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How on earth has another year passed already?
My child, my amazing child, is READING HIS OWN BIRTHDAY CARDS!!
Obviously that’s not the only difference this last year has made, but I’d say that’s a pretty exciting difference. Wouldn’t you?
*Who am I kidding, I wish I was half as stylish as this kid!
And about 4 inches of vertical growth! I think I may have to keep up this feeding him thing…
By the way, I really need to thank Alton Brown for the most amazing Angel Food Cake recipe ever. The birthday boy was especially pleased.
A few notes about the recipe:
1. I didn’t have cake flour, so I made my own by measuring a cup of all purpose flour, and then taking two tablespoons out. I then added two tablespoons of cornstarch and mixed well.
2. I didn’t really wait for the egg whites to reach room temperature. I forgot. But it was just fine!
3. I used vanilla extract because that’s what I had. But it was just fine!
4. I used my new oven. This has no bearing on the recipe, per se, I’m just really excited about it still.
5. I served this cake with home made whipped cream, sliced strawberries, and homemade caramel sauce. Yeah mama!
Don’t worry, I’m not trying to sell you on something mediocre! I’m told this was an excellent pie.
The bite I tried was…cherry pie.
If cherry pie is your thing, this one shouldn’t disappoint. It has a nice balance of tart and sweet, decadence and simplicity.
But man, it’s still…cherry pie.
Makes one pie
2 chilled pie crusts (making your own is easy!)
4-5 cups of frozen pitted cherries
1/3 cup sugar, plus a little more for sprinkling on top
juice from one medium lemon
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 egg yolk mixed with 1/2 tbsp cool water
Preheat oven to 375F
In a large bowl, combine cherries, sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch. Toss together until all the cherries are covered.
Roll out one pie crust, and place it in a 9 inch pie pan. Fill with the cherry mixture. Roll out the other pie crust and top, crimping the edges together to seal. (If you don’t want to mess with a lattice top, I don’t blame you! Just make sure to cut slits to vent the steam) Brush the top with the egg wash, and then sprinkle sugar on top.
Bake for at least an hour, and as much as an hour and a half. Cover the edges of the pie with tinfoil after a half an hour to prevent them from getting too brown. You will know the pie is done when the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.
Allow the pie to rest at room temperature for several hours before serving. It’s even better (I’m told) the next day, so if you have time, make it a day ahead and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
“So then what’s with the overly dramatic title?”
I have these ingredients on hand 99% of the time.
ALL the ingredients.
And these bars are so fast to throw together that you can basically have them done before you give it a second thought.
“Yeah, but I’m not a food blogger. I don’t have fancy ingredients around 24/7. I’m not in any danger.”
Do you see what I mean?!?
I took these bars to my son’s school for Parent Teacher night, and I was stopped in the hallway twice by someone who wanted the recipe!
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
No Bake Chocolate Oat Bars
Adapted from allrecipes.com
Makes 1 9×9 inch pan
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups oats (quick cooking works best)
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and vanilla and stir to combine. Add the oats and stir until everything is moistened. Turn heat to low and continue to stir this mixture until the chocolate is ready.
At the same time, combine the chocolate chips and peanut butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir often to prevent the chocolate from burning. When the mixture is completely melted and smooth, remove the pan from the heat.
Pour just over half of the oat mixture into the 9×9 pan. Use a spatula to spread and compress the oats. I used a sheet of parchment and pressed the mixture down with my hands. When you have a smooth surface, pour the chocolate over top, and use your spatula to spread and smooth the chocolate. Carefully drop the remaining oats over top to create clumps.
Freeze the pan for 1 hour, or refrigerate overnight. Allow it to sit out at room temperature to make the bars easier to cut.
And while you’re at it, you might as well make a double batch and keep one in the freezer.
You know, for emergencies.
But it won’t kill you. Or even make you sick.
The hot coffee cooks the eggs for you. No worries.
Ok, so here’s where I need your help. The Pioneer Woman calls these “Pots de Creme.” When I served them to my friends I called them “Chocolate Mousse.” However, both pots de creme and chocolate mousse have cream or milk involved.
So what is it really? Is this custard? Is the Pioneer Woman correct? Did I lie to my friends?
Ambiguous Chocolate Cups
from The Pioneer Woman
12 ounces chocolate (I used semi-sweet chocolate chips)
4 eggs, room temperature
2 tsps vanilla
pinch of salt (about 1/8 tsp)
1 cup HOT coffee (too hot to drink)
Place chocolate, room temperature eggs, vanilla and salt into a food processor. Start blending ingredients. As the processor is still running, carefully pour coffee into the mixture. Blend until smooth.
Pour the chocolate into individual serving dishes, or one bowl that you will serve from. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving with whipped cream or whipped coconut milk.
How do you know when something’s deliciously awesome?
Remember the homemade pumpkin puree?
I mixed it with this stuff
Adapted from Eating Well
1 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp salt
14 oz can low fat sweetened condensed milk
1 unbaked pie crust
First prepare your pie crust. Did you know: If you roll out your pie crust between two sheets of plastic wrap, you don’t have to flour your rolling surface and rolling pin? It also sticks together and won’t crack!! Why didn’t I know this?!
Preheat your oven to 425F.
Mix the pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom and salt together in a bowl. Add the sweetened condensed milk and eggs, mix until smooth. It will be pretty runny, but that’s perfect. Pour the mixture into the pie crust and bake for 15 minutes.
After the 15 minutes, lower the temperature of your oven to to 350F and bake until set, 35-45 more minutes (my oven gets tired partway through and stops baking. It might only take your pie another 30 minutes to set, so just keep an eye on it).
I had to cover the crust with foil pretty early on to keep it from burning, but after that it was just a matter of letting the center bake completely. You’ll know it’s done when the entire top of the pie has darkened and the center isn’t very jiggly. You can also do the knife/skewer test, but I didn’t want to put a hole in the top of my pie.
Serve this still slightly warm, or chilled if you’re baking this ahead of time. Make sure to whip some cream to go along with your pie!
P.S. What are you doing for Thanksgiving? Do you go totally classical have turkey, mashed potatoes, etc? Or are you a rebel and do something like lamb-stuffed squash? How about the vegetarians–any mint quinoa or paella? Help me plan my Thanksgiving!
More of a “why have I not been doing this for years?” post.
Remember back when I made caramel sauce? For some strange reason, I haven’t made it since then. I know, right!?
The other day, I decided to make caramel sauce. I had no idea what I was going to use it for, but it sounded lovely. And come on, like I wouldn’t be able to figure out what to do with it?
See where I’m going?
Lovely. Like Starbucks, only waaaaaaaay cheaper. And closer. To my mouth. Mmmhmmm.
For this batch, I didn’t let the coffee cool enough, so the caramel drizzles disappeared when I poured the coffee in. I got it right the next time, though. When drank through a straw, you’ll get little caramel bombs of delicious. And if you want to be suuuper fancy, blend the coffee, coffee cubes and creamer for a frappuccino. There’s no way you’ll regret that.
So, now that I have the power of delicious iced coffee, you’ll find me out in my back yard, chillin’ with a book and sippin’ on love. You should try it too. Then call me.
Pioneer Woman’s Caramel Sauce
4 tbsp butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup half and half
1/3 tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla
1/2 tsp course grained sea salt (optional)
Combine butter, brown sugar, half and half and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk gently, but pretty constantly, for 5-7 minutes. Add vanilla and cook for another minute or so, allowing the sauce to thicken before removing it from the heat. Pour the sauce into a container (glass jars rock) and refrigerate until cold and thick. If you like salted caramel, add in the 1/2 tsp of course sea salt once the caramel is completely chilled, just before serving.