Friday, November 17

Eggnog Cake with Maple Spice Buttercream




For the first time in years, we are having a semi low key holiday week. Typically we spend Christmas traveling all over New England visiting our various family members. Because we get to stay put most of the holidays, and everyone is coming to see us, I have more time in the kitchen to bake and cook holiday meals.


Nothing seems to impress guests more than a towered layer cake. Now if you have been a long time blog reader over the last 7 or so years, you will know that I do not claim to be a cake decorator. It is something I am just not that great at. However over the last two years, naked cakes have become the rage. While beautiful piping is always a hit, the simplicity of a naked cake is just as jaw dropping gorgeous at times. So if you are someone like me, that is not so great with a piping bag, this style of layer cake is for you!




Nothing says “ Happy Holidays” more than a cold glass of Hood Eggnog. Hood products have been a staple in our family for generations, and on Thanksgiving and Christmas you will most definitely find a carton of Golden Homestyle Eggnog in my fridge.



Not only is Hood Eggnog a delicious treat all on its own, it’s great to bake with as well. I often use it as a milk substitute in my coffee, in pancakes, waffles, muffins, cinnamon rolls…… and now in layer cakes.


This cake is dense like a pound cake, on it’s own tastes just like a glass of eggnog, and then topped with a maple meringue buttercream that is spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon.

Impress your family members with a slice of eggnog cake, paired with a cold glass of Hood Eggnog this holiday season!


Eggnog Cake with Spiced Maple Buttercream

Ingredients for the cake:
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • ¾  teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup eggnog

For the frosting:
6 large egg whites
1/2 tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Grease 4, 9 inch cake pans with non stick baking spray.

In a large mixing bowl sift together, flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar together for one minute, or until and light and fluffy .

Mix in each egg, one at a time until fully incorporated.

Mix in flour, and eggs by alternating 1 cup of flour, and then egg. Mixing fully before adding another.
Once the batter is smooth, divide into the 4 prepared cake pans. Bake for about 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.

Remove cakes from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Meanwhile, prepare the frosting.

Bring maple syrup to a low boil. Remove from heat and allow it cool until it is warm... but not so hot you can't  touch it.

Whip egg whites with salt on high speed until they are stiff.

Slowly drizzle in the maple syrup, and whip until the meringue is shiny.

Mix in the cinnamon and nutmeg.

Reduce speed to medium and add the butter in 1 tbs at a time until it is all incorporated.

If the meringue appears to be soupy, place the bowl in the freezer for a few minutes and then return to the mixer and whip on high until it thickens and starts to come together.

If the meringue appears to be lumpy and cottage cheese like, try wrapping a warm wet dishtowel around the bottom of the bowl and whip it on high until it smooths out.

Sometimes Buttercream can be fussy, but if all of your ingredients are the perfect temperature it should come together just fine. But don't fret if it's collapsed and soupy or cheesy... you can fix it with the tricks above! Meringue based buttercreams can often take 7-10 minutes to come together, so be patient!


Once the buttercream is finished, and the cakes have cooled completely frost and pipe as desired!

Optional garnishes, rosemary and cranberries.

Disclaimer: I received monetary compensation to write this post. Thanks to brands like Hood, I am able to take the time to create new recipes for you all.

Friday, October 27

Hood Eggnog Season Has Begun


hood eggnog-2.jpg

Growing up, there were not nearly as many dairy brands on the market as there are today. Infact, there was only one that I remember seeing on all of our packaging, milk, ice cream, sour cream,  and that was Hood.

My Great Grandmother, Bambi Kenny (that’s what we  called her), used to babysit my brother and I from time to time. When it was our day to spend with Bambi, we always looked forward to going, because we knew there would be a slice of banana bread and a Hoodsie Cup waiting for each of us. For those of you who didn’t grow up in the Northeast, you may not know what a Hoodsie Cup is, so I’ll educate you because you’ve been missing out. Hoodsie cups are little single servings of ice cream produced by Hood. They come in vanilla/chocolate, fudge swirl, and strawberry swirl. Each cup was sold with a little wooden spoon on top, and they were a guaranteed treat at almost every kid party, and they still are today! I must have been only 4 or 5 years old at the time, and eating those Hoodsie Cups at Bambi’s,  is one of my earliest memories.

Hood was founded in 1846, and today is one of the leading Dairy providers in the United States, and is also the number one selling dairy brand in all of New England. It’s no wonder they have been a staple in my New Hampshire family for at least four generations! Now that I’m an adult, and have a family of my own, I still carry on the Hood tradition, and feed my family the same dairy products that I grew up loving.

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About this time every year, my kids start to see the Hood Eggnog, or (ice cream milk as my youngest calls it) in the grocery stores. They beg and beg for me to get a half gallon of their favorite Hood Golden Eggnog. I honestly can’t say no. I look forward to eggnog season as much as they do. Not only is it a nightly treat after dinner for the whole family, after the kids are off to school, I sneak it into my coffee in the mornings!

hood eggnog.jpg


This year we have become a little adventurous and tried some of the other eggnog flavors Hood has to offer. Their eggnog comes in four varieties, the oldest and most popular in our home is the Golden Eggnog, Hood’s recipe has been a secret for almost 50 years. I’m not sure what they put in it, but it’s by far the best eggnog on the market.

hood pumpkin eggnog.jpg

Next they have the Pumpkin Eggnog. This one is the perfect gateway from fall to winter. It’s made with real pumpkin puree and pumpkin spices, I have been using it in my coffee, as a milk substitute in my pancakes and waffles, and of course just enjoying a small cup of it as a sweet treat after dinner.

They also make a Vanilla eggnog, which is equally as delicious as all the others, and honestly tastes so much like soft serve vanilla ice cream. My kids are huge fans of this!

eggnog hood.jpg

And lastly, they make Light Eggnog, which has 55% less fat than the others, BUT with all the same great flavor you want. Considering how much eggnog my family consumes from Halloween straight through the New Year, I should probably drink a little less of the full-fat varieties, and enjoy this one more often!  

In the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing a new recipe featuring Hood Eggnog. I am excited to be partnering up with a brand I’ve loved for as long as I can remember. Be sure to look for Hood Eggnog, available now in dairy cases across the Northeast and also check out their website for some awesome recipes!


Disclaimer: I received monetary compensation to write this post. However as always all opinions expressed are 100% my own. Thanks to the collaboration with brands like Hood, I am able to share recipes with you all here.

Sunday, February 12

Maple Bacon Bars














Maple Bacon Bars
These donuts are light and airy, topped with a pure maple syrup glaze, and a crispy strip of bacon.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup maple syrup
3 tbs room temperature unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 package Red Star Platinum Yeast (or other quick rise yeast)
2 tbs warm water (for yeast)
1 tbs granulated sugar (for yeast)
About 3 cups of bread flour (all purpose flour works too)
Vegetable Oil for frying (at least 4 cups)

1 pound of bacon, fried

For the glaze:
1 1/2-2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
pinch of salt


Directions:

In a small bowl add yeast, with 2 tbs warm water, 1 tbs granulated sugar, give it a quick stir and set aside and wait for the yeast to start to foam and rise. About 3-5 minutes.

Meanwhile, add milk, 1/4 cup water, 1/3 cup maple syrup, butter and salt together in a sauce pan, heat until the butter melts and the mixture reaches 90 degrees.

Add mixture into a mixing bowl and mix in one cup of flour until a thick batter has formed. Add in yeast mixture and the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time.

When the dough comes together and is only slightly sticky pour it out on to a well floured surface. Knead for about 6-8 minutes (add in more flour as need) or until the dough is elastic, when you pinch a piece, it should pull back.

Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise. On a cold winter day, I crack the oven and place the bowl on the cook top so it stays nice and cozy!

Allow dough to rise until it has doubled in size. Forget timing it.... every one's rise time with be different. So please, pay attention to the size of the dough!

Once the dough has doubled  pour it out on to a well floured surface again, and roll it out until it is about 1/4-1/3 of an inch thick. Using sharp knife cut doughnuts out into rectangles (about 2x3in) and set aside on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet (again choose a warm spot). You can re-roll and cut scraps if desired, I usually just cut them into small pieces  and fry them as they are. My kids enjoy the odd shaped scrap doughnuts for some reason!

Allow cut doughnuts to rise until they have fully doubled in size (or even bigger, I let them go until they triple) 

Once they have at least doubled in size.  Heat the frying oil in a heavy bottomed pot. I use my dutch oven, whatever size pan you choose just make sure you have at least 3 inches of oil in the bottom. Heat oil to 360 degrees.

Fry doughnuts a couple at a time, making sure not to crowd them. About 2 minutes per side. Once they are golden brown remove from oil with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain any extra grease.

Once all the doughnuts have fried and have cooled a bit, start preparing your glaze.

In a mixing bowl whisk maple syrup and powdered sugar with a  pinch of salt together until smooth.

Dunk each fried doughnut in the glaze and coat just the top. Place on a baking rack, and top with a slice of bacon. 

I enjoy eating them warm and messy, however you can let them cool to let the frosting harden. 

Tuesday, January 17

Honey Buns




When I was a kid, during the winter weekends, my dad and I would wake up super early, and hit the road by 5am to go ice fishing for the day. On our way out to the frozen lake, we'd stop at the Irving gas station on the way, and stock up on snacks to get us through the day. He would grab a pack of hot dogs, some rolls, chips, soda... I would grab banana muffins, gas station cappuccino... and lastly , Dad always grabbed a $.50 honeybun for his breakfast.

Now that I have my own kids that love fishing as much as I did at that age, I bring them on fishing trips the same way he did when I was a kid. The difference is, I am anal about food, and plan some healthy snacks. But one of the treats I always grab at the store, is a box of honey buns. My kids love those cheap, sickly sweet and sticky treats so much. It has become a staple for our outings.



Another major difference between my dad and I, is that while I love fishing, and I love bringing my kids with me. I truthfully despise the cold, so we do not venture out onto the ice in the winter. Our fishing trips are during the summer when I can work on my tan at the same time.



Needless to say, it's been a while since I have treated my kids to their beloved gas station quality honey buns. When my oldest asked me if I'd pick some up at the grocery store, I did one better... I made a homemade version of them instead. On a cold snowy day stuck inside by the fire, these honey buns were everything my kids wanted.



These buns are slightly sweet, rolled with a hint of cinnamon and topped with a glaze made with local raw honey. Defiantly 100 times better than .$50 gas station honey buns. I'll have to treat my dad to a batch real soon!




Honey Buns
Ingredients:
1 tbs dry active yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 tbs granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup warm milk
1 large egg, room temp
1 egg yolk, room temp
1/4 honey (raw if you have it)
1 tbs kosher salt
3.5-4.5 cups bread flour (AP if that's all you have)

Filling:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tbs ground cinnamon

For the glaze;
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup raw honey

Directions:

In a small mixing bowl, combine yeast, warm water and granulated sugar. Mix well, and set aside until the mixture becomes foamy.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine yeast mixture, melted butter, warm milk, eggs, honey, salt and half of the flour. Mix with the dough hook until it is all combined.

Turn the mixer to medium/low speed, add remaining flour 1/4 cup at a time until the dough is shaggy and only slightly sticky.  Allow the dough to "knead" with the mixer on medium/low speed for about 4 minutes, or until it is elastic and smooth. If at any point the dough appears to be too sticky, add in a little more flour, until it is pulling away from the bowl while kneading.

Turn dough out into a large buttered mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm spot to rise.

Leave the dough to rise until it has doubled in volume, this could take a couple hours.

Once the dough has risen, roll it out onto a lightly floured surface into a rectangle. Should be about 1/4 of an inch thick.

Spread butter all over the dough, and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Roll into a log, and cut into 1 inch thick rolls.

Place rolls onto a parchment lined baking sheet, and set aside to rise until they have doubled or tripled in volume. They should appear to be cloud like.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until they are golden.

Allow the buns to cool for about 20 minutes.

In a small bowl whisk powdered sugar with raw honey together, drizzle over the tops of the warm buns.

Best when served warm, but will last for 2 days in a air tight container.

Friday, January 6

Hot Chocolate Cheesecake


If any of you have been following me this week on Instagram, you see that I am documenting my newest round of Whole30. In the last year, I have tried to do it a handful of times. Some more successful than others... the three things I was never able to kick for a full 30 days, were cream in my coffee, wine, and chickpeas.



Knowing that I wanted to complete this cleaning eating challenge in the worst way, I decided I was going to spend some time preparing for it. So over the last couple of months, I have completely cut cream from my coffee, and prefer to take it black. I have also cut way, way, way back on alcohol, going weeks between drinks.



The only battle I think I will face this round of Whole30, is my love affair with legumes. I flipping love chickpeas and black beans. I eat a cup of one of them each day either in my lunch or my breakfast.

Meanwhile..... everyone else is like, sweets...bread! I can not cut out my sweets! Well lucky for them, because I have a month of over the top fattening desserts to be posted on my blog. Pull out your stretchy pants! Or if that is not your thing... come check out my pretty pictures of veggies and meat on the Bakeaholic Mama IG!


This cheesecake is ridiculously dark and rich. A classic dark chocolate cheesecake topped with dark chocolate ganache and topped with a homemade toasted marshmallow topping. Inspired by this Hot Cocoa Cheesecake I saw on Pinterest back in 2013!



Hot Chocolate Cheesecake
Ingredients:

For the crust:
1 9 0z package of chocolate Graham crackers
1/3 cup melted unsalted butter
1/4 tsp salt

For the filling:
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 8 oz packages of cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
4 eggs, room temperature

For the ganache:
2 cups dark chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream

For the marshmallows:
2 packages unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup water + 2 tbs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
powdered sugar for dusting
non-stick cooking spray


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wrap the outside of a 9 inch  springform pan in tinfoil.

Spray inside with non-stick baking spray.

In a food processor, pulse graham crackers butter, and salt together until it forms a crumbly mixture.

Press into the bottom of a  springform pan, and about 1/2-1 inch up the sides.

Bake for 5 minutes, remove from oven.

In a double boiler, melt 2 cups of chocolate chips until smooth. Remove from heat, and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

In the bowl of an electric mixer using the whip attachment, mix cream cheese, sugar and cocoa powder until light and fluffy.

Mix in one egg at a time until it is smooth.

With your mixer on low, slowly drizzle in melted chocolate. Once it is all incorporated and it's fully mixed in. Scrape the sides of the mixing bowl down with a rubber spatula.

Pour and scrape the cheesecake filling into the springform pan.

Place a roasting pan in your preheated oven filled with boiling water. The water should be about 1 inch deep.

Place cheesecake into the water filled roasting pan.

Bake for about 40 minutes, or until it the center of the cake is set, and just barely jiggles a bit (like jello).

Turn oven off, and open the door. Allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven until it is room temperature.

Once it has cooled, prepare the ganache.

To make the ganache, place chocolate and cream into a double boiler and heat and mix until smooth and melted.

Pour on to the top of your cooked cheesecake.

Place in the refrigerator for about 4 hours or until you are ready to serve.

Before serving, prepare the marshmallow top.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, add powdered gelatin and half of your water. Mix with a fork until it's combined. Allow it to sit for at least 5 minutes for the gelatin to dissolve.

In a sauce pan add renaming water, sugar and corn syrup, bring to a low boil and let it simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved and you are left with a syrup.

Using your whip attachment, turn mixer to medium speed and start whipping the gelatin with the vanilla extract, slowly pouring in the syrup.

Once all of the syrup has been added, turn mixer to high and leave it to whip for about 7-10 minutes, or until you have extra stiff peaks.

Remove cheesecake from oven.

Using a greased rubber spatula,  add marshmallow into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe dollops of marshmallow onto the top of the cheesecake. *This can be a messy job*

Once you've covered the cheesecake, using a cooking torch, toast the top of the marshmallow.

Allow to cool for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator, and then serve.







Thursday, December 29

Champagne Jello Shots


I am not huge on celebrating New Years Eve. Normally we keep it low key, stay in with the kids and eat food all day... and then go to bed far to early for a 32 year old couple.  But just because I don't go crazy, dress up and go out for a night of parties on New Years.. doesn't mean I don't enjoy some early bird special partying on occasion.



This year, if you are unlike me, and hosting a get-together, I highly recommend that you bring back the jello shots of your youth, but instead of being chocked full of booze and juice, keep it classy with a good bottle of sparkling wine.



These jello shots are not only festive, and pretty to look at. They will get you to that buzz quickly. But be careful... because just like those jello shots you did as a 21 year old  kid, if not careful... you can over do it with these easily.

I speak from experience.....



Champagne Jello Shots
Ingredients:
3 cups dry champagne
1/2 cup simple syrup ( I use rosemary syrup)
1/2 cup vodka
4 packages unflavored powdered gelatin

Directions:

In a mixing bowl combine simple syrup, vodka and gelatin together, mix with a fork unit the gelatin has softened, and your are left with a jelly.

In sauce pan bring champagne to a low boil. (Careful it foams over quickly.)

Remove from heat, and add it to the gelatin mixture.  Set aside and let it cool for about 10 minutes.

Line a 9x13 baking dish with plastic wrap.

Pour gelatin mixture into the pan, and chill for 4 hours , or overnight.

Cut into squares, sprinkle with sparkling sugar and serve.



Tuesday, December 27

IPA Mimosa



Hallelujah! Christmas is over... and 2016 is coming to an end. 


Not a fan of champagne on New Years Eve? No worries I have you covered, a  bubbly cocktail that is made out of a citrusy IPA. Or if you wish you could crack open a beer at breakfast or brunch without being socially shunned.... this IPA mimosa is what you need. 

I am typically a huge fan of a citrus pale ale, especially when it has a lot of strong grapefruit notes. When I picked up a pack of Harpoon's seasonal spring pale ale, I knew immediately I wanted to cut it with some juice and try it as a "mimosa". It's a golden ale, with citrus and pine notes. It's pretty light, and the perfect beer to pair with fresh squeezed juice.



IPA Mimosas
Yields 4 cocktails

Ingredients:
2 bottles of IPA ( I like Harpoon's Fresh Tracks)
The juice of one grapefruit
The juice of one orange

Directions:

Divide juice into 4 champagne glasses, top off with IPA, and serve with fresh grapefruit or orange wedge.