Thursday, May 22, 2014

Lavender Lemonade Cocktail

Hello faithful readers and those who have stumbled across my site by chance! Let's lift a glass together and help me celebrate my next journey in life: after seven years at a desk job, I'm off to pursue singing opera! I'm finally taking that next step and throwing myself out there. But first I'll be doing some travelling. Yay!
So look forward to blogs from abroad and blogs from Pittsburgh this summer. They might be sporadic, but they should be interesting!
Lavender Lemonade Cocktail (my own recipe)
Bring 2 cups of water to a simmer and stir in 2 Tablespoons of honey. When honey is mixed into the water, turn off the burner. Add 2+ Tablespoons of lavender and steep for at least 15 minutes (longer for a stronger lavender flavor.) Strain the lavender through a fine mesh and pour the liquid into pre-made lemonade (1/2 gallon or less.) Stir in and cool in refrigerator. Add Jack Daniels or some vodka to the drink or enjoy by itself.
Bake well and prosper!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Soft Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yesterday morning I felt like I was on a different planet while at the local chain grocery store. No one knew what I meant when I asked where the malted milk was. I even had a lady comment, "You're not from here, are you?"
Malted milk! It's not that exotic. I had to explain how it's the powder they use in an ice cream malt and also that it can be found in the middle of malted milk balls (like Whoopers.) Unfortunately, that grocery store didn't carry it. Thankfully, a store near where I sing did carry malted milk.
I am SO thankful that it did carry it. These cookies are amazing! They are so soft, so chock full of chocolate chips, and contain a hint of the malt flavor. If you're looking for a different way to make chocolate chip cookies, look no further!
Soft Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe found at Cookies and Cups (great insider tips and step by step info)
Bake well and prosper!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Matcha Tea Cakes

No. You aren't seeing things. That IS green. It comes from matcha powder which is finely ground green tea. (So it's full of antioxidants and caffeine!)
I've recently been enjoying drinking matcha in Organic Avenue's Matcha Chia Glo. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I went to a paint your own pottery place and painted this:
Yes. Thank you. I'm very proud with how it turned out. To me it seemed to beg for some type of green dessert and I automatically thought about green tea.
I decided to top this cake in two different ways. First I made a light matcha frosting.
It wasn't green enough for me so I decided to sprinkle the powder on top of the cakes.
Definitely green enough! Almost Wicked Witch of the West green. :)
I brought these into work to share with coworkers. When I saw we had some sliced almonds in the office, I added some "flare" to the glazed cake and quickly snapped a photo with my iPhone.
Both versions are great but I think I enjoy the frosted version a tiny bit better because it's sweeter. Either way, the mixture of almond milk with matcha makes for a yummy afternoon treat. So, what do you think? Would you consider baking with this green powder?
Matcha Tea Cakes (adapted from my Mom's Best Recipes Book)
Ingredients for Sponge Cake:
2 eggs
1 C sugar
1/2 C almond milk
1 T butter
1 C flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
2 teaspoons matcha powder

Ingredients for Frosting (if you decide to frost the cakes):
almond milk (at least 4 ounces)
powdered sugar (at least 2 cups)
matcha powder (at least 4 Tablespoons)
Or just dust matcha powder on top of cakes.

In a small saucepan, scald almond milk, turn off heat and add butter. In a mixer, beat eggs until light, add sugar and beat well. Sift in flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the matcha powder. Stir in almond milk mixture. Bake in greased pan (8x8 inches) for about 20 minutes at 325 degrees. Cool well. Cut in narrow bars.

Frost sides and bottom with frosting made by mixing a little bit of powdered sugar and a little bit of thin almond milk at a time.  Add slivered almonds (or even roll in slivered almonds) if desired and enjoy.
Bake well and prosper!