Sunday, June 16, 2013

Chocolate Guinness Cake with Pumpkin & Cream Cheese Icing

For the last...too many years to count, I was able to honestly say that I did not have a sweet tooth.  I'm starting to think that I can no longer say that.  I used to be addicted to salty snacks, like Triscuits. (I think I was eating 2+ boxes a week for awhile) But then one day I discovered that the excessive salt in my diet was causing painful leg cramps when I ran.  So I weaned myself off of salty snacks.  Actually, I think I quit cold-turkey.  Ever since, I have used less and less salt in my food.  Now, I think the only time I use salt while cooking is when I salt the pasta water.

For awhile after quitting the salty snacks, I just didn't snack.  But recently, I have started craving snacks again.  And this time I'm craving cookies and cake.  It's such a weird feeling, after all the years where I could look at a cookie or piece of cake and be genuinely disinterested.  I still don't have a huge love of sugar, and won't eat things that are too sweet.  But I love to have some cookies or a piece of not overly-sweetened cake in the evening.  The Chocolate Cake I made a few weeks ago was probably one of my all-time favorite desserts that I have made.  Last night, as I ate my last 2 delectable Chocolate Cream Cheese Cookies, I realized that I would have to make another batch of cookies today.  But then today came, and I decided I wanted to make another chocolate cake.  The fact that there is no milk in my fridge wasn't a problem...I wanted to use Guinness this time. I also had some little 50mL bottles of Bailey's that someone gave me, so I threw one of those in too.

The Cake
2 1/8 c flour
2 c sugar
3/4 c cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 c Guinness
50mL Bailey's Irish Cream Liqueur 
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 tbsp vanilla

grease and flour 2 8.5 inch round cake pans
bake at 350 for 40 minutes or so

let cool in pans for a little while, then transfer to wire racks

when the cakes are cool, spread icing on top of one cake, place the other cake on top, and then cover with remaining icing

The Icing
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 c pumpkin
1+ c confectioner's sugar

I used a fork to mix the icing.  It came out with cream cheese lumps, which are rather unsightly, but don't bother me.  If you want a smoother icing I suggest you use an electric mixer.

Photo Evidence

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Crockpot Chicken Stew

3 b/s chicken breasts
4 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger root
1 small onion
5 celery sticks
7 small carrots
1 can of corn
1 can of stewed tomatoes
1 1/2 c pumpkin
1 1/2 c veggie stock

Mince the garlic and ginger and saute them in bacon grease.  When they are browned, add the onion and cook til translucent.  Put the chicken in the bottom of the crockpot, add the garlic, ginger, and onion on top.  Chop the celery and carrots, add them to the crockpot.  Add the corn, then the tomatoes.  Mix together the pumpkin with 1/2 c veggie stock, then pour it over the contents of the crockpot.  Mix the rest of the veggie stock with herbs & seasonings, then add to the crockpot.  Cook on low for 6 hours. When done cooking, shred the chicken and mix well.  

This made a tasty lunch on a stormy day.  I ate it with a gouda and spinach grilled cheese sandwich.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Beer, Bourbon, BBQ, OH MY!

So this post has nothing to do with my food, but this is an event I went to in Richmond yesterday, and it was awesome.  I got to sample all sorts of beers and bourbons, and I also had a delicious bbq sandwich and a delicious crab cake sandwich.  I love crab cakes...don't get them here in WV too often!

Photos from the Adventure

and this is what we saw while we were waiting:

All in all, a very fun day, and a fun weekend spent out of town with friends.  
A great way to kick off Summer 2013.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Chocolate Cream Cheese Cookies

The Cream Cheese Cookies I made on Sunday were so delicious, I just had to whip up another batch!  This time, I added some cocoa powder...can't ever have too much chocolate!

Chocolate Cream Cheese Cookies

4 tbsp butter
2 oz cream cheese
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1+ tsp ginger powder
3/4 tsp vanilla
2+ tsp cocoa powder
1 egg
1/2 c wheat flour
1 c flour
handful of craisins
handful of mini chocolate chips

bake @ 375 for 10-12 minutes

These cookies hold their shape very well while baking.  The tops may look slightly under-done when you take them out, but they will firm up the rest of the way while cooling on a wire rack.  You don't want to over-bake the cookies, or the bottoms will burn.

I received a bottle of Smooth Ambler Old Scout Rye Whiskey for my birthday.  Cracked open that bottle this evening and tried it with the cookies.  Perfect match. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Cream Cheese Cookies

I went to a crawfish boil today and needed something to bring.  It seems that cookies are my go-to thing to bring at this point, because they are so quick and easy and there are so many possibilities.  Also, because it is one of the only things that I always have ingredients for...

So I took out the butter and threw it in the mixer to soften for a bit, and noticed the cream cheese I had in the fridge, that needed to be used before it turned all sorts of pretty shades of blue and green.  So I decided to substitute cream cheese for the vegetable oil I usually put in cookies.  I'm not sure exactly how much cream cheese I used, but it looked like a bit more than the amount of butter I used, so I'm going to guess 5 or 6 tbsp.

One of the best things about these cookies (other than the fact that they taste good) is that they hold their shape really well while baking.  I hate it when my cookies spread really thin in the oven.  I always chill the dough before baking it, which helps, but every now and then it fails.  These cookies held their shape so well, the first batch was burning on the edges before the center cooked.  So, I smashed the cookies on the second tray before baking them.

The cookies come out with more of a cake-y texture than a cookie texture.  
Perfectly soft, chewy, and yummy.

Cream Cheese Cookies

1/2 stick butter
5-6 oz cream cheese
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1/2 c wheat flour
3/4 c flour
mini chocolate chips

bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes