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Sundays with Joy/Coconut Banana Cream Pie

Coconut Banana Cream Pie

Whoa, I’ve been gone a month!   It won’t be that long before the next recipe either.  It has been photographed and completely eaten already but before I post it, I need to catch up a bit on my Sundays with Joy posts as well.  The thing is, I’d been keeping up with the baking aspects of Sundays with Joy, I just hadn’t blogged about it. Yet…

I remember this particular Sunday fondly.  We had some friends over.  I say “we” but three more kids, one for each of mine, is not really for me.  Except when you take into account that I don’t get many requests for attention on those days.  Requests for food yes (oh man, 6 kids/1 cantaloupe/5 minutes!) but attention no.  It is actually great for the days that I have a Sundays with Joy to make.  I get time in my kitchen to focus on a recipe (kids are EVERYWHERE else!), lots of little people to eat it, and happy worn out kids by the end of the day.  What’s not to love?

Coconut Banana Cream Pie

I added chocolate ganache to the bottom of the pie and a layer of bananas before I filled it but used bittersweet chocolate instead of semisweet and ultimately that was just too dark for some of the kids’ tastes.  I didn’t like that I smeared my chocolate after drizzling it over the whipped cream and I think my pie would have looked loads prettier if I hadn’t but no biggie.  I loved the coconut in it and both flavors went great together.  This was simply a lovely recipe that I was glad to not have many leftovers of because I, like my grandma before me, am a sucker for a banana cream pie.  If you’d like the recipe please buy Joy the Baker Cookbook: 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes.

My GeekyLinks for this week reveal a bit about my childhood.  My mother used to work in a Hallmark store when I was very young and so ended up buying us and herself lots and lots and lots of ornaments over the course of her lifetime.  I buy some every year but not anything as close to what my mom used to buy.  Still, I will ALWAYS buy a few Hallmark ornaments especially as over the years they break out the cool stuff (yeah, I want Wicket so what?).  They’ve even revealed some cool stuff for 2014!

Coconut Banana Cream Pie1

Sundays with Joy/Peach Cobbler Muffins

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Nectarine CobblerMuffins via NerdyBaker.wordpress.comSo even though we were supposed to make Peach Cobbler Muffins and I titled my post as such, I totally used nectarines.  I was actually planning on mixing peaches and nectarines and only bought nectarines because I knew I had peaches at home but then I got home and found that I actually only had nectarines.  Whatever…

Nectarine Cobbler Muffins via NerdyBaker.wordpress.com

Even Joy’s title for these is a little deceiving.  She actually forgets to mention that these are brown butter Peach Cobbler Muffins.  Are you drooling yet?  Yes, they are just as good as they sound.  I seriously had to set aside the three in my pictures or there were not going to be any left to take pictures.  They were so good I sent some to my dad for his birthday along with some Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.  As always, if you’d like a copy of the recipe please buy the Joy the Baker Cookbook: 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes.

My GeekyLink for this week is Ten Geeked Up KitchenAid Mixers from geekmom.com.  My favorite of course, is the Tardis design.  I found this article awhile back but figured it would fit in well today with all the Twelfth Doctor news (which I must say I am mostly pleased with).  It was always going to be an adjustment but I now I can start to see my way through it.  (Yes, I am still talking about Doctor Who)

NectarineCobbler Muffins

Sundays with Joy/Honey and Toasted Walnut Ice Cream with Almost Burnt Caramel Sauce

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Honey Toasted Walnut Ice Cream with Almost Burnt Caramel Sauce

Well, the first thing I finished from this recipe was the caramel sauce.  My ice cream had to wait a little longer because I guess its not ideal to churn ice cream in the middle of the afternoon on a 90+ degree day, even if you do have your air conditioner on.  I cleaned everything up and decided to wait till this morning to churn my ice cream.  I just wanted to let you in on the fact that although I couldn’t eat my ice cream last night, I totally ate the caramel sauce.  First, off of my whisk and then later on some vanilla ice cream I had in the freezer.  Since it was the first time using this recipe and it didn’t seize up on me, I’d say it was a success.  Also, while trying to read the instructions and watch the sauce, I really thought I HAD burnt the caramel but nope I was able to take it just to the edge of burnt and add in the rest of the ingredients to have it come out exactly as Joy said.  I am absolutely going to make this caramel sauce again.  I really like the texture of it.  It pours great and is overall very velvety and creamy.  The one thing though, is it is supposed to be a salted caramel sauce and that was the one thing I thought there could have been more of in it.  I really can’t wait though.  This sauce makes me want to make a batch of Apple Cinnamon Cream Cheese Wontons just to dip into it.  It’s nice to have another foolproof recipe in the recipe arsenal.  There aren’t many in there.

Now on to the ice cream.

When I was growing up, my aunt would constantly put nuts in things where they weren’t necessary and where they weren’t supposed to be according to me and my sister.  However, after years of living life and tasting more and different things, I have come to the conclusion that my aunt was mostly right.  (Happy Aunt Sylvia?)  I still prefer my ambrosia salad nutless but in a brownie, or a cookie, on a cake and sometimes in ice cream, I can get down with a nut.

Honey and Toasted Walnut Ice Cream

The toasted walnuts and the honey flavor combination in this ice cream is spot on.  They go perfectly together.  It cannot be stated enough.  The caramel sauce went great with it too.  I actually used considerably less walnuts than Joy says to but I didn’t finish churning my entire ice cream recipe because I had already done two batches and my ice cream maker (and the day) wasn’t cool enough to keep going.  So with that and even taking into consideration extra walnuts on top, I still don’t think I would’ve used any more than 3/4 cup of walnuts.  If you’d like the recipe, please buy Joy’s cookbook.  I mean c’mon people,  we are halfway through the book now.  What are you waiting for?

My GeekyLink today is something pretty cool and for a good cause.  If names like Stan Lee, Zachary Levi, Chris Hardwick, Bobak Ferdowsi, Nathan Fillion, Felicia Day, Grant Imahara (…and the list goes on) mean anything to you, you might want to check out “Nerds Versus Aliens”.  It is a digital print that depicts some of the biggest celebrity nerds fighting aliens.  They are auctioning off massive canvas prints for Operation Smile during Comic Con this week and once the auction closes, smaller  sizes of the print will go on sale.  You can’t even see it in its entirety yet.  It won’t be revealed completely till later this week when the auction starts.  So far, I am really digging it.

Honey and Toasted Walnut Ice Cream with Almost Burnt Caramel Sauce

A Berry Special 2 Recipe Post (Vanilla Berries and Raspberry Cake Filling)

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Berry Special Cake via NerdyBaker.wordpress.com

I promised you the recipe for Vanilla Berries from my Hunger Games Party post so I made them again when we went camping.  The only problem is that I still didn’t get decent enough pictures of them to merit it’s own post.  The same thing goes for the raspberry filling that I made for my cousin’s (well, two cousins and my brother in law’s) birthday party.  I mean I couldn’t go.  It was my oldest’s 8th dance recital and at her studio she gets a big award for that one.  We didn’t want to miss it.  My aunt had already commissioned me though, to make my cousin’s cake and since she went a little different with the favors (a fruit filling!) I didn’t care how busy I was with the girls’ recital, I was GOING to make this cake.  (Yes, I realize that it is still a “plain” chocolate cake with buttercream but its like pulling teeth to get my family to go outside of the box with the flavors they use in their cakes so I was way gung ho.)

Berry Special Vanilla Berries

I made sure that the one night that I didn’t have to be at the recital with my girls, I was going to be making this cake.  I baked the cake that day, did hair, dropped them off, came home to make the filling and frosting, put the cake together, and with the crumb coat on made it back to pick up my girls in plenty of time.  (It’s a long recital.)  The next day was more of the same but this time the cake had to be finished, dropped off, and all kids dressed and ready to go by early afternoon and I still didn’t know how I was going to decorate it.  Did I mention that it was super hot that week?  Yeah, so after each step in the decorating process I had to put the cake back in the fridge to chill.  It didn’t help matters that I was SUPER paranoid that the filling was going to spill out at any moment.  It’s not because I didn’t have any faith in my recipe or my cake its just that sort of thing tends to happen when you absolutely have NO TIME for that sort of thing to happen.  Thankfully, even with the horrid heat in the car, with the air conditioning that wouldn’t cool completely because we were stuck in traffic but still stayed squarely on the cake during the drive (my poor babies) my cake stayed intact and it was delivered to my sister’s to be delivered to the party, on time.

The verdict was a big thumbs up.  And although no one took pictures of a slice (I have a blog to run here people,  you could help me out),  I was assured the filling stayed put as it should and didn’t spill out. It’s just one of those deep seated fears whenever I am trying a new filling.

Berry Special Raspberry Filling via NerdyBaker.wordpress.com

My GeekyLinks for this week are PLENTY so we’ll start now. Frakker Lacquer is now processing orders so I went and bought three bottles yesterday. I’m gonna have to buy more because how can I live my life without Little Green Man and Protocol Droid?  For any panels you may have wanted to see at Comic Con a really great resource is GeekNation.  However, its also worth checking out the Nerd Machine for some panels because I preferred the Orphan Black panel (skip ahead 10 minutes) from Nerd HQ rather than the official Comic Con one. (Yeah, I said it.) I know Clint and Darrell from Golden Spiral Media (my beloved Fringe podcast guys) were there and have a ton of coverage debuting this week and I am looking forward to it.  So far my favorite trailers coming out of the con are Catching Fire, Gravity, and Veronica Mars.  Have fun checking some of this stuff out!

Berry Special Cake with Raspberry Filling via NerdyBaker.wordpress.com

Vanilla Berries

Ingredients

2 16oz containers of strawberries, washed and halved

1 6oz container of blueberries, washed

1 6oz container of raspberries, washed

1 6oz container of blackberries, washed

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1/2 vanilla bean (you can use vanilla extract but I don’t recommend it)

Method

In a small saucepan, mix the water and sugar together and stir over medium heat until dissolved. Stir in the vanilla bean paste and let the mixture cool to room temperature.
To use the 1/2 vanilla bean, slice it in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds.  Put the seeds and pod into the sugar and water. Once your sugar is dissolved and the mixture is cooled, remove the pod.
To use vanilla extract, make your simple syrup with the sugar and water and wait till the mixture is at room temperature before stirring in the extract. (Using this method you can sometimes smell the alcohol in the vanilla, not appetizing I know but it’ll do in a pinch.)

Mix all of the berries in a large bowl and when your vanilla syrup is cool to room temperature, pour all over your berries.  I tend to not use all of the syrup (I use about 90%) but I always make this amount “just in case”.  Stir carefully, cover and chill until ready to serve.  When berries are on sale and in season, it makes a great dish to bring to a party.

Raspberry Cake Filling

Ingredients

1 6oz container of raspberries, washed

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons water

Method

Make your filling by combining raspberries, sugar, water, cinnamon and cornstarch in a small saucepan.  Cook on low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring constantly until the sauce is thickend and the berries are a bit soft.  They are all going to break apart.  Set aside to cool.  If you would like more raspberry pieces, just do what I did and quarter a few and fold them into the mixture after it is completely cool.

I kept the seeds in my filling but I imagine if you did not want them you could press the mixture through a fine metal sieve.

Use to fill any cake or cupcake (or doughnut?) with raspberry goodness.

Sundays with Joy/Texas Sheet Cake

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Texas Sheet Cake via NerdyBakerGrrr, I can’t bring myself to write this post.  It’s not the sheet cake, don’t worry.  It’s just that after two very hectic weeks, I am in the middle of what I consider only our second week of summer vacation and I am just trying to hang on to it.  Sure, camping was vacation but anything you have to prep and clean that much for takes some of the fun out of it.  I’ve been having fun these last two weeks alternately doing nothing and then deep cleaning corners of my house that have desperately been needing it.  I also decided three weeks ago that the most fun and rewarding thing for me to do over the summer (besides catch up on some sewing, which has been going well but there is still more) is to reorganize my craft closet.  I spent way too much time looking for stuff in there over recital and it is hampering my ability to catch up on projects.  I think that putting some blog props away in there would be a good idea too.  The two shelves that the stuff currently occupies is getting awfully cramped.

Texas Sheet Cake pouring

Pouring…

I also now realize what a crippling thing procrastination is.  I will put off lots of other things if I have a more pressing deadline.  But if I push back on a deadline it’s hard for me at that point to reprioritize and move on from there.  It just makes me push everything back and nothing gets done.   Procrastination was fine for papers in high school and even college but running a household?  Not so much.  And even though this is my blog and I’ve been “late” before, being two weeks behind for Sundays with Joy was just not something I wanted to do.  So I had to get it done.  Plus, we have ice cream coming up this week!  I bought a small ice cream maker for this summer so even though I may have to churn in batches at least I won’t be hand cranking a child’s toy like last year.

So in an effort to look forward, here is my cake from last week.  Can you believe I’d never made a Texas Sheet Cake before?  What the heck was I waiting for?  Super easy to whip up.  If you have just one hour’s notice before company comes you can have a from scratch cake baked, frosted, and cooling for them when they arrive.  It is no diet cake mind you.  There are reasons it is such a crowd pleaser.  My only issue was that the sheet pan I used was crooked and I didn’t realize it till after the cake was baked.  I had some very thin pieces but most of it was perfect.  If you’d like the recipe please buy Joy the Baker Cookbook: 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes.

See?  Crooked.

See? Crooked.

My Geekylink for this week is aliens!  Well, no, not really but anytime anything like this happens I get all goosebumpy.  Also, if you have any alphabet learners out there, you might wanna check out my latest iGameMom review that posted just the other day.  Also, my friend Alyssa has embarked on the most awesome business adventure.  So if you are into some of the stuff that I talk about in this section and you like nail polish, I’d advise you to check out Frakker Lacquer!

TexasSheetCake via NerdyBaker

Sundays with Joy/Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies - NerdyBaker.wordpress.com

Where does luscious, mouthwatering, chewy, soft cookie perfection begin? Brown butter.

Brown Butter

I’m telling you, you totally wish you could smell this.

The bane of my existence as a baker is that my family’s tastes are just boring.  Sorry but they are (except my daddy, he’ll eat whatever).  Its just chocolate and vanilla over and over and when it comes to my husband the only thing he ever wants me to bake for him is chocolate chip cookies.  Thanks to Joy, I don’t mind so much anymore.  I am even a bit eager and I haven’t heard my husband complain, “Why can’t you just make me chocolate chip cookies?!” since before Christmas.  Ever since the first time I made these chocolate chip cookies for my family, I have only made these chocolate chip cookies for my family.  I can’t even tell you how many batches of these have already been sent to school for functions or just for us as a family to eat.  Split between the five of us that can’t be too many can it?  Some days I’ll send extra for sharing with friends at lunch.  Joy has made me very popular on the playground.

They bake up perfectly.

They bake up perfectly too!

I’m just gonna say it.  This is the last and the best chocolate chip cookie recipe you will ever need.  Thank you to Joy for posting the recipe for Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies this week for you all.  Do it, you will NOT regret it.   Then you could thank Joy for this magnificent recipe by buying her wonderful book.

My Geekylink this week is Geocaching.  I had read about it years ago and wanted to try it but never looked into it.  About a year ago I finally looked into it but without a GPS or a smartphone, I realized I really couldn’t do it.  My brother in law picked it up around that time but I hadn’t heard too much about his and my nephew’s adventures looking for caches.  So the other day, before our camping trip (armed now with a smartphone), I thought that might be great time to download the app and get started.  We only did it for one of the days we were on vacation but I hadn’t had more fun with my nephews or my daughters since well, ever.  It was like we all were all treasure hunters for a day.  For one I had to put my 10 year old daughter on my shoulders and give her a stick to reach it (and put it back) and we wouldn’t have found half of them if not for my nephews.  Since they had done it with their dad, they knew all the good places to look.  I was sunburnt and sore once we were done but it was totally worth it.

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Sundays with Joy/Peanut Butter and Jam Milkshake

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PeanutButterJamMilkshake via NerdyBaker.wordpress

I know, I know a week or so late.  But hello?  Does anyone remember that I just got finished with a big themed birthday party?  Plus, I posted twice last week.  When was the last time that happened?  So yeah, even though last week’s Sundays with Joy was a very simple milkshake I really didn’t have the time to get it done.  That being said, this week’s recipe coming up is done.  Been done.  Many times over.  It will be made over and over again.  But you’ll have to wait for that.

This will also be made over and over again.  You look at this and think, “Ugh milkshake, so much mess.  It is two flavors!  It’s gonna take too long.”  Well, you’d be totally wrong.  This took a maximum of 10 minutes and I didn’t use my blender at all.  Joy tells you to but I have an aversion to mine so I just used my wand immersion blender and finished this recipe lickety split.  That is the best part.  It seems like an extra special treat that is super fun and requires special effort.  It IS an extra special treat but doesn’t require much more effort than a plain vanilla or chocolate milkshake (I also use my immersion blender for those).  If you have a peanut butter and jelly connoisseur, which if you have a husband and a few kids you probably have one or two, you’ll have a very happy milkshake drinker.

PeanutButterJamMilkshake3 via NerdyBaker.wordpress

I went with peanut butter and the raspberry jam (as Joy instructs) which I really enjoyed as opposed to strawberry because it seems like strawberry might be overpowered by the peanut butter.  The raspberry, which I am just OK with in a PB&J, was spot on in the milkshake.  Not too overpowering but you got the flavor.  It was almost perfect.  My only issue was the amount of milk in the peanut butter part.  Next time I’ll use just a smidge less.  Yum.  If you’d like to try it please buy Joy’s Cookbook 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes.  You won’t regret it.

You know what?  I am in a GeekyLink funk.  All my good shows (The Nerdist, Orphan Black, Doctor Who) have ended their respective seasons and even the crappy shows too (I’ll never tell).  I’m down to Netflix marathons of Doctor Who and Fringe.  Maybe I can do some catching up of Classic Doctor Who!  I guess it’s just as well, with summer almost upon us and all my kids home.  It’s time for family stuff like camping and movies and parks.  I do want to try geocaching with the kids this summer, though.  We’ll see how that goes.

How come condensation just makes some things look so much better?

How come condensation just makes some things look so much better?

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