Archive for March, 2013

Pipe Dream #185: To Fake Taste? – Cake Batter Pancakes

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These pancakes tasted average, so I messed with the photo edits to make them Pinterest-appropriate. I was trying to  make up for their lack of flavor by making them visually appealing. The idea of putting cake batter in pancakes is nice, but I just wasn’t into these.

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Don’t get me wrong. I ate them, and I kind of liked them. They are pancakes, after all.

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They were just super saccharine, but kind of bland at the same time. Try adding more vanilla, and maybe use a different glaze? Or just add more sprinkles for joy’s sake. Pretty makes up for taste sometimes?

Nah, I retract that.  Tastefulness always wins over pretty.

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Tastelessly pancaking,

L

Cake Batter Pancakes

Adapted from How Sweet It Is

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup yellow cake mix (I used Betty Crocker Super Moist)

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups milk

sprinkles

Stir together the dry ingredients minus the sprinkles in a bowl. Add 1 cup of milk, the eggs and the vanilla extract and stir until just combined. It’s ok if it is a tad lumpy. Add more milk if the batter seems too thick.

Preheat a skillet on medium-low heat. Fold in a bunch of sprinkles into the batter, then pour the batter in 1/4 cup measurements onto a lightly greased skillet. Cook until bubbles form on top, about 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook for 1 minute more. Serve immediately with a vanilla glaze. Recipe follows below.
1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tablespoon milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

assorted sprinkles

Mix milk, extract and powdered sugar until glaze forms, adding more milk if necessary to thin out the glaze. Mix more sprinkles into the glaze and drizzle on the pancakes.

Shortbread Tales: WICKLE BUNNY BUNS

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You know you have to go make these right now. There is nothing cuter than baby bunnies. Nothing.

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Except maybe Nutella-stuffed baby bunnies.

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You can use up your extra sprinkles and create…

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…horror bunnies.

What do you expect from a recipe I pulled from DeviantArt?

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But don’t worry, they’re not really awful. Their sunken skeleton eyes belie their amicable hearts.

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Want more shortbread tales (pun intended)? Check out this last year’s digital flip book.

Your fast friend,

L

Wickle Bunny Buns (Cookies)

Adapted from DeviantART

Makes about 24 little bunnies.
150 grams flour
a pinch of sea salt
60 grams cold, cubed  butter
33 grams melted butter
1 egg yolk, beaten
2 teaspoons cold water
1 teaspoon milk
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

heavy cream, for glazing

Cadbury Mini Eggs and Nutella, for stuffing

Pulse together the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor. Chuck in the cold butter and the melted (slightly cooled) butter into the flour and pulse until it looks like fine bread crumbs.
In a small bowl, beat together egg yolks, cold water, milk and vanilla extract. Add it into the butter-flour mixture. Pulse until the crumbs just come together. Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Scoop balls of dough using a 1 tablespoon measurement. Quickly roll into balls and chill in the fridge for ten minutes.
Once chilled, flatten each dough ball with your hand and fill with a Mini Egg or frozen Nutella chip (see note below). Wrap the dough around the filling, rolling each ball into an egg shape.

To make the bunnies, snip two ears into the top of the dough ball. Use chopsticks or another utensil to shape the ears, and make eyes. If you want, you can poke sprinkles into the eye holes. Chill for another 10 minutes, then glaze the bunny ears with heavy cream. Bake at 350 degrees for about 24 minutes. The bunnies should be lightly golden. Let cool on a rack, and store in an air-tight container at room temperature.

Note: To stuff the cookies with Nutella, stick a 1/4 cup of Nutella in a little bowl in the freezer while you make the cookie dough. When you are ready to stuff the cookies, remove the Nutella from the freezer and scoop 1/2 teaspoon measurements before it gets melty.

Pipe Dream # 184: To Use All The Blubber -Spicy Curry Squash Seeds

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I know I post out of season things a lot. It’s a problem. And this post is a little off too, but just listen! I actually did eat this in March. I just felt like some squash, ok? It doesn’t have to be October for a girl to desire a squash. Probably A Vitamin-deficient.

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Anyway, enough of my excuses. This trick is one of my favorite efficient-life tricks. You can use the whole squash, like Native Americans used to use every part of the buffalo or every part of a washed-up whale. You know, boiling down the blubber for leather tanner or something. No? I may have read too many books as a child.

Ok, step one. Remove the seeds from your squash. Set aside. Roast squash and eat  it with a glass of Sauv Blanc.

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Step Two: Rinse the seeds and pick off all the stringy bits. Blot with a paper towel.

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Step Three: Spread the seeds in an even layer on an aluminum-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with olive oil and desired spices.  I used salt, pepper, cumin, curry and cayenne. You could go sweet though! Sugar and cinnamon would be nice.

Step Four: Using the “Toast” setting on a toaster oven or 450 degrees in  the oven, toast the seeds, stirring and checking them frequently to make sure they don’t burn. Toast until golden. It might take ten minutes. I never know because I keep a close eye. I’ve burnt them too many times.

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Step Five: Let cool, then store in an airtight container. Snackalicious!

L

Favorite Shots: Cut Crystal

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I can’t get enough of how rich and clear this photo is. It’s like I’m drinking colors with my eyes.

L

Pipe Dream #183: To Single-Serve Splurge – No Bake Nests

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Do you ever buy Mini Cadbury Eggs in single-serve packages even though you know it would be a better deal to buy them in bulk?

Ok, me neither. Phewfta.

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Ok, I can’t carry on like this.

Confession: I bought Mini Cadbury Eggs in single-serve packages. they were like 84 cents! Mini Eggs are my delight. Even more than regular Creme Eggs. Hay-eck, I can make regular Creme eggs from scratch. But I will pay someone to make Mini Eggs.

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Seeing Mini Eggs in-store means that it is Easter time. I thought it would be cute to stick little candies in a classic no bake cookie, making little nests for a themed treat. I thought this was an #lhoriginal thought, but after a quick Google search, I’d been scooped once again.

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No bake cookies are literally the easiest cookie on the earth. And they take no time (exaggeration). And they are high in fiber. And they are so chocolaty peanuty nom nom.

One thing to heed is the amount of time that you boil the sugar/cocoa mixture. Boiling for a short minute will give you soft, shiny cookies. If you boil it for longer than a minute, your cookies will be a little crumbly. I couldn’t tell if the mixture was boiling–it was kind of a slow glurg at the edges of the saucepan–so I think I boiled them for a little too long. This turned out to be good, though, because they set up a little stiffer into their nest shape.

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Happy Easter! Guys, spring is tomorrow today! And don’t forget Jesus!

L

No Bake Nests

Adapted from Food Network

1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups quick oats
Cadbury Mini Eggs or other candies

In a heavy saucepan bring the sugar, cocoa, butter and milk to a boil. Let boil for 1 minute (I let mine go maybe two minutes so they held up better for the nests, but next time I would boil them for just one minute), then add the peanut butter and the vanilla, stirring well until combined. Stir in the oats. Drop the mixture by the tablespoonful onto a sheet of parchment or waxed paper. Let cool for a minute, then use the back of a spoon to make a depression in the center of each cookie so it looks like a bird’s nest. Once the cookies have cooled for about 30 minutes, fill each cookie with a Cadbury egg or two. Makes about 18 cookies.

Pipe Dream #182: To Not Wait Ages – Raspberry Espresso Fudge Cake

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I’ve spent a good deal of time pre-thinking and post-thinking about this cake. I made the cake layers months ago and stuck them in the freezer. I couldn’t decide what kind of frosting to use on them, and I couldn’t decide if it was wise to use a Baking Saturday to get them all dressed up and then have nowhere to go but my stomach.

Eventually, I just decided to bite the bullet and eat lots of cake. I was worried that the layers would get frostbite if I left them any longer. Heaven knows, we wouldn’t want that.

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For the frosting, I combined two different types of frosting. About 1/3 was a chocolate swiss meringue buttercream. This type of frosting is super silky, but almost too buttery, so I paired it with an instant fudge fake buttercream for the chocolate factor. Which was glorious. I had some raspberry jam on hand also. Can’t hurt. Also, espresso can’t hurt. I chucked some of that in the frosting as well. Both the raspberry and the espresso could have been stronger. Next time.

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And the chocolate-covered coffee bean?  Also been waiting ages to use them. They’ve just been chilling up in my cupboard, lonelily waiting for some love. Don’t worry, beans. Today is your day! fudge cake 8

Like I said before, I was so obsessed with how pretty this cake turned out. And how well it sliced! Pipe dream fulfilled. The cake itself was average compared to my usual favorite vanilla cake, so I won’t endorse it too highly. Let’s just say it was a perfectly adequate vehicle for  the luscious frosting.

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Enjoy,

L

Raspberry Espresso Fudge Cake

For the yellow cake, you can find the recipe at smittenkitchen.

For the first frosting (the swiss meringue one):

2 egg whites

1/2 cup granulated sugar

12 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon strong coffee or espresso

1/3 cup milk chocolate chips melted and cooled slightly

Whisk egg whites and sugar together in a big metal bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk occasionally until you can’t feel the sugar granules when you rub the mixture between your fingers.

Transfer mixture into the mixer and whip until it turns white and about doubles in size. Don’t get any water in the bowl, now.

Add the vanilla and espresso.

Finally, add the butter a stick at a time and whip it ’til it looks like frosting and not a curdled mess. Set aside.

For the second frosting (the instant fudge one):

8 tablespoons butter, softened

3 cups powdered sugar

2/3 cup cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

4 tablespoons milk, half and half or heavy cream

Whip the butter on high speed for about 3 minutes in the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder in a bowl. Add 1/3 of the sugar mixture to the butter, mixing on slow speed until combined. Add one tablespoon milk. Continue adding the sugar and the milk on low speed until everything is combined, then whip on high speed for about 4 minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Set aside about 1/3 of the second frosting for piping. Add half of the first frosting to the stand mixer bowl, stirring the two frostings together on low speed until just combined. Add the second half of the frosting and mix until just combined.

To assemble the cake, top the first layer with about 1 cup of the frosting. Pop maybe 1/3 cup raspberry preserves in the micro for about 10 seconds, then spread on top of the frosting. Add the second cake layer, and frost the cake with the rest of the frosting. Decorate with the reserved fudge frosting as desired, topping with chocolate covered espresso beans.

Favorite Shots: Obsessed

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“I am obsessed with this cake.”

A phrase I said several times after instagramming this cake once but nearly instagramming it three times. I restrained myself.

This shot is the closest I have come to an instagrammed look in CS4. Cool.

I seriously love how this cake looked.

Ok. Get over yourself, Lauren. Ok. And get over this cake. No. Ok.

L


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