Tag Archives: Pillsbury

Products I Love: Quick Bread Mixes

14 Nov

 

Ok so I know this is a baking blog, and that the assumption is everything I do is from scratch (like brownies, and cookies), and most of the time that is true. But sometimes, a shortcut is necessary in life – and these Pillsbury Quick Bread Mixes are easy, quick to prepare, and most importantly – they taste great!

QuickBreads

They come in a variety of flavors: banana, cranberry, date, cinnamon swirl, apple cinnamon, blueberry, chocolate ship, lemon poppy seed, wildberry, chocolate chip swirl, nut, pecan swirl, as well as seasonal flavors like gingerbread and pumpkin (one of my personal favorites!)

Muffin

Eggs, water, and oil are all that are needed to add to the mix – then give it a good stir, and you’re ready to go! They can be made in a bundt pan, bread loaf pan, or muffin tins, and they’re a great and easy thing to whip up to bring to work or to a party

Sometimes I like to add various mix ins to them too – mini chocolate chips are great in the banana or pumpkin breads, nuts go well in the date, cranberry, and banana varieties, and raisins add another level of flavor to the pumpkin mix

The smell that fills the house while they are baking is seriously mouth-watering, and you can totally pass them off as homemade from scratch if you want to (don’t worry, I won’t tell!)

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Hopping Into Spring With An Adorable (And Delicious!) Bunny

29 May

Ok, I realize I may be a little late here, considering it’s almost June and temperatures have already surpassed 90 more than once this year (and here in Upstate NY that is not common for this time of year, trust me!), BUT honestly, the little bunnies living in my yard inspired me to think about Spring and all that it brings, including flowers, rain, and Easter!

And what better way to celebrate the arrival of the Easter Bunny than with this Bunny Cake?

 

I used a Pillsbury boxed cake mix – lemon flavored, and baked it according to the box directions, in 2 round cake pans
Then I cut it up according to this diagram:

And since it was lemon cake, I used this lemon frosting:
Ingredients:
-1 teaspoon fresh lemon rind, grated
-3 tablespoons butter
-3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
-2 tablespoons lemon juice
-1 tablespoon water
-1 dash salt

Directions:
Cream together lemon rind and butter, and add the sugar in batches, blending after each addition. Then add the salt, water and lemon juice and mix well, and voila, yummy homemade lemon frosting couldn’t be easier!

Then it was time to decorate! Many bunny cake recipes advise putting coconut on the bunny to make it look like fur, which is super cute, but I hate coconut so I don’t do that, I just used some frosting, sprinkles, and jelly beans for my bunny

…As it turns out, this was not my first time making this cake. After we enjoyed my lemon bunny, my mom dug this treasure out of a photo album – me with my first ever bunny, circa 1993.

The Bunny cake may not be a new, exciting recipe, but one thing is for sure – it’s easy, delicious, and makes people smile. Perfect for your next Easter dinner!

Brownies From Scratch – Are They Worth The Trouble?

22 Mar

Ok, so we have all watched cooking shows on TV or seen restaurants that claim they do everything ‘from scratch’, and that is all well and good for them but what I want to know is when do they find time to sleep???

I am all for making things from scratch when I can, and a while back I got to thinking about brownies, my thoughts were first about how much I love them (especially in the form of a brownie sundae!), then I got to thinking about how I have only ever made them from a mix, that brownies are something that had never even occured to me to make from scratch (this is probably because there are so many delicious varieties of boxed brownie mix, like pillsbury’s mint version that has mini andes candies pieces in them….yum).

So I decided to change my way of thinking and make some non-boxed mix brownies from scratch. But hmm….what recipe to make? I pondered that for a few days, and then my prayers were answered and This Recipe for something called “Brownie Rubble” appeared in my inbox (I get daily emails from Food Network, and they have definitely inspired me to cook and bake even more!)

I decided that upon looking at the recipe, that these were something I NEEDED to make (anything with 2 sticks of butter and 3 kinds of chocolate was a winner in my book!). The best part was that I had almost all the ingredients on hand already, so after a quick trip to the store for the peanuts, I was ready to whip up some rubble-y goodness.

Here is the recipe, courtesy of Food Network:

Brownie Rubble
Prep Time: 40 min
Cook Time: 40 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 12-18 brownies
Ingredients
2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, cold
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
Directions
Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with foil, pressing it into the corners and up the sides; leave an overhang on 2 sides. Butter the foil and dust with flour. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat to 400 degrees F.

Bring 1 inch water to a gentle simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Put the chocolate and 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons butter in a heatproof bowl; set the bowl over the saucepan (do not let the bowl touch the water). Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the saucepan.

Add the sugar, cocoa and salt to the bowl and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition, until the batter is thick and shiny. Add the vanilla, then add 1 cup flour and mix until combined. Spread in the prepared pan.

Bake the brownies until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and scatter the marshmallows, chocolate chips and peanuts on top. Return to the oven; continue baking until the marshmallows are golden, about 5 more minutes.

Let cool in the pan on a rack, 30 minutes. Lift the brownies out of the pan using the foil and transfer to a cutting board to cool completely before slicing.

The results? Well, as you can see for yourself, it came out as an ooey gooey amazing mess (my favorite kind!). The only notes I can add are that I didn’t use a water bath to melt the chocolate (I microwaved it), and I would have baked it for a little longer than 35 minutes, maybe 45 minutes or so before adding the toppings, just because some of the middle pieces were a little extra gooey, which I like but I know not everyone does!

So the answer to the question “Is making brownies from scratch worth it?” – definitely! The chocolate taste is much richer, they aren’t that much harder or labor intensive to make, and best of all – you can brag that you made them ‘from scratch’ when people exclaim how much they love them (which they will, trust me)

Not all about making brownies from scratch? Then check out my equally delicious post on the Slutty Brownie, which uses a boxed brownie mix

Whether you do it from scratch or not, the end result is still chocolate-y brownie goodness, and that is the best result you can ask for, in my opinion!

Cute Cookie Shortcuts For Every Season….Including Disney Season?

19 Mar

I am the first to admit I am a huge Disney World fan, so much so that I have another blog dedicated to the reasons why Disney World is fun for adults too (not just kids!), so anytime I can Disney-fy something, I usually take advantage, and baking is no exception

Which is why I was thrilled to see these at adorable Valentine’s Day themed ready to bake cookies at my grocery store (they also had ones with Cinderella’s slipper on them)

And I also recently spotted these cute Minnie Mouse Easter ones (how exactly they fit into an “Easter” theme I am not sure, but they are still cute, and made double sense for me since I will be spending Easter in Disney World!)

These adorable cookies are a great project you can let your kids help with, because they are fast and easy and basically just involved plopping some dough chunks onto a cookie sheet

Another plus is they come in varieties for pretty much every season and occasion you can think of, from halloween to spring to easter to christmas to thanksgiving to st patrick’s day to valentine’s day to spring…..ok, you get the idea! Check out Pillsbury’s full line of cookies Here

One slight negative I have found with this type of cookie is that when they bake, they don’t spread out as nicely as I would like – I bake them for longer than stated on the package thinking this might help them spread, but it doesn’t…..

I personally miss the rolls of slice n bake cookies with the picture images in them, sometimes the images got a little distorted when you cut them, but I found as long as the dough was nice and cold and you cut it with a sharp knife, that wasn’t really an issue. My grocery store doesn’t seem to carry the rolls of dough with the images on them anymore, just the pre formed ‘ready to bake’ ones, which honestly doesn’t deter me from buying them, I just wish they came out more flat!

….And that also doesn’t stop me from eating (a lot of) them!