Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Baked Fontina

This has quickly become one of my hubby's new favorite appetizers, though he has eaten it for dinner as well.  It could be due to the fact that he is truly obsessed with cheese. It's simple and delicious. Great for having company over too! Try it and I'm sure you'll love it!

1 1/2 lbs fontina cheese, rind removed and cut into cubes
6 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
sliced Italian or French bread

1. Fill three ramekins with cubes of fontina cheese.

2. Evenly divide garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper between the ramekins.

3. Drizzle olive oil over the top.

4. Heat in your oven on the broiler setting for 5 or 6 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and slightly browning.

5. Remove from oven and serve piping hot (be careful!) with sliced bread for dipping into this melty cheese!

Source: adapted from Smells Like Home, originally from Ina Garten

Monday, February 25, 2013

Cake Mix from Scratch (Vanilla and Chocolate)

So I have some time to make up for here. It's been quite some time since I've had time to blog. Mind you not that I haven't been in my kitchen. Since we moved into our house, I have no doubt spent more time here than anywhere and I love my kitchen! I've missed blogging and sharing all the yummy foods that get made in this kitchen. And I will be filling in new post with recipes I have made and been storing up for blogging!

I have a love/hate relationship with easy baking items, like pre-made cookie dough or boxed cake mix. The lazy side of me LOVES it because I can whip it out quickly and still add some extra touches or twists to make them my style. However, most of me, argues that I prefer homemade always and will usually go through painstaking and strange routes to find just the right size piping tip or a strange, hard to find ingredient to make something myself. And I do always enjoying knowing that I made it and that I know the quality and freshness of what goes in my food. So I found where the two meet. My own prepared cake mix. My own ingredients packaged for when I want them. And for this month's What's Baking challenge Stephanie, from Brownies and Blondies, challenged us to make a homemade convenience item for baking and this is mine.

For our 4th wedding anniversary, I made a quick attempt to make a mini version of our wedding cake. Luckily, I had made some of these dry cake mixes because the week before our anniversary, my hubby and I both came down with something and were not feeling well at all so I didn't have as much time I wanted to bake.  Our wedding cake was chocolate and vanilla layers with a cheesecake layer in the middle covered in chocolate ganache. I used my chocolate ganache recipe from the giant peanut butter cookie to pour over the cake and a new cheesecake recipe (which I will post later) that was more dense and sturdy for the middle.

Vanilla Dry Cake Mix

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk

Chocolate Dry Cake Mix

3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
8 tbsp cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt

For both mixes, simply combine all the ingredients for each mix and then store in an air tight container such as a ziploc bag or mason jar. Then label with date and instructions for a later time. The mixes can be stored for months in your pantry and will make 2 - 8" inch cakes or 24 cupcakes, similar to a boxed cake mix.

Vanilla Cake:
In a large mixing bowl, take your cake mix and add in 3/4 cup water, 2 tsp vanilla, 1/2 cup softened butter, and 3 eggs. Combine well and bake on 350 degrees until toothpick comes out clean. For 8" cakes 20-25 mins and for cupcakes 12-15 mins.

Chocolate Cake:
In a large mixing bowl, take your cake mix and add in 2 cups cold water, 2 tsp vanilla, 2 tbsp vinegar, and 3/4 cup of oil. Combine well and bake on 375 degrees for 20-25 mins for 8" cakes or 11-13 mins for cupcakes.

Sources: Adapted from Chickens in the Road and A Thrifty Mom