Sunday, March 1, 2015
For this month's Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned to Amanda's blog, Dancing Veggies. Oh my word! Her blog is an absolute treasure trove of vegetarian recipes. I roamed from one section of her site to another, going from recipe to recipe, in absolute glee. Quinoa Vegetable Curry, Spring Orzo, and Zucchini Rice Casserole. It all looked so good. But, I was craving something sweet (when am I not), and also happened to have berries in my freezer, so I decided to make her Blackberry Breakfast Bars. The only changes I made was to sub out the blackberries for blueberries and make a little more of the dough (cause I love a lot of crumbs on top).
The bars were so good. I made them on a day that was a little chilly, but these bars warmed me from the inside out with the soft, buttery crust and juicy, sweet blueberry filling still warm from the oven. A scoop of vanilla ice cream would be just the thing when eating these. I'd love to go back and try them with the blackberries too, or even raspberries, yum! These bars were the best.
Blueberry Breakfast Bars (slightly adapted from Dancing Veggies)
2 1/4 cups All Purpose Flour
3/4 cup white sugar
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 cup + 2 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into cubes
2 tbsp cold water (I omitted this)
1 tsp. salt (decreased to 1/2 tsp.)
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 cups blueberries
Preheat oven to 350F. Combine the flour, sugars, and salt. Cut in the butter until it is the size of small peas. Press half the dough into a parchment paper lined 9x13 pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then cool for 10 minutes.
Combine the applesauce, sugar, and flour. Stir in the blueberries. Spread the mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble the rest of the dough on top and bake for 40 min.
Saturday, February 7, 2015
Several times a year, I make birthday cakes for friends or family members. Last year, when it was my friend's birthday, I asked her whether she wanted a s'mores cake or a chocolate chip cookie dough one. She chose the s'mores. So, this year, when her birthday rolled around again, I decided that I'd do the chocolate chip cookie dough one.
For the decoration on top, I decided to make some mini chocolate chip cookies and spiral them on top. You can use your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe if you want. I used the Tollhouse Cookie recipe since it's quick. To make them mini sized, I found that I had to scoop the dough no larger than the size of marbles. Honestly, I've never made such tiny cookies in my life. I was worried they might be too small, but they were just right. Baking them for 11 minutes makes them a little crisp, but after sitting on top of the frosting for a while, they will soften up. And, baking them firmer to begin with also ensures that they won't fall apart as you lay them on top of each other.
I also decided to use a few of the cookies to decorate the sides of the cake. I got a little whimsical and made some of the cookies look like a bite had been taken out of them. I promise, it only "looks" that way. I did NOT go and take a bite out of those cookies myself and then put them onto the cake. :)
The cake was amaaazing! I was absolutely thrilled with the way that it came out and the way that it tasted. My only change would have been to put even more cookie dough balls into the frosting middles. But, even so, this cake was enjoyed by all.
Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
Golden Vanilla Cake (adapted from King Arthur Flour)
2 c. sugar
3 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 c. milk
2 tsp. vanilla
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until well combined. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, and sift the mixture. Mix in half the flour mixture, then all the milk, then the rest of the flour mixture until well combined. Divide into two greased and floured (I also line the bottoms with parchment paper) 9-inch round pans. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for at least 10-15 minutes before removing from the pans. Then let cool completely on wire racks.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (slightly adapted from Recipe Girl)
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. baking soda
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
Cream the butter with the sugars. Beat in the milk and vanilla. Add the salt, baking soda, and flour and mix well. Stir in the mini chocolate chips. Chill the dough in the freezer until firm, about 30 min. Once chilled, form the dough into marble-sized balls and keep them chilled until ready to use.
Buttercream Frosting (Sweet as Sugar Cookies)
2 1/2 c. salted butter, softened
6 1/4 c. powdered sugar
5 tsp. vanilla
1-2 Tbsp. milk (to desired consistency)
Beat the butter in a stand mixer until creamy. Beat in the powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla and add milk as desired until you reach your desired consistency.
Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies (slightly adapted from Tollhouse Cookie recipe)
1/2 c. + 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. egg
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
Cream the butter and sugars. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Mix in the flour, salt, and baking soda. Stir in the chocolate chips. Chill for 30 minutes in the freezer until firm. Form the dough into marble-sized balls and drop onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 11 minutes until golden brown. Let cool.
For the assembly:
Slice each cake layer, horizontally, into two layers. Place one layer on a cake plate and spread with 1/5 of the frosting. Stud with half of the mini balls of chilled cookie dough. Place the second cake layer on top and spread with 1/5 of the frosting. Place the third cake layer on top, spread with 1/5 of the frosting and stud with the rest of the mini cookie dough balls. Place the fourth cake layer on top and cover with the rest of the frosting, saving about 1/2 cup of frosting for decoration. Once the cake is completely frosted, use the reserved frosting to pipe a decorative border around the top and bottom of the cake. Take the baked chocolate chip cookies and spiral them on the top of the cake. You can also use several of the cookies and place them around the sides of the cake, if desired.
Sunday, February 1, 2015
After a good long break, it was time to get back into the swing of things with the Secret Recipe Club. And, to make the new year even brighter, we're starting it off with some new members. Yay! It's always a lot of fun to be able to "meet" new people via their blogs and to have a fresh batch of recipes to choose from. Speaking of recipes, this month I was assigned to the blog, "Colie's Kitchen," and holy smokes, she has a TON of recipes. It was like an encyclopedia's worth of gastronomic goodies. I've often had trouble narrowing things down in the past, but this time, the task seemed almost impossible. What about her Honey Garlic Glazed Meatballs, Beef Asian Meatballs, or the Meatball Sub Casserole? My gosh, that's just the meatballs! Then, I began looking at her chicken recipes. There was Salsa Chicken Casserole, Crustless Pot Pie Over Biscuits, and Mushroom Spinach Chicken. Can't forget the veggies either: Sesame Roasted Carrots, Parmesan Roasted Sweet Potatoes, and Garlic Balsamic Glazed Mushrooms. At the end of this fine, virtual feast, I came to dessert - Nilla Wafer Banana Bread. Oh, I have died and gone to foodie heaven.
But, who is "Colie" of Colie's Kitchen, you ask? Let me introduce you! Her name is Nicole and she is well-rounded in every sense of the word. Mother, wife, college student, couponer, crafter, scuba diver, snorkeler, and, of course, cook. She even plays ice hockey. Yes, she does it all! I highly encourage you to visit her blog and see all the delicious goodness in person.
It was a tough job narrowing down my recipe list, but I finally decided to go with the Honey Garlic Glazed Meatballs. They looked simply irresistible. And believe me, they were! The sauce was slightly sweet, tangy, and finger-licking good. I added some cayenne pepper to kick things up a notch too. There was enough for my dinner one night and, even better, enough for leftovers the next two days too. I enjoyed every single meatball and wished I had more of them when they were gone. I'm definitely going to add this to my list of keepers.
Thanks Colie for your amazing meatballs!
Honey Garlic Glazed Meatballs (slightly adapted from Colie's Kitchen)
1 lb. cooked meatballs
2-4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c. honey
3/4 c. ketchup
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
cayenne pepper to taste
Combine the ingredients for the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the meatballs and cook until nice and hot.