Friday, May 29, 2009

Blueberry Pound Cake

Aren't blueberries the best? When they're in season, they are just so plump and beautiful and juicy. They are easy to eat - just grab a handful and go. And, turns out they are a 'superfood' which means they have things called 'antioxidants' which apparently do something good for my body, so yay! Blueberries!

I haven't posted lately because most of what I've been baking lately has failed in one way or another. It's really upsetting because baking is one of the few things I'm good at. I made some cupcakes with chocolate butterflies on top that ended up looking stupid, I made Martha's dessert of the month and they stuck horribly to the parchment (that Martha TOLD me to line the pan with), and then I made this blueberry pound cake. Don't get me wrong, it TASTED good, but it is not. pretty. And I just don't understand why.

My ingredients: blueberries, heavy cream (you can substitute milk or half and half), SELF-RISING flour (I'm normally an AP kind of gal, but I've been looking to use up this self-rising flour that my ex-boyfriend accidently got. *ahem*. ), sugar, butter (softened), eggs, vanilla. The lime juice in the picture is because I originally was going to make a lime glaze to pour over the cake, but in the end I decided not to. So ignore it.

First, butter a loaf pan and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

This is my new orange KitchenAid mixer!!!!! My parents got it for me as a graduation gift. I love it soooooooooooooooo much. It's my favorite color! As I baked this cake, I found myself singing "you... are... so beautiful... to MEEEEEEEE" to the mixer. This is why I don't have friends.

Not as cool as the mixer, but this is my new apron from Salvation Army - 1 dolla! It has a dishtowel attached at the waist so you can wipe your hands as you go. Brilliant!

Also, I'm not naked under the apron. I have shorts on. Just FYI.

Anyway, dump 3/4 cup butter and 1 cup sugar in your mixing bowl and cream them together. You can do this by hand if you don't have a kickass stand mixer like I do.

Light and fluffy!

Add two eggs and beat together.

Add 1 1/4 cups self-rising flour, 3 tablespoons of heavy cream, and 1 tablespoon of vanilla. Yes, a whole TABLESPOON of vanilla.

Wash and pick the stems off a bunch of blueberries. I used a pint, minus about a handful (which I couldn't resist eating).

Toss the berries in a tablespoon of flour. This, theoretically, should keep the batter from turning blue and also keep the berries from sinking to the bottom. As you will find out shortly, this did not happen.

Gently fold your berries into your batter...

...and dump it all into your loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a skewer (knife, whatever) comes out clean.

Ta da... the cake is done. But it looks... bad. Just not good.

I don't have pictures of what happened next, because I was too busy cursing and getting frustrated. I let my cake cool, I dumped it out onto a pretty plate, and... ALL the blueberries were stuck to the bottom of the pan. My poundcake, which was SUPPOSED to be delightfully studded with berries, had turned into a very messy upside-down cake.

Why did this happen?! I did the flour thing with the berries...

Anyway, it still tasted delish. I guess it all gets mixed up in my stomach in the end. Any advice to keep this from happening in the future?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Martha's Black-And-White Cheesecake Squares

I was super-bummed when I found out that the 'cookie of the month' feature in Martha Stewart Living magazine was discontinued! I find something so appealing about the idea of a 'cookie of the month.' Though mad at Martha for taking away one of my favorite things, I was somewhat relieved that there would still be a dessert on the last page each month, even if it wasn't a cookie. I had some cream cheese in the fridge, so I decided to give this month's "Last Course" recipe a try.

You need: flour, cocoa powder (Martha says to use 'dutch-process' but I used 'natural-process' because I do what I want), baking soda, salt, unsalted butter (softened), sugar, eggs, vanilla, cream cheese, and confectioner's sugar.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and butter a 9X13 pan. I also lined the pan with foil for easy lift-out-ness. Cream 2 1/2 sticks of butter and 2 cups sugar.

Once the butter and sugar are creamed together, add 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Beat until smooth.

On top of the wet ingredients, add 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour, 3/4 cup cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix it up on top, and then beat together with wet mixture. (Martha says to combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl first, and then add them to the wet ingredients. Again, I do what I want. And I don't like doing dishes, so I just added it on top. The bars still tasted good, so there.)

Look at this beautiful batter!!

Take out 1 cup of dough, cover, and refrigerate for later.

Press the remaining dough into the bottom of your pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes (I cheated and only refrigerated for 25!), then bake about 25 minutes.

Let your base cool on a wire rack, still in the pan.

Once your bottom layer is cool, mix together 8 ounces of softened cream cheese, 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, one egg, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

Do you notice how my lighting changes in each picture? That's because these bars took FOREVER to make. The sun was like "well, I'd love to stick around, but it's time for bed! Sorry, Carson - your pictures are going to suck." And I was like, "Blah. These are taking forever."

Spread the cream cheese mixture over the cooled base.

Remember that cup of batter you reserved? Crumble it over the top. For about two seconds, I thought it would be cute to cookie-cut the little batter clumps into hearts and put them on top in a pattern. Then I remembered that it was already about seventy days after I had started to make the recipe and they were never going to be done. So I just crumbled.

Bake until filling is set, about 25-30 minutes. Let cool in dish on wire rack, and then refrigerate. These bars are not that good warm, but they are super-delish right out of the fridge. Do you agree, Dusty Springfield Jr?

"Yup! They sure smell yummy, mom! Can I be on your blog?!!"

These bars were delicious, but the mix, refrigerate, bake, cool, mix, bake, refrigerate process took way longer than I would prefer. I do feel less angry about the loss of 'cookie of the month' now.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Banana-Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies

I haaaaaaate brown bananas. Ick, ick ick. I like to eat bananas when they are still slightly green. If there is a single brown spot on a banana, I will not eat it because that is disgusting. Ewwwww.

The problem comes when I have a banana that is slightly too green one night, so I plan on eating it the next day. OF COURSE, by the next day the banana is brown and rotting. Because that is how my life works.

The obvious solution to this problem is to make banana bread, but I saw this recipe on Taste & Tell and decided to give 'er a try. I made a few little changes, and the end result is delicious!

You need: flour, rolled oats, salt, sugar, vanilla, baking soda, butter (softened), an egg, icky brown bananas, chocolate chips, and cinnamon (optional).

NOTE: The one banana looks weird in this picture because it is frozen. When I have nasty bananas, I usually stick them in baggies and put them in the freezer. Then I can use them in smoothies, or I can pull them out when I want to make banana bread. Or cookies.

I didn't have any chocolate chips on hand (gasp! horrors!!!), but I did have this bag of mini Hershey kisses, which are smaller than normal Hershey kisses but bigger than normal chocolate chips. I like to eat these by the handful. For proof of this habit, see my butt.

First, cream together 3/4 cup of butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy.

Then, add an egg and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. Mix well.

Once the wet ingredients are fully combined, add 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 3/4 cups oats, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I don't really like cinnamon, so I left it out). Add 1 cup of mashed banana on top (about 2 bananas). Mix well until everything is evenly combined.

If I were using normal chocolate chips, I would mix in 1 cup of them at this point. With the big chips I was using, I was worried that they wouldn't distribute evenly throughout the dough, so I decided to stud them on top.

Whichever method of chocolate-chipping you prefer, blop your dough on a parchment-lined cookie sheet in generous tablespoons. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-14 minutes.

Once they're done, let them cool on wire racks. The recipe made 3 dozen plus 2 cookies for me.

Overall, I think this is a great cookie. I like the sweetness of the Hershey kisses, and the little chunks of banana. They're really good with milk (which, duh, all cookies are good with milk. But these are especially good with milk).

Friday, March 6, 2009

Sheila Bars

I'm on spring break! Whoooooo! I decided to make some bars to celebrate. I saw this recipe for Sheila's Dream Bars on Schweet 'n Savory, and decided they would do the job nicely. I made some changes to the recipe, and they turned out really delicious.

"Hello, my name is Sheila! I'm a delicious bar. Please eat me."

You need: AP flour, brown sugar, butter, eggs, quick-cook oats, vanilla, baking powder and chocolate chips.

First, mix together 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, and 1 cup flour. They will end up looking like a shortbread dough.


Press this layer into the bottom of a 9x13 pan. It will be a pretty thin layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

While the bottom layer is baking, you can make the dulce de leche that goes in the middle. In the original recipe, it says you can use caramel ice cream topping from a jar, but I didn't have any. In the future, I might just use the jarred topping, because I don't think my bars ended up caramelly enough. Or, I might just make more caramel. In any case, what I did next was melt 2/3 cup butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar over low heat, stirring constantly. Once it reached a boil, I let it boil for a minute (still stirring!) before removing from the heat.

Yummmmmmmmmmm. You could just eat this and I wouldn't judge you.

Once your bottom layer has baked for ten minutes, spread the caramel on top.

Now, mix together 4 eggs, 1 cup of brown sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup oats. The original recipe called for half of each of these amounts, but I wanted a thicker top layer.

Dump your top layer on top of the caramel layer, and throw 'er back in the oven (still on 350 degrees). Bake for 20 minutes.

The end result? A chewy, chocolate chippy bar with a slight caramelly accent. If I made these again, I would add more caramel, but these were still deeeeeeeelicious. AND, they have oatmeal in them, so you can eat them for breakfast!


create account
Online Coupon Code