TWD – Chewy, Chunky Blondies

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AKA: “What’s a blondie?”
AKA: the holy grail of all things loaded!!

These have everything from nuts to shredded coconut to chocolate chips and even butterscotch chips in them. And a few glugs of bourbon may or may not have found its way into this blondie. I am not available for comment.

Ahem. BOY, were these good! I have 2 handfuls of people who enjoyed them rather thoroughly. And NOOOO it wasn’t because they were boozy. My friends have more class and dignity than that. Or so they lead me to believe.

But it didn’t seem like anyone really knew what a blondie WAS! I always thought that it was a vanilla version of a brownie. Blondie, brownie… it makes sense to me! But everyone was in agreement that it was more of a cross between a brownie and a chocolate chip cookie. Who am I to argue semantics with a handful of boozy friends that were praising my treats? I’m not above that.

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As far as prep work goes, there’s a lot of chopping involved (unless you don’t mind hauling out the food processor) but once everything is chopped and ready to go, these are thrown together quite easily. I made these and my go-to brownies (I’ll get the recipe up… eventually) in the same afternoon. They did take a bit longer for them to bake up, probably because of the glugs of bourbon that may or may not have been in the dough, which gave them a more solid, crunchy-esque top rather than the crakled, brownie like tops I imagined seeing.

Overall, I think these were a hit. I enjoyed them as did everyone else. That deserves a repeat in my book :)

Please disregard my alien looking, freakishly orange butterscotch chips. I promise they didn’t look like that the night I made them!

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A big thanks goes out to Nicole of Cookies on Friday for choosing this recipe. Head on over to her blog for the recipe, its a good’n!

TWD – Lots of Ways Banana Cake (sorta)

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When a recipe tells me that there’s ‘lots of ways’ to make one certain recipe… I’m totally on board. You see, I used to be afraid of making my own nips and tucks to recipes for the fear that whatever-it-was-to-be wouldn’t turn out. I never took any creative opportunities. I was a weenie.

Well, I’ve been baking for a while and making substitutions and changing things around don’t irk me as they used to. I welcome the creative opportunities!

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*The natural light makes my heart smile*

So I can make this cake and choose to use buttermilk instead of coconut milk. I can choose to throw in the rum (hey, boozy = better). I can choose to use semi-ripe bananas (because that’s what I had, ha). I can choose to completely skip the coconut and dried fruit and throw in an ungodly amount of mini chocolate chips. I can choose to bake these up in 6 mini cakes and a sorry excuse for a bundt cake. I can choose to skip the frosting all together. But daydream about a silky ganache to top the next bundt I make out of this recipe.

And that I did. All of it. I’m a rebel ;)

This cake is really delicious!! Its super moist and tastes like your very own little slice of banana (and chocolate, in my case) heaven. I half expected the nutmeg to be a bit overpowering but I was surprised that it was merely an afterthought of each bite.

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I can only imagine what it would taste like with coconut rum, toasted coconut and dried pineapples (or even crushed fresh pineapple!), coconut rum glaze sprinkled with more toasted coconut. Oh my, I think I have inspiration for the next time I bake this cake. Oh yes, there will be a next time :)

A big thanks goes out to Kimberly of Only Creative Opportunities for choosing this recipe. I think she secretly knew that I loved banana cakes/breads. Head on over to her blog for the recipe!

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Up next week: Chewy Chunky Blondies. Oh these were a HIT!!

TWD – Brrrr-ownies

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I should probably title these ‘The Bane of My Existence’ brownies.

Mainly because I can’t stop eating them.

I would eat them in a box. And I would eat them with a fox. And I will eat them in a house. And I will eat them with a mouse. And I will eat them here and there…

Well, clearly you see where this is going. And I ASSURE you that I am not the only one who feels this way.

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I usually have a LOT of trouble finding a brownie that is all around perfect and suitable to my tastes. Sure, my brownies have more than pleased many other taste testers… but let’s stick to what’s REALLY important here. ;)

I made these a while back with my sissy in a 9×9 pan with peppermint extract because we didn’t have the candies and they were thin and fudgy delights. See?

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I made them this second time around because, well… why not? And I had the candy this time, baked in an 8×8 pan. And…

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These are phenomenal. They are the perfect balance of dense, fudgy, crackly-topped minty studded goodness you will ever find in one brownie.

Or five. But who’s counting?

Thanks to Karen of Welcome to our Crazy Blessed Life for choosing these delights and giving me a go-to brownie recipe! Head on over to her blog for the recipe!!

Up next week: Lot’s of Ways of Banana Cake. I am totally adding mini chocolate chips to this. Or giant chocolate chunks. Or both. I’m a maniac, I know!

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TWD Two-Fer – Rum Drenched Vanilla Cakes and Tarte Noire

Paying catch up is always fun :)

Rum Drenched Vanilla Cakes
Chosen by Wendy of Pink Stripes, head HERE for the recipe.

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These were a breeze to make and smelled divine! I was FINALLY able to use my small heart cakelette pan. I halved the recipe and it was the perfect amount for 6 small cakes. Perfectly adorable and easily sharable. Although I did halve the cake recipe, I didn’t halve the rum syrup. They came out moist and boozy with a tight crumb and a delightful vanilla aroma and flavor. Did I mention boozy? Dorie would be proud ;)

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Check out all the other boozy creations HERE.

Tarte Noire
Chosen by Dharmagirl of bliss: towards a delicious life. Click HERE for the recipe, you’ll want it x10!

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I can’t do this tarte enough justice. I can sit here and wax poetic how Dorie’s ganache tartes are JUST AMAZING, but it just wouldn’t really come out and grab you.

So instead I’ll tell you that this is quite literally the closest you’ll get to nirvana. To heaven. To a Parisian terrace without the plane ride. To pure, unadultered bliss. Its ALL of it. Wrapped into one lovely, glossy, addictive tarte.

Seriously, proceed with caution. This tarte comes with its own disclaimer. Crumbly buttery chocolate shortbread crust filled with a creamy dreamy bittersweet chocolate ganache? Someone call the gluttony police. Wait, do they even exist? They probably should…

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I went for the Chocolate shortbread tarte crust to keep with the ‘noire’ theme. I didn’t save a bit of the dough to patch and cracks (the ONE AND ONLY TIME I didn’t, ugh) and OF COURSE my crust looked like an earthquake ravaged by oven. But thanks to my genius of a fiancé, he suggested that I just melt some chocolate and spread a thin layer over the crust to seal the holes and just freeze it before pouring in the ganache. GENIUS!! Problem: deliciously fixed! I melted, slathered, froze, poured and chilled. It sounds like a lot… but this tarte was seriously a total of mayyybe 10 mins hands-on time.

You’ll get more hands-to-mouth time that’ll make you forget aaaall about those measly 10 mins of prep time. Pah, 10 mins is NOTHING when you get this as a reward for all your efforts.

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Next time I might substitute some Kahlua for the heavy cream. Cus it’s good. And I’m boozy like that.

Did I ever mention that ‘boozy’ is one of my all time favorite words to say? Boozy. Say it with the best British accent you can muster. I’ll wait….

Fun, N’est pas?!

Up next week: Brrrr-ownies. These are goooooood. So good.

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TWD – Tender Shortcakes

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Did I mention that I’ve never had a strawberry shortcake the REAL way? Its true! The only way I’ve ever had it was with those spongy, rather disgusting ‘angel food cake’ cups piled high with berries and whipped cream.

Boy have I been missing out!!

Shortcakes are really supposed to be made with a tender biscuit in place of that angel food mass which provides a COMPLETELY different texture, flavor, and structure to the shortcake.

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Don’t be put off by the fact that I say ‘biscuit.’ It is nothing like the biscuit that you spoon sausage gravy on top of or the kind you eat with bacon and eggs. This is in a class of its own. Tender, soft and pillowy, sweet, crumbly. Sounds good?

Take it a step further: add juicy strawberries. Or raspberries. Or blackberries. Or peaches. Or sautéed cinnamon apples. Or sautéed brown sugar pineapples. Or any insane combination of anything that you deem necessary to satisfy your tummy. (I went with the traditional strawberries and my second variation was sautéed cinnamon apples. Obviously.)

And then, go for the jugular (are you ready for this?)… homemade sweetened whipped cream. Piled dangerously high. That’s right, I said it!!

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Sweetened Whipped Cream Recipe:

2 cups cold heavy cream
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional, can be substituted for any extract or even rum or kahluah, if you’re boozy like that :D )

Directions:

In a large bowl (trust me, you’ll need it) whip cream starting on low speed using a hand-held mixer until you notice a bit of a textural change. Increase the speed bit by bit as the cream gains more and more substance and texture. On medium-high, whip the cream until ALMOST at desired consistency. Add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and whip until satisfied with texture and structure. DO NOT over-whip the cream as it will separate and taking it too far… it can turn into butter :O

Thank you to Cathy of The Tortefeasor for choosing this simple, delicious recipe. You can find the recipe for the shortcakes here. And check out the other bakers who baked along this week. I’m certain you’ll find some great inspiration there :)

Up next week: Raisin Swirl Bread.

TWD – Sweet Cream Biscuits

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If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: biscuits hate me.

They don’t rise or puff up or have that beautiful fluffy texture. No. Not for me. They usually taste good, which is the most important part of baking… but sometimes I would just like to turn out some aesthetically pleasing biscuits. Is one time too much to ask? *sigh* I’ll keep plugging away hoping to find my mistake and one day, ONE DAY I will turn out marvelous, glorious, sky high biscuits. I have faith.

Aside from the aesthetic disappointment, these were the best tasting biscuits I’ve made so far, which made me realize that I like my biscuits on the sweeter side. They came together VERY quickly (no waiting for butter to come to room temperature, few simple ingredients, mix and shape and you’re done) and tasted delicious!

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I hope to master the art of biscuit making and I think I’ll use this recipe as my guinea pig. Cross your fingers for me :)

Thank you to Melissa of Love At First Bite for choosing these yummy biscuits. Head on over to her blog for the recipe and don’t forget to stop by all of the other bakers’ blogs to see how wonderfully puffy their biscuits came out.

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Up next week: Chockablock Cookies (which I have already made and boy, oh boy. Delish!)

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?)