Category Archives: Uncategorized

Blog On Fire!

I’m so honored that One Picture A Million Words nominated my blog for the Blog on Fire Award! Thank you so much! A funny story, at least funny to me, but I thought this was spam when I first received notification! I hadn’t heard of the award…there are so many blog awards out there…and I just immediately assumed it was some spam and didn’t pay much attention to it. I get some pretty crazy spam comments so I’ve started assuming something is spam first! Terrible, huh? So imagine my surprise when I saw it was real!

I actually don’t read other blogs very often. It’s not that I don’t like to read them but quite the opposite actually. I can spend hours looking at other blogs. And then I start doubting my own blog and think about all the changes I want to make but am not sure where to start.  I know nothing about html coding, for starters, my photography needs so much work, and I need to start developing more of my own recipes. I start thinking mine doesn’t even deserve to be up there when there are so many other great blogs out there. And is anyone even reading my blog? Why would they read it if they have so many other choices! I’m sure many bloggers feel that way. It’s a tough, yet awesome, bloggerverse out there! And I’m proud to be part of it!

Thanks to all my followers for reading and supporting me! You Rock!

The rules for accepting are to list 8 things about me and nominate 8 blogs.

Me (In no particular order) 

1. I met my husband when we were both in the military.

2. In a former life I was a meteorologist.

3. I have a Master’s degree in Human Resources Management that I’ve never used.

4. I used to own a pet sitting business.

5. I have two little doggies whom I love dearly and make me smile every day.

6. My husband is my best friend. I’m thankful every day that we found each other.

7. I’m from North Dakota but never want to go back.

8. I want to move to the Pacific Northwest.

Passing the Torch: 

1. Butter Baking

2. Stir It Up

3. Strong Like My Coffee

4. Cuter Than Gluten

5. Baking Progress

6. Rock Salt

7. The Modern Home Economist

8. The Mommy Diaries

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Pound Cake

If you haven’t seen the Italy issue of Bon Appetit, leave now and go out and buy it. It is an issue you will want to keep for reference and it has so many great recipes. I’ve already become addicted to the basic tomato sauce that is on the cover.

But this is a baking blog, so let’s talk about this pound cake. It’s in the beginning of the magazine and the official name is “Brown Sugar and Chocolate Chip Pound Cake with Maple Espresso Glaze.” Whew, that’s a mouthful. I prefer to call it a Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake because, well, that is what it tastes like! A moist, delicious chocolate chip cookie disguised as a cake. I think it might be my new favorite. I even went out and bought a bundt cake pan just for this cake (with a Bed Bath and Beyond Coupon, I might add). And today everyone is waking up to the news that Osama Bin Laden has been killed by our Rock Star U.S. Military, so we need to do some celebrating. This cake will fit the bill.

It’s yummy, it’s easy, and it’s pretty. What more could you ask for in a cake?

The only change I made was I used only vanilla extract because I didn’t have any maple extract. But the maple in the glaze is subtle and just the right amount. I love the espresso specks in the glaze. Pretty, don’t you think? This cake would be a hit if you needed something for a potluck. You’ll be the star!

Brown Sugar and Chocolate Chip Pound Cake with Maple Espresso Glaze

from Bon Appetit

Ingredients

Cake

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 cups all purpose flour, setting aside 2 TB for chocolate chips plus additional for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter 12-cup Bundt pan. Spray pan generously with nonstick spray. Dust pan lightly with flour.
2. Mix chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons flour in medium bowl. Toss the chips thoroughly to make sure they are all evenly coated. Sift remaining flour with baking soda, baking powder, and salt into another medium bowl.
3. Using electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla extract and maple extract. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
4. Mix in flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold in chocolate chip mixture. Transfer batter to prepared pan, spreading evenly.
5. Bake cake until tester inserted near center comes out clean and cake begins to pull away from sides of pan, about 1 hour. Start checking the cake around 40 minutes and check every five minutes or so. It took 55 minutes for me. Another five minutes would have been too long.
6. Cool cake in pan on rack 30 minutes (I only left it in 10 minutes and it still turned out fine). Invert cake onto rack and cool completely.
Good to know: Mixing the chocolate chips with a little flour before adding them to the batter helps the chips stay evenly suspended in the batter and evenly distributed throughout the baked cake. Otherwise, they may sink to the bottom.

Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
Combine powdered sugar, maple syrup, 2 tablespoons cream, and espresso powder in medium bowl. Whisk until smooth, adding more cream by 1/2 teaspoonfuls if glaze is too thick to drizzle. Spoon glaze decoratively over top of cake; let stand at room temperature until glaze is firm, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and let stand at room temperature.
I dare you to have just one slice…

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Chocolate Macarons

I finally attempted macarons again. While my first attempt wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t amazing either. And these cookies are quite intimidating. So much can go wrong. But when they turn out well, they taste amazing. This time I used a recipe from David Lebovitz, but still mostly used Tartelette’s technique.  And my second attempt went much better. Overall they looked better, the size was better, and they tasted better. They were just a wee bit lopsided. But they have feet and they puffed up. Oh, and they were lumpy. Yes, I made an incredibly dumb mistake and didn’t sift my almonds after processing them. Luckily, the lumps didn’t come across in the mouth, just in looks. This really is a cookie where practice makes perfect. The texture this time was much better. Very airy, a little crispy, and then the creamy center. What a great little cookie!

Chocolate Macarons with Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling

Chocolate Macarons From David Lebovitz

Yield 15 cookies

  • 1 cup (100 gr) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered almonds, sifted!
  • 3 TB (25 gr) unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 2 large egg whites, room temp, 48 hours
  • 5 TB (65 gr) granulated sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350º F (180º C).

2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (or silpat) and have a pastry bag with a plain tip (about 1/2-inch, 2 cm) ready. Grind together the powdered sugar with the almond powder and cocoa so there are no lumps; use a blender or food processor. Then sift!

3. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they begin to rise and hold their shape. While whipping, beat in the granulated sugar until very stiff and firm, about 2 minutes.

4. Carefully fold the dry ingredients, in two batches, into the beaten egg whites with a flexible rubber spatula. Should take about 50 strokes.  When the mixture is just smooth and there are no streaks of egg white, stop folding and scrape the batter into the pastry bag (standing the bag in a tall glass helps if you’re alone).

5. Pipe the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1-inch (3 cm) circles (about 1 tablespoon each of batter), evenly spaced one-inch (3 cm) apart. I actually used a scoop this time and it worked well. The batter was thick and lumpy because I didn’t sift!

Some of them cracked on top and I’m not sure why….

6. Let rest at room temp for about 30 minutes so the shells can harden, then bake them for 15-18 minutes. Let cool completely then remove from baking sheet. When cool, fill with strawberry cream cheese filling.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling, Adapted from Tartelette

  • 4 oz cream cheese, at room temp
  • 3 TB strawberry jam or preserves

Stir to combine. Pipe onto half of macarons and top with the other half. Keep refrigerated.

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Leaning Tower of Red Velvet Cake

I thought I’d share my “oops” cake with you. As you may remember, I made Chocolate Soufles the weekend before Valentines Day since it fell on a Monday this year. While I was out for a run on the afternoon of Valentines Day, I was thinking about cake. Yes, I think about food constantly while I run. After all, I run so I can eat more. Oh, and yeah, that being “running is good for me” stuff too. Anyhow, I thought my dear hubby would really appreciate a red velvet cake on V-day. It is his favorite and I figured I probably had time to make a small cake and surprise him. There would be no time for fancy stuff, just a cake. I used the same recipe from Smitten Kitchen but cut the cake recipe in half for a six inch cake and used the full icing recipe.

This is what happened:

red velvet cake

I took a teeny tiny short cut. Some of the cake stuck to the pan and instead of patching it up or at least trimming the cake, I just tried to fill it in with more icing. And the cake started leaning! I tried to get it to stay upright but it was too late at that point.  It’s pretty funny, don’t you think? Thank goodness it was just for the two of us, and even more thankfully, it was DELICIOUS. My best tasting red velvet yet, I kid you not! It was so incredibly moist and yummy, I’m actually sad right now that it is long gone.

But this was a good lesson for me. One, minor patches on cake are a good thing, time permitting. And two, a less than perfect appearance does not mean less than perfect taste. Apparently I don’t always have to be a perfectionist to make good food. Lesson learned.

 

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