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Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Perfect Combination

It is my personal opinion that God smiled down on the Earth the day that some genius decided to put chocolate and peanut butter together.


It must be the saltiness of the peanut butter mixed with the sweetness of the chocolate--it somehow creates a symphony in my mouth. My taste buds rejoice!

Yesterday, my daughter, Evelyn, and I were invited to go to a scrapbooking get together that's taking place this afternoon. I do not have the patience nor the motivation to scrapbook, but I'm a huge fan of hanging out with other adults (other SAHMs know what I'm talking about).  To me, a get together is a perfect excuse to bake something delicious.

Last night the baby decided to stay up late (which she's been doing a lot of lately), so I didn't have the alone time necessary to bake up something from scratch. So, I made these instead:

That's right!
Q: What's better than regular fudge brownies?
A: DOUBLE fudge brownies!

I know what you're thinking...why was this chick jabbering on and on about chocolate and peanut butter when all she made were lousy brownies out of the box?

Oh ye of little faith...
Q: What's better than double fudge brownies?
A:  How about double fudge brownies with bits of Reese's peanut butter cups in them?!??!?!?


Of course, I simply HAD to taste test them fresh from the oven last night. They were fabulous. All I did was simply use the recipe on the back of the box, cut up the peanut butter cups like they were mini pizzas, and them shoved them into the batter. I only cooked it for 33min (as opposed to the 35min the box suggested) and VOILA!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Who Eats Carrot Cake?

I'll admit, if someone were to ask me what kind of cake I'd like for my birthday, I'd probably respond with, "Nothing fancy. Probably one of those chocolate cake mixes with chocolate frosting."  It clearly doesn't take much to please me. Just throw some chocolate at me and I'm a happy woman.

My husband, on the other hand, decided that he'd like a carrot cake for his birthday. Um, gross? Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against carrot cake other than the fact that it sounds so....healthy. In my world of delectable desserts, carrots and cake do NOT mix.

It wasn't my birthday though. So, carrot cake was on the dessert menu for the night of April 26th.

I began looking for recipes a little while back and found that carrot cake is NOT healthy. The frosting alone contains obscene amounts of cream cheese, butter, and sugar. Luckily, I am a subscriber to Cooking Light. In general, I hardly ever find a recipe worth using in the magazine--it's all a little to fancy-pantsy for me. However, they just so happened to publish a recipe for a carrot cake that reduced the calorie count from nearly 1,100 per slice to about 290 calories per slice. Score!

I made up a list of ingredients, packed up my kid, and headed 15min down the road to our local Wal-Mart (it's one of those super Wal-Marts with a grocery store).

Did I mention that it was the day after Easter? Have I ever mentioned that I'm a sucker for clearance items?

Needless to say, I walked out of Wal-Mart with many items that were most definitely NOT on my grocery list.

Oh, and I forgot to buy the carrots. You read that right. I went shopping for ingredients for carrot cake and walked out of the store WITHOUT the darn carrots.  As it happens, I ended up having a bag of baby carrots stuffed in the back of my vegetable drawer that I decided to use.

Unfortunately, using baby carrots on a grater is not the best idea--as evidenced by this picture:

Forgive my nasty dry hands (I'm obviously in desperate need of a manicure) and just focus on the small scabs on my knuckle. That would be the result of grating short and stubby little baby carrots.

There may or may not have been trace amounts of blood in the cake batter.

In the end, the cake was...ok. Let's recall, I'm not a huge fan in the first place. My husband and his buddies said that it tasted great and everyone cleaned their plates; therefore, I shall deem the carrot cake a success!

[My husband, kid, and the cake!]

Recipe used from Cooking Light April 2011 issue, pg 172

Carrot Cake
  • 10 1/10 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 1/4 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups grated carrot
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • Cooking spray
  • Frosting:
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 ounce fromage blanc (if you can't find fromage blanc, use more cream cheese)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

  • 1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  • 2. To prepare cake, weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, ground cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add 2 cups grated carrot, tossing to combine.
  • 3. Place granulated sugar, brown sugar, and 6 tablespoons butter in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until combined. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Spread batter into a 13 x 9-inch metal baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 28 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake completely on a wire rack.
  • 4. To prepare frosting, place softened cream cheese and next 4 ingredients (through 1/8 teaspoon salt) in a medium bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at medium speed until combined (don't overbeat). Spread frosting evenly over top of cake. Sprinkle evenly with toasted pecans.

The Beginning

I've never been much of a baker. I AM, however, a big fan of eating baked goods. I would often find myself munching away on the delicious treats that co-workers would bring in for various office parties or even swinging by the local bakery after work for one of those GINORMOUS m&m cookies (you know the ones!).

Sadly, I am no longer employed NOR do I live near a halfway decent bakery. It's by choice. Not necessarily MY choice. But, what's done is done. 

You see, I am currently living in Texas. And by Texas I mean the border of Mexico. Seriously. The closest city is three hours away. Why am I in the desert of Texas by choice? Well, I'm trying very hard to be a supportive wife to my husband who is currently fulfilling his dream of being a pilot in the USAF.

So, what's a girl to do when she wants to eat baked goods but has no one to bake them for her? Simple, that girl needs to find a decent recipe website (I'm a huge fan of and start working on her baking skills.

That's what this blog will be about. My forays into the baking world. I will showcase every triumph and every disaster as well as provide you with the recipe so that you can try it out as well--not that you'd want to try out the failures, per se. But, you never know!