Sunday, September 13, 2015

Wedding Cake!

I made a wedding cake for my niece. 
I made it in NJ and drove it to Maine, where I bought flowers in a grocery store and got a bunch of those water cap things they put on single roses and jammed the flowers in them and then into the cake. It came out ok, I think.
She got married. She cut the cake.
And they ate it.
The end.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Not My Best Work

This is supposed to be vanilla cake with Nutella frosting.

Guess not.

Well, the frosting was good. Too good to throw all of this away. So I slapped this stuff together. It ain't pretty. But I give up.

Nutella Frosting, simplified:
1 block of cream cheese, softened
1 750ml jar of Nutella
2lb bag of confectioner's sugar
(a splash of Frangelico for grown ups)
Heavy cream

Cream together the first two, slowly add the sugar, adding a little heavy cream and blend at fairly high speed to desired consistency. It will be thick and gooey, but you will not taste any cream cheese.

I literally just made this up today. Not the usual way I make Nutella frosting, but it works!

Birthday Cookie

Monday, January 16, 2012

Procrastination Pumpkin Muffins

One Thousand and four things on my to do list, I think. Always so much I need to do, and so much I WANT to do. Of course, when the list gets this big, I find that I tend to drop everything... and bake something.

It's not my fault, really. The youngest one is here with me today, Martin Luther King Day, and everyone else is out of the house, doing their own thing. She's been bugging me to bake pumpkin bread since I've made banana bread a few times in the last couple of weeks and she prefers pumpkin over banana. She acts like I bake banana bread to spite her. I've caught her eating the banana bread, she likes it just fine, but she won't admit it.
Anyway, today I had big plans to get some stuff done. Instead, it's pumpkin muffins. I asked her if she preferred muffins over bread so that I get her approval first. Of course she says, "Oooh, we could put cream cheese frosting on them!" Uh, no. That makes them cupcakes. We can try to believe these muffins are somewhat nutritious for you, as long as there is no frosting, let alone, cream cheese frosting!! Or wait, that's a cheese... maybe that works as added protein? Hmm...
I decide I'm even too lazy to actually measure the stuff, challenging myself to use hardly any utensils. My eyeballs did the measuring, and I didn't mix anything gradually, no gentle folding, not of those fancy baking techniques to get them just right.

I just dumped stuff into the mixer all at once, shook the spices in, and cranked that mixer up for about 60 seconds, and spooned the contents into the muffin tins. Yes, too lazy for muffin liners too. Just sprayed the pan first. Someone else will be washing the pan, anyway, she just doesn't know it yet.

I love the color if the inside of my oven. It does make it easier to see when it's got yucky stuff on the bottom. Like when the husband bakes his pies.

I just took them out and they are smelling up my house. 

 She is drooling, and just stole one!

Can you just imagine what this smells like??

If you want to make something similar, you can try this recipe that I've adapted from the Gourmet Magazine's November 2006 issue. For you non-bakers reading this, you can wing the spices, maybe get away with less sugar, but keep the baking soda and powder, flour and salt the same or you might get something quite different than a muffin.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 15oz can of solid-pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling!)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
*1/2 to 1 tsp cinnamon 
*1/4 to 1/2 each nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice
1 1/4 cups of sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice mixed with 1 tablespoon sugar to sprinkle on top before baking

*You can use 1-2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice, if you have it, instead of these separate spices. The original calls for 1tsp of it. I say MORE.
*If you want to do what I did and add them separately: I did not use a measuring spoon, but I can guarantee that I went on the upper end of the spice measurements I wrote in here because I love the smell and taste of these spices. See above, where it says MORE.

Preheat oven to 350º. I just dumped all of the ingredients in the mixing bowl and gave it a whirl. You should mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in one bowl, then the rest of the ingredients in another (or your mixer bowl). Blend that and add the dry mixture to the pumpkin mixture. Stir or use mixer on low until blended. Don't over beat.
I just made 12 really mounded muffins. If you make them the "normal" way, you would use muffin liners, and fill only 1/2 way. You would probably get about 4 more muffins that way. But they would be dinky and not "Kohut Worthy". You can decide.
Bake for about 25 minutes, toothpick comes out clean, yada yada yada... Cool for a few minutes in the pan, then turn out onto cooling rack (and flip them upright right way or they will get a grid mark top). If you can't wait, just eat one. I won't tell. Just don't blame me if you burn your lips.
Another thing. I would doctor these any which way: add 1 cup nuts, bran cereal, raisins, shredded carrots, etc. Go for it. Some people like chocolate chips in their pumpkin stuff. Not me.
Lastly, cream cheese frosting would move these to ridiculous heights. If you are skinny, you need this step.
She's happy. And suddenly all the other kids are home, like they have baking ESP. These will be gone in about 5 minutes. I will get none... because I am TRYING really hard to be good!

Friday, December 16, 2011

When An Experiment Goes Right

Oh boy. I was going to a party over the weekend and needed to bring something yummy, but I wanted something different. So I made my chocolate chip cookie dough, sans the chocolate chips. Baked in a 9x11 dish for a bit, then put some dark chocolate over that and let it melt and spread it edge to edge. And THEN...
I made a toasted coconut, caramel and pecan concoction that I usually put into my German Chocolate Brownie Cookies and I spread that on top of the still warm cookie base. Back in the oven until it was bubbly (probably a little too long- but I forgot they were in the oven!) and then outside to cool. It was frigid, so that didn't take long.

Cut into bite size pieces (so I had more to share) and they became a MAJOR hit!! Unfortunately, this was the only picture I took!

This Smells So Good!

I have to say, I love how this banana bread makes my house smell. What I don't like is how fast the kids (and husband) devour it. Literally gone before it can even cool off.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bittersweet Baking

Today is chaos. 
Baking chaos. I have a shower coming up that I am baking all sorts of goodies for, and Murphy's Law has set in. Anything, and I mean ANYTHING, that can go wrong, has gone WRONG! Cookie dough on the floor, double recipe of cake batter made wrong (how did I forget baking powder??) melted chocolate all over the inside of the fridge as I dropped a tray of chocolate covered Oreos trying to open the fridge and answer the 100th ring from my kids (the daily "are you picking us up?" that I get EVERY SINGLE DAY!! I pick up every day, so I don't know why they need to call me...anyway...). 
Just a mess, I tell you. 
Did I mention the eggs? I went through 10 eggs to get that cake right, and 18 eggs in 24 hours. I still have more cake to make, and I have no eggs. Again. I have 150 sugar cookies waiting for icing, and my legs are cramping.

But none of it matters. 

First of all, I want to do this for my niece. Second, life is too short to worry about any of it. 
My friends, Melissa and Tim, had to put their beloved dog, Rosie, down last night. I am so heartbroken for them and their three kids. Rosie was 11 years old and one of the coolest, sweetest dogs I've ever met. I loved that dog, and I can't imagine her not being there when I visit them, which is not as often as I should. I can't even talk to them, I know I won't be able to stop crying. I cry just reading Melissa's messages, and typing this story for you.

But I want to be there for them, and I wish I could help take some of the pain away.

I baked cookies.

When I feel helpless, I bake. And I talk. To you all.
Baking and talking, it's what I do.

What to bake?
Of course, I had no eggs, and not enough time to go to the store. But I wanted to make SOMETHING.

I had 4 ingredients, so I did this:

Then I baked them:

And then I had to give them a little choco-drizz:

They are light, sweet, and ridiculously yummy (if you like coconut). 
And so simple to make.
I will even share the recipe... a rare thing, right? It's only because they are so easy and I want to cheer everyone up, if I can.

Don't get too excited, I didn't measure anything. Surprised?

I'll try to put it in measured terms:

  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1.5 bags of shredded coconut (if you measure, it would be about 6 tightly packed cups)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1tsp pure almond extract

Throw in a bowl, mix well. Then mix it some more, because you definitely didn't mix it well enough.
Grease your hands.
Make tablespoon size balls, please on greased cookie sheets about 2 inches apart 
Bake at 350º for 10 minutes 
*Watch them- they should NOT be too brown, just a little color, like the picture above.

Cool and eat. 
For extra oomph, drizzle or dip in chocolate and cool again. 


Chocolate Chip Minis

Chocolate Chip and coffee gift cards

Chocolate Chip Minis x 130