Oct 27, 2013

Let's Get Social Sunday! 10/27/2013

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 Welcome to Let's Get Social Sunday!

Let's Get Social Sunday will be on
 9 different blogs every week! That means maximum exposure for you :)


This party is for bloggers who wish to make new friends 
and gain new followers by linking up their social media sites.

Have you noticed our new feature, "Last But Not Least" blogger? ... That's right, you don't have to get to our party early to have a great time and meet other bloggers! This feature will be for whoever the last link-up is when the party closes on Wednesday night! As a bonus, we'll share your blog the following week - just to show you that being late doesn't mean you can't have fun! As an added bonus, we'll even link-up your blog and social media for you the week that you are featured! (Remember, this feature is for bloggers only and not businesses!)

Oct 20, 2013

Texas Sheet Cake


While Texas Sheet Cake may not have originated in Texas (no one seems to know for sure), it is definitely associated with our state. Why was it named after Texas? Some people say it's because it makes such a large cake. Some say it's so rich that you can eat only a small piece - meaning one cake will serve a Texas-size crowd. I figure it's due to the combination of chocolate and cinnamon- also known as Mexican chocolate- that gives a nod to our neighbors to the south and their influence on our cuisine.

Some folks refer to it as a sheet cake, and some as a sheath cake. Again, we don't really know why; perhaps it's that the words sound so much alike. Or, as Jillian Downer at ehow.com noted, the Texas Sheet Cake "is the little black dress of chocolate cakes".

The recipe for Texas Sheet Cake started showing up in the early 1960s. Everyone seems to have their own version of it, and they're all pretty similar. Here's my Mother's recipe that she's been making since I was a little girl:


Texas Sheet Cake
Printable Recipe

For the cake:
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup vegetable shortening (can substitute the same amount of additional butter)
1 cup water
4 tablespoons baking cocoa
2 and 1/8 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt 
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla (good Mexican vanilla, if you have it)

For the frosting:
1 stick unsalted butter
6 tablespoons milk
5 teaspoons baking cocoa
3 cups confectioner's sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla (again, Mexican, if you have it)
1 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a sheet cake pan, about 12" X 18" X 2", with cooking spray.
2. Place butter, shortening, water, and cocoa in a saucepan and heat just until butter and shortening are melted, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat.
3. In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Stir the cocoa mixture into the flour mixture until combined.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, soda and vanilla. Pour this into the flour mixture and stir until very smooth and well-combined. Batter will be somewhat thin.
5. Pour batter into greased pan. Place in oven and bake for 19 to 20 minutes.
6. While the cake bakes, prepare the frosting: In a large saucepan over medium heat, stir together the butter and milk until butter is melted. Whisk in the cocoa, confectioner's sugar, and cinnamon until smooth and begins to bubble. Take off heat and stir in vanilla and pecans. 
7. When the cake is done, remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Pour hot frosting evenly over hot cake. Let cool before cutting. Frosting will remain soft. 

Cook's notes: I sometimes halve this recipe and bake it in a 13 X 9 cake pan (as pictured, above). Don't halve the frosting, though- it won't be enough to cover the cake.




This post, Texas Sheet Cake, was written by me and originally published by Texas Women Bloggers.

Texas Sheet Cake may have been taken to some of these fun parties!




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Let's Get Social Sunday! 10/20/2013

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Welcome to Let's Get Social Sunday!

Just a reminder - Lets Get Social Sunday will be on 9 different blogs every week!  That means maximum exposure for you :) 

This party is for bloggers who wish to make new friends and gain new followers by sharing social media sites.


Have you noticed our new feature, "Last But Not Least" blogger? ... That's right, you don't have to get to our party early to have a great time and meet other bloggers! This feature will be for whoever the last link-up is when the party closes on Wednesday night! As a bonus, we'll share your blog the following week - just to show you that being late doesn't mean you can't have fun! As an added bonus, we'll even link-up your blog and social media for you the week that you are featured! (Remember, this feature is for bloggers only and not businesses!)


Please:)

(1) Follow your hosts and co-hosts in as many ways as possible. We are the first 9 link-ups in each category. 



Hosts









and meet our co-hosts this week:





and


Welcome! Glad You Are Here!


and

our "Last But Not Least"
Featured Blogger:






(2) Grab our button and share it on your blog

(3) Let us know if you followed in the comments, so we can return the follows!

(4) Find some new blogs to follow and let 'em know you found them from the Let's Get Social Sunday party.

Let's Get Social Sunday



Not a requirement, but we appreciate the love - If you enjoy this party, would you mind hitting the tweet button to help spread the word? Or share on your favorite social media! Thanks y'all :)



*Just a note - If you would like to co-host, we are accepting spots in the future for co-hosts. Please, email us at letsgetsocialsunday@gmail.com and we will send you the information on scheduling. :)


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Oct 16, 2013

Orange Cranberry Holiday Bread

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Orange Cranberry Holiday Bread has layers of sweet cranberry, pecan, and brown sugar filling woven throughout tender, orange-scented bread. Try it on a holiday morning or afternoon with a cozy cup of something warm.


Orange Cranberry Holiday Bread
Makes one loaf

Starter

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cool water
1/8 teaspoon instant yeast

Dough
2 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 and 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup soft unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk (reserve the white)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon orange flavoring
zest of one large orange

Filling
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar
5 tablespoons melted butter, slightly cooled 
sparkling sugar, for sprinkling top of loaf


1. To make the bread: Combine the starter ingredients, cover, and leave at room temperature overnight.
2. The next day, mix the starter with the dough ingredients (except the reserved egg white), kneading until elastic and satiny (about 5 minutes in a stand mixer). Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in the bowl, then turn the dough over so that the top is greased. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours (depends on how warm the room is).
3. When the dough is almost risen, prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, mix the cranberries, pecans, and brown sugar together. Drizzle with the melted butter and mix well. You will have a somewhat loose, wet, sandy texture. Set aside.
4. Punch the dough down, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into three equal pieces and flatten each piece into a rectangle about 4" by 12". If the dough is springy and difficult to flatten, get it as far as you can, let it rest for a couple of minutes, and then try again.
5. Sprinkle each rectangle of dough with a third of the filling, keeping it in a long strip down the middle of the dough. Starting with a long edge, fold each rectangle over in half, encasing the filling. Pinch to seal and lay seam side down.
6. You now have three, 12" long ropes of filled, sealed dough. Put the three ropes together, pinch the tops together, and braid. Tuck ends under.
7. Spray a 9" or 10" loaf pan with cooking spray. (An 8" X 4" loaf pan will be too small). Carefully transfer braid to pan. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours; it will depend on the temperature of the room. NOTE: You can let the braid rise on, and then bake on, a greased cookie sheet. It will be a little larger and flatter than if baked in a pan.
8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush top of risen braid with reserved egg white, then sprinkle with sparkling sugar.
9. Bake the braid for about 30 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool before cutting.





Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour.



Orange Cranberry Bread was baked for World Bread Day. Hundreds of bloggers from all around the world bake bread for this special day. It's a day to have fun and unite with other home bakers, but it’s also a day to honor our daily bread, to be grateful to have enough food, and to heighten awareness of world hunger. 

You can find out more about World Bread Day here:
World Bread Day 2013 - 8th edition! Bake loaf of bread on October 16 and blog about it!




Oct 13, 2013

Let's Get Social Sunday! 10/13/2013

Let's Get Social Sunday #41 ~ Biggest & BEST Social Media Link up !   #facebook #twitter #pinterest #blog #instagram #bloglovin #googleplus #sundaysocial #socialsunday via:withablast.blogspot.com
Welcome to Let's Get Social Sunday!

Just a reminder - Lets Get Social Sunday will be on 9 different blogs every week!  That means maximum exposure for you :) 

This party is for bloggers who wish to make new friends and gain new followers by sharing social media sites.


Have you noticed our new feature, "Last But Not Least" blogger? ... That's right, you don't have to get to our party early to have a great time and meet other bloggers! This feature will be for whoever the last link-up is when the party closes on Wednesday night! As a bonus, we'll share your blog the following week - just to show you that being late doesn't mean you can't have fun! As an added bonus, we'll even link-up your blog and social media for you the week that you are featured! (Remember, this feature is for bloggers only and not businesses!)

Please:)

(1) Follow your hosts and co-hosts in as many ways as possible. We are the first 9 link-ups in each category.


Hosts:
 
 

Oct 12, 2013

Caramel Popcorn Balls


My grandmother always made popcorn balls for Halloween. I never did get her recipe, but I knew it was one of those cooked ones that involved a candy thermometer. I was looking for something that might be a little easier than that. I had seen some recipes that were basically melted marshmallows and popcorn, made like rice krispie treats, but I wanted a different flavor than that; more of a caramel flavor. I did a little research and a couple of experiments, and came up with these.

Sweet and salty, gooey and chewy, this was the exact flavor I was looking for.





Caramel Popcorn Balls
Printable Recipe

Makes 14 popcorn balls (3")

2 and 5/8 cups confectioner's sugar

1 cup mini marshmallows
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons cool water
3/4 teaspoon salt
15 to 16 heaping cups of popped popcorn (scant 3/4 cup unpopped kernels); I used air popped.
Parchment paper

1. Place popped popcorn into a very large bowl (I used a clean dishpan). Try to make sure all the unpopped kernels are removed- no one wants to bite into one of those! Hold a heaping cup of popcorn back to have in reserve if needed. Set aside.


2. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the confectioner's sugar, marshmallows, corn syrup, butter, water, and salt. Heat and stir until mixture is smooth and comes to a boil. Remove from heat.


3. Carefully drizzle hot syrup over popcorn, stirring the popcorn while pouring. Mix well, making sure all the popcorn is evenly covered. If there seems to be an excess of syrup, stir in the extra cup of reserved popcorn. Grease hands with cooking spray. Working quickly before the mixture cools, shape the coated popcorn into balls. Set on parchment paper, without letting the popcorn balls touch, until completely cool. Wrap in plastic wrap or cellophane and store at room temperature. Best that day.

Notes: In one batch of the popcorn balls, I used light corn syrup instead of dark. You can see in the pictures that some are slightly darker than the others. The lighter ones tasted fine, we just preferred the more caramel-y taste that the dark syrup provided.





Happy Halloween!


You might also enjoy Dark Chocolate Chewies:




Adapted from allrecipes.com, and shared at these fun parties.




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Oct 6, 2013

Let's Get Social Sunday! 10/6/2013

Let's Get Social Sunday #41 ~ Biggest & BEST Social Media Link up !   #facebook #twitter #pinterest #blog #instagram #bloglovin #googleplus #sundaysocial #socialsunday via:withablast.blogspot.com
Welcome to Let's Get Social Sunday!

Just a reminder - Lets Get Social Sunday will be on 9 different blogs every week!  That means maximum exposure for you :) 

This party is for bloggers who wish to make new friends and gain new followers by sharing social media sites.


Have you noticed our new feature, "Last But Not Least" blogger? ... That's right, you don't have to get to our party early to have a great time and meet other bloggers! This feature will be for whoever the last link-up is when the party closes on Wednesday night! As a bonus, we'll share your blog the following week - just to show you that being late doesn't mean you can't have fun! As an added bonus, we'll even link-up your blog and social media for you the week that you are featured! (Remember, this feature is for bloggers only and not businesses!)

Please:)

(1) Follow your hosts and co-hosts in as many ways as possible. We are the first 9 link-ups in each category.


Hosts:




Oct 3, 2013

Dark Chocolate Chewies


I am excited to be baking with a baking group known as Fill The Cookie Jar. Every month we are assigned a different theme to follow, and this month's theme is Halloween!

These dark chocolate cookies will put a spell on you. They'll remind you a little of a brownie in cookie form- a nice, thin, crackly crust forms on the outside of a dark, chewy middle. Scary good! 

Dark Chocolate Chewies
Makes about 24

1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon dark chocolate unsweetened baking cocoa (sift before measuring)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside. In a small bowl, beat egg and vanilla together. Set aside.

Put brown sugar and butter in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping sides frequently, about 3 minutes. While mixer is running, gradually pour in granulated sugar, and beat well. On low, add cocoa and egg mixture, and beat until well combined. Gradually add flour mixture, and beat until well combined, scraping sides frequently.

Roll level tablespoons of dough into balls. Place balls on cookie sheets, about 1 and 1/2" apart. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes, turning pans half way through. Do not overcook- cookies will look puffed and may not look completely "done", but they will set up as they cool. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Let cool completely.




Dark Chocolate Chewies have been taken to some of these fun parties!