Sunday, April 26, 2009

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart

You'd think that someone with a "baking blog" would actually know what a TART was, but honestly - I'm not quite sure what a tart is, or if this even qualifies.  Yet somehow I have always referred to this pie as a tart.  Call it what you will,  but  if you're into that chocolaty-hazelnut flavor this  recipe is a must.  The end result is very similar to a very rich pecan pie without the nutty top.  

Shopping List
Frozen Pie Shell (thawed)
Light Corn Syrup
Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Peeled and Chopped Hazelnuts

Preheat Oven to 325 degrees 

In a medium sized bowl combine:
1/2 Cup Sugar
2 Tbs Flour
3 Eggs
1 Cup Corn Syrup
2 Tbs. Melted Butter
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/4 tsp. Salt

Mix well

1.5 Cups Chopped Hazelnuts 
1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Stir and pour into thawed pie shell.

Place pie shell on flat baking sheet and place in oven. Bake for one hour.  Use caution when removing the tart from the oven because the tart will not yet have set.  It will seem very runny at first - but will solidify once it has cooled completely.  

I have never tried it with any "extras" but I can only imagine that ice cream and/or whipped cream compliment it well.   Enjoy!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009


I think my love for baking originated with these cookies.  They were easy, and a huge hit amongst friends and family.  I have had many family members ask for the recipe, and then later say that they were a complete flop.  I'm going to take this one step by step - and hope that it encourages those people to give these delicious treats one more try; they're totally worth it.

Shopping List:
Devil's Food Cake Mix
Vanilla Frosting
Vegetable Oil

The first step is getting the right ingredients.  I've tried a few different cake brands, and flavors but these always seem to taste the best:
Combine cake mix, 2 eggs, and 1/2 cup vegetable oil in medium sized bowl.  Mix well.  This part can be tricky, because the dough is very dense and it often seems like there is not enough liquid.  Be patient:  there's plenty, it just takes a while for everything to combine.  Before I had my Kitchenaid, I had to use a fork - and it took FOREVER.  Once the dough is well mixed, roll into balls and place on a greased cookie sheet 2 inches apart.  Bake at 375 degrees for 7-8 minutes.  Knowing when to pull these out is KEY.  If the cookies are pulled out too soon, they'll go flat.  If they're left in too long, they burn.  I always set the timer for seven minutes, and pull them out as soon as the tops BEGIN to crack:  

Enlarge the picture and notice the cookies in the back row. Those cookies were perfect. (The front cookies didn't crack as well as they should have because I kept opening the oven to take the picture!)

Pull the cookies out, but do not remove from the cookie sheet. Place them on a table or counter (away from the heat of the oven) to cool. Once cooled, frost the bottom of one with vanilla frosting, and then place another cookie on top. Enjoy!

***Warning - these cookies are easily consumed in mass quantities, and often lead to bloated, sick, stomachs - with no desire to stop eating. They also lead to sneaky behavior:

(I felt like making him eat the one he licked wasn't much of a punishment...but what else could I do?!)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cinnamon Roll Heaven

I have been a cinnamon roll junkie since childhood. But my mother (having six kids) didn't make homemade rolls very often; we were more of a canned-cinnamon-roll family. And it wasn't until this past Christmas that I even attempted to make my own. I generally fail when it comes to all things yeast - but these turned out beautifully. I made them again on Easter, with a few changes - and I thought they were even better this time around. These are best when made the night before you want to eat them. Make the dough, then store the completed rolls in the fridge overnight. In the morning, pull them out one hour before cooking to let the dough rise.

Shopping List:
Brown Sugar
Powdered Sugar
Cream Cheese

Before you begin, set out two eggs for 15 minutes - or until room temperature

2 C. Flour
1/2 C. Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
2 Tbs. Yeast (2 packets)

Stir dry ingredients together, then cut in 1 stick of butter.

Pour in 1.5 C. HOT water (I just used the hottest water my tap could give me)
Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes

Add 2 eggs, room temperature.
Add 1 C. flour

Mix on high for 1 minute

Gradually add in 2-3 cups of flour - until dough is thick and elastic when pulled from side of bowl (I used about 2.5 cups here)

Spray counter with cooking spray (or use flour) and roll dough into large ball
Cover with plastic wrap (sprayed with cooking spray), then a towel, and let sit for 20 minutes

Separate ball into two equal balls
Roll flat into a large rectangle
Spread softened butter all over top, (be fairly generous) and then sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar mixture:

1 C. Brown Sugar, packed
2.5 Tbs. Ground cinnamon

Once covered in cinnamon and sugar - roll the rectangle into a long loaf (hotdog -not hamburger) and then slice into 12 rolls
Place the rolls into a greased glass pan

Do the same for the second ball and then bake at 350 degrees until golden brown (about 25 mins)

Rolls are done if they sound hollow when tapped

Once out of the oven, frost with this frosting recipe:

1.5 C. Powdered Sugar
1/4 C. Butter
3 oz. Cream Cheese
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
Splash of milk (to thin it to desired consistency)