Tuesday
Feb052013

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.

 

Friday
Feb012013

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. 

Thursday
Jan242013

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!

Friday
Mar092012

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.

Enjoy!

 

Tuesday
Feb282012

Cookie Project!

For the past month, I've been given the task of making cookies for the weekly meeting at my husband's office. It's been fun experimenting with new recipes, and getting the chance to make old favorites, like these.

Last week I made these - Brown Butter, Brown Sugar Cookies. Simple, without the addition of chips, pretzels, or any salty/sweet combo I've been playing around with lately, but just as delicious.

Brown Butter, Brown Sugar Cookies

adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

for rolling:
1/4 c. (1 3/4 oz) granulated sugar
1/4 c. (1 3/4 oz) light brown sugar

1 3/4 c. (12 1/4 oz) light brown sugar
2 c. + 2 T (10 2/3 oz) AP flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. baking powder
14 T (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 T vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 or 3 large baking sheets with parchment. With your hands, mix together 1/4 c. brown and white sugar in a shallow dish or bowl.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder.

Brown 10 T of the butter in a skillet. (This site provides a great how-to). Pour the butter into a large bowl and add the remaining 4 T of butter, stir until melted. Let sit for 15 minutes or until it comes to room temp.

Add the 1 3/4 c. brown sugar and stir until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla and mix until fully incorporated. Stir in the flour mixture until it just comes together (I ended up using my favorite mixing utensil, my hands, to mix everything together).

Using a cookie scoop, or tablespoons, scoop out balls of dough and rool in the sugar mixture to coat evenly. Place on a cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.

Baking the cookies in a preheated oven until the edges are set and are just beginning to brown, about 12 to 14 minutes. The cookies will look slightly raw between the cracks, don't worry - they'll continue cooking a bit once they're out of the oven.

Let rest on the cookie sheets for about 5 minutes, then slide the cookies and parchment paper off the pan onto the counter. Use a spatula or offset spatula to remove.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen, depending on the size of your cookie scoop. Eat in abundance or share with your friends - you made them, it's your choice! :)

 

Next up - Crisp Rice/Marshmallow cookies. They're too much!