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?)

TWD – Mocha-Walnut Marbled Bundt Cake

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Me and marble cakes have a love/hate relationship.

I love ‘em. They hate me.

It seems that I’m either over-zealous when it comes to swirling the dough and then there’s no pretty swirly-ness, just… mess. Or I’m careful and I barely touch the dough when swirling…. the result? Just mess. *sigh* I will master you one day, marble cakes. mark. my. words. *insert dark ominous tones here*

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I alternated the chocolate/mocha and vanilla/walnut doughs and then stabbed the knife in, gave it one swirl and left it alone. I must admit that this is the most definitive marbling I’ve ever achieved, so I am a bit proud of myself. Next time, I won’t alternate the doughs and swirl once and see what I come up with!

Either way, this was fun and exciting and it was liked extremely well by the fiance’s co-workers. It prompted two of them to say “I wish my wife/girlfriend baked like this.” That’s the male equivalent of a compliment just in case you were befuddled there for a second :)

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A big thanks goes out to Erin of When in Doubt… Leave it at 350 for choosing this one! Not only was it a hit, it was fun!! Head on over to her blog for the recipe. Then click here for some tips and pointers. Then click here for other bakers who baked this as well :)

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Coming up next Tuesday: Swedish Visiting Cake on page 197

TWD – Coconut Tea Cake

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I’ll go ahead and keep this short in hopes that I’ll save some time and get some other posts typed up because I have some pretty yummy stuff waiting in the wings :)

This cake isn’t exactly my cup of tea, mainly because the texture throws me off. It might be my fault and I could have over-baked it (although I baked mine ten mins less than the lesser time) and it seemed to teeter between moist and dry.

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The coconut flavor wasn’t as prominent as I thought it was supposed to be and the rum was a wasted liquid. Maybe my rum just sucks? But I didn’t taste it. At. All. Don’t get me wrong, this is a tasty cake. My co-workers seemed to like it and I sent 95% of this cake to work with the fiance and he said that “it went very fast and was liked very much.”

All in all it came together quickly and baked up pretty. Dust with a bit of confectioners sugar, serve alongside a cup of your favorite tea and you’re in business.

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Thanks to Carmen of Carmen Cooks for choosing this recipe and getting some of my coconut out of the freezer :) Her blog is set to private, but you can find the recipe here!

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Up next week: Mocha-Walnut Marbled Bundt Cake

TWD – Soft Chocolate and Raspberry Tart

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When I read that this was the next recipe in line for TWD, all I could think was “OMGdrool!” Literally.

Raspberries and dark chocolate are my kryptonite. Along with s’mores, baked cinnamon apples, orange + dark chocolate, the fiance’s smile, and the sleepy look in my puppy’s eyes when he wakes from his nap. But that’s fodder for another day.

I almost scrapped making this tart because raspberries are a whopping $3.75 for one little pack!! Which is crazy talk to me. BUT the fiance saved the day and came home with TWO packs just for me :)

I didn’t change a darn thing about this recipe (except adding more raspberries). The tart dough came together in a flash, I microwaved the chocolate to save on dishes, time and burns (don’t ask). Whipped everything together and in the oven it went. Mine baked for 45 mins (15 mins more than the recipe suggested) it was still a bit jiggly but I was afraid to bake it any longer so out it came, onto the counter overnight to come to room temp.

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Upon walking in the door with this tart in my hands, I was promptly asked to QUICKLY take pictures so my co-workers can dig in. Mmmm-nom-nom-omg-mmmm’s filled the office. Then I was told “this tart is trouble. I’m going to pack it up and take it home with me!”

This tart is nothing short of a hit. It has a buttery, shortbread-like crust, creeeeamy dreamy chocolate filling dotted with plenty of tart raspberries in each bite. I baked this quite late last night so I didn’t have much time (read: tired) to think up extra ways to bring it up a few notches for elegance, but I have plenty ideas now:

  • Add finely chopped nuts (honey roasted peanuts, hazelnuts)
  • Make a raspberry coulis and decorate the plate with it before setting a slice of tart down on top of it
  • Make a thick rasbberry glaze and spread it on top and let it set
  • Drizzle melted dark chocolate on top in decorative patterns
  • Sprinkle shaved chocolate on top
  • Adorn with whipped cream
  • Click here for other ideas, etc.

So have at it and serve this at your next elegant soiree :)

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A big thanks goes out to Rachelle of Mommy? I’m Hungry! for choosing this deliiiicious recipe. Head on over to her blog for the recipe (trust me, you’ll want it) and check in on the other TWDers for their wonderful creations!