Laying Down Our Spatulas

Not every recipe we bake is a winner. More often than not it takes many trials and errors to get a recipe worth posting. Our signature cake, the Burnt Almond Torte, took over 25 trials. 25 different cake recipes. 25 different versions of frosting. 25 different cakes that ended up in the garbage. But it was all worth it. We ended up with a superb cake that is superior to all other cakes we bake.

That’s not always the case. Sometimes after many trials and many MANY errors we still don’t have a recipe we deem worthy to share with the world. This is one of those recipes.

Like all recipes, this started out with very good intentions. Living in the south summer means fresh peaches; beautiful golden orbs of sunshine! Starting in June we began planning our Peach Cupcake. We decided on peach cupcake filled with peach chutney, and frosted with our signature buttercream mixed with peach puree. Sounds heavenly, right? We started with a great base cupcake recipe. We knew that we didn’t want large chunks of peaches so we decided that chop the fresh peaches and then toss them with some sugar to break down the fibrous quality of the peaches. We reserved some of the chunks and pureed the rest. We added 1/2 the puree to the cupcake batter in place of milk and reserved the other 1/2 for the frosting. (Looking back, this is probably where we went wrong. The peach puree wasn’t peachy enough. The cupcakes were deliciously moist, but they were tasteless. There wasn’t any outstanding feature. Maybe if we sauteed the peaches in some butter and sugar then the flavors would become more pronounced). With high hopes we sent the cupcakes into the oven to bake. 17-19 minutes later we had what seemed like beautiful domes of peachy goodness.

Once they were cooled, we cored and then filled the cupcakes with the reserved peach chunks. (Once again, you couldn’t taste any peach!) The frosting was going to be easy (or so we thought). Just our delicious buttercream recipe. We replaced the milk with the leftover peach puree and we ended up with a beautiful colored frosting. The frosting wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t spectacular. And we only do things spectacularly.

The best part about cupcakes is the decorating. The frosting and little decorative accents take a boring ol’ cupcake over the edge…usually. This time the frosting just made it worse. It took a good intention into a freakish nightmare.

Peach Cupcake

The final cupcake result? Soap. The beautifully decorated, summer peach cupcake tasted like soap. And not very good soap.

After the many trials of this Peach Cupcake, we’re laying down our spatulas. It’s not giving up. It’s not quitting. It’s realizing that sometimes it’s not a mountain we need to climb. There’s someone out there who will create a better Peach Cupcake than we do. We accept that and move on. Let’s see…cherries are in season now…

Ciao for now!

V & K

PS-Sorry for the long time between posts. We’re in the middle of a HUGE move and it took us an hour to find the cupcake pans to make this recipe. Bear with us please!

20 Minute Ice Cream

PIce Cream

Summer is rearing its hot head here in the South. When the temperature reaches over 90 degrees our craving for good ice cream also reaches epic proportions. Something about the creamy coldness banishes all thoughts of humidity and summer sun. Unfortunately with the increasing number of hot days, our waistlines cannot afford to keep pace with the temperature. We needed something else, something healthier yet still absolutely delicious.

It’s called a Food Processor and for this recipe it will be your new BFF. Making this ice cream couldn’t be easier! No need to break out the bulky ice cream maker, freeze it overnight, THEN make delicious ice cream. Instead of 24+ hours, how does 20 minutes sound? Sounds ridiculously easy and absurdly delicious.

This recipe has no added sugar (unless you want it to be a little sweeter) and the coconut milk freezes beautifully due to the all the good fats in it. If you want to make it lower calorie, use lite coconut milk.

This ice cream went fast in our house. Faster than the store bought stuff. We’re overjoyed that now we don’t have to feel shame for eating ice cream everyday!

Ciao for now!

V & K

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Coconut Banana Ice Cream

1 can full-fat coconut milk
2 tsp vanilla (You can use other flavorings here or 2 tbsp cocoa powder. We used edible lavender leaves, YUM!)
2 bananas, peeled, chopped and frozen
sweetener to tasted, if desired

Directions

Pour the coconut milk  into a a freezer-safe container and freeze for several hours or overnight. Now, this step is optional. The ice cream will still work if you just use the frozen bananas and pour the coconut milk into the food processor along with the bananas. You may have to freeze the ice cream afterwards in order to get a harder ice cream. Otherwise just make sure that the coconut milk is cold before adding it to the processor.

Once frozen or cold pour the coconut milk into the food processor.  Add the chopped frozen banana and vanilla. Process until the mixture is smooth and creamy, adding additional sweeteners if desired. This will create a “soft serve.” If you want harder ice cream, put the mixture into the freezer for 15 – 20 minutes to harden, then scoop and serve.

 

Gluten-Free Pie Crust

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P-I-E

Whether it is apple, cherry, pecan, mincemeat, or that pesky irrational 3.14(…blah blah blah) pie is important. Without it we would have Lucille Ball getting “cupcaked” in the face and a State Fair with much less messy “cookie” eating contests. Pie is important. Pie is glorious. Pie is the perfect mixture of pastry and fruits, nuts, and whatever the heck is in mincemeat. To go without pie would be a shame. To eat a soggy, tasteless, gluten-free pie would be criminal. But we will hold off pressing charges because up until now, the world has never had our no-fail, perfectly flaky, gluten-free pie crust. Now that we have given you the recipe, there will be no leniency.

Perfect pie dough has just the right balance of tenderness and structure. Tender dough comes from fat. In this case we use an all-butter dough. By adding yogurt and xanthan gum we were able to beef up the structure of the dough. (This is what ALWAYS seems to be lacking in store-bought, gluten-free pie dough.) The vinegar in the crust makes sure that the dough remains flaky and light when baked.

To demonstrate the beauty of this gluten-free pie crust we decided to make our favorite, Rhubarb Pie. We were lucky because Rhubarb was just coming into season and it was beautifully tart. This recipe is easily adaptable for double crust. Just double it!

We hope you experiment with this crust! Use your favorite filling and surprise everyone with your pie-ing abilities. But please, do us a favor and do not make mincemeat pie….that would just be mean.

Ciao for now!

V & K

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Flaky Gluten-Free Pie Dough
makes 1-9 inch pie

2- 1/2 tbsp ice water
1-1/2 tbsp unsweetened yogurt
1-1/2 tsp white vinegar
6-1/2 oz gluten-free flour blend 1-1/2 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
8 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces and frozen for 10 minutes

Directions

Process the flour, sugar, salt, and xanthan gum together in the food processor until combined. Add in the butter and process until the butter is the size of peas.

Stir together the ice water, yogurt, and vinegar. Add this mixture over the flour and butter and pulse until the dough comes together.

Place the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Flatten into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour. (Dough can be wrapped very tightly in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days).

Making the Pie Crust

Remove the dough from the refrigerator at least 15 minutes before rolling. Roll the pie dough between two sheets of plastic. Remove the top sheet and turn the dough out over a 9 inch pie plate.

Slowly ease the other piece of plastic off the dough. Trip the excess dough from the sides of the plate. Either tuck the overhanging dough under the rim or create a pretty design by pinching the edges of the crust.

Wrap the crust loosely in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for at least 15 minutes, up to 1 hour.

For a recipe that calls for a partially baked crust, place the chilled pie crust in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until light brown. Do not put weights on this crust because it doesn’t puff up while baking. (Yay!)

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K’s Gluten-Free Birthday

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K’s birthday is this week and in between blowing up balloons, decorating our parade floats, and petition the Queen for a bank holiday (birthdays are a big deal around here) we developed the perfect gluten-free cupcake. Now, instead of contemplating the thoughts of store-bought. gluten-free cupcakes or naturally gluten-free birthday desserts (can anyone say, “Birthday Smoothies?”) we have outdone ourselves with these birthday cupcakes. They look, smell, and taste exactly like regular cupcakes. They are tender with a beautiful dome top and the slightest crumb. In essence, they’re perfection itself.

Maybe the best part about the cupcakes is how easy they are to make. No kidding: dump the ingredients in the bowl and mix them up. No fancy methods or crazy ingredients. The recipe has a few alterations from the typical cupcake recipe. We increased the baking soda and decreased the baking powder, swapped the butter for oil, and added melted white chocolate to add richness and the “moist crumb” that must be present for a perfect cupcake.

Happy Birthday K! Finally you can have your cake and actually WANT to eat it too.

Ciao for now,

V & K

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Gluten-Free Birthday Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes

4 oz white chocolate
6 tbsp vegetable oil
3/4 cup + 2/3 cup gluten-free flour blend
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 large eggs
2 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 unsweetened yogurt

Frosting for Cupcakes

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Microwave the white chocolate and the oil together until melted, about 2 minutes. Stir after 30 second increments. Whisk the mixture until smooth. In a bowl, whisk the flour blend, baking powder, soda, salt, and xanthan gum.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and vanilla together. Slowly add in the sugar while whisking. Keep whisking steadily while you add the chocolate/oil mixture. Add in the sour cream. Gently whisk in the dry ingredients until the batter is smooth and well-combined.

Pour the batter into the cupcake liners until about 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cupcakes are set on top. Once the cupcakes are finished baking, remove them from the oven and let them rest for 5 minutes. Being careful not to burn your fingers, remove the cupcakes from the pan and let them cool on a wire rack for about 1 hour.

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It is at this point that you can frost the cupcakes.

Be sure to serve the cupcakes within a few hours after frosting…if they last that long!

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Actually Edible Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread

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Sandwich bread. Soft, billowy slices of heaven. So much relies on such a simple kitchen staple. Where would we be, as a species, without bread? Where would our butter and jam go without the wonderful crunch of morning toast? What would happen to all the ingredients for the perfect turkey sandwich? Don’t even get us started on mourning the loss of French Toast. Homemade bread is the quintessential “Welcome To The Neighborhood” gift and the best medication for anyone with the flu… Unless you’re gluten-free and all of the sudden, instead of having bread for the perfect turkey sandwich, you are given all the ingredients, hopes, and wishes for a perfect sandwich squashed between two pieces of drywall.  All the mayonnaise in the world cannot fix some of the more disgusting, commercially-available, gluten-free breads.

Consider us your knight in shining armor; and we come bearing gifts! May we be so bold as to say that this is the BEST gluten-free sandwich bread recipe in the entire world? Nay, universe? We can and we will. Unequivocally, this recipe resembles wheat bread in every way. It is moist without being gummy. It has good crumb without being a crumbly mass. It toasts beautifully, creates delicious sandwiches, and yes, it even becomes the most delicious French Toast. (The truest test of good bread…)

This is not a challenging recipe. Now, a word on ingredients. Psyllium Husk. You may or may not have heard of this. It is widely available at a health foods store. We actually buy ours at Vitamin Shoppe. Do not skip this ingredient. It is essential to the building a stronger protein network–which is key to baking a tall loaf. You won’t be able to tell that the psyllium husk is in the recipe, but you will definitely be able to tell if you omit it. The recipe also calls for gluten-free oat flour. This is also readily available at most supermarkets. If you can’t find it, don’t worry!  Use regular gluten-free oats and whiz them up in the food processor until they become a fine powder. Now you have oat flour! (Using the food processor method is also much less expensive than buying oat flour. Go figure…)

Be a considerate neighbor. Next time you welcome a new family into the neighborhood, bring along a loaf of this fabulous gluten-free bread. They will not be able to tell the difference and they will thank you if and when you decide to tell them.

To celebrate this fabulous, gluten-free bread a midnight snack of toast is in order! It’s that good…

 

Ciao for now,

V & K

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Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread
(the edible kind)

3 cups warm water
2 large eggs
2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled slightly
3 cups + 1 tbsp gluten-free flour blend
1-1/3 cups gluten-free oat flour (store bought or make your own!)
1/2 cup nonfat milk powder (buttermilk powder also works here and lends a nice flavor to the bread)
1 tbsp psyllium husk
2 tbsp sugar
2-1/4 tsp instant yeast
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt

Directions

Spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with vegetable spray.  In the bowl of a mixer, whisk together the water, eggs, and butter. In a separate bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients until well-combined. Slowly add the wet ingredients and let mix on low for about 1 minute, or until very well combined. Turn your mixer on medium and let mix for 5 minutes until the dough becomes sticky and will be thick like cookie dough.

Scrape the dough into the loaf pan. Wet your hands with cool water and gently press the dough into the corners of the pan. Now we’re going to create a tent for the dough to rise in. Take a long piece of aluminum foil. Wrap the foil around the loaf pan until there is about 2 inches of space between the top of the bread and the foil. Either tape down the foil or fold the edges under to create a mini handle.

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Let the dough rise at room temperature (not in a warm oven like regular bread!) for about 1 hour or until the dough has increased in size so that it almost touches the top of the foil.

Make sure your oven rack is in the middle of your oven. This will ensure that the bread will get adequate, equal heat. Turn your oven to 350 F. Place your bread in your hot oven inside your foil pouch. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes. Remove the foil packet for the last 10 minutes of baking.  After the bread has finished baking, transfer the pan to a cooling rack for 10 minutes. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! The longer you let a gluten-free baked good sit in the pan, the doughier and gummier it will get. You want to let them sit for the least amount of time possible. Remove the bread from the pan and let cool for 2 hours.

Storing at room temp: Once cooled, wrap the bread in a double layer of plastic wrap.

Storing in the freezer: It is easier to store the bread in the freezer after it has been sliced into individual pieces. To reheat, defrost at room temperature and then toast it. Don’t keep your gluten-free bread in the freezer longer than a month because the bread starts to go stale.

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Back to School Again

Gluten Free

Welcome to Baking Class. This month is all about Gluten-Free.

May is National Celiac Awareness Month. In our family we have several members who suffer from celiac and therefore need gluten-free products. If any of you have ever tried something gluten-free you may have found that, depending on the company, the product runs the gamut of taste between drywall and playground sand. Not pretty. Not tasty. And definitely NOT acceptable.

We can do better.

But first, we should probably learn about the basics of gluten and how to bake without it.

We’ll start with the basics: Wheat flour, the most common ingredient in everything you bake.

The 4-1-1 on Wheat Flour

Wheat flour comes from wheat berries. These are made up of starches, proteins, and fats. The two main types of proteins are glutenin and gliadin. Glutenin provides most of the strength and gives you the elasticity in dough. If you have ever made bread or pizza dough you are aware of the “bounce” after the dough has been worked. Gliadin provides the “stretch” that you find in dough.

What Is Gluten?

Wheat flour has two types of protein strands, glutenin and gliadin. These proteins are wrapped around starch granules. When you combine flour with water, the protein strands unwind and then link together in order to form a membrane which is called gluten.  The membrane takes over the swollen starch granules and gas bubbles (created by a leavening agent), stretches as the dough rises and then bakes. This gives the finished product its structure or chewiness.

Gluten Development

Factors that influence gluten development:

  1. Flour
    Bread Flour comes from a high-protein wheat. This means that it is able to develop MORE gluten or structure.
    Cake Flour is made from a soft wheat with a very low protein. This means that cake flour produces less gluten and is perfect for tender cakes.
  2. Amount of Water
    The more water in the dough, the more elastic the gluten strands. So what? Why does this matter? Well, if the gluten strands are strong, then they can swell and produce an airier product.
  3. Mixing Time
    Have you ever read a recipe that told you to only “mix until combined” or “fold in by hand” a certain ingredient? Well, more stirring means more gluten. More gluten means more structure and chew. This is the reason why you knead and knead and knead bread dough  and conversely in a cake you mix by hand or until just combined.

Flour Builds Structure

When baking, the flour is the main ingredient because it is absolutely essential! The ability of the proteins in the flour to expand and trap gas is THE KEY to baking. Compared to wheat flour, gluten free flours have very low protein so they do not do a very good job of expanding and trapping gas. Also, they’re less elastic than gluten. In order to replace wheat flour with gluten free flour, you MUST boost the effectiveness of the gluten free proteins. How do you do this?  Xanthan gum and emulsifiers. Xanthan gum acts like glue (and you use very little when baking) and helps to cement the protein in gluten free flour. Emulsifiers help make gluten free flour more compatible with fat. Which basically means that this helps make your baked good not greasy and makes it moist.

 

Are you confused? Overwhelmed? Don’t be. We are here for you.  For the month of May, we are going to bake three gluten-free goods: Sandwich Bread, Cupcakes, and Pie Crust. If you can master these basic recipes, the gluten-free sky is your limit!!! We’ll start from the very beginning. Here is the ULTIMATE gluten-free flour blend. We have been working with this blend for years and it mimics the properties of non gluten-free goods PERFECTLY!

Gluten Free Flour Blend
Makes about 9 1/2 cups

4 1/2 cups + 1/3 cup white rice flour
1 2/3 cups brown rice flour
1 1/3 potato flour (NOT Potato Starch)
3/4 cup tapioca starch (this is the same as tapioca flour)
3 tbsp nonfat milk powder

Whisk all the ingredients together in a VERY large bowl and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator (this is very important) for up to 3 months.

Breathe. This is going to be fun, dear readers! And after these lessons in gluten-free baking, you can astound your friends, family, and neighbors with your amazing skills. See if they can even tell that it’s gluten-free….Betcha they won’t know the difference.

 

Ciao for now,

V & K

Candy is Dandy Part 3

What we do, it’s a labor of love.

Akin to raising children, gardening, and doing laundry.

Making our favorite candies at home may seem laborious or even insane, but the end result definitely screams “LOVE.” (Either that or “GO TO THE GYM” but we prefer the love…)

We saved the best for last. We also saved the most labor intensive candy for last. Please try it for yourself. It will definitely be worth all your effort.

In order to stay non-commercial, we won’t disclose the official name of these shortbread, caramel-covered candies. Let’s just say they rhyme with “Shwix.”

We hope you have tried making some or all of the candies we have given over the last few weeks. If not, we hope you put them in a “To-Do” list somewhere. We hope you have a blessed Easter enjoying the love of family and friends.

Ciao for now,

V & K

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Homemade Shortbread, Caramel-Covered Candy a.k.a “Shwix”

Ingredients

For the Shortbread:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup  powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk

For the Caramel:

  • 17 oz caramels (you can make your own, but it is very labor intensive and sometimes laziness wins)
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

For the Chocolate Coating

  • 12 ounces milk chocolate chips

Directions

Shortbread:
Preheat the oven to 300º F. Grease a square 8 inch X 8 inch pan.

Cream the butter in a mixing bowl. Add in the salt, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Mix until well combined and fluffy. Slowly add in half the flour. Add in the milk. Add the rest of the flour and beat only until mixed. Evenly press the shortbread mixture into the pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until it is slightly browned around the edges. Cool completely.

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Caramel:
Melt the caramel bits and cream in a pan on the stove. Once melted, cool for 20 minutes off the heat in the pot. This will solidify the caramel a bit without making it rock hard. Pour over the shortbread and cool for 1 hour.

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Once cooled, cut the bars into 12 pieces. Cut them in half down the middle, and then cut each half into six pieces. (We left ours in big pieces so we had the “King Size” candy.)

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Chocolate:
Melt the chocolate.

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Coat the bars requires some prep work. Put a piece of wax or parchment paper underneath a cooling rack. Place each bar on the rack, cover the sides (except the bottom) with chocolate using a spoon or knife to make it even. We found that if you plop a dollop of chocolate on top and then push the chocolate down the sides (similar to frosting a cake) it makes it easier to cover all the sides without dribbling. Repeat the coating process for all the bars.

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Put the bars in the fridge until the chocolate is set. Allow to come to room temperature before eating because the caramel gets rock hard.

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Candy is Dandy Part 2

This recipe is dangerous. It could give the CIA a run for its money. The reason why it is a should-be-top-secret-for-your-eyes-only- bury-it-in-a-hole-for-100-years dangerous recipe? Because all the ingredients are in your pantry.

That means you can make it whenever you want.

Inexpensively.

Quickly.

….Dangerous recipe.

Peanut Butter Cups are classic. But have you looked at the ingredients in a commercially made Peanut Butter Cup? We have a rule in our house: If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. Our recipe has 3 ingredients. All of which we can pronounce.

Our homemade Peanut Butter Cups are great for Easter Baskets! By making them yourself, you can cut down the cost of buying candy while increasing the happiness of your taste buds. That kinda sounds like a Economics Class.

We hope you make these dangerous Peanut Butter Cups. You won’t be sorry. They freeze really well so if by some way you have leftovers you can always save them for later!

 

Ciao for now,

V & K

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Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

Ingredients
12 oz milk chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt (optional)

Directions

Trim 12 paper muffin cup liners to half of their height.

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Place 1/2 chocolate chips in a microwave safe container. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave for 30 seconds more or until the mixture is smooth. Using the back of a spoon, spread some melted chocolate into each muffin cup, spreading all the way up the sides. Add a dollop of chocolate to the middle of the cup until about half full. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

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In an electric mixer bowl, mix together peanut butter, confectioners’ sugar and optional salt. Whip for a few seconds to make the mixture fluffy. Spread a little into the chocolate cups.

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Melt the remaining chocolate, and spoon over peanut butter mixture. Spread chocolate to edges of cups.

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Refrigerate again for 1 hour or until set.

Keep the Peanut Butter Cups in the fridge until you’re read to use or eat them.

 

 

Candy is Dandy Part 1

Easter is in 2 weeks. 2 weeks!!!! It feels like Christmas was yesterday and now it’s almost Easter? Madness.

To celebrate Easter, we seek to improve our Easter Basket efforts. Peeps are great and jelly beans are wonderful, but we can do better. In this three part series, we will make our own versions of our three favorite candies: Payday, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, & Twix.

Let’s talk Payday….

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Homemade Payday
3 cups peanuts (no skins, can be salted or unsalted depending on your own preference)3 tbsp butter
2 cups peanut butter chips OR 2 cups smooth peanut butter
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
2 cups mini marshmallows

Directions
Place a piece of parchment paper down in the bottom of an 11 & 7 pan. (This will make removal from the pan easier). Sprinkle over the parchment 1 1/2 cups of peanuts.

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Melt butter and peanut butter chips (or smooth peanut butter) in a large saucepan over medium heat. Keep Stir until smooth. Stir in condensed milk and marshmallows.

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Continue stirring until smooth and well blended. (This may take awhile to get all the marshmallow melted).

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Pour the smooth peanut butter mixture over peanuts in pan.

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Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups peanuts over top of peanut butter mixture. (If you want saltier bars, sprinkle some coarse sea salt over the peanuts now)

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Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Remove the candy block from the refrigerator. Using a very sharp knife, cut into bars.  These can also be made in a 9×13″ pan.  In order to alter the recipe: add another cup of peanuts, divided between the top and bottom layers. The same amount of filling will work but it will give you slightly thinner bars.

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Hummingbird Cake

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“Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder today” (Did everyone get the Princess Bride reference? If not, watch the movie then re-read this post).

The marriage that we are speaking of today is between Banana Bread and Carrot Cake and the result of their union: Hummingbird Cake. This cake possesses the best qualities of both dishes. Lighter and moister than just plain carrot cake (and this recipe has ½ the amount of oil usually called for) and the distinct yet subtle flavor if bananas.

“Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam…”

Our recipe varies in a few ways from your regular Hummingbird Cake. We reduced the oil and tweaked the leavening agent so the cake rose and was still just as moist. We also roasted the bananas to increase the banana-y flavor. But because we roasted the bananas, we had to amp up the pineapple flavor. The way to accomplish that is by boiling down the juices of the pineapple so a thick and intense pineapple syrup is created. This balance of roasted bananas and reduced pineapple syrup created the perfect flavor.

“And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva…”

And the icing on the cake (pun HUGELY intended) is actually the icing!!!! This is a very rustic icing, which means it doesn’t pipe well. The flavor impact more than makes up for the lack of piping work. We have to make extra frosting in order to make up for the sampling that goes on while decorating.
We hope you enjoy this cake. Any way you slice it (pun intended, again) this cake is absolutely delicious. Perfect for a springtime get together or just a Sunday dinner once the flowers start blooming. We decorated ours with Marshmallow Peeps in honor of the spring season!

One final Princess Bride quote:

“You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles.”—True of miracles and cake!

Ciao for now,

V & K

PHummingbird (12)

Hummingbird Cake

• 3 cups flour
• 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• ½ tsp ground nutmeg
• 1 tsp teaspoon baking soda
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1 cup packed light brown sugar
• 3 large eggs, room temperature
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 2 cups canned pineapple in syrup
• 2 cups roasted bananas, mashed
• 1 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Toast the pecans for 5-10 minutes until fragrant.
3. Place bananas on a cookie sheet with peels left on. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes until the skins are black. Remove and let cool until they can be handled. Peel bananas, place in a small mixing bowl and mash. Set aside to cool.
4. Butter and flour 3-9 inch round baking pans. Trace the bottom of the pan (for all three pans) onto waxed paper, cut out circle and place in the bottom of each pan. Don’t grease the top of the waxed paper
5. In a sifter over a large mixing bowl combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Sift into the bowl. Set aside.
6. Empty the cans of pineapple into a saucepan turned on medium high. Boil until the juices become syrup. Cool for one hour.
7. In a second large mixing bowl combine the granulated and brown sugar; whisk to combine. Add the eggs, the oil and vanilla whisk for 3 minutes until light and airy. Add the flour mixture all at once and hand stir (do not beat) to combine the mixture fully. Gently fold in the mashed bananas and pineapple syrup and chunks and ½ cup toasted pecans.
8. Divide the batter evenly between the three pans. Tap the pans on the countertop to release any air bubbles and place in the 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.
9. Allow to cool in pans on racks for 5 minutes then turn out onto cooling racks to fully cool before frosting. Be sure to peel off and discard the waxed paper. (We’ve forgotten to do that before…it’s a mistake you make once!)

Cream Cheese Frosting

• 16 oz unsalted butter, softened
• 12 oz cream cheese, softened but still cool
• 3 cups powdered sugar
• ½ tsp table salt
• 1/3 cup buttermilk powder

Instructions

1. Combine the butter, buttermilk powder, salt, and powdered sugar together in a stand mixture. Beat on low, slowly increasing until medium high. Cut the cream cheese into 12 pieces. Add each piece one at a time until all are incorporated and the frosting is smooth and thick.
2. Once you finish frosting the cake, refrigerate for 1 hour before cutting. (This will make it much easier and smoother to cut). To decorate the cake, either sprinkle with the rest of the toasted pecans; or, toast some sweetened coconut until golden and apply to the tops and sides of the cake. Either or, your choice.

PHummingbird (2)

 

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