Merry Christmas! Maple Bacon Peanut Butter Balls

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PSA: You guys, Merry CHRISTMAS! It’s next week already! Per usual, tha blog will be taking a wee break over the Christmas holiday. Expecting every happiness for your Christmas bakes and bread of course, but mostly wishing you joy in Christ.

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With that news out of the way, I’d like to direct your attention toward maple bacon peanut butter. I didn’t even know what to think when I saw this in a Canadian grocery store, but I knew immediately that I should buy it, even though it was, unfortunately, the stirrable, “natural” kind of peanut butter that no one should have to deal with. Give me processed peanut butter or give me death.

I say “natural” because upon tasting, I realized that the bacon included in the peanut butter was likely the bacon bits of old, the kind that don’t actually include…meat. To be fair, some bacon bits these days actually do include bacon, but I would say based on the quick Google search I just did, that your chances on any particular bag at the store are 50/50. I didn’t check the label on the peanut butter to see what type of bits these were. I’m better off not knowing.

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Anyway, the product was a nice idea; there is no denying that flavor combo is a good one. I used up the last of the jar on these no-bake energy oat ball things, amping up the maple flavor with maple syrup as a sweetener. The bacon flavor was nearly lost, but I’d wager these would make an amazing dessert if you flattened them into bars and topped each with a little bit of candied bacon.

Warm wishes,

L

Maple Bacon Peanut Butter Balls

An LH Original

  • 3/4 cups maple bacon peanut butter (or regular, natural is fine)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (or honey, agave, etc.)
  • 1 3/4 – 2 cups old fashioned or quick oats (combo is fine)
  • 1/4 cup mini dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 heaping tablespoon ground flax
  • pinch salt

Stir the peanut butter, vanilla, syrup and salt together until well-combined. Stir in the rest of the dry ingredients except for the chocolate chips until a dough forms. Add more oats if necessary to make the dough roll-albe. Stir in the chocolate chips last. Form into balls and store in the fridge or freezer.

Pipe Dream #308: To Make Angels Sing – Dark Chocolate, Sea Salt & Almond Cookies

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Gloria in excelsis Deo!

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I gifted these to a friend, and apparently, upon consumption, “angels sang.” If only all my baked goods produced this result. Can you imagine?

almond choc cookies

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I mean, baked goods might not deserve that kind of praise. We are living in December, after all. CHRISTmas month. So maybe causing angels to sing over my bakes is revealed to be an unworthy goal, but still, in this one instance, I won’t complain.

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These were sooo good, as most massive chocolate chip drop cookies are (even in their little mini form, pictured above). One thing: please please chill the dough. I didn’t, and I experienced the secondary emotion of regret.

Brightly,

L

Dark Chocolate, Sea Salt & Almond Cookies

Adapted from Take a Megabite

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1 2/3 cups bread flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt or kosher salt

2 1/2 sticks, unsalted butter, softened (1 1/4 cups, 20 tablespoons)

1 1/4 cups light brown sugar

1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/4 pounds total semi-sweet or dark chocolate chunks, chips and chopped almonds

kosher salt for garnish

Whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars until very light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla; scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Reduce the mixer to low, then add the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Add the chocolate and almonds, mixing briefly to incorporate. Press plastic wrap against the dough, and refrigerate for 24-36 hours, or up to 72 hours. (I skipped this step, but I really do recommend it.)

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the bowl of dough from the fridge and allow it to soften slightly. Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper.

Measure about 1/3 of a cup of dough for each cookie, rolling into a ball and  scooping about  six mounds of dough onto each baking sheet.

Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 12-15 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.

Pipe Dream #307: To Up My Hang Time – Coffee Liqueur Cake

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There is this thing in basketball that boys can do that girls can’t do, and I think it’s called a reverse layup (If I’m wrong about this term/technique, you can complain in the comments underneath the block of spam or correct me in person.). It involves jumping up for a shot and, while in midair, remaining completely still while flicking one wrist so the ball goes into the net. It looks like ballet. Basketball in slow motion. Serious hang time. Jump, freeze midair, flick, 2 points. Beautiful, graceful, and for me…impossible.

I remember trying to learn how to do this once (if you’d like to learn how to do a layup via the Internet, check out this handy anime tutorial) and feeling ok about failing because I read that there is actually something anatomically different about boys that allows them to achieve that midair freeze. Like, their bone structure or something. More on this from an extremely reliable forum here.

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Now, what does this have to do with a loaf cake, Lauren? Well, friends, I served this cake after dinner when I was hanging with friends. I want to up my hang time. Get it?? Lol.

But seriously, if you can do reverse layups I have mad respect, and I wish that I was you and that our lives were switched.

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Now, this cake included enough cocoa to make the batter brown, but not enough to make it chocolate-y, which means you can really taste the coffee liqueur flavor. I pooled the sauce at the bottom of the serving plate and spooned it over top of each individual slice, so that the cake, already dense, achieved heretofore untried levels of booziness.

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I also wrangled a few helpers and spent a good 90 seconds trying to get a shot of cocoa powder gently falling like some acid rain snow globe, but you can just barely see that above. Maybe with a macro lens and the best lighting in the world I could have achieved this. The bitterness of the cocoa cut the richness of the cake nicely, so don’t skip that.

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Also don’t skip the canned whipped cream, obviously.

Ballin’,

L

 

Coffee Liqueur Cake

Adapted from Booze Cakes

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 eggs

1/3 cup coffee liqueur, such as Kahlua

1 tablespoon vodka

2/3 cup buttermilk

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl for 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine coffee liqueur, vodka and buttermilk. In a third bowl, combine the dry ingredients.

Mix the dry and wet mixtures into the butter mixture in three additions–dry-wet-dry, mixing until just combined each time. Pour batter into a greased 9×3 inch loaf pan. Bake a 350 degrees F for about 55 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool.

For the sauce:

4 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup strong coffee

1/4 cup coffee liqueur

2 cups powdered sugar

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the coffee and liqueur. Add sugar and stir until the mixture thickens into a sauce. Pour onto the serving platter, place cake on top and dust with cocoa powder before serving.

Conflict Resolution Best Practices: Honey Beer Spice Cake

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Management/conflict resolution best practices usually include some wisdom about “starting with the positive.” Like, if you are forced to tell someone that they are fired because they are unbearable, you might tell them at the beginning that they are wearing really cool shoes that day before listing off in detail all of the things about them that you have found intolerable personally, professionally and transcendentally.

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So the positives of this cake:

  • Honey. Beer. Spice. What a great combination. I used Leinenkugel’s Honey Weiss to enhance the flavor, but any kind of beer would do.
  • Extremely moist. I was so impressed with this. Perfect party cubes of moreish cake.

Now, I would like to delve into my issues with this Booze Cakes book that I started in on a few posts ago a little deeper. So many recipes I’ve made from it have had problems. Like the champagne cake that included far too much champagne in the frosting. Or the whiskey cake that was way too gung ho about using branded whiskey for best results and no one even cared.

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And now this. First off, woah woah woah. The sugar in this. 3 1/4 cups. Sew much. I thought that when I was measuring ingredients, but I ignored my better instincts. I didn’t want another average pumpkin cake situation of my own making.

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My instincts were confirmed when I took this out of the oven. Cakes with too much sugar develop a sugary, brown, chewy crust on top, as this one did. And  it almost bubbled out of the 9×13 pan. And it took longer to bake than it should have.

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If you make this, try reducing the sugar by half and for the love of all clean ovens, do not use anything smaller than a 9×13 pan. If it weren’t for a few more recipes that sound too good to pass up (tipsy tiramisu, anyone?), I would ditch it.

THAT SAID. The nuts on top were the perfect salty bite that kept the sweetness of the cake at bay. And if you have any doubts about giving this recipe a shot, just pleas scroll up to the pic of beer being poured into cake batter.

Warm regards,

Best,

Sincerely,

L

Honey Beer Spice Cake

Adapted from Booze Cakes

3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon all-spice
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cup honey
12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) honey beer, such as Leinenkugel’s Honey Weiss

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9×13-inch pan and set aside.

I, a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the orange juice and honey.

Add the flour mixture and beer, alternating. First add a third of the flour mixture, mix. Add half of the beer, mix. Add the second third of flour, the rest of the beer. Mix. Then add the last third of the flour. Beat the batter on high speed for 30 seconds, until the batter is smooth.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. I had problems with the cake nearly overflowing, so check the cake midway through baking and scrape in any overflows.

For the frosting:

1 stick (4 ounces) salted butter

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup honey beer

2 tablespoons honey

2 cups mixed nuts

Cream the butter with 1/3 of the sugar. Mix in the beer and the res of the sugar in alternating additions until smooth and creamy. Spread over cooled cake. Top with mixed nuts.

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Favorite Shots: Digging in Bins

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It’s that time again. I made these cookie bars with my favorite seasonal candy as I have done every year for one year. I love these so much that I dig for them in clearance bins after Christmas.

L

And No One Even Cared: Whiskey Praline Cake

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Ho yum. It’s party time, and I’m making a cake with whiskey in it. No apologies.

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The original cake is made with Jack Daniels, and they’re all on about how great it is in this cake, but I decided I didn’t believe them and used Jameson instead.

Literally not one party person mentioned that I used Jameson. No one even cared. I’m guessing because just taste this right now.

dubious praline

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One issue–the praline was woefully underdone and therefore granular. Seriously, every recipe I make from Booze Cakes has some problem. I think it is because the authors were trying to be cute and L.A. and pared down the actual recipe instructions so much that they left out key things like “actually boil the praline until it hits this temp.” You know the issues I have with boiling sugar. Girl needs all the help she can get.

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C u i haf to get to a party with this cake at it,

L

Whiskey Praline Cake

Adapted from Booze Cakes

For the cake:

1 cup sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons molasses, divided

1 stick (8 tablespoons) softened butter

1 egg

2 flax eggs (This is 2 tablespoons ground flax mixed with 5 tablespoons water. Let set for 1o minutes before using like regular eggs. You can also just use 3 eggs total.)

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 cup pumpkin puree

1/3 cup whiskey

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1/8 teaspoon ginger

1 1/2 cups toasted pecans

For the praline topping:

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon flour

3 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups toasted pecans

For the whiskey sauce:

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

pinch salt

5 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup whiskey

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Generously butter and flour a 9 inch loaf pa (or line with greased parchment) and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and 1 tablespoon molasses on low until combined. Add the butter and beat together with the sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the in egg, flax eggs, 1 1/2 tablespoons molasses, scraping down the sides of the bowl once. Add the flour and baking powder and beat until just combined. Add the pumpkin, whiskey, pecans and spices, stirring on low until just combined.

Pou into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake 45-55 minutes, until golden brown or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for about 10 minutes before inverting onto a cake plate.

While the cake is baking, prepare the praline and sauce. To make the praline topping, combine all ingredients except the nuts and cook over low heat until the butter is melted and everything has combined. Stir in nuts and set aside. To make the whiskey sauce, combine all ingredients and cook over low heat until it begins to boil. Cook until the sauce reaches the desired consistency.

To assemble the cake, sprinkle with praline topping and spoon 1/3 of the sauce over the top of the cake. When ready to serve, slice and plate cake and drizzle with more sauce.

Pipe Dream #305: To Be Almost Famous – Honey Pistachio Cookies

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My mum makes her FAMOUS honey cookies every Christmas. People request batches of them. Batches. It’s like an old German Mennonite recipe using creamed honey. I haven’t even ever blogged about them because they are so her. But I did make this extremely average batch of honey cookies from a totally different recipe that reminded me of them a bit. They were actually nothing like my mom’s in texture/flavor/etc., but the original recipe did say they were German.

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A couple issues. I didn’t let the hone/butter mixture cool enough after melting, so the dough was really too warm and it spread too much on the baking sheet. I also think I could’ve added more flour to the dough. I knew it was too loose, but I just decided to go with it. So lessons: add more flour to make your dough stiffer, chill ya dough in the fridge for a while before baking. Let me know if you experiment with this. Also, they really needed the pistachios on top for a salty hit. They would have been so boring without that. Do add.

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Happy cookie baking! It’s December! The month that we celebrate Jesus’ birth (and also cookies)!

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L

P.S. Confession. I want to be Kate Hudson in Almost Famous for, like, a week, then go back to being me.

Honey Pistachio Cookies

Adapted from AllRecipes

Make about 14 cookies

1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 egg
pistachio nuts
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt together sugar, butter and honey, stirring every 30 seconds. Let cool.

Mix together eggs, vanilla, baking soda and ginger. Beat into  cooled honey mixture.

Slowly beat in the flour to mixture, adding more flour if the dough seems too loose. Stir until well-blended. Drop by tablespoons onto a greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle with pistachios.

Bake until until golden, about 10-12 minutes). Let cool on sheet.


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