Cozycakes Berry Cobbler

Berry Cobbler: Cozycakes Cottage

The house is a wreck.  Ants are milling about like they’re guests at an air-conditioned resort.  I’ve a pile of” hand-wash only” clothes to deal with.  And despite weeks (months?) of decluttering, there’s stuff everywhere.

I ignored it all yesterday.  I couldn’t deal.  I knew it’d all be waiting for me today and it is.  Luckily, most of the ants have left our resort.  Maybe they had to get back to work.

 Easy Berry Cobbler: Cozycakes Cottage

At least I had a major comfort meal last night to butter me up for the cleaning today.  A slow cooked pot roast in a creamy gravy with Yukon gold potatoes and carrots.  Sometimes I wanna hug my slow cooker.  Sometimes I do hug it.  I also threw together my favorite EASY cobbler for dessert.  There are many variations of this cobbler, but we like it best with fresh blackberries or blackberries & blueberries.  It works with frozen fruit, too, (hurrah!), but I’d recommend thawing them first.  So simple and I always have the ingredients on hand.  Top your warm serving with ice cream and enjoy!

Off to scrub.  I’ll have leftover cobbler as a work reward.  😉

Cozycakes Berry Cobbler

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar (sometimes I reduce sugar to 3/4 cup to reduce sweetness and you can use brown sugar, too)
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (I use Meyer)
  • 2 cups berries (I like to use blackberries or a mix of blackberries and blueberries)

Preheat oven to 350°.  Place the butter in a 2 qt. dish (a glass 8×8-in. Pyrex works perfectly) and microwave until melted.  Combine and mix flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, milk, vanilla, and lemon in a bowl.  Pour the flour batter mixture over the melted butter, but DO NOT MIX.  Then place all berries over the batter and, again, DO NOT MIX.  Bake for about 45 minutes or until lightly browned.  You can check the middle for doneness with a toothpick.  Serve warm with freshly whipped cream and/or ice cream.

Enjoy! ♥

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Chocolate Monkey Snack Cake

Chocolate Monkey Snack Cake: Cozycakes Cottage

There’s really no excuse for calling this a snack cake.  As if it’s good for you and equal to eating a handful of dried fruit as a mid-day snack.  I digress because who cares what it’s called, right?  Some of you know (okay, like 3 of you know, but that’s “some”) that I don’t care for bananas.  I eat a few a week because I’m completely devoted to my health (ahahahahahahahahahahahaaa!), but I don’t enjoy them.  Too dry.

Chocolate Monkey Snack Cake: Cozycakes Cottage

But I love them in my mama’s banana bread or a nice banana cream pie.  You know, that kind of thing.  And I love it in this chocolate cake.  Mmmm.  Though many people hate this word, I have to say it: it’s so moist.  If you’ve a couple bananas headed for the trash soon, save their little souls and make this cake!

Chocolate Monkey Snack Cake

(adapted from Betty Crocker)

Ingredients

  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  •  1/3 cup water
  • 1 tsp. instant coffee granules
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 and 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder (I use rich, dark, Dutch-processed)
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/3 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°.  In a large bowl, mash the two bananas well with a fork.  Stir in oil and water.  In a small bowl, mix instant coffee granules with vanilla extract and add to banana mixture.  Add the flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, baking soda and mix until combined.  Mix the milk chocolate chips and semi-sweet chips together in a small bowl.  Add 1/3 cup of chips to batter and stir until just combined.  Pour batter into an ungreased 8 x 8-inch pan.  Sprinkle remaining 1/3 chips on top of batter.  Bake for about 33-38 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool slightly (about 10-15 minutes) before serving.  We prefer it warm.

Enjoy! ♥

Kitchen Therapy & Danish Puff

Most days I take comfort in being in the kitchen.  Doing my little kitchen dance either alone or with my little one by my side.  But lately I’ve really been drawn to the kitchen.  And not so much to eat what I’ve cooked, but for a little homegrown therapy.  It calms my nerves, quiets the chatter, and offers me ideal time to gather my thoughts, set game plans, pray.  It’s also prime time to set aside worries and daydream.  In any case, being in the kitchen is a good thing…

Danish Puff: Cozycakes Cottage

I slept in the other day and did my best zombie impression, stumbling to the kitchen.  No one was in a rush for breakfast (thank heavens) so I decided to bake this Danish Puff.  Let the cooking therapy begin.  I had a positively heavenly puff in Copenhagen a few years ago.  Nothing over-the-top, just delicate layers of yumminess with a simple frosting.  For some reason I thought they’d be a pain to make, but as I looked at recipes (which are all very similar) I’m pleased to discover it requires little skill and few ingredients.  Try it!

Danish Puff: Cozycakes Cottage

You can top them as you like, but since it isn’t a sweet dough (topped with a pâte à choux) you’ll want to give it a light (or heavy 🙂 ) frosting.  Next time I plan to try a couple different glazes/toppings.  The recipe I used seems popular and many folks claim it as their own or an old family recipe, but I have to give credit here to Betty Crocker as I first saw it in Betty Crocker Country Cooking which I picked up a few years ago.  I haven’t used one of my BC cookbooks in a while, but I find they’re an especially helpful tool for new cooks.  I used them often when I lived on my own and then as a newlywed, practicing basic techniques, setting a nice foundation for confidence in the kitchen.  I hope you enjoy this delectable treat.  Breakfast or dessert?  You decide.

Danish Puff (3): Cozycakes Cottage

Danish Puff

(adapted from Betty Crocker Country Cooking)

Ingredients

For the base dough:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 Tbsp. water

For the pâte à choux layer:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 and 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 3 eggs

Glaze:

  • 1 and 1/4 cups powdered sugar (you can use more, but I generally like my glazes with less than is usually called for)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1 and 3/4 tsp. vanilla (I use a lot of vanilla since we love the flavor–certainly reduce amount to suit you)
  • 2 Tbsp. warm water
  • sliced almonds, optional (I toast the almonds in a dry skillet for a couple of minutes)

Preheat oven to 350°.  In a small bowl, place 1 cup of flour and cut in 1/2 cup butter with a fork or pastry blender until butter pieces are the size of peas.  Add 2 Tbsp. water and mix with a fork.  Form mixture into a ball and cut in half.  Place the halves on an ungreased cookie sheet and form them into rectangles about 12 x 3 inches.  They don’t need to be perfect, but should be fairly thin.

In a saucepan, bring 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup water to a boil.  Take off the heat and stir in 1 cup flour and almond extract.  Return to low heat and stir until constantly until it forms a ball.  Remove from heat.  Add eggs to the mixture one at a time, stirring quickly (to be sure not to cook the eggs) until smooth.  Spread half of the pâte à choux over each rectangle.  Bake the puffs for about one hour–topping will be lightly browned and crisp.  Let cool.  Then top with glaze and almonds.

For glaze: Mix all glaze ingredients except for almonds in a bowl.  If need be, warm in microwave for a few seconds to get a smooth consistency.

Enjoy! ♥

Lazy Daisy Hot Milk Cake

 Lazy Daisy Hot Milk Cake: Cozycakes Cottage

When I was a little girl I searched for recipes in various places (books & cookbooks from the library, magazines, grocery ads, newspapers) and scribbled them down or typed them up on my dad’s typewriter.  I’d place them in a folder reserved for the day I ran my own household and created in my own kitchen.  I also thought I’d own a B & B so I was building my menu.

Lazy Daisy Hot Milk Cake: Cozycakes Cottage (whole)

A hot milk cake was one of the recipes carefully written in my 5th grade cursive.  I didn’t note where I saw the old timey original, but I’ve adapted it to become a sweet lazy daisy cake.  I couldn’t resist adding the brown sugar coconut topping.  And I toss in chopped pecans, too.  Leave them out if you’re not fond of them.

Lazy Daisy Hot Milk Cake: Cozycakes Cottage (close fork)

Nothing too healthy about this sugary cake, but I don’t eat cake for health. 🙂  It’s a throwback treat to go with coffee or tea in the afternoon (or perhaps a naughty breakfast?).  And definitely serve it warm.  No B & B yet, but my 11-year old self would still love it.

 Lazy Daisy Hot Milk Cake

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup milk (I use 2%)
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

For the topping:

  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup flaked coconut (I use sweetened flaked)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (half and half works, too)
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease an 8-inch square pan.  Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.  Set aside.

In a small saucepan, bring the milk and 2 Tbsp. butter to a boil.  Remove from heat and cover.  In the bowl of a stand mixer (or you can hand mix with a little more effort 🙂 ), beat the eggs on medium for about 5 minutes.  Slowly add the sugar and blend until thoroughly incorporated.  Slowly add the warm milk and vanilla and mix until combined.  Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.  Batter won’t be as thick as other cakes-don’t worry.  Pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  *Check cake at 25 minutes as oven temps vary and you don’t want to dry it out.*  Spread topping (see below) over cake and return to oven.  Broil for just 2-4 minutes until bubbly/lightly browned.  Serve warm.

Topping:

In a small saucepan, mix the topping ingredients together and cook on medium low heat, stirring constantly, until butter melts and sugar dissolves.  Spread topping over cake.  Return to oven and broil for 2-4 minutes, just until bubbly & lightly browned.

Enjoy! ♥

Comfort of Home 4th of July & Peaches n’ Cream Cobbler Pie

Duke 4th

We celebrated the 4th of July (Happy Birthday, America!) in just my style.  I was hoping to stick close to home for a couple reasons and Mr. Cozycakes thought that was fine, too.  Ahhh, there’s nothing like staying at home for real comfort.  And so says one of my favorite gals, Jane Austen.  Can’t disagree with her.

DSC_1004 walk on 4th pm

After a relaxing morning we took a stroll up the road to lunch.  The marine layer burned off quickly in the a.m. and we enjoyed the sunny skies and cool breezes–perfect.  My husband teases that I have little tolerance for temps rising over 78°.  Kind of the truth. 🙂

DSC_0978 carnitas taco pm

We spread our picnic blanket in the shade of our favorite tree in the park and Munchie sang us patriotic songs she composed herself (“USAaaaaaaay, it’s your bir-irthdaaaay…Happy Birthday, USAAAAAA, I love your flag and your wavy waaaay…I love fireworks todaaaay…ANT!”) while she drew pictures.  I gobbled up a carnitas taco that really hit the spot.  I appreciate a taco that needs little more than flavorful meat.

Peaches n' Cream Cobbler Pie (peach layer) Cozycakes Cottage

We continued our leisurely ways until dinner hour hit.  We grilled out and I had a pre-fireworks celebration in my head because Munchie asked for a serving of salad!  My girl eats so well and always has–she eats whatever I put on her plate without complaint even if she doesn’t love something.

Peaches n' Cream Cobbler Pie (whole): Cozycakes Cottage

Veggies are her favorite, but raw veggies are not.  For about a year I have given her salad on occasion, but usually just leave the bowl on the table in the hopes that one day soon she’ll join in our salad-loving ways without pressure.  Yesterday was the day!

Peaches n' Cream Cobbler Pie (Cut): Cozycakes Cottage

Of course we had to celebrate such a momentous occasion (oh yes, and the 4th!) with dessert.  Any excuse for dessert, right?  I tell ya, this pie (which is more a pie-cobbler hybrid) is so easy to make and tasty to boot.  If you’ve never had this and like peaches and cobbler, I urge you to give it a shot.

Peaches n' Cream Cobbler Pie (top slice): Cozycakes Cottage

I haven’t found perfect peaches yet this summer (boohoo) so while you can certainly use them, canned or home-canned peaches suit this dessert.  The juices from the canning add great flavor to the cream cheese layer.

Peaches n' Cream Cobbler Pie (slice fork): Cozycakes Cottage

I like to mellow out the cream cheese layer with a little sour cream and top it all off with a sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar.  I make it in a springform pan instead of a pie dish because I like the way it rises up and cooks on the edges.  Plus, I have a tendency to add a lot of peaches and this prevents overflow when baking.  Though I prefer it refrigerated for a couple of hours (which also helps the top layer to firm up), you can certainly enjoy it warm.  We had our cobbler while we sat in the backyard watching the fireworks display.  Happy ♥.

Peaches n’ Cream Cobbler Pie

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  •  3 1/4 oz. dry Jell-O vanilla pudding & pie filling (not instant)
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  • 2-15 oz cans sliced peaches (I use 1 and 1/2 of the cans) OR your own canned peaches OR fresh peach slices, drained with 4 Tbsp. juices reserved
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 3 Tbsp. sour cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • the 4 Tbsp. reserved peach juice
  • Bit of cinnamon and sugar (I use about 1/4 tsp. cinnamon mixed with 3 tsp. sugar)

Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray a springform pan with Baker’s Joy or butter it well.  In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, Jell-O pudding, butter, egg, milk, and vanilla.  Beat with a hand mixer for about 2-3 minutes until thoroughly mixed and smooth.  Pour into pan.  Gently place peaches in batter.  You can use as many as you like and place them however you wish (I like to place them in a circular form as pictured).  Sprinkle with brown sugar.  Set aside.

In medium bowl, use a hand mixer to blend the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, and reserved peach juice until smooth.  Spread evenly over the peach layer leaving about a 1-inch space around edge of pan.  Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the top.  Bake for about 30-40 minutes.  The middle of the pie won’t be completely firm (it will jiggle a bit when you shake the pan), but will firm up as it cools.  Cool and refrigerate for a few hours until ready to serve.  Serve with whip cream or vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy! ♥

Falling in Love Sticky Toffee Cake

sticky toffee cake slice 3

Oh boy.  As my little Munchie said when I caught her sneaking bites of this cake (after she already had one not-so-small slice), “I’m just falling in love with this cake!”

It’s true.  We both fell in love with this cake.  I first had sticky toffee cake years ago in a British restaurant.  It was love at first bite.  But I rarely find it on menus and I don’t know why I didn’t make it sooner.  Probably a good thing (says my belly). 

sticky toffee cake 1 close

The original sticky toffee cake (or pudding i.e. dessert) is a British winter dessert.  Pshaw!  Too darn good to wait all year for, I say!  Plus, in my warped mind it’s winter all day, every day!  So you can see how this is right up my crazy California alley.

sticky toffee cake top shot

I found delicious whole dates at the market earlier this week and couldn’t wait to mess around in the kitchen to create my take on this cake.  Thank heavens it was a success and I’m eager to make it when we visit family this summer.  This is not necessarily a “date cake” and you can absolutely enjoy this toffee delight even if you’re not obsessed with dates like I am.

sticky toffee cake sharing with munchie

♥ My heartfelt thanks to our friends across the pond for this delicious cake. ♥ Perfect on a cold winter’s night after a big bowl of stew…or in the middle of the day with a cup of tea and a 4-year old by your side asking for “just ONE more bite, please!”

Sticky Toffee Cake

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 1.5 cups whole, pitted dates, chopped
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1 and 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup whole milk

For the toffee sauce:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray a 9-in round spring form pan with Baker’s Joy (or grease and flour the pan).  Set aside.  Place the chopped dates and water in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil and let boil about a minute.  Take off heat.  Cool a bit, but you will want it warm when you add it to the cake mix.

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl using a hand mixer), whip the butter and granulated sugar until it becomes a bit fluffy.  This will take a couple of minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time making sure the first egg is incorporated fully before adding the second.  Add the vanilla to the butter mixture.  Next, add the following in order on low speed (make sure each is incorporated before adding the next): half the flour mixture, then the date mixture, then the milk, and then the remaining flour mixture.  Mix just until combined thoroughly.  Pour into the prepared pan.  Bake for about 40 minutes or just until a toothpick inserted into the center has a bit of crumb stuck to it.  You don’t want it the toothpick to come out completely clean or the cake may overcook and be dry.  Place on a wire rack and cool for about 5 minutes.

In the meantime, make the toffee sauce:  Add the cream and sugar to a small saucepan and mix with a whisk or spoon.  Bring to a boil.  Mix again until smooth.  Add the butter and vanilla and let simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring a few times.  It will thicken just slightly, but it will also thicken as it cools so don’t worry if it’s not thick when you pour it.  Using the smaller end of a chopstick, poke holes all over the warm cake.  Pour/spread about half the sauce over the cake.  If you can wait, let cake sit for about an hour to let sauce soak in.  Serve cake slices warm with another serving of warm toffee sauce on top.

Enjoy! ♥

Cooking with Gooseberry Patch: Buttery Apple Pound Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze

Buttery Apple Pound Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze: Cozycakes Cottage

“My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished 2 bags of M&M’s and a chocolate cake. I feel better already.” ~Dave Barry

As well you should, Dave.  As well you should. 🙂

Good cake almost always makes me feel better.  I love having cake recipes for any time of day, for any occasion: cakes for breakfast (yes, I said that), brunch, tea time, birthday celebrations.  Cakes to drop off to friends who might need their spirits lifted.  Holiday and seasonal cakes.  Cake for nibbling while relaxing in a cozy chair with a book.  Cakes for those I-need-cake-now moments.  So many reasons and occasions for cake.  Might as well add another recipe to the cake repertoire.

This buttery apple cake would be perfect as an autumn treat, but I don’t like to restrict myself to enjoying apple treats only in the fall.  The slight bit of apple layered inside the cake complements the butter and brown sugar wonderfully.  I made this for a friend and my family to enjoy, but I think next time I’ll serve it up when girlfriends stop by for a chat and tea.

This recipe is from Gooseberry Patch’s Family Favorite Recipes and shared by Cheryl Bierley of Miamisburg, OH.  Thanks, Cheryl!

Enjoy! ♥

Buttery Apple Pound Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze

(published as Buttery Pound Cake)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed and divided
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. butter, softened and divided
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 tsp. baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1.5 cups sour cream
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
  • 1.5 cups apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. milk

Combine 1/3 cup brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl; set aside.

Beat 3/4 cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.  Gradually add 1.5 cups sugar, beating 5 to 7 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until yellow disappears.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in another bowl.  Add sour cream and flour mixture alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat at low speed after each addition just until mixture is blended.  Stir in one teaspoon vanilla.

Spoon half of batter into a greased and floured 12-cup Bundt pan.  Arrange apple slices over batter, then spoon half of brown sugar mixture over apples; gently press into batter.  Top with remaining batter, then sprinkle with remaining brown sugar mixture.  Bake at 350° degrees for one hour or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes; remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter starts to brown.  Remove from heat and stir in remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, milk and one teaspoon vanilla.  Stir until smooth; drizzle glaze evenly over cake.  Serves 16.

Cozycakes suggestions: I glazed & served the cake when it was still a bit warm.  Mmm.  Any leftover cake tastes delicious when warmed for about 20 seconds in the microwave.  Also, the cake was done at exactly one hour for me.  Do check for doneness at about 50-55 minutes so as not to overcook and dry out cake. 

Orange Bundt Cake with Zesty Orange Glaze

Orange Bundt Cake with Zesty Orange Glaze: Cozycakes Cottage

My goodness.  I took quite the blogging hiatus due to my camera being broken, a trip, and life being that word I loathe (starts with a “b” and ends with a “y”).

I’m back and I’ve got cake!  This orange Bundt is a refreshing treat for tea time or an afternoon snack.  I’d serve it for a brunch, too.  I’m wild like that.  Need a dessert to tote along to a BBQ potluck or picnic?  This one will do just fine.

Although I adore lemon desserts in these spring months, this orange cake is a lovely switch from all the lemon I’m shoving at my family.  You can skip the glaze and dust it with powdered sugar only or serve the glaze on the side.  How fancy you’d be.

Enjoy! ♥

Orange Bundt Cake with Zesty Orange Glaze

Ingredients

  • 1 box yellow cake mix (I use Duncan Hines)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed (I use Trader Joe’s concentrate)
  • 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 heaping Tbsp. orange zest
  • powdered sugar, optional

Zesty Orange Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. orange zest
  • 3-5 Tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp. softened butter (almost melted)

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease and flour a Bundt pan or spray with a nonstick spray with flour such as Baker’s Joy.  Place all cake ingredients except for the powdered sugar in a large bowl and beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until thoroughly combined (about 2-3 minutes).  Pour into Bundt pan and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Do not worry if the cake falls a bit in the middle especially if you’re using a decorative Bundt pan.  Let cake cool for about 10 minutes and then turn out to cool on a wire rack.  Once cooled, dust with powdered sugar if you desire.

To glaze cake:  Once cooled, mix the glaze ingredients together.  Adjust orange juice amount to desired taste and consistency.  Place cake on a serving tray or platter and pour glaze over or serve cake with glaze on the side.

Blackberry Jam Potter Squares

Blackberry Jam Potter Squares: Cozycakes Cottage

Books play a big role in my little girl’s days.  Cooking together is also a large part of our Mommy & Munchie days.  So we often try to create or recreate meals or dishes that we read about in books.  Since there aren’t always many food/recipe details we just use our imagination.

All the talk of cooking and treats in her Beatrix Potter books resulted in a request for jam cake.  So we made these jam squares which we decided are a snack treat Beatrix’s sweet friends might enjoy–they indulge in a lot of blackberries, pies, and tarts and I think those precious creatures would ask for seconds with their tea or milk.

You can use your favorite homemade or store-bought jam for this recipe.  I used my mother-in-law’s wildly delicious jam.  She makes it using Napa blackberries and boysenberries from her and my father-in-law’s lush garden.

Blackberry Jam Potter Squares (2): Cozycakes Cottage

These are delightfully good, if I do say so myself.  I’ve had jam bars where the crust is just a bit too crumbly and I’m pinching at the fallen crumbs on my plate.  I use cake flour for mine–they’re a tad fluffier and smidge less crumbly.  The homemade jam puts them over the top.  I’m always pleased to add tea time & coffee break treats to my repertoire and these are a delightful addition.

Enjoy! ♥

Blackberry Jam Potter Squares

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cake flour (I use Softasilk)
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened/room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups homemade blackberry jam (or your favorite jam)

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Lightly grease a 13 x 9-inch pan. Mix the flour, salt, and cinnamon together in a small bowl.  Set aside.  In a large bowl mix the sugar and butter together.  Then add the egg and vanilla and mix just until combined.  Add the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated.  Do not over work the batter.  Using your hands, spread about 3/4 of the mix on the bottom of the greased pan.  Evenly spread the jam on top of the batter and then dot pieces of the remaining batter on top of the jam layer.  Simply plop pieces all over the place.  Bake for about 30 minutes until the bottom and top batter is very lightly browned.  Let cool before cutting in squares so the jam sets.

Country Meyer Lemon Pie

I’m still swimming in Meyer lemons over here and while that’s in NO way a complaint, I need to use some of these winners up before they go bad.

Country  Meyer Lemon Pie: Cozycakes Cottage

I use them daily in my water and some teas, but mostly in my hot water with a teaspoon or two of honey.  My girlie loves to snack on them (no joke) and then I try to find other fun and yummy ways to put them to use.  I froze a bunch of the juice in ice cubes tray so that when they’re out of season, I can still enjoy their tart and sweet tang.

Country Meyer Lemon Pie (2): Cozycakes Cottage

My husband has been out-of-town so I thought I’d make him a lemon treat (one of his favorite flavors)to enjoy tonight.  It’s February, but this week has been simply beautiful–I took a walk and it was 75 degrees with a cool breeze.  We’re going to grill out at dusk and this simple lemon pie is chilling in the fridge for dessert.

Country Meyer Lemon Pie (3): Cozycakes Cottage

A few reasons why I love this pie: 1) Aside from the crust, it’s a no-bake affair.  You could use a store-bought crust, but I find it just as easy to whip up a graham cracker crust since I almost always have a box of the crackers on hand.  2) It has so few ingredients and, again, I always have the ingredients on hand.  3) There’s nothing foo-foo about this pie which is why I call it “country” fare.  🙂  When I’ve had the pleasure of eating real country food, it has never been fancy, but it’s delicious and comforting–which is far more important in my book.  This pie is tart and sweet with nothing competing with that perfect lemon.  A nice end to a backyard bbq on a beautiful day like today.

You’ll want to be sure to let it set for at least 5 hours.  And once you serve slices, it will begin melting so keep it refrigerated until serving time.

Enjoy!  ♥

Country Meyer Lemon Pie

For the crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 9-10 crackers crushed)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

In a bowl, mix the crumbs, sugar, and butter.  Place in a 9-inch pie pan and press mixture evenly on bottom and up sides of pan.  Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

For the filling:

  • 6 oz. cream cheese, softened (you can use a little more or a little less if you like–I like the 6 ozs so the pie isn’t overwhelmed with cheese flavor)
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2/3 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice (regular lemon is fine, too)
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon zest

Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, combine the cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk until very smooth.  Add the lemon juice and mix until combined.  Add the zest and mix just until combined.  Pour into cooled crust and refrigerate to set for a minimum of 5 hours.  Serve with more zest and whipped cream.

Homemade Whipped Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

I like to place the bowl of my mixer in the freezer for a few minutes before making this.  It’s not necessary, but helps keep the cream cold.  Whip cream with mixer until soft peaks form.  Add sugar, vanilla and sugar.  Mix until peaks form.  Do NOT over mix/beat or it will get lumpy.

Note: I use my Kitchenaid standmixer for this, however, you can use a handmixer.  Just takes a bit longer and you burn a few calories. :)

Joined the fun at Walking on Sunshine & Foodie Friends Friday!

Meyer Lemon Cake with Lemon Buttermilk Glaze

Meyer Lemon Cake with Lemon Buttermilk Glaze: Cozycakes Cottage

A friend was kindly teasing me recently because she thought I don’t use cake mixes.  Oh no, no, no.  I always have a few boxes of Duncan Hines on hand for cake popping and easy cakes.  Though I generally prefer from-scratch cakes, I certainly don’t turn my nose up at box mixes and have a few recipes on this blog that call for them as well.  No judging going on here.  In fact, some of my favorite cakes call for a box mix.  🙂

We are busy people, aren’t we?  Sometimes taking a little help from a can or a box is the difference between sanity and crazed moments.  And maybe you simply prefer a box mix.  Have at it, friend.

Meyer Lemon Cake with Lemon Buttermilk Glaze (2): Cozycakes Cottage

My husband adores lemon cakes.  This fills his craving and is a cinch.  There are many variations on this cake which I think has been around for ages.  I’ve also done an orange version with a yellow cake mix.  But we are big lemon fans and this is lemon, lemon, lemony.  Plus, I have about 3 tons of Meyers on hand so you can bet you’ll be seeing other lemon recipes headed your way soon.

Enjoy! ♥

Meyer Lemon Cake with Lemon Buttermilk Glaze

Ingredients

  • 1 box lemon cake mix ( I use Duncan Hines)
  • 1 small box instant lemon pudding mix
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp oil (canola or vegetable)
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Meyer lemon juice (I used 3 because Meyers are not as tart as regular lemons)
  • 2 tsp lemon zest

Buttermilk Glaze

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp Meyer lemon juice
  • 2.5 Tbsp buttermilk
  • 1-2 tsp. lemon zest for topping

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease a 9 x 13-in. pan and set aside.  In a large bowl, mix the cake mix and pudding mix together. Set aside.  In another bowl, use a hand mixer (or do it by hand) to beat the buttermilk, water, eggs, vanilla, oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest together.  Combine the liquid mixture with the dry mixture and beat with blender until thoroughly mixed.  Pour in greased pan.  Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

While cake cools for a few minutes, make glaze.  Combine all ingredients except for zest (simply stir together).  Poor over cake while still a bit warm.  I let it drizzle down the sides as well.  Sprinkle the zest over cake or wait and top slices with zest.

Joined the fun at Walking on Sunshine & Foodie Friends Friday!

Goal Break Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Goal Break Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies: Cozycakes Cottage

It’s February.

Just in case you didn’t know.  A few days ago I woke feeling like I’d fallen behind on 2013.  As if I sleepwalked through January and now I better kick it in high gear and get moving.  Surely the rest of the world population has accomplished a bit in the last month.

Goal Break Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (2): Cozycakes Cottage

I tore open my bedroom curtains (which means I’m ready to face the sun which means I’m awake, people).  Ready to meet deadlines, attack goals, create and put my thang down, flip it and reverse it, gosh darn it.

But as my eyes adjusted to that annoying bright light, I squinted at figures in the park across from our home.  People taking morning strolls with their goal-oriented dogs (my pooch was snoring at the end of my bed).  Chatting in small groups.  What were they talking about?  All the things they’ve crossed off their to-do lists?  Perhaps a little neighborhood think tank discussing viable alternatives to current government policies?  Shame.

Goal Break Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (3): Cozycakes Cottage

But no.  I saw  heads thrown back in laughter, flailing children, Frisbees sailing through the air, a dog running full speed away from its owner who was relaxing on a bench, head back, face to the sun.  No air of urgency, no exhibition of anything important other than the need to soak in the clear, cool morning.

I flopped back in bed and read my book for a bit.  It seemed the thing to do.

Later I did get to work on a 2013 goal (organizing and decorating our upstairs loft space) and I felt good about myself.  It doesn’t take much, does it?  But after all that dedicated work (30 minutes), I needed a break and cookies called my name.  I had to stop accomplishing and changing the world.  I had to bake these cookies and, come to think of it, I bet cookies can change the world.

Goal Break Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (4): Cozycakes Cottage

These are for those of you who (like me) enjoy a crisp-edged, chewy-centered oatmeal raisin cookie.  They’re really good.  I didn’t stop at merely one and I certainly hope you don’t either.  You deserve it…with all that goal-accomplishing you’re up to.

Enjoy! ♥

Goal Break Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. allspice
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 3 cups oatmeal (I use Quaker Old Fashioned)
  • 1 cup raisins, soaked in warm water for about 20 minutes then drained
  • 1 cup golden raisins (I don’t soak these as mine are generally plump and don’t need the soak)

Line cookie/baking sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, sift the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg together.  Set aside.  In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or a hand mixer will work), beat the butter and both sugars on medium speed until thoroughly mixed, about 1 minute.  On low speed, add the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract.  Beat for about 1 minute until thoroughly mixed.  Scrape down the bowl and then add the flour mixture to the bowl and beat about 30 seconds.  Add the oatmeal and raisins and beat until just mixed.

Scoop (I used a small ice cream scoop) about 2 Tbsp. of dough per cookie and place in rough ball on parchment-lined sheets.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour to firm the dough.  Remove from fridge and flatten cookies a bit.  Bake in preheated oven at 350° for about 13-15 minutes.  You want them very lightly browned and slightly browned on the edges.  Cool on sheet for a few minutes before removing (they will break if lifted too soon as the centers are soft which gives you the chewy effect once you let them cool a bit).

Joined the fun at Feeding Big’s In and Out of the Kitchen Party.

Dark Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookie Cake a la Mode

cookie cake with ice cream

Alright.  I craved this today.  It’s kind of like a low-budget Pizookie…well, it actually IS a lower budget Pizookie.  So…you could make your favorite cookie recipe in a cast iron pan and enjoy that deliciousness with ice cream.  I highly recommend it.

But then there are days when you lack the time or motivation and, instead, make this with a boxed cake mix.  I’m not encouraging you to never make a Pizookie pie.  But this hits the spot when you’re home, craving a little cookie pie à la Mode, and are feeling less than enthusiastic about putting much effort into it (ahem….me).  Try this with a chocolate cake mix and you’ve got gooey brownies à la Mode.

No judging please.

You can add whatever you like when it comes to chocolate chips and other additions.  The recipe I’m sharing includes a mix of semi-sweet chocolate chunks, dark chocolate chips, and toffee candy bar bits.  And please, please, please eat it warm with chocolate syrup and ice cream.  You must eat it warm with ice cream and syrup!

Enough shouting.  Here you go.

Dark Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookie Cake à la Mode

Ingredients

  • 1 box yellow cake mix (I use Duncan Hines)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 5 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, chopped
  • 1/4 cup toffee candy bar bits (these are already chopped finely in the package)

*You want about 1.5-2 cups  total of the chocolate/candy mix.

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease a 9 x 13-in. pan.  Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Dough will be stiff.  Place in the greased pan.  Lightly wet hands and press dough out evenly in pan with hands.  Bake for about 25 minutes.  Let cool for just a few minutes and serve warm with ice cream and chocolate syrup (don’t skip the ice cream!).

Cooking with Gooseberry Patch: Chocolate Concoction

chocolate concoction

It rained all day.  A bit of rain.  A bit of hail.  A crazy bird banging against a bathroom window.

That bird.  I thought it was a sign at one point.  I was waiting for all birds in a 3-mile radius to fly into the house repeatedly and then I was taking my child, dog, essentials, and BOOKING it to a mountaintop.

But just the one bird.  Flying to the window.  Clasping the lower screen, thrusting his body up to the top of the window, and pecking with all his bird-might.

I taped a colored sheet of paper on the window which seemed to work and got busy distracting my little one (“Mommy!  Mommy, you can’t just LEAVE him out there!  He’s hitting his birdbrain and he needs help! Let him inside! Don’t let him go to heaven yet!” No kidding–I feel bad for that little thing, but what to do?) by spending a good couple hours in the kitchen together.  Although I did stop a few times to Google “bird repeatedly flying into my window” which shed a bit of light on the odd occurrence. 🙂

chocolate concoction2

Back to cooking.  We popped this easy Gooseberry Patch recipe (from Super-Fast Slow Cooking) in the slow cooker and got busy with other things.  There are plenty of variations of slow cooker pudding cakes, but we wanted something chocolate, chocolate, chocolatey.  Served up warm with vanilla ice cream, this hit the spot on a cold, rainy day.  Munchie topped hers (pictured) with caramel sauce and a cherry.  It’s a bit like lava cake.  Nothing wrong with that.  Leave it to Gooseberry Patch to come through for me on a weird-bird-attacking-window day.

Here’s the recipe shared by Marcia Masters of The Woodlands, TX.  Thanks, Marcia!

Chocolate Concoction

Super-Fast Slow Cooking contributed by Marcia Masters of The Woodlands, TX.

Ingredients

  • 18-1/4 oz. pkg. devil’s food cake mix (I use Duncan Hines)
  • 16-oz. container sour cream
  • 3.9-oz. pkg. instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1-1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 c. water
  • Optional: French vanilla ice cream

Beat together all ingredients except ice cream until smooth.  Pour into a slow cooker that has been sprayed with non-stick vegetable spray.  Cover and cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours (see suggestions below please!).  Serve with ice cream, if desired.  Makes 8 to 10 servings.  Storage: I store leftovers in the fridge and reheat in the microwave.

Cozycakes suggestions: Check on this after a couple of hours since all slow cooker models vary.  Mine was ready at about 4.5 hours in and was perfect.  Also, we reheated this later (yes, I had another serving) and it tasted great again. 

Madeline’s Paris Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze

madelines paris cake

Today we spent the day at home waiting for a furniture delivery.  I really wanted to clean, but decided to put all my energy into my little girl instead.  These days will be gone before I know it, right?  The vacuüm and scrub brushes will be waiting for me tomorrow.

madeline game cropped

So we played board games including Madeline in Paris.  Dear Madeline was a childhood favorite of mine and I’m pleased Munchie adores her as well.  We spoke in bad French accents and pretended we lived “in an old house in Paris that was covered in vines.”  Munchie learned to wink.  I learned to speak Dog-Talk.

And we baked an apple cake that is already a favorite.  That sweet child named the cake Madeline’s Paris Apple Cake and I think that’s perfect.  Perhaps the French wouldn’t claim this as theirs nor consider it Parisian, but the name shall stay.

madelines paris cake bite on fork

This cake would be nice for a brunch or tea and, of course, for dessert.  We hope you enjoy this cake from our home to yours.  ♥

Madeline’s Paris Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 & 1/4  cup sugar (you can add more, but we like it not too sweet)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 eggs, whisked a bit
  • 3/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped (I used 2 large apples)
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Brown Sugar Glaze

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp half-and-half or cream

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease a 13 x 9-in. pan (I used Baker’s Joy in a glass pan).  In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Dig a well in the middle of the mix and set aside.  To another bowl, add the eggs, oil, applesauce, and vanilla.  Whisk until thoroughly combined.  Mix in apples and pecans.  Pour the liquid mixture into the well of the dry mixture and gently fold together just until completely combined.  The batter will be fairly thick.  Pour evenly into greased pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of the cake comes out clean.  Set on a wire rack to cool and immediately make glaze.

For Glaze:

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and cook on medium to medium-low heat, mixing constantly.  Let the glaze come to a boil, turn down heat (it will continue to simmer), and stir constantly for about 3 or 4 minutes.  Sugar and butter should be completely melted and smooth.  Pour over hot cake and let cool before serving.  *I poked holes in the cake with the thin end of a chopstick and then poured the glaze over.  Not necessary, but yummy!

Enjoy!

Joined the party at Walking on Sunshine and Foodie Friends Friday.

Kissed Gingerbread Cookies

Last night I felt the need to make bake something December-ey and holiday-ey (not real words, I know) so I asked for suggestions over on my Cozycakes Facebook page.  A sweet follower who is such a supportive gal with only kind words for others asked if I had a “no roll gingerbread cookie” recipe.  I decided that was the perfect December-ey treat to bake up.

I’ve made these before, but my memory wasn’t serving me well and I couldn’t be sure that this recipe was a keeper.  So before I shared the recipe with reader Kathleen, I tested them out today with Munchie.  We voted and it’s a keeper!

This is a recipe from McCormick.  You know, the vanilla extract peeps.  I wanted to share a gingerbread recipe that was 1) classic and 2) versatile.  Not always easy to find.  This is a Gingerbread Cookie.  Really, it is.  Has that deep molasses flavor and slightly chewy texture.  We topped them with Hershey’s Hugs Kisses and Munchie chose to add a few Hersey’s Candy Cane Kisses in the mix, too.  Feel free to skip the candy and just enjoy them in their traditional glory.  But when you bite into the candy kiss when the cookie is still warm?  YUM.  Melty chocolatey and chewy cookie goodness occurs.

Hope this fits the bill, Kathleen! ♥

Kissed Gingerbread Cookies

(Recipe courtesy of McCormick)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses (I used dark, black strap)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (we also used shimmery sugar crystals)
  • white and milk chocolate swirled kiss-shaped candies (we used Hershey’s Hugs and Candy Cane Kisses)

Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add molasses, egg and vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Press dough into a thick flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar to coat. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies just begin to brown. Immediately press a chocolate candy into center of each cookie. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Store cookies in airtight container up to 5 days.

*Cozycakes suggestion: We rolled half our cookie dough balls in granulated sugar and half in shimmery sugary crystals.  Pretty!

Joined the fun at Walking on Sunshine & Foodie Friends Friday!

Cooking with Gooseberry Patch: Iced Brown Sugar Coffee Bars

It’s a bit of a dreary, cool day.  And I love it, of course.  My little one slept in so we missed out on gym time, but hopefully we’ll make it later (because I seriously need to burn calories after this morning).  We stayed in our pajamas for longer than most deem acceptable.  We lingered over breakfast and then Munchie said, “Let’s bake something for our friends!” (or “Let’s bake sumpin for our fwends!”)

And so we did.

I read off the recipes in what might be my favorite Gooseberry Patch book of all time (that sounds so dramatic.  I like it): Fall, Family & Friends.  Page by page, I read the recipe titles while Munchie questioned the ingredients:  “Does it have 4 or only 3 cups of sugar?  Does it have milk and vanilla?  Do we whip it up with the big mixer or the hand mixer?”  When I read “Mom’s Instant Coffee Bars” she said, “That’s the one!  I want the coffee one!”  I’m guessing that’s because she’s never had coffee and stirs my cup for me on the mornings I partake.  Good pick!

Moist, slightly gooey, and best when warm in my opinion.  The frosting just takes it over the top.  There’s a lot of brown sugar in these.  A lot.  So join me at the gym later, why don’t you?  And for now just grab a cup of tea or (how novel) a cup of coffee and treat yourself to something sweet.  I did.  🙂

Here’s the recipe shared by Kim Malusky of Twinsburg, OH.  Thank you so much, Kim!  I’m calling these “Iced Brown Sugar Coffee Bars” because I want to highlight the brown sugar.  But they’re actually called “Mom’s Instant Coffee Bars” and I like that name, too–it’s homey and cozy.  Anything moms make are usually just so. ♥ Enjoy!

Mom’s Instant Coffee Bars (or Iced Brown Sugar Coffee Bars)

Gooseberry Patch’s Fall, Family & Friends

Ingredients

  • 2 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 c. butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. instant coffee granules (I used decaffeinated)
  • 1 c. boiling water
  • 1/2 c. chopped nuts (I used pecans)
  • 12-oz pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Blend together brown sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl.  Add eggs; mix well.  Add flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.  Mix well; set aside.  Dissolve coffee in boiling water; stir into mixture.  Fold in nuts and chocolate chips.  Spread in a baking sheet with bottom and sides greased and floured.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Immediately frost with Coffee Frosting.  Cut into squares.  Makes 2 to 3 dozen.

Coffee Frosting:

  • 1 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 T. butter, softened
  • 1 t. instant coffee granules
  • 1 T. boiling water

Blend together powdered sugar and butter in a medium bowl; set aside.  Dissolve coffee in hot water; blend into sugar mixture.

Cozycakes suggestions:  I warmed my frosting in the microwave for a few seconds to loosen it up and help everything dissolve completely.  Also, the coffee flavor is quite mild in these bars.  I like it that way, but you might choose to add a bit more instant coffee granules if you’re looking for a stronger flavor to come through.

Featured at the fun party over at Walking on Sunshine and Foodie Friends Friday linky party.

Cooking with Gooseberry Patch: Simple Scottish Shortbread

My Munchie girl asked to bake a treat with me this morning, but since she wasn’t feel too good I wasn’t keen on her eating something overly sweet or heavy.  So we made shortbread.  A tad “lighter” for her belly than other cookies.  🙂  I like that shortbread recipes generally call for just 4 ingredients like this one from Gooseberry Patch. I also like that shortbread dough is really versatile–I’m planning on making a citrus version as well as an espresso flavored shortbread for a morning tea gathering at my place soon.  I’ll let you know how they turn out!

Today I kept it basic, but I might have dipped a few in melted dark chocolate.  You might want to do that, too.  I won’t tell anyone. I had mine with a cup of black currant tea as a late morning treat.  Munchie also chose a teapot cookie cutter along with a reliable circle and fall leaf cutter to pretty up our shortbread.  Love how she says they taste better when they’re “fancy.”

Here’s the recipe shared by Gooseberry Patch on their website from Big Book of Home Cooking:

Simple Scottish Shortbread

Gooseberry Patch’s Big Book of Home Cooking

Ingredients

  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 t. vanilla extract
  • 2 and 1/4 c. all-purpose flour

Beat together butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until well blended. Add flour, one cup at a time, to butter mixture, blending well. On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1⁄4 to 1⁄2-inch thickness. With a sharp knife, cut dough into 2-inch squares or cut into 13⁄4-inch rounds with a cookie cutter. Place on ungreased baking sheets and prick top of cookies with a fork. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes or until bottoms are golden and tops are light in color. Cool on wire racks. Store in airtight containers. Makes about 4 dozen.

Cozycakes suggestions:  Melt your choice of chocolate chips (I use dark chocolate) and dip one end of shortbread into chocolate for a slightly more decadent treat. 🙂

Featured at the fun party over at Walking on Sunshine and Foodie Friends Friday linky party.

Chocolate Snack Cake with Biscoff Buttercream

This morning I let my little girl watch Charlotte’s Web.  She was really into it.

And then Charlotte died.

Oops.

As Munchie cried into the couch, I tried to persuade her to play a game with me, build a fort, paint my toenails, start a fire with 2 sticks, anything!  The sniffling continued.

“What will make you feel better?” I asked as I rubbed her back and tried to console her.

“I think…I think we should bake a cake and write ‘To Charlotte’ on it and eat it,” she sniffled.

What could I do?  Say no?  This woman doesn’t say no to cake and I certainly don’t say no to cake when I’ve traumatized my innocent child.  🙂

So we put on some Christmas music (what?  too soon?  never too soon in this house) and got to it.  This is my favorite chocolate snack cake.  Here’s why I call it a snack cake:  It has a lighter chocolate flavor than more dessert-like chocolate cakes, I make it in an 8-inch square pan which is very petite and snack-like in my book, and if I call it a snack cake I can eat it when I like.  So there.  Snack cake.

We usually enjoy this moist cake without frosting and sometimes sprinkle it with a bit of powdered sugar.  But after mourning the loss of a friend she only knew for an hour, my Munchie girl want to spice it up with a bit of frosting.  We decided to add a little sweet Biscoff buttercream to it today.  If you’ve had Biscoff, you’re all in, right?  If you haven’t had Biscoff, well…

I don’t know what to say.  Get it.

A little history: Biscoff is the name given to the traditional Speculoos biscuits popular in Europe (Trader Joe’s carries at Speculoos) and hails from Belgium.  The spread came after the popular cookie and the Biscoff website says that the name is “derived from the combination of words Biscuit and Coffee, simply because their caramel flavor and crisp texture make these cookies the perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee or espresso drink.”

I agree.  The spread is essentially crushed Biscoff/Speculoos cookies–it’s smooth, buttery, and creamy with a hint of cinnamon flavor.  You can use it many ways:  I know people who dunk chocolate bars in it, spread it on toasted bread, slather it over shortbread cookies.  🙂  I haven’t found the Biscoff cookies at any stores nearby, but I had them on a flight to Europe  (which is how they became popular internationally) and in a hotel in Copenhagen.  So I’m merely a consumer of the spread…for now.  I’m just glad we can find Biscoff in the states these days!  Woo!  Thank you Belgium!

We didn’t add “To Charlotte” on the cake today.  Instead, my little one settled for chocolate sprinkles.  I think Charlotte would approve.

Enough of the history lesson.  Here’s my recipe for an incredibly moist Chocolate Snack Cake with Biscoff Buttercream.    Add a cup of coffee or cold glass of milk and enjoy!

Chocolate Snack Cake with Biscoff Buttercream

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp baking cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp instant coffee granules
  • 6 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cold water

Grease an 8 inch square pan and preheat oven to 350°.  In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and instant coffee.  With a flat rubber spatula or your hand, break up any cocoa clumps.  Then make 3 wells in the flour mix.  Add the oil into one, vinegar into another, and vanilla into the last well.  Pour the water over all ingredients slowly.  With a hand blender, beat all on low until combined.  This will be a thinner batter than most cake batters.  Don’t worry! 🙂  Pour into greased dish and bake for about 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.  Cool.  Once cooled, add frosting or dust lightly with powdered sugar.

Frosting: (from Biscoff)

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup creamy Biscoff spread
  • 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • milk, if needed (I add about 1 tablespoon)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and Biscoff spread until smooth.  Sift in the powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  Add milk a tablespoon at a time until you reach desired texture.  I usually add only about 1 tablespoon of milk.  Spread over cake.

Featured at the party over at Walking on Sunshine and Food Friends Friday linky party.

Cherry Almond Crumb Cake & my first…

Last week I was perusing stores, looking for nothing in particular, but hoping to find a gem or two. You know, a little something that would be perfect for my home, my family, my kitchen.

My lucky little buns discovered these.

I grabbed one of each immediately.  They were a steal AND the artistry is right up my alley.  A little Susan Branch, a little Gooseberry Patch.  And homecookin’ cookbooks nonetheless.  Mine. Continue reading

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