Category Archives: Sweet

Upside-Down Skillet Corn Cake

And I am chipping right away at #3 on my 31 before 32, this time with Upside-Down Skillet Corn Cake. While seemingly simple, I had a tough time with the recipe. Was it an off day? Was it the humidity? Am I not as good at this baking thing as I thought I was? Who knows, but this recipe was delicious and, after a bit of reflection, well worth the trouble.

Notes:

  • Boy howdy did I have a rough time with this recipe. First, I could not get the brown sugar to melt into the butter. I stirred and stirred, up-ed the heat, turned it back down, and in a desperate attempt – added more butter. Alas, it was all for naught, and I eventually just had to give it a “good enough” and cross my fingers. It 90% worked out. Most of the texture issues worked themselves out as the cake baked, but there was one small grainy patch left that I gently scrapped off before serving.
  • I also could not get the fruit to cooperate, I used nectarines instead of peaches because that fuzz on the outside makes me shudder. As I tried to pit the fruit, it refused to release the pit, and two of my nectarines turned to mush in the process. Even afterwards all I could do was squeeze fruit pieces off of the pit and use them for something else. So I guess I should go for slightly under ripe fruit next time?
  • The cook time was WAY off on this. I baked it for the recommended time plus some and finally took it out when it seemed like the sugar mixture on the edges was starting to burn. The middle was still not fully cooked. Next time I am going to bake it lower for longer. Maybe 325 for 50 minutes to an hour.
  • It is important to note, I do not have a cast iron skillet that is the right size for this recipe so I used a cake tin. Which might have contributed to the bake time issues. I’d still use it again, but I’d also be interested in a do-over with the recommended equipment.

 

 


GF Chocolate Chip Pistachio Cookies with Smoked Sea Salt

Okay guys, I am all for scratch baking. If you got time and energy (and sometimes a little ingenuity), you can really create some amazing things. However, there isn’t always the time to trial and error your way into greatness. Keeping a mix or two on hand for a baking emergency, especially when you are baking with dietary restrictions. No lie, there is always a GF brownie mix or cookie mix in my pantry. I’ve gone through a few different brands, and though I deviate from time to time, King Arthur is my tried and true go-to.

So if you too would like some pretentious, low effort cookies follow the instructions on the back of the box and add these four ingredients:

  1. 1/3 cup chopped pistachios
  2. 1 tsp smoked sea salt (for finishing)
  3. 1/2 tsp vanilla powdered vanilla
  4. 1/2 a heaping cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • Put the mix together according to the instruction on the box and then mix ingredients 1,3 &4.
  • Bake as directed.
  • As soon as they come out, sprinkle some of that delicious overpriced salt over the top of those bad boys (sparingly, this stuff is potent) and let cool. Seriously, let them cool for at least 5 minutes or they’ll fall apart when you pick them up. You’re welcome.

Look how pretty! These bad boys are so delicious, and yes, you need to make them. ASAP. Seriously, go get some mix now.


Vegan Snickerdoodle Mug Cake for Two

Usually when I write recipes, I start with an idea and carefully map out what I need, what what steps to take, make a grocery store run, and then give it a go. However, sometimes I write recipes because I am having a craving and, since I lack the ingredients I need, I have to make do with what I have lying around. This was the case when I came up with the Vegan Snickerdoodle Mug Cake. It was pouring, I wanted something sweet and not chocolate (strange, right?), and I wanted something easy to make. So of course, mug cake came to mind. I hit Pinterest, found a recipe, and then realized I was missing half the ingredients; furthermore, I knew whipping up anything with cinnamon and not having some for the husband would be mean. So I took a deep breath, worked some substitution magic, and ta-da. Mug Cake.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Optional: Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for garnishing.

Directions:

  1. In a bowl (I used a large glass measuring cup), whisk together sugar, cinnamon, almond milk and vanilla extract.
  2. When combined, stir in flour and baking powder.
  3. Split the mixture between two standard size mugs.
  4. Microwave on high for 1 1/2 – 2 minutes or until the desired texture.
  5. Let cool for a minute then garnish (if you’d like) and enjoy!

Notes:

  • This is only the second mug cake recipe I’ve ever attempted, and like the first, I feel like the texture you end up with is more “quickbread” and less “cake”. Still delicious though, and you can whip it up from start to finish in less than 10 minutes.
  • This wasn’t intended to be an “original recipe,” but after checking out the contents of my fridge and pantry and realizing I was cooking for two and not one, I figured why not. The vegan part is also a result of what we had vs. didn’t have 🙂
  • I strongly suggest including the ice cream or whipped cream if you can. While this was perfectly fine on its own, Andy and I both agreed it would benefit from a little something extra.

Maniac Fire Bread

With three kick-ass recipes under my belt, I am finding myself more and more adventurous when it come to the recipes in Sweet & Vicious. In the interest of dipping my toe a teeny bit further into the pool, I decided to try my hand at Maniac Fire Bread, which, with its combination of rich chocolate and spicy serrano chile, sounded like it would be awful or amazing. Oh, and of course, you can’t forget the accompanying Raspberry Smoked Sea Salt Butter.

Notes:

  • This recipe is surprisingly easy; the only difficulty I had was the handling of the chile. You see, something about the oils in any chile pepper irritates my hands and causes them to swell. Unusual, but something to take in to consideration every time a recipe requires that particular addition. Fortunately, Andy was gallant enough to taking on the task of mincing so my temperamental skin was spared.
  • Flavor-wise, I was worried that the chile would be too much for what is a fairly simple bread, but it wasn’t an issue. The richness and the sweetness of all that chocolate and cocoa powder kept the spice from being anything more than the occasional sensation of heat on the back of your pallet. That was a pleasant departure from the cloying sweetness of some of the classic quick bread recipes.
  • I’ve already had two people ask me for a copy of this recipe. I find that truly impressive. Not only did they like it, they liked enough to want to make it for themselves even before knowing whether the recipe is complex or not. High praise indeed.

Blackberry Cobbler Quickbread with Spiced Topping & Blackberry Lemon Thyme Butter

Feeling buoyed by my recent success, I decided to continue on my Sweet & Vicious baking streak. This time I selected a recipe that actually allowed for a lot of variance, but still maintained the sass that I am coming to expect from this book. First, I decided on the cobbler quickbread and, after checking my fridge, refined it to the blackberry iteration of the recipe. Then of course, I went all the way by adding the recommended flavor elevator of blackberry lemon thyme butter to pair with the finished product. Here’s how it went:

Notes:

  • This recipe made me so happy! Reading it and mentally running through the steps, it seemed… well… a bit extra, but every little thing blends perfectly into something so delightful that you don’t mind the effort. Just go for it; you won’t regret it.
  • While the base recipe is solid, it is the bells and whistles that really take this over the top. First the spiced topping, that pinch of cayenne brings the most subtle hint of heat which in turn brings out the sweetness in the berries. The compound butter adds an extra level of richness, and the lemon zest paired with the mashed fruit keeps that slight tart that makes this more than just another sweet quickbread.
  • I am having so much fun with this book; the more recipes I try, the more I want to make.