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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pumpkin Bread

 Are you old-school? 
Do you have any old-school tendencies? 
Do you rock a fanny pack? Or do you use a scrunchie in your hair? 
 Do you still use a cassette player? 

Do you still have a boom box? 

Do you still say things like "duh" or "sike" (I know it's spelled psyche, but in the 90's it was definitely "sike").
Do you still eat things with high-fructose corn syrup in them? Because that's totally not a cool thing to do anymore. 
It's all about fresh. 
I have to admit, I do like fresh. I also like a high fructose corn syrup cookie now and then.
 How do you feel about tabs? Are you down with them? 

I'm not. I hate them. I think I'm a little slow using tabs. 
What happens is I end up having 10 open internet windows at a time. It gets very confusing. I don't know why I do this to myself. Using tabs is smart, it's practical, and I just won't do it. I know it's silly. I know it's confusing. I just can't seem to "get with the program".
 This weekend I baked with Lani. An adorable girl who will eat a processed, high-fructose corn syrup cookie with me any day!
Pumpkin Bread

1 cup white whole wheat cups flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups shredded fresh pumpkin
1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

Toast pumpkin seeds in oven at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes.
Lower oven to 325 degrees F.
Sift the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.
In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla. Fold in half of the pumpkin seeds and shredded pumpkin. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Once the ingredients are all incorporated pour into a non- stick 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan. If your pan is not non- stick coat it with butter and flour.
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 35 minutes. At this point a knife inserted into the middle of the loaf should come out clean. Cool for 15 minutes and turn out onto a cooling rack. Cool completely. For muffins temperature should also be 325 degrees F., but bake for 30 minutes.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cake Doughnuts with Chocolate Glaze

Last night I was looking through recipes, and making lists of things to do. It dawned on me that I've never made doughnuts. I've made birthday cakesscones, and even candy, but never doughnuts. 
Doughnuts sound like a perfect idea!
I thought I would make two batches, and send one batch to someone special. I wish I knew how to ship baked goods. I am totally freaking out about it. I'm afraid they won't make it 1400 miles away. I'm afraid Jon will open the box, take a bite and tell me they taste like cardboard.
This is what my nightmares consist of: doughnuts tasting like cardboard and baked goods not tasting as good after a few days of being shipped around. I could definitely use some shipping guidance. I don't know whether to freeze things before placing them in the box. I feel like a total shipping spaz. Whatev.
On a Saturday morning, I wake up excited to bake. I shower, throw on some clothes and an apron, and get to it. I am so excited that I usually forget to eat breakfast. Today was no different.
The best part was, while the dough was in the refrigerator for fifteen minutes, I got to take a breakfast-break. I had cereal. It was yummers.
 I'm in a silly mood. Can't you tell?
The best part is, being in a silly mood goes well with doughnuts.
Actually, any mood goes well with doughnuts. 
Think about it. Doughnuts make people happy.

You wake up in a jolly mood, grab a doughnut and feel more jolly.
You wake up in an awful mood, grab a doughnut, and feel better.

Doughnuts are good. They just are. 
They are pretty and tasty and don't need to give excuses.
 Make these, eat them, be happy.
Cake Doughnuts with Chocolate Glaze
makes between 10 and 15 doughnuts depending on the size cutter you use
from Doughnuts

2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
pinch of salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 large egg
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
vegetable oil for frying

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, and sugar.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together sour cream, eggs, and melted butter.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold together until well incorporated.  
The dough will take some smooshing to gather into a dish. 
Wrap bowl in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to rest for 15 minutes.
Place a candy/fry thermometer in a medium saucepan.  Pour oil into the pan until it is about 2-inches deep.  Heat oil over medium-low heat.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll bough to a 1/2-inch thickness.  Cut doughnuts with a round cutter, and cut a hole with a smaller circle cutter.
When oil reaches 330 degrees F, fry 2 or 3 doughnuts at a time for about 1 minute on each side.  Doughnuts will be golden brown.  Carefully pull out, drain, and let rest on towel paper.

Chocolate Glaze

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons milk or water
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract.

In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and cocoa powder.  Slowly stir in milk and vanilla extract.  Whisk until silky and smooth.  If you need a touch more milk to make this a dippable glaze, add a bit more.
Dip doughnuts in chocolate glaze and let rest to harden slightly.
Doughnuts are best served the day they’re made.  They also freeze just fine!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chocolate Beer Cake

 I have a husband. He is the best husband. He is perfect.
I know it sounds so corny, and I'm sure you're thinking: "The perfect man doesn't exist."
The truth of the matter is, I couldn't find a more perfect man for me.
 It may come as a shock to you (or not), but I am strong-willed person. If Jon wasn't more strong-willed than I am, I would probably walk all over him and "wear the pants" in our relationship. I'm totally not into "wearing the pants". I am totally into playing the woman role. I'm so obviously not a feminist. Not that I don't think it's okay for a woman to take charge and be the more dominant one, but it's just not for me. Equality is definitely important, I just wish I was a 50's housewife.
 Not only do women not stay home and bake and cook and take care of their house and children, but they pretty much can't. They have to work to support their families financially. It's hard these days. Also, women take offense nowadays when their husbands get them household appliances as gifts. I'd kill for an awesome vacuum as a gift, a blender, or even a toaster.
 We've been in the process of trying to make more money for the past few years.
Unfortunately, it hasn't been as easy as the snap of our fingers.
Jon has been in a holding period for an air traffic controller position with the FAA for two years now. Two years of waiting almost had us out of hope.
Guess what? After all that waiting, all that hoping, they gave him one weeks notice. He needs to be almost 1400 miles away from me for three months of training, and they give us five days to prepare. Not only to prepare with packing, but also emotionally. Our family is here, and we haven't spent a night apart in years. We don't have kids yet, but we have dogs, and those are as close to kids as we know. They cuddle with us every night.
 I'm left sad. I totally understand that this an amazing opportunity for us. It will help us financially, so I can possibly have longer at home playing 50's housewife and mother before my kids go to school. It just doesn't seem right being apart from someone I love so very much, for this long.
 I came up with a plan. The plan is to bake more, and more and go to the gym more and more and think less and less and less about missing him so much. I will ship some of my lovely baked goods oh-so-far-away in air traffic controller land. We will video chat which will help a bit, but I'll definitely miss him. He will be back soon, and the sooner I'm back snuggling with my honey, the better.
 Hmm...what should I bake next?
About this cake. This cake is very full of chocolate flavor and rich. It is extremely easy to throw together and even easier to eat.

Chocolate Beer Cake
Adapted Loosely From Everyday Chocolate Cake

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1/4 cup white granulated sugar

1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
3/4 cup chocolate beer or stout, any kind you like
1&1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon table salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment, and spray the interior with a nonstick spray. 
In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. 
Add the egg and yolk and beat well, then the beer and vanilla. 
Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together, right over your wet ingredients. Mix until 3/4 combined, then fold the rest together with a rubber spatula. 
Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. 
Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 minutes, then flip out of pan and cool the rest of the way on a cooling rack. This cake keeps well at room temperature or in the fridge. It looks pretty dusted with powdered sugar.

Whipped Banana Topping

Cool Whip or any whipped topping
1/2 banana, chopped.

Use hand mixer to mix together room temperature cool whip and half of a banana. There aren't any rules for this. Do what you want. It'll taste good no matter what you do.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Photos of the City and an Apology


I am so sorry that I haven't posted in a while.

I went on vacation, I took many photos. I got home, and was lazy. I baked a couple of things, took photos of what I made. 

I had every intention of uploading the photos, but I put it off, and like an idiot, my camera got screwed up and I lost everything.

In the process of getting my new camera. Hang in there. A new recipe will be here soon!