Monday, June 13, 2011

Almond Strawberry Quick Bread

The Physicist LOVES to garden. Because of this, every summer, we tend to have a LOT of produce. Right now, I'm in the thick of our strawberry season. Last week, he picked about 7 pounds of strawberries. I'm giving them away, having them at every meal, making jams and ice creams to store them. And I'm making Almond Strawberry Quick Bread. I found a recipe online (for Walnut Strawberry Bread), decided I didn't like half the ingredients, changed it around, and made it. Then I decided it had WAY too much sugar! (Strawberries are already sweet, people!) It was like eating candy. So I changed it again, cutting WAY back on the sugar. Now, the bread tastes like strawberries. And you know me, I like things with fruit in them to taste like the fruit. :)

You'll need:
1/2 cup Almond Flour (finely ground almonds if you can't find almond flour, it's the same thing)
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour

2/3 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
1 Tbsp. Lemon Zest
2 Eggs
1 1/4 cups Mashed Strawberries (10 oz.)
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a 9" x 5" bread pan. (I like the Pam Baking for this.)

In a medium bowl whisk together the almond flour, flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. Set aside. In a large bowl, mash those strawberries if you haven't already, and then add the zest, eggs, and oil, whisking that all together. Now add your dry to your wet and make sure they're combined. It should be pinkish-purple.

Pour into your bread pan and bake for 55-60 minutes. Don't take it out until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with no goo. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then take it out of the pan and let completely cool on the rack for an hour. Slice and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Chocolate Frosting - 6 Inch Style

Really, what goes better with yellow cake than chocolate frosting? It's a classic! This combo is The Physicist's favorite. Once again, this is adapted from Martha.

You'll need:
1/2 pound Really Good Chocolate (Dark or Semi-Sweet)
3 Tbsp. Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder
3 Tbsp. Boiling Water
1 1/2 sticks Unsalted Butter, Room Temp
1/4 cup Powdered Sugar
Pinch of Salt

Okay, first we melt the chocolate by placing it in a heat proof bowl (like Pyrex), over, but not touching, some simmering water in saucepan. This is pretty much making your own double boiler. Turn off the heat, and stir until the chocolate melts completely. Set this aside and let cool to room temp. While your waiting, combine the cocoa and the boiling water until the cocoa is dissolved. (It is important that both the chocolate and the cocoa mixture cool to room temp, or you'll melt your butter!)

Once everything is room temp, place your butter, powdered sugar, and salt in the mixing bowl of your electric mixer and beat until light and fluffy with the paddle attachment for 3-4 minutes. (No mixer? Get your wooden spoon and work those arms!) Add the melted chocolate, beat until combined. Then add the cocoa mixture. Scrape down the sides, and beat until smooth.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

6 Inch Yellow Cake - The Recipe

So, I have recieved a request to post an actual recipe for a 6 inch cake. (Yes, I do take requests!) This one is adapted from Martha Stewart's Yellow Butter Cake. The only special equipment you'll need is 6 inch cake pans.

You will need:
1 stick Unsalted Butter (Room Temperature)
3/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup Cake Flour
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
7/8 cup Sugar (or 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp.)
2 Eggs
1 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract
5/8 cup Milk (or 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 6 inch pans, line the bottoms with parchment circles, butter the parchment, and flour. In a medium bowl, sift together both flours, baking powder, and salt.

Fit your electric mixer with the paddle attatchment (or decide to give your arms a workout and get your wooden spoon and big mixing bowl ready). Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla extract. Take the mixer down to low speed and add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Make sure every addition is completely combined before adding the next.

Divide the batter between the two cakes pans and smooth the tops with an offset spatula. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer pans to a wire rack for 20 minutes to cool, then invert the cakes, remove the parchment, turn 'em right side up, and let them cool completely.

Trim the tops and frost 'em. I'll try and post a 6 inch chocolate frosting recipe tomorrow.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip& Mini Reese's Cup Cookies

So, It's a long title. But it's a delicious cookie. Ever since Reese's started making the mini unwrapped, I knew I had to put it in a cookie. But, I've been on this whole "let's try and be healthier" kick, so I made the cookies oatmeal. (Note: making them oatmeal cookies is just pandering to my guilt. I don't think these are really healthy cookies, just the oatmeal makes them seem that way.)

You will need:
2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 1/4 cups Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Sugar
1 cup Butter
1/4 cup Peanut Butter
2 Eggs
1 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract
3 cups Oats (I use Quaker Old Fashioned)
2 cups Chocolate Chips
1 package Reese's Mini Unwrapped (8oz.)

Preheat your over to 375 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream together brown sugar, sugar, butter, and peanut butter. Add the eggs, one at a time, and add the vanilla extract. Gradually add the flour mixture. Now, if your using an electric mixer, stop at this point, because adding the oats will kill it. Stir in the oats by hand (work those muscles!) and then add the chocolate chips and peanut butter cups. Scoop out dough in tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Try to make sure there is at least one peanut butter cup in every cookie. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cool and enjoy.