Thursday, July 23, 2009

Very "Tasty" Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Recipe

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake I traveled all the way to Maryland from Texas and forgot to have one of my favorite treats, a Tasty Kake! On my plane flight home, I thought fondly of steamed crabs, corn on the cob, my mom's scalloped squash casserole, and my mother-in-law's triple chocolate ice box pie. It was then that I thought sadly about the fact that I had forgotten to stop at the local convenience store and pick up a pack of Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes. I couldn't believe it!

I had been living in Texas for about 6 months when I first noticed the void of Tasty Kakes at the grocery stores. They were forecasting snow in Maryland and one of my friend's posted that she needed to do a Tasty Kake run. If you're from Maryland, you know exactly what that means. . . the weather man predicts a significant amount of snow and all organized citizens head to their local grocery store to pick up some toilet paper, milk, and Tasty Kakes. I'm not sure of the origin of this snow preparation strategy, but I do know that many Marylanders participate in this ritual. In Texas, however, there is no snow and no Tasty Kakes.

After realizing my error, I knew my only solution was to make a batch of Very "Tasty" Peanut Butter Chocolate Cakes. Not exactly the same, but delicious none the less. This recipe was given to me by a co-worker of Church Hill Elementary School back in the old millennium. I still have a vivid memory of the day I arrived at my Pre-K classroom to find a hunk of this perfect confection sitting on my desk. As I was gobbling it down during my morning planning period, I began to have thoughts of deep snow drifts and cozy days home from school. My friend gladly shared the recipe and confirmed that it does resemble one of Tasty Kake's biggest sellers.

So if you're quite familiar with the Tasty Kake/snow storm phenomena or if you've never had the privilege of sampling this east coast delicacy, give this recipe a try. It's one 'tasty kake'! Also if anyone has a recipe for some 'Tasty' Butterscotch Krumpets my husband would be forever grateful.

Very "Tasty" Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Recipe

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/4 cups milk

2 1/2 Tablespoons butter

1 1/4 cup peanut butter

1 batch of milk or dark chocolate frosting (recipe follows)

  1. Beat eggs, vanilla, and sugar until very creamy.
  2. Add flour and baking powder. Mix only until combined.
  3. Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan or the microwave until butter melts. Add to the flour mixture.
  4. Mix only until combined. Batter will be think.
  5. Grease and flour a deep sided cookie sheet pan (half sheet pan) or line half sheet pan with a silpat liner. Pour in batter.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake.
  7. Remove cake from oven and immediately spread with peanut butter (an off-set spatula works great for this).
  8. Cool cake by setting pan in refrigerator. Cool thoroughly.
  9. Spread chocolate frosting on top of cooled cake.
  10. Cut in squares or circles and serve. Close eyes and imagine a Maryland snow day:)

Chocolate Frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

2/3 cup Hershey's cocoa

3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Melt butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Whisk in cocoa. Turn off heat.
  2. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating on medium speed to spreading consistency. Add more milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Scalloped Squash Recipe

Scalloped SquashAfter living in Texas for exactly one year, my husband, four kids, and I jetted back to our home state of Maryland. We missed our relatives, yearned for cooler temperatures, and couldn't wait to eat some good Easter Shore grub. My husband was looking forward to steamed crabs, my kids were anxiously awaiting corn on the cob, and I desired a hearty portion of Scalloped Squash Casserole. Now I realize that all of these items (with the exception of steamed crabs plucked directly from the Wye River) could be acquired in Texas, but things just taste better when gathered around a picnic table surrounded by family.

Not only is this recipe for Scalloped Squash simple to prepare and delicious along side any piece of grilled meat, it is also a great way to use up the inevitable plethora of yellow squash that all Maryland Eastern Shore gardens produce in July and August. While I was staying at my parent's house, my father harvested at least a half a dozen yellow squash every morning. We had grilled squash, steamed squash, sauteed squash, and, my personal favorite, Scalloped Squash. So if your garden or local road side farm stand is exploding with yellow squash, consider preparing a batch of Scalloped Squash.

Scalloped Squash Recipe

8 medium yellow squash
1 large onion
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup bread crumbs

  1. Thinly slice the squash. Steam the squash until just tender. Drain well.
  2. Finely dice the onion.
  3. Layer the squash and onion in a shallow buttered casserole with the shredded cheese.
  4. Combine and beat the milk, egg, salt, and pepper. Pour over the squash mixture.
  5. Dot the top of the casserole with butter and then sprinkle with bread crumbs.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until casserole bubbles around the edges and the topping is golden brown.
Linked to:  Sunday Scoop

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

People Puppy Chow Recipe

People Puppy Chow
People Puppy Chow is one of my answers to the snack question that arises frequently in my house. My kids are constantly hungry this summer and require copious amount of food between meals. There's the "When's-Dinner?-I'm-Starving Snack", the "It's-Adult-Swim-I-Need-Something-To-Eat Snack", and the "My-Friend-Just-Got-Here-And-He's-Hungry Snack". Now usually I have strict policies about grazing between meals but in addition to their snacks my kids are also sucking down all of their breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It seems between-meal nourishment is a necessity.

Now sometimes I provide veggies and dip, smoothies, apples and peanut butter, or chips and salsa for snack, but other times I get a wild burst of energy and invite the kids to help me create a treat. One of their favorite snacks to prepare, eat, and share with their friends is People Puppy Chow. I found this recipe when I was teaching a unit on pets in my Kindergarten class. It's gets its name because it looks like the puppy chow that has a milky white coating on each kibble. Kids love saying that they're eating People Puppy Chow just as much as they love making it and devouring it.

This recipe only has 4 ingredients: peanut butter, chocolate chips, Crispix cereal, and powdered sugar. It is exciting to make and provides immediate culinary satisfaction. Warning: adult assistance is required with the melting step. I now allow my older three children to stir over the stove (they're all over 7 years old), but I do hover fairly closely. For the younger set I focus their contribution to the recipe on dumping, shaking, and sampling. All the kids, including random neighbors, love the last part of this recipe the best. They get to shake their coated cereal in a large zip-lock with confectioners sugar until it is coated. Loud music is recommended for this step and dancing adds much more flavor.

Is there any mess? Well, yes, there can be some mess, but it's worth it. Hope you'll use People Puppy Chow as the answer to the question "What's for snack?" in your house.

People Puppy Chow

1 cup creamy peanutbutter
1-13 ounce bag chocolate chips
1 box Crispix cereal (12 ounce box)
1- 1 pound box of powdered sugar
  1. In a large heavy bottomed pot, melt peanut butter and chocolate chips. Stir until combined. Remove from heat.
  2. Add cereal. Stir gently until cereal is coated.
  3. Dump powdered sugar into one jumbo sized zip-lock back or divide between two gallon sized zip-lock bags. Add coated cereal mixture. Shake gently until all of the cereal is coated with powdered sugar.
  4. Serve to your favorite people quickly or risk eating the entire batch.
Warning: People Puppy Chow is Addictive