A’Tempting’ Tuesday: I’m fessing up

I am putting on my big girl Tiara and fessing up.  I’ve lied.  Sort of.  In an earlier post I believe I said I rarely, if ever use cake mixes.  I don’t to make cakes.  However, cookies are a different story.  One of my favorite cookie bar recipes starts with a yellow cake mix.

As I said last week, my son and I are settling into a new routine and I haven’t tried many new recipes in the last couple of weeks.  We’ve been knee-deep in baseball practice and I’ve been just a little lazy.  Quite honestly, my son’s picky, 11-year-old taste buds are quite happy with frozen chicken nuggets or a quick homemade pizza.  So today, for lack of anything new or earth shattering to share, I thought I’d post one of my oldies but goodies.

This recipe for Butterscotch Cashew Scotchies came from one of my favorite cookbooks — The Cake Mix Doctor.  Since I am already married and so is “The Cake Boss,” I think I want to be the author of this book, Anne Byrn, when I grow up.   Why didn’t I come up with this??  I have had this book in my collection for years and can’t remember if I got it as a gift or received it as a review copy years ago.  Either way, I’ve had it a long time so I looked it up to see if it is still available.  It is, along with several other versions of this book by the same author.  I may have to invest in The Cake Mix Doctor Returns or one of the other publications.  There’s a gluten-free Cake Doctor and even a Dinner Doctor, among several others.  I want them all.   As a bonus, she even has a website (linked above) full of recipes and wonderful tidbits.  I don’t know why I never thought to look it up before.

Here’s a link to The Cake Mix Doctor on Amazon.com.

This recipe for Butterscotch Cashew Scotchies  can be made with either butterscotch chips or chocolate chips.  Of course, I have always chosen the latter.  Come on y’all. If chocolate is one of your choices, is there another option?

The recipe combines a cake mix, cashews, brown sugar and butterscotch or chocolate chips to make a wonderful bar cookie that is neither too gooey or crumbly.  It’s just right.  Again, this recipe came straight out of  The Cake Mix Doctor cookbook.  I cannot claim it as my own.  And, to my friends who often request this cookie, you now know my secret!  I have probably misled you, but I was so enjoying basking in  the “glory” and praise I received when I made these.  But now, we’ll move on.

Fotor0311105726

Butterscotch Cashew Scotchies

1 package (18.25 oz) plain yellow cake mix
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) melted butter
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped lightly salted cashews
1 cup butterscotch chips or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350. Set aside an ungreased 13×9″ baking pan.
Place the cake mix, brown sugar, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Scrape the sides of  the bowl with a rubber spatula. Blend again on low speed for 1 minute. Transfer the batter to the pan, smoothing it out so that it reaches all sides. Sprinkle the cashew pieces and butterscotch or chocolate chips over the batter.
Bake the cake until it is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 27 to 29 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes.
Cut the cake into 24 bars. Remove the bars from the pan with a metal spatula, and serve.

Cook’s Talk

  • This is a personal  preference, but I always very lightly spray my baking dish with baking spray.
  • Again, I used chocolate chips.  And, to be honest, occasionally I probably throw in a little more than a cup, or sometimes a little less.  It depends on what I have on hand.
  • This batter is very thick.  I find it’s easier to spread with the back of a metal spoon lightly coated with baking spray.
  • I lightly “pat” the cashews and chocolate chips into the batter.
  • My oven is crazy, so I start checking the cookies at about 25 minutes, so I don’t dry them out.
  • The recipe says to cut into 24 bars.  It would drive my OCD side crazy trying to measure and get them all the exact same size, so I hold my breath and just cut.  I couldn’t tell you how many cookies I wind up with.  I like to cut them a little on the smaller side.

I hope you enjoy. If you have another of Anne Bryn’s cookbooks, do share.  Now that I’ve discovered there are so many more, it might help me decide which one to purchase next.  (I am a cookbook junkie.)

Until next time….

Advertisements

A’Tempting’ Tuesday: College Baking and Chocolate Goodness

photoToday, I want to share something with all you chocolate lovers out there.  That’s everyone, right????

I got to spend a wonderful weekend recently visiting with my daughter in her college town.   While there, the weather became pretty dreadful.  Taylor (my daughter) is enjoying having her very first apartment and learning to cook in her kitchen.  We decided to stay in where it was warm one day and do some baking.

She and her friend, Kendall, took to Pinterest to find something they’d like to bake and the recipe they chose — Pinata Cupcakes —  actually came from this Blog.

I so enjoyed shopping with the girls to equip Taylor’s kitchen with everything she needed to make these, and then returning to walk them both through the baking process.  They did a wonderful job. All I did was answer their questions as they went.  I was so enjoying my time with them that I didn’t really focus on getting any great pictures, but I will share what I got.

The recipe is definitely worth sharing, but warning it is very, very rich.  I’m the epitome of the chocolate lover.  I think chocolate, along with cream cheese and Cool Whip, should be a staple in every kitchen.  You can cover anything in chocolate and it will taste great. I truly believe chocolate has healing qualities, and a balanced diet is chocolate in each hand.  Even I, and my love of all things chocolate had to indulge in this cupcake slowly.  I couldn’t eat the whole thing in one sitting.

Here goes y’all:

photo2

PINATA CUPCAKES
makes 12 cupcakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup hot coffee
2 eggs
16 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 cup of heavy cream
1/2 stick unsalted butter (again y’all, REAL butter)
M&Ms for filling the cupcakes
Sprinkles for topping (optional)

The Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Prepare 12 cupcake liners in a muffin pan.  Set aside.
  2. In mixer bowl, combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Mix well.
  3. In separate bowl, combine the beaten egg, vegetable oil and milk.  Mix well.
  4. With the mixer on low, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix on low until well blended.
  5. Pour the hot coffee into the batter and mix on low until smooth.
  6. Divide the batter evenly into the cupcake liners (about 3/4 full).  Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  7. Remove from oven and cool completely on wire rack. When cupcakes are completely cool, cut a cone shape out of the middle of each cupcake, reserving only the top of the cone for later use.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting:

  1. Place the chocolate in a medium, heat-safe bowl.  Set aside.
  2. Heat the cream and butter in small saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Bring just to a boil.  Immediately pour over the chocolate and allow to stand for a few minutes without stirring.
  4. Stir or whisk gently until smooth.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 30 to 45 minutes to set.

Assembly:

  1. Fill the “hole” cut out of each cupcake with M&Ms.  Cover the hole with the top of each cone that you previously cut out.
  2. Use a pastry bag with large tip to pipe frosting onto each cupcake.
  3. Top with sprinkles if desired.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes prior to serving.

Finally, ENJOY!!

Cook’s Talk:

  • The blog, Abusymom’s Blog, is not an American blog.  So many of the measurements were in grams.  Whew!  Above my plain-old-measuring-cup head, so we spent a lot of time Googling the conversions.  A couple of them were probably just a tad under or tad over what they should have been, but the cupcakes turned out just fine.
  • For the bittersweet chocolate for the ganache, we just used plain semi-sweet chocolate chips and it was wonderful!  I will also reiterate her, REAL butter please.  There shouldn’t be anything else.
  • The original recipe also said preheat the oven  to 160 Celsius.  If I am correct, that is 320 Fahrenheit.  My daughter has a college apartment.  The best we could do on her stove was 350 F.  They came out fine.
  • And lastly, back to converting. We just bought a big ole bag of M&Ms.  I was tired of trying to convert grams to ounces and cups and sticks by this time.  We put a few in each cupcake and whatever was left in the big bag I am sure was gone with 10 seconds of all her roommates coming home.
  • Also, make sure you let the cupcakes cool completely before putting the M&Ms in.  If they melted, it would kind of ruin the Pinata effect.

Until next time ….

A’Tempting’ Tuesday: Crock Pot Candy (my secret revealed)

DSC_4740As usual, I am in a mad dash to get in all the cooking, crafting and gifting I want to do for the holidays finished.  So at roughly a week before Christmas day, I’m always doing something easy.  Crock Pot Candy is definitely a go-to for easy hostess gifts or little extra gifts just to have in case you need it.  I plan to take this to all the men in my office (which is everyone, as I’m the only female).

I got this recipe from a friend several years ago. I have since used it several times and have seen several different versions.  It is easy, makes a lot and compared to the amount of candy it yields, is relatively inexpensive.

This candy is a perfect to make this time of the year.  It makes me think of some kitchen-gadget infomercial that used to come on.  I don’t remember exactly what gadget it was, but the guru who was peddling it would always say “just set it and forget it.”  You can do that with this recipe.  I start it and can usually complete another dish or project before I have to begin spooning out the candy.

So here goes.  You’ll thank me for this:

Crock Pot Candy

DSC_4726Ingredients:

  • 1 (16-ounce) jar dry roasted salted peanuts
  • 1 (16-ounce) jar dry roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 12 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 32 ounces almond bark
  • 1 (4-ounce) German chocolate bar (found in baking section)

Directions:DSC_4737

  1. Put peanuts in the bottom of your slow cooker.  Add all other ingredients on top of the peanuts.  (I don’t even chop the almond bark or the German chocolate.)
  2. Cook on low for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  3. When all chocolate is melted and incorporated with the peanuts, drop by rounded spoonfuls (mine wind up being about 1/2- to 3/4 -tablespoon) onto wax paper and allow to cool completely.  The candy will harden as it cools.

Cook’s talk: 

  • Like I said, I’ve seen several versions of this recipe, many of which use white almond bark.  I prefer the dark.
  • As the chocolates start to melt, begin keeping an eye on the mixture and stir occasionally to mix the peanuts into the chocolate.  If they remain on the bottom too long, they can scorch.  I’ve seen some recipes that say to cook the mixture for 4 or more hours.  I think that is way too much.  I’ve never gone more than 2.
  • You can be creative and add other nuts or ingredients as well.  I have used lightly crushed pretzels, adding them in just before spooning onto wax paper.   Be creative.  Just be careful of when you add your ingredients.  For example, when I use pretzels, I add the at the end so they retain their crunch.  Harder ingredients such as nuts can withstand long periods in the slow cooker as opposed to softer ingredients you don’t want to become soggy, or other candies (such as peppermint) that you wouldn’t want to melt completely
  • I always put the wax paper directly onto my counter when spooning the candy.  Once, I used sheet pans so that I could easily move the candy around.  The metal retained the heat a little longer and it took much longer for my candy to harden.

Now you know my secret!  This candy is so yummy, I almost hated to share the recipe.  Until now, everyone I have given it to thought I had worked really hard.  It’s the thought that counts, not the amount of time you spend in the kitchen, right?

I hope you enjoy.  Next week:  Chocolate Pecan Pie

Until next time…..