Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ricotta Cookies

Now I've said this a number of times.  I like eating cookies but I really don't  like baking cookies.  I can't tell when I should take them out of the oven.  But, thess are some of my favorite cookies and I always feel as though they are a spring cookie.  As if cookies have a season.

So here it is Spring, and I've had a container of ricotta cheese in the fridge for a while, but not past the expiration date.  So it's about time I made the silly things already.

They are SOOO moist and soft.  They're normally puffier, if that's even a word.  So obviously I did something wrong.  I guess it's because I didn't follow the directions.  Yeah, maybe that had something to do with it.

You take a bite into these and even though they're flat as pancakes, they're moist and cakey.  Which makes me want to try to turn them into cake.  Which is something I've never done.  I don't develop recipes.  That will be interesting.  But the flavor and texture of these cookies is really something special.  So of course, it seems only natural that I would want to muck it up.

Anyway...  Here's the recipe.

Ricotta Cookies
From:  Unknown

15oz container Ricotta Cheese
2 sticks butter softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
4 cups flour

Mix together cheese, butter, eggs and sugar.  Add baking soda, salt and vanilla.  Add flour one cup at a time, stirring with spoon.  Drop by teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets covered in parchment paper.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned.  Ice with favorite thin buttercream.  Store in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!  Thanks for stopping in.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Gratitude Cake

I know...I've been absent lately.  I'm telling you, when my mixer attempted suicide, it really shook me up.  I was afraid to bake.  And then of course there's the Twilight factor.

Twilight Factor?  Yeah, I got sucked into the Twilight saga.  Many times I'm late to the party.  Figuratively and literally.  So I'm just now getting into Twilight.  I'm in the library and I see Breaking Dawn Part One DVD in the new release section the other day and pick it up thinking it's the first movie... Yeah, that's how out of the loop I was about the whole thing.  Luckily I figured it out before watching it.  But I was curious when I saw that movie on the shelf.  I'm thinking what's the big deal with these books and movies any ways?

The first movie, Twilight, was OK.  It was good enough to get me interested in the story and want to find out what happens next.  I made it through the teenage drama.

The second movie was better.  I am in the Jacob groupie club!  I personally feel that he did not take his clothes off enough!!  Love the muscles, thank you for that.  The teenage drama was still there but didn't seem as annoying.

Third movie was the best thus far.  I'm still very much in the Jacob club.  LOVED the "this should have been our first kiss" scene.  I will admit to watching it over and over again(along with all the other Jacob scenes).  And I think one reason I like these movies is that it takes me back to when I was young and in love-lust.  Not that I was ever part of a werewolf-vampire-human triangle...But I remember feeling so passionately about my current crush that I'd get so breathless and nervous in his presence that I would literally tremble.

I've been married for 8 years now...And as most people who have been married a while will admit, that young love fire lessens a bit over time.  The fire doesn't go out it's just not so wild.  It becomes a smolder, which is still very hot but not as showy.  And every now and then something comes along to fan the flames a bit.  And so I will indulge in the teenage drama and trip down memory lane and let it fan the flames of my love for Paul.

And what, you may be asking, does all this have to do with cake or baking?  NOTHING.  It's merely a peak into my latest obsession that has kept me out of the kitchen.

So then let's talk about this cake...I'm calling this a gratitude cake because I have a great friend, who's been SO generous and supportive of me this past year.  After getting laid-off last year, he has been my most constant friend.  Out of the 100s of people I used to work with, he's really been a true friend to me.  I can never repay him for all his kindnesses...But I can bake.  So he gets cake.  Red Velvet cake covered and filled with cream cheese frosting and decorated simply with fondant.

I'm trying my hand at decorations inspired by clothing.  In my mind this cake was to have a fabric ruffle and some "fabric" flowers.  But the fondant I had wanted to use was really loose.  It was sticky and wouldn't hold its shape.  So I changed the design a bit and the color scheme and came up with what you see here.  And after it was done I took a step back and realized that it gave the distinct impression of a garter belt.  

Thanks Rich.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Red Velvet Ice-cream cake

OK, I know it's been a while...But the whole mixer walking off the counter incident really threw me off my game.

That and I discovered Pinterest and can't seem to do anything but search for outdoor decorating and gardening ideas.  Is someone ready for summer already or what?!

So here's how it all played out.  My mixer took a walk off my counter and beat the hell out of some bread dough.  Well, surprisingly the only thing that got messed up was that the mixer became out of adjustment.  And by that I mean that when it was latched, the beater would rub on the bottom of the bowl.  Not good, the coating on the beater seemed to be rubbing off).  I figured it out as I was mixing up this cake for a friend of mine.  Needless to say, I held up the nose of the mixer to finish the cake and told me friend his cake would have to wait.  (He's still waiting and maybe I'll get to it this wkend.  Sorry Rich.)

Luckily for me, my husband is handy and I'm terribly clever (not really), but between the two of us we were able to readjust it so there's no more rubbing.  Things aren't 100% back to normal but it runs and what more could you ask for when something like this happens?

So here I am with this cake unfit to feed to a friend, but I'll risk my own family's lives on it (beater coating may or may not be mixed into the batter).  While I was waiting for Paul to adjust it I made ice-cream...And that's when the idea for ice-cream cake came to me.  See I told you I was clever!

Once the mixer was adjusted I tried it out by making a stabilized whipped cream icing to coat this cake.  I thought we were expecting company (my parents) so I quickly frosted it and said forget it to the decorations.  I know!  And then my parents cancelled their visit.  No big deal, they literally live around the corner from me.

And as you can see I am still battling with the perfect finish to my frosted cakes.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, April 6, 2012

No Bake Bird's Nest cookies

It's Good Friday and these are great if you're in a pinch for an Easter treat that's quick.

I don't know where my mom found this recipe originally but she would make them for her Kindergarten class as well as for us.  They've always been a family favorite.  I suppose teachers couldn't do that now with all the nut allergies.

Just make sure you have extra of all the ingredients...Especially if you have hungry helpers.

Bird Nest
From: Origin Unknown

3 cups crispy rice cereal
1 cup shredded coconut
1/3 c + 2T. light corn syrup
1/2 c + 1-2T. brown sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Prior to boiling

Combine cereal and coconut in a large bowl.
In a medium saucepan combine corn syrup, brown sugar, peanut butter and vanilla.
Bring to a boil of med-low heat, stirring frequently.
Pour peanut butter mixture over cereal and mix to coat.
Line muffin tins with paper liners.
Scoop cereal "dough" into paper lined muffin tins and indent with back of a spoon or melon baller to form into nests.
Then fill with your favorite egg shaped candies.

Happy Easter Everyone!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Maybe I shouldn't make bread

I'm starting to think that the someone is trying to send me a message that I should NOT try to make bread.

Because it never turns out right.  Or at least this particular recipe for bread should not be attempted.

See I'm trying to make Oatmeal Sandwich bread.  My first two attempts failed.  But this time the bread gods got violent in their attempts to stop my bread making efforts.

They THREW my KitchenAid mixer on the floor.

OK, well that's a bit dramatic and not exactly what happened.  Here's the story.  I'm making this Oatmeal Sandwich bread recipe in my third attempt.  It's going pretty well and my little KitchenAid is working hard to knead it for me.  I put a piece of non-skid pad under it, make sure it's safely away for the edge of the counter-top and go call my mom in the other room while it works for 10 minutes.

I'm not more than a minute into my conversation and when I check on it...It seems to have moved.  I'm about 10 feet away when I see it slip off the edge in slow motion as I scream S*&% and run over to find it still plugged in and now whipping my bread dough all over the floor.

Go ahead and laugh, it's funny now.  But it was scary and sad at the time.  I had to throw out the dough.

Here's the amazing part.  There was no damage.  My laminate floor is not dented or even scratched.  My mixer still runs (though may not be quite right - we're still investigating this), the dough hook is not bent or broken.  Really it's all quite amazing.

Today I'm using my mixer for the first time since the accident...And it runs but there seems to be a misalignment going on.  I'll have my husband look into and report back with details to come.

What's the worst thing to happen to your mixer?