Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Cake Batter Cookies

Holy crap, I forgot about Food Swoon's second blogiversary!  It was was back at the end of February, so I'm only two months behind.  Happy Belated 2nd Blog Birthday to me!  Last year I was more on the ball, apparently, and went all out making a Flourless Chocolate Cake that was just for me, and oh so delicious. 

This year, I didn't even have a celebration on my radar, but I did have a recipe for these festive and fun Cake Batter Cookies, that I've been meaning to share forever.  These cookies are SO yummy!  They totally killed my diet, and I kinda don't even give a care - they were worth it!  
I now have a few Cake Batter recipes in my repertoire, my kids and their friends love Cake Batter Rice Krispies Treats, and one of my faves is Cake Batter Popcorn... Oi, those old pictures;)

This recipe came from another recently published cookbook: Sallys Baking Addiction, There's been SO many great cookbooks coming out lately, that I really haven't been creating my own recipes.   I want to try all these great recipes from the blogger's I've been following all these years.  Sally actually features these cookies on her blog of the same name, and can be counted on to be a constant source for super delicious treats, usually loaded with sprinkles too!

Cake Batter Cookies
Recipe adapted from: Sallys Baking Addiction Cookbook

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup boxed cake mix (I use Rainbow Bit Cake mix, but vanilla cake mix would work in a pinch - you just need the DRY mix)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup sprinkles 

***this dough requires chilling - plan ahead***
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cake mix, and baking soda. Set aside.
Using a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or a 
hand-held mixer, cream the softened butter and both sugars until smooth.  Add the egg and vanilla, and mix on medium-high for about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix on low-medium speed until just combined. Finally, add the chocolate chips and sprinkles, and pulse once or twice to distribute.
Wrap the dough tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours, or up to 3-4 days.

Once dough has been chilled, preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Using your hands, grab about 1.5 -2 Tbsp of the chilled dough, shaping the cookie dough balls to be taller than they are wide.  For extra pretty cookies, press a few chocolate chips and sprinkles into the tops of the cookie dough balls.
Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until edges are slightly browned. The centers will still appear very soft, but the cookies will set as they cool.
Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring  to a wire rack to cool completely. 


Friday, April 10, 2015

Sour Cream and Onion Popcorn

Oh dear, I'm posting super late in the day/week, I actually wasn't even planning on posting today, but I know your probably perusing the interwebs making dinner plans, so I figured I should share mine.  

Okay, Confession.  I want this popcorn right now, I don't think I can even wait for dinner!  It's that witching hour of about 3:00, when the snackies really hit me.  I think it's long formed habit, from back in the Oprah days.  Keep in mind those were pre-PVR days, so when it was on, if you hadn't set your VCR, that was when you parked yourself in front of the TV box for OprAHHHHH.  Oh, and don't forget the Popcorn and the Kleenex.  Essentials. 
I'm going to hold of on popcorn right now, and wait until dinner time.  Cuz post-Oprah life, Friday night's are my new popcorn time.

Sour Cream and Onion Popcorn

Recipe adapted from Seriously Delish, pg. 88

1/3 cup popcorn kernels
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or melted butter
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons powdered buttermilk
1 1/2 tablespoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

I use a air-popper for my popcorn, you can do your preferred methodweather that be stove-top or Whirly-pop, making sure to do your best to remove any unpopped kernels. My technique is to use two bowls, shake the the first bowl so the seeds fall to the bottom, and then transfer popcorn to the second bowl by hand, leaving all the kernels behind.
In small lidded container or jar, add together the dill, cheese, buttermilk powder, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Put on the lid, and shake to combine.

Drizzle the popcorn with olive oil or butter, and toss it well to coat. Pour a healthy amount of the Sour Cream and Onion Seasoning over the popcorn and toss the popcorn evenly to coat it in the mixture. Taste the popcorn and season it additionally if needed.  Place any remaining Sour Cream and Onion seasoning in the fridge until your next popcorn fix!


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Butter's Chocolate Cake

You guys!  This chocolate cake is INSANE!  I'm pretty sure my last post was all hormones talking, and then I made this chocolate cake, and all my problems faded into the background.  Now my problem is that I can't stop eating this cake!  There's one last piece in the fridge screaming at me right now, I'm wearing skinny jeans this weekend, so I'm wearing earplugs:)
Last weekend we threw a surprise birthday party for my Mother-in-Law's 70th, which went off without a hitch!  We managed to get our regular Elvis impersonator, we always book him on milestone birthdays, it's family tradition.

My contribution was 3 cakes.  Yup, 3.  Mostly because I couldn't decide on one flavour/type that would please all tastes, but also because when your turning 70, you should eat ALL the cake!
So, we had carrot cake, a Crystal standard, which I didn't even get a piece of, and there were no leftovers. I also made that Glazed Lemon Cake that I shared the recipe for last week, and then this Chocolate Cake!

Similar to what I was saying about a lemon cake recipe, everyone should have a go-to chocolate cake recipe, and I think this will now be mine.  I found it in the cookbook: "Butter Baked Goods", which is from a little bakery in Vancouver, BC.  I haven't had the opportunity to visit Butter Baked Goods, as I haven't been to the coast since 2002, and they opened in 2007, but I drool over every Instagram post, and envy their creativity on a daily basis.
Butter's Chocolate cake is moist, dark and oh so decadent, all the calling cards of a to-die-for recipe.  You absolutely must make the Deep Dark Butter Cream to accompany the cake, they go hand and hand, and take the chocolate cake up a notch, to a death by chocolate status. So deadly!

Butter's Chocolate Cake
Recipe adapted from:  Butter Baked Goods, pg 150

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sale
2 cups hot coffee
1 cup dark cocoa
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil, vegetable or canola
4 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk (add and tablespoon of lemon to milk & voila = buttermilk)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Prepare cake pans (I used 3 8 inch rounds) by greasing with butter and dust with flour or cocoa, set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the hot coffee with the cocoa, until you have a smooth consistency with no lumps.  Set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
Using a stand or hand held mixer, whisk together the sugar, oil, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla.  Add the cocoa/coffee mixture, and whisk to incorporate.  Add the dry ingredients, and whisk until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans, and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes, then invert on wire racks to cool completely.
Prepare the frosting!

Deep Dark Butter Cream
recipe adapted from: Butter Baked Goods, pg 133

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup dark chocolate, melted
3 cups icing sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup coffee, cold
1/4 cup whole milk (I used half and half)

Using a stand or handheld mixer, beat the butter of high, until pale in colour, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Melt the chocolate in a microwave or double boiler, and set aside to cool.
Sift together the icing sugar and cocoa, and then slowly add about half to the creamed butter.  Add the milk, coffee, and melted chocolate, followed by the remainder of the the cocoa icing sugar.  Turn the mixer to high and run for about 10 minutes, until the butter cream is light and fluffy

Transfer the cooled cakes to a nice plate or cake stand, and use a large-long serrated knife to cut each cake round in half horizontally.  Since I used 3 rounds, I had 6-layers.  A crumb coat is essential for this moist chocolate cake!  Carefully spread (or pipe) butter cream between each layer, and then a thin coat over the whole thing: top and sides, as smoothly as you're able.  Refrigerate the cake in the crumb-coat stage for about 10-15 minutes, which allows the icing to firm-up.  Apply the final coat, starting with the sides, and finishing with the top using an offset spatula for a super smooth finish.  And then use the tool of your choice to finish it in your fave way, this butter cream pipes amazingly!


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Glazed Lemon Cake

I've got itchy feet, y'all!  Not like, itchy-scratchy, but just, so super restless.  I want a new job, a new house, a new routine!  We tend to move house every 3 years or so, so the timing of our nomadic habits isn't all that shocking.  But I thought this was going to be our forever home, so I'm surprised that I am wanting to give up on all the conveniences that this location gives us, just for some country air.  I don't dig commuting, but I want a big ol' garden.  I like that my kids and I can walk to school & work, but I'm sick of car thefts and break-ins, not to mention all the big city violence.

Should I consider a career change?  I've been working for Calgary Public Library for almost 18 years...18 years!  How is that possible?!  It's possible, I suppose, because I truly do love working for the Library, how it allows me to help people in simple ways everyday.  But even that is on a mega shift right now, with all sorts of re-branding, and job description changes at all levels of employment.  If I'm gonna be honest, I love my job, but there's some people I just cant stand working with.  That is something I think everyone can relate to.  My rants have become a nightly routine, and perhaps its just hormones, or even spring fever, but somethings gotta give!  I feel worn out!
Maybe I should just take a chill pill, and paint a wall in my house, move some furniture, or do some baking, that usually helps me de-stress.  

Everyone should have a go-to lemon loaf cake recipe in their repertoire, it's like, an unwritten rule. This "Lemon Loaf cake with glaze" if from local foodie and author Gwendolyn Richards.  Gwendolyn is the voice behind the blog: Patent and the Pantry, numerous Calgary Herald articles, as well as the recently published cookbook: Pucker.  This lemon loaf is the bees knees because of the layers of lemon-y goodness.  Lemon in the cake, lemon in the syrup which also lends yummy moisture, and topped with yet more lemon in the glaze. Pucker-up!

Glazed Lemon Cake
1/1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 lemons, zested
2 eggs
1/3 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

3 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup icing sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 350F and prepare a loaf, or bundt, or your fave pan (I used a cute gem shaped one from Ikea!) by buttering it and lining with parchment if you desire.  
Using a medium sized bowl, add together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda, stir slightly with a fork, and then set aside.
Using a small bowl, mix together the yogurt (or sour cream), and the lemon juice, set aside.
Using a stand or hand held mixer, cream the butter and the sugar, until pale and fluffy.  Add the lemon zest and mix until well distributed. Add the eggs and mix again.  
Add the flour mixture, and the yogurt mixture, in alternating additions, staring with the flour.  Mix until it just comes together, do not over mix.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan of your choosing, and bake until toothpick or cake tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
While the cake bakes, prepare your lemon-y syrup!  Using a small saucepan, over medium -high heat, combine the sugar and the lemon juice, and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved.  Remove from the heat, and set aside.
Remove the baked cake/loaf/gem from the oven, and allow it to cool in it's pan for about 10-15 minutes.  Using a toothpick, poke the cake all over, and then spoon or pour the syrup over the top.  Allow the cake to cool completely, and then remove from pan.  
Mix together the glaze ingredients of icing sugar and lemon juice, and drizzle or pour over top of the cooled cake.  Allow it to set before serving.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Lucky Charms Ice Cream

I like to skip all the boozy revelry of St Patricks Day, and just make it a fun day for the kids.  Last year they made one of those Leprechaun traps, which I failed to take pics of:(  Never heard of a leprechaun trap?!  Check out Pinterest!  But I did get a pic of my cuties enjoying their Shamrock adorable, and look at Presley's long hair!  It's hard to believe that was a year ago!

Fast forward to this year's St. Patrick's Day, and my current mid-winter crisis, where I am constantly craving frozen treats for some crazy reason.  Pair that with my latest obsession for all things cereal milk, and you get the drift.  I showed up at home last Friday, with a big ol' box of Lucky Charms cereal, and all sorts of ideas, from cupcakes to sweet squares.

When I told Presley (#1 cereal fan, as well as my #1 recipe taste tester), my idea of making  Lucky Charms into ice cream...he was practically shaking with excitement!
They're magically delicious, who could blame him!

Lucky Charms Ice Cream

3 cups whole milk
1/2 cups whipping cream
1 1/2 cups Lucky Charms cereal (marshmallows removed)
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
teaspoon green food colouring (optional)
1 cup Lucky Charms reserved marshmallows

Using a food processor, blender, or mallet, pulse or crush the cereal until it becomes a loose sand-like texture.
In a medium pot, pour in the milk, cream, and then whisk in the crushed cereal.  Bring to a simmer, not a boil, stirring constantly so the bottom does not burn.
Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Once the milk mixture is heated through, add about a 1/2 cup of the hot milk to the egg mixture in a slow but steady stream, whisking constantly to temper the eggs.  This will make the eggs warm enough to add back into the saucepan without scrambling.
Slowly pour the tempered egg mixture into the pot, along with the the vanilla extract, whisking constantly.  Keep over a low heat until the mixture is thickened, it should coat the back of your spoon or spatula, so that when you run a finger through the custard, it leaves a path.
Remove from the heat, and place into the fridge, covered, for 2-4 hours, or overnight until chilled completely.
To make the ice cream, add the chilled mixture to your ice cream maker and churn according to the directions. In the last minute of churning, add in the reserved marshmallows. Place into an airtight container and put into the fridge for about 4 hours to firm before serving.

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Cereal Milk Popcicles

Corn Pop-cicles?  Yes!  I figure I'm in the midst of a mid-winter crisis, kind of like a mid-life crisis? For some reason, despite the freezing temperatures of the last few weeks, I had a hankering for some ice cream.  Completely irrational, illogical, insane! 

Once you taste these frozen treats, you will question my sanity no longer!  I figured it was time to give the cereal milk trend a go.  Ya, I know, I'm waaaaay behind the times.  But, whateva - Better late than never, and now I can see what all the fuss is about.  I can foresee many cereal milk recipe creations in my future, especially if the boys in my house have anything to do with it.  

What I like about the cereal milk concept, is that you can "make it your own".  A nostalgic throwback to Saturday morning cartoons in your jammies, after consuming all the crunchy sugary goodness, slurping down the remaining milk straight from the bowl.  The flavour opportunities are endless: fruit loops, cinnamon toast crunch, captain crunch, just reminisce of your favourite cereal from your childhood. If its your thing, add some extra dry cereal to the end of the popcicle, for a little chewy treat waiting for you for an all-star finish! 

Cereal Milk Corn PopCicles

3 cups Corn Pops cereal (plus additional dry cereal to add to molds, if desired)
2 1/2 cups milk (I used 2%)
1/2 cup half and half cream
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Using a large bowl, stir together the milk, cream, and Corn Pops.  Let soak for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Strain out cereal and discard.
In a medium pot, over medium-high heat, whisk together the cereal milk, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla.  Bring mixture to a boil, while continuing to stir, to avoid scalding the milk.  Remove from heat, and cool in the in the fridge until completely cold.  
Pour the cooled cereal milk mixture into your Popsicle molds, and add additional dry cereal if using, before inserting the Popsicle sticks.  Place in the freezer for at least 6-8 hours.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Vegan Peanut Butter & Jelly Breakfast Pie!

It's Peanut butter jelly breakfast pie! 
Peanut butter breakfast pie!
  Peanut butter breakfast pie!!

Now Where he at?
Where he at?
Where he at?
Where he at?
Now There he go
There he go
There he go
There he go

(Faster!) Its Peanut butter jelly
Peanut butter jelly
Peanut butter jelly with a baseball bat!


Now break it down ...
and freeze!

Every. Single. Time.  I make this Peanut Butter Breakfast Pie, I get this song in my head.  I'm all about sharing, so now you can sing along!
Pie for breakfast?!  Hell to the yes!   This creation, is actually more like a giant jelly filled cookie than a pie; if that makes you feel any better?!  You can opt for an alternative nut butter, and choose your favourite jam/jelly, I used my Mom's homemade huckleberry jam.  MmMmMmM ! 

Here you go:  10 Hours of PB Jelly Time!  Just try to get this out of your head now, Muahahahaha!

Vegan Peanut Butter Jelly Breakfast Pie
Recipe adapted from:the Frosted Vegan

1/3 cup peanut butter (or your fave nut butter!)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 flax egg (1 tablespoon flax + 4 Tablespoons water)
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup spelt flour (WW or AP flour would be a fine substitute)

For the filling:
3/4 cup jelly or jam (your fave flavour!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a pie pan or a skillet and set aside.  Make your flax egg, by whisking together water and flax, and set aside to thicken for at least 5-10 mins.
In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.  Next add the oat and spelt flour(s), baking powder, and flax egg, stirring until thoroughly combined.
Spread half of the mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pie pan or skillet, spreading evenly.
Top with the jelly, spreading it out, not quite to the edge.   Drop the remaining batter on top of the jelly, distributing as evenly, as possible.
Bake for about 30-40 minutes, until top is browned and filling is bubbling. Allow to cool for 10-15 before serving.