My guiltiest guilty pleasure.

I hate most commercial snack cakes.  But there’s just something about these I can’t resist.   The Twinkie-like cake filled with snow-white fluffy filling that tastes like chemicals and Crisco and could probably be used to embalm dead bodies.  The Fimo-like orange-flavored icing you can peel off and eat like candy.  The famous white Squiggle you can also peel off and eat by itself.    There’s probably no food that’s less healthy on earth, but who cares?  These are delicious.  The orange ones are much better than the chocolate ones, in my opinion.

hostess

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Birthday surprise.

Yes, today is my birthday, and my DD baked this cake for me!   It’s a white cake with vanilla buttercream (no cream cheese for me, please!) and coconut.  I just ate a piece and it’s yummy.   Would anyone else like some?  It’s a piece of cake!

coconut_cake

 

 

 

I could not resist.

At the store today I found this homemade salted caramel vanilla fudge and I just HAD to have it. It’s as delicious as it looks.
Sometimes you just HAVE to indulge.

salted_caramel_fudge

Krispy Kreme bread pudding.

Sometimes creative ideas come out of the prospect of having to throw something away.

I was given a box of a dozen stale Krispy Kreme (plain glazed) donuts and they sat in my refrigerator for a week. When I tried to bite into one yesterday, it was hard as a rock. I was going to toss them in the trash, but suddenly I had a better idea.

I thought of the bread pudding I used to make using stale old (non-moldy) bread. I decided why not make a bread pudding out of the Krispy Kreme donuts? Everything would be the same, except obviously since the donuts are already sweet, not as much sugar would be needed.

So I got to work. Here is the result, and it tastes as good as it looks!

krispy_kreme_pudding2 Krispy_Kreme_pudding

Here is my recipe (I made this one up as I went along but I think it’s very similar to standard bread pudding recipes):

Ingredients:
1/2 cup brown sugar; 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons course grained turbinado sugar (optional)
2 tablespoons of powdered cinnamon
2 large eggs
2 cups milk
12 stale Krispy Kreme donuts
1 1/2 stick butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Grease 9 x 13 baking pan with butter or margarine. (I prefer glass)
2. Cut or break donuts into small pieces and put in large mixing bowl.
3. Mix milk, eggs, cinnamon and vanilla together in another bowl
4. Melt 1 stick of the butter in the microwave until soft, add to the donut pieces and mix until moistened
5. Mix in the milk, vanilla, cinnamon and egg mixture
6. Stir in large bowl until ingredients are well mixed.
7. Spoon mixture into baking pan; flatten on top with spatula.
8. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar on top (this gives it a nice crunchy texture)
9. Cut 1/2 stick butter into small pieces and spread pieces on top.
10. Bake at 300% until butter is completely melted and the pudding turns bubbly and golden brown on top (about 20 minutes)
11. Set aside and allow to cool
12. Serve and enjoy!

I would buy an entire case of these.

fiberone_lemonbar

My foodie readers should be happy. 🙂

I simply cannot get enough of these. I usually am not a big fan of “health” bars, but these are fantastic! They are chewy and lemony (natural, not artificial lemon flavor), with an irresistable slightly crunchy drizzle of lemon glaze on the surface. They don’t taste like something healthy but they actually are pretty good for you and loaded with fiber and Vitamin C.

The only problem I have with them is that I can’t stop at just one. If I have a box (which contain 6 bars) I wind up eating the entire box!

The other problem is that, like all nutrition/health snacks, they aren’t cheap.

So I’m going to tell you how you can make your own. Homemade ones are just as good as Fiber One’s (though maybe a little less healthy). Some commercial mixes result in a more custardy, eggy (and less chewy) lemon bar. That’s okay if you don’t mind a more custardy texture. They’re quite good, and the hardened lemon glaze gives them an interesting juxtaposition of textures.

You can make lemon bars from scratch too, of course. I know there are lots of recipes if you do a Google search, though I never have.

Lucky Otter’s Lemon Bars

Use a commercial lemon bar mix, like Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines. Follow the instructions on the box.
I always use real butter in place of margarine. I just think it tastes a lot better. To prevent burning, you can smear the pan with margarine or cooking oil.

Make a lemon glaze from scratch. Here’s how I do it:

Mix about a half cup of confectioner’s sugar with the juice from a few lemons. Mix until you get a thin consistency (but not so thin it’s watery) and then drizzle the glaze over the cooled lemon bars. It will harden and give the bars an enticing crunch.
If you like your glaze a little less intense, you can replace a little water (not milk!) for some of the lemon juice.

I hate cream cheese icing!

The holidays are coming and the cold weather is here, and baking is on my mind. I adore red velvet cake, especially around the holidays, but every recipe I’ve seen for it says you must use cream cheese icing. But I can’t stand it–even though sweetened, it still tastes like cheese. It doesn’t go with cake.

Now I love me some cheese, but not with dessert. Fine, I’ll make an exception for cheesecake, even though I don’t love cheesecake as much as most people do. Cheese is tart and salty and belongs with meat, potatoes and pasta, not with cake! Yeah, I know cream cheese is mild and spreads easily, but it’s for toasted rye and bagels, not cake.

I can’t even purchase a red velvet cake because I know it will probably be covered with cream cheese icing. It looks just like buttercream and that’s such a mindfuck. The only way to tell the difference is after the cake is a few days old, the cream cheese forms little cracks where the icing hardens, like the crust that forms inside the foil wrapper of a block of Philadelphia brand cream cheese. Ewwww!

creamcheesebuttercream
Cream cheese or buttercream? You can’t tell by looking at it.

Everyone seems to love cream cheese icing, and there aren’t even too many complaints about it on the web. I don’t get it. What’s so great about it? It’s disgusting. It’s not healthier than buttercream. It’s still loaded with fat and cholesterol.

Give me good old buttercream any day, which tastes awesome on red velvet cake and any other kind of frosted cake. But not just any old buttercream will do. I can’t stand storebought buttercreams (the kind in the can) which are way too sweet, and even worse is the fake “buttercream” used in supermarket bakeries and on Wal-Mart’s cakes and cupcakes. That stuff tastes just like Crisco and leaves a greasy, unpleasant feel in your mouth.

No, a good buttercream must be made from scratch. When made properly, it’s sweet without being too sweet, and has a fabulous buttery taste that doesn’t coat your mouth with grease the way commercial buttercreams do. It spreads easily on the cake, and it looks fantastic. Here’s the buttercream I’ll be using on the red velvet cake I plan to bake tomorrow:

Lucky Otter’s Perfect Buttercream Frosting

3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/2 stick unsalted butter (softened for 1 minute in microwave–do not melt!)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract *
Milk to achieve desired consistency (usually 2-3 tablespoons)

Mix the first 3 ingredients in a bowl until a stiff paste forms. Add tablespoons of milk while stirring until frosting is of a spreadable consistency.
Do not ice the cake until it is completely cooled.

* You can substitute vanilla extract with lemon extract, almond extract, or any other type of extract depending on what type of cake you are making.