Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Birthday Cake Popcorn.

So here's what happened.

Friday afternoon I was trying to recreate one of those fancy Disneyland cookies I'd told you about earlier in the week. And it started out beautiful and promising: chocolate chip cookie dough, white chocolate candy melts, gorgeous swirls of raspberry preserves, and chunks of rich dark chocolate... the sort of cookie dough that spoons were made for, if you know what I mean. Dreamy. Indulgent.

Except it spread into one giant mess of gooey, melted, pink-streaked chocolate.

It happened.

So I sulked on the couch and decided baking wasn't for me anyways and I should probably just quit and turn in my apron, except I really loved that apron and what would I blog about? and I was kind of still hungry and was it my birthday yet? because I was ready for another weekend at Disneyland.
Then it hit me.

I didn't want cookies. I wanted popcorn.

And I wanted it to taste like birthday cake.

So, even though there was an actual birthday cake sitting not too far away (and by cake I mean one slice because that may or may not be all that's left), I started chopping up white chocolate, all while googling birthday cake popcorn on my phone & eyeing that box of cake mix I bought sometime around February, but never used. Did cake popcorn exist? It didn't. Yes! Let's do this.
Fact: I want to eat this picture. 

I love white chocolate. Like... love. And I've been saving this brick of Ghiradelli for what feels like forever. Mostly because it cost me about $4 and this is a recession, but I was also kind of hoping I'd lose all self-control and it would be there for me, waiting behind the chocolate chips and leftover mini marshmallows, to be consumed in a fit of  pants-popping indulgence.

What? Stop looking at me. I didn't. 

I made the obviously healthier choice.
I melted it. And whisked in heaping teaspoons of yellow cake mix and rainbow sprinkles. And poured it over hot buttery popcorn and warm, melting miniature M&Ms. Then threw on more sprinkles. Wouldn't you?

It's sweet, addictive, festive and fun, with a subtle taste of birthday cake in every deliciously rich handful. Next time I think I'll try using a white, unbuttered popcorn and a teaspoon or two more of cake mix (maybe funfetti?), but for now, buttery, salty popcorn + cakey white chocolate = mind-blowing deliciousness.
Cake batter popcorn. Do it.
Birthday Cake Popcorn

Printable Version

1 bag of popcorn, popped
8 ounces of white chocolate candy coating, melted (I used Ghiradelli white chocolate and a handful of white chocolate melts)
4 heaping teaspoons of yellow cake mix
Mini M&Ms
Assorted sprinkles

Pop popcorn and spread out on a paper towel, removing any kernels or burnt pieces, and place in a large bowl. Mix in mini M&Ms. 

Melt white chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Stir in cake mix until smooth, then stir in about 3 teaspoons of sprinkles. Immediately pour over popcorn. Using a wooden spoon, mix the popcorn and M&Ms until completely coated. 

Pour out onto wax paper or into a wax-paper lined jelly roll pan and spread into a single layer. Sprinkle with sprinkles until festive, then let cool and harden. Break into pieces and enjoy! 

Source: A Bakergirl original.
Would it be wrong to eat this on top of ice cream?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day Recipes.

Need something last-minute and delicious for Memorial Day? I know I do. Here are five of my favoritest recipes from around the site that are simple, fast to make, loaded with sugar, and perfect for kicking off summer. 

What will you be making this weekend? 

Texas Sheet Cake. A classic. Moist cake, rich chocolate icing, handfuls of pecans. Love.  
Peanut Butter Crunch S'mores Bars. Because every barbeque needs s'mores. Especially rich, crispy squares of peanut butter deliciousness s'mores.
One-Bowl Vanilla Cupcakes. Color the frosting. Throw on some festive sprinkles or some sugary red and blue berries. Use them as hamburger buns? Yes.
Texan-Sized Almond Crunch Cookies. Whoa, flashback! Crunchy, sugary cookies full of almonds and buttery bits of Heath toffee. The first recipe I ever posted and still a go-to summer favorite.
Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits. Mix dough. Grate cheese. Plop on baking sheet. These are addictive, melt-in-your-mouth, and delicious. Make them.
Have a happy Memorial Day!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Disneyland Things.

1. First and foremost: I conquered this.
2. Has anyone ever walked through Disneyland's House of the Future? I want to live there, maybe even more so than I want to live here: 
I'd never been inside Innoventions before... maybe because it's next-door to Space Mountain and let's be serious. But I'm so glad Space Mountain had an hour-long wait that we went inside. Here's the kitchen of the future (because you know that's the first room I beelined for):
It doesn't look like much. But that counter? It lights up and displays recipes for you on command. 
If you're missing an ingredient or if your eggs have expired, it will even tell you that. Or if you say, Kitchen. What can I make with cinnamon and sugar and butter? It'll give you the recipes to choose from. And then the kitchen reads them to you while you bake! Which I wouldn't like so much, but since all of my recipes usually end up lost or covered in melted butter and flour, it would be convenient to have them displayed digitally on the counter. 

Or on this. 
It does all sorts of fancy things. 

I would probably just watch Glee.

3. Things I saw:
Pretty flowers.
My favoritest character (after Belle). And... 

4. World of Color = one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. If you ever go though, be sure to line up for your seats really early... we missed a lot of it because we were stuck on the side. 

5. I drew a duck! 
6. I have a new dream job: parole officer U.S.Marshal crime analyst a Disneyland baker!
Chocolatey things being made on Main Street. I think these are pecan turtles? 
Rocky road cups. 
Big, fat, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies and white chocolate raspberry cookies from California Adventure. I meant to get one of the raspberry cookies, but never did. Is it wrong to take photos of cookies purely for inspiration when recreating them later? 
Chocolate chip cookies with sea salt and white chocolate chip cookies with chocolate chunks and toffee bits. 
Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter chunk cookies. Look at those peanut butter disks. The swirls of creamy peanut butter.

I'm in love. 
Daniel got one of these. Rice Krispie treats bricks studded with M&Ms. 

If you look really closely, you can see my sparkly tiara in the reflection. 

... which I'm still wearing. 

(I can't wait to go back!)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Chocolate Malt Cake.

If you: love baking, love cake, love baking, have a food blog, love baking, and/or occasionally make really delicious things come out of your kitchen... somewhere along the line the task of making birthday cakes has probably fallen on you. 
Last year for my mom's birthday I made a chocolate overdose cake, a layer of thick, rich, fudgy brownie topped with chocolate mousse, chocolate cake, and chocolate ganache. It was probably the best cake I've ever made.

Or... was.
I love you.
This is hands-down the most deliciously moist, sinfully rich, melt-in-your-mouth, to-die-for chocolate cake ever. It's honestly the best cake I've ever made (or had). It's better than Texas sheet cake. It's better than the Olive Garden's chocolate lasagna. It's even better than cheesecake. I can't believe I just said that.
It's officially our new go-to birthday cake.
... too bad my birthday's not til February. Half-birthdays, anyone?
Both the cake and the frosting are made using malted milk, which gives it a subtle, old-fashioned malt milkshake sort of taste, and the entire thing is decorated with Whoppers. Fancy!
I think you know what's for breakfast. 
Chocolate Malt Cake

Printable Recipe

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 cup malted milk powder
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Malt Frosting
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup malted milk powder
5 cups confectioners' sugar
Garnish: malted milk balls

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans.

In the bowl of an electric mixture, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a small bowl, combine milk and malted milk powder, stirring to dissolve. Add milk mixture, oil, and eggs to flour mixture, beating at medium speed until smooth. Add sour cream and vanilla, beating just until combined. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans, and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and let cool completely on wire racks.

To make the frosting, in a large bowl, beat butter and cocoa powder at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.

In a small bowl, combine cream and malted milk powder, stirring to dissolve. Add cream mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed to combine. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until smooth.

Spread frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Garnish with malted milk balls, if desired.

Source: Paula Deen's Holiday Baking, 2007.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Peanut Butter Crunch S'mores Bars.

Remember when I made those better-than-crack peanut butter cup crunch brownie bars? 
These are similar. Except instead of fudgey chocolate chip brownies, the melted chocolate, crunchy peanut butter, and Rice Krispies are poured over an irresistable s'mores layer of graham crackers and ooey, gooey, toasted marshmallows. 
Also known as rich, decadent, over-the-top deliciousness.

I'll wait while you preheat your oven.
These are addicting. Like... thick-puffy-campfire-s'mores-covered-in-crispy-candy-bar addicting. 
Or fudge. Peanut butter fudge. Crispy fudge. Melt-in-your-mouth fudge.
The point is... make these. Then eat them. Then eat three more. Calories, what? They don't count on Fridays.
... I'm hungry. 

Peanut Butter Crunch S'mores Bars

Printable Recipe

7 graham crackers
2 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 package (12 ounces or 2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup light corn syrup
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
3 cups Rice Krispies cereal

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a 13x9x2-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange graham crackers in a single layer in dish, breaking crackers as needed to fit.

Sprinkle marshmallows evenly over crackers. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until marshmallows are puffy. Cool completely.

In a 2-quart microwave-safe bowl (or in a medium saucepan over medium low heat), combine chocolate chips, corn syrup, and butter. Microwave on high about 1 1/2 minutes or until chocolate is melted, stirring every 30 seconds. If melting in a saucepan, stir constantly until melted, then remove from heat.

Stir in peanut butter, then stir in Rice Krispies until combined. Spread evenly over marshmallows.

Cover and refrigerate about 1 hour or until firm. Cut and store in an airtight container in refrigerator.

Source: Rice Krispies.
Next time? I'm adding chopped peanut butter cups on top of the marshmallows. Because everything's better with peanut butter cups.

... especially s'mores. 

I can't wait til summer.