Thursday, January 2, 2014

Reese's Peanut Butter Bark

Hi, me again! I told you guys I would share my recipes =) I also found this recipe on Pinterest, it’s from Hershey’s. I am so sad that I didn’t take a close up photo of the finished product, because this came out so pretty!! I made this for our Christmas cocktail party as well – if you look at this photo of our pretty table, you can see the bark on the top tier of the serving platter! It was the perfect combo of salty and sweet, I really wish I made a double batch because there were NO leftovers.

2 packages (4 oz. each) HERSHEY'S semi-sweet chocolate Baking Bar, broken into pieces
1-2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) REESE'S peanut butter Chips
1 Tbsp shortening
1/2 cup roasted peanuts or toasted almonds, coarsely chopped

1. Cover cookie sheet or tray with wax paper.

2. Place chocolate in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM (50%) 1 minute; stir. If necessary, microwave at MEDIUM an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chocolate is melted and smooth when stirred.

3. Immediately place peanut butter chips and shortening in second microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM 1 minute; stir. If necessary, microwave at MEDIUM an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chips are melted and mixture is smooth when stirred; stir in peanuts.

4. Alternately spoon above mixtures onto prepared tray; swirl with knife for marbled effect. Gently tap tray on countertop to even out thickness of mixture. Refrigerate about 1 hour or until firm. Break into pieces. Store in cool, dry place. About 1 pound candy.

* To toast almonds: Heat oven to 350°F. Spread almonds in thin layer in shallow baking pan. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown; cool.

Review of Butterlane Bakery's Cupcake Class in NYC

Hi guys! I wanted to share with you a fun experience I had a few weeks ago – my best friend and I took a baking class at Butterlane Bakery in NYC! I bought us this Groupon LAST February, and we finally got around to taking the class a few weeks ago HA. OK so here we go…

We walked into Butterlane Bakery (123 E 7th St, New York, NY) and were greeted by a girl behind the bakery counter. The cupcakes were proudly displayed in the glass case and of course, they looked delicious! We were a bit confused at first – Butterlane is a pretty small bakery – and weren’t sure where the class was going to take place. To the left of the bakery counter, were 3 stainless steel tables set up with a KitchenAid mixer and the necessary baking ingridients. It was pretty cramped, but we made do. We waited about 10min for the rest of our class to arrive. There were about 4 or 5 people at each baking station, I think there were about 14 of us in total. Our teacher explained what we were going to accomplish that night, and we went to work. The recipes were hand written beautifully on the chalkboards above our baking stations, I thought that was a nice touch. They also had laminated copies of the recipes that we were allowed to take photos of or copy down for home use.

Butterlane only makes 3 types of cakes – vanilla, chocolate and banana. I thought this was interesting. Then I thought it was kinda genius. Bake 3 types of cake really well and you don’t need to go crazy trying to impress and please everyone. They also only make a few types of frosting. Our class made 6 different frosting recipes, however Butterlane only makes a few of them to sell. We made the batter for the cupcakes first, then made the frosting while they cupcakes were baking. All the ingredients were pre-weighed already which was also nice.

In terms of difficulty, I would say the class is for beginners with a little bit of experience. My friend Mel and I LOVE to bake, so we of course knew our way around a Kitchen Aid mixer. We knew the class might be a little basic for us, but we had a BALL. We had to help our 2 other group members a bit (one didn’t know how to crack an egg and tried to use a latex glove as a piping bag!) but it was all in good fun. My favorite part was going around and tasting everyone’s batter and frosting. Each group made one type of cake, and 2 types of frosting. We all went around with tooth picks and tasted all the flavors. There were a lot of laughs! Probably due to the amount of sugar and cake we all consumed.

The cake recipes were absolutely delicious. Having baked before, I thought the vanilla and chocolate cake recipes were going to taste like a “been there, done that” but they were amazing! Butterlane used a lot more ingredients than I would to make each cake (especially eggs) but you could tell it made a difference. The chocolate cake tasted like a chocolate bar, and the vanilla had a great kick to it. I’m not a big banana fan, but the rest of our class seemed to enjoy that recipe as well. I was impressed. The frostings were great too - Vanilla, chocolate, raspberry, peanut butter and chocolate, buttercream and cinnamon. I think my favorite was the peanut butter & chocolate – so simple (regular chocolate frosting mixed with peanut butter!) but the payoff was fabulous. It tasted like a Reece’s peanut butter cup! I’m definitely putting that one in my back pocket.

At the end of class, we got to take home 6 cupcakes of our own! You got to pick any cake/frosting combo you wanted. Butterlane’s frosting technique was a little tough – I don’t think we did so well with it! All in all, I would recommend the class. With the Groupon, it was pretty cheap and a fun way to spend 2 hours. Plus – you get to take your “work” home with you! Check out the photos below!

Our cute baking station with a pink mixer! This is the vanilla cupcake recipe - FIVE eggs!

Our teacher dropping some baking knowledge on us

The beautiful cupcakes! Chocolate, vanilla and banana

A cupcake cheers to a job well done!

The cupcakes I took home!
Vanilla and chocolate cakes with vanilla, chocolate, raspberry, peanut butter & chocolate, buttercream and cinnamon icing!

And last (but certainly not least), US!! No, we did not look this good to go to a baking class. This was at my wedding and we just love this picture =)

VANILLA fudge. Trust me, it's GOOD.

Hi baking babes! Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! As you can probably imagine, I have a few posts from over the holidays that I would love to share with you guys! Here is the first. This vanilla fudge was actually a happy accident. The recipe I found on Pinterest is from, but it’s actually for lemon fudge. You guessed it – I thought I had lemon extract on hand but did not. I substituted equal parts of vanilla extract and the result was amazing! It's a lot lighter than chocolate fudge - it's almost airy and light. I made this recipe the night before our annual Christmas cocktail party and it was a big hit. I wanted to change it up this year and make something other than cupcakes or cookies. It’s easy, trust me! I would love to try it with lemon extract to see what the original tastes like haha. My husband had the great idea of adding these pretty chocolate sprinkles to the platter to give it some color!

1-1/2 teaspoons plus 6 tablespoons butter, divided
2 packages (10 to 12 ounces each) vanilla or white chips
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup marshmallow creme
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon extract

Line a 9-in. square pan with foil. Grease foil with 1-1/2 teaspoons butter; set aside.
In a large saucepan, melt remaining butter over low heat. Add chips and milk; cook and stir for 10-12 minutes or until chips are melted.
Stir in marshmallow creme and extract; cook and stir 3-4 minutes longer or until smooth. Pour into prepared pan. Chill until set.
Using foil, lift fudge out of pan. Discard foil; cut fudge into squares. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: about 2 pounds

All in all, I would definitely make it again. It's funny, it looks a little like cheese, so I would tell your friends and family that it is fudge before they bite into it and are very confused. Hope you guys enjoyed! More posts to come shortly =)