Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cranberry Cake

So, of course, I can never get away without making dessert for Thanksgiving. At the last minute, I stumbled upon the post for a cranberry cake on the King Arthur Flour blog - which BTW is a really great blog!

And I like this recipe because you can easily make it with other fruits too.

Check out the blog!

Here's the post for Cranberry Cake.

I was a bit iffy about this cake mainly because I've never been much into cranberries - I have never eaten a fresh one or even tried the cranberry jelly in a can. But this cake came out great. In fact, it was even a hit among the cousins who rarely say anything is "really good" and go for seconds. The cake is reminiscent of coffee cake (dense and moist) and the cranberries are nicely tart with just enough sugar on top to even it out.
I served it warm outta the oven, which I think is the best way; there weren't any leftovers for me to try out at room temp the following morning.

(sorry for the poopoo cell phone pictures...)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's that time of year when all the kiddos have to migrate home again for the good ol' family meal... so while I'm back in the cold cold bay area, avoiding long "talks" with my mom, relentlessly eating everything in sight... i will be dreaming of the yummy December baking that will ensue upon my return to sunny so cal.

Pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing in a RAD pumpkin shaped pan

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chicken Pesto Pizza

So, while I'm not a cook in anyway... I do get inspiration from Reeni over at Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice to make actual food (not just desserts).

On the menu this time was "homemade" chicken pesto pizza...
of course, everything was bought ready-made. But it's better than straight outta the freezer or delivery, yes?

Don't judge me as I guide you through the lazy-ass "cooking" I resort to...
Ready to bake pizza dough...

Ready to eat chicken...

with pesto outta the tub...

Pre-shredded cheese...

For the record - I did cut up the tomatoes all by myself. Thankyouverymuch.

I went a bit heavy handed on the cornmeal...

and of course, had issues stretching out the dough...

BUT, still good! I mean, its not like I coulda under-cooked anything. (Well, minus the pizza dough).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Two "mental breakdowns" later... I'm back.

I always feel so guilty after being away for so long from blogging... even more so when I can't post anything NEW. As much as I'm sure we're all tired of friggin' brownies... I can't help but finish off this (really) long run with one final recipe.

SO, YAY. A new recipe! (BUT its brownies again.)
Marshmallow Crunch Brownie Bars from Brown Eyed Baker
Round 1:
I initially was just making a previous classic brownie recipe... but I had all the ingredients ready for me to try out this new recipe! So, I halved the ingredients for the chocolate-PB-krispies marshmallow topping to top just an 8in pan.
Note to self - use parchment paper ALLLL around the pan. It was a poop to dig out a square to taste.
Round 2:
Since the "trial" version came out well, I tried again following the recipe, from brownie to top... in a 13x9 pan. More to share!
This recipe struck me a bit different as I was used to - adding the sugar to the melted chocolate mixture THEN adding in the eggs. Not sugar to the eggs and then adding in the chocolate. Not that that made a difference in the baking... (except I forgot about the un-even heating in my oven.) So, after baking for approx 30 minutes, dumping on the marshmallows, then slathering on the chocolate mixture... ta-da!

Needless to say, chocolate + PB + rice krispies = AMAZING!
I LOVE the way marshmallows softly poof up when heated... like clouds you just want to lay in ALLLLLL DAYYYYY LOOOONG. (mmmm marshmallows) So, I left the marshmallow border to cushion the deliciousness of the chocolate topping. It looks a bit holiday-y maybe?

Mad at chocolate - a lesson to learn?

For some reason, chocolate and I are not friends.

I have the hardest time dipping things smoothly. I even bought Guittard chocolate couverture wafers to try out - of course, initially blaming lower quality chocolate for my woes.

My coating gets too thick and goops down all lumpy.
Then in the process of setting it down on the baking sheet, my fingers of course make a mess of the bottom edges.

Then I wonder, should I have added shortening like I see in some dipping recipes? Seemed unneccesary... but perhaps, that's what I was missing. Damn it.

So with just pure melted chocolate:
I've tried the pouring method which resulted in essentially the same shenanigans.
I've done the dipping the bottom first to have a "foot" to hold onto to dip the rest of the item. It sucks when the foot starts to melt making it even harder to shake off excess chocolate.

And of course, my favorite method which I prefer since its more "hands on" and relatively chocolate conserving, icing the item with the chocolate.

With no luck at the elusive smooth dipping, I turned to rolled fondant. Seems like the process of dipping in poured fondant would yield similar results as the chocolate dipping, and given my lack of skill in that department - PASS. And expectedly, the rolled fondant created the desired smoothness. But at what cost to the original deliciousness of the brownie enclosed? At a HIGH COST. I know some love fondant, after all, it's dough - made of sugar. But its just such an unneccesary sweetness when coupled with brownies (and cake). GORGEOUS, yes. TASTY, tbd.

And that, folks, is going to be the end of my griping.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The experiment continues...

This time... white-chocolate covered...

Ok. There are a few more "tests" to do. Poured Fondant is next! Tips anyone?

And I finally visited a Ralph's and picked up a Carvel Ice Cream Cake. ("it's what happy tastes like")
THE BEST EVER. Been craving it for a while... yum.

Soon to come... something pumpkin? Perhaps...