Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Pecan Sticky Buns~ BWJ

While I have made an attempt to bake with you this week, I am unable to eat these yummy smelling, still in the oven as I write this, Sticky Buns until Saturday. So, my children and their teachers will get to try these out tomorrow and tell me what they think.

I made a lot of changes to this one. My sticky buns are more like cinnamon rolls. I eliminated the "sticky topping" and plan to put a powdered sugar drizzle for tomorrow, and a cream cheese frosting on my Saturday delight. I changed the filling to incorporate the 1 cup of brown sugar, I upped the cinnamon to 1/2 a tablespoon, and used 1 stick of butter instead of two. I'm just not a nuts in my dessert girl. For me, it ruins my carrot cake, turtle cheesecake would be great without those darned pecans, fruit breads are so much better without nuts, and probably anything else baked. Candy bars, however, rock the nuts! I am not at all a nut hater. Quite the opposite. I can snack on almonds and cashews all day. Just keep them out of my desserts.

Hopefully tomorrow my children will consider them edible. I'm fairly certain they will. Who doesn't like a cinnamon roll, er...um, I mean Sticky Bun minus the pecans! Check out the original recipes~ here is Lynn's post and here is Nicole's post.

Finally done and out of the oven long enough to not completely melt the topping. Boy, would I like to shove it in my mouth right now!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Banana Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

I have found "the one". The recipe that edges out all others and will become my go to Banana Cake recipe. As three bananas sat and ripened for a week~ a week in which I could not eat them~ and I knew flour, which is also restricted 6 days a week would need to be used, a desire for banana cake was born. It was so good it became breakfast, lunch, snack, and company dinner dessert on my "cheat day" the weekend before last. Then it became breakfast again for last weekends cheat day since I was smart enough to make and freeze an 8 inch round cake on top of the 16 cupcakes. I used that to make the banana cake dessert below since my 7 year old son is very into all the food network competitions and he often grades me on my plating. Most days I fall short of the perfect 5, but this day he easily gave it to me.

As if finding the grand master of banana cake recipes wasn't enough, I stumbled across the perfect cream cheese frosting. Most are heavy. When I ran into one called whipped cream cheese frosting, it had no chance of escaping me. Now it is my prisoner. Truth be told it's the other way around. This frosting has got quite a hold on me. I love how light it is without giving up any flavor. It unfortunately doesn't give up any calories either. How unfair that something so light and fluffy still has a huge caloric downfall. I think it would also double nicely as a fruit dip.

The boys loved it. So did our dinner guests. Cruz wanted to make fondant decorations for the company cupcakes, darn that food network!, but I didn't have the fondant, or the time, so we made everyones initials in melting candy. It was just the right touch of cute.

Banana Cake recipe- adapted from Allrecipes A-Number-1 Banana Cake

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 2 - 9 inch round pans. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter, white sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in the bananas. Add flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk to the creamed mixture. Pour batter into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a cake rack to cool.

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting- adapted from Allrecipes

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese- at room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  1. In a mixer beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form; set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla. Mix until smooth.
  3. Add cream cheese mixture to the whipped cream and beat on low just until incorporated.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Hungarian Shortbread~ BWJ

I am dieting. That short little statement has no business in this insanely rich and calorically dense dessert post. The good news, this diet runs for 6 days a week, and the 7th day I am allowed to go crazy and eat anything I want. That day is Saturday. It was always high on the list of favorite days, but now it has moved up to 'best day ever' status. It also means I plan ahead to what I am going to make on Saturdays. Wow, I feel like I'm breaking tradition here when I say I made this dessert in advance of posting Tuesday. Luckily it didn't have a superstitious negative effect on this.... this cookie-like, cake-like, blondie-like dessert. Perhaps I should try not procrastinating in other areas of my life. (I'm snickering in my head.)

I made them late Friday night and the smell was so yummy. Shortbread for sure. Not the Lorna Doone kind, or the Girl Scout kind, but somewhere near the buttery goodness of the Chessman kind. Uh, could that be because we used 4 sticks of butter in one dessert?! Ah well, another rich dessert for special occasions that the whole family really liked. That's not such a bad thing.

That question and answer section we have before baking the dessert is such a help to me. New to all these made from scratch techniques, I was more a Sandra Lee type gal in the dessert arena before starting this BWJ project. So the bakers who make theirs well in advance and post on their experience help me to avoid pitfalls I may have succumbed to due to lack of experience. When the lady from Hungary posted the bottom was always baked first in their country after so many posts about uncooked dough, I took the advice of others and baked the bottom layer of shortbread for 20 minutes. What I did not do was follow the recipe's instructions on freezing and grating the dough. Sounding like a monumental task, I skipped it and just spread the dough in my 9x13 ungreased pan. Because why would you need to grease a pan that has contents with 4 sticks of butter? I'm always looking for the faster, easier way, without sacrificing flavor. Perhaps it's why I got a cakier, blondie like version and not a crumbly shortbread like crumb. But it sounded like many who did follow those instructions got the same thing.

Since this dessert was made to be eaten on Cinco de Mayo, half of the shortbread base was spread with guava preserves, and on the other half I used raspberry preserves. The raspberry edges out the guava by a hair, but both were good. Then I decided maybe I wasn't playing by the rules enough and became my own shredder for the top layer. I took bits of dough and chucked them onto the top. I suppose maybe the top layer was more airy than the bottom layer, but if so, not by much. They both tasted the same to me.

I baked the shortbread for another 40 minutes. Although everything was cooked through, the jelly gave it a bit of a gooey texture in the middle. I wonder if that was why some people likened it to uncooked cookie dough? Other than baking the bottom, cutting out the dough shredding, and leaving off the powdered sugar since I had used sweet fillings instead of tart, my recipe is the same as the recipes found here , Cher is a wonderful blogger whom I enjoy reading and takes the time to comment on many of our posts, and Lynette's can be found here.

Big Side Note: And now I am seriously laughing at myself after posting my link. I thought I was getting this done EARLY, and it turns out I'm a week late. The 8th felt like more of a date we would have used than the 1st, obviously I didn't even check. Lovely. The procrastinator is still in the house!