Category Archives: nuts

We like cartoons.

I like cartoons, always have and I know I always will. I’m sure when I’m 45 I will still love to watch all sorts of cartoons… correction… I KNOW I will.  🙂  This last weekend I was fortunate enough to have my family out for the husband’s birthday; by the way, we had a blast! Initially it was my mom, Andrea (little big sister), Linda (big sister), her husband and daughter. We got things ready for a little birthday party for the husband while he was out taking a police officer exam. [Wish him luck! 😀 ] We did a Bee Movie theme, it’s his new favorite movie. My husband and I signed up for a Hollywood Video membership for $29 a month and get unlimited movie rentals a month. The second we signed up I told him I wanted to see Bee Movie. He rolled his eyes and said I was lame. 🙄  I’ve seen the previews and thought it looked too stinkin’ cute to pass up. After about 4 weeks, I FINALLY got a copy and we saw it as soon as we got home. The movie is SO cute and funny. I definitely recommend it to anyone.

Back to the main topic… my sisters, mom and bro-in-law get the house decorated and began the enormous task of making food. We begin to make cupcakes, salsa, potato salad, baked beans, corn on the cob, hamburgers and hot dogs.  😀  The party went off great! Everyone ate, talked and enjoyed the day to celebrate such a great man… my husband! We all sat and vegetated after filling our bellys with food and began watching UFC when the door bell rings. Koa flips out and I run to the door to tell whoever it is to stop ringing the door bell when I see my dad! WHAT! MY DAD! My dad didn’t come with my sisters and mom on Friday evening because he had to work on Saturday and was just going to stay home and wait for his girls to come home.  So while we were eating then beginning to vegetate he was getting out of an 8 hour work day, then driving the 4.5 hour drive for the husbands birthday. How awesome is my dad? I know, too flippin’ awesome.  🙂  On Sunday morning, I woke up at 7 am. BOO!  😐  and began to make breakfast for everyone. My dad wakes up and showers and plops on the couch. What is he watching you ask? SpongeBob SquarePants. Yup, SpongeBob SquarePants. He is a 48 year old dood that absolutely loves cartoons, which shows me what I will be like to watch at that age.

When I saw this weeks recipe was carrot cake, I secretly got excited! The husband loves carrot cake, but I don’t make it all that much because of the shredding. I am famous for my crappy shredding skills and shredding chunks of my fingers off. But I knew Dorie wouldn’t fail me with a fantastic recipe… and as usual, she didn’t. This is a great cake with an awesome flavor. I changed my version up a bit by making it like a jelly roll then cutting circles out to make mini cakes. I cut the sugar on the frosting but it was still delicious. Check out other TWD bakers here.

Bill’s Big Carrot Cake
Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Yields 10 servings

Ingredients:

For the cake:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon salt
3 cups grated carrots (about 9 carrots, you can grate them in food processor fitted w/ a shredding a blade or use a box grater)
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
½ cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden) or dried cranberries
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs

For the frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick ( 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 pound or 3 and ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or ½ teaspoon pure lemon extract
½ cup shredded coconut (optional)
Finely chopped toasted nuts and/or toasted shredded coconut (optional)

Getting ready:
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter three 9-x-2-inch round cake pans, flour the insides, and tap out the excess. Put the two pans on one baking sheet and one on another.

To make the cake:
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, stir together the carrots, chopped nuts, coconut, and raisins.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the sugar and oil together on a medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one by one and continue to beat until the batter is even smoother. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear. Gently mix the chunky ingredients. Divide the batter among the baking pans.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until a thin knife inserted into the centers comes out clean. The cakes will have just started to come away from the sides of the pans. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmold them. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.
The cakes can be wrapped airtight and kept at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.

To make the frosting:
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the frosting is velvety smooth. Beat in the lemon juice or extract.
If you’d like coconut in the filling, scoop about half of the frosting and stir the coconut into this position.

To assemble the cake:
Put one layer top side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. If you added the coconut to the frosting, use half of the coconut frosting to generously cover the first layer (or generously cover with plain frosting). Use an offset spatula or a spoon to smooth the frosting all the way to the edges of the layer. Top with the second layer, this time placing the cake stop side down, and frost with the remainder of the coconut frosting or plain frosting. Top with the last layer, right side up, and frost the top- and the sides- of the cake. Finish the top with swirls of frosting. If you want to top the cake with toasted nuts or coconut, sprinkle them on now while the frosting is soft.
Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, just to set the frosting before serving.

Serving:
This cake can be served as soon as the frosting is set. It can also wait, at room temperature and covered with a cake keeper overnight. The cake is best served in thick slices at room temperature and while it’s good plain, it’s even better with vanilla ice cream or some lemon curd.

Storing:
The cake will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. It can also be frozen. Freeze it uncovered, then when it’s firm, wrap airtight and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost, still wrapped, overnight in the refrigerator.

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Filed under birthday, cake, dessert, fruit, nuts, sugar, Tuesdays with Dorie, vegetable

I’m a coconut.

That’s what my mom says. I just thought it was because I had dark brown hair. My mom and I have a fantastic relationship. We vent our frustrations to each other, talk about husbands, talk about work problems, about our crazy family and everything in between. We are great friends, but first and foremost she is my mother. I have never lacked respect when my mom is involved and despise when anyone does. She works hard and deserves all that she has and more. She works for the County of Orange and has gone from the bottom of the food chain to the top 30% of it. My mom es lo maximo! Haha! I live about 4 hours away from her, which isn’t too much but gah… I miss that woman (and her cooking!) SOO much.

i remember having a conversation with a friend, this is kinda how it went…

ME “My mom calls me a coconut.”

FRIEND “Why?”

ME “Because my hair is brown duh!”

FRIEND “Eh, that’s weird.”

ME “Your face is weird!”

HAHA!

I then go home and ask my momma…

ME “Why do you call me coconut? Brown hair right?”

MOM “Why?”

ME “Just wonderin’”

MOM “Well you know how a coconut is hollow on the inside except for some swishing juice?

ME “Uumm… yeah.”

MOM “That you, there’s no brain up there. Just some swishing juice.”

Me “BURN!!!”

HAHAHAHA!

I told you, my mom and I have a kick ass relationship. She’s my big ugly ugly and I’m the big headed coconut. A couple terms of endearment we have for eachother. I love her with all my heart and miss her everyday.

The other day when I was shopping for some groceries at Wal-Mart and start to go through the produce area and start picking the limes for some cupcakes I’ve been itching to make. I go around to the lime bin and what do I see above it? Coconuts! I have never cracked one open or ever really thought about it, but I figured there is a first time for everything. It sat on the fridge for about 5 days and I didn’t want it to rot so I had the big, buff husband crack it open and get all the meat out so I can shred it. I was so excited about using a fresh coconut. I was shredding and watching ‘Deal or no Deal’ (my new obsession) and it happened. How could I ruin the coconut? How could I do that? What happened you ask? I was shredding the coconut and go to excited and shredded my finger. I thought it was just a scratch but I shredded a good chunk of my finger. I’t gushed for a bit, I cried then went upstairs to wake up the sleeping husband to use his Army training and save my life. It hurts like a beech. I threw out the contaminated coconut, which leaves me with not enought for the cupcakers. I need to get a package at the store now, I don’t think the husband will let me do fresh again. Yesterday, less than 24 hours after the shredding occured, my husbands ENTIRE company, as well as half of California knew about my finger. LOL

This weeks TWD ‘Snickery Squares’ was chosen by Erin of Dinner and Dessert. This recipe has NOTHING to do with coconut but my mom likes dulce de leche and peanuts so it sorta does. We were supposed to make this in a 8” pan but I thought tartlets would be too flippin’ cute until it came time to put the shortbread in the little tins. Yeah… not fun with a useless finger. The peanuts were easy too! I have never carmelized anything and it was super easy. I really want to try it with almonds… yum! This recipe is awesome from what the co-workers said. I’m on a diet so none for me. BOO!

Check out other TWD bakers
here.

Snickery Squares

For the Crust:

1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
2 TBSP powdered sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

For the Filling:

½ cup sugar
3 TBSP water
1 ½ cups salted peanuts
About 1 ½ cups store-bought dulce de leche

For the Topping:

7 ounces bittersweet, coarsely chopped
½ stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature

Getting Ready:
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 8 inch square pan and put it on a baking sheet.

To Make the Crust:

Toss the flour, sugar, powdered sugar and salt into a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Toss in the pieces of cold butter and pulse about 12 times, until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Pour the yolk over the ingredients and pulse until the dough forms clumps and curds-stop before the dough comes together in a ball.
Turn the dough into the buttered pan and gently press it evenly across the bottom of the pan. Prick the dough with a fork and slide the sheet into the oven.
Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes, or until it takes on just a little color around the edges. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool to room temperature before filling.

To Make the Filling:

Have a parchment or silicone mat-lined baking sheet at the ready, as well as a long-handled wooden spoon and a medium heavy bottomed saucepan.
Put the sugar and water in the saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Keeping the heat fairly high, continue to cook the sugar, without stirring, until it just starts to color. Toss the peanuts and immediately start stirring. Keep stirring, to coat the peanuts with sugar. Within a few minutes, they will be covered with sugar and turn white—keep stirring until the sugar turns back into caramel. When the peanuts are coated with a nice deep amber caramel, remove the pan from the heat and turn the nuts out onto the baking sheet., using the wooden spoon to spread them out as best you can. Cool the nuts to room temperature.
When they are cool enough to handle, separate the nuts or break them into small pieces. Divide the nuts in half. Keep half of the nuts whole or in biggish pieces for the filling, and finely chop the other half for the topping.
Spread the dulce de leche over the shortbread base and sprinkle over the whole candied nuts.

To Make the Topping:

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Remove chocolate from the heat and gently stir in the butter, stirring until it is fully blended into the chocolate.
Pour the chocolate over the dulce de leche, smoothing it with a long metal icing spatula, then sprinkle over the rest of the peanuts. Slide the pan into the fridge to set the topping, about 20 minutes; if you’d like to serve the squares cold, keep them refrigerated for at least 3 hours before cutting.

Cut into 16 bars.

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Filed under chocolate, dessert, dulce de leche, nuts, Tuesdays with Dorie