St. Patrick’s Day – Preview Day, sort of

Unfortunately, I will be out of town for St. Patrick’s Day this year as I have been in several other years and it makes me sad. St. Patrick’s Day was our first date – ish. I do not think the MotH planned it as a date, but I think it was inevitable and now it is probably the second most important date for us – the wedding date being the most important. Or maybe the other way around. Interesting, that both days were really just amazingly relaxed. Guess that is just us. I think that may be what happens when two adults realize they have found the right person for them.  Okay – I shall stop now because that sounds too sappy. I do seem to do that on occasion.

So back to St. Patrick’s Day, since I will not be around in my kitchen, I will replay some of my favorites for you to enjoy. I guess I need to figure out when St. Andrew’s Day (November 30th) is as he is the patron saint of Scotland and I am Scottish on both sides of my family. You do not look like me or like the Boy without some Scottish in you. When I think back, my father really had the look about him, but I just did not recognize as I do now in hindsight. I guess I have to figure out Scottish food, but I’m not entirely sure that will be a good thing. ?

Reuben Casserole – as I have said, not pretty, so not pretty, but pretty amazing.

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Guinness Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. It’s like looking at a really good pour of Guinness. That is something that has to be done correctly and it takes time – just wait, it will be worth the reward.

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Guinness Brownies – I do not like brownies at all. But the first time I made these, well, hell, in small doses they were amazing. And I think the Boy liked the idea that there was stout in his brownies made him happy. Can not say that I blamed him for that.

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Apple Cake

It is officially Autumn now – so says the calendar, but where we live that means basically, nothing. Yep nothing. Except the likelihood of a hurricane. No really, hurricanes are most likely to hit in our area in September or October. Thankfully since 2005, we’ve been very fortunate. All that said, it is still hotter than blazes here and what is worse we have had no rain to cool off the afternoons.

So I am trying to force the issue with apple cake. Force the fall to get here sooner by sheer force of will. Apples and cinnamon – I think that equals fall, at least it does for me.

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2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
1 2/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbs canola oil
1 Tbs vanilla
6 cups peeled and chopped Granny Smith apples (3 apples)

Frosting*
4 ozs cream cheese, room temperature
2 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Over a piece of waxed paper, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. This is a thing I do with dry ingredients. It is kind of habit.

In a large bowl, mix together sugar, eggs, applesauce, canola oil, and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture. Fold in apples.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake 30 – 40 minutes, roatating the pan half the way through, until a toothpick comes out clean.

For Frosting: In a stand mixer, beat together cream cheese, butter, salt and vanilla until smooth. Sift in confectioner’s sugar, but add more confectioner’s sugar as needed. Spread over completely cooled cake.

* I did not make the frosting because I wanted to try the cake on its own first. We decided that it was really good with no frosting. Maybe next time I will bake the cake, cool, and turn it out and cut in half and frost half and leave the other plain.

July – August 2016 – butter & eggs usage

9 July 2016 – Pear Bleu Cheese Turnovers – 1 large egg

And here is where is gets really sad –  nothing else until …

6 August 2016 – Creamed Corn – 3 Tbs butter

7 August 2016 – Chicken Salad & Egg Salad – 8 large eggs (boiled)

10 August 2016 – Red Onion, Asparagus Fettuccini White Wine, Orange Juice, Butter Sauce – 4 Tbs butterD&D_1533

17 August 2016 – Roasted Mushrooms – 2 Tbs butter

26 August 2016 – Chocolate Chip Butterscotch Chip Sour Cream Cake – 5 Tbs butter – 1 large egg

16 August 2016 – Brownie Cups – 16 Tbs butter – 4 large eggs

Well, I will give myself this excuse that summer is not terribly conducive to baking – or cooking – honestly. I can just skip dinner at this time of year.

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.

 

 

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.

Milton Bakery

Milton Bakery is an old school bakery. They make muffins, pastries, croissants, and lots of specialty cakes, and pies in the fall. They also bake breads and rolls. And they also make donuts.

Since our nephew mentioned it recently, I cannot forget Shipley’s donuts in Texas. Those donuts holes were amazing and I ate way more than I should. But would still love to eat so many more. I might even get up a little earlier for those next time we are in Texas. Not kidding, and I never do that on the weekend. Ever. Do not get me started about kolaches. That is a entire different story.

I have taken pictures of the Milton Bakery donuts, but, I did kind of decimate the box. Six donut holes out of a dozen. And I still want more. That is so not good.

D&D_1511This just reminds me of the Donut Shoppe in Jacksonville. My Dad would go and get donuts there pretty much every weekend. The shop was on University Boulevard, and right next to a 7-11, not very promising, but the donuts were pretty much amazing. Yep. It has moved since I lived there – still on University – next to a, wait for it, gas station, but the donuts are still amazing and dear lord they open at 5:00 am – ugh – who does that? I guess bakery people, but sure the hell, not me.

When we were kids we would always get donuts at the Donut Shoppe on our way out of town on our way to North Carolina to visit our parents’ families, and also go to the 7-11 for candy for the trip too. The donuts were eaten on our way and enjoyed. But the funny thing is that since we were on a road trip were were only allowed to bring a shoe box of our own stuff to pass the time, and I did fill my box with candy – especially the big ass (at the time but not anymore) everlasting gobstoppers. Yes, I did love Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Also did read the book which it was based on, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I was such a library dork. I guess I have always been a reader – not a bad thing, in the grand scheme of things.

Okay, back to donuts. I think I just might be going back to the Milton Bakery this weekend. I know Krispy Kreme is a Southern tradition, but my favorite way to eat them is without the glaze, and you can order them that way. Krispy Kreme was founded in Winston-Salem North Carolina and is an iconic Southern treat. When we lived in Chapel Hill, I had a colleague and friend whose father made the first neon Krispy Kreme sign for the first store. What a very cool story. But that being said, that glaze kind of makes my teeth hurt a bit. The Boy used to go by our one little Krispy Kreme for coffee and donuts before classes at high school, can not say that I blame him.

Either way, I am a giant fan of the Milton Bakery. It reminds me of my dad and that makes me happy. Oh, and can I have just about a dozen more donut holes, please.

 

 

Thermopen

This was a bit of a splurge but it has been so well worth it.  I first saw this instant-read thermometer on America’s Test Kitchen and did not order it at first because the price put me off. I had a little thermometer that I really kind of liked and it worked just fine, but it was a bit pokey in indicating temperature and kind of meh, but it was ATK best buy and I did get along with that for several years.  So when America’s Test Kitchen sent an email that they were giving a discount on their “most trusted” Thermopen, I just had to go for it.

And I am glad I did. I am beyond thrilled with my Thermopen. No kidding. It is great for casseroles and even better for meat temperatures.D&D_0320But it is best for me for pound cakes. I know the skewer thing works, but this makes me feel so much better.

Nothing worse than slicing into a pound cake and finding out it is a bit raw inside. Blech. Yeah really blech.