Cranberry Cardamom Muffins

The following recipe was featured in my Muffin Swap event. You can read about it and view other muffin recipes HERE.

Frances’s Cranberry Cardamom Muffins

Recipe adapted from HERE

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cardamom. Add cranberries; stir to coat. In a small bowl, combine eggs, sour cream, butter and vanilla; mix well. Add to cranberry mixture; stir just until moistened. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15-10 minutes or until muffins test done. Remove from pans; serve warm.

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Weight Watchers Blueberry Muffins

The following recipe was featured in my Muffin Swap event. You can read about it and view other muffin recipes HERE.

Ann’s Weight Watchers Blueberry Muffins

Recipe adapted from HERE

2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup Splenda
1/4 cup sugar free table syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 small carton egg beaters
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup fat free milk
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
Butter Flavored Pam

Preheat oven 350. Sift all dry indredients together. Set aside. In separate bowl, beat Splenda, syrup and vanilla. Add egg beaters slowly. Beat until fluffy. Alternately, add flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Spray muffin pan with Pam and fill pan for 10 muffins. Bake for 25-30 mins or until toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy!

Tres Leches Flan Cake

The following recipe was prepared for my Tamales cooking class. You can read about my class and get other links to recipes HERE.

Tres Leches Flan Cake

Cake:
1 (18.25 oz.) box butter/yellow cake mix and ingredients to prepare as directed on box
1 (12 oz) can of regular Coke or Pepsi

Topping:
1 (10.9-oz.) jar cajeta (caramel topping) or caramel ice cream topping

Flan:
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees

1.) Follow instructions to make cake, but use the can of coke instead of water.
2.) Set cake mix aside and make flan
3.) Put the flan ingredients in a blender and mix well
4.) Spray the bundt pan with Pam and then cover the bottom with carmel
5.) Pour cake mix into bundt pan.
6.) Pour the flan mix gently down one side of the pan. The flan will go to the bottom and the cake mix will raise up a bit as the flan mixture fills the bottom of the pan.
7.) Set the bundt pan in a larger pan or tray with water. You are creating a double boiler, but you only need a couple inches of water.
8.) Put it all in the oven and it will cook for at least 45 minutes and as much as an hour.
9.) Check the cake doneness with a toothpick. The cake will stay more moist than most cakes you’ve ever made and you will see it separate a bit from the pan when it is done.
10.) Let is cool and regigerate for several hours.
11.) Take it out two hours before you plan to serve. Turn the bundt pan over and let it sit while warming to room temperature.
12.) The bundt pan should then lift off to reveal a layer of flan, topped with carmel sitting atop a very moist cake.

Best Brownies

I prepared the following recipe for my Book/Movie club. You can read about my event and view other links to recipes I made for it HERE.

I found this recipe in a thrift store, believe it or not. I was shopping around for a nice glass pitcher for cheap and there lost with the piles of books was a copy of a Cook’s Illustrated. Inside this whopping $.40 gem was Cooks Illustrated’s recipe for Best Brownies. I made their recipe verbatim, but to put a twist on it, I topped the brownie with pecan halves… and drizzled the top with buttery caramel. Here is Cook’s Illustrated’s recipe for Best Brownies to which I added some caramel over the top for a little more indulgence:

1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped medium
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 baking powder
6 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 6-1 inch pieces
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
caramel sauce (optional)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; jeat oven to 325 degrees. Cut 18-ince length foil and foild lengthwise to 8 inch width. Fit foil into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhang pan edges. Cut 14-inch length foil and, if using extra-wide foil, fold lengthwise to 12-inch width, fit into width of baking pan in same manner, perpendicular to first sheet. Spray foil lined pan with nonstick cookin spray. (Basically, line your baking pan well with foil, allowing some excess foil to hang off the edges for esay removal once its baked.)

2. If using nuts, spread nuts evenly on rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven until fragrant, 5-8 minutes. Set aside to cool. (I didn’t bother toasting the nuts because I knew it would bake up in the oven.)

3. Whisk to combine flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl; set aside.

4. Melt chocolate and butter in a large heatprood bowl set over saucepan of almost-simmering water, stirring occassionally, until smooth. (Alternatively, in microwave, heat butter and chocolate in large microwave-safe bowl on high for 45 second, then stir and heat for 30 seconds more. Stir again, and if necessary, repeat in 15-second increments; do not let chocolate burn.) When chocolate mixture is completely smooth, remove bowl from saucepan and gradually whisk in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition until thoroughly combined. Whisk in vanilla. Add flour mixture in three additions, folding with rubber spatual until batter is completely smooth and homogeneous.

5. Transfer batter to prepared pan; using spatula, spread batter into corners of pan and smooth surface. Sprinkle toasted nuts (if using) evenly over batter and bake until toothpick inserted into center of brownies comes out with few moist crumbs attached, 30-35 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, then remove brownies from pan by lifting foil overhang. Cut brownies into 2 inch squares and drizzle caramel generously over the top before serving. (Store leftovers in airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.)

French toast rounds

For breakfast, we started with some french toast rounds, a plain omelette and some maple bacon. Here’s my recipe for french toast rounds:
I came up with these on the fly because we have so many dinner rolls leftover from my burger event last Sunday. So in an attempt to use them up creatively, we had french toast!

4 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla paste/extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup half & half
pinch of salt
4 thick sliced bread (Texas Toast) or 3-4 halved dinner/hamburger rolls

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients to the egg batter.
Dip both sides of your bread into the batter and place on a platter to rest for 2-3 minutes.
Heat up your skillet on medium high and lightly grease with butter.
Fry up the slices until lightly browned (or to your preference).
Serve with butter and real maple syrup.

Now with breakfast done, onto some fun treats to enjoy later!

Strawberry Bread Pudding

While my sorbet was freezing, I started to prepare a Strawberry Bread Pudding to use up the remaining leftover dinner rolls. I made a large pan so that my husband can bring it to work and feed the masses there (and because I don’t want any more desserts accessible at home!).

I’m also submitting this recipe to Waiter, There’s Something In My Berried Treasure blogging event. This event highlights berries and thought my Strawberry Bread Pudding recipe would fit the bill.
I found this recipe for Berry Bread Pudding, but decided to alter it a bit. So here’s my adapted recipe for Strawberry Bread Pudding:

20 dinner rolls, a few days old; cubed
4 eggs + 5 egg whites (optional)**
5 cups half & half
1 12oz can strawberry nectar
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla paste or extract
1 quart fresh sliced strawberries
1 cup frozen mixed berries

Generously butter a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange the cubed rolls in the dish to fill it completely.

Add the strawberry slices and frozen berries to the cubed rolls and carefully toss together. The berries should be distributed equally throughout. It may not look like it will all fit, but stay with me!

In a medium bowl, whisk together the 4 eggs & 5 egg whites, half & half, strawberry nectar, white sugar, and vanilla. Pour the liquid over the bread and berries, and let it sit for about 15-30 minutes. Press down the top with a spatula occasionally to help the bread absorb the liquid.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake the bread pudding for 45 to 50 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top is golden, and the middle is firm.

** So to explain the addition of 5 egg whites (which is completely optional), I also planned on making another recipe calling for 5 egg yolks today (read on for details!). To prevent wasting them or figuring out how to use 5 leftover egg whites, I added them to the bread pudding recipe above.

Frozen, Creamy Coffee… Ice Cream!

So I’ve been without ice cream now for a few days and it was about time I made another batch. This time, I decided on a nice coffee ice cream so I can pair it with some caramel and raspberry sauces I have.

I’m a bit impatient so I haven’t made any ice cream recipes requiring any cooking or use of eggs. Having to wait for that kind of mixture to cool before freezing is too long for me. I did find a quick coffee ice cream recipe from Emeril Lagasse. The only change I made to the recipe was using vanilla paste instead of vanilla extract. The result? Fabulously cold, creamy and flavorful coffee!

I’m also submitting this recipe to the You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream for Frozen Desserts blogging event, hosted by Mike. This is a great event, especially with the summer weather… and besides, who can resist something cold to beat the heat?Here’s Emeril’s recipe for No Cook Coffee Ice Cream:

2 cups half and half
3 tablespoons instant coffee crystals
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (I used vanilla paste)
4 cups heavy cream
Garnish: Chocolate covered espresso beans Mint sprigs

In a small bowl combine the half and half, coffee crystals, sugar, and vanilla extract. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the heavy cream. Freeze according to manufacturers directions. Garnish with coffee beans and mint. Yield: 2 quarts