Sep 26, 2010

Anniversary Cake

The Sexy Artist and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary on September 12th(it has been a crazy amazing wonderful year and I love him everyday just as much if not more than the day I married him!) and while I would like to report back that it was romantic including cheesy scenes of us feeding each other dried bits of cake lovingly preserved in layers of plastic wrap and foil from our wedding, this was not the case.  The week before our wedding anniversary I unexpectedly had to have my gallbladder removed.  Not only that, somehow I threw away the cake we had saved! I didn't do it on purpose, even though many of you will remember me griping that we should just eat the cake then rather than let it stale for a year.  I think I thought it was one of these weird cuts of pork the SA bought one time when he ventured to the store by himself. (which have subsequently lived in our freezer for the past two years) Needless to say I felt horrible.  Not only were our get-away plans ruined, I had thrown away our cake! There was only one thing left to do.  Recreate the wedding cake. 
Quickly I ruled out two of our flavors, gingerbread with caramelized apples (neither of us are huge fans except in small pieces) and chocolate turtle (while it was delicious its just too rich) So I decided to make a variation of the chai spice cake with white chocolate frosting.
It was a gorgeous cake, delicious frosting and a great way of celebrating our first anniversary.

Chai Cake with Honey Ginger Cream
slightly modified from From Sky High:Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne
1 and 1/3 cups of milk
6 chai tea bags
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 and 3/4 cups of cake flour
2 cups of sugar
4 and 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
3/4 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon of salt
8 ounces of unsalted butter at room temp.
Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees F. Grease the bottom and sides of the pans and line with parchment paper. Grease the paper as well.
In a small saucepan bring the milk to a simmer over low med-low heat. Add the tea bags, careful not to let the paper tag fall into the milk. Remove from heat and allow the tea to steep for 5 minutes. Remove the teabags and squeeze out the milk. Let the chai milk cool completely.
In a medium bowl mix the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and 1/3 cup of the chai milk. Whisk together.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt in the bowl of a mixer. Beat on low for 30 seconds. Add the butter and the remaining chai milk, on med-low speed.
Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg mixture in three additions scraping the between additions. Divide the batter evenly among the pans.
Bake the cakes for 26-28 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes.Remove cakes from pans and peel off parchment paper. Cool completely.
Ginger Cream
2 and 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar
6 ounces of cream cheese at room temp.
6 tablespoons of unsalted butter at room temp.
1/2 cup of honey (I used blackberry)
1 TBSP. finely minced crystallized ginger
Place all the ingredients in stand mixer and mix till blended.

Crystallized ginger
    Peel and thinly slice 1 pound  fresh ginger root. Place sliced ginger in a heavy saucepan, cover with water and cook gently until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain off water.
    Weigh the cooked ginger and measure an equal amount of sugar and return to saucepan.  Add sugar and three tablespoons of water. Bring to a boil, stirring often, and cook until ginger is transparent and liquid has almost evaporated. Reduce heat and cook, stirring constantly, until almost dry.Toss cooled ginger in sugar to coat. My ginger was really liquid almost the consistency of a caramel, so I poured it onto a cookie sheet and let it cool in the freezer and then broke it into pieces, almost like a ginger brittle.

BBQ Chili

This past week was the beginning of fall, and I am definitely ready for it. I'm ready for pumpkin patches, fireplaces, sweaters and comfort food! Today I thought I would start the season off a little early with one of my go to easy dishes...chili!
I decided to take a little different of a spin on it which was delightful, SA was thrilled with the BBQ-ness of it and I was thrilled at how easy it came together.  I am pretty sure this is going to be my new "feed a crowd" recipe.

BBQ Chili
1 pound ground beef
1 Cans kidney, beans rinsed and drained
1 Cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 Can white beans
1 Can of Ranch Style Beans
1  onion, chopped
1 1/2 TBS chili powder
1/2 TBS cumin
1 Can diced tomatoes
1/2 c vegetable broth
1 1/2 c. frozen corn
1 c. BBQ sauce

Brown ground beef and drain.
Add remaining ingredients and simmer or  I put it in a crock pot for about 2.5 hours on high.
We topped those off with corn chips from Trader Joe's and a little sour cream.

Sep 22, 2010

Marjory's Period Cookies

When I was a kid, I always thought that Marjory the trash heap was the best character on Fraggle Rock (A close second being Uncle Travelling Mac!). She always seemed so wise, a sage pile of trash knitting her days away always prepared to deliver some bit of guidance to the somewhat lacking common sense Fraggles. She was my kinda gal "all-knowing and all seeing," with a couple magical abilities combined. At any rate, now when anyone mentions a compost pile, I immediately think of Ole Marjory.
Needless to say when I came across a recipe for something called compost cookies I had Marjory on the brain. I was intrigued. I was disgusted and after I read the ingredients, I knew I had to make these bad boys.
Now I won't lie, these cookies have been around the block. (naughty cookies!) I searched them on google and they have been blogged about to ETERNITY and back, so I won't waste a lot of time telling you where they originate from or the other crazy things the chef that created them has come up with I will just tell you the name is all wrong. I'm renaming these cookies. They will forever be known as Marjory's Period Cookies in our house. These cookies are the perfect way to combat period cravings! Salty/sweet/and chocolaty depending on what ingredients you put in them.
Without further adieu
Marjory's Period Cookies:
1 cup butter (that's two sticks, unsalted)
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 Tbsp corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups your favorite baking ingredients (options: chocolate chips, Raisenettes, Rollos, Cocoa Krispies)
1 1/2 cups your favorite snack foods (chips, pretzels, etc.)
The first time I made these cookies I used chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, Dylan;s malt balls that I crushed up, Annie's cheddar bunnies, potato chips and tortilla chips.
The second time (yeah, second in two weeks) I used chocolate chips, peanut butter chips potato chips and Annie's cheddar bunnies. What I really want to use is potato chips, cheddar bunnies, chocolate rice krispies, white chocolate chips and some sort of candy coated chocolate.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugars and corn syrup on medium high for two to three minutes until fluffy and pale yellow in color. Scrape down the sides with a spatula. On a lower speed, add eggs and vanilla to incorporate.Increase mixing speed to medium-high and start a timer for 10 minutes. During this time the sugar granules will fully dissolve, the mixture will become an almost pale white color and your creamed mixture will double in size. When time is up, on a lower speed, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix 45 - 60 seconds just until your dough comes together and all remnants of dry ingredients have incorporated. Do not walk away from your mixer during this time or you will risk over mixing the dough. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula.
On the same low speed, add in your favorite baking ingredients and mix for 30 - 45 seconds until they evenly mix into the dough. Add in your favorite snack foods last, paddling again on low speed until they are just incorporated.
Portion cookie dough onto a parchment lined sheet pan. Wrap scooped cookie dough tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour or up to 1 week.
DO NOT BAKE your cookies from room temperature or they will not hold their shape.
Heat the oven to 400 F,bake 9 to 11 minutes.
At 9 minutes, the cookies should be browned on the edges and just beginning to brown towards the center. Leave the cookies in the oven for the additional minutes if these colors don't match up and your cookies still seem pale and doughy on the surface.
Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pan before transferring.