i am baker http://iambaker.net Confections & Creations Tue, 16 Sep 2014 13:11:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 happy birthday! {naked cake} http://iambaker.net/happy-birthday-naked-cake/ http://iambaker.net/happy-birthday-naked-cake/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 13:11:14 +0000 http://iambaker.net/?p=45261 A Naked Cake in honor of all the September Birthdays!
Did you know that September 16th is the most popular birthday??  In honor of everyone who is lucky enough to celebrate this awesome day as well as all the September birthdays, I am sharing a fun “naked” cake! Calm down now, this is a G rated post.  A naked cake simply refers to the fact... 

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A Naked Cake in honor of all the September Birthdays!

Did you know that September 16th is the most popular birthday??  In honor of everyone who is lucky enough to celebrate this awesome day as well as all the September birthdays, I am sharing a fun “naked” cake!

Calm down now, this is a G rated post.  A naked cake simply refers to the fact that the sides of the cake are left bare, or free from frosting.  Or, naked!

I am absolutely positively thrilled with how these turned out and I have to tell you, it is thanks to a good recipe!

Achieving the “perfect” colors in icing is often complicated and difficult to replicate.  With the help of McCormick, the recipe is specific down to the very last drop.  If you decide to try this cake, you are destined to get the exact same results that I did!

Another reason to celebrate!  What do you think of the fun design?  Two cakes, one with pink, orange and yellow and the other with green, blue and purple.  A Rainbow!

Rainbows are my happy place. #obsessed

pink, orange & yellow naked cake recipe

Ingredients

  • ngredients
  • 1 package (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
  • 6 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Lemon Extract
  • McCormick® Assorted Food Colors & Egg Dye
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Orange Extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon McCormick® Imitation Coconut Extract
  • 2 teaspoons pineapple juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare cake mix as directed on package. Pour batter evenly (about 1 1/4 cups each) into 3 (9-inch) round cake pans sprayed with no stick cooking spray.
  2. Bake 25 to 29 minutes or until toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean.
  3. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.
  5. For the Frostings, beat butter in large bowl until light and fluffy.
  6. Gradually add confectioners' sugar, beating well after each addition and scraping sides and bottom of bowl frequently.
  7. Add water; beat until light and fluffy.
  8. Divide frosting evenly among 3 bowls.
  9. Tint and flavor each bowl of frosting. F
  10. or Pink Lemonade Frosting, stir in lemon extract and 7 drops red food color.
  11. For Burnt Orange Frosting, stir in orange extract, 36 drops red food color and 30 drops yellow food color.
  12. For Piña Colada Frosting, stir in coconut extract, pineapple juice and 30 drops yellow food color.
  13. Place a cake layer on serving platter and spread with Pink Lemonade Frosting.
  14. Top with second cake layer and spread with Burnt Orange Frosting.
  15. Top with remaining cake layer and spread with Piña Colada Frosting. Do not frost sides.
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Recipe shared from McCormick with permission.

If you stop by McCormick there is a complete chart with all the frosting as well as a very detailed recipe you can download for both cakes!  I can’t help but be impressed with the level of detail they have provided.  It really takes all the stress out of baking and leave you with all the FUN!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to all the September Birthdays!!

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homemade spice cake mix http://iambaker.net/homemade-spice-cake-mix/ http://iambaker.net/homemade-spice-cake-mix/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 13:17:17 +0000 http://iambaker.net/?p=45239 Homemade Spice Cake Mix
The Homemade Yellow Cake Mix, White Cake Mix and Homemade Brownie Mix on my site are so popular, I deciding that adding to the selection needed to be at the top of my list of things to do.  (Don’t worry, chocolate is next.  I am still experimenting! You will read why below.) I have quite a... 

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Homemade Spice Cake Mix

The Homemade Yellow Cake Mix, White Cake Mix and Homemade Brownie Mix on my site are so popular, I deciding that adding to the selection needed to be at the top of my list of things to do.  (Don’t worry, chocolate is next.  I am still experimenting! You will read why below.)

I have quite a few recipes that utilize spice cake mix, so instead of buying boxes I make up my own mix! It is easy peasy. And best part?  Wholesome and delicious!

As with all my homemade “box mix” cake mixes, you have some dry ingredients in an airtight container and then simply add the wet ingredients when you are ready to bake. The very same process as if you were to use a box of mix you purchased at the store.

One of the main differences is of course taste (so delicious) but also quality of ingredients. You have complete control over what you are eating and what you are putting in your body.

homemade spice cake mix

Ingredients

    Dry Ingredients
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice*
  • Wet Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature

Instructions

  1. Place all dry ingredients in a bowl and sift to combine. If there are any lumps in your sugar be sure to get them out now. Pour all dry ingredients into a mason jar or air-tight storage container.
  2. *If you do not have pumpkin spice you can use: 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp all spice and 1/4 tsp ground cloves.
  3. When ready to bake:
  4. In a medium bowl add in eggs, milk and vanilla and beat together with fork. Set aside.
  5. In a stand mixer cream butter until light and fluffy.
  6. With the mixer on low, start by alternating the dry mixture and the egg mixture.
  7. Pour 1/3 of the dry mixture into the creamed butter, then add 1/2 of the egg mixture. Continue alternating until all ingredients used. Turn off mixer, remove bowl and continue stirring by hand if any ingredients are not fully incorporated.
  8. Bake at 350 for about 18 minutes in 8-inch round pans. Increase time to about 30 minutes for 9x13 pan and keep a close eye on it.
  9. This recipe makes 14-16 cupcakes and they should bake for about 15 minutes.
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Quick Note: You can change the spice level to your tastes.  I prefer a subtle spice cake, one that does not over power a cream cheese frosting.  If you prefer a bold and zany spice cake, then feel free to play around with the amounts of spies added.

Not just any recipe can be turned into a homemade cake mix. The recipe really has to be conducive to the Single Stage or All-Ingredient method of baking.  If you need to harness the lightness and airiness of the Creaming Method (creaming butter and sugar together first) then the recipe will not work as well for a homemade box mix.

 

I recently used the Homemade Spice Cake Mix to make cupcakes with a Caramel Cream Cheese frosting.  They were phenomenal!  I can’t wait to make my Velvet Spice Cake Surprise-Inside Cake with it next!

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how to dominate after school snacks http://iambaker.net/how-to-dominate-after-school-snacks/ http://iambaker.net/how-to-dominate-after-school-snacks/#comments Sun, 14 Sep 2014 13:47:58 +0000 http://iambaker.net/?p=45221 How to Dominate After School Snacks
Did you know that I have been a homeschooling mom for the last 4 years? It was great! Well, kinda great.  I love everything about homeschooling and still stand strong in my support of it. But I got overwhelmed. And stressed. And sometimes angry. And impatient with my kids and found teaching three different grades... 

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How to Dominate After School Snacks

Did you know that I have been a homeschooling mom for the last 4 years? It was great!

Well, kinda great.  I love everything about homeschooling and still stand strong in my support of it.

But I got overwhelmed. And stressed. And sometimes angry. And impatient with my kids and found teaching three different grades at once to be more than I could handle.  And I realized… I may not be doing the best thing for my kids by homeschooling.

We just happen to live near a very small private school (57 kids total in K-12).  I enrolled them and now have not one, not two, but three first time students!  I joined the ranks of so many others and celebrated this momentous occasion with a “first day of school” picture.

But I cried.  I cried a lot.

They did not.  I still want them home with me in the worst way, but they are absolutely thriving in their school and truly love it.  They are excited every day to go and excited every day when I pick them up.

On top of everything that comes with sending your babies off to school for the first time (and the guilt of feeling like I failed at homeschooling), what to feed the kids after school turned into an issue. They seemed to be starving the second they walked in the door, but I was woefully unprepared and was always scrambling to find something light enough to not fill them up but that was healthy enough to re-charge their little bodies.

I spend enough time worrying about actual meals that snacks were getting seriously neglected. I hopped online and researched ‘after school snacks’.  (Don’t laugh!)

Here is what I found:

1. BE CONSISTENT. The kids should know what their options are and where to find them.  Keeping them in the same place is a great way to avoid the “what can I have to eat” discussion every single day.  As you can see above, I set up a Snack Station.  Fresh fruit compliments the granola, bars, cookies and crackers that the kids have to choose from.

2. OFFER A VARIETY OF CHOICES.  When they feel empowered to choose what they having they are more likely to not complain if it is healthy, good for them, or just not as sweet as they would like.

Teaching them to reach for protein based snacks as a child will help to steer them clear of heavy sugar-laden snacks as an adult.  I also talk to my kids about what they are eating.  When they eat veggies fresh from the garden I ask them to pay attention to how their body feels after.  Alternatively, when I have made a ridiculously sugary cake and they get a small piece, they are to observe how that makes them feel as well.  It is awesome to see how they can distinguish between good energy and the drastic decent of a sugar high, leaving them with headaches, stomach aches and sometimes hunger!

I want my kids to make good choices on their own and based on their own experiences.

3. TIMING IS EVERYTHING.  They are allowed a snack when they get home, but not after 4:00.

We get home from school at 3:15 and eat dinner around 6:00, so a small snack is just fine for their growing bodies.  If they eat after 4:00 is starts to affect dinner time (which is also always family time) so they are encouraged to have something right away.

Those cookies are the Oat Bran Cookies from CVS/pharmacy, but with my job there is often baked goods in the house.  I will share homemade cookies and treats when it is appropriate, but being a baker heavily relying on sugar, my cookies are not always the best option.

The kids get the option of fresh fruit, cookies and bars, and fresh cut veggies in the fridge.  I have found that if they are cut up and presented in a pretty way the kids are more likely to eat them.  Also, we still have an abundance of veggies in the garden, so they are welcome to snack on anything they find. (carrots, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, peas)

To get ready for the week I head to CVS/pharmacy and get everything I can in their Gold Emblem “Abound” snack line.  The products are free from artificial preservatives and flavors, low in sodium (except for some nuts),  and really delicious.

Our new favorite is the Lime & Black Pepper Baked Rice Thins.  There is so  much flavor and texture that you really feel full after just a few bites!

In all honesty, I have started using them as MY go-to snack in the afternoon because they make me feel full and satisfied and I don’t have the urge to reach for sugar!  Which is a miracle!! (I am highly addicted to sugar)  So yeah, I may have bought 10 packages.

Myself and the big kids are not the only ones who enjoy a snack… the little ones do to!  It is great having them all in one spot so I can grab some for a long car ride or if I need to hop on the phone and quiet a little one or even if they are just hungry!

It has been a blessing to be able to work with CVS/pharmacy and share their Gold Emblem Abound products.  I feel like the timing was just perfect! It has been difficult transitioning into having kids in school and working from home and still taking cake of the little kids and feeling “mom-guilt” over the less-then-healthy snack options I was reaching for.

I try to only work with brands and companies that are a good fit for my family, and CVS/pharmacy has exceeded my expectations.  So while I was compensated to work with them, I can honestly tell you that I am thrilled with their product and will be using it on a regular basis!

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candy corn scotcharoo bars http://iambaker.net/candy-corn-scotcharoo-bars/ http://iambaker.net/candy-corn-scotcharoo-bars/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 14:28:43 +0000 http://iambaker.net/?p=45199 Candy Corn Scootcheroo's!
Check out my Candy Corn Peanut Butter Scootcheroo Bars!  This totally Original recipe is sure to become a family favorite! Can we talk about candy corn for a second?  And in the sake of transparency, I am talking about it from the perspective of being absolutely obsessed with it.  Like, addicted to the stuff. I... 

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Candy Corn Scootcheroo's!

Check out my Candy Corn Peanut Butter Scootcheroo Bars!  This totally Original recipe is sure to become a family favorite!

Can we talk about candy corn for a second?  And in the sake of transparency, I am talking about it from the perspective of being absolutely obsessed with it.  Like, addicted to the stuff.

I really can’t keep it in my home because I will just eat it.  All. Eat it all.  All of it.  At once.  I have no control.

So I just don’t buy it.

Except when I do.

 

This dessert is definitely an ode to candy corn.  There are three bags in this one pan.

Developing this project was a labor of love/hate.  Love because I love candy corn. #da Hate because I had to buy so many bags of the stuff and sample so many varieties and re-test the recipe so many times that I must have eaten the entire Minnesota supply.

All for the sake of finding you the perfect Candy Corn Scootcheroo.

#ilovemyjob

#ihatemyjob

#justkidding

#ionlyloveit

 

Most of the trial and error went into finding the perfect consistency of candy corn mixture.

An original recipe of scootcheroo’s (like my Snickers Special K Bars, to DIE for) calls for 1 cup of corn syrup and 1 cup of white sugar.  When I was looking at the ingredients of candy corn the main ingredient is corn syrup.  So a bell went off in my brain, and I thought, “Why don’t I just substitute candy corn for the sugar and corn syrup?”

So I did.

But here was the problem:  If it was too think it was impossible to spread over the cereal.  If it was too thin it was candy corn cereal soup.

I think the final, and best, consistency is similar to whole milk.  Runny, but sturdy.

candy corn scotcharoo’s

Ingredients

  • 3 11-ounce bags of candy corn
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 7 cups Special K cereal

Instructions

  1. Prepare a 9 x 13 baking pan by spraying (or coating with butter or goop) with bakers spray on sides. Place a piece of parchment paper snuggly in the bottom of the pan.
  2. In a medium saucepan over low heat, pour in two bags of candy corn and 1/4 cup water. This is approximately 4 cups of candy corn.
  3. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. You will want the candy corn to melt completely.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Add peanut butter to candy corn reduction and stir together until full combined.
  6. Put all cereal in a large bowl and pour the candy corn mixture over the cereal. Stir to coat all the cereal.
  7. Pour cereal into prepared pan and press it flat. You can do this with your hands (coat them with bakers spray as often as needed) or with a spatula.
  8. Immediately after you get the cereal flattened, pour candy over the top and level it out. Gently press candy corn into cereal mixture.
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Final consensus?  Hubby thought there was too much peanut butter.  Parker thought they were best without candy corn on top.  Colton added more candy corn to the top of his.

Me?  I love the final product just as it is.  But be warned, they are addicting, so I advise giving away as many as possible!

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Better Homes & Gardens Exclusive Event {and chocolate meringue pie of course} http://iambaker.net/better-homes-gardens-exclusive-event/ http://iambaker.net/better-homes-gardens-exclusive-event/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 13:10:05 +0000 http://iambaker.net/?p=45155 Chocolate Meringue Pie
I cannot tell a lie, sometimes it is pretty darn cool to be a food blogger. I was recently told about a ridiculously cool experience that Better Homes and Gardens has created for some special friends. The fabulous folks over at BHG have decided, for the first time ever, to show some special guests what happens every day... 

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Chocolate Meringue Pie

I cannot tell a lie, sometimes it is pretty darn cool to be a food blogger. I was recently told about a ridiculously cool experience that Better Homes and Gardens has created for some special friends.

The fabulous folks over at BHG have decided, for the first time ever, to show some special guests what happens every day in the Better Homes and Gardens Test Kitchen. This is where all of their recipes are tested and approved by their editors and culinary professionals.

The Test Kitchen is not open to the public, so this is truly an exclusive and behind-the-scenes tour.

I will also get to see where the magic is created in their photo studios as well as visit their beautiful Test Garden.

Did you read that? I think I just fainted. I have a serious obsession with behind-the-scenes-everything… and to get to see the kitchens, the photography studios, the gardens? This just got real.

As if the tours weren’t enough, the editors and contributing editors are going to be serving special meals and snacks for the whole trip.

Scott Peacock, who just happens to be an award-winning chef and cookbook author will be there. He will be showing me some of his famous dishes as well as teaching me how to do it!  

I am crossing my fingers that this phenomenal Chocolate Meringue Pie will be on the menu.

Gesine Bullock-Prado is a master baker and cookbook author who finds joy in demystifying baking challenges for the home cook. She will be teach just how simple it is to create spectacular centerpiece desserts for the holidays or any special occasion.

The glamorous and witty Better Homes and Gardens food editors will share a spectacular holiday open house menu featuring all-new recipes. Their talented designers will be on hand to show simple and inexpensive ways to make my table sparkle this holiday season.

To top it all off, there is a gift bag valued at over $200 and I will be getting a very special printed cookbook featuring every recipe debuted during the event.

Doesn’t that sound AMAZING?  I feel so honored to be a part of it.

But you guys… you know I would not be writing a blog post just bragging on all the fun things I get to do.  So why am I sharing at all?  

Because YOU can be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime exclusive event.

This is a unique experience that BHG has very limited availability for.  But, if you act fast, we can sip wine and feast on the best food of the season all while touring stunning gardens and being given tips and tricks on how we can recreate the same recipes and styles!

You can get all the details and important information right here: 

BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS COOKING EXPERIENCE.  The event starts on Oct. 10th in the evening and continues on to October 11th.

If you have any questions, do let me know.  I can’t wait to see you there!

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daddy’s girl http://iambaker.net/daddys-girl/ http://iambaker.net/daddys-girl/#comments Sun, 07 Sep 2014 18:15:29 +0000 http://iambaker.net/?p=45191 Olivia and Daddy
They didn’t know I was there. Watching them.  Feeling my heart ache as she looked up at her daddy with such love and delight in her eyes. Giggling to myself as she collapsed in a fit of belly laughs after the tickle monster came to visit. Feeling blessed and thankful after seeing her close her... 

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Olivia and Daddy

They didn’t know I was there.

Watching them.  Feeling my heart ache as she looked up at her daddy with such love and delight in her eyes.

Giggling to myself as she collapsed in a fit of belly laughs after the tickle monster came to visit.

Feeling blessed and thankful after seeing her close her eyes and lean into daddy’s kisses.

There is just something about a content child, a happy and loved child, that makes everything right in the world.

 

 

“The soul is healed by being with children.”

-English Proverb

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amazing zucchini crisp {faux apple crisp} http://iambaker.net/amazing-zucchini-crisp-apple-crisp/ http://iambaker.net/amazing-zucchini-crisp-apple-crisp/#comments Sat, 06 Sep 2014 15:08:46 +0000 http://iambaker.net/?p=45176 The BEST Zucchini Cobbler! (tastes exactly like Apple Cobbler!)
After posting a picture of this dessert on Instagram, my friend Kate commented, “I’m conflicted….I want you to bake me something awesome but I am skeered you’ll pack it with your zucchini!! #whoamikidding #eatallthethings”. My advice to Kate? Be afraid. Be very afraid. This, my sweet friends, is Zucchini Crisp. It tastes exactly, and I... 

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The BEST Zucchini Cobbler! (tastes exactly like Apple Cobbler!)

After posting a picture of this dessert on Instagram, my friend Kate commented, “I’m conflicted….I want you to bake me something awesome but I am skeered you’ll pack it with your zucchini!! #whoamikidding #eatallthethings”.

My advice to Kate? Be afraid. Be very afraid.

This, my sweet friends, is Zucchini Crisp. It tastes exactly, and I do mean exactly, like Apple Crisp.

Only better. Cause it’s zucchini and we all know I am a wee bit obsessed with it.

My husband came home one day and was like, “So I was chatting with the guys at work and one of them mentioned having a really delicious zucchini crisp.”

Um, what’s this you say?  You can your buddies sit around talking about yummy baked goods?

Well, no.  Hubby sometimes brings our extra zucchini to work and someone was thankful and offered up recipe ideas. So, uh, basically, yeah.  The boys do talk baking at the office.

Which makes me gloriously happy.  I now call him Mr. iambaker.

Anywho, after all that, I was like, “Where is the recipe?”

“He doesnt have a recipe.  He just ate a zucchini crisp he liked.”

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

After doing some hunting online I was able to find a recipe, but I found it to be pretty vague. So through trial and error I have now found the best possible recipe for Zucchini  Crisp.

It’s fool proof I tell you!

amazing zucchini crisp {faux apple crisp}

Ingredients

    Zucchini Filling
  • 8 cups peeled, chopped zucchini
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Crust
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, chilled
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

    Zucchini Filling
  1. Choose a LARGE zucchini only (preferably 12-24 inches long and very thick). Peel zucchini and using a mandolin, slice the zucchini into thin slices*. Make sure all seeds are removed.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium heat add zucchini, lemon juice, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook for about 20 minutes or until zucchini is very tender.
  3. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Crust
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a 10 x 15 inch baking dish.
  6. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, oats, baking powder and cinnamon.
  7. Crumble chilled butter into flour mixture with hands (you can also use a pastry cutter) until mixture resembles coarse crumbs or pea sized butter bits.
  8. Stir 1/2 cup of flour mixture into cooled zucchini mixture.
  9. Press half of remaining butter mixture into bottom of prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes.
  10. Spread zucchini mixture over top of crust and sprinkle remaining butter mixture over zucchini.
  11. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until top is golden brown.
  12. *The easiest way to remove the seeds is to cut the zucchini in half length wise then scoop out the seeds with a spoon. After all the seeds are removed, the zucchini should look like a large piece of celery.
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Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com.

Tips & Tricks:

You can use a smaller pan, like a 9 x 13, but it may overflow. If you need to use a smaller pan I would consider decreasing the recipe size by 1/4.

Using smaller zucchini is not recommended. A smaller zucchini is more flavorful and will have a aftertaste, and may even be slightly bitter. Also, if you use a smaller zucchini you will not need to de-seed it. (But do still peel it.)

I would advise using the mandolin for slicing the zucchini.  If you do not have one and need to cut by hand, make sure to take the time and get really uniform slices.

Before cutting in the butter I dice it into small pieces. I like how Dorothy from Crazy for Crust prepares her butter; she dices it then puts it back in the fridge. This works great when you opt to use your hands to mix like I do!

There is a picture above of the cooked zucchini and as you can see there is a lot of liquid. I was nervous to pour that much liquid over the bottom layer of crust, so I decided to bake the crust first. It works like a charm! All that glorious liquid will evaporate and soak back into the zucchini while baking and the bottom layer of crust will be crispy and dry.

I am not kidding, this tastes so much like apple that no one would ever know it is a zucchini!

Served warm is the best option, and serving with vanilla ice cream and caramel is an even better option.

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brownie cookie dough pie http://iambaker.net/brownie-cookie-dough-pie/ http://iambaker.net/brownie-cookie-dough-pie/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 14:10:17 +0000 http://iambaker.net/?p=45160 Brownie Cookie Dough Marshmallow Pie!
Stop judging me. Ok, nevermind.  Judge away.  This dessert is… well… ridiculously awesome.   Let me tell you how this came about. I was craving brownie batter.  I know, I know, gross. Raw egg, yuck.  But I am one of those weirdo’s who does not have a problem with raw egg nor do I have a... 

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Brownie Cookie Dough Marshmallow Pie!

Stop judging me.

Ok, nevermind.  Judge away.  This dessert is… well… ridiculously awesome.

 

Let me tell you how this came about.

I was craving brownie batter.  I know, I know, gross. Raw egg, yuck.  But I am one of those weirdo’s who does not have a problem with raw egg nor do I have a problem with raw egg when it is surrounded by glorious chocolately homemade brownie batter.  In my old fart mind, raw egg (surrounded by glorious chocolately homemade brownie batter) is good for you.

So I made the batter and then for some reason it didn’t sound good anymore.  Well, all is not lost when making batters, just bake it!  So I did.

Then I got a hankerin for cookie dough!  (Here is where you can shake your head back and forth.  I really need to develop some healthier cravings.)

So I made up a batch of cookie dough frosting.  Then I was in the process of grabbing a spoon and saw my brownies on the counter.

Cookie Dough + Brownies = now I have to run 7 miles for one bite.

Totally worth it.  I mean, if I would actually run 7 miles.  It’s more like a 2 mile brisk walk through the local mall with large strapped-on ankle weights and a pink terrycloth braided headband and a T-shirt that says “totally rad”.  And if I were being totally honest, it’s more like a walk to the car so I can go to the store and buy more marshmallows.  #justsayin

But then, as if gobs of cookie dough frosting and brownies weren’t enough, I decided to toast some mini marshmallows on top.

Because marshmallows.

No da.

 

I used my favorite Homemade Brownie Mix recipe for the base of this pie.  I baked it in a 9-inch round pie dish.

chocolate chip cookie dough frosting

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, or to
  • taste
  • 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. In stand mixer beat brown sugar and room temperature butter until light and fluffy. Add in flour and vanilla extract until fully combined.
  2. With mixer on low speed, add in cream until desired consistency is reached. (Can use more/less cream if desired)
  3. Remove bowl from mixer and stir in chocolate chips by hand.
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Recipe just barely adapted from allrecipes.com.

So here is what the whole assembly looked like.  Bake brownies, allow to cool.  Prepare cookie dough frosting and smother on top of brownies.  Place a layer of mini marshmallows on top of cookie dough frosting and then toast in oven (the broil option works fast but placing them in for about 5 minutes at 250 works great for an all-over warming) for about 2 minutes, or until slightly golden.  Be sure to watch closely!

Can be served immediately or kept at room temperature.

By the time I got all my pictures taken and was ready to actually indulge in a bite, my pie was cool.  So I popped it in the microwave for a few seconds, drizzled on some hot fudge, and watched in fascination as the fluffy marshmallows started the magnificent descent off of the pie as the warmed cookie dough frosting seemed incapable of supporting the toasted clouds of sugar for one more second.

Gotta tell you, this combination of flavors is pretty darn amazing.  Totally indulgent and obnoxiously sweet… but worth trying at least once in your life.  And here is the best part, the whole thing takes about 1/2 hour to pull together.

Quick, easy, delicious.  I think that should be my new mantra.

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Zucchini Banana Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting http://iambaker.net/zucchini-banana-cake-with-whipped-cream-cheese-frosting/ http://iambaker.net/zucchini-banana-cake-with-whipped-cream-cheese-frosting/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 11:39:20 +0000 http://iambaker.net/?p=45141 Banana Zucchini Layer Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting!
There is something utterly refreshing about walking out to the garden and choosing a vegetable that I can turn into a cake.   So often when I think about cake and baking I think sugar, sweet, over-the-top decadence. Sometimes, however, it is nice to enjoy the beauty of a layer cake while still using wholesome and... 

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Banana Zucchini Layer Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting!

There is something utterly refreshing about walking out to the garden and choosing a vegetable that I can turn into a cake.   So often when I think about cake and baking I think sugar, sweet, over-the-top decadence.

Sometimes, however, it is nice to enjoy the beauty of a layer cake while still using wholesome and fresh ingredients.  Covered in massive amounts of sugary frosting of course.  More on that in a moment.

 

As per most recipes that I get my hands on, I had to turn it into a cake.  Because everything should be turned into a cake, right?

Here is the dilemma.  When I eat banana bread, I don’t want frosting!  I know, I know, that is just crazy talk.  The bread itself is so darn good, there is no need for a frosting.  But whoever heard of a layer cake without frosting?  Somethings should just never be done.

So I spent a good deal of time thinking about frostings and their consistency and flavors and tried to develop and frosting that would not only compliment the flavor of the banana zucchini cake, but also the texture.

 

I think I have found a winner.

Zucchini Banana Layer Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

    Banana Zucchini Cake
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini, drained
  • Whipped Cream Cheese
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups cold heavy whipping cream

Instructions

    For the Cake
  1. Heat oven to 350 and prepare three 8-inch round cake pans.
  2. In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In a stand mixer on low speed add in the sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla, and banana. Mix on medium speed for about 1 minute, or until fully combined.
  4. One cup at a time add the flour mixture into the sugar mixture. Mix until just incorporated and remove bowl from mixer.
  5. Stir in the drained and shredded zucchini.
  6. *I prefer to not peel the green skin off on my zucchini, but you certainly can. If you have a very large zucchini, remove any seeds prior to grating.
  7. Bake for 22-26 minutes, or until inserted toothpick is removed mostly clean.
  8. Whipped Cream Cheese
  9. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat whipping cream on medium high until stiff peaks form; about 3 minutes. Place whipped cream into a separate bowl and clean out stand mixer bowl.
  10. In clean stand mixer bowl whip cream cheese with whisk attachment until light and smooth. Add in sugar, salt and vanilla and beat until fully incorporated.
  11. Remove bowl from stand mixer and gently fold in whipped cream to cream cheese mixture.
  12. Can be used immediately. You can store in refrigerator until ready to use, just be sure to bring to room temperature before piping or spreading.
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Zucchini Banana Cake developed from this recipe: Zucchini Banana Oat Bread and the Craptastic Day.  Whipped Cream Cheese adapted from allrecipes.com.

 

Just look at that thick beautiful cream cheese whipped deliciousness.  It is light enough that it works with the zucchini banana cake, is a complimentary flavor, and delicious enough to make you lick your fingers.  Speaking from experience.

Our zucchini season is finally winding down and I will be sharing some fall favorites soon.  If you have special requests feel free to let me know!

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gluten free fudgy brownies http://iambaker.net/gluten-free-fudgy-brownies/ http://iambaker.net/gluten-free-fudgy-brownies/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 13:58:05 +0000 http://iambaker.net/?p=45122 Gluten Free Fudgy Brownies!
One of my favorite things to do is bake.  I love getting into the kitchen, getting out bowls and measuring spoons, opening the pantry door and standing before the sugars, flours and baking ingredients.  There is a nervous, almost giddy excitement about it that brings me to a calm, comfortable, happy place in my often... 

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Gluten Free Fudgy Brownies!

One of my favorite things to do is bake.  I love getting into the kitchen, getting out bowls and measuring spoons, opening the pantry door and standing before the sugars, flours and baking ingredients.  There is a nervous, almost giddy excitement about it that brings me to a calm, comfortable, happy place in my often stressed out and anxious mind.

 

Until today.  I was trying out a gluten free recipe, something that is not my norm.  I had placed a very high bar for this recipe, wanting to make sure it was completely gluten free, that it was accessible, and that it tasted good.

So I spent quite a bit of time researching just how to bake gluten free.  It is not just about ingredients, it is also about quality and safety.

Some people choose to go gluten free, but for others it is a real necessity.  Seeing as I do not fall into the latter category, I wanted to make sure that safety was at the forfront of my thoughts, so that everything about this recipe screamed delicious, sound, comfortable, just-plain-good.

 

Since there was no way I was going to be developing a gluten free recipe from scratch, I went to a trusted source.  McCormick has a number of well tested and scrumptious gluten free recipes on their site, and this Fudgy Brownie was calling my name in a big way.

 

gluten free fudgy brownies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 4 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 tablespoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix sugar and cocoa powder in large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Gently sift cornstarch, sorghum flour, tapioca flour, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
  4. Microwave butter in large microwavable bowl on HIGH 1-2 minutes or until melted. Pour into cocoa mixture and stir until well blended.
  5. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well.
  6. Gradually stir in flour mixture until well blended. Spread in fparchment-lined 13x9-inch baking pan sprayed with no stick cooking spray.
  7. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.
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Recipe just barely adapted from McCormick.

 

For my first venture into intentional gluten free baking, I would call this a success!  So excited to try more and see if we will be incorporating any more gluten free baking into our lives.  With results like these, it would be hard to resist!

I am not able to offer suggestions on substitutions at this time (still learning!) but if you need some insight, check out this post from thekitchn.  You can also check out my friend Johnna’s blog, In Johanna’s Kitchen for some great recipes!

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