Peach Oatmeal Bars

Peach Oatmeal Bars

I try not to complain about anything that has to do with summer. Really. I love sun and warmth. Flowers and trees full of leaves. I can even get along with the bees if they just focus on their honey making job and steering clear of me.

What I can’t deal with are thunderstorms. Yes, I know, we need rain, though preferably not measured in inches at a time. Rain is one thing though. nice, garden variety rain that makes you feel all cozy and want to curl up on the couch with a good book or movie. I can handle that kind of rain.

Peach Oatmeal Bars

Pouring rain, pelting the window. Thunder that makes me jump a mile in the air. Lightning that makes the darkness suddenly flash as bright as the sun. That throws me off course in a way I can’t describe.

And when it wakes me in the middle of the night from a deep sleep and keeps me awake for the better part of an hour, the noise far too loud and alarming to be soothing, well that almost makes me wish for fall. Almost.

A day or two of thunderstorms is more than worth the price of admission to summer, but if we could keep them to a minimum and the nice days with sunshine, puffy clouds and a gentle breeze coming at us frequently, that would be much appreciated.

Peach Oatmeal Bars

By looking at the extended forecast, it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen, but a girl can dream.

When I am cooped up inside with rainy days, I love to bake even when it’s hot out. I whipped up these Peach Oatmeal Bars not too long ago. They are perfect for summer. Easy to make, full of fresh fruit, and wholesome oats and nuts, these are sure to be on your summer to-do list.

The contrasting textures add complexity to this dessert that is not too sweet. It would be perfect with a cup of coffee or tea and dare I say, I think these are even breakfast appropriate.

Peach Oatmeal Bars

Peach Oatmeal Bars

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 24 bars

Ingredients

Filling

4 cups diced fresh peaches

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

Crust and Topping

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups quick cooking oats

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup walnuts

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking pan.

Make the filling. In a medium bowl, stir together peaches, lemon juice, sugar, and cornstarch. Set aside.

Make the crust and topping. In a large bowl, stir together flour, oats, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Once combined, add the butter and mix in with your hands until the mixture forms clumps and starts to come together.

Place just over half of the crumb mixture into the prepared pan. Press down firmly with your hands. Stir walnuts into the reserved crumb mixture.

Pour filling over the crumb mixture in the pan. Sprinkle with the reserved crumb mixture.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown. Cool completely in pan before cutting into pieces and serving. Bars may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature about 30 minutes.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Land O Lakes

http://piesandplots.net/peach-oatmeal-bars/

Gooey Cinnamon Cake Bars

Gooey Cinnamon Cake Bars

My TiVo gave up on me last week.

It was Thursday night and suddenly it worked slower than a snail. I couldn’t even watch HD programs. The horror, I know! But my TiVo was seven years old and outlasted three TVs, so buying a new one wasn’t the worst thing ever.

And it went in easily. Only three cords. But it was just teasing me. Because once the CableCard went in things got … interesting.

Gooey Cinnamon Cake Bars

Comcast tried to activate it … at nearly midnight. But it didn’t work after several phone calls, some lasting thirty or more minutes. With the Oscars on Sunday and me having to watch TV without a DVR (how did I manage?!?), I was in meltdown mode.

The next day, after unplugging several times, reinstalling the CableCard, and talking to seriously the most helpful person at Comcast or Xfinity or whatever they want to be known as today, it worked. The premium channels are still missing, but other than that it’s all good.

Gooey Cinnamon Cake Bars

And let me say I am so in love with my new TiVo Roamio. Who needs match.com when I can have TiVo???

I’m also pretty in love with these Gooey Cinnamon Cake Bars. They are best the next day after they are extra moist and well … gooey. I really like the top in all of its gooey glory and the cinnamon sugar topping.

I actually ran out of granulated sugar and made the whole recipe with brown sugar instead. Best decision ever! It adds extra flavor and moisture and makes these totally irresistible. I think I’ll grab one and catch up on some TV watching!

Gooey Cinnamon Cake Bars

Gooey Cinnamon Cake Bars

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 24 bars

Ingredients

Base

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

¾ cup packed light brown sugar

1 large egg

¼ cup milk (I used almond, use what you love)

Gooey Layer

¼ cup light corn syrup

¼ cup milk (I used almond, use what you love)

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

Topping

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13 inch pan. Line it with parchment and butter the parchment.

Make the base. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. I did this by hand but a hand or stand mixer will work. Beat in the egg and milk. Add flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Stir until combined. Spread into an even layer in the prepared pan.

Make the gooey layer. In a small bowl, whisk together the corn syrup, milk, and vanilla. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. I did this by hand, but a hand or stand mixer will work. Beat in the egg. Mix in ½ cup flour, followed by half of the corn syrup mixture. Mix in another ½ cup of flour, the rest of the corn syrup mixture, and then finish with the final ¼ cup of flour. Place dollops of this gooey mixture on top of the base and spread into an even layer.

In a small bowl, mix together the cinnamon and sugar for the topping. Sprinkle over the cake.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until the edges are set but the center is still soft and gooey. Allow to cool completely in the pan before cutting into bars. Bars may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about an hour or in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Notes

Recipe adapted from The Moveable Feasts from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

http://piesandplots.net/gooey-cinnamon-cake-bars/

Popcorn Puppy Chow #SundaySupper

Popcorn Puppy Chow - A no bake, gluten free treat that takes minutes to prepare!

I’m a little too excited for the Oscars tonight. I can’t wait to watch E!’s red carpet coverage to see all the dresses. Fashion is one of the best parts of the show. I dream every year about which dress I would wear if I was attending. Which for the record, I will be one year soon. This year, the finale dress from Zac Posen’s recent runway show is kind of calling my name. It’s gorgeous.

Then there’s the show. I know Neil Patrick Harris will be an amazing host. He is so multitalented. I love hearing really inspirational acceptance speeches too. It’s so interesting that sometimes the best ones come from the people I don’t know. You know, the sound mixers and costume designers.

Popcorn Puppy Chow

I have seen a few of the movies this year. Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Theory of Everything, Gone Girl, The Judge. I may have to check out Birdman before the show. I really loved The Theory of Everything and Eddie Redmayne’s performance. I will never understand how an actor can immerse themselves in these roles. They are so talented.

Popcorn Puppy Chow

I know you want a snack while you watch the show that can be incredibly long. I have the perfect one for you: Popcorn Puppy Chow.

Anytime we’re talking about movies, I immediately think of popcorn. But I had to do something fun with it. Puppy Chow is always a hit, and when combined with popcorn, it is a combination so addictive, you’ll devour it while you wait for the Best Picture winner to be announced way after your bedtime.

Popcorn Puppy Chow

The nutty peanut butter really shines through and adds some creaminess to the crunchy popcorn. A no bake, gluten free snack just like this is exactly what Oscar night needs.

Popcorn Puppy Chow

Popcorn Puppy Chow #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 4 minutes

Total Time: 14 minutes

Yield: Varies

Ingredients

½ cup popcorn kernels

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup white chocolate chips

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Instructions

Place the popcorn kernels in a large paper bag. Fold it down several times and place it in the microwave. Microwave on high for approximately 2 minutes. When the popping of the corn slows down, stop it, as it is done.

Separate the popped corn from the kernels.

In a large microwave safe bowl, combine peanut butter and white chocolate chips. Microwave on high in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until fully melted. Stir in the vanilla. Add the popcorn and stir to coat. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and stir until fully coated.

Popcorn may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

http://piesandplots.net/popcorn-puppy-chow-sundaysupper/

Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes!

Nominees for Best Supporting Appetizers:

Nominees for Best Course in a Leading Role:

Nominees for Best Supporting Sips:

Nominees for Best Delectable Desserts:

Nominees for Best Dressed Table:

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Brownie Pie + Blogiversary

Brownie Pie

Guess what? It’s my third blogiversary!

I really cannot believe I’ve been doing this for three years. It has flown by.

Brownie Pie

I’ve made a lot of really awesome treats, “met” a lot of amazing other bloggers, and learned a hell of a lot about photography. Although I’m positive I have a lot more to learn.

I’ve also learned blogging isn’t my one true passion in life. I like it, but writing is where my heart is. I feel like I am making good progress there too, so that fills me with hope.

Brownie Pie

To make my blog more representative of me, I am going to try to incorporate more fashion posts. While I do like to bake, it’s not something I do all the time. However, fashion is a huge part of who I am, and I would like to share more of that with you.

Don’t worry the recipes will continue, just with more of a balance. Because one other thing I’ve learned is that blogging shouldn’t feel like a job … especially if it doesn’t pay like one.

Brownie Pie

In the tradition of my blogiversary, I have made a fun pie for you today. A Brownie Pie. I didn’t want to make a giant pie and all of that crust, so I whipped up this easy to make pie.

It is fudgy and the perfect quick and easy dessert to make when a craving strikes without notice. I made it with carob powder, but feel free to use your favorite cocoa powder. It may look a little unassuming, but it is jump up and down, have a dance party in the middle of the kitchen good. Seriously, one bite, hot out of the oven, and I was in love with this gooey, molten goodness. This is definitely blogiversary worthy.

Brownie Pie

I say forget the slices, just grab a fork, maybe a scoop of ice cream, and dig in. It is a celebration after all.

Brownie Pie

Brownie Pie + Blogiversary

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup carob powder

½ cup carob chips

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter an 8 or 9 inch round pie plate.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. I did this by hand, but a hand or stand mixer will work as well. Beat in the eggs one at a time, as well as the vanilla.

Stir in the flour and carob powder until just combined. Stir in the carob chips until distributed.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer. Bake 35-40 minutes until the top is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Serve warm or room temperature. Pie may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about an hour or in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Love and Olive Oil

http://piesandplots.net/brownie-pie-blogiversary/

Not Quite M&M Cookies

Not Quite M&M Cookies

I made tacos last Friday for dinner, complete with homemade corn tortillas and taco seasoning. If you haven’t checked out that recipe yet DO IT! It’s so good, and you can even broil the tortillas until brown on both sides to make them even easier.

But I digress. I was feeling great after dinner. And then it hit. Scratchy throat. Sniffles. Oh no!

Someone in the house who shall remain nameless . . . ahem Dad ahem . . . probably wasn’t careful enough when he was ill and contaminated me.

Not Quite M&M Cookies

I know it’s probably not that bad. I do have a reputation for being a drama queen, but if you know me, you know getting sick is my worst fear in life. Literally. No joking. And since it’s almost a week later and I’m still fighting my cold, I’m pretty stressed and upset. And I may or may not be giving Dad the silent treatment.

I mean he even refused to eat his garlic the other night. In case you didn’t know, garlic is antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial. Though it’s not working fast enough.

Not Quite M&M Cookies

Amid all the garlic, apple cider vinegar, soup, and lean proteins I’ve been eating, I needed a cookie. A huge, soft, sugary cookie. I’ve had my eyes on Pinch of Yum’s Big Soft M&M Cookies for awhile and felt it was the perfect time to whip them up.

Clearly I couldn’t make them with M&Ms, so I swapped in Reese’s Pieces. You could go with either, but the melty Reese’s Pieces were insanely tasty in them. Oh, and you might notice some are different colors and bigger than you might expect – those are Reese’s Pieces Eggs that I stockpile every Easter. They are even better than the original Pieces. Like way better.

Not Quite M&M Cookies

These cookies are so soft and chewy. The flavor of the base is mildly vanilla which pairs so well with those peanut buttery Pieces. Don’t wait to make these cookies!

Not Quite M&M Cookies

Not Quite M&M Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 18 minutes

Total Time: 28 minutes

Yield: 13-15 cookies

Ingredients

1 cup packed light brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

1 cup vegetable shortening

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 ½ cups Reese’s Pieces

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a large bowl, cream sugars and shortening until light and fluffy. I did this by hand but a hand or stand mixer would work too. Mix in the eggs and vanilla.

Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until the dough is combined. Stir in the Reese’s Pieces.

Using a regular sized ice cream scoop, scoop batter onto the prepared pan. Bake cookies for 15-18 minutes until light golden brown and flattened slightly. Serve warm or allow to cool on the trays. Cookies may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature about an hour or in the microwave 30 seconds.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Pinch of Yum

http://piesandplots.net/not-quite-mm-cookies/

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzels

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzels

So it’s Valentine’s Day this week. Are you celebrating? It might be obvious that I am not. Don’t get me wrong, a small gift from my parents is always welcome (hint, hint), but it’s just another day, except everyone’s celebrating their love and I don’t have a love in my life.

Maybe I was crazy thinking Match.com would be the answer to my never ending search for love, but I kind of thought it might lead to something. I’ve heard so many people talk about how wonderful it is. How they’ve met their boyfriends/girlfriends/husbands/wives . . . even just a friend.

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzels

Me? I’ve been on three lame dates. I’ve sent well over a hundred different guys an email. And you know what? Most of them ignore me. And I really don’t know why. It’s making me feel like something is wrong with me.

Then there are the guys I talk to for awhile. Then they just stop. For no reason. Out of the blue. It makes me crazy. Men are incomprehensible.

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzels

Oh, and lest I forget the guy who seemed kind of normal and nice. We chatted. He said he thought we’d be better as friends than boyfriend/girlfriend. This was fine with me. I can use a friend. After all of this you know what he did? He sexted me. At least I think it was a sext. I’m not exactly well versed in that field. Needless to say I’ll be ignoring that message.

There is one other guy. He seems nice, but he’s been stringing me along for a couple months. He has had a lot going on, but is it weird he hasn’t wanted to meet?

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzels

Maybe by next Valentine’s Day I’ll have some more love in my life. Or maybe I should face facts and get a cat.

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzels

Then again, I could just make more of these pretzels because I am in love with them. They are so easy to make, and can easily be made gluten free with gluten free pretzels, but there’s something about their sweet and salty, crunchy goodness that keeps me going back for more every single day. They’d be a great gift for your Valentine, or perhaps an even better way to drown your single girl sorrows while watching a movie. You know which option I’ll be using :)

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzels

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzels

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Yield: About 24 pretzels

Ingredients

24 pretzel twists, more as needed

1 cup white chocolate chips

1 cup peanut butter chips

2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided

Assorted sprinkles

Instructions

Melt white chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon oil in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until melted.

Melt peanut butter chips with the remaining teaspoon of oil in a separate microwave safe bowl in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until melted.

Dip pretzels in either white chocolate, peanut butter or both until fully coated. Shake off the excess coating. Set on a piece of parchment paper. Sprinkle with sprinkles if desired while still warm. Alternately drizzle with either white chocolate or peanut butter.

Allow pretzels to harden completely on parchment paper before storing in an airtight container for up to 1 week at room temperature

http://piesandplots.net/white-chocolate-peanut-butter-pretzels/

Flourless Microwave Peanut Butter Cake

Flourless Peanut Butter Mug Cake - Ready in less than 5 minutes!

Sometimes a dessert craving strikes and it can’t be stopped unless a sweet treat is consumed immediately. I mean, it happens to all of us, right? I’m not alone in this sweet tooth induced rage, am I?

I didn’t think so.

Flourless Microwave Peanut Butter Cake

When that craving strikes, you could rely on store bought goodies. But, come on, they aren’t that great and might not even satisfy that dessert desire.

You could always whip up a layer cake or pie or cookies, but who has time for that when you want dessert NOW?

Flourless Microwave Peanut Butter Cake

There are also treat stashed in the freezer, if you are anything like me. My freezer is always working full time. However, every once in awhile the things in there don’t sound good.

So we need a quick and easy dessert that can be made from the ingredients in the pantry. Might be nice if it was gluten free too. That’s a pretty tough checklist, but this dessert totally meets all the criteria.

Flourless Microwave Peanut Butter Cake

This Flourless Microwave Peanut Butter Cake takes just a couple minutes to make, less than one minute to cook, is gluten free, and totally made from pantry staples. You have to eat it hot out of the microwave (you’ll make the sacrifice, though it will be tough), so that you get a soft, moist, tender, slightly gooey cake that satisfies all your dessert cravings and more.

It is the perfect thing to make tonight while you’re watching the Super Bowl. You won’t miss a moment of the game, no matter who you’re cheering for. As for me, I say go Katy Perry!!!

Flourless Microwave Peanut Butter Cake

Flourless Microwave Peanut Butter Cake

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 1 minute

Total Time: 3 minutes

Yield: 2 cakes

Ingredients

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon baking powder

2 large eggs

¼ cup creamy peanut butter

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

Lightly oil two large coffee mugs.

In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, baking powder, eggs, peanut butter, and vanilla until well combined. Divide equally among the mugs.

Microwave 1 mug at a time. Check the cakes after 30 seconds. Ideally the cake should still be a little gooey. If it is not done microwave it an additional 30 seconds. Do not exceed 1 minute total. Serve immediately.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Peanut Butter and Company

http://piesandplots.net/flourless-microwave-peanut-butter-cake/

Olive Oil Tea Cookies

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This post is sponsored by Pompeian. They’re encouraging us all to get festive in the kitchen this holiday season with their personalized olive oil bottles!

Olive Oil Tea Cookies

One of the best things about the holidays is making family recipes. I always look forward to baking something with mom on Thanksgiving and Christmas and throughout the holiday season. Whether we’re making one of my Granny’s favorite recipes to remind us of her as we miss her so much this time of year. Or maybe we’re thinking of our friends and family we can’t always see.

And sometimes we’re just making memories, knowing before long I will be off on my own, with a family and a career. We won’t always have endless amounts of time together, baking, cooking, talking, making a mess.

Olive OIl Tea Cookies

It’s so fun to keep traditions going, we make cinnamon rolls every New Year’s Day, for example, as well as create new traditions like these Olive Oil Tea Cookies. I love to keep these memories engrained in my mind, so just in time for the holidays, Pompeian is offering personalized bottles of their extra virgin olive oil with a family recipe and a family photo featured on a printable label. Now long after these Tea Cookies are gone, I can remember the fun we had making them with the personalized bottle.

Personalized Olive OIl Bottle

It’s so easy to make a personalized label of your own, so head to Facebook.com/Pompeian or Pompeian.com to create a label of your own. I had a blast choosing a photo of a different great memory I had with Mom at Taste of the Lions. It will just take a few moments to make the label, so don’t worry about it taking up too much valuable time this busy time of year.

Personalized Olive Oil Bottle

I love both cooking and baking with olive oil, so I always have Pompeian extra virgin olive oil stocked in my pantry. It is the first and only extra virgin olive oil with the USDA Quality Monitored Seal. Plus, it tells you exactly what countries the oil in that particular bottle came from. How cool is that???

Like I noted before, it might be unexpected to bake with olive oil, but it’s one of my favorite baking additions. These subtly sweet cookies are perfect with a cup of tea or coffee. The olive oil flavor shines through wonderfully, with a hint of orange in the background. Hazelnut meal adds complementary flavor and just a bit of texture in an otherwise pretty soft, melt in your mouth cookie.

Make some memories this holiday season by heading to the kitchen with your loved ones to make treasured family recipes. Don’t forget to make a label for your Pompeian bottle to remember all the fun!

Olive Oil Tea Cookies

Olive Oil Tea Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 15 cookies

Ingredients

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup hazelnut meal

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

½ cup Pompeian extra virgin olive oil

1 orange, zested and juiced

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, hazelnut meal, baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl stir together sugar, eggs, oil, and orange juice and zest until well incorporated. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.

Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop batter onto prepared pan and bake for about 15 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool completely on tray.

Cookies may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag, for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for 1 hour of the microwave for 30 seconds.

http://piesandplots.net/olive-oil-tea-cookies/

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pompeian.

Olive Oil Cake

Olive Oil Cake

It’s that time of year, unfortunately. It’s cold outside. It’s cloudy. And gloomy. And rainy. Not snowy . . . yet. And the polar vortex is already back. I saw it on Al Roker’s forecast so it must be true. It’s yucky out. So instead of venturing out on a regular basis, I stay home and I bake.

It makes me feel better. The warmth of the oven heating the house. The endorphins from the exercise of creaming butter and sugar by hand. It really is a workout! The smell of vanilla and cinnamon filling the whole house. And then of course, there’s the taste. The goodness of a homemade baked treat, calling my name to be devoured.

Olive Oil Cake

It’s also the holiday season. It’s busy. There are parties to be attended and thrown. Huge meals to be made. And shopping . . . lots of shopping to be successfully completed as far in advance as possible. There are crowds and traffic jams. Stress. There’s more than enough stress to go around.

So again, I turn to baking. It’s calming, soothing, and very sharable. Show up at a party with a homemade cake instead of a bottle of wine. You’ll be a hero. Everyone likes cake. I like cake. I know you like cake.

Olive Oil Cake

Cake is even better when it’s easy to make and tastes as good as this Olive Oil Cake. I know what you’re thinking. Olive Oil Cake? Have I lost my mind? I promise I haven’t. I first saw this cake from Maialino’s in New York on Unique Sweets. Then when I saw the recipe on Food 52, I knew I had to make it ASAP. I’m so glad I did. This citrusy, boozy cake is greatly enhanced with the moist density of olive oil. After one sumptuous bite, you won’t be questioning my sanity. Only if you really have to share with anyone!

Oh, and stay tuned . . . I have an olive oil giveaway coming up this week!

Olive OIl Cake

Olive Oil Cake

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 8 generous slices

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 ¾ cups granulated sugar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 1/3 cups extra virgin olive oil

1 ¼ cups milk (I used almond)

3 large eggs

Zest of 1 large orange

¼ cup fresh orange juice

¼ cup bourbon

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a 9-inch round cake pan at least 2 inches deep and line the bottom with parchment.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, milk, eggs, zest, juice, and bourbon. Add the flour mixture and whisk until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Serve warm or cool cake completely in pan. Cake may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen in quarters, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about an hour or in the microwave for about a minute.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Maialino via Food52

http://piesandplots.net/olive-oil-cake/

Apple Spice Bundt Cake

Apple Spice Bundt Cake

So things have been pretty busy for me lately. I’m working on blog projects, went to an event at Neiman Marcus, working hard on my writing, keeping up on fall TV. Oh, yeah, and I joined match.com and went on my first date.

It was nerve wracking joining Match. But I figured I didn’t have anything to lose. It has been an interesting experience. There are definitely some weird dudes on there. Some that seem nice and never write back. Some that are apparently way too busy and have no business stringing us ladies along. And there are some nice, genuine guys. They’re just a little harder to find.

Apple Spice Bundr Cake

So if joining Match had me freaked out, you can imagine what it was like going on my first date EVER! I mean it’s pretty scary venturing out in the world like that. But I was completely and totally ready for it, so my nerves didn’t take over as much as I thought they would.

The guy was nice and even brought me a book as a gift. We met at a nice restaurant and had a great meal. We didn’t really have a connection, we both agreed, and that’s okay. I don’t regret going on the date and I hope the guy finds the right girl for him. It was a good start and I’m excited to see what happens from here.

Apple Spice Bundt Cake

I finally pushed myself out of my comfort zone and that is an amazing thing. It worked out pretty well and hopefully things will only go up from here. I mean, I got to cross going on a date off my bucket list. How cool is that?

I’ve also been busy baking fabulous things like this Apple Spice Bundt Cake. This cake is the perfect comforting fall dessert. Easy to make, it makes use of the wonderful apples available now, and adds in some warming cinnamon, along with a bunch of crunchy nuts for texture. The exterior of the cake gets caramelized and a bit crunchy while the interior is dense and moist. Some future boyfriend is going to be lucky to sample treats like this!

Apple Spice Bundt Cake

Apple Spice Bundt Cake

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 10 servings

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/3 cups vegetable oil

2 cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

3 cups apples, peeled and chopped (I used Fuji and Gala – use what you love)

1 cup nuts (I used pecans and walnuts – use what you love)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil and flour a large bundt pan.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl, stir together oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until well combined and lightened in color and texture. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Fold in the apples and nuts until distributed.

Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth into an even layer. Bake, rotating halfway through if necessary, for 65-75 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cool cake in pan for about 20 minutes. Then loosen cake from pan and gently invert it on to a serving plate. Cake may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen in pieces, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for a couple hours or in the microwave for about 1 minute.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Dorothy Mae Brown via the Martha Stewart show

http://piesandplots.net/apple-spice-bundt-cake/

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