Monday, March 25, 2019

Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake)

I've seen photos of this cake on Pinterest and Instagram for years and was always curious about it. It's a very eye catching cake and the recipe is so different. It looks like a cake but is a yeast dough, but it's not "bread". I had added it to my "must try" list a long time ago but never got around to it until just recently. Our mom was reading a novel (forgive me, I can't remember the title of it!) in which the author included recipes among the pages. A bee sting cake was one of the recipes and our mom was intrigued. I tried it, as written in the book, and it was a flop. It didn't work at all and I ended up throwing it out. I took the book recipe, did a little more research online about bienenstich and came up with the recipe here. 
Are you ready for a culinary adventure? This cake is a roller coaster of flavors and textures and scents that will have you hooked after just a few bites! 

Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake)

2 tsp active yeast
1/2 cup very warm water
2 cups flour
4 Tbsp butter, soft
2 Tbsp honey
scant 1 tsp salt
2 eggs

6 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup sugar
3 Tbsp honey
pinch salt
2 Tbsp whipping cream (heavy cream)
1 1/2 cup sliced almonds

2 cups whipping cream (heavy cream)
1 pkg vanilla instant pudding
1 Tbsp honey

Lightly grease a 10 inch springform pan. Place a piece of parchment paper on the bottom. Set aside. 
Prepare dough - place yeast and warm water in small bowl and stir. Let sit for about 5 minutes to activate yeast.
After 5 minutes, place flour, butter, honey, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and turn on low. Add in the eggs. Then add in the yeast mixture. Turn mixer to medium and beat for about 5 minutes, until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. If dough is really sticky you may need to add up to 1/2 cup more flour. (Add it about 2 Tbsp at a time, if needed.)
Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover, and place somewhere warm for an hour.

After an hour it should be risen. NOTE - it won't double in size like regular bread would BUT it should still rise so you notice it.

Place the risen dough into the prepared 10 inch springform pan and press it out to cover the bottom. 

Cover and let rest while you prepare the topping.
Preheat the oven to 350. 
Prepare topping - Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add in sugar, honey, salt, and cream and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 - 5 minutes, until it starts to turn golden. Stir in the almonds. Cool about 2 minutes and then gently spread on top of the dough in the springform pan.

Bake at 350 for 25 - 30 minutes. toothpick inserted near center should come out clean and top should be golden brown. (NOTE - if topping still looks a little pale but the cake is done; simply turn oven to broil for a minute and watch cake closely! It should brown very quickly.) 

Let sit in pan on wire rack to cool down to room temp. 
When cool, carefully remove sides of springform pan and bottom of pan. Let cool completely. 

Prepare filling - In a mixing bowl, combine whipping cream, pudding mix, and honey. Beat until it becomes a thick, spreadable consistency. 

Cut the cake in half horizontally. 

Spread all of the filling on the bottom half of the cake. and then carefully place the top half back on top.

Serve now or chill until ready to serve. 

The topping is addictive. So crunchy and sweet and amazing. 

But that cream filling is also not terrible....

A suggestion to make things easier for you - cut the cake before you chill it with a serrated knife. The topping can be quite difficult to cut through once it is chilled and you end up squishing the cream out. 

Even easier? When you have the top off the cake to spread the cream on the bottom layer, cut the top into slices BEFORE you place it back on top. That way you can follow the cut marks and only have to cut through cream and bottom layer - no squishing necessary. 

I didn't do that here for presentation sake BUT I will definitely pre-cut the top next time to make it easier. It's still super beautiful and that way you can pre-proportion your slices too! 
We decided that this is definitely more of a treat you serve with coffee/tea at break time instead of a dessert. It isn't very sweet and the yeast-iness lends itself more towards tea time than after a meal. 
I will be making this for so many occasions now that I know how amazing it is!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Keto Reuben Skillet

Following a keto plan has been pretty easy thus far; specially with super easy dishes like this one. 
With only 5 ingredients, it is fairly inexpensive AND it literally takes 15 minutes to make. THAT'S IT! I made it for about the 110th time for St. Patrick's Day - corned beef and all that...
Even if you aren't following keto this is a great meal for those busy weekdays or for on the weekend when you don't want to have to do a lot of prep! 
According to MyFitnessPal, a serving is (recipe as written is 4 servings): 439 calories, 8 carbs, 28 fat, 39 protein, 4 fiber, and 3 sugar. This, of course, will vary according to what brands you use, etc... But for 8 carbs (plus 4 fiber = 4 net carbs), it is one of my go to keto dinners!

Keto Reuben Skillet

1/4 cup butter
20 oz (about 600 gr) deli sliced corned beef, coarsely chopped
1 jar (20 oz) sauerkraut (rinsed and drained)
2 Tbsp prepared mustard
8 oz Swiss cheese

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the chopped corned beef and fry for a few minutes. Add in the sauerkraut and stir to combine. Cook until heated through - about 4 - 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Drizzle the top with the mustard and then lay the Swiss cheese on top. 

Reduce heat and cover the pan until cheese is melted - about 2 - 3 minutes.

Serve immediately. 

Serve with a few slices of pickle!

Easy to reheat for lunch the next day or freeze and reheat later. 
Super simple, am I right? Can all dinners be this easy and delicious, please?
I'm not even that huge of a sauerkraut fan but I enjoy this for dinner. Something different and filling and easy, what's not to love?

Friday, March 15, 2019

Kilkenny Glazed Doughnuts

St. Patrick's Day always means we break out the Guinness (or, in this case, the Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale) and start baking. I've been on a bit of a donut baking bender lately so I figured making a beer donut would be the perfect thing. I was originally going to use Guinness as that is my go to Irish beer but I saw this lovely new Irish Cream Ale and had to give it a go. 
I think Homer Simpson would be proud of this one. It is probably the lightest and fluffiest donut I've made to date with a hint of the Kilkenny and not as much sweetness as the usual donuts I make. 
I'm filing these ones in the "must make again" pile. I'm thinking of trying it with a good old Canadian beer for Canada Day to see how they stack up!

Kilkenny Glazed Doughnuts

1/2 cup hot water
4 1/2 tsp yeast
4 - 5 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale (heated about 1 1/2 minutes in the microwave)

3 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale

Oil for frying (about 1 liter) 

Place hot water and yeast in a small bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to let yeast bloom.
In the bowl of a stand mixer add 4 cups of flour, sugar, and salt. 
Turn the mixer on low and add in the vanilla, eggs, heavy cream, and softened butter. Add in the proofed yeast. Then add in the heated Kilkenny. Turn the mixer to medium speed and mix until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. Add in enough flour so it is not sticky. 
Place dough on floured work surface and knead for about 2 - 3 minutes more. Place into an oiled bowl, cover, and set somewhere warm to rise for an hour. 
After an hour - roll out the dough on a floured work surface to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut with round biscuit or cookie cutters, and then take a smaller round cutter and cut out the center. Reroll the dough scraps for more donuts. Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheets, cover with a clean tea towel, and set somewhere warm to rise for another hour. (NOTE - a handy tip to make things easier: cut your parchment paper into individual squares and it is much easier to lift each donut off the tray and slide it into the oil.) 
At about the 45 minute mark, start heating your oil to cook the donuts in. You want the temperature to be 350 degrees. (If you don't have a deep fryer then a large, deep pot will also work.) 
When oil is ready your donuts should also be risen and ready to deep fry.

Fry 3 or 4 donuts at a time, but don't crowd the pot or it will lower the temperature of the oil too much. It's best to use a thermometer to monitor the temperature of your oil. (Too low and the donuts absorb too much grease, too high and the outside will burn while the inside remains raw.) 350 degrees is where you want to stay. 

Cook for approximately one minute on each side. 
Remove from the oil using a slotted spoon and place on paper towel lined cookie sheets. 

Continue until all donuts are cooked. Let them cool to room temp before applying glaze. 
Prepare glaze - in a mixing bowl, whisk together icing sugar and Kilkenny Ale until smooth. 

Dip the tops of each donut in the glaze...

Then flip and let sit on a tray so the excess glaze can drip off. 

Continue until all donuts are dipped.

They look so glossy.

I can't believe how squishy and light these are. 

The Ale adds a little tang that is a nice contrast to the sweet glaze. 

These also freeze quite well, in case you want to make up a batch ahead of time.
I believe I got about 32 palm-of-your-hand sized donuts from one batch - which is quite a large amount - you could easily half the recipe if you wanted to. (But, really?)

These have earned themselves a top 5 placement on my favorite donuts list. The unique flavor and the amazing texture just can't be beat. Plus... beer + donuts = *fireworks* 
A definite must to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Sure, they take some time to complete BUT they are totally worth it. 
FYI - If you are going to freeze them: freeze them in a single layer so the glaze doesn't stick them together. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Keto Butter Chicken

I loooove butter chicken. I wasn't sure if I would be able to eat it while following a keto eating plan. As luck would have it I found a few recipes that lowered the carbs in butter chicken. I amalgamated a few recipes and threw in my own touches and came up with this version that is only 6 carbs per serving! You can serve this with cauliflower rice (1 cup has 5 carbs) or with Konjac Rice

Konjac Rice has 0 carbs and only 10 calories so is great for a low carb diet. The texture is a little weird but when you serve it with something saucy, like butter chicken, it is fabulous!

Keto Butter Chicken

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or thighs), cut up
1 1/2 tsp tumeric
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp chili powder
pinch cinnamon
2 Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 medium onion, finely diced
1 1/2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup whipping cream

Coat chicken pieces in spices, set aside. Prep the rest of your ingredients so you are ready to go.

Heat butter over medium heat in a large frying pan. Add in garlic and onion, cook 2 minutes. 
Add in chicken and cook until chicken is done. 
Add in tomato paste and cream. 

Simmer for 5 - 7 minutes. (If you prefer your sauce thicker then continue to simmer until you reach your desired consistency.)
Serve hot with your favorite rice (or cauliflower rice, or Konjac rice!)

Serve side by side or...

Stir it all up! Either way it is super tasty and a great meal regardless of if you are following keto.
Another plus? It only dirties one pan, takes about 10 minutes of prep, and from start to finish is under half an hour. Gotta love quick and easy! 
As written, recipe makes 4 servings but can easily be doubled. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Cream Cheese Brownies

You can't go wrong with brownies. I mean... fudgey, chocolaty, ooey gooey brownies warm, with ice cream and caramel sauce....*droooool*. When they bury me it's going to be written on my tombstone: "The brownies finally got her."
I'm okay with that. 
This recipe is a bit of a cheat. We started with a mix and made some additions and ended up with a totally decadent dessert that will impress all your chocolate loving guests. If you are anti-cheat, then by all means you can use your favorite basic brownie recipe to start with!

Cream Cheese Brownies

1 box brownie mix (We used Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie) 
Ingredients on box to prepare brownie

Cream Cheese Swirl
4 oz cream cheese (1/2 a brick), room temp
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla

vanilla ice cream
caramel sauce

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 10 inch pan with parchment paper, set aside. (NOTE - can use a 9 inch pan but you will need to adjust cooking time.)
Prepare brownie as per box instructions and spread into the prepared 10 inch pan.

In a bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, and vanilla until smooth, scraping bowl as needed. Drop by spoonfuls over the brownie in the pan.

Swirl the cream cheese mixture through the brownie mixture with a butter knife. 

Bake at 350 until toothpick inserted near center comes out with only a few moist crumbs and top looks "dry"- about 30 - 35 minutes. The cream cheese part will be browned. 

Let cool on wire rack. Use the parchment paper to remove the brownie from the pan OR serve directly from the pan. 

You can serve warm or room temp.... or even chilled if that's your thing. There is no wrong way to serve a rich and creamy cheesecakey brownie.

Ice cream always makes things better, of course. But wait, there's more...

Caramel sauce on top is just the bomb. 
Are we still saying that? Are things still "the bomb"?
Regardless.... this is and always will be. 

Do you enjoy cheesecake and brownies and ice cream and caramel in one stupidly over the top dessert? I do. I really, really do.