Archive for the ‘Sweets’ Category

peanut butter jelly bars2

peanut butter jelly timeIt’s peanut butter jelly time, peanut butter jelly time…”

I love that episode of Family Guy… Brian is trying to cheer Peter up by singing and dancing dressed as this banana… singing peanut butter jelly time… Even my 3 year old

sings it!

So, when I saw this recipe posted as part of the Barefoot Bloggers “A Week with the Barefoot Contessa”, I immediately started singing that song and I’ve been having it run

through my head ever since! AGH!!!

Anyway, I decided to make this dessert to bring over to our friend’s house.  It was so easy to make… pretty much fool proof. And it was awesome! It was however, very, very rich and filling. I almost would have made it into bite size pieces… that’s how rich it was.  I used Skippy peanut butter (that was recommended and that was what I had.. gotta love Costco) and I used Polaner’s All Fruit Spread Strawberry Jam (You know.. in an effort to be healthy!) I also used the whole jar of jam which was @ 2 ounces more than the recipe called for since past comments suggested it was a bit dry. It turned out great… By the way, I halved the recipe and still got a ton of bars…. the recipe below is the full recipe. Enjoy your “peanut butter jelly time, peanut butter jelly time”!

Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

Source: Barefoot Contessa at Home

Serves: 24 bars


  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (18 ounces) creamy peanut butter (recommended: Skippy)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (18 ounces) raspberry jam or other jam
  • 2/3 cups salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

How to pull it all together:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch cake pan. Line it with parchment paper, then grease and flour the pan.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light yellow, about 2 minutes.
  • With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla, eggs, and peanut butter and mix until all ingredients are combined.
  • In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Mix just until combined.
  • Spread 2/3 of the dough into the prepared cake pan and spread over the bottom with a knife or offset spatula.
  • Spread the jam evenly over the dough. Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam.
  • Don’t worry if all the jam isn’t covered; it will spread in the oven.
  •  Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Cool and cut into squares.

Read Full Post »

Beatty's Chocolate CakeCoffee or no Coffee?…. That is the question. 

Let me say that this cake was awesome. Moist, chocolatey, firm enough to hold the icing, and just really, really, yummy!

The only thing I would probably change about it was the icing.  It wasn’t sweet enough for me… it’s not that I’m opposed to the coffee flavoring in the chocolate icing, it just needed more sugar to please my palate. However, if you’re not into super sweet icing than you should have no complaints about this.

Try it… it’s worth the extra bit of effort rather than opening the box of Betty Crocker…. (although that Betty makes some pretty good cakes too! ) Enjoy!

 Beatty’s Chocolate Cake

From Barefoot Contessa at Home, by Ina Garten

Serves 8


  Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows  

  • Butter, for greasing the pans
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
  • How to pull it all together:

    • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.  (I used the disposable ones, as I don’t have them for some reason! They worked out great… and I got to throw them out and not wash them!)
    • Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.
    •  In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
    •  With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.
    • With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
    • Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
    •  Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
    • Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

    Chocolate Frosting:

    • 6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Callebaut)
    •  1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    •  1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
    • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
    • Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
    • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
    • Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes.
    • Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy.
    • Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don’t whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.  ( I didn’t have coffee powder, so I used 2 tsp of hot coffee instead. Maybe that is why it was to coffee flavored for me? I don’t know…)

    Many thanks to Mary of Passionate Perseverance for choosing this recipe! Please check us out at Barefoot Bloggers to see what we’re cooking!

    Read Full Post »

    100_1187I confess…. I’ve made these before.  I also confess… they are “outrageous”.  I also confess… they disappeared within a day.

    So I am very far behind in my blog posts.  I do apologize.  I am not managing my time wisely!  I made these brownies for a BBQ we had Memorial Day weekend.  I won’t go into big specifics on how delish these were…. more like fudge then a brownie… but this picture should say it all.  Sorry Kristen, but this is a funny picture! Also, notice the hand reaching in from the other side of the table….100_1183

    Here is the recipe:

    Outrageous Brownies 

    Source: Barefoot Contessa-Ina Garten

    Serves: Makes @ 20 large brownies


    • 1 pound unsalted butter
    • 1 pound plus 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
    • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
    • 6 extra-large eggs
    • 3 tablespoons instant coffee powder ( I only used a smidge, or I sometime leave it out. Gets us too wired!)
    • 2 tablespoons real vanilla extract
    • 2 1/4 cups sugar
    • 1 ¼ cups flour, divided
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 3 cups diced walnut pieces  ( I left these out)

    How to pull it all together:

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.
    • Melt together the butter, chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler. Cool slightly. Stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.
    • Stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and chocolate chips with flour to coat. Then add to the chocolate batter. Pour into prepared pan.
    • Bake for about 30 minutes, or until tester just comes out clean. Halfway through the baking, rap the pan against the oven shelf to allow air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Do not overbake! Cool thoroughly, refrigerate well and cut into squares.

    Read Full Post »



    So, I’m posting some belated Barefoot Bloggers recipes.  Why you ask? Well I have been very busy… you know… moving my family and all our possessions back home to the U.S. of A ! Hooray! So, now I am playing catch up.. in between unpacking, painting, entertaining a small child, cleaning, getting a new car, getting lawn and gutter quotes etc….

    The March Bonus Recipe Challenge was Brownie Pudding, chosen by Tia of Southern, Eh?  I made this as a dessert for our last weekend in the UK with our good friends.  The rest of that menus items will be coming… but I thought I would start with dessert.  This was very easy to make, and it tasted amazing!  It was so good that I had to post these pictures as it is a bit embarrassing what happened to the Brownie Pudding.

    Innocent Brownie Pudding, sitting on the counter: innocent-brownie-pudding                                                                                                                                                                                                              











    Defiled Brownie Pudding, sitting on the counter:  brownie-pudding-destruction2







     Notice the dragged finger marks in the Defiled Brownie pic?  Do you think they liked it?!?


    Here is the recipe:


    Brownie Pudding

    Source: Ina Garten, Back to Basics

    • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering the dish
    • 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 3/4 cup good cocoa powder
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
    • 1 tablespoon framboise liqueur, optional
    • Vanilla ice cream, for serving

    How to pull it all together:

    • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly butter a 2-quart (9 by 12 by 2-inch) oval baking dish. Melt the 1/2 pound of butter and set aside to cool.
    • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed for 5 to 10 minutes, until very thick and light yellow. Meanwhile, sift the cocoa powder and flour together and set aside.
    • When the egg and sugar mixture is ready, reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla seeds, framboise, if using, and the cocoa powder and flour mixture. Mix only until combined. With mixer still on low, slowly pour in the cooled butter and mix again just until combined.
    • Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared dish and place it in a larger baking pan. Add enough of the hottest tap water to the pan to come halfway up the side of the dish and bake for exactly 1 hour. A cake tester inserted 2 inches from the side will come out 3/4 clean. The center will appear very under-baked; this dessert is between a brownie and a pudding.
    • Allow to cool and serve with vanilla ice cream.

    Read Full Post »


    Good grief Charlie Brown!  Well, here is another Ina indulgence since we had guests to visit the other weekend.  I really never bake unless we have company because honestly, who could be trusted not to raid these babies at 2:00 in the morning!  Anyway, back to the magical goodness of the Chocolate White Chocolate Chunk Cookie.  They were so freaking good it was scary!  A tad crunchy on the outside, with a gooey white chocolate chunk center!  They were gone by the end of the day.  Good thing I had gotten impatient with making the individual cookies and just made one huge giant cookie pretty much the size of the pan with the extra dough!  Now that was even better than the little cookies! I cut them into little cube size pieces so we could nibble them on Sunday and then sent the rest of them to the office with my hubby.  He said people hovered and then were practically licking the crumbs from the plate.  Can you picture that??

    I wouldn’t change a thing about these cookies, although they may be a good starting point for an experiment.  Maybe instead of white chocolate chunks some sort of candy bar?  Snickers, Butterfinger? Oooh maybe Rollos!  Those are hard to find though. Oh well… I shall ponder the possibilities and report back at some time.  Enjoy!


     Here is the recipe:

    Chocolate White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

    Source: Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Parties! 
    • 1/2 pound unsalted butte,r at room temperature
    • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    • 2 extra-large eggs at room temperature
    • 2/3 cup good unsweetened cocoa
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 1/2 pounds good white chocolate, coarsely chopped

    How to put it all together:

    • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
    • Cream the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
    • Add the vanilla, then the eggs, 1 at a time, and mix well.
    • Add the cocoa and mix again.
    • Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt and add to the chocolate with the mixer on low speed until just combined.
    • Fold in the chopped white chocolate.
    • Drop the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, using a 1 3/4-inch ice cream scoop or a rounded tablespoon. Dampen your hands and flatten the dough slightly.
    • Bake for exactly 15 minutes (the cookies will seem underdone).
    • Remove from the oven and let cool slightly on the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.cookie-plate

    Read Full Post »

    Easy Sticky Buns

    So, here they are! My first foray into the world of the Barefoot Blogger. Now, I have tried many Ina recipes before and have never been disappointed. And, these tasted very, very, yummy! My family and my guests inhaled them… it’s just me who was a bit disappointed.  I was expecting them to be a bit more cake like… and these were quite crunchy and flaky. I prefer sticky buns to be bigger, and moister, not crunchy… but perhaps I am confusing two different types of baked goodies? Anyway, I did the best I could over here in the motherland of England. For instance, they don’t have Pepperidge Farms. So, I found something else that said ‘puff pastry dough”. It worked out ok… I also used what passed for light brown sugar… I think if I make them over here again I will use dark brown sugar… there was something ‘missing’ in the flavor and I think that was it.  I also put muffin cups in my muffin tins so it was not a problem getting them out. All in all I will make these again when we move home to New York and try it with my own kitchen supplies and Pepperidge Farm products before making any final judgements.

    Here is the recipe:

    Easy Sticky Buns

    source: Ina Garten, Back to Basics, pages 240-241

    • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed 
    • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped in very large pieces
    • 1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted for the filling
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
    • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 1 cup raisins
    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a 12-cup standard muffin tin on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
    2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the 12 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Place 1 rounded tablespoon of the mixture in each of the 12 muffin cups. Distribute the pecans evenly among the 12 muffin cups on top of the butter and sugar mixture.
    3. Lightly flour a wooden board or stone surface. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry with the folds going left to right. Brush the whole sheet with half of the melted butter. Leaving a 1-inch border on the puff pastry, sprinkle each sheet with 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of the raisins. Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly like a jelly roll around the filling, finishing the roll with the seam side down.
    4. Trim the ends of the roll about 1/2 inch and discard. Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2 inches wide. Place each piece, spiral side up, in 6 of the muffin cups. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry to make 12 sticky buns.
    5. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch. Allow to cool for 5 minutes only, invert the buns onto the parchment paper (ease the filling and pecans out onto the buns with a spoon), and cool completely. Serve warm

    Read Full Post »

    Blueberry Oatmeal BarsSo, here it is! I apologize for the photography, but I think I had the camera on the wrong setting! This recipe came from Jessica Seinfeld’s book Deceptively Delicious. Besides having all the usual yummy things like cinnamon, blueberry, sugar and butter, these babies have 1/2 cup of pureed spinach! Sounds gross I know but you don’t taste the spinach at all! I decided to try these because 1. My daughter won’t eat spinach. 2. She loves blueberries and 3. She’ll eat it if it’s a dessert!

    Now, mine did not turn out like the picture in the book. Mine are about double the height. However, I am in England people without MY cooking utensils and gadgets and without my oven! I am using an oven that has the temperature in Celcius! I have to convert all the temps in my American books over to celcius to figure it out. Also, there are weird symbols on this oven that I have still (after almost 2 years) figured out. It was the only appliance in the house without an instruction manual!

    Now this recipe is supposed to be healthier so it calls for margarine, cooking spray etc etc… you could probably make it taste better by adapting it but that would defeat the purpose of getting darling child to eat well.

    Anyway, the blueberry oatmeal bars were very tasty… here is the recipe:

    Blueberry Oatmeal Bars

    Source:  Deceptively Delicious, by Jessica Seinfeld


    • Non stick cooking spray
    • 2 cups old fashioned oats ( I used oat and wheat, as I could not find plain oats)
    • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 3/4 cup trans-fat-free soft tub margarine spread, chilled
    • 1 cup low sugar blueberry preserves ( I also added @ 1/2 cup fresh blueberry I had in the fridge)
    • 1/2 spinach puree (just use frozen spinach, defrost in microwave and spin it around in food processer)

    How to:

    • Preheat the oven to 375 F. Coat an 8×8 inch baking pan with cooking spray.
    • In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and vanilla and mix well.
    • Add the margarine and cut it quickly into the dry ingredients with two knives until mixture resembles coarse meal and is no longer powdery. Do not overmix-bits of margarine will be visable.
    • Set aside about half of the oat mixture and press the rest firmly into the pan. Bake until lightly browned at the edges (but not fully baked) @ 13-15 min.
    • Meanwhile, mix the preserves with the spinach in a small bowl.
    • Spread the blueberry/spinach mixture over the partially baked oat layer, then sprinkle with the reserved oat mixture. Bake until topping is lightly browned @ 20-25 min. Set pan on rack to cool completely before cutting into 12 bars.

    *** NOTE: Make sure they are completely cool before eating otherwise you’ll taste spinach. Blech!

    Read Full Post »