Monday, December 24, 2012

Oatmeal Fudge Bars

I need to call a conference with the People Who Invent Baby Clothes. We have to tell them something that I am sure they do not know. Are they not aware that the main people who snap up baby stretchies are either majorly sleep deprived mothers or seriously clueless fathers? (Sorry Big D. Its just part of being a Man. Sweat and sawdust, my friend.) Big D. correctly commented that you need a PhD to snap those things up, and really, he's not that far off. You start snapping and before you know it, the poor little Grumpy Bundle of Joy is snapped up with his head over his feet and his toes popping out somewhere in between. Just sharing my thoughts with you on this. It's funny, because anytime someone snaps up a baby, they always sigh and say "I don't know how this thing goes..." Its like the fact everyone knows but no one talks about. So I think someone should definitely enlighten Them. Maybe we can pass a law that all baby things must close with zippers? Just banish those pesky snaps all together. Just a thought here. Anyways, for those of you not losing any sleep over snaps and zippers and grumps, here's something good to munch on:

Oatmeal Fudge Bars                                                                                         adapted from Baking and Mistaking
*Disclaimer: These bars are crumby when you cut them. If anyone has a solution on how to get them less crumby, I'd love to hear!

2 cups instant oats
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup margarine or butter, melted

3 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup margarine or butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325°. Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add in melted margarine and stir until combined. Press 1/2 the mixture into the bottom of lined pan. Reserve the rest of the crumbs. Bake for 8 minutes and then let cool. 

Prepare the filling:
Melt margarine or butter in a small saucepan. Add chocolate chips and stir constantly over low heat until melted. Remove from heat. Let cool slightly and whisk in eggs. Add in flour, sugar, coffee and salt and stir until combined. Spread over cooled crust and sprinkle with remaining oat mixture. Bake again at 325° for 25-30 minutes. Cool for 2 hours before cutting. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Coffee Flavored Crumb Cake

Ever since the arrival of our Grumpy Little Monkey, sleep has been a commodity around here. For everyone. And let me tell you guys something-lack of sleep completely and totally removes my sense of humor. Seriously. For the past two weeks, I have been digging deep into my well of wit and wisdom, and sadly its dark and empty. For now at least. So instead of pushing it off for another week, I am here at last, to share a recipe with you. And guess what: there is sour cream in the recipe in honor of Chanuka. 
 Come back in 6 months for some humor and entertainment. Or come back next week for some food and pictures. Either way,we're cool. 

Coffee Flavored Crumb Cake
This recipe is a nice change from the standard crumb cake. At first glance, you might read this as a coffee crumb cake, but it is actually a coffee flavored crumb cake. Thanks Sweet Pea for posting  the inspiration for this recipe!

2/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter*, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups sour cream*
2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Crumb topping:
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter or margarine

Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 9x13 pan and set aside.
To make the filling: In a small bowl combine the sugar, coffee granules and cinnamon; set aside.
To make the coffee cake: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Gradually add the flour mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. (The batter will be thick)
Spread half of the batter evenly into prepared baking pan and sprinkle with half the cinnamon-sugar topping and half the chocolate chips. Spoon the remaining batter in 8 dollops over the batter in the pan and spread gently. Combine crumb topping ingredients in a  small bowl. Using a fork, mix together until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter. Top with remaining cinnamon-coffee mixture and chocolate chips.
Bake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
For the sugar addicts out there, combine 1 cup powder sugar and 1 tablespoon milk. Drizzle over cooled cake.
* For a non-dairy version, you can use margarine, and Toffutti sour cream. 

Happy Chanuka!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Shalom Zachar!

One of the nice things about having four little {boy} monkeys is that we are old pros at Shalom Zachars. A Shalom Zachar literally means "Welcome Male" but in truth its a lot of fun. Basically, the first Friday night after the baby is born, we have a small, or large get together to welcome the new baby and people send over lots of cakes and treats.  I loved seeing all the creative and delicious goodies everyone sent over*-it amazed me how nice everyone is to take time out of their busy day to send stuff over! My grandmother couldn't have put it any better:
"Wow, I didn't know you had friends there!"
Anywhoo, its basically a given that my sisters are awesome. Every single one of them. And one of my super awesome sisters made these adorable cookies for us to enjoy, even though she was not at the shalom zachar. I know, I told you she is awesome!
So here's to awesome sisters and friendly neighbors! Hope you guys have a great week! And I'll be back with a yummy recipe next week!

* Would the person who sent over those amazing smores bars please raise their hand? They were delicious, and I don't know who sent them over!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Buns out of the oven...

...and its a boy!

And then there were four little monkeys...

Born November 15th, 1:54 AM.

 We have 3 little monkeys who could not be more excited to welcome home their little baby brother. 
I could not put up this post without a huge shout-out to the amazing nurses at Monmouth Medical Center- specifically Donna. That lady totally deserves an award! I'm sure it helps to bribe your nurses with cookies....but still, they were above and beyond awesome. 

Don't worry, I'm not disappearing again. I have a whole arsenal of recipes coming your way soon. Just wanted to share the good news!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Soft Baked Chocolate Fudge Cookies

Is it tacky to base the bulk of my post on my thoughts on Pinterest? Kind of like writing a blog post about not having something to write about? Cheap material? Not sure. 
This is the truth though. There is a problem with Pinterest. Albeit a minor one, yet a problem just the same. Pinterest makes you dissatisfied with your tried and true recipes! Seriously it does. I have been making the same chocolate fudge cookies for ages and ages. Never even occurred to me to look for a different recipe. Then BAM, one day I come across this on Pinterest. Mouthwatering  right? How can you pass on a recipe that looks like that!?
 Enter: The Recipe Worm.
 You know how those go by now, right? Its just like a song stuck in your head, except its a recipe. Bizarre, I know. Hey, you can't argue with it. It's the life of an obsessive baker.
Ok, now obviously I would not post a recipe if I did not believe it was The Most Amazing Recipe. I would like to point out the differences though, between this recipe, and my usual chocolate fudge cookie recipe. This recipe was unbelievable straight out of the oven. Melt in your mouth, delicious, chocolatey, cannot eat just one goodness. Once the cookies sat overnight, they had the same texture as a soft baked cookie. If you are looking for a chewy, thinner cookie, best stick with the old recipe

Soft Baked Chocolate Fudge Cookies
Found on Annies Eats, originally inspired by Levain Bakery

1 cup butter or margarine
1¼ cup sugar
2 eggs
½ cup cocoa 
2¼ cups flour
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2½ cups  chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°.  Using an electric mixer, beat the margarine and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat until light and fluffy;about 3 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low, and add remaining ingredients. Mix just until combined. Dough will be very thick. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto a lined cookie sheet. Using the bottom of  a glass, flatten each ball slightly. Bake in preheated oven for 11-12 minutes. Let cool completely before removing from tray. 

Now go have yourself an awesome week, ok?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Moral of the Story...

....Don't ever insult a hurricane. 
Apparently, they are very sensitive little things...
Hope everyone made it through ok! 

Monday, October 29, 2012

{Frozen} Raninu Pies

I always say, the best way to deal with impending doom is to develop a nice healthy state of skepticism ...otherwise known as denial*. Apparently most people agree with me, because after skimming through my blogger feed this morning, I think one person mentioned Hurricane Sandy! Helllooooo peeps!? Who's stocking up on margarine and eggs? We have to be prepared folks! Generally I laugh at these storms, but all this hype is getting me nervous. What happens if we are flooded and I have no chocolate chips? Now that's a disaster. So in keeping with the theme of denial, let's reminisce about the summer, shall we? 
Now, we've had our share of storms this summer, but the one that makes me feel all fuzzy and warm was the last one. It was on the last day of camp, after all the campers skedaddled. The camp felt so empty, there was an echo.....and then it started pouring. You know the term "sheets of rain"? That's exactly what it was like.  I think the storms in the mountains are much more intense- it's like you are that much closer to the sky. Luckily, we were all in the lunchroom, helping out with a most important job: Finishing the leftovers. Being that it was pouring out, we had nothing else to do but to eat. Not much of a chore there now, is it? Anyhoo, we had the monumental task of digging our way through a 50 gallon tub (barrel?) of ice cream, and this was when I shared one of my most closely guarded secrets with everyone. 
And I shall share it with you.
If you split open an Oreo, and fill it with peanut butter and vanilla ice cream, you are eating a small piece of heaven. 
Seriously. Go try it.
I always wanted to convert that into some sort of recipe, and here is what I've got:

Raninu Pies

Make Ice Cream:
Non-Dairy Vanilla Ice Cream
8 ounces non-dairy whipped topping (Rich's whip)
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla 
3 eggs

Using an electric mixer, beat whipped topping until stiff peaks form. Add sugar and vanilla sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Pour into an airtight container and freeze overnight. 

Make Cookies:
Brownie Cookies
1 1/4 cups cocoa 
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup margarine
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Preheat oven to 350° F.Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk the cocoa, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Using an electric mixer, cream the margarine, granulated sugar and brown sugar together, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients in two addition, beating until just combined. The batter will be very thick. Divide dough into 18 even balls. Place them on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Spray the bottom of a drinking glass with Pam, and press down on each cookie slightly to flatten. Bake for 11-12 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are set and the tops are puffed and cracked (but still soft). Allow cookies to cool completely on the tray.

To assemble:
I found it's best to assemble immediately before serving; otherwise you have frozen cookies that are impossible to bite into. Spread the bottom of a cookie with 2-3 tablespoons peanut butter. Spread another cookie with ice cream. Cover and enjoy! Eat fast before they melt!

*All kidding aside, please treat this storm responsibly. Make sure you have enough water, flashlights and batteries. If you live in an area that has a mandatory evacuation, please evacuate.  Do not visit any beaches to check out the waves! 
Stay safe and warm guys! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Little D. is six!

I think there is no shorter time span than the time it takes to go from year to year on my kids birthdays. Hard to explain, but it literally feels like I sat down last week to post pictures of Little D.'s long awaited Lion Cake. Maybe it has to do with the fact that birthday cake planning in our house generally starts 364 days in advance....which is how we came to have a Shark/Original Little D. Artwork Combo Cake this year.
Little D. had his heart set on having a shark cake for his sixth birthday. But when his big brother made this super cool painted cake, he wasn't all that sure anymore....
So this is what we came up with!  
Little D. insisted that the shark must be smiling.
And really- who wouldn't smile with a mouth full of those adorable teeth?!
Happy Birthday Little D.! Keep on smiling!

We love you!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Tap,tap. This thing on?

Well, hello there. Fancy seeing you here! I know most bloggers pop in around the end of August/beginning of September with a slew of pictures from their ultra cool summer vacation.  But as we already know....I'm not really like most people, so here I am! In the middle of October! With pics from the summer! Possibly uncool, but with pictures nonetheless. So no long speeches today- I'm going to let the pictures do their talking:
Click on pictures for relevant links.

We started off our summer somewhere deep in bear country...

Otherwise known as Honesdale, PA...

Home of the world famous:
Yep, that's where I was hiding! 

Ironically, I did not take a single food picture the entire summer, but here's a cool sunset picture:

And a picture of a deer:

Anyhoo...after a beautiful summer of good food, nice people,
(Tamara, that would be you!)
and a nasty case of poison oak....

We had some more good food:

Saw some more cool sunsets:

Ate some more good food:

Saw some crocs:

Laughed at some t-shirts:

And took a ride through The Everglades:

And that folks, was my summer vacation! 

Stay tuned next week for Little D's Painted Shark Birthday Cake!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Be back soon....

(Photo Source:DwellbyCheryl)

No, I haven't falled asleep behind the oven.
 I'm just taking a break. 
Cuz' I can.
But never fear!
I'll be back-
Come and check back here in September for some mouth wateringly delicious treats!
Good things come to those who wait....

Monday, June 18, 2012

Passing down the torch...

Ok, so I am going to totally waltz right in here and pretend I haven't disappeared for the past month. Yep, 'cuz I can do things like that. Anyways...

For my long time followers, you might remember that we just passed a pretty important date in the CantStopBaking household....bum bu du dum.....

Z-Monkey's Birthday!!

This year we tried something a little different, which (thank goodness!) worked out amazing. Dontcha just love when the kids like to do things that actually make things EASIER for their tired old parents. A rarity indeed, but nice nonetheless.
Sweetapolita, who incidentally is an amazingly talented blogger, and seems to be a super cool Mom, recently posted this adorable method of having kids paint on cake. I mentioned it to Z-Monkey, and he was really excited to give it a try! So here it is:

I think it's pretty adorable! He picked out all the colors, and took the whole process very seriously. Little Monkeys were banished from the room, and he really created a beautiful cake. I was so proud! The most awesome part: Little D is begging to do this for his birthday now too. And I was already researching shark cakes....bummer.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Cherry Cheese Danish Braid

When I want to make a new recipe, I almost always never forget about it. Except once in a blue moon, I do forget....enter: Pinterest. But generally these types of things stick to my brain. So when I mentioned cheese danishes and lattes a few weeks ago, that combination bounced around in my cerebellum just waiting for the right oppurtunity to come out into this world. And so folks, without further ado:
Danish Dough
This recipe is a copycat recipe of Pillsbury Crescent dough. Since I am not sure if it is kosher, and if it is, it is most likely dairy (my Cholov Yisroel dilemma,) I was really eager to try this recipe out...Pinterest is chock full of cool looking recipes that call for Pillsbury Crescent Dough. Since I can't tell you what the original tastes like, I don't know if it tastes the same, but I was really happy with the results. I am sure if you are short on time, you can use a sheet a puff pastry dough, but cold pastry dough is just really *ick* (no other way to describe it) and this dough has a lot more substance and flavor then regular puff pastry (not to mention, less grease). If you want to try making the dough non-dairy for other recipes, I am sure you can substitute the butter with margarine.  Also, one recipe of this dough equals one tube of store bought dough. 

2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast
6 tablespoons lukewarm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 large egg
2 tablespoons shortening
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Combine yeast, warm water and 1 tablespoon sugar in a bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes, until yeast is foamy. Add in remaining ingredients, in order. If using a stand mixer, knead for 5-10 minutes, until dough is smooth. If mixing by hand, use a spoon to mix until ingredients form a ball, and then knead by hand for 5 minutes, until dough is smooth. Cover bowl with a towel, and set in a warm place to rise for 1 hour. 

1-8 ounce package cream cheese, whipped or solid
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla 

1 cup cherry pie filling

2 tablespoons butter, melted

Combine cream cheese and sugar in a small bowl.Using an electric mixer, beat until creamy. Add vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined. Roll out risen dough into a 13x7 rectangle. (Do not punch down the dough before rolling, it makes it harder to roll out if you do.) Spread the cheese filling in a line down the length of the middle of the rectangle. Carefully spoon the pie filling over the cheese filling. (It's tempting to dump the whole can of pie filling over the middle, but its really too much. One cup is more than enough cherry flavor.) Using a sharp knife, cut diagonal strips down each side of the filling, about one inch apart.
I was too lazy to take pictures at this point, so here's my super cool diagram I made for you on Paint. 

No snide jokes regarding my drawing talents please. My talents like to stay in the kitchen where they are welcome, thank you very much.

Fold over the top of the dough and the bottom of the dough to prevent the filling from leaking out. Starting at the top, fold opposite strips of dough over the filling to create a braided affect. Brush entire braid with melted butter. Sprinkle sugar on top. Bake at 375°F for 23-25 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely before slicing. 

I plan on freezing this, so if you are wondering if you can, I am sure it will be fine. But since I have not tested it out yet, I cannot say for sure. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

And back to the boys...

Upsherin cakes!! 
As much as I wax poetic about girls' cakes- there is something that is just so much fun about making a boy's upsherin cake (customary celebration when a Jewish boy turns 3 years old). While girls are frilly and floofy; boys are bold with bright colors, and of course the mandatory train:
And now for some frilly...
....and some floof with a little class:

Now go have yourself a nice week, ok?
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