Saturday, September 27, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge

My first Daring Bakers Challenge is completed! Yeah for me! It was definitely different than what I am used to, so it was a good challenge and a good learning experience. This challenge was brought to us by Natalie from Gluten A Go Go and Shel, of Musings From the Fishbowl and they chose a vegan and/or gluten free recipe for us. We were challenged to make Lavash Crackers from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice, and then we had to come up with a salsa, dip, or relish for the crackers...Vegan style, of course! There are so many variations of what you could do with this challenge so be sure to see what other Daring Bakers did with it this month!

The crackers were kind of fun to do. After the dough had risen and I rolled it out super thin and then baked it as a sheet before breaking them into bite size pieces. And because I can only think about desserts I covered the crackers in cinnamon and sugar before baking them and made an awesome caramel sauce to dip them in. My finished product had a fun little photo shoot too!

The recipe for the Lavash Crackers can be found here.

Vegan Caramel Sauce

2 C granulated sugar
3/4 C soy milk, rice milk, or other non dairy milk of choice
3/4 C sucanat (this is a dark, rough sugar that still has a lot of the molasses left in it; almost comparable to brown sugar)
1/3 C maple syrup or brown rice syrup
1 T water
1 T arrowroot (this is a starch, or thickening agent; 2 tsp arrowroot=1 T cornstarch)
2 T vegan margarine
1 tsp vanilla

In a small saucepan, place the soy milk, Sucanat, and maple syrup and whisk well to combine. Cook over medium heat, while whisking occasionally for 3 minutes. In a small bowl, combine arrowroot and water and then whisk the mixture into the saucepan. Cooke the mixture, while whisking constantly and additional 2-3 minutes or until it thickens. (Cornstarch will thicken at a higher temperature than the arrowroot will) Remove the saucepan from heat and whisk in remaining ingredients. Ready to serve, or store in airtight container in the refridgerator and reheat as needed.

I don't think I'll ever make this again, but I was very grateful for the experience to learn as much as I did.

Thanks for the challenge!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mom's Birthday Cake

My good friend and neighbor, Steph, (some of you may know her from Stephanie's Kitchen, and if you don't yet, you need to get to know her, or at least her blog. She is awesome!) gave me this recipe to try to make a special birthday cake for my mom. This was a very involved recipe and the only reason I would spend so much time on a cake is for my mom. I heart my mom! She's number one! Plus, my two sisters and I dragged our kids all the way to Panguitch, Utah (aka middle of NOWHERE) to celebrate with my mom there. You are so worth it, mom!

Here's the recipe for the White Chocolate Truffle and Choclate Fudge Layer Cake from
Look at the ooey gooey filling! Def need a glass a milk to wash this one down! It was rich!
I substituted chocolate circles for the stars like the recipe called for. I'm on a circle kick right now and I had plans to make it extra fancy, but ran out of time. The circles were probably my favorite part, but keep them in the refridge until you are ready to serve the cake because they do get kinda melty. I had quite a few left over though and made sure to save some of the frosting too so I could eat them together for my midnight snack. I could almost taste each little calorie with each bite!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lemon Pudding Souffle

I tried a souffle! I know, scary right?! It wasn't too bad at all! It raised all pretty and didn't even sink in the middle. I did have to go buy me a cute little souffle dish, but that was half of the fun. So, the top of this pudding souffle was very light and spongy textured. At first bite I thought I almost could have eaten half of it all by myself, but then I got down the pudding part, and yum! It was sweet and sour and rich and lemony and just so good! It was to die for still warm from the oven, but I have to admit that I ate some for breakfast the next morning and it was almost as good all chilled from the fridge. I got the recipe from Family Fun magazine. In case you aren't familiar, it's this great little magazine that comes with craft ideas, recipes, and all sorts of fun things for families with kids. We love it in my household! So when I saw the recipe in there, I thought, how hard could it be?!

Click HERE for the recipe!

I topped it off with some powdered sugar because there's no such thing as too much sugar in my house!

This definitely is a good starter souffle though. It helped me get over my fear and now I can't wait to try mini souffles, because I always say that everything tastes better when it's cute and little, and I am ready to make my own versions too like dark chocolate souffle with fresh strawberries, and caramel souffle with baked apples! My mouth is already watering! Yum!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Here it is...

I have definitely been baking the days away, but haven't gotten around to posting all of my fantastic creations for awhile now.

Here is one that is very near and dear to my heart though. I made this recipe for the first time not quite a year ago and continue to make it for almost every dinner party we have because it's always such a huge hit. Everyone is always asking for the recipe, and I hesitate a little to give it out because it's just that good. I feel like I want to be the only one who gets credit for it, I guess. People seriously make noises when they are eating it it's that good! But, the time has come to share it, so here is the ultimate best recipe you will ever find for sweet pork.

Becky's Sweet Pork

carnitas fried pork from Costco (see picture at bottom)
1-2 cans chicken broth
1 C packed brown sugar
1 T minced garlic
1/4 C minced onion (I actually use the dried stuff, but fresh works well too)
1 tsp cumin

cook pork as per directions on package
shred pork and put in large saucepan or crock pot.

Add all other ingredients and simmer for at least 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally. As for the chicken broth, I use 1 C when making chimichungas, or 2 C when making salads because I like it with a little more juice then.

For the chimichungas: take an uncooked tortilla (also from Costco) and put about 1/2 C of the hot meat filling in it. Fold the two sides over and roll, keeping it closed with a toothpick to fry it...that's deep fry it in about 1 inch of oil so it gets all crispy and crunchy! Yum! Turn it when the bottom is brown to cook both sides. Top with all the toppings you want: lettuce, cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, salsa, olives, green onions, etc. I like to serve them with some homemade spanish rice (recipe another time) and black beans.

For the salad: (sorry, no picture), cook the tortilla as per directions on package, and layer the hot meat filling and everything else on top including your rice and beans and a lot more lettuce than with the chimichungas. It's just a little healthier with the same amazingly good taste though.

Here is the pork and tortillas you get from Costco. They are in the refrigerated cases that are open and counter height. I have been told by some friends and family that their Costco doesn't carry the pork, so good luck! If you don't find it, just slow cook some pork and shred it on your own.