BEST BAKING HACK EVER.

Trust me.

This is SO easy. And SO awesome.

For realsies. This could be the BEST tip I’ve ever shared.

Did I conjure this up myself? I’m not 100% sure…but it’s too good to keep secret.

OK, say you’ve made a batch of Brownies (recipe below) or a One-Bowl Chocolate Cake or even an Hot Milk Sponge Cake (super light and fluffy).

Would you LOVE to drench your creation in a dreamy, creamy, fudge ganache?

Don’t have the time to make frosting from scratch? Or you’re out of powdered sugar? Don’t want to resort to that chemically-laden and overly processed frosting in a can?

No worries.

Here’s the ONLY ingredient you’ll need.

You probably have a package of semi-sweet chocolate morsels around, right? I mean, ‘cos who doesn’t, ya know what I’m sayin’?

SO AMAZING.

In one easy step, you’ll create a  to-die-for topping.

Ready? This is all there is to it…

bakinghack1

Photo by Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

Take a handful of chocolate chips; I think this is about 1/2 cup.

Sprinkle the chips evenly over just-out-of-the-oven brownies (or cake).

Ya gotta do it while it’s hot enough to melt the chocolate. (See my special seashell table?I can make one for you, too!)

Simply take a butter knife or offset spatula and spread the melted chocolate chips gently over the top.

Look how glossy and shiny and YUMMY chocolaty good that looks.

bakinghack2

Photo by Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

DELICIOUS-ness. Guaranteed.

A no-brainer, it’s a success EVERY time.

bakinghack3

Photo by Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

It starts out soft and if you’re like me and store any leftovers in the refrigerator, the topping develops into a firm but not too hard coating that serves to protect and preserve each and every moist mouthful.

  • Works great on cookies, too.
  • I’ve never tried milk chocolate/mint chocolate/peanut butter chips, but I assume they’d be good; if you try them, let me know!

Here’s Princess Rosebud’s Brownie recipe. One bowl, super easy!

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cold coffee (I always use a bit of coffee with chocolate)
1/3 – 1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup flour
pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Option: 1/2 cup chopped nuts

Mix thoroughly oil, sugars, eggs, vanilla, coffee. Incorporate cocoa and mix well.
Add flour, salt, baking powder, and nuts, if desired. Stir together, but not too vigorously. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes just until the edges pull away from the pan. No one likes dry brownies!

 

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Yummy! Old-Fashioned Strawberry Cake Roll

cakeroll8

It was devoured in record time; I didn’t even have the chance to take pics of a slice!

Full house to empty nest in the space of forty-eight hours.

It was a whirlwind visit from my Angel Boy; more like a pit stop, really.

The summer class he was teaching at Yale was over.

We picked him up from the airport Monday afternoon and he flew away Wednesday afternoon.

(Oh, and my tugboat man left Wednesday MORNING for a week or so — not too long to be upset about — just the right amount of time to clean and shop. Yes, I made two separate trips to the airport in one day.)

Except for the hours he was sleeping or surfing, my son’s number one activity was EATING.

That child of mine always had a wonderful appetite, but this was Olympic-level eating.

Chew, swallow, repeat.

A mom’s heaven.

I was a whirling dervish of a baker: Apple Pie, French Bread, Blueberry Banana Bread, Chard and Mushroom Lasagna plus his favorite Cake Roll. Sometimes I fill it with ice cream, but summer berries looked so beautiful at the farmer’s market so that’s what I did.

I bet he gained at least three pounds.

I’ve posted the recipe I always use from my mom’s 1940’s Betty Crocker cookbook.

Here’s a pictorial about how to create the roll. I did it outside on our deck because it’s kind of messy with the powdered sugar but if you don’t use it, the cake sticks to the cloth.

cakeroll1 This is how it should look, barely browned and still spongy. You can cut off the edges if they’re crispy.cakeroll2 Carefully turn it over onto a powdered sugar-covered cloth and peel away the parchment paper without destroying the cake (easier said than done!)cakeroll3 Roll it all up like a giant sushi roll and put in the freezer to cool off while youcakeroll4slice the gorgeous strawberries. Add only enough sugar to macerate (get juicy.)cakeroll6There is no excuse NOT to whip fresh cream. Nothing out of a can, thank you very much! It only takes a few minutes and it’s so yummy.
cakeroll5Unroll the cake, spread first with whipped cream, and then layer the strawberries.
cakeroll7

I used a LOT of strawberries and cream which made it hard to roll, but I wanted to fatten up my skinny child, so I didn’t care so much about the symmetry.

Bon appétit!
Trust me, it’s worth the effort!
cakeroll8


Old-Fashioned Strawberry Cake Roll w/Freshly Whipped Cream

3 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  • Heat oven to 375°F. Line 15x10x1 -inch pan with waxed paper, foil or cooking parchment paper; generously grease waxed paper or foil with shortening. (I used a cookie sheet with sides)
  • In medium bowl, beat eggs with electric mixer on high speed about 5 minutes or until very thick and lemon colored. Gradually beat in granulated sugar. Beat in water and vanilla on low speed. Gradually add flour, baking powder and salt, beating just until batter is smooth. Pour into pan, spreading to corners.
  • Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake. You should still hear some sizzle…Immediately loosen cake from sides of pan and turn upside down onto towel generously sprinkled with powdered sugar. Carefully remove paper. Trim off stiff edges of cake if necessary. While cake ¡s hot, carefully roll cake and towel from narrow end. Cool on cooling rack at least 30 minutes.
  • Unroll cake and remove towel.
  • Beat one small container with 2 or 3 tablespoons sugar until stiff peaks form.
  • Slice two cups of strawberries, sprinkle with 2 or three tablespoons of sugar. Stir and allow to macerate for a while. (Save a couple for garnish)
  • When cake is cool (hurry it up  by placing in freezer for 1/2 hour) spread evenly with whipped cream and place sliced strawberries evenly over the unrolled cake.
  • Roll up, sprinkle with powdered sugar, garnish with whole strawberries, and refrigerate.

P.S. Try my very best Apple Pie Recipe. Click here.

Yummy Black Bean Brownies and Lentil Cookies

These recipes were originally requested by my good friend at TheFurFiles.

My Angel Boy is coming tomorrow, yay!!!! (That’s what I call my son, in case you’re a new reader/follower.)

Now all is right in my little corner of the universe which means that today I’m baking. A lot.

Lentil Cookies, Persimmon Bread (recipe coming soon), Snickerdoodles, and Corn Bread to go with Veggie Chili for tonight’s dinner. Oh, and a Pumpkin Pie, cos Angel Boy requested it.

These are not vegan ‘cos of the eggs and butter (in lentil cookies) but I think it’d be simple to create a version without them.

Black Bean Brownies

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 9-inch square baking pan. In a blender, puree the beans with the oil. Add the eggs, cocoa, sugar, coffee, and vanilla. Melt half the chocolate chips and add to the blender. Blend on medium-high until smooth. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the blender and pulse until just incorporated. Stir in the remaining chocolate. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake until the surface looks somewhat matte around the edges and still a bit shiny in the middle, about 20 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes before cutting and removing from the pan. My family thinks they taste better the longer you let them sit, so the beany texture dissipates.

Lentil Cookies (Alton Brown‘s version)

  • 9 1/2 ounces whole-wheat pastry flour, approximately 2 cups*
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 8 ounces sugar, approximately 1 cup (1/2 white, 1/2 brown)
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature, approximately 1/2 cup***Sometimes I use half oil, half butter, or all oil. Depends on my mood and my pantry.
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups lentil puree, recipe follows
  • 3 1/2 ounces rolled oats, approximately 1 cup
  • 4 ounces dried fruit, approximately 1 cup
  • 2 1/4 ounces unsweetened dried shredded coconut, approximately 1 cup

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and allspice. In the bowl of a stand-mixer with a whisk attachment, cream together the sugar and butter on medium speed. Add the egg and mix until just incorporated. Add the vanilla and lentil puree and mix until combined. Add the flour mixture and blend on low speed until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the oats, dried fruit and coconut. Form the dough into balls about 2 teaspoons in size and place on a baking sheet with parchment paper, leaving about 1-inch of room in between. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes.

Lentil Puree:

  • 4 ounces lentils, approximately 2/3 cup, picked over and rinsed
  • 2 cups water

In a small pot over medium heat, combine the lentils and the water. Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Remove from the heat and puree. If using immediately, let cool. The puree may be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or in the freezer for 2 to 3 months. Yield: 1 1/2 cups lentil puree.

Happiness is a Fruit + Veggie Bread Recipe: Zucchini, Carrot, and Apple

This recipe is my own adaptation of a zucchini bread; it’s not too sweet and gets better the day after– if you can wait! Sometimes I drizzle over the top a simple glaze of powdered sugar mixed with orange juice and a little orange zest. It sort of enhances all the flavors.

All ready for the captain’s homecoming!

3-in-1 Fruit and Veggie Bread

Grate enough zucchini to end up with about 1 cup or so packed
1 carrot, grated
1 apple, grated
Zest of one orange
1 teaspoon vanilla plus 1 tablespoon juice from orange
2 cups flour (I use all or part whole wheat)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/4  plus 1 tablespoon cup plain nonfat yogurt or nonfat sour cream
1/3 cup vegetable oil
You can always add dried fruit or blueberries or nuts. My recipes usually reflect what I have around the pantry.
Directions: Mix together all the dry ingredients, add everything else, mix until well incorporated. Fold into loaf pan. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes, check often so it doesn’t become too brown.

Part Two: Countdown to Sexy Time

UPDATE on my friend’s son. He’s home from the hospital with no clearcut diagnosis, but he seems to be feeling better. Thank you all so much for your kind words. I’m very glad it all turned out OK.

And now, back to me — my favorite subject — and my Countdown to Sexy Time.

welcome home

The welcome home table… see the tugboat shaped rock attached by a “towline” to a barge shaped rock? Those were our special finds on our hike in Palm Springs. (Click to read about it) I’ve loaded the barge with cargo of dark chocolate chips. Cute, huh? He’ll really like my creativity.

.Just started the Princess Rosebud Bake-Off:

1. Granola
2. Overnight French Bread
3. Chocolate Chip Cookies
4. Carrot Cake (you can see that I already tasted it–I DID have to make sure it was OK, didn’t I?)

(Recipes are posted below)
carrot cake Cooky Jar
I’m not sure what to make for his welcome home dinner; he hasn’t given me any suggestions yet. Possibly Vegetarian Lasagna?

That would be great with the Overnight French Bread although I might save that for Friday when my son and DIL are here.

All I’ve had to eat all day is two hard boiled eggs and one of my special secret formula wheat grass smoothies, so I’m totally ready for food.

The big question…
What should I wear?

Black Boots

Dear me, how did that sneaky Chanel handbag manage to photobomb every pic?

I never had the chance to shop for a new outfit but I do have new boots; his unexpected afternoon arrival wreaks havoc with my original plan of an evening gown and spiky heels.

Although….I’m not ruling out an evening gown; I’ve been known to wear one to the airport, but we have a couple of stops on the way home–I’ll need to figure something out.

He tells me to dress “normal” and I always ask him if he has any idea who he’s married to, or should I say “to whom he’s married”. LOL

Any ideas? I’m open to suggestions. And if you’ll excuse me,  I gotta mow my legs now…

RECIPES

Lowfat Carrot Cake

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon, plus 1 pinch salt
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (I used nonfat yogurt, a great substitution)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup loosely packed carrots shreds, about 2 medium carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh or canned pineapple
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (Optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 6 cup nonstick Bundt pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, 1/4 cup sour cream, the oil, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the carrots, pineapple and walnuts. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool for 15 minutes, then invert onto the rack, remove the pan and let cool completely.

3. Using a wooden spoon, mix cream cheese and butter. Add confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Spread or drizzle on top of cake only.

Lowfat (there’s a theme here) Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted and 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp grated raw apple or applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375°.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. I cannot live without parchment paper. It makes clean up soooo easy! In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt and stir to blend. In another bowl, whisk the sugars, butter, egg white, apple/sauce and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in two additions until the batter is very well blended. If the batter looks more “crumbly” than smooth, add just a drop of water at a time (ONLY if needed) until it smooths out. Fold in chocolate chips. Bake 8 – 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let them stand 5 minutes before removing the cookies from the pans to cool on wire racks.

Overnight French Bread
I attempted to inbed the html, but it wouldn’t work, but if you click on the title, it should take you to the recipe I use.

Happiness is a Fruit + Veggie Bread Recipe: Zucchini, Carrot, and Apple

This recipe is my own adaptation of a zucchini bread; it’s not too sweet and gets better the day after– if you can wait! Sometimes I drizzle over the top a simple glaze of powdered sugar mixed with orange juice and a little orange zest. It sort of enhances all the flavors.

All ready for the captain’s homecoming!

3-in-1 Fruit and Veggie Bread

Grate enough zucchini to end up with about 1 cup or so packed
1 carrot, grated
1 apple, grated
Zest of one orange
1 teaspoon vanilla plus 1 tablespoon juice from orange
2 cups flour (I use all or part whole wheat)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/4  plus 1 tablespoon cup plain nonfat yogurt or nonfat sour cream
1/3 cup vegetable oil
You can always add dried fruit or blueberries or nuts. My recipes usually reflect what I have around the pantry.
Directions: Mix together all the dry ingredients, add everything else, mix until well incorporated. Fold into loaf pan. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes, check often so it doesn’t become too brown.