Thursday, July 29, 2010

Time, Love and Tenderness

Let's not talk about how long it's been. Real friends don't mention indiscretions and delinquencies.

So I needed to send some love in the mail to a couple friends, and I came across this little gem of an idea. Cupcakes in jars. Because everyone needs a little sugar now and then, hmm?

When I went to bake the actual cake itself, it was really important to me to find a recipe that was dense yet tender, moist, and tasty. I remembered having read on Smitten Kitchen about the "ultimate" yellow cake, so I decided to give it a whirl!

To begin with I used these teeny darling jars, sprayed them with non-stick cooking spray, and filled them about 2/3 full with the batter.

After they baked a bit and got nice and golden I pulled them out of the oven. They looked like this:
Aren't they precious! After they had cooled a minute or so I popped them right out, and let them finish cooling on a rack. While I was waiting I washed the jars and made a little of this favorite deliciousness to put in the middle and on top.

And when everything was all assembled I put them in the freezer to sit and chill out until I was ready to ship. And when I pulled them out they looked like this:

YUM, right?!

In the end, I hope my friends were pleased. I thought the cake was a little dry and not as tender as I would have liked. I probably won't be using that recipe again. The frosting tasted good (as always) when I made it, but sadly, it was so hellaciously hot that it probably didn't resemble anything like this when it arrived. But at least there were mini chocolate chips in there, and everyone knows. Mini Chips = Love.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Make this.

This would be a good recipe for the big giant football game coming up... it's delicious, cheesy, oozy, melty and spicy. And completely customizable. Behold. Pizza Dip. (A recipe I got from a friend.)

I should warn you that the person I got this from makes this with ricotta cheese, which I'm not a huge fan of. So I switched a few things, and Bob's your Uncle, it turned out delicious.

First mix a brick of neufchatel cheese (that's the cream cheese that's 1/3 less fat.) with about 1/2 a cup of mascarpone cheese and a few hefty spoonfuls of sour cream (Also reduced fat. If you want to go full fat, please by all means don't let me stop you.) Put it in a bowl and mix with your mixer... also add in a few shakes of garlic salt and also some oregano or other italian seasoning and some pepper. Smooth this all into a small baking dish (like 8x8 perhaps.) and then top with half a jar of your favorite tomato sauce. I like Barilla or DeCecco, but seriously, whatever's on sale will work just fine. Smooth the sauce evenly on top of the first layer. Then top with some Italian blend shredded cheese... and then whatever pizza toppings you like the best. Mister and I are pepperoni-onion pizza lovers, so I sauteed some onions in a little olive oil and put them on here with diced pepperoni slices and black olives. I would have put bell peppers on here but Mister's not a fan. Maybe next time. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or so until it's bubbly and brown in spots, like pizza. Take it out of the oven, but for heaven's sake don't eat it right away or else you will singe off the roof of your mouth and then you won't want to be my friend anymore. Serve it with whatever scoopers you like best, Scoop Tostitos are good, but Scoop Fritos taste exceptional as well, and I think really bring the party feel. Heck, you could go all fancy and find some cool crispy flatbread or something, too.

Anyway, bring this to the next party you go to. Or whip some up for Super Bowl. You'll knock their socks off. This gets 5 stars for ridiculous.

P.S. If you want to make the ricotta version, kick out the mascarpone cheese and sour cream and sub in half a cup or so of ricotta. Blehck!