Thursday, March 22, 2012

One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes

You know who I love? Sweetapolita. How fun and gorgeous is her blog? She posted these one bowl chocolate cupcakes with "cloud frosting." These are amazing- light and fluffy, moist and chocolatey. And this frosting is a new fave- butter and sugar beaten together, add melted chocolate and vanilla. It comes together in less than 10 minutes. No cooking, no long beating times. Love it!
The recipe is here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

TWD- Irish Soda Bread

Can someone please tell me when St Patrick's Day became a real holiday where you have to stage a leprechaun visit at your house, create shenanigans that said leprechaun did, and leave treats and goodies for your kids? I was getting a little annoyed with the whole Elf on the Shelf thing at Christmas this year, and now this? What happened to wearing green, maybe some corned beef and cabbage and calling it good? Am I being the St Patrick's Day Scrooge?
Anyhoo, this week's TWD is for Irish Soda Bread. This is about the easiest, quickest recipe ever. Mix flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Add buttermilk, pour in a pie plate. Bake and done!
I made this when I was home with a sick boy. When the rest of my family came home, Beansy said, "What's this? A giant dog treat?" Yes, I made a giant dog treat and left it on the stove. We don't have a dog.
She liked it so much, she did end up eating two pieces for lunch- one with ham and one with jam (Sam I Am. heehee). After hearing it was yummy, my sicky two year old declared, "I want some dog food, too!"
 Carla and Cathleen will have the recipe! 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Tangled Cake #6

Seriously, I've made 6 of these?!! This was for Olivia, who turned 3. The birthday girl's family put on figures of the characters. The tower is made of rice krispy treats. Cakes were strawberry and chocolate, filled with strawberry cream cheese buttercream.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

King Arthur Flour Brownies

How do you like brownies? Thin and a little hard (well-cooked)? Thick and chewy? Edges? Middles? I've long been resigned to the fact that, for my tastes, the best brownies come from mixes. Seriously. How yummy are the brownies that have that flaky crisp top, chewy and moist in the middle? I feel I've given homemade brownies a fair shake- I try new recipes every now and then, but haven't found anything outstanding (and brownies must be thick and made in a 9"x13" pan! None of this 8" square business).
I found this recipe on Pinterest, but it's adapted from the King Arthur Flour recipe. It's easy and quick- melt butter in a saucepan, add sugar and cook for a couple minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl, beat in eggs, cocoa powder, vanilla, salt and baking powder. Add flour and chocolate chips (and I sprinkled chopped caramels on top) and bake!
The cooking time says 30 minutes, but mine only took 20.

These brownies are delicious- moist and VERY fudgey. Not really chewy like I like, but still delicious. The search is still on....

  • Double Chocolate Caramel Brownies
  • adapted from King Arthur Flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups Dutch-process cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup caramels, chopped


1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9" x 13" pan
2) In a small saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter. Add the sugar and stir to combine. Cook for a couple more minutes (do not boil). Set aside to cool.
3) In the bowl of a stand mixer, add 4 eggs and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, and vanilla till smooth.
4) Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth.
5) Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth.
6) Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9" x 13" pan. Sprinkle chopped caramels over the top.
7) Bake the brownies for about 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting. Makes 24 brownies.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bounce Dryer Bar

A few months ago, I received a Bounce Dryer Bar to try out. It's a dryer bar that you stick in your dryer so you don't have to worry about dryer sheets. I received the 4 month Outdoor Fresh bar. I was skeptical at first- the product claims to last about 4 months, but it seemed unlikely that a product would last that long, especially in my house! I do at least 5 loads of laundry a week (4 kids wear a LOT of clothes).
I was pleasantly surprised that after starting to use this at the beginning of November, I only replaced it a couple of weeks ago. The scent is nice and fresh and I love the convenience of it. My kids loved how it smells, too! I definitely recommend trying it out!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Red Velvet Sheet Cake

I know this statement will cause all sorts of outrage, but I don't get the appeal of Texas Sheet Cake. It's just an inferior chocolate cake. Thin, powdered sugary frosting... what's the point? My anti-Texas Sheet Cake attitude has bled into other sheet cakes as well. But a couple weeks ago, we were watching Pioneer Woman's show on our DVR and she made Red Velvet Sheet Cake for a potluck. It looked so delicious and easy I had to try it. We were having quite a few people over for dinner so I had the perfect opportunity to try it.
The recipe starts with creaming shortening (not my fave) and sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add, alternately, flour/salt and buttermilk. Stir together red food coloring, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Add vinegar and add to the cake mixture. Pour in a sheet pan and bake! Easy!
Instead of a cream cheese frosting, PW uses a buttercream made of a cooked milk.flour mixture, sugar and butter. I've used this buttercream before, from Our Best Bites. It is a great alternative to powdered sugar frostings, but it uses quite a bit of butter (one pound). One recipe of the frosting covers this sheet cake perfectly- PW suggests doubling it, but I didn't de-pan my sheet cake and therefore didn't need frosting for the sides.
A little Instagram shot:
This cake is moist and the frosting is light and fluffy. I enjoy red velvet cake, but I think the red food coloring gives it a weird taste. I've tried all different types of food coloring- liquid, paste, gel and even no-taste, but I can always taste the food color. I did love the ease of this cake and it may have even changed my mind about sheet cakes (not Texas sheet cake, though)! :)
I want to try this one next!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

TWD- Rugelach

Whew, TWD is now only every two weeks, and those weeks seem to go by quickly! We're back this week with Rugelach, a cookie made of sour cream or cream cheese dough and filled with dried fruit, nuts, fruit preserves, cinnamon, chocolate, among others.
This recipe starts with a cream cheese dough, made of flour, cream cheese and butter. I made mine in a food processor. Shape it in a ball, flatten in a disk, and chill.
Before you look at this next picture, I have a confession. I chickened out in using an apricot or prune lekvar. I actually have a personal rule to not eat anything with apricots or prunes because I hate them. As the mom of small children, we never use that word, but I will now. I hate them. Soooo, I used raspberry preserves.
 Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over the preserves.
Before you look at the next picture, I have another confession. I used chocolate as Dorie posted in Baking From My Home to Yours. And I didn't use dried fruit, cuz that's gross. Oh, and also I forgot to get any kind of nut when I went to the grocery store. So we're just going with chocolate and fruit.
Roll it up jelly-roll style and chill. Again.
 After it's nice and chilly, you brush the roll with egg wash, slice and roll in cinnamon and sugar.
Bake for 25-30 minutes (mine took 20) at 375 degrees F. I didn't wait to take a picture of the baked ones because I'm about to go to bed, but imagine these are de-panned and arranged nicely on a plate.
My husband and I just popped a couple of these in our mouths and were quite pleased. The actual cookie part is pretty delicious- crisp, buttery, and slightly tart from the cream cheese. I quartered the recipe because we have treats coming out our ears right now (red velvet sheet cake post to come). Although these were good, I'm not sure I would make them again. I'm not really a fruit cookie kind of person, but if you are, you should try these! And don't forget the chocolate. 'Cuz it makes everything better. Margaret and Jessica will have the recipe!