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Monday
Jan172011

Sticky Toffee Pudding

We had a little Blue-Eyed reunion this weekend. 

You know, because New York wasn't quite cold enough, so the baking representative from Manhattan ventured north to Boston.  Which will forthwith be referred to as the tundra.

So, there we are, up in the tundra. And what, you ask, do people do in the tundra? 

Right.  Obviously.  In the tundra people stay inside and keep warm.  So let's rephrase the question then. 

What do insane people do in the tundra?  They go for walks.  Looooong walks.  In many feet of snow.  And they almost fall over like every 17 steps.  And they actually fall over ever 62 steps.  And they get cold.  Like colder than they already were.  Which FYI was really cold.

Chalk it up to the British blood coursing through our veins.  We can't help ourselves. 

Through the wind, sleet, snow and rain, we walk. 

Psssssh hahahahaha!  Whew whew whew...oh gosh.  We're sorry...whew...that was a lie.  A boldfaced lie.

The desire to walk soooo does not course through our veins (although our parents are another deranged walks-in-the-rain-loving story).

However, the desire to EAT pretty much will motivate us to do anything.  Even exploratory tundra walks.

And knowing that this sticky toffee pudding would be waiting for us at home (and two types of homemade ice cream)? 

Y'all.  We were like world champion, gold medal speed walkers.  In snow boots.  On hills.  And yes that's as hard as it sounds. 

But cupcakes, seriously, have you seen this stuff?

Right.  We know.  We'll have some waiting for you when you get back from that walk.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Print Recipe

20-22 dates, pitted and chopped, about 1 1/4 cups
3/4 cup brewed black tea
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup flour
1 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the sauce:
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
6 tablespoons heave cream

1/2 cup pecans, chopped (optional)
Whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a small bowl, combine chopped dates and hot brewed tea, vanilla extract and baking soda and set aside.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until mixture is pale and fluffy, 1-2 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Slowly add flour mixture and mix to incorporate.  Fold in date mixture, including the tea.

Pour batter into a lightly buttered 8 inch square baking pan and bake until cake is set and dark golden, about 35 minutes.

While the cake is baking, make the sauce.  Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and heat gently over a low flame until all the sugar has dissolved and the caramel darkens, 5-8 minutes.

Once the cake has baked, use a fork to poke holes all over the surface.  Pour half the caramel sauce over the cake and let it absorb the sauce. 

To serve, preheat the broiler and warm the remaining caramel sauce.  Place cake under the broiler for 30 seconds to further caramelize the sauce (you can leave the oven door open and keep an eye on the cake, the sauce can burn quickly!).  Top each piece with some additional caramel sauce, whipped cream and chopped pecans if desired.

Thursday
Jan132011

Snickers Peanut Butter Muffins

Resolutions, schmesolutions. Diets, schmiets.

How can anyone possibly resist all the tasty temptations overwhelming the baked blogosphere?!?!

Especially when you are cooped up in a house with 18" of snow on the ground (and thunder, weird, right, thunder and snow, we're just saying) and Snickers bars calling your name. It's not like you can get out and go to the grocery store for some salad and fruit. Might as well heed the cries of the candybars on the counter.

So, have a muffin, Muffins! YAY!

Yes, it's a muffin! As in morning wake-up, healthy treat to start your day post-Snowpocalypse 2011! Muffins are practically good for you!

Who cares that they are basically bald cupcakes? Wait, don't tell them that. It might hurt their feelings. Being bald can create a bit of a complex, but, I mean, we don't judge! Bald is beautiful.

Er, and delicious.

And these muffins are especially delicious.

Snickers bars. Satisfies, right? And peanut butter. Chunky peanut butter.  If you aren't tempted to give up on that silly diet with these beauties, then we applaud you. You have enviable will power.

And, you are stronger than us. 

Snickers Peanut Butter Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
Adapted from Nigella Lawson 

Print Recipe

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
dash of salt
6 tablespoons chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk
3 1/2 full-size (2.07 ounces each) Snickers bars, chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add in the peanut butter and mix until downey with some pea-size crumbs interspersed. In a separate small bowl, mix together the milk, egg and melted butter. Gradually add this to the turning flour-peanut-butter mixture until just combined. Stir in the chopped Snickers bars with a big spoon.

Line 12-muffin cups with paper baking liners and spoon the batter evenly amongst the 12 muffins.

Bake for 20-25 minutes at which point the tops should be risen and golden brown with a firm-ish top. Cool in the muffing tin for 5-10 minutes and then remove the muffins to a wire rack to cool further if necessary.

Eat immediately. With a big glass of milk. 

Monday
Jan102011

Chocolate Chubbies

Aaaand we're back!  After a week off from baking and blogging, coupled with a steady dose of Eataly's ridiculously amazing pistachio gelato (thank goodness for to-go containers), we are ready to jump back in. 

The baking supplies are restocked, the Kitchen Aid is sparkling like new and the green sugar cookie icing is finally gone from the counter back splash. 

Oh wait, crap, no it's not.

Regardless, we're preheating that oven and baking once again.  And what you ask are we concocting for our very first recipe post of 2011?  Get ready, get set...cookies!!  Wait, no, brownies!!  Wait, wait, wait again, cookies!

Cookie-like brownies?  Brownie-like cookies?

Right, yes, that's it.  Brownie-like cookies.

Chocolate chubbies.  Yup muffins, that's what they're called.

Because while chubby isn't really an adjective we'd appreciate being called ourselves, when we're referencing a brownie-like cookie, chubby is good.  Chubby is GREAT actually.

Yay chubby!

Hmm, you probably won't hear us saying that again.

But we're saying it now.  Yay chubby!  You want to make these.  Yay chubby!  You want a brownie-like cookie loaded with three different kinds of chocolate and two different kinds of nuts.

It's 2011 cupcakes.  Go big or go home.

Or go chubby and go home we suppose.

Chocolate Chubbies
Adapted from Sarabeth's Bakery: From My Hands to Yours
Makes 24 cookies

Print Recipe

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
9 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped
1 1/4 cups walnuts, chopped

Position racks in the center and top third of the oven and preheat to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a microwave safe bowl, combine butter, semisweet and unsweetened chocolate.  Microwave mixture in 30 second intervals until mixture is melted and smooth.  Cool slightly, until mixture is warm but not hot, about 5 minutes.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a medium bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with the whisk attachment, beat eggs on medium high speed for about 30 seconds.  Increase mixture speed to high and add the sugar and vanilla.  Beat mixture until very thick, about 3 minutes.  Reduce speed to medium and beat in the cooled chocolate mixture until fully incorporated.  At this point change to the paddle attachment.  With the mixer on low slowly add the flour mixture.  Once fully mixed, add the chocolate chips, pecans, and walnuts (you may need to use a mixing spoon to make sure the add ins are evenly distributed).

Scoop out 2 inch diameter balls and place on baking sheets, spacing about 1 1/2" apart.  Bake immediately, rotating pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through, until cookies are set around the edges, 17-20 minutes.  Do not over bake, cookies might seem soft in the center.  Cool cookies completely on pans.  Store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Tuesday
Jan042011

Our Best Blue-Eyed Recipes of 2010

Happy 2011 cupcakes!  We hope you all had fabulously delicious holiday celebrations and are ready to dive right back in to mixing, kneading and baking.

Good, because we’re not either.  The bakers are taking a little break.  Travel troubles, passport fiascos, a rather horrific stomach bug and seeing the inside of Hartford airport at 3am (fyi we don’t live in Hartford) have left us a bit worse for the wear.

So we’re recuperating.  Drinking vanilla milkshakes and eating store bought baked goods (um, double stuffed Oreos, were they always this delicious?).  Just like the rest of those New Year’s resolutioners.

But just so you don’t miss us too much (and if you’re looking for a break from all that ridiculous healthy new year/new you business) we’ve compiled a list of our favorite 2010 recipes just in case the urge to fire up that oven strikes.

See you next week cookies!  And HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Cupcakes

 

Cappuccino Brownies

 

Salted Toffee Chocolate Chunk Cookies

 

Fancy Chocolate Bark

 

Fruit ‘n Nut Bars

 

Lime Curd Tart with Blackberries & Blueberries

 

Bailey’s Chocolate Icebox Cake

 

Peanut Butter & Bacon Cookies

 

Peppermint Patties

 

The Blue-Eyed Bakers’ Chocolate Chip Cookie

Tuesday
Dec282010

Chocolate Orange Bread

Welcome to Snow-mageddon.  As the Blue-Eyeds attempt to make it home to NYC and Boston (we know we know, if we don't laugh, we'll cry), there's really only one place to look for comfort.  And no, it's not your friendly American Airlines operator.  We're talking carbs.

They heal all travel woes.

Trust us.  Carbs kiddies, chocolate flavored carbs.

Well chocolate orange carbs.

Because really, when you're standing in that 2 hour security line, what could be better than a piece of soft bread, studded with chocolate chunks and orange zest?  

Well sure you might get strange looks from your fellow passengers, but think about this.  After 4 hours of sitting on the tarmac waiting for JFK to reopen, who's going to be excited they ate half a loaf of chocolate bread?

You that's who!

And those fellow passengers?  Sad.  They will be sad.

Like we said, carbs heal all travel woes. 

Chocolate Orange Bread

Print Recipe

1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 envelope active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/3 cup sugar
Zest of 2 oranges
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 3/4 cups flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk

In a glass bowl, heat the milk and butter in the microwave until butter is melted.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, pour yeast over warm water.

Mix the orange zest into the sugar, using your fingers to release the oils and fully incorporate the zest.  Beat the sugar, vanilla, and eggs into the warm water and yeast until blended well. Add the salt, milk mixture and 1 cup of flour and mix well.

Add the remaining flour a 1/2 cup at a time until all the flour has been added and mixture is fully combined.  Place dough in a greased bowl and cover.  Allow dough to rise until doubled in size, about 2 1/2 hours.

Once dough has doubled, punch down and place on a floured board. Allow dough to rest for 10 minutes, then rollout out into a rough 8 x 14 rectangle.  Cover surface with chocolate chunks and roll into a log, starting with the short end.  PLace dough seam side down in a well greased loaf pan.  Allow dough to rise for 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Brush top of loaf with egg wash of 1 egg and 1 tablespoon milk. Bake for 45 minutes until golden.  Allow to cool completely.  Store bread well wrapped at room temperature for up to 4 days.