Tags: Butter Pecan, Candy, Chocolate, Christmas, corn flakes, feuilletine, white chocolate
This morning I swore I wasn’t going to put this post up because the photos turned out awful. These babies do not mesh well with artificial light. But then I thought ‘This candy is so darn good, why would I hold back over photos?”
These are normal thoughts if you have a food blog.. and completely justified since photos are the most important aspect of a food blog. You eat with your eyes. This is why I groan so much about not having natural light. One more time...everyone has natural light, whyyy not meeee? :/
Remember the filling for my Butter Pecan Thumbprint cookies? Well, of course you do, since it was my last post…from like 5 days ago.
Tags: Alcohol, Champagne, Chocolate, Cocktails, Drinks, Floats, Friday Cocktail, Ice Cream, Passion Fruit, raspberries, sorbet, Sparkling Wine
I’d like to introduce you to the first alcoholic beverage on my blog. Actually..I only have one other beverage on this blog, but, whatever. You see, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, particularly my Bad Boy First Love saga, you know I can’t hold my alcohol, so therefore, I don’t drink very often. Two glasses of wine and I’m telling everyone I love them. Any more than that and you’re most likely to find me on my knees with my head in the toilet or in bed with a waste paper basket within reach. Sad.
When Barbara of Creative Culinary asked if I would like to join in on her 1 year Friday Happy Hour Cocktail anniversary..of course I obliged. Her Friday cocktails are pretty amazing and extremely creative. Forget the cake or pie. some of them could be dessert! Personally, I’ve always been quite fond of her Vootbeer. With a scoop of ice cream, you’re all set, you’re in an old-fashioned soda fountain, spinning around on your stool, or iin this case, just spinning because of the vodka. Barb is quite the cocktail creator, mixer – so much so, that sometimes I call her the ‘Barbtender’ – bah dum bump.
Tags: #getbaking, Chocolate, malted loaf, Malted Milk Powder, quick bread, strawberries
Remember when I announced that there was a new bread baking challenge in town called The Bread Baking Society and I participated in the focaccia theme last May? Well that new bread baking challenge is now a NEWER bread baking challenge. My friend Lora, of Cake Duchess, the brainchild behind The Bread Baking Society, has decided to give The Bread Baking Society a small makeover and has invited me, her Mom, Elizabeth of food and thrift, Barbara of Creative Culinary, and Jamie of Life’s a Feast along for the ride. Say hello to Twelve Loaves, and below is what it’s all about and the rules – beautifully written by Jamie and beautifully copied and pasted by me!
Twelve Loaves was created to inspire you to bake more from scratch at home, in your kitchen. Bake along with us every month and discover and rediscover the joys of home baking for your family and friends. We know it’s not an easy task and we are here to inspire you along the way. A Baking Revolution!
What unites Twelve Loaves and all of you? We love baking from scratch because people love eating real bread, real cakes, delectable treats right out of the oven. Together we will discover new recipes and learn and master new techniques, discover flavors, textures, new ways to experience bread at the table with family and friends. 12 months, 12 baked goods, 12 challenges… so get baking!
Our very first Twelve Loaves theme for the month of August is Bread with Summer Fruit. Bake a bread, yeast or quick bread, loaf or individual, filled, stuffed, studded or topped with your favorite fresh summer fruit or berries.
Just follow the rules, it’s as easy as pie:
1. When you post your Twelve Loaves bread on your blog, make sure that you mention the Twelve Loaves challenge in your post and mention and link back to Lora, Lisa and Jamie’s blogs. Please make sure that your Bread is inspired by the theme! This is obligatory if you would like your link to be included!
2. Please link your post to the linky tool at the bottom of Lora, Lisa or Jamie’s blog. It must be a bread baked to the Twelve Loaves theme.
3. Feel free to promote the Twelve Loaves by proudly displaying the Twelve Loaves badge in your Twelve Loaves post as well as in your sidebar! It isn’t mandatory but is a nice way to get the word out!
4. Have your Twelve Loaves bread post up any time in August..the deadline is August 31, 2012.
Now, Get Baking!
With that said..I’m the hostess with the leastest. Jamie made a gorgeous chocolate chip cherry maple challah, Lizzy made a stunning, limoncello glazed blueberry – peach bread , Barbara made a luscious cherry bread with a crunchy cinnamon almond topping, and Lora made a beautiful blueberry cream cheese braid. I made a quick bread..because it was well..quick and I wanted to bake with them, not just put up an announcement. However..this quick bread is kind of special. The title says it all…malted, as in malted milk powder is added to the batter. There are malted layer cakes, malted milkshakes, malted milk balls, and I even saw some malted pancakes and waffles on the internet a few months ago, so why not malted quick bread?
My kitchen timer didn’t go off. 8 minutes over baked.
I love most anything that has malted milk powder in it. One summer, years ago, there was a Dairy Queen about 15 minutes from where I lived at the time. Every time I passed it..which was often, I pulled in and ordered either a strawberry or vanilla malted milkshake. I still remember that first icy sip on those warm, summer nights, the malty flavor tickling my palate in such a good, good way . Unfortunately, that Dairy Queen was soon knocked down, replaced by a drive-through bank and wouldn’t let me withdraw a malted milkshake.
Soon I was knocking back boxes and boxes of malted milk balls to satiate my malted addiction.
Discovering malted milk powder in the supermarket was a happy day for me, and for the rest of that summer I was making my own vanilla malted milkshakes. They were not even close to the ones I used to get at Dairy Queen, (I can never get a milkshake or malt as thick and creamy as the ones you get at any ice cream establishment – no matter how much ice cream I add. What’s the secret?) but the malted flavor still hit the spot.
Regardless, I think every artery in my heart is glad that DQ went away, as well as my belly and butt.
Having said all that, the flavor the malted milk powder in this quick bread/cake..along with chunks of fresh strawberries and Valrhona chocolate, is out of this world and reminiscent of a malted milkshake. The thing is…how do you describe the flavor of malted? I’ve pondered this over and over, and I cannot find any adjectives that fits. Anyone? Beuller? Beuller?
I took a base recipe for quick bread/loaf cake from the Joy of Baking, made a few base changes to it..and then went to town . I love how it turned out, an explosion of fresh strawberry and creamy, melted chocolate throughout the super moist, malted vanilla loaf. Strawberries may not bake up very pretty, as you can see in the photos, but who cares if it tastes good?
Initially I was going to use a variety of fruits, minus chocolate, in this bread – sticking with my ‘eat the rainbow’ theme this summer, but then decided it was overkill. Plus, I couldn’t find a green fruit I felt would work well. Cooked kiwi? NO. Kiwi loses a ton of flavor when cooked, unless made into a jam with loads of sugar. Green grapes? Nahh – better eaten out of hand.
That said, I do have one regret. I wish I had topped the bread with more strawberry slices and chocolate chunks. I sliced up one strawberry and placed it on top with a sprinkle of malted milk powder. The batter rose over half the strawberry slices, leaving me with three slices playing peekaboo, instead of the original six, front and center. So, if you do make this..I suggest a good amount of strawberry slices, chocolate chunks and malted milk powder on top. Not only will it look better, but it’ll add more texture, and flavor, of course.
Finally, once again, you have the whole month of August to link up your summer fruit bread..any kind of bread..no yeast required. Just click on the linky below and follow the directions. Don’t forget to tweet (if you use Twitter – not required) your fruity creation @TwelveLoaves with the hashtags #TwelveLoaves and #getbaking !
You can use any recipe you’d like..including any of ours! The sky is the limit..as long as your bread contains summer fruit.
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Chocolate Chunk Strawberry Malted Loaf
Adapted from Joy of Baking, with my revisions
1/2 cup (4 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
3/4 cup malted milk powder
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberry chunks ( I quarted each strawberry)
1 cup good quality semisweet,milk or bittersweet chocolate. cut into chunks (I prefer this over chocolate chips because it remains melted and gooey long after baking)
Extra flour for coating the chocolate and strawberries
extra strawberries and chocolate chunks to top the bread..which I wish I had done!
1. Stir the malted milk powder into the sour cream or yogurt and let dissolve while you prepare everything.
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined before adding the next egg. Beat in vanilla extract.
4. On low speed, alternately add the flour mixture with the sour cream or yogurt malted powder mixture…ending with the flour, beating until just combined and uniform.
5. Place the strawberry and chocolate chunks in a strainer over a bowl or garbage can, and coat them with flour, about 1/4 cup…shaking off the excess flour into the bowl or garbage can beneath it.
6. Fold the flour coated strawberries and chocolate into the batter gently, (the batter will be a little thick).
7. Pour and scrape the batter into a lightly greased and floured 9 x 5 – inch loaf pan. Top with extra strawberry chunks, chocolate chunks and a big sprinkle of malted milk powder.
8. Bake at 350 degrees F for 60 – 65 minutes, until the loaf is puffed, golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool on rack fully before slicing.
9. Keep any leftovers refrigerated, for about two days at most. although I doubt you’ll have any leftovers!
Bad Boy First Love Part 16 will be coming soon. I couldn’t hit that zone..and when I don’t hit that zone..I don’t flow..and when I don’t flow..it sucks, which has happened in about half or more of the parts.
Tags: battenberg Cake, Black Sesame, Cashew Marzipan, Chocolate, Fondant, Ginger, Japanese, Matcha Powder, Modeling Chocolate, Sakura
Would you like a spot of matcha tea with your black sesame – ginger scones? By golly, I’ve done it again! I’ve taken something traditional, and went completely barmy on it! OK, I wrote a whole entry in ‘Brit’ lingo back in ’09, and I’m not going to make any of you who remember, suffer through it again.
However..I’ve taken a thoroughly British cake called a Battenberg Cake, first created to celebrate the marriage of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter, Princess Victoria to husband Prince Louis of Battenberg, and infused it with Asian, mainly Japanese, flavors, and decorated it in kind. I know one thing for sure..as tasty and pretty as it is, it would probably shock the tickety-boos out of the Queen if it was served to her at any tea or special event.
Mandy of What The Fruitcake?! came to our rescue last-minute to present us with the Battenburg Cake challenge! She highlighted Mary Berry’s techniques and recipes to allow us to create this unique little cake with ease.
I was supposed to co-host, or shall I say sidekick this challenge with Mandy, but like a lot of promises and deadlines the past 3 months, I had to drop out (or delay). Not that I didn’t try, but, unfortunately, the humidity ghoul came stomping down on my jubilee – again. I ordered a Battenberg pan because I wanted to take the easy way out, (which I will get to in a moment), and just my luck, two tries stuck to the pan because of the stickiness in the air.
I won’t bore you with the trials and tribulations of my homemade cashew marzipan,but I will say the humidity made it nearly impossible to roll out and wrap the cake in..so we ate it in chunks and I regretfully had to inform Mandy I wouldn’t be able to pull this one out in time. It certainly doesn’t help matters when your brain has been scattered too.
Scattered brain doesn’t make for focused baking, decorating, or anything for that matter.
However, there is a light at the end of this tunnel. As a participant instead of co-host, I had some time to take advantage of a few clear weekend days and weeknights to play with the Battenberg, and my cashew marzipan rolled out quite nicely.
As for the aforementioned Battenberg pan - when you see the challenge recipe if you click the link below, you’ll notice that you don’t need a Battenberg pan to make this cake. A 7 to 8-inch square pan that you divide in half with parchment paper or foil works perfectly. Once the cake is baked, you slice each half in half, trimming off the uneven crusty bits, to get perfect squares. Simple, right? Why spend the money on a Battenberg pan?
Well, I’m a horrible cutter/trimmer. I always cut things crookedly. This is why I bought the pan – to make my presently off-kilter life on-kilter. The less I have to think about something, the better.
So, now that I didn’t have to worry about anything other than slicing the top of the cakes off the pan with one quick and simple cut, it made it easier to play and play I did. When I was going to co-host, Mandy asked if I might want to make a matcha – black sesame version, or something off the beaten path.
Since I did something very similar with the Daring Bakers Dobos Torte (egads, horrific photos - look away!), again, back in ’09, it was an affirmative. I added 1 tablespoon of matcha powder and 2 teaspoons milk to half the batter, and 1 cup of black sesame seeds to the other half. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
My original plan was to bind the cakes together with a sweet adzuki bean paste or an adzuki bean paste buttercream, like I did with the Daring Bakers Dobos Torte (Oh, those photos kill me!). I changed my mind after deciding this baby needed some chocolate. I steeped some fresh ginger in hot cream, then poured it over chopped, dark chocolate, letting it set to a medium ganache, and used that instead. Definitely a good decision.
For the wrap, I colored homemade cashew marzipan red, then added dark modeling chocolate (aka chocolate plastique – included in the challenge recipes) tree branches, and tiny white fondant Japanese cherry blossoms called sakura – well, my version of them. I decided to do the blossoms and branches at the last minute, and each blossom took for-ev-er by hand, with no tools. I got so fed up after three, that I started pinching them into stars- so that was the most tedious part, but again, it was my decision, not something Mandy requested.
With that said, I’m not a fan of fondant, but there’s not a ton of tiny blossoms (or stars) so you can either eat them or flick them into the trash if you don’t care for fondant either.
Thanks for an awesome challenge, Mandy, my dear friend! To get all the recipes for the Battenberg cake, and see a gorgeous array of step-by-step photos, not to mention two awesome Battenburg cakes Mandy made, click HERE. To see the beautiful Battenburg cakes my fellow Daring Bakers created, click on the links to their blogs, HERE.
Tags: baking, Cake, Chocolate, First Love, vanilla, Zebra Cake
Dear Readers ,
First off, the above is a transitional header and name (desserts and line drives was too long). I still haven’t decided where I’m going to go with this, but I got sick of looking at that ugly, old header.
Secondly, please excuse these old photos, but love this cake. Not only is it cool to look at – but it’s moist, delectable and easy to make.
Back in January of 2011, my computer crashed. The hard drive was annihilated. I lost all of my photos. Some of those photos were of several amazing and somewhat laborious, treats, two of the treats that I especially mourn to this day. One was a beautiful Tourte Milanese – layers of colorful, roasted vegetables, serrano ham and softly scrambled, herbed eggs encased in golden puff pastry. The other was a Gateau Basque, best described as a mix of a cake, cookie and pie, from the Basque region of France, filled with luscious almond pastry cream and homemade cherry jam. They were both so lovely, aesthetically, and exquisite in flavor, that I did everything I could with the dead hard drive, bringing it from place to place, to see what they could retrieve from it.
Wouldn’t you know it, they were able to get most everything off of it EXCEPT the laborious treats and the Tourte Milanese and Gateua Basque. Why? Why? Why?
I still hold on to that drive with the hope that, miraculously, someone will be able to find and extract even one photo of each. The truth is, the two that slay me, were also a little labor intensive, and I haven’t had the time or motivation to really dig into recreating either. Plus, I don’t often get good photos, but by some stroke of luck, the photos of these two extravagant goodies, including the prep photos, were some of the best I’ve ever taken. Again..
Why? Why? WHY?
Here’s the kicker, a group of photos of a zebra cake I made in 2007, were all there, well, most of them..(some of the prep photos didn’t make it)..in perfect condition. These photos were from a time before a food blog was even a twinkle in my eye. Back then, I took quick shots with a point and shoot, under kitchen lighting, and sometimes I used *gasp* a flash.
They were also able to pull these 2009 peanut butter cup brownies off the drive. One problem, though..just the one photo you see above the zebra batter, when there were originally 10 full size photos. This one had been cropped already.
Barring the photo quality, it’s a pretty cool looking cake..so I decided to post it. As I mentioned in my last post..I haven’t had the time to cook or bake anything really blog worthy, unless you consider boiled, boxed pasta with a simple tomato sauce and sloppy tuna sandwiches on wheat toast, blog worthy. In other words, I haven’t felt like spending hours sifting through 100 photos of sloppy tuna salad, and then hours of post-processing the best of the bland.
At least the ugly overnight oatmeal had a little pizzazz with the use of an almost empty peanut butter jar and the near endless possibilities of add-ins.
So, here’s my zebra cake, in all it’s ancient point and shoot glory. I love the way the stripes came out, and it was quite moist and tasty, therefore - blog worthy. However, for some reason I cannot recollect nor fathom why I placed the cake slices on top of a cheap cake turntable. It looks weird. Please look at the cool, zebra stripes and blur out the weird-looking cake turntable. I’m uhh, kinda embarrassed!
I want you all to make this cake and impress everyone you serve it to It’ll look better on your plate and table than it does in these antiquated photos. Oh, and make the peanut butter cup brownies too! Had to add that.
Loaded Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Brownies
Recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped..or chocolate chips
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
10 regular size Reese’s peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. I line the pan with foil or parchment paper, making sure there is overhang to use as handles to lift out the brownies, Spray/grease foil or parchment if you use this method.
2. Microwave chopped chocolate and butter for about 45 seconds. If not mostly melted, microwave for 20 more seconds. Stir until smooth. Whisk in the cocoa powder and espresso powder. Set aside. OR, melt in a double boiler.
3. Whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, peanut butter and salt until combined. Whisk the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Stir in the flour until just combined. Fold chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups into batter. Pour mixture into pan, spread evenly and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula.
4. Bake approximately 35-40 minutes. Brownies will be slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted into the center should come out mostly clean. Cool to room temperature for about 2 hours. Cut into 1″ squares. Store in a tightly sealed container; preferably in the refrigerator.
Chocolate and Vanilla Zebra Cake
Makes one 8 or 9-inch cake
Recipe from my scribble scrabble on a piece of paper. I cannot remember where I found it, but I did make some changes to it at the time.
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil or coconut oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt (or, milk is fine too)
NOTE - If you have a foolproof yellow or white layer cake recipe you love and would prefer to use, add dark cocoa powder to one half of the whole recipe, and proceed with zebra cake batter pattern. Umm..if you like using cake mixes, (I don’t, personally), or want to use one in a pinch, you can do the same – dark cocoa powder to half the batter, then proceed.
1. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
2. If using butter, cream it together with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, until each one is fully incorporated. Add vanilla extract. If using oil, beat together the eggs, oil, and sugar until light and fluffy, then add vanilla extract.
3. Alternate adding the flour mixture with the milk, starting and ending with the flour. Do not overmix.
Now – This is where it all begins with the batter to make the zebra pattern.
Here’s a video that shows you the zebra method, and another one using a spoon, which is how I do it, AND one more for good measure, since my step-by-step photos weren’t recovered. I didn’t use pastry bags, (good idea, though), just tablespoons and less batter of each color per drop than what you see in the video, to produce stripes that are closer together. The below instructions explain how I did it.
Divide the batter in half, into two separate bowls, and add about 3-5 T of dark cocoa (I use Dutch Processed) to one half of the batter. If the white batter is too runny, add 3-5 tablespoons of flour to it. You want the white and chocolate batter to be close in viscosity.
To start..you’ll be ‘layering’ 1 to 3 tablespoons of each batter, right on top of one another into a lightly greased 8 or 9-inch cake pan.(I add a parchment circle, and lightly grease that too). I used an 8-inch round cake pan.
Starting with the white batter drop 1-3 tablespoons on the bottom of the pan, then drop 1-3 tablespoons of the chocolate batter right on top of the white batter, in the middle, then 1-3 tablespoons of white on top of the chocolate, then repeat with the white batter in the middle of chocolate batter. Keep alternating batters in the center of each until you’ve used up both batters. It will look lopsided at several points..spreading more to one side of the pan, but by the time you’re close to finished, it’ll start to even out. It should look like a bullseye of white and dark batter, as you can see in the photo right below this recipe
The less tablespoons of batter you use, the closer together the stripes will be. I used 2 tablespoons batter of each per drop..but use up to 4 for thicker stripes.
Bake in a preheated 350F oven for anywhere from 35 to 45 minutes. A toothpick or skewer inserted in the center of the cake, should come out clean when it’s done.
Try this with other flavors/colors, like matcha with the chocolate, pistachio paste, or raspberry syrup or ground, dehydrated raspberries. You can make this cake a kaleidoscope of stripe. Let your imagination run wild!