Friday, June 25, 2010

Quick & Easy

There are times you need a quick dessert but dread heating up the kitchen by baking.  With the arrival of warmer weather it is nice to find something you can make that tastes good, is easy to make but doesn't require baking.  If you are thinking that cake is out of the question, you will be surprised.

'Baking' a cake in the microwave is quick and easy, especially if you take a short cut and use a boxed mix.  Two minutes to mix, eight minutes in the microwave and TA DA!!!  CAKE!

There are many containers that work for this.  Silicone baking pans are excellent and allow you a variety of shapes and sizes and glass baking dishes work well also.  Whatever container you decide to use be sure it is not made of metal  and is microwave safe.

Directions:

Mix cake according to directions on the box or follow your usual recipe.  Generously spray your baking dish with cooking spray.  Pour mixed batter into baking dish (I used a 2 quart glass casserole dish).  'Bake' in microwave for 8 minutes at full power.  If your microwave doesn't have a turning table you'll need to give the cake a quarter of a turn every 2 to 3 minutes.  After the 8 minutes is up the center should look a bit shiny, but not watery and the edges of the cake should be coming away from the sides of the dish.  If the center is still runny give it another minute to cook.  (My microwave is 1200 watts and cooks the cake in 7 Minutes 45 seconds.)


Allow the cake to cool for about 15 minutes and remove from dish if you choose.  The cake can be frosted, glazed or used in any other way you prefer. 

I made some cheesecake flavored pudding and Nathan put it on top of a slice of cake and topped it with whipped cream.
From Food

I chose to make a small trifle (of sorts) with part of the cake.  I cut bite size pieces of cake and layered it on the bottom of a glass bowl.  I then added a layer of the pudding and topped it with raspberries (juices and all).  Then another layer of cake  topped by more pudding and then whipped cream.  Cover and refrigerate.

Trifles made in clear glass bowls make a beautiful presentation and are easy to serve.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Blondies

I have house full of teenagers, three of my own and any number of extras at any given time.  What does this mean?  Well quite often a dessert is wanted, either by them or their stressed out mother, and it is wanted in a hurry.  Nothing fancy, just really good.  Well Blondies is the answer.  They are adaptable to many different tastes and are so easy to throw together you will be shocked.  Our favorite is chocolate chip.  Like I said simple but good.

Blondies

8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Pinch salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

1.Butter an 8×8 pan
2.Mix melted butter with brown sugar – beat until smooth. Beat in egg and then vanilla.
3.Add salt, stir in flour. Mix in any additions (use your imagination or see below).  Most of the time I use 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips.
4.Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 350°F 20-25 minutes, or until set in the middle. I always err on the side of caution with baking times — nobody ever complained about a gooey-middled cookie. Cool on rack before cutting them.

Further additions, use one or a combination of:

•1/2 to 1 cup chopped nuts, toasting them first for even better flavor
•1/2 to 1 cup chocolate chips
•1/2 teaspoon mint extract in addition to or in place of the vanilla
•1/2 cup mashed bananas
•1/4 cup bourbon, scotch or other whiskey; increase the flour by one tablespoon
•2 tablespoons of espresso powder with the vanilla
•Stir 1/2 cup dried fruit, especially dried cherries, into the prepared batter
•Top with a vanilla butter cream or chocolate peanut butter cream frosting



Recipe adapted from How to Cook Everything