Strawberry Yogurt Cake

Scott has been boring in his treat choices lately.  He really just wants cookies to take to work, but I keep running across all of these crazy-good-looking recipes that I am itching to try.  So, this week, I made him cookies (white chocolate macadamia nut, may post that later), and I made a fresh strawberry and yogurt cake for my coworkers. 

Late January and February is strawberry season in central Florida.  There’s even a strawberry festival that celebrates them. (It’s pretty cool.  Lots of food with strawberries.  All of it delicious.)  So, we have them in great abundance and for pretty good prices in local grocery stores.  I found a recipe for oven baked strawberries on Pinterest (damn you, Pinterest) that I can’t wait to try. 

Anyway, I knew that I had to make this as soon as I saw it…and the results were amazing!

Original recipe found here: http://www.food.com/recipe/fresh-strawberry-yogurt-cake-426872

What you Need:

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
1 lemon, zested
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces plain Greek yogurt or 8 ounces vanilla, greek yogurt
12 ounces fresh strawberries, diced
1 cup powdered sugar
 

And Here’s What You Do:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a standard Bundt pan.  Sift together 2 1/4 cups of flour, baking soda, and salt.  Mix in the lemon zest.

2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, and then 1 Tbsp of lemon juice.  Alternate adding the yogurt and the flour mixture, mixing until all incredients just until incorporated.

3. Add in the strawberries with the remaining 1/4 cup of flour.  Using a rubber spatula, gently mix the strawberries into the rest of the batter.

4. Add the batter into the Bundt pan.  Bake in a preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. (I baked for about 65 minutes)

5. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cook completely.  Once the cake is cooled, whisk together the remaining 2Tbsp of lemon juice and the powdered sugar. Drizzle over the top of the cake.

What I Did

I followed the recipe (I know, shocking for me as of late).  I’m not a cake maker, so I am unsure as to where I have wiggle room in those recipes.

I did not glaze the top, as my cake was a little broken when it came out of the pan.

Image

I promise that I followed the recipe and following the instructions!  I don’t know why it broke!

Reaction

Scott has been under the weather this week, so I’ve been kicking around in the kitchen while he sleeps as much as he can before trundling off to work.  The night I made this, I woke him up and asked him if he wanted a piece.  I got a muffled “No, thank you.  I have cookies.”, and assumed that he wouldn’t touch it. 

I was wrong.

After sending him off to work, I returned to the kitchen to find that we’d been robbed!  But the thief only took a large hunk of the cake.  So, I think he looked at it and couldn’t resist…Anyway, I sliced up the rest and let my coworkers have a go.  At one point, one of them was hunched over while eating it, emulating Golum petting his Precious.  I swear I almost saw tears come out of his eyes.

I think I will make this one again. 

Ingredient Roulette

So, I was feeling uninspired by recipes that I kept running across.  Scott prefers to have cookies because they are easier to take to work than other things, or so he says, so I find myself limiting my searches to cookies only.  And there are only so many things that you can do with the ingredients that he like to have in his cookies.  So, I’m faced with either making the same cookies over and over again, or starting to play with the ingredients that I have available.

This week’s recipe comes from a newly-discovered blog that I really must spend more time investigating: Pinch My Salt.  Original recipe is here:  http://pinchmysalt.com/oatmeal-coconut-chocolate-chip-cookies/

Here’s What You Need:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

And Here’s What You Do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat together butter and sugars until fluffy in an electric mixer.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.  In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until well combined.  Stir in oats, coconut, and chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes.  Cool for a few minutes on baking sheet then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. 

What I Did:

I started doing a little research on the effects of shortening vs. butter in cookie recipes, and I decided to go half and half with the butter and the shortening just to see what would happen.  And the butter that I did have was frozen.  Grrr…so, I left it on the counter to defrost and get soft.  In the meantime, I combined all of the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking soda, etc) and tossed in the oats and coconut as well.  Now, I know I shouldn’t have, but I was trying to save time. And I was being lazy.

So, butter, shortening and sugar get all mixed and fluffy along with eggs and vanilla, and I toss in the dry ingredients, then the bag of mini chocolate chips (I think that I will use those from now on.  I love them so much!).  After a couple of seconds in the mixer, the batter was good to go. 

Scott bought this new stuff that I didn’t even know existed last week.  I was feeling icky last weekend, and not really paying attention to what he was putting in the basket.  Anyway, he got the niftiest stuff that was parchment paper on one side and tin foil on the other. I used it in baking, and I really loved it!

Anyway, I used my cookie scoop instead of a rounded teaspoons (cause you know I can’t resist the urge to use it as much as I possibly can), and I left them the way they fell.  And I don’t profess to be any type of expert when it comes to knowing how ingredients will react to each other chemically, but I think I’m starting to figure out a lot more about how they interact with each other.  And it’s pretty dang amazing!  And this from a girl who didn’t do well in high school chemistry!

To make a long story short, this was an incredible experiment.  I think this may be the first steps in creating a perfect cookie recipe!

Image

 

New Year…Nutella!

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions.  Statistically speaking, they are always broken by January 10th, anyway.  But, that doesn’t mean that I don’t think on what steps I can take to improve on things in my life.  I really want to cook more this year, at least to weed through all of the recipes that I have been faithfully ripping out of every food magazine that I can lay my hands on without actually having a subscription.  Actually, this is more like my goal every week, and I spend my weeknights plotting out what I want to make on the weekends..and then the weekend comes, and I’m too dog tired to want to do any of it.  Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men…

Anyway, I’m back to trolling Pinterest for recipes, and I found this one (twice, actually), and I wanted to use up that most evil of toast spreads that we had in our cupboard from Scott’s cheesecake experiment – Nutella.

Now, I have known about Nutella for a very long time.  I remember us having it at my mom’s house before I moved to Florida in 2002.  It seems that it has reached a bit of a media frenzy in the last few years, with people suing over the company’s claim that it is a healthy breakfast item (which really makes me weep for society.  It’s a CHOCOLATE SPREAD, PEOPLE!!! Since when was chocolate considered a diet food?) and me going saucer-eyed over the first commercial I saw for it.  I do have to say that I love this stuff.  Long ago, I decided that if I was going to waste calories on something sweet, it was going to be chocolate.  No Skittles, hard candy, or Laffy Taffy for me, thank you.  Give me M & M’s any day.  So, when I was first introduced to it, I thought it was a complete miracle, and obviously thought up by those genius confectioners in Europe.  Of course it was!  Leave it to Italy to come up with something delectably evil.

Of course, I should stop a minute and say that by definition, Nutella is catagorized as a “hazelnut” spread with chocolate, and not the other way around.  It doesn’t contain enough cocoa for it to be sold as a chocolate spread.  But that is what everyone refers to it as.

Okay, enough splitting hairs (can you tell I’ve been watching too much Big Bang Theory lately?).  On to the recipe!

What You Need:

1 cup Nutella

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup flour

1 egg

And Here’s What You Do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together.  Shape into 1″ balls and place on greased (or parchment lined) cookie sheet.  Flatten firmly with the bottom of a glass.  Bake for 7-9 minutes, or until set.

What I Did:

Of course, I had to double the recipe when the original said that it only made 20.  Um, no.  I have a man with a voracious sweet tooth that needs to get through overnight shifts at work.  I’m not going to do it on 20 cookies.  I used my hand mixer, as I didn’t feel like dirtying everything on my stand mixer.  I’m slowly regaining control of the kitchen after it was being taken over with holiday baking and meal prep…I don’t want to move backwards in the process.

So, mix mix mix…and there formed in the bowl what appeared to be dirt.  Very aerated dirt, mind you, but dirt nonetheless.  So, I dutifully formed the little dough balls and lined them up for their trip to the oven.  Oh!  And thanks to Scott, I am now the owner of two restaurant-sized cookie sheets!  This brings the cookie sheet population in our house to six!  SIX!  I am unstoppable!  Plus, I can fit 20 cookies at a time on the bigger cookie sheets!  Gah!  The mind boggles…

Anyway, I flattened them with the bottom of the glass, and they started to fall apart a little.  Some more than others, but together for the most part.  They made it through the oven fine, and once baked, they did fine on the cooling rack.  I had to give into temptation and try just one of the little ones, and was met by hazelnutty goodness, followed by smack-you-across-the-face sweetness.  Kind of a far departure from what I’ve been making lately.  I was a little un-nerved by the dryness of the batter, but I’d been down the road of dry batter turning out fine, so I let it go.

Reaction:

Scott said they were “good”.  I can take that.  I would love to try this recipe again (because, let’s face it, I need another reason to buy the big jar of Nutella), but next time I want to leave out the sugar.  I really believe that the cookie is sweet enough without it, and I think that the extra dry ingredient contributed to the dry nature of the batter.

Until Next Time,

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes!

On a more personal note, please take the time to love and cherish the people around you.  It has been a very sad holiday season for quite a few people that I know.  Too many loved ones have been lost in the past month, so please take the time and be thankful for the people that fill your life.