I was a member of Daring Bakers, oh I don’t know, 2 blogs ago. I’m not even sure how long ago that was and I’m not really sure why I stopped participating. I think I just got bored as I often do. But I’m back and ready to bake!

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

I am a HUGE cheesecake fan. It’s something I have probably once a year but I think about it often. I don’t know why I’ve never made one before, I guess because I knew I’d eat it all.

This challenge was an easy one. A simple cheesecake with the instructions “GO WILD!”. Well, I don’t really like my cheesecake wild. I like it plain. No strawberries, no caramel, nothing but cheesecake.

This cheesecake didn’t do it for me. It wasn’t as sweet as other cheesecakes I’ve had and sadly, it sat uneaten in my fridge until I finally tossed it. Oh well, it was a lot of fun to make and the anticipation of cheesecake is almost as good as actually eating it. ;)

 

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Awhile ago I mentioned that I joined a new baking group, well this is it! Sweet Melissa Sundays! I haven’t really heard much about the Sweet Melissa Baking Book but the few people I know that own it, love it. So I figured I couldn’t really go wrong.

This week’s recipe was chosen by Jessica of The Singleton in the Kitchen. The recipe was a 2 part recipe, the first being granola and the second being the cookies of course. I took the easy way out and used some store bought granola that I have on hand.

Oddly enough, this granola included everything that the homemade granola called for except the currants. That’s okay though because I don’t even know what a currant is!

The recipe was really easy. Seriously, took me maybe 6 or 7 minutes to mix everything up and that’s with a toddler helping! Oh, and by the way, someone should’ve warned me that molasses is the worst smell in the entire world. I nearly choked on the awfulness.

I was a little worried because I find honey to be VERY strong and the recipe called for 1/2 cup of it. And then after smelling the molasses I was even more worried.

My kid is in LOVE with these cookies. He has had one with each meal since I made them. I can’t blame him though, they are pretty good. They’re a little dense since they’re made with only whole wheat flour, but hey, that’s fine with me. I’d rather have WW any day. I’ve seen a few of my fellow bakers talk about the molasses being overwhelming but I thought it was fine. Even the honey was okay.

If you want to make these and I know you do, head over to Jessica’s blog to get the recipe.

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Recently I was lucky enough to receive a round of brie from the lovely people at Ile de France. I, being a cheese lover, jumped at the opportunity.

I knew as soon as I got the email from them that I wanted to bake it in puff pastry. I wasn’t sure where to go with it from there though. I went through a lot of recipes and most of them included nuts and dried fruit. Easy enough but I definitely wanted to add some sweetness.

I ended up using butter, brown sugar, toasted walnuts, and dried cherries. This was the perfect combination! Everything worked well together and the walnuts and cherries added great texture to the cheese.

It turned out to be such a simple little snack but I know it could impress a crowd. Both my boys loved it which was the last thing I expected!

Baked Brie

Ingredients

1 round of Ile de France brie
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/4 cup dried cherries, chopped
1 egg
1 teaspoon water

Instructions

  1. Preheat over to 400.
  2. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add brown sugar and stir until melted. Stir in walnuts and cherries. Transfer to a small bowl and allow to cool in refrigerator.
  3. Unroll puff pastry and place brie round in center. Top with cooled walnut mixture and fold pastry over top. Gently press seals to secure. Combine egg and water, brush over pastry.
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes or until pastry is lightly browned. Lower oven to 325 and bake for an extra 20 minutes.
http://fakeginger.com/baked-brie/

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Normally about this time I’d be getting ready to post my Tuesdays with Dorie post but I realized something recently. When I was getting all my supplies for last week’s coconut butter thins I realized that TWD has become a chore for me. I’ve been around since pretty much the beginning, well over a year, and it was so much fun in the beginning. Every week seemed like a challenge, something fun to do and then we’d all post and it was such a tiny group that everyone had time to make thoughtful comments on everyone else’s post. It was like a family of Dorie fanatics. But now, with hundreds of members, it just isn’t the same. I stuck around because it really is an amazing group, but I just don’t need the stress anymore. Plus my URL never got changed on the blogroll so it’s like i haven’t been a member for a few months anyway. ;)

So.

I did a Dorie recipe today because I wanted to. I originally wanted our favorite banana bundt cake but then I saw the chocolate-chocolate chunk muffins and had to make them. These so aren’t something I’d pick out but they just sounded so good today.

And they were. So rich and moist. Mmm. I used milk chocolate instead of bittersweet so they’re super sweet and delicious.  I’m definitely going to send them to work with hubs tomorrow or I bet I’ll eat every last one of them.

Oh, one more thing. I joined another weekly group. It’s small and it’s a book I’m not familiar with. I can’t wait!

Chocolate-Chocolate Chunk Muffins

from Baking: From My Home to Yours

Ingredients

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups. Alternatively, use a silicone muffin pan, which needs neither greasing nor paper cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.
  2. Melt the butter and half the chopped chocolate together in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water; or do this in a microwave. Remove from the heat.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, egg and vanilla extract together until well combined. Pour the liquid ingredients and the melted butter and chocolate over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don't worry about being thorough - a few lumps are better than overmixing the batter. Stir in the remaining chopped chocolate. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin molds.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold.
http://fakeginger.com/chocolate-chocolate-chunk-muffins/
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Oh Greek food. We love it. When I was pregnant, we went to this local Greek place called The Purple Cafe at least once a week and every November we go downtown for Greek Fest mainly just to eat. I always get the same thing… falafel and hummus. Because I really am that boring.

A few years ago a friend took me to another Greek place (I swear Mobile has more Greek restaurants than anything) and she just raved and raved about the chicken shawarma. I tried it, loved it, and have been wanting it since then. I was just too scared to make it.

It was so easy though. I hardest part was forking over the $8 for a jar of tahini which by the way, looks absolutely disgusting in the jar. Like a super runny natural peanut butter. Gross.

The sauce was awesome! As I was making it, I was really wishing I’d bought a cucumber so I could make a tzatziki sauce but once it sat for awhile it was delicious! I totally expected my husband to turn his nose up at it, but he slathered his pitas in it!

I made mine kind of like a salad on top of a pita, husband stuffed his pitas, and Landon ate all the components separately. There’s no wrong way to do it!

PS, whole wheat pita recipe coming soon!

Chicken Shawarma

from Cooking Light

Ingredients

Chicken:
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons extravirgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 16 (3-inch) strips
Sauce:
1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt (such as Fage)
2 tablespoons tahini
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, minced
Cooking spray
4 (6-inch) pitas
1 cup chopped romaine lettuce
8 (1/4-inch-thick) tomato slices

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  2. 2. To prepare chicken, combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add chicken to bowl; toss well to coat. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes.
  3. 3. To prepare sauce, combine yogurt and next 4 ingredients (through 1 garlic clove), stirring with a whisk.
  4. 4. Thread 2 chicken strips onto each of 8 (12-inch) skewers. Place kebabs on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 4 minutes on each side or until done.
  5. 5. Place pitas on grill rack; grill 1 minute on each side or until lightly toasted. Place 1 pita on each of 4 plates; top each serving with 1/4 cup lettuce and 2 tomato slices. Top each serving with 4 chicken pieces; drizzle each serving with 2 tablespoons sauce.
http://fakeginger.com/chicken-shawarma/

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