Pound cake. When I hear those two words I think of moist, sweet bread with a delicious brown crust. Pound cake takes me back to the days when I’d break off pieces and squeeze them in my hand to make tiny pound cake balls. I’ve often wondered why it’s called pound cake. My first thought is that there’s a pound of butter in it but in this recipe there is only (ha-ha) 3/4 pounds of butter. I did some research and the reason it’s called pound cake is because traditionally there is a pound each of butter, sugar, flour, and eggs.
The pound cake I made comes from, wait for it, Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth
I used 3 sticks of butter, one package of cream cheese, 2 and a half cups of sugar, 6 large eggs, salt, vanilla, baking powder, and 3 cups of flour. I divided the dough into a loaf pan and a square baking and at 330F it took less than an hour to bake.
I may have beat the dough a bit too much, causing it to turn a little airy. I also didn’t use eggs at room temperature and the coldness from the eggs made the butter (also at room temperature) temporarily curdle. No worries though because the cake is fantastically moist and perfectly sweet. It’s a brilliant choice for breakfast with a cup of coffee.
I’ve been in a cookie-making mood the last two weeks – probably because they’re easy to make and I love using my Huckle Cat cookie jar.
Inspired by the Everything But The Kitchen Sink Cookies from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth, I decided to make my own variation of these fabulous cookies:
Makes about 30 cookies
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
Dash of salt
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325F. Beat together the sugar and butter until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well. Add the flour, rolled oats, baking soda, and salt until combined. Add the raisins, walnut pieces, and chocolate chips. Use a tablespoon to scoop out the dough, roll slightly with your hands and place on a lined cookie sheet, spaced well apart. Press each mound down slightly with your fingers but don’t flatten too much. Bake for about 12-15 minutes. Let them cool completely. The cookies turned out sweet and chewy.
I have been thinking a lot about the Carrot Juice Chicken I made last week. It truly was spectacular and since then I’ve been wondering about using other types of juices to cook meat in. I was inspired and on Saturday, I decided to experiment with tomato juice. I used V8 juice with high fibre and low sodium and I followed the same steps as the carrot juice recipe. The result was a fine tasting chicken…but not as spectacular as the carrot juice version. I think the V8 lacked the amount of sugar the carrot juice had that gave it that sweet and sticky (like BBQ sauce) taste. I’m thinking that maybe next time I’ll let the chicken cook in a pool of freshly crushed tomatoes with brown sugar. We’ll see how that goes.
Along with the tomato juice chicken, I served carrot juice carrots which were, for some odd reason, not as fabulous as the first time I made them. Overall, it was a very good meal, one I would make again and again…but it was not as thrilling as the Carrot Juice Chicken and Carrot Juice Carrots.
The next morning, before I’d had my usual cup of coffee and breakfast, bleary eyed and drowsy, I pulled out my favourite dessert book; Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey. I needed to bake something and I already knew what it was because I had bought buttermilk specifically for that recipe. I had meant to make Quicky Sticky Buns (recipe here) two weeks ago but I never got around to it until yesterday morning.
I’m not sure if it was because I was still half asleep as I went about making the biscuits, but, they are not quick to make. Alright, maybe it was because I was moving slowly and having breakfast at the same time. It took me longer to make these because I did not have the right size baking pan. The recipe calls for a 9 x 13 pan. I have a 9 x 11. Yes, that makes a huge difference. My biscuit dough had to be squished in the pan since I didn’t think to use two separate baking dishes. This meant that after the required 15-17 minutes baking time, my biscuits were slightly crispy on top but the insides were still a bit sticky and undercooked so more baking time was required.
It was worth it though. As I type this entry I am enjoying a sticky biscuit and a cup of coffee. Divine!
About ten minutes ago, I pulled a pan out of the oven and the most aromatic scent filled the space of my small apartment. I’ve just made these amazingly delicious nut bars. If you love nuts, chocolate, coconut and caramel all meshed into one chewy square then this is your dream dessert. They are called Big Blondes and they can be found inside Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor. I mentioned her book before when I made Gooey Caramel Butter Bars. Today I am making these nut bars as a gift for my aunt and her family who, as I mentioned before, are in Toronto this week.
My youngest sister was over earlier and she did a great job helping me prep some ingredients. The book says to use semi-sweet chocolate chips and Heath bars but I used unsweetened chocolate chunks and chopped up Skor bars (chopped by Little Sue, my sis):
I decided to use unsweetened chocolate because the nut bars are already sweet enough and the bitterness of the dark chocolate are a nice contrast to the overall taste.
Here are the toasted nuts: walnuts, pecans and almonds.
I guess you don’t really need to toast them beforehand but they smell incredible when they’re toasted. Toasting them also brings out their natural flavour. Trust me, it’s worth it.
The first time I made these nut bars (about three months ago) I was impatient and I mixed the chocolate chips while the toasted nuts were still hot. The chocolate melted of course and I learned my lesson. It’s not a big deal but it does make a difference in the end. Definitely let the bars cool after taking them out of the oven, even if you’re just as impatient as I am and definitely wait until the next day to eat them because they taste even better then.