Chocolate Roulade

When it has come to this family’s foray into cake baking it has largely been my task.

Except for roulades. Nathan got a wild hair years ago and churned out a couple of these with varying degrees of success. Well success as far presentation was concerned. Taste wise they were absolute winners each and every time.

chocolate roulade

He even went so far as to actually ensure we had a great jelly roll pan just for making roulades. Then they ceased. Loss of interest? Moved on to other baking ventures? I can’t remember why but we haven’t had one in the house for years.

In planning a birthday cake for my lovely friend Bev, Nathan suggested making a roulade again. I wasn’t convinced. I hummed and hawed about it and finally decided to give it a shot. It’s just the idea of rolling a cake was stressing me out.

chocolate roulade

I knew there was a recipe in my Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook and what finally sold me on the idea that I COULD roll a cake was her technique. You roll the cake in a towel while still hot. You read that right- the cake comes out of the oven straight onto a cocoa powder dusted towel and rolled. It is then cooled completely wrapped up.

I am not going to lie and say that then filling the roulade wasn’t stressful but it was easier than I had anticipated. I would recommend liberally dusting the towel with the cocoa powder. It stuck in a couple of places because I was stingy.  Eh… it wasn’t that bad but perfectionist me was annoyed.

chocolate roulade

Also I didn’t have the time or patience that day to make the fancy chocolate mouse filling and opted instead to fill it is a kahlua spiked whipped cream. It was a stroke of brilliance really because the desert ended up being light and perfect. A cake you could easily eat half of and not realize it.

And eat it we did. The whole thing was put away at Tuesday night pizza and beer with no protests from anyone.

chocolate roulade

One year ago today: Granola Clusters and Easy Veggie Curry

Chocolate Roulade (serves 10-12)
From Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
1/4 all purpose flour
1 tablespoon espresso powder
1 tablespoon boiling water
6 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 325F. Coat a 12 x 17 inch jelly-roll pan with cooking spray; line with parchment. Coat lining with cooking spray. Dust with cocoa; tap out excess. Sift cocoa, flour into a bowl. Set aside. Dissolve coffee into hot water. Set aside. Separate eggs. Beat egg yolks until pale and creamy, about 5 minutes. Set aside. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites frothy. Then add the sugar and beat on medium high heat until soft peaks form. Gently fold in egg whites to egg yolk mixture. Carefully then add the coffee and flour mixtures. Pour batter into pan and smooth out carefully. Bake until cake pulls away from sides of pan and is springy to the touch. About 10-12 minutes. Run a thin knife around cake. Invert onto a clean kitchen towel dusted generously with cocoa; peel off parchment. Starting from one short end, roll cake, using towel to guide into a log (you are rolling the towel INTO the cake). Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

Meanwhile beat the whipping cream, kahlua, and sugar in a bowl till set.

When cooled, unroll cake. Spread with whipped cream, leaving a small border. Roll up again, removing the kitchen towel as you go. Carefully transfer the cake to a serving plate. Dust generously with cocoa powder. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.

chocolate roulade

Cream Cheese Brownies

Sometime things don’t turn out exactly how you had hoped.

Often I tackle complicated baking or cooking projects and they turn out perfectly on the first go around. And by often I mean 99% of the time. I attribute it to my ability to pick a good recipe.

Cream Cheese Brownies

Today I was really hoping to share croissants with you. I worked on them for what felt like all weekend. They were ok but not perfect. They look absolutely stunning and I am proud to have made them BUT there are is much trouble shooting to be done. I plan on tackling them again this coming weekend and, fingers crossed, I can side step all the mistakes of this first batch and have a stellar recipe to share with you.

So instead here are some brownie. Nathan had been craving brownies all week and I was more than happy to oblige. Besides, yesterday was the Super Bowl and what better day to overindulge in sweet treats?

Cream Cheese Brownies

These are also on the list of things that didn’t turn out exactly as hoped but they are chocolate and cream cheese so much more forgivable than butter, flour, and yeast. I think they were left in the oven just a touch too long so as long as you stick to the 35 minutes recommended in the recipe I believe they will be perfectly gooey.

Cream Cheese Brownies

And by not perfect I mean they were deliciously edible chocolately cheesecakey squares of heaven.

I highly recommend these. And hopefully soon I can recommend an equally delicious croissant recipe.

Cream Cheese Brownies

One year ago today: Ginger Molasses Cookies

Cream Cheese Brownies (makes 16)
From Smitten Kitchen

1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
8 ounces cream cheese, well softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Chocolate chips for sprinkling if desired

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Heat butter and chocolate in the microwave 30 seconds at a time until just melted. Whisk in sugar, eggs, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until well combined. Whisk in flour until just combined and spread in baking pan.

Make cheesecake batter by whisking together the sugar, cream cheese, egg yolk, and vanilla in a small bowl until smooth. Dollop over brownie batter, then swirl in with a knife or spatula. It might take several passes to get it marbled. Sprinkle chocolate chips over cheesecake/brownie batter swirl if using.

Bake until edges are slightly puffed and center is just set, about 35 minutes. Slice once completely cool.

Cream Cheese Brownies

Iced Oatmeal Cookies

The healthy eating continues around here and it is so enjoyable. I have not really had sweets for nearly two weeks. Well until these cookies came along.

There are some grocery store cookies I still have an affinity for. Iced oatmeal cookies being one kind. Like alot. Oreos too.

Iced Oatmeal Cookies

I refuse to buy these cookies in the store. Actually the list of foods I refuse to buy is quite long but processed cookies from the store is really really high up there. So as with the nutter butters I figured I could just make them myself.

At first I was sure this was going to wind up in the “sure that’s a great cookie but it is not quite right” pile. They taste like eggnog. Nathan disagree but seriously. Eggnog. Even after they were baked all I could taste was eggnog. I am not saying that was a bag thing I just wasn’t sure they were going to turn into the cookies I was hoping they would

Iced Oatmeal Cookies

Enter the glaze. The glaze took these eggnogy oatmeal cookies and turned them in to the bigger badder better version of the store bought classic. So while yes it is work to get the glaze on the cookies I urge you to do it. So perfectly delicious.

I served these as dessert at a dinner party over the weekend I think only one glazed cookies survived the ordeal. Even I, who was avoiding sugar and gluten, ate three. Three. I don’t regret it.

Mercifully they are all gone now. So I am back to a stunning vegetarian dinner and maybe some fruit for dessert.

Iced Oatmeal Cookies

One year ago today: Vanilla Ice Cream and Farro and Cauliflower Risotto

Iced Oatmeal Cookies (makes 3 dozen)
From Mother Thyme

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking sheets with cooking spray and set aside. Place rolled oats in a food processor and pulse for about 10 seconds until coarse. Mix oats with flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Using an electric mixer cream butter and sugars. Add in eggs one at a time then vanilla extract. Gradually add in flour mixture until combined. Roll dough into 2 tablespoon size balls and place on baking sheet spacing about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the bottoms begin to brown. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Mix confectioners sugar and milk together in a medium bowl. Dip the tops of cookies into glaze and let excess drip off. Place back on wire rack until glaze sets.

Iced Oatmeal Cookies

Orange Cranberry Pinwheels

Can we talk about my house for a second?

Orange cranberry pinwheel cookies

I love it. It is bigger than we need and easily accommodates guests (short or long term). We have talked about my dinning room table before and how is easily seats 12 or more. I have cozy couch seating too. Over the past nearly two years that we have lived in this house we have thrown numerous parties of 30 + people and it has worked beautifully.

My house is generally pretty tidy. I have a pretty low tolerance for clutter and mess. My wonderful husband puts up with this neurosis and clean right along with me. He is the master of paper purging. I am the queen of clean counters.

Orange cranberry pinwheel cookies

When we purchased this house it was with the intent that it be a place for everyone. My house is your house. Everything we have we gladly share. More than once we have thrown together impromptu dinner with whatever we had in the house. I absolutely love that we have people over for dinner 2 or more nights a week. Even if those people are only my sister and brother in law. Having people around my table makes me feel whole.

One lovely side effect of this blog is that frequently there are sweet treats randomly on the counter. Those treats are often scarfed down quickly. The beauty of these cranberry orange cookies is they are stored in the freezer. I recently had a friend come over for visit and it only took me two minutes to pop these in the oven so there were hot cookies waiting when she arrived.

Orange cranberry pinwheel cookies

I MUST remember to this more often. I have done it before with other cookie recipes but have fallen out of the habit.

Orange cranberry pinwheel cookies

Am I the only person that feels the need to feed everyone that walks through my door? Even it is just cookies I pulled from the freezer and threw in the oven? I certainly hope not.

(and now I want cookies…)

Orange cranberry pinwheel cookies

One year ago today: Almond Joy Cupcakes

Orange Cranberry Pinwheels
From Good Dinner Mom

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon sour cream
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cranberries, packed full
2/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon grated orange rind

Set oven rack on top position and

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the sour cream, egg and vanilla, combining well between each addition. Gradually add flour mixture and beat until well combined. (Do not overbeat it, though) Cover the cookie dough and chill for one hour. Combine cranberries, walnuts and orange rind. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 10-inch square. (About 1/4 inch thick.) Sprinkle with cranberry mixture, leaving a 1/2-inch border on 2 opposite sides. Roll up dough, jellyroll fashion, beginning at a bordered side. Cover and freeze 6 hours or up to 1 month.

When ready to bake preheat to 375F degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.Cut roll into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place slices on cookie sheet. Bake on top oven rack for 14 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden browned at the edges. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Orange cranberry pinwheel cookies

Chocolate Angel Food Cake

Do you ever have a moment when you SWEAR you share a brain with someone?

How about over cake? Yeah. I was pretty sure it wasn’t a common occurrence.

I make a lot of birthday cakes. I have my own favorite kinds of cake and I would just make the same cake over and over again if I didn’t ask the honoree what they like. Hence why I made a peanut butter pie of sorts when I don’t even like peanut butter and chocolate.

Chocolate Angel Food Cake

My lovely friend Jenny was out of town giving ski lessons in Vail on her birthday. She just recently moved back to Eugene for her MBA (we met in undergrad- marching band to be precise). I sent her a happy birthday text along with a what kind of cake do you want request. I had just been gifted a new cake cookbook and was perusing recipes. The angel food cake recipe caught my eye as I had leftover egg white lurking in my freezer from copious cream pies I made over the holiday.

Chocolate angel food cake came the reply. Um. What? That was the exact recipe I had been reading when I got her message.

I couldn’t wait. A cake I sooooo wanted to make and a birthday girl who was so excited to get it. Win win win win.

Chocolate Angel Food Cake

And the cake was a breeze. Mostly because I didn’t crack a.single.egg. That’s right. Not one. I simply pulled the egg whites out of the freezer and set them in the fridge the day before. Yeah. There were that many egg whites in my freezer. Moral of the story- freeze your egg whites. Mercifully this recipe gave he egg whites as a volume measurement so I didn’t even have to try and guess at how many I had.

However I did have to grate chocolate which was a bear. But I think it was worth it.

Because what a delicious cake it was. Not overly sweet Perfectly fluffy. Decadently speckled with bitter unsweetened chocolate.

I love me some angel food cake and can’t recall the last time I had a homemade one. Now I know it is totally worth the effort. Too bad it wasn’t June and we didn’t have sun warmed strawberries to put on it. Sigh. I might just have to make the cake again. Bummer.

Chocolate Angel Food Cake

One year ago today: Nutter Butters

Chocolate Angel Food Cake (serves 8-12)
From Rose’s Heavenly Cakes

1 1/2 cups, divided superfine sugar
3/4 cup cake flour, lightly spooned and leveled off
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 large egg whites, at room temperature, or 2 cups
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 oz fine-quality unsweetened chocolate, chilled, finely grated, refrigerated

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, whisk together half the sugar, the flour, and salt until evenly combined. Sift the remaining sugar onto a piece of wax paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. With the mixer off, add the cream of tartar. Raise the speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form when the beater is raised. Gradually beat in the sifted sugar and continue beating on medium-high speed until very stiff peaks form when the beater is raised slowly. Beat in the vanilla until combined.

Dust (lightly sprinkle) the flour mixture over the beaten whites, 1/4 cup at a time. With a large balloon whisk fold in the flour mixture quickly but gently. It is not necessary to incorporate every speck until the last addition. Fold in the grated chocolate until evenly incorporated. Using a long narrow spatula or silicone spatula, spread a thin layer of batter onto the sides of the 10 inch two-piece metal tube pan to ensure smooth sides. Empty the rest of the batter into the pan. It will be 1/2-inch from the top of the rim. Run a small metal spatula or knife through the batter to prevent air pockets and smooth the surface evenly.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown, a wire cake tester inserted between the tube and the side comes out clean, and the cake springs back when lightly pressed in the center. (A wooden toothpick will still have a few moist crumbs clinging to it.) During baking, the center will rise about 2 inches above the pan, but it will sink to almost level with the pan when done. The surface will have deep cracks, like a souffle. Invert the pan immediately, placing the tube opening over the neck of a wine bottle to suspend it well above the countertop. Cool completely in the pan, about 1 1/2 hours.

Loosen the sides of the pan with a long narrow spatula and remove the center core of the pan. Dislodge the cake from the bottom and center core with a metal spatula or thin sharp knife. Invert the cake onto a flat plate. Allow the cake to sit for 1 hour, or until the top is no longer tacky. Then cover it with a cake dome or wrap it airtight. It keeps for 3 days at room temperature and for 10 days refrigerated.

Chocolate Angel Food Cake

Egg Nog Ice Cream (200th post)


For so many reasons.

Two HUNDRED posts. How did we get here?

I am a bit frazzled and wanting a vacation from this little blog. And yet it has been a part of my life for over a year and a half and I can’t walk away.

eggnog ice cream

However I make new recipes on a regular basis so it only makes sense to try and pick up the camera when I am done. I love what a resource this little blog is for me. I reference it on a weekly basis as I make and remake the recipes on here. I have new go to recipes because of how much I have learned over the past 200 posts.

Because of this blog I am have an awesome chocolate cake recipe, I make ice cream, I have developed my theories behind feeding my village, and I have learned to make bread. Oh and I have learned how to take food pictures.

When I originally started it was mainly a way of recording my own recipes. It seems that there are a couple of other people who seem to enjoy this little project too. For you I am beyond grateful. If I were doing this just for me I would have quit long ago.

eggnog ice cream

For my 100th post I made ice cream it felt only fitting to share ice cream for the 200th.

My lovely husband has always stated emphatically that he does not like eggnog. My brother in law made a delicious homemade version earlier this holiday season and converted him to possibly, maybe, outside chance liking it. Then came this eggnog ice cream.

All the deliciousness of eggnog but churned into delicious ice cream. And with bourbon. Please don’t forget or skimp or skip the bourbon. It adds such a perfect depth of flavor.

So cheers. To you I raise my glass (or cup) of eggnog ice cream. Thanks for hanging around.

To 100 more.

eggnog ice cream

One year ago today: Gratin Dauphinoise

Eggnog Ice Cream (makes a little over a quart)
From Alton Brown

4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1 pint whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 ounces bourbon

n the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the egg yolks and sugar until the yolks lighten in color and the sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, over high heat, combine the milk, heavy cream and nutmeg and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and gradually temper the hot mixture into the egg and sugar mixture. Then return everything to the pot and cook until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from the heat, stir in the bourbon, pour into a medium mixing bowl, and set in the refrigerator. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator until it reaches a temperature of 40 degrees F, approximately 4 to 6 hours.

Once chilled, process in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Serve as is for soft-serve, or place in an airtight container and put in the freezer for 2 to 4 hours for traditional ice cream

eggnog ice cream

Candy Cane Cookies

Cookie baking with littles during the holidays is a must do.

Candy Cane Cookies

I am not the most patient person with my little in the kitchen. He is so very independent and eager. I really need to learn to just chill out and let him make a mess.

For Christmas this year I thought candy cane cookies would be a easy cookie for him to help with. The dough came together quickly shortly after breakfast. I put it in the fridge with promises of making cookies as soon as Little got up from nap. He was so very excited.

Candy Cane Cookies

Sure enough when he got up one of the very first things he asked for was cookie making. Apron on, kitchen stand positioned, and dad at his side they mostly ate dough and attempted to roll out some cookies.

He had an absolute blast. They played for a good 15-20 minutes before Little got bored. Nathan then took him outside while I actually cranked out the rest of the cookies. Still, such wonderful memories made that day.

Candy Cane Cookies

I actually remember trying to make candy cane cookies when I was younger (I think I made them on my own) and they didn’t turn out. The dough was too hard, it took to long to roll them all out, they just crumbled in my hands, etc etc etc. So many issues. This time however they came out perfect. And delicious.

Candy Cane Cookies

Do you bake cookies around the holidays? What are your favorites?

Candy Cane Cookies

One year ago today: Gingerbread house

Candy Cane Cookies (makes about 2 1/2 dozen)
From Betty Crocker 

1 cup sugar
1 cup butter softened
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 egg
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red food color

Stir together 1 cup sugar, the butter, milk, vanilla, peppermint extract and egg in large bowl. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Divide dough in half. Stir food color into 1 half. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 375ºF. For each candy cane, shape 1 rounded teaspoon dough from each half into 4-inch rope by rolling back and forth on floured surface. Place 1 red and white rope side by side; press together lightly and twist. Place on ungreased cookie sheet; curve top of cookie down to form handle of cane. Bake 9 to 12 minutes or until set and very light brown. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Candy Cane Cookies

Cranberry Orange Crinkle Cookies

Do you gift holiday cookies?

Participate in a holiday cookie exchange?

Cranberry Orange Crinkle cookies

Ruin all your co-workers good eating habits by tempting them with lovely treats?

Or just generally want to fatten up everyone around you so they don’t notice your extra pounds?

Cranberry Orange Crinkle cookies

If so, then these totally fit the bill.

For some odd reason I have never made crinkle cookies. I think at their most basic level they are just sugar cookies rolled in powdered sugar before baking. Or maybe just pure awesomeness. One or the other for sure.

Cranberry Orange Crinkle cookies

Cranberry and citrus has been on here three times now. As rolls, as muffins, and as bars. I think the combination in cookies might quite possibly be my favorite.

These are destined for a Christmas party tomorrow. The very best kind of Christmas party. One where we have soup for dinner and everyone brings a delicious dessert to share. Soup means there is more room to shove all kinds of sweets and goodies in my tummy.

I can’t wait.

Cranberry Orange Crinkle cookies

One year ago today: Banana Bread

Cranberry Orange Crinkle Cookies (makes about 3 dozen)
From Lauren’s Latest 

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 whole eggs
Zest of 1 navel orange
2 Tablespoons orange juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped fresh cranberries
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease light colored baking sheets with non stick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Whip in vanilla, egg, orange zest and juice. Stir in all dry ingredients,  excluding the powdered sugar, until just combined. Stir in chopped cranberries. Pour powdered sugar onto a large plate. Roll about 2 teaspoons of dough into a ball, then roll in the powdered sugar. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough.

Bake for 9-11 minutes or until bottoms begin to barely brown and cookies look matte (not melty or shiny). Remove from oven and cool cookies about 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Cranberry Orange Crinkle cookies


Homemade Marshmallows

These have been a long time coming.

Homemade marshmallows

I got on a marshmallow kick eons ago. I have this absurd love for baking deliciousness to enter into our local county fair. I noticed there was a marshmallow category and couldn’t resist. I made vanilla and strawberry ones leading up to the fair then made the grave mistake of making a new (never tested) chocolate batch to enter.

They never set up. It was also blistering hot in August so that didn’t help much at all. I did get a ribbon but I think it was for the lack of entries in that category more than the quality of my candies.

Homemade marshmallows

The chocolate marshmallows were so incredibly delicious despite how soft they were. They tasted like hot cocoa all by themselves (mental note: go find that recipe…)

However, given the awful cold snap we have been having around here these past few days, homemade marshmallows to go in our homemade hot cocoa were completely in order.

Homemade marshmallows

How do you feel about candy making? There is very little candy making I actually embark in. Marshmallows and caramels are about where I draw the line. it is incredibly intimidating to me. My dad loves divinity so I might attempt that this year? Who knows. Marshmallows however are quite easy.

Homemade marshmallows

And how can you resist this little marshmallow fiend?

He was totally over the moon. He is reaching that super exciting/maddening age where he wants to help with E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. ” I do it myself mama” is uttered about every other minute around here. Mercifully he was entertained while I was making these but he was quick to the kitchen as I was finishing up. “I need a taaaaaaaaste.” And I obliged. Maybe three times. I plead the fifth.

Homemade marshmallows

This recipe makes a great big batch and if you cut them up small you wind up with lots and lots. I think these would make sweet presents tucked into a basket of Christmas goodies.

Or just eat them out of hand. Like we have been doing a lot of.

Homemade marshmallows

Don’t judge.

Homemade marshmallows

One year ago today: Sugar cookies

Homemade Marshmallows (makes 1 9×13 pan)
From Food Network

3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup ice cold water, divided
12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Nonstick spray

Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.

In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.

Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans.

Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 9×13 baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.

When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a well oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners’ sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Homemade marshmallows


Chocolate Layer Cake with Cream Cheese

Do you enjoy reading?

I do. So very much so. When Little was first born I read through more books than I can remember while nursing with one arm and reading on my Kindle with the other.

I have fallen out of the habit. Since Little became more mobile I have seemingly lost my ability to concentrate for more than 10 minutes at a time. Even when he is bed I struggle to stay focused on a book however engaging.

Chocolate cake with a cream cheese frosting

Till this past week.

I have a sweet dear friend whom I love to pieces. She is beautiful outside and in and so very very ambitious. Do you know what she did? SHE WROTE A BOOK. An honest to goodness novel. And a spectacular one at that.

I tore through the book. For someone with little to no down time finishing a book in under a week is kinda a big deal. I think it took me 5 days. Once you hit chapter 25/26 you are toast till the end. I am warning you.

Brooke is like family to me. She is so terribly talented in to many arenas. She and her husband had a lovely sweet baby girl about four months before we had Little. Truly my kindred spirit.

Chocolate cake with a cream cheese frosting

We often joke that we need to be sisterwives. Half the time I am not joking. Half the time I am sure she isn’t either. Maybe more.

This weekend I was honored to make this lovely cake for her book release party. Did I mention she WROTE A NOVEL? And what a lovely evening it was. She made the most tempting appetizers and delicious dinner. We all got to mingle and talk about how amazingly awesome she is and how awesome her book is.

Which is all so very very true.

Chocolate cake with a cream cheese frosting

The book is titled Marked by Glory and is the  tale of Amy Masters. Born of noble blood and completely unaware of the fact, she is swiftly thrust into the world of the supernatural when a pair of late night intruders forcibly tattoo her birthright on her. It is a story of love, loss, battle, and destiny. A wickedly good read.

So you know what? I want you to read her book. Partly because I am beyond proud of her and partly because it is just so good.

Shameless promotion but you can buy it here on Amazon or here on Barnes and Noble.

I am offering you the chance to WIN a copy. I should preface that it is currently in ebook format so I will send it to your Kindle or Nook (you can get an app for free if you have a smart phone). If you are technologically challenged and patient and you want a physical copy and you win we can wait till it is in print in about a month and I will mail you a copy.

So… comment on this post and tell me what your favorite book is. All comments made by midnight Nov 21st, 2013 will be entered into a drawing for a copy of this fabulous book. One entry per person for commenting. You can get a second entry if you share this post on facebook and then come back here AND comment that you shared the post.

And yes. I made a cake. It was delicious. And pretty.

But seriously just go read the book.

Chocolate cake with a cream cheese frosting

One year ago today:Pumpkin Crème Candies

Chocolate Layer Cake with Cream Cheese
From Key Ingredient

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup boiling water

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup cream cheese
3/4 cup butter
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
6 cups powdered sugar

Chocolate Buttercream
1/2 cup butter (4 ounces)
3/4 cups cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup + 1-2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat three 8-inch cake pans butter. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until everything is thoroughly incorporated. Stir in the boiling water; the batter will be very thin.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cake pans (a scale works great for this). Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each layer comes out clean. Cool the layers in the pans for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Wrap each layer in plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Make the cream cheese filling and chocolate buttercream (see recipes below). When you’re ready to assemble the cake, remove the layers from the refrigerator. If needed, level each layer with a serrated knife or cake leveler.

Place the bottom layer on a cake plate. Evenly spread about 3/4 cup of the cream cheese filling over the cake, leaving about 1/2 inch margin around the edges. Top with the second layer and repeat. Finally, top with the third layer. Apply a thin layer of chocolate buttercream over the top and sides of the cake. This is only a crumb coat, so it doesn’t need to be perfect. Refrigerate the cake for about 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and apply a final layer of chocolate buttercream, as well as any desired embellishments.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer at medium speed for about one minute. Add the vanilla and beat one minute more. Reduce the mixing speed to low, and add the powdered sugar about 1/2 cup at a time. Once the sugar is completely incorporated, beat at medium speed for about two minutes or until fluffy.

Chocolate Buttercream
In a large bowl, combine the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Beat the butter with an electric mixer at medium speed for about one minute. Reduce the mixing speed to low, and add the sugar/cocoa mixture about 1/2 cup at a time. Halfway through this process, add the milk and vanilla. Once all of the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated, beat at medium speed for about two minutes or until fluffy.

Chocolate cake with a cream cheese frosting