2013 Baking Resolutions

The Baked Brownie
The Baked Brownie. One of my favorite recipes to date!

Happy New Year everyone!  Hope you all had a fabulous New Year’s Eve and are, ahem, recovering from whatever merriment you may have participated in!  I had a laid back, quiet evening in with my hubby and have to say it was very, very nice.  Sometimes you just need to relax and rest!

Last year I made a few baking resolutions for myself and have to confess I am not too proud of how (un)successful I was with them.  Let’s review, shall we?

1.  Bake more international desserts.  Ummm, yeah.  Massive failure on this one.  Early in the year I actually attempted to make Brazo de Mercedes, a delicious Filipino dessert and a favorite dessert of mine, period.   It’s an airy, spongy, meringue-like cake spread with a lemon custard and rolled up.   It’s divine.   And I was doing ok until I got to the rolling part…one crack led to another and before I knew it, custard was oozing everywhere.  And that was the beginning and end of the international dessert experiments.

2.  Bake more classic desserts.  This one I actually accomplished…sort of.  I didn’t do nearly as many as I wanted but I did manage to bake a delicious Coconut Cake, a Hummingbird Cake and a Fresh Orange Italian Cream Cake.  I really love cakes so I’m going to try and do a few more classics this year and probably a few not-so-classics.

Orange-Italian-Cream-Cake-Slice
Fresh Orange Italian Cream Cake

3.  Bake more challenging desserts.  Hah. Hah. HAH.  I have no patience and in fact have quite a collection of one-pan, easy, no-bake desserts on my blog so that should tell you everything you need to know about that particular resolution.

4.  Bake more healthy desserts.  I’m pleased to say this resolution is one that I did accomplish.  Probably because we eat fairly healthy in our household so making these desserts meant we could actually eat them and didn’t have to send them away to my husband’s office to be devoured.  I managed to make them quite regularly for the blog and as a matter of fact the first recipe of the new year later this week will indeed be HEALTHY.  Yay!

ChocolateChip-Quinoa-Trail-Mix-Balls
Chocolate Chip Quinoa Trail Mix Balls

So what are my baking resolutions for this year???  I only have one.

1.  Make what I ENJOY baking. 

What a concept, right?!  I have realized that the resolutions from last year that I succeeded in are actually things that I truly enjoy making and eating.  Too often I think I have to push my limits and do things that require extreme skill and time.  Or I get consumed with trying to figure out what recipe will get “pinned” the most on Pinterest or trying to figure out what other people want to bake at the time, what’s trendy, what holiday it is…you get the point.  And I’ll still keep all those things in mind but I won’t let it dictate what I put on Desserted Planet.  I’ll do things that I genuinely enjoy and get pleasure from making.  I’m pretty excited about it!

So what are your resolutions, baking or otherwise?  I’d really love to hear them!

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New Year’s Eve Eats – Dessert Dips!

Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip
Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip by Cookie Crazed Mama

Hey friends!  Man, I feel like I’ve barely recovered from all the Christmas baking and New Year’s Eve is staring me right in the face!  Ack!  I’m not gonna lie, at this point I’m not sure what I’m going to bake, if anything, and quite truthfully these no-bake dessert dips are looking pretty good to me right now.  Very short list of ingredients, no oven involved and just darn tasty.  So this is the direction I think I’m gonna go…because I actually want to enjoy my New Year’s and not drive myself crazy the next couple of days baking non-stop in the kitchen.  Just keepin’ it real people!

So what are your New Year’s baking plans?  Or do you have any??  I’d love to know!

P.S. Check out last year’s New Year’s Eve dessert inspiration here!

Cherry Cheesecake Dip

 

Cherry Cheesecake Dip

Pumpkin Pie Dip

 

Pumpkin Dip

White Chocolate Oreo Fluff Dip

 

White Chocolate Oreo Fluff Dip

Raspberry Lemon Fruit Dip

 

Raspberry Lemon Fruit Dip

Cannoli Dip

 

Cannoli Dip

Funfetti Cake Dip

 

Funfetti Cake Dip

Apple Pie Dip

 

Apple Pie Dip

Candy Cane Dip

 

Candy-Cane-Dip-and-Chocolate-Cookies

Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip

 

Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip

S’mores Dip

 

S'mores Dip

Pina Colada Fruit Dip

 

Pina-Colada-Fruit-Dip

Brownie Batter Dip

 

Brownie Batter Dip

Orange Creamsicle Fruit Dip

 

orange-creamsicle-dip

Monster Cookie Dough Dip

 

monster-cookie-dough-dip-words

Peanut Butter & Yogurt Dip

 

Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip

Fruit Salsa Dip

 

Fruit Salsa

Nutella Yogurt Fruit Dip

 

Nutella Yogurt Fruit Dip

Caramel Cheesecake Dip

 

Caramel Cheesecake Dip

Chocolate Toffee Cookie Dough Dip

 

Chocolate Toffee Cookie Dough Dip

Snickerdoodle Dip

 

Snickerdoodle Dip

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Gingerbread Cheesecake

Please excuse me for a moment while I declare this THE. BEST. CHEESECAKE. RECIPE. EEEEEEVVVVVERRRRR.

Ok, now that that’s out of the way…I made this cheesecake the other night with my friend Nicole.  She wanted to make it for her family for Christmas and I am SO glad she did.  It’s truly amazing, super creamy, has THE BEST gingerbread flavor and  is heavy on the molasses which I love!  And I have a newfound faith in water baths..we actually used one, after my ranting and raving that I didn’t think they actually made a difference.  Well, they DO.  There was not even a hint of a crack on the top of the cheesecake and I really believe it contributed to the creaminess of it.  Just divine.  Perfect if, say, you have a party this weekend…there might be a couple happening.  Just maybe.

(Recipe from Cooking Pleasures Magazine)

Gingerbread Cheesecake
 
Ingredients
Crust
  • 2 c. Finely Ground Gingersnaps
  • 6 T. Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 2 T. Granulated Sugar
Filling
  • 4, 8 oz. packages Cream Cheese, softened
  • ½ c. Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • ½ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • ½ c. Sour Cream
  • ½ c. Molasses
  • 2 t. Ground Ginger
  • 1 t. Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ t. Ground Cloves
Topping
  • 1 c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • ½ c. Powdered Sugar
  • ½ t. Pure Vanilla
  • 1 T. Rum (optional...but recommended)
Instructions
For the Cheesecake:
  1. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Grease a 9-inch springform pan and wrap outside of pan with a couple pieces of heavy-duty foil.
  2. Combine all crust ingredients in a medium bowl. Press into bottom and halfway up sides of springform pan. Refrigerate while you make the rest of the cheesecake.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and both sugars until smooth and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add all remaining filling ingredients and mix until combined. Pour into crust.
  4. Place pan in a large baking or broiler pan. Add enough water to baking pan to come a couple inches (no more than halfway) up the sides of the springform pan. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until edges are puffed and top is dry to the touch. Center should move slightly when pan is tapped but should not ripple as if liquid.
  5. Remove cake from water bath; Remove foil. Cool on wire rack 1 hour. Refrigerate, uncovered, overnight.
For the Whipped Cream Topping:
  1. Beat heavy whipping cream in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Beat in powdered sugar, vanilla and rum. Spread over top of cooled cake.
Notes
Serves 20

Nicole mentioned, and I agree, that even though we cooked it for an hour and a half (five minutes longer than the recipe called for), it could have probably used another 5-10 minutes.  So, use your judgement.

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New Year’s Eve Cupcakes

Yes, cupcakes. Again.  People love them, there’s absolutely no denying that.  When I first started researching for this post, I wanted to do cupcakes that were themed and decorated for New Year’s Eve but man, the selection and variety was abysmal!  So instead of coming up with (and making) something cute and clever myself, I opted for Plan B:  Boozy Cupcakes.

Are cupcakes and liquor a match made in heaven? Most certainly.  I love any chance I get to throw alcohol into my desserts and these cupcakes are an absolutely legitimate excuse to do just that.  So, for the guests at your New Year’s Eve party that love cupcakes and would rather eat their alcohol than drink it (or do both), whip up one or two of the cupcakes below…maybe create a cupcake “bar”??  I think that’s one bar-tending job I could handle!

 

White Chocolate Champagne Cupcakes

Stout Cupcakes

Cherry Amaretto Cupcakes

 

Bourbon Chocolate Cupcakes

Mudslide Cupcakes

 

Jack and Coke Cupcakes

 

Margarita Cupcakes

Red Wine Cupcakes

 

Chambord Cupcakes

Cupcake “Shots”

 

 

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New Year’s Eve Party Mini Desserts

I have been in love with mini desserts for years.  They are just so darn cute and the fact that you don’t have to pick just ONE dessert but can in fact try several, due to their tiny size, is just awesome to me.  I love them so much that I actually used to cater desserts and only did miniature sizes.  It was so much fun and sometimes I really miss planning dessert tables for weddings or parties with loads of colorful, bite-size desserts!  Thank goodness for the holidays when I can unleash my creative baking skills (obsession?) on all my family and friends!

So, I thought what would be better for a New Year’s Eve party than mini sweets?!  Finger foods are VERY popular for New Year’s Eve parties and these desserts stay right with that theme.  Some of these are super easy (2-3 ingredients), which is great since you have no doubt been in the kitchen waaaayyyy too much between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Also, another way to make easy miniatures is to bake up a normal 9×13 pan of brownies, blondies, cake, etc. and cut them small with a knife or fun-shaped, small cookie cutters or take any regular ‘ole cookie recipe and just make smaller than normal cookies (be sure to cook them for less time!).  Ok, let’s check out some other awesome tiny goodies from around the blogosphere:

First up, Mini S’mores Cakes.  How cute are these?!  Get a lot more mini ideas from Delish here.

I LOVE baklava.  Love it.  It was the one thing I was looking most forward to indulging in over the Christmas holiday. I’ve actually made Baklava Cups before and they are super good and MUCH less labor intensive than the traditional way.  See more ideas from Women’s Day here.

Mini Oreos.  Yum.

Mini Ice Cream Cookie Pops. How fun!  However, if you’re afraid of the ice cream melting before people can scarf them down, try it with buttercream frosting.

I love these Mini Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats.  Rice Krispie treats are sooo classic and just plain good.

Banana Split Bites.  Delicious and gorgeous.

Vanilla Bean Baby Doughnuts.  Perfect after a night of imbibing.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake.  One of my favorites.

Poptarts on a stick.  Totally awesome.  AND easy.

These Chocolate Salted-Caramel Mini Cupcakes look soooo rich and decadent.  Pure bliss.

Cut these yummy Red Velvet Brownies super small for bite-size treats.

These Lindt Mini Chocolate Trifles are adorable.  Use some larger shot glasses for the cups and think about switching up ingredients…caramel sauce for the fudge, brownies for the cookies, etc.

I have been making Brownie Tassies forever.  The only thing I do differently is top them with coffee buttercream and toasted, slivered almonds.  People will go nuts over these.

Ummm, excuse me but this Chocolate Covered Bacon Caramel Popcorn is dangerous.  Dangerous I tell you!!  And I am SO going to make it.

These Mini Cherry Pies are just down right pretty.  And begging to be eaten.

I love the playfulness of this Gumdrop Fudge.  Very festive and party appropriate.  Not to mention easy.  We like easy!

Well, hopefully this gives you some inspiration for whatever crazy New Year’s party you may be hosting or attending.  Tomorrow I’ll have my own recipe for Mini Doughnut Muffins!

 

 

 

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