Posts Tagged '#baking'

Everyday Cake

Yesterday when Luke asked (using the power of his magical dimples) if we could make a cake together, how could I say no? It was a sweet afternoon; we walked to the store in the sunshine for eggs and buttermilk and then got to making a mess in the kitchen, just the two of us.

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We had such a good time. Sometimes I struggle to let go and let my kids REALLY help me with baking or cooking projects. The mess and energy and just overall chaos of little kids with spatulas and measuring cups (yelling ‘I can do it!!!!’ at the top of their lungs) can be overwhelming not to mention I might be a tad bit over-controlling when it comes to how I want things done.

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But yesterday we got it right. Lu was helpful and listened and followed instructions and I was calm and patient and took a deep breath and LET him do it on his own.

And the best part? We made a cake. And it was delicious. One layer of buttermilk vanilla cake with a lemon cream cheese frosting and strawberries. It tasted like spring.

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Buttermilk Cake:

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Generously spray a ten inch round cake pan with cooking spray or butter and lightly flour it. You could also use a 9×9 square cake pan.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside. In a mixer cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in vanilla. Mix in flour mixture in three parts alternating with the buttermilk. Mix together until well-combined. Pour batter into pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes, then turn it upside down on a cooling rack and pop it out of the pan to finish cooling.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • splash of milk
  • the zest of one lemon
  • pinch of salt

In a mixer, mix the butter and cream cheese until they are well-combined. Add the vanilla, salt and lemon zest and continue to mix. Slowly add in the powdered sugar. If the frosting is too thick, add a splash of milk to get to desired texture.

When the cake is cool, liberally frost the top of the cake. Garnish with fresh strawberries.

Chocolate Chocolate White Chocolate Cookies

It’s officially February. January is gone for another year (oh thank goodness) and I need a break from green smoothies, salad and constantly feeling hungry.

Besides, February is the month of love and all that mushy stuff and what goes better with romance than a big plate of chocolate goodness? Nothing, I tell you.

Make a double batch of these treats. Trust me. Put some in the freezer. You’ll be so glad you did the next time your husband comes home grumpy from work, or you need a treat to take to a friend or your day just blows up in your face. Not that I would know anything about any of that…

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This recipe is a bit of a mash-up between a cookie recipe from The Pioneer Woman and The Farm Chicks.

Triple Chocolate Cookies:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In a mixer, cream the butter for 1 minute. Add the sugars and vanilla until creamy and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Lower the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. With a spatula mix in the chips until well-combined. Bake for about 8 minutes. It’s easy to over-cook the cookies because its hard to tell how brown they are getting. Err on the side of undercooked. Allow to cook on a wire rack and try not to eat a dozen in the first hour you bake them.

Enjoy!

Coffee Cake

I have a recipe that will knock your socks off. Raspberry Almond Coffee Cake.

It is a decadent but light loaf cake. It has a crunchy almond streusel topping and sweet tangy raspberries stirred into the batter. This is an excellent weekend brunch item, hostess gift or a random Tuesday morning treat.

I made this for my in-laws a couple weeks back and I’m still thinking about it. I might have to make a few mini loaves for the freezer so I always have some on hand.

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Raspberry Almond Coffee Cake
Adapted from Joy of Cooking / stumbled on at A Cup of Jo

You’ll need:
For the streusel topping:
1/3 cup chopped almonds
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 tbsp. butter

For the cake:
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
5 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. almond extract
1 cup frozen raspberries (I still had raspberries growing on my bushes, so I used fresh. I think you can use whatever you have on hand)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

To make the streusel topping: In a small bowl, combine almonds, brown sugar and 3 tablespoons butter. Using your fingers, work the butter into the sugar and almonds until blended.

To make the cake: Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add the 5 tablespoons of butter. Using either your fingers, a pastry blender or two knives, work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Don’t allow the butter to melt or form a blended paste with the flour.

In another bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk and almond extract. Pour over the flour mixture, and stir until just barely combined. Add the frozen berries, and fold in until just mixed through.

Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan. Top with the streusel topping, distributing evenly. Bake for about 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for ten minutes.

Homemade Donut…sort of?

Perusing through the latest Sunset Magazine, I zoned in on this recipe (almond and jam pastry).

For two weeks I kept thinking about that recipe, dog-earing the page and reminding myself to buy almonds in the bulk section at the grocery store.

On Saturday, Aaron and Jack went skiing, leaving me with two mildly sick little ones who both blessedly took monster naps. This left me twiddling my thumbs and thinking once again about that recipe.

I broke out the bread machine and decided to attempt a loaf of brioche. The stars must have aligned, because the bread baked up beautifully.

On Sunday morning, I got up with the kids and after making an extra big pot of coffee, whipped up the rest of the dish.

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They were so stinking good. The almond flavor and raspberry jam are perfect together. The bread was soft in the middle and toasted on the outside. Sweet and creamy and satisfying without being overly-sweet.

The great thing is there’s plenty of almond paste (cream?) left over. So you can make it again the next day (like me), and the next day after that.

You certainly don’t need to make the brioche yourself and frankly I think a loaf of french bread would work just as well. I’m thinking about slathering that stuff on my boring old wheat toast tomorrow morning.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Growing up, my mom worked part-time as a registered nurse. She worked a 3-11pm shift and on the nights she worked she left the house before we came home from school.

In her absence, she often left a batch of homemade cookies on the counter (and a list of jobs) for us. Usually chocolate chip, sometimes snicker doodle, every once in a while oatmeal raisin.

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And so, because of how I grew up, or just that my sugar addiction is really that strong, we very often have fresh cookies around the house. Bad I know, but I just can’t help myself.

The following recipe is hands down the best peanut butter cookie recipe I’ve stumbled upon yet. They are soft and chewy with a wonderful peanut butter taste, not to mention chocolaty with a hint of saltiness. Perfection I tell you.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies:
(via)

Ingredients
•1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
•3/4 teaspoon baking soda
•3/4 teaspoon baking powder
•1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
•1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
•1/2 cup creamy peanut butter at room temperature
•3/4 cup dark brown sugar
•1/4 cup granulated sugar
•1/2 tablespoon honey
•1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt or sour cream
•1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Instructions
1.In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and the salt. Set aside.
2.With an electric mixer, mix softened butter and peanut butter together until thoroughly blended. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Next beat in the egg, honey, vanilla, and yogurt until combined. Add the dry ingredients slowly and beat on low-speed just until combined. Gently stir in the chocolate chips. Chill dough in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes-1 hour, or place in freezer for 20 minutes.
3.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
4.Once ready to bake, roll dough into 1-inch balls and place onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 9-12 minutes (depends on size of your cookie) or until cookies begin to turn a tiny golden brown and crisp up around the edges. Do not overbake! Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for 3-5 minutes and sprinkle cookies generously with sea salt. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

(cookies will appear slightly underdone in the middle, but firm up as they cool).

I freeze cookie dough balls and bake a couple at a time. In theory, this would help us to have moderation, but in reality Aaron sneaks the dough directly from the freezer and I often bake two after lunch and a few after dinner as well. It would be a lie to say I share with my children. Clearly, we have a problem.


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