March 29, 2010

Soft Pretzels

Every time I go to the mall, I crave those soft pretzels they sell there.
Then one day I realized I could try to make my own. My life hasn't been the same ever since. I"m a new woman, with a slightly higher fat percentage.

Soft Pretzels Bites

1 pkg active dry yeast
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup warm water
4 cups all purpose flour

4 cups water
4 Tbsp baking soda


2 Tbsp melted butter
2 Tbsp  kosher salt


1. In a bowl, dissolve the yeast, brown sugar and salt in warm water. Stir in flour and knead on a floured surface for 8 minutes. Dough will be smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, turn to coat. Cover. Let rise for an hour.
2. Cut risen dough into 12 pieces and roll each piece into a long rope, about 2 or 3 feet long. Cut each rope into 1 inch pieces
3. Boil 4 cups of water with 4 Tbsp of baking soda. Dip the dough pieces in the boiling water. Remove when they float. Place on parchment covered baking sheet. Let them rise for 20 minutes.
4. Bake at 450 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle kosher salt on top.


March 26, 2010

Glazed Mint Brownies

Glazed Mint Brownies

Make 1 box Brownie Mix/your favorite brownie recipe (Yes, I love making brownies from a box. I use the Betty Crocker Fudge Brownies mix). Bake as directed in a 9x9 pan. Let it cool.

Mint filling

3 tbsp butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp peppermint extract (or more if you'd like)
green food coloring, if desired

Combine ingredients and beat until creamy. Spread over brownies. Let harden a bit in the refrigerator.


3/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 tbsp butter

Melt chocolate chips and butter. Stir until smooth. Spread over the mint filling. Refrigerate until both are set.

NOTE: I have just learned what the difference is between using peppermint extract vs. mint extract. Mint extract contains both peppermint AND spearmint. Spearmint makes your filling taste like toothpaste. And unfortunately the filling has about the same consistency as toothpaste. It tastes fine with the brownie and the glaze, but the filling by itself... Well, I was licking the filling spoon clean and couldn't stop wondering why on earth I was eating toothpaste voluntarily. From now on I will stick with using peppermint extract.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh/frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract/juice
  • 1/2 cup milk

    • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 tablespoon butter, softened

  • 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.
  • 2. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. In a small bowl, sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons flour over blueberries, and set aside. (This reduces "purple" batter)
  • 3. In a large bowl, beat butter with sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, and stir in vanilla, lemon zest and extract. Fold in dry ingredients alternately with milk. Fold inblueberries. Fold gently, don't stir. Spoon batter into prepared cups.
  • 4. Combine 2 tablespoons flour, 1/3 cup brown sugar ,and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in 1 tablespoons butter with fork until mixture resembles course crumbs. Sprinkle over batter in muffin cups.
  • 5. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack. Drizzle some icing on top, if desired.

  • These taste the best the next day. Right on time for breakfast.

Lemon Cream Cupcakes

These lemon cream cupcakes have restored my faith in cupcakes! I've always been a muffin girl, but these babies sure made my day.

Lemon Cream Cupcakes

  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice or extract (more if you'd like)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sour cream

1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add lemon peel, lemon extract and vanilla; mix well.
2. Combine dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream (batter will be thick).
3. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups with 1/4 cup of batter. Leave some in the bowl to enjoy unbaked! Yum!
4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • approx. 3 to 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar, depending how sweet you want it.
  • Lemon juice
  • Lemon zest

In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the lemon juice and zest (amounts depend on how much flavor you want. I used about 3 tsp of juice and the zest of one lemon), then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar. Then just frost away!

Cheese Horns from Finland

Cheese Horns

3 1/2 dL all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
200 gr grated cheese (I used Edam in Finland, but Cheddar or Mozzarella here in the U.S.)
50 gr butter, softened
200 gr sour cream


1 egg, slightly beaten
150 gr grated cheese
Italian seasoning, garlic powder (optional)

Stir flour, baking powder and salt together. Add cheese. Cut softened butter in with a fork. Stir in sour cream till a soft dough forms. (I usually end up using my hand for this.) Divide dough in half (or thirds if you want smaller horns). Also, stir the ingredients for the filling together in a separate bowl.

Roll out each dough half to a circle. Cut the circle into 8 triangles. Put some cheese filling on each triangle (on the wide end). Roll them closed and bend each one so they look like little croissants. Place on a greased cookie sheet.

Brush with beaten whole egg and sprinkle some poppy seeds on top. Bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes.

These are best straight out of the oven. You can reheat them in the oven or the microwave.