Recipe

Cranberry Bliss Bars

by Koko on December 12, 2016

in Baking, Blondies, Recipe

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Around this time of year I always get excited for my favorite treat at Starbucks: Cranberry Bliss Bars! A few years ago, I attempted to make them at home and remember loving the, so this weekend while I was in TN, I tried again!

They are actually super simple to make. The white chocolate “drizzle” is more challenging since the chocolate seizes up pretty quickly, but I did more “dallop” than “drizzle” haha! These are a huge hit, and if you cut them into little triangles, no one will know the Starbucks version versus yours!

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Classic Pound Cake

by Koko on August 8, 2016

in Baking, Cake, Recipe

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This weekend my mom and I went back to Tennessee to take a look at my house. Boy do I miss that house. I walk in and remember what it feels like to have my own house and not live at home with my parents (which is also awesome at times FYI). To have all my own things, and my bed… heaven! To thank our neighbors for being wonderful, we baked them a pound cake. This is a traditional pound cake with just a hint of lemon. We served it with fresh whipped cream and berries and it was perfection.

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Classic Pound Cake

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:

  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool, plus extra for greasing pan
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs plus 3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) cake flour

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×5 loaf pan. Line the pan with parchment paper (video on how to do that here).
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until smooth and shiny, about 15 seconds. Add the sugar slowly, beat until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the eggs, yolks, vanilla, and water. With the mixer running at medium speed, add the mixture to the butter and sugar in a very slow, thin stream. Add the salt and lemon zest.
  4. Place 1/2 cup of the flour in a sifter and sift over the batter. Fold gently with a rubber spatula, scraping from the bottom of the bowl, until the flour is incorporated. Repeat twice more, adding flour in 1/2 cup increments.
  5. Scrape the batter unto the pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Back until a toothpick inserted into the crack running along the top comes out clean, about 70-80 minutes. (Start checking your loaf after 60 minutes. Mine didn’t have a large crack, so I just put the toothpick in the center :)). Let the cake rest in the pan for 5 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack. Place a second wire rack on the cake bottom, then turn the cake over. Cool to room temperature, remove and discard the parchment. Serve with fresh whipped cream and berries.

Adapted from Cooking Illustrated.

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I am always at a loss at what to do with ripe bananas. There is only so much banana bread one family can eat. When my mom stumbled upon this recipe for a Banana Cake, I knew I had to try it. This cake is moist, not overly banana-y (you know what I’m talking about!), and has the most amazing melt-in-your-mouth frosting. It tastes delicious the first day you make it, but even better after letting it sit for a day. Mom and I decorated ours with some candied kumquats (we had them, so why not?), which cuts the sweetness of the sweet frosting a bit. Any candied citrus would work well. Here is a quick link on how to make your own!

In this recipe, there are two new techniques to be aware of. The first is the use of sour milk. Sour milk is used in place of buttermilk and sour cream in many recipes. For every 1 cup of sour milk called for, use 1 cup of full fat milk, add 1 tablespoon vinegar and let sit for 5 minutes. For this recipe, since it only calls for 1/2 cup of sour milk, only use 1/2 tablespoon of vinegar for the 1/2 cup of milk. The second technique is whisking egg whites into soft peaks. If you haven’t done this before, this is a great step by step tutorial.

 

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waffles

Let’s talk about breakfast for dinner. It could be one of my favorite types of meals, but instead of doing the usual cereal/oatmeal/eggs, I decided to make savory waffles, fried eggs and pan-roasted chicken for dinner the other night. The waffles were SO good, honestly better than I thought they were going to be. They are filled with herbs and cheddar cheese and then topped with a fried egg.

This recipe uses what felt like a lot of pots and pans in the kitchen, and required some time management (frying eggs and making waffles at the same time isn’t as easy as it seems), but the end result is totally worth it. I made all of my waffles before I fried my eggs. I made them and then popped them in a 200 degree oven, so they stayed warm while I used up all of the batter.

Gluten-Free Cheddar Herb Waffles

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  •  2 1/2 cups gluten-free baking flour (if you don’t need to be gluten free, use regular all purpose flour)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  •  1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 6 eggs, divided
  •  1 1/2 cups lowfat milk
  •  1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  •  2 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup packed, grated sharp cheddar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh herbs (such as thyme, chives and basil), plus more chives for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and yeast. Make a well; add two eggs, milk, water, honey and oil. Whisk until smooth. Stir in cheddar and herbs. Set aside until batter is doubled in volume and bubbly, about 10 minutes. Cook according to waffle iron instructions.
  2. Place a medium frying pan on the stove. Heat the pan on high heat for at least 30 seconds and then add your olive oil. Make sure to coat the bottom of pan. Crack eggs into pan. Let the eggs sit and cook for 2-4 minutes. They are done when the whites are cooked through and the edges begin to turn up. (I like to pop mine in a 350 degree oven for 2 minutes at the end to make the eggs more like over-medium, but if the oven isn’t on that can be a pain).
  3. Divide one waffle into four servings and arrange on plates. Top each with an egg. Garnish with chives.
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