Tag Archives: easy

Acme Baking Company’s Addictive Toffee

I don’t send Christmas cards but I receive many every year. Acknowledging the effort people put into remembering me at the holidays is important. So, each year in January (or early February if my birthday celebrating takes over) I make a special candy treat, write new year well wishes on cards and send off a little something to everyone who sent me a card. 

This year I opted for toffee. Super easy, always reliable toffee crack! 

  

 Addictive Toffee

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips

1 cup chopped pecans (or whatever you want) 

In a microwave safe 8 cup glass bow (I use a glass measuring cup type batter bowl) heat the butter and sugar in 1 minute increments – stirringn after each session. 

Critical note – use a wooden spoon to stir. I have tried other utensils but they always break the mixture.

My microwave takes a total of 8 and 1/2 minutes to get to the beautiful caramel color you want. 

Spread pour onto a cookie sheet lined with a silpat (or greased aluminum foil). I generally take a big offset spatula and spread it out. Work quickly and then top with loads of chocolate chips. 

I generally toss it into a 350 degree oven for a couple minutes to help the chocolate melt. Then using an offset spatula, I spread the delicious melty chocolate over all of the toffee. 

Top with finely chopped pecans and let cool completely. Break into bit sized pieces and enjoy! 

I typically package in cello bags with a cute ribbon. 

  

Peanut Butter One Bowl Brownies

A little art from the kitchen

I like to keep things simple, delicious but simple. A few years ago I became obsessed with high quality chocolate that doesn’t have milk (making it a useful ingredient if you have lactose sensitive family or friends). I also love peanut butter and while there are a lot of recipes for peanut butter brownies, I found most wanted you to make a peanut butter frosting and I couldn’t be bothered. 

  
Peanut Butter Brownies

1 1/2 stick of butter (sliced)

7 ounces of good chocolate (I generally chop up high quality chocolate but you could use chips as well)

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup flour

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

Chop chocolate and put in microwave safe bowl with the butter. Heat until the butter melts and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. 

Add sugar and mix well. Then add the eggs and vanilla. Lastly, add the flour and mix until combined. 

Pour into a 9×9 or brownie pan lined with foil and either greased or sprayed with non-stick spray. 

Heat the peanut butter for maybe 30 seconds in a glass measuring cup. Stir and then drizzle on top of the brownie batter (bring on your inner jackson pollack. Well don’t splatter) 

Bake at 350 for anywhere between 30 and 40 minutes. You don’t want the center to jiggle. 

Cool completely and cut into 1 inch or so squares – these little guys are super rich! 

A Seinfeld dilema – to poppyseed or not? Acme Baking Company Almond Poppyseed Muffins

Baking on a hot day in a kitchen without air conditioning calls for something quick where the oven will only be on for maybe an hour tops! Enter Acme Baking Company Almond Poppyseed Muffins. These aren’t those giant muffins you find at big box stores but the flavor is pretty close.

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Almond Poppyseed Muffins

3 cups flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 1/2 tablespoons poppyseeds
1 1/2 cups milk

Whisk together dry ingredients. In a separate large bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, extracts, poppyseeds and milk. Add the dry to the wet and mix just until combined. Overmixing will cause tough muffins and no one likes a tough muffin.

Using a large cookie scoop fill lined muffin tins. Batter makes exactly 2 dozen muffins.

Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes. The tops should be lightly golden.

Let cool and enjoy! If you prefer a more moist muffin you can make a simple glaze with powdered sugar, milk and a little almond extract.

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Acme Baking Company Chocolate Chip Muffin

20130609-194312.jpgIt seems to have become a thing around here, each week on Sunday afternoon I bake a batch of muffins to enjoy for breaky the next week. This week there were some mini chocolate chips screaming out to be used up so it became obvious that it was time to tackle the Chocolate Chip Muffin.

Micro Mini Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup milk
Heaping handful of mini chocolate chips

Whisk together the dry ingredients in one bowl. Then lightly beat the egg, milk, oil and vanilla in another. Add wet to dry and mix just until incorporated. Fold in your chocolate chips.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Prepare 12 cupcakes (either with a liner or grease and flour). I made exactly 12 using a large cookie scoop about 3/4 full. So probably a heaping 1/3 cup in each cupcake.

Bake for 16 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

These are a fairly dense muffins and you could add a little rock sugar to the top before baking to kick up the sweetness a little.

Acme Baking Company Vanilla Marshmallows

The Acme Baking Company Christmas box for 2012 contained traditional
treats like ginger thins, fudge, chocolate chip cookies and some more
unique offerings. But, every year new things have to be tried and
included and this year was the year of the marshmallow. Boozy and
traditional graced boxes prepared for families with short people (ie
kids).

Boozy marshmallows are a little challenging to make but I promise to
post a recipe and how to instructions eventually. For now, here is my
favorite, simple vanilla marshmallow recipe. Whip some up, toss them
into hot chocolate, on the end of a stick to toasting or just eat them
straight out of the container.

Vanilla Marshmallows

As with all candy making you want to prepare your pan beforehand. We
used an 8×10 pan, you can use something smaller you will just have
slightly thicker marshmallows. Spray the pan with non-stick spray and
wipe most of it out with a paper towel. Sprinkle with powdered sugar;
make sure to coat the pan well.

1/2 cup very cold water
3 packets of gelatin (found in your grocery store near the Jello)

Place the cold water in the bowl of your stand mixer and sprinkle the
gelatin over it before you start making the sugar syrup on the stove.
Let stand.

2/3 cup light corn syrup
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water

Combine in a 6qt heavy sauce pan. Heat on medium heat and stir until
the sugar dissolves. Stop stirring once the sugar is dissolved and let
the mixture come to a boil – no need to increase the heat. Once the
mixture comes to a boil, let it go for 1 minute and then remove from
the heat.

2 teaspoons vanilla (or other extract)
Attach the whisk attachment to your mixer and with your mixer on low,
slowly pour the hot syrup into the bowl in a steady stream. Once
combined increase the speed of your mixer to medium high – after a few
minutes add the vanilla and continue to whip for about 12 minutes
total.

Once the mixture if fully whipped it will be fluffy and incredibly
sticky. Coat a rubber spatula or large offset knife with non-stick
spray and scrape out your bowl into your prepared pan. Be patient but
continue to work the mixture until it is spread in evenly in the pan.
Top with a generous coat of powdered sugar and let stand on your
counter for 3 hours or overnight.

There really is not anything you can do to expedite this process, it
just takes this long to firm up. Once firm, lift your marshmallows out
of the pan and place on a cutting board. I used a greased pizza cutter
to cut squares, but you could use shaped cookie cutters for fun
shapes. Toss cut marshmallows into a bowl of powdered sugar to
eliminate sticky edges.

Package in airtight containers. These marshmallows will last about 1 month.

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Acme Baking Co – Fleur de Sel Caramels

At Acme Baking Company we don’t claim to be candy makers, before this year our attempts were limited to fudge and this amazing pecan roca that can be made using a microwave. Sure a candy thermometer graces our kitchen gadget drawer but it had never seen the inside of a pot of boiling sugar until now! It can be intimidating but if you follow our instructions you should have success.

We should note, that we typically use a 6qt hard anodized non-stick pot but we think we will graduate to a heavy stainless steel pot soon. The other thing  worth mentioning is that candy making is really easy to clean up. It sounds like it would present a sticky mess but remember sugar dissolves in hot water so with a little patience your mess will be cleaned up.

Fleur De Sel Caramels

Before you start it is important that you have your pan prepared. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper and spray lightly with non-stick spray. (I generally spray and then gently wipe it mostly off with a paper towel)

1 cup heavy cream
5 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (this can be purchased at Williams Sonoma or online – you can also use a whole, split vanilla bean. Just remove it before adding the hot milk to the boiling sugar)
1 1/4 tsp sea salt – finely ground
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water

In a small sauce pan, heat the cream, butter, vanilla, paste and salt over medium low heat. Do not boil this mixture but make sure you get it really hot and stir it frequently.

In a large, 6qt, sauce pan heat the sugar, corn syrup and water over medium heat. Stir frequently until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar is dissolved continue to heat the mixture, occasionally swirling the pan until the mixture becomes  a light amber color. This will take some time so be patient and don’t try to rush it by increasing the heat of the burner.

Once the mixture is a nice golden color, stir in the cream mixture. Pour slowly and stir constantly – the sugar mixture will boil up so don’t go too slowly. Once the cream is all added you will not be stirring anymore. At this point you should insert a candy themometer without letting the bulb touch the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking the mixture until it reaches “firm ball” stage or about 248 degrees.

Immediately remove from the heat and pour into your prepared pan – avoid the temptation to scrape the pan. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes or so and then sprinkle the top with a coarsely crushed sea salt. Cool completely and then cut. I typically use a lightly oiled pizza cutter. Wrap the pieces in wax paper, cellophane or foil 4” squares – you can buy these or make your own.

Gluten free peanut butter cookies – for our Acme Baking Company celiac friends

Baking gluten free is not a primary focus of Acme Baking Company but, like most of you, I have gluten free friends that I would love to bake for. Enter Gluten Free Peanut Butter cookies!

Ingredients
1 c. Peanut butter
1 c. Sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Mix in a bowl, scoop on lined cookie sheets and make the normal criss cross fork tine imprint or make a well that you can fill with jelly when you take the cookies out of the oven. For a little extra something, sprinkle flake salt on top before baking but just a little!

Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet.

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Glazed Lemon Cookies – fancy cookie that is easy to bake!

acme baking company glazed lemon cookie

At Acme Baking Company we get excited about baked goods that are easy to make and look great. These delicious glazed lemon cookies come up aces on both the ease and aesthetic fronts. Perfect little disks of crisp, delicate lemon cookie topped with a rich and bright glaze.

Glazed Lemon Cookies

Cookie Dough:
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 1/4 c. flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons cold cubed butter
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a food processor, blend the sugar and lemon zest until the sugar is yellow in color and slightly damp. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and blend until combined. Add the cubed butter and blend until the mixture looks like graham cracker crumbs.

Mix the lemon juice, egg yolk and vanilla in a glass with a pour spout. Pour as a steady stream into the dough mixture while the food processor is running. Let the dough continue to be processed until a ball forms.

acme baking company dough logAcme Baking Company wrapped dough log

Place a length of plastic wrap on your counter, transfer the dough to the plastic wrap and form a round log about 2 inches thick and 12 inches long. Wrap the plastic wrap around the dough and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Cut the dough log into slices just shy of 1/4 inch thick. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 13-16 minutes until the edges begin to brown.

Let the cookies cool on until firm on cookie sheets then transfer to a cooling rack.

Glaze:
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 1/2 c. (6oz) powdered sugar

Whisk together the lemon juice and cream cheese until completely smooth. This took my a while and was definitely a forearm workout. Once complete smooth add the powdered sugar. If the mixture is a little too stiff (mine was) add a little bit of water (a couple of teaspoons max) and whisk until incorporated. Don’t be tempted to add more water, the mixture will come to the right consistency.

Spread about 1 tablespoon of glaze on each cookie disk. Spread the edges using the back of a spoon. Let the glaze set completely, this could take up to an hour.

Nothing but the crumb..

I have tasted New York style crumb cake before but I have never really thought to make one. I am not sure I succeeded tonight but I did make one. It is hot, really hot in my kitchen, so I am not convinced that baking was the right thing to do. Now, as I sit and type this plopped precisely in front of my very pathetic in-room air conditioner smelling the tempting aroma of vanilla and cinnamon wafting this way I think I made the right decision.

The final photo will have to be added tomorrow morning, you know the one, the glamor shot of the cut cake slice. It is a tricky cake and I can’t really tell if it is fully baked so said photo might never come and you will just have to assume I failed.

Cake Batter

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for pan
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (you could use milk here, I think I should have added a tbsp or two more of the buttermilk to get the right consistency)

Crumb Topping

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Directions

1.       Place rack in center of oven, and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour your pan (I used an 8 inch cake round)

2.       In a medium bowl, sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

3.       In a second bowl, whisk together egg, milk, canola oil, and vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into egg mixture.

4.       Spread batter evenly into prepared pan, and set aside.

5.      In a medium bowl, combine remaining 2 1/2 cups flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Pour melted butter over flour mixture, and toss with a rubber spatula until large crumbs form. Sprinkle crumbs over batter.

6.      Transfer pan to oven, and bake, rotating pan after 10 minutes. Continue baking until a cake tester comes out clean, about 10 minutes more.

Transfer baking pan to a wire rack to cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Using a serrated knife or bench scraper, cut into 3-inch squares. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Snickerdoodle! Just the name sounds fun

I think there are four cookies in everyone’s arsenal of go-tos. Chocolate chip is always at the top of the list, followed by peanut butter, oatmeal and the snickerdoodle! The snickerdoodle is second on my list of faves – it is a simple cookie with only 8 ingredients (if you count the cinnamon in the topping.)

I seem to be in a timewarp lately, baking all my childhood favorites. This recipe only incredibly slightly modified comes from a cookbook called Cookies which was published in 1980! I was four years old when this book came out and for some reason my mom had two copies so when I moved out, I took one. Shhhh, don’t tell my brother.

Snickerdoodles

1 c. butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 c. flour
1 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Coating

3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Method

I like to cream the sugar and butter together, then add the eggs one at a time. To keep things simple I throw in the baking soda and salt – let them mix a minute and then add the flour all at once. Don’t mix it too long, just until the flour is incorporated.

Make 1 inch balls of dough, roll in cinnamon sugar mixture place on baking sheet. Normally I line my sheets with parchment but for some reason snickerdoodles always turn out better if I line the pans with tin foil, shiny side down.

Bake at 375 for 10 to 12 minutes.

Should make about 3 dozen cookies