Saturday, May 18, 2013

Ooey-Gooey Cake Batter Bars

Confession time! I don't really like chocolate. Except when I'm pregnant. I don't think it tastes bad, but it's kind of, I don't know... Blah. My husband is the opposite. There is never enough chocolate in any dessert, ever. There could always be more. All chocolate desserts need improvement with the addition of more chocolate.

But let me tell you I do love cake batter anything. By cake batter I mean buttery yellow or white cake that is quite sweet. I love the way boxed cake mix smells but it tastes horrible! I'm also not a huge fan of the texture of actual cake. It's not dense enough. I don't like its fluff.  I've wanted to create a dense, moist and intense dessert that would satisfy my crazy love for cake batter for close to six months now. I've tried making it in cookie fashion and have come close but it still wasn't moist enough for me.

I finally sat down, wrote out my idea, and made it by slowly adding ingredients to get the flavor I was looking for. When it was finished I was very impressed with myself... BAM!

This is the kind of thing we eat after my kids go to bed and they will never know about until they're tall enough to reach the top shelf in the fridge (which will be soon, some of you may know that I'm married to a giant). So indulgent.

But... my husband wasn't a fan of what he described as an aftertaste of either salt or some other ingredient. A few nights ago, I made a few different batches of these bars and we concluded that the taste he was talking about was baking powder. Baking powder is a leavening agent but it also adds flavor to baked goods when there is an excess of it in proportion to the flour and liquid ingredients. When I created a few different batches, we tried it with less baking powder and more. I like both versions but you may not. I suggest adding the smallest amount and then if you're feeling brave slowly adding a bit more.

I don't eat a lot of dessert or processed food at all, but I have an addiction to baking and making something great is as much fun - if not more - for me as actually eating it!

I hope you like it as much as we do!

Ooey-Gooey Cake Batter Bars

1 cup flour
1-2 teaspoons baking powder (start with 1)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter - softened but not melted
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter extract
4 oz well-chopped white baking chocolate: no white chocolate chips!
1/4 cup sprinkles

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Line an 8x8 or 9x9 inch baking pan with aluminum foil and spray generously with non-stick baking spray.

In a small bowl, mix together the first three dry ingredients and whisk together. Start with only one teaspoon of baking powder!

I softened the butter in the microwave by first cutting it up into chunks and then heating it on power level 2 for two minutes in a large, microwavable-safe bowl. I then added the sugars and mixed it with a wooden spoon. You can also use a mixer with a paddle attachment. Beat it until the butter is creamy, then add the egg and beat it in. Add the extracts and continue to beat until mixed. Taste the batter! Can you handle more baking powder? If so, try 1/2 teaspoon extra.

Stir in the chopped white chocolate (do not even attempt this recipe with white chocolate chips because they won't melt and don't add any gooeiness to anything!) and sprinkles. Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake it for approximately 20 minutes. It will be very soft. Let it cool to room temperature (about an hour) and then put it in the fridge to finish setting. It should be ready in a few hours.

Hide from children. :-D

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Happy Cinco de Mayo... it's May already? And Mexican Portabella Mushrooms with Spicy Creme Fraiche

Hi world. I've been in a tunnel. It's the surviving-with-no-sleep-and-living-with-only-babies tunnel. I just downloaded all of the pictures off of my iPhone since late Feburary and I had over 1,000. Many of them were this.

and this

My 27-month-old takes pictures of himself. A lot of them.

My 11-week-old is really big now. Yay for growing! Boo for growing too fast.

 He's a really easy baby. He cries when he's tired or hungry, usually just tired though. He likes to sleep a lot right now. He also laughs a lot. I love them so much it hurts! My older one is adjusting sort of. He seems to like the role of older brother.

Anyways, I made something tonight for Cinco de Mayo which is Mexican Independance Day. I have no attachment personally to this day. I'm Jewish and my husband is a mutt of English, Irish and German, but we both like Mexican food a lot. Especially my husband. I would say he likes Mexican the way I like wine and cheese. Always up for it, breakfast, lunch and dinner! It was inspired by this burger I had at the Abbey Burger Bistro right here in Baltimore. It was also so easy that I have to share. And somewhat healthy.

Do you love all of the crap in the background of the burgers? A size 1 diaper, a glass of wine, the Mac which I finally brought upstairs, a stack of Body Attack stuff and a toy. My life, in a picture.

Happy Independence Day, Mexico!

Mexican Portabella Mushrooms with Spicy Creme Fraiche

4 large Portabella Mushroom Caps
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
1 1/4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
olive oil, kosher salt, freshly ground pepper to taste
4 oz creme fraiche

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush mushrooms with olive oil and sprinkle kosher salt and pepper on both sides. Turn them over, add half of the cheddar cheese, then a layer of chopped spinach, then another layer of cheese. Top them with the chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Bake them for 6 minutes. Then broil them on high for 4-5 minutes or until the cheese is browning a bit.

While they're broiling, add salt, pepper, and 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the creme fraiche. Drizzle the creme onto the mushrooms, and serve hot.

Miss everyone! I hope this post makes sense!