Chocolate Chip Pumpkin “Bread”

I have a confession.  I was going to post this today after taking in one loaf into work and letting you know how everyone liked it.  Sadly, I forgot to bring it into the office (facepalm).  Rather than wait another day, I figured I would just go ahead and post it.

I got it out of the King Arthur baking cookbook after eating some my old boss brought into the office a while ago.  I found it online here, too.  I don’t really count this as a bread.  It is more like cake to me, hence the quotes in the title

Ingredients
CPB_Ingredients

“Creaming” the butter and oil.  I am not sure how they get away from telling you to cream oil and sugar.  I guess it would work with shortening, but it does NOT work with oil.  If you decide to use oil, don’t spend too much time trying to cream it.  This is as close as I got and it started to separate soon after the picture was taken.
CPB_CreamFat

Add in all the liquid ingredients.  Well, it didn’t add the vanilla here, but with the dry ingredients.  That REALLY didn’t make sense to me, so I added it here.  I didn’t measure, I never do.  I love vanilla and think if there is extra, it’s a bonus.
This was also the point that I realized I should have used a bigger bowl…..you’lll see.  And, I switched to old school using a whisk.  It really spatters up at you.
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Everything all mixed….see?  Juuuuust fit.  Also, don’t add more than one cup at a time.  It will take forever to mix it all in.
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I forgot to take a picture before baking, but here are the glorious baked loaves.  Oh – see that little salt shaker?  Yea, I forgot to add it.  Don’t do that.  If you do – add some butter after you slice it.  Perfect excuse.
CPB_Baked

I love this recipe, but I always have to make sure that I have a friend to pawn one off on.  I am also taking the other one to work to share.  Can you guess which one went to the friend and the one that went to the office?  😉

Edit to add:  I think this is a record.  The loaf was gone in just about a half hour!!  I think I am going to have to take both loaves with me next time!

Bonus Post! Best ever brownies

I can’t believe I haven’t shared these with you yet!!  Unless I have and I just can’t remember it.  Getting old is a bitch 😉

I found these over on smitten kitchen – one of my favorite sites.  They are so simple to make, it’s kind of imperative that you make them

Ingredients – forgot the eggs of course.  Also, I didn’t have enough regular flour, so I just used cake flour to make up the rest.  I hope it works out ok.
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Melt the chocolate and butter.  Do NOT taste at this point.  Trust me.  It’s bad.  Also, you might want to, I don’t know, chop things up so they aren’t in huge chunks that take forever to melt
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Get the rest of the ingredients ready and chuckle at the ease of it.
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After the chocolate and butter are melted, add in the sugar and mix.  Now taste 😛
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Add in the eggs.  It’s supposed to be one by one, but does anyone actually do that?  I don’t – I get impatient
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Lastly, the flour.  Realize you should have used a bigger bowl, but you couldn’t find it because your mother was just here and put it in some random place.
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Spread into the pan thinking that maybe you should have taken some more time with the parchment paper and bake it for 25-30 minutes.  Go to write the post and realize you didn’t actually take a picture of this step (Facepalm)

Take it out and try not to eat it all at once.  Remember, these are for you to bring to work to apologize for never making the promised cupcakes.
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Try to cut.  Why are cupcakes the most difficult thing to cut??
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Of course, I had to sample it to make sure it tasted ok.  They did.  These really are very good.  They are in the book, now.  I took them to work and they disappeared quickly.  The substitution of the cake flour didn’t do much to change the brownies that I could tell.

Go.  Bake and be merry with chocolate on your fingers 🙂

Unexpected cake

Another recipe from the mix cookbook.  This one is not convincing me about this cookbook.  It’s moving closer to the Goodwill pile.  It was ok, but not what I was expecting.  I didn’t read it close enough and when I saw quick bread, I was expecting a regular loaf of bread.  This was more like coffee cake which used a different mix in the cookbook.  It was kind of like a big sugar cookie.

Ingredients for dry mix (still made half the recipe)
QB_Ingredients

Ok – here is the ingredients all mixed sitting next to my sifter – a normal size sifter.  The full recipe makes like 15 cups.  how exactly does the author expect a normal person to sift through all that??
QB_Mixed

The other problem is this.  This is what happens when you try to sift PACKED brown sugar
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I only sifted half of it, then used my hands to mix it all up and break up the brown sugar.
QB_HalfSifted

Add eggs and oil to 3.5 cups of the mix and get this
QB_Mixed-001

The author says to pour the batter into a pan……really???  Pour??  I checked about 5 times to make sure I added the right liquid amount.  I don’t see how this could ever be poured.

I pushed it in the pan and baked for a little less than an hour.
QB_Poured

It still seemed over done.  At least it rose a little bit.  It was still thin.
QB_Baked QB_Height

Slicing was a little iffy, but that might have been because it was still warm.  I left one slice alone and buttered one.  I let it cool and wrapped it in foil.  Next day?  Hard as a rock.  And can I just comment that 4 cups is NOT an appropriate serving amount for a slicable object??  Let me just crumble it up and put it in a cup 😐
QB_Plated

I still have a bunch of the dry mix left.  I guess I can try making some of the other variations.  I could throw in some raisins and cinnamon.  I really want to make it more like a batter.  Maybe add some milk to it and mix it all up.  I don’t know what it will do, but I want more of a cake texture.  I am not saying that this is bad, but who needs this much sweet bread mix?  Why no regular bread mix?  I really want to look up the brand that is referenced in the book to show the savings difference.

I still want to try the pancake and biscuit mix.  Silly, right?  I don’t know why, I just really want this cookbook to redeem itself.  I don’t know if it will be enough to keep it on the shelf, though.

Birthday Cakes

Today is my birthday.  To celebrate, I made myself some cakes 🙂  I have a cookbook that is filled with dry mix recipes.  This is the first one I tried.  I only made half of the recipe since it makes 8 cups of mix.  4 cups is all that is needed for the cake recipe, so that’s all I did.

Ingredients for the dry mix.
VC_DryMix

Wet ingredients, but only the egg whites are used.  I didn’t read the recipe through and I was actually supposed to whip the egg whites.  I just threw them into the batter with the milk and vanilla.  OOPS!
VC_WetIngredients

Ingredients all mixed up.  You can see it is a fairly thick batter.  I was concerned that the cakes would be like rocks.  I filled the cupcake pan and realized there was a lot left over.  I made a round cake, too.  I didn’t get any pictures of the pre-baked cakes because it didn’t  really look that appetizing……and I forgot about then cake (facepalm)
VC_All_Mixed

Here they are all baked up
VC_BakedVC_Cake

The cupcakes aren’t heavy at all.  I haven’t tried the cake yet, but I really liked the cupcakes.  It was a nice light flavor.  The top was pleasantly crunchy

I made icing from the cookbook, too, but I didn’t like it at all.  It was just like the stuff that I use to ice my sugar cookies.  I didn’t think it would work well on the cupcakes.  I made another recipe from Joy of Cooking instead, but that didn’t really work out instead.  Since I have a pretty good basic cake recipe, I now have a vehicle to test other icing recipes.  I think the mistake I made with the Joy of Cooking cookbook was I didn’t use beaters.  It was melted chocolate, cream and powdered sugar.  I do have a picture of them all frosted, but it looked so bad I decided not to post it.  Nothing like flat icing to destroy a cake picture.  I literally used my fingers and smooshed the icing on.  It didn’t spread very well….to say the least.

I have a few more recipes from this cookbook that I want to try – pancake, biscuits, and bread.  The thing I was really disappointed with this book was the recipe I came across that told the person reading it to put RAW garlic into olive oil.  Seriously?  What editor let that pass through??  Has no one ever heard of botulism?  You should NEVER put raw garlic into olive oil and let it sit there.  I will try some others, but I am wary about any of the recipes that you mix ahead of time and let set – like the cake stuff up there – especially with the oil and garlic recommendation.

Clouds of Happiness

Some days you just want to bake.  Unfortunately, when I bake, that means I am left with many, many more goodies than I could or should eat.  Luckily, I have a friend that I have gotten addicted to these little gems 😀 – perfect plan.  I get to bake and we both get the rewards.  These are really simple, but it takes patience working with egg whites.

Ingredients – the seemingly empty bowl is the egg whites.  The original recipe calls for white and dark chocolate chips.  While that is good, I went with milk and dark chocolate this time.
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Beaten to soft peaks
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Beaten to firm peaks.  This is the part that takes the most patience.  You have to make sure you beat the egg whites long enough to form these types of peaks.  I thought I was done earlier, but gave it some more time and I got these – beautiful
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All mixed up with the chips.  This is a delicate part of the recipe.  You have to be gentle when folding in the chips so the egg whites don’t deflate.
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First batch ready to bake.  I used a cookie scoop for this, but anything that transfers the “dough” (not sure what to call whipped egg whites and chocolate chips).
C_First

The original recipe says it makes 30 cookies – I usually get twice that.  I don’t know what the difference is, but those must be some huge cookies!  Here’s the second batch
C_Second

First batch cooked.  Now, traditional meringues are not supposed to brown.  Mine always do and I don’t know why.  I know the oven is a little hot, but I now account for that when setting the temperature.  Maybe I need to set the oven shelf lower.  I also don’t cook them to the minimum time.  They always feel dry when in the oven, but as soon as I take them out to dry, they get sticky.
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The whole haul – minus 2 or 3.  Hey!  I had to test them!!
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I love these cookies.  They may not be traditional meringues, but I don’t like them anyway :).  These are a little crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside and the chips add a creamy factor.  Plus, with so little ingredients, it’s easy to make.  They are low calorie treats that make you feel like you are grossly indulging.  I couldn’t believe that I didn’t have this in my handwritten cookbook, but that has been remedied.  Next time, I think I am going to try and replace the vanilla with almond to go with the chocolate better.

Almond Bundt Cake

Another cake for the worker that only visits the office every couple of months.  Unfortunately, only a couple pieces made it to the office 😦  You’ll see why in a minute.  It was still a good cake.  I only topped it with powdered sugar this time.

Ingredients

Using a trick I learned a while ago, I ground up the almonds.

Yep – that is a mason jar on an Oster blender.  I don’t know if it works for other blenders, but it works swimmingly with Bell jars and Oster.  I have used this to make smoothies for one, too.  Use a normal – not wide mouthed – jar, insert ingredients, screw on and use like a normal blender.  DO NOT USE HOT INGREDIENTS!  These have a risk of the jar exploding because there is no where for the steam to go.  I have never tried it, but have read enough warnings to know better.

All ready to bake

This is what happens when you don’t take the time to put a cooling rack on top of the cake, flip it slowly, then remove the pan from the cake:

Broken cake.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t present desserts that aren’t pristine.  I decided to try and salvage some and took 6 pieces in for my team.  Only 2 were eaten, so I put the rest in the break room.  Only 1 piece remained.  I ate it for once.  And the rest was eaten by a friend 🙂  I can safely say my team is no longer interested in me bringing them dessert.  No problem – I will just always leave it in the break room 😉  At least the rest of the company enjoys it.

Crumb Cake = dessert for breakfast

When browsing through the clearance cookbook section, I came across a book called The Best of The Best and I grabbed it, intrigued.  I glanced through the recipes and knew I had to buy it.  I didn’t look very close so I didn’t notice it was from 2005.  No biggie.  As I looked through with more attention, I realized how many recipes I wanted to make in it.  I marked all of them and set it aside into the oblivion that is my cookbook collection.  While doing some menu planning, I grabbed it intending to make some delicious dinner.  But all the ones I wanted to make seemed to be better suited for winter instead of 100 degree temps.  What do I do?  Select a cake that has to be baked for 40 mins (facepalm).  I never said I was rational 🙂

Ingredients – simplicity at its best.  The only thing I strayed from the original recipe on is the milk and the butter.  I didn’t have whole milk, so I went with what I had.  The butter used was supposed to be all unsalted, but I read the recipe wrong.  I had to supplement with salted butter – using every drop of butter in the house – lol

The start of the crumb topping.  OMG – It smelled so good, I wanted to take a spoon and just start eating it……or pouring it over ice cream….yeaaaaa, that would be good (Inserts Homer Simpson drool)

Crumb top completed.

Wet and dry ready to combine for the cake

Ready to be crumbed!!  Kind of sounds dirty doesn’t it?  😆

Crumbed!!

All baked.  Doesn’t that look good?  It is slightly over done, but that is my fault.  I wasn’t sure if the tester came out clean or it was just the crumb topping.  I put it back in for about 5 more minutes total.  The thermometer that I bought helped immensely with not burning the cake this time.

I am taking it to work for my coworkers.   We had a pretty rough week last week.  That means that I can’t cut into it yet :(.  But it also means that I won’t be tempted to eat an entire cake by myself 🙂