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Wednesday
Aug152012

Orange Almond Buttermilk Cake

Muffins. We have a cause. We may protest. We are totally starting a petition. 

The petition is for them (whoever ''them" is) to stop ONLY MAKING BUTTERMILK IN ONE QUART quantities. Seriously? Seriously. Who needs an entire quart of buttermilk? 

We will tell you. NO ONE!

We are 104.8% sure there is a buttermilk Mugatu ("Zoolander") trying to trick everyone into wasting their money on extra buttermilk. Like, is it really so hard to sell it like cream? Throw in a few half-pint and pint containers and call it a day?

We realize we are sort of channeling George Banks from "Father of the Bride," but what can we say? We are passionate about buttermilk packaging.

Thus, when we recently found ourselves with a ton of buttermilk leftover we were determined to not let it go to waste (Ham & Cheese Waffles only require 1 cup). We were also determined to not go to the grocery store and make something special just to use the buttermilk. Then the buttermilk monopoly wins!

NEVAH!!!

So, we scrounged in the fridge and found oranges and butter and decided to bake a riff on the Lemon Buttermilk Cake Mummy made so often when we were younger and add some almonds and change the lemons to oranges. 

Take that Buttermilk bureacracy! You can't beat the Blue-Eyed Bakers!

PS- Sign in the comments for our petition against 1-quart buttermilk. 

Orange Almond Buttermilk Cake
Serves 8-10

Print Recipe 

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups granulated sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
5 eggs
Zest of 2 oranges
1 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons orange juice, freshly squeezed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract 

For the Glaze:
1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons orange juice, freshly squeezed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda and set aside. 

Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar and mix until blended and fluffy – about 2 minutes.  Add the eggs and orange rind and continue to mix until blended.  Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating each addition with the buttermilk.  Stop and scrape down sides of bowl if necessary.  Lastly, mix in the orange juice and extracts.

Pour the batter into a well greased and floured bundt pan.  Bake for 55 minutes, until a tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. 

Allow cake to cool in pan for five minutes.  While cake cools, make glaze by combining sugar and orange juice and mixing.  Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack and brush with the orange glaze.  

*Note: Make sure you use all the glaze mixture.  You might need to glaze in a few batches to allow the cake to absorb the liquid, but use it all…it makes such a difference to the flavor of the cake.

Wednesday
Aug082012

Peanut Butter Filled Brownie Cookie Sandwiches

We made peanut butter filled brownie cookie sandwiches!

Oh wait...you want us to say something more than that?  You're not sold on the peanut butter filled brownie cookie sandwich part??

Really??

(Seriously though?  You know we'll blabber on some more just because we happen to be EXCELLENT blabber-ers, but we are kinda assuming you're already sold.  You know, on the peanut butter filled brownie cookie sandwich part.)

We threw these little babies together while also throwing together baby lobster rolls, baby crab cakes and baby corn on the cobs. 

What?  So we like a theme party now and then.  Is that a crime?!

Long story short, we weren't tooootally paying attention when we made these.  We were distracted.  There was all the wee sized finger foods.  And also baby pools.  And also possibly an adult beverage.

But whatever - long story short (um...again) - these things turned out fabulous even without our full undivided attention.  Really, should we have doubted that peanut butter cream slathered between chocolate brownie cookies would be anything less than?!

Right.  We didn't think so.  So like we said.

Peanut butter filled brownie cookie sandwiches.

Peanut Butter Filled Brownie Cookie Sandwiches
Makes 32 cookies or 16 cookie sandwiches
Adapted from Donna Hay & Martha Stewart

Print Recipe

For cookies:
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (or chocolate of your choice)
3 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

For peanut butter filling:
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats and set aside.

Place 1 cup of chocolate chips and butter in a glass bowl and place in the microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring between each one, until melted & smooth.  Set aside.

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine eggs, sugar and vanilla & mix on medium speed until pale and creamy, 5-7 minutes.  Add in flour, baking powder, melted chocolate mixture, remaining chocolate chips and continue beating until fully incorporated.  Drop generously rounded tablespoons of the batter onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 1-2 inches apart.  Bake for about 9–11 minutes until cracked on top.  Cool cookies completely on wire racks.

While the cookies are cooling, make the peanut butter filling.  In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and confectioners sugar together until pale and fluffy.  Add in salt, peanut butter & vanilla and mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk heavy cream until medium stiff peaks form.  Fold gently into the peanut butter cream cheese mixture. 

To assemble the cookie sandwiches, spread a generous dollop of peanut butter filling on the underside of one brownie cookie and place a second brownie cookie bottom side down on top.  Cookies can keep be stored chilled in an airtight container.

Wednesday
Aug012012

Triple Berry Ice Cream Sandwiches

OMG, Cookies. It's been WAY TOO LONG!!!

Where have we been, you ask? Seriously, where haven't we been?

First, we celebrated the VP's first birthday. Can you believe it's been a year?!?!? Crazytown. He had cake. We did not make it. We were on vacay, after all.

Then we went on a mini-break to CT. (That's Connecticut for the laymuffins out there.) We drove a Fiat, made dinner (and granola, obvy) for some famous people and then we came home.

Then we caught MAJ Olympic fever. It's possibly we definitely maybe cried during the Opening Ceremonies. We had our doubts about the Brits' ability to surpass the incredible Beijing Opening Ceremonies (shame on us, we know) and then there were children singing and the tears started rolling. Of course, the whole thing mostly made no sense to us, but who cares? There were dancing Mary Poppins'es and David Beckham driving a boat. Sold.

Whew. Ok. We're not even done yet. Then, one of us finally FINALLY discovered Instagram (Katy. Lame.) and became OBSESSED and fell into an Instagram hole where pictures of the VP's shoes and dust bunnies became art. It was a bad place. It took awhile to recover but now we are back in the land of the living and we promise we have higher Instagram standards. Honest.

Um. There may have been some bottles of wine, 'Call Me Maybe' exclusive two-hour dance parties, a bounch house and glitter thrown in there somewhere too.

But none of that matters now. What matters is that we are back.

Triple Berry Ice Cream Sandwiches
Makes 12 large sandwiches (or 24 normal-sized sandwiches)

Print Recipe 

For the Ice Cream:
2 cups half n' half
2 cups heavy cream
9 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 pint mixed berries
juice and zest from 1 lemon
red food coloring (optional) 

For the Blondie Brownie Sandwich:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature 
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

So this recipe takes place in a few steps, so bear with us. First make the custard for the ice cream. In a medium bowl combine egg yolks, sugar and vanilla extract. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, heat the cream and half n' half together over medium heat until hot but not boiling. SLOWLY pour the hot cream-milk mixture into the sugar-egg mixture to temper the eggs. Whisk away! Keep pouring in the hot cream-milk until completely blended. Whisk together well. Return the entire cream-egg blend back into the saucepan and heat again over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens and the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon. Then, pour through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl and allow to cool slightly. Then cover and chill until cold, about 4 hours, or overnight. 

In another small bowl, mix the berries and lemon juice (you can throw in a tablespoon or two of granulated sugar if you wish) and mush them slightly to get the juices going but still leaving some whole berries. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. 

Then, make the sandwich layers. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter two 9 x 11 x 2" brownie baking pans and line with parchment paper allowing the paper to hang over the sides an inch or so, then also butter the parchment. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. In an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together on medium speed the butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula then slowly add the flour mixture on low speed until just combined. The whole thing will resemble plain cookie dough. Divide the batter between the two pans, spreading the dough/batter into thin layers on the bottom of the pans as if you were frosting the bottom of the brownie pans. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until light-light golden brown and still slightly tender. Cool completely in the pans for at least 30 minutes.

In the meantime, finish making the ice cream. Pour the cooled custard into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions, adding the slightly macerated berries and some lemon zest to taste halfway through. We also added a bit of red food coloring because we were looking for a glossy pink color but that is optional. Instead of pouring the ice cream into a container to freeze as the last step, pour the semi-frozen ice cream onto one of the brownie layers, spreading evenly. Then, slowly and carefully, pull out the second layer from the pan and flip it ever-so-gently onto the top of the ice cream. Wrap the whole pan in foil and freeze until firm, about 2 hours. 

Transfer the entire pan, by pulling up on the parchment, to a cutting board and cut into 12 large sandwiches. Wrap in parchment or wrap paper until ready to serve. 

Wednesday
Jul112012

Impossible Coconut Pie

Impossible pie!?  For the love why would we ever post anything with impossible in the title?!

Unless we’re trying to impress someone, or possibly have had way too much sugar and are functioning at a higher than normal energy level, we tend to select baking challenges that are less, uh, impossible.  And well more…easy.  Like very easy. 

But being the inquisitive little bakers that we are, when this recipe flashed across the screen we just had to take a look.  Impossible or not.  And guess what??  It’s not impossible!!  No no, not at all…!  In fact, it’s easy as, yes, you guessed it…PIE.

The original baker must have had a sense of humor.  The recipe name drips with sarcasm.  Um, and in case you hadn’t picked up on it, we occasionally drop a sarcastic comment or two artfully into the odd blog post.  Right, see that right there?  Yup, sarcasm.  Seriously, it’s a problem.  We admit it.  But plan to do absolutely nothing about it of course.

But back to that sarcastic pie.  Uh how could we not make it?  A pie after our own mocking hearts?  True love!

(But wait.  Hold on.  We are not discriminating against non sardonically titled pies.  We love all pies.  Obviously.)

Also, this pie is coconut heavy.  (We know, How would you have ever figured that out from the title?  Thank goodness you have us here to decipher.)  And coconut falls firmly into the things we love bucket.  You know along with chocolate, peanut butter, bacon, manicures, sequins, ridiculously oversized jewelry and lounge chairs.

So muffins!  If you a) like easy recipes b) appreciate a wee twinge of sarcasm from time to time or c) also enjoy coconut (or lounge chairs) then this really might be the perfect pie for you.

Impossible Coconut Pie
Adapted from Food & Wine

Print Recipe

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cups sugar

2 eggs

1/4 cup self-rising flour

1 1/4 cups sweetened shredded coconut

1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F.  Butter a 9-inch pie plate and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine melted butter and sugar and whisk until incorporated.  Add eggs and continue to whisk until smooth.  Next add in the flour, coconut, milk and vanilla extract and stir to combine.

Scrap the batter into the pie plate and bake in the lower third of the oven for 45-55 minutes, until the pie is fairly dark golden (will be darker at the edges) and firm to the touch.  Transfer the pie to a wire rack and cool completely before serving.

Store the pie covered in the refrigerator.

Wednesday
Jul042012

Cake Batter Rice Crispy Treats

Happy Birthday, America!

In honor of this great country's birthday we decided to make the ultimate American dessert...well other than Apple Pie, but that requires too much effort and we are still on island time.  Deal with it. 

Plus, these crazy easy treats are kind of perfect for the 4th of July. Don't the sprinkles look like fireworks??!? IT'S LIKE EATING FIREWORKS! In a good way, not in a burn the roof of your mouth way. Obvy. 

Everything should have sprinkles. And sparkles. Sprinkles and Sparkles. Ooo, new blog name! 

Also, these rice crispy treats have cake batter in them too which means we did put marginally more effort into making them than we would with regular rice crispy treats.

People will be impressed. Fireworks and cake?!? They will be all "No, you shouldn't have! You've done too much. How kind of you! We didn't deserve this. You are so generous and thoughtful. And beautiful and you have incredible hair. And, also, you have fantastic shoes."

It could happen.

Cake Batter Rice Crispy Treats
Serves 10-12
Adpated from the FANTABULOUS How Sweet Eats 

Print Recipe

4 tablespoons butter
1 10-ounce bag of marshmallows
1/4 - 1/3 cup yellow cake mix (depending on your preference)
6 cups rice crispy cereal
1 1.75-ounce container of sprinkles

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat and add marshmallows. Stir slowly until the marshmallows begin to melt. Then add in the cake mix one spoonful at a time until it's combined. Stir in the cereal so it is completely coated with marshmallow mixture. Sprinkle in half of the sprinkles and mix. Press into a 9x13" baking pan using damp hands or wax paper and top with remaining sprinkles. Let sit for about 30 minutes before cutting. 

Also, you could make these with sparkles. Just sayin'.

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