Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Peanut Butter Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

Here’s a real winner if you love peanut butter and chocolate. In a cake. Honestly, who doesn’t?  This cake is amazing and delicious and rich and creamy and buttery and toothache sweet and just absolutely perfect. But, what else would you expect from Ree Drummond? She’s The Pioneer Woman and she can cook like nobody’s business.

Copyright, Doug Kapustin Photography, 2014
You’ll see. And you’ll agree after this recipe. Although I had watched Drummond’s show on
Food Network from time to time, it was my Aunt Bettye who introduced me to her recipes. (Note: I always trust Bettye’s suggestions because, well, this lady can cook “like nobody’s business” too! Thanks Bettye!)

For Mother’s Day, my daughter just bought me the book The Pioneer Woman Cooks which I highly and strongly recommend. You’ll find recipes for everything from salsa to adult coffee to Mountain Dew fruit cobbler. Also for Mother’s Day, my stepdaughter bought me this lovely cake stand and glass lid, specially designed for tall cakes. Naturally, I use it every single day for showcasing family desserts and for tempting all passers-by. It works and I love it. The two combined gifts could not have been better suited to me, and another plus for me is that The Pioneer Woman has Basset Hounds too! Even if you don’t buy her book, you must check out her website http://thepioneerwoman.com .

So, back to the peanut butter cake-- I modified the original recipe slightly, and the information about that can be found after the recipe, with links to the originals. 

Try this one as soon as you can; you’ll be glad you did. 

Peanut Butter Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing 

2 cups All-purpose Flour
2 cups Sugar
¼ teaspoons Salt
½ cups Buttermilk
2 whole Eggs
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1¾ stick Butter
½ cups Peanut Butter
1 cup Boiling Water

16 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
6 tablespoons whole milk
6 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1- 1/3 cups cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, and salt. Set aside. 

In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, melt 1¾  sticks butter. Stir in peanut butter until smooth. Add boiling water, let the mixture bubble up for about 10 seconds, then remove from heat.

Pour the peanut butter mixture over the flour/sugar mixture and stir until halfway combined. Pour in the buttermilk mixture and stir gently until the batter is smooth. Pour the batter into 2-9 inch cake round cake pans and smooth the surface. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes clean, then remove it from the oven. Cool cake completely before layering and icing (see icing recipe below). 
In a medium bowl, using a mixer set at medium speed, beat the cream cheese, butter, and milk together until smooth. Add the sugar, cocoa, and salt and continue to beat until blended.
Reduce mixer speed to low, add the vanilla, and beat until smooth. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes before using. 

Important Notes: 
Original cake recipe from Ree Drummond’s The Pioneer Woman Cooks and also at the following link:  http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2013/11/peanut-butter-cake-with-chocolate-icing/

My version of Ree’s recipe was modified only by using two round cake pans instead of a sheet or jelly roll pan, and I changed the icing since it’s a layer cake. It is sooo worth noting that I have tried her original recipe too, with her icing, and it is absolutely scrumptious—perfect for family desserts. I like changing the format and layering the cake for get-togethers just because the transport is easier and presentation is a bit fancier. 

My go-to chocolate cream cheese icing recipe is an old standby from Country Living magazine that can also be accessed below:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Oatmeal White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

Day 77

Alright everyone, Maggie’s daughter Taylor here, and it’s my turn to jump into the driver’s seat! I have recently been on a cookie-baking kick, and until now, all of my cookies have been mediocre at best. This one, however, knocked my socks off. Because I was so thrilled about sharing the recipe, my mom passed over the keyboard and decided to let me do the talking! So that being said, stop what you are doing, and go bake this cookie. You won’t regret it!

Photo by Taylor Fowler
Now I won’t lie to you, I find those little pre-made squares of chocolate chip cookie dough on aisle seven to be delicious. Just plain delicious. And trust me, I know how tempting it is to pick those up, especially when you have little time, a tight budget, and a sweet tooth begging for a treat. However, these cookies are not only super easy, but you also (most likely) have the majority of the ingredients. Seriously! All I had to pick up was two ingredients. So instead of reaching for those preservative filled “cookies”, run away as fast as you can and pick up the few items you need for this recipe. 

These cookies might sound like a heck of a mouthful—yes, they have more than one add-in, but that is great! They are so rich in texture and flavors, you won’t be able to stop eating them. I would even recommend eating them for breakfast with some coffee or tea. They are perfect for any time of year, but especially summer because of their light, slightly fruity bite. Yum! Now that my mouth, and hopefully yours, is watering, let’s get cooking!  

Note: I will say that I did not make up this cookie, I got the majority of it from Trisha Yearwood, on Food Network’s website, but I revised it. Now here is what you will need for my similar version! 

Oatmeal White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

½ cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tbs. vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ cup old fashioned oats 
1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
¾ cup white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Using an electric mixer, mix the butter, the brown sugar, and the white sugar together until smooth. Then add the vanilla and egg, and continue to mix. Combine the flour and the baking soda in a separate bowl and sift them together. Then spoon this mixture slowly into the mixing bowl while it is running. When this is creamy, drop in the oats, chopped cranberries, and white chocolate chips. Then drop heaping tablespoons of the dough onto the baking sheet, two inches apart. Cook for around 13 minutes, or until the top is slightly golden brown. I personally prefer these cookies slightly undercooked, so that they are gooey inside, so if you prefer overcooked—add time.  Then let them cool on the sheet for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack.