Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Fun fun funfetti

This grad school gig has been fun but it doesn't really pay bills. By really, I mean it doesn't at all. Luckily I get some of my drinking money from baking things on the side. This cake is so cute. I've always wanted to make funfetti cake but nobody in my family was ever that enthused by the idea of a white cake with sprinkles in it. This was for a coworker's daughter for her Teacher's Appreciation Day. What better way to say thank you to a teacher than with a sugar-packed colorful cake, right?

The icing was extremely easy, and the frosting is so light and sugary. It is adapted from Magnolia Bakery's frosting recipe (if I have to explain what Magnolia's frosting is like, then you have not lived life). And now that I know that clear vanilla extract exists (sue me, I thought it only came in "brown") I'll be making ridiculously colored frosting from now on. You want a chocolate cake? THE ICING WILL BE PURPLE, DEAL WITH IT.

Really easy cake to make, there's not much to it. I did use these Wilton Baking Strips to make sure that the cakes baked flat, thus making it easier to stack. Eh, eh? Pro tip: don't throw away that pin it comes with otherwise you have no way to fasten the strips and will revert to using paperclips... The recipe is from TheKitchn, and I made zero adjustments so the recipe is also below.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Rabbit dessert

Not really. This isn't healthy at all. Just because 5 or 6 carrots are used in the making of these (cup)cakes, the (delicious) amount of oil and cream cheese incorporated into the final product cancels out all of the nutritional value. That being said, they were delicious.

There's really not much else to say about carrot cake. This recipe had maple cream cheese frosting and the batter is really adaptive to any combination of add-ons you prefer (walnuts, pineapples, etc.). I didn't mix anything in so the batter was really smooth and the cake was pretty uniform. The layer cake version I made had dried pineapples and walnuts in between the layers and adorning the top and sides. Decorate and bake at your whim. It's a really easy recipe to follow. Thank you, Smitten Kitchen. Definitely use a grater to get smoother pieces of carrot.

The first batch of cupcakes were for my friend Amay's birthday. The layer cake? Just for fun. My life is fat.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

When in Rome

I am the biggest fan of creamy, fatty pastas. As if the starch in the noodles wasn't enough, I like to "go big or go home" and let my pasta swim in a giant pool of heavy cream-based sauce. This was the exact reason why I was so surprised I would actually like carbonara seeing as there isn't really cream in this dish. Carbonara is traditionally from Rome, with a pancetta, egg, pecorino or parmeggiano, and pepper base). Sure, there's the fat from the egg, but can we just say that it's protein for the sake of this post?

For the impatient cook, like me, this was possibly the best thing I could have prepared, let alone eaten. You can make any combination of this depending on what's in your fridge and what you like to have in your pasta. The main "sauce" is just egg and Parmesan mixed together until it forms a thick paste of sorts. As your pasta components (mine were leek and shiitake mushrooms from the Hollygrove Farmer's Market produce box) saute, all you do is dump your cooked noodles in the skillet and pour the egg and cheese mixture over everything and stir to thoroughly combine it all. The whole thing comes together and it's kind of a miracle. A really cheap miracle.

There are many variations of this, and the recipe I used was from How Sweet Eats (yup, same person I got the Bailey's double fudge cookies from). You know what would've made this a million times better? If I had bacon. Not sure if it's still technically carbonara without that salty, delicious cut of meat, but I'm sticking to it.


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Afternoon snack

Or breakfast? Either I have uncontrolled snack cravings or I had an unlikely hankering for bananas but I came home one day last week needing to make banana bread. I didn't want a whole vat of oil or butter or sour cream to make this either, considering Mardi Gras was upon me, so I consulted good old Pinterest for some inspiration. I found a somewhat healthier version on make happy.

I used 1 cup of oat flour (old fashioned oats ground up in a food processor) and 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour because I didn't have the whole wheat pastry flour. The original recipe is below. I'll try this recipe again using the pastry flour. I'm sure it would give me lighter muffins. These are slightly sweet (really, slightly) and aren't very crumby or easily squished. The texture is odd for a muffin, to me, at least, but that comes with having a recipe sans oil or butter.

Try them out the next time you want to prep your snack for an entire week. They're a little over 150 calories per muffin, so it's not too bad.


Friday, February 1, 2013

Market salad

I went to the Hollygrove Farmer's Market and picked up some Spring greens, Brussels sprouts and colorful carrots, among a variety of other produce. My first instinct was the use the carrots for juice but they were far too pretty to waste in liquid form where I wouldn't be able to differentiate between the oranges, purples, and yellows. After Mardi Gras parades two weekends in a row I figured it would be a good time to enjoy a salad. 

The quickest and most delicious way I knew how to enjoy these vegetables was definitely just roasting them. The Brussels sprouts I got were smaller than the ones I'm normally used to so I had to keep turning them and checking on them neurotically to make sure they didn't burn on me. The carrots were also a little on the smaller and skinnier side so I didn't leave them in the oven for very long. The sprouts and carrots were all roasted together and then hung out with some chopped apples and walnuts before heading into my belly.

This is honestly the tastiest salad I've put together.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sweet and salty

I've just finished my first week of my second semester at Tulane. It's been so nice seeing everyone again and getting back into the groove of schoolwork. I did just remember that my last day in Chicago was pretty eventful for three reasons:

We tried out the wine aerator that Spencer gave my parents for Christmas. I honestly thought this was a useless gadget that only fancy people used to be fancy. Incorrect. This changes a mediocre and inexpensive bottle of wine into something that tastes...fancy? I'm still learning, bear with me. It was an awesome gift.

I watched my dad and Spencer play dominoes like old men. Then I proceeded to play and beat Spencer like a champ. See how suspicious he looked? It's because I proceeded to win 10 minutes later. Despite my victorious domino games, one more thing made my last night pretty great.

These cookies. I've had then pinned on a board on Pinterest forever and finally decided to make use of this recipe. Thank you, Ambitious Kitchen, for the recipe. Nutella-stuffed brown butter chocolate chip cookies with sea salt. It's a mouthful, literally and figuratively. It's a delicious spin on a regular chocolate chip recipe, and it's something I'm sure will be on rotation in the future.


Friday, December 28, 2012

Chocolate + Bailey's = Cookies

Sometimes there are things you make that you can't believe are real. The person who invented the TV probably had this feeling. But, making a batch of the double fudge Irish cream cookies basically gave me the exact same feeling, albeit on a less important scale in the grand scheme of things. This isn't a traditional holiday cookie, but holidays involve alcohol and sweets, so why not? I got this recipe from How Sweet Eats and almost drooled all over my laptop while looking at her photographs. Seriously, how can you go wrong with Bailey's? Her other Bailey's dessert was insanely good, too.

The batter tastes phenomenal. I only know this because I ate about 2-3 cookies-worth of batter just for "quality control." They are extremely fudgey.
Note: I made two different batches--the first I left in the oven as the original recipe instructed (max 10 minutes), and the second batch I left in the oven for 12 minutes. The former was more thin, gooey, and with the center tasting more like cookie dough than cookie (still delicious--nobody really noticed or complained). This version was definitely the fudgier of the two. The latter was a thicker, chunkier-looking cookie, was more dense, and had a crispier outside. I also refrigerated one batter for 4 hours, and another batter for about 12 hours. So, it's all up to you.

This may sound extremely basic but don't make my mistake of spacing the dough too closely together while baking. They do settle and spread out. Skipping out on the refrigeration would yield flatter cookies. I personally enjoy the chunky version and I think I would choose to make these cookies again by refrigerating overnight and then leaving them in the oven for a little over 10 minutes.

These would keep well for about 5 days in an airtight container but they will never last that long.