TWD – Swedish Visiting Cake

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I wish Swedes would visit me more often.

Because this cake is AWESOME! Honestly, it doesn’t get any simpler OR delicious. Or moist. Or fluffy. Or nutty. Or sweet. Or perfect. I love you Swedish Visiting Cake. You are the apple of my eye.

Speaking of Apples, there’s an apple version of this very cake. And WHOOOO loves baked apples? *shoots both hands straight up into the air* (Look for this recipe a liiiiittle later today. Gotta get it photographed.)

So guess who HAAAD (‘could’ was not an option) to make BOTH versions? *points to self* Do I get some sort of prize for going above-and-beyond the call of duty? Hmmm… how about an extra piece of cake? SOLD!!

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When I say easy, I mean it. The batter comes together in ten minutes, IF EVEN THAT! You melt some butter, stir some stuff together and dump it in a buttered cast iron skillet. Stick it in the oven and 25 minutes later, you have a glorious cake to serve to your favorite Swedes. Or before you share, run to the office kitchen and eat (read: wolf down) two pieces just to make sure you don’t feel deprived.

Not that I’d know anything about that. *Ahem*

This was gobbled up by my coworkers, my fiance’s coworkers, and yours truly :)

Thank you Nancy, for choosing this deliciously simply cake. I NEVER would have chosen to make this on my own. So, for that… I thank you! You have blessed me with a wicked easy go-to cake and you didn’t even know I needed one ;)

Head on over to Nancy’s blog, The Dogs Eat the Crumbs (which sounds all too much like MY puppy) for the recipe, some great humor, wonderful pictures and lots of helpful-ness. And JUUUUUUST in case you were in doubt about how awesome this cake is, you can check out the P&Q section (filled with mmmm’s and ahhhh’s) or check out the other TWD bakers.

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Up next week: Sweet Cream Biscuits on page 23. (Already made, just need to photograph. Man!! I’m on a ROLL! HA! Roll….. get it?)

TWD – Cafe Volcano Cookies

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I promise you that I have never photographed anything as ugly as this. I mean these are uuuuuuugly.  Then again, I don’t think I’ve ever MADE anything as ugly as this.

I mean, suuuure cakes have fallen. Bundt cakes exploded (don’t ask). Soggy cheesecakes. Burnt-beyond-recognition cookies.

But this, this is in a class of its own.

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They look like… like…. gosh I can hardly bring myself to type it and send it out into cyberspace. Fecal matter. There, I said it. And I will never say it again. Scout’s honor.

They taste, well… they weren’t MY favorite (least favorite Dorie recipe actually) but my nutty lovin’ mom liked em so they couldn’t have been THAT bad.

I think it would be fun to get pictures from all my readers of all the things gone awry in their kitchens. I see far too many perfectly photographed pictures of food and IIII knoooow that I’m not the only one in the kitchen who has those flops. These cookies gave me an idea for a monthly (or heck even weekly) spot on my blog: Ugliest Baked Goods Contest. There are no prizes (yet?) except for the satisfaction that you are not alone in this. SO, if you’re interested in being showcased for a few laughs (I’ll be posting mine as well) send me an email (flamegoddess65@aol.com) with a picture or however many you deem necessary. How often I post depends on how many pictures I get. :) Bake on and photograph those flops!!

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Visit The Lonely Sidecar for the recipe and a cute post about her tie to these cookies.

Not that you WANT to see, but more pics are here.

SMS – Butter Toffee… Er…. Crunch

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A very wise woman once said to me “You really get like 30 seconds between undercooked and burned with candy.” Which made me question WHYYY I had to be just two seconds early to the party?

Party, being crunchy toffee. As I’m sure you’ve already gathered.

That’s right, another oopsy in my kitchen. That’s what I get for casting a magic spell on my meat thermometer and trying to turn it into a candy thermometer. WHICH, in my defense, I’m sure would have worked out just fine….. IF the temperature didn’t stop at 190 degrees. *thud* Way to do my homework.

BUT, I WILL be making this again. Without a doubt. Why? Well, regardless of the aforementioned and lask-luster crunch (it was somewhat soft to the bite) the flavor was PHENOMENAL!!

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The fiance even liked it. Is this thing on? *taps microphone* THE FIANCE LIKED IT!! This….. is huge people. One for the books.

I halved the recipe and it yielded about 3/4 of a standard cookie sheet and changed nothing else. It was my first time, I wanted to play it safe.

My favorite part of making this was chopping away at my 10 lb bar of Guittard chocolate and the amazement that followed due to the chocolate slivers melting as SOON as they touched my hands. I really should get a picture of this next time.

“I’m the chocolate monster. Arraarrrr grrrr…” *wiggles fingers childishly*

Ok. I’m done. Scout’s honor.

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You want this recipe. Trust me. Visit Kaitlin at Kait’s Plate.

TWD – Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart

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Oh boy, do I love food porn.

Fellow foodies know EXACTLY what I’m talking about, but for those of you raising your eyebrow and shielding your eyes…. “food porn” isn’t something sexually explicit. It’s simply wonderfully photographed pictures of food that are drool inspiring. Food that is shot so up close and personal that it gives you that Neanderthal reflex to want to grab it from the screen and run home with it, sharing with no one!

Food can be sexy, glamorous, supple… and any true food photographer knows that, and will abuse it to make you swoon. Or blush ;)

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What does this have to do with this week’s post, you ask? This tart is a PERFECT example of an ideal pupil for a food porn shot.

The crumbly, buttery-sweet shortbread tart dough laying beneath a salty, nutty-crunchy, amber caramel topped with soft, velvety smooth, rich, dark chocolate ganache that gives way to the mere pressure of the fork that begs to violate its perfection. See what I mean?

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Sleek and seductive.

This tart was easy to throw together (minus the fact that I burned the heavy cream the first time, oops). The crust came together in a snap and is DELIGHTFUL (I’m a crust gal so that was my favorite part). I let the caramel reach a DEEP amber color and I used chopped almonds instead of the suggested honey roasted peanuts (I skipped toasting them with honey to save time, but I’ll try this next time) and the ganache couldn’t have been simpler. I left it in the fridge overnight and its still amazing!! This is definitely a show-stopper.

Thank you Carla for choosing this great tart!! Visit Carla at Chocolate Moosey for the recipe.

SMS – Truffles (4 different ways)

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When I bake from a recipe I usually don’t take much creative license. I’m just too afraid that if I substitute anything or remove something that the concoction will just blow up in my face like a chemistry experiment gone awry.

But this has been bothering me a bit and I decided that I should just take the bull by the horns. I wanted to get creative! I wanted to take a written recipe and make it my own!

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Forget baby steps. Psh, try leaps and bounds!! Ok, maybe its just leaps and bounds to ME but this took some creativity on my part and I think I fared quite well!! I took the base truffle recipe (made 1-1/2 times the recipe and separated into 4 batches) and nipped, tucked, sploshed, and rolled until I ended up with 4 different, tasty variations of these delightful truffles.

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First up is the Almond truffle. I substituted chopped toasted almonds for the hazelnuts (mainly because I couldn’t find them) and almond extract for the hazelnut liquor and I rolled them in cocoa powder.

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For the second variation I  added the zest of 1 orange and rolled it in chopped chocolate bits.

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For the third variation I added Bailey’s Irish Cream liquor and rolled them chopped almonds.

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For the last variation I added peppermint extract and rolled them in chopped white chocolate. I think I’ll be making these around Christmas. How cute would they be boxed and tied with a big red bow?

It says that these are best served room temperature but I find that they are on the mushy side so I prefer them chilled.

For the original recipe you can visit Annie from Living Life Foodcariously.

For more pics of these lovely truffles, click here.