Tag Archives: dessert

Cinnamon roll in a mug

Some of you might remember a very old cooking adventure of mine, 5-minute chocolate cake, aka chocolate cake in a mug. It was an experiment using one of those email memes that have been going around forever, telling you that you can make a mini chocolate cake with just a mug and a microwave. It turned out… okay. Not so great that I ever made it again, but not so terrible that I wasn’t willing to eat it that first time.

Enter today, and a random article I found online listing 18 microwave snacks you can make in a mug. Friends, I couldn’t let this pass. I wanted to make all of them. Every single one. For science. And posterity.

Instead, I settled on the cinnamon roll in a mug. It was ridiculously simple, using only common stuff that any self-respecting baker would have in her house. (Except maybe the cream cheese for the icing and the applesauce, both of which which I did thankfully have). It was quite fast, though not quite the three minutes the article implies, at least not if you have to take down all the ingredients, measure them, and put them back. Still, quite fast, all things considered.

The only deviances I made from the recipe was using regular milk instead of buttermilk, and field-berry applesauce because I had some of the mott’s snack cups floating around. (Bonus points: eating the rest of the snack cup while the cinnamon roll “bakes.”)

I mixed up the icing inside a plastic sandwich bag (smushing it around with my hands), and snipped off the corner so that I could pipe it into the mug. It was horribly messy, not even close to the beautiful spiral in the picture, but it was tasty, and that’s the important thing.

The other important thing is that this recipe was surprisingly tasty! It might not be restaurant-quality cake, it might not even be cinnabon quality cake… but it was very tasty. Especially with the frosting. I would definitely make this again. But not too much, because there are 17 other recipes to try. *grin*

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Cooking in somebody else’s kitchen

The evening of New Year’s Day, I was playing D&D. And since I was at the host’s house pretty much all day, I decided it might be nice to have some baked goods for the game. Specifically, chai gingerbread bars, because the host had indicated that he likes them, and I aim to please.

Now, this is a recipe that I’ve made quite a number of times, am quite comfortable with, and figured it wouldn’t be too much of a problem, except for one small thing: my friend isn’t a baker.

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The quest for Grandma Eva’s mandelbread, part 1

Sadly not my Grandma Eva's mandelbread.

Sadly not my Grandma Eva’s mandelbread.

When I was a kid, my absolute favorite cookie of all time was my Great-Grandma Eva’s mandelbread. I was not alone in this: they were a family favorite that no one could get enough of. And no one could ever replicate properly. (Some family members say this is because Grandma Eva made them by hand; she always insisted it was because she stuck her thumb into the dough just before forming it into loaves.) I used to make it with her when I was little, but alas she passed away before I ever thought to get the recipe from her. No one has it that I’m aware of. It’s lost in the mists of time.

Now, the thing about Grandma Eva’s mandelbread is that, unlike most mandelbread or biscotti recipes, they were not twice-baked. This gave them a soft, crumbly texture instead of the hard, tooth-breaking texture of most of its ilk. I decided, for posterity and in homage to Grandma Eva, that I would start trying to find a replacement recipe that — I hope — might one day be as good as hers.

These are not those cookies. They’re quite tasty, but they’re not Grandma Eva’s mandelbread. More testing will be required.

Apple streudel muffins

Amazing-smelling apple streudel muffins

Amazing-smelling apple streudel muffins

What do you do when you have some apples and are craving something tasty? Make apple streudel muffins! My apartment smells so amazing right now. Yum! (Recipe here.)

Funfetti cookies

Y’know, I’d never heard the term “funfetti” until a few months ago, and now I’m suddenly seeing it everywhere. I guess it’s the new hot trend in cooking. Well, that and cake pops. (God, how I hate cake pops. Tasty like cakes but gone far too quickly.)

Anyway, when I saw the pictures for these funfetti cookies I thought I might try them out. I mean, they’re certainly festive enough for my birthday!

They’re pretty simple to make, though they do use a lot of sprinkles. Almost a full jar of the straight ones. And they spread quite a bit; the recipe is right when it says you can only fit eight on a tray at a time. The recipe also doesn’t say how much it makes; I found it made 24, your mileage may vary. I also found I had to use my hands for mixing, especially for folding in the sprinkles. The wooden spoon and rubber spatula just weren’t working out.

In any case, they are very, very tasty and I’m going to have a hard time waiting until game to eat them. Because they’re really tasty. Soft and chewy with just a little crunch. Wonderful. I’ll make these again, though it means going through the sprinkles pretty darn fast.

Spiced brown sugar cookies

Okay, I admit it. I made these cookies purely based off the picture on the website. They look SO GOOD! And, as a bonus, all the measurements are already in grams, which is the way I like them. (I convert all my baking recipes to weight instead of volume the first time I make them. Saves a ton of hassle when you can do everything in one bowl without measuring cups.)

The one hiccup I had was that I didn’t have any “golden syrup,” which is apparently very common in the UK but much less so in North America. Nor did I have corn syrup to use as a replacement. In the end, I substituted an equal amount (1/3 cup, or 105 g) of maple syrup, because that’s what I had.

This recipe makes a lot of very small cookies, about 15-17 g / 1 level tbsp each. For me, it made four dozen exactly. Thankfully, they also don’t spread too much, so I was able to put two dozen on a single baking sheet and finish the whole thing in two batches. My powdered sugar coating came out blotchier than in the picture, probably because I just whisked the powdered sugar and didn’t actually sift it. Still, it looked nice enough, even if it did leave my counter covered in icing sugar.

Final verdict: tasty! A bit odd if you’re not expecting the spice, which hits at the back of the mouth, but tasty! And addictive! Because they’re so little, you can go through quite a lot in one sitting. I’d make these again, for sure.

Chocolate cupcakes

It’s my friend’s birthday tomorrow, and she specifically requested that there be chocolate cupcakes at the game today to celebrate. With a request like that, how could I refuse? The only problem is that I’ve never really made chocolate cupcakes before and had no idea what I was doing.

I decided to use her own recipe and immediately ran into confusion: what temperature to set the oven? The first line of the recipe says to preset it to 375, but the last line says to bake for 15 minutes at 400. What’s a girl to do? I set it somewhere in the middle and called it good.

It also occurred to me after I started pouring that I really should have used my jumbo paper molds instead of the regulars — there’s a lot of batter in this recipe, so much so that I was wondering whether it’s meant to produce 24 cupcakes instead of 12. (The recipe doesn’t say.) In fact, some of the batter crept down a bit over the side of the molds, meaning that the paper is going to be obnoxious to get off.

Furthermore, the cupcakes weren’t even close to done at 15 minutes. I checked every 3 minutes thereafter, and it took until 27 minutes before a toothpick wasn’t coming out coated in batter. (In retrospect, I possibly should have baked them for a minute or two less. They’re a touch overdone.)

Next question: icing. Just as I’d never made cupcakes before, I don’t really have a go-to icing recipe either. I decided to try this one from the Tasty Kitchen Blog because it sounded really amazing. Sadly, it’s also a pain in the ass, particularly if you don’t have an electric mixer. No joke: baking is a better workout than going to the gym. My arm is so sore.

It’s tasty, don’t get me wrong. It’s the sort of thing I could eat right out of the bowl and just ignore the cupcakes. But I’m pretty sure that even after a good ten minutes of stirring it by hand, it still wasn’t quite at the right “whipped cream” consistency.

In any event, this is not a dietetic day in “adventures in cooking” land. Between the two recipes, I used a full pound of butter. I think I gained five pounds just by reading them. And even though I think I slightly overbaked things and didn’t whip the icing long enough, it’s hard to completely mess up chocolate cupcakes.

Final verdict: I’ll probably make the cupcakes again, but the icing recipe will have to go back on the shelf until I get an electric mixer. I’m sure I can find something easier that doesn’t dirty two large bowls and a saucepan in the process.