Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fig Newtons!

I always have over ripe bananas in the freezer in anticipation of making banana muffins just like my mom's.  But this time, I decided I wanted to make something different with those frozen bananas, and expand my horizons.  That and I recently learned I am allergy (altho not deathly) to walnuts and I feel like banana muffins would be naked without them.  So I found this recipe for Nutella Banana Bread and decided I needed it immediately!

The verdict?  Delicious.  I made a small sample loaf for Rebecca & I so there were lots of crusty edges.  I didn't feel like the Nutella flavor was super strong (and I used about a 1/4 cup extra to use up the jar) but Rebecca said she could definitely taste the chocolate.  Here's the finished product...with some pretty sweet swirling!

Then there's the Fig Newtons.  Much like I found with homemade Girl Scout cookies, the homemade version is much better (duh, fresher).  But they were also kind of a pain; I'm sure Nabisco has a much more efficient method.  A few notes about the recipes...1) The figs came in a 6 oz bag.  Come to think of it, I had thought there was too much water when I was making the filling and I guess that makes sense because I didn't cut back on the water but did cut back on the figs.  2) There's a reason it says to chill the dough....otherwise it will spread a bit in the oven. 3) It look longer than 20 minutes to get them brown.  4) Yum, I forgot how good these cookies are!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Yellow(ish) Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Mmm...been craving this one for awhile. And I wanted it in actual cake format, not cupcakes.  No special occasion, just a Sunday morning activity to keep me entertained.

The cake (someone's adaption from McCall's Book of Cakes and Pies):

Old-Fashioned Yellow Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 + 1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup milk (I used half and half...figured if was an "old-fashioned" recipe, skim milk didn't exist. That and I had half and half to use up).
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans.
2. In a large mixing bowl sift flour and sugar, baking powder and salt.
3. Add butter, milk and vanilla. Beat with a hand mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes, occasionally scraping sides of bowl.
4. Add eggs, beat for 2 more minutes.
5. Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing equally among both. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
6. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Turn out and cool thoroughly on wire racks.

Perfect Chocolate Frosting (from Hershey's)

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
1 cup cocoa powder
5 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Stir melted butter into cocoa and alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add a small amount of additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. Makes about 3 1/2 cups frosting. Frost cake when completely cooled.

The verdict?  The cake was good but the frosting was definitely the best part - but that's usually how I feel.  Cake is just a vehicle for eating more frosting...because I would NEVER eat a huge amount of frosting on its own...ever! ;)

I forgot to take a picture of the batter...not super yellow...but here's the cakes pre-frosting:

And a big bowl of chocolately frosting:

SOMEONE had to lick this spatula after the cake was frosted...:

The final product...mmm:

Delicious with an ice-cold glass of milk!