Sunday, February 28, 2010

Little Orange Pound Cakes with Orange Glaze

I've moved house!

Which means: new kitchen, new hood, new views, new neighbours, new ceilings, new floors, new this, new that, bleep.

The first thing I baked in the shiny new abode was these cakes. My mom sent me a silicon mould with heart-shaped compartments for Valentine's Day, and I was all in a tizzy and had to use it right away. I don't have a pound cake recipe of my own, so I took a chance on the first one I came across.

I had one orange left from BAJA ORANGE SHRIMP FAJITAS, so I thought it best to have a pound cake of the orange-flavoured variety. BAAAA-JAAAAAAA!

The recipe is from My Wooden Spoon. I halved it because there are only six hearts in my mould, and I certainly didn't feel like two rounds of baking and I certainly didn't want muffin-shaped orange pound cakes (BORING)-- I'd just end up feeling bad for them because they'd have to sit around being boring while the cute heart ones were gobbled up in a hot second.

Here is the original recipe (un-halved):

Orange Pound Cake
1/2 cup butter, room temperature (I used margarine)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup milk (I used soy)
1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind

Orange Glaze
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/3 cup confectioner's (powdered) sugar

1. Preheat oven to 325F (180 C) and butter a 9x5 inch loaf pan
2. Cream butter & sugar, then add eggs and mix well; set aside.
3. In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt.
4. In a measuring cup combine orange juice, milk and orange zest
5. Start adding the juice mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the flour mixture until light & creamy
6. Spoon (pour) into pan and bake for 45 minutes or until center comes out clean with toothpick
7. Cool in pan and then remove from pan and drizzle with glaze

They were quite tasty. In my opinion, pound cake SUCKS when hot, so don't sneak a bite before it's cooled. I ate one of the little hearts when it was still hot and I thought my first baking venture in my new home was a failure and I was slightly disappointed. Then they cooled and I glazed them and they were delish and hope was restored.

Oh, and I've made these since. It's the Strawberry Cake I've shown you before-- just muffin-sized!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookies (Blossoms)

I've been thinking about peanut butter a lot lately. Thinking about putting it in my mouth. A few nights ago, my friends and I had a girl's night and I felt I ought to bring something sweet for after the veggie burritos. I decided on peanut butter squares, I made them, and they sucked. To be fair to the squares, they tasted quite nice, but the consistency and appearance were downright disappointing. So, I will not give you the recipe, nor will I write another lick about it. I'll provide you with a photo, though:

The failure left me feeling unfulfilled. So, onto another peanut butter treat! A tried and true and tremendous recipe for peanut butter cookies. It's my Mom's, and the original recipe is actually for Peanut Butter Blossoms. However, most unfortunately, Hershey's Kisses aren't available Down Under (except at USA Foods, where the going rate for a little bag containing five Kisses is $5 or something), so when I make them they're just plain old peanut butter cookies.

They're never as amazing as Mom's, of course. Mom isn't as enamoured of baking as myself, but when the mood strikes and she whips up a batch of something, they're always perfect! She must have inherited that from my Grandpa, who actually makes the actual best chocolate chip cookies in the actual world.

But mine are still good.

Peanut Butter Cookies (Blossoms)
1 3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening (my mom always uses shortening, I use butter/margarine)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sugar (plus a little extra sugar for rolling)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C) (after the dough is chilled)
2. Mix flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl
3. In a large bowl, mix shortening/butter, egg, vanilla, sugar, brown sugar, peanut butter, and milk
4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing all the while
5. Chill the dough for 2 hours or more

6. Roll into perfect little balls and roll the perfect little balls in sugar
7. Bake 8-10 minutes

8. If you are doing Blossoms, press a Hershey's Kiss into the center of each cookie right after they come out of the oven

I bet some readers cried when they got to instruction #5. I HATE it when I have to chill dough, because I want the cookies now now NOW NOW.