Thursday, January 31, 2013

cheddar. garlic. biscuits.

I have a vegetarian potluck to go to tomorrow. I'll be the first person to say that if I could be strictly a carnivore, I would. I don't say this to make anyone angry as I completely respect the diets of others (Peace Corps definitely taught me that!). But, because one of my coworkers said he would take the dessert duty tomorrow, I decided to make my go-to whenever I need to bring a side. Fluffy, delicious buttermilk biscuits that have taken years to perfect. However, one of my coworkers revealed that one of her favorite things in the world is the Cheddar Bay Biscuits from Red Lobster. Challenge accepted, Shari.  Challenge accepted.

I looked up a bunch of recipes online, but all of them said you should use a biscuit mix like Bisquick.  Sorry, I refuse to do that. Do yourself a favor and disregard those recipes. I just used my favorite recipe and added a few ingredients. Below is the recipe to my version, which I think is much better! Eater beware...this is NOT something you should make frequently.

Cheddar Garlic Biscuits
2 C. Flour
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
1 Tbsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. Salt
6 Tbsp. Cold Salted Butter
1 heaping cup of Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 C. Buttermilk (NOTE: don't buy a whole carton of buttermilk! Instead combine one cup of milk with 1 Tbsp. of Vinegar and let it set for 5 min. or more)

To Brush on Top
4 Tbsp. Salted Butter, melted
1/2 tsp. dried parsley flakes
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
Pinch of salt

Start by preheating your oven to 450 degrees. Take the flour, baking soda, baking powder, garlic powder, and salt and stir them together. Take the buttermilk and cheese and mix together in a small bowl and set aside. Cut the butter into chunks and cut into the flour until it resembles course meal (I just take the butter and squish it into the flower until it is well incorporated using my hands). Next, add the buttermilk/cheese mixture into the flour and mix until just combined (it should be very wet).

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently pat the dough out until it is about 1/2" thick.  Fold the dough about 5 times, and gently press the dough down to about 1" thick.  Use a round cutter to cut into rounds.  Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet, sides touching if you like soft sides (which I do). If you like "crusty" sides, put them about 1" apart, but note these will not rise as high as the biscuits put together.

After they are placed on a cookie sheet, mix together the melted butter, parsley flakes, garlic powder, and salt.  Evenly spread the mixture on the top of each of the biscuits before you place them in the oven.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until they are a light golden brown.  I recommend melting a little extra butter and spreading it on the biscuits when they come out of the oven as well.

I really think these biscuits put the Red Lobster biscuits to shame.  Mine are the same light, fluffy biscuit but I don't use any preservatives (which I'm sure theirs are loaded with).  These are amazing, and anyone who loves the restaurants version will love these.  Guaranteed.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Get Baked NYC is back!

I'm back, babydoll!  It's been a LONG time since I have posted anything, but it's been an extremely busy year.  I have been baking but unfortunately not posting, so I plan to rectify that.  My roommate and I are moving into a new apartment and once that is taken care or, I will be back to my old, floured ways.  Stay tune for some new, delicious creations!


(This is me and my best friend Brittany at the Warrior Dash in New York.  See?  I've been busy being awesome.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Summer Berry January.

I's January and I am making a Summer Berry Cobbler.  Who cares?  This dessert is always a crowd pleaser and it makes people feel better about eating it when they are eating fruit too (or so I tell myself).  When I found out it was my coworkers birthday and didn't know until the end of the day, I decided to make this for her tomorrow.  I hope she likes it!  If not....more for me!

Summer Berry Cobbler

Base Ingredients
1 pint* blueberries
1 pint raspberries
1 pint blackberries
1 pint strawberries (hulled & sliced in half)
1/2 C. Sugar
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
2 Tb. Cornstarch
1/2 Lemon, juiced

Scone Dough Topping
2 C. Flour
1 Tb. Baking Powder
1 tsp. salt
1/3 C. Sugar
1/4 C. Butter, chilled and cut in chunks
3/4 C. Cream (I used Fat Free Half and Half)
1 Egg

First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  After you have washed your berries, combine in a mixing bowl the berries with the sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch, and lemon juice.  Gently, stir this all together until it is just combine (I used a big bowl and just swirled it around until the berries were covered).  Spread the berry mixture out onto either a baking pan or a 10" tart dish (I don't have a tart dish, so I did it in my 9"x13" casserole dish).  Dollop spoonfuls of scone dough evenly over the top of the fruit, leaving a small border around the edge so that it can move outward.  Set on a cookie sheet and bake for 25-35 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the fruit juices are bubbling.  Make sure to let it cool for 15 minutes before serving, and feel free to put cream, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream on top.

This is one of my favorite desserts.  Maybe it is my Southern Missouri roots that loves cobbler, but I don't think it gets much better than this.  This recipe can be changed depending on what fruit you have in season, and you can mix it up using fruit like peaches or apples if you want.  The topping is versatile and can work with whatever fruit you want to use as well.  I hope you all enjoy this as much as I do!

*NOTE: 1 pint = 16 oz of fruit

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Red. Velvet. Cake.

Red Velvet Cake.  The name sounds awesome.  I was lucky enough to have my dear mother come visit me in New York City for the holidays.  We quite literally walked about 10 miles a day, but every day we treated ourselves to one of the amazing baked goods you can find all over the city.  Buttercup Bake Shop on 2nd Avenue, Magnolia Bakery at Grand Central, Cupcakeland in Williamsburg....we tried them all.  But now, I find myself going through withdrawal.  One of my favorite baked goods I had while I was eating my way through Manhattan with my mom was a Red Velvet Cupcake from Magnolia Bakery.  So, in an effort to further this addiction of mine for delicious cakes and cupcakes, I found a really great recipe for a Red Velvet Cake that I wanted to try.  Here it goes!

2 1/2 C. Flour
1/2 C. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 C. Butter, softened
2 C. Sugar
4 Eggs, room temperature
1 C. Sour Cream
1/2 C. Milk
1 oz. Red Food Color
2 tsp. Vanilla

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Take all of the dry ingredients for the cake (flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt) and mix them together in a medium bowl until everything is fully incorporated.  Set this aside for later.

Next, you will want to cream the butter and sugar together with a mixer on medium speed until it is light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).  After this, beat in your eggs, one at a time until fully incorporated.  Once this is done, add in the sour cream, milk, food coloring, and vanilla to the batter and mix on low until it is one even color.  Take your dry ingredients and slowly add it to the mixture in 4 equal parts (do it slowly or you will be covered in the dry ingredients!) until it is thoroughly blended.  If you are baking a cake as I did, you will spray the bottom of two cake pans and spread the thick batter into each evenly.  If you are making cupcakes, spoon the batter into paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full.

For cake:  bake in the oven for about 30 minutes and test with a toothpick to see if they are done in the middle.  If not, bake for 5 minute intervals until the toothpick comes out clean of batter.  Cool for about 5 minutes in the pans, and then after running a knife around the edge to loosen, flip onto a place to cool completely.

For cupcakes: bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the cupcake comes out clean.  Cool in pans for about 5 minutes and then remove them from the pans to cool completely.

Once your cake or cupcakes are completely cool (seriously....completely or you will be sorry!), you may frost them as you will.  If you want to garnish them a little, you can always toss on crushed pecans, but I prefer them without. 

This recipe is one of the better ones out there.  Most of the recipes I have found are the same, but this one with the sour cream really does have more depth.  These ingredients also help to keep the cake very moist.  I have tried a few different recipes in the past, but I just never was satisfied.  This one?  It's a keeper.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Excuse me.... is this where I get my chocolate fix?

CHOCOLATE.  Researchers have found that eating chocolate, the number one food craved by American Women, actually causes the brain to release endorphins ( this is the chemical in our brain that makes us feel good).  Beyond that, dark chocolate is actually one of your heart's "super foods" in that you should eat 1 oz. every day.  Dark Chocolate (no milk chocolate though...sorry!) is proven to lower blood pressure and is loaded with antioxidants which help to gobble up free radicals, destructive molecules that are implicated in heart disease and other ailments.  When I saw this recipe for Jacques Torres' Mudslide Cookies, it had me salivating first and then, in a roundabout manner, thinking it could kind of be good for me too.  I love chocolate in any form, dark or milk, and in any combination (my favorite is with peanut butter!).  So, I decided that this cookie would be a great treat for my roommates and colleagues....and me, too.

The Jacques Torres 
Chocolate Mudslide Cookies

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
16 ounces bittersweet chocolate
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and room temperature
2 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
5 eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon walnuts, chopped
16 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
fleur de sel or sea salt, for sprinkling
*parchment paper, for lining the baking sheets

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F and line your first baking sheet with parchment paper (I usually spray a little cooking spray on the pan before I lay down the parchment paper to make it stay on easier). 
Blend together all of your dry ingredients and set aside (the flour, baking powder, and salt). Next, in a medium sauce pan, melt together the 6 ounces of unsweetened chocolate and the 16 ounces of bittersweet chocolate over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Set aside to cool.

Now, stir together the butter and sugar until it has the texture of wet sand. Add in the eggs, one at a time, using a mixer on low, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Next, add in the flour mixture, and mix until just mixed and then beat in the melted chocolate, until just combined. (Note: the dough will seem too wet at this point, but don’t worry! It’ll come together!)

Chop your walnuts and additional 16 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, and fold them into the batter.  Use a a tablespoon  to scoop up the dough and drop the dough onto the baking sheets , then sprinkle with a bit of sea salt (trust it!). Bake at 325 degrees F on a regular setting for 12-15 minutes (14 minutes in my oven did the trick). Allow to cool completely before removing from the sheets.

After eating way too much dough, I decided to try just one.  The verdict?  It's a very good, rich cookie (especially for any chocoholics out there) and tastes more on the dark chocolate side of things which I really liked.  But - yes, there is a but - I actually found it to be almost too rich.  Even sprinkling the little bit of salt over the cookie couldn't cut through the incredible decadence of this cookie.  So, eater beware!  I know while you are making this cookie you will want to eat all the dough you can and eat cookies in a manner that could rival the Cookie Monster, but take it from me, please refrain.  One is definitely enough (my stomach can prove it).  Plus, dark chocolate is good for you only in moderation, so take a page from Warren G's playbook (name drop!), and regulate yourself.  You'll thank me later.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Calling All Pumpkin Addicts: Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

Most of us love pumpkin be it in pie form, a flavoring of coffee, a scented candle, or otherwise.  I am an avid Food Network and Paula Deen fan (what can I say...her sons are cute too!) and have enjoyed the majority of her recipes.  But, this one in particular is my all time favorite.  I’m not really a pumpkin pie fan (maybe it is something about the texture…who knows?), but I love just about everything else pumpkin.  I was first introduced to this recipe by my beautiful mother who made it for my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding rehearsal dinner when they got married in 2004.  This is a perfect fall dessert for any occasion.

Overall, I’d say this recipe is similar to a simple cheesecake with a delicious crust, and the best part is that it takes a fraction of the time to prepare it compared to cheesecake.  So, without further ado, here is the recipe for Paula Deen’s Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake!

1 (18 1/4-ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 egg
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (15-ounce) can Pumpkin
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
As always, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Next, it’s time for the crust: combine the cake mix, egg (make sure all of your eggs have come to room temperature), and butter and mix well using your hands. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13”x 9” baking pan.
The filling is just as simple: in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until it is smooth (you may see some lumps, but that is completely fine). Next, add the eggs (remember: room temperature!), vanilla, and butter, and beat together for about one minute. Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well until it is smooth. Take the pumpkin mixture and spread it over the crust that you have already pressed into the pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. (NOTE: Make sure not to overbake! The center should be a little gooey.)

My coworkers at my office came up to me all day long taking about how great they thought this cake was and even suggested I submit it to our agency’s newsletter (I did, of course!).  I love this recipe because it really does seem like it is complicated and you have to really know what you are doing, but in reality, you only have to mix things up and put it in a pan and try not to overbake it.  I think that this is a great substitute for those individuals who love pumpkin pie, so I challenge all of you to serve this at your Thanksgiving meals instead and watch the compliments roll in.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Italian Cream Cake: Gym, Tanning…..Cake?

GTL has just become GTC with this amazing Italian Cream Cake recipe.  I apologize to everyone reading this for the Jersey Shore reference!  The fact remains that this cake is about as Italian as the cast (which mean….NOT VERY ITALIAN).  You may or may not know this, but Italians don’t really use cream cheese or coconut traditionally.  I am not sure why that beautiful national got to give this cake its namesake.

One of my amazing coworkers had her last day of work, and I thought there would be no better thank her for her dedication to our office than by making this delicious, decadent dessert.  We wish you all the best in all of your future endeavors, Monifa!  Without further ado, her it is:

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup + 3 T sugar
5 eggs, separated
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened, flaked coconut
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk

First you have a few things that you need to prep.  Start off by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Take three 9" round cake pans (or if you are lazy like me, 2) and grease and flour the pans.  Next, separate your eggs, placing the yolks in one bowl and the whites in another.  Take the egg whites and beat them in a clean mixing bowl with an electric mixer, increasing speed from low to medium high until you reach stiff peaks. Set this aside for later.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, oil, and 1 cup of the sugar with an electric mixer for about two minutes. Next, mix in the egg yolks and vanilla and mix until well incorporated. Add in the coconut and mix to combine (this can be done with a spoon). After this, in a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and whisk together so all of the ingredients are mixed through thoroughly.

Alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk, beating until just incorporated after each addition. Once this is completed, fold in 1/3 of the egg whites first to lighten the batter, and then gently fold in the remaining egg whites.

Divide batter evenly among your pans; sprinkle the tops with one tablespoon of sugar each. Bake approximately 20 minutes (about 35 if you are only using two pans) until a toothpick inserted in the center of each comes out clean. Tops should be golden brown. Let the cake cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, run a knife around the edge to loosen and invert onto a rack covered with wax or parchment paper. Flip right side up and let cool completely.
  Seriously….make sure it is totally cooled or it will be a pain to frost!

Frosting and Filling:
2- 8 oz packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 lbs powdered sugar
3/4 cup sweetened, flaked coconut
Approximately 2 cups chopped pecans

While your cakes are baking, combine the cream cheese and butter (room temperature, of course!) in a mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Next, add the vanilla extract and beat until well incorporated. Gradually add in the powdered sugar and mixing it on low speed until the frosting reaches the desired consistency (NOTE: You may not used all 2 lbs of the powdered sugar!  I only used about 1.5 lbs in total!).   Lastly, add the coconut and 3/4 cup chopped pecans to the filling and mix well. Now it is time to go to town frosting this baby!

The best part about this recipe is that is keeps the cake moist.  This cake is great for any occasion, regardless of who is in the room (except for those with egg, nut, or coconut allergies!).  As you can see by the picture, the cake was a huge success and one that I will definitely make in the future.  It may not be very Italian, but this cake is DELIZIOSO!