Tag Archives: Baking and Confections

Marbled Chocolate Cream Cheese Cake (slow cooker recipe)

About 6 months ago my husband got me a slow cooker. This is a new thing to me. For a while it was just sitting on our counter as I had no idea what to do with it. I know that there is many recipes out there for slow cooker but whenever I check them with my husband he does not approve it or says: “YEAH, we could try it” what essentially means: “It doesn’t sound like something I’m gonna really like, but if you insist lets make it”. It is not what I am looking for.

With two small children and a puppy, after a day of cooking, the last thing I want to hear from my husband is his lack of approval of the food that’s on the table.

Lately, I cook ONLY dishes I have asked my husband about and got his 100% approval, or when I know that if he won’t eat it I WILL FOR SURE.

It was a little  bit different in this case. He had read the recipe and said his verse: “YEAH, we could try it”, but I knew that no matter what I WANT TO TRY THIS CAKE. I knew that if he doesn’t like it I probably will.

I wasn’t wrong. He ate one piece and said: “Hm… it is different”. After a few days he asked for a piece of this cake but it was too late. I ate it all with a small help from my daughter.

It is not a brownie, that’s for sure. It is more like a lava cake.

Cream cheese swirl:

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup sugar
pinch salt
1/2 cup milk chocolate (semi-sweet or milk chocolate chocolate chips are fine, too)

For the chocolate cake:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Directions:
In a bowl, beat cream cheese, egg, 1/4 cup sugar and salt together until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips.

In a separate bowl combine flour, soda, salt,  1 cup sugar and cocoa powder. Beat in water, oil, vinegar and vanilla until just blended.

For easy removal, line slow cooker with aluminum foil and pour chocolate mixture into foil liner. Place tablespoonfuls of cream cheese mixture on the chocolate mixture and with a knife, gently swirl mixtures together to create a marbled design.

Set cooker on high heat and cook for about 2.5 hours.

————-

To prevent the water from the lid of slow cooker to drip onto the cake, before you cover  it with a lid put a towel over the slow cooker and than put the lid on top of the towel.

Print the recipe:

This cake came out very moist.

It has the right balance between sweetness and bitterness. I loved it.

Will be making it again.

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Bread Machine Pumpernickel (Pumpernikiel), or another way to have my coffee

This bread always takes me back to my childhood.

It is my mom’s favorite bread. At some point I have learned to like it as well.

I have not eaten it for too long, that’s why I had finally decided to make my own.

Being honest with you it is not the real deal. It is not the dense, bitter-sweet pumpernickel I had eaten growing up. It is dense, don’t get me wrong, and it is bitter, but in a different way.

Mine was made in a bread machine from the start to the end what took 3 h and 20 min.

To bake the “real pumpernickel”, from what I know, takes from 20 to 24 hours, and it doesn’t need coffee or cocoa powder.

Ingredients:

1 1/3 strong brewed coffee, room temperature

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup dark molasses

2 Tbsp. brown sugar (I used turbinado)

2 Tbsp. cocoa powder, unsweetened

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup rye flour

2 cups bread flour

2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast

Directions for bread maker:

1. Throw in a bread maker container all the ingredients in order as listed above.

2. Choose 1 1/2 lb loaf (if you have the option)

3. Set it up for “whole wheat basic” 

4. Push “start”

5. After is done baking take it out and cool on cooling rack for 30 minute before slicing.

Directions for oven:

1. Combine molasses, brown sugar and warm coffee, mix it well. Add yeast. Set aside for the yeast to start working.

2. In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients.

3. When the yeast is nice and bubbly add oil.

4. Add oil&yeast mixture to the dry ingredients. Knead until the dough is not sticky anymore.

5. Place the dough in a bowl, cover with towel and let it rest in warm place until double in size. 

6. When the dough is ready punch it down and shape the way you are going to bake it (loaf pan, dinner rolls, baguette, etc).

7. Grease the pan you are going to bake it in.

8. Transfer the dough to the pan or baking sheet.

9. Let is double in size again.

10. Bake in 375 F

- 35 minutes for bread

- 20 minutes for rolls or baguette.

11. Serve with honey butter*

* Honey-butter:

2 Tbsp butter, softened,

1 Tbsp honey

Mix it with fork and serve.

Simple as that.

You should probably double the recipe because this butter is SUPER DELICIOUS!!!

For me the bread is a Guinness among breads. If you like this kind of beer you will like pumpernickel.

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+ Yeastspoting

Polish “Babka” with almonds and white chocolate

I suppose to be on bed rest but it’s not that easy when you’re pregnant and when you crave so many different homemade goods. Last week, for example I had homemade chocolate milk pudding for dinner. Four times. What means that for four days I didn’t eat anything else for dinner just my pudding. Oh wait… I did have something else. A few slices of fresh strawberry and a banana on top of my pudding ;) That counts, right?!

I want to share that recipe here on my blog, but every time I make it there is almost no time between when it’s made and when it’s in our bellies.

Last Saturday when it was raining and dark outside I finally decide to make Babka. Finally, because that cake was stuck in my head for a long time. “Babka” is Polish name for a sweet yeast cake but actually it can be made without the yeast and then it resembles pound cake. That’s how my mom and my sister used to make it – without the yeast. It’s not very babka-like but many people do that and call that cake babka and when they use the original recipe with yeast then they call it “yeast babka”.

My mom wasn’t a baker and she even didn’t tried to become one. Whenever she baked something (and it happened really rare), she would always make something VERY easy and fast to fix. Babka and a simple chocolate cake were our most often eaten desserts (and pudding or kisiel, of course). She almost never made a glaze. It was too much work with something that she actually didn’t enjoy – baking. Instead of glaze she would spread a homemade jam (raspberry or black currants) on top of each slice of those cakes and that was it. Just like you would do with open-faced sandwich. It actually was pretty delicious.

These days those simple dishes are my comfort food and whenever I feel under the weather I always come back to it.

Following my family steps I made my babka without the yeast. Although, I do want to try to make it the original way someday. But not when I am on bed rest ;)

This cake is really moist and not sweet at all, at least not too sweet like you would think after reading the recipe.

I do not have the right pan for baking babka but I used 9inch loaf pan and it worked great.

Ingredients for cake: 

1/2 cup white chocolate cut into really small pieces (or white chocolate baking chips),

5 1/2 Tbsp. butter, softened and cut into small pieces,

8 tsp. sugar,

1 tsp. baking powder,

1 tsp. baking soda, (if you don’t have it, don’t worry, this cake will be fine without it)

3 eggs, yolks separated from whites,

1/3 cup all-purpose flour,

1 cup ground almonds, blanched

2 tsp. orange zest,

Ingredients for glaze:

3/4 cup milk chocolate, cut into pieces (milk chocolate chips will do), or if you want to make white chocolate glaze use white chocolate (or chocolate chips),

1/3 cup whipped cream,

1 tsp. fresh squeezed orange juice (or orange liquor),

1 tsp. orange zest.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Into a glass bowl put chocolate and butter. Put that bowl over a pot with small amount of boiling water. Stirr until ingredients melt together. Now you can take it off the heat and add egg yolk, but still over the double bath. Add one yolk at a time stirring really fast. Add sugar and mix well.

Remove the bowl from the pot and add sieved flour with baking soda, baking powder and ground almonds. Stirr with a spoon.

Beat the egg whites until stiff and add to the almond-chocolate batter. Mix well with a spoon. Add orange zest.

Transfer the batter to a greased pan and bake for about 40-45 minutes. After about 40 minutes you can check with a toothpick if it’s done.

Cool on cooling wrack.

While the cake is baking prepare the glaze:

Again, over double bath melt together chocolate and whipped cream. At the end add orange juice and orange zest.

Wait until cake and the glaze are cool then spread the glaze over the cake.

Enjoy!

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls (health-ier version)

I’ve made those cinnamon rolls twice before I got my bread maker. Each time they came out looking and tasting pretty good, but I wasn’t thrilled with the effect in general. Neither my husband. We ate them with cream cheese frosting which actually made them more enjoyable.

Last Saturday I decided to give them one more chance and I was craving cinnamon rolls.

I got up MUCH too early and I though it’s a perfect time to make those as the process takes about 2 hours. This time I used help of my dear friend, the bread maker :) and that was the best decision I could ever made. Those “nothing special” cinnamon rolls came out as THE BEST CINNAMON ROLLS I have ever had !!!

Fluffy, soft inside and with a crunch on the outside. Those previous two times I made them they weren’t half that big and fluffy. I guess I am not as good in hand kneading as I though I was. In addition in my entire apartment there is no place warm enough for the dough to raise. A few times working with yeast dough I tried to leave the dough in warm oven but that didn’t work for me at all.

Look at those beauties. They were so good that I didn’t have to make any frosting just a little bit of butter spread over hot rolls and that was it.

This recipe is adapted from Chef in Training. I changed a few things to make them more healthy. 

Ingredients for the dough: 

2 cups milk

1/2 cup olive oil

3/4 cup brown sugar

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup bread flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 Tbsp. salt

1 packet (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast

1/3 cup flax seed meal

1/4 cup chia seeds

Ingredients for the filling:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened, divided in half

10 Tbsp. brown sugar (more or less), divided in half

4 Tbsp. cinnamon (divided in half)

Directions:

For hand kneading directions go to Chef in Training ‘s Cinnamon rolls post. 

I used bread maker. 

Mixed milk and brown sugar in a sauce pan and heat it up just until the sugar is dissolved and milk is slightly warm. Transfer to bread maker. Add olive oil, salt, all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour. Sprinkle yeast on top. Set the bread maker on “dough”. During the second kneading open the bread maker and add 1/2 cup bread flour, baking soda, baking powder, chia seeds and flax seeds meal.

After it’s done (in my bread maker it takes 1h 10 min), divide the dough in half. I never use rolling pin to roll the dough out. I use my hands to stretch it in into about 11 inch x 9 inch rectangle shape. 

Don’t be greedy and spread a generous amount of softened butter (in my case it’s about 2 Tbsp, sometimes a bit less sometimes more – it depends on how big the rectangle is) over the surface of rolled out dough. Rub half of the brown sugar over the dough. You might start with 4 Tbsp. and if you decide it’s not enough add more until the surface is covered. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp. of cinnamon. Feel free to add more.

Starting from the longest side fold the dough towards you.

Cut rolls into 1 1/2 inch (2 inch is fine too) pieces.

Put them into greased pie pan or on a baking sheets. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.

Repeat with second half of the dough.

Bake in 375 for 18 minutes for pie pans or 12-15 minutes for baking sheets. 

This time I used both: pie pan and baking sheets to compare which is better. 

I used two 9 inch pie pans. In the first one I put 8 rolls in the second 7.

7 seems to be a perfect amount as you can see on the picture above.

Rolls on baking sheets were 1,5 inch apart.

… and while in the oven they leaked out the filling:

Rolls baked in pie pans where clean and nothing leaked out. They came out bigger and fluffiest, too. 

They were so delicious and with the perfect amount of sweetness that we didn’t need any frosting at all. I spread a little bit of butter while still hot to make them more moist and not so dry on top. 

I still highly recommend the cheese cream frosting from the original recipe. It’s so good that every time I make it I eat half just by itself.

This Little Lady ate 4 of those huge rolls on the first day and she kept asking (in her own language) for more.

“too much tv” face

I had to hide them as I was afraid she’s gonna get sugar rush. That’s there is the best indicator that the rolls were really good. Before, she wasn’t really a big fan of those. She would eat a half of one small roll and she was done, she didn’t want more even on the second day.

Now I know that the secret for a perfect rolls is in the bread maker :)

oh… and if I just had a coffee… those would be just perfect, but for now milk will do the job – it has to :)

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Cheesecake cookies and New Year’s Resolution

You might wonder what cheesecake cookies have in common with New Year’s Resolution. Well, at the end of the last year I promised myself that I will not have any resolutions for this new year. I actually don’t need them to feel better about myself, I decided. When the New Year came I actually changed my mind.

My first resolution was to start 366 Self-Portrait Project.

The second one was to cook and to bake more NEW things. Things I have never made before. I remember, our first year of marriage was pretty boring if we talk about food. I was terrified by the scale of my husband’s pickiness. When I found something he would like and enjoy to eat I cooked it for weeks, with pasta now and then. It’s much better now. He is more open to new things and even if he doesn’t like them he always tastes it and gives me an honest opinion.

This year I’ve decided to be more open to new things myself. It’s not about my husband. It’s about me pushing the envelope in trying to cook and bake things I’ve been scared or intimidated by. One of those things was sloppy joe, for example. I made it a few weeks ago and I don’t know what I was so scared about in this dish.

Being honest with you this year is all about cheesecake. I am going to try to make more new things, that’s for sure, but what I really want is to make a cheesecake. An edible one. I have in mind something like White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake. Just thinking about it give me goosebumps (and a heartburn!!!).

So here we go.

With baby steps I started from cheesecake cookies. I couldn’t believe how easy and fast they are to make.

Ingredients:

5 Tbsp. butter, softened

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 egg

2 Tbsp. milk

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

In a medium bowl blend butter, brown sugar and flour with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Put 3/4 cup of the mixture aside for topping.

Press remaining mixture into an 8×8 baking dish sprayed lightly with cooking spray, bake for 15 minutes in 350 F.

In meantime, combine sugar and cream cheese. Mix until smooth. Beat in egg, milk, lemon juice and vanilla.

Spread over the baked crust and sprinkle with remaining brown sugar (crumbs) mixture.

Bake for 25 minutes in 350 F.

Before cutting chill it for about 1 hour.

Cut into 2×2 inch squares.

Plum cake you can’t NOT like!

A few days ago I got fresh plums. A whole bag. I like plums and I can eat them fresh. My husband doesn’t like them but, he promised to tried a plum cake. I knew he is not going to like it. This cake reminds me of my first cake I baked for him… He didn’t like it at all. It was jabłecznik (Polish apple pie). I was terrified. How could you not like apple pie!?!? That time I couldn’t make “american” apple pie, and I thought: apple pie is the same everywhere. I couldn’t be more wrong! These days if I make a new cake, something that I have never baked before, I make it in 9 inch pan. That way if he doesn’t like it I don’t end up with bunch of cake to eat by myself.

How big was my surprise when he ate the piece I gave him, and said: I loved it! Seriously. I did!

This cake is VERY EASY and FAST to make. You need to know that as much as I like to bake or cook I don’t like stuff that’s expensive to make, it’s complicated to make, has too many ingredients, etc.

So, this is the recipe:

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup oil (olive oil)

2 small eggs

In a mixing bowl mix all those ingredients together

Use about 10 medium size plums.

Cut them into medium size pieces and cover the dough. Actually you can use more plums and cover it more than in the picture below. This cake is very good but when the dough rises it seems like those plums are lost, so the next time I make it I’ll use more plums.

For the topping I use:

1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup butter/margarine

Cut butter into flour and sugar for topping. Knead it untill smooth. Make a ball from the dough and put it to the freezer. Forget about it. That’s why I make the topping before I start doing anything else. The dough need about 30 minutes to harden. After everything is done, and the dough is hard enough you grate  it over the plums.

Bake in 340 F for about 50 minutes or until the topping is slightly brown. It really depends from your oven. Mine is terrible and every time I bake something I need to watch it very closely to not to burn it. In my oven 340 F means about 345 F or more.

Now I’m hungry!

Hugs from my corner !


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The best way to start Monday – Cinnamon Butterfly

In my opinion there is nothing wrong with Mondays…, but I totally understand those who hate them…

“I don’t like Monday” Polish movie (very funny, believe me!) from 1971  – watching it is a one way how to enter Monday with a good mood.

More tasty and multi-international way is to have a fresh-baked cinnamon butterflies for breakfast:

This is the recipe:

  • 7 g active dry yeast (one teaspoon = 3.1 g)
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 4 Tbps melted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 very small eggs
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom (I skipped it)
  • 2 1/4 cups plain flour
  • filling: 4 Tbps soft butter; 1/4 cup sugar mixed with 1 Tbp cinnamon
  • glaze: 1 small egg mixed with 1 Tbp milk; some crushed sugar cubes (don’t skip the sugar otherwise the buns won’t be sweet enough);
  • you can put some almond flakes on top as well or make a glaze (I didn’t have almonds or ingredients for glaze so I skipped it)

For directions go to Kitchen Unplugged.

For direction in Polish go to Motylki z Cynamonem.

I made the dough last night and kept it in the fridge till this morning.

To make the dough last night took me about 10 minutes.

This morning I spent additional 10 minutes to roll the dough out, put cinnamon-sugar-butter filling, roll the dough up, and cut.

10 minutes of waiting for them to bake :)

Very easy to make, and very tasty! Worth to try it out!

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Happy Monday, everybody!

THE BEST APPLE PIE E.V.E.R

I’ve got a story about apple pie.

Polish apple pie is a little bit different from American. When I asked my husband if he wants some Polish apple pie, first, he was very surprised that we have apple pie in Poland, second he though that Polish is the same as American… you know… “as American as Apple Pie”… he thought that apple pie is from America so Polish must look and taste the same. Oh… those Americans… they all think that almost everything was invented in US or if it wasn’t it was improved by Americans… I’m just kidding, not. ;)

So… For the first time I made him an apple pie… the Polish style… and I ended up eating it by myself. He didn’t like it AT ALL. In addition he got scared that I’ll be cooking stuff like that all the time… poor thing :)

From that day I’d been looking for a pie that we both would like. I’ve tried a few different recipes. Sometimes he liked it, and I didn’t, sometimes I liked it but he didn’t.

And finally one day! I did it! I found a pie that we both really liked!

I changed the original recipe a little and today I call it THE PERFECT APPLE PIE.

Since then, every time I make it my husband says: “this pie is better than the last one.”

The first step is to make the topping:

TOPPING:
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup butter

Cut butter into flour and sugar for topping. Knead it untill smooth. Make a ball from the dough and put it to the freezer. Forget about it.

Next step is to make the crust:

CRUST:

1 cup flour
1/3 cup butter/margarine (if you use salted butter/margarine than skip the additional 1/2 tsp. salt)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. water

Cut butter into dry ingredients. Add water gradually until just moistened. Roll and place into a 9-inch pastry dish. I use my hands to do that. It’s quick and very easy.

FILLING:

1/2 cup sugar
5 whatever apples you like/have, or enough to fill crust

20 cherries
Cinnamon to taste
1 tsp. corn starch

Normally I do not mix any fruits with apples but for the last few times I mixed in some cherries and that pie is SO DELICIOUS!!!!!!!!

In a measuring cup mix sugar, cinnamon, corn starch.

Fill the pie with half of the cut into small pieces fruits, pour half of the sugar-cinnamon-corn starch mixture over the fruits. Add the remaining fruits and the rest of the sugar-cinnamon-corn starch mix. IT IS OK TO NOT TO USE ALL THAT DRY INGREDIENTS MIXTURE if you don’t want that pie to be very sweet. For example for this pie I used only 1/3 cup. I knew that the cherries will give it extra sweet kick… natural sweet kick!

So, it looks like that:

and just like that bake it at 450°F for 15 minutes. Take it out. Wait for the oven to cool down – about 10 minutes. Preheat it again. This time to 350°F. In the meantime take the topping dough from the freezer and grate it over the fruits.

Bake at 350°F degrees for an additional 45 minutes, or until the pie filling is bubbly, and the topping is light golden brown.

ENJOY!!!

I need to add that this pie is crazy easy and fast to make. The topping is so crunchy and not too sweet as well as the filling.

It is the perfect pie ever!!!

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