Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Teddy Bars (Happy Birthday to Me)

Twenty years ago, Katie and I were both in college and working in the university's library. During our breaks, we would often dash next door to the campus bookstore for a quick treat. This is when we made an amazing, fantastic discovery. There they were right in the middle of the ice cream freezer—the Teddy Bars, frozen slices of cheesecake on popsicle sticks dipped in chocolate.

Oh... My... Goodness.  Now, that's my kind of popsicle—perfect for a hot summer day!

This was back in the days when I could eat practically anything and not gain a pound, so I enjoyed, relished, savored, and devoured many a Teddy Bar.

After that summer, they quit selling Teddy Bars in the bookstore, and I haven't seen them anywhere since.* Over the years, I've often thought longingly of my favorite college days treat. 

Well, if you've read much of this blog, you know that I quite often bring treats for birthdays at work. Yesterday was a birthday I wasn't going to miss. Mine.

Now, I can hear many of you thinking, "What! Make your own birthday cake?" And I say, "You betcha." Baking for me is fun, and this way I assure I get what I want.

I wanted to bring something that would completely astound the crowd so that they would fall over backward in their chairs. What could induce such a reaction? The Teddy Bars! But, could I recreate them? Why not!

I made what I consider to be the ultimate New York style cheese cake leaving off the topping. And, Cheesecake Karma must have been with me because the cheesecake turned out absolutely beautiful without a single crack.** And, assembly wasn't too difficult.

The reaction at work? Well, no one fell out of their chairs because they were all standing. However, it was total shock and ooh aah.

 Perfect. Just say no to crack.

I would venture to say these are even better than the original.

*After doing a little Internet research, I found a company in Texas, Lawler Foods, makes the Teddy Bar. I'll have to ask my sister in Texas if she's ever heard of them. But, I think I will still put a note in the comment box at the bookstore asking to please bring them back.

**Helpful hints for making a crack-free cheesecake:
  1. Have ingredients at room temperature.
  2. Do not over beat the batter. Mix well, but slow and steady does the trick.
  3. Don't over-bake your cheesecake. The cake should be firm with the middle slightly wobbly.
  4. Grease your springform pan well. The cheesecake will shrink as it cools.
  5. If your cheesecake does develop a crack. Cover it with a topping, or tell your guests it's a true sign the cheesecake is homemade with love.

P.S. Speaking (or writing) of cracks, here is a video that totally cracked me up. It was produced by the BYU Library where Katie and I worked. It's based on the popular Old Spice commercial. Makes me proud to be an alumnus. Go Cougars!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Chocolate Pudding Ice Cream

I've heard it said many times that Utah consumes more ice cream per capita than any other state. I have been unable to find who did the research, but I like to believe it's true. And, I am proudly doing my part to make sure Utah stays number one.

Recently, my mom passed on to me an old ice cream recipe book I remember from my childhood. I think our family only ever made a couple of the recipes. However, I have now read the book cover to cover and want to have a little ice cream fun. I plan on trying a bunch of the recipes and experimenting this summer.

My mom had left a post-it note on a page with this recipe for Chocolate Pudding Ice Cream—my guess is because she liked it or had plans to try it. I figure it's a good place to start.

The ice cream turned out rich, creamy, and with a strong chocolate flavor. It got great reviews from my two boys who want me to make it again very soon (like now). The taste and texture reminded me of one of my all time favorite treats, a Longboard Popsicle*. I think this chocolate pudding ice cream would make great gourmet popsicles. I think I'll have to start investigating popsicle making methods, molds, and flavors. Any suggestions?

 If Utah's going to be number one at something, ice cream 
consumption isn't bad, especially with a flavor like this.

*If you haven't tried a Longboard, I highly recommend you do. In my area of the country, they can be purchased at Maceys and Costco.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Oatmeal Butterscotch Muffins

When it comes to Independence Day celebrations, Provo really goes all out. It's been a few years since we've been to the parade, but when the high temperature was only supposed to be in the mid-eighties, we decided to go. We joined up with some friends for a potluck breakfast while waiting for the parade to begin.

We brought a favorite from our innkeeper days. If you read the chewy ginger cookies post, you know our three criteria for a great bed and breakfast recipe. For us, this muffin recipe was a winner.

  1. The recipe makes a lot—3 dozen, in fact. Plus, they freeze well.
  2. They're easy to make. In a B&B kitchen, you're often by yourself and multitasking. Easy recipes are essential.
  3. They taste great. Our guests loved these hearty muffins served warm. They're moist, and the melted butterscotch chips are a tasty surprise. And, with all that oatmeal, they must be healthy. Right?

Speaking of the bed and breakfast, one of the things Katie and I take pride in is that once we had a guest stay with us for a month. We served him a different gourmet breakfast each day never repeating a single recipe. Now that was no easy task.

So that means I've got quite a few breakfast recipes to share. Stay tuned, and I'll get busy. In the meantime, enjoy these muffins.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ginger Peach Ice Cream Sandwiches

Take one scoop of this.

Smash it between two of these cookies.

And what have you got?

Darn near the most incredible ice cream sandwiches* ever, and I ain't lyin'.

*After assembly, wrap in plastic wrap and store in the freezer. If you can be patient, they're even better a day or two later.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

German Bee Sting Cake (Bienenstich)


Germany lost to Spain in the semifinals of the World Cup.

I refused to listen to Paul the Octopus.

I'm bummed.

I made a cake to celebrate after what I was sure to be a German win. The cake is called Bienenstich, which translates as bee sting cake. It was one of my absolute favorites to buy in the German pastry shops when I lived there. The cake is sort of a sweet bread with a vanilla custard filling topped with honeyed almonds. This recipe tastes just like what I remember.


There was no celebrating, and I'm here by myself eating an enormous piece.

It helps.

Just like I told the Argentine fans, "There's always next time." But, four years is so far away.

I think I'll have seconds.

 In honor of the German side...

I probably shouldn't admit this, but I like to pick off the 
candied almonds first, lick out the custard center, and then
eat the cake.

Argentine Empanadas

On July 3, we were a house divided. Germany was playing against Argentina in the World Cup.

The World Cup may not be that big of a deal in the rest of the US, but it most certainly is in our home. Katie, Chloe and Tomas wanted Argentina to win while Liam and I were cheering for Germany.

To mark the occasion, Katie made Argentine empanadas. These amazing filled pastries are so addicting, I had to share the recipe. I'm sure I downed a half dozen easily. Katie got the recipe from her parents, who lived in Argentina. Katie has then continued to fine tune and perfect it. Katie's empanadas would do Diego Maradona and the Argentine soccer team proud.

Too bad it didn't help them win. In fact, Germany trounced all over Argentina, 4-0.

Oh well. There's always next time, right? If you're bummed about Argentina, try one of these empanadas. Not a bad consolation, and they'll cheer you up in a jiffy.

By the way, you may be wondering if I did anything special for the game. Well, to bring the German team good luck, I ate a German chocolate bar. I'm always more than happy to do my part. However, stay tuned. I think I will make some sort of German culinary creation for when Germany plays Spain in the semis.

Lookin' mighty "caliente".

Look at Katie's fine crimping work. You can use a fork if 
you'd like.

I wonder how "nom, nom, nom" translates into Spanish.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Peach Ice Cream

It's summertime, and several food blogs I follow have been posting ice cream recipes. I thought I'd get my ice cream maker out and throw our family's favorite recipe into the ring—peach ice cream.

To tell the truth, I'm very surprised that this is our favorite because no chocolate is involved—quite a departure for us. This ice cream is great with canned peaches, but tastes oh so fine with fresh.

I have a 1 ½ quart Cuisinart ice cream maker. For the price, it's a fantastic little ice cream maker, and makes the process very easy. If you have this type of ice cream maker where you freeze the bowl, make sure the bowl is frozen solid. I had to lower my freezer's temperature a bit. It also helps to chill the ice cream mixture before adding it into the machine.

This recipe is not just limited to peaches. Basically, any pureed fruit can be used.

Ice Cream! Ice Cream! We all scream for peach ice cream!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Chewy Ginger Cookies

Katie discovered this recipe back in our Bed & Breakfast days. Each afternoon, we set out cookies and other treats for afternoon tea. These cookies were always a favorite among our guests, and we loved the recipe because it fit the following criteria:
  1. The recipe makes a lot. We made a ton of cookies at the B&B. Now when we make these cookies, we have enough to share with friends and neighbors.
  2. They're so easy to make. My six year-old, Tomas, helps and especially loves the rolling in sugar part.
  3. They taste great. When Tomas has all of his neighborhood friends over begging for them, you know you have a winner.
And, one other thing I like is that they are chewy. I'm not a big fan of the traditional hard ginger snap.

Because of all the spices, fall is my favorite time of the year to eat these cookies. However, they really are a great year-round. Check back here in a day or two, and I will show you something you can do with these ginger cookies to turn them into a summer treat that is beyond amazing—truly mind blowing.

"Tomas, go get your friends. We've got cookies!"
Soft and chewy. I can never have just one. In fact, I'd be 
embarrassed to admit how many I've had in a single sitting. 
So, how about we don't go there.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Lemony Lemon Cake

Yes, I'm on a lemon kick. And, this cake is le-mon-y through and through!

I saw this cake a while back as I was flipping through TV channels. Martha Stewart and a guest were making it. Usually, I can only take Martha in extremely small doses, but her guest caught my attention when he mentioned lemon curd. At that point, I had never tried lemon curd and was curious, so I decided to watch the rest of the segment. The cake looked pretty amazing, and I mentally filed it away thinking I would make it someday.

Months later, I finally tried lemon curd, which I have renamed lemon spread. I love the stuff, and I thought it was now time to try this cake out. And, I owed a culinary creation to one of the student employees at work for winning a contest I was in charge of. I offered a fabulous homemade dessert as the grand prize.

As far as cakes go, this one did require some work, but it wasn't too difficult. However, judging by the oohs and aahs and overwhelmingly outstanding reviews, it was well worth the effort.

Looking at this photo, I think I finally need to invest in
a cake stand.

I was surprised how good those candied lemon slices were, too.

This is my boss enjoying every last crumb.
I think I'll make another cake around raise