baking · chocolate · comfort food · Cookies · dessert · easy · Party food · quick · snacks · Swedish · vegetarian · Yummy

Havreflarn – Swedish Oatmeal Crisps

After more than a year of thinking about it, I finally did an Ancestry DNA test to find out more about my heritage. I’ve always been told that I’m at least 50% German, because my great great great grandparents immigrated here from Germany. Of course, no one in my family was taking into consideration that they could have immigrated to Germany from elsewhere sometime before that. Nope. We’re German, and that’s that.

Turns out that that is all a goddamn lie. My results came back last week and I am actually predominately English and Swedish, and only 15% German. While I am immensely disappointed in my lack of Norwegian ancestry (as I felt very at home in Oslo), I have fully embraced my Swedish heritage. After frantically emailing several new family members (none of which have emailed me back – fuckers), I immediately went on the search for a traditional Swedish cookie recipe. No joke, I found this recipe on Pinterest while using an elliptical at the gym. I’m not even a little sorry. I maxed out at like 20 minutes of exercise that day, and promptly ran home to start baking. I followed the recipe to a T, and my cookies still ended up looking like this:

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So I adjusted some things for the next batch. I decreased the butter by 2 tablespoons and made the cookies a little smaller. Don’t get me wrong, the original batch was still delicious. They just weren’t quite as pretty. Also, the recipe called for an entire stick of butter and it only made 6 cookies. The bowl with the dough had a puddle of butter at the bottom after I’d finished scooping it all out. It was fucking madness.

In addition to celebrating my newfound heritage, I’m also on the lookout for anyone on my biological dad’s side of the family. Not knowing who he is has never bothered me much, but now we have all this technology, so why not use it? I’m curious as fuck about this entire family that is out there waiting to be found. It’s crazy. I am the product of artificial insemination via sperm donor, so I’ve been messaging all the people I don’t know on my DNA match list (which contains over 400 people) with things like, “Do you know of any men in your family that went to medical school in Minneapolis in the 80’s and possibly donated sperm?” I’m like that lost duck in the children’s book looking for it’s mom. Except it’s my dad, and I have the internet. So I’ll just continue to message everyone on Facebook with names from my DNA list asking, “Are you my dad?” And maybe eventually someone will know something. Or at least check their fucking messages and respond even if they don’t.

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When I researched these cookies, I found out that Swedish women used to have coffee parties back in the day. At these parties they would serve seven different types of cookies. If they served less than seven, they were considered cheap asses. If they served more than seven, then they were showing off. Honestly, you’re lucky if you get one kind of cookie at my house. Who makes seven different kinds of cookies for one party? Those guests sound like a bunch of entitled bitches.

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6 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

3/4 instant oats

2 tablespoons light cream (or half and half)

Preheat oven to 375. Butter and flour 2 cookie sheets, as these WILL stick.

In a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, melt butter. Once melted, lower heat to medium-low and add in the sugar. Stir until fully incorporated. Continue with the flour and oats, again mixing well after each ingredient with a wooden spoon. Finally add in the light cream. Continuously stir over medium-low heat while the edges bubble for just a few minutes. Pour dough into a medium sized bowl and set in the fridge for 10-20 minutes, or the freezer for 5-10 minutes (dough will still be warm, but not hot). Each cookie will be about a tablespoon of dough. Press each ball of dough down a little bit with the back of  a spoon. The dough should still be a bit warm, so this should be easy. It will encourage the cookies to spread, which helps make them thin and crispy. Because they do spread so much, make sure to leave lots of space between each cookie. Limit yourself to 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Recipe makes about 12 cookies.

OPTIONAL BUT AWESOME: Dip half of them in melted chocolate. I used semi-sweet chocolate chips that I microwaved for 15 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted. Place dipped cookies on parchment paper to cool.

baking · dessert · easy · Fruit · vegetarian · Yummy

Blueberry French Flan and Snoring

Fun fact: I snore. Not in the cute, soft not-really-snoring kind of way. I SNORE. Like a goddamn freight train. It’s loud and weird, and I’m far too cute to be making such noises. T recorded it per my request the other day, and it was legit like listening to an alien. How could that noise be coming out of my body?! It was truly terrifying.

I have always snored to some extent, but it has dramatically worsened in the last few months. This led to meeting with a sleep specialist last week, since T is having trouble sleeping and keeps nudging me awake, sending me into a murderous rage. She gave me the following facts about my body: my tongue and uvula are very large, my airway is very small, and my neck circumference is perfection. The first two facts make me at risk for sleep apnea, and the third fact is something I’ve never considered, but is something that I now like to throw in other people’s faces.

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So… she recommended an overnight sleep study. Not only that, but (lucky me!), they had a cancellation that very evening. Have any of y’all ever done a sleep study? Turns out it’s not actually in a room full of other snorers being watched by doctors, like it was imagined in my head. It also never occurred to me how many wires would be attached to my body. I had something like 20 electrodes attached to my head, all connected to a small machine they hung on my bed. There were also a few attached to my legs, as well as two bands around my torso to measure my respiratory rate, and various things taped to my face. It took the nurse a good 45 minutes to get me all hooked up. Then he left the room and spoke to me through a speaker on the wall, instructing me to do things like look right and left, up and down, breath deeply, and make snoring noises. There was a tiny microphone taped to my chin to catch every single noise I made.

The entire night was spent not trying to accidentally pull off any electrodes. I guess I was only mildly successful, since a nurse had to come in to reattach one in the middle of the night. I did pop an Ambien, because there was no fucking way I was going to fall asleep naturally with all that shit attached to me.

I’d post a picture, but I just can’t handle the whole internet having access to that. A few people in my life got to see it. The rest of the internet can fuck off. The whole thing was pretty horrible, but I guess I should feel lucky to have the means to do such a thing (ugh, I just want to complain about it, though!). Turns out I don’t have sleep apnea. They don’t know why I snore – probably my fucking tiny airway and monstrous tongue getting in the way. Who knows.

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I have decided to cut down on dairy, especially before bed, and make sure to eat at least 2 hours prior to laying down. That means no French flan as a late night snack. Le sigh.

I took a French baking class a few weeks ago, and learned that flan is one of the easiest things to throw together when you have “unexpected company.” This is so funny to me, because if I have unexpected company it is generally no one I’m interested in seeing, and would therefore never make them a fancy French dessert. I’d probably not even answer the door. I’d just turn the lights off and be very quiet until they fucked right off.

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Blueberry French Flan

4 eggs

2/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup flour

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 pound frozen blueberries (or fruit of choice), thawed, rinsed and drained

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs for a minute, then slowly add in sugar while continuing to whisk. Sprinkle in the flour and stir until fully incorporated. Add the melted butter (make sure it’s not too hot, so let it sit for awhile before adding) and mix well. Slowly mix in the milk and vanilla.

I used a 9″ pie pan, but you  can use any dish that is relatively the same size. Grease the pan. Toss berries with a little flour and place in the greased pie pan. Pour batter over the berries. Bake for about 45 minutes. It rises like crazy, and doesn’t look particularly beautiful, but it’s really delicious. Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes before serving. It will deflate during this time, and end up looking even weirder. Just trust me. Serve while still slightly warm.

Tell your boyfriend that you make delicious desserts, therefore he should just let you snore.

baking · comfort food · cupcakes · dinner · easy · gluten free · healthy · lunch · mushrooms · pasta · potluck food · vegetarian · veggies · Yummy

Mushroom and Oat “Meat”balls

The snow situation has been out of control lately. Last weekend Harriet (my cat) and I decided to hibernate at the boyfriend’s place while a blizzard raged outside. Is there anything better than eating comfort food, snuggling inside, and watching Netflix for hours while it snows like mad outside? Yeah, actually… it gets better when you add booze. I drank nearly an entire bottle of vodka over the course of the weekend, mixing it with grapefruit juice and laziness. We spent our time in various reclined positions on the couch, watching anything we could find on Netflix or HBO Go, only getting up to refill our drinks or play a rousing game of Super Mario Brothers. We also got up once to give all three cats “meowtinis” for the fluffy one’s birthday, which was really just tuna and tuna juice in a martini glass.

This is the only photo of these two getting along. Not pictured: The birthday boy (he doesn’t give a fuck about tuna, and just wanted his crunchy treats)

The plan was to stay Friday and Saturday night, then get the hell out of his way on Sunday morning. He and I walked out to my car Sunday morning, and found it under a mound of snow. It took 30+ minutes, lots of pushing, the help from a bobcat (that didn’t help AND scratched my car, me almost crying, then my BF finally maneuvering it that last few inches out of the snow. I was trying to get to Acro, but wanted to stop home first to shower. I wasn’t going to have time for a shower, but would still have time to clean up at home and change cloths. WRONG. There were two snow storms back to back, and this was the second one. That means that there were tons of open parking spots on my street, but they were filled with so much snow that my car wouldn’t be able to get into them (much less out again).

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ARE YOU SEEING THIS?

I would not be stopping at my apartment due to lack of parking, so I had an extra 20 minutes to kill. Filled with rage, I drove over to the fancy grocery store for a latte and a cupcake. I walked into the store, past the bouquets of flowers, $40 teddy bears, gourmet cheese, fresh baked bread, and made a beeline for the bakery counter. There were perfect little cupcakes lined up behind the glass, and I wanted one. There was no one at the counter, so I took my time making my decision. After circling the display several times, I made a choice. Chocolate cake with salted caramel buttercream. But where the fuck is the bakery clerk to help me? What the fuck is happening right now? While the individual cupcakes are behind glass, there are 4 packs of cupcakes sitting out for anyone to grab. Since my rage level was already at capacity, I ripped a 4 pack from it’s stack, and stomped to the register. When I got to the car, I decided to share the other 3 cupcakes with my acro friends.

When I got to acro, I decided I wanted to eat another cupcake after class. Seems silly to share 2 cupcakes with a group of people. So I decided to leave them in my car for whenever I had a cupcake craving next (they would obviously be gone within a day). I referred to them as my car cupcakes, and stand by that as one of my best ideas to date.

I wish upon you all the joy of car cupcakes.

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Mushroom Oat “Meat”balls

24oz mushrooms, finely chopped (if you have a food processor – use it!)

1/2 to 1 onion, finely chopped

1 cup breadcrumbs

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup quick oats (or regular oats pulsed in the blender a couple of times)

1/4 cup parsley

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons parmesan

2 eggs

Olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Chop the fuck out of those mushrooms (and onions). This shit took me nearly an hour. Twenty-four ounces is a LOT when you’re chopping. So maybe invest in that food processor before embarking on this journey. Or just cut the recipe in half like a normal human. When you’re done chopping, throw the onions into a large skillet along with a drizzle of olive oil and crank the heat to medium-high. You ever play that Wii game Cooking Mama? It’s like that right now… you gotta time it right otherwise everything gets fucked up. The original recipe says to cook the mushrooms first. Well, that’s bullshit. The onions take longer to cook, so get those rolling first. Stir ’em around a bit and let ’em cook for a few minutes. They’ll start to soften and become slightly translucent. That’s when you want to add the mushrooms. Let everything cook down. Once it’s all starting to brown slightly, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Now it’s time for the garlic. Once you’ve added the garlic, you’ve only got maybe 3-4 minutes before it burns. I suggested cooking for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently, and then removing from heat. Scoop everything into a large bowl and add all the other dry ingredients (wait to add the eggs!). Stir it all together. Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl, then mix into everything else. Grab a spoonful of the mixture and roll around in your palms until it forms a ball. Line up as many balls (lol) as you can onto a greased baking sheet.

Original recipe says to refrigerate for 2-12 hours. I did not do that. It turned out fine. This recipe also makes an obscene number of balls. I believe it was about 32 total, which is great if you have a large family or a potluck to attend. I do not, so I shared with my boyfriend and only baked a few at a time (keeping the mixture in the fridge for a few days). You could also just cut the recipe in half.

Bake at 375 for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Throw ’em on top of some pasta,  maybe stuff ’em into some French bread for a meatless meatball sub, or crumble some up onto a pizza. Get creative! Then shove as many balls into your mouth as you can!

baking · breakfast · brunch · cake · Christmas · comfort food · dessert · easy · Holiday recipes · potluck food · quick · snacks · vegetarian · Yummy

Cranberry Orange Bread for Christmas

I struggle hard with gift giving. There are very rare occasions that I really nail it… but it’s almost never on someone’s birthday or around Christmas. This year I agonized over presents for my family. My mom always tells me not to get her anything (classic). So I’m left guessing. I know she genuinely doesn’t care what I get her, but I have to get her something. I mean, she gave me life.

I have to be very honest here… I literally almost got her nothing. This is not a proud statement for me. I kind of just threw my hands in the air on Christmas Eve and yelled, “FUCK IT,” startling my cat and probably several neighbors. But then I got to thinking about it, and I remember that not everyone is like me. Some people like knick knacks and nonsensical pretty things. So I went to one of my favorite little shops with a certain someone who was able to finally help me make a decision. I wandered through the whole store bitching and moaning (honestly, I don’t know how he was able to put up with me) that she wouldn’t like any of it. He held up shawls and scarves. I scoffed and pouted as I continually elbowed my way through the crowds of other panicked daughters. We walked into the kitchen area where he suggested a cookbook. Sighhhh. She doesn’t really cook much – not from new recipes anyway. And she’s not a new kitchen gadget kind of person. It just ends up frustrating her, and then she asks what was wrong with the way she was already doing the thing that the gadget is supposed to make easier. “How about this?” he asked, holding up a tea steeper in the shape of an adorable animal. But she doesn’t like tea. Or coffee. I honestly thought about getting her a case of Tab (yes, in fact, it is 1976), but she flies back to Florida next week. Also, seems kind of impersonal. I was about to give up when he said something along the lines of, “She doesn’t care. She’ll love whatever you give her,” while holding a pretty candle holder that had a forest pattern on it when lit, and I was convinced. The madness was over.

My love language is acts of service. I mostly want to feed people to show I care. I want to help them with a problem, support them when they’re struggling, help them paint their new apartment, or move into a new place. That’s how I show love. That’s what comes most naturally to me. Gift giving is hard because I want everything I give to be meaningful – because I really want to be of service. Turns out gift giving doesn’t have to be that serious, and I just need to calm the fuck down sometimes. Shit. Like, what’s the big deal? Buy someone a candle and move the fuck on.

Also, who are those people that purchase the perfect gift whenever they happen to find it and then hoard it until that person’s birthday or Christmas? HOW DO I BECOME YOU?

I made this bread along with some pumpkin bread to give my family as well. Because let’s be real – I’m never going to stop feeding people.

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For the bread:

1 cup cranberries – fresh, frozen, dried (or a combo – I did mostly fresh and a handful of dried)

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg (at room temp… place into a warm cup of water for 5 minutes if you forget to set it out)

1/2 cup brown sugar (light or dark)

1/2 cup white sugar

1 cup buttermilk (Don’t have it? Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to regular milk.)

1/3 cup vegetable/canola/coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons orange zest

 

For the crumble top:

1/4 cup flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into cubes

 

For the glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons orange juice (I used the juice from the orange I “zested” for the bread)

As much orange zest as you like!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan (or several mini loaf pans!) and set aside. You’ll want to make the crumble top first and set it in the fridge, just so it’s all ready to top the batter.

For the crumble top:

Mix all the dry ingredients in a medium to small mixing bowl. Cut the cold butter in with a pastry cutter (for the fancy folks), a couple of forks (I found that to be impossible), or your hands (this is easiest!) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set in the fridge.

For the bread:

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add in the cranberries and set aside. In another bowl, mix the egg with the brown and white sugars until smooth. Whisk in buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and orange zest. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing gently but thoroughly. No lumps allowed! The recipe says to not over-mix… not sure what happens if you do. Try not to fuck it up.

Pour the batter into grease pan(s) and cover with the crumble top, pressing it lightly into the batter. Bake for 45-60 minutes (the smaller pans need less time, so check them after 35 minutes).

For the glaze:

Whisk all ingredients together. Boom. Done. Allow to cool completely before removing from pan(s) and drizzling the glaze over the top.

Give these to everyone for Christmas/Birthdays/etc. Or just eat them all by yourself. Fuck it.

baking · cake · comfort food · dessert · Yummy

Gingerbread Cake for Thanksgiving

 

This is my very first Thanksgiving without my mom.

She’s not dead or anything – she just opted to stay in Florida. Who the hell could blame her? Sunny beaches and no one demanding anything? Fuck yes. I totally fucking get it. But now I don’t have a Thanksgiving meal being cooked for me. That’s a fucking bummer.

I spent three Thanksgivings living in New York during my early 20’s. My mom visited every single one of those Thanksgivings and cooked me a full dinner. I’m spoiled fucking rotten, and I know it. We once had a Friendsgiving at my giant, rent controlled apartment with a group of my misfit friends from the cafe in which I worked. It involved a LOT of champagne and ridiculous behavior (my mom is cool). The photos from that night are embarrassing and hilarious. My face is all shiny and my eyes are glazed over. I think I drank something like 4 bottles of champagne. I mean, that’s normal, right? Humberto was still living there, and everything was right in the world. As much as we tried to recreate it, it never fell together that well again.

Since my mom isn’t in town for Thanksgiving, I am having a mini Friendsgiving (is it still called that when it’s only 2 people?). I asked if he would be into an apple/pumpkin pie combo (can you believe that is a thing?!). He immediately responded with, “What’s wrong with you?” Okay. So no combo pies. FINE.

That means we get gingerbread cake, which is usually my go-to Christmas dessert. This cake is dark and not all that sweet – sort of like dark chocolate. It’s lovely despite it’s plain appearance. Please serve it with fresh whipped cream. You won’t be sorry.

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Gingerbread Cake

1 stick of butter cut into cubes

1 cup water

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 cup unsulfured molasses

2 large eggs (room temp, lightly beaten)

2 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

Whipped cream (homemade is best)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring water to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Add the baking soda and watch it foam up like a little kid’s science fair project. I have no idea why this is a necessary step, but, you know, science. Let it sit for about 5 minutes before stirring in the butter until it melts. Whisk in the brown sugar and molasses. Mixture should be lukewarm at this point. If it’s too hot, let it sit for 10-15 minutes to cool down. Pour into a large mixing bowl and whisk in eggs.

In a medium mixing bowl, throw in flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and baking powder. If you’re feeling fancy, you can sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix well and pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish.

Bake for 30-35 minutes. And then, per all my cake baking instructions, throw that shit in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. It stops the baking process and keeps it moist as fuck. You’re welcome.

I photographed this with reddi-whip, but don’t be like me. Serve it with fresh whipped cream. Don’t know how to make that? You literally just whisk the shit out of some heavy whipping cream, a splash of vanilla, and a couple tablespoons of powdered sugar. If you have a mixer, use that. If not, you can do it by hand – trust me.

baking · biscuits · breakfast · brunch · comfort food · dinner · easy · eggs · mushrooms · vegetarian

Vegetarian Biscuits and Gravy

 

I’ve never been big on biscuits and gravy. It seems like a lot of carbs in one meal… not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not my thing most of the time. That being said, this weekend was cold and rainy. It seemed like the perfect time to start baking and carb loading, so that’s exactly what I did. I also wasn’t feeling the greatest, so it felt good to bake and lounge.

Last summer I was having a hard time with my anxiety. While most people with anxiety feel safest at home… my home was triggering a lot of it for me. This made it hard to be home alone, which was frustrating because I was newly divorced and living alone. Being the amazing human that she is, Hannah offered to let me stay at her place whenever I was feeling overwhelmed. This happened a good handful of times. Her husband was supportive of this, and would often cook us breakfast in the mornings. He makes bomb biscuits and gravy, which was something I didn’t even think I liked. I remember one instance when I spent the night on a Friday. Hannah had to work in the morning, but I slept in. Her husband made me breakfast anyway. Some people might think that is weird… but fuck those people. I needed to get out of my apartment, and they welcomed me into their home. Not only that, but they treated me like family.

I’m really lucky to have so many good humans in my life.

This version isn’t the same recipe Hannah’s husband uses, but it’s still pretty great. While I’m still learning how to bake biscuits that are light and fluffy, I fucking killed it on this gravy. I’ve been a little mushroom’d out since making that mushroom barley soup a few weeks ago, so I didn’t add as many mushrooms to this as I normally would. Instead, I opted for some veggie sausage. You could easily add more mushrooms and omit the sausage. Or you could omit the mushrooms and add more sausage. This can easily be made vegan (see substitutions in the recipe), or you could add meat. I love when one recipe can be adjusted without much fuss.

Vegetarian Biscuits and Gravy

For the biscuits:

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

6 tablespoons butter, cold and cubed (or shortening)

1 cup buttermilk (or milk/nut milk)

 

For the gravy:

1/4 cup butter (or oil)

1/2 cup onion, chopped or diced

2 veggie “sausage” patties, chopped

A handful of mushrooms, chopped

2 1/2 cups almond milk

4 1/2 tablespoons corn starch

1/2 cup veggie stock

1/4 teaspoon thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

For the biscuits:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix together all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in the cold, cubed butter either with a pastry blender or your hands. I chose hands because I’m not fancy. This just means squishing the butter into the dry ingredients until it is crumbly. There will still be some small chunks of butter remaining. Add the liquid all at once and stir it in quickly (but gently) for about 20 seconds. This didn’t work as well for me, and I ended up needing to add more buttermilk. The dough should be soft… mine was dry/flaky. I did the best I could. Once your dough is ready and the right consistency… scoop it onto a baking sheet. This will make about 12 biscuits. I just used my hands to make medium sized balls of dough. The more I read about making biscuits, the more I think that is a bad idea. I guess they don’t like to be touched that much, and it can cause them to be hard (like mine). Sigh. It’s a learning process for everyone involved. Let me know how you handle it, and how they turn out. Mine were still good, but could have been softer/fluffier. Bake your biscuits for about 15 minutes, until they are lightly golden brown.

For the gravy:

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Throw in the onions and saute until they begin to soften (3-4 minutes). Add in mushrooms and cook another few minutes, until soft. Add in the veggie sausage. While the veggies are cooking, place the cornstarch into a small bowl with a little bit of the milk. Whisk together until it becomes a smooth paste, then slowly whisk in the rest of the milk. Once the veggies are cooked, pour in about 1/3 of the milk mixture and stir until it begins to thicken. Slowly stir in the rest of the milk mixture, mixing well. Pour in the broth and seasonings and continue to stir until everything thickens. Gravy will be thick and bubbly. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

I like to serve it over a biscuit that’s been cut in half, and then top it with a fried egg. You could totally eat this without an egg, you could add veggies, you could pour it over potatoes instead of a biscuit (Fuck. I’m definitely gonna do that). Whateverthefuckyouwant.

It is an excellent breakfast for dinner situation, too.

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Nom nom nom

baking · cake · chocolate · comfort food · dessert · snacks · vegetarian

A Disaster of a Chocolate Strawberry Cake

This cake was delicious, but a fucking mess. I forgot to grease the cake pans like a goddamn amateur. It was my friend’s birthday cake (sorry, Stacy), but she was nice about it. Seemed wasteful to throw away perfectly good cake that was just a little (a lot) broken. We don’t waste cake around here!

Speaking of which, I went to a wedding 2 weekends ago where they had chocolate cake with Bailey’s cream in the middle. FML. YAAAASSS. I had two pieces, and I’m not even a little sorry. Wedding cake slices are tiny as fuck. I had one after dinner, like a normal human. Then I drank a bunch and ate another one a few hours later. I know how to do a wedding right.

It should also be noted that Hannah and I fucking badgered our way into this wedding like fucking pros (except it was by accident). I never thought Jeni would give in to our bitching about wanting to be flower girls (I never got to do it as a child). When she came up to us several weeks ago to announce that we’d be walking the dogs down the aisle, our jaws dropped. Were we really so annoying that she put us in her goddamn wedding? I can’t believe it, even now. It’s like we have a super power or something. I think we should go around begging our way into weddings more often. And dog walker? Fuck. That’s literally the best job in the wedding party. We didn’t have to buy fancy dresses, or plan any parties. We just got to show up, play with dogs, and still be apart of the whole thing.

I fucking love weddings that don’t involve dancing. This one took place in a bowling alley (but, like, a fancyass bowling alley), and also had a photo booth. I know all the hipsters do photo booths at their weddings, but my friends and I have never been cool enough. This was legit my FIRST photo booth. Excitement! And the wedding was for a coworker, so most of my badass work friends were there. We got together for a clinic photo and that shit fucking killed me. The longer I look at it, the harder I laugh. It literally NEVER stops being funny. Hannah and I did one together, too, which is just fucking fantastic. I can’t with these people. I love them so much.

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Are you seeing this?! We’re pretending to stab the bride. Obviously.

We also all traveled “up north” together last weekend. For those that don’t know, “up north” in Minnesota refers to basically anything more than an hour or so north of the Twin Cities. It’s where everyone goes on the weekends in the summer. The thing is, I don’t love being in nature, so I don’t often go up north. Stories from our drunken adventures will be in the next blog post. Have I mentioned yet how much I love my co-workers?

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Chocolate Strawberry Cake (originally from here – which is where you should go to see what this is actually supposed to look like)

For the Cake:

2 cups granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
For the Frosting:

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and slightly cooled
For the Ganache:

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup heavy cream

For the garnish:

Sliced strawberries – as many as you’d like. I used about 16oz.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. GREASE THE PANS RIGHT AWAY (don’t be like me, or your cake will fall apart). You’ll need two of the 9 inch round cake pans.

In a stand mixer, throw in the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well, then add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat for 2ish minutes before adding the boiling water. Pour into GREASED pans (again, don’t be like me). Bake for 30-35 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean). At this point, I like to place my cakes into the freeze to stop the baking process. Leave ’em in there for 20ish minutes. Remove from the pans (this is easier if you greased the pans).

For the frosting:

Start by beating the butter on high in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add the vanilla and melted chocolate. Once smooth, set aside to make the ganache (aka the BEST part).

For the ganache:

Heat the cream in a small pot over medium-high heat until it starts bubbling around the edges. Place the chocolate into a small, heat-safe bowl and pour the scalded cream over the top. Let sit for a minute. Stir until smooth.

To assemble:

Spread the frosting over the bottom layer of cake and top with sliced strawberries before adding the second layer of cake. Pour the ganache over the whole thing. Let it set for a couple of minutes before adding more sliced strawberries.

Done. Nailed it. Eat up! Doesn’t matter if it looks janky. Serve that shit with no fucking shame. Never apologize for baking someone a cake.