Thursday, December 6, 2007

Super Moist Pumpkin Walnut Bread

I adapted this recipe off of one of my favorite cookie blogs. I was trying it out to see if it work as my annual gift bread. Every year, I bake a type of bread in mini loaves and give it to my aunts and Baba. This bread was very good but I don't think I'll use it for gifts. I think my Baba wouldn't like how sweet and moist it is. Most of her bakery is drier and made with a lot less sugar than this recipe calls for. However, it is a definite hit with my roommate and I. The original recipe calls for dark chocolate chips instead of walnuts, but I usually only chocolate by itself rather than mixed with other things so I opted for toasted walnuts instead. (Plus, I'm trying to eat more walnuts-get my omega-3's!) I also tweaked the eggs and oil to make it a little healthier, similar to my banana bread recipe.

Super Moist Pumpkin Walnut Bread

1 c canned pumpkin
4 egg whites (or 1/2 c egg substitute, or 2 large eggs)
1/3 c canola oil
1/3 c unsweetened applesauce
1 (3.4 oz) box vanilla instant pudding mix
1 c sugar (you can definitely go with less)
1 c flour
1/2 c chopped toasted walnuts
1/2 tsp baking sod
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 325. Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with flour-added cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, stir together pumpkin, egg whites, oil, applesauce, pudding mix, and sugar.
3. Remove 1 tsp of the flour and toss it with the nuts. Set aside.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Stir the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture mixing only until combined. Stir in flour-coated walnuts.
5. Scrape batter into pan and bake for 70 min (mine took more like 80) or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. (Remember, this is supposed to be a very moist bread)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Quaker's Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

So in our baking spree, I totally forgot that I actually had an event to bake cookies for. When it was all over, we had 4 dozen iced sugar Christmas cookies, 3 dozen cherry cheesecake cookies, 3 dozen chocolate peanutty candy cookies, 6 newly iced chocolate raspberry cookies, and nothing to bring to my event because they were all for Christmas. So about 2 hours before the event, my boyfriend came over and helped me throw these together. They came out wonderful. They're chewy and just the right balance between sweet and spice. I'm not sure but I think this recipe is a bit different than the one currently on Quaker oats, because I remember trying that one in the past and disliking it. But, for all I know, they could be the same recipe and I just got better at baking in the last 5 years hehe. Anywho, these cookies are great and I didn't change a thing. The blog I got it from added toasted walnuts (which sounds wonderful) but again, with the whole college budget thing I decided it would be better to save my walnuts for something else. (Plus you never know who has a nut allergy...are people just allergic to peanuts or all nuts? Hm...) Anywho, I'll include that in the recipe so you can add them if you want.

Quaker's Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (fresh if possible)
1 1/4 c butter — (2-1/2 sticks) room temperature
3/4 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
3 c Quaker oats, (quick or old fashioned, not instant)
3/4 c pre-plumped raisins (I used baking raisins, if you don't have those then take regular raisins, put them in a bowl, cover them with boiling water for 5 minutes, drain, and ta-da! Plumped raisins)
1/2 c toasted walnuts, chopped (if desired, but I'm sure they make them even better!)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. In a medium bowl, thoroughly stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg.

3. In a mixing bowl, using high speed of an electric mixer, cream butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.

4. By hand, stir in the flour mixture. When flour is absorbed, stir in oats, raisins and nuts.

5. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

6. Bake 8 to 9 minutes for a chewy cookie or 10 to 11 minutes for a crisp cookie. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered. (This step really depends on your oven. I cooked mine 10-11 minutes and they came out chewy. They were nowhere near done at 8. However, again, I'm in college and I'm pretty sure our landlord didn't spring for the best oven ever, so it's very possible the temperature is off.)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Peanutty Chocolate Candy Cookies

Normally I don't use recipes that require cake or brownie mix, simply because I am a purist and I like to make things myself (Plus, as a future dietitian, I am very disturbed at how many of those have trans fat!). However, the picture of these cookies in my Pillsbury Baking cookbook prompted me to make these cookies anyway. I could not get over how good they looked. These are a fabulous cookie to make when you want something that is universally liked and quick to make (bake sales, a present for someone whose tastes you're not sure of). They are soft without necessarily being "fudgy" and They are similar to cookies made with a brownie base. Oh and the peanut just perfect. These are such a guy pleasing cookie. Chocolate, peanut butter, peanuts, nothing Anywho, here's the recipe:

*very important note about the ingredients* - All cake mixes are not created the same. Between my roommate and I, we have made this cookie 3 times and came out with 3 different types of cookies. The recipe calls for a chocolate fudge cake mix with pudding (We assumed Pillsbury brand since it was out of that cookbook) but we could not find it anywhere. We've substituted the Pillsbury devil's food cake mix with pudding, and the cookies taste great but the batter is incredibly hard to stir (It's a great workout if you're up for the task though! hehe). However, the cookies come out great. They are thick and dark brown. If you do use this kind of cake mix, you might want to decrease the amounts of the add-ins because they won't all mix into the batter. If you want a cookie that is a little bit flatter (not thin or crispy though, the flavor is pretty similar to the other one) and lighter in color, go with the Betty Crocker fudge cake mix. These came out great too, and were much easier to stir. My preference is the Pillsbury simply because I like the color better and I'm up for the challenge, but it really doesn't matter.

Peanutty Chocolate Candy Cookies

1 box (1 lb. 2.25 oz.) chocolate fudge cake mix with pudding
1/2 c butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs
1 bag (14 oz.) candy-coated peanut butter pieces (My roommate used an 11 oz. bag of the Reese's Pieces mini baking pieces and they came out great. These are especially good if you're making it with the Pillsbury cake mix since they're easier to stir in and there's less of them)
1 cup coarsely chopped salted peanuts

1. Heat oven to 350. Grease cookie sheets. In large bowl, beat cake mix, butter, and eggs with an electric mixer on low speed until just moistened. With spoon, stir in peanut butter pieces and peanuts.
2. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2" apart onto cookie sheets.
3. Bake 7-10 min. or until edges are set and tops appear dry. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets.

Yield: 3 dozen

Nutrition facts for 1 cookie: calories 160 (calories from fat 70); total fat 8g (saturated fat 2.5g, trans fat 0g); cholesterol 20mg; sodium 170mg; total carb 19g (dietary fiber 1g; sugars 13g); protein 4g