Rainy Tuesday Morning Musings

Fun baking today, I get to start on a batch of decorated sugar cookies for a Dr. Seuss birthday party on Friday.  I LOVE making decorated cookies.  Watching them go from butter, eggs, sugar and flour to these beautiful finished cookies gives me a sense of accomplishment.131dfa09-291b-40d1-9b7e-05acdac95992

But as I am digging through the jumble of cookie cutters looking for the ones I need, I remembered a poem I saw on a Multiple Sclerosis site.

A little back-story here…My husband of (almost) 26 years, has Multiple Sclerosis.  He was actually diagnosed 3 years ago, but when I think back, he had been showing symptoms for the last 10 years, I just  didn’t connect the dots.

Our journey, and I include myself in this because this disease truly impacts the entire family, has been particularly rough.  With Wade’s diagnosis, our life changed, subtly at first, but like shifting sands of a desert, the changes rolled in one after another; until the whole landscape of our lives has been forever altered.

This disease is insidious, it creeps into every corner and aspect of our lives.  It affects our day to day, but it also makes our future very hard to plan.

Wade is diagnosed with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS), which is, in a nutshell, the most severe form.  He is the strongest person I know, and it is his strength to fight even when he is exhausted that makes me determined to do all that I can to get the word out so we can defeat this MonSter.

From the National Multiple Sclerosis Society website,

http://www.nationalmssociety.org/What-is-MS/Types-of-MS/Primary-progressive-MS

PPMS is characterized by worsening neurologic function (accumulation of disability) from the onset of symptoms, without early relapses or remissions. PPMS can be further characterized at different points in time as either active (with an occasional relapse and/or evidence of new MRI activity) or not active, as well as with progression (evidence of disease worsening on an objective measure of change over time, with or without relapse or new MRI activity) or without progression. Approximately 15 percent of people with MS are diagnosed with PPMS.

From the National Multiple Sclerosis Society website, http://www.nationalmssociety.org Approximately 85 percent of people with MS are initially diagnosed with Relapsing/Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS). RRMS – the most common disease course – is characterized by clearly defined attacks of new or increasing neurologic symptoms. These attacks – also called relapses or exacerbations – are followed by periods of partial or complete recovery (remissions). During remissions, all symptoms may disappear, or some symptoms may continue and become permanent. However, there is no apparent progression of the disease during the periods of remission.

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So, on this rainy Tuesday morning, I will go back to creating Dr. Seuss cookies, but I hope maybe to raise a little awareness about MS.

 

Super Easy Dip for Super Bowl Parties

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Yuck Dip

Many, many moons ago, I lived in a tiny apartment with my 2 small girls, in a small Kansas town.  As happens when you have kids, you get to be friends with the other moms because…well, let’s face it, misery loves company; and who better to commiserate with a mom of 2 small kids than others in the same situation.  So, while listening for the tell tell sounds of mischief and refereeing squabbles between toddlers, us moms discussed every possible topic, more often than not it involved food.

One of these moms was Deb and she introduced me to “yuck” dip.  Yep, that’s what it is called; and very appropriately named because it looks, well, yucky.  But don’t let the name or appearance fool you, this dip is super yummy and almost too easy.

Now I don’t use many “pre-made” products when I bake.  My tag line is actually “No Boxes, No Mixes, No Tubs”.  But when something that is tasty and easy, I can get behind using jarred salsa.

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That’s right, your eyes do not decide you.  This amazingly tasty dip is only 5 ingredients (most of which individually I won’t eat).

You will need:

1 jar of chunky salsa (if you prefer to make salsa from scratch, that is wonderful and you are my hero)

1 small can of chopped ripe olives

Lime juice (fresh or bottled doesn’t matter)

Garlic powder (I actually had to buy some because it is not something I will use in any other recipe)

And 5-6 scallions, chopped up.

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That’s it.  Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir.  You can adjust the heat with a hot salsa or even put chopped jalapeño if you want, but I am a real wimp when it comes to spice, so mild for me.

A bag if restaurant style corn chips and you are ready for the game (Go Pats).

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Orange Fudge Cake

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I am a New England Patriots Fan!!!  Not just a fan, but a FAN.  So it is fitting that my first official blog post is the recipe for the New England Patriots cake I made for our small Super Bowl party tomorrow.

But I digress…This is really about the cake; the dark chocolate fudge cake with just the essence of orange.  Chocolate and orange are such an amazing combination that I didn’t even know I enjoyed until number 1 daughter introduced me to those wonderful chocolate oranges that you smack on the counter.  One velvety chocolate orange section and I was hooked.

img_3184I started making a (pretty good) orange fudge cake shortly after.  People liked it, it was good.  It just wasn’t OMG good.  So I kept tweaking recipes and trying different things until I got it perfect.

 

This recipe is it…the perfectly dark chocolate cake with enough orange to compliment the chocolate, but not be overpowered by the dark chocolate.  This cake has a tender crumb that is sturdy enough to use in a tiered cake.

As with any recipe, quality ingredients are essential.  I know, I know that’s what everyone says about their recipes, “Mine is so much better because I only use the best ingredient” : )

Well, this is true.  This recipe, unlike many chocolate cake recipes, used melted butter instead of oil.  For many years, I was a firm believer that in order to get a moist chocolate cake, you had to use oil.  The biggest problem with oil based cakes, is that they are a bit fragile in my opinion.  I have had too many cakes crumble under the weight of a good buttercream, not to mention having to tell brides that chocolate cakes were a no go for fondant covered cakes.  That is not fun!!

The next tricky ingredient in this cake is the cocoa powder.  There is a lot of confusion over Dutch processed cocoa powder vs natural.  Here is a great post written by Sally’s Baking Addiction that explains it wonderfully.    Take a minute to read it, it is worth it.

http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2015/08/26/baking-basics-dutch-process-natural-cocoa-powder/

In this recipe I use natural cocoa powder, Hershey’s to be precise.  I have also used Ghirardelli and to my taste, both are great.

So, through trial and (a lot of) error, I now have my go to chocolate cake base.

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The next piece of advise I can give you is invest in a kitchen scale.  The old saying “Cooking is an art, Baking is a science” is 100% true.  To get perfect results you need to have precise amounts of ingredients; and scaling them is the most precise method.  BUY A SCALE, IT IS WORTH IT.

Okay, rant over.  (But seriously, get a scale.)  Back to our recipe.  Once you have scaled out your ingredients it’s time to get mixing.

Start with our eggs and melted butter in the bowl of your stand mixer.  Make sure your butter is not too hot, we don’t want scrambled eggs.  Using the whisk attachment, whip on medium (#5 on Kitchen Aid mixer) for about 3 minutes to aerate the mixture.

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Add in sugar and whisk another 3 minutes.  Next mix in buttermilk and dry ingredients.  Scrape down the sides on bottom of the mixer bowl and mix for another minute.  Slowly pour in the hot coffee and whisk to combine, scraping the bowl to fully incorporate.  Ignore the chocolate on the mixer head, I simply cannot work with cocoa powder without getting it everywhere.

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This recipe will make a 9″ 3 layer cake.  Now I absolutely detest torting cakes, I can never get them level, so I bake 3 separate layers.  Voila, 3 beautiful cake layers and I don’t have a pile of cake crumbles and horribly thin cake layers.

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Give these babies 23-27 minutes in a 350 oven, cool on a wire rack, fill, frost and decorate any way you like.

For this cake, I used a vanilla bean buttercream.  But it is amazeballs with an orange scented Swiss Meringue buttercream.

I hope you enjoy this inKredible orange fudge cake.


inKredible Orange Fudge Cake

Makes a 9″ 3 layer cake

Ingredients:

  • 382 grams pastry flour
  • 180 grams natural cocoa powder
  • 6 grams baking powder
  • 6 grams baking soda
  • 3 grams kosher salt
  • 225 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 eggs and 1 egg yolk
  • 360 ml buttermilk, room temp
  • 10 ml vanilla bean paste
  • 675 grams granulated sugar
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 360 ml brewed hot coffee

Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Line 3 nine inch cake pans with parchment circles and spray with baking spray.
  2. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder into a bowl, set aside.
  3. In bowl of stand mixer combine eggs and melted butter.  Using whisk attachment, whisk on medium speed (5 on kitchen aid) for 3 minutes.
  4. Add in sugar and zest, whisk for another 3 minutes.
  5. Mix in buttermilk and dry ingredients.   Mix to combine, scraping down sides of mixer bowl as needed.
  6. Slowly pour in hot coffee and mix to fully combine.  Scrape sides of bowl and mix until batter has a smooth consistency.
  7. Pour 760 grams of batter into each prepared pan.
  8. Bake 22-27 minutes until tester comes out clean.
  9. Remove to rack to cool.  After about 15 minutes, remove cakes from pan to cooling each.
  10. Once fully cool, fill and decorate.
  11. Enjoy

 

 

Welcome to my inKredibly Edible Life

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Hello, and welcome to my stepping stone.

I am Kelley; I am a wife, a mother, an avid baker and, as of 2 weeks ago, A failed business owner. 

In March 2015, after years of baking for friends and family, and having a small amount of success with a cottage bakery, I decided to stop pussy footing around and actually open a brick and mortar bakery.   With a successful crowdfunding campaign and a new business partner, Lavender Box Bakery in Sparks NV was launched on August 6, 2015.

We had a fairly good run;  I got to do what I love–bake every day.  But, as with many first time businesses, the run was just too short, and we closed our doors on January 21, 2017.

So, I decided to go back to my roots.

inKredible edibleS is actually the root of Lavender Box Bakery that grew from the seeds planted and nurtured in me by my mother and grandmothers, three women whose home revolved around the kitchen and food.  Every occasion and gathering was a feast for both the senses and the soul.

So, I am in the process of strengthening my life, by strengthening my roots.

Living  an inKredibly Edible Live will focus on my food roots; sharing recipes, stories and the love of home, food and family that brought me to this inKredible life.

Welcome to the journey.