you just don't realise how good you do have it and always think someone else has it slightly better. I can see it with my oldest son. He comes home to tell me what his friends eat and why don't we have a thursday french fry night and why don't we have instant cappuccino or a deep fryer? my simple answer is: Because that's not how we do it in our house. It's only later on that he admits that the fries made his stomach hurt and the cappuccino wasn't all that great either. I'm not saying I do it better than someone else but we do what works for us. I can see my mother's face and the frustration she had when I said I didn't want the real mashed potatoes but the fake ones. I imagine I have the same one as she did as my son tells me that every night his friends gets to make what he wants because his mother hates cooking. He doesn't realise how lucky he has it..and I can't wait until he fully figures it out.

So what does this entire post have to do with these rolls? It brought back memories when I read the title of them being dinner rolls. I couldn't serve them for dinner because I'm still trained not to. We eat rolls around Thanksgiving and Christmas and then thats it. When I do bake rolls like these,we eat them at breakfast or lunch because they are sweeter and that makes more sense to me. I'm not anti dinner roll at all..I just prefer sweeter type breads for breakfast and not dinner.

These are fantastic though and so fragrant from the orange zest. We split these open and ate them with butter and honey and enjoyed them on their own with a cup of coffee. These will be made often and served at breakfast :)

Orange Buttermilk Rolls

2 TBS Sugar
4 tsp. Orange Zest
3 cups All-purpose Flour
1-3/4 tsp. Instant Yeast
1 tsp. Salt
1-1/4 cups Warm Buttermilk (about 100-110 F)
1 TBS Honey
3 TBS Butter,melted and divided

Combine the sugar and orange zest in a large bowl. Rub the sugar and zest together with your fingertips until moist and fragrant. Add the flour and make a well in the center. Place the yeast inside of that well and sprinkle the salt around the outside of the well(you don't want the salt and yeast to touch).

In a bowl,stir together the buttermilk,honey and 2 tablespoons of the butter. Pour into the well and mix with a wooden spoon until combined ( If the dough is sticky add a few tablespoons more to bring it together). Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic,about 8 mins ** depending on your weather you made need more flour like I did to reach that point.**  Shape the dough into a ball and place into a large bowl that has been greased with a small amount of oil. Turn the ball once to coat both sides and cover with plastic wrap.

Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 13 roughly equal sized pieces. Shape each piece of dough into a ball and place on prepared sheet about 2 inches apart. Brush the tops with the remaining 1 tablespoon of meted butter. Loosely cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with nonstick spray or lightly oiled. Allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 or 190 celius. Bake the rolls for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer rolls to wire rack and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Yield: 13 Rolls
Source: Tracey's Culinary Adventures

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

M&M Cookies


           When I was little I loved walking through the bakery section of the grocery store because it ment a free cookie was in my future. The closer I came to the display of cookies the more excited I became. Was I going to get a chocolate chip cookie this time or was it going to be a frosted smiley face cookie? more often than not I got a giant m&m cookie. 


         I'd smile real big,grab the cookie from the smiling woman, and then walk with my mom through the store while ever so carefully plucking the m&m's off the cookie one by one.


      I can remember seeing the boys get those free cookies a few times and it instantly made me smile. I think it's sad that they don't give adults a free cookie every once and awhile..we need to smile aswell and remember the joys of a big soft m&m cookie.

So this post goes out to the kids in all of us. These cookies are super soft thanks to the cornstarch thats added and it's studded with both chocolate chips and m&m's. It brought a smile to our faces and I hope it brings one to you aswell.

M&M Cookies

1 cup Butter,softened
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 Large Egg + 1 Yolk
1-1/2 tsp. Vanilla
2 cups All-purpose Flour
1/4 cup Cornstarch
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
1-12 ounce pkg M&M's Milk Chocolate Candies
1/2 cup Semi sweet Chocolate Chips

In a large mixing bowl,beat together the butter and brown sugar until well combined. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. 

In a medium bowl,mix together the flour,cornstarch,baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture and mix just until combined. Add the m&m's (leave some for the tops if you want) and the chocolate chips and mix in with a wooden spoon.

Place dough in bowl with plastic wrap on top for atleast a few hours and as long as over night.

Preheat oven to 375 or 190 celcius. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Break off chunks of dough and roll into desired size. Place onto prepared sheet 2 inches apart.

Bake cookie for 7-10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. If you saved some of your m&m's, press them into the tops of the warm cookies.

Yield: I got 35 may get more or less depending on the size of your dough balls

Source: Yammie's Noshery          

Monday, May 20, 2013

Orange Blueberry Biscuits


           One of the things I love about being able to stay at home is having the time to make something special for breakfast during the week. I usually dedicate a sunday or monday to baking muffins,buns,crumpets,waffles and other type breads to  be used for breakfast and snacks during the week. I still however like getting up before everyone else and serving them something they hadn't expected.


        They totally did not expect these biscuits but I can tell you they were so excited to see them when they came downstairs! These sweetened biscuits are just wonderful. They are filled with blueberries,yogurt and orange zest. Then when they come out of the oven they are covered in a wonderful orange glaze. I think I like the orange blueberry combination better than lemon. If you arent a fan of orange then by all means,use lemon! the original recipe called for it but I have a ton of oranges that need to be used up.

Orange Blueberry Biscuits

2 cups All-purpose Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 cup Yogurt..I used low fat vanilla but orange or lemon would work too
1 Egg,lightly beaten
1/4 cup Butter,melted
1 tsp. Orange Zest
1 cup Fresh or Frozen Blueberries

1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
1 TBS Orange Juice
1/2 tsp. Orange Zest

Preheat oven to 400 or 200 celcius. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl,combine the flour,sugar,baking powder,baking soda, and salt.

In a small bowl,combine the yogurt,egg,butter and orange zest;stir into flour mixture and mix just until combined. Gently fold in blueberries.

Drop by rounded tablespoons 1 inch apart on prepared sheet. Bake 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned.

combine glaze ingredients;drizzle over warm biscuits and serve! 

** You may need to add more orange juice to the glaze in order to get a drizzle consistency. I needed one more tablespoon.**

** If using frozen blueberries,use them without thawing to avoid discoloring the batter.**

Yield: 12 Biscuits
Source: Taste of Home    


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Jalapeno Cheddar Buns

        May has turned out to be one annoying month weather wise. We have slipped back into the cold wet temps that has left much of us expats who live here craving soups and stews again. I know parts of the U.S. have been dealing with snow on and off so I know I shouldn't complain about our weather..but I can't help myself. My skin coloring has taken on a shade of white that would have me being cast in the latest vampire movie. When the sun does come out, I find myself running to the window to soak up as much of it as I can.

Since I know that bbq weather will be here at some point (please come soon!) I have been trying out various recipes that will come in handy when I am able to flick the switch on the grill. These buns are one such recipe! These will go great with grilled burgers,chicken or even veggie burgers. They will add a little pizazz to your normal sandwiches and are great when stuffed with peppers and eggs for breakfast.

I made these buns by hand..meaning no mixer was used. I found the dough to be very wet and needed to add more flour to achieve a smooth eleastic dough when kneading. We loved everything about these buns and will be making them often! I left out the additional egg that is to be used as a wash before baking them. I'm a cheapo these days and hate using an egg when a milk wash works just aswell.

Jalapeno Cheddar Buns

3-1/4 cups All-purpose Four;plus more as needed
1-3/4 tsp. Instant Yeast
3 TBS Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
7 oz Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
3 Large Jalapenos(seeds and ribs removed),finely chopped
1 cup Warm Water (100-110 F)
2 TBS Canola Oil
2 Large Eggs,room temp

In a large bow,combine the flour,yeast,sugar,salt,cheese and jalapenos; stir to combine.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the warm water,oil and 1 of the eggs. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined. If you find the dough to be wet, add in a small amount of flour to bring it together.

Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic and adding in additional flour when needed( I made sure to leave my dough on the slight tacky side),about 10 minutes.

Coat a large bowl with oil and place the ball of dough inside,turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm spot until doubled,about 75-90 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 8-10 pieces and shape each one into a round ball. Place onto prepared pan and flatten them slightly with the palm of your hand.

Cover pan with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with nonstick spray and allow to rise for 35 minutes.

In a small bowl,combine the egg and 1 tablespoon of water. Brush the buns with the egg wash ( or put a small amount of milk into a bowl and brush the tops of the buns with that).

Bake 25 minutes, or until the tops of the buns are a deep golden brown. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: 8-10 Buns
Source: Tracey's Culinary Adventures