Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Year of Gratitude: Day 40 (only a day late!)

Today I am also grateful for actually enjoying baking for once!  I have made a few things during the last twenty-four hours, and for the most part I really liked doing it.  Yes, it was a little stressful at times, but for whatever reason - the season, a personal shift, hyperfocus, whatever - it was actually kinda fun.

Speaking of which, here are some of the things I made:

Peppermint White Chocolate Fudge

Line a 9-by-13-inch pan with foil.  In a saucepan, simmer 1/4 cup softened butter, 4 cups mini marshmallows, 1 cup heavy cream, 2 cups sugar, and 1/8 tsp. salt.  When smooth, stir in 3 cups white chocolate chips and 1 tsp. peppermint extract.  Blend well.  Spread in pan.  Coat with colored sprinkles.  Cool; cut into squares.  (source)

Brown Sugar, White Chocolate, and Banana Mini Bundt Cakes

(Clearly this is not a bunch of mini Bundt cakes; I didn't have a pan to make them, so I went with the standard Bundt pan and cooked it about twice as long - about 50 minutes.  Everything else about the recipe, though, stayed the same.)

From Country Living

Makes 2 dozen mini cakes.  (Or one regular sized cake.)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup packed light brown sugar
6 oz. white chocolate, chopped
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  In medium bowl, lightly beat together eggs and milk.  Pour milk mixture and melted butter into dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

2. In another large bowl, beat bananas, sugar, chocolate, vanilla, and nutmeg.  Stir banana mixture into flour mixture until combined.

3. Coat 12-cup mini Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Spoon 3 tablespoons batter into each cup.  (Or just spoon it all into one big Bundt pan.)

4. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Remove cakes from pan and cool on wire rack.  Repeat to make second batch.  (Or, for a regular-sized pan, cook for about 50 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cake sit for about 10 minutes, then invert onto wire rack to cool completely.)

How to store:  Wrap each cake (or the one big cake) tightly in plastic wrap then in foil, and keep at room temperature.  Or place wrapped cakes in zip-top plastic bag and freeze.

Will last: Up to 2 days at room temperature or 3 months in freezer.

After typing all that up I realized why mine came out so bumpy and pitted ... I used whole white chocolate baking chips instead of chopped white chocolate.  It is so important to read the instructions!

And finally, sadly without a picture ...

Mint Brownie Bites

From Good Housekeeping

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted and cooled
2 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg white

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine, softened
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
2 oz. white chocolate, melted and cooled
2 oz. round hard peppermint candies, broken into chunks

1. Prepare brownies:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease large baking sheet.

2. In large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and pinch of salt.  In medium bowl, whisk sugar, butter, honey, vanilla, and egg white until blended.  Stir sugar mixture into flour mixture; then, with hand, press dough just until blended.

3.  With greased hands, shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on prepared baking sheet 2 inches apart; press to flatten slightly.  Bake 7 to 8 minutes, or until brownies have cracked slightly.  Transfer to wire rack to cool.

4. Prepare topping:  In medium bowl, whisk confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth.  Whisk in butter and extract, then whisk in melted chocolate until smooth. Swirl 1 teaspoon topping on each cookie.  Top each frosted cookie with 1 candy piece.

How to store:  In airtight container, with waxed paper between layers, at room temperature or in freezer.

Will last:  Up to 3 days at room temperature or up to 1 month in freezer.

(Note:  I am considering switching up the topping and trying to make a peppermint chocolate buttercream frosting instead.  I'll try to let you know the results if I do.)

Have a wonderful night!

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