Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Best Ever Carrot "Sheet Cake"

I got a wild hair last week and just had to make a carrot cake.  I wanted it to be a sheet cake and not a traditional round two layer job - although I do like them also - this cake needed to be able to be cut up equally and travel well - and a two layer slice just wasn't going to fit the bill.  I did a quickie search on the computer and came away with a recipe I found on the Southern Living site - love the site and have always loved the magazine!!!!  I made a few changes and will include them as I go along....

This is a three part type recipe - there is a cake, a glaze and a fluffy frosting......  and let me tell you, it's one of the best carrot cakes I have ever put in my mouth!!!!  Bar none!!

Here goes......

for the cake - 

2 C AP Flour
2Teas Baking soda
2 Teas ground cinnamon
1/2 Teas salt
(I also added quite a bit of nutmeg..  1/2 a nut more or less)
3 Large eggs room temp
2 C Sugar
3/4 C Oil
3/4 C Buttermilk
2 Teas Vanilla
2 Cups grated carrot (my 2 C measure was way full at about 3 large carrots)
1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple, drained.  I mistakenly picked up sliced pineapple so I just mashed the slices up.
1 (3 1/2 oz) can Sweetened flaked coconut - I already had some coconut and used a heaping 1/2 C
1 C chopped walnuts

Buttermilk Glaze
Cream Cheese frosting


Sift together first 5 ingredients.  Beat eggs and the next 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.  Add flour mixture slowly, beating at low speed until blended.  Fold in carrots and the next three ingredients.  Pour batter into a greased and floured 13 x 9 pan.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, then cover loosely with aluminum foil to prevent over browning, and bake an additional 13 more minutes or until wooden pick inserted comes out clean  (it took about 18 minutes for mine)  When done take out of oven and pout Buttermilk glaze over the warm cake and let the cake cool completely in pan.  Spread Cream Cheese frosting over cool cake and serve.

Yield 10 to 12 large servings.

Buttermilk Glaze
1 C Sugar
1 1/2 Teas Baking Soda
1/2 C Butter
1/2 C Buttermilk
1 Tlb Light Corn syrup
1 Teas Vanilla 

Bring sugar soda, butter, Buttermilk and corn syrup to a boil over medium high heat, boil and stir for about 4 minutes or until mixture is golden brown  (it took about 8 minutes).  remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.

cooled cake with glaze

The Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 C Butter room temp
1 (8 oz) Cream Cheese, room temp
1 (3 oz) Cream Cheese, room temp  ( I used two 2 oz packs, since I can't find the 3 oz size out here)
1 (16 oz) Package Icing Sugar
1 1/2 Teas Vanilla

Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth, add icing sugar and vanilla, beat at high speed until very smooth and fluffy.  Spread over glazed cool cake.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Peanut Butter Cookies

I used a recipe I found in a book called "Christmas Cookies" published by Oxmore house, 1986.  I have found that many of the recipes for Peanut Butter Cookies are very similar with a few tweaks here and there.  I tweaked this recipe a bit - 

Ingredients - 

1 Cup Shortening - I used 1/2 C regular and 1/2 C butter Crisco
1 Cup White Sugar
1 Cup Firmly packed Dark Brown Sugar
2 Eggs - room temp
1 Cup Peanut Butter - I used super chunk Skippy
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3 Cups AP Flour
3/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda (I used a heaping 3/4)
I also added some salt

Directions - 

 - Cream Shortening in a large mixing bowl
 - Gradually add sugars - beat well
 - Add eggs on at a time, beat well after each addition
 - Add Peanut Butter and Vanilla, beat well
 - I sifted my flour, soda and salt then added gradually, mixing well.
 It is a bit on the dry/crumbly side.....

The recipe calls for shaping into balls of about 1 inch, I used a small #40 ice cream scoop so that they would all be the same size.  A #40 scoop is about 3/4 of an ounce.  After "balling" the mix I rolled the balls in just plain white sugar and then placed them on parchment covered cookie sheets (I use the same old jelly roll pans for everything)

... and by rolling the balls in sugar you do not need to dip the fork for pressing in flour - which I think gives the cookies a dusty look i do not like - and the sugar makes the cookies sparkle!!  The recipe says to place the cookies on a greased cookie sheet so that is another option - These really do not spread all that much so I crowded the pans a bit - make 12 at a clip. 
 - Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes - I found that these cookies where a bit bigger than the recipes calls for and took about 14 to 16 minutes per pan.
 - If you make 1 inch balls the recipe says the yield is 6 dozen, my yield was just at 4 dozen.

These were nice a crispy - and full of flavour!!!  I'll be making them again!!!!