I have a bundt pan problem. There I said it.

I love a good pound cake. I have quite a few favorites in this category: a sour cream one, a cream cheese one, a lemon buttermilk one. Yes, I just could go on and on, I am Southern after all.

I think pound cake is a favorite for me because this is one of the few desserts the the MotH* likes. It is simple, slightly sweet, but not too sweet, and I think that appeals to him. It does not hurt that the Boy is a big fan too, as am I.

Funny, my mom used to make pound cake (or as my paternal grandmother would call plain cake)** and toast it in the toaster oven and then smear it with peanut butter. Not something I would do, no matter how much I love some peanut butter, but I understand the idea. Crunchy cake with goopy peanut butter. To each her own.

So in the next few posts, I’ll share my favorite pound cake recipes and my favorite bundt pans as well. They really are, in my opinion, works of art. And the ones I order are all Made in America. Pretty cool, right? Yes, it is Nordic Wear and it is pretty damn cool.

My first non-traditional bundt pan is one that a great friend got for me ages ago – from William-Sonoma – which I could never had afforded at that time. Since my degrees were in Art History and I focused on 17th-century French Chateaus and 18th-century British Country Houses, I had a thing for the Fleur-de-lis.dd_1524 Living here lots of people mistake my fleur-de-lis thing for a support of New Orleans, and most of the time I do not bother to correct people and I do love New Orleans a lot. But the people that know me – really know me – understand the origin of this symbol for me. And my dearest friend bought this bundt pan for me – and shared her sour cream pound cake recipe with me. We are similar in that family recipes are very important and Southern Living magazine has produced some of our favorite things to make (see: Cranberry Relish).

*Man of the House.

** I have made my grandmother’s Plain Cake recipe as an adult and it was pretty much disappointing. Just not inspiring in the least. That said, she made the most amazing fried apple pies. Yes, this conversation will continue.

 

 

Brickle bits of Snicks

I think we all love the idea of a recipe that we can make with the things we have on hand. That said, it is so very annoying when you think you have something that you always have on hand – and then you don’t have it at all. Damn it.dd_img_0450-edit

I had that happen tonight. I was making Snicks for a good friend because I remember he liked them and I just knew I had everything. Crisco – check, butter – check, eggs – check, brickle – check, and the rest … sugar, flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, blah blah. Oh, holy crap – why do I not have ground cinnamon. I mean I looked everywhere in the pantry  and nada, nope, nothing. It cannot be a Snick without cinnamon. Thank goodness my dear mother-in-law lives around the corner and she bailed me out. Once again.

I guess I am not as good as putting things on the grocery list as I thought. Although cinnamon is typically one of those ingredients that I order from Penzey’s or the Spice House, but I can manage with grocery store cinnamon. Then I realized I needed to refill my supply of cream of tartar too, and hell, looking around the kitchen I need several other things. I think this just may be the pre-baking season clean up and restock.

8 Tbs of unsalted butter, softened
1/2 vegetable shortening, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup of brickle bits (Heath’s – it is in the baking aisle)*
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2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt over a piece of waxed paper. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat butter, shortening, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and beat until incorporated. Add flour mixture in thirds and mix until just combined. Mix in brickle pieces.

Use a #40 disher to make cookies, rounding them in your hands before rolling them in the 2 tsp cinnamon and 1/3 cup of sugar sifted together. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 9-11 minutes**, turning half way through. Cool on the baking sheet for a minute and then remove to a cooling rack to cool.

Made 36 cookies.

* If you want this to be easy, one bag equals 1 1/3 cup of brickle pieces. I prefer a bit less so that is why I go for a scant one cup. Your call. But please do not try to store the brickle in the fridge – humidity and brickle does not go well together. I store mine in the pantry in a zip top bag and it has worked out well.

** 9 minutes worked perfectly for us.

Modification of a recipe from Cookie Madness.

 

Hurricane Ivan

When we lived in North Carolina and had the ice storm of 2002, we laid in the bed and listened to the pine trees bend and break – they sounded like rifle shots – and you just hoped they did not fall into the roof. That was a long night. I made the mistake of saying that I could handle a hurricane better. I have an excuse – we had no electricity and no real fire wood for the the unused fireplace and it was 17 F outside. We took everything out of the Fridge and put it on the back porch – it was colder than the Fridge with no power.

Wow – it was so great to have friends – it made a world of difference. One friend had another friend that could give us real wood for the fireplace. Another friend lent us a hotel room to take a shower. Thank you Carolina Inn. And I still went to work. We had events to do.

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Little did I know that we would get a hurricane just a bit over two years later in Pensacola. Ugh. We are in hurricane alley after all. This is why you do not say things like, “I could handle a hurricane better.” No really. Do Not Say This.

But the interesting thing is that an Ice Storm and a Hurricane smell the same – they both smell like a Christmas tree lot – it is the pine tar. So very similar.

Ivan was a major nightmare for our region, but we deal with it. It is just what we do. And the damn storm came back for us again. 2004 was a year. Indeed.

My Little Bering

The Boy just decided that this day was the little dog’s birthday. bering-1He was a rescue from friends that found him after Hurricane Katrina – Huskies are know to run in storms. Actually run at any time. They just do that. We had two vets check for chips and nothing – how can you not chip your dog??

You know that the Boy only wanted two dogs –  a German Shepherd Dog and a Siberian Husky. How do you disappoint a Boy. I have to admit I did not want this Husky – he seemed to be a barker, but that was just a mistake on my interpretation. The Boy picked the name – from the Bering Sea. Huskies don’t really bark and when he got to our home and was with our German Shepherd Dog they were the best of friends. Duke (GSD) was about 3 months older than Bering (SH).

I do miss him, and I think about him so much that I want another Siberian Husky.  You  just have to love that snow nose.

Sour Cream, Chocolate Chip, & Butterscotch Chip Cake

Yes, I take the Oxford comma seriously. That said, this kind of cake just sounded a little too good to be true. However, I think it delivers. Sour cream gives it a tang, and chocolate chips are really pretty good, but add the butterscotch chips and it seems a good balance – but I do have butterscotch thing. Always had. My father used to buy me butter rum lifesavers and bring them home after work. I seemed to always be checking his shirt pockets for lifesavers and the butter rum and cherry were my favorites. . The MotH* tried it and had some suggestions that I think will be good the next time I make it. His idea is to leave off the butterscotch chips and add some chopped pecans (Renfroe Pecans = local pecans) and to be honest, I think I could do without butterscotch and chocolate and just put in the pecans and this cake would be just, pretty much amazing.dd_1549

1 1/2 cups (6.8 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of vanillla
1 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon plus a pinch of salt
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup butterscotch chips

Vanilla Icing – sorry did not do this, but if it works for you – go on then.**
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan – I just love baking spray – it makes this part easier.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda together over a piece of waxed paper.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the cooled butter, sugar, vanilla, sour cream, egg and salt. Add the flour mixture to the sour cream mixture and stir until blended (batter will be thick), then stir in the chips. Transfer the batter to the loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes. Let cool for about 15 minutes in the pan, then carefully turn from pan and let cool on a wire rack.

*Man of the House.

**Again, did not do this – it seemed to be gilding the lily, but I am not a fan of overly sweet things. Melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl or a 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup. Add the confectioners’ sugar and stir to coat it with butter – it will be thick and pasty. Slowly add the milk about 1/2 tablespoon at a time, mixing well and adding more until you get the consistency you like. Stir in the vanilla. Drizzle over the cooled cake.

Again, I think this vanilla icing is so not necessary. Just me though. To each her own.dd_1548

Source: Cookie Madness – once again. A great site with lots of recipes I really like. That does not mean I will not try modification of this idea – because that what people who cook/bake do. Everything is a springboard to something new.

Brownie Cakes or something like that…

I am not a chocolate person, but this is one of those recipes that I love to make. I have everything on hand – do love this kind of recipe – no grocery store – woo hoo. Also I do like to make the people in my life who like chocolate-things happy. I did try one of these muffins (if you can call them that) and it totally has a great brownie thing going on. I really made these for the Boy and I think he liked it, at least I hope so. I shared a few at our beach local now that we can get out there again – Shaggy’s.

It is kind of funny. I am not much of a sweet person. I guess that is not entirely true. I will try a new recipe, once, and then I am done. Now the MotH is not into sweets at all, but he will try something if I press on him a bit. I do want his opinion – it is important to me. So my “test subjects” are my office, the Boy, and Shaggy’s. I really think they mostly do not mind too much. At least it seems that way to me.  Although I do seem to get blamed for people gaining weight, but ……

D&D_1550

1 cup unsalted butter, 16 Tbs.
1 cup chocolate chips, Ghiradelli is my favorite and my go to.
4 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Melt the butter and chocolate chips over a low heat on the stove. I do not think this is a place for the microwave. Nope not at all.

Line your cupcake pan with paper liners. This makes 18 cupcakes which to my mind is really kind of annoying. I have a 12 cupcake pan – then had to wait till the pan cooled down to do the last six. Fine – I can do it, but I just do not want to. Guess I am just being fussy – but really?

D&D_1554

Beat eggs and sugar together. Sift flour over the egg mixture and add vanilla (I am very liberal with the vanilla – just saying). Fold in the chocolate – butter mixture and there we are – ready to make brownie cakes. Fill cupcake pan wells about 1/2 full.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean. Just like a brownie will do.

This reminds me of the brownie cookies. They are like small brownies with lots of crusty edges, which to my mind are the best part of a brownie. I am a brownie edge person, not a brownie middle person. Guess it is a personal preference, but I do like a little bit of crunch.

Source: All Recipes and love that this is a Grandma recipe. Old recipes are my favorite kind.

 

 

Cous Cous Salad

Yep, I am so back to my vegetarian days with this recipe. I think that making the orange juice, white wine, butter sauce pasta makes me crave this too. So many similar ingredients and flavors. Although it is interesting that I have not sized this recipe down for just me and therefore I eat it for breakfast and/or lunch for about a week. Now, I use local pecans because the are just so sweet. I know I have written about this before but Renfroe’s pecans are … I am at a loss. They are stupidly, amazing, dumbly, good. I guess because I grew up with pecans from Georgia and did not understand how the season worked, nor how to store them in between that I have learned a lot. Since moving to Pensacola, I now know how local pecans work. It is a charmed world to have such amazing fresh pecans.  Once again – spoiled.

D&D_15561 cup orange juice
1/3 cup raisins or sultanas – I prefer sultanas, but will deal with raisins, easily.
1 red onion minced
1/2 cup toasted pecans (or walnuts), salted
3 scallions, diced
1 cup Cous Cous – (not israeli couscous – I have tried, but not my favorite)
Red wine vinegar
1 Tbs Canola oil

Heat orange juice over low heat until bubbly. Add raisins or sultanas and let simmer until raisins are soft. Heat a small saucepan with water to boil. Add red onions and boil for just a minute and a half. Remove from water into a bowl and cover with red wine vinegar to soak until you are finished with everything else.

Add Cous Cous to orange juice with Canola oil. Remove from heat and cover. Let stand until orange juice is absorbed.

Toast pecans in a skillet with some kosher salt until fragrant. Just about a minute on medium heat.  Dice scallions. Drain red onions. Fluff Cous Cous with a fork and add red onions, pecans, and scallions.

I think next time some blanched asparagus would be a great addition. Or maybe some thawed frozen artichoke hearts – just make it a bit more substantial.

I think this is my goal – to take the things I make over and over again and develop them further, to add another dimension to them. I already have a few ideas for this – may be great – may be an random failure, but it is worth a shot. At least to me.

Maybe some salty cheese. Will have to think about that.