3.30.2012

Hand Dryers, Dilemmas and White Chocolate Chips



Recently, in the office where I work there has been ongoing “improvements” to better the work environment. One was the removal of paper towels and the addition of a hand dryer in the ladies restroom.
Look, I’m all for Save a Tree- Save the World. But I have a disorder that requires me to use a paper towel in order to open the bathroom door. So imagine my dilemma (and subsequent breakdown) when I go to dry my hands and find the paper towels missing and this funny looking contraption in its place.
I was at a loss, I thought of the hand sanitizer that lives in my bag and wet ones that are in my glove compartment.  If I could just get that door open with my telekinetic power. In the end, I allowed the hand dryer to dry my hands… while wondering if after excessive usage of this extremely noisy, mega-watting hand drying thingamajig would cause my skin to wrinkle. Certainly, that is a viable argument to bring the hand towels back. Not to mention I had to use the sleeve on my shirt to open the door. 



But the day before all that…

I made these….


White Chocolate Chip Cookies

What Ya Need

2 cups plus 1 teaspoon all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups white chocolate chips (I used nestle)



What ya do

Preheat oven to 385. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl and set aside
Cream butter, both sugars and vanilla together using an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Be sure to stop the mixer once or twice to scrap the bowl using a rubber spatula.
Add eggs to the butter mixture and beat on medium speed until well blended.

Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed about 20 seconds.

Add white chocolate chips and blend until they are mixed in.

Drop dough  by tablespoon ( the amount depending on how large or small you want your cookies to be)  2 inches apart  onto prepared baking sheets

Bake until edges are dark golden about 12-14 minutes….
Let cool or if you're like me eat them immediately…





Something about warm chocolate that gets me all excited.


3.28.2012

A quick letter, pie crust, and some apples


Dear Sweet Man Of Mine…

Can you please decide which way you want to lock the door each day and keep it that way?
I ask because… it’s difficult to come home and take out my keys and unlock the bottom lock-push the door- only to find that unsuccessful-then unlock the top lock and try again- all the while carrying a car seat, my bag and other stuff I probably don’t need but have anyway. It wouldn’t be a problem if there was some..humm… I don’t know… consistency… -but the next day I am ready-with both keys only to find you’ve locked one lock this time and didn’t even set the alarm. So Honey.. Please decide, I mean you know the concept of locking the door in the garage is weird to me anyway- Honestly, if they are going to break in would they go through the trouble of beating down the 2 car garage door on our house rather than the 2 front doors that are mostly glass? Think about it...

Love Ya
E

Now that I've got that out of the way.. hope y'all are having a great week.. if you're not.. don't fret... I made ya something to help you get through it...

and if that doesn't brighten your day...there is always vodka... and I've got a cabinet full... 


Thin French Apple Tart


Thin French Apple Tart  
recipe adapted from my recipes
What ya need:



1 package of refrigerate Pie dough ( I used Pillsbury)
¼ cup sugar
½ ground cinnamon
2 pounds Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced.  (Make them look pretty)
2  teaspoons honey
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

What ya do:

Preheat oven to 425

Place dough on lightly floured surface: roll into 9 inch circle. Place on pizza pan or flat cookie sheet pan (or whatever you have.. the back of an aluminum trash can lid might work)

Combine sugar and cinnamon, Sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar mixture over the dough. Arrange apple slices spokelike on top of the dough, work from the outside in. Sprinkle with remaining sugar mixture. Bake at 425 for 30 minutes.

Combine honey and vanilla in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 40 seconds.
Brush honey mixture over warm tart..

Serve warm and Enjoy!






3.24.2012

Flour, Sugar, Bundt Pan and .......


My Granny was well know for her Cakes and Pies, one of her most famous was her Pound Cake.
She made this often...so much so that I can almost remember all the ingredients that she put in it....

Almost...

The cake was golden, moist, and delicious...it was also the only recipe that she did NOT give me.
 So over the years I have tried many recipes trying to recreate the famous pound cake she use to make...Granny has Alzheimer Disease now so her memories of our times in her kitchen are not the same, but once when I was visiting her I told her about a new pound cake recipe that I found and how good it was.

She looked at me and smiled and said... 

"you still trying to get that recipe from me" and laughed...

It's the little things...

Here is a pound cake recipe that is delicious, not as much as Granny's but close.





Simple Butter Pound Cake

What ya need:
recipe adapted from Food Network
 2 sticks butter, unsalted
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract



What ya do:

Preheat oven to 350

With a mixer, cream butter and shortening together. Add sugar, a little at a time. 
Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Stir dry ingredients together in bowl and add to mixer alternately with milk, starting with with the flour and ending with the flour. Mix in vanilla. Pour into greased and floured (or non stick spray) tube (bundt) pan and bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until it passes the toothpick test.





3.15.2012

Super Chocolate Cupcakes

This past weekend the weather was so nice... me and the family hung out at the park and on Sunday just me and the kiddos went for a walk. It was on this walk that I realize just how fast time flies. My daughter was telling me all about the latest 5th grade gossip and the GRAND end of the year party that she was planning. (Which I have yet to be invited too... and wonder how she plans to pay for) Anyway, I was enchanted by my pre-teen daughter who seems like only yesterday loved pink pony stuff animals and Disney princess dresses. As a parent, it's amazing to watch your kids grow, be there for every milestone and loose tooth. But sometimes life has you going you forget to really take time out and enjoy the little things...like Sunday strolls. I'm guilty of this...


I am learning that I need to stop... take time...






enjoy a walk...







capture more priceless moments...





enjoy a nap or two...








and perhaps...eat more Chocolate Cupcakes...





Super Chocolate Cupcakes



What you need

Dark Chocolate Cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup strong, hot brewed coffee
2 eggs, room temp, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla

Chocolate Ganache ( Is that just not a fancy way to say melted chocolate with cream..just sayin)

1 cup heavy whipping cream
9 oz semi sweet chocolate chips


What you do:

Preheat oven to 350.
In bowl of electric mixer sift all dry ingredients for the cake (cupcakes). Add remaining ingredients to bowl with the dry ingredients and with paddle attachment on mixer, mix for 2-3 minutes on medium speed. Pour batter into prepare muffin tin (this made 24 cupcakes).
Bake for 15-20 minutes... mine cooked in about 17 mins... Try not to overbake... it will make the cake dry...not that I know from experience or nothing..

Now let's make them fancy with Chocolate Ganache

Place the chocolate into medium bowl. Heat cream in small saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, watch closely because the cream will boil out of the pan..We don't want that..just want to bring to a boil..
Then pour over chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Allow the ganache to cool slightly then dip the cupcakes in the chocolate.. (i just did the tops but feel free to submerge those babies in chocolate..i've done that too)

These were going to be hostess cakes... BUT my daughter vetoed that idea and decided she wanted to put shamrock sprinkles on the top.

Now Let's Eat Chocolate...
Bloglovin

3.12.2012

Brown Sugar Banana Bread

I was in a baking mood when I made my Cinnamon Butter Biscuits the other day and there were a ton of bananas that were sitting around being left uneaten because the people in my house run away from healthy food.
I decided to keep the momentum going and try this recipe I'd seen for banana bread.
It came out tasty but sorta crumbly...which meant that I had to use syrup when I ate it..you know to hold it together.
I mean what over choice did I have...

Try it out and tell me what you think...



Brown Sugar Banana Bread



What you need:
recipe adapted from all recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups mashed bananas

What you do:

Preheat oven to 350.

In large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture: stir just to moisten. Pour batter into lightly greased loaf pan.. ( I used 9x5)

Bake for 60-65 minutes, or until it passes the toothpick test. Let bread cool in pan for 10 mins, then turn out onto wire rack.

Crumbly Brown Sugar Banana Bread Goodness.....

3.08.2012

Cinnamon Butter Biscuits

When I was 6 years old I received the esteemed honor of attending my first sleepover.
I was... in short..over the moon. One because I was invited to a party when Anna Wright (my arch enemy in the 1st grade) was not, two because I was going to do everything that my mama would object to and she wasn't going to be there to stop me.

The morning after the sleepover, my friend's mother informed us that she made breakfast but just needed to cook the biscuits. This... well this was just the best news ever to me because my granny made biscuits all the time and they were out of this world. But my friend told me she didn't like biscuits. "How can you not like biscuits!!"

"Because I just don't.. the only thing that's cool about them is the pop they make when my mom opens the can"

The can..?

Later that week- I told Granny about this pop and the can and asked why I never heard that with her biscuits.

"Because sweet pea, you get your paint out of a can, not your food"

Side Note- she would be real disappointed if she saw all the cans in my panty now..

Oh well.. Let's make some biscuits...




Cinnamon Butter Biscuits



 What you need:

3 cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoons cream of tarter
1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
3/4 cups butter
1 whole egg, slightly beaten
1 cup milk

What to do:

Preheat oven to 450
Mix dry ingredients together
cut in cold butter, until pea size
Mix egg and milk, pour into dry mix
Stir together with fork
Combine all the dry mmix with the wet mixture until it forms a soft ball
Using biscuit cutter.. (or like my granny.. a cup) cut biscuits out

Make a heart for your favorite person with left over scraps using a heart shaped cutter

Place on an ungreased pan.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown...



Take random pictures of your kids while your waiting

















Biscuits + Butter+ Syrup = Heaven




3.06.2012

Lemon Tea Bread

Granny used to always say "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade". This was one of her constant sayings to get you back on track. My Mama... well her take on it was slightly different depending on the day (or mood she was in). With her it could be "When life gives you lemons, ask for Salt and Tequila" another time it was "Squirt the juice in his eye". Between the two of them (and others) by the time that I became and adult I'd heard this saying and it's many variations to the point that I swore NEVER to use it.




But....








For this recipe that I found.....






Maybe...just once...




Aw..what the hell....




"When life gives you Lemons, make Lemon Tea Bread"




Lemon Tea Bread



What you need:
Recipe adapted from myrecipes.com

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons lemon rind, divided
1 cup powered sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Here's what you do:

Preheat oven to 350.

Beat softened butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
Gradually add 1 cup granulated sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended.

Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt; add to butter mixture alternating with milk, beating at low speed just until blended, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in tablespoon lemon rind. 

Spoon batter into greased and floured loaf pan. ( mine was 8x4 in)
Bake for 1 hour or until it passes the wooden toothpick test. Let cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then cool completely on wire rack. (don't be an airhead like me and forget that step.

Stir together powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth: spoon evenly on top of bread.
Then make it really sugary by mixing together the remaining lemon rinds with about a tablespoon of sugar and sprinkling on the top of the bread.










“Lemontastic”



3.03.2012

Hummingbird Cake

I remember when I was 8 years old my Aunt Pauline passed away. (Granny's sister) This was the first time that I witnessed my Granny get emotional. The day after the funeral I asked my mama if she thought Aunt Pauline was happy in Heaven now. 
 "Of course- I'm sure she is flying free like a bird"
Now being 8 years old this confused me a little because my Granddaddy always would say that Heaven was a wonderful place, where everyone was happy and that there was an endless supply of his favorite cigars there- not that the people were birds. So I asked my mama what kind of bird she would fly as when she  went to Heaven.


 "Oh, I'm gonna be a Hummingbird.. because they are beautiful and like sweet thing..just like me"




Let's make a cake...




Hummingbird Cake



What you need:
Recipe adapted from "Granny's 1974 The New McCall's Cookbook"

Cake-
Non-stick cooking spray
All purpose flour- for pans
3 cups self rising flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 (8-oz) can crushed pineapples with juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 large eggs, beaten

Frosting
1 box confectioner's sugar (yes the whole box)
8 ox cream cheese, room temp
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk, more if needed
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Here's what you do:

Preheat oven to 325. Spray and flour three 8x2 in round cake pans, tapping out excess flour;set aside.

In a large bowl, stir to combine self-rising flour, sugar, oil, pecans, bananas, pineapples, vanilla, cinnamon, and eggs.
Divide batter evenly between prepared pans, smoothing with a spatula. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until the tops spring bake when gently pressed with your fingertips, 25-28 minutes. Mine only took about 26 minutes and remember to rotate your pans-trust me- this batter has the ability the turn out more breadish than cakeish if cooked too long.. well actually if you cook it too long it will be burnished. (see how i make up words-it's fun)
Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 10 mins. Invert cakes onto wire rack. Re-invert cakes and let then cool completely, top sides up.- Of course I'm a bit lost at times, so I completely forgot this step.

For frosting-
Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, combine sugar, cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon milk on medium speed until frosting is smooth. Add more milk if needed 1 teaspoon at a time, to achieve the right consistency.. I ended up using 4 teaspoons to get it fluffy.

Place four strips of parchment paper around the perimeter of a serving plate- place first layer on the cake plate. spread the top with 1/4 of the frosting. Place second layer on top and repeat the process
Or get your kid to do it...

Place remaining cake layer on top bottom side up. Spread entire cake with remaining frosting. Sprinkle top with pecans. Remove parchment strips and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Now let's eat cake...