Sunday, March 1, 2015

Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

Not a very appealing looking result, but this Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake really is delicious. Fudgy and chocolatey inside with a sticky, drippy, VERY yummy frosting. You add the frosting while the cake is still hot so it seeps right into the cake. How could that be anything but good?
I was making this cake for my grandson's nursery school " Grandparents Day", and knowing that some kids might not like or even be allergic to peanuts, I changed the flavor of the frosting. 
Last visit to the U.S. , I made my rounds to Williams -Sonoma (no way I visit without going there!) 
and came across this.............

.............and this!

Not only did I find them ( they don't always carry them) but they were on sale for really silly prices.
So here I was, worrying about weight restrictions, and carrying back in my suitcase, jars of graham crack and vanilla wafer butter! (among many other things that god only knows how I made the weight limit!)
The graham cracker butter went first, but I had been saving the vanilla wafer butter for the right occasion. This Texas sheet cake was it. The solution to the peanut issue without sacrificing flavor or texture. The taste was great-both kids and grandparents went crazy over it. I threw some sprinkles on top for the kids, but made the mistake of doing it too early and they just sort of sunk into the frosting. Live and learn!

Lately I have been very lazy ( or rather just so busy that I don't have time) to get out my camera and set up the tripod etc. etc. so please excuse the horrible phone photo, but you get the idea!

Not a hard cake to make- give it a try! You can find the recipe here at Baked Sunday Mornings.

And here is a quick last minute addition for Purim- rainbow hamataschen ( or ozney Haman as they are called in Hebrew.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Toffee Coffee Cake Surprise

OK, this is going to be a quickie since it's very late and I need to get this posted- now! I wasn't sure I was going to have the time today to make this cake but I somehow squeezed it in and boy was it ever worth it! Excuse the very poor quality photos-  night time here already so lighting is an issue.

A perfect coffee cake with a  luscious band of all that is good running through the middle-namely a combination of toffee bits ( I actually made my own- nothing like it in this world!) chopped, roasted almonds and a bit of the actual dough mix.

basically a homemade heath bar- but better!
see that amazing band of  deliciousness ( is that a word?)

A little bit of a fussy recipe, especially if you make your own toffee ( but you only use a small amount of the batch so there's ALL that leftover  that you can't leave just sitting around), but definitely a go to cake for any occasion.

You can get the recipe here at Baked Sunday Mornings.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Gingersnaps with Lemon Sugar

Winter arrives, and like clockwork, my throat starts to scratch, nose runs and the coughing sets in. This time it hit me like a snowball gathering snow as it rolls down the mountain. Bronchitis, no less, and let me tell you- a week in bed , antibiotics and no strength to do ANYTHING!! I probably should have spent more time in bed , but work calls and the kiddies are waiting in class. So now I'm left with a lingering , hacking cough and a general lack of energy, though each day is a bit better. 

I spent an unreasonable ridiculous amount of time searching for all kinds of old-fashioned remedies for the cough, throat, etc. Some very weird, but the majority  talk about a few things over and over. Honey, lemon, ginger, hot liquids (hot liquids were the only thing that relieved some of the chest pain). I am now drinking hot ginger water numerous times during the day. 

This weeks' selection for Baked Sunday Mornings was just the thing I needed to get back into baking.
Gingersnap cookies that are #1 : easy to make- no mixer-yay! #2 :come together very quickly #3: very good to eat!

They're rolled in lemon sugar (just rub some grated lemon zest -I used lime since that is what I had) in 1/2 cup of sugar and roll the little balls of dough in it.
I like my gingersnap cookies to have a "snap" so I left them in the oven for the recommended extra few minutes. If you like them soft, just cut the time .

Great with a hot cup of ginger water, tea, coffee or even a glass of milk if you prefer! 
You can get the recipe here at Baked Sunday Mornings.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Wintermint Cake- sort of!

Not a mint fan, so what to do with an assignment that is ALL ABOUT mint? I bake the same cake base, different filling and frosting flavor. 
OK, so I know you're going to say - but what's the point? That's what this cake is all about! True, true; guilty as charged, but I just couldn't bring myself to bake a cake that I knew no one ( at least no one I know) would eat.  I'm sure the cake is amazing for those who enjoy that flavor but it is such a distinct flavor - not a subtle hint kinda thing.

So a few weeks ago was my birthday (ouch! last one before the new number!) and I wanted to bring a cake to work. Seemed easy enough to just make this cake in advance. I switched the flavoring of the frosting and ganache filling to one of my favorites - coconut. 

I was actually more interested in trying the design that is in the book Baked Occasions. I do a lot of cake decorating and this looked simple enough. Elegant, straightforward......WRONG! At least for me. Just couldn't get the hang of making those beautiful gradations of color- separate they were fine, but when I tried to do it on the cake... well they just sort of mushed together. Guess it takes a lot of practice. Just because it "appears" easy, certainly doesn't make it so.

On top of my frustration with that, I made the cake at night and just quickly took a picture of it with my iPhone. Not that the cake looked like anything to begin with, but the photo is really lame.
Apologies for that! Next time... and there will be a next time. The cake itself is wonderful, with a rich, chocolaty flavor. Had a bit of trouble with the frosting consistency but managed. 

This is the way it's SUPPOSED to look!

Not very similar to my result!

You can give it a try yourself- here's the recipe!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Date Squares

When I think of dates, I think of the Middle East. And that's where I live. Date palms all around, both natural and on farms that grow dates for both local and export use. The varieties are great and each type has its own qualities regarding size, moisture, taste and sweetness. The most popular and my favorite are the medjool dates. Plump and meaty, they are rich in flavor and are good for just munching or cooking. So many possibilities  for using dates, both in baking and cooking.

Here, you can get dates by the box, by weight in the open markets as well as in spread form and chunks of date paste all ready to use. Below is a kilo block of date paste which I sliced into and used instead of cutting up whole dates. Makes life much easier!

I tried this recipe a few weeks ago and it was so so. Felt like it needed an upgrade. I was looking for a thicker crust , more cookie like.

Some of the changes and addition I made : 
1. A smaller baking pan and used less than the called for amount of dates. It was too thick for me last     time.
2. Added a touch of salt to the date mixture and much less sugar. The dates are so sweet to begin             with, the extra sugar just overpowered it. I also added some orange zest and two tablespoons of o.j.     to the date mix. Just brought it up a notch!
3. Added a touch of cinnamon to the crumble mix as well as an egg. This made the crust more cookie     like and crispier.

The end result is much more to my liking, but of course taste is such a personal thing. These are easy to make, easy to store, for a quick snack or even for freezing so you can take them out as you wish.
Yummy in the tummy!

Here's the link for the original recipe on Baked Sunday Mornings.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Campfire Cookies

Girl Scout camp, outdoors, bonfires- all a reminder of times long past, but the taste of the famed s'mores remains forever in my memory ( or in my mouth , for that matter!)
Graham crackers ( which, by the way are very difficult to find here, and if you're successful, then they cost half a monthly salary), half a bar of chocolate and gooey marshmallows, all wrapped in tinfoil and roasted over an open fire. How can you go wrong?

These cookies have all those ingredients and don't disappoint. I went for the whole deal and made homemade marshmallows. Once you taste a homemade marshmallow, it's hard to go back to the store-bought stuff. No comparison- not even close! Given that, using store-bought marshmallows in this recipe would be just fine.

Since graham crackers are so hard to come by, I substitute Biscoff cookies in almost every recipe that calls for them. They add a different taste to the results but just as good if not better. A definite cinnamon flavor, gooey marshmallows that sometimes make for a not so pretty cookie, and yummy melting chocolate chips. They are very sweet and I might cut back on a bit of sugar next time- oh yes, there WILL be a next time! If any one wants to send me a package or two of graham crackers.............

You can find the recipe here at Baked Sunday Mornings. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Election Palmiers

This is the first selection from the new book Baked Occasions  After looking through the book, I can say that I am looking forward to some of the recipes- others, I'm not so sure about.

These cookies are familiar to me as "elephant ears" and usually are made quickly and simply with store-bought puff pastry. This was from scratch and the dough comes out melting in your mouth. They really are delicious, but I don't know if I would go through the somewhat drawn out process for such a simple cookies. That being said, the box they are in, is quickly emptying! The addition of the cayenne pepper ( I used ancho chili powder - that's what I had in the house) is a nice, subtle addition that adds an extra zing to the cookies.

You can find the recipe here at Baked Sunday Mornings. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

S’More-Style Chocolate Whiskey Pudding

Let's start with the end. Above you see the end result of this week's (and last one of the book!) assignment. Some of the comments: "This is a restaurant dessert!" , "so rich",  "sweeet! 
It really was all those things. 

Here's what it looked like before the spoon hit it. The s'mores effect on the marshmallow topping came out sort of funny looking but the idea and taste were certainly on spot. Rich, creamy chocolate pudding with a dash of brandy( no whiskey in the house at the moment). In  the middle a crunchy layer of crushed, baked lotus cookies ( can't get decent tasting graham crackers here, just off-brands and not worth it). The lotus or Biscoff cookies added a wonderful flavor.
 I didn't have any dessert cups ( now on the list of "need to buy") so I used wine glasses. Nice idea- wrong size glass. These were way too big. This dish is so rich and sweet that it really calls for a much smaller portion. OK, at least now I know what to look for when I shop for the dessert cups..
 Halfway through and shared by more than one!

What a sweet way to end the journey through "Baked Elements"! On to "Baked Occasions" ( as soon as it arrives in the mail...ergggg , it takes so long to go over the ocean!)

Get the recipe here at Baked Sunday Mornings.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Pumpkin is good. In anything. With anything. In any form. That's just me though. Th earthy flavor goes so well with the spices- cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger. 

I'm not sure exactly what the issue is, but these come together a bit too soft for proper rolling. I had to use a lot of flour to be able to get it out of the bowl and then roll it on a heavily floured surface. Not that it affected the taste. They are scrumptious! Next time (which there definitely will be), I will do a few things differently than called for in the recipe. One; I think using a dough hook instead of the paddle attachment might be better- we'll see. Two; bake it a bit longer than I did- the middle was JUST done, but could have been even more so. It was hard to tell until I cut into it.

waiting to go in the oven

Hot out of the oven!

pouring on the icing

wish I knew how do make a gif file

Worth the effort! Give them a try; the recipe's here at Baked Sunday Mornings.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cupcakes


Ok, so I think there are times when some things are better left unsaid. Like the name of these cupcakes. It's fine for the baker to know, but the eater? Well, I can tell you that every person I mentioned the name to, made that scrunchy nose face. You know, the one that says "eych, what did you say? Not for me, thanks."  I have cooked and baked many a dish with odd combinations of food and when asked about the ingredients , I make out like it's some big secret that I prefer not to reveal. Yeah, right, like since when do I hold back on recipes? There's the chicken drenched in maple syrup 
(for some that might not be appalling at all but there are those that can't imagine sweet with their chicken)- I mean, maple syrup's for pancakes and french toast , right? I have a few others like that which don't come to mind at  the moment, but this cupcake recipe definitely falls into the same category. 

Not to worry though. These can be presented simply as chocolate cupcakes- or rather the BEST chocolate cupcakes EVER! If you think about it, mayo is simply eggs and oil. So in this recipe, thats where the eggs and oil come from. The consistency of the mayonnaise makes for a moist, delicious cake that doesn't crumble and just melts in your mouth. Nice and chocolatey with a simple, yet delicious chocolate frosting. So good!! (as I write, the hubby just inhaled one and said he has never eaten such a delicious chocolate cupcake!!)

Couldn't resist the adorable cupcake plates. Too perfect... so me!

You can find the easy recipe at Baked Sunday Mornings. Two more recipes to go before we finish book number 3. I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of book number 4 ,"Baked Occasions" ,which promises to be just as amazing as the previous 3!