Orange Chocolate Chip Muffins

What a lovely way to start the day!

Orange Chocolate Chip Muffins

3/4 cup sugar
zest of 1 orange
1¾ cups flour
2½ tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup oil
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (plus more for tops)

Preheat oven to 375°. Prepare 12 cup muffin baking pan with spray or papers. In large bowl, stir together sugar and orange zest (optional, let this sit for an hour for the oil from the orange zest to infuse the sugar). Add flour, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, stir together oil, sour cream, milk, orange juice, eggs, and vanilla. Pour liquid mixture into dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Fold in mini chocolate chips. Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle with more mini chocolate chips if desired. Bake 18-20 minutes until center of muffins are set. Allow to cool in baking pan for about 10 minutes then remove to cooling rack. Substitute or add other mix-ins such as raspberries, raisins, nuts, etc.

One Year Ago: Cinnamon Blondies

Two Years Ago: Easy Cheesy Breadsticks

Three Years Ago: Triple Chocolate Brownie Cream Pie

Four Years Ago: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Five Years Ago: Homemade Pizza

Cranberry Almond Energy Bites

These yummy little babies can be found in our refrigerator to grab anytime you need a little pick me up. Quite often, a couple of these energy bites are my breakfast. Thanks to our daughter for getting us hooked on this healthy snack.

Cranberry Almond Energy Bites

Cranberry Almond Energy Bites I

2 cups old fashioned oats
2/3 cup chopped almonds
2/3 cup shredded coconut
2/3 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips
1 Tbl chia seeds
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey

Mix all ingredients together thoroughly, hand mixer works well. Form into balls (I make mine small, using my 1½” cookie scoop). Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This recipe makes approx 48 – 1½” diameter energy bites, approx 86 calories per bite. Original recipe found at thecreativebite.com.

Brick Street Cafe Chocolate Cake

I am hoping to visit South Carolina someday, but for now I will settle for a big chocolate taste of the South. The Brick Street Cafe is in Greenville, SC and is famous for their cakes and pies. This recipe is said to be their cake named “The Best Chocolate Cake I’ve Ever Had”, it is definitely fudgy, chocolatey amazing!

Brick Street Cafe Chocolate Cake 2

Brick Street Cafe Chocolate Cake 1.jpg

Cake:
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 large eggs
2½ cups cake flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°. Liberally spray a bundt or tube pan. In large bowl with electric mixer, cream butter and sugar.  Mix in vanilla and eggs. Add cake flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and buttermilk; mix thoroughly. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake 30 minutes, turn oven heat down to 325° and bake 30-40 minutes more. Test with cake tester. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Invert onto cooling rack and cool completely.

Chocolate Fudge Frosting:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
3½ cups powdered sugar
2-4 Tbl heavy cream

In sauce pan over medium heat, melt and stir together butter, water, and vanilla. Remove from heat and stir in cocoa. Stir in powdered sugar. Stir in cream one tablespoon at a time, to achieve a creamy yet pour-able frosting to spread over top of cake and run slowly down the side and puddle. There is a lot of frosting, you can put half on and wait a bit for that to set up and then pour the remaining over frosting over (microwave the remaining frosting a few seconds to get it liquid enough to pour).

Peanut Butter Fudge Oatmeal Cookies

It’s my favorite! Well, I probably say that about quite a few cookie recipes, but really, this is right up there at the top.

Peanut Butter Fudge Oatmeal Cookies

Peanut Butter Fudge Oatmeal Cookies 2

1½ cups oats
1¼ cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together oats, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl, cream butter, peanut butter, sugar, and brown sugar with electric mixer. Add eggs and vanilla, mix thoroughly. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixer, and mix just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. Drop large scoop of batter onto cookie sheet, press down just a bit to make a disc shape. Bake for 9-10 minutes, do not over-bake. I bake mine exactly 9 minutes, take out of oven, then leave on the cookie sheet about 10 minutes to finish their bake and cool. Makes approx 2½ dozen.

White Chocolate Lemon Oreo Blondies

I’m obsessed with these blondies, they are lemony delicious!

White Chocolate Lemon Oreo Blondies

1 cup butter
11.5 oz white chocolate (chips or bars)
1½ cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2½ cups flour
1 tsp salt
20 Lemon Oreos, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9″x13″ baking pan with foil, leaving overhang on each end, and spray with nonstick spray. Put butter and white chocolate in large microwave safe bowl. Melt in microwave on about 1/4 power for 4-5 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Must be done slowly so white chocolate doesn’t seize. When butter and white chocolate are just melted and creamy, stir in sugar and vanilla. Add flour and salt, and stir until well incorporated. Stir in chopped Lemon Oreos. Spoon into prepared pan, spread evenly. Bake 45-50 minutes (If necessary, tent with foil last minutes of baking to avoid over-browning). Cool completely. Using foil overhang, lift blondies out of baking pan to cutting board. Peel foil away from blondies and cut into squares. Makes 24.

One Year Ago: Southern Praline Bars

Two Years Ago: Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole

Three Years Ago: Chocolate Red Velvet Cupcakes

Four Years Ago: Crumb Cake

Five Years Ago: Raspberry Cream Cheese Muffins

Puff Pastry Cheese Straws

Light, flaky, buttery, and cheesy!

Puff Pastry Cheese Straws

2 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
2 Tbl butter, softened
season salt

Preheat oven to 425°. Spread one sheet of puff pastry on lightly floured surface. Evenly spread butter over puff pastry. Sprinkle cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese evenly over buttered pastry. Sprinkle with season salt. Lay second sheet of puff pastry over top of cheeses. Press all around the edge to seal edges of top and bottom pastry together. Gently roll out to 15″X15″square, working to keep edges sealed. With a pizza cutter, cut all the way across into 1″ wide strips. Now, cut across the center of the lengths, cutting the long strips in half. Twist each strip and place on greased or silpat lined baking sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Serve warm or room temperature. Keep in airtight container. Makes approx 30 cheese straws.

Nutella Cream Pie

If you are a Nutella fan, this might be a new favorite pie for you.

Nutella Cream Pie

1 Prebaked single crust 9″ deep dish pie shell
3 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar
4½ Tbl cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
4 egg yolks, beaten
3/4 cup Nutella (or other brand chocolate hazelnut spread)

Combine milk, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in large saucepan.  Heat over medium heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Add a small amount of hot milk mixture to egg yolks to warm (whisking constantly), and then add egg yolks to milk mixture (whisking constantly).  Boil 1 minute stirring constantly till thick and smooth.  Remove from heat and add Nutella and stir until completely combined.  Beat several times while cooling a bit.  Pour filling into baked pie shell while slightly warm. Cover with wax paper. Cool completely in refrigerator until set.  Serve with whipped cream and a sprinkle of chopped hazelnuts.

Challah

Bread. I love bread!

Challah

Challah 1  Challah Rolls

1¾ cups warm water (approx 110°)
2 Tbl dry yeast
3 Tbl sugar
½ cup honey
2 Tbl oil
4 eggs, beaten
1 Tbl salt
8-9 cups bread flour

In bowl of stand mixer, pour warm water, sprinkle yeast over water, and then sprinkle sugar over yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes or until bubbly. Add honey, oil, eggs, and salt. Add flour 1 cup at a time. Add enough flour to make dough that just comes together and starts to pull away from sides of bowl. Knead. Turn dough out into greased or sprayed bowl, turn dough over to coat. Cover with towel and let rise in warm place 1-1½ hours until doubled. Punch down, turn out onto floured surface, and divide in half. At this point you can make two loaves, one loaf and 16 rolls, or 32 rolls.

To make a loaf: Take one half of the dough, divide into four equal parts. Roll each part into an 18″ long rope. I braid my loaf on my greased or silpat lined baking sheet because I don’t like to move it after it is braided. Put the four long dough ropes on the baking sheet side by side. At one end, pinch the four ropes together. Start braiding by taking the rope on the far left, go under two ropes to the right, and back over one rope to the left, lay it down. Take the rope on the far right, go under two ropes to the left, and back over one rope to the right, lay it down. Back to the rope on the far left, go under two ropes to the right, and back over one rope to the left, lay it down. Back to the rope on the far right, go under two ropes to the left, and back over one rope to the right, lay it down. Continue until you are at the end and pinch ends together. Cover and let rise about 30-45 minutes. Gently brush with egg wash and sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds. Bake in preheated 350° oven for 30-35 minutes.

To make rolls: Take one half of the dough, divide evenly into 16 pieces. Roll each piece into a 18″ long skinny rope. Twist and turn and wrap the rope around itself to make each roll. I wish I had some exact way of doing this but I’m not willing to take the time. ;o) I consider each roll a work of art. Place on greased or silpat lined baking pan. Continue until you have shaped all the rolls. Cover and let rise about 30 minutes. Gently brush with egg wash and sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds. Bake in preheated 350° oven for 12-15 minutes.

 

Poppy Seed Cake

This is an easy throw together cake that looks simply beautiful. This is a revised version of our family favorite growing up. Revised because the original recipe uses a yellow cake mix and about four years ago cake mixes were downsized. So, this is it, new and improved. So moist and tasty, no frosting needed (or fork, pick up a piece and eat!). Of course, if you so desire, a drizzle of chocolate and a scoop of ice cream never hurts anything. Enjoy!

Poppy Seed Cake

1 yellow cake mix
1 (oz) pkg instant vanilla pudding
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
5 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup water
2 tsp almond extract
1/3 cup poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, whisk together cake mix, pudding, flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, mix eggs, sour cream, oil, pineapple juice, water, and almond extract. Pour egg mixture into dry mixture and mix with electric mixer until well combined. Mix in poppy seeds. Pour into well sprayed bundt pan. Bake 55-60 minutes. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Turn out of pan onto cooling rack and continue cooling. Level the bottom with serrated knife (early taste treat!) for even surface to invert onto serving plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Other Bundts:

Intense Chocolate Bundt Cake   Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

Brown Sugar Pound Cake 2   Nutter Butter Snack Cake

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake   Banana Cream Bundt Cake 1

Nutty Chocolate Chip Banana Bran Muffins

Sometimes I’m in the mood for healthy and low calorie, that is when I bake something like Bran Muffins. Today I throw all those cares to the wind and bake a bran muffin with sugar, chocolate and lots of nuts. I fool myself with the words banana and bran, that there is some health benefit in there somewhere. My workout tonight will have to be a little longer, but that’s OK, my craving is satisfied. ;o)

Nutty Chocolate Chip Banana Bran Muffins

3 bananas, medium, mashed
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup All-Bran cereal
1¾ flour
1½ tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 400°. Coat 12 cup muffin pan with nonstick spray.
In large bowl, stirring by hand, combine banana, eggs, buttermilk, applesauce, vanilla, brown sugar, and All-Bran cereal. Let sit 5-10 minutes. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt; add to banana mixture. Stir just until all is combined. Stir in chocolate chips, pecans, and walnuts. Scoop mixture into prepared muffin cups, they will be full. Sprinkle some mini chocolate chips and nut pieces on top if desired. Bake 20-22 minutes.

Other Muffins:

Mandarin Orange Muffins     Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Muffins

Very Vanilla Crumble Muffins     Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins     Snickerdoodle Muffins

Blueberry Oat Nut Muffins     Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins