Tag Archives: baking

Unicorn treats

If you aren’t aware, unicorns are amazing. Starbucks will tell you so. During an evening with friends the other night we discussed the rainbow frappuccino that is sweeping the social media nation. What other foods could we transform into unicorns? The answer was simple: rice crispy treats. We brainstormed the ideal unicorn treat. Obviously it would need fruity pebbles to make it rainbow.

Then my husband made them. I was stunned as I’m usually the cook in the family. So join in on the unicorn craze and make this deliciously fruity unicorn treat.

Unicorn Treats | a delightful spin on the traditional Rice Krispies treat from alaskaknitnat.com

Unicorn Treats – A spin on the traditional Rice Krispies treat

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 2 cups Fruity Pebbles cereal
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • a couple of handfuls of Lucky Charms marshmallows
  • 1 bag mini marshmallows

Unicorn Treats | a delightful spin on the traditional Rice Krispies treat from alaskaknitnat.com

Directions:

Coat a casserole pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the mini marshmallows and stir until melted.

Remove from heat. Stir in the remaining ingredients.

Unicorn Treats | a delightful spin on the traditional Rice Krispies treat from alaskaknitnat.com

Using a buttered spatula spread the mixture into the pan. Cool and cut into squares. Go grab a unicorn frap and feel the sugar high.

Unicorn Treats | a delightful spin on the traditional Rice Krispies treat from alaskaknitnat.com

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Sparkling sake cupcakes

Lately my four-year-old son has been interested in science experiments, which consist of his mixing random kitchen ingredients together into a nasty gloop and watching what happens.

Not that I disapprove of his experimenting but I would rather he make a kitchen mess if we were actually preparing something edible.

I suggested cupcakes but we were running low on milk, so I harkened back to my one-and-only successful baking recipe: pink champagne cake. I didn’t have any champagne but I had a delightful little bottle of sparkling sake my husband had bought for me.

Instead of a whole cake I halved the recipe and we made lovely pink cupcakes. You can too! By using effervescent booze the cupcakes turn out airy and not overly sweet.

Sparkling sake cupcakes | delightfully airy and semisweet | recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Pink sparkling sake cupcakes

Makes about 12 cupcakes

Sparkling sake cupcakes | delightfully airy and semisweet | recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3 drops red food coloring
  • 1 cup sparkling sake or champagne

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside. With a Kitchen Aid mixer, beat the butter and sugar for several minutes till fluffy. Mix in the vanilla. Add the egg whites one at a time then mix in the food coloring. Beat for a couple of minutes. Incorporate the flour and sake in alternating batches of three, starting and ending with the flour. This way the champagne won’t curdle (but it’s ok if it does).

Add cupcake liners to a cupcake pan. Pour batter into pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool completely before adding icing. If you’re at a loss for icing, here’s my recipe:

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream

Whip together the sugar and cream cheese. When fully combined, add the whipping cream and beat till you get stiff peaks. Slice up fresh strawberries for garnish.

Sparkling sake cupcakes | delightfully airy and semisweet | recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Harvesting Seattle: Blackberry peach pepper pie

Last weekend I had the pleasure of spending time in Seattle. Despite the smoky air, I made it a point to get outdoors and do some urban foraging. Blackberry brambles are abundant around the city. My best friend, her boyfriend, my sister and I headed out to Discovery Park and found several briars laden with sweet blackberries.

Harvesting Seattle: Blackberry Peach Pepper Pie | An adaptation from Alaskaknitnat.com

Harvesting Seattle: Blackberry Peach Pepper Pie | An adaptation from Alaskaknitnat.com

This wasn’t my first blackberry rodeo. Although it was a hot day I made sure to wear pants, shoes and socks. There’s good reason Sleeping Beauty was surrounded by a thick wall of brambles — these bushes are brutal! My friend Matt didn’t heed my pants advice.

Harvesting Seattle: Blackberry Peach Pepper Pie | An adaptation from Alaskaknitnat.com

Harvesting Seattle: Blackberry Peach Pepper Pie | An adaptation from Alaskaknitnat.com

We picked a quart of berries in about half an hour. I got a few unbelievably ripe, juicy peaches at Pike’s Market and we knew that pie was on the horizon.

Harvesting Seattle: Blackberry Peach Pepper Pie | An adaptation from Alaskaknitnat.com

I’m not a baker and I’ve probably made one pie in my life, but I was inspired by the blueberry pie at South Restaurant + Coffeehouse. I tasted it the other day and noticed a subtle, unusual ingredient: pink peppercorns. I don’t know if the pepper was in the crust or the filling, but I found a pretty cool recipe from the L.A. Times that incorporated blackberries, nectarines and pepper. I wanted to try it.

Harvesting Seattle: Blackberry Peach Pepper Pie | An adaptation from Alaskaknitnat.com

A big thanks to my best friend Jess for her pie lattice expertise because this pie was a winner inside and out!

Harvesting Seattle: Blackberry Peach Pepper Pie | An adaptation from Alaskaknitnat.com

We used 3 cups of blackberries and two cups of peeled, sliced peaches. We used honey instead of corn syrup. The ground pepper was incorporated into the crust and gives the pie a bit of zing.

Harvesting Seattle: Blackberry Peach Pepper Pie | An adaptation from Alaskaknitnat.com

After placing the bottom crust in the pan, we set a circle of parchment paper on the crust and used some dry beans as pie weights. Then we baked the bottom crust for about 15 minutes in the preheated oven, let it cool for about five minutes and added the filling.

We brushed the lattice with milk and sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on top.

Click here for the original recipe.

Harvesting Anchorage: Rose and rhubarb cookies (and a Rose Collins)

As part of my personal challenge to forage at least one edible plant a month this summer in Anchorage, I decided to revisit wild rose petals. Several years back I collected these perfectly pink petals and made a just-OK jelly out of them. Thing is, I don’t eat jelly. I’m not a toast and jam kind of gal, I guess.

This time I opted to make rose petal syrup. It was easy to prepare and resulted in a gorgeous pink concoction that tasted as good as roses smell.

Harvesting Anchorage: Wild Rose and Rhubarb Cookies | A recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com
You can find wild roses just about everywhere in Anchorage in June. This bush is on the on-ramp to the Seward Highway.

Harvesting Anchorage: Wild Rose and Rhubarb Cookies | A recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

The wild roses are in full bloom here in Anchorage and it’s hard not to find them. I picked petals on the side of the highway, on my street and in my back yard. They have been in bloom since the first week of June and will probably be around for another week before they fade, fall and begin to turn into rose hips (and that’s another foraging adventure!)

Rose Petal Syrup 

Harvesting Anchorage: Wild Rose and Rhubarb Cookies | A recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

To make one bottle of syrup I collected about 2 gently packed cups of petals. Be ready to encounter some caterpillars, bugs and spiders (I lost about a cup of petals when I spotted an arachnid creeping around my collecting jar).

Harvesting Anchorage: Wild Rose and Rhubarb Cookies | A recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

I followed this recipe from Nitha Kitchen to make the syrup.

Continue reading Harvesting Anchorage: Rose and rhubarb cookies (and a Rose Collins)

Banana Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Icing

We never seem to consume an entire bunch of bananas. There’s always those sorry two or three sitting in the bottom of the fruit bowl, waiting to be make into banana bread. I don’t even like banana bread all that much, but I hate to waste the darn things.

I decided to spice things up a bit and use my overripe bananas for something a little more decadent than sliced bread.

I basically just made regular banana bread but put it in cupcake liners and topped it with a sweet and salty icing.

My recipe was inspired by this one from Culinary Couture.

Banana bread cupcakes with dulce de leche icing -- an alternative to boring banana bread

Banana bread:

1/2 cup softened coconut oil

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1.75 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. all spice

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

3 overripe bananas, mashed

Banana bread cupcakes with dulce de leche icing -- an alternative to boring banana bread

Icing:

6 oz. softened cream cheese

3 Tbs. softened butter

3 Tbs. Nestle’s La Lechera (sweetened condensed milk)

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

pinch of salt

coarse sea salt for garnish

Banana bread cupcakes with dulce de leche icing -- an alternative to boring banana bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With an electric mixer, combine the coconut oil and sugar. Add the eggs and mix well. In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg. Add the flour mixture and mashed bananas in intervals to the wet ingredients.

Pour batter into a muffin tin filled with liners or greased well. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely.

For the icing:

with an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, butter, La Lechera, vanilla and salt. Beat until smooth and aerated. Frost the cupcakes with a knife or with a pastry bag. Sprinkle coarse sea salt on top of each cupcake.

Banana bread cupcakes with dulce de leche icing -- an alternative to boring banana bread

Homemade Bagels

My favorite bagels in Alaska come from LuLu’s in Fairbanks. That’s a six-hour drive from Anchorage and sometimes I crave a good rosemary bagel! I’ve blogged about bagels in the past, but I have to post the recipe I made tonight because it was near perfect. Homemade bagel heaven. Crusty and salty on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside.

The recipe hails from an unassuming corner of the internet — HubPages.com. It contains few ingredients and the steps are simple. I tweaked the ingredients and process ever so slightly, which is why I’m posting it. I will forget how I made them if I don’t!

Homemade Bagels | Alaska Knit Nat

Ingredients:

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tbs. sugar

1.5 tsp. salt

1 Tbs. vegetable oil

2 tsp. yeast (not instant rise)

1.25-1.5 cups warm water

2 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary (optional)

Coarse salt (optional)

Homemade Bagels | Alaska Knit Nat

Directions:

Place all the dry ingredients plus the oil in a Kitchen Aid mixer. With the hook attachment turn the machine onto a medium setting. Slowly pour in the water and wait for it to be fully incorporated into dough before adding all the water. If the dough is too dry, add the remaining quarter cup water. Knead the dough on a floured surface for about five minutes. Place back in the mixer bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1.5 hours.

Once risen, remove the dough and split into eight even-sized balls. This is where I incorporated the chopped rosemary. Roll each ball into a snake, about 8 inches long, folding in the rosemary as you go. Overlap the ends to make a bagel shape and carefully roll the the seam part of the bagel back and forth till it’s combined and sealed.

Pumpkin Rosemary Bagels

Form the rest of your bagels and set them on the Silpat-lined or greased baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

Homemade Bagels | Alaska Knit Nat

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. When the water is boiling, gently set a few bagels at a time into the pot, being sure not to overcrowd. Boil for one minute, then flip the bagels and boil another minute. Using tongs, remove the bagels and place them back on the baking sheet. Sprinkle liberally with coarse salt. Boil the remaining bagels. Place baking sheet in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, turning the sheet around halfway through. Let cool completely.

Slice, toast, butter and enjoy the bagely goodness.

Homemade Bagels | Alaska Knit Nat