Monday, June 18, 2012

Sock It To Me Cake

Have you ever heard of The Cake Mix Doctor cookbooks?  Anne Byrn has a series of cookbooks which are fabulous for quick baking.  You begin with a store bought cake mix, then "doctor them up" with added ingredients!  The results are always amazing, and with most of the recipes, the efforts are minimal.

For Father's Day yesterday I made this coffee cake to bring to Sunday School.  Yummy!!

Below is the recipe and directions, taken word for word from The Cake Mix Doctor cookbook.  Thank you, Anne Byrn, for sharing your talents with us!

Sock It To Me Cake

1 package (18.25 ounces) plain yellow cake mix
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup fined chopped pecans
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup vegetable oil, such as canola, corn, safflower, soybean, or sunflower
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons milk

1.  Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly mist a 10 inch tube pan with vegetable oil spray, then dust with flour.  Shake out the excess flour.  Set aside the pan.

2.  For the filling, place 2 tablespoons cake mix, the brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans in a small mixing bowl and stir until well combined.  Set the bowl aside.

3.  Place the remaining cake mix, the sour cream, oil, water, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.  Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute.  Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping the sides down again if needed.  The batter should look thick and smooth.  Pour half of the batter evenly into the prepared pan, smoothing it out with the rubber spatula.  Sprinkle the filling evenly over the batter in the pan.  Spoon the remaining batter evenly over the filling, smoothing it out with the rubber spatula.  Place the pan in the oven. 

4.  Bake the cake until it is golden brown and springs back when lightly pressed with your finger, 50 to 55 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool for 20 minute.  Run a long, sharp knife around the edge of the cake and invert it onto a rack, then invert it again onto another rack so that the cake stands right side up.  Allow it to cool completely, 30 minutes more.

5.  For the glaze, place the confectioners' sugar and milk in a small mixing bowl and stir until smooth.  Place the cooled cake on a serving platter and spoon the glaze over the top of the cake.  Slice and serve.

Double Nut Not-So-Brittle

This adorably-named recipe comes from a friend of mine, and it is truly amazing!  Several years ago my friend shared this recipe, saying she was making it for all the men in her life (haha) for Father's Day.   While the original recipe calls for peanuts, I have made it multiple times with cashews, and also with a can of mixed nuts.  It's delicious! 

This year, I made some for my husband for Father's Day, too!  Of course he loved it......and we were happy he shared. 

What's so unique about this recipe is that the brittle is made in the microwave!  There's no need for a candy thermometer for this recipe.  Therefore, no need to feel intimidated about making candy!

A word of advice.  Learn from my mistake.  Do not double this recipe!  I tried doubling it this time around, didn't get the time right in the microwave, and ended up with chewy brittle.  Not so good.  (I made it again.....!)   If you want a double batch, just make it twice.  It really is a quick recipe to make, so no biggie!!!

Here's the recipe! 

Double Nut Not-So-Brittle

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4  teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
 1 1/2 cups lightly salted nuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray.  Set aside.

In a 2 quart glass measuring cup stir together sugar, corn syrup, and salt.  Microwave on high for 4 minutes.

Stir in butter and nuts, and microwave for 4 1/2 minutes.  The mixture should be thick, bubbly, and pale brown.  It will be very hot!!

Stir in vanilla and baking soda.  It will bubble up and then deflate.  Immediately pour onto prepared cookie sheets and spread it as flat and een as possible.  Tapping the cookie sheet on the counter helps.  Let stand for about 20 to 30 minutes and then break into pieces.   (Dropping the cookie sheet from a few inches above the counter works well!)  Store in an airtight container.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Cranberry Bliss Bars

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar  
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon ground ginger
Zest from one orange, divided
3/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries
3/4 cup white chocolate chips

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
Splash of milk

½ cup dried sweetened cranberries
½  cup white chocolate chips
Orange zest, reserved from bars

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees .  Butter and flour a 9 x 13 baking dish.

 With an electric mixer, beat together softened butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar for  3-5 minutes until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, vanilla, and orange zest.  (Reserve a pinch of the orange zest for the topping.)   Add the flour, baking powder, and ginger and beat just until dry ingredients are incorporated.   Fold in cranberries and white chocolate chips.

Spread the thick batter into your prepared pan. Bake 350 for 23-26 minutes until light brown at the edges. Don't overbake!  Cool completely.

For the frosting,  blend cream cheese and butter until fluffy.  Add vanilla and powdered  sugar and beat until fluffy.  Add a splash of milk if needed.  Spread evenly over bars.

Sprinkle cranberries, chocolate chips, and reserved orange zest over bars.   Cut into squares.  Gobble up.

*Original recipe is from Starbucks.  I've adapted copycat recipes from several I've seen online.*

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Butterfly Cookies

I made four dozen of these beauties for a wedding cookie table!  I love the swirly colors.

For some reason I do not understand, my purple royal icing dried with pits in it.  I have not a clue as to why, since I'd made just one large batch of royal icing and mixed all the colors from it?!?   The cookies still look beautiful!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

TWD: Oasis Naan

I've never eaten naan before, and have certainly never baked it before.  Needless to say, I was a bit nervous about this week's Tuesdays With Dorie recipe.  Once I read over the recipe, however, I realized it isn't a complicated recipe at all.  I approached Baking Day with confidence!

You begin by making a simple yeast dough with flour, yeast, and salt.  After rising, form the dough into eight flat rounds.

The dough is soft and so easy to work with.   Sprinkle each circle with water and prick all over with a fork, leaving a 1-2 inch edge.  Sprinkle with coarse salt and scallions (or sesame seeds as I did).  The recipe also suggested cumin or caraway seeds, but I had neither.

The naan is baked at a very high temperature--500 degrees--for 6 to 8 minutes, though mine took almost double that time.  (Admittedly, my naan was not rolled as thin as they suggested in the recipe.)  Traditionally, naan is baked on hot quarry tiles or stones.  While I do have several baking stones, I grabbed my thinnest baking sheet, hoping it would help in baking these more quickly.

Once the naan came out of the oven, I could hardly wait to rip into one and taste.  The texture is chewy like a bagel, but also reminds me of a soft pretzel.  The salt and sesame seeds on top give a wonderful taste!

My whole family enjoyed this recipe, and I'll definitely make these again!  My photographs make the naan appear very pale, but in actuality, they were a nice golden brown.  :)

Today's TWD hosts are Maggie of Always Add More Butter and Phyl of Of Cabbages and King Cakes.  Please visit their blogs for the complete recipe for Oasis Naan!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Pecan Sticky Bun Muffins

I made some of these delicious muffins to sell at our yard sale this weekend!   While they're no substitute for real sticky buns made with yeast, they're quite delicious for a quick treat, especially when craving cinnamon rolls!

I adapted a recipe I found on a blog called A Feast For The Eyes.  (Go take a look---such beautiful pictures and delicious recipes!) 

Pecan Sticky Bun Muffins


1 cup buttermilk
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 to 3 ½ cups flour


1 stick softened butter
½ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans


2 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons milk (enough to make a pourable icing)

In a stand mixer (or by hand), mix the brown sugar, egg, vanilla and buttermilk until combined.  (I actually buy the buttermilk powder, found in the baking aisle at the grocery store, and reconstitute it per the package directions.  It keeps well in the fridge!)  Add the flour and mix on low, just until blended.  Allow the dough to “rest” for a few minutes while you prepare the filling.   In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts.  Lightly flour your work surface, and turn dough out.  Roll the dough into a 12-inch by 24-inch rectangle. Spread evenly, with butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar mixture. Roll the dough into a log, beginning at the wide side. Pinch the bottom seam together.  Cut into two-inch pieces and put the pieces into greased muffin tins. Bake at 350°F for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes and then remove them from the muffin tins.While cooling, prepare icing.  In a small bowl, stir together powdered sugar and milk.  Pour over muffins.  Gobble up while warm, or allow to cool before storing in an airtight container.   Recipe makes 1 dozen cinnamon roll muffins.