February 9, 2016

Red Velvet Valentine Cake

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and here's a great dessert to celebrate the holiday.  What could be more appropriate than a heart-shaped red velvet layer cake? 
The combination of buttermilk and white vinegar in the batter makes the cake layers really moist and tender.  A generous two tablespoons of red food color give it that trademark deep, rich color.  No red velvet cake is complete without cream cheese frosting.  I particularly like this version because the addition of buttermilk powder cuts the sweetness and  provides a really nice tang.

Happy Valentine's Day!


January 30, 2016

Texas Sheet Cake

While I am a Californian (NoCal thank you very much), through and through, I have to say this Texas Sheet Cake has won me over (just a little bit) for the Lone Star state.   Although it's technically a "cake" I actually liken it more to a cakey brownie topped with fudge icing and toasted pecans.  One taste and I was hooked.

I happened upon this Cook's Country recipe when I was looking for a treat to bring in to the office.  It had to be something delicious (obviously), easy to make (no mixer required!) and could feed a crowd.  Check, check, check!   Plus, I knew my chocoholic colleagues would  go crazy for the deep, rich flavors.

If you have a party or potluck this would be the perfect dessert to make.  Tết, or Vietnamese New Year, is coming up soon and I think I'll be bringing this to our family celebration.  I have a feeling some of my diabetic-fearing relatives will think it's too sweet, but I say life's too short NOT to eat cake.   Just have a small piece!

January 17, 2016

Fluffy Dinner Rolls

The grey gloom of dreaded El Niño has me craving all things warm, cozy and most importantly filling.   Which means more often than not I've got a hankering for bread.   I am a certified carb lover and proud of it.  Atkins be damned!  There is nothing better in this world than warm bread smothered with soft, creamy butter.  Such bliss I tell you. 

I first saw this Cook's Illustrated recipe for Fluffy Dinner Rolls back in December but never got around to making it because I was completely ensconced in Christmas baking and candy making.   On a gloomy day like today I couldn't think of anything better than these rolls with a bowl of piping, hot soup.   

Its moniker does not lie - these rolls are super fluffy and utterly delicious.   Similar to all other CI recipes this one is really foolproof and simple as 1-2-3.   The delicious aroma of fresh bread baking in the oven cannot be rivaled.   With such deliciousness at my fingertips I can take on whatever El Niño brings.

December 27, 2015

Monkey Bread

This is my last post of 2015 and I think I'm ending the year on a really high note.  I don't exaggerate when I proclaim this Monkey Bread is absolutely A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!  I'm kicking myself for never trying to make it before.  Dare I say I may even prefer it over cinnamon rolls because it's so simple to make and so fun to eat.   

I've seen versions that use store bought bread dough but it's so much more delicious when you make it from scratch yourself.  This recipe from Cook's Country is easy to follow and would be great for the little ones to help with.

The yeasted dough is divided in to small pieces, rolled in melted butter, tossed in brown sugar and cinnamon and finally baked in a bundt pan.  The brown sugar and butter melts in to a yummy, gooey caramel that perfectly coats the bread.   How perfect would it be for breakfast or brunch?  

For those of you who want a smaller bread you can easily cut the recipe in half and bake in a small bundt pan.  That's what I did for the monkey bread in these pictures.  

Wishing everyone a wonderful new year!  Happy 2016!!!!

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