Posted: August 31st, 2010 | Filed under: Cake | Tags: blackberry jam cake, cream cheese frosting, jam cake, white chocolate cream cheese frosting, white chocolate frosting | No Comments »
I cooked a good bit last week. It was pretty much awesome. I can say this… being unemployed gives me a lot more room to be the little “home maker” that I am. And goodness — the days fill up so quickly, and even when I’m not working I’m super busy. But hey, thats okay, I like being busy. And now that we are closing the month and looking at my unemployed state and looking at the bills, we are seeing over and over again all of the ways that God is providing for us, caring for us, and loving us through amazing family and an amazing gospel community. We’re still seeking the Lord in figuring out what to do next… until then, we are encouraged by the Lord’s faithful provision.
So this weekend I made a cake. I love making a good layer cake, but it does take a lot of time, so I just don’t do it as often. But I had a good reason and a great recipe to try and pecans I needed to use in pantry and white chocolate cream cheese frosting just sounded so good. And it was. It was really tasty. I’ll soon be converting this into a cupcake. Look forward to that… but for now, please, please enjoy this cake. it is really moist and delicious and the flavors and sweetness are perfectly balanced.
Blackberry Jam Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted from At Home with Magnolia by Allysa Torey
2 2/3 c all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c unsalted butter, softened
1 c granulated sugar
1 c firmly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 c buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c seedless blackberry jam
2 8oz packages cream cheese, softened
6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 oz white chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature (I used Lindt)**
1 1/2 c pecans
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
Preheat the oven 350 F. Grease and lightly flour two 9×2 inch round cake pans, then line the bottom with a round of wax paper.
Cake: Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars gradually, and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until incorporated but do not over beat, as this would cause toughness. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended. Fold in the jam until no large pieces of jam remain, but leave some small bits throughout the batter.
Divide the batter between the pans. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a cake tester in the center comes out clean. Let the layers cool in the pan for 1 hour. Remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
Icing: In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and the butter until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat well. Add the melted chocolate and beat well. Use immediately or store, covered at room temperature for up to 4 hours.
Topping: Toast the pecans on a baking sheet at 350 F for 10 to 15 minutes — or until lightly brown and fragrant. While the pecans are toasted put the butter and salt in a small bowl. When the pecans are done, put them directly into the bowl with the butter and salt and toss until well covered.
Assembly: When the layers are completely cooled, spread the icing between the layers, stack the layers, then ice the top and sides of the cake. Pile on the pecans on top.
**Note: to melt the white chocolate, place in a double boiler over simmering water over low heat, for approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Stir until smooth and no pieces of chocolate remain. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 to 15 minutes or until lukewarm.
Posted: August 26th, 2010 | Filed under: Uncategorized | | No Comments »
I’ve been home all week – not at work. In case you don’t know, its because I quit my job recently. Its a good thing. Its a really good thing. But now we’re not sure where to go from here. We’re relying on the Lord’s direction and provision. I’m spending a lot of “my newly found free time” in prayer and in the word. Which is a really really good thing. I know that the Lord is faithful and will provide, and we have to be obedient in listening and being patient, and in this we have confidence in his grace, mercy and faithfulness. So, suffice this to say, I’ve had a little extra time to post and play in my kitchen. (Also a good thing.)
So for awhile at least I have a little more time to look through the stacks of recipes I’ve saved, play in my kitchen, and take a few more pictures. In light of this, I have a new recipe for you!
I love trying new salads. I love that salads have the ability to be so much more than a wedge of ice burg lettuce and some dressing. Salads have the ability to pack in the flavor and become a meal of their own without leaving you empty feeling. Thats what this salad does. I guess it could technically be called a pasta salad. (But when I think of pasta salad I think of cold noodles with sticky flavorless dressing and packaged shredded parmesan. I know thats not every pasta salad, but I must have had a bad experience as a child.) But it is tasty and filling and easy. What could be better than that on a busy weeknight?
Layered Spinach and Tortellini Salad
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
1 16oz pkg. cheese filled tortellini (I used Buitoni)
1 3/4 c fresh whole strawberries, hulled
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1/4 c white wine vinegar
1/4 c strawberry jam
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 5 oz. pkg. baby spinach
2 c baguette toasts (or your favorite brand potato chips)
Cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain well and set aside. Meanwhile, for the vinaigrette, place half the berries in a trifle bowl. Crush with a masher, whisk in vinegar, jam, oil, ginger, and pepper. Layer tortellini and spinach. Quarter or slice remaining berries; layer on spinach. Refrigerate covered up to an hour. To serve, top with chips.
Posted: August 24th, 2010 | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: fall fashion, new school fashion, new school year, school spirit | 1 Comment »
My favorite thing about the “beginning of fall” (we have highs in the 90′s today! not the hundreds!) is the thought of a new school year. I know, I know, it has been a good little while since I started back to school… but I just can’t help loving the thought of fun blazers, brown leather, school spirit and the thought of a new year full of learning new and fun things… call me sentimental, but I do think its a fun thing to think about when all I see are signs and commercials for “back to school” – so here you go… my back to school must haves.
A notebook for all of those inspirational thoughts
The perfect not brown paper lunch bag
Bow Un-tied blouse
A Classic Blazer
An ultra cute bag for the laptop
Precious Paper Clips
A fall flowers tiered dress
Skinny chain belt
A calendar to keep you organized
Skinny Ankle Jeans
The perfect trouser shoe for those skinny jeans
Don’t forget a gift for the teacher!
Posted: August 23rd, 2010 | Filed under: Cookie | Tags: pb&j bars, peanut butter and jelly bars, Peanut butter and strawberry bars | No Comments »
Lately I have been making lots of lame excuses for why I have not been actively sharing recipes with you. I’m making that change right now. Because, lets face it, those excuses were way l-a-m-e. So on my path to not being so lame, I give you Peanut Butter and Strawberry Bars. With the school year here (it is no longer quickly approaching) I am reminded of my deep love for fun school stuffs. I’m not going to lie… I wish I had an excuse to buy some cool new office supplies (like cute paper clips and monogramed pencils) and a fun new backpack. When I was in school we packed our lunches most of the time. This tasty bar reminds me of all of those PB&Js we packed so long ago… and I think it would make a great dessert packed up in a brown paper bag or enjoyed as a “wholesome” after school snack.
Peanut Butter and Strawberry Bars
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
3/4 c butter, softened
3/4 c peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
1 c packed light brown sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 c all purpose flour
1/2 c strawberry jam
4 c strawberries halved or quartered
Heat oven to 350 F. Line 13x9x2″ baking pan with parchment paper. Beat butter and peanut butter on medium to high for 30 seconds. Beat in sugars, baking powder, and salt until combined. Add eggs and vanilla, beat until combined. Beat in as much flour as you can with mixer. Stir in remaining four. Spread dough in prepared pan. Bake 25 minutes or until top is lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack. Remove from pan, and remove parchment paper. Spread jam on top and pile on the berries. Cut into bars. Serve at once or refrigerate up to 6 hours.
Posted: August 15th, 2010 | Filed under: Bread | Tags: blueberry cake, blueberry coffee cake, blueberry crumb cake | 1 Comment »
I sometimes over buy on produce… yes, I am guilty. So a day or so into the week I often look into the fridge and wonder… “So what should I do with all of this beautiful produce that I no longer believe we will be able to eat during our busy busy week?” And out come the cookbooks and ideas of cookies and cakes and breads and crumbles and buckles and all kinds of glorious things. Then there was the coffee cake. It was in one of Ina’s cookbooks. I had been waiting patiently for an excuse (c’mon, like I really need one) to bake this little blueberry coffee cake. It has lots of crumbles, its soft, and its from my favorite Ina – (she has only done me wrong once.)
And what a better way to start my day than with a delicious blueberry coffeecake and some coffee… it was such a nice thought I decided to make it happen. Yay! Very easy, super delicious, you will love this coffee cake. You will enjoy it for breakfast, you will enjoy if for snack… and you will enjoy it for dessert.
In the mean time I’m going to keep baking up my extra produce… especially with all of my newly found time.
Blueberry Crumb Cake
adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home
For the streusel:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
For the cake:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (3/4 stick)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
2/3 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
Confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round baking pan.
For the streusel:
Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Stir in the melted butter and then the flour. Mix well and set aside.
For the cake:
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, lemon zest, and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Fold in the blueberries and stir with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out with a knife. With your fingers,
crumble the topping evenly over the batter. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely and serve sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar.
Posted: August 10th, 2010 | Filed under: Cookie | Tags: chocolate chip cookies, giant chocolate chip cookies, soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies, soft chocolate chip cookies | No Comments »
About a week ago on a very hot night we joined a couple of friends on the lawn of the Denton Square for a lovely al fresco dinner date. It was steamy, but with the breeze and the sun going down, and the laughter and the chilled wine, I really didn’t even care. We shared some tasty veggie filled sandwiches made lovingly by Taylor and Darrell. We toasted with a little wine that I picked up earlier in the weekend. We finished it all off with giant cookies I baked the night before. Thats right… I said it, you don’t have to do a double take. GIANT cookies. And they were delicious. Soft and chewy and full of chocolate chip goodness. And really, is there a better picnic dessert than a cookie? It doesn’t get too crumbly, require a napkin, fork, or spoon. It doesn’t have to be chilled. They only need to be tucked safely away in a hard container, no cutting, slicing, or serving required… and there they are. Just big simple cookies.
Now lets get down to the details. This recipe isn’t outlandish, it doesn’t require fancy vanilla beans, or 90% cocoa nibs… just the same things you already have sitting in the pantry. But here is the thing… instead of using your little cookie scoop… or a tablespoon to drop these little guys — you are going to use an ice cream scoop. Thats right… the same amount of dough you put into a normal sized cupcake.
It seems scary. So just put a few cookies on a pan at one time. And when they come out of the oven… be patient! Let them rest for a second, then let them cool on a wire rack… then attack! Its cool, I know you want to. And please, share in the attack of the giant cookies with friends. Its the neighborly thing to do.
Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Everyday Food by Martha Stewart
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (about 12 ounces) semisweet and/or milk chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the salt, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, but still soft in the center, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.