Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lemon~Ginger Chip Bars

This week, it's just Maddie & Me.  We both miss Ari, although when I said I was going to bake this morning, Maddie announced, "I don't have to share, right, Mimi?"  They both love to bake and that makes me happy because it's my passion.  I have such great memories of baking with my Mom and her letting me discover how much fun it is...never a chore, and they're discovering that too. 

I couldn't quite decide what I was going to bake until I remember a new product I had bought from King Arthur Flour a while back--Lemon Juice Powder.  It provides a really nice boost of lemon flavor to cookies, cakes, icings, sauces and glazes--perfect for this bar.  Maddie seemed open to my experimenting with it as well as adding Lemon Chips and Ginger Chips.

Lemon ~Ginger Chip Bars
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. Lemon Juice Powder
2 3/4 cup King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/3 cup Mini Ginger Chips
3/4 cup Lemon Chips

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  Spray a 9" x 13" baking pan (I used my spring-form pan) with a non-stick baking spray.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars thoroughly.  
Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition.  Add the vanilla and lemon and mix on medium for 1 minute.  Scrape down the sides once again.  
Add the dry ingredients and mix on low to combine, then on medium for 1 minute.  Stir in the lemon and ginger chips.  Spoon cookie batter into the prepared pan.  Spread to smooth.
Always let your assistant lick the utensils to test the batter--YUM!
Bake in the preheated oven about 18 minutes or until golden brown and firm to touch.
Let cool 10 minutes.  If you have a spring-form pan, remove the sides to cool thoroughly.  Mix up glaze.

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 T Light Karo Syrup
1/4 tsp. Lemon Juice Powder
2 T hot water

Blend all ingredients together and do your best "Jackson Pollack" to drizzle the glaze on top!
I asked Maddie if she wanted to try a bar and she said, "Mimi, can I have the center one?"
"Yes, you may!  Enjoy!!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake ala Ari & Maddie

We didn't get a chance to make cupcakes this week, but found some beautiful strawberries at the farmer's market that enticed us to think Strawberry Shortcake.  I wanted to make up a "shortcake" that was easy for them mix up, as well as, to eat.  This soft moist cake, baked in one of my specialty pans, was perfect for my budding chefs to provide a well for all the strawberries they piled on.
Strawberry Shortcake
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp. Vanilla extract
2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  Spray muffin pan or mini Mary Jane pan with a baking spray.

In a stand mixer, using a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar thoroughly until fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl between adding the eggs.  Mix the vanilla into the milk.  Whisk together the dry ingredients and add to the bowl.  Add the sour cream and milk and beat on low until combined, then, raise the speed to medium and beat 1 minute more.

Scoop batter into the openings of the muffin pan or Mary Jane pan.  Bake for 18 minutes or a skewer comes out cleanly when poked in the middle and golden brown.  Let cool slightly and then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Maddie liked using my strawberry corer to prepare the berries.  Place in a bowl and sprinkle with about a 1/3 cup of sugar; cover with plastic wrap and let the berries macerate.

To assemble, spoon the berries into the "well" and top with whip cream (heavy cream whipped, then 3 T confectioners' sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla extract).
The kids gave it a "V" for Victory--great teamwork!

Afterwards, Ari had to take a rest...
Maddie and I cleaned up:-) Enjoy!

Friday, July 27, 2012


The grands are barely up and they hit their craft table--did you think pipe cleaners could bring so much creativity.  They played with these for almost an hour before breakfast.

Rule #1 at Mimi's--you mess up, you clean up!!  Kids love helping, especially if you make it fun.

Ari disappeared downstairs with PopPop to watch his Iron Man movie, but Maddie wanted to help me make up some Quick Puff Pastry to wrap their veggie dogs in for lunch!

Wednesday was a sad day (especially for Me)--my beloved cat, Bailey passed away.  It's been good to have the kids here to distract me, but he's so very missed--a piece of my heart is gone.
Bailey Irish Dream--11-05-95~07-25-12
Yesterday, we went to the Woodland Park Zoo in Ballard.  The kids had a great time seeing the animals; Ari especially liked the Grizzly Bear and the display of his actual paw print, skull, and a patch of fur.  He could have asked questions all afternoon of the ZooAides about them!  Good thing there was some rocks to climb on to entice him away so other kids could see the display:-D

Lunch time on a bench overlooking the great lawn.  It was a hot day and Maddie enjoys her watermelon while Ari (who had devoured his lunch) took a break on another bench.

The kids fell asleep in the car on the ride home and we laughed that some 60+ year olds outlasted them for a change!!
After dinner, I promised to do some shaved ice to make SnoCones.  They chose blue raspberry and cherry (Spider~Man colors) and enjoyed a cooling off dessert to the end of a perfect day.

This morning we started the day with pancakes and wondering what we'll do today!  It's overcast and we're not likely to see the sun, but that doesn't stop us...this is Seattle, after all!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Camp Mimi ~ Where Imagination Grows!

Camp has begun, but I never figured that at the end of the day, I'd be too tired to post about it.  Here, Ari (aka Spider~Man) is showing Maddie how to "spin a web".  Yesterday, we ventured in to Seattle to see the Space Needle Science and Children's Museum, but didn't get to the Science; King Tut's Tomb is in town and the line was too long for two 4 year olds to wait:-(

We've done baking, but mostly it's recipes I've done before that are their favorites.  Tomorrow is definitely a cupcake day and homemade ice cream.  However, today, was a bit more laid back after the big day yesterday so they relaxed in the pool.
Ari was so cute and when Maddie came out in her bathing suit, he said to me, "she's beautiful."  Pretty nice guy.  Maddie looks up to Ari and wants to do anything he's doing; they keep me on my toes, but we're all loving it.

I promise tomorrow I will get better at posting and make time, but here's a glimpse...I haven't been kidnapped, just busy!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Just Blueberry Cookies

Tomorrow, our grandson, Ari is the first to arrive for Camp Mimi (Maddie on Friday!)  With this in mind, I decided to create a cookie that I know he will love to have for a snack--Just Blueberry, after his plane trip.

He's definitely our "blueberry boy" and has been from the time he could eat solid food.  I remember our morning trips for breakfast to our favorite place in Lexington--The Coffee Pub, with his mama and me.  The first thing he wanted was a Blueberry Smoothie...everytime!  It's no wonder the first color that he recognized was Blue, which is still a favorite, but I kind of think Red has replaced it (because of his favorite superhero, Spider~Man!)

Just Blueberry Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup + 2 T granulated sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp. Vanilla extract
2 3/4 cup King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
2 cups dried blueberries

Preheat oven 350F-degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat and set aside.

Measure the dried blueberries in a 2-cup measure and cover with boiling water.  Let set for about 5 minutes and then drain thoroughly.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and add to the batter. Mix just until incorporated.   Lastly, stir in the blueberries.

Use a 1/4-cup scoop to measure out the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, about 2-inches apart.
 Bake in the preheated oven for 12 minutes, or until golden brown.
 Let rest on the sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.  These cookies will be great with milk or an ice cold glass of lemonade.  I know Ari is going to love them; how could he not.  Enjoy!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Raspberry~Lemon Snack Cake

Inspiration just abounds when summer comes and all the beautiful fruit is available at the farmer's markets. 

I bought some raspberries, not necessarily knowing what I'd make with them until I got an email from King Arthur Flour with a recipe for "microwaveable" Lemon Curd!!  Oh yeah...you heard me.  Can you believe it?  I have to say I was a little skeptical too until I made some up last evening and then the light bulb went on what I'd make with the raspberries:-D

Lemon and raspberries are just a perfect combination and the curd in the batter, well, even I was surprised how wonderful it turned out!
Isn't it just scrumptious looking.  If you're a lemon-person, like myself (my mother and my sister, Barbara) then this is for you and it's so easy that you will never hesitate again to make up a batch.  It's great on scones or biscuits, use it as a filling for cupcakes or a lemon-poppy seed muffin, or sandwiched between meringue shells or shortbread cookies.  Here is the link for Microwaveable Lemon Curd.  I do suggest making it up several hours (or even the night before as I did) so it thickens properly.

Raspberry~Lemon Snack Cake
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup + 3T granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup Lemon Curd (homemade or store bought)
1/4 cup sour cream
2 1/2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 cup milk
3 to 4 cups fresh raspberries

Confectioners' sugar to dust the top

Preheat oven to 325F-degrees.  Brush a 9" x 13" baking pan (I use my springform pan) with melted butter and set aside.

Wash and pick over the fresh raspberries.  I like to dry them "stem-side" down on double paper toweling to make sure all water is removed.
In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar thoroughly.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as need.
Add the vanilla, lemon curd and sour cream and mix to combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and then, alternate between adding the dry ingredients and the milk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.

Spread half of the batter into the bottom of the baking dish.  Arrange half of the raspberries (1 1/2  to 2 cups) on top.

Repeat, spreading the rest of the batter, gently over this layer and top with the remaining raspberries.

 Bake in preheated oven 40 to 45 minutes.  If the sides look like their darkening too fast, cut a sheet of aluminum foil in half and "tent" the sides.
The cake is done when a wooden skewer (or cake test) inserted in the center comes out cleanly and the cake is a golden brown.
Allow to cool in the pan about 1 hour before serving.  After about 30 minutes, I removed the "sides" of the pan so it would cool a little quicker (the kitchen smelled so good and I couldn't wait any longer to try a piece!)
Lastly, once cool, I dusted the top of the cake generously with confectioners' sugar before cutting it into squares.
What I like about this cake is that it turned out moist and yet held up to being picked up and eaten...hence the "Snack Cake" name.  Enjoy!