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Tuesday
Aug312010

Beignets

Aaaand we’re back from the beach.  But don’t fret pumpkins! We have one more rather decadent, completely insanely delicious, vacation dessert to share. 

Now when these Blue-Eyed Bakers head to the beach, we go prepared.  Sunscreen, books, small French bulldogs, pre-mixed Dark ‘n Stormy’s…you know, just the essentials.

Oh, and a deep fryer.  Yup.  You heard us.  Like we said...essentials.

And you know what you can deep fry?  Everything.

No really, you can probably deep fry just about anything you can get your hands on.  Trust us.  We fried a lot.

And then we made beignets.  Because really, after the sweet potato fries, frickles (fried pickles people, come on now) and gumbo ya-ya.  Beignets were just the next step.  Oh and the fried green tomatoes. 

Oooh and the tempura vegetables.  Because we’re healthy and vegetables are good for you.  Mmm hmm.

But back to those beignets, you need to make these.  And you definitely don’t need a deep fryer, just get your hands on a rather scary amount of vegetable oil and a big old pot.  Ooh and a thermometer.  And you're all set.  You can vacation just like the bakers.  Exciting right?

Deep fried beignets, just a Blue-Eyed beach baking essential.

Beignets

Print Recipe

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup shortening
1 quart vegetable oil for frying
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add sugar, salt, eggs, evaporated milk and mix well.  Add in half of the flour and beat until incorporated.  Add the shortening, blend, and then add the remaining flour.

Cover and chill for up to 24 hours.

Heat vegetable oil to 375 degrees F in a large pot or a deep fryer. 

Roll out dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 2 inch squares (roughly) and fry in batches.  Beignets should pop up quickly.  Cook 3-5 minutes, rotating if needed to evenly brown.

Drain on paper towels.  Serve warm with powdered sugar.

Friday
Aug272010

Easy Oreo Peanut Butter Pie

So while normally we are totes-mcgotes all organic-from-scratch-elitist-homemade-sugar-and-butter baking types, under duress, and when we just need some freaking dessert already, we have been known resort to semi-homemade sweets. This is not to say that throwing some packaged grocery goodies together doesn't make for an incredible treat. Because, uh, it totally does. We just feel a bit guilty relying on such shortcuts when we have beautifully equipped kitchens at our disposal at home. And, when we aren't so vacation-lazy.

However, in Nantucket, with our circa-1900 rental galley kitchen thingy and its technical advancements being limited to spoons and bowls, the semi-homemade guilt went straight out the window. Hey, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Using the peanut butter from the S'Mores Poundcakes earlier this week as a jumping off point, we decided a trip to the only island grocery store would be in order. We walked the aisles in a supermarket sweep fashion, tossing processed, packaged delicacies into the cart that might compliment the Jif's nutty nuances.

Obviously, some Oreo's (double-stuffed, duh) would be a fantastic idea. 

Ooo, and then some Cool Whip because we were never allowed to have that when we were growing up but dang that stuff is yummy (especially on a strawberry jell-o cup in the cafeteria).

 

Magic Shell! Yes, we bought that too. Take that, Mummy and all your silly nonsense about high-fructose corn syrup and mono-glutified blah blah blah!

The result? A ridiculously easy Oreo Peanut Butter Pie. With no guilt.

Easy Oreo Peanut Butter Pie
Serves 8 people

Print Recipe

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (though we used crunchy)
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) pacakage of cream cheese (we like Philly)
1 (8-ounce) tub of whipped topping (we like Cool Whip) 
1 Pre-made Oreo cookie pie crust
Chocolate sauce for drizzling (we like Magic Shell)
Oreo cookies for garnish

In large bowl combine the peanut butter, sugar, milk, vanilla and cream cheese. Blend with a hand mixer until smooth (unless, like us, you have crunchy peanut butter in your mix).

Gently fold in the whipped topping. Then pour into prepared crust and freeze for 2 hours.

Once frozen, drizzle with ice cream topping and re-freeze for 20 minutes. Garnish with oreo cookies and serve!

Tuesday
Aug242010

Peanut Butter Pound Cake S’mores

It's here muffins - the end of summer.  So the bakers are at the beach - sending summer on her way with some good old fashioned merriment.  Merriment meaning eating and drinking lots and lots of delicious things.  Obviously.

And what better way to say see ya to summer than with s'mores? 

What?  Oh no, that was a rhetorical question.  There really isn't a better way.

Wait.  Back track.  Yes there is. 

How about adding some pound cake?  And some peanut butter?  Yes.  To the s'mores. 

Ok fine, now there less s'more like and more cake sandwich like but seriously?  Are we complaining?  Right, didn't think so.

Of course you could make your own pound cake.  But we didn't.  We're on vacation - all the laying around and doing nothing has completely zapped our energy.  So we bought a pound cake.  And you know what?  That Sara Lee gal knows what she's doing.

And then we made a chocolate sauce.  Because we had no excuse not to.  We debated melting the chocolate chips into the peanut butter - creating a chocolate, peanut butter, fluff sandwich party.  We're still debating that actually.  But regardless the sauce was delicious.  Drizzled, dunked, eaten with a spoon.  That was maybe covered in peanut butter...

Hey!  Give us a break.  We're on vacation.

Peanut Butter Pound Cake S’mores
Adapted from Food & Wine

Print Recipe

2 ounces semisweet chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
One 1-pound frozen pound cake, preferably Sara Lee, thawed
1/3 cup chunky peanut butter (not natural)
1/3 cup marshmallow fluff
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

Put the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. In a saucepan or in the microwave, heat the cream until hot - about 1-2 minutes.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until smooth.

Using a serrated knife, trim off the top and bottom of the pound cake so that the cake is about 1 1/4 inches thick. Then slice the cake in half horizontally. Spread one half with peanut butter and the marshmallow fluff  on the other, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around. Press the two halves together and spread the top and bottom with the butter.

Place the pound cake in a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook until warmed through, turning once, about 2 minutes.  Transfer to a cutting board and slice - serve immediately with the chocolate sauce.

Thursday
Aug192010

Cappuccino Brownies

So, last week we were all "it's been a rough day, we need some chocolate." Ok. So maybe that was at breakfast today too but just go with it...

For these goldi-locked bakers, chocolate chip cookies seemed like not enough chocolate and chocolate cake seemed like not enough chocolate, but brownies sounded just right. Brownies with a caffeine kick. The Cappuccino Brownie. We know, sounds fancy, right?

Now, we use the term "brownie" very loosely here. It's more like coffee-scented fudge. Brownies cooked to that perfect point in between gooey and gross. 

As a result, it would maybe be inappropriate to serve these to guests because they would inevitably be covered in chocolatey coffee scrumptiousness and you'd have to tell them that they have chocolate on their face and then they would, in turn, tell you that you have chocolate on your white shirt and you're thinking "why did I wear white today when I knew I was going to be eating under-cooked chocolate coffee fudge, of course I was going to spill something on it!" So annoying. But Oxy Clean works miracles. Really.

Rather, we recommend just eating these by yourself. The whole pan. With a tall glass of milk. For breakfast is ok too.

Cappuccino Brownies
Makes 36 brownies

Print Recipe

1 pound dark brown sugar
1 ½ sticks (¾ cups) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons instant espresso coffee
2 eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 cups  all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a 13- by 9-inch baking pan. 

Dissolve instant espresso into 1 tablespoon of boiling water. Set aside.

Heat butter and sugar together in glass bowl over a pan of hot water on the stove or in the microwave until completely dissolved. We prefer the microwave method because it's easier and cleaner. Beat until the sugar/butter mixture is smooth. Add in the dissolved coffee and allow the mixture to cool.

In a separate bowl, sift together baking powder and flour.

Once cooled, add the eggs and vanilla to the sugar/butter/coffee mixture and blend well. Then, stir in the flour mixture until blended and then add the chocolate chips. Turn into baking pan. 

Bake for 25 minutes. These brownies are best slightly under-done. Seriously. Do not even think about over-baking these.

Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting and serving. PS- They are good frozen too. Yum!

Tuesday
Aug172010

Kitchen Sink Cookies

Cupcakes.  Please tell us you have tried the latest creation from m&m’s.  You know what we’re talking about...

Someone deserves a candy making prize.  Do they have those?  They should.  Because kids – the pretzel?  And the chocolate?  Together?  In that candy coated shell?  That is what award winning candy tastes like. 

We spied those new blue bags a few months ago...there, wedged between the dark chocolate purple and coconut tan (which contrary to popular opinion we find delicious), were the pretzels m&m's.  Sweet candyman! 

We bought 2 bags.  Ok fine we bought 3.  Maybe 4.  Oh who cares we lost count!  New candy is irresistible to us!  It’s Blue-Eyed Bakers cat-nip!  We can’t be expected to remember all the details!

A few weeks later, after working our way through a rather large number of bags, sprinkling some on ice cream, mixing into our cereal, adding to our coffee etc etc – we just had to throw them into some cookies.

I mean, we’re bakers after all.

And what better cookies than the kitchen sink variety.  You know, those ugly, plump, little numbers that you mix up with whatever you happen to have on hand, adding in willy-nilly whatever falls out of the cabinet?  Raisins?  Sure.  Chocolate?  Of course.  PRETZEL M&M’S?!  Yes, sweet candy making geniuses, YES.

Kitchen Sink Cookies
Makes 28 Large Cookies

Print Recipe

3 eggs
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar, packed
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups creamy peanut butter
1 stick butter, softened
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 cup Preztel M&M’s
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup raisins
4 1/2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs and sugars and mix well.  Add the salt, baking soda, vanilla, peanut butter, and butter and continue to mix until blended.  Stir in the m&m’s, chocolate chips, raisins and oatmeal. Drop generous tablespoon sized cookies 2 inches apart onto the baking sheets.

Bake for 8 to 11 minutes – being careful not to overbake. Let stand on baking sheets for a few before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. Can be stored at room temperature in airtight containers for 3 days.