Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mid-November Single Serve Desserts

Lots of little things to bake this month...

Last weekend was my mom 's quilting retreat and she wanted an easy, packable, low fat dessert and found a pretty easy and pretty delicious recipe for cherry brownie muffins. They started from a fat free brownie mix, and included cherry pie filling and a bit of FiberOne cereal for an added crunch. It might not sound too great, but take my word for it - the batter was just as good as any.

Next I had a little "job" for Melissa from high school. She is throwing her boyfriend a surprise party today and needed some musical desserts: music note sugar cookies, Oreo "drums" and some marshmallow ganache cupcakes, which I couldn't decorate musically because nothing would stick to the frosting, but they'll be delicious and they look cool in the foil cupcake liners - so I hope they work out! Theme decorating was fun and I have fallen in love with sprinkles due to the music notes. I am extremely looking forward to sugar cookie day for Christmas this year.

Covering the Oreos in ganache was actually easier than I thought, but next I think I'll make sure to be chewing gum... I definitely consumed too much leftover ganache that day, but I hope the party guests think they look like drums and not like some kind of insect.

Brownie cupcakes always turn out delicious, but this time I thought it would be fun to try layering some flavors. So these brownies are topped with a layer of (super sticky) marshmallow glaze and then covered in semi-sweet ganache ---> almost a too sticky emergency, but Alton Brown's ganache saved the day... again.

Bridgie's Bday Big Cookie a.k.a. Sale Halloween Candy at its finest :)

What do you get when you have loads of extra Halloween candy? A giant, brightly colored cookie cake!

Ok, I'll be honest, I actually went out and bought on-sale candy, we didn't have any leftovers - but you could use whatever candy or mix-ins you have on hand. This was actually an amazingly easy recipe - no mixer needed.

I found the recipe here --> and probably used too much candy (which led to it needing to be cooked an extra 15 minutes or so) but it still turned delicious and was thoroughly enjoyed by Bridget & company as a birthday dessert!

The recipe required simple melted and mixing over the stove and then a pop in the oven. I think I'll probably stick to my cookie recipes that involve creaming the butter and sugars in the future though, I think melting the butter is what made the cookie take so long to bake and made me nervous that it was undercooked - no worries though, a scrumptious success.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

H A double L O W double E N spells Halloween!

Halloween! One of my favorite times of the year - full of candy & desserts, of course! I had quite a field day this year, lots and lots of baking went down this week, and almost all on the same day.

Started off with a spider cheesecake for my mom's quilting friends. A weight watchers recipe, I wasn't expecting amazement, but I received rave reviews from everyone, including Dad and Michael so it must've been good. I don't really like cheesecake, but I didn't even get a chance to refuse a piece because I was at work all day and missed it.

Next I tackled Cakespy's Candy Corn Nanaimo Bars I'd made the traditional Nanaimo bars a few Christmases ago, so I decided to try my hand at these festive little squares. Plus, now that Dad spends most of his time in Canada, maybe he'd have something to talk to them about up there! The bars are a simple (but lengthy) three step process:

A chocolate coconut layer,

Followed by a custard like layer - I made mine banana flavored

And finally the melted candy corn topper
It was kinda fun to melt the candies, though it took a bit longer than I expected

Ended in success, of course - so cute!

On to my third experiment -- Reese's Puffs Cereal Ghost balls also super cute. Basically crushed cereal, cream cheese and peanut butter scooped into balls and covered in white chocolate with little ghost faces, a really big hit, though I don't eat peanut butter so I'll just have to take everyone's word for it. These were very similar to the cake balls I make for mother's day - I'm thinking they would be fun to make again for christmas... trees? santas? elves? candy canes?

Finally, I stuck with my usual Halloween brownie cupcakes - I always seem to throw these in for the holiday, I think because I don't like to make chocolate cupcakes but vanilla isn't right for the day. Also, years ago my mom bought me way too many Halloween cupcake liners, so I always try to use a few when I can. I played around with designs, from simple sprinkles to candy corn colors - using my colored sugars was a fun addition.

I also tried the new Pilsbury Brownie Minis for Madeline (and my mom). I was surprised by how small they actually were, and they weren't really worth the price ($2 something) because the whole box only made 12 mini bites, that were truly bites. They are super simple because they only require an addition of water - no eggs or oil - and they include the pan, but I don't plan on buying them again, I can make my own for much cheaper.

Of course, they still turned out cute!

Hope everyone had a fun and deliciously sweet Halloween!!!!

Weekend Treats

What would a weekend be without some baking?
These two treats were definite impromptus, first some spooky ghost and pumpkin chocolate chip cookie shapes

And last weekend, another 1am cupcake excursion at Elizabeth's. This time following her brother's lovely wedding. The cakes were from a box, but the frosting homemade and delicious. I decided to decorate them with add-ons I found in her cabinets - chocolate chips, pretzels, marshmallows, rice krispies, oatmeal cookies and some maple pecan cereal - yum!

Marilee Desserts

For the past four years, my sister's birthday has fallen on my Fall Break from school, so I always make it home to celebrate, but sometimes this means she gets a quick cake that is not up to par for my usual desserts. This year, I wanted to make sure she got something she'd enjoy, so I make her a caramel cheesecake and pumpkin dip, followed by pumpkin bread muffins later in the week. Even though I don't like cheesecake or pumpkin, I tried everything and was surprised that I actually enjoyed the few bites I had. I'm either dealing with changing taste buds, or extreme hunger these days.

The cheesecake was based on a recipe from Kraftfoods, and I used an Oreo crust, of course.

I found the pumpkin dip recipe at and the pumpkin bread was another Kraft success - with a few changes of course.

I learned that canned pumpkin doesn't last too long after opened (hence the quick need for muffins) and that with enough sugar, I can enjoy a sliver of cheesecake - only with the Oreo crust and Heath bars on top!