Thursday, October 31, 2013
to make the cake, follow this link to the cafe's website. the full recipe is posted and available to you. believe it or not, i followed the recipe making only one small change. for the caramel that is cooked in the skillet, i used light brown sugar rather than the granulated sugar called for. my decision was based on the thought that brown sugar would add a little more flavor and it did.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
and, dinner is served...
to make the cornbread, i turned to my favorite cornbread recipe, it can be found on the albers website by following this link. although i followed the recipe, i did make a few changes. first, i reduced the sugar to 3 tablespoons because i did not want it to be sweet. then i substituted and equal portion of buttermilk for the milk and finally, i added 1/3 cup of pumpkin puree by whisking it with the other wet ingredients. by baking it in a 9" round pan rather than the 8" square called for in the recipe and the addition of the pumpkin did increase the baking time a bit, i had to check it for doneness by inserting a cake tester in the center. it came out clean around the 30 minute mark in my oven. and just a note for the leftovers, cornbread makes nice toast! i cut wedges in half, horizontally and toasted them in the broiler. they were tasty with a little butter.
Saturday, October 26, 2013
this is one of those recipes that can be manipulated pretty easily. if you are not a fan of oat bran, use wheat bran instead. the fruit puree can be easily swapped so don't hesitate to try using apple sauce, pear butter so go ahead, go crazy and use the left over sweet potatoes you baked for dinner last night, i won't be offended. while i used currants in the batch i baked, there is nothing stopping you from using dried cranberries or peaches or any other dried fruit for that matter. size doesn't really matter here, bake them in paper lined muffin cups in whatever size pan you prefer, just keep in mind that the baking time will depend on the size so check them with a toothpick to see if they are done.
banana oat bran muffins
makes 12-16 standard size muffins
1 cup + 2 tablespoons of oat bran
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup mashed bananas
1/3 cup wildflower honey
1/3 cup dried fruit, chopped
preheat the oven to 375. line the muffin pans with paper cups and set aside. in a mixing bowl, combine the oat bran, whole wheat flour, sugar, baking soda and pumpkin pie spice. whisk them to combine. in a small bowl, whisk together the oil with the egg, buttermilk, banana and honey. pour the wet mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients along with the dried fruit and gently fold it all together until completely mixed. using a scoop or a large spoon, divide the batter among the muffin pans filling the cups about 3/4 full. bake until the top springs back when lightly touched or a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes for standard size muffins. allow the muffins to cool in the pan for about 5-10 minutes and then turn them out onto a rack to prevent them from getting soggy on the bottom.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
how am i losing my marbles? they bounce! inevitably, a few miss the pie plate and roll off the counter top. they bounce around the kitchen before disappearing down the basement stairs to never be seen again...
Monday, October 21, 2013
in the hope of gaining some of the credit for the cake recipes, i am actually posting them here! if you want to help out cookbook writers, please do not post their recipes without permission-even if you do give them credit, you still shouldn't post them without permission (something i have done in the past and make every effort not to do now). whenever possible, link to the authors own site and the recipe if it is posted. most importantly, buy the book! if you cannot buy it, borrow it from a library or a friend.
sour cream-chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting and chocolate-peanut butter glaze
makes an 8-inch triple-layer cake serving 12 to 16
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably dutch process
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil-neutral in flavor (canola, soybean)
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
peanut butter frosting, recipe follows
chocolate-peanut butter glaze, recipe follows
garnish-chopped peanut brittle or chopped peanuts
preheat the oven to 350. grease the sides and bottoms of 3 (8") pans. line the bottom of each pan with parchment and grease the paper as well
sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. whisk to combine them. add the oil and sour cream and whisk it to blend. gradually beat in the water. blend in the vinegar and vanilla. whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. divide the batter among the pans.
bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. let the cakes cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper and cool completely.
to frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large plate. spread 2/3 cup of the peanut butter frosting on evenly over the layer. repeat with the next layer. place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.
to decorate with the chocolate-peanut butter glaze, put the cake on a large baking sheet to catch the drips. simply pour the glaze over the top of the cake, and using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips. refrigerate, uncovered, at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set. be sure to serve it as close as possible to room temp, remove it from the fridge before serving and allow it to sit out for about an hour. decorate with the peanut brittle right before serving.
the frosting-makes about 5 cups
10 ounces cream cheese, at room temp
4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temp
5 cups confectioners sugar, sift after measuring if lumpy
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. gradually add the confectioners sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.
add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.
the glaze-makes about 1 1/2 cups
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped coarsely
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup half-and-half
in the top of a double boiler or a bowl set over simmering water, combine the chocolate, peanut butter and corn syrup. heat, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, beating until smooth. use while still warm.
a few notes:
i have found that a really good natural cocoa will work just fine here as well. dutch process cocoa makes a blacker cake. use what you have or can find.
cream cheese-i never use the name brand, the one named after the city, it makes a frosting that is almost too soft and runny. stick to the store brand-it will make a frosting with a consistency that is easier to work with.
peanut butter- i always use a homogenized peanut butter to prevent the oil from separating. i have never tried one of the natural, stir it in types of peanut butter. if you use it, i cannot say how it will work for the frosting, the glaze should be okay.
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Monday, October 14, 2013
this weeks challenge called for making a batch of danish dough, something my current schedule did not have time to accommodate. hard to believe but that actually worked in my favor. way back when, in january, i was testing recipes for a project i am working on. one of the recipes was for a danish dough. after testing the recipe, i put half a batch in my freezer to see how it would work out after being frozen. needless to say, the dough will tolerate freezing but not being frozen for 9 months! my guess is that 3 months is the maximum time it could be frozen and thawed and still rise properly. while it was past its prime, it was still pretty good, just a little denser than i would prefer.
to bake a braid like the tuesdays of dorie bakers, buy a copy of baking with julia or visit the contributing baker's, beatrice ojakangas, contribution to the woman today website. to see how the tuesdays with dorie bakers did with this challenge, visit the website.
the cream cheese base and the spiced apples fill the center of the dough.
the completed braid is ready for rising
just out of the oven
Friday, October 4, 2013
it has been nearly two years since i finished the 52 pies in 52 weeks challenge. hard to believe-time flies! even so, if you recall, i invited readers to join in and bake the pies with me and send photos of their pie so that i could post them. very few people sent me photos and i am not sure that many people even baked pies. so imagine my surprise when i received an email with a photo of a pie!link. and remember, if you bake one, send me the photo-this is proof that i will post it!
Thursday, October 3, 2013
on a recent cold and rainy saturday morning, i participated in a a few events for a green apple day of service at lipscomb elementary school. actually, i was there with my husband so that i could help him give a demonstration on square food gardening. when he isn't busy at the university-he is the catering chef, he works with the kindergarten classes in their garden beds. he has been working with one of the teacher for the last two years and the program has been very successful.
the teacher he works with is also heavily involved with monarch watch. give becky five minutes and she will tell you all she can about monarchs. she even manages to work them into every lesson plan she has for her students. along side of the driveway just outside her classroom is long and narrow garden full butterfly plants. some are host plants for the caterpillars, like the milkweed for instance, while others, such as coneflowers, herbs and asters are valuable nectar plants for the butterflies.
monarchs like many other creatures are very sensitive to changes within their environment. the large amount of construction in many areas has meant a drastic reduction in host plants for monarchs and sadly, their numbers are declining quickly. i can remember seeing so many fluttering about during the summer when i was young but now, i can hardly remember seeing one this summer. but construction isn't the only problem that monarchs are facing. herbicides and genetically modified crops also have a hand in their decline and the bring back the monarch campaign is hoping to prevent further decline. you can help by planting any of the 15 native(to tennessee) milkweed plants in your yard or garden. for a complete list of the varieties native to tennessee, follow this link and to find sources for seeds and plants, check this list.
becky watches the plants closely with hope of finding caterpillars or a chrysalis. when she finds them, she carefully moves them to a secure environment in the building so that she can be sure they will have the chance to become butterflies.