Sugar Rush

I finally got around to getting my camera back from my sister. Which is convenient because it had pictures from my niece’s birthday party on it. Like the finished picture of the cake!

I also forgot that I made little pop-tarts with the leftover pie crust.

Here’s the brownies I made, and ate too many of. These are perfect, and are testers for the Cookie Book.

And finally, the peach walnut bars I veganized from epicurious. 

Here’s the rough recipe. The crust turned out a little oily for me. So I’m posting the recipe as I will make it next time.

Peach Walnut Bars

     ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold EB
  • 1 tablespoon whiskey (Vodka would work too. Or water for that matter)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup peach or apricot preserves
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

 

preparation

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with 1 sheet of foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 opposite sides, then grease foil.

Pulse flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size butter lumps. Add whiskey and vanilla and pulse just until clumps of dough form, about 30 seconds. Add water if necessary to get dough to form a clump.

Press three fourths of dough evenly onto bottom of pan, then spread with preserves. Sprinkle evenly with walnuts and crumble remaining dough on top.

Bake until top is golden brown and preserves are bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack. Lift from pan by grasping both ends of foil.

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CAKE!

With all the cookies I bake I sometimes get a hankering for something a little different. Something that takes a bit of effort. Something that involves copious amounts of frosting. And finally something that will assure me of not forgetting my frosting skillz acquired so painstakingly in Iowa City.

Of course I could bake a cake for no reason, but where’s the fun in that. So instead I whipped up a celebratory cake for my bike-ridin’ official pancake and coffee maker, whom I happen to share a bed with. He did a 100K gravel bike race on Sunday and because he endured through such shitty weather (rain, hail, snow, cold, etc) I thought he needed a treat. Plus I’m baking the cake for my goddaughter’s fourth birthday in a few weeks so I wanted to practice.

Enter Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. This tasty little concoction is one layer of peanut butter cake, one layer of banana cake, ganache in the middle, chocolate buttercream all over, and more ganache on top. The little truffle looking things on top are in fact truffles. Cake truffles made from the first pb cake I made before I put parchment in the bottom of the pans (I flipped out a half cake instead of the whole one I wanted).

The cake truffles are actually the wheels on bike I piped on with the extra frosting. Money Shot:

We’ve now devoured about half the cake with very little help from our roommate. We are cows, happy cake eating cows. And this is why I love him so so so much.

The ganache was just 1/2 c. soy milk microwaved until boiling. Then pour in 8-10 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips and let it sit for a few minutes. All you have to do is stir it up until emulsified, let it cool, then eat with a spoon. Well or actually do something constructive with it like fill a cake or make truffles. Speaking of truffles. The cake truffles were simply half a baked peanut butter cake that was left out overnight to stale and the remaining ganache all thrown into a food processor and pulsed until it formed a ball. Chill in the freezer for a while, roll into balls, and cover in something (cocoa, walnuts, coconut, tempered chocolate, the list goes on).

The Tale of Caitlin Appleseed

A few years ago my mom got us a cortland apple tree. We were sick of waiting for relatives from NE Iowa sending us apples every year. We wanted our own. I was so excited to have apples in my front yard, but those first few years were rather disappointing. Now the tree is nearly a decade old. 

Last year was absolutely pitiful. We had a late cold snap, then too much rain in August so the entire apple crop in Iowa was hurt, mine included. The few we had mostly rotted on the tree.

But not this year, oh no. We went on vacation last week and I didn’t want to leave so many apples on the tree, they would likely ripen and rot before we got back. So I picked as many large ones as I could. Yes they were a bit too green, but they wouldn’t we wasted. They sat in the basement while we were gone.

Then we came back and I had to decide what to do with them. Out comes the old apple peeler and a few days later I have:

canned apple pie filling, apple crisp, apple butter, dried apples, applesauce, apple cider, a batch of apple cookies, and a beautiful apple bundt cake.

And there are still more apples. Good god.

 

                  

 

                      

 

 

 

My photo arranging leaves much to be desired.

 

Oh and the best part. After I finished with the tub from before vacation I had to go pick the rest. Only they were way up high so I had to climb the tree. And I definitely fell out of the tree and landed on my ass. I didn’t break anything though, so I just laid there and laughed.