Well, it’ll taste good…

I made chocolate cake for our Mother’s Day dinner. (All the mothers did a little cooking, Steve is grilling.) As you know, I bake a lot and I’m not sure why, but this cake fought back.

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I made the cake layers yesterday. The recipe starts with melted, un-sweetened chocolate pieces. After that cools, you add it and the vanilla to the batter in the mixer. I added the vanilla to the lukewarm chocolate thinking that would make adding them to the batter easier. Not so much… the chocolate got stiff (I believe the term is ‘seized up’). I managed to blend it all and the batter looked normal so I put the cake in the overn. The layers didn’t rise as much as usual and the cake was a little crumbly but I figured that that would be OK.

Today I made the frosting. It calls for a box of powdered sugar. I didn’t have a box, I had a bag, so I measured the sugar (4 scant cups). I must has used too much because the frosting got hard not long after I started spreading it. In fact, it didn’t take long before it started tearing the cake apart. I gave up on it when I made one obvious divot in the top edge. Sigh.

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I made another half-batch of frosting and it hardened pretty fast too. Mom says it could be the humidity in the air.

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Honestly, while it isn’t a show-stopper, the finished cake has kind of a nice texture… tree-bark-ish. I know that it will taste good and that’s what really matters.

I did think, though, that if I were a new cook and this happened I might be tempted to give up on making cakes from scratch. If that’s you, please don’t let one cake stop you from baking. These things happen :-).

Best Ever Granola

I'm at the Savannah airport, waiting for my plane home. Even though I love teaching, I do love going home!

Before I left home last week, I had to make a new batch of granola. I eat a half cup of this stuff with plain greek yogurt every day. I like to add fruit: blueberries in season, and lately sliced bananas. It fills me up, and it I'm not hungry again until lunch time.

I've written about my recipe before, but it has evolved. This time I happened to add the ingredients in a different order and darned if that didn't make a big difference. Here's the link to my new recipe:

Download BestEverGranola

The trick is to mix the nuts, spices, oil, and then honey—then add the oats! I had always added the oats first and it was harder to mix everything evenly.

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The granola is light in the bowl, then it browns up some as you cook it.

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It's toasted, but not dark when it cools.

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I stir it up when it's still hot, scraping the bottom of the pan and then let it cool completely. I keep it in any airtight container and scoop it out a half cup at a time. 

FYI—it makes a nice salad topper too!