I'm starting off my list with a few baked goodies, naturally. But I have some sad/bad news. My family has been asking me (begging me!) very nicely to put a hold on my baking spree. Apparently there's a little thing called "lake season" coming up and they would like to look their best in swim suits. Don't we all? I told them to suck it up and get outside and run off the extra calories because I'm not stopping! Just kidding. I didn't say that, but I thought about it.
Here we have some Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Icing. I have to admit that I have absolutely no idea if the cupcake part of these are good, but the icing? The icing. Is. Delish. I may or may not have eaten by the spoonful out of the bowl, put it on various cookies, and was thisclose to making a PB&J sammy out of it. Then I got a massive stomach ache and had to put the spoon down. Be careful with this stuff. It's dangerous.
I made this batch of cupcakes for my dad. He had a rough week and was in need of some major comfort food. We can ignore the fact that I had given him 6 strawberry cupcakes two days before, but sometimes it's like that with comfort food; sometimes you just really need it.
::Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Icing:: from Tate's Bake Shop Cookbook
Ingredients: for cupcakes, makes 8
6 T salted butter
6 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1/2 c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/3 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. all purpose flour
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pan with 8 cupcake liners.
Combing butter and chocolate in a medium microwaveable bowl. Microwave on low, in 30 second intervals, until melted and combined. Stir in the sugars. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each one. Stir in vanilla, then flour.
Divide the mixture into the 8 prepared muffin cups.
Bake cupcakes for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out with moist crumbs attached (similar to a brownie). Cool completely before icing.
Peanut Butter Icing: (good on everything!)
3/4 c. confectioners' sugar (powdered sugar)
3/4 c. creamy peanut butter
1/4 c. salted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. heavy cream
Put all ingredients, except heavy cream, in bowl of electric mixer and beat until creamy. Add heavy cream and beat again until creamy and soft. If needed, add more powdered sugar or heavy cream to get desired consistency. I think I added a few tablespoons more of powdered sugar. Spread icing over cupcakes, and top with chopped nuts or sprinkles. I like to put the icing into a Ziploc sandwich baggy and cut off one corner to use as a piping bag. You should try it! It's super easy and makes your cupcakes look really cute.
Okay, it's time to get serious. This is a Sour Cream Pound cake with Lemon Glaze and it is divine. And it's a monster of a pound cake. It's one of those that you set out on the counter with a butter knife or fork on the plate, and just let people go crazy. Every time I walk into the kitchen, I have to cut myself a little sliver. Okay, who am I kidding, I grab a whole piece.
This is quickly becoming my favorite lemony dessert. It may even be better than the Lemon Ricotta Cookies. On a scale of 1-Tater Tot, this is a crispy, hot tot, my friends.
::Sour Cream Pound Cake::
2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. cake flour (I didn't have cake flour, so I just used 3 c. all purpose and don't think it mattered at all)
1/4 tsp. salt* (reduce to 1/8 tsp. if using salted butter)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 c. unsalted butter, room temp.
3 c. sugar
1 T. vanilla
6 larges eggs
1 c. sour cream
Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Spray 10 inch bundt pan with nonstick spray.
In small bowl, sift the flours, salt and baking powder together and set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar with electric mixer until it's light and fluffy.
Add vanilla and mix.
Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the sour cream, and mix.
Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
Pour or spoon the mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Hmmmm....I basically used the same recipe for the lemon glaze on the Lemon Ricotta Cookies, but I didn't measure anything. But it's easy, so don't be scared and give it a try. Just put a few cups of powdered sugar in a bowl, and add the zest and juice of one lemon. Stir with a whisk until combined. If it's too runny, add more powdered sugar. Too thick, add more lemon juice, a bit of water or splash of milk. Just play with it until it's the consistency and taste you like. Poke your pound cake with a fork or toothpick all over, then pour the glaze over the warm (not hot) pound cake, making sure to let it drip down the sides and in the middle. The pokes will help it run inside the cake and make it extra super duper delicious. Trust me.
Okay! Enough with the sweet stuff. I've got a stomach ache just thinking about it.
On a scale of 1-Tater Tot, my dad is off the charts. Maybe a crispy french fry? Or a nicely salted onion ring from Johnnie's? That's how awesome he is. And just ask anyone. Seriously, people love my dad. He'll talk to anyone, about anything, and will immediately become your best friend. Everywhere I go with him, he seems to know everyone, and if he doesn't, he'll meet them. He also knows everything about everything. He'll see an interesting knot (yes, knot) and he'll study it until he knows everything about it, from it's history and origin, to how to tie the knot and use it properly. He's an avid reader, with a love of real literature, a seasoned fisherman, and loves his family more than anything. I could go on all day about how great my dad is, and all the things I love about him, but I think you all get the point. Besides, most of the people reading this know my dad and probably agree with just how great he is.
Have you heard of 31 Bits jewelry? I think I have mentioned them before, but I thought I'd talk about them again. My little bro's girlfriend gave me one of the bracelets for my birthday, and it's been a love affair ever since. The stories about the women who make them are inspirational, and remind me of just how privileged and lucky I am to not only live in America, but to have the simple pleasures in life that I often take for granted. Like my health, food, money, a job, and security. These women work to support their families, many of whom are sick and have very poor living conditions.
The jewelry itself is made from recycled paper that is rolled into beads. Each piece is different and unique to the designer.
Please, check out 31 Bits and help support the women of Uganda! Here in OK you can purchase the pieces at Retropolitan in Edmond. And say hi to Fayth while you're there!
One last thing, and then I'm finished. I promise. But since we're on the topic of buying goods for a good cause, go out and get yourself a pair of Tom's shoes. I'm sure you all have heard of these before, but if you haven't, you should check them out.
For every pair of shoes sold, Tom's gives a pair to a child in need. And they don't give shoes just because they make shoes. They give them to children in developing countries where children often go shoeless. In many of those regions, children and adults alike, develop podoconiosis, which is a disease you get from walking barefoot in silica-rich soil. Not to mention the sores, infections, and other diseases that can come from going barefoot all the time. Also, just having shoes enables the children of these countries to attend school where shoes are required.
I've heard some people say they think these shoes are too expensive for what you get. And yes, maybe $40-$50 for a pair of canvas shoes is a lot, but think of what you are doing with that $40 and the life you might be changing. And really, I'd rather spend $40 on something I can feel good about (and good in!) than on something I'll only wear once before it goes out of style. I already have two pairs and have my eyes set on the pair shown above. If only Blue 7 had my size, I'd be showing 'em off right now!
1. Sunshine after 17 days of straight rain.
2. New tires! Mine were bald...really bald. Thanks, mom!!!
3. Allied Arts City Card.
4. Bagels. Yum.
5. Pho'Nomenal...and that it is.