Operation Baking GALS Roundup From Round 10!

July 30, 2009 at 12:52 am | Posted in Bars, bread, Brownies, Cakes, chocolate, Cinnamon, Cookies, Dessert, Fun, Operation Baking Gals | 3 Comments

I am finally getting around to doing a blog roundup from round 10 of Operation Baking GALS in which I was a team leader.  I ended up with I think 20 people who sent baked goods to my brother and his fellow troops!  I was beyond thankful and so excited to be a part of this group.  I plan on trying to do this every month now – maybe not team leader every month, but at least baking every month.

Round 11 is NOW open so if anyone would like to join a team and bake for our troops who are serving overseas, it’s very easy.  Bake a box of baked goods or any kind of goodies and ship it.  Viola!  You have put a smile on a soldier’s face for the day.  🙂  If you would like to join a team go here ——> Operation Baking GALS and sign up – what are you waiting for?! 

As I said, I had so many people join my team and it was awesome!  My brother was so excited to receive all of the baked goods.  He said that it was like Christmas which put a big smile on my face. 🙂 He said he took some boxes to their commons area and it was like “birds on a full feeder”.  HA  Knowing that I helped give them a little  piece of home makes me feel good.  They do so much for us so sending a box of cookies is the VERY least I can do every month.  Thank you to EVERYONE who joined my team!

As for the roundup, there are a lot of baked goods here so feel free to stop reading or continue reading if you want to see them all! 

Continue Reading Operation Baking GALS Roundup From Round 10!…

Operation Baking GALS: My Goodies

July 10, 2009 at 1:00 am | Posted in Apple, Bars, chocolate, Cinnamon, Cookies, Dessert, Fun, Operation Baking Gals, peanut butter | 5 Comments

This past weekend I spent Saturday and Sunday baking for my Operation Baking GALS group.  Did I mention that I ended up with over TWENTY people in my group??  I was ecstatic!  I could not have asked for a better response to my incessant begging asking people politely to join my group!  I am already looking forward to doing it again sometime soon.

I debated back and forth on what all to bake and well, I couldn’t make a decision so I ended up sending two boxes.  I made 4 different things.  Actually 5…but not sure one of them will make it.  I ended up making snickerdoodles, chocolate chip cookie bars, apple spice cookie bars, and magic in the middle cookies.  In addition to that, I made half a batch of sugar cookies because my brother requested those…not sure they will make it there due to the icing but if not, well, he can toss them.  🙂

Baked goods for Luke

Like I said, I ended up with way too much for one box so I ended up sending two.  But hey, he’s my brother, I can spoil him a bit right??

I ended up using 4 of the large Ziplock containers and 4 small Gladware containers.  I was able to stack 2 Ziplocks on top of one another and 2 Gladwares on top of one another in each box with room to spare to add in some other small goodies.  I used the method of putting apple peels between the paper towel layers between each row of cookies.  We shall see if it works!

All packed up and ready to go!  Isn’t the Baking GALS logo cute on the box?!

I’d like to give a HUGE thank you to everyone who participated (and is still participating….still 2 days until the shipping deadline!) in my group this month.  It meant the world to me and I can’t wait for Luke and his fellow troops to receive all of the goodies!

Once everyone has shipped, I will do a roundup on here telling what everyone sent and hopefully showing some pictures of some of the things that were sent (hint hint to those who baked for me…  😉

Magic in the Middle Cookies

July 9, 2009 at 1:04 am | Posted in chocolate, Cookies, Dessert, Operation Baking Gals, peanut butter | 5 Comments

I saved this recipe awhile ago from My Kitchen Cafe and I’ve been meaning to make it but didn’t really have a reason (as if you need a reason to make cookies??).  I decided to bake them for the Operation Baking GALS this month as one of the cookies to send to my brother.  Chocolate and peanut butter in the middle and rolled in sugar?  How could this one go wrong??

 

Chocolate Dough
1 1/2 cups (6 3/8 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar (plus extra for dredging)
1/2 cup (3 3/4 ) brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk

Peanut butter filling
3/4 cup peanut butter, crunchy or smooth, your choice
3/4 cup (3 ounces) confectioners’ sugar

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
2. To make the dough: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
3. In another medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the sugars, butter, and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and the egg, beating to combine, then stir in the dry ingredients, blending well.
5. To make the filling: In a small bowl, stir together the peanut butter and confectioners sugar until smooth.
6. With floured hands or a teaspoon scoop, roll the filling into 26 one-inch balls.
7. To shape the cookies: Scoop 1 tablespoon of the dough (a lump about the size of a walnut), make an indentation in the center with your finger and place one of the peanut butter balls into the indentation.
8. Bring the cookie dough up and over the filling, pressing the edges together cover the center; roll the cookie in the palms of your hand to smooth it out. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
10. Roll each rounded cookie in granulated sugar, and place on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between cookies.
11. Grease the bottom of a drinking glass, and use it to flatten each cookie to about 1/2-inch thick.
12. Bake the cookies for 7 to 9 minutes, or until they’re set and you can smell chocolate. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.

Mrs. Pig Rating:  OMG.  These cookies are HEAVEN if you like chocolate and peanut butter combination.  I had one when they were still warm and I could have eaten about 10 of them.  Good thing I was sending them to my brother and his fellow troops so they were not in the house!!!

Happy 4th of July!!!

July 4, 2009 at 8:14 pm | Posted in Cookies | 2 Comments

Happy 4th of July everyone!  Hope everyone has a great and safe holiday (and a big happy birthday to my great friend Clara!)  I baked my famous sugar cookies (Actually my best friend Erin’s famous sugar cookies….) for a party that we went to last night.  Aren’t they festive?!

Black & White Marbled Cheesecake

July 3, 2009 at 4:58 pm | Posted in Cakes, cheesecake, chocolate, Dessert | 1 Comment

Tommy and I love LOVE cheesecake.  I used to hate it – a cake with cream cheese in it?!  Ew.  No thank you.  But as I got a little older I began to broaden my horizons and boy am I glad that I did.  I LOVE IT! 

I received a round springform pan for Christmas and I asked for it specifically with cheesecakes in mind.  I just now got around to actually searching out recipes and making one.  It’s not that it’s  hard exactly but the whole process is somewhat time consuming from start to finish at least in my opinion.  But boy…it is SO worth it to make one from scratch.  Oh man. 

Recipe from my lovely friend Clara’s blog:

INGREDIENTS

For the crust
1-3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake
2 pounds (four 8-ounce boxes) cream cheese, at room temperature
1-1/3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1-1/3 cups sour cream or heavy cream, or a combination of the two
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

INSTRUCTIONS

To make the crust—
Butter a 9-inch springform pan—choose one that has sides that are 2 3/4 inches high (if the sides are lower, you will have cheesecake batter leftover)—and wrap the bottom of the pan in a double layer of aluminum foil; put the pan on a baking sheet.

Combine the crumbs, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. (I do this with my fingers.) Add graham cracker crumb mixture into buttered springform pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs along the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven.

Center a rack in the oven, preheat the oven to 350°F and place the springform on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool on a rack while you make the cheesecake.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

To make the cheesecake—
Put a kettle of water on to boil.

Working in a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it is soft, about 4 minutes. With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition—you want a well-aerated batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the sour cream and/or heavy cream.

Put the foil-wrapped springform pan in the roaster pan.

Add 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled to 1/3 of the batter in a separate bowl. Pour all of the vanilla batter into the springform pan, dollop the top of the batter with the chocolate batter and use a table knife to swirl the chocolate batter with the vanilla batter.

Put the roasting pan in the oven and pour enough boiling water into the roaster to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.

Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, at which point the top will be browned (and perhaps cracked) and may have risen just a little above the rim of the pan. Turn off the oven’s heat and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheesecake to luxuriate in its water bath for another hour.

After 1 hour, carefully pull the setup out of the oven, lift the springform pan out of the roaster and remove the foil. (Be careful, there may be some hot water in the aluminum foil.) Let the cheesecake come to room temperature on a cooling rack.

When the cake is cool, cover the top lightly and chill the cake for at least 4 hours, although overnight would be better.

Pig Rating:  The Pig really had nothing but rave reviews about this one.  He likes his cheesecake plain better as opposed to having chocolate in it so I made this one kind of half and half.  Normally he tells me to take all the baked goods to work so they aren’t in the house but he made me keep some fo this at home  🙂

Mrs. Pig Rating:  As I said, absolutely worth every single minute spent baking this cheesecake.  From scratch is amazing.  I will be making this one again and again and trying different toppings, etc.

Mrs. Pig Co-Workers Rating:  This was a HUGE hit.  I think this might be their favorite thing that I’ve made yet.  Even people who normally don’t eat the sweets I bring in were all over this one.  I aim to please!  🙂

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