Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Seeing Stripes

It's time to get creative! How about whipping up a couple zebra-striped cakes? And no, I'm not talking about these:
I'm talking about two miniature cakes, marbled with chocolate and vanilla. You in?

Zebra-Striped Mini-Cakes
¼ c sugar
1 egg
¼ c vegetable oil
¼ c milk
¼ tsp vanilla
½ c flour
½ tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt (1/16 tsp)
1 Tbl cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Lightly grease two mini cake pans (4” diameter), line the bottoms with circles of parchment paper, and then spray the bottoms with nonstick cooking spray.
Blend sugar and egg until light—about two minutes. With your mixer on low, blend in the oil, milk, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. Then gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet. Combine on medium speed for 1-2 minutes or until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl halfway through mixing. Remove ½ cup of the batter and sift cocoa powder on top. Whisk until smooth.
Scoop a small amount (1/2 tablespoon) of vanilla batter into the center of each pan. Then using a different spoon, scoop the same amount of chocolate batter into the middle of the vanilla batter in the pan.
Continue doing this, alternating the batter flavors. You’ll see the batter spread out and form little rings, growing thinner as they move toward the edges of the pans. Pretty, huh?
Stop filling the pans once the batter reaches about halfway up the sides, or when you run out of batter. Whichever happens first.

Put the pans on a baking sheet to make them easier to handle and bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans for fifteen minutes on a rack before unmolding and letting cool completely on the rack.
These little babies don’t need icing, but feel free!
Until next time!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Snack Attack

It’s three-thirty in the afternoon and your stomach is growling. It’s snack time! But wait. Don’t tell me you’re planning on hitting up the vending machine? Don’t you know that thing’s full of P.H.O.!? Guard yourself against the temptation of foil-packed trash and drop a bag of homemade snack mix in your bag on your way out the door.
Yes, I know it’s hard to believe, but that popular salty mix of pretzels and cereal does in fact contain P.H.O. It’s in the little cracker-y things. So how do we solve this dilemma and still get our snack fix? We make our own mix, of course! And substitute a handful of homemade crackers for those little pieces of salty dry wall. It's super simple, really. Ready? Let's go!
Snack Attack (original recipe can be found here)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon garlic-chili sauce (recommended: Sriracha)
½ teaspoon garlic, grated
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (cut back for a little less heat!)
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups rice cereal squares
1 cup cornflakes
2/3 cups crackers, broken into small pieces (find the recipe here)
½ cup unsalted nuts, such as peanuts, sliced almonds, or pepitas
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Whisk first seven ingredients in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients to the bowl and stir to combine—be careful not to crush your mixture into crumbs! Spread on a baking sheet and bake, stirring often, until golden, about 30 minutes.
And there you have it! A homemade snack to satisfy your salty cravings, without leaving a bad taste in your mouth.
Until next time!