Archive for the ‘Baking’ Tag

Quick ‘n Dirty Cobbler

So I made this cobbler last night.  I’ve been craving cobbler, and we were at RC’s the other day, and they had it as their featured dessert.  I thought, “Oh yes, I’ll be having some of that.”  And then Chase tragically (not magically) transformed from a 6-year old into a 2-year old, and I had to remove him from the restaurant and restrain myself from publicly beating him.

Anyway, I didn’t get my cobbler.

I was pissed.

So I decided to make some myself, but I was feeling lazy and took a bunch of shortcuts.  I googled “quick cobbler recipe” or something, made a couple of changes, and here’s what I came up with.  Take your chosen fruit (blueberries, peaches, whatev), and put a layer of it in a pie plate or casserole dish.

Mine were frozen, so I had to heat them up a bit.  You can use fresh fruit though, too.  I’ll allow it.

Now, grab an egg, some sugar, flour, cinnamon, and some coconut oil (or butter), and mix it all together.

Now just mix it all up and set it aside.  I added a little bit of milk to mine too, because it seemed too thick.

At this time, please redirect your attention to the blueberries.  They’ve been waiting patiently, and we don’t want to neglect them any longer.  And this is where it got a little weird for me personally.  I mean, it ended up being fine, but I’ve just never made cobbler like this before.  If you have, great.  If you haven’t, are you ready for some weirdness?  Cool, me too.  Grab a slice or two of bread, tear it into chunks, and layer it on top of the blueberries.

Weird, huh?  Now take your egg mixture and pour it all over the top. 

Please ignore the small slice of deli meat on the counter.  Sometimes SOME people at my house don’t clean up after themselves when they make a sandwich, do they TRENT???

Okay, now we’re just gonna pop this in a 350 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until it looks like this:

Interesting outcome, no?  I thought so.  I was a little skeptical, but lucky for me, I usually just ignore any skepticism I might have when there’s food involved, and I immediately start stuffing my face.  I did take a picture first, but only because of you guys.  Normally, I wouldn’t even bother with a plate, I’d just eat it right out of the pie dish, but I try to make myself look at least somewhat civilized on here.  It’s a real challenge.

Quick ‘n Dirty Cobbler
1-2 cups of frozen (thawed) or fresh fruit
1-2 slices of bread
1 egg, beaten
1/2 – 3/4 c. sugar
1 tbsp. flour
1/2 tbsp. melted coconut oil or butter
dash of cinnamon
splash of milk

Note: I love recipes that have varying ingredient amounts, or ones that call for dashes and splashes.  They’re just more fun….and being precise is kind of boring.  Just in case you were wondering what my thoughts were on that topic.

Preheat the oven to 350.  Place fruit in a pie plate or casserole dish.  Tear bread into chunks and layer it on top of the fruit.  Mix the egg, sugar, flour, coconut oil, cinnamon, and milk until the consistency is somewhere between runny and gloopy.  Pour the egg mixture on top of the bread and fruit, and bake for 30-45 minutes.  Serve warm and top with whipped cream or ice cream.

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Chocolate Cake, a Teensy Bit Healthier

So my middle child turned eight last week.  EIGHT.  I’m still in shock.  In just 10 short years, she’ll be considered an adult, which is terrifying to me for a multitude of reasons.  I don’t even want to think about it, to be honest, so let’s just look at this picture instead:

She was two then.  TWO.  Wah!  I miss those days with the princess tiaras and cheap plastic necklaces.  Now it’s all “I want real earrings, Mom, not cheap baby ones” and “Can I get this Justin Bieber poster?” and “Can you record me singing this Taylor Swift song so I can post it on YouTube?”  Um…..no.  To all of it.  I need you to be my baby.  And if you want to argue, then this might happen:

By the way, I will get to the chocolate cake. I haven’t forgotten.   In fact, I’m leading up to it…this is all part of my master plan. 

But I’m not done reminiscing yet.  Sorry.

Look at this one.  I love this one.  That’s a wish flower, in case you didn’t know.  That’s what she told me, anyway, and don’t anyone try to tell her it’s a weed.  She ain’t havin’ it.  

Okay, this is the last one, I promise.  Behold:

How inappropriate.  What mother would take a photo of her young daughter touching a horse statue’s junk?  Geez.  Some people.

On that note, let’s move on to the cake.  So my 8-year old baby asked for a chocolate cake for her birthday.  Naturally, I can’t deny this request, nor do I want to.  Chocolate cake is one of the great loves of my life.  I found this recipe online for what I have come to believe is the world’s best chocolate cake.  It’s light yet dense (does that make sense?), incredibly moist, and really, really chocolatey.  Best of all, it’s super easy to make.  Now, as much as I hate to alter this recipe in any way, I can’t be eating something that is 4,200 calories per slice.  I just can’t be like that anymore.  So….sigh….substitutions were made. 

Here’s what you need:

Yes, that is a box mix.  I’m lazy.  Deal with it.  Okay, so we’ve got fat free sour cream, a box of chocolate cake mix, a package of chocolate pudding,  eggs, applesauce, vanilla, water, and chocolate chips.

Set your oven to 350, and grease and flour a Bundt pan.  Or a regular pan.  Whatever makes you happy.  Dump the cake mix into a large mixing bowl.

Then add the pudding.

Pour in the applesauce.  I promise this will not affect the flavor, other than to make it more moist and rich.

Oh, and I don’t know what was going on with my camera.  It was being weird, and these pictures kinda suck.  I think you’ll still get the idea, though. 

Add four eggs.

Pour some hot water into this mess of goodness.

Now we’re going to up the moistness level even more, because it’s the right thing to do.  Put in a cup of sour cream, and start preparing yourself for obscene deliciousness.

Just one more ingredient to complete this masterpiece….vanilla.  Dump it in.

Now, mix it all up.  Get in there and really beat the crap out of it.  Just kidding.  There’s no need to be violent.  Just mix it thoroughly, until it looks something like this:

Might as well make it even better by adding some chocolate chips, right?  That kind of summarizes my entire outlook on life, actually.  Just add chocolate, and things will be better.  We’re going with about half the bag here, friends.

Mix it up, then stick in a spoon and pull a big glob out.  Eat it.  Repeat.  Repeat again, but this time you gotta stop for real, because the threat of salmonella lurks. 

Pour the batter into your prepared Bundt pan, and stick it in the oven for 50-60 minutes.  If you’re using another kind of pan or making cupcakes, adjust your cooking time.  (Hint: it will be less.)

Warning: the aromas that fill your house will be heavenly.  They will make you hungry.  They will make you salivate.  They will fill your mind with images of happiness.  You may enter a zombie-like trance where you lose all control of your will power and eat the other half of the chocolate chips.

Just wanted to give you a heads up.

Oh my.  Fresh out of the oven.  If I hadn’t already consumed so much chocolate at this point, I have no doubt that I would’ve just grabbed a fork and had at it.  No doubt at all.

Okay, so let it cool, then carefully turn it out onto whatever dish you’re going to store it in.

Hello, gorgeous.  I want to eat you.  As Bill would tell Sookie, “You are mine.”  Sorry, I just got Season 3 of True Blood and I’ve been watching it obsessively.  And, in all honesty, the cake is not mine.  It’s my daughter’s.  Boo.

Now, grab a can of store-bought frosting and pop it in the microwave for 30ish seconds.  Please be sure to remove the foil covering on it.  Bad things happen if you don’t, and I speak from experience.  Give it a good stir, and pour it on the cake.  This is how lazy people such as myself frost a cake.

Now take whatever chocolate chips you didn’t eat, and sprinkle them on the top.

Mmmm….you guys, this cake is so yummy.  And yeah, so maybe it’s not totally healthy, but the fat free sour cream and the applesauce in place of the oil have to count for something, right?  No?  Fine.  Be that way.

This kid didn’t mind:

Chocolate Cake:
1 box chocolate cake mix
1 package chocolate pudding
1 cup applesauce, no sugar added
4 eggs
1/2 cup hot water
1 cup fat free sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients except chocolate chips on low speed until thoroughly combined.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees.  Cooking times will vary depending on what pan you use.  Refer to the instructions on the cake mix box.  Use the toothpick test to determine doneness.

Bakin’ Bread

The other day at the grocery store, I decided that I was tired of paying $2-$3 for a loaf of wheat bread that lasts my family approximately 4 days.  Also, while I do think that what I was buying was reasonably healthy, it did have some ingredients in there that I wasn’t quite sure of, like soy lecithin and cultured corn solids.  And I don’t really like stuff that I’m not sure of, okay?  Call me narrow-minded, I don’t care, but the term “cultured corn solids” just sounds weird.

“I’ll just make my own bread,” I thought, feeling suddenly powerful and turning my nose up at all the pre-sliced loaves in the bread aisle.  Then I remembered my fear of yeast, and immediately grabbed a loaf of cultured corn solid bread and put it in my cart.  Then there was a battle in my head that resulted in me putting the bread back on the shelf, then back in my cart, then finally back on the shelf for good.  Were people staring at the crazy lady doing aerobics with the wheat bread?  Probably.  Do I care? Eh. 

Before I could change my mind again, I headed to the baking aisle for some whole wheat flour, bread flour, and….gulp…yeast.  Okay, you may be wondering why I have such a problem with yeast, and before you start thinking any gross thoughts, let me just say that I just…..feel funny about it.  Does that clear it up for you?  Do you even care?  I didn’t think so.  Honestly though, I just feel like baking bread is something that is so easy to screw up, and it’s all the yeast’s fault.  Letting it rise, punching it down, letting it rise again….I don’t know.  It’s just a process I find a tad overwhelming.  I know it’s dumb, but, to use a favorite line of mine, IT IS WHAT IT IS. 

Okay, enough talk.  Let’s move on to the actual bread bakin’ part.  Here’s what you need:

1 1/8 c. warm water
1/4 c. honey, or more if you want it sweeter
2 tbsp. melted butter, or oil
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. bread flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast

For anyone that’s interested, the bread flour is really not bad for you. I don’t think.  It’s not like regular white flour, which is what I was concerned about.  The ingredients are: wheat flour, malted barley flour, ascorbic acid, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, and folic acid. 

I should also mention that I made this using a bread machine.  If you don’t have a bread machine, then…..I don’t know.  That sucks for you.  I don’t know how to make this stuff any other way. 

Okay, so it’s actually pretty simple to do all this.  You need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on your bread machine, but for mine, I started with the liquid ingredients.  The water, butter, and honey go on the bottom, like this:

Next, mix  your dry ingredients – wheat flour, bread flour, and salt – in a separate bowl, like this:

Then, carefully put this mixture on top of the wet ingredients.  Notice I haven’t added the yeast yet.  No, it’s not because I’m too scared to do so.  It’s because my bread machine instructions said not to. So there.

Once the dry ingredients are in, make a little dip in the top of them for the yeast to set in.  It’ll look like this:

I have no idea how other bread machines work, or what order they recommend putting ingredients in.  I only know how mine works, so that’s what you’re getting. 

Now it’s time to program the settings.  This recipe makes a 1 lb. loaf, and you want to set it to the “wheat bread” cycle and opt for a light crust.  Then you push Start. Then you walk away and ignore it for 3 hours. 

La la la la la lalalalllalalalallakalakljalkfdjfalkneanhdvkna;lkehfka…..

Oh look! Three hours have passed! 

Hello, gorgeous!  Don’t you look beautiful and crusty and rustic?

Mmmm….now you look moist and chewy and delicious.  But still rustic.  And the smell….oh, if you could only smell my kitchen.  It’s probably what heaven smells like.  In fact, I think the aroma of freshly baked bread is what attracted these strange children to come inside and descend on my beautiful loaf of bread like turkey vultures:

Look at those happy faces.  It’s amazing what homemade bread can do. It’s also amazing how much bread those faces can eat, because now my bread is nearly gone.  But since now I’m only paying a few cents for each loaf of bread, I’ll guess I’ll just go make some more!

P.S.  It takes literally 10 minutes to throw these ingredients together.  Do it at night before you go to bed, and you’ll wake up to the smell of heaven each morning.