Ok, so I didn't go to the Cookbook Conference.... aka Ricotta Meatballs

Nemo happened - is that what the storm was called? School was cancelled on the first day of the conference and it all went downhill from there. But luckily I was able to give my free ticket to another friend who did get to go, so at least someone was able to take advantage of my freebie.

But that's not why I'm writing - I came to post a link to a recipe which is the first of its kind in my house - a recipe that was eaten and enjoyed (ok, enjoyed is pushing it), a recipe that was consumed with little complaint by all five human members of my family. A gigantic feat.

Ricotta Meatballs, adapted from SheKnows.com

  • 1 pound ground beef (use the best fatty stuff you can find - 85% is good) (you can also experiment with 1/2 beef, 1/2 turkey, pork or any combo of the three)

  • 1 large egg

  • 2 cups ricotta cheese (whole milk or skim)

  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (we used 1/2 Parm, 1/2 Locatelli because that's what we had around)

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 tablespoon flour (note: I JUST noticed that the original recipe called for this, I spaced on adding it when I made and they turned out just fine - add if you want/if you remember)

  • Optional: 1 pinch of fennel seeds (rub together in your hands to break them up a bit before adding)

Mix together meat, egg, ricotta, Parmesan, one teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, fennel and flour (if using/if you remember) in a large bowl until well combined. I think this is where using your hands works best. Shape meat mixture into one-inch balls - I think this is easiest to do with a cookie or ice cream scoop - it's less messy and all the balls are the same size.


The original recipe then says to fry them in a pan with some oil until they're almost completely cooked through, then add some sauce (homemade or jarred - my favorite is Rao's, I stock up when it's on sale) and simmer until they're no longer pink in the middle, about another 30 minutes.

I decided to bake them on a cookie sheet in a preheated 350 degree oven for approx 20-30 minutes, a la my friend Jenny. It gets a little messy so best to stick them on a piece of parchment or foil. Once they're done, you can serve them as is, stick them in a little simmering sauce or put in a plate/tray in a single layer and freeze. Once they're solid, take off the tray and put in a freezer bag for later. We never got to the freezing part - all 36+ meatballs were consumed over the next couple days.

This would be a perfect place for me to post some instagram photos of the whole family enjoying (consuming) the meatballs, but I was so stunned it was happening that I completely forgot to take any. Will be making again soon and will try to remember to take some photos. I promise.


I'm going to the Cookbook Conference!


Yeah! I entered the Cookbook Conference ticket giveaway on whim and now I (with Leo in tow) get to go! Better yet, my friend Debbie is coming too! Looks like a lot of fun - off to decide what planels to attend. Looking forward to being a grown up for a couple of days - will report back.



Baby stuff - Little Titans

Again - not cake related, but I just wanted to post quickly about these super cute baby tights I found. Best part about them is they're tights for BOYS! Baby boys, that is. My little guy is constantly pulling off his socks and either tries to eat them or they just disappear into the ether. I was just checking out A-List Mom and found these - Little Titans!

I bought two pairs - superhero and stripes. There's no way Leo will be able to get these guys off! 

Super cute, and even with shipping charges from the UK, totally worth the splurge, I think. 


Nothing to do with anything....

But this little guy is almost 8 months old (welcome to the Sara Bakes Cakes blog, baby Leo!) and I guess the time to start working off some of this extra baby weight is now. No time like the present, right?

So, this post has nothing to do with baking (I should mention that as a dare to myself I decided to give up sugar for a while? No Sara Bakes Cakes for a while, I'm afraid), but I wanted to share my favorite workout app, Nike Training Club. It comes with a zillion workouts, you can choose your goal (get lean, get strong, get toned, etc,) workout length, experience (I chose beginner) and it plays along with your music. Best part? It's FREE! Definitely worth checking out if you like the idea of working out in the privacy of your own home.

I've been thinking a lot lately about what direction this blog should take - I'm not baking cakes for hire anymore, but am having fun experiementing with new recipes, both savory and sweet, enjoying with my kiddies (7.5 months flew by) and playing around on Instagram. Maybe a combo of those things, as well as posts about cakes I made that I never got around to writing about.

I guess it's still a work in progress. Stay tuned!


Crisp rice treat cookies

I don't want to get in trouble with the man, so I've given these cookies a somewhat generic name, but we all know what they are - rice crispy treats meets a cookie. And they are so good!

For a cookie base, I used my friend Debbie's Best Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies in the Entire World recipe. Seriously, if you're new-ish to baking, make these first. They are easy (no time spent bringing butter to room temp) and really are a-mazing.

I've used this base to make these and these, but after spending a weekend with my son making multiple batches of the original RK treat inspired me to make these.

Crisp Rice and Marshmallow Cookies
adapted from Debbie Koenig

1 1/2 c. (195 g) AP flour
1/2 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
1/2 c. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
3/4 c. (170 g) tightly packed light brown sugar (or dark brown if that's what you have)
1/2 c. (100 g) granulated sugar
2 t. vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 c. rice cereal (I hippied out and used "Organic Brown Rice Crisps" from Whole Foods, but any brand will do)
1 c. mini marshmallows

Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl, set aside.

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, combine sugars together, then add butter. Cream together on low speed until it is smooth and lump free (can take up to 5 minutes). Scrape down sides of bowl and paddle as necessary.

Add the vanilla and egg and beat on low speed for 15-30 seconds, or until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and paddle again.

On low speed, add the flour mixture all at once. Mix just until incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl again. Add cereal and marshmallows, mix on low until combined (marshmallows will get a little smooshed up, but that's fine).

Cover bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour (not too much longer than that or the cereal will get soggy).

Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment, using a cookie scoop or two tablespoons, scoop dough two inches apart. Bake for 11 - 13 minutes, or until edges are set and cookies start to get light golden brown (they'll look slightly underdone). Remove from oven, rest on sheets for 5 minutes, then slide cookies and parchment off pans and onto a countertop to cool.

The marshmallows will be a little sticky on the parchment, so use an offset spatula or spatula to take the cookies off the paper.