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Archive for Sweets

::sweet treat:: Sparkling Blackberry Limeade

zblackberrylimeade

Armed with a new attitude for Summer, I set out for some groceries last week. Lucky for me, there were some beautiful fresh blackberries on sale.  I’m sure I could do something with them. By the time I got home, the temperature had risen at least 10-15 degrees.  Ok, maybe I am exaggerating, but it is the start of the hot Summer, so it seemed miserable.  A cold beverage was exactly what I needed to finish starting my day 🙂

What You Need
blender
fine sieve or cheesecloth
~1/4 cup blackberries (approx. 7)
1/2 lime
1 Tbsp sugar
glass of ice
water or sparkling water

Combine blackberries and 2 Tbsp water and blend.

Strain through sieve or cheesecloth to remove seeds.  Squeeze lime into blackberry juice and stir in 1 Tbsp sugar until dissolved.

Pour mixture over ice, fill glass with sparkling water.  Garnish with another blackberry and a twist of zest.

Enjoy your Summer afternoon with a cool refreshing drink!

Serves: 1

I’ll post a recipe for a full pitcher soon!

::sweet sunday:: Cinnamabun Pancakes

cinnamabun5676
I woke up with a fresh outlook on Sunday.  This was the first Sunday I had woken up with this particular attitude in a long time.  Usually Sundays make me a bit sad.  It is the end of my weekend.  The last moments to do anything I wanted to do before the hectocity of the week began.  This past Sunday was different.  We had the craziest day possible on Saturday and we both slept in Sunday.

Usually I am the late sleeper, but I managed to get up before PTB this time.  I had enough time to look though my hundreds of “recipes to try”, to find the perfect substitute for the Sunday brunch we clearly were not going out for.  When I saw the Cinnamon Bun Pancakes on Baked Bree, I was sold.  I found her food blog because she is a wedding photographer as well, so I think she is cool already since we share both interests.  Clearly if this is the case, the food must be good as well.

This was my first *from scratch* pancake experience, but none-the-less, I had to tweak it.  They turned out amazing.  And I just ate the last of them this morning.  *note to self: reheat in the toaster oven on 250F for like 5-10 minutes.  Perfection*

I used the Griddler for these, setting the griddle to just over 325F.  Since it is a perfectly non-stick surface, I didn’t have to use any added grease for cooking.

What You Need
Bowl One

1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
Bowl Two
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup 2% milk
1/2 stick melted butter
2 Tbsp REAL maple syrup
2 Tbsp vanilla extract

Whisk together each bowl of ingredients separately, then combine.  Using a 1/4 cup measure, scoop onto griddle, and cook on both sides.  To make these perfectly cinnamabunny, top with a butter glaze.

Buttah Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
3 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp melted butter

Whisk together, adjusting milk or sugar amounts to thicken or thin out.  Drizzle over pancakes.  Enjoy the greatest pancakes you have ever had. What mom wouldn’t want such decadent pancakes for Mother’s Day brunch?  

Yields: 16 – 4″ Pancakes

::super snack:: Ch-Ch-Chocolate Almonds

almonds5542
I love chocolate.  Milk chocolate especially.  I also love spicy foods.  Combining chocolate and cayenne may be one of my favorite food trends this past year.  I want to put cayenne in everything I make with chocolate.  It doesn’t always work.  But sometimes it works quite nicely.  These almonds were no exception.  Chocolate covered almonds with a spicy after-burn that could make you cry if you weren’t expecting it.

I might not make these for Mother’s Day Brunch since we don’t have a ton of spice lovers.  But I will probably be making some of the Chai Spiced Almonds.

What You Need
275F oven
Bowl One
1 egg white
Tsp water
Bowl Two
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp salt
Step Three
3 cups raw almonds

Mix each bowl of ingredients separately.  Add almonds to the egg white mixture.  Mix dry ingredients into almonds, coating thoroughly.

Spread almonds onto parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the majority of almonds are dry.  Cool on wire rack and enjoy!

::simple snack:: Carrot Ginger Scones

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The thought of scones can definitely widely vary from one person to the next.  My initial introduction to them was during my Starbucks employment.  They were dry, hard, and typically flavorless.  If not flavorless, the flavors tended to be overpowering to me.  It was certainly not a good impression.  At other coffee shops though I had scones and tea biscuits that were moist and dry at the same time and all together seemed perfect with their subtle flavor.  To me, this was the perfect companion to a first cup of coffee.

Because of my fear of dry scones, I had been searching for a base scone recipe for quite sometime.  Unwilling to experiment for some reason, I waited until I had a strong recommendation.  Then, of course, I changed the recipe anyway.  Luckily, the friend that had recommended had changed it as well, so I was even more willing to experiment.  So, Cooking Light, I can try and give you credit for this… but it really isn’t much like your original recipe at all.  These scones have a very subtle flavor which actually comes out a bit more with the glaze.  They paired perfectly with my coffee and were exactly what I wanted them to be.  They may end up on my Mother’s Day menu since they were still great the next day!

What You Need
food processor
baking sheet
400F oven

Step One

1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
Step Two
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Step Three
5 Tbsp chilled butter, cut into small pieces
Step Four
6 oz vanilla yogurt
1 large carrot, finely grated
1 tsp vanilla extract
Step Five (optional)
1/3 cup chopped pistachios

Start by processing oats until finely ground.  Add all step two ingredients and pulse 3 times.

Add butter and pulse about 5 times until the mixture looks like a course meal.  Add all step four ingredients and pulse until JUST combined.  If adding nuts, do so now and pulse about 2 more times to combine.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  If it isn’t completely together, don’t worry, it will all combine by kneading lightly 3 or 4 times.  Press out to about 1/2″ thickness.   According to the recipe, you can use a 2 1/2″ biscuit cutter to make 10 perfectly sized scones.  I simply sliced my dough into 12 oddly shaped, but roughly the same size triangles.

Place onto a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking oil and place in the oven for 14 minutes.  Tops should be firm to touch and starting to have just a bit of golden brown.  Remove from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.

Optional Glaze
1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 tsp milk

Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl and drizzle over cooled scones.

Yields: 10-12 scones

::sweetness:: Spiced Carrot Cake

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I couldn’t resist this cake for PTB’s birthday this year.  His favorite kind of cake is carrot cake.  My favorite kind of cake is spice cake.  Spiced Carrot Cake?  Inspired by Martha Stewart?  No cream cheese icing? (PTB is a huge fan…I am not).  This sounded like a perfect recipe.  Well….almost perfect.  It just didn’t seem like it was going to do it spice wise for me, so I had to step it up a notch.

What You Need:
Bowl One (Large)

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ginger
Bowl Two (medium)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup yogurt (I used Archer farms Honey Almond)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
Bowl Three (small)
1 cup finely grated carrots, packed (about 5 small)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Prepare a cake pan by brushing with oil, placing wax or parchment paper on the bottom, brush that with oil, dust with flour.  Be sure to get rid of any extra flour.  Whisk together ingredients in separate bowls, mixing egg mixture gently until smooth.  Slowly combine the egg mixture into the dry ingredients, adding the carrots once all egg mixture is incorporated.  Transfer to the cake pan and bake for 40 minutes (until a toothpick comes out clean).

Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out allowing to cool completely on a cooling rack.

Once it was cooled, I transferred the cake to the serving platter.  To keep my plate clean while I applied a glaze, I stuck some wax paper around the edges of the cake.  Since this is a single layer cake, and rich on its own, I think it worked well with a glaze.  Powdered with confectioners sugar would be great too.

The best part of the cake for me was when I started pulling out all the ingredients and PTB’s eyes lit up when he saw I had carrots on the counter.  The second best part was how incredibly moist it was.  PTB says his favorite part was the carrots  🙂

Since I like to think I am the best wife, next time I will have to turn this into cupcakes.  That way I can smother half of them with cream cheese icing for him and half with sugar for me.