Category Archives: Bites

Cakemix Fudge

CakemixFudgewSprinkles

 

So I’m semi-notorious for using box mixes as ingredients for things other than their original intention, and cake mix is no exception. I’ve used it in cookie baking, as a milkshake thickener, to make pancakes and baked puddings, the list goes on. Until I stumbled across Chocolatechocloateandmore.com’s fudge recipe, however, using it in candy making hadn’t occurred to me yet. I made the above pictured fudge using key lime cake mix and white chocolate candy melts, but as it’s me and I don’t do the microwave thing (I don’t even own one), I did need to tweak the recipe a smidge more. If you prefer using your microwave, follow the link here: http://chocolatechocolateandmore.com/2013/07/cake-batter-fudge/

Below is the stove top recipe.

Either way, be sure to check out some of the other yummy recipes Joan has on her delicious site!

You Will Need:

16 wz cake mix of choice (about 2/3 – 3/4 of a standard box mix here in the US)

16 wz confectioner’s sugar

4 wz butter

2 fz whole milk

4 wz white chocolate chips (or any flavor compatible with your cake mix)

2 wz sprinkles (or other add-in)

Heavy bottomed saucepot large enough to hold all ingredients with a knuckle or 2 to spare, but not too much bigger – too much surface area will scorch the fudge

Parchment or foil lined 8X8 baking dish

 

Instructions:

Combine butter, milk, and chocolate in saucepot over low heat, stirring gently, but often.

Once chocolate and butter have melted and combined well with the milk, stir in cake mix and powdered sugar.

Increase heat to medium low setting, and cook mixture for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and fold in half of your add-in. You want them mixed in, but you don’t want the colors to run, so fold gently and quickly.

Pour into the prepared 8X8 dish and evenly cover with remaining add-ins.

Chill for 2 hours or until well set.

Score into cubes before pulling liner and fudge out of dish.

Finish cutting into cubes, placing them in parchment paper lined shirt box, making sure they don’t touch.

Cover the box and let them cure overnight. Depending on the weather, you can leave them out on the counter in a nice dry spot, or you can put them back in the fridge. You can also skip this step entirely, but I found the ones that were given a good curing had a stronger flavor than the ones I sampled immediately.

 

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Disgustingly Easy Super Cheesy Better Than Store Bought Crackers

I first started making these when my daughter became addicted to a pricey store-bought cheese cracker. I couldn’t have afforded her ‘habit’ without this recipe. The best part, for me, is that they can be so easily adapted to accommodate food allergies, taste preferences, and seasonal influences. And yes, it’s another ratio recipe.

Ingredients:

3 Parts Your favorite firm cheese, shredded (Use really sharp cheddar if you want to replicate They Who Must Not Be Named’s crackers.)

1 – 2 Part(s) Baking Mix (ambient humidity affects this recipe greatly)

Milk or water

Toppings to add just before baking, if desired

 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to (US) 350F (or your local equivalent).

Melt the cheese over medium/low heat on the stovetop, stirring constantly.

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Add a splash or two of milk to thin out the cheese. Keep stirring over the heat until it is like a thick potato soup.

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If you want to add dried herbs or veggie bits, now is the time to do so.

Turn off the stove, but keep the pot on the burner.

Add the baking mix a handful at a time, stirring each addition in before adding the next. When you find yourself chasing a big lump around the pot, it’s ready to be turned out onto a baking mix sprinkled flat surface for the next step.

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Roll out to 1/8 – 1/4″ thickness and cut into desired shapes. I like to use cookie cutters, but some people prefer to just slice the whole slab into squares or rectangles.

Use a fork to poke holes in the center of each cracker after transferring to ungreased baking sheets. Sprinkle with more cheese or crushed nuts at this point, if you want them to be topped.

Bake until golden brown (about 15-20 minutes, give or take).

Transfer to a cooling rack.

Enjoy!

Notes:

If the dough in the pot is really greasy and not coming together after you have added all of the baking mix, add milk (or water) a splash at a time until it comes together. Not more than 1/4 cup, though, or you’ll end up with really thin flat biscuit-like things, not crackers at all.

If fully cooled before being stored in an airtight container, these crackers have a shelf life of… Hmmm. I have no idea – they’re always gone within a week of baking. so they last at least a week. Probably longer, but I can’t say for sure.

Do NOT (I repeat DO NOT) microwave the cheese – the end result is not pretty. It’s not edible. It does make for fabulous home defense weaponry, if you can get the intruder to eat one.

Microwaved cheese makes these crackers way too hard. Not the ‘oh dear that’s a really crunchy cracker’ kind of too hard, but the ‘honey call the dentist I just broke three teeth’ variety.

And, as I found out this week, always make sure the oven is set to Bake, not Broil, or this happens:

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Baking Mix

I blame my sister Bonny for this one. She was on this ‘make-a-mix’ kick for a good couple of years before we figured out how to make our own baking mix without having to purchase industrial shelf-stable shortening that we couldn’t really afford. The only drawback to it is that you have to store it in an airtight container in the freezer. Not the fridge; and definitely not the cupboard. Use it the same way you use your favorite boxed baking mix, and enjoy the savings.

Super Basic (mix up a little bit as you need it) Recipe:

1 C Flour

1 1/2 tsp Baking powder

1/4 tsp Salt

1 TBSP Room temperature stable fat/oil:  this can be shortening, lard, butter, coconut oil, or chilled olive or grapeseed oil, or even rendered fat*

Instructions:

Combine everything in the blender or food processor (or you can whisk it by hand, but that takes a very long time and a rather strong arm). Process until the fat is completely absorbed and the whole mix is a powder. Store up to 6 months in an airtight container in the freezer. I label my stuff with the date to toss so I can keep track.

Big Batch (keep it in the freezer) Recipe:

6 C Flour

3 T Baking powder

1 tsp Salt

1/3 C Room temperature stable fat/oil

Notes:

The ratios do change as you increase the overall volume. Slightly less salt is required as you get larger amounts, while the fat content goes up a smidge. 

The other thing to keep track of is your fat/oil. Some things go rancid faster than others, while some things have stronger or softer flavors than others.

Coconut oil has a strong scent, but almost no flavor. It is also still solid at room temperature and doesn’t go rancid very fast (one of the reasons you find it in so many products).

*Rendered fat – the fat or grease that is left in the pan after dry-cooking any meat such as pork, lamb,  or duck. Bacon grease blends in to the baking mix beautifully, but will impart a very salty bacon flavor on milder recipes. My favorite coffeecake recipe came out too salty, for example. But my biscuits and gravy turned out great!

For a gluten free mix, use equal parts brown rice, tapioca, and oat flours in place of the regular flour.

For vegans, I advise the use of Dr. Bronner’s coconut oil for multiple reasons, not least of which is that it is organic and coconut oil has more nutritional value than the other non-meat options.

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Spiced Fruit Salad

When the weather is warm, I like to have a big batch fruit salad in the fridge so I can have a nice cold healthy snack in the heat of the day.

In the cold months, I love to serve this warm over coffee cake fresh out of the oven, but there are plenty of other ways to enjoy it as well. A few are listed after the recipe.

Ingredients:

6 large firm pears, peeled and quartered

6 large firm apples, peeled, quartered, and the quarters cut in half again

6 yellow peaches, pitted, peeled, and quartered

1 # (453.5 g) tart cherries, pitted, sliced in half

8 wz (227 g) granulated sugar (unwashed or raw is best, but white sugar is ok too)

2 wz (56.5 g) Spice Traders Pirate Chai loose tea in a linen or cheesecloth pouch (sachet)

1 large lidded pot deep enough to hold everything listed above, plus enough water to cover it all with an extra 2 inches (5 cm) to spare

8 wz seedless grapes  (doesn’t matter what type, just that they have no seeds – found out the hard way that grape seeds will make this bitter)

Instructions:

Gather your ingredients.

Use kitchen twine or cotton string to attach the tea pouch to the handle of your pot so that it hangs roughly halfway up from the bottom, or let it float free. Either way works fine, but tying it to the handle makes sure it doesn’t sink to the bottom and scorch.

Put everything but the grapes into the pot, put the lid on, and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the peaches are fairly easy to poke with a fork, but not smooshy (this is called ‘fork-tender’).

Remove pot from heat and immediately strain liquid into a bowl, keeping fruit in the pot, and the tea pouch in the liquid. If you tied the pouch to the pot, this is the time to cut it free.

If you plan to eat it now, put the cooked fruit and fresh grapes into a storage container and cover with just enough of the liquid to keep it from drying out, let it cool, then store it in the fridge. It should last a week, but don’t quote me on that, as I usually make this during canning season, and what little goes in the fridge gets eaten quickly.

If you are a canner, fill each jar 3/4 of the way with cooked fruit, add grapes to your fill mark, then add the liquid to cover. Remove bubbles and top off as needed, and proceed as usual, depending on the process you use.

Notes:

The Pirate Chai can be found at http://www.spicetradersteas.com/store/home/42-pirate-chai.html and is the key to this recipe’s success.

Any remaining liquid can be frozen and used at a later date to poach fruit for tarts, pies, or candy-making. Oatmeal cooked in it tastes pretty darn good, too.

Properly canned fruit should last a year when correctly stored.

I promise to take and post pictures the next time I make this.

Some of the ways I’ve enjoyed this salad:

Straight out of the jar.

Strained onto a bed of lettuce, sprinkled with dried cranberries and toasted nuts, garnished with bite-size shortbread cookies.

“Dump Cake” Combine a large jar of fruit with a boxed cake mix and 2 wz (56 g) melted butter, then bake according to the directions on the box.

Strained, tossed with powdered (confectioners’) sugar, then baked in pie dough to make pocket pies.

Pureed and used  as a sauce over ice cream.

Mixed into muffin batter.

Cooked into waffles.

Poured over boneless skinless chicken breasts, then roasted. The chicken comes out so moist and tender!

Use your imagination – let your tastebuds run wild! Then, please, share your successes with us!

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Hoe Cakes

For the Celiac in your life, traditional Hoe Cakes are an easy ‘unbread’ to make. They can make a tasty alternative to pancakes when drizzled with honey or syrup. Or serve them plain with soup, chili, or sausage gravy for a change from crackers, bread, or biscuits.
  
Ingredients:
16 wz (453.5 g) Yellow Cornmeal (glutenfree, of course!)
1 pinch Salt
16 fz (473 mL) Boiling Water
2 wz (256.5 g) salad oil
Enough high heat cooking oil to fill the pan to frying depth (I prefer a 50/50 blend of peanut and sunflower oils, but you can use any mild-flavored cooking oil)
  
Instructions:
Gather your ingredients.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F (94 degrees C).
Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium heat (or flame). Oil is ready when water droplets flicked over it ‘dance’ across the surface and evaporate.
Combine the first two ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Stir in the boiling water. Mix until well combined.
Cover and let rest for 3-5 minutes, or until cool enough to shape without burning your hands.
Coat your hands with salad oil. Shape cornmeal mixture into palm-sized patties and use a spatula to gently slide into hot oil.
Fry until golden brown on both sides, trying to flip them only once.
Drain over pan before placing on a warm plate or platter in the oven to keep warm until you are ready to serve them. 

VARIATIONS (This basic recipe can easily be modified to be sweet or savory, depending on your preference):

Add your favorite grated cheese to make ‘Cheesy Hoes’

Swap 1/4 of the boiling water with honey to make ‘Hot Sticky Hoes’

Add minced parsley or spinach, plus chopped Prosciutto to make ‘Green Hoes with Ham’

Add minced garlic to make ‘Stinky Hoes’

Use blue cornmeal flour instead of yellow for ‘Blue Suede Hoes’

As you can see, my family has fun with both the variations and the names we give them, but why bother to play with your food if it isn’t any fun?

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