Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Coca-Cola Cake








Are you looking for a different Thanksgiving dessert to serve along with the pumpkin pie? Look no further. This Coca Cola Cake will have your guests (and you) going back for seconds.....or maybe even thirds. :)

Does this cake taste like Coke? Not really, but the delicious carbonated beverage makes for a wonderfully moist and delicious cake. Of course, the buttermilk helps with that as well. The cake is not too sweet, but when paired with the awesome chocolate frosting, it's a beautiful combination that you will definitely be thankful for.


Coca Cola Cake
Recipe from my Mom's archives

1 cup Coca Cola
1/2 cup veg. oil
1 stick butter
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour a 9x13 cake pan. Set aside.

In a medium sized saucepan, mix the Coca Cola, oil, butter and cocoa powder and bring to a boil.

In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, and salt. Pour the boiling Coca Cola mixture over the flour mixture and beat well. Add the eggs, buttermilk, baking soda and vanilla; beat well until combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for about 10 minutes before frosting.

Chocolate Frosting

1 stick butter
3 tablespoon cocoa powder
6 tablespoon heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 3/4 cup powdered sugar

In a medium sized saucepan, combine the butter, cocoa powder and heavy cream. Heat until the butter melts. Beat in the remaining ingredients and spread on the cake while it's warm. Be quick because the frosting starts to set up pretty fast. Let the cake and frosting cool completely before cutting.




Monday, November 10, 2014

Biscoff Banana Bread

 


This time of year kills me. Kills me!

It's candy season.

From around the first of October until Easter, the aisles of every drug store, grocery store, and my beloved Target have shelves full of holiday candy. First, there's the Halloween candy, the Christmas candy, Valentine's Day candy, and then Easter candy, all of which are presented in this irresistible and creative packaging. Yes, candy is delicious by itself, but when wrapped in adorable, cutesy-poo wrappers and molded into festive holiday shapes....just forget it, I'm sold.

And don't even get me started on the day after the holiday markdown candy. That gets me every time. I get this rush of excitement knowing that I'm getting 50-75% off the exact same candy that is in the regular candy just two aisles over. I tell myself, "Oh oh, grab this bag because I can do something with that for the blog" and "Oh man, those would be perfect for______ so I HAVE to get a bag or two so I can experiment....for the blog." I have good intentions spending money on all this candy for the blog. Funny thing is, I somehow never get around to those experimental recipes to put on the blog. The candy disappears. Between me, my husband, and the 5 year old that candy doesn't stand a chance. And yes, I even hide it, (Apparently, not well enough)

So with the anticipated candy consumption, I try to have more fruit and healthier stuff around the house so I can have a "be smart" moment and choose the fruit over the candy. I mean, I'm an adult so I should do that, right? I love fruit, especially bananas, so I buy extra because I know that I'm gonna want to make some banana bread. I have found THE best banana bread recipe ever. I've been making it for quite some time and I always get compliments on it. What makes it even more wonderful is adding some Biscoff spread to the batter and then warming some up in the microwave and pouring it over the top. Wowza.


Biscoff Banana Bread
Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com

2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup mashed bananas
1/2 cup Biscoff spread  (+1/4 cup for the drizzle on top)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup white sugar
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x5 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, oil, bananas, Biscoff spread, and vanilla extract.

In a medium size mixing bowl, sift together the sugar, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add to the banana mixture and stir until combined.

Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 65-75 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.

Let bread cool 5 minutes in the loaf pan and then remove and let cool on wire rack.

For the Biscoff drizzle, put 1/4 cup of Biscoff spread in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for about 30 seconds or until the spread becomes slightly thin and pourable. Pour or drizzle over the slightly cooled banana bread.

Let the drizzle set up for about 30 minutes or so and then slice it up and enjoy!

  


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Cinnamon Sugar Apple Pie

 

I made my first double crust pie!! From scratch! In a cast iron skillet! And it was awesome.

Pie crust has always intimidated me and for the past couple of months I've been attempting to conquer it. I think I did a pretty good job with this Cinnamon Sugar Apple Pie. This pie was really delicious. The recipe for the pie crust originally called for lard, but since I don't usually have that just laying around in my kitchen waiting to be used, I substituted butter and it worked just fine. You could also probably use vegetable shortening (Crisco) as well. I think next time I will put a cinnamon sugar mixture on the top of the crust. For cinnamon in the title, the pie didn't have that much cinnamon in it. But, I'm a cinnamon fiend, so I can always use more cinnamon. :)





Cinnamon Sugar Apple Pie
Recipe from Taste of Home Magazine November 2014

For Crust:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup butter, cold and cut into cubes
6-8 tablespoons cold milk

For Filling:
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
9 cups thinly sliced and peeled tart apples (around 8-9 medium)
1 tablespoon bourbon
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
dash of salt
3 tablespoon butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoon coarse sugar

In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt; cut in the butter until crumbly. Gradually add the cold milk, tossing with a fork until dough holds its shape when pressed together. Divide dough in half. Shape each dough half into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or even overnight.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the sugar, cinnamon and ginger. Add the sliced apples and toss to coat. Cover and let stand at room temperature 1 hour to allow apples to release their juices, stirring occasionally.

Drain the apples and reserve the syrup. Place the syrup and bourbon in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes or until the mixture thickens slightly and turns to a medium amber color. Remove from the heat and cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the drained apples with flour and salt. On a lightly floured surface, roll one half of the dough to a 1/8 in. thick circle. Transfer the dough to a 10-in cast iron skillet or other deep ovenproof skillet. Trim the pastry even with the rim of the skillet. Add the apple mixture and then pour cooled syrup over the top; dot with the butter.

Roll the remaining dough to a 1/8 in. thick circle and place over the filling. Trim, seal and flute the edges. Cut slits in the top. Brush milk over pastry and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes, then reduce oven setting to 350 degrees and bake 45-50 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool on a wire rack.

Serves 6-8. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Glazed Lemon Blueberry Loaf



I can't believe it's already September? Really? 

It's the beginning of my favorite time of year. I love fall. LOVE IT! Football, cooler temps, pumpkin EVERYTHING, I could go on. Speaking of pumpkin, have you been to Bath & Body lately? Oh. Em. Gee. I went bonkers over all the pumpkin candles, pumpkin soaps, pumpkin room sprays, and pumpkin plug-ins (called wall-flowers, if you want to be technical).  Good-Bye paycheck! :)

Anyhoo - with all my obsessive behavior over all things pumpkin and fall, I still think it's slightly too early to bring it all out. Oh yes, I'm pinning all those wonderful pumpkin recipes I see on Pinterest and I've got my pumpkin candles in my hall closet ready to be lit. But I can't bring myself to bring them out yet. I mean, it's still 88 degrees outside. Yuck.

I'm still enjoying finishing up all the great summer fruits and goodies. A couple of weeks ago, my family and I were out and about and found a great deal on some local blueberries. While I'm not a huge blueberry fan, I couldn't pass them up. They were so juicy and flavorful, better than any blueberry I've ever had. We bought a lot, since I knew I wanted to bake with them. One of the things I made was this Glazed Lemon Blueberry Loaf. I cannot stress enough how well lemon and blueberry go together. It's like magic. This loaf (c'mon, it's cake) was super moist and the perfect blend of tart and sweet, especially with the lemon glaze.

So if you have blueberries to use up, make this. And then join me in pumpkin overload preparation, 'cause you know it's coming.





Glazed Lemon Blueberry Loaf 
Recipe barely adapted from Tina's Chic Corner

1 cup sour cream
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
Zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cup PLUS 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

For glaze:
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5 loaf pan. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the blueberries and the 1 tablespoon of flour. Make sure all the blueberries are coated with flour and set aside. (Coating the blueberries in flour helps to ensure that all the blueberries don't sink to the bottom)

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sour cream, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla extract, oil, and stir until combined. Set aside.

In another large mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining flour (1 1/2 cups), baking powder, and salt. Then, slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir until smooth. 

Next, carefully stir in the blueberries until they are just mixed into the batter. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a cake tester, or toothpick, inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. (I baked right at 50 minutes).

Let the loaf cool in the loaf pan for about 15-20 minutes, then place on wire rack to cool further. While it is cooling, you can make the glaze.

In a small bowl, add the powdered sugar and lemon juice and stir until combined and smooth. I like my glaze a little thicker, but if you like thinner, you may need to add more juice; it's totally your call here. Spoon the glaze over the top of the loaf. Remember to have some parchment paper or a baking sheet under your wire rack so you won't have glaze all over your counter tops! :)

I stored this loaf wrapped in plastic wrap on my counter for a few days, but you might want to store in an air tight container as the blueberries kind of leaked a little and left some stickiness on my counters. I haven't tried freezing this loaf, but I don't see why it wouldn't freeze well, just wrap tight in tin foil and place in a freezer bag. 

Enjoy!


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Ham & Cheese Scones



Well, school is starting up for a lot of people and everyone is getting back into their routines. We are going to have a kindergartener this year so I'm kinda freaking out about getting a routine down. We aren't nervous about school. Oh no! Lady H has been talking about it and asking me 18 times a day, "Do I go to school tomorrow?" She is actually going on Thursday. The elementary school she is going to attend is doing the kindergarten schedule in staggered days, meaning 5-6 kids go one day, another group goes on another day, and so forth. I think it's to off-set the overwhelmingness of starting school. She will start full-time on Monday. 

I have NO DOUBT Lady H will do just fine. Being an only child, she craves being around other kids and making friends. For the past five years, we've been blessed by the fact that my husband works from home and we didn't have to pay a dime for childcare. However, Lady H didn't have the much needed interaction with other children. But I can say that my husband deserves some kind of "father/husband/agent of the past five years award". So we know who is most excited about H starting school, right? LOL!

I know it is going to take all of us a couple of weeks to get a routine down. I'm really hoping that we can all adjust and stay sane (and friendly).  Hee-hee. 

I'm a huge believer that a good breakfast makes your day. These ham & cheese scones are perfect for a busy morning when you need a quick, grab-n-go breakfast. Make them the night before and just heat them up the next morning.

Happy Back to School everyone!!


Ham & Cheese Scones
Recipe slightly adapted from myrecipes

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes
3/4 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
3/4 cup ham, diced
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 large egg whites


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.  Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender or 2 forks until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the cheese and ham. Combine the buttermilk and egg whites, stirring with a whisk. Add to the flour mixture and stir until just moist.
  1.  
  2. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly 4-5 times with floured hands. Pat the dough into an 8-inch circle and cut into 8 wedges. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. 
  3.  
  4. Makes 8 scones.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Peanut Butter Cookies & Cream Ice Cream




I'm less than a week away from being a parent of a kindergartner!

Where did the time go?  For real.

I'm not overly emotional about it (yet). I am, however, overwhelmed. Making sure all the school supplies are bought, going to mandatory parent meetings, getting into a routine.....it stresses me out. And everyone knows a good cure for stress is ...... ICE CREAM.

So, the other day I finally gave in and bought the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Oreos.

Oh my.

I wasn't going to give in because I've been a little perturbed with Oreo, lately. I mean, Watermelon Oreos? Seriously, Nabisco, what were you thinking? Fruit Punch Oreos? Um, no.  Were there five year old kids running the R&D department that week? I mean, really.

But, they totally redeemed themselves with these wonderfully peanut buttery Oreos. So, I thought I would take it up a notch and throw them into some homemade peanut butter ice cream. Best decision I've made in a while.




Peanut Butter Cookies & Cream Ice Cream
PB ice cream base from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz


3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
2 2/3 cups half-and-half
Pinch of salt
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
10-12 Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Oreos, coarsely chopped

Puree the peanut butter, sugar, half-and-half, salt and vanilla extract in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Chill the mixture thoroughly in the fridge (I did overnight), then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. With about 5 minutes left in the freezing process, add the chopped Oreos carefully. Next, transfer the mixture into a freezer safe container and finish freezing ice cream, about 2-4 hours.

Makes 1 quart.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lemon Truffle Pie



While I don't consider myself a "pie person", I do occasionally like a slice. I prefer the cool and creamy pies as opposed to fruit pies.

This Lemon Truffle Pie has been in my family for quite a while. I think my dad found it in our local newspaper. When he was forced to take an early retirement, he tried to find ways to keep himself busy. He spent a lot of time in the kitchen, with soups and pies being his specialties. When he made this pie one weekend I came home from college (again, I said "quite a while") we all were immediately hooked.

This is easily my favorite pie. I love the sweet and creamy white chocolate cream cheese layer, and when paired with the tangy lemon curd layer, it really is a match made in heaven.

The recipe instructions may seem a bit tedious, but the extra work and the extra dirty dishes are so worth it. I promise!




Lemon Truffle Pie
Recipe loosely adapted from Pillsbury

1 graham cracker crust pie shell
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup water
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup chopped white chocolate bar or white chocolate chips
1 (8oz) package of cream cheese, softened

Prepare pie shell according to directions.

In a 2-quart saucepan, mix together the sugar, cornstarch and flour. Gradually stir in the water until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils. Reduce the heat to low and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from the heat and stir in about 1/4 cup of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks until well blended. Stir egg yolk mixture into the mixture in the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from the heat. Stir in the butter, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Place 1/3 cup hot filling mixture in 1-quart saucepan; cool the remaining lemon mixture for 15 minutes. Next, stir in the white chocolate chips into the hot mixture; cook and stir over low heat just until the chips are melted. 

In a small bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in melted white chocolate chip mixture until well blended. Spread in the bottom of cooled pie shell. Spoon lemon mixture evenly over the cream cheese layer. Refrigerate until set, which is about 2-3 hours.



 
 
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