Monday, May 28, 2012

Festive Fruity Rice Krispies

Has anyone noticed how many things have celebrated a 100 year anniversary this year? Let’s see, there’s Oreo, that came out with a new cookie with a funfetti cream filling (I never was able to find those festive Oreos), and then those adorable pestering Girl Scouts celebrated 100 years of selling cookies (I believe they also came out with a new cookie. A lemon sandwich cookie possibly?). This past April was the 100th anniversary of the loss of the Titanic (I absolutely love the history of the Titanic. It’s so tragic and fascinating. It’s one of the few events in history that I love to research on my own). Also, this coming August some pretty spectacular things will be celebrating one hundred years. For instance, on the 24th of August, Alaska will be celebrating it’s 100th year of establishment (Baked Alaska anyone?) and the 15th marks Julia Child’s 100th birthday.

Ya see? So many 100s that are being celebrated this year. So, why am I rambling on about that number? Well, it’s because this is my 100th post! Yes! I finally made it to 100. I actually never thought I would get here. But I keep on baking and sharing, not to mention I’ve also fallen in love with some pretty amazing blogs that inspire me every day.

When I saw these Rice Krispie Treats, I KNEW that I had to make them. They were just so pretty and festive looking. I couldn’t resist. I didn’t even really bother looking at the ingredient list; I just saved them on foodgawker and continued to browse. Then one day I saw my post count slowly creeping up toward that 100 mark, and I thought I should do something special. Then those lovely, cake-like Rice Krispie Treats propped into my head.

I usually end up halving recipes because my family has this thing where they take one of something I make, and never touch it again. So I’m often left to finish off a dozen of (insert whatever here) before it does stale. So, my heart kind of sunk when I finally did take a peek at the ingredient list. It calls for ¼ cup of cake mix, that alone kind of put me off from the recipe because I didn’t want to buy cake mix just for ¼ cup, and I certainly wasn’t going to buy it for two tablespoons, no way! So, I improvised, and I think what I came up with is one of the best Rice Krispie Treats I’ve ever eaten. Not only that, but they look just as festive as the Cake Better version Naomi came up with.


Festive Fruity Rice Krispie Treats
Inspired from Bakers Royal
Makes one 9x9 inch square pan

Rice Layer Ingredients
2 ½ cups (122 grams) mini marshmallows
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
½ tbsp. pure vanilla extract
3 cups (86 grams) Rice Krispie Cereal

Fruity Pebble Layer Ingredients
1 ¼ cup (61 grams) mini marshmallows
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 ½ cups (65 grams) Fruity Pebbles Cereal

1 cup (180 grams) semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp. rainbow sprinkles

Grease a 9x9 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

To Make the Rice Layer: place the mini marshmallows and butter in a saucepan on medium-low heat. Stir occasionally until the mini marshmallows have completely melted. Stir in the vanilla. Stir in the Rice Krispie Cereal until combined and all of the cereal has been coated in the melty marshmallow. Pour all of the rice cereal mixture into the prepared pan. The mixture will be very sticky, so you may want to moisten or grease your hands to aid in spreading the sticky mixture out evenly.

To Make the Fruity Pebble Layer: place the mini marshmallows and butter in a sauce pan on medium-low heat. Pour in all of the Fruity Pebble Cereal and stir to combine. Once the marshmallow and cereal have been completely combined, pour the fruity mixture on top of the rice mixture. With your hands, spread the fruity cereal mixture evenly over the rice layer. Set the pan aside for at least 20 minutes before adding the garnishes.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a heat-proof bowl over simmering water. Cut the Rice Krispie Treats into squares (or stars or circles…whatever floats your boat). Dip the tops of the treats into the melted chocolate. Sprinkle some of the rainbow sprinkles on top of the chocolate dipped treats. You can eat them now (with creamy melty chocolate to lick off your fingers) or you can wait about an hour for the chocolate to set.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sunny Citrus Bars

Oh my goodness! It’s been so long since I’ve actually posted anything, and I’m sorry. But I’ve had so much going on. Last week was kind of stress-week because I was preparing for finals and all that stuff. Then on Sunday I was celebrating Mother’s Day with my wonderful mama and this past week has been my fault. You see it was my last week of high school and I’m now officially done with school! Thursday was my last day, and I was just being really lazy. It’s weird, I’ve never been this lazy, and usually I’m so diligent. And then Saturday was my graduation ceremony. That's right, I'm officially a graduate! :D

Anyways, backup to the part about Mother’s Day. I love my mom so much, and I probably don’t tell her nearly enough. Actually, I’m kind of snarky with my mom. I don’t mean to be, it just happens. But, on Mother’s Day, I made it a point to make it all about her. By the way, this is a picture of my mom, me and my little sister. I think this was taken when I was about six. My mom is such a pretty lady.

So, a few weeks ago, I received this wonderful cookbook from Monica over at Lick the Bowl Good. She has such fabulous recipes and her photos are so beautiful. And Sunday happened to be her first Mother’s Day with her little boy Hayden. He looks like such a sweet-hart and I bet it was a memorable Mother’s Day for Monica.

In honor of Mother’s Day, Monica and I decided to bake something from the cookbook “together”. My mom is in love with citrusy foods, so I automatically suggested we make the Sunny Citrus Bars on page 92. We both agreed that they looked wonderful, and decided to bake the bars for Mother’s Day. If you would like to see Monica’s opinion on the citrus bars, click here.

I absolutely loved these bars. The cookie/shortbread-like crust was a perfect contrast to the tangy/gooey topping. I was actually a little afraid to bake the crust because it requires cutting in the butter until the flour is coarse and crumbly. I have never understood these directions, until I made these bars. I kept rubbing in the butter until the flour looked like sand. It was a magical moment for me. I know that sounds a little silly, but it was seriously a huge accomplishment.

I didn’t have any trouble with the filling, but that’s because it was so straight forward. I love straight forward recipes like that. You know the ones that require one bowl and a whisk? Yeah, this is that kind of recipe. Because I didn’t really feel like measuring, I adjusted the recipe below to approximate what I used (i.e. instead of ¼ cup orange juice I have typed half and orange). The glaze that goes on top is also really delicious. It never fully hardened like most glazes do, but that’s was made it so addicting to eat.

I know Mother’s Day seems like forever ago, but I hope all you mothers out there felt appreciated and loved (like you should everyday) and all you sons/daughters treated your mom with the kindness, love, and respect your mother deserves.

Sunny Citrus Bars
Adapted from Baking Basics and Beyond by Pat Sinclair
Makes one 9x9 inch pan
Crust Ingredients
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup powdered sugar
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cold and cubed

Filling Ingredients
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 eggs, beaten
Zest from 1 lemon
Juice from 2 lemons
Zest from one orange
Juice from ½ an orange
2 tbsp. butter, melted

2/3 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp. orange juice
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 9x9 inch baking pan with tin foil, liberally grease the foil with cooking spray.
To make the crust: whisk together the flour and powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Rub the cold butter in with your fingers until the dough looks like coarse sand. Press evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the crust is a light golden color.
To make the filling: combine the sugar, flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Whisk in the eggs until the mixture becomes smooth. Stir in the juices, zests and butter. Pour the filling onto the hot crust and bake for about 12-15 minutes. The filling shouldn’t jiggle when you shake the pan, but it will still look a little wet. Let cool in the pan and drizzle the glaze on top once it has come to room temperature.

To make the glaze: stir together the powdered sugar and enough orange juice until the glaze has reached your desired consistency. Drizzle or spread the glaze on top of the cooled bars. Let the glaze set for a little while before slicing.    

Friday, May 4, 2012

Chocolate Crumb Donuts

Senior ditch day: it’s pretty awesome. But I feel kind of guilty. I’m usually a really diligent person who never EVER wants to miss school, even when I’m sick. Even when I go on vacation and I miss a day or two of school I get all nervous and anxious because I know that everything important will happen on the day that I’m gone. It’s true. It’s like when your friend misses school and nothing happens, and then you miss school and you have a million things to do for homework and you’ve missed a bazillion tests. Yeah, that sucks. Anyways, at my school the Monday after prom is Senior Ditch Day. Of course it’s not regulated. I found it quite easy to ditch my first two classes, but I did eventually come for my math and physics class because those are my major classes that I can’t afford to miss. Now what did I do on my day off? Got up at 6 to take my sister to school, sat around the house, went to two classes, and did some grocery shopping with my mom. Yeah, I’m a rebel. But I also made donuts. Delicious chocolate donuts with an awesome chocolate streusel.
With finals coming up in just two weeks, graduation just around the corner, and my AP Lit test coming up, I know that my baking will be limited, so I wanted to make something simple, and Senior Ditch Day was the perfect occasion because these were in the oven in about ten minutes and only took about six to cook, so you can reach chocolaty donut heaven in less than twenty minutes.

I found these donuts on one of my favorite blogs. Darla is the genius behind Bakingdom. She creates all sorts of amazing cakes, cookies, pastries, and she’s a huge fan of Harry Potter, so she creates things like this, this, and this. Yeah. She’s amazing, and I love her blog (by the way, I hope to God that I don’t sound creepy because she most likely doesn’t know me at all).

So all creepiness aside when I read about these donuts and saw the pictures, I fell in love. For some reason I wasn’t totally expecting these donuts to have a chocolaty flavor (I tend to have a hard time deciphering chocolate notes in cake-like treats for some reason), but I was wrong. These donuts have an awesome chocolate flavor. I ate four in just one day. I couldn’t help myself, I just wanted more, more, more! They can also be glazed, but I got lazy and didn’t feel like making a glaze, but I bet it would be perfect on these. So next time you find yourself with twenty minutes to spare, preheat your oven and get to baking because these really won’t disappoint you.

Chocolate Crumb Donuts
Adapted from Bakingdom
Makes 6 donuts

Streusel Ingredients
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tbsp. sugar
¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. cold unsalted butter

Donut Ingredients
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup + 2 tbsp. milk
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

To make the streusel: combine the sugars, flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Rub the cold butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Put the mixture into the freezer while you make the donut batter.

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Grease a donut pan with cooking spray.

To make the donuts: combine the flour, sugars, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, vanilla, egg, and melted butter. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry. Whisk or fold the wet ingredients into the dry mixture. The batter will be kinda sticky and want to form together (basically it will look like a giant chocolaty blob).

When the batter has come together fill a piping bag (I used a zip lock bag with a hole cut out of the corner). Pipe the batter into the donut molds of the donut pan. Retreive the chocolate crumb mixture from the fridge and add as much crumb as you would like to the tops of the donuts.

Place in the oven on the middle rack and bake for about 5 minutes. Let the donuts cool in the pan for a few minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. 
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