Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Let's Make Healthy Dog Treats!

Photo: Puppy treat day     Photo: Puppy treat day

I wanted to set myself apart from being just any ordinary job applicant. So after interviewing with a very nice woman from dental manufacturing company, I decided to send her treats. While putting away clean dishes and deciding what to make, I ran across a gift that has been sitting in my kitchen cupboard for years... A make your own doggie biscuit recipe book that included cookie cutters!

 Since both of my phone interviews involved side stories about how much we love our dogs, I decided this was a good idea to set myself apart from the rest of the competition.

I know it sounds a little crazy, many people have told me so. I don't care. It is who I am and it is what I do. I give gifts to people like flowers from my garden, homemade truffles, muffins, scones, cookies, you name it. I've probably given it.

So here is my recipe that I adapted from Jonna Anne's Healthy Doggie Biscuit recipe book.

Peanut Butter Goodies (for your dog)

3 C. Rice flour
1/2 C. Wheat flour
1/2 C. All purpose flour
1 1/2 C. Creamy Peanut Butter
1 1/2 C. Chicken broth
2 T. Canola Oil
1/4 C. Molasses

Mix together flours, peanut butter, chicken broth, canola oil and molasses in a stand mixer until blended adding additional water if necessary. Roll out between plastic wrap, cut out shapes and place onto sheet pans lined with parchment or use a silpat. Brush with heavy cream (optional).

Bake until sides of biscuits are golden @ 15 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.
 Store in a Tupperware container or freeze for up to 1 month. 

This recipe makes a lot depending on what size cookie cutter you use. I made 6 dozen using various sizes.

You can modify the recipe and use all rice flour if your puppy needs gluten free biscuits.
My dog Baxter loves them! You might be temped to try one for yourself. Your house will smell gloriously like a peanut butter cookie.
Maybe you will get the job of your dreams too by sending treats to your next job interviewer. At the very least, they will have a happy and healthy puppy.


Friday, February 1, 2013

Sharing my passion with others with Chocolate Cake!


I love to bake with others. It is much more fun to share an experience like this with someone you love. Emelia is my neighbor and soon to be related to me. Her grandfather Tom is marrying my mother in June. We are over the top with excitement and joy for the two of them and also so happy to see our families join. They are wonderful people. We are blessed.

I'm not the best cake decorator by any means. In fact, cake decorating is my least favorite activity because it requires patience, and precision which I have very little of. I know my baked goods taste amazing, but I have some work to do to refine my skills in the cake decorating department.

At the very least, Emelia got to try out her recipe for marshmallow flowers that she found from her American Girl Doll Magazine. I think she was pleased with the result.

My favorite recipe ever! You will love making this with friends and family of all ages.

The Best Chocolate Cake

                                                                              adapted from Tyler’s Ultimate and Tish Boyle

1 1/3 cups sugar, divided (1 Cup and 1/3 for egg whites)
3/4 cup freshly brewed coffee
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate (54or 62 percent) finely chopped
2/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 large eggs, separated plus 3 egg whites
1/3 cup cake flour sifted
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Chocolate Glaze, recipe follows


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and position rack in the center.

Pour 1/2 -inch water into a large roasting pan and place in oven. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch spring form pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper, cut to fit. Butter the paper. Wrap the outside of the pan tightly with a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil.

Put 1 cup of sugar and the coffee in a medium saucepan over a high heat. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Remove from the heat add the chocolate and return to low heat. Keep stirring over heat until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder and salt until smooth. Add vanilla. Whisk in the egg yolks until no trace of yolk is left. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Whisk the flour into the chocolate mixture.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the 6 egg whites with the cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/3 cup sugar and beat on high until peaks are almost stiff.

Stir about 1/4 of the egg whites into chocolate mixture (no need to fold at this point). Then gently fold in the remaining whites, 1/3 at a time, until no streaks of white remain. Pour into pan and smooth top. Bake in water bath for 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Place cake on wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Remove sides of pan and carefully invert cake onto cardboard cake round or flat plate. Chill for at least 2 hours before glazing. Can be chilled in freezer.

Remove the cake from the freezer, bring to room temp and place it on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Pour the chocolate glaze over the cake, covering it completely; spread evenly with a metal spatula. Serve the cake immediately or refrigerate. Bring the cake to room temperature before serving.

We used marshmallows and candies to make flower petals. Cut mini marshmallows with scissors and put into a zip lock bag w/ colored sprinkles in it. Shake. Place petals in a circle leaving a space for small candies in center. Place candies in center of flower. Marshmallow decoration idea found in an American Girl Doll Magazine.

Chocolate glaze:
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon Karo syrup


Heat cream in heavy bottom pot until almost boiling. Take off heat, add chopped chocolate, Karo Syrup and honey and stir until melted