Category Archives: Food

Ballin’

Today I want to talk about balls. Cake balls. Well, I guess, they’re really actually cake pops.

This week marks the one year anniversary of my CrossFit gym! Happy Anniversary, Iron Oak CrossFit! We’re having a celebration, so I wanted to bring something personalized and delicious. Enter the cake pop. You’re probably thinking “Woah, woah, woah. How are cake pops PALEO?” You’re right. Let’s be real here, folks. I don’t follow a Paleo diet. I think that’s pretty evident from my previous blog posts about all things sugar. Sometimes you just have to live a little.

Cake balls/cake pops are made with cake crumbs, icing, and a candy coating. I like to put them on a stick for easier consumption. Plus, adding a stick makes them pretty and allows for some creativity with packaging. They can be prepared ahead of time and will store at room temperature for about a week (even longer if refrigerated).

Normally, I would tell you that I baked a cake from scratch and used it for this project, but my schedule was pretty busy this week and I needed to save time. I used box cake mix and premade frosting.

Ingredients (makes approximately 40 cake balls depending on the size of each one):

– one box of cake mix or your favorite recipe for a 9×13 sheet cake
– any ingredients needed to bake the cake (i.e. eggs, oil, water, etc)
– one 16 oz container of premade frosting
– two packages of vanilla candy coating

Additional items needed:

– approximately 40 six inch lollipop sticks (can be purchased at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby)
– 40 3×4 inch treat bags
– curling ribbon
– a small crock pot to keep the coating warm
– parchment paper
– cookie sheet

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Let’s get rollin’:

1. Follow the instructions for making and baking the sheet cake of your choice. In my case, I just followed the instructions on the box.

2. Allow the cake to fully cool. Once cooled, break up the sheet cake into your mixer on a low speed.

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3. Add the frosting to the cake and mix them together on a low speed until fully incorporated. It should resemble cookie dough and maintain its shape fairly well.

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4. Break up the candy coating and place it into the small crock pot. Heat the coating on high until fully melted and then turn the heat to low or warm. Stir the coating until smooth.

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5. Line the cookie sheet with parchment paper.

6. Gently roll the cake by hand to form small balls and then place them on the parchment paper. I like to make mine a little taller. Continue rolling until all the cake dough has been used.

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7. After rolling all the cake dough, dip the lollipop stick end into the coating (approximately 1/4 of an inch) and insert the stick into the top of the cake ball. This will help to keep the ball on the stick later during the coating process.

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8. After adding sticks to all of the cake balls and making sure the coating has solidified, gently dip the cake pop into the warm coating and cover completely. Tap the pop on the side of the crock pot to remove any excess coating. Be careful because the cake ball may roll off the stick if you use too much force. This has happened to me before and I have been forced to eat the “rejects.” Quality control can be a tough process  🙂

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9. Place each coated cake pop back on the parchment paper and allow the coating to cool and solidify. Continue coating until all pops have been completed.

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10. After the coating has dried and hardened completely, decorate the cake pops however you’d like. In this case, I drizzled chocolate candy coating on each one.

11. Allow any decoration to dry completely.

12. Place each cake pop in a treat bag and tie with a small ribbon.

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Now you’re ready to party! Enjoy!

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A Piece of Cake

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I’ve made quite a bit of ice cream over the last few weeks. A good serving of ice cream really needs a little something to make it even better. That something, is pie.

For me, some must have items to have on hand for summer include: mosquito repellent, ice cream and fresh berries. Since it is berry season, I usually have a few pints of berries in the fridge at all times. This week, I happened to have several pints of blueberries.

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“Wait, pie? I thought you were supposed to be talking about cake here.”

I got this blueberry pie recipe from my friend Katie. It is SO simple that it could definitely be described as “a piece of cake.”

Ingredients:

1 unbaked pie crust
2 pints of fresh blueberries
1/2 cup of softened unsalted butter
1 cup of granulated sugar
3/4 cup of sifted unbleached white flour
1 egg
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

2. Grease a glass pie dish and place the unbaked pie crust in it. Trim the edges if necessary.

3. Fill the pie crust with the fresh blueberries.

4. Beat the butter at a low-medium speed until it is light and fluffy.

5. Add the granulated sugar to the butter and continue to mix for about 1 minute.

6. Slowly add in the flour, egg and vanilla until fully incorporated. The consistency should look like cookie dough.

7. Gently press the mixture on top of the blueberries.

8. Baked the prepared pie at 350ºF for approximately one hour, or until the crust and topping are lightly browned.

9. Cool for 15 minutes before serving. For best results, serve with your favorite ice cream.

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Paninis – making regular sandwiches look bad since the 1950’s

I’m back after a long hiatus! I recently picked up the Giada De Laurentis Panini press from Target for $14.99. I can’t decide if I’m more excited about the delicious panini I made or the deal I got on the press itself :). I am not much of a sandwich person myself because really, who wants to eat a sandwich when you can eat something hot? Well, the beauty of a panini is that it’s a hot, crispy sandwich that really encompasses the best of both worlds.

This is the first time making a panini, so I thought…why not make one of my favorite sandwiches? A Reuben, of course.

Here’s what I used to make mine:
– 2 slices of white, sour dough bread with a schmear of butter on one side
– a dollop of Thousand island dressing, spread evenly on one slice of bread (not the buttered side)

– a slice of Provolone cheese
– several slices of thinly slices corned beef (I used Boar’s Head from my local grocery store)

– as much sauerkraut as you’d like

1. Preheat your panini press on Low heat. I’ve found that cooking the panini on high heat causes it to cook too quickly, making it really easy to burn your sandwich.

2. I buttered one side of both slices of bread. The buttered sides will be the outside of the sandwich. It really adds a beautiful color to the cr

usty exterior and definitely adds to the crunchiness of the panini.

3. Schmear on a little bit of Thousand Island dressing to one of the slices of bread (not on top of the buttered side).

4. Add one slice of Provolone cheese on top of the dressing.

5. Stack up your corned beef to your liking. I like to add about 1/4 lb of meat into my sandwich, making it pretty hearty.

6. Add some sauerkraut and you’re almost ready to go!

7. Please the other slice of bread on

top (buttered side out) and you’re ready to start pressing.

8. Place the ready to go sandwich on the panini press and close the lid. I usually

give it about 2-3 minutes before I open the lid and check on the sandwich.

9. Continue to check on the panini until the outside is golden brown. And, voila! You have yourself a panini 🙂

Needless to say, it was absolutely delicious.

Some might ask you “Why in the world do you have a panini press? That’s so random.” No need to reply…just make them a panini.

The Guinness Cupcake.

I can’t believe it’s been so long since i’ve actually posted about food. I’ve been so busy with triathlon training and working that I completely neglected my blog 😦 And now, we resurrect!

I went to a birthday party last weekend and had these amazing Guinness cupcakes. I wanted to recreate them myself because i’ve never actually cooked or baked with beer before. So after hunting down a recipe online, I decided to bake chocolate Guinness cupcakes with chocolate ganache filling and vanilla frosting. You can’t really go wrong with beer and chocolate, can you?

I used the recipe from here and made a few small adjustments based on the ingredients I had on hand.

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes
Makes approximately 24 cupcakes

For the Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes

1 cup of stout beer (I used Guinness)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar (I reduced this by a few tablespoons because it just seemed like too much)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

Chocolate Ganache Filling
8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

Baileys Frosting
3 to 4 cups confections sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys (I used heavy cream because I didn’t have any Baileys on hand)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F and Line the cupcake pan with 24 liners.

Melt butter with the beer in a sauce pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Whisk in cocoa powder until smooth. Be sure to continue whisking or the cocoa can burn at the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In a mixer bowl, beat the eggs and the sour cream together. Add the cooled beer/butter/cocoa mixture and beat to combine. Add the flour mixture and beat briefly just to combine. Do not overbeat or else the cupcakes will be tough. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the batter until completely combined.

Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick or a slim knife inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely to room temperature.

To make the filling: Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. Add the butter and stir until combined.

Fill the cupcakes: Let the filling cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped. Using your 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes. I went about half to 2/3 of the way down and used a small knife to help me extract the centers. Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

To make the frosting: In a large mixer bowl, whip the butter until it is very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, letting it incorporate, until the butter becomes thicker and stiff. Slowly drizzle the Bailey’s (or cream) and whip until combined. Ice and decorate the cupcakes to your liking 🙂

Here’s how they turned out:

Enjoy!

Happy Holidays to all!

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and the Happiest of  Holidays!

I always get an itch to bake during the holidays…well, I guess I sort of bake all the time anyway. This morning I woke up and decided to bake an Asian Sponge cake. To pretty it up a bit, I used a rose bundt mold. Removing the cake was a bit of a pain, but I think it turned out beautifully. I don’t think I beat the egg whites enough because the cake wasn’t as fluffy as I expected/wanted, but it was my first attempt. Hopefully next time will be much better.

Naked (without a dusting of powdered sugar) :):

Here is the recipe I used:

Asian Sponge Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups of cake flour, sifted
  • 9 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla

Preheat oven to 350º F

1. Beat the egg whites until slightly foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until stiff peaks form.

2. Gradually add the sugar to the egg whites and continue to beat until sugar is mixed in.

3. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks slightly and then add water, oil and vanilla.

4. In another bowl, sift together the cake flour and baking powder. Gradually add the flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture and beat until creamy.

5. Pour egg mixture into the egg whites and gently fold until everything is well blended.

6. Pour the batter into a well-greased baking pan and bake until the top is lightly golden brown. I used a rose bundt pan and it took about 30 minutes.

If using a 9 x 13 inch pan, it should be about 20 minutes.

Enjoy! 🙂

Turtle Power!

I feel like I’ve been neglecting this blog for a while because I’ve been pretty busy recently. But, I took some time out today to make one of my favorite asian bakery breads: buo luo bao (aka Pineapple bread). Ironically, there is actually no pineapple in the bread or recipe. The bread gets its name from the topping that looks like the skin of a pineapple. I stumbled across a photo of some “turtle bread” a week ago and thought it was just so adorable, so I decided to shape each of my buns into small turtles. I used black sesame seeds for eyes.

Here’s how they turned out:

Pretty cute, no? 🙂

Here’s the recipe I’ve been using to make sweet Asian breads and the “pineapple topping.” I feel like the bread recipe could use a little tweaking because it’s not exactly the way I want it yet, but it’s getting there. Please comment if you have any suggestions on how to improve it 🙂

Sweet Bread:

  • 3 1/2 cups of bread flour
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 tbsp of active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 2 tbsp of unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten

1. In a large bowl, combine 1/2 a cup of flour, the sugar, yeast and salt.

2. In a separate bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Add oil and milk to the butter and heat until about 100 degrees. It should feel warm, but not too hot.

3. Pour the butter mixture into the flour mixture. Add beaten eggs (reserve 1 tbsp for egg wash later) and stir well to combine. Beat the mixture for 3 minutes.

4. Add remaining flour, a little at a time, until a soft dough is formed. Turn the dough out to a floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes. Add small amounts of flour if the dough is still too sticky.

5. Place the dough in a large bowl and cover with a clean, damp towel. Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size (about 1.5 hours). During this time, make the “pineapple topping” (see below). After the first rising, punch down the dough and let it rise again until doubled (about 1.5 hours).

6. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and shape them into flat buns. Place them on lightly greased baking sheets and then cover them with a slightly damp towel (this prevents the dough from drying out). Let the dough rise again for about 45 minutes.

7. After the dough has risen, roll out your refrigerated pineapple topping to about 1/2 cm in thickness. Use a cookie cutter or glass cup to cut out 12 circles slightly less wide than your buns. Lightly score the toppings with a criss-cross pattern.

8. Brush the top of the dough buns with a small amount of water and place each pineapple topping on top of the dough buns.

9. Brush the buns with the reserved egg.

10. Bake the buns at 350 degrees for about 13-15 minutes on the middle rack, checking them frequently to make sure they don’t burn.

Pineapple topping:

  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 2 tbsp of milk
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2 tsp of baking powder

1. Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy.

2. Add the egg yolk, baking soda and milk. Mix well.

3. Sift the flour and baking powder into the butter mixture. Mix by hand until smooth and not sticky.

4. Chill the topping, wrapped in plastic, until ready to use.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

Is it really Fall now?

I feel like Texas never really has four seasons. We have “hot” and “sort of hot.” This weekend was full of gorgeous, fall weather. In honor of the long awaited temperature drop, I decided to be festive and bake a pumpkin loaf aka pumpkin pie bread. I used another recipe that I found on allrecipes.com and it turned out great! I did add a bit more pumpkin pie spice because I really like how it provides a little bit more of a bite to it.

I also ran a half marathon this morning and carved a pumpkin. hehe

pumpkin pie bread

The recipe is really simple and easy to follow. If you love pumpkin pie, you definitely have to give this recipe a shot 🙂 Depending on your oven, you may want to turn it down to 325 degrees and bake for a little bit longer. Be sure to keep an eye on it! You don’t want the outside to burn and have the inside uncooked.

Here’s the recipe I used:

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together sugar, oil, eggs, and pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture alternately with water. Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. For best flavor, store wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for a full day before serving.

Enjoy! 🙂

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