Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hostess(tm) Cake Balls

Let's be honest.  I love things that are tasty.  I love to eat.  It's amazing I'm not a billion pounds heavier than I actually am.  This recipe for cake balls came up on my feed on Facebook one evening, and I *had* to make them.  It literally was a driving force that came over me.  I was not going to sleep knowing that these existed in the universe.  Now, I had to make them so that the husband could eat them, but if you're inclined to the less than homemade or you don't have any psychotic allergies that you're worried about, I suggest trying hers.  However, I was told that mine were amazing.  And, even after my husband almost sent himself into a sugar coma eating these bad boys, he still ate more as the days passed.  That's dedication right there.  WARNING #1: You are going to use a LOT of butter. WARNING #2:  There are quite a few steps here, I recommend reading through the whole thing to get an idea of what you're doing first.  WARNING #3: Don't forget to pick up a bag of Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips for the last step.

The cake recipe comes from my standard Better Homes and Garden's Cookbook, and if it looks familiar, yes it was used here.

Cake Needs:
3/4 cup of butter
3 eggs
1 cup all purpose whole wheat white flour
1 cup Pastry Flour (Arrowhead Mills)
2 tsp Vital Wheat Gluten (Arrowhead Mills)
3/4 unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cup milk

Cake Prep:
Let butter and eggs stand at room temperature for 30 minutes
Lightly grease 1 9x13 cake pan with butter (not the butter that's sitting out)
Place waxed paper in the bottom of the cake pan.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cake Make:
In medium bowl mix together all flour, gluten, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a large mixing bowl beat butter with electric mixer on high for 30 seconds.  Add sugar, a 1/4 cup at a time, beating on medium after every addition.  After all sugar has been added scrape sides of bowl and beat for an additional 2 minutes.  Add eggs 1 at a time, beating after each addition.  Add vanilla, beat.

Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk to the butter mixture, beating on low speed after every addition until just combined.  Once everything has been added, scrape the sides of the bowl and beat for about 20-30 seconds more.  Spread the batter into your cake pan.

Bake in oven for 45 minutes until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  

The icing recipe comes out of my Better Homes and Garden's Cookbook, it is half of a recipe.  I didn't modify it.  Be proud.  Half of this goes in your cake balls, half of it is used for decoration.

Icing Needs:
4 oz organic valley cream cheese 
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

Icing Prep:
Set out cream cheese and butter to soften.

Icing Make:  Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Gradually add 1 cup of powdered sugar beating well.  Gradually beat in additional 2 cups powdered sugar to reach spreading consistency.

CAKE BALLS:  Cut the center of your cake out after it has cooled leaving the "crispy edges" behind and put in a medium sized bowl.  Add 1/2 of your cream cheese icing and mix well using your hands.  *You will have extremely sticky hands*  Use a cookie scoop or your hands to make the balls.  They should be no larger than a standard truffle.  Think bite size.  I made these with an ice cream scoop, and they were WAY too much for any normal person to handle.  The cake balls will be formed and placed on a cookie sheet prelined with wax paper.  While making your cake balls remember to push a hole in them on one side.  There has to be a place for the cream filling to go!  Save about 2 cake balls worth of your icing/cake mixture in the bottom of your bowl (to cover the holes later) and put the cake balls into the freezer.  Now you get to make your cream filling!  This is the cream filling that the blogger who came up with these fantastic treats came up with, obviously I substituted where the shortening is involved.  This is also not the cream filling I used.  I wasn't totally sold on my cream filling, and I figured this one was probably better.  Seriously, marshmallow creme, nom.

Cream Filling Needs :  
       2 tsp very hot water, not boiling
       1/4 tsp salt
       1 jar (6 oz) marshmallow creme (Jetpuffed)
       1/2 cup coconut oil
       1/3 cup powdered sugar
       1/2 tsp vanilla

Cream Filling Make:
Dissolve salt into hot water and set aside to cool. Whip marshmallow creme, coconut oil, powdered sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Add water/salt mixture to marshmallow mixture once cool and whip well. 

Back to Cake Balls:  Remove your chilled cake balls from the freezer.  This cream is going to go inside your fantastic little chilly balls.  I recommend using a ziplock bag with the corner cut off.  I'm all for reduce and reuse, but you will never reuse something with marshmallow fluff.  It just won't happen.  

Now, after your cake balls have all been filled, remember that extra cake mix from earlier?  No, you weren't supposed to eat it.  Press it into nice little flat circles and cover the open end of your cake balls.  This just keeps getting better doesn't it.  Now, back into the freezer these go.  While they're in the freezer, you should consider recouping your kitchen or something.  Give it a good once over, because you're halfway through.  Then get out your bag of Enjoy Life Semi Sweet Chocolate Pieces and melt it gently in the microwave.  Ie, put in a glass bowl large enough to hold all the chocolates, and yet small enough that you can dunk the balls.  Microwave for 20 seconds, stir, microwave for 20 seconds, stir, microwave for 20 seconds, stir and DONE!

Take your cake balls out of the freezer and you are ready to dip them!  I was awful at this part.  I had chocolate everywhere.  I hope you're better at this than I was.  Place the cake ball in the melted chocolate and roll them around, use a fork and flip them over.  Then use that same fork (maybe two) to remove that ball from the chocolate.  Place back in spot on wax paper covered cookie sheet.  Repeat.  Put these back in the freezer while you prep your fancy smancy cake decorating bag with the rest of the cream cheese icing from earlier.  I recommend using a nice bag for this part.  You can decorate these puppies as if they were really Hostess (tm) or you could have fun with them.  Either way, it's up to you.  

Can you believe I stayed up way past midnight doing this one night?  I can't.  I hope you enjoy. 

Beef with Broccoli and Asparagus

I am a bad blogger.  Okay, now that we've gotten that out of the way, we can get on with the recipe.  This was a happy little number I *gasp* modified from  Turned out amazing.  I added asparagus in order to make it stretch a little further and the flavors ended up complimenting one another. Who knew?

Needs:  2 tsp. not soy sauce
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 lb. boneless sirloin
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. not soy sauce
1 tbsp. med. dry wine
1/4 c. water
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. sunflower seed butter mixed with 1 tsp canola oil
3 tbsp. canola oil
1 tbsp. ginger
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. dried hot red pepper flakes
12 oz frozen broccoli florets
12 oz frozen asparagus tops

Begin cooking brown or white rice to accompany this dish.
Begin to thaw frozen broccoli and asparagus
Slice your sirloin into ¼ inch thick slices and marinate it in 2 tsp not soy sauce, ¼ tsp sugar, and ¼ tsp salt for 20 min. 
In another small bowl dissolve the 1 tbsp cornstarch into the 1 tbsp not soy sauce, add 1 tbsp wine, ¼ cup water, 1 tsp sugar and sunflower butter-canola oil mixture (This is your “sauce”). 

Put 3 tablespoons oil in stir fry pan or wok, add ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, and meat.  Cook on medium-high heat.  Once meat is almost cooked, remove from pan into clean dish.  Add broccoli and asparagus to wok and cook to desired tenderness.  Add the cooked beef back to the wok and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add your prepared sauce from earlier and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve hot over rice.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Amazingly cute headbands!

A friend of mine on FB linked this adorable headband tutorial, so I thought I'd share.  I love wearing headbands.  LOVE them.  But what happens when I go to the store goes something like this, "Oh, this one is cute, hmmm, maybe, erm, snakeprint, WHY, I like this one! Twenty dollars, never mind, I think I can MAKE THESE..." And I have made a couple out of ribbon and elastic, but I like the fabric idea because it opens up SO MANY possibilities.  I'll post pictures once I get them cut and sewn.  Until then, enjoy her pics.

Notes postfact:  I made these with no interfacing and they came out great.  I also used a scant 1/4 inch seam because I wanted them a little wider.  The girls are thrilled with them, and I used size medium.  The safety pin trick is awesome.  Duel sided headbands were an amazing idea it's like a twofer!