New Favorite

Peanut Butter Brownies

Peanut Butter and Chocolate combined are a beautiful match and this recipe was a ‘must try’ from Iowa Girls Eats.  I have to say that they are absolutely delicious even though my end result was not as attractive as I would have liked.  I’m chalking that up to baking at altitude (or attitude!).   IMG_2316

PEANUT BUTTER BROWNIES

For the Chocolate Sheet Cake:
1 cup butter
1 cup water
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream

For the Peanut Butter Icing:
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup + 2 Tablespoons milk
6 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup peanut butter

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine butter, water, and cocoa powder in a large saucepan then bring to a boil. Remove from heat then set aside to cool slightly.
  • Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl then create a well in the center. Add cocoa mixture then whisk until smooth. Add sour cream then whisk until smooth.
  • Pour cake batter into a non-stick sprayed baking sheet (I used a 17×12) or jelly roll pan, then spread evenly.

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  • Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • For the Peanut Butter Icing: Whisk together powdered sugar, milk, melted butter, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add peanut butter then whisk to combine. Microwave for 30 seconds then stir if too thick.  Pour over warm cake then spread evenly. Allow to cool then slice and serve.

 

New Favorite

Pignoli…almond and pine nut decadence!

Italian Tony’s Market in the Denver area makes wonderful Pignoli.  Pignoli cookies are an Italian American confection, similar to a macaroon and topped with pine nuts. This week I was in search of a recipe I could make them at home. There were many wonderful recipes but this recipe was my final choice.  They were fantastic!

PIGNOLI COOKIES

12 ounces almond paste
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
4 egg whites
1 1/2 cups pine nuts

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with foil; lightly grease the foil.
  • Mix almond paste and granulated sugar in food processor until smooth.
  • Add confectioner’s sugar and 2 egg whites; process until smooth.
  • Whisk remaining 2 egg whites in small bowl.
  • Place pine nuts on shallow plate. With lightly floured hands roll dough into 1 inch balls. Coat balls in egg whites, shaking off excess, then roll in pine nuts, pressing lightly to stick to dough.
  • Arrange balls on cookie sheets, and flatten slightly to form a 1 1/2 inch round.

  • Bake 15 to 18 minutes (watch carefully because each oven and baking pan is different) until lightly browned.  Let stand on cookie sheet 1 minute. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Recipe from Allrecipes.com:  Pignoli Cookies 1

Family Favorites

Dutch Baby Pancakes with Fresh Fruit

Pancakes…not my favorite EXCEPT for the Big Dutch Baby Pancake with fresh, seasonal fruit.  I discovered this recipe in the early ’80s in my tried and true ‘Sunset Ideas & Recipes for Breakfast & Brunch’.    The pancake is easy to make, spectacular to serve and yummylicious to eat.

It was a surprise, the first time I made it, to see that the pancake rises as it cooks and collapses when taken from the oven.  Relax–it’s part of the fun!

The original Dutch Baby Pancake was served with powdered sugar and wedges of lemon, but I’ve never tried anything but the pancake with fresh seasonal berries and fruit.  Fresh strawberry in the spring is wonderful and brings excitement about the spring and summer days to come.  My absolute favorite is fresh peach and raspberry.  The combination of the peaches and raspberries are divine.  Today, with fresh Colorado Palisade peaches and fresh raspberries, our family with savor the summer’s sweet peach harvest until we can enjoy again next summer.

BIG DUTCH BABY PANCAKE

3-5 Quart pan (iron skillet, paella pan, or large skillet or round baking dish)
1/3 cup butter
4 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup milk

  • Place butter in pan and set in a 425 degree oven.
  • While butter melts, mix batter quickly. Put the eggs in a blender or food processor and whirl at high speed for 2 minutes.
  • With motor running, gradually pour in milk, then slowly add flour; continue whirling for 30 seconds.
  • Or, in a bowl, beat eggs until blended; gradually beat in milk, then flour.
  • Remove pan from oven and pour in batter.  Return pan to oven and bake until pancake is puffy and well browned (20-25 minutes), depending on pan size.

After baking I use a spatula to assure the bottom of the pancake has not stuck to the bottom of the baking pan. Move to a pretty round plate or platter.  Fill with fruit, sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Have a shaker or bowl of extra powdered sugar for those that may enjoy a little more.

To counteract the sweetness of the pancake, I serve with crisp cooked bacon.

You can serve is several ways. My favorite is filled with fruit:

  • Fruit:  Sliced fresh fruit (I like fresh peach/raspberry best); sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Cut into wedges and serve.
  • Powdered sugar classic:  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and squeeze thick wedges of lemon over at the table.
  • Hot fruit:  Glazed apples or pears served with sour cream or yogurt.  Or heat banana or papaya slices in melted butter or margarine over medium heat, turning until hot; serve with lime wedges
  • Canned pie filling/cherry or apple filling, add lemon juice and ground cinnamon to taste.  Top with yogurt or sour cream. Topping can be heated or cold.
  • Syrups