Brown Butter Baked Doughnuts with Chocolate Icing

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It’s official: I am doughnut obsessed. Ever since I bought my doughnut pan and made these beauties, I am hooked.  I can’t stop looking up doughnut recipes.  There are so many amazing ones out there! But I am pretty sure this one from Joy the Baker might be the most amazing.  A brown butter doughnut with chocolate glaze. And sprinkles. OMG yes please!  Continue reading

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Skinny Chocolate Cake made with Greek Yogurt

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It is no secret that I love baking with yogurt (see here, here, and here).  Yogurt can replace most or all of the fat in a lot of recipes while still giving you moist and tender baked goods. It allows me to make “skinny” recipes that taste (almost) as good as the real thing!  The nice people at Chobani sent me a bunch of yogurt to try out in recipes (thank you!), so of course the first thing I made had chocolate in it! Skinny Chocolate Cake to be exact.  The original recipe calls them fudgy brownies – I think the texture is more like a cake, but call them whatever you want – this chocolate creation is delicious! And it was so quick and easy to make. There is absolutely no oil or butter – ½ cup of Chobani and one egg does the job instead.  The cake is so moist and fudgy . It is perfect on its own, sprinkled with powdered sugar, or served warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream!

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Baked Pumpkin Cake Doughnuts

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I can’t even tell you how excited I am to post this recipe.  I have seen so many delicious doughnut recipes on Pinterest lately, and I just had to get involved.  So I bought two of these doughnut pans the other weekend and literally could not wait to put them to use!  And what better recipe to start with than a pumpkin doughnut!  I am happy to report they did not disappoint.  Thebetterhalf, a doughnut connoisseur, was skeptical about the concept of a baked doughnut, and he LOVED these.

The texture is remarkably similar to a cake doughnut, but a bit lighter.  The pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices give the most delicious flavor and the cinnamon sugar coating ties the whole thing together.  I snuck a few bites plain and these doughnuts are fantastic even without the cinnamon sugar.

This recipe makes enough for 15 doughnuts, and the pans only make 6 each. Luckily in my doughnut pan buying binge, I also picked up this adorable pan.  So I used my extra batter to make some pumpkin doughnut holes!  You could just bake the doughnuts in a second batch though. I see many more baked doughnut recipes in my future … these are on the menu for Saturday.  How incredible do they look??  These new doughnut pans are going to be trouble!   Continue reading

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

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Some nights you just need a cookie.  I mean right now.  Immediately.  And that is why I am so happy that I recently discovered cookie bars.  Because on those nights that you just need a cookie right away, you didn’t think ahead to soften butter to room temperature, nor do you have time to let dough chill.  Enter the amazing cookie bar.  Specifically a chocolate chip cookie bar with salted caramel sauce swirled inside and sprinkled with sea salt.  Sounds complicated, right? It is not at all!!  Especially if you have some caramel sauce leftover from making these brownies.  Just melt some butter (no waiting for butter to soften in this recipe!) and mix it with sugar, eggs, and vanilla.  Add in the dry ingredients and chocolate chips, and you are ready to go!  There is no chilling this dough, just plop it right into the pan. Well there is one little extra step, but I promise it is worth the time because it involves caramel!  Press half the dough into the pan and then pour caramel sauce all over it.  Then you dollop the cookie dough in little scoops over the top (it looks so cute!) and lightly press it down.  Sprinkle everything with some fleur de sel, and that’s it!  In about 30 minutes, warm gooey cookie bars are ready for almost immediate consumption! Now I will say that the texture changes a lot as these sit.  The bars firm up and become like actual cookies. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with sneaking a square (or two) of the warm bars when they are still doughy and gooey!  Continue reading

Modena, Italy

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Our last post on Italy (until next summer…) centers on the small town of Modena. Modena is located within the Emilia-Romanga region and is home to some of the best food in the world.  Traditional balsamic vinegar, Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma, and Lambrusco are all geographically protected specialities of the region.   In addition to the incredible food, we loved walking around the small city center.  Unlike many of the stops on our trip, Modena is not a tourist destination.   There was little English spoken, every menu was in Italian, and no one ventured outside during “siesta hours” (something I can get on board with).   Continue reading

Chocolate Peanut Butter Munchies

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Are you tired of chocolate peanut butter recipes yet?  I sure hope not, because they are not going anywhere.  We (and especially TheBetterHalf) are just way too obsessed with that flavor combo! We have Häagen-Dazs Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream in our freezer pretty much all the time.  It is a dangerous habit.

I’ve had my eye on this cookie recipe for a long time now.  I’ve seen them called Magic in the Middles, Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies, Buckeye Cookies – whatever they are called, a chocolate cookie with peanut putter filling is pretty much pure heaven!  First you make a basic chocolate cookie dough. Form it into balls and set it aside while you make the filling.  Mix together peanut butter and powdered sugar, and form that into little balls as well.  That stuff can be sticky!  I used slightly damp hands when I was making the filling balls, and that worked well for me.  Then you flatten out your cookie dough ball, place a peanut butter ball inside, shape the dough around the filling, and voila! I can see why people call them magic in the middles – you think it is just a simple chocolate cookie, but then you bite into it and there is sweet, peanut butter deliciousness!  Magic some might say.   Continue reading

Raspberry Dark Chocolate Scones

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Let’s talk about scones.  Buttery, tender, delicious scones.  I’ve eaten my fair share of them, but I had never actually made scones.  So I decided to change that this past weekend.  I had some gorgeous raspberries just begging to be made into a delicious breakfast, and this recipe seemed like the perfect way to use them up and try out a new pastry!  I did not have white chocolate on hand, so I decided to use dark chocolate instead.  A little chocolate with breakfast is always a good thing – my grandfather taught me that!

So back to scones. I’ve seen them made on TV a thousand times. They always make it look so pretty and neat.  Let me tell you, my prebaked scones were pretty (because when is butter and sugar and flour not pretty?), but they sure weren’t neat!  This dough is really wet!   The recipe warned that the dough would be “slightly unmanageable” and it wasn’t kidding.  I felt like I was working with slightly dry muffin batter rather than dough!  But the recipe also mentions that “not adding additional flour results in tender scones”, and I certainly wanted my scones to be tender.  So when it was time to form the dough into a circle and cut it into scones, I turned my dough out onto a floured silicone mat, which really helps with the dough not sticking.  I also floured my hands very well, and just tried to to work the dough as little as possible. It was a bit messy getting these scones onto the cookie sheet, but once I did it was totally worth it!  The baked scones are so light and tender.  There is chocolate and raspberry in every bite, with just a hint of sweetness. So I’d say my first venture into scones was a success, although I can’t wait to practice more with other recipes!  I see pumpkin scones in my future… Continue reading

Pretzel Sandwich Buns

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It seems like pretzel buns are everywhere these days, and I love it!  Even Wendy’s has embraced the pretzel bun…not sure that I will be sampling that anytime soon.  But whenever I see a sandwich on pretzel bread at a real restaurant I get really excited.  So I decided that I needed to make some at home!  Great decision.  These pretzel buns were so good!!  Crusty and salty on the outside, chewy and doughy on the inside – a perfect roll for any sandwich, or even to eat plain.  We made jalapeno burgers to put on our pretzel buns.  Burgers and pumpkin beer to watch the first Notre Dame football game of the season – perfection!   Continue reading

Salted Caramel Brownies

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This week calls for brownies.  The holiday weekend is over.  Summer is over.  The streets of NYC are packed again with everyone back to school and back to work. Yep, definitely need some brownies this week.  And while we’re at it, might as well add a salted caramel drizzle on top.  Just because.  The week is looking up already.

This recipe is from the one and only Ina Garten.  I’ve been dying to make these since I saw them on her show.  The brownie is rich and fudgy, the caramel swirl is so sweet and buttery, and the flaked sea salt on top just ties the whole thing together.  They are nothing short of amazing! I’m not sure why she calls specifically for Hershey’s chocolate chips in the recipe, but who am I to argue with Ina?  I made TheBetterHalf go buy that exact brand for me, and in true NYC fashion it took him 3 grocery stores to find them.  All in the name of brownies.  The only change I made to the recipe is adding 2 teaspoons of instant coffee instead of the 1 ½ tablespoons that Ina calls for.  Coffee brings out the chocolate flavor in baked goods but I didn’t want to actually taste coffee in my brownies, so I reduced the amount.  Everything else was perfect – these brownies so good!   Continue reading