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Note to self – try this out sometime (but without the gross fake extracts)

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/01/perfect-pound-cake/#recipe-form-41169

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Now we’re talking. This was moist and buttery and delicious. The cake had a beautiful slightly chewy crust, just like the Sara Lee poundcakes where you can peel off that top layer – though this was WAY  yummier.

The brown sugar flavor was barely noticeable – would love to try this with dark brown sugar and see what happens.

Also, I baked in a silicone bundt and the yummy crust stuck to the bottom. Next time, I want to try buttering the bottom and sprinkling w/ granulated sugar + salt – one commenter claimed this prevents sticking and creates a nice shiny sheen.

I halved the recipe and used 3 eggs, light brown sugar, and a full tsp of vanilla.

Recipe originally found here: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe-Tools/Print/Recipe.aspx?recipeID=25973&origin=detail&servings=16&metric=false

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups butter
5 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chopped pecans
DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch tube pan. Mix together the flour and baking powder; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated. Sir in the chopped pecans. Pour batter into prepared pan.
3. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 to 75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

I halved the recipe to make one loaf instead of two. It turned fine – a little heavy, and nothing super exciting about it. But it did the trick for a basic pound cake. Pulled the recipe off of Chowhound:

Perfect Pound Cake

1 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
*5 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whipping cream

(Sift flour 3 times before measuring) – I definitely did not do this. I didn’t sift at all, let alone 3 times! Sheesh. I suppose that may explain the cake being on the heavier side, but I’d rather find a better recipe than waste time w/ all that sifting.

Butter and flour 2 9by5 inch loaf pans.

Whisk salt and baking powder into presifted flour. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar together in an electric mixer until light, fluffy and almost white, 4 to 5 minutes, stopping mixer once or twice to scrape down sides. Add eggs one at a time slowly, beating well after each addition. Add one third of flour mixture into the mixer set at low speed. Add half the whipping cream. Continue alternating flour and cream, ending with flour. Add vanilla. With rubber spatula scrape down sides and bottom until completely mixed. Pour into loaf pans, up to 2/3 full.

**Start in a cold oven**.
Place pans on middle rack of oven. Turn oven to 325 degrees. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. (Note: It only took mine 55 minutes, so check early)

*You can also do a variation. You can add up to 7 eggs. Supposedly the 7 egg version is Elvis’s favorite pound cake.

Made a batch of homemade marshmallows following this recipe (more or less) – this was my first time trying  a recipe that involves egg whites, and I LOVED it. The creamier texture made for a much better experience in my book, roasted and un-roasted. 

 

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Marshmallows-15797

  • about 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 1/2 envelopes (2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup hot water (about 115°F.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg whites*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

preparation:

The instructions as written are kind of a pain in the butt unless you have two bowls for your mixer. I do not. So I did a little poking around and discovered an alternative technique that is a bit easier. Here’s what I did:

Oil bottom and sides of a 13- by 9- by 2-inch rectangular metal baking pan and dust bottom and sides with some confectioners’ sugar.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, hot water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F. This takes awhile, so move on to the next two steps while the syrup is cooking.

In a separate small saucepan, dissolve gelatin in water over low heat. It will smell bad. Ignore this – it will be undetectable in the final product. (I read one review that said you don’t have to do this, you can just stir the gelatin in the hot syrup before dumping it into the egg whites – but I couldn’t find any other sources that verified that technique, so was too chicken to try it. Maybe next time.) Turn off heat once dissolved and set aside.

In your standing mixer, whip two egg whites til they hold stiff peaks. As soon as your sugar syrup registers 240, pour it into the egg whites in a steady stream while the mixer is going. (If your whites got weepy while waiting for the syrup to cook, give em a quick re-whip and get em good and fluffy again before adding the syrup.) Add the gelatin mixer. Whip away until the mixture is white, thick, voluminous, and tripled or so in volume.

Pour mixture into baking pan and sift 1/4 cup confectioners― sugar evenly over top. I like to use granulated instead b/c I love the contrasting texture. Doing that makes for a very crusty exterior, and an AWESOME brulee-esque coating when roasting these babies. Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least 3 hours, and up to 1 day
.
Use  knife dipped generously in very hot water to cut into strips. You can use the same technique to finish cutting into cubes, or use kitchen shears dampened with hot water. I found the latter much easier. Toss to coat in more granulated or powdered sugar, or other coating of choice (sprinkles, crushed nuts, cocoa powder, etc.) Enjoy!

Note: if coating w/ granulated sugar, be very careful when you roast them. That brulee-esque exterior is SERIOUSLY hot when it first comes out of the fire, and can cause some very painful burns. It cools quickly, but make sure you give it enough time to do so before devouring.

 
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Moist, sweet, simple, delicious. My hunt for the perfect cornbread is over. I made a half batch of this to accompany some freaking amazing chili made with leftovers by my new competitive BBQ friends. And it did it justice. Tonight’s batch was simple and plain – no corn kernels, no rosemary. I’m sure either would make a fantastic addition, but even the simple simon version was PHENOMENAL.

Here’s where I found the original recipe: http://dailydishrecipes.com/moist-sweet-cornbread-recipe/

My tweaks: I altered the dry ratio and did half finely-ground cornmeal, half flour. Sprinkled the top w/ flaky sea salt before putting in oven. Came out perfectly, though I think cutting back on the sugar a tad wouldn’t hurt. But here’s the recipe as I made it:

Ingredients
  • 1 c. cornmeal
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 c. vegetable oil
  • 1/6 c. melted butter
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/4 c. whole milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 8×8 inch baking dish. In a large mixing bowl, stir the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Pour in the vegetable oil, melted butter, honey, beaten eggs, and milk, and stir just until moistened.
  3. Pour the batter into the greased baking dish and bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Watch the cornbread towards the end, you want it to be turning golden and starting to show some cracks.

The grilling season is winding down, but there’s definitely still time for a few fall BBQs before we pack our grills away. So I wanted to squeeze in this post about my favorite grilling discovery of the summer: grilled peaches over grilled poundcake.


Grilling fruit is a phenomenal way to bring out its sugars and juices, and can really up the wow factor when it comes to entertaining with your grill. Peaches are so far my favorite fruit to grill, but any juicy, sturdy fruit (pineapple, mango, stone fruits, even strawberries) generally do well on the grill.

Start by cutting your fruit as desired – try to maximize the surface area of the cut side, so that you can maximize the grilled yumminess of the fruit (since that’s the only part that will actually be on the grill). I opted to just halve my peaches here b/c I was feeling lazy, but slicing it into wedges would really give you a lot of surface area to work with! Brush cut surfaces lightly with oil or melted butter. Then place the fruit, cut side down, straight on the grill over medium heat.

Depending on the size of the fruit, the heat of the grill, etc., it could take anywhere from four to eight minutes for the peaches to be ready. If you’re working with multiple cut sides (i.e. wedges, rather than halves as pictured above) then you’ll want to all of the cut sides of the fruit to get equal time on the grill. When you start to see the skin of the fruit start to pucker where it’s closest to heat, it’s time to pick one up and peek underneath. If your grill is really clean, the heat is up high enough, and the fat you used is cooperating, then you should get some lovely grill marks. Otherwise, just look for some areas to have turned a lovely, caramelly dark brown – this means the sugars have started to caramelize.

If you really want to take it up a notch, you can drizzle the cut side(s) of the peaches with honey or sprinkle sugar over them a few minutes before they’re done grilling. Return the freshly-sugared fruit to the grill and allow it to finish. Since sugar burns fairly quickly, you want to make sure you give the fruit a few minutes to grill on its own before adding the sugar. The peaches are ready to be taken off the grill when they look, more or less, like so:

Now the piece de resistance: the poundcake! This is super easy but never fails to impress. Just slice the poundcake very thickly – you want the slices at least an inch thick, if not moreso. Throw it on the grill while the fruit is doing its thing – just a couple minutes on each side should do the trick. You can certainly brush it with melted better or drizzle it with honey beforehand if you like, but it’s not necessary. You just want the cake on there long enough to get toasty on the outside, but still be soft in the middle. Once you start to see some grill marks forming, you’re good to go – don’t leave it on there too long, or you’ll just end up with dry cake. And nobody likes dry cake. The super-thick slices help prevent dry-cake-syndrome as well. Once your cake is nice and toasty, simply top it with a few pieces of your juicy, caramelized grilled fruit, and you’re good to go! You can also spoon some freshly whipped cream over the whole shabang if you’re REALLLY looking to do it up, but I find that that can be a bit too heavy for a summery dessert.  Totally your call though!