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Carrot Cookies

Carrot Cookies

One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is the food. Of course, this should not come as a surprise to anyone. The difference between food every other time of the year and the holidays is tradition. During the holidays I get to make and eat foods that, for some reason, are saved for this time of year. That is definitely true of my grandma’s Carrot Cookies.

There is not a Christmas that I can remember that didn’t include Carrot Cookies. This recipe came from my dad’s mom. My own mother started making them at Christmas time during my childhood. They were one of the few cookies that my oldest brother ate. He was never a huge fan of chocolate or sweets in general. I’m sure mom felt that she needed to make some sort of treats that he enjoyed, too.

Through the years my own children have come to look forward to the Christmastime treat. In fact, when D1 heard that I was making Carrot Cookies earlier in the week she was very excited. Her excitement waned when I told her they were for a cookie exchange at work. I told her not to be discouraged; her grandmother would probably make some.

Many times when I tell people, “these are Carrot Cookies”, their faces, or at least their noses, wrinkle up. Carrots don’t seem to belong in cookies. However, when they are cooked and mashed and combined with fresh orange juice they are a soft and delicious treat. Plus, they must be full of Vitamins A and C. They’re practically a health food.

Our office Cookie Exchange didn’t have very many participants. Those who sampled the Carrot Cookies mentioned how soft they are, and the orange flavor. My co-worker who drew the number for my cookie canister is not a huge fan of sweets, similar to my afore-mentioned brother. I told him that his kids might really enjoy those cookies. Of course I touted the health aspects of these Vitamin rich cookies, so that he would feel good about letting the little ones eat them. That was Thursday.

Yesterday at work my Carrot Cookie winning co-worker mentioned that he liked my cookies. He had eaten four the previous evening. Wow. These really must be the cookie that people who don’t eat sweets eat.

As for D1, I do have a bowl of Carrot Cookie dough ready to be baked up right now. Don’t tell her, though. I want it to be a surprise!

What are some of the foods that you look forward to during the holidays? Those foods that you only make or eat during this season? I would love to know!

If you wrinkled your nose when you read “Carrot Cookies” I suggest you give these a try. They might be a new tradition for your holidays!

Carrot Cookies

Cookie Dough

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup cooked and mashed carrots
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Juice and grated rind of 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Orange Icing

  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • Juice and grated of orange of ½ – 1 orange
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl until combined.
  3. Drop by teaspoonful onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, or until starting to brown on the edges.
  5. Remove from the oven and place pan on a cooking rack. Allow to cool for five minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely before icing.
  6. In a medium mixing bowl, carefully beat or whisk ingredients together to make an icing. If you prefer a thicker icing add less juice. For a thinner glaze, add more orange juice.
  7. Spread icing on cooled cookies.
  8. Allow icing to set before serving or plating.

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2019 in Baking Recipes, Dessert Recipes

 

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Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread

There comes a point in the garden growing season that the bounty of fresh produce gets to a stage of mass production. While this doesn’t occur for every vegetable every year zucchini is usually one of the plentiful producers. That’s why it is a good idea to have many zucchini recipes on hand. A zucchini bread recipe is a must have if you grow zucchini.

One of the best things about zucchini bread is that it allows you to use zucchini that have gotten too big for much else. When zucchini is roughly 6-10 inches long it is best for grilling, roasting, and sautéeing, At this stage the skin is still tender and edible and the seeds are small or non-existent.

Once zucchini grow to over 12 inches and up to 30 inches and they are 2-3 inches around, their skin is tough and the seeds are large. These big zucchini lend themselves perfectly to being scooped out and turned into zucchini boats or shredded and used in zucchini bread, muffins, cake, and pancakes. It is a good suggestion to remove the large seeds before using the shredded zucchini in your recipe.

Another great thing about having an abundance of large zucchini is that you can save it for use later. It is one of the easiest vegetables to prep for storage; simply peel, shred, and freeze. I freeze mine in freezer bags and freeze 2 cups of shredded zucchini per bag. My zucchini bread recipe calls for 2 cups shredded, so it saves me measuring time later.

Growing up I loved my mom’s zucchini bread recipe, and it is the one I still use.

Of course we are at the stage in the garden where the zucchini harvest is plentiful and they are getting big. I decided to make up a batch of zucchini bread yesterday morning before work. The assembly time is easy and I was able to let it bake while I was getting ready for work.

The girls were awakened by the amazing smell of something baking in the oven. I let them have fresh, warm zucchini bread for breakfast. D3 has never cared for zucchini bread because of the vegetable factor. She doesn’t really like many vegetables. Yesterday she changed her mind. I also let the girls take some slices to school to eat or share.

I took the second loaf to work to share with my co-workers. They seemed to enjoy it very much; especially with a little bit of softened cream cheese spread on it. I also asked one of my co-workers ifshe would like to take the remainder of the loaf home for her husband and son. She didn’t argue a bit.

When I got home from work the loaf I had left for the family had also turned into an after sports snack for the girls. The zucchini bread gave them fuel to begin their homework and kept their hunger pangs at bay while I made dinner.

Do you have a favorite zucchini bread recipe that you use during the height of garden season? What other vegetables does your garden bless your life with? I would love to know how YOUR garden grows!

Zucchini Bread

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups peeled (grated, zucchini squash)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease and flour 2 bread loaf pans.
  3. Beat eggs until light and fluffy . Add sugar and oil and beat well.
  4. Stir in zucchini.
  5. Combine dry ingredients and cinnamon; add to egg mixture and stir until combined.
  6. Stir in vanilla.
  7. Pour ½ of batter into each of 2 prepared loaf pans.
  8. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees, until a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack, in pan.
  10. Remove from pan and slice.
  11. Serve with softened cream cheese or butter, if desired.

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2018 in Baking Recipes

 

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Butterscotch Brookies

Butterscotch Brookies

For six months or more I have wanted to try my hand at making this delicious decadent dessert called Brookies. Brookies are a layered dessert with a brownie bottom and a cookie top. When I was doing some grocery shopping the store was having a sale on butterscotch chips, so I decided that I was making Butterscotch Brookies.

As is my way, I read dozens of recipes to find the perfect recipe for Butterscotch Brookies. Also, as is my way, I didn’t find a perfect one. There were so many recipes that called for box mix brownies and cookie mix. Honestly, I did not even know that there was such a thing as cookie mix. Why does cookie mix exist?

There were several recipes that were close, but none were exact. While it threw me a curveball I did not let my disappointment in not finding what I wanted stop me. My ingenuity kicked in and I used pieces of my old stand-by brownies and a traditional bar cookie recipe. Additionally, I adjusted the baking time to account for the thickness of two layers.

Then I waited. About two-thirds of the way through the cooking time D3 looked up from a book she was reading in the living room. “Hey, Mom. What are you making? The smell just woke up the dog.” I look in to see Princess the Chihuahua standing on D3’s lap, nose in the air. That’s a good sign that the Butterscotch Brookies were going to be good.

Not 10 minutes later The Hubs comes to the kitchen and asks what I was making. I told him that it was a surprise and it wasn’t done baking. He started guessing; cake, cookies, pie… Nope. At that point I told him that although whatever I was baking was supposed to cool for 20 minutes before eating if he could guess what I made I would let him eat it whenever he wanted to. With that, he started inspecting the pan and checking out the smells in the air. More guesses: butterscotch goodness, brownie butterscotch cookies, brownie scotch cookies, butter brownies, scotch cookie brownie. D3 and I laughed as he guessed. Finally he got some hints and he guessed Brookies.

Butterscotch Brookie

Butterscotch Brookie

With that, he got out a knife to cut them. They were still very hot, but also very delicious. Once they had cooled I cut some to take to my mom and one of my brothers. Actually, I was thinking that his wife might like them, so he got Butterscotch Brookies because of her.

They were so incredibly good that I have already been asked to make them again. D4, who was spending the week with her oldest sister, missed out altogether. This morning she told me that she could not believe that I made one of her favorite desserts and she didn’t even get any. Really? I wasn’t even aware that she’d ever had Brookies.

Have you ever had Brookies? Were your brookies Chocolate Chip or Buttersotch Brookies? If you haven’t tried them yet, I recommend you make these.

Butterscotch Brookies

Brownie Layer

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cu granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup dark semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

For butterscotch cookie layer

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13 x 9 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line it with parchment. Spray parchment with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Add butter to a large glass bowl. Microwave until butter is melted, at 30 second intervals. When butter is melted add vegetable oil.
  3. Whisk in sugar.
  4. Add eggs, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth.
  5. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix until combined.
  6. Fold in chocolate chips.
  7. Pour batter into prepared 9 X 13 and sprinkle top with sea salt.
  8. Set aside.
  9. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars.
  10. Add the vanilla and eggs. Mix well.
  11. Add the flour, baking powder and salt.
  12. Mix well.
  13. Fold in the butterscotch chips.
  14. Gently drop the batter over the brownie batter. Spread the batter carefully.
  15. Bake in preheated oven for about 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.
  16. Remove from the oven to a wire rack. Cool for 10 minutes. Carefully remove from the pan, using the parchment overhang. Place on wire rack to continue cooling.
  17. Cut while the bars into 2 X 2 squares while they are still slightly warm.

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2018 in Baking Recipes

 

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Homemade Naan (no yeast)

Homemade Naan (no yeast)

Having never made Naan before I wasn’t sure exactly what I was getting myself into. What I did know is that I wanted to serve the Chicken Shawarma that was marinating in my refrigerator on Naan, and not pita bread.

I stopped at two grocery stores between my office and my home. Neither one of them carried naan. That is one of the problems I run into living in rural Kansas. Some of the things that I want to eat or cook with are not enough in demand to grace the shelves of stores.

Of course that does not surprise me regarding the small locally owned store in my town of 1100. I was surprised that one of the chain grocery stores in Topeka (which happens to be the capital of Kansas in case you don’t know) did not have Naan.

I read through several recipes when I got home and decided to try one that did not call for yeast and lengthy rising time.

To my delight the Naan turned out very well and everyone loved it. It was a perfect accompaniment to the Chicken Shawarma. In fact, The Hubs wanted me to make it the next night, too.

Even if you do not make bread from scratch this is something you should make! It is easy and delicious.

 

Homemade Naan (no yeast version)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup white whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup yogurt
  • ¼ cup water (or more as needed)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons melted butter
  1. Preheat grill (or large griddle).
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flours, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Stir to combine.
  3. In a glass measuring cup combine water, olive oil, and yogurt.
  4. Add the yogurt mixture to the flour mixture a little at a time, kneading the dough between additions. If the dough is too dry add more water as needed.
  5. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, until you have soft dough. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp, lint free towel. Set aside in a warm, draft free area in the kitchen for 25-30 minutes.
  6. After the first rise, divide the dough into four balls and allow to rise another 5-10 minutes before shaping.
  7. Lightly sprinkle a counter with flour and using your hands press each dough ball into a flat, oblong shape about 1/8” – ¼” thickness.
  8. Lay each piece of dough directly on the grate of the preheated grill (or on a nonstick griddle). Cook without moving until bottom is golden brown and beginning to char. Using a long handled spatula turn over. Cook second side until golden and beginning to char.
  9. Remove from grill and brush with melted butter. Cover with a lint free towel to keep fresh and warm until ready to serve.

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2018 in Baking Recipes

 

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Sticky Buns

Sticky Buns

Most years I ask The Hubs what he wants to eat on Father’s Day. This year I made brunch of bacon, scrambled eggs, and sticky buns.

I have been making cinnamon rolls alone or with my parents as long as I can remember. Of course I change them up and do variations from time to time. Really all sticky buns are is a variation of cinnamon rolls.

While others might disagree with my analysis of sticky buns being a variation of cinnamon rolls it would be a hard argument to win. Both are made with sweet yeast dough, rolled out, coated with a cinnamon sugar mixture, rolled, cut, and baked.

Some sticky buns recipes call for nuts in the filling or even caramel in the filling. Not all of them do. The absolute with sticky buns is that there is a sticky, caramel-like topping and nuts.  This is created by pouring the caramel mixture into the bottom of the baking pan along with chopped nuts. The uncooked rolls are placed on top of the caramel nut mixture and baked. The buns are inverted onto a serving plate, making the caramel and pecan topping the main attraction. Pecans are the predominant nut in sticky buns, although I have seen walnuts, almonds, and peanuts in recipes.

Sticky buns, before inverting

Sticky buns, before inverting

As for the sticky buns I made for Father’s Day they were a hit. They were exactly what I wanted them to be. Light sweet buns dripping with caramel. Everyone loved them.

Although everyone loved them and the change was well received I will most likely stick to the traditional cinnamon roll over the sticky buns. The extra time and mess is definitely a once or twice a year thing.

Do you have a preference for cinnamon rolls or sticky buns?

Sticky Buns

Dough:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup butter (melted)
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour

Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Topping:

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1 cup pecans (lightly chopped)

For Dough:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the flour, yeast, and salt.
  2. In a large glass measuring cup or small mixing bowl heat milk in microwave for about 30 seconds. Add 1 stick of butter and stir. Microwave at intervals until butter is melted. Do not boil. Stir in ¼ cup sugar.
  3. When the temperature of the mixture is about 110 degrees F add to the flour, yeast, and salt. Using the flat beater mix to combine. Add eggs and mix until combined.
  4. Using the dough hook beat for 5 minutes. Dough should be sticky.
  5. Remove the dough and spay the inside of the mixing bowl with nonstick spray. Return the dough to the bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp, lint free kitchen towel.
  6. Set aside in a warm place for about 2 hours, until dough has doubled in size.

For the filling: Combine ¼ cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.

    For topping:

    1. In a saucepan combine butter, sugar, and corn syrup and cook over low heat. Stir until combined completely and smooth, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool.

    Rolls:

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9” cake pan with nonstick spray.
    2. When topping is cooled pour into prepared cake pan. Sprinkle the chopped nuts in the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
    3. When roll dough has doubled in size sprinkle flour onto counter or clean, dry surface. Place dough onto floured surface and using a floured rolling pin roll into a rectangle, roughly 12” X 20”, 1/8” thick.
    4. Brush dough with melted butter, leaving about ½” edge all the way around. Sprinkle prepared filling mixture evenly over the top of the melted butter.
    5. Starting with the long side, tightly roll the dough into a log. Pinch the seam together to seal in the filling. Seam side down, use a serrated knife to slice into 2 ½” pieces.
    6. Place the rolls into the prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap or a lint free kitchen towel.
    7. Set aside to rise for 30 minutes to an hour until doubled in size.
    8. Bake the rolls in preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.
    9. Remove from oven to a wire cooling rack. Set for 5 minutes.
    10. Use an offset spatula or rubber spatula, gently run along the edges of the pan and under the sticky buns. Invert rolls onto a serving plate, so that the caramel and nuts are on the top.

     

     

     

     

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    Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins

    Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins

    I cannot believe that I have not posted this recipe before. This is one of my favorite muffin recipes and I have made it so many times for so many occasions. I just love Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins.

    My love affair with Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins started a little over 23 years ago. You might think it strange that I know this, but it’s not. During my second pregnancy I craved Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins. I ate dozens of them, pre-made by a company that is still around today.

    I didn’t start making my own Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins until probably 10-15 years ago. When I came across the recipe I made a few adjustments to it, but always stay fairly close to the original. I sometimes add more cocoa powder to make the batter more chocolatey and add dark chocolate chips frequently, as well.

    One of the reasons I personally love this Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins recipe so much is that it is not dense like some muffins. They are cake-like and not overly sweet.

    Through the years I have taken these Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins to many food sharing days at work and with friends and family. They always get rave reviews. I have printed out the recipe and shared with many people, which is probably why I thought I had shared it with you.

    Well, today is your lucky day because now you have this amazing Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins recipe, too!

    Do you have a favorite Muffin Recipe? Also, what, if anything, did you crave during pregnancy?

    Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins

    Makes 18-24 large muffins

    • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
    • ¾ cup granulated sugar
    • ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Grease the wells of a muffin pan, or line with paper liners.
    3. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, sugar, and chocolate chips into a large bowl.
    4. Whisk together milk, oil, egg and vanilla.
    5. Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix together gently. Do not overmix.
    6. Fill the muffin cups about 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
    7. Remove onto pans onto a cooling rack. Cool completely.

    This recipe is great for mini muffins.

     
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    Posted by on June 17, 2018 in Baking Recipes

     

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    Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

    Today’s National Food Day celebrates Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. I have only made one in my life and it was at the request of my Grandmother.

    My mother’s mother was my grandmother. She was a native Kansan and loved all things Kansas, except the humidity. I think she passed down her love of heritage, history, and food to me.

    Before I was born my grandmother and grandfather moved to Seattle, Washington. They had lived in Newton, Kansas for years and raised their three children there. During my childhood my grandparents would come back to Kansas to visit once a year.

    It was during these trips that I learned about my grandmother. She was passionate about life, and one of her favorite parts of life was food. My grandmother loved to cook and she loved to eat. She really loved pie. One of the pies that she loved was Strawberry Rhubarb Pie.

    Many of her trips to Kansas she would spend hours in the kitchen with one of my parents. Although she was my maternal grandmother she knew my dad loved cooking and was always up for a food adventure. My grandmother would tell him about a food she remembered as a child and he would try to emulate it. This resulted in many memories and a few good recipes.

    When I became a young adult there was one particular trip back that my grandmother told me she wanted a Strawberry Rhubarb pie. This was well before I had discovered my awesome pie crust recipe.  I also had no idea how to make a Strawberry Rhubarb pie filling. We read several recipes in recipe books my parents had and she told me which one sounded best to her. However, according to the handwritten notes in the cookbook I used we made a few changes.

    To my delight my grandmother was thrilled with the Strawberry Rhubarb pie. I was so glad that I made it for her. That was one of her last trips back to Kansas.

    I have never made another Strawberry Rhubarb pie. While it may seem that it might have something to do with the memory of my grandmother it has much more to do with my own love for pies. My grandmother really liked fruit pies; Strawberry Rhubarb and peach being two favorites, I like cream pie. If I am going to put in the effort to make a pie I want it to be something that I love. The exceptions to that are when I am baking a pie for someone else.

    So on National Strawberry Rhubarb pie day I will not be baking that pie. I might make a cream pie, but it’s supposed to heat up to almost 100 degrees today. Not a very good day for baking. It is definitely a good day for sharing memories, though. I will be sure to talk with my mom about grandmother and her love for pie.

    Have you ever eaten a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie? Did you like it? Also, do you prefer fruit pies or cream pies?

    One of these days I will make another Strawberry Rhubarb pie. I’m sure it will taste delicious.

    Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

    Crust

    • Double Pie Crust recipe

    Filling

    • 1 pound rhubarb (trimmed and cut into ½” chunks)
    • 1 pint strawberries (stemmed and halved)
    • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
    • 1/3 cup unsifted flour
    • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
    2. Roll out 1 pastry crust to fit into a 9” pie pan and lay into pie pan. Roll remaining pie crust into a 12” circle. Cover with cloth or damp paper towel while preparing filling.
    3. In a large bowl toss rhubarb with sugar. Add strawberries and mix gently.
    4. Mix in flour, salt, and cinnamon.
    5. Pile filling into pie shell and dot with butter. Brush pastry rim with cold water and fit top crust over filling. Trim, seal, and crimp edges.
    6. Bake 40-50 minutes until brown and bubbly. This pie may run over.
    7. Remove from oven to a wire rack. Cool 10 minutes before cutting.

    Serve with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

     
     

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    Chocolate Chunk Bundt Cake

    Chocolate Chunk Bundt Cake

    I absolutely love when my adult children come home. Unfortunately that doesn’t happen as often as I would like. Of course they are busy and have lives of their own. However, when they do come home I am always thrilled. Daughter Number Two joined us at home this past week and we celebrated her birthday. I chose to make one of her favorite cakes; Brooke’s Chocolate Chunk Bundt Cake.

    My memory doesn’t serve me as well as it used to. I cannot remember the first time we ate Brooke’s Chocolate Chunk Bundt Cake. It was probably in the early 2000’s. One of my sisters-in-law served it at a family get together. D2 fell instantly in love.

    Over the years Brooke’s Chocolate Chunk Bundt Cake made appearances at many more family gatherings. Every time people gushed.

    For D2’s 18th birthday she specifically requested Brooke’s Chocolate Chunk Bundt Cake. While I have made almost every birthday cake for my children throughout their lives I did not make that one. I reached out to my SIL and asked if she would make it. She did not hesitate.

    So, when D2 let us know that she would be home to watch D4 play softball I asked if we could celebrate her birthday. Although it would be a little early she agreed. Right then I asked what kind of a cake she wanted me to make. She said that any cake I made would make her happy. Again, she doesn’t get the chance to come home often and eat mom’s homemade cooking. I decided I would make Brooke’s Chocolate Chunk Bundt Cake.

    As often as I have eaten it I have never once made Brooke’s Chocolate Chunk Bundt Cake. I got ahold of my SIL and asked her if she would mind giving me the recipe. She said that she was 30 minutes away from leaving town for vacation but she would get it to me. That speaks to the very heart of my SIL. I texted her to tell her not to worry, but as I was driving down the street (she and my brother live 2 blocks from my house) she stepped out holding a piece of paper; the recipe.

    The smile on my daughter’s face when she saw Brooke’s Chocolate Chunk Bundt Cake was worth it. She really loves this cake. I hoped that this cake would be as good as she remembered, especially because I had never made it.

    Chocolate Chunk Bundt Cake

    Chocolate Chunk Bundt Cake

    After eating a birthday celebration meal of Tacos de Papa, D2’s new favorite as well as mine, we sang Happy Birthday. D2 got the first piece of Brooke’s Chocolate Chunk Bundt Cake. It was good. Everyone in the house liked it. I saved one piece to share with my mother the next day, but sent the uneaten portion of the cake home with D2.

    It is moments like this that truly fill my heart and soul. Spending time with family is so wonderful and I cherish the time with oldest 2 daughters so much now. Also, sharing food makes me truly happy. My SIL sharing her recipe with me so that I could make it for D2 was an act of love. My making this cake was an act of love. Food is my passion and definitely one of my love languages. The fullness I feel from sharing food and stories goes beyond the fullness I feel from merely eating food.

    Truly, my heart and soul are full right now.

    Chocolate Chunk Bundt Cake

    • 6 ounces chocolate (chopped into chunks (milk, semi-sweet, or dark))
    • 1 box yellow cake mix
    • 1 package vanilla instant pudding mix (3.4 oz)
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • ½ cup vegetable oil
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Lightly spray inside of Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray. Dust with flour; shake out excess.
    3. In a large bowl combine cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Beat on low speed for 1 minute. Scrape sides of bowl.
    4. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
    5. Fold in chocolate chunks.
    6. Pour batter into prepared pan.
    7. Bake in preheated oven for 55 minutes or until golden and top springs back when touched gently.
    8. Remove pan to wire rack to cool for 20 minutes.
    9. Run long knife along edge of cake and invert onto rack to cool completely.
    10. Place cake on serving platter.
    11. Sprinkle top of cake with confectioners sugar.

     
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    Posted by on June 8, 2018 in Baking Recipes

     

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    Applesauce Cake

    Applesauce Cake

    Of all of the food days that I write about this one is one of the most meaningful to me. While it is not one of all-time favorite foods, it was one of my dad’s. I mean it isn’t chocolate, coffee, bread, or cheese. Today is National Applesauce Cake Day, and I am going to share my family’s recipe.

    My dad has always loved foods with flavor. He enjoyed mincemeat pie, spice cake, gingerbread cake, and applesauce cake.

    This particular Applesauce Cake recipe came from my Dad’s mom. In fact this is the recipe she made for him every year on his birthday. The fact that my Dad’s birthday is the day before Christmas makes this a perfect cake for the season.

    When my parents got married my mom asked her mother-in-law for the recipe. My mom then continued the tradition of Applesauce Cake for my dad’s birthday. I do not recall this cake or any cake my dad especially liked being frosted.

    As a child I did not like Applesauce Cake even a little bit. It had raisins and nuts in it. Like many children I wasn’t a fan of raisins or nuts in food. Of course, I also thought that all cake should be chocolate and not taste of cloves and cinnamon. My brothers were not overly fond of the cake either. That worked out to my dad’s advantage. He got to eat most of his birthday cake every year.

    Another memory I have of my dad and Applesauce Cake was how he would eat it. After several days the cake would begin to dry out. He would put a piece of the dry cake in a bowl and add a little bit of milk. As a child this always intrigued me. Now I can see how awesome it probably was. The dry cake moistening in the milk and starting to crumble leaving plump raisins and nuts at the bottom must have been good. I’m sure the flavors of the cake made the milk taste great!

    Have you ever eaten Applesauce Cake? If so, does the one you have had contain raisins and nuts?

    Although this is National Applesauce Cake Day I will wait until December 24th to make this cake. The flavors of cinnamon and clove with the addition of the raisins and nuts are very Christmas-like to me. In the past few years I have really enjoyed waiting a few days for the flavors to mingle and the cake to dry out a bit. It tastes really good in a bowl with some milk.

     

    Applesauce Cake Recipe

    • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
    • ½ cup shortening
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 egg (well beaten)
    • 1 cup raisins
    • 1 cup chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts)
    • ¾ cup thick applesauce
    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
    2. Grease and flour a 9 X 13 cake pan.
    3. Measure flour and sift into a large mixing bowl.
    4. Add baking powder, salt, baking soda, and spices and sift three more times.
    5. In a separate bowl, cream shortening. Add sugar and cream until light and fluffy.
    6. To creamed sugar and shortening add egg, raisins, and nuts
    7. Add flour mixture alternately with applesauce. Beat well after each addition.
    8. Pour batter into prepared cake pan. Bake in preheated oven for about 1 hour until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    9. Remove from oven to cool on a wire rack.

     

     
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    Posted by on June 6, 2018 in Baking Recipes

     

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    Donut Cake

    Donut Cake

    In years past I have celebrated National Donut Day by making homemade cake donuts. This year I decided to make one giant donut by making a Donut Cake.

    I enlisted the help of Daughter Number Four who was eager to assist. While I typically do not use convenience foods I occasionally do when making some of my fun food creations. This Donut Cake was one such occasion.

    I asked D4 to grab a spice cake mix and can of pumpkin puree out of the pantry. Right away I could tell she was confused. She was unsure why I was using a box of cake mix. Then we added pumpkin puree, which she knows is what is used to make pumpkin pie. She sprayed the Bundt pan while I mixed the 3rd ingredient for the Donut Cake with the cake mix and pumpkin. When I asked her to bring me the pan there was more confusion. She could not believe that was it.

    I then explained to her that we needed to make a glaze for our Donut Cake. We needed something that would resemble the glaze on a real donut. Going back into the pantry I grabbed a couple of ingredients to make a caramel frosting.

    Because D4 had offered to assist me in making the Donut Cake I informed her that she would be making the frosting. When the cake came out to cool she started cooking the frosting. Once the frosting was done we started glazing the cake. Daughter Number Three was enlisted to help us. The girls kept eyeing the glaze as I was pouring it on and telling me where to add more to get that perfect donut look.

    Once the Donut Cake was glazed D4 asked if she could add the sprinkles. Since the glaze hardens quickly I gave her a quick go ahead. She did an amazing job capturing the look I wanted.

    We called in The Hubs to take a look at our creation. He was impressed. Because he is an artist I always want his approval of the visual aspect. The Donut Cake reaction was even better than I had anticipated.

    The hardest part of the Donut Cake creation was waiting until after dinner to eat it. I have to say it was worth the wait. Not only did the donut cake look amazing it tasted amazing, too. All four of us loved it. The cake was so moist with great spice cake flavor and the caramel glaze balanced that with sweet creaminess.

    This Donut Cake was such a good idea. It was easy to make and made us all happy. Plus, D4 and I got to spend time baking together. What could be better?

    How did you celebrate National Donut Day? Did you have a donut or perhaps a really big Donut Cake?

    Donut Cake

    Cake

    • 1 spice cake mix
    • 1 can pumpkin puree
    • 2 eggs

    Frosting

    • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
    • ¾ cup dark brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Topping

    • Sprinkles
    • Chopped Nuts (optional)

    For cake:

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a Bundt cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.
    2. In a large bowl add cake mix, pumpkin puree, and eggs. With an electric mixer beat on low until just combined. Turn mixer speed to medium and mix for about 5 minutes until thoroughly combined and smooth.
    3. Pour cake batter into prepared pan. Bake for 25-20 minutes until cake is done through.
    4. Remove cake from oven to cool on a wire rack. After about 5 minutes invert cake onto wire rack to finish cooling.

    For Frosting:

    1. While cake is cooling prepare frosting.
    2. In a heavy bottomed saucepan heat sweetened condensed milk and brown sugar over medium heat stirring constantly. When mixture comes to a boil reduce heat to low and simmer for 8 minutes.
    3. Remove from heat; add 2 tablespoons, sea salt, and vanilla. Stir to combine.
    4. Pour cooked glaze over cake immediately. Allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides unevenly to resemble the frosting or glaze on a donut.
    5. Top with sprinkles or chopped nuts.

     
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    Posted by on June 2, 2018 in Baking Recipes

     

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