Posts Tagged 'friends'

Pipe Dream #224: To Be the Awkardest – S’mores Butter Cake Cookies

butter cookie

Just let me tell you about this butter cookie first. Except I won’t tell you anything, because what if she grows up and doesn’t want her whole life on social media and then hates me forever? I would hate that forever. So you can just bug out on cuteness for a second. Here are the cookies I made for her and the fam one day:

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These cookies are a riff on a classic gooey butter cake. Less authentic butter cakes are made with cake mix these days, which is what I used for these cookies, but there are from-scratch butter cakes that would knock off yer socks with a yeast dough bottom and gooey filling. I tried one a while back. Not my best attempt, but I’m too scared to make another one because of the name. So.

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Plus, I spazzed when I saw these on another blog because they are s’mores-themed. S’mores-flavored, whateva. Like you haven’t had enough of this nonsense already.

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The key is to “cut in” the marshmallow cream. Don’t mix it too much. You want it to be like the swirls of marshmallow in that Kemps chocolate ice cream. You know the one.

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Final verdict? They were ok. The cookies were gooey, especially straight warm from the oven (no complaints thur), but they tasted less like cake batter and more like saccharine fake-cake. Like Twinkies, or something. I haven’t had a Twinkie maybe in my whole life, but I imagine they taste like these.

P.S. Every time I say something is “ok,” you know it is probably, like, actually really fine, and anyone would eat it at a potluck. I’m just trying to differentiate the truly exceptional from the garden-variety. Are you reaping what I’m sowing? Harvesting what I’m planting? Picking what I’m growing? Awkwardest, sorry.

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Sew awkward, can’t help it,

L

S’mores Butter Cake Cookies

Adapted from Something Swanky

9 ounces (1/2 package) yellow cake mix
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, softened
1/2 egg (about 1 ounce of a beaten egg)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars, chopped

2 1/2 graham cracker sheets (about 3/4 cup), chopped

heaping 1/2 cup marshmallow cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth, then beat in the egg and vanilla. Stir in the cake mix until well combined. Fold in the  in the chopped Hershey Bars and graham crackers with a large rubber spatula. Scoop the marshmallow cream onto the dough. Cut in the cream with the spatula, taking care not to mix it in too thoroughly, and leaving big patches of cream throughout. Scoop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough on to a baking sheet. Bake for 10-13 minutes or until the top is set, but the center is still gooey. Let rest on pan for five minutes before removing to wire rack to cool. Makes about 16 cookies.

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Pipe Dream #218: To Be Verbally Redeemed – Frosty Fresh Mint Brownies

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Pop culture words get me sometimes. Like, I stop reading classic novels for a while and my whole vocab goes down the drain, and I start giving in to saying “brb” out loud. And my food blog descriptions get lazy because I can’t be bothered to think of a more creative way to describe how something tastes and smells and experiences.

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For example, right now, all I can think about these brownies is:

Giyyyyssss, the cricklllly cristtttttt.

Translation: Guyyyyyyzzzzzz, the crackly cruuuuust.

Translation Secondo: Guys, the crackly top of this brownie is everything I ever dreamed of on a brownie. Like box mix, but homemade.

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So you see? Not only do I give a bad description (even after two translations, no one would call that inspired), but my description is peppered with extra letters that are really just a product of society’s devaluation of the English language.

The only redeeming quality about the above sentence is that it conveys how dang excited I am that these brownies have a crackly top. Will you forgive me? I’m redeemed, but my language is not. Thanks.

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Apparently, the crackly crust phenom is something to do with the ratio of fat to saturated fat (butter to oil) in the recipe. The blog post I linked to below explains these finnicky science baking things.

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One change: I would double the fresh mint  I used in this. A whole 1/4 cup, because the mint in this was not evident. I’m a bit of a mint fiend, so maybe other people with less sugar-wasted palates could discern it, but I would err on the side of mintier. I mean, unless you just want a regular perfect crackly top fudge brownie.

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Sidenote: One of the most useful things I learned in this whole year is that 1/4 cup is 4 tablespoons. I am not kidding. I use that conversion at least twice weekly. Oh, food.

BRB,

L

Frosty Fresh Mint Brownies

Adapted heavily from Baking Illustrated via Brown-Eyed Baker

1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
1/2 teaspoons instant espresso
1/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoons boiling water
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups white sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint (chocolate mint, if you can get it)

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on all sides. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk cocoa, espresso powder, fresh mint and boiling water together in large bowl until smooth. Add the bittersweet chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted. Whisk the in melted butter and oil. Add the eggs, yolks, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth and homogeneous, then whisk in sugar until fully incorporated. Add the flour and salt and mix with a rubber spatula until combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted halfway in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 30. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool for 30 minutes, then lift the brownies and parchment out of the pan. Let cool fully, about 1 hour.

Once cool, remove the brownie layer from the parchment and stick it back in the pan. You may need to cut the brownie into four large squares to transfer it without breaking the layer. Mine broke. Learn from me.

Frost with chocolate boiled buttercream (recipe below) and fresh mint leaves.

Chocolate Boiled Buttercream

Prepare the buttercream using this recipe. I halved the recipe because the pan of brownies was small. Heat 3 ounces of bittersweet chocolate in a bowl in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until everything is melted. Let cool slightly, then beat the chocolate into the buttercream.

Favorite Shots: Bunky, A Cat Photo

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bunky

Maybe these will be the only cat photos I ever post. Had to try it once, I figure. Just to see what it is like.

With eyes raised heavenward, cat-like,

L

Pipe Dream #215: To Sweet Talk Pesky Traffic Violations – Choreo Cake

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First of all, can we talk about how alien neon those cherry stems look? I did not realize they looked that way until I saw them on another screen. What is happening in this world/my eyes? I need corrections.

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I made this cake at 11 p.m. on a Thursday night post traffic-citation, which I got because I was rushing home to make a cake that I was ultra jazzed about. Unfortunately, you can’t tell the cops that the reason you were speeding is because you were excited to get home and make a cake to bring back to them on their night shift. Unless you have cake in-hand, they probably will just think you are lying and bump up your violation.

If I could get away with it, I would have outlined all of the reasons I was rushing to make this.

Speeding Reason #1: I had the layers already baked and frozen, so I didn’t have to mess with them.

Speeding Reason #2: The layers have OREOS in them.

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Speeding Reason #3: This cake is a combination of fresh fruit and chocolate, which is always a total win. It’s kind of a play on a chocolate-covered cherry.

Speeding Reason #4: Cream cheese frosting. Duh. Especially when paired with that concentrated cherry flavoring oil I was so stoked to try.

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Reason #5: I knew it would make my work friends so happy on Friday.

Happiest of Mondays,

L

Choreo Cake

With a name like “Choreo,” this can only be an LH original

For the cake:

Half of any white or yellow cake mix

13 Oreos, crushed

For the frosting:

12 ounces (1.5 packs) cream cheese

6 ounces (1.5 sticks) butter

6 cups powdered sugar

a few tablespoons of cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon cherry flavoring oil or cherry extract, to taste

a few drops red or pink food coloring

For the decoration:

Bing cherries

Oreos

Chocolate-covered raisins (or chocolate-covered cherries would be appropriate here)

Prepare the cake according to package directions, then fold in the crushed Oreos. Split the mix into two 6″ circular pans lined with parchment paper and greased. Bake for a while. You’ll just have to watch it. The cake is done when a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove the cake pans to a wire rack and let cool for a half hour before running a sharp knife around the cake edges and inverting onto the rack. Peel off the parchment, and let the cakes cool completely. If desired, you can wrap the cakes in plastic wrap and freeze so that they are easier to work with when you need them.

To make the frosting, beat butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until fully incorporated. Add cherry flavoring, then beat on high speed until the frosting is fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the food coloring.

Remove a heaping half cup of frosting to a small bowl and mix in cocoa powder until the frosting looks chocolatey enough.

Split the cake layers so that you have four even layers. Alternate filling layers beginning and ending with the pink frosting. Frost the rest of the pink cake and garnish as desired. Store in the fridge.

Pipe Dream #213: To Cheat Magicians – Quicker Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls

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Because sometimes we need cinnamon rolls now.

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There are so many tips, tricks and shortcuts in this recipe, that I kind of feel like I finnagled the magician into giving away all his secrets for a wink and a smile. I feel kind of guilty. Like I shouldn’t have led you on, only to share your deepest heart with the World Wide Web.

You shouldn’t feel guilty, though. These rolls are whole wheat “healthy,” and they come together in a snap. That is, compared to regular cinnamon rolls. I mean, can I get an ‘Amen!’ for no rise time? Amen!

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I made these with Lisa of Wild Chow fame. She basically did it all, and I just bummed around for 30 minutes because that is how long these took to come together and then ate cinnamon rolls. It was great.

One of Lisa’s secret baking tricks is to use powdered buttermilk rather than liquid buttermilk in any baking recipe calling for buttermilk. Don’t ask me why it works; Lisa is a lot smarter at cooking science than I, and she swears by it. Simply mix the buttermilk powder in with the dry ingredients, and add the equivalent amount of water instead of the liquid buttermilk.

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Another secret trick, divulged by America’s test kitchen is to seal the pan with foil. Again, don’t ask me why this works, but it is supposed to give the rolls a more yeasty flavor comparable to traditional cinnamon rolls.

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You’re a square, but I like you.

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With a wink and a smile,

L

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls

Adapted slightly from America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook

Filling
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt

Dough
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) all purpose flour
3/4 cup (4 1/8 ounces) whole wheat flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk (or 1 1/4 cups water + buttermilk powder, mixed in with the dry ingredients)
5 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled, divided

Glaze
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 oz light cream cheese
1 tbsp buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with aluminum foil and lightly grease.

Whisk together all filling ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all purpose flour, whole what flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine. Add in buttermilk and 4 tablespoons of the melted butter and mix until dough starts to come together into a shaggy ball. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 1-2 minutes, until dough begins to look smooth and can be handled easily.

Place dough on a lightly floured surface and press or roll out into a 9×12-inch rectangle with the long side facing you. Take remaining tablespoon of melted butter and brush over dough rectangle. Sprinkle evenly with filling mixture, leaving a 1/2-inch border around each edge.

Using a bench scraper  or a flat spatula, roll the dough up into a tight spiral. Pinch seam to seal.

Use a serrated knife to cut dough into 9 even pieces. Gently flatten each of the rolls before placing them in the prepared pan, to even them out if they were misshaped when sliced.

Cover pan with aluminum foil. Bake for 12 minutes covered, then uncover the rolls and bake for 14-18 minutes, until golden brown.

Use the foil to life the rolls out of the baking pan and place them on a wire rack. Let cool for 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk all glaze ingredients together with a hand mixer until very smooth. Drizzle over slightly cooled rolls and serve warm.

Makes 9 cinnamon rolls.

Pipe Dream #212: To Be A Picker – Behemoth Crumb Cake

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I was going to be a good blogger and re-title this recipe because I changed a few things from the Serious Eats version. But after wracking my brain for a better word to describe the hulking masses of butter and brown sugar that make the crumbs of this cake, I couldn’t figure out anything more appropriate that ‘behemoth.’

So here it is, the most inappropriately hulking mass of a calorie bomb I have ever made. It is the fulfillment of every crumb and crisp lover’s fantasy. I know who you are, you who snitch the crumbs off of every streusel-laden item that comes out of the oven. You are me, and the crumbs are everyone’s favorite part, so no shame. Besides, it’s not like you can even pick off enough crumbs from this to make it obvious. Under the crumb there is only…more crumb. An unending bowl of crumb. You’ll be ill before you hit the bottom.

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Unbelievably, there actually was a cake layer to this crumb cake, never mind that it was squashed to a thin pancake. I actually really liked the cake part; it was so soft! I want to make this again, reducing the crumb and increasing the cake part. I’ve been eyeing this recipe for ages.

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So. Much. Crumb.

Crumbs. So. Huge.

I halved the recipe and used an 8″ round, but if you do the same, I suggest an 8×8″ square or a 9″ round.

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The next time you hold a tea party for giants, make this cake. The next time you need a crumb fix, make this cake. Hokay.

L

Behemoth Crumb Cake

Adapted slightly from Serious Eats

For the crumb:

3 cups (6 sticks) unsalted butter
7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 tablespoons ground cinnamon

For the cake:

1 cup sifted unbleached or bleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup superfine or strained sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

Make the topping: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over a low flame. Remove from the heat and cool for 5 minutes, but do not allow the butter to become cold. Transfer the butter to a large mixing bowl.

Add the flour, brown sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and cinnamon to the butter. Stir together until the mixture forms small crumbs. Set aside in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 350°F with the rack in the lower third of the oven. Line a 9×13-inch pan with parchment, spray with cooking spray and dust the pan lightly with all-purpose flour, tapping out the excess.

Make the cake: Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl, then whisk together. Set aside.

Place the butter in the bowl of a standup electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Soften the butter on low speed. Increase the speed to medium-high and cream until smooth and light in color, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, taking about 6 to 8 minutes to blend it in well. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add the egg, and beat, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat for about 1 minute longer. Blend in the vanilla.

Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the sour cream, dividing the flour mixture into 3 parts and the sour cream into 2 parts, starting and ending with the flour. Mix just until incorporated after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary and mix for 10 seconds longer.

Pout the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the surface with the back of a tablespoon or rubber spatula. It will just barely cover the bottom in a thin layer.Take a handful of the crumb mixture and make a fist to press the mixture into a large clump, then separate into smaller clusters, scattering them on the top of the cake batter. Repeat until all of the crumbs have been used. Try to make sure that every surface of the cake part is covered, as it will bubble up in any gaps you leave on top. Gently pat the crumbs into the batter with the palm of your hand.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown on top and begins to come away form the sides of the pan. Let cool completely, then lift the cake out of the pan. Drizzle with a powdered sugar glaze and cut into slices.

Photos About Things, Feelings

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Hiiiii. Best blog post title evaaaaaaa. Give it up; I’m tired.

An abundance of things does not a happy home make. But it does make a house feel more home-y sometimes, I think. This is my friend’s place, and it felt like home to me, so I edited it to make the light just right. Have I told you about my thing about yellow light childhood memories? I forget. Anyway, sometimes I just remember things in a fuzzy, yellow sort of way. It’s very comfortable.

Comfortably yours,

L

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heathers house


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