There are three secret family recipes my mom told me to never to share on my blog. 1. Her meatball recipe. I don’t even know her meatball recipe. 2. Crostini (Its ...
So I decided to beat my willpower to the punch today and ignore my new years resolution.
Cut back on sugar? Aren’t goals supposed to be realistic? I think I was reaching too far… I think I’ll aim for less sugar before noon. Or at least not with breakfast.
I decided to compromise and bake this yummy Graham Cracker Chocolate Chip Snack Cake. Did you catch those last couple words? SNACK cake. Doesn’t that kind of give you permission to treat that cake like a granola bar? But seriously. Who just ‘snacks’ on cake. Maybe that will be my new resolution. I’ll ‘snack’ more.
This recipe came from a new cookbook I got this Christmas from my aunt. She has this amazing knack for finding the best baking books for me. The concept of the book is almost as delicious as the recipes. Lauren Chattman (the author) wrote Cake Keeper Cakes with the intention to develop only easy and humble cakes that were quick and delicious. Rather than cakes being reserved only for special occasions, she wanted to remind of us that cakes can be simple (and delicious) enough to keep around everyday.
Cookies have gotten all of the glory over the past decades. She’s trying to push over the chocolate chips and bring in the bundt cakes.
I love her story- she was inspired by a little cake keeper she saw at gourmet shop by her house. Her mission was to have a cake keeper at home that she would always keep filled with some new kind of delicious snacking cake. I loved the idea of always having some new yummy aroma baking in the kitchen all week.
I told my mom I wanted to do this…
I think I got an eye roll.
(some people are actually trying to keep their new years resolutions. oops.)
Graham Cracker Chocolate Chip Snacking Cake
- 8 whole graham crackers, finely ground (about 1 cup)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
For the frosting:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup Marshmallow Fluff
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 pan with cooking spray and dust with flour.
- Combine graham crackers, flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl.
- Cream butter in sugar in a large bowl on medium-high speed. With the mixer on low add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Scrape down the sides and beat until smooth.
- With the mixer on low, add 1/3 flour mixture and 1/2 milk. Stir to combine. Repeat with remaining flour and milk, ending with the last 1/3 of flour.
- Scrape batter into pan and smooth top.
- Bake 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before inverting on a wire rack to cool completely.
To Make the Frosting:
- Place butter in a medium bowl and cream until smooth. With the mixer on low, slowly add the confectioners’ sugar. Stir in the vanilla and the Fluff and mix until smooth. Use immediately or keep covered in plastic wrap in the frig for up to 3 days.
Store cake at room temperature in a covered container for up to 3 days.
Can you believe its already been another year? I keep accidentally typing 2010 for some reason. I’m a little behind. I literally almost sent out a resume yesterday that said December 2010. And the first line under my ‘skill’ section says “detail oriented…”
I’m excited for New Years Eve though! As a kid we’d always work it up and make NYE into a huge deal. We’d all sneak like a half of beer from our parents, buy some cheap party hats… and then realize that nobody’s parents wanted to host a bunch of teenagers. But not anymore! O the perks of being older and slightly more mature. A bunch of us are renting a trolley this year and going all over Chicago with a last stop at Navy Pier for the fireworks.
So with all of the fun festivities going on this weekend who wants to waste time slaving in the kitchen… again. Wasn’t it just Christmas??
That’s why these Mini Pizzas are awesome for a New Years appetizer. They’re super easy to make and only need just a few common ingredients.
I swear you can do these pizzas in basically 4 steps. And the first one involves cracking open a can.
I used store bought pizza dough to cut some serious time (even though I love making homemade dough). But you can definitely make your own if you get ambitious. Nothing beats homemade dough but in a pinch store bought is a great alternative.
*Note– I like to use San Marzano tomatoes for my sauce, they really do make a huge difference with the flavor. You can find these at pretty much any grocery store.
3/4 lb. pizza dough, preferably whole wheat, thawed if frozen
1 14-1/2-oz. can whole tomatoes, drained (preferably San Marzano)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 large clove garlic, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups lightly packed arugula, chopped
1/2 cup thinly sliced roasted red peppers (rinsed if jarred)
1-1/2 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto di Parma, cut into thin strips (about 1/2 cup)
1 cup grated part-skim mozzarella
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Preheat oven to 475 degrees and move racks to the top and bottom thirds of the oven. Lightly oil 2 baking sheets with 2 teaspoons oil.
1. Lightly coat a large bowl with 1 tsp. of the oil. Place dough in the bowl, cover loosely, and let sit at room temperature for about 45 minutes.
2. Put the tomatoes, oregano, garlic, 2 tsp. of the oil, and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper in a food processor; pulse to make a chunky sauce.
3. Divide the dough into quarters. Divide each quarter into 3 equal parts; you’ll have twelve 1-oz. pieces of dough. (Alternatively, use a scale to divide the dough.) Shape each piece of dough into a 3-inch round and put on the baking sheets.
4. Spread about 1 Tbs. of the sauce over each dough round, leaving a little border around the edge for the crust. Top each with arugula, then some strips of pepper and prosciutto. Sprinkle the mozzarella and Parmigiano on top.
*Goat Cheese and Pesto Variation: substitute store bought pesto, goat cheese, and jarred peppers (shown in picture below)
5. Bake until the cheese is bubbling and the crust is browned, 12 to 14 minutes, swapping the pans’ positions about halfway through for even baking. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes (if using) and serve.
Calories: 140, Fat: 5 grams
I LOVE Nutella. Nutella cookies, Nutella cake, Nutella frosting, Nutella ice-cream, Nutella on toast, Nutella anything!
And to think… somehow I survived without ever experiencing this stuff until my junior year of college.
That year I was lucky enough to get to study abroad in Rome, Italy. It was an absolutely amazing trip (and not a bad change of scenery from the cornfields at the University of Illinois?)
Nutella was absolutely EVERYWHERE in Rome. It was like their peanut butter. Every bakeshop had Nutella cookies; gelaterias had Nutella gelato, and every sidewalk vendor, grocery store or vending machine had jars upon jars of the stuff.
You know how we have those little cheese and breadstick snack packs in the states? The kind your mom would give you as a kid to go to school with.. and then you’d trade for a bag of chips or oreos? Well they had cookie sticks with NUTELLA. Genius! And why are Italians so skinny again?
So now every time I see a jar of Nutella I always think of Italy. I’ve been back a couple times now and I swear it gets more beautiful every time. If everyone could just live like they were in Italy and wake up next to ancient buildings and eat homemade pasta and go to work at 10 in the morning the world would be a much happier place.
Here’s a couple of my favorite pictures I took while over there!
Little house in a town outside Pescara
Pretty buildings on one of the Five Cities
This one’s so small because we took it with an iPhone. I got to take a cooking class with Diane Seed, a really amazing Italian chef. We made the best pesto pasta yumm
Eating Nutella Gelato in Rome!
These awesome guitarists playing outside a church in Sienna
My mom, dad and I with our friends who live in Pescara
Nutella Swirl Pound Cake
4 large eggs at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 jar (13 ounces) Nutella
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan and dust with flour.
2. Combine eggs and vanilla in a small bowl and lightly beat. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
3. Cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl at medium-high sped until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
4. With the mixer on medium-low speed, pour the egg mixture into the bowl in a slow stream, stopping the mixer once or twice to scrape down the sides.
5. Turn the mixer on low speed and add the flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time. After the last addition mix for 30 seconds on medium speed.
6. Scrape 1/3 of the batter into the bottom of the pan and smooth with a spatula. Spread 1/2 the jar of Nutella over the batter and smooth with a clean spatula. Scrape another 1/3 of the batter on top. Scrape the remaining Nutella on top and smooth. Spread the remaining batter over the Nutella and smooth. Run a butter knife blade through the batter to create marbling. Do not over mix.
7. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes then invert onto a wire rack and cool completely.
Store in a cake stand or wrap in plastic at room temperature for up to 3 days.