Tag Archives: cake

Salted-caramel glazed oatmeal cookies

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I love it when a recipe goes wrong, then turns into something oh so right!

One of my favorite cookies is sunflower seed oatmeal cookies. (Gibbers’, too.) I made a batch today to take to a neighborhood get-together tonight, but I played with the proportions a bit too much, and they came out kinda bland. So I thought a caramel icing might balance that out.
And it did! But I couldn’t just leave it at that. Since “salted caramel whatever” is everywhere these days, I thought I’d give them just a light sprinkling of kosher salt.
Perfect! The cakey/crispy texture of the cookie contrasts nicely with the gooey caramel, and they do balance each other out. That icing would also rock drizzled over banana cake, muffins, or banana-nut bread!
I can’t give you the cookie part of my recipe, because I swapped Splenda for some of the sugar, just added the dry ingredient mix till it looked right, and same on the oatmeal. But the base recipe I was working from is the standard one on every carton of Quaker Oatmeal: Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. I leave out the cinnamon and swap sunflower seeds for raisins.
On to the icing…
I started with a recipe on AllRecipes.com, but changed it substantially. Here’s what I ended up with:

Caramel icing

covers three dozen cookies
 2 T. butter
 1/4 c. cream
 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. powdered sugar (or less)
1/2 t. vanilla
Kosher or sea salt to taste (optional)
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Then stir in the cream and brown sugar. Boil vigorously for 1 minute.
Remove from heat, and beat in half of the powdered sugar. Cool slightly, and beat in the vanilla and the remaining powdered sugar. Taste it as you add a bit at a time; you may not need all of it. 
It sets up pretty quickly, so have your cookies all ready before you make the icing. If it gets too thick, add more cream and/or return it to low heat for a moment.
Drizzle over the cookies. Sprinkle lightly w/ kosher or sea salt, if desired.

Happy “Sneak some zucchini onto your neighbor’s porch” Day!

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And what to do with said zucchini (or summer squash) if you’re the lucky recipient.

Whether it was you or your neighbor who planted too much zucchini this year, here are a few recipes for using up that infamous garden bounty. (Summer squash is its yellow cousin; no significant difference in taste.)

Pizza bites. (Shown above.) They are cute; also the perfect size to pop in your mouth whole. Easy, gluten-free appetizer or snack.
 
 
Summer squash (or zucchini) topped with sausage and cheese. A quick easy dish to prep ahead of time, and then assemble and cook in about 15 minutes.
 
 
Zucchini noodles with peanut sauce. Quick-and-easy, low carb, and tasty, too!
paleo zucchini fritters
Paleo zucchini fritters from PaleOMG — I hear rave reviews about her recipes.
 
For those who are looking for something sweet, and aren’t trying to avoid flour, here are a couple recipes for you. 
grandmas-zucchini-cake
 
Elise’s Grandma’s zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting! This sounds like carrot cake — one of the few cakes I will always be willing to blow my diet for! I haven’t tried this recipe, but it’s from SimplyRecipes, and every recipe I’ve ever tried there has been a winner. I’m sure this one is no different.
 
 
Zucchini bread. If you’ve never tried zucchini bread, you really must! It’s a sweet quick bread (read “muffin-like”), akin to banana bread, but without the banana overtones. You really don’t taste the zucchini at all; it just lends moisture to the party. The predominant flavors come from the cinnamon and sugar. And you know that can’t be bad! 
I made this recipe from AllRecipes earlier this week to take to a ladies social, because it was rated five stars after more than 3,800 reviews! And it was a hit with everyone, but it’s a little sweet for me as is. If (like me) you’re living a mostly sugar-free life, you might want to cut back on the sugar by 1/4 to 3/4 cup. (Here’s a healthier version I haven’t tried.) 

Birthday cake in a jar!

the-bday-spread

My mother-in-law turned 80 last week. She’s quite the inspirational woman: she got a black belt in tai-kwon-do when she was in her 50’s; she did foster care for rescued dogs for several years, and retired from that a few months ago, at which point she had taken in more than 50 dogs. She goes to yoga class regularly, and just recently retired from her part-time job in a vet clinic — but is having second thoughts about retirement.

She certainly deserved a big to-do!

So we had the family over yesterday for a dessert bar. I posted a few weeks ago about several cookies I was considering, and more recently about desserts in jars, and a few of those contenders made the final cut. I’ll be doing a post about some of the other treats later this week (including the almond poppyseed shortbread that was a huge hit), but today I’m going to focus on the birthday cake in a jar.

You can’t spend five minutes on Pinterest without running into some sort of dessert in a jar, and I love the trend! Oddly enough, though, I couldn’t find any recipes for what I had in mind, so here are instructions for it.

tomato-paste-6ozMy first task was to find a type of jar and a type of cookie or pastry cutter that would fit that jar. I love the little “shooter” desserts, but I couldn’t find any cutters that small. Well, except for the set of 12 from Williams-Sonoma that cost $17. Overkill! After checking out a few possibilities, I discovered that a 6 oz. can of tomato paste is the perfect size to fit inside a 4 oz. mason jar. I just removed both the top and the bottom, emptied it, removed the label, and washed the can thoroughly.

I baked one box mix of “Fun-fetti” cake in a 10×15″ pan, according to package directions. I checked it at about 18 minutes, then again every three to five minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center came out clean. I let it cool on the counter for several hours.

Here’s my daughter using the fancy-schmancy cutter I “made”; it worked great. She would just twist it down into the cake…

b-day-cake-cutting-500then poke it out of the cutter into the jar. Some of the pieces needed to be pressed down into the jar a little further, to make contact with the bottom.

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Once they were all jarred up, we frosted them. My daughter made a half batch of this wedding cake frosting, but using only 2.5 cups of confectioners’ sugar. Then she just loaded this up into a gallon plastic baggie, snipped off one corner, and used it like a pastry bag.

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She experimented with the design: some she did in a spiral, some she did in a fat squiggle.

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All that was left was to add the sprinkles and candles. While applying the sprinkles, set the jars on a cookie sheet or other solid tray, so the sprinkles that miss the mark are collected in one place — not rolling off the counter onto the floor.

We placed one candle in each jar, just for decor, then loaded one of them up with eight candles for the guest of honor.

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These were an especially big hit with the little kids at the party — my great nieces and nephews. (I hadn’t thought of this benefit beforehand, but these little jar cakes are also much neater to eat than a cupcake.) I can’t believe I missed the opportunity to get a pic of that cuteness! Well, this one will have to do…

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