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Archive for March, 2011

Tweetie

I’m an only child.

At least that’s the excuse that I’m using. See, I’m not very good at sharing, never have been and probably never will be, especially when it comes to food. I try to be good, I try to remember to be polite and offer people food from my plate when we’re out for dinner or dessert. But if I’m being honest, if you take the best or biggest bite on my plate I will probably give you a nice little smile but inside will be kicking myself for demonstrating such social graces.

This issue began at a young age, at a daycare called the Good Shepherd. It was lunchtime and eager as ever to see what special treats my mom had packed for me I bounded over to my lunch bag only to find that it had disappeared. Some little brat of a child had stolen my lunch and, unbennounced to any “shepherd,” had started eating my lunch. Sure I got some of my lunch back, some not including my dessert. Fuming. Furious. Fricken little boy who ate the best part of my lunch first. Sadly this is one of the only memories that I have of the Good Shepherd, not so good after all.

My sharing skills in elementary school remained the same. My friends were always eager to see what my mom had packed me for dessert and hopeful that they would get the privilege of trading treats with me.

Fat chance.

Blonde brownies and these tweeties were always the biggest draw. I can recall several occasions when people asked me for a bite and I quickly shot them down. No manners, I know.

Now I’m older, much wiser and healthier. Dessert only shows up at dinnertime which means that I’m healthier because I am consuming less calories, and also much brighter because no one has to know what amazing things I’m eating at home.

Tweetie has been a long standing favorite for our family. Grandma was the one who started making the recipe and whenever it shows up at family gatherings it is sure to go quickly. Served as a dessert, snack and even breakfast, tweetie never lasts long. The original recipe was for a Ski Cake in which two layers of cake are sandwiched and topped with icing and chocolate. A little bit excessive if you ask me so we just stick to the one layer. Think about it, chocolate chip cake iced with a cream frosting and then topped with melted chocolate.

To. Die. For. Sorry to be blunt but if you want to try some you better be making it yourself. Nothing’s changed on my end, I’m still not sharing…and you won’t want to either.

Tweetie

1/2 cup butter      

2/3 cup white sugar

1 1/3 cup flour      2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt           1/2 cup milk

2 egg whites        1/3 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cream together butter and sugar. Add dry ingredients alternatively with milk.

Stir in chocolate chips and then fold in egg whites.

Grease a 9 x 9 baking pan and pour mixture in. Bake for 25 minutes.

Icing

1/3 cup butter 2 egg yolks

2 cups icing sugar

Cream butter with egg yolks.

Add icing sugar and beat well.

Spread over cooled cake. Top this with melted chocolate chips.

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Like I mentioned in my about me section, Sunday baking was always a constant growing up. Warm chocolate chip cookies out of the oven after a soccer game, spoonfuls of cookie dough being consumed, batches of muffins being made for week day breakfasts and freshly made scones with homemade jam for lunch, you can’t beat it. Routine, I like it. Whether it’s oatmeal chocolate cookies, tweetie, blonde brownies, pound cake, it doesn’t matter, it’s guaranteed to be there and it’s guaranteed to be good.

A few years ago I took a semester off from university and travelled to Australia and South Africa. Talk about a life changing experience. I miss those warm days, beach days, days of growth, days of struggle, and of course, days filled with friends. So, so good. Not to mention amazing scenery, free-falling on the world’s largest bungee swing, going for a walk with a lion, petting elephants, cheetahs, kangaroos, koalas and wombats. Yes you read that correctly. Yes I’m still upset that we never saw a zebra in Africa, I guess I’ll just have to go back.

Oh right, and how about the time that we were woken up, while sleeping in a tent in a game park, by a giraffe just sauntering through on his morning stroll. Geoffrey the Giraffe, I miss you.

After 6 amazing months I returned home with mixed emotions…excited to be back, sad that my time away had ended. That’s when I learned that my mother had added a new cookie to her baking repertoire, thanks to the baking of a colleague at work. 

This meant a big win for us. Oatmeal peanut butter cookies. Delicious. These actually taste like peanut butter, which is always a bonus, and are hearty thanks to the oatmeal. Adding in raisins was the natural thing for us to do, chocolate chips would probably be good too. Chewy cookies, my absolute fave!

Now all that I want to do is drop all responsibilities that I have and take off somewhere warm and fun. In the meantime, I suppose I could eat cookies and dream about my retirement, only 35 years or so down the road…

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

3/4 cup butter           1/2 cup peanut butter (I used smooth)

1 cup sugar               1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs                       1/4 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla               2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda      1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt                1 1/2 cups oats

1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cream butter and peanut butter with brown and white sugar in a large bowl.

Add eggs. one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in milk and vanilla.

Stir in flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, oats and raisins.

Drop dough, by heaping tablespoons, onto a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.

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Apple Coffee Cake

Fairly recently I discovered my love of coffee cake. Maybe it was the coffee name in the recipe that deterred me before. I don’t drink coffee, there’s something about it…too bitter? I don’t know. But I do love the smell, go figure.

Regardless of all this, a few years ago, when I was in Wisconsin being a bridesmaid, my friends mother made the most delicious coffee cake. Or was it a fruit cocktail cake? Whatever it was it was absolutely amazing and I was instantly hooked. The fruit inside, the cinnamon and sugar topping, the best. I kept on going back for seconds, thirds, you get the picture. The family probably wondered what kind of manners Canadians have! Oh well, take it as a compliment.

Recently this apple coffee cake was made. Again delicious. The topping, I just can’t get enough of it. So addicting, but the apple makes it healthy, or must at least create some sort of a balance. Most people that I know eat coffee cake for breakfast, or brunch. Normal. What’s abnormal is what we did, we served the coffee cake with vanilla ice cream. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t bad, I love warm baked goods that encourage the ice cream to melt everywhere…but this was a bit excessive.

Coffee cake can hold its own, it doesn’t need to be “buttered up.” What does make coffee cake even better is getting to share it with an amazing friend. Wish I was back in Wisconsin. Why do so many of the most amazing people that I know live so far away…Minnesota, Detroit, Thailand…thanks friends. Thinking of you and sending my love…

Apple Coffee Cake

3 eggs                        2 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil     1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon           2 tsp vanilla

3 cups flour                 3 cups thinly sliced unpeeled apples

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cream together the eggs, sugar and oil. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix together.

Pour into a greased 8×8 square pan. Bake for 45 minutes.

Topping:

1/4 cup butter   1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup milk

Boil the 3 ingredients together for 3 minutes then pour over the hot cake.

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Chili and Biscuits

The pictures I took disappeared to who knows where, so these are from Smitten Kitchen

Yes this blog is called “Time for Something Sweet”. Yes I have the hugest sweet tooth. Yes I love my chocolate, and ice cream, and muffins and other baked goods. Yes I realize that chili has nothing to do with baking. But I’m still going to justify it.

It snowed here on Saturday. It hardly ever snows in Vancouver, so why in the world was it snowing at the end of February!? Regardless of all this, the snow was a welcome addition to my evening spent making and eating chili with good company.

Cooking isn’t really my thing. I don’t eat spicy foods, so when recipes call for foreign items in my cupboard such as cumin, paprika and, heaven forbid, red pepper flakes, I abandon all thoughts of cooking. Thank goodness for friends who are there in times of need.

This chili was delicious. Not too spicy for me, filled with meat, beans, carrots, onions and my favorite vegetable of all, corn. Topping it all off we whipped up a batch of sour cream and cheddar cheese biscuits. To be honest, the biscuits weren’t the best that I’ve ever had. Unless I was making this chili I probably wouldn’t make the biscuits again. A little too dry and bland for my taste. But don’t get me wrong, with the chili, these biscuits were great.

Photo Credit Smitten Kitchen

Just picture it, warm cheddar biscuits fresh out of the oven, homemade chili and snow falling outside. I’m jealous of myself. The added bonus, leftovers that I devoured the next few nights…and of course the Bailey’s and hot chocolate that we used for Tim Tam slams. Now that’s a good Saturday night.

 

 

Beef Chili

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 large onions                                1/8 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tbsp minced garlic                    1 carrot thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds ground beef             1/8 cup chili powder
1/2 tbsp ground cumin                   1 tbsp paprika
1/2 tbsp crumbled dry oregano      Dried red pepper flakes, to taste

1 8-ounce can tomato sauce          3/4 cup beef broth
1 1/2 tbsp cider vinegar                 1 cup kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn

In a large pot heat the oil over moderately low heat and cook the onions in it for 5 to 10 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and carrots and cook for one minute more.

Raise the heat to medium and add the beef, stirring and breaking up any lumps until it is no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano and pepper flakes and cook for another minute.

Add the tomato sauce, broth and vinegar and simmer the chili, covered, for 35 to 40 minutes. Add the kidney beans, corn, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

Sour Cream and Cheddar Biscuits

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour              2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda                          1/2 tsp salt
2 tablespoons butter, cut into bits    1 1/2 cups Cheddar cheese

1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Either cut the butter pieces into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or rub them in with your fingertips until well-combined.

Stir in the cheddar and sour cream until the mixture forms a sticky dough.

Pat to 1/2-inch thickness on a well-floured counter and use a biscuit cutter (or glass) to cut six rounds. Bake on an ungreased sheet  for 15 to 17 minutes, until golden on top.

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