Sweet Stuff

Cinnamon Sugar Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Alright. I'm really not the biggest fan of roasted pumpkin seeds.  That's probably because I could never figure out how to get them crunchy so they would just get stuck in my teeth and I would hate everything.  Well, guess what, if you don't drench them in oil (something I would do) and bake them on a lower temp for a long time, they'll be crunchy!  So, use those seeds from your pumpkin that you decided was a good idea to buy, and roast 'em up!  These cinnamon sugar seeds are soooo addictive and make you feel all cozy and ready for the holiday season.  Take the advice of my brother- serve them with rum spiked apple cider.  You'll really, really wish you had hot apple cider, so, do yourself a favor and go get some already!

Ingredients

1.5 cups pumpkin seeds 

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 heaping teaspoon of cinnamon 

1/4 teaspoon salt 

2 tablespoons sugar 

Dash of nutmeg

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. Mix butter, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl 
  3. Place pumpkin seeds in a larger bowl and pour butter mixture over seeds. Mix up until well coated. 
  4. Spread seeds into single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  5. When the seeds are hot out of the oven, sprinkle sugar and nutmeg on top. Mix around to coat. I also sprinkle a liiiiiitle bit more cinnamon just because I love cinnamon. 
  6. Cool completely and devour all of them alone. 

Blueberry Brioche French Toast Casserole

Ever found yourself with a surplus of brioche buns that you were planning on turning into crabs for a Luau? Neat, me too. Luckily, I've done the research for both of us, and these fluffy wonders need not go to waste. Behold: the french toast casserole.

This recipe is really simple and quick. Probably quicker for you, because you're likely better at cutting cold butter than I am.

Ingredients

2 or 3 giant brioche rolls or the equivalent in smaller ones. Mine were from Trader Joe's. Basically, just enough bread to fill about 10 cups, okay?

6 eggs

2 1/2 cups milk. I used almond milk.

3/4 cups white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

2 tablespoons vanilla

1/2 cup flour

3ish tsp cinnamon

1 stick butter, salted

about a 1/4 cup blueberries

Directions

  1. Grease a 9x13 pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Rip up the bread into small chunks and pile em into the pan.
  3. In a bowl, mix the eggs, milk, vanilla, white sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon
  4. Pour the liquid mixture over the bread chunks and press any dry pieces into the liquid.
  5. Tuck the blueberries into the cracks between bread chunks.
  6. Mix together the flour, brown sugar, and remaining cinnamon (feel free to add a bit extra) together. Cube the butter, then mix in until it comes together somewhat.
  7. Sprinkle the butter/flour/sugar mixture over the top of the bread mixture.
  8. Bake for 45-60 minutes.
  9. Store in the fridge, tightly covered. Yay!
Brioche French Toast Gif.gif

Sweet Stuff

Cake Balls

What's that? You made a cake for your friend's birthday and you have leftover cake scraps? Let me just help you with that. No need to be dumping perfectly precious cake in the garbage, when you can morph it into a bite-sized cake wonder. It's like re-purposing. We're into that these days, right?

Anyway, I'm going to be giving you the instructions for making a full batch of cake balls, from a whole cake intended for this, but you can tailor the ratios depending on how much cake you have to use.

Ingredients

1 baked 9x13 sheet cake

1 can of frosting (or the equivalent in homemade)

2 bags of semi-sweet chocolate chips (you can see in my photo that I also did some with white chocolate, but it was pure hell and I have never successfully made them with regular white chocolate chips without it getting really clumpy. I have, however, used those white melting candy discs, and that worked well.)

Sprinkles!

2 or 3 baking sheets

Instructions

Note - This recipe is essentially just an exercise in living life in 30 minute increments. 

1. Bake cake per the recipe's directions. Once it's done, let it sit for about 30 minutes to cool a bit.

2. Once cool, dump the cake into a large bowl and add all of the frosting. Mix it until it's well blended and effing delicious. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

3. Set 2 or 3 baking sheets out on the counter. Remove cake mixture from the fridge. Scoop tablespoons of the mixture and form into balls. If at any point the mixture becomes too mushy to deal with, throw it back in the fridge for a bit. Hope you didn't have plans today!

4. Once the whole bowl has been balled up, place the sheets in the fridge for 30 minutes. 

5. With about 5 minutes left in fridge time, begin melting one bag of chocolate chips, either in a double broiler or in the microwave (usually 15 second intervals, stirring in between, works for me).

6. Remove one tray at a time for this part. Place one ball in the melted chocolate and roll it around gently with a spoon until completely coated. Remove with the spoon and place it back on the baking sheet.

7. After every 5 or so, add sprinkles. Do this until the sheet is full, then, you guessed it, place back in the fridge!

8. That's it! I'd suggest keeping them in the fridge up until the last minute before serving. They can survive for about an hour at room temp, but they'll begin to get a little messy. Happy cake balling!

Sweet Stuff

Key Lime + Grapefruit Pie

Hey, you like key lime? You like grapefruit? You like pie? Cool, cause that's pretty specific and lucky you, I just made the following pie. 

This is a very light, tart pie that's perfect for summer.  If you don't have key limes (or don't want to try and juice a bunch of tiny limes because it's kind of time consuming buuuuuut also kind of relaxing?) you can use good 'ol regular limes. Adapted from this Smitten Kitchen recipe

Ingredients

For Graham Cracker Crust

1 1/2 cups of finely ground graham crackers                                                                                        

3 tbsp granulated sugar                                                                                                                        

2 pinches salt                                                                                                                                        

7 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

For Filling 

1 tbsp grated lime zest                                                                                                                      

1/2 tbsp grapefruit zest                                                                                                                          

3 large egg yolks                                                                                                                                    

1 14oz can sweetened, condensed milk

1/3 cup fresh lime juice                                                                                                                            

1/3 cup fresh grapefruit juice

For Whipped Topping

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream                                                                                                          

2-3 tbsp confectioners' sugar 

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In medium bowl, combine graham crackers, sugar and salt.  Add butter, stir til combined and crumbs are coated.  Pour mixture into a 9" pie dish and press into the bottom and up the sides.  Use the bottom of a measuring cup or glass and press into graham crackers crust to ensure the crumbs of firmly packed. Bake crust for 10 minutes. 
  3. In a medium bowl, using a hand mixer, beat zest and egg yolks until pale in color and thick in consistency, about 5 minutes. 
  4. Add sweetened, condensed milk and beat another 3 minutes until thick. Add lime and grapefruit juice, beat until combined. 
  5. Pour mixture into graham crust and bake for anther 10 minutes until set. Let cool completely. 
  6. For whipped topping:  in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip on med-high speed heavy whipping cream and sugar until stiff peaks are reached.  Top pie with whipped cream and chill for about 2 hours. 
  7. Eat up! 

 

 

 

Peanut Butter Pretzel Cake

Wow, just wow. Hil and I have been off the 'food blog thing' for quite some time and really don't need to explain why to you. So, back off because we're back and better than ever! And I made this crazy cake! Let's get to it. 

"These pretzels are making me thirsty!" - get it? get it? Seinfeld.

"These pretzels are making me thirsty!" - get it? get it? Seinfeld.

I've had the Joy the Baker cookbook for quite some time now and have loved everything I've made out of it, including this cake.  I made this for my little brother's birthday because for the past two years that my husband and I have lived with him, he has asked me approximately 500 times when I plan on baking this goddamn cake. I mean... I made it for his birthday because I love him.  

Look at that view

Look at that view

It looks pretty daunting but, it's a pretty easy cake to make and is so effing good (I am tooting my own horn but it's true).  A very rich chocolate cake with a light, fluffy peanut butter frosting and crunchy pretzels inside and out?! What??? Seriously, so good. Don't be afraid, make this now. 

Ingredients

For the cake

3 cups cake flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 tsp instant espresso powder

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp

1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 

4 large eggs, room temp

1 tbsp vanilla extract 

2 cups buttermilk 

For the Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting

2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp pure vanilla extract 

6 - 7 cups confectioners' sugar

3 - 4 tbsp heavy cream

For Decorating the Cake

1/2 cup coarsely crushed pretzels 

1/2 chopped semi-sweet or dark (60% cacao) chocolate 

several handfuls of mini pretzels

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with racks in center and upper third.  Grease three 9-inch round cake pans, line the bottom with parchment (measure and cut parchment to fit) and grease again
  2. In a medium bowl, sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and instant espresso. 
  3. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy (3-4 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, beat for 1 minute and scrape the bowl down with a silicone spatula after each addition.  Beat in vanilla extract. Add half the flour mixture and beat on low until incorporated, scrape bowl. Add buttermilk and beat on low til incorporated, scrape bowl. Add remaining flour mixture and beat til combined, aaaand scrape the bowl (see a theme?). Remove bowl from mixture and divide batter among three prepared cake pans. 
  4. Bake about 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted comes out clean. Let cool in pans for about 20 minutes, then invert onto wire racks to cool completely. 
  5. Wrap really well in plastic rack and store in fridge (for a day or two) or in the freezer (for up to 7 days) if you don't plan on frosting the cake immediately. 

Make Frosting

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed for about a minute. Add the peanut butter, salt and vanilla extract and beat for a couple minutes. Scrap the bowl down.  Add 2 cups of the confectioners' sugar and beat until combined.  Add another 2 cups confectioners' sugar and 3 tablespoons of heavy cream. Add the remaining 2 - 3 cups of sugar and remaining cream and beat until desired consistency. I liked mine light and fluffy and beat for about 5 minutes. 

Frost the cake (here's a good tutorial on that) and line the outside with mini pretzels. Scatter the crushed pretzels and chocolate on top. 

EAT and ENJOY!