Thursday, April 28, 2011

Jubilee Jumbles

Hi! Have I got some yummy goodness to share with you today. :) It's my first guest post, and here to present these darling Jubilee Jumbles is my friend, Megan. You may recall Megan from my baking extravaganza post. She is a friend of mine that shares my passion for baking, and I am delighted to host her here on my blog! Megan and I love to talk baking… we share recipes and baking tips, we love to bounce ideas off each other when we’re trying something new, and most of all we LOVE to sample each other’s creations! These cookies were among the first baked goods that Megan shared with me, and I was in awe over the yumminess. These cookies are absolutely amazing, and it only seems right to let Megan share these with you. So without further ado, I’d like to welcome Megan to Burn Me Not!!
Jubilee Jumbles, or as I’ve always called them, “Icing Cookies”!

I have many fond childhood memories of baking with my Mom and of all the cookies we’ve ever made, these cakey, glazed beauties are by far the most requested and beloved by our family and friends. Every time we made them when I was a young, kids would come from surrounding houses to get a bite—a tradition, I might add, that continued even after I went to college. Have you ever seen a group of hungry college students stampede towards a box of homemade cookies? It’s not pretty, but it sure makes for fast friends!
Now I should give fair warning—these cookies are extremely addicting and once people taste them, they are bound to ask for more. For me, the most dangerous (or delicious?) part is the glaze. I must admit that even as an adult I have a tendency to make myself sick swiping the extra glaze from the wax paper! 

Now, whip up a batch and feed your sweet tooth---it will thank you!

Adapted from Betty Crocker’s New Picture Book, 1961

Yield: 4 dozen

For the cookies:
½ cup shortening
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 ¾ cups flour
½ tsp soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the browned butter glaze:
½ cup butter
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla
2-4 Tbsp hot water


Mix shortening, sugars, and eggs thoroughly. Stir in sour cream and vanilla. Add flour, soda, and salt and stir until well incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoons (I use a medium cookie scoop) onto greased baking sheets. Bake for about 10 minutes at 375 degrees, or until almost no imprint remains when touched with finger. Cool cookies on wax paper.

To make the glaze, melt the butter until golden brown. Blend in sifted confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Stir in hot water until icing spreads smoothly. (A note about the glaze: be sure the water is hot…it makes a big difference. Start with 2 Tbsp—it’s usually enough to get a smooth, thick glaze, but add more water, a tablespoon at a time, until you get the consistency you desire.)

Once cool, dip the top of each cookie into the browned butter glaze.  Let cool on wax paper until the glaze sets. Store in airtight container, if they aren’t gone by then!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Carrot Cake

Did you all have a nice Easter? Ours was fabulous! It was a beautiful day spent with family. Doesn't get much better than that! My sister hosted a lovely brunch, and I volunteered to bring dessert (real shocker, I know). I have wanted to make a carrot cake for some time now, so I knew exactly what I was going to bring when I marked myself down for something sweet. There are certain days of the year when a carrot cake just makes sense, and to me, Easter is one of those days.
I haven't always been a huge fan of carrot cake. Some cakes tend to have a lot going on with the added ingredients, and I think that can take away from the delicate spice of the cake. I decided to tweak the original recipe a bit and keep this one fairly simple by only adding in chopped pecans and raisins. Excellent choice! I used a maple cream cheese frosting and it paired beautifully with the cake.
This is one recipe that definitely lands a slot in my recipe box. Such a treat! I would highly recommend this for Mother's Day, a backyard barbecue, or a bridal shower. Whatever the occasion, this cake is a winner!

Yields 12-14 servings
For the cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups packed light brown sugar 
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
4 large eggs
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups canola oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 3/4 cups peeled, shredded carrots
1 cup raisins (soaked in warm water for one hour)
2 cups chopped pecans, separated

For the frosting:
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line three 8-inch pans with parchment paper, and grease bottom and sides of pans with baking spray; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, both sugars, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk together to blend, breaking up any large lumps of brown sugar with your hand. In another large mixing bowl, combine eggs, vanilla, oil, and buttermilk. Whisk until well combined. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir just until incorporated. Add in carrots, 1 cup of pecans, and raisins. Fold gently into batter with a spatula until incorporated.

Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until cakes are golden brown and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. I recommend rotating cakes halfway through baking. Transfer to wire racks and cool 5-10 minutes in the pans, then turn out cakes directly onto wire racks and cool completely.

For the frosting, beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Add maple syrup and vanilla, beat until combined. Gradually add confectioners' sugar and continue beating until well combined and smooth.

To assemble the cake, level layers (if necessary) using a serrated knife. Place one layer on a cake stand or cardboard cake round. Spread a layer of cream cheese frosting over the top. Place another cake layer on top and repeat frosting. Place the final cake layer on top. Frost the top and sides of cake with remaining frosting, reserving up to 1 cup for detailing if needed. Press remaining cup of pecans along the sides of cake.


Source: cake adapted from Annie's Eats, frosting from Martha Stewart

Monday, April 18, 2011

Brown Butter Blondies

So here's a question for you... are you a brownie or a blondie person? If I were still 10 years old, I would shout "brownie" at the top of my lungs without a second of hesitation. I was one of those kids that loved anything chocolate... and I mean l-o-v-e-d chocolate. Now don't jump to any conclusions, I'm not about to declare that I no longer love chocolate. But with age, my taste buds have matured a bit. Now I love such a variety of flavors, that chocolate is not usually my first choice anymore. I guess it all depends on my mood. :) So which do you prefer? Actually, before you answer that question, I would highly recommend that you give this recipe a try. These blondies are amazingly scrumptious!
I made these blondies for a co-workers birthday, and they were a huge hit at the office. The combination of browned butter and light brown sugar is a delicious foundation for the pecans and chocolate toffee bits housed inside these delectable goodies... and of course I threw in a few white chocolate chips, just because I felt like it. :) I'm keeping these bars on deck for the next party or gathering we go to where I need to bring a dessert. Guaranteed crowd pleaser!!
So tell me, are you a brownie or blondie person? Today, I am most definitely a blondie person! :)

Yields 24 blondies
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 cups packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup chocolate toffee bits
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the butter until it turns golden brown. Remove from heat and let cool.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 13 x 9-inch pan with baking spray. Line with parchment paper, allowing a 2-inch overhang on the longer sides. Grease parchment (not overhang). Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl, stir browned butter and both sugars with a wooden spoon until combined. Using an electric mixer, beat in eggs on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla and beat until combined. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until thoroughly combined. Mix in pecans, toffee bits, and white chocolate chips. Pour mixture into prepared pan.

Bake 35-40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Lift out of the pan and transfer to cutting board. Cut into 24 squares.

Source: adapted from Martha Stewart

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Baking Extravaganza: Tarts, Truffles, Doughnuts & Cupcakes

So lately I've been slipping into a bit of a baking slump... sad, but true. The past few months have been busier than normal, and I haven't been in much of a baking mood. The few times that I have felt like baking, haven't really gone quite like I expected. How discouraging, right? So how do I snap out of it? How do I find a way back into my groove? I guess there is the option to take a break for a while, and just give it a rest for a couple of months... but that option doesn't settle too well with me. Another thought would be to continue on the track I'm headed down... baking infrequently, and accepting the failures that emerge from my oven. But that doesn't sound like much fun. Or... I could dive right in, head first... shove myself into my kitchen for hours and not let myself out until I have some yummy goodness to show for it. That's what I'm talking about! And that's exactly what I did. :)

My friend/co-worker, Megan, and I have talk for a while about baking together. We both love to bake, and we love to trade baking tips and secrets with each other. So we finally marked a day on our calendars, and set out to make some fantastic recipes. And let me tell you, it was just what I needed to get my bearings back. We baked for hours, and I loved every minute of it! It was a baking extravaganza!! And it was amazing!!

Now, let's check out what we made... We gathered several recipes from other food blogs, narrowed them down to just four (which we deemed the "chosen ones"), and went to town!

First, lets start with the chocolate caramel tarts. Oh the tarts! Ooey-gooey, yummy caramel embedded in a delightful crust, then sealed into captivity by an exquisite chocolate ganache. Man, oh man, these little beauties are sinful! These are a definite keeper... I can't wait to serve these at our next dinner party!
Recipe from Spache The Spatula
Next up... doughnuts! Megan and I wanted to tackle a yeast recipe, so what could be better than trying our hands at homemade doughnuts. Um, yum! I found this recipe over at Brown Eyed Baker. It was a guest post from Sugarcrafter for cinnamon-sugar doughnuts. We couldn't settle on just one type of doughnut, so we went with 1) traditional glaze doughnuts, 2) chocolate frosted doughnuts, with sprinkles (of course!), and 3) cinnamon-sugar doughnut holes. Dee-lightful!
Still with me? :) Good! I wouldn't want you to miss out on these truffles!! I have seen lots of recipes incorporating cookie dough, and I love reading about all the new creations. They always look so tasty. I mean, hello, who could resist a bite full of chocolate chip cookie dough?! These truffles are heavenly! They're a little time consuming to make, but they're really not that difficult. The dipping process can be a bit challenging if you've never done it before, which I had not. But after dipping the first few, you'll start to get the hang of it. The hardest part for me was dropping the truffles onto the wax paper without excess chocolate pooling at the bottom, but hey, that just means more chocolate with each bite. :)
Recipe from The Recipe Girl
We also made mocha truffles, but I'll share that recipe another time... so make sure you check back! :)

Have you overdosed on sugar yet??? Nah, I think you can handle one more. ;)

This baking extravaganza just wouldn't be complete without a cupcake. Lucky for us, Megan has had her eye on these vanilla almond cupcakes. Talk about scrumptious! The vanilla and almond are paired beautifully in both the cake and the frosting, so you really taste the best of both worlds. Delicious!
Recipe from The Curvy Carrot

Well, there you have it... if you ever find yourself sinking into a baking slump, find a friend who enjoys baking as much as you do and go to town! :) Now, make sure to check out each of these recipes. I highly recommend ALL of them!

Hope you have a wonderful day!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Steak Fajita Burritos

Everyone has those go-to menu items that are simply irresistible in their household, right? You know, when you can't decide on anything else to make, or perhaps you don't feel like cooking but you obviously have to eat, or maybe you're crunched for time and unable to experiment with a new recipe. That's when you turn to one of those recipes that you know best (and love most!). A go-to recipe that you've tested, you've mastered, and that you've probably revamped a time or two. For me, one of those go-to recipes is fajitas. Yum! I taught myself how to make fajitas right after getting married, and I haven't stopped making them since. I love them! They're super easy to throw together, and I almost always have the ingredients on hand. Not to mention, they taste so darn good!

Now, I don't actually have a steadfast recipe for fajitas because I make them a little different each time. But that's what's so great about them... you can customize them to your liking! And since I'm only feeding myself and my husband, I buy the larger tortillas and wrap them up like burritos. If you're preparing these for more people, then buy the smaller tortillas and serve them taco style with extra fixings.

Yields 4-6 servings
2 medium size steaks
1 box Zatarains Spanish Rice (Note: I also LOVE to make these with the Zatarains Black Beans & Rice)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp minced garlic
1 medium onion, sliced into thin wedges
1 medium green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
sharp cheddar, shredded
flour tortillas

Slice steaks into strips. Season as desired... I seasoned these with sea salt, fresh ground pepper, cumin, and garlic powder. Let steaks stand about 20 to 30 minutes after seasoning.

Meanwhile, prepare rice as directed on the box (I omitted adding the canned tomatoes).

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add steak. Cook about 7 to 9 minutes, turning only once. (Feel free to cook your steak a little more or less depending on how you like your steak prepared.) Remove meat from skillet and set aside. Add garlic, onion, and peppers to the skillet. Cook until tender. Return meat to skillet and cook a minute longer, or until heated through. Serve immediately.

To assemble burritos, place tortillas on a microwave safe plate and heat in microwave for 20 seconds (I heat the tortillas individually). Fill the middle of the tortillas with rice, meat and veggies, and cheese. Fold tortilla and enjoy!

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