Rainy Day Oatmeal Raisin Cookies by L

"Mommy...Good!" Lil' T's delightful response after taking a big bite of her cookie.

“Mommy…Good!” Lil’ T’s delightful response after taking a big bite of her cookie.

Looking for something fun to do with your toddlers on a rainy day? How about some baking? We took advantage of one of our recent indoor days by whipping up a batch of our favorite oatmeal raisin cookies. This recipe comes from The New Laurel’s Kitchen cookbook. A sweet, yet, not too sweet, cookie that is loaded with tons of fiber. Therefore, I never feel too guilty when we indulge in this deliciously baked treat!

Here’s some scenes of my tots in baking mode:

Lil' P unwrapping the butter

Lil’ P unwrapping the butter

Lil' T adding the vanilla.

Lil’ T adding the vanilla.

Lil' P adding the raisins and mixing away.

Lil’ P adding the raisins and mixing away.

Lil' T dropping spoonfuls of batter.

Lil’ T dropping spoonfuls of batter.

Lil' T flattening the cookies out.

Lil’ T flattening the cookies out.

All set and ready for the oven!

All set and ready for the oven!

Oatmeal School Cookies adapted from The New Laurel’s Kitchen

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1 lightly beaten egg

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 cup toasted wheat germ (Prague friends- this can be found at DM or Bio shops in town)

3/4 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup raisins

Optional additions: Chocolate chips, chopped walnuts or toasted sunflower seeds

Preheat oven to 375F or 180C

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.

Add egg, vanilla, salt and beat well.

Stir flour, baking powder, wheat germ, and rolled oats together with a fork.

Blend well with other ingredients. If your mixture is too dry (I’ve never had this problem, but..) just add a tablespoon or more of water if necessary to hold it together.

Place by tablespoon on well-greased cookie sheet or one lined with parchment paper.

Flatten them slightly.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Enjoy!

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It’s two time… celebrate with Vanilla Bubble Cake! By The Prague Basket

They're 2!

They’re 2!

Liezel’s twin girls turned two years old in early August. They are lucky to spend their birthday with J’s family in Spain. But because we also like to celebrate with them, we always have a Prague birthday party when everyone returns from their summer holidays. This year, we stuck to our Kampa Park tradition and hosted their party at the community center. It was an afternoon of blowing bubbles, running around with friends and of course- presents and cake!

When the three of us began to plan the girls’ Prague party, we quickly began to toss out ideas for the decor, food and location. It had to be simple enough for adults and kids to enjoy, but classy enough for us three food-conscious bloggers! We settled on trays of cheese, cold cuts, cream cheese spreads and bagels as a “build your own bagel” bar. Complimented by Ninang Ali’s 7-layer dip (a party favorite) as well as a summer fruit salad and fresh-cut veggies, it was a good spread and people enjoyed themselves.

Bubble Cake!

Bubble Cake!

The biggest accomplishment of this party was creating TWO, double-layer cakes with a bubble effect. This was a challenge that we set to work on a few weeks before the party was to commence. Allison, being a gluten-free goddess began experimenting with gluten-free vanilla cake recipes. She created two cakes that were very tasty right out of the oven but didn’t hold their freshness overnight. It is our challenge to find a vanilla cake recipe that is gluten-free. So instead of creating the cakes, Allison made the “bubbles” for a polka dot cake using a cake pop mold.

Cake Pops!

Cake Pops!

test cake bakes out beautifully...

test cake bakes out beautifully…

Vanilla Cake Pops

250 grams of Mix C Gluten Free Schar Flour

250 grams of butter

250 grams of sugar

4 eggs

5-10 ml of vanilla extract

Add GF natural food coloring

Blend butter and sugar until creamy. Then add one egg at a time, leaving enough time between each for it to be fully mixed. Sift the flour and add it to the mixture. Fold it in with spatula and add the vanilla extract. Using an icing tube or the corner of a ziploc bag, fill the cake pop mold until it reaches the rim, cover. Preheat oven @200 degrees C and bake them for 14 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Take them out and leave them to cool, then trim sides.

We used a silicone cake pop mold like this one.

On the morning of the party, it was Ninang Nikki’s turn to bake like crazy! Starting early in the morning, I whipped up the vanilla cake batter using my basic, go-to vanilla cake recipe:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk

Cake batter directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×9 inch pan or line a muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Finally stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Pour or spoon batter into the prepared pan.
my magic mixer

my magic mixer

When it was time for the baking, I placed cake balls in to the bottom of the pan, evenly spaced. I poured half the batter over the cake balls and baked for 13 minutes. You then need to open the oven and using a spoon, push the cake balls down into the batter as they may have risen with the heat. Continue baking for 10 minutes and repeat this step. I had to cover my cakes for the last ten minutes so they did not get too dark. The cake is finished baking after 30-40 minutes or when the middle of the cake springs back to the touch or a knife stuck in the middle comes out clean.

Cake Pops in the pan!

Cake Pops in the pan!

Allison and I used spring form pans to bake this cake. They are easier to release the cake and using a little oil and flour or non-stick spray in the bottom of the pan, your cakes are less likely to stick to the bottom. I let them cool in the pan for ten minutes then ran a knife between the cake and the sides of the pan. After releasing the cake, I then put a plate on top of the cake and flipped it over in order to get the bottom of the pan off the cake. I used a plastic, non-stick icing knife and it worked well. I left each cake to cool on the plate until I was ready to transport them.

building the layers

building the layers

frosting the cake

frosting the cake

looking good

looking good

I built the cake at the community center. This way I didn’t risk the cakes toppling over. I started with the most solid layer on the bottom, spread frosting in the middle of the cake then placed the second layer on top. Frosting is a yummy glue! I continued to frost around the cake and finished with the top. I used my basic vanilla buttercream recipe:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions for frosting:

1. In a bowl combine butter, sugar and salt. Beat till blended.

2. Add the milk and vanilla and beat for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until smooth and creamy.

When we were ready, we used a print-out template of a number 2 and sprinkled around the cake… They were very cute!

add sprinkles

add sprinkles

we did it- twice!

we did it- twice!

This cake was a labor of love and completely worth the effort. There were many compliments on the frosting, questions about the cake assembly, and amazement and wonder at the “bubbles” baked into the middle of the cake. It was an accomplishment but one that all three of us TPB writers share as these cakes were a group effort. But nothing was as sweet as little “T” approaching the table and asking for a piece of her own birthday cake… our hearts all melted . It was in that one moment our “impossible” cake baking efforts were completely validated… with that sweet smile asking for a piece of cake!

Yummy!

Yummy!

Presents!

Presents!

T & P we LOVE you and wish you a 2nd year of life, full of love, laughter, discovery and time spent with your Prague family and friends.

GF Pickled Refrigerator Carrots by Allison

When you have a pickling partner-in-crime and a jamming go-to-girl, aka my friend M, lots of things can happen.  M’s oven was on the fritz, her CSA delivery came and the carrots were piling up. What’s a girl to do without an oven to roast the carrots, or a burner to make soup because a person can only eat so many raw carrots a week. So we start searching, we made curry carrots and canned them but thought the spices in this particular recipe sounded very interesting and possibly scrumptious. So we set about peeling LOTS of carrots, actually I started peeling carrots with my “professional” OXO veggie peeler which I brought back from the states one of my many journies. How much would you pay for a good kitchen tool that made your life so much easier?! Well let me tell you, I love my OXO tools in the kitchen.
IMG_1440

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We “spiced up” the empty jars by dividing up all the spices and we lined them all up, sliced the carrots (we speared most of the carrots but also tried slicing them into coins – p.s. I like the spears better!), poured the brine over the top, tightened the lid and waited patiently for 2 long days.

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Then, bing bang! You have refrigerator pickled carrots and yummy ones too! Spicy yes, a little addictive yes and you must try them and tell me what you think.

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GF Pickled Refrigerator Carrots by Allison

adapted from Food in Jars

Ingredients:

Brine:

3 cups filtered water

3 cups apple cider vinegar with at least 5% acidity

5 Tbsp sea salt

Spices to be placed in each large jar:

2 garlic cloves

1 crushed bay leaf

1/2 tsp. black peppercorns

4-5 cloves

3 allspice berries

2 cardamom pods

pinch of coriander seeds

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

peeled and speared carrots

Add spices to each jar, prepare carrots and bring the brine to a boil. While the brine is coming to a boil, stuff the carrot spears into the jars and when the brine is ready, pour over carrots while leaving 1/2 inch of headspace tighten lid and let it sit until the jar has cooled. Place in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. You can start to enjoy them after two full days. Enjoy! I know M and I sure did!