Friday, September 25, 2009

Fall: Pumpkin Bars

In high school AP German class, after the exam, we had to translate a recipe for cobbler (a kr├╝meltorte, technically), make the recipe, then bring it in to class for a massive cobbler gorge-fest. (Unless you translated it incorrectly, in which case, no I don't want to eat your nasty concoction, thanks.) I remember my friend Jen gave up on translating/making the topping ingredients (methinks senioritis hit her junior year) and topped hers with yellow cake mix and melted butter. I thought this was the strangest thing, but she assured me that this was how her mother makes a shortcut cobbler.

Yeah, that crumbled yellow cake mix tasted better than my homemade topping (Butter, Zucker, Mehl, Backpulver, Ei, Vanille-Extrakt, und Salz, for those curious).

So when I acquired a recipe that included probably my favorite non-chocolate sweet (pumpkin) with that surprisingly tasty yellow cake mix topping, I knew we had a winner.

The good: You don't need special equipment. The bad: It takes an hour (or more) to cook. The worse: Despite my alterations, this ain't health food. But boy is it good!

Pumpkin Bars
30 oz. can pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
14 oz. can evaporated milk (fat free works perfectly well)
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 c. sugar
splash of vanilla
1/4 t. cinnamon
2 T. pumpkin pie spice (or your favorite combination of nutmeg, cloves, etc.)
one box yellow cake mix (you could totally use only a half box and save the rest for next time)
1.5 sticks butter, melted (it calls for 2 sticks (!), but I'd start with 1 and add more if needed)
1 c. chopped pecans (I just eyeballed it)

Preheat oven to 350. Combine pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and the spices with a whisk or spatula in a bowl. Spread into 13 x 9-inch pan.

Sprinkle cake mix on top. Pour melted butter over cake mix. Top with chopped nuts.

Bake at 350 for 1 to 1.5 hours. (70 minutes worked for me)

I took this picture at a Navy football tailgate. Perfect recipe for traveling!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Magic Coconut Pie

Well, it's mom's birthday again. This is her one time per year that she can beg for coconut—and coconut-hating dad can't do anything about it. :)

I was slightly skeptical about this one. It sounded so 50s. Seriously, Bisquik and coconut and no pie crust? It reminded me of this awful Bisquik Mexican dish I had to eat as a kid. Um, enjoy your "pie" mom! But I immediately changed my tune when I started breathing in the warm coconut, which reminded me so much of our honeymoon to Barbados and this coconut pie we would order at this bar on the beach. It was coconut and eggs and sugar and probably nothing else and it was just so amazing. This pie... this is my new pie. Custard on the inside, crunchy on top. We just loved it. Well, not dad, but the rest of us. ;)

Recipe from Baker's coconut bag.

Magic Coconut Pie
2 c. milk
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. Bisquik
4 eggs
1/4 c. butter, softened (at room temp)
1 t. vanilla
1 1/3 c. Baker's (preferred by my mom) angel flake coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix milk, sugar, Bisquik, eggs, butter, and vanilla in a blender on low speed for approximately 3 minutes. Pour into a greased 9-inch pie plate. Carefully sprinkle with coconut, making sure it doesn't overflow!

Carefully slide pie into oven and bake for 40–45 minutes or until center of pie is set (no longer jiggles when you attempt to take it out of the oven) and top is golden brown. Serve either warm or cool.

Store leftovers (ha!) in the refrigerator.

Custard!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Anniversary

I think I might belong in chocolate blog prison, but I bought a store cake for our second anniversary. The horror! Take me away, baking police. (In my defense, we had only been stateside for some 24 hours and jet lag had taken its toll.)

But, I doubt you've had the Wegmans chocolate cake. If so, you might understand. Soooo fudgy. The frosting is so good, and I generally HATE frosting. They make mini cakes that could totally pass for the top tier of a wedding cake, except this is anniversary #2 and the small wedding cake tier was SO last year. And the bigger cake costs less per pound... like my rationalizing? :)

Happy 2nd anniversary, sweetie!

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