baking · comfort food · Cookies · dessert · jam · peanut butter · Sandwiches · snacks · Yummy

PB & J (Cookie) Sammies

I had a to-do list today. It consisted of the following items:

  • Acupuncture for my tennis elbow (ouch)
  • Hang out with Carrie
  • Grab a delicious pastry
  • Buy a frame at Michael’s
  • Get liability insurance for the winter farmer’s market
  • Apply for winter farmer’s market
  • Write a blog post

The first 4 were done easily. I even went so far as to nap during my acupuncture appointment, so I feel as though I was being extra efficient. Then I went online to purchase liability insurance. I wanted to get signed up for my market of choice as soon as fucking possible, as I’m constantly worried that the spots are filling up (they are). I also need to sign up ASAFP because I really want a Sunday spot. If I don’t get a Sunday spot, I’m going to have to arrange things at work to make Saturdays work, and that’s a whole fucking thing. I am not alone in my desire for a Sunday spot, so I need to get my shit together now.  As I’m filling out the forms, it asks for my business name. Fuck.

Fuck fuck fuckity fuck.

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I’m currently registered under Kelsey’s Cakes, the rated G named I chose after the church-run farmer’s market wouldn’t let me use Eat Me Bakery (but it was totally cool for a whiskey bar to sponsor the market, of course). This means that I have to most likely re-register. This isn’t a problem, but it adds time, which I don’t have. So now I’m left sitting and waiting to hear back from someone that might be able to help me out at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Bureaucracy.

Those items will not be crossed off my to-do list today. Sigh.

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Hannah had a baby. That baby is Mira, and she is over a year old already. Here she is devouring a PB & J Sammie with reckless abandon. I wish this photo had sound, as she was making adorable little suckling noises… no doubt to make sure she got every last drop of jam. A girl after my own heart.

Anyway, I had my very last market day last Saturday. I mean, not my very last EVER, but my very last for this season. I ended up making these delightful little sandwich cookies on a whim the night before. I knew I wanted to do something with peanut butter and jelly, as they are my favorite flavor combo. No one really uses these flavors much, likely because so many kids are allergic to peanuts now. Outside of that concern, I’m not sure why this classic duo is so often overlooked. I mean, even I only have one recipe that contains these flavors. What am I even doing with my life? Oh fuck, I guess I also made a mug cake recently, didn’t I? Shit. I totally forgot. I guess I’m finally getting my shit together. Get ready for all things peanut butter and jelly! Pro tip: Add PB & J to your vanilla ice cream. You’re welcome.

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PB & J (Cookie) Sammies (original recipe found here)

For the cookies:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup peanut butter (I used creamy Jif)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup  dark brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup instant oats

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

For the filling:

1/3 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup jam of choice (I used homemade raspberry)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat mat and set aside. Cream together butter, peanut butter, and both sugars. Add in egg and vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda and powder, salt together. Slowly mix into the wet ingredients before finally hand stirring in the oats. Mix until just combined. I used a food scale to get my cookies all the same size. If you’re doing this, I recommend 11g per cookie. If not, about a tablespoon of dough per cookie. I was able to fit about 15 cookies per baking sheet. Once you have all of them lined up on the cookie sheets, use a fork to press them down in a criss-cross pattern. Bake for about 10 minutes. Once fully cooled, add the peanut butter and jam and sandwich the cookies together. To avoid a soggy cookie, make sure to do a very thin layer of peanut butter on the jam side. Shovel them all into your face, without sharing a single one.

Makes about 24 sandwich cookies.

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DO THIS.

baking · cake · comfort food · dessert · potluck food · snacks · Yummy

Almond Poppyseed Cake

Okay, so here’s the thing. I fucked up pretty hard on this recipe last week when I was trying to bake it in a bundt pan to be fancy. I should know better than to try and be fancy. But I wanted something that looked different from my other loaf cakes (rhubarb and grapefruit). I wanted a bundt cake with a glaze. Is that so much to ask? I have a few glass cake stands with domes leftover from my wedding 7 years ago (at least something lasted), and I thought one of them would look so sweet with a glazed fucking bundt cake sprinkled with slivered almonds. I mean, that would have looked amazing! Right?! So professional.

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I baked this cake as directed on the recipe (I mean, with a few small edits of course). I sprayed the shit out of my bundt pan, which I should mention was purchased from Zabar’s back in my NYC days to make a wine cake that turned out to be fucking disgusting. It didn’t help that I purchased red “cooking wine” at the shittiest of shitty C-Town groceries stores in Harlem, instead of whatever nice wine the recipe required. I was literally making $7.50 an hour while living in Manhattan, so nice wine wasn’t really on my priority list. I did have a weird love affair with Malbec during that time, but I was certainly not going to pour it anywhere other than down my poor-ass gullet. Anyway, I literally haven’t used that pan since the wine cake fiasco, but I don’t remember having a problem with it back then. This time, though, that shit was not going to separate itself from the pan. They were fused as one the moment I poured in the batter. The recipe warned me that it would be difficult to remove from the pan, so I was supposed to wait until the cake fully cooled. It was starting to get late the night before the farmer’s market, so I stuck it in the fridge to speed things along. Then I banged it on the counter so hard that all the cats scattered. NOTHING.

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Slightly less pretty once sliced.

After several attempts, the first chunk came out. I admitted defeat, covered the cake in foil, and went to work making another batch with loaf pans instead. The trick with loaf cakes is that you can line the bottom with parchment paper to avoid ANY OF THIS UNNECESSARY BULLSHIT.

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How cute would a bundt cake have looked on that cake stand?!

Not all is lost, since T and I have literally been eating the cake with our hands right out of the pan all week long.

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Oh, and the loaf version turned out perfectly. Here’s the recipe, minus my minor edits (I can’t give away all of my secrets).

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Almond Poppyseed Cake

2 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons almond extract

1 1/2 cups milk

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

8 ounces butter, melted

Optional: 1 1/2 tablespoons poppyseeds (this does nothing for the flavor, but it looks so much prettier)

Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

2-4 tablespoons milk or cream (I used water because I was selling to the general public, and cottage food licenses don’t allow for un-refrigerated dairy outside of butter)

Slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350. If you’re feeling brave, thoroughly butter and flour a bundt cake pan. Do not do this unless you are a goddamn professional. If you’re a normal person like me, use 2 loaf pans. Line just the bottom of the pans with some parchment paper and grease the whole thing. You just can’t be too careful.

In a large mixing bowl (only one bowl needed – yay!), beat the sugar with the eggs. Mix in flour, baking powder, milk, and almond extract. Mix well, then add in the melted butter. Fold in the poppyseeds. Pour into cake pan(s) of choice and bake for 40-50 minutes. Edges should be golden brown, and a toothpick should come out clean.

Allow to cool for 20 minutes before removing from loaf pans. For bundt cake pans, remove at your own risk, but only once completely cooled. If you can’t remove it from the pan, don’t fret. Just look at it as a gift from the snack gods.

For the glaze: whisk together powdered sugar, almond extract, and milk/cream. Pour over cakes after they are completely cooled. Sprinkle with slivered almonds.

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My nemesis.

baking · bars · comfort food · dessert · easy · potluck food · snacks · vegetarian · Yummy

Rhubarb Custard Bars

It doesn’t get more Midwestern than rhubarb. It is the only thing nearly all of our mothers were able to grow in the backyard despite not having a garden. It grows anywhere and everywhere with no help at all from humans. I grew up with rhubarb bread every single summer, so it felt like a no-brainer to sell rhubarb bread at the farmer’s market. I wanted to keep things seasonal, and expected to change my bread offerings each week. I honestly had no idea the reaction I would receive to offering rhubarb bread, though. People love the stuff. I sold out with in the first hour and 15 minutes of my first market. I sold an entire loaf as my first sale at my second market. I knew rhubarb bread was special to me, but I had no idea that everyone else would love it just as much (or more). What felt like something that would just be meaningful to me ended up being meaningful to nearly every customer that stopped by. Offering a slice of rhubarb bread clearly brought them back to their childhood; a look of blissful nostalgia washing over their faces after each bite. I wasn’t the only one that grew up with a mom putting rhubarb to good use. I’ve chatted with so many people about their rhubarb memories growing up, many of them having not had a slice of rhubarb bread in years. It’s a funny thing to connect over, as I was truly unaware that we had all had this shared experience, and was surprised when my bread triggered something in people.

When rhubarb bread goes right vs when rhubarb bread goes wrong.

I won’t be sharing the recipes I sell at the market, but I will gladly share this recipe from Taste of Home. I cut the recipe in half, because I didn’t need 87 fucking bars lying around. It’s just T and me, and we still had a disaster of fucked up rhubarb bread to eat (long story short – I doubled my rhubarb bread recipe one night and forgot to double the flour, which left me with 4 gooey globs that tasted amazing with ice cream, but was NOT sellable or pretty). I’ll post the full recipe here, but if you want to cut it in half, just use an 8 x 8 pan instead of the 9 x 13 it requires.

Fun fact: This recipe, when done in full, uses over twice as much rhubarb as one of my rhubarb bread recipes.

It’s super tart and creamy and FUCKING DELICIOUS. My cousin served these at her wedding. She had a dessert TABLE, which is honestly what everyone should do. I couldn’t stop blabbing about the bars, so my aunt took pity on me and sent me the recipe. I couldn’t live without them, and now you don’t have to either. Go scrape together the last few stalks of rhubarb remaining for the season, and get to baking.

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They don’t photograph well/I don’t know how to properly photograph food yet.

Rhubarb Custard Bars

Cookie crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup cold butter, cubed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 pan and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and sugar. Then cut butter into dry ingredients with either a fork or your fingers (I mush everything together with my hands) until it forms course crumbs* with some chunks of butter remaining. Press mixture into pan in an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes.

Custard filling:

2 cups sugar

7 tablespoons flour

1 cup heavy whipping cream

3 large, room temp eggs, beaten

5 cups finely chopped rhubarb (mine wasn’t “finely chopped,”and it was fine)

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and sugar. Whisk in eggs and cream before folding in the rhubarb. Pour over the baked crust and bake again for 40-45 minutes. Let cool fully before adding the topping.

Topping:

6 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped

In a mixer, whip together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy. Fold in whipped heavy cream. Spread over the top, cover, and set in fridge. Once set, cut into bars. Gobble up as many as you can while it’s still rhubarb season. Don’t share with friends.

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This is what I mean when I say “course crumbs.”

baking · brunch · cake · dessert · quick breads · Yummy

Cinnamon Bread and Farmer’s Market Update

Last Saturday was my first day as a vendor at a farmer’s market.

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The whole thing still feels surreal. How am I allowed to sell shit at a farmer’s market? It just seems like something that would happen to someone else. Don’t I need a more specialized license for this? Well, yes, but it wasn’t difficult to get. Of course, there are all these fucking regulations about what I can and cannot sell to the public, but I’m still allowed to sell my baked goods to the general public. That blows my fucking mind. And people bought things. That is the really crazy part.

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They bought things despite the fact that I am not a pastry chef, and despite the fact that I used to whisk egg whites into peaks with a fucking fork, and despite the fact that I once thought a head of cabbage was a head of lettuce. These people didn’t care that I learned how to bake without a mixer, or that I once made horrifically tart/disgusting raspberry coconut cookies, or that I used store-bought pie crust until a few years ago, or even that I still don’t have a clue how to properly decorate a cake. I can’t use fondant, I’ve never used a spring-form pan, and I don’t know how to adjust my ratios to properly use cake and pastry flour instead of all-purpose flour. No one cared about any of that bullshit. All they cared about was eating a deliciously moist slice of freshly made rhubarb bread, baked with the rhubarb that’s taking over my friend’s yard, while soaking in a few hours of sunshine with their friends at an outdoor market. They don’t see the mistakes and hesitation behind the scenes – they just see perfectly round chocolate chip cookies with hand-chopped dark chocolate and flecks of glittery sea salt. They bought them all up and chatted with me about the neighborhood, making me feel connected and welcomed into this new space. T looked at me a few hours into the market, having just sold another few oatmeal crisps, my hand resting in my apron pocket and a smile across my face, and said, “You’re radiating. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this happy.”

There is something so indescribably satisfying about watching people eat and enjoy the things you’ve made. And then come back to buy more! I still can’t believe I’m allowed to do this after years of wandering markets wondering who you had to be to be apart of them. I love it when something seems like magic, but it’s actually real. That’s how being a market vendor feels to me.

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I made this cinnamon bread during a last baking frenzy in my old apartment. My oven in that place was janky as fuck, and ran cold. This meant it was a guessing game with setting a timer for baking, or the temperature for that matter. I baked this fucker for a good hour and 20 minutes, which ended up drying it out. My current place has a very reliable oven, which is a fucking relief.

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I’m pretty obsessed with quick breads at the moment. They’re so easy and simple, and can be done a million different ways. Rhubarb is the best, but you won’t be getting my recipe for that anytime soon. 😉

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You’ll notice my “swirl” is just a sad line. Turns out, no one cared about that either.

Cinnamon Bread

4 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking sodaIMG_20190331_172426.jpg

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon cinnamon

2 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the swirl/topping:

1/2 cup sugar, plus extra for coating the pans

2 tablespoons cinnamon, plus extra for coating the pans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 loaf pans with butter, and coat with cinnamon sugar mixture. Once the pans are fully coated, dump out excess.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside. In another large bowl, combine buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Mix well before whisking in eggs one at a time.

Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet until just combined. Always avoid over-mixing, as it develops the gluten in the flour and can make your cake dense and chewy. It took me years to learn this. Don’t be like me.

Combine cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and set aside. Take half of the batter, and split it between both loaf pans. Add a layer of the cinnamon sugar mixture (reserving half), then top with remaining batter. Use a butter knife to swirl the cinnamon sugar mixture through the batter before topping with the remaining cinnamon sugar. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Allow to cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes. Run a butter knife along the edges to loosen, then turn it onto a cooling rack. Real talk, I only got a cooling rack in the last few months. Cooling on a counter top or large plate is fine, too. Don’t listen to the snobby bakers that tell you otherwise.

As with any quick bread, slice and cover with butter to serve. Gobble it all up.

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baking · cake · comfort food · dessert · vegetarian · Yummy

Earl Grey Cake with Honey Buttercream

I haven’t moved in 7.5 years. Prior to my last apartment, I had moved every 6-18 months since turning 18 years old. But this last apartment stuck. I moved into it after spending 3 years in New York trying to “find myself,” lived there with my then fiance (my now ex-husband), started my blog there, watched my first cat suffer with cancer there, welcomed new cats into my life, reclaimed my identity after the divorce, fell into a yoga obsession, became a yoga teacher, started dating, suffered heartbreak, fell in love, welcomed a mischievous kitten into my life, and baked the whole way through it all in that tiny ass kitchen. That apartment felt like a part of my identity. It was my first true home as an adult. That being said, I was ready to move on from it. It was time. So we did it. T and I moved downtown, which is a fucking dream. I’ve always dreamed of living in the heart of the city, and now I finally have the chance.

The move itself was a goddamn nightmare, of course. I mean, it went as well as it could, but it’s a fucking huge pain in the ass to move 2 apartments in one morning. It didn’t help that we had both been at our old places for several years. Shit accumulated more than I’d realized. Fuck, we have a lot of shit. We both thought we’d have the place fully unpacked and set up within a week. We’re on day 10 and still semi living out of boxes. This adds to my stress level, which is already sky high with transitioning to a new job at work, getting all the paperwork and payment together for the farmer’s market, and being contacted by my biological dad’s sister on Ancestry. This literally all happened within the same week, which is why I couldn’t blog last week. This bitch needs some time to herself. Fuck.

I’ve literally been fantasizing about baking in the new kitchen. It’s not as tiny as the last kitchen, but it’s not gigantic. After 7+ years of cooking and baking in my old kitchen, I think I’ve earned the name Tiny Ass Kitchen regardless of where I live, but only time will tell if I decide on renaming things.

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During my last few weeks at the old place, I started a baking frenzy. I kept thinking it would be my last time baking in that kitchen. And I felt like making something fancy as fuck. Earl Grey is one of my favorite flavors. It’s really delicate, which is a sharp contrast to the dark chocolate I often prefer in my desserts. I’m not a huge fan of honey, but it works here. Lavender would also be a good addition, but plain old vanilla buttercream would also be lovely.

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I want to make this for Cortney and have it with tea and fancy dresses.

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Earl Grey Cake with Honey Buttercream (original recipe here)

For the cake

2 teaspoons loose leaf earl grey tea, separated (I used the bagged kind and just cut open the bags because I’m a lazy ass… if you are using true loose leaf tea, you’ll want to grind one of the teaspoons up a bit)

1 cup whole milk

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup vegetable oil (coconut oil also works well here, but you’ll want to melt it)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

For the honey buttercream

1 pound unsalted butter, room temperature

1/3 cup honey

3 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the cake

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a saucepan over low heat add the milk and one teaspoon of loose leaf tea (not ground). Let simmer for five minutes to infuse the tea into the milk, but avoid letting it come to a full boil. Allow it to cool to room temp (feel free to set it in the fridge for a bit). Strain out the tea. Set aside. In a mixer, cream together butter and sugar before adding in the eggs one at a time. Continue mixing while adding the vanilla and oil and allow the batter to become light and fluffy. I never truly know how light and fluffy these things should be, but just use your best judgement. While it is mixing, in a separate bowl you’ll want to add in your flour, baking powder, salt, and finely ground tea (or a teaspoon from a tea bag because you’re a lazy ass like me – I promise it won’t matter). The original recipe says to sift the dry ingredients together. Fuck sifting. Just don’t pack any of these things into their measuring cup/spoon, and you’ll be fine. If you want to be super accurate, you’re on the wrong food blog. This isn’t the British Baking Show. Mix the dry ingredients together before gradually adding them to the mixer while it is set to low speed. Try not to overmix. Once everything is just combined, add in the infused milk. Distribute batter into 2 greased 8 or 9 inch round cake pans (it calls for 8″, but I only have 9″ – it’s fucking fine). Bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool for about 20 minutes before removing cakes from the pans onto a cooling rack. If you lose a chunk to the bottom of a stubborn pan, don’t panic. Take it as a sign from the snack gods that you deserve a treat! And fill the hole with frosting. Everyone wins.

Make sure the cakes are completely cool before frosting. I cut my layers in half to create 4 separate layers. It’s nice to have extra frosting in the middle, but it’s certainly not necessary.

For the honey buttercream

Add all buttercream ingredients to the mixer and whip until light and fluffy, about 5-10 minutes. Frost as desired! I kept my cake really minimal. It had a really thin layer of frosting, so you can see the cake through it in some spots. I also used some extra honey to drizzle along the edges. This is pretty initially, but doesn’t hold up well. If you want to do the honey drizzle, do it right before serving.

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cake · dessert · easy · Fruit · gluten free · jam · peanut butter · quick · vegetarian · Yummy

PB & J Mug Cake

I am having a lot of life changes lately. Lots of good things, but it’s A LOT. One of those exciting things is a booth at my local farmer’s market! I decided to inquire about selling baked goods at a tiny farmer’s market 2 blocks from my apartment. I didn’t want to start with one of the big ones, as that felt really fucking overwhelming. Plus, I wasn’t sure they’d accept me being so new to the scene. So I chose the perfect, supportive little church-run market. Of course, I didn’t know I’d choose one that was run by a church when I decided on the name of my booth. I purchased the name Eat Me Bakery, LLC in January thinking it was cheeky and fun (I mean, it is).

 

When I got a call back from the person in charge of the farmer’s market last week, he was extremely encouraging in almost every aspect. Once we were winding down the conversation, and it was looking promising that I was going to be accepted, he said he had to discuss something kind of uncomfortable. He prefaced by saying that he was not the only one with concerns, and proceeded to ask if my name was “set in stone.” I was hoping my name would slide by unnoticed, since it could also be considered an Alice in Wonderland reference, but I wasn’t fooling anyone. I’m also a terrible liar, so there was no way I was going to try to convince him that it was anything other than the crude phrase that it clearly was. So I’m looking for a new name! Something rated G, but nothing too sweet. And I’ll hold onto Eat Me Bakery, since it’s still a fucking great idea. It just needs a different venue, and that’s okay. The organizer of the farmer’s market was a great sport about the whole thing, assuring me that he understood the name was just meant to be playful, but that it also wasn’t appropriate for this setting. That’s completely fair.

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Something I’d like to sell at my booth is peanut butter and jelly sandwich cookies. I haven’t had time to play with the recipe yet, so I did something quick today with those same flavors. Peanut butter and jelly is my favorite flavor combination. I am baffled by the lack of options outside of an elementary school cafeteria. I mean, why aren’t there cookies and donuts and muffins full of these flavors??? And they could be done in SO MANY DIFFERENT WAYS. The mind reels. So many missed opportunities. I was fucking psyched when I discovered this mug cake recipe on Food52’s website. I needed something simple and sweet today to counter all the salty as fuck meat my body has been craving for the last 24 hours. Yes, I gave into the meat for 2 meals. I’m mostly a vegetarian, but I do have my moments. Not that I need to justify myself to anyone, because I fucking don’t (I’m talking to you, Hannah). This little mug cake was the perfect fix. It’s gooey and rich, with light sweetness from the jelly. I used triple berry jam made locally, but any cheap grape jelly would work perfectly well. Pick your favorite flavor, and go nuts (ha!).

This cake is unintentionally gluten-free, too!

 

PB & J Mug Cake

4 tablespoons peanut butter

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

A pinch of salt

2 tablespoons jelly/jam (any flavor)

I used a small bowl to mix everything, so I had enough room to make sure all the ingredients were incorporated well. You could opt to mix everything in the mug/jar as well. Start by mixing everything except the jelly. Stir/whisk until smooth. Add a tablespoon of jelly and swirl into the batter (without fully incorporating). My jelly was actually jam, and quite thick. I ended up kind of cutting it into the batter, so little chunks of jam remained. That way you get little pockets of jam, which is fucking delightful. Pour everything into a mug or 1/2 pint mason jar. Add another tablespoon of jam on top, pressed lightly right into the top of the batter. Microwave for 50-60 seconds. Sift a little powdered sugar on top if you’re feelin’ fancy. Let cool for a couple of minutes. Then SHOVEL INTO YOUR FACE.

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baking · bars · dessert · easy · quick · snacks · vegetarian

Blondies

The snow has been out of fucking control here in Minneapolis. We didn’t get much snow at all this winter until about 2 weeks ago, at which point it dumped all the snow we should have gotten over the course of 3 months in 2 weeks. On top of that we also had the coldest day on record since the fucking 1800’s* or some shit. I HAD ICE ON THE INSIDE OF MY APARTMENT WINDOWS.

THIS IS NOT OKAY.

Today the city issued yet another snow emergency, which just means the street parking situation will be all fucked up. My tiny ass Honda Fit is missing her cushy life with the retired couple that bought her new 10 years ago. She used to live in a garage for fuck’s sake. But she’s a fighter! It only took 3 tries (and a little pep talk) to get her started on the coldest day in recent history (it was a high of -15… that’s NEGATIVE FIFTEEN DEGREES).

The day prior to the icy windows day was a balmy high of -2, so I thought it’d be a great idea to walk to therapy. After all, it was only 4 blocks from the gym, which was already charging me for parking, so why pay a meter too? I layered up with my base layer first, which consisted of leggings, wool socks, a tank top, and a long sleeved t-shirt. Then I had a cheap-ass peacoat, a very warm knit hat that covered my ears, a chunky hand knit infinity scarf (also pulled over the hat), and super warm mittens. Oh, and snow boots of course. I don’t fuck around with footwear in the winter. It’s always North Face now that I’m an adult. In New York, my tiny 23-year-old brain thought discount store fashion boots were acceptable footwear in the snow. I was a goddamn moron. Clearly I haven’t learned much yet, though. Because, if you know anything about winter, you’ll know that my attire for that 4 block walk was absolutely not sufficient. My legs were literally only covered with LEGGINGS. Not even thick yoga leggings, but fashion leggings. I might as well have been out there pants-less. That millimeter of fabric was doing absolutely nothing to cut the wind. At first I thought I’d be fine, because it’s only 4 blocks. I can handle anything for 4 blocks. Halfway through the walk I realized I’d made a huge mistake. My thighs were starting to hurt, and I was getting nervous. By block 3 my thighs started to sting. Waiting for the crosswalk across the street from my therapist’s office they started to feel warm again. That’s when I really started to panic, because I had some elementary school memory flash before me of being told that was a bad sign (which is completely false, but try telling that to my anxiety). I couldn’t cross that street fast enough, and silently cursed every single car that made me wait.

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Bourdain likes to help.

I finally made it to my appointment, and even back to my car afterwards (with a stop at Chipotle to warm up). This week I opted to pay for parking across the street. Plus, it gave my car a chance to warm up in the parking ramp. She deserves it. She didn’t ask for this life.

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After therapy last week, I decided to bake yet again. I’ve been baking a lot due to the weather. Plus, it calms me down when I’m anxious or overwhelmed, which has also been an issue lately. I’m also hoping to get a spot in the local farmer’s market to sell baked goods, which means I need to practice different recipes. I’ve been feeding T like crazy, and also bringing things to work. These blondies were not heavily shared, though. I was feeling selfish, and that’s okay. Plus, the recipe only makes an 8 x 8 pan of them, which is so much more manageable than most brownie and blondie recipes.

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Feel free to mix in whatever you’d like instead of the vanilla chips and pecans. Chocolate chips would be awesome, as well as various candy and nuts. I chose vanilla chips and pecans because I wanted to keep these “blonde” rather than just making a variation of a chocolate chip cookie.

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Blondies (originally from here)

1 stick butter, melted

1 cup packed dark or light brown sugar (I used dark because it’s better)

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

Dash of salt

1 cup flour

1/3 cup vanilla chips mixed with chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 pan and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together butter and sugar. Add in egg and vanilla. Whisk well. Then with a large spoon, slowly incorporate the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Finally, fold in the vanilla chips and chopped pecans.

Press into greased baking dish so that it’s one even layer (it will be the consistency of cookie dough). Bake for 25-30 minutes. Scoop a big bite out as soon as it’s cool enough to not burn your face off. Cut the rest into cute little squares and serve on a plate/tray so no one else knows you weren’t able to control yourself before it was fully cooled. Or don’t and own it. You’re allowed to eat blondies at any temperature you choose.

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*This “stat” was pulled right out of my ass. I believe it was the coldest day since the 90’s. Same thing though, right?