Polish Pound Cake

Ana and I had a baking day with her boys.  She had a craving for the Polish Pound Cake that she grew up on and it turns out its absolutely delicious! We had some sticking issues and it turned out looking like this:

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We are looking for something to substitute for the bourbon the recipe calls for.  The piece I brought home for Andrew had none of the frosting due to how incredibly alcoholic it’s was.  It’d not going to make you truly drunk,  but it’s very strong.  The flavor is fantastic though so we need to find something to sub out the booze without changing the way it tastes.

It’s a must make again!

Lamb Cake and Other Treats

It’s been a while since I posted and I’m sorry about that.  I’ve been baking away and have completely forgotten to take pictures!

This post will basically list the baked goods off (with a guest appearance by Joan and her lovely lamb cake). There were actually a lot of treats in the last couple of weeks.  I took some vacation between classes and spent a bit of it creating some hits.  There were also busy day cupcakes….

So for the birthday gathering we had family over and I made birthday themed goodies.  I used the Devils Food Cupcake recipe and modified it for Allison’s chocolate piece.  It worked out great! I’m not wonderful yet with decorating,  but the cake was delicious! Instead of Devils Food cake mix and Devils Food pudding I used traditional chocolate cake mix and cheesecake pudding. With cream cheese frosting, it was a hit! I feel like I’m getting a real handle on that recipe.  I’d like it to be truly from scratch and not based in boxed mixes,  but one step at a time. 

I also made busy day cupcakes.  Mom used to make busy day cake when I was a kid.  She made it for birthdays a lot of the time. I made the mistake of putting the recipe into weight watchers as is and between the dense cake and the “buttered frosting” it came out to 19 smart points per piece! So I went ahead and made it into cup cakes and frosted it with Betty Crocker chocolate frosting (2 points as opposed to 10). They were all done and I was so excited to taste the flavor of my youth… I forgot the cupcake liners?

They were like weirdly frosted muffins.  I mean we ate them,  but they weren’t great. 

Ok.  Well it wasn’t a total bust.  The cake was great and for Easter Joan made this:

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I helped with the pink jelly beans for the ears.  🙂 Later!

Birthday Scones

Last year for my birthday Dad got me The Baling Bible.  I’d never actually made any recipe out of it. Mostly I just read through it completely convinced that I am not very good at baking and anything I made wouldn’t turn out very well.  So this year when my birthday came up I decided that I needed to step up my game and my confidence.  I’ll never get better at baking if I don’t step outside of my comfort zone.

I decided that it would be very nice to have Birthday Scones.  I’ve never made scones before,  but love to eat them! I went with the Irish Cream Scone from Ms.  Beranbaum’s book. 

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They turned out light and fluffy.  I should have cooked them a little less,  they were a bit more brown than necessary.  All in all a delicious first attempt at scones! My birthday breakfast was great and I learned that I can actually make some of these things that seem daunting!

Happy St.  Patrick’s Day 2016!

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Devils Food Nutella Cupcakes

Last week was the first anniversary of Mom passing and I went to Greenville to have lunch with Dad.  We ate Mexican food and made brownies.  The food was delicious.  The brownies were not great.  It was fun to hang out with Dad though,  even in such a sad time.

So instead of posting about the sad not very good brownies,  I’m going to tell you about these terrific cupcakes I made with the help and hospitality of Ana and her kids! It was a very happy scene with smiling baby boys and good grown up conversation. And we had all but the sour cream in house.  Gotta love the cheap weeks of baking treats.

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Don’t judge my artistic abilities with the frosting.  It was my first ever time using a piping/pastry bag and I was trying to blend butter cream and Nutella all in one.  No baby steps when it comes to baking for this group! Nutella is more runny than I realized and Ana needs a hand mixer (the woman made butter cream frosting literally by hand!) The cupcakes turned out great though.  I’ll be remaking this recipe for sure.

Oh,  if anyone wants a copy of the actual recipes on these treats I make, leave a comment for that week.  It just occurred to me that you may want to recipe and not just my take in how it turned out.  I’m going to try to post that each week also.

I’ve just got to figure out how…. Good think I married a tech guy, huh? 🙂 I’m sure his ears are burning right now….

Cinnamon Pecan Quick Bread

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This bread looked delicious and was a weight watchers recipe.  For the low low cost of 4 points you too could enjoy a yummy bit of sweet with your morning coffee.  For that, it worked very well.  The issue we has was hold time. 

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Most of the time we can get a week out of pumpkin bread.  With just the two of us in the house we don’t go through a whole loaf that quickly.  This bread turned in a matter of days. 

It’s was also made with pureed butternut squash. Correction… It called for pureed squash.  It was made with butternut squash baby food.  🙂 Thinking about it,  this may have led to the faster turn.

See you next week!

Chocolate Marshmallow Bark

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This Weight Watchers 7 point recipe is a delicious treat and much easier to make than I thought it would be.  Something about candy baking has always scared me off. This even fits with my “substitutions are key” theme.

So the recipe called for bittersweet chocolate.  I have a metric “stupid huge” (technical term) amount of baking ingredients,  but bittersweet chocolate is not among them. I cannot bring myself to buy more chocolate with all the ingredients I already have in the house so I went out in a limb.  I used half bakers chocolate and half semi sweet. It worked out great! This gives the chocolate bark a dark chocolate taste that is evened out by the marshmallows without being too sweet.

After melting the chocolate I made the mistake of adding the marshmallows before taking the bowl off the heat.

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The marshmallows started melting and I may have panicked. It clearly worked out,  but I worried I’d broken it. Even cutting the bars was easier than anticipated.

It was a first attempt recipe that I took to family dinner without worrying that everyone would hate it and we would have to go without dessert, so that’s pretty cool.  It also went very well with red wine. :mrgreen:

Definitely a recipe to remember. Don’t be surprised of you see this one on a tray if I bring a dessert.

Fudge Brownie Victory

He loves brownies.  Top five desserts loves.  Lonely island list loves.  And fudge brownies are way better than cake brownies.  So I’ve been on a hunt for a scratch fudge brownie recipe with little to no success… Until we finally joined weight watchers and I began looking at life through substitution lenses. 

On a whim I looked through the baked mix aisle at the local store (as happens…probably weekly….) and came across Pillsbury Sugar Free Brownie Mix.  Only 3 points for brownies you say? I’m in! Even if they aren’t great it’s a 3 point brownie.  I’ve got to encourage the efforts for healthier treats when I can. 

The batter was thicker than normal,  but there was a warning on the box telling me that could happen.  They only cooked for 28 minutes which is far less time than usual.  They were thin in the pan,  which I took as a sign. Something about small joys and less points because of less reward.

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In the end they turned out amazing.  They are rich,  chocolatey, fudgey treats.  Theserving is 12 per box and I could totally eat them all in one sitting.  I take that as a good sign! It’s not a scratch brownie like I want,  but it’s reconfirmed my new found healthier baking plans!

Weight Loss Challenge

There comes a time in every adult Beth’s life where she looks in the mirror and says “ok… It’s time for action.”

Andrew got me a fancy rolly chair for my office for Christmas.  It’s awesome and is leather and I love it.  When we went to the store to pick it out shortly after Christmas and bring it home I happened to see on the side of the box a weight limit. Now,  that limit was a good 30 pounds above my weight at the time and we had both decided to make our weight a priority in the coming year,  but it crossed my mind.

That’s a problem.  I decided that we should start our weight loss journey that night.  We joined Weight Watchers immediately and I signed up for the work challenge a few weeks later.

We have both been very good and are seeing results (more on that later) but more to the point, it is causing me to not bake.  I can’t bring myself to waste points on baked goods at this point. As I’ve said in previous posts,  I am a stress baker.  Between work,  school,  and just being me I want to bake things.  My wonderful husband came up with a great idea.

He came home with a bag of Splenda for cooking with.  It hadn’t occurred to me to sub out the sugar.  So I made these cookies and took them to work with the idea of substitutions I  mind.

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White chocolate oatmeal crazin cookies. I made them with applesauce instead of butter. They didn’t brown the way I wanted them to,  but they were delicious nonetheless! And now I’ve found a new challenge. My goal is to bake something at least once a week that is not the absolute worst for you and still delicious.

Wish me luck and I’ll try to keep posting.  🙂

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