Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake – Bake for the Cure

BREAST CANCER FACT: It’s a GREAT idea to get checked for breast cancer during your annual checkup. Mammograms are a great technology thatBake For The Cure Logo2 Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake   Bake for the Curedetect it early on. However, they don’t always catch it. Below are some warning signs to keep an eye out for just in case. If you have any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to go ahead and discuss with your doctor as soon as you can.

  • Lump, hard knot or thickening
  • Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling or puckering of the skin
  • Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
  • Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
  • Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
  • New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away

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Well folks, we are reaching the end of the Susan G Komen – Bake for the Cure competition. For those of you who have commented and spread the word thus far, I can’t thank you enough!

This week I decided to get a little adventurous with one of the recipes from the Bake for the Cure ACH cookbook. There was a recipe for a “One-Dish Raspberry Cheesecake” but since I still had pumpkin puree leftover from the Pumpkin Spice Cake, I decided to do a Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake instead!

After referencing a few recipes for how to prepare the pumpkin and make the “swirl” part work, it was time to get down to business.

ALWAYS prep your ingredients first. That way you’re not scurrying at the last minute trying to find things and end up realizing you’re missing the brown sugar and have to put everything back in the fridge and run to the grocery and…

wait…

where was I?

Oh yea, PREP.

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Next, I mixed the flour, sugar, salt, Fleischmann’s Dry Active Yeast, one egg, melted butter, and milk.

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And placed the batter in a buttered pie pan.

Now, if you’ve ever made cheesecake before, you’re probably thinking: “Why on earth didn’t she use a springform cheesecake pan???” Bare with me. You’ll see that it all works out in the end.

Next I combined the pumpkin, 1/2 c of sugar, corn starch, and 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice until well blended.

Then blended the cream cheese, corn starch, another egg, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, and sugar with an electric hand mixer until smooth.

IMG 1675 1024x768 Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake   Bake for the Cure

Once the cream cheese mixture is smooth and creamy, pour it into the batter-filled pie pan and place spoonfuls of the pumpkin mixture randomly on top.

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Then take a butter knife and swirl the two batters together.

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Then bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until the cheesecake has set.

Remove from oven and let cool on the counter and then in the fridge until ready to serve (about 3 hrs).

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Now I will tell you, for next time, I will half the crust batter ingredients as it was a little too thick for my liking. You can see the layers of swirly goodness in the picture below!

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And that’s it! Please don’t forget to comment!!! The contest ends THIS Sunday, October 24th at midnight.

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Sea Salt Caramels – Bake for the Cure

The thought of making this recipe excited me so much, as it has been on my list of things to make for close to a year now. I just haven’t had the time or resources (candy thermometer) to do so. However, in light of the Susan G KomenBake for the Cure competition, I figured why not challenge myself? The women (and men) who battle breast cancer deal with and conquer FAR greater challenges on a daily basis. If they can do that, then I can certainly make some measly candy!

Sea Salt Caramels

I got the recipe for these on Delish.com as they are a partner with Susan G Komen in the baking blogger contest. In fact, I’ve had this recipe saved away in my “to-bake” file since last year AND Delish.com is my favorite place to find recipes.

Anyways, where was I? Oh yea, time to quit procrastinating and get to making the Sea Salt Caramels.

Here are the ingredients.

IMG 1639 1024x768 Sea Salt Caramels   Bake for the Cure

[I opted to purchase a more expensive sea salt for the flavor factor.]

First step is to position the candy thermometer just right on the side of a saucepot.

Then combine the heavy cream, evaporated milk, and sugar in the pot and cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil.

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Once it boils, add the Karo light corn syrup and continuing cooking until the caramel reaches 230 degrees.

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Now, let me just pause here and let you in on an almost failure on my part. The recipe called for a MEDIUM-sized saucepan; WELL, I’m here to tell you that the caramel will over flow and not reach 230 desgrees (Like it did with mine. Which is NOT fun cleanup afterwards.) So make sure you use a LARGE saucepan.

After pouring out the caramel into my prepared dish…

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I grabbed a new pot and started attempting to heat it again in hopes that all was not lost with the caramel…

And what do ya know? It wasn’t! It heated up real quick and easy to 230 degrees. Then it was time to drop in the butter and vanilla and continue cooking until the caramel reached 240 degrees.

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Once at 240, remove from heat and carefully pour into a parchment paper-lined, greased, 9×13 baking dish and let cool for about an hour.

Once cooled, flip out on to another piece of parchment paper…

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And begin the hour-long process of cutting into bite-size pieces. [This will likely take you a lot shorter time than me, as I didn't wait long enough for it to cool and all stickiness broke loose.]

IMG 1648 1024x768 Sea Salt Caramels   Bake for the CureIMG 1649 1024x768 Sea Salt Caramels   Bake for the Cure

Once in bite size pieces, say the serenity prayer. Wrap in squares of parchment paper and go to bed exhausted.

Okay, you can skip the last step but don’t skip sharing with your family and friends!

IMG 1651 1024x768 Sea Salt Caramels   Bake for the Cure

Thanks so much for reading through this blog and if any of you decide to venture into making these, the final result is actually AMAZINGLY good and I wish you luck!!!

Please please comment below as the competition is over at midnight on Sunday night, October 24th. THANK YOU!

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Pepperoni Bread – Bake for the Cure

Well folks it’s week #2 (and almost the end of it at that) of the Susan G KomenBake for the Cure contest. This week I decided to make a savory item and a sweet item like last week.

The wonderful people at Susan G KomenBake for the Cure sent us a great cookbook full of wonderful recipes. We are supposed to make one of theirs each week with our own little twist. This week I decided on the Pepperoni Batter Bread.

First came prep.

IMG 1634 1024x768 Pepperoni Bread   Bake for the Cure

Then came marriage… just kidding.

Then came dissolving the Fleischmann’s Active Dry Yeast in 1 and 1/4 cup of really warm water for 5 minutes.

IMG 1635 1024x768 Pepperoni Bread   Bake for the Cure

Once the 5 minutes are up (which pass by pretty quickly because it’s kind of fun watching yeast dissolve and the smell that comes up from it is just scrumptious), add in the sugar, salt, butter, flour, red pepper flakes (my added twist), and oregano.

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Beat on medium for about 2 minutes until you have a wet batter. The batter should almost be a cake batter consistency at this point.

Once the batter is combined, add in the additional flour, pepperoni, and 4 italian cheese blend (yet another change from the original, which only called for provolone cheese). Then stir this all together. Pour into a 2-quart casserole dish and let rise for about an hour.

IMG 1637 1024x768 Pepperoni Bread   Bake for the Cure

Ok, let me just stop here and tell you that I was literally JUMPING FOR JOY when seeing that the dough actually rose. If you recall, back to my tries at making Cinnamon (no raisins) Bread, I could NEVER get the stinken dough to rise and it drove me nuts. Totally took a short toll on my baking confidence. However, when seeing that this dough had risen, confidence was restored and all was right in the Pint-Size Baker bread-making world again!

After the dough doubles in size, it’s time to bake in the oven at 375 degrees for about 35 minutes, but WAIT! Here’s another little added touch for ya: I decided to layer the extra pepperoni and cheese on top of the dough to make a sort of foccaccia feel.

The final product came out just delicious and beautiful!

IMG 1640 1024x768 Pepperoni Bread   Bake for the Cure

Serving suggestion: Slice into large cubes and serve with pizza sauce for dipping.

IMG 1641 1024x768 Pepperoni Bread   Bake for the Cure

This bread is HUGE, so it would be a perfect appetizer for a small party or tailgate.

Going along with the HUGE theme, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month around the world. Yes, around the world, not just in the United States are people coming together to help raise money and awareness for breast cancer. If you’re interested in getting involved, the Susan G Komen website has MANY options: GET INVOLVED.

Breast Cancer touches so many people’s lives. Do you have a story? Or perhaps a loved one who has battled with breast cancer? Feel free to share in the comments section. The more we talk about it, the greater the awareness will become.

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Ingredients:

1 envelope Fleischmann’s Active Dry Yeast

1 and 1/4 cup warm water (100 – 110 degrees F)

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon melted butter

2 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 c finely chopped pepperoni (plus extra whole pepperoni slices for layering on top of bread)

1 cup shredded 4-italian cheese (plus extra for layering on top of bread)

DISSOLVE yeast in warm water in a large mixing bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add sugar, salt, oregano, red pepper flakes, butter and 2 cups of the flour. Beat two minutes on medium speed with electric mixer.

STIR in remaining 3/4 cup flour, pepperoni and cheese to make stiff batter. Spoon into greased 1.5-2 quart round casserole dish. Cover.

LET RISE in warm, draft-free area about an hour or until doubled in size. (I let sit for 1 hr and 15 min). Layer remaining pepperoni and cheese on top.

BAKE in preheated 375 degree oven for 35-40 min or until done. Remove from casserole dish and cool on wire rack.

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Pumpkin Spice Cake – Bake for the Cure

Bi-weekly Breast Cancer Fact: While more common in women, did you now breast cancer can also occur in men? It’s rare but still something to keep watch for.

Bake For The Cure Logo1 Pumpkin Spice Cake   Bake for the Cure

The overall incidence of breast cancer is 1.3 per 100,000 men, compared to 123 per 100,000 women. Visit Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Facts for Men for more information.

Time for my Susan G KomenBake for the Cure second baking adventure. I’m sitting here writing this while the cake(s) are cooling and am steaming myself a little.

Why so disgruntled you ask? Well, let me tell you.

My sweet boyfriend bought me some awesome pumpkin-shaped silicone cake pans back in August. This week’s baking adventure was going to be the first time I got to use them since it’s now officially fall and pumpkin season. Prior to using them, like every good novice baker, I did a little research on if the cook-time varied or any other things to pay attention to when using silicone baking pans. Every source said that they bake at the same temperature and times as a standard cake pan: SCORE!

Yea, not so much. As I sit here, my pretty pumpkin cakes are sunk in the middle from not baking evenly. I have a plan to remedy the situation, so keep reading to see if it works!

PUMPKIN SPICE CAKE w/PUMPKIN CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

First, Commence ingredients prepping.

IMG 1597 1024x768 Pumpkin Spice Cake   Bake for the Cure

Side note: This might be the largest number of ingredients included in a recipe I’ve made.

First step is to combine the flour (yes, I took this out of sequence from the original recipe), ARGO baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice (not in recipe). Then set aside.

Next is to cream the sugar, and add in the dark brown and regular sugar.

IMG 1598 1024x768 Pumpkin Spice Cake   Bake for the Cure

Blend until creamy and add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.

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Next step is to stir the pumpkin puree, buttermilk, and vanilla in a separate bowl.

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Then gather all three bowls together like so.

IMG 1602 1024x768 Pumpkin Spice Cake   Bake for the Cure

And add the flour mixture and pumpkin puree mixture to the butter/sugar/egg mixture alternating 1/3 at a time until all the way blended.

Place batter into pumpkin shaped silicone cake pans (or regular round cake pans that won’t leave you frustrated after 45 minutes of cook time) and bake for 35-40 minutes at 350.

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Once done baking (45-50 minutes later GRRRRRRRR), remove from oven and set out to cool.

IMG 1605 768x1024 Pumpkin Spice Cake   Bake for the Cure[Please notice the glorious hole in the middle. I repeat: grrrrrr]

After cooling for about 30-45 min, remove from silicone pan and see that all is not lost just yet with the cake holding its intended shape! (Continue letting sit out to cool.)

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After cakes have cooled, it’s time to make the best part of cake, the FROSTING.

This really does make me feel better about the pumpkin spice cakes being less than satisfactory.

Combine the cream cheese (I used 11 oz.), butter, pumpkin, and vanilla (and red and yellow food coloring to make an orange colored frosting) until smooth.

IMG 1609 1024x768 Pumpkin Spice Cake   Bake for the Cure

Then add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until well blended.

Lop off the puffy ends of the pumpkin cake.

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Frost one side of the half pumpkin.

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And smash it together with the other half.

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[This is where I should've just stopped and served the frosting on the side. You can serve frosting on the side like a gravy right?]

Next I frosted the cake… please note, there are no pictures during the frosting process, as it was a DISASTER. The halves kept coming apart and yea…

Anyways, after spending what seemed like eternity frosting and decorating, here is the final product! But be careful not to breath too hard, otherwise Mr. Pumpkin will get a splitting headache! (Haha, get it? Ok, maybe not…)

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Decorating fiasco aside, this cake is so moist and delicious! I highly recommend clicking the links to the recipes above and making it yourself!

Thanks again for reading and PLEASE DON’T FORGET TO COMMENT! EACH COMMENT AIDS RAISE BREAST CANCER AWARENESS and helps yours truly get one step closer to winning this awesome contest put on by the Susan G. Komen foundation and Delish.com!

Posted in Bake for the Cure, cake, Contest, cream cheese frosting, pumpkin spice, Susan G Komen | Tagged , | 41 Comments

Breakfast Pizza – Bake for the Cure

Let me start out this blog post by saying thank you for taking the time to read it! It means a lot to me and is helping out an amazing cause.

BREAST CANCER FACT: According to the CDC, breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women. The last few years have shown a slight decline in the number of cases, but the percentages are still very high. If caught early-on, there is a 5 year survival rate of about 89% and an even greater survival rate (98%) if the cancer is confined to the breast and hasn’t spread elsewhere.

The first of this week’s Susan G. Komen Bake for the Cure baking adventures is a twist on their recipe with a little Pint-Size Baker twist. Feel free to make it for yourself and your friends and family. Despite a screw up on my part (we’ll get to that later), it turned out very well!

(You should all know by now I don’t stick to a recipe.)

BREAKFAST PIZZA a la PINT-SIZE BAKER (recipe can be found at the bottom of this post)

First step was the PREP.

IMG 1576 1024x768 Breakfast Pizza   Bake for the Cure

Easy Enough.

Next I diced up the pepperoni and pepperoncini and set them to the side.

IMG 1577 1024x768 Breakfast Pizza   Bake for the Cure

Then I combined 1.75 c of flour with a packet of Fleischmann’s Pizza Crust Yeast, and salt. Then added in warm water and olive oil and mixed.

WAIT, HOLD THE PHONE and READ THE DIRECTIONS.

If you listened to your 10th grade math teacher like I apparently didn’t, you would know to ALWAYS read instructions first. (Try standing up in the middle of a silent class room to squawk like a duck and then realizing no one else was… yea, embarrassing.)

The directions say to add 1 cup of flour first and then slowly add more once the dough is stirred together to reach a proper consistency. However, like many mistakes before, I decided to keep plugging along and not start over. To remedy the situation, I simply added more olive oil little by little until the dough was sticky enough.

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Once you knead the dough for a few minutes, press out onto a WELL-GREASED (PAM once and then PAM for grease’s sake).

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Bake in the oven for about 8 minutes.

While the crust is baking, whisk together the eggs, ground mustard (an amazing spice I have just discovered!), salt, and pepper.

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Then de-puff the puffiness that occurred as a result of not following directions once again and neglecting to fork the sides of the crust before placing into the oven.

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Top the pizza with the Pepperoni and Pepperoncini.

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Then the Egg mixture.

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Mozzarella Cheese.

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and finally Pizza Sauce!

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Then bake in the oven another 15-20 minutes until the crust is slightly golden and the eggs are cooked through.

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Serve and Enjoy!

IMG 1592 1024x768 Breakfast Pizza   Bake for the Cure

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Breakfast Pizza a la Pint-Size Baker

Crust:

1.75 c  - 2 c all-purpose flour

1 Envelope Fleischmann’s Pizza Crust Yeast

3/4 tsp salt

2/3 c very warm water

1 tbsp olive oil (plus more if you make a boo-boo like me)

Toppings:

3 ounces pepperoni diced

7-10 pepperoncini diced

4 eggs

1/2 tsp ground mustard

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1.5 c shredded mozzarella cheese

Jar of pizza sauce (I used Ragu Pizza Quick)

Steps:

Combine 1 c flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Then add VERY warm water and olive oil; mix until well blended. Gradually add enough remaingin flour to make a soft dough. Dough should form a ball and be slightly sticky.

Knead dough on floured surface, adding additional flour is necessary, until smooth and elastic. About 4 minutes. Pat dough with floured hands, pressing gently to spread out on a greased pizza pan. Form a rim by pinching the edge of the dough; PRICK SURFACE WITH FORK.

Bake crust in preheated oven at 450 degrees on lowest oven rack for 8 minutes. Reduce oven to 375 degrees and remove pizza crust from oven.

Top pizza crust with pepperoni and pepperoncini. Beat eggs, gound mustard, salt, and pepper together in a bowl. Pour over toppings. Sprinkle with cheese then add spoonfuls of pizza sauce sporadically around the pizza. Bake for 15-20 minutes until crust is golden brown and eggs have set.

Remove from oven. Slice, serve and enjoy!

Please don’t forget to comment and spread the word to your family and friends!!!

Posted in bake, Bake for the Cure, Contest, Pizza, Susan G Komen | Tagged , | 69 Comments

Susan G. Komen – Bake for the Cure

Ladies and Gentleman, Boys and Girls!

As you probably know by now, I have had a baking blog (http://PintSizeBaker.com/) for a little over a year now as a weekly “hobby”… using the term hobby loosely bc I hope to one day turn it into a real life bakery!

Anyways, a little over a week ago I submitted my blog to be considered to be a part of a contest put on by Delish.com (best place to find recipes!) to benefit the Susan G. Komen foundation. I found out a few days ago thatthey selected PintSizeBaker.com along with about 14 other baking blogs!!! The gist of the contest is that I have to bake/cook 2 recipes a week for three weeks starting next Monday, October 4th and whichever blogger gets the most comments on his/her blog posts each week wins.

Bake For The Cure Logo Susan G. Komen   Bake for the Cure

This is where YOU come in. If you wouldn’t mind taking about 5 minutes a week to comment and spread the word to any of your friends and family, I would greatly appreciate it!!!

All you have to do is click and comment on each post for the next 3 weeks!

Thank you very much in advance for helping out with a wonderful cause and the contest!

Much love,

Pint-Size Baker :-)

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A Tale of Two Cookie Doughs

Have you ever heard of the Cookie Monster? Sure you have. (Unless your parents deprived you as a child from watching Sesame Street, which, if that’s the case, let me tell you how to get, how to get to Sesame Street…)

cookie monster A Tale of Two Cookie Doughs

Anyways, back to where I was heading with that question… I bet you didn’t know the Cookie Monster has an older brother, did you? Yep! His name is the Cookie DOUGH Monster and he looks a little something like this:

IMG 0557 225x300 A Tale of Two Cookie Doughs

The Cookie Dough Monster almost always senses when I’m making my special Chocolate Chip Cookies and sneaks at least one spoon full of cookie dough, if not more. And lately, this seems to be a weekly occurrence as there have been many reasons to justify cookie baking lately! (See Cookie Cake)

Last night was no different.

Upon returning home from a trip to see my grandmother and delivering her some chocolate chip cookies (One of which she chucked across the room and tried to shoot a basket in the trash can, so apparently they double as basket balls???), I decided I would make a batch of chocolate chip cookies for some police friends of ours, as well as a batch of Oatmeal Cookies as a surprise for my boyfriend.

I made the chocolate chip cookie batter first and began baking the first batch in the oven. While those were baking and the rest of the chocolate chip cookie dough was sitting out on the counter, I began prepping the Oatmeal Cookie batter.

The very first step is to cream the vegetable shortening with the two sugars.

I stopped there because the first batch of chocolate chip cookies were just about done baking and turned my back to check on them in the oven.

[Insert Jaws music here]

Next thing I knew, my dad swooped in behind me and took a big spoonful of the the cookie dough which I instructed him not to do!

However, upon glancing further and hearing him shout “OH. MY. GOSH. What is that???” I realized he didn’t in fact eat the chocolate chip cookie dough like I had assumed. He had a big ol’ mouthful of the vegetable shortening and sugar mixture!

Needless to say, much laughter followed by myself and he took a big swig of milk to swallow it down. Then I got to use a phrase he always said growing up to us kids: “That’ll learn ya, dearn ya!” He promised to never do it again…

Which I won’t hold my breath for.

It has been a busy past couple of weeks and it’s not looking to slow down all fall! It’s the most wonderful time of year I tell ya. :-) Amid all of this craziness though, I have gotten to try a new adventure which I’ve never made in my entire life. When I tell you what it is, you will probably be shocked but my mom never let us make these growing up. She said they were TOO messy to make and it would be TOO hard to clean the pan afterwards…

IMG 1534 1024x768 A Tale of Two Cookie Doughs

Yes, RICE KRISPIE TREATS, and I’m here to tell you that the cleanup was possibly the easiest I’ve had so far. Thanks to my wonderful helper while making these scrumptious treats — they turned out so yummy! My only complaint is that I let my helper take them to school and didn’t steal a couple for myself to take to work. Oh well, next time! ;-)


Posted in choco chip, chocolate chip cookies, cookies, Oatmeal | 1 Comment

Pint-Size Baker-versary!

Well folks, I am excited to say that it has officially been a year since I started this blog!!! (Technically September 12th was one year, but we won’t tell, will we?)

IMG 1524 768x1024 Pint Size Baker versary!

It was also my parents’ 32nd wedding anniversary on September 9th. Look how sweet and in love they are:

IMG 1522 225x300 Pint Size Baker versary!

True to fashion, I did a little baking myself to celebrate the Pint-Size Baker one year bloggerversary!

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[Grandma's Lasagna with some Pint-Size Baker tweaks]

IMG 1530 768x1024 Pint Size Baker versary![Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes that we indulged in after a loooooong walk to counteract the calories... or so we told ourselves it did.]

This was the first time that I cooked for the man in my life and it went off without a hitch! (Well, excluding the burnt thumb that occurred as a result of grabbed the pan holding the lava cakes.)

Thank you to my friends and family for allowing me to make them my guinea pigs when it comes to trying new recipes. I know your waist lines are thanking me right back. ;-)

ALSO,  a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who continues to check in each week and read and comment on my baking adventures. I have a feeling the best are yet to come!

Posted in baking adventure, baking blog, cake, chocolate, pint size baker | 2 Comments

Gameday Cookie Cake

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Usually that phrase goes along with Christmas, just like the song says… However, I have taken the liberty of extending the “most wonderful time of the year” from September 1 – New Year’s Day.

Why has the start date been extended you ask? It’s college football season of course! However, if you’re not a college football fan, then I don’t expect you to understand and thus, we can leave the start date at Halloween.

To commemorate the start of this wondrous season, it is only appropriate that I contribute a little Pint-Size Baker flare to show my team spirit!

Now, before I reveal the Gameday Cookie Cake, I do have to inform you that while I fully support and cheer on the team it was made for, my heart and soul belongs to the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish. GOLD AND BLUE THROUGH AND THROUGH.

Alright, now that we’ve established where my allegiance lies, I can now reveal the progression of the decoration of the Auburn University Gameday Cookie Cake…

BUT WAIT! Before the big reveal, I must show you my new favorite baking tool:

IMG 1477 225x300 Gameday Cookie Cake

[A Flour Sifter given to me by my boyfriend's sweet mother! This thing works like a charm at sifting and lightening flour. I can't wait to try this baby out the next time I make a cake!]

Alright, time for what you’ve been waiting for…

CAN I GET A DRUMROLL PLEASE???

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WAR EAGLE!!! (and GO IRISH!) or WDE! as some Auburn folks might say… ;-)

Whomever your team is, hope everyone has a safe and wonderful Labor Day weekend!

Posted in baking adventure, cake, choco chip, chocolate chip cookies, cookies, fall, Football, holiday, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Chocolate Pie

My dad’s birthday has come and gone, and let me tell you… it was a GREAT one! My sister drove in from out of town to surprise my dad, and four of the five members of our family went out and painted the town red! There was an abundance of eating, drinking, and be merrying (Not a word, but who cares?).

45261 592652373442 71100274 33801362 6311510 n 300x225 Chocolate PieThe one thing missing from his actual day was a birthday baked good from the Pint-Size Baker. You see, dad has been on a diet for a little over a month now and I have been forbidden to leave ANY baked goods in the house. In fact, I pretty much had to time my baking for when he wasn’t home or had already gone to bed. HOWEVER, let me let you in on a little secret…

Diets go on vacation on birthdays and the days surrounding them! [Yea, calories don't count either. So make sure to remember this for your next big day!]

Given the above fact and the fact that my dad has a larger sweet tooth than myself, it was only fitting that the Pint-Size Baker bake him something scrumptious to celebrate this momentous occasion! What better to bake than something he has been requesting for MONTHS…

CHOCOLATE PIE

If you recall, I first took a stab at making a French Silk Pie (in the Chocolate Pie family) about a month ago for another person’s birthday. While the pie was absolutely delicious, it never quite set properly. This Chocolate Pie, on the other hand, set PERFECTLY. As a matter of fact, I’m quite excited to fill ya’ll in on the details proving it should’ve turned out otherwise because… well you’ll see why as you read.

First things first… PREPPY PREPPY PREP!

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[Not pictured: Cookies, butter, and sugar used to make the Chocolate Pie crust]

This recipe was given to me by a friend from the office. She is an AMAZING baker. I’ve been trying to get her to give me her carrot cake recipe (in which she uses her own homemade pumpkin pie spice) since November last year… unfortunately, I fear, I will never obtain it, but believe you me, it is the best Carrot Cake your taste buds will experience… and I digress… per usual.

Anyways, the recipe she gave me was only for the filling, so I decided to venture into making my own crust out of chocolate wafers, butter, and sugar. I scraped the creme out of the center of about 30 chocolate creme-filled cookies.

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Crushed the cookies themselves up and combined with 6 tbsp of melted butter and 2.5 tbsp of sugar.

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Then patted the chocolate cookie crumbs into a pie pan and baked at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes and let cool.

IMG 1459 768x1024 Chocolate PieWhile the chocolate wafer pie crust is cooling, it’s time to start on the chocolate ganache portion of the pie filling.

Now this is where things started to get a little hairy… [yes, I realize I'm pretty much JUST beginning and you're probably asking "How are things ALREADY getting hairy?"] The hairiness began at the grocery.

The ganache recipe calls for INSTANT Espresso Powder, which I found a can of an Italian kind for about $7. I thought surely there would be a smaller amount for less money since I only needed about a teaspoon. As I continued to look, I found another can of the same brand on a bottom shelf that was $5 and slightly fewer ounces. PERFECT! (or so I thought…)

Upon arriving home and beginning the Chocolate Pie baking process, I first discovered that there was no pull tab to open the can nor was there a place to lift the top off… I was perplexed (putting it mildly).

IMG 1454 768x1024 Chocolate PieTHINK Ashley, THINK… how to open this???

I’ve got it! The espresso is in a can… let’s use the CAN OPENER!

IMG 1455 768x1024 Chocolate PieAnd what do you know? It worked!

…AND we are back in business! I combined heavy cream and the espresso “powder” in a saucepan on medium-high until just under a boil.

IMG 1456 1024x768 Chocolate PieThis is where mistakes number 1, 2, and 3 came in:

  1. While stirring the milk and espresso together, it hit me like a ton of bricks… the espresso “powder” I thought I had bought was NOT instant, and thus, I would have espresso grounds in my final product… *sigh* Oh well, I wasn’t about to run back to the grocery, so I decided to just go with it.
  2. It was suggested to me to only place half of the called-for cream in the saucepan in order to reduce the cool-down time of the ganache. WELL, my absent-mind put all of the cream in and thus had to compensate (which you will see in a later step) for the longer cool down time later.
  3. While the milk was coming to just under a boil, I decided it would be a good idea to check Facebook. Then, when turning around, the cream was boiling up and almost flowing up over the sides of the saucepan… *sigh* yet again. I could very well have started over, but then I would’ve had to go back to the grocery for more cream, NOT GOING TO HAPPEN AS WE ESTABLISHED EARLIER. So I decided to keep trucking along as if nothing went awry.

After the cream was almost ruined, I turned the heat off and added the chocolate chips (Ghiradelli, sprung for the good stuff for dad’s birthday).

IMG 1457 1024x768 Chocolate PieAfter the chocolate chips sat and then melted and were stirred in, I added karo syrup and vanilla extract and stirred until smooth, shiny, and well-blended.

IMG 1458 768x1024 Chocolate PieThe chocolate ganache then got transfered to another bowl for cooling and placed into an ice bath to reduce the cool-down time. [aka Remedying my mess up from earlier]

IMG 1460 1024x768 Chocolate PieOnce the chocolate ganache had cooled completely, I combined more heavy cream, confectioner’s sugar, and a touch of vanilla to make a velvety whipped cream.

IMG 1461 768x1024 Chocolate PieThen added the whipped cream to the bowl with the ganache.

IMG 1463 768x1024 Chocolate PieAnd folded.

IMG 1464 768x1024 Chocolate PieUntil well incorporated.

IMG 1465 768x1024 Chocolate PieOnce the chocolate ganache-whipped cream filling is combined, pour it into the cooled chocolate cookie pie crust and smooth out with a spatula.

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Then place in the fridge to set for about an hour or overnight. Serve with more homemade whipped cream and enjoy!

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