Yogurt Brownies…

…Or diet brownies as I like to call them. ;) I say that for a reason as they do not have any butter, oil, or eggs.

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Of course I don’t suggest you diet with these brownies, but it’s a delicious variation to your regular brownies. BTW, I’m not under any circumstances ditching my favorite  Black Forrest Brownies recipe. :)

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The original recipe had Greek yogurt, but I haven’t acquired a taste for it yet and I didn’t have any on hand so I just used regular plain yogurt

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These brownies do have a slightly difference  taste. You can kind of taste the yogurt, especially when they are warm, but I found that the white chocolate chips and walnuts really balanced the flavor well

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Of course on the other hand, they are soft, fudge-y, and moist! Very delicious!

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So, if you’re looking for a different style of brownies please do give this recipe a try!

Yogurt Brownies

Ingredients:

(recipe taken from here)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 + 1/3 cups plain Greek yogurt (I used fat-free)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips, divided
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8x2-inch baking pan with parchment paper leaving the sides overhanging or butter and flour.
  2. In a large bowl whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together.
  3. In a microwave safe bowl melt 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips using the chocolate setting of your microwave in 20 second increments, stirring in between until smooth and melted. Whisk in the sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla and yogurt.
  4. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix in 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips and 1/4 cup white chocolate chips and walnuts.
  5. Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup semisweet and 1/4 cup white chocolate chips over top. Bake 28 – 32 minutes or until a toothpick in center comes out with a few moist crumbs but not wet batter.
  6. Cool in pan on wire racks. Lift using the parchment to a cutting board and cut into squares with a sharp chef’s knife or paring knife, wiping clean after each cut.
  7. Store tightly covered in a cool, dry place.

Enjoy! 

Jessica the Baker

Strawberry Kiwi Cake

When life gives you a birthday…make cake! I mean, how simple is that? Simpler said than done I tell ya! :)

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We stopped buying store-bought cakes for birthdays a while ago. Not that I mastered making cakes, quite the contrary, I’ve had my fare share of nearly ruined birthday cakes. :)

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But sometimes you just have to take the risk and nearly ruin a birthday cake to keep practicing. It’s how I learned, through trial and error.

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My poor sisters had to bear with me as I would come up with yet another cake to make on their birthdays, this time thinking that I got the perfect cake.  I didn’t ruin all of them though :)

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I still haven’t fully mastered making cakes, but here is one that came out well the first time I tried it, so it was worth repeating.

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I was inspired by Laura Vitale’s Strawberry Cake. The only difference was that I used my own cake recipe and added some kiwi. It was delicious!

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Little hands can be a big help! :)

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This is such a simple cake recipe you will not believe it! And you can really play around with it and change it to your liking.  Maybe you want to add vanilla pudding in the middle and cover it with melted chocolate and make a Boston Cream Pie Cake. I tried it,  and it’s super delicious!

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The finished cake!

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Please try this cake. It’s soft, fruity, whip creamy…you get the point! It’s worth trying, and you can trust me on this. ;)

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To give you a clue,  it kind of tastes like a strawberry shortcake

Strawberry Kiwi Cake

Ingredients:

9 eggs (separated)
3 Tbsp. Oil
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Flour (sifted)
1 quart whipping cream
1 cup strawberry jam
juice of 1/4 of an orange
Strawberries
Kiwi

Note: you will have 6 egg yolks left over, do not trash them, make pudding or creme brulee with them! :) 

Directions:

Separate the eggs from the whites (making sure you place 3 egg yolks in a bowl separate from the other six egg yolks). Mix the 3 egg yolks with the oil (adding the oil slowly) and set aside. With an electric mixer, beat the 9 egg whites until they become frothy, and then slowly add the sugar. Beat egg whites until you have stiff peaks. Fold in the egg yolk mixture, and afterwards gently fold in the flour. Grease and lightly flour and 13×9 in. rectangular pan or a 10 in. round cake pan. Bake for about 1 hr. at 300 degrees or until lightly golden.

Cool the cake completely, about 2 hours and whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Mix the strawberry jam with the orange juice.

When the cake is completely cooled, cut in half and spread the strawberry jam mixture all over both layers of the cake  leaving a 1 inch boarder. On the bottom layer, spread about 1 1/2 cup or so of  whipping cream over the entire surface.  Arrange the strawberries and kiwi all over the top and place the top cake over the fruits. With the remaining whipped cream, cover the entire surface of the cake. Use extra strawberries and kiwi to decorate.

Enjoy! 

Jessica the Baker

European Donuts (Gogoshi)

Whenever I give these donuts to someone who’s never had them before, their reaction is always “wow! Mmmm…” and I love it! I love seeing people’s reaction whenever they try these donuts! :) I have yet to  find someone who doesn’t like these because they are SO good!

I grew up watching my aunt make these donuts and thinking how lucky my cousins are to have them on a regular basis. :) Now I’m glad that I can make them myself! These are traditional Romanian donuts called “Gogoshi”, I know, funny name. :) But I hope you give these a try! You won’t be disappointed!

Oh! Btw, a huge thank you to my wonderful sister Abby for the new blog do! She is the master photographer behind all the pictures on my blog. I couldn’t have done it without her, so thank you Abby! I really love my new blog header!

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There’s nothing like a bowl full of fresh donuts!

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They’re sweet, sugary, and soft!

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The secret is for the donut to be hollow in the middle. When you have that, you know you’ve mastered the recipe! :)

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I can’t believe I didn’t post this sooner! This is actually one of the first dessert recipes I tried on my own when I first started baking! Do you want a recipe that impresses people the moment they try it? Make these donuts!

European Donuts (Gogoshi)

  • 2 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter (melted)
  • 3 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 2 cups Milk (warm)
  • 4 whole Egg Yolks
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 teaspoon Rum Extract
  • 5 cups Flour (approx)
  •  Oil for Frying
  • 2 cups Powdered Sugar, More Or Less

In a large bowl mix together the yeast and sugar. Add the warm milk (make sure it is not hot) and stir. Set aside for 10 minutes or so until the yeast has risen a bit. Add the egg yolks and butter to the milk and yeast mixture. Add the vanilla extract and rum extract and stir. Slowly incorporate the flour and form into a soft (not too sticky) dough. Use as much flour as needed until the dough is forms. You might not need all 5 cups of flour. You don’t want the dough to be hard or else the donuts will turn out dense. Knead for 2-3 minutes it all comes together. Place the dough in a large bowl covered with a lint free towel and set aside. Let the dough rise in a warm place for about 2-3 hours.

After the dough has risen, punch it and set on a floured surface. Knead for about another minute and then roll it about half a centimeter thick. With the rim of a cup (use whatever width you prefer) or any round cookie cutter, start cutting the dough into round circles. Let the donuts rise for another 10 minutes or so.

In a pan pour oil about halfway up the sides. Place over medium-high heat. Make sure the oil is really hot so that the donuts sizzle when you drop them in. Gently drop each donut in and let them fry on each side until golden brown. When both sides are done, drop them in a bowl with powdered sugar. Roll them around until they’re all covered with powdered sugar.

Enjoy with a glass of cold milk!

Jessica the Baker

Christmas Baking 2013

Once the middle of December rolls around, my dad asks me to bake something for the people at his work. Usually it’s always chocolate chip cookies and brownies as some of you will probably remember from this post last year.  :)

Best of the West Brownies

iLove Chocolate Chip Cookies

This year, I also made some cinnamon rice krispies. I think they’re perfect for this time of year, and they’re super quick too!

Cinnamon Rice Krispies

The frosting gives it an extra special touch that almost makes them look like cinnamon rolls. This time I didn’t add any frosting when I gave them away because I was making these around 10 p.m. last night. :)

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I have to warn you, I made these late at night so the only pictures I could take was with this ugly fluorescent light, which didn’t give me the nicest pictures. But I wanted to show you what I did and give you some ideas.

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All packed and ready to be given away!!

Since this was for the people at my dad’s work, I didn’t do anything fancy. But when we’ll give something to our neighbors I want it to be a little more festive. :)

So, what are you baking to give away this Christmas?

Jessica the Baker 

p.s. You can find the recipes on my blog. I might post the cinnamon rice krispies later…for now you can look on any rice krispie cereal box and use that recipe and just add cinnamon.

Apricot Jam & Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

‘Tis the season for cookies! For me, cookies are in season all year round. :) But since a lot of you are taking out your cookie recipes around this time of year, here is a cookie recipe for you! These will be great to give as gifts to your friends, neighbors, co-workers, family, you name it! :)

These cookies are so delicious! They’re a little different than the regular angel thumbprint cookies everyone usually makes because I used my chocolate chip cookie recipe. So, since that recipe has brown sugar in it, it gave these a molasses taste that goes so well with this jam!  I also had some pecans on hand and used that for some cookies with chocolate chips.

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This one almost looks like a heart! :)

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Hopefully you’ll give these a try! :) I know you all are probably making sugar cookies around this time of year, but it never hurts to add a new cookie recipe to your cookie collection! ;)

Apricot Jam & Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

Jessica the Baker

Thanksgiving Recipes

Put your aprons on! Thanksgiving is only two days away! You’re gonna want to impress your guests with something delicious! If you’re still looking for some pie recipes…or if you’re the type of family that has biscuits for Thanksgiving, I’ve got some recipes for you!

Yup! Pie in the making!! I love this time of year!

What would you choose…berry or apple pie?

I usually make berry pie and sometimes apple pie for Thanksgiving. I only tried pumpkin pie once, and this year I’m making a gluten free one for my cousins. Hope it turns out well… :)

How about some biscuits? Have I got a recipe for you!! If this is the only thing you’ll try from this blog, you’ll come back and thank me! This is absolutely the BEST biscuit recipe!! I’ll be making these for Thanksgiving and I know that my relatives love them. Maybe yours will too! ;)

Look how fluffy they are!!

I know that these pictures are from the previous years…hopefully I can take new pictures and update this blog. :)

Click on the links to get the recipes!

Apple Crumb Pie

Fall Berry Medley Pie

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

Enjoy your Thanksgiving!! 

Jessica the Baker

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

It’s been a while since I last posted! Sorry about that! But here’s a good recipe to make up for it. :)

I’ve never made Boston Cream Pie before (or Boston Cream Pie cupcakes) but when I saw Stephanie from Joy of Baking make these cupcakes, I really wanted to make them!

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You have a super delicious vanilla cupcake filled with the yummiest vanilla cream and topped with chocolate ganache! Can it get more delicious? :)

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While the original vanilla cupcake recipe is good, I switched to another vanilla cupcake recipe because I wanted a more light and fluffy cupcake. I’m going to post my version of the vanilla cupcake below, but I will also link to the original recipe if you want to try it.

Here is how I filled the cupcakes with the vanilla cream. You can also make a crater in the center of the cupcake and fill it with the pudding.

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Insert the tip of your piping bag into the bottom of the cupcake…

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…about halfway, and keep squeezing until you almost start seeing the cupcake crack…

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…then slowly lift the tip out

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Repeat the process  by inserting the tip on top of the cupcake

IMG_9260that is if you prefer more vanilla cream :)

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This is where the chocolate ganache comes in!

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You can see the vanilla cream coming out of the cupcake!

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

Here is the original  Boston cream pie cupcakes recipe

Vanilla Cupcakes:

1 1/2 cups AP flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Pastry Cream:

2 egg yolks
3 Tablespoons granulated white sugar
2 Tablespoons arrowroot powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup whole milk
1/2 Tablespoons butter (room temperature)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Chocolate Glaze:

4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into pieces
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 Tablespoons oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease your muffin pan and set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, vanilla and oil. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Evenly fill your muffin pan with the batter and bake for about 20-22 mins. or until a toothpick inserted in a cupcake come out clean.

Pastry Cream: While the cupcakes are in the oven, ia medium-sized heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar. Add the arrowroot powder and salt and mix until you have a smooth paste. Meanwhile, in a saucepan bring the milk just to boiling (the milk starts to foam up.) Remove from heat and slowly pour the milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from curdling (pour through strainer if necessary). Pour the egg mixture back into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, keep whisking the mixture for another 30 – 60 seconds or until it becomes thick. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the butter and vanilla extract. Pour into a clean bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until firm. Whisk or stir before using to get rid of any lumps that may have formed.

Chocolate Glaze: Melt the chocolate, butter, and vegetable oil in a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat, and let cool until it thickens slightly (to pouring consistency).

Assemble: Place the pastry cream in a piping bag fitted with an 1/2 inch (1 cm) plain tip. Fill each cupcake with the pastry cream by inserting the pastry tip into the top or bottom (or both) of each cupcake and squeezing just until you start to see cracks in the top of the cupcake. Then pour about 1-2 tablespoons of the chocolate glaze onto the center of each cupcake, letting it drip down the sides. Let the cupcakes sit at room temperature for an hour or two, or until the chocolate glaze dries. 

Enjoy! 

Jessica the Baker

A New Look for Tiramisu

Dropping in real quick here to show you a new way I made tiramisu a while back. Way back in May (it seems like such a long time ago), I made tiramisu for my mom’s birthday cake. And to make it look more like a cake, I used a cheesecake pan instead.

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I probably should have used a smaller pan to make it look taller, but oh well :)

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The strawberries were a perfect addition to the whole tiramisu

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Serve it up, and enjoy!

Don’t forget to hope over here to get the recipe and enjoy it!! :)

Jessica the Baker

2 years ago today!!

If it wasn’t for WordPress reminding me, I would’ve completely forgotten that I started my blog 2 years ago today!!

So 2 years and 76 posts later, I’m sharing with you more than one recipe in honor of my blog’s anniversary!! (Psst…There will also be cake to celebrate!! ;))

Let’s start!

Chocolate Chip Muffins 

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I got this recipe from Laura Vitale

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I still had some 4th of July cupcake liners left :)

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I saved this one just for you ;)

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These were so delicious! I would’ve preferred them a little sweeter, but that can easily be fixed by adding a little more sugar to the recipe. Other than that they’re super moist and delicious!!

Shortcut Creme Brulee  

Do you love creme brulee but hardly have the time to make it? Or you think it’s too much of a complicated process? Fret no more for I bring you a shortcut to the great creme brulee we all know and love! This will be done in a matter of minutes I’m telling you!

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I’ll let you in on a little secret…

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are you ready?…

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Okay, this is actually a vanilla pudding (the best you’ll ever taste by the way) that tastes just like creme brulee!!

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So yeah, if you don’t have time to go through all the fuss making creme brulee, make this and it’ll be done quick-as-a-wink!

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Fire up that raw sugar…

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…and watch it caramelize!!

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Just like this!

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Of course, you don’t have to burn up the sugar that much if you don’t want to

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The best part is cracking through that hard candy layer

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I’m telling you

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Everyone agrees :)

Cinnamon Cake

I know you’ve seen cinnamon cake here before. But since I promised you cake to celebrate, and I love cinnamon cake and even had it for my birthday awhile back (that’s why I have new pictures), I’m re-posting it! :)

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I love this cake!

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See that birthday banner behind? It fits for my blog’s birthday :)

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But wait! Add raspberries and blueberries and bring it to a whole new level!!

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Yum!

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Digging in will be the best decision you will ever make!!

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Go ahead and have a piece in honor of my blogs birthday!! :)

Get the recipes!!

Cinnamon Cake

Chocolate Chip Muffins

Shortcut Creme Brulee

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggyolks
  • 3 tablespoons granulated whitesugar
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder (it can also be substituted with corn startch, but it’s not recommended)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole (full fat) milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon  unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanillaextract

In a medium-sized heatproof bowl, whisk the  egg yolks with the sugar. Add the arrowroot powder and salt and mix until you have a smooth paste.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan bring the milk just to boiling (the milk starts to foam up.) Remove from heat and slowly pour the milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from curdling (pour through strainer if necessary). Pour the egg mixture back into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, keep whisking the mixture for another 30 – 60 seconds or until it becomes thick. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the butter and vanilla extract. Pour into a clean bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until firm. The pastry cream can be stored for up to 3 days. Whisk or stir before using to get rid of any lumps that may have formed. Divide between individual custard cups and cover the whole surface with raw sugar. Torch the sugar until it melts and becomes caramelized.

Enjoy! 

Jessica the Baker