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Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake

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September 2014 038I’ve made this coffee cake no less than 5 times in the last few months.  It’s fast, easy, and decadent!  The last time I made it I used a 9 x 13 pan and my husband thought that I had made a pan of cinnamon rolls.  I guess from all the yummy cinnamon and icing.  Who knows!

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So I guess it goes without saying, if you don’t have time to make cinnamon rolls, make this coffee cake instead – everyone will love you for it!

Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake Adapted from Lil Luna

1 cup canola oil

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup whole milk

1 cup sugar

3 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

Streusel Topping

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 Tablespoons flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with nonstick spray.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, vanilla, and milk until combined.

Whisk in the baking powder and salt, then stir in the flour until combined.  Pour half of the batter into the baking dish.

Make the streusel by combining the softened butter with the cinnamon, flour, and brown sugar – I use a fork for this.  Mix until combined.  Sprinkle half of the streusel on top of the cake batter.

Then spoon on the remaining batter, covering as much of the streusel layer as possible.  Next, sprinkle on the remaining streusel.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the cake cool, and drizzle with icing (if desired).

Icing

1 cup powdered sugar

1-2 Tablespoons milk

Whisk until combined and the icing is thick, but pourable.  Add more sugar/milk as needed for desired consistency.

Thin Chocolate Chip Cookies

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If you’re wondering – it’s the chocolate that makes these cookies special.  I prefer to use Guittard Semisweet Wafers.  I know that it seems like a specialty ingredient that’s hard to find, but I figure if I live in a town of 40,000 people and have access to them – you might just have a shot at finding them where you live!  Mine are sold at The Fresh Market in the baking section, and they’re also sold online.

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While these cookies are thin – they’re still soft and chewy.  They are a little tricky to remove from the parchment because of the surface area of the melted chocolate.  To help this along, place a metal cookie sheet in the freezer (before making these) and take it out after the cookies have cooled a bit, and slide the sheet of parchment (with the baked cookies on it) onto the frozen baking sheet and let set for a few minutes.  Carefully peel off the cookies, or use a spatula.

Moist Chocolate Chunk Cookies Adapted from Sweet Alchemy

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt

10 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

½ teaspoon vanilla

½ heaping cup dark brown sugar, packed

½ heaping cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 ¼ cups chocolate wafers, divided

1 teaspoon Maldon salt, crushed

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Cream together the butter and sugars until creamy.  Add the eggs and beat until combined. Stir in the vanilla, baking soda, and ½ teaspoon salt.

Add the flour and stir until combined.  Stir in 1 cup of chocolate.  Then scoop (using a #40 scoop) cookie dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Using the remaining 1/4 cup of chocolate, place a chocolate wafer on top of the cookie dough scoops and sprinkle one or two flecks of salt on top of each.

Bake for 5 minutes, rotate pan and bake for another 5 minutes.

Take the cookies out of the oven and slap pan on the counter to knock out air.  Slide parchment off of the baking sheet and let cookies cool for at least 30 minutes before trying to move them.

I prefer to let the cookies set on the parchment for at least a few hours to let the chocolate set up – otherwise, it can get messy!  If you can’t wait that long, try the frozen cookie sheet method notated above.

Glazed Almond Pound Cake

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I love almond – it just tastes good!  So when I happened upon this recipe, I just had to try it!  I mean, anything will almond flavoring has to be good – right?!

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This recipe did not disappoint!  I would say that any leftovers last for 3 to 4 days, covered.  If your cake starts to turn stale, you can crumble it into crumbs and place them in a Ziploc bag in the freezer to use as a muffin topping.

Glazed Almond Pound Cake Adapted from Noble Pig

3 cups cake flour

2 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup canola oil

5 large eggs

3 large egg yolks

1 Tablespoon pure almond extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped – set aside

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Spray a tube pan with nonstick spray and lightly dust with cake flour – set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk cake flour, baking powder, and salt together – set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter, oil, and sugar with electric beaters for 3 minutes.  Add the eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, and beat until combined.  Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts.

Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat, then add 1/4 cup of buttermilk – beating until combined.  Repeat adding another 1/3 of the flour and the remaining buttermilk and beat.  Add the remaining flour and beat until just combined.

Fold the whipped heavy cream into the batter until there are no streaks of cream remaining.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 65-75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then loosen the side of the cake from the pan using a nylon scraper.  Turn the cake over onto a wire rack to cool for about 1 hour.

Invert and top with almond glaze.

Almond Glaze Adapted from Noble Pig

1 cup powdered sugar

1-2 Tablespoons milk (more or less as needed to get glaze to a thick pouring consistency)

1 teaspoon pure almond extract

Whisk all the ingredients together in a medium bowl.

 

 

Fishing Party Favors

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September 2014 023We celebrated another fishing birthday party this past weekend – minus the fishing, we were rained out!  No worries, the birthday boy received a skateboard and has spent his free time mastering that.

These party favors were originally supposed to say “Bait Bucket” and have gummy worms inside, but the birthday boy changed his mind on me and wanted assorted gummy fish.  Being all “Semper Gumby” and all, I switched up the bucket to say “Catch of the Day!” and filled them with the fish.

These cute little buckets were actually found at Walmart in their party section for 97 cents each.  I had previously purchased the chalkboard tags at Target in their $1 section, and I used treat bags (also found at Walmart – this time in the cake decorating section with the Wilton frosting bags – not the cake mix aisle).

The gummies were purchased from bulk bins at The Fresh Market.  All in all, as easy (and reasonable) party favor!

I wrote on the chalkboard labels with a Bistro Chalkboard Marker I bought at Hobby Lobby.  The best part about the markers is that with a wet/damp cloth the chalk comes off.

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Here are the party cupcakes.  They’re both chocolate, the one above has a goldfish and little white chocolate rice balls.

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This one is simply topped with confetti sprinkles and a gummy shark.  Sometimes simple (and easy) is best!

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

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It’s probably hard to imagine that I love pumpkin – because I think this might just be the first recipe I’ve ever posted using it!  I ran across these pumpkin bars while going through a stash of old family recipes, and I was going on and on about how soft, moist, and delicious they were when I was a kid and how my mom used to make them – until my kids gave me a crazy look.

So I decided to bake them for a dinner party this past weekend and take a trip down memory lane – I did however, take the liberty of substituting my favorite cream cheese frosting.

And while my kids thought these were good, my husband loved them.  These are super moist, soft, and full of cinnamon flavor – make them this fall!

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting Adapted from an old family recipe

1 – 15 ounce can pumpkin

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 1/2 sticks)

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Spray an 11 x 17 inch pan with nonstick spray and line with a sheet of parchment.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, sugar, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon until combined.  Whisk in the melted butter.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.

Whisk in the baking soda and baking powder.  Add in the flour and stir until combined.  Add in the chopped pecans, if using.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool completely in the pan, then frost.

Cream Cheese Frosting Adapted from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 heaping cups of powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until creamy.  Beat in the powdered sugar until smooth.  Spread on the cooled cake and refrigerate.

*The secret to getting clean cuts on your bars is to cut them after they’ve been refrigerated and to clean the knife in between cuts!

White Sheet Cake

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July 2014 568I saw this white sheet cake recipe and was instantly smitten.  Honestly, if you asked me about 5 years ago I would’ve told you that I was a chocolate girl, but slowly I’ve begun to appreciate other sweets.

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Especially when those other sweets can be made in a large sheet pan and served potluck style, like this one!  So the next time you’re hosting a pool party, taking a treat to a kid’s soccer game, or gifting a new mom with dinner – look no further for the perfect dessert, it’s special without being too fussy.

White Sheet Cake Adapted from Frieda Loves Bread

1 cup unsalted butter

1 cup water

2 cups sugar

2 cups + 4 Tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup sour cream, full fat

Preheat the oven to 375.  Spray an 11 x 17 inch baking pan with nonstick spray and line with a sheet of parchment – set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, salt, and baking soda.

In a medium pot, heat the butter and water until the butter in completely melted and the mixture is hot.  Pour the hot butter mixture into the flour mixture and whisk until the batter is smooth.

Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking after each addition.  Whisk in the vanilla.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

While the cake is baking – make the icing!

Icing

1 cup unsalted butter

6 Tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

5 cups powdered sugar

pinch of salt

Melt the butter with the milk in the microwave for about 2-3 minutes (or on the stovetop).  Whisk in the vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar until smooth.

Carefully spread the icing onto the cake while it’s warm – after you remove it from the oven.

If you are adding sprinkles, do this immediately after spreading the icing on, because it will set up fast and the sprinkles will bounce off!

 

Raspberry Pineapple Yogurt Cream

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March April 2013 171If you’ve been reading here for awhile, then you’ve already seen this recipe.  I’m reposting it, because it was at the bottom of a long post about what I’d been up to lately, and my friend Janna told me that she vaguely remembered seeing the recipe, but was put off by the raspberry part until she tried it at my house.

So that settled it, I decided at that moment that I must repost it and wax on poetically about how it only has a slight raspberry flavor mellowed by the creamy mascarpone cheese, with bursting bits of juicy pineapple stirred in and topped with chocolate shavings.  So those of you that don’t really love raspberry – give this a try, I think you’ll love it!

Raspberry Pineapple Yogurt Cream Adapted from here

8 ounces mascarpone

5.3 ounces greek raspberry yogurt

1/4 heaping cup of crushed pineapple, not drained

3 heaping Tablespoons of powdered sugar

pink food coloring, optional

chocolate shavings, or curls

Beat the mascarpone cheese with the powdered sugar.  Add the yogurt and the crushed pineapple, beat until combined.  Add food coloring, if desired (I do because when I mix everything, the end result looks beige).  Scoop into individual bowls, and top with chocolate.  Refrigerate leftovers!

Serves 6

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