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Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

Necessity is the mother of invention...

...it is true -- but it's father is creativity, and knowledge is the midwife - Jonathan Schattke

It's always dangerous if I bake when it is hot. I get cranky, I lose my temper, I make mistakes in my haste to get out of the hot kitchen and find a cool cave.

One of my co-workers is suddenly moving to Dallas for her husband's new job. She thought she was changing jobs in the office and the next day, she found she is moving. She is excited about the move but a little daunted by the move needing to be in 2 weeks. Her last day in the office is Thursday. Guess who offered to bake her one last treat?

The good news is the cake requested isn't hard. It doesn't even require a mixer but it does require some time in the kitchen. Last time I looked at the thermometer on the stove, it was over 82. Anything over 60 is hot in my kitchen. I got her cake baked with minimal problems and overheating and put together the truffle filling for the cake (see Humzoo cake sent to the Rad Humzoo Party).



It was the second recipe that got me in trouble (hence the title of my blog). I was hotter and more tired and crankier by the time I got to the Peanut Butter Swirled Brownies. Yes, I volunteered for another treat tomorrow (the cake will go on Thursday). I figured...the oven is already hot tonight...I can do two, right?

I was fine until I was supposed to put the chocolate chips in the brownie batter. I forgot them. Luckily you hold a cup or so out and put a PB-Cream Cheese layer on top of that batter, then top it off with dollops of the remaining brownie batter and swirl that into the brownie/PB mixture to create swirls. As I poised my bowl to put the PB/Cream Cheese layer on, I spied the chocolate chips. Dilemma: leave them out or somehow stir them in? I opted to sprinkle the chips on top of the batter, then add the PB layer, then the remaining cup of batter to swirl the top. Invention: I like the recipe better this way. It's hard to work with the brownie dollops and chips. The chips tend to get in the way and cause problems with the swirls. Putting all the chips in the bottom allows you to work with chip-free dollops for easier swirling--yet you lose nothing in the chocolate quota. I think I will use this method from this point on.



Now...am I crazy enough to go for recipe #3 and make something for my hair stylist (yes, I do tip her too!) for Wednesday night? My haircut isn't nearly the cost of Niki's cut and highlights so I have some room to toss in a treat without feeling drained financially. I wouldn't bother except she lost her chair in the previous hair salon the day I visited last month. It seemed very awkward when I was there. New owners, other stylists being let go, etc. She sounds happier with the change but ... my muse ... it feels an itch to make her a banana bread or something. Dare I tempt the Fates and try one more recipe tonight? I've been sitting here in the living room, eating ice and cooling down. I think I can handle it without forgetting the bananas...



I did remember the bananas. Banana-Sour Cream Coffeecake

Time for bed and THE COOL ROOM!


26 Comments
nheinzel
I made a pineapple upside down cake one time, Linda. As I was putting it in the oven, I saw the unopened can of pineapple sitting on the counter! So then it was just an upside down cake!! LOL!!
!   Tuesday, July 1, 2008
lgrant
LOL...sounds like me. I've usually been able to work around it or at the most, scraped it and done a new one if it was really bad and for someone expecting it. I never toss it, though. If I hadn't taken the DBCC cookies to the office, I would have ground them up and used them in a crust some day for a cheesecake. :)
LGrant   Tuesday, July 1, 2008
reera
I need some suggestions for a cake or dessert for a baby shower-I am pretty sure you might have a few good ideas...
dannie   Tuesday, July 1, 2008
nheinzel
Dannie, Linda's Berry Oatmeal Crumble Bars are to die for.
!   Tuesday, July 1, 2008
lgrant
That's like asking me if I have a good cake recipe. :) I have SO many ideas. Give me some notion of what you are thinking about. Small cupcakes, little tarts, little cookies? Very simple or more scratch?
LGrant   Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Leslie
I am happy to see you are human Linda. I have made every mistake in the book while attempting to cook. My kids could tell you some stories. The worst thing I did was to think I could cook frozen onion rings on the BBQ grill. The result was lots of sirens as the fire dept. extinguished the flames shooting about 10 feet in the air. I've also set the kitchen oven on fire. My neighbors must think I'm a pyromaniac.
Leslie   Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Leslie
Dannie, Have you made the turtle brownies? They are a crowd pleaser.
Leslie   Tuesday, July 1, 2008
lgrant
That's a great story, Leslie. I like to make sure people realize I make BIG mistakes too. Most of the time I can recover but I've been known to make some WHOPPERS! So, far I haven't done the pyromaniac thing but once I left the oven on all night. That scared the @#$#@ out of me so I'm really careful to check that now.

I went for #3. I have a Banana-Sour Cream Coffeecake in the oven as I type. :)
LGrant   Tuesday, July 1, 2008
nheinzel
I can smell it from here!!!
!   Tuesday, July 1, 2008
lgrant
The shower might depend on the way the food is served. If you want more buffet, I'd suggest something less messy than the turtle brownies. I just saw a great recipe for tiny little chocolate cakes with white icing piped on top. Really cute. Wouldn't be hard (unless you don't have mini-muffin tins) and you could use colored sugars to pretty them more. If you know the sex, you could use one color but I'd think it would be pretty with pinks and blues or greens and yellows. Something to consider.
LGrant   Tuesday, July 1, 2008
lgrant
If anyone likes PB & chocolate, I'd really recommend the brownies. I've made them many times and once someone has had them, they tend to remember them and ask for them many months later. These are for the uber-geeks at our data center. Two of them claim they can eat a pan all by themselves. I dared them. Told them if they did I'd make another pan for them to share. LOL
LGrant   Tuesday, July 1, 2008
reera
It is going to be a brunch for around 30-40 people. I am making Bishop's caserole (eggs, sausage, cheese oevr a bread bottom crust) and a new recipe with fresh tomatoes, boiled eggs and a very thick and cheesy cream sauce topped with bacon. There will also be a fruit sald and some veggies and dip.
dannie   Tuesday, July 1, 2008
reera
I have to go dig around in my cabines to see if I have any mini muffin pans. Its going to be a little girl. Since we are having a rather large gathering I thought I should do a variety.
dannie   Tuesday, July 1, 2008
lgrant
Sounds wonderful. (I can appreciate sausage dishes even if I don't eat them). Brunch. Cupcakes almost seem too much. But, I'd go for small bites with that kind of meal. They won't have much room left. Either some small cookies that would satisfy without filling them up or the little cupcakes or something like a trifle with layers so they could get as much or as little as they want. Banana pudding might be nice too but temperature sensitive. I was trying to think of things that could sit out but you tell me what if anything sounds good. If you go with brownies or something, I'd cut them small and display them nicely on a plate or platter rather than have the pan of brownies that are harder to serve from.
LGrant   Tuesday, July 1, 2008
lgrant
How about some brownies or bars of some type and maybe some lemon bars? Lemon bars are always popular and easy to make a lot and look pretty. A nice contrast to a brownie. You can make brownies in mini-muffin tins too for easier serving. Just some ideas. Oh, and there are little lemon tassies (like a tiny pie) that use mini-muffin pans using an easy cream cheese pastry for the crust.
LGrant   Tuesday, July 1, 2008
reera
The lemon tassies sound good-could you send me that recipe? It isn't for 2 weeks so I hav time to go buy some mini pans. I have made the Bishop's casserole without the sausage and it is just as good. You can fix it the night before and is an esy way to feed a bunch of folks.
dannie   Tuesday, July 1, 2008
lgrant
Tassie Cups with Lemon Curd Filling
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 24 cups

Tassie Cups:
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Lemon Curd Filling:
3 large lemons, zested and juiced
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the Tassie Cups: Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the mixture forms a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill until firm, about 1 hour.

Form the pastry into 24 small balls; press with fingers into the bottom and up the sides of ungreased miniature muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes, until lightly browned.

For the Filling: Place the zest and sugar in a food processor and process until combined. Add the lemon juice and eggs and process until smooth. Slowly add the butter to the mixture, pulsing as you go.

Place the mixture in the top of a double boiler and cook over simmering water for about 5 minutes, until thick.

Remove tassie cups from muffin tins, spoon lemon curd in the center and serve.

Cook's Note: Lemon curd will keep in a jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
LGrant   Tuesday, July 1, 2008
lgrant
A couple of comments (don't I always?):

Find silicon mini-muffin pans if you can. I'm not a fan of silicon pans bigger than muffin size but the mini muffin ones work great to release the little muffins easily.

Make the tassie cups in advance but don't fill them until that day so they won't get soggy. And if you don't want to mess with making the lemon curd, buy it. There is some good stuff out there. If you have a Trader Joe's close, they have a great curd at a great price but as you can see you can make it 3 weeks in advance if you choose to make your own. I'm biased. I think homemade is "da bomb".
LGrant   Tuesday, July 1, 2008
reera
Great-thanks. I think I will try the lemon curd so that if I screw it up I will have time to buy it.
dannie   Tuesday, July 1, 2008
lgrant
It's very easy to make. Just takes standing at the stove and getting it thick enough. :)
LGrant   Tuesday, July 1, 2008
lgrant
Can you smell it, Nancy? When will Humzoo smell like cake as well as taste like it?? :)
LGrant   Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Lionheart
Wow, LGrant, can I be your neighbor? The pictures of your creations look really really yummy ;-)
Lionheart   Wednesday, July 2, 2008
lgrant
Thanks, Lionheart! We'll see if they taste equally good when folks try them. :)
LGrant   Wednesday, July 2, 2008
nheinzel
Yes, Linda, I can smell it!!!
!   Wednesday, July 2, 2008
lgrant
Another good recipe, Nancy, if you ever need a nice coffeecake for a brunch or breakfast. How bad can bananas, sour cream, cinnamon and pecans be?? :)
LGrant   Thursday, July 3, 2008
lgrant
Dannie, just saw this on a local foodday site:

No two cookbooks agree on how long you can store homemade lemon curd safely. Recommendations vary from one week all the way to "indefinitely." According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, a research-based food safety organization, homemade lemon curd can be stored tightly sealed in the refrigerator for one month and in the freezer for one year.

Thought that might give you more info on making the lemon curd--if you decide to go that route. :)
LGrant   Tuesday, July 8, 2008
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