Saturday, July 28, 2012

Benjamin's Yellow Birthday Cake with Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

See this cutie:

This is Benjamin. 

He's my nephew.

And he's so stinkin cute.  Isn't his face is just begging to be covered in kisses?  Look at those pudgy little cheeks.  Gotta love his OK State tee too. 

Two years ago today he was born.  And I had officially experienced love at first sight.  Never felt it before until this little bugger was born.  Yep, he's a cutie.  I think he'd be the perfect Baby Gap model.  I said that two years ago and I'll still say it today:  Baby.  Gap.  Model. 

So in honor of the big T-W-O, I made him a cake.

A classic yellow cake covered in chocolate.  And topped with sprinkles.  And two candles.  It's his birthday, afterall.

So make it, bake it, have a slice and celebrate!

Happy Birthday Benjamin!! 

Benjamin's Yellow Birthday Cake

Makes a two-layer 6-inch cake.  Double the recipe for a two-layer 8-inch cake.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening or butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk

In medium bowl, with wire wisk, blend together flour, baking powder, and salt.  In large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat shortening and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in vanilla.  Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture alternatively with milk.  Beat just until smooth.

Divide batter between two greased 6-inch round cake pans.  Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let cool and frost with Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting.

Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

This makes quite a bit of frosting but leftovers can easily be stored in the fridge.

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sour cream
6 cups powdered sugar

Melt chocolate and butter in microwave-safe bowl in 30 second intervals until combined and smooth. 

Place sour cream in large mixer bowl.  Pour in chocolate mixture and beat at medium speed until blended.  Add in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition until desired consistency is reached.  Spread over cake. 

Yellow Cake adapted from The Good Housekeeping Cookbook.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Bits and Bites

I figured it was time for a little update on things in my life/on my mind/ in my mouth as of late:

1.  So first off, let's discuss my 26-by-27 list.  I've knocked off #18 (go to Six Flags) and I am putting a check mark next to #17 (take a trip) this weekend!  I leave for Minnesota in the morning for a fun, relaxing vacation with the fam.  Can't wait! 

2.  In addition, after much thought, I would like to announce the goal I have chosen as #26: practice frosting layer cakes.  This first presented itself as a challenge shortly before the Fourth of July when I intended to post this awesome flag cake that I had planned on making for over a year.  Literally.  Over a year people.  Well it didn't exactly frost up as I had hoped didn't happen.  Here's a pic of my attempt/mess/impatience.  Don't laugh.

So ladies and gentlemen, I give you #26:  Practice Practice Practice layer cakes and recreate the Flag Cake for July 4th, 2013.

3.  On to other news!  Found this at Target recently.  omgwant

yes, that says waffle STICK maker.  And they have mini pie makers and fortune cookie makers!

4.  This is my kind of ice cream sandwich.

5.  Whipped cream in a jar anyone?  Genius!

6.  I think these rice krispie treats may be next on my krispie list.

7.  Got the lastest Food Network Magazine issue and there's a recipe for an Olive Oil Milkshake.  Weird.  If you're gutsy enough to give it a try here's the recipe:  Blend one pint vanilla ice cream, 1/4 cup milk and 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.  Top with flaky sea salt.  Makes 2.

8.  I'm more intrigued by the Toasted Marshmallow Shake:  Broil 8 marshmallows on foil, turning, until browned.  Blend one pint vanilla ice cream, 1/4 cup milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, a pinch of salt, and 6 of the marshmallows.  Top with remaining marshmallows.  Makes 2.

9.  Ok, one more and then I'm going to go pack.  Cap'n Crunch Milkshake.  (i LOVE cap'n crunch!  p.s. did you see they have a new cinnamon roll one!).  Ok, but Cap'n Crunch Milkshake:  Steep 1 1/2 cups Cap'n Crunch cereal in 1 1/2 cups hot milk, 30 minutes.  Strain and freeze in an ice cube tray.  Blend the frozen milk cubes with 1 pint vanilla ice cream and 1 cup cereal.  Top with more cereal.  Makes 2.

Have a good weekend, and check back tomorrow.  I've got something yummy lined up!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Peach Cinnamon Frozen Yogurt

It's official.  I'm obsessed with ice cream this summer.  I have seen and bought so many delicious frozen treats at the grocery store, I have actually considered putting a second freezer in the garage.  Four kinds of popsicles, two containers of blue bell, ice cream sandwiches, and now this homemade frozen yogurt are the current inhabitants competing for space in our shrinking freezer.  And, on top of that, I have a growing list of treats I intend to make (and others to buy) while the weather is still warm. 

But let me tell you about this most recent cold treat I created the other day.  Some fruity fro yo that is quick, easy, and only requires four ingredients.  Just toss them in your ice cream maker and let the machine do all the work.  It's the perfect summertime flavor combination of peaches and cinnamon and wonderfully light and refreshing on a hot afternoon. 

Peach Cinnamon Frozen Yogurt

Makes 1 quart

1 (15 ounce) can peach slices in juice
2 cups vanilla yogurt
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Drain peaches, reserving 1/2 cup of juice. Puree peaches in food processor or blender.

Combine peaches, reserved juice, yogurt, sugar, and cinnamon in canister of ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturers' directions.

Adapted from AllRecipes.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Southwest Chicken Sliders

Mini stuff is so cute.

And it's kinda fun to eat. 

These sliders made the perfect little meal for us on a recent weeknight.  A cool, refreshing, zesty chicken salad after a long, hot day.  I prepped the salad in the afternoon, popped it in the fridge, and when we were ready to eat...viola!  Dinner was served.  And so was lunch the next couple of days :)

Southwest Chicken Sliders

Makes about 12 slider sandwiches

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken, cooked and shredded
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup black beans
1/3 cup sweet corn
3/4 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt or sour cream
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
12 slider buns, dinner rolls, or bread slices

Heat a skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Throw in onions, peppers and 1/4 teaspoon salt, mixing to combine. Cook for 5-6 minutes, until vegetables have softened. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. In a large bowl, combine chicken, onions + peppers, black beans and corn, mixing well.

In a smaller bowl, combine greek yogurt or sour cream, remaining salt, pepper, cumin, smoked paprika and cilantro, mixing well. Add sauce to the chicken mixture, stirring well to coat and combine. You can eat/serve your chicken salad in a traditional way, or to make the sliders, scoop a few spoonfuls of the chicken salad onto slider buns, top with bun and eat!

Adapted from How Sweet It Is.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Snickerdoodle Cookie Dough Rice Krispie Treats

See those guys up there?  They've got something special tucked inside them.  These guys down here:

Something recently occurred to me.  I have failed to inform you of my love for all things cinnamon:  snickerdoodle cookies, cinnamon spice oatmeal, cinnamon ice cream, cinnamon rolls, cinnamon gum, cinnamon mints, I love it all! 

Last week, Nathan surprised me with a Sock It To Me cake from the grocery store and I proceeded to eat the entire thing.  Myself.  I didn't complain.  I literally sat there and thanked him for not eating any as I was forking down the last slice.

But it had me thinking that I haven't made anything that called for even a pinch of cinnamon in far too long!  It is a trajedy, I know.  So I am going to amp up the cinnamon today with some krispie treats wrapped in cinnamon bun marshmallows (yes, these actually exsist) and studded with snickerdoodle cookie dough truffles.  That sound good?  That taste realllllll good.  

Hello Mr. Krispie.

Snickerdoodle Cookie Dough Rice Krispie Treats

For the Snickerdoodle Cookie Dough Truffles:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar + 2 teaspoons cinnamon for rolling truffles in

In a medium size bowl add the flour, spices, salt, and cream of tartar. Set aside.  Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in vanilla.  Slowly add flour mixture, alternating with condensed milk, beat well after each addition.

Shape balls into 1-inch balls and place into an air tight container. Roll them into the cinnamon sugar just like you would a snickerdoodle cookie. Store in freezer for at least 3 hours.  Makes 48 truffles. (Keep the extras in the freezer for a periodic afternoon indulgence).

For the Rice Krispie Treats:

3 tablespoons butter
1 (8-ounce) bag cinnamon bun marshmallows (I found these at Target)
10 snickerdoodle cookie dough truffles, chopped up
6 cups rice krispies cereal

Melt butter in saucepan over low heat.  Add in marshmallows and stir until melted and well-blended.  Remove from heat and add cereal and truffles.  Stir until well-coated.  Press into 7x11-inch baking dish.  Let cool completely before cutting into bars.

Truffles adapted from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Restaurant Style Salsa

Yes, this is the third salsa recipe I've posted in the last three months but I just can't help myself.  I keep coming across new versions and as soon as I saw this one by the Brown Eyed Baker I just had to try it asap. 

Fittingly titled Restaurant Style Salsa, it definitely lives up to its name.  (Have you ever noticed that mexican restaurants always have the best salsa?)  And while I do have somewhat of a love affair with the Roasted Tomato Salsa I shared with you in May, this one ranks right up there with it with a little added bonus during this sweltering summer heat: no oven required! 

P.S.  I promise I have some delicious posts lined up this week!  Stay tuned!

Restaurant Style Salsa

Makes about 3 cups

14-ounce can diced or whole tomatoes (peeled) with juice
10-ounce can Rotel (diced tomatoes with green chilies)
1/4 cup chopped sweet onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, quartered and sliced thin (use the whole thing if you like it spicy!)
1/4 cup cilantro
Juice from a fresh lime
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Add all ingredients to a food processor. Pulse until you get desired consistency (was about 10 pulses for me). Refrigerate for at least one hour, and then serve with your favorite tortilla chips.

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cocoa Banana Bars

I apologize.  I have been slacking.  My blog has been neglected.  So now you're going to hear all of my sorry excuses.

First was a busy birthday weekend, followed by a visit from the parents weekend, and in between all of that work, work, and more work, and no sleep.  I did have a Fourth of July post all lined up, but FAIL it was.  (I'll tell you about this later).  Oh and something else exciting happened!  I'll fill you in real quick:

Remember when I made those Lucky Charms Cupcakes back in March?  Well, I got the recipe from the creative blog Cupcake Project and have actually made several of her genius ideas in my own kitchen.  She is the proud creator of The Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake (which I used as the base in the Lucky Charms cakes), and I can honestly say it is my go-to vanilla recipe.  She is now on a mission for the Ultimate CHOCOLATE Cupcake and requires a team of 50 baking explorers to test and try her top secret attempts!  Long story short:  I have been chosen!  (Hence the flashy new badge you might have noticed on the top right side of my blog). 

So in celebration of chocolate, I bring you Cocoa Banana Bars! 

Let me begin by saying I never eat bananas.  The only way you're going to get me to eat that fruit is by making it a carbohydrate.  These bars are just that with a swirl of banana bready-chocolately-cakey-brownie-ish batter.  You follow all those adjectives I created??  So I guess it's a bread/cake/brownie.  Whatever.  It's a carbohydrate and it's delicious. 

Cocoa Banana Bars

Makes one 9x13-inch pan

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (2-3 bananas)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat an oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.

Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg and the vanilla and beat until well combined. Stir in the mashed banana, set aside.

Stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a separate large bowl, and make a well in the center. Pour the banana mixture into the well and stir just until combined.

Remove half of the batter from the bowl. Mix the cocoa powder into the batter remaining in the bowl and stir well. Spread the cocoa batter in the bottom of the prepared pan. Spoon the remaining batter on top and use a knife to swirl the batter into a marbled design.

Bake at 350 until the edges are golden, about 25 minutes.

Adapted from AllRecipes.