Author Archives: wallflourgirl

About wallflourgirl

Hi! I'm Ala, an English grad student who loves to tell stories through half-baked ideas and fully-baked treats. My motto? The plot thickens. Just add cornstarch.

Chocolate Sea Salt Date “Caramel” Bars (GF, Vegan, Raw) for #gradstudentbloggers #undergradstudentbloggers

Boy, do I have a fun blogger series for you all today: it’s the #gradstudentbloggers and #undergradstudentbloggers round-up!

Grad Undergrad Student Bloggers Icon Small

Recently I teamed up with a fabulous, wacky, idiosyncratic (in a good way) group of university-level bloggers who wanted to showcase their student-blogging lives. As a grad student myself, I love meeting other grad student bloggers who can totally empathize with what I’m going through: juggling meetings, going to class, prepping syllabi, writing research papers, and all that other crazy hodge-podge you graduated folks have since left behind! I soon discovered just how difficult it is to find other university food bloggers out there, but with a little bit of poking and snooping, I scrounged up the wonderful, talented group of student bloggers here with us today and asked them all some fun questions. Read on for the interview, and don’t forget to check out all their awesome recipes at the bottom of this post!

Know someone who would like to join our group? If you know other university student food bloggers who might be interested, please email me at wallflourgirl@gmail.com.

This week’s recipe roundup theme: THE STARVING STUDENT. When you’re waist-deep in debt and every cheap meal comes from a dehydrated packet, it’s nice to know that you can whip up a wholesome meal or snack without hurting your wallet. Find all the recipes at the bottom of this post!


But first, let’s start with our blogger interviews…

QUESTION 1: Introduce yourself!

Ala: Hi folks! I’m Ala here at Wallflour Girl, and I’m a fourth-year English PhD student who loves children’s literature. When I’m not working on fun research such as Dr. Seuss or Alice in Wonderland, I write and develop recipes for my baking blog. I also love books, swimming/running/biking, and all things digital media.

Bec: Hellllo! My name is Bec, and I am the writer of the blog Daisy and the Fox!

Choc Chip Uru: Hello! I’m a food obsessed teenager from down under, sunny Sydney and in the blogosphere, I go by Choc Chip Uru! I am more than in love with baking, be it brownies or croissants, just hand me a whisk already! More than eating it myself (I know, weird right?!) I love sharing my treats with my mates and family! Besides baking, I am also a restaurant reviewer and love to talk about the newest products hitting the shelves for everyone to enjoy! Mix in a few uni-life anecdotes and you have a crazy write up every time J

Nicole: I’m Nicole from PicNic, a New Zealand based food blog creating family-friendly recipes for main meals, desserts, and baking.

Shelley: Hi! I’m Shelley, a first year PhD student in political science. I’ve been described as both ditzy and incredibly serious on several different occasions, so I guess I’m a bit all over the place! I love coffee, heaps of junk food, and wasting lots of time.

Zainab: Hello! My name is Zainab and I’m a 6th year neuroscience PhD student who needed a break in the evenings from all the failed experiments of the day, so I took to baking. Only problem was I didn’t know how to bake ANYTHING but with the help of Pinterest, food blogs and Wilton courses, I taught myself how to bake and discovered how much I loved it. It is now my favorite way to destress after a long day in the lab.  I started my blog to document my baking adventures and it has been the best adventure in itself. I’ve met so many great people and so amazed by the wonderful food blogging community.


QUESTION 2: When people in your department find out you’re a blogger, they…

Ala: Fall into three camps. Camp A is delighted and wholeheartedly supports my efforts as a busy, burgeoning grad student blogger. Camp B is a tad patronizing and comes for the food (though who can blame them? We’re all starving here). Camp C doesn’t know I blog. Camp C is also comprised primarily of my advisors and people who operate on a need-to-know, research-heavy basis.

Bec: Think it’s pretty cool! (mostly due to the fact that food is involved :P )

Choc Chip Uru: Think it is really cool! Despite it becoming a more and more mainstream hobby, a lot of people still think being a consistent blogger is fantastic. Since my blog involves food, it also gives them an excuse to say ‘for research and writing purposes’ I should bake for them :P

Nicole: Ask how on earth I have time to create all my recipes and look at me like I’m a crazy person!

Shelley: Oh they don’t know, and I’m going to try my best to make sure they never find out…

Zainab: Ahem…only my labmates know and I am going to keep it that way! I need those recommendations this year for that post-doc!


QUESTION 3: School + blogging = high-stress lifestyle. The saying goes: “Keep Calm and Carry On.” You say: “Keep Calm and _________.”

Ala: Immediately proceed to have a minor meltdown. But only a really minor one, because you still need to stay sane enough to finish that research proposal your advisor wanted by noon tomorrow. Or eat ice cream straight from the tub.

Bec: Keep calm and smash your face into a cake.

Choc Chip Uru: Nap. Keep Calm and Nap. Nothing will ever be stressful again, I assure you.

Nicole: Bake something!

Shelley: Knead some dough? power through? increase caffeine dose?


This week’s recipe: Chocolate Sea Salt Date “Caramel” Bars (GF, Vegan, Raw…and Budget-Friendly!)

Chocolate Salted Date Caramel Bars (Raw, V, GF) 5--090114

In the spirit of this week’s fun-tastic theme, The Starving Student, I decided to feature a recipe I actually make all the time for myself as a snack. With an excellent salted caramel taste and none of the expensive ingredients, this no-bake healthy recipe definitely fits the grad student bill!

Chocolate Salted Date Caramel Bars (Raw, V, GF) 2--090114

This recipe features my Peanut Butter Larabar recipe: a raw vegan crust with a nut of your choice, nut butter of your choice, and dates–you guessed it–of your choice! The idea is that you can use up anything you happen to have sitting in your pantry, without worrying about buying new expensive ingredients you’ll probably never touch again.

Chocolate Salted Date Caramel Bars (Raw, V, GF) 8--090114

 

I love the salted caramel filling because a) it’s good for you, and b) it’s cheap/easy, with all the caramel taste! This layer showcases blended dates, milk of your choice, and some coarse sea salt, which I get from the dollar store (my BFFL and saving grace for the past seven years).

Chocolate Salted Date Caramel Bars gif 2

Finally, you get a nice whopping layer of chocolate kick–melt up some chocolate chips and you’re in business! No fuss, no pain, and certainly enough penny-pinching that you can feel less guilty next time you decide to eat at a restaurant with your friends like the normal human being that you aren’t are.

Chocolate Salted Date Caramel Bars (Raw, V, GF) 11--090114

Enjoy, and don’t forget to check out my awesome fellow student bloggers below!

Ala

Chocolate Sea Salt Date “Caramel” Bars (GF, Vegan, Raw) for #gradstudentbloggers #undergradstudentbloggers

Ingredients

    For the nut base:
  • 25 pitted dates, variety of your choice
  • 1 cup almonds or nut of your choice
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter or nut butter of your choice
  • For the salted date caramel filling:
  • 25 pitted dates, variety of your choice
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk of your choice (I used coconut), as needed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • For the chocolate topping:
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

    For the nut base:
  1. In a food processor, grind all ingredients until the dates break down into a paste and everything forms a cohesive ball of dough, about 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the sides in between as necessary and press evenly into the bottom of a 9x5-inch pan.
  2. For the caramel filling:
  3. In the same food processor (no need to clean), blend the dates until they form a thick paste. Add milk one tablespoon at a time, as needed, blending in between, until the mixture reaches a thick caramel consistency. Add sea salt and blend in for another 10 seconds.
  4. Pour caramel over the nut base.
  5. For the chocolate topping:
  6. Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat at 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until chocolate is completely melted. Pour over caramel.
  7. Refrigerate bars for at least 4-6 hours before cutting into squares. Keep refrigerated.
http://www.wallflourgirl.com/2014/09/01/chocolate-sea-salt-date-caramel-bars-gf-vegan-raw-gradstudentbloggers-undergradstudentbloggers/

 Show our #gradstudentbloggers and #undergradstudentbloggers your support! Check out the whole list of featured Starving Student recipes now:

Brussel Sprouts and Sausage Pizza via Bacon Egg Cheese(cake)

Chicken and Jalapeno Quesadillas via PicNic

Chocolate Sea Salt Date “Caramel” Bars (GF, V, Raw) via Wallflour Girl

Homemade Spaghetti with Garlic, Chili, and Herbs via Daisy and the Fox

Orange Zucchini Bread via Blahnik Baker

Strawberry Greens Salad via Go Bake Yourself

Want to join, or know a university food blogger who would? We would love to have you: email Ala at wallflourgirl@gmail.com to sign up! 

The #gradstudentblogger and #undergradstudentblogger series showcases the lives and talent of insanely busy food bloggers from across all stages of their higher education pathway. Thank you for joining us, and we hope to see you again in two weeks!

 

 

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bars, Blogger Series

German Chocolate Brownies for #SundaySupper

I’m not usually an eat-my-feelings kind of girl.

German Chocolate Fudgy Brownies 2--083114

Lately, though, I have had ALL the feelings, and that called for eating my weight in brownies. Because let’s face it–who the heck did I try to kid 5 seconds ago when I said that eating a whole panful of chocolate won’t solve every problem, ever?

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Exactly.

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Truth be told, I have been particularly terrible lately about eating my way through feels. Is anyone else this way, or did you all just sprout from miracle baby trees where this stuff doesn’t happen?

I was definitely born on a food pantry tree, probably of the sweets variety, because this pan of absolutely rich but not-too-cloying brownies did not make it out the doorway unscathed.

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I’ll admit it: one of the reasons you see brownies and bar cookies on my blog so often is that, unlike cookies (which are a solid, impregnable unit) and cakes (which, let’s face it, look butt ugly when you’re not supposed to slice into it yet and you start picking off random pieces anyway so it looks like a freakin’ mouse got to it first), brownies are SO easy to cut into.

Slice a smidge here. Oh, I’ll trim a little bit more off the edge. Now OCD dictates that I must make all the brownies the same size, so let’s do it–for the better good. You can even see the knife marks since I sliced into them after they were cold from the fridge.

Let’s trim them ALL and stuff our face with the scraps!!

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These brownies: lord. After making this bomb Hawaiian Chantilly Layer Cheesecake Cake for #SundaySupper a few weeks ago, I knew I had to use up that scrumptious frosting on something else, and thus these big bad brownies were born. With an incredibly fudgy base using one of my favorite brownie recipes, topped with a creamy not-too-sweet chocolate frosting, and topped with toasted coconut, nuts, and some of that chantilly frosting…

It’s a damn good thing I’m running 13.1 miles tomorrow morning. In 4 hours, to be precise (yes, the thing starts at 5:30. #wtfIknow)

German Chocolate Fudgy Brownies 11--083114

And so the brownie wars wage on.

And you bet your pretty 60′s sparkle bellbottoms that these brownies are going to be the star of your Tantalizing Dessert Tray show, so arm yourself with a pan and bring on the chocolate.

Don’t forget to check out what all my fantastic #SS crew is bringing today below!

Ala 

German Chocolate Brownies

After trying German chocolate cake for the first time two months ago, I just knew I had to recreate them--but on an on-the-go scale! These fudgy, creamy, perfectly balanced brownies were the solution: and even better than the original, if I say so myself. The perfect potluck pleaser! You can also adjust the frosting ratio as desired by frosting the brownies completely or using half the frosting and drizzling it on top of the brownies. (Brownie recipes adapted from Whatever Floats Your Boat Brownies Recipe

Ingredients

    For the brownie:
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee grounds
  • 1/2 tablespoon Kahlua
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • For the chocolate frosting:
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • For the German chocolate brownie topping (from my Hawaiian Chantilly Cheesecake Cake):
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup almonds, chopped

Instructions

    For the brownies:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x9-inch baking pan and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine melted butter with sugar.
  3. Stir in eggs and vanilla extract.
  4. Dissolve coffee grounds into Kahlua completely. Add to wet mixture.
  5. Mix in cocoa powder, flour, and salt until just combined into wet ingredients.
  6. Fold in chocolate chips.
  7. Pour batter evenly into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until just set but still fudgy. Cool completely on stovetop before topping with frosting, then drizzle with German chocolate topping.
  8. For the chocolate frosting:
  9. Place chocolate chips and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until chocolate chips are completely melted. Pour over prepared brownies.
  10. For the frosting:
  11. Combine all ingredients except cornstarch, coconut flakes, and almonds in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
  12. Allow mixture to come to come to a slow boil, then continue stirring occasionally and boil mixture for 2 minutes before removing from heat.
  13. Quickly whisk in cornstarch, taking care to continue whisking until mixture is completely smooth. If lumps appear, strain your mixture through a sieve.
  14. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before using.
  15. Note: if you prefer more brownie and less frosting, simply use about 1/4 of the frosting and drizzle it on top of the brownies.
  16. For assembly:
  17. Spread frosting over cooled cake (or reserve half of the frosting for drizzling on top). Top with sweetened coconut flakes and chopped almonds--you can toast them on a baking sheet for 10 minutes prior to topping if desired.
http://www.wallflourgirl.com/2014/08/31/german-chocolate-brownies/

Savory Bites:

Sweet Treats:

Sunday Supper Movement

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our#SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here—>Sunday Supper Movement.

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Brownies & Chocolates

Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Swirl Cake with Caramel Penuche

(Congrats to Pearl, who won last week’s KIND bar giveaway! And thank you to everyone who showed their kindest support by entering.)

Once every few months, you probably have one of those days where you just stop and think, My god, that was a really good day.

Cinnamon Streusel Zested Coffee Cake with Caramel Penuche 2--082314

Maybe your friend surprised you with a late birthday present, or you got to go to the happiest place on Earth with friends, or maybe you ran 10 miles and then proceeded to stuff your face with 40 vendors’ worth of breakfast food samples, a giant chocolate-and-sprinkle dipped cookie dough ice cream cone with more sprinkles on top, and freakin’ bomb Chinese food.

Around here, these days are not the exception: they are the norm.

And yes, ALL of these things happened to me on this exceptionally normal day.

Cinnamon Streusel Zested Coffee Cake with Caramel Penuche 5--082314

I was browsing through my Brain archives tonight thinking about what I wanted to write, and it suddenly hit me that it’s been a long time since I’ve talked about ME. Instead, I’ve been off pontificating and musing and philosophizing about a whole bunch of things, which is totally fine, but then you’re probably thinking that I spend my self-professedly “busy” daytimes off running drug cartels or something.

Which I’m not. Btw.

In case you were wondering why I’m posting coffee cake instead of brownies this week. Ahrm.

 

Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake gif 1

A lot–and I mean a lot–of my time has been spent researching. I’m also shuttling myself back and forth a lot these days due to personal issues, which is a cryptic way of saying that I’m on the road a lot and majorly burnt out. However, once in a while any time I’m not crashing and burning, I’m having an adventurous time doing things like going to a Pancake Day Festival where over 40 vendors bring out their best samples of food and you spend 3 hours eating 50 bajillion types of breakfast sammies, pancakes (of course), grit parfaits, veganaise-topped frittatas, salted caramel bread pudding, and dulce de leche churros (which is a breakfast food–obvi).

12 hours later, my eyes are still food coma-ing from the mere sight of these pictures which–believe me–don’t even begin to do justice to the ridiculous number of plates we picked up and stuffed into our happy bellies!

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Of course…..

No amount of food comatosification (yes, I just made up a word–I am 94% sure that earning a Master’s Degree in English entitles me to do that) was about to stop us from doing this when we got to DISNEYLAND at 3 PM:

Cinnamon Streusel Zested Coffee Cake with Caramel Penuche 20--082314

Yes, that’s sprinkles on top of a sprinkle-dipped chocolate waffle cone and a ginormous scoop of ice cream from Gibson Girl’s. Go big or go bigger, momma always said.

The great thing about being an annual passholder is that days at Disneyland do not feel like a neurotic roadtrip with your in-laws. Granted, I have no idea in holy heck what that would be like (stressful, I imagine), but line-jumping and crowd-weaving and kid-hurtling are all distant memories. We hit up a few shows (Mickey’s Magic Map was AMAZING, for the record), rode the fastest spinning teacup on the Mad Hatter’s ride (note: it’s the purple one), and just chilled and ate ice cream while waiting in line for Aladdin.

And then we went home, and my awesome Disney buddy gave me this drawing he bought from the shop for my (belated) birthday present:

Cinnamon Streusel Zested Coffee Cake with Caramel Penuche 21--082314

He knows I love Ellie so. Darn. Much. She and I are basically kindred spirits, except kindreder.

Anyway, that’s kind of questionable proof that I do still exist, and that I do have the busy life that I claim I lead, and that my blog hasn’t been replaced by a semi-automated robotic arm that periodically updates delicious photos here to avoid arousing suspicion about the fact that it actually ate me alive in my sleep.

Or something like that.

Cinnamon Streusel Zested Coffee Cake with Caramel Penuche 8--082314

But I’m sure you’ll excuse Homocidal Robo-Arm if you are looking at this bomb Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Swirl Cake with Caramel Penuche I made a few weeks ago for a group of friends. He’s got good taste for an A.I. creature, I’ll give him that much.

This cake was some of the moistest and crumb-iest (not crummy!) cake I’ve made, and no wonder–I adapted it from this Lemon Curd Coffee Crumb Cake recipe that got rave reviews and tons of attention when I posted it for #SundaySupper two weekends ago. But what I love best is the warming, Fall-anticipatory taste of cinnamon that absolutely fills up the kitchen while it’s baking. And that crumb!

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What really sends this cake over the top, though, is the top: yessiree, that caramel penuche! None of the fuss of actual caramel (move aside, candy thermometers)–just a little bit of brown sugar & butter boiling happily away, plus a few staple pantry ingredients, and you’re on your way to one darn good slice of coffee crumb cake.

And believe you me when I say that if this cake was still hanging around in my kitchen, we’d be having a massive tete-a-belly right about now…..even after pancakesicecreameverything.

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Do me a favor and make this ASAP. Then do me a favor and do not send it to me, or I may love you forever and sit creepily outside your front window under the hedges with a fork and a big sign that declares you are the Coffee Cake Queen/King.

With a big heart on it.

Okay, time to stop writing. Cheerios, and happy Today is Coffee Cake Monday!

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 Love,

 Ala

Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Swirl Cake with Caramel Penuche

This crazy good streusel coffee cake uses the same base recipe as my rave-reviewed Lemon Curd Coffee Crumb Cake but with a cinnamon-y twist! Heavy on the crumb and packed with a burst of brown sugar flavor from the penuche, this recipe is a great alternative to my other coffee cake recipe. (The zested lemon in this recipe was actually an accident since I had my mind on the other cake recipe--a lovely accident!)

Ingredients

    Cinnamon Swirl:
  • - 1/4 cup white sugar
  • - 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • Streusel Coffee Cake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons butter or margarine, cold
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, optional
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • Caramel Penuche:
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk or dairy-free milk
  • 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • Vanilla Drizzle:
  • 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon milk, added only as needed

Instructions

    For the cinnamon swirl:
  1. Mix together sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
  2. For the streusel coffee cake:
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10-cup bundt pan and set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in butter using a fork, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside 1 cup of this mixture.
  5. Mix baking powder and baking soda into the remaining large bowl of flour mixture. Add buttermilk, egg, and vanilla, and mix vigorously until batter is smooth and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. (Sally notes here that it should resemble frosting.) Gently stir in lemon zest if using.
  6. To make the crumb: Mix brown sugar into the reserved flour mixture.
  7. Sprinkle half of your crumb topping as evenly as possible into your bundt pan. Pour half of the batter into prepared pan, then sprinkle prepared cinnamon-sugar mixture over the batter, followed by the remaining crumb topping, leaving an inch around the edges so your batter can seep in. Pour remaining batter on top.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 50-55 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  9. For the caramel penuche:
  10. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar and bring mixture to a boil for 2 minutes. Add milk, then bring to a boil again. Turn off heat and quickly whisk in powdered sugar until penuche is completely smooth. Allow to cool slightly (but not completely) before pouring over cake.
  11. For the vanilla drizzle:
  12. Combine sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add up to 1 tablespoon of milk (as needed to reach drizzling consistency). Drizzle over the top of your cooled coffee cake and enjoy!
http://www.wallflourgirl.com/2014/08/25/cinnamon-streuselcoffee-swirl-cake-caramel-penuche/

16 Comments

Filed under Cakes & Cupcakes

Friday Wallflavourites: Edition 13

Happy Friday, lovely folks! For the latest Wallflour scoop, follow me on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest. Let’s get started, shall we?

 These Brown Sugar Snickerdoodle Cookies via The Messy Baker are exactly what the doctor ordered! Or at least I’m ordering them for me…

Brown Sugar Snickerdoodle Cookies (Giant-Sized) | www.themessybakerblog.com

Summer is the perfect time to channel my very favorite type of dessert: the frozen variety! I can’t wait to test out these Toasted Coconut Banana Bread Ice Cream Sandwiches via Kelly from Life Made Sweeter!

Toasted Coconut Banana Bread Ice Cream Sandwiches - Life Made Sweeter.jpg

And speaking of epic frozen desserts, possibly my favorite dessert is fried ice cream! So obviously, I’m dying to try these Crispy Ice Cream Balls via Chef in Training…

Crispy Ice Cream Balls from chef-in-training.com …These taste JUST like fried ice cream- only no frying and SUPER simple to make!

In one of my favorites these weeks, this Maple Blondie with Maple Butter Cream Sauce looks absolutely divine, don’t you think? via Something Swanky.

Favorite flavor combo in the world? PB&J. Please let me plant my face in this Vegan Healthy PB&J Pie via Minimalist Baker NOW!

AMAZING PB and J PIE! #VEGAN, 9 ingredients and no bake besides the crust! Entirely NATURALLY SWEETENED

Recipes I’m digging this week:

5-Ingredient German Pancake with Cinnamon Peaches via Neighbor Food Blog

Baked Apple Pie Fries via Averie Cooks

Breakfast Waffle Cones via Bake at 350

Caramelized Onion Hummus via I Wash You Dry

Century Egg Congee via Bacon Egg Cheesecake

Chocolate Lovers’ Blender Fudge Brownies via Oh Sweet Basil

Creamy Cauliflower Pesto Shells with Burrata via Veggie and the Beast

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread (Gluten-Free)

Endless Summer Buddha Bowls with Grilled Peaches & The Greenest Dressing via Clean Wellness

Founder’s Favorite Ice Cream Cake via Erica’s Sweet Tooth

Fudge Brownies via Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen

Lychee Ice Cream via One Ingredient Chef

Kahlua Crunch Balls via Bakers Royale

Malted Chocolate Chip Blondies via Brown Eyed Baker

Nasi Goreng Style Cauliflower Fried Rice via The Iron You

Pasta Caprese via Kitchen Riffs

Peanut Butter Apple Cinnamon Sushi Rolls via Mom on Timeout

Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie  via Mom on Timeout

Peanut Butter Stuffed Pretzels via Anecdotes and Apple Cores

S’mores Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake via Sally’s Baking Addiction

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake via Create N Plate

Spinach Wraps via Annie’s Eats

White Chocolate Snickerdoodle Blondies via Sally’s Baking Addiction

Zingerman’s Black Magic Brownies via Brown Eyed Baker

In case you missed recipes featured on Wallflour Girl these past weeks:

Lemon Curd Coffee Crumb Cake 

Life Update and a KIND Bar Giveaway

Thank you for stopping by! If you have favorite blog recipes from this week that you’d like to share, please feel free to leave a link or two of loving in the comments!

Ala

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Filed under Uncategorized

Life Updates and a KIND Snacks Giveaway

This giveaway is sponsored by KIND Snacks. I received a sample box for review purposes but was not financially compensated for this post. And as always, these opinions are 110% my own!

A billion and one things have been all kinds of crazy here lately. Can you tell?

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No, perhaps not–but it’s been all sorts of insanity! This is my utterly grateful recovery post. This month has been one green light to the next, racking up my traveling miles and teleporting from one zany distance to the next. At one point, I even coughed up a whopping $40 for an Uber trip that got me nothing but terrible traffic and one ballsy driver who asked me if I was single–and get this, he asked me in the first 15 minutes of our trip while I was sitting in the front seat. 

Moral of the story: never sit in the front seat while riding a taxi service, no matter how casual it seems.

Moral #2: 6 miles never feels longer than when you are awkwardly stuck in an enclosed vehicle with a stranger who wants to know your relationship status right off the bat.

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And that, my friends, is why I am so glad THESE came. I now dub thee “Sanity Keeper Bars,” a.k.a. KIND Snacks. Raise your hand if you love ‘em as much as I do!

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When the wonderful rep K got in touch with me about sampling, reviewing, and giving away KIND bars on my blog, I jumped three feet in the air and immediately tagged in. I’d consumed plenty of KIND bars before the sampler box, but mostly on campus where the vending machine selection is limited to Almond Cranberry (a very good choice–but by no means a gateway to the snackers’ haven that I was about to receive).

And I couldn’t have asked for better timing: what with one of the most insanely pressing, time-crunched months this year, and several unexpected events to shake things up in my personal life, I can hardly find time to haul myself into the kitchen these days (sorry, abandoned oven!), much less prep something satisfying for myself to gnaw on.

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Luckily, that’s where this box kicked in! K from KIND sent me an awesome sample: 3 huge packs of granola, a handful of snack squares, and a variety of about 8 assorted bars in every flavor I had wanted to try. #starvinggradstudent’s paradise? I think so.

KIND Snacks Review and Giveaway 6--081514

I polished off the majority of these snacks on my post-run, pre-work days, when I needed to refuel but didn’t have time for any sort of fancy knifework or yogurt-spooning. And let me tell you know: they are such a treat after a workout! I’m supposed to be working towards my very first half-marathon at the end of this month (haven’t ran outdoors since mid-July though, oops…) and these bars are helping me stay in tip-top shape. Or so I’d gladly believe! They are, however, definitely keeping me and my on-the-go lifestyle sane. So what’s the verdict, you ask?

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Well, while I loved every single bar that came my way, my Top Three Favorite Sampled KIND Bars were…

#3: Almond and Coconut

It tasted like Hawaii had up and thrown a party in my mouth. Uh-may-zing! This is probably the bar I could eat most frequently without ever getting tired of it. It’s just light & refreshing enough with a sweet zap of coconut flavor to brighten up my day after a workout!

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#2: Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt

I have been obsessed with salty&sweet lately, so it’s no surprise I fell for these bars right away–and fell hard. By the time I’d finished this bar (in about 7.25 seconds, mind you), I was gnawing on my fingers trying to imagine that there was still more of this bar left for consumption. So yeah, I loved the dark chocolate and sea salt combo loads! And finally…

KIND Snacks Review and Giveaway 4--081514

#1: Caramel Almond and Sea Salt

Did I mention I love sea salt? No, but seriously. If you are at all a fan of salted caramel, you will love this bar. In other words, I am asking you here and now if you are a human being. Because salted caramel, folks. Please do not try and convince me that it could be anything other than a GREAT BAR.

KIND Snacks Review and Giveaway 9--081514

So while I step aside and attempt to recover from these past few cray-cray weeks (thankfully, I still have quite a bit of granola left with which to nourish myself–hooray!), I’m going to let you enter for a giveaway from KIND Snacks. Eight delicious bars could be headed to your doorstep within the week: just make sure you do all these easy entries for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

KIND Snacks Review and Giveaway 1--081514

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Filed under Giveaways, Snacks

Lemon Curd Coffee Crumb Cake for #SundaySupper

By the way, this cake? Is BOMB. So don’t forget to bookmark and Pin it before you read on: just because I’m straying off-topic today (and I will be you’ll see), doesn’t mean this cake wasn’t devoured in about two seconds to the highest accolade. Did I mention it’s probably in my Top 5 Recipes for this year? 

My blog is my Pensieve, and you are all the unfortunate captive witnesses to my unfiltered thoughts. Muahahaha.

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Well I mean, not “captive,” really. It’s not like I can actually keep you here–unless you find my charm so overwhelmingly paralyzing that your eyeballs stay glued to the screen in spite of your concerted efforts to tear them away. I bet this is a major problem for most of you, right? Right.

Today’s post is going to be a ramblepost…in case your gut didn’t inform you already.

However, I should mention before I continue that today’s post is also a #SundaySupper post with the way-talented SS bloggers! And the theme is Saving Summer, which is why I’m sharing lemons. The best thing about lemons is that you can “save” them by freezing them and simply popping them into the microwave for a few seconds when you need fresh juice/zest! Neat trick, right?

Okay, #continueramble…

Lemon Curd Coffee Crumb Cake gif 2

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The funny thing about my rambles and writing this food blog is that I’m not actually really into writing about food. Okay, so when it comes to picking recipes from the bajillion-and-fifty-two that live on the interwebs, awesome descriptions about how your (say, random example) Lemon Curd Coffee Crumb Cake features a tangy, sweet, incredibly moist, savor-every-bite crumb topping with the perfect balance of vanilla drizzle might convince someone that they actually want to make your recipe.

But while I could (and probably should) be writing things of that nature on a FOOD BLOG, I’m just standing over here at my computer going YawnyYawnYawnittyYaaaawn.

“Selling” my recipes to you reminds me too much of my marketing days. I’d much rather be doing things other than raving to you about how insanely quickly this coffee cake was eaten up by all my friends.

So many other things, I’m sure.

Lemon Curd Coffee Crumb Cake 5--080714

Seriously. I don’t feel like talking about it, okay? I mean, look at those gifs and these photos. Who would want to talk about them ALL DAY?

Apophasis, people. English major says: Look it up.

Lemon Curd Coffee Crumb Cake 8--080714

But let’s be serious for a second here. One thing I’ve never really had a chance to talk about here is that I’m not the stereotypical food blogger. I certainly never considered turning it into a career or more than a really great hobby. In fact, I’m totally a writer first, baker second, social media guru third, photographer fourth, and lord-oh-lord-me an editor/administrative/organized human being disaster last. So when people find out I’m a food blogger and tell me I must looooove baking & taking pics & everything, I’m all just like

Yeah that stuff’s aight

and we all move on with our lives. Maybe eat a slice of lemon curd cake while we write children’s picture books and nonsense stories (which would be my dream line of work someday–now I just need to find someone who will pay me to write little tales and eat homemade desserts all day).

Lemon Curd Coffee Crumb Cake 11--080714

But that being said,

There is also something indescribably wonderful about being part of a blogging community.

I do love baking, and I do love photographing and being all uppity on my social media. I love the idea of doing all these things, but there are things about it I don’t love: I certainly don’t relish having to wait until my dinner is cold to eat it because I spent the previous hour shooting it in the twilight lighting. I type so much, my carpal tunnel is much worse now and I’m fighting tooth & nail to keep it at bay (this is probably one of the worst job hazards). And let’s face it, my jeans could probably do without the gallons of butter and margarine and delicious enriching refined ingredients that go into a large chunk of my baked goods.

Lemon Curd Coffee Crumb Cake gif 6

However, blogging is more than the sum of its parts for me and when I cobble it all together a la peach cobbler,

I lurve it

Like, a lot.

It’s the writing AND the baking AND the photographing AND the communities AND the people AND the life experiences that make blogging so exciting. Just like a sack of flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla, butter, milk, and baking soda all sitting on your counter, nothing about it is inherently exciting…that is, until you combine them and measure them and bake them with care, and you step back to realize that you’ve created a masterpiece.

Sort of like this Lemon Curd Coffee Crumb Cake. Amiright? (By the way, you totally saw that tacky glorious metaphor coming, didn’t you? Ha!)

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That’s why, after this totally off-topic post, I’m still totally happy to rave to you about this Lemon Curd Coffee Crumb Cake, which has been ten years in the making.

Yes, that’s a lot of time spent on one coffee cake. When we were young, my mom would buy this glorious lemon curd coffee cake from Safeway. It isn’t just nostalgia: I loved this cake to pieces. Crumbly, moist pieces. My mom stopped buying it as we got a little older, but I still dream about it a few times a month. It wasn’t until this month, when my mom sent me back with a whole tubful of lemons–yay for SUMMER–that I finally sat down and thought to myself: finally. Lemon Curd Coffee Cake, here I come!

I paired the very best lemon curd recipe I’ve made with the very best coffee cake recipe I’ve made, so it was a sure recipe for success. Combine that with the fact that I tweaked for extra crumb / vanilla drizzle, and you’ll know exactly why my friends absolutely plowed through the 9-inch cake I made last week.

I’ve got big gifs and I cannot lie.

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I’m sharing this save-the-summer dessert with my very favorite #SundaySupper crew today, so don’t forget to check out all the amazing stuff they’ve come up with to save this summer!

Ala

Learn how to …

Sip sunny cocktails and smoothies

Scoop up special salsas and sauces

Jump into jellies, jams and preserves

Pucker up for pickles

Slurp and spoon soup and a side dish

Dive into divine desserts

Lemon Curd Coffee Crumb Cake for #SundaySupper

This is the ONLY way to make and serve coffee cake. With a super intense crumb topping and a lusciously tart&sweet lemon curd filling, this decadent dessert will get gobbled up ASAP at any time of day! A personal favorite. Lemon curd recipe adapted from Allrecipes. Coffee crumb cake recipe slightly adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

Ingredients

    For the lemon curd:
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 + 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Zest of 3 lemons (I used approximately 1/4 cup zest)
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • For the coffee crumb cake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons butter or margarine, cold
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • For the vanilla glaze drizzle:
  • 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon milk, added only as needed

Instructions

    For the lemon curd:
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs until smooth. Mix in remaining ingredients.
  2. Heat in microwave at 1-minute intervals, stirring in between each interval. Continue heating until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 4-5 minutes total).
  3. Cover bowl with cling wrap and refrigerate until ready to use (up to two weeks).
  4. For the coffee crumb cake:
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan and set aside.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in butter using a fork, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside 1 cup of this mixture.
  7. Mix baking powder and baking soda into the remaining large bowl of flour mixture. Add buttermilk, egg, and vanilla, and mix vigorously until batter is smooth and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. (Sally notes here that it should resemble frosting.) Pour half of the batter into prepared pan, then spread 2/3 of the lemon curd in dollops over the batter. Pour remaining batter on top; dollop with remaining lemon curd.
  8. To make the crumb: Mix brown sugar into the reserved flour mixture. Sprinkle crumbs evenly over the cake batter and lemon curd.
  9. Bake in preheated oven for 50-55 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  10. For the vanilla glaze:
  11. Combine sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Add up to 1 tablespoon of milk (as needed to reach drizzling consistency). Drizzle over the top of your cooled coffee cake and enjoy!

Notes

Buttermilk substitute: Instead of the 3/4 cup buttermilk in the recipe, you can make your own buttermilk by using 11 tablespoons of milk/soy milk/coconut milk and add 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes before adding to recipe.

http://www.wallflourgirl.com/2014/08/10/lemon-curd-coffee-crumb-cake-sundaysupper/

Sunday Supper Movement

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our#SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here—>Sunday Supper Movement.

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cakes & Cupcakes, Fruit Desserts

Friday Wallflavourites: Edition 12

Last week included one of my favorite days of the year: Cheesecake Day! So of course, it’s been a good two weeks since we last met…

For daily updates about my favorite recipes and bloggers each week, follow me on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest. If it’s your first time here–welcome, I love meeting new faces! I hope you poke around my blog to see more fun features and lively recipes.

Scallion pancakes make everything better–and I mean everything. Don’t believe me? Check out these AMAZING Scallion Pancake Tacos via my new friend Shelley’s blog, Bacon Egg Cheese(cake)!

I actually went out and bought chia seeds for the very first time (the dots in them creep me out, sorry….) after seeing this fantastic innovative Chocolate Chia Ice Cream via Top with Cinnamon! Isn’t it gorgeous?

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I get the feeling I’d burn down the house if I attempted this at home….but Tieghan is a pro, and these Inside Out Peanut Butter and Nutella Banana S’mores via Half-Baked Harvest are everything I need right now!

Inside Out Peanut Butter and Nutella Banana S'mores | halfbakedharvest.com

 I’ve always loved Julie’s recipes, and while it’s hard to get around to every blog nowadays, hers NEVER disappoint. This Caramelized Banana Coconut Upside-Down Cake & Coconut Whipped Cream via Willow Bird Baking is SO on my next to-do list!

The collective favorite dessert in our household is tiramisu OR ice cream, so it’s no wonder I swooned when I saw this Tiramisu Ice Cream via The White Ramekins! Lordy oh lord, yes please?

tiramisu ice cream

Recipes I’m digging this week:

Banana Blizzard via Minimalist Baker

Blackberry Dulce de Leche Crumb Bars via Bakerita

Caramel Macchiato Cheesecake via Wishes and Dishes

Caramlitas via Bakerita

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cheesecake via Savvy Eats

Choquettes via uTry.it

Coconut Sugar Cookie via Crazy for Crust

Crockpot Apple Dump Cake via Crazy for Crust

Elvis Waffles via Bacon Egg Cheese(cake)

Frittaffles via Real Food by Dad

Low Carb Coconut Cheesecake via All Day I Dream About Food

Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake via Jane’s Adventures in Dinner

Strawberries & Cream Cake via Sally’s Baking Addiction

Twix Truffle Brownie Bars via Chef in Training

Ultimate S’mores Recipe via Shared Appetite

Vegan Asian Lettuce Wraps via Jessiker Bakes

Vegan Samoa Ice Cream via Pancake Princess

Yeasted Waffles with Whole Wheat and Roasted Maple Figs via East of Eden Cooking

Blogs I’ve recently discovered and LOVE:

In case you missed recipes featured on Wallflour Girl these past weeks:

Thank you for stopping by! If you have favorite blog recipes from this week that you’d like to share, please feel free to leave a link or two of loving in the comments!

Ala

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Healthy Sticky Fudgy Chocolate Cake/Brownies (GF, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, & Weird-Free)

Hi there. Yeah, you. I think you’re a really smart and charming person.

No, really! I mean it. And if you leave me a note after reading this post, I’ll take the time to personally tell you what’s great about you, too.

Healthy Sticky Fudgy Brownies 2--080214 (GF, Dairy-Free)But now stop and think for a moment: when was the last time you accepted a compliment?

And I mean honest-to-goodness, wholehearted, modesty-exempt acceptance?

Was it yesterday?

Was it a few weeks ago?

Was it just now, when I told you you were charming and smart and a wonderful human being who has somehow found this hideaway blog of mine?

(And if it was that last one–good on you!)

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Recently I watched this video about the power of accepting compliments. I am a complete sucker for Making Life Meaningful clips. In the video, these social science-y folks do an experiment where couples split up and the one with lower self-esteem gets complimented–genuine compliments, mind you–by their partner.

And here’s the best part: the first person has to accept the compliment with only the words, “thank you.”

The idea behind this experiment is that accepting genuine compliments is a) hard for people who tend to have lower self-esteem, and b) great for boosting self-confidence, since the act of acceptance allows us to reflect on ourselves positively.Healthy Sticky Fudgy Brownies 17--080214 (GF, Dairy-Free)

Now, I can honestly tell you that I suck at accepting compliments. My ability to accept them is inversely proportional to the amount of chocolate I have consumed on any given day, so if you have the godforsaken misfortune to catch me on a day sans Chocolat, be prepared to have your compliments shot down to the point of awkward embarrassment. I usually enter any conversation armed with an arsenal of “no’s,” “it’s really not’s,” and “no seriously, it’s nothing’s.”

It’s not Compliment Fishing. I’d rather call it Anti-Compliment Defense Ballistics.

Healthy Sticky Fudgy Brownie gif

I’m not (yet) great at accepting praise I don’t think I’ve earned, which is 95% of the time, and I’m pretty sure I cultivated this defense system because I grew up hearing about how So-And-So had gotten the title of Valedictorian while I had received an A- in Art, Lord have mercy on my subpar soul.

Don’t even get me started on the number of guys who were “paying compliments” wayyy before I had any idea what was going on, just because it never registered that anyone would ever want to do such a thing.

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But before you start thinking I have a complete and concerning inferiority complex, I certainly am getting better at accepting compliments now that I know what to look for. The most frequent one I receive is still mildly (but really only mildly) embarassing: it’s about how much I smile.

Total strangers (usually older folk) will come up to me and tell me that I need to keep up that smile. Recently, a friend told me that I make her feel awesome because I always smile, no matter how incredibly dumb a thing she has just said. And one time I went swing dancing at a downtown venue and my partner shouted to me as he spun me around, “That SMILE! Just look at you!”

Most of the time when I hear this now, I’ll just grin even wider, maybe shuffle my shoes, and not say anything at all. Inside I feel pretty self-conscious, but really, it’s high time I learned to take the compliment, not overthink, and just roll with it.

Yeah, I smile. And yeah, I’ll take that compliment!

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That’s why I was a good girl when it came to accepting compliments about today’s recipe. This weekend, I made Lemon Curd Coffee Crumble Cake (recipe coming next Sunday!), some of the Gochujang Peanut Pasta you all loved, and these Healthy Sticky Brownies I adapted from the inestimable Izy over at Top with Cinnamon, whose blog I consider in my Top 10 Favorites. If for some incredible reason (say,  alien abduction) you haven’t visited her blog before, you need to. This girl pulls out all the stops with her photography and stunning, inventive recipes.

So when my friends all swooned over this incredibly moist recipe and told me it tasted like a chocolatey heaven with the texture of a Fig Newton, I was ecstatic. Rather than gunning down their praise, I smiled and simply said, “Thank you.”

Because deep down inside, I know that they’re right. And it’s not such a bad thing sometimes to let others make you feel good about yourself. This is why I love baking and blogging so much–talk about affirmation community central!

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And of course, the chocolate always helps.

Don’t skip out on this easy peasy, oh-so healthy but not-too-sweet chocolatey recipe and all the compliments it will bring your way!Healthy Sticky Fudgy Brownies 14--080214 (GF, Dairy-Free)

 

So…what compliment can I pay you today? Leave a comment, I’d be so happy to meet your charming lovely self!

Ala

Healthy Sticky Fudgy Chocolate Cake/Brownies (GF, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, & Weird-Free)

Incredibly sticky and moist, this healthified chocolate cake/brownie features no weird ingredients and a superstar chocolatey taste! Sure to convert even the wariest of friends into healthy dessert addicts. Adapted from Top with Cinnamon

Ingredients

  • 6-7 tablespoons honey (or substitute agave), to taste
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons applesauce (or pumpkin puree)
  • 2 tablespoons cookie butter or Biscoff spread (which I used for a nut-free alternative) OR cashew/almond/nut butter (Izy's original recipe)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease two mini-3x5 loaf pans, or one larger 5x7 loaf pan, and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together honey, egg, vanilla, applesauce, and cookie/nut butter until smooth.
  3. Add flax, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in until just incorporated into wet ingredients. Fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Divide batter between two mini pans or pour directly into larger loaf pan. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes (mini pans) or 20-25 minutes (loaf pan). Cool completely before cutting into bars/squares, and enjoy!
  5. PS: you rock!
http://www.wallflourgirl.com/2014/08/04/healthy-sticky-fudgy-chocolate-cakebrownies-gf-dairy-free-nut-free-weird-free/

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Brownies & Chocolates, Cakes & Cupcakes

Hawaiian Chantilly Layer Cheesecake Cake for #cheesecakeday

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July 30th: Cheesecake Day.

Otherwise known as the day on which my daily obsession becomes a justified necessity. Oh cheesecake, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

Hawaiian Chantilly Layer Cheesecake Cake gif

If you’ve been following Wallflour Girl for any time, you’ll know that I have been writing and philosophizing and waxing poetic about a bunch of abstract topics lately. So if you’re looking for really elegant expostulations on the state of the human race and our speckle of presence in the wide universe, you’ll want to read those posts I’ve cited.

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There is nothing abstract about this post.

It is 100% pure chocolatey creamy cheesecake frosted tangible goodness, thank you very much.

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When I found out about the #cheesecakeday round-up these wonderful bloggers were doing on Facebook, I was thrilled, hungry, busy–and extremely nervous. It was Thursday, and I had exactly 6 days to develop, make, photograph, edit, and write about the perfect recipe. Six days. What’s a girl to do with six measly cheesecakey days, I ask you?

I hope you realize that question was a rhetorical one.

Make a damn good seven-layer fusion cheesecake…that’s what. This may be my favorite cheesecake, ever. Period.

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This cheesecake was born of an innocuous Friday night conversation over two plates of free Jewish diner cake. My friend and I had just watched Boyhood in theaters, so by the time we sat through 180 minutes of angst-laden adolescent and walked out at 10:30 PM, of course we had a big bad case of the HANGRAYS.

Luckily, our movie tickets got us free dessert with the purchase of a meal, so we ordered up a storm from the menu and promptly terrorized the bakery manager by raiding the huge desserts display outside the restaurant. This place has everything–red velvet cake, blackout cake, decker cake–but most of all, it had German chocolate cake, at which point I was all like “OH YEAH I LOVE THAT STUFF IT’S TOTALLY MY JAM Y’KNOW.”

Okay, so I had never tried German chocolate cake in my life. But it’s just one of those things you can’t imagine hating, ever, even if it kidnapped your pet turtle and gave you a massive wedgie. German chocolate cake is like a baby panda.

You don’t hate on something as epic and universally acclaimed as cake and baby pandas. You just don’t.

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As we chatted, my friend asked me if I had ever heard of a chantilly cake: he described it as a classic Hawaiian dessert that resembled German chocolate cake, with a custardy frosting and fluffy chocolate base but without the coconut. And of course, this sweet conversation got us talking about what I was planning to make for Cheesecake Day, which is how this epic layer cheesecake cake was born.

This is a creamy seven-layer cake with

four layers of insanely fluffy moist chocolate chiffon cake,

three layers of perfectly creamy, smooth New York style cheesecake,

a generous coating of cool, not-too-sweet chocolate whipped cream frosting,

a custardy smooth chantilly frosting, and

nicely toasted crunchy sweet coconut.

 

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This is, hands down, the best cheesecake layer cake I have ever made, and possibly in my top 5 desserts ever!

Sink your fork into absolute cheesecake indulgence today–or tomorrow, or the day after, or for all time eternal–and find out why we’re all SO excited to be celebrating Cheesecake Day over here today. Trust me, you NEED this recipe in your book!

Hawaiian Chantilly Layer Cheesecake Cake for #cheesecakeday

8-inch springform pan; 7-layer cake

This creamy twist on a Hawaiian classic cake beats out any cheesecake I've ever tried! With a perfectly textured cheesecake sandwiched between layers of fluffy rich chocolate cake, tempered by a cool whipped chocolate cream & chantilly frosting, this cake only gets moister with time. Don't be daunted by the multiple steps--it only took me 4 hours from start to finish. An instant Wallflour Favorite!

Ingredients

    New York Style Cheesecake Layer
  • Adapted from Allrecipes
  • 3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 cup + tablespoon milk or soy milk
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup 0% Greek yogurt (or low/full-fat; may also sub sour cream)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Chocolate Chiffon Cake
  • Adapted from Taste of Home
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons instant coffee granules (optional)
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup + 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 7 eggs, separated, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanhilla extract
  • Chantilly Frosting
  • Original recipe from Guava Rose
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Whipped Chocolate Frosting:
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes

Instructions

    For the cheesecake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-inch springform pan and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese and sugar until very light and fluffy, with no lumps remaining.
  3. Stir in milk.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, stirring in until just incorporated. DO NOT OVERBEAT.
  5. Stir in yogurt, vanilla, and flour until mixture is just combined and smooth.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and place the pan inside a larger one (to catch leaks). Bake in preheated oven for 55 minutes, then turn off oven and DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR. Allow cheesecake to sit inside oven for another hour before removing and placing in refrigerator; the gradual cooling will prevent your cheesecake from cracking. (If your cheesecake does crack, though, there's nothing to worry about: it'll be stuffed inside scrumptious layers anyway!)
  7. Allow to chill completely (at least 3 hours) before assembling cake.
  8. For the chocolate cake:
  9. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8-inch springform pan and set aside.
  10. In a medium bowl, stir cocoa powder and coffee granules into hot water until dissolved. Set aside and allow to cool completely.
  11. Using a colander, sift flour and cornstarch together into a large bowl. Mix in sugar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  12. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg yolks, oil, and vanilla. Gently fold this mixture, along with the cooled cocoa mixture, into the dry ingredients until smooth.
  13. In another grease-free bowl, beat egg whites with a hand mixer until they form stiff peaks, about 3-4 minutes. Fold egg whites into batter.
  14. Pour 1/4 cake batter into prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool before removing to a cooling rack, then refill with another 1/4 batter and repeat until you have four prepared cake layers. (Alternatively, you may bake all your batter at once, but make sure you adjust baking time accordingly!)
  15. Wrap cooled cakes in cling wrap and place in freezer until ready to use.
  16. For chantilly frosting:
  17. Combine all ingredients except cornstarch in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
  18. Allow mixture to come to come to a slow boil, then continue stirring occasionally and boil mixture for 2 minutes before removing from heat.
  19. Quickly whisk in cornstarch, taking care to continue whisking until mixture is completely smooth. If lumps appear, strain your mixture through a sieve.
  20. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before using.
  21. For whipped chocolate frosting:
  22. Place all ingredients in a food processor. Blend for about 15 seconds, until frosting stiffens and becomes just spreadable.
  23. For assembly:
  24. Spread coconut flakes on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven (at 250 degrees) for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until flakes become golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool as you assemble your cake.
  25. Remove all cake and cheesecake layers from refrigerator/freezer. You should have 4 chocolate cake layers and 3 cheesecake layers. (If you do not, use a serrated knife at this time to slice your cakes into the appropriate number of layers.)
  26. Place one chocolate cake layer onto a large serving plate. Carefully top with a cheesecake layer, then continue layering until you have seven alternating layers.
  27. Frost entire cake with whipped chocolate frosting using an offset spatula. If desired, frost a circle around the top of the cake to hold in the chantilly frosting, which may leak slightly.
  28. Gently spread chantilly frosting on top of frosted cake.
  29. Top with toasted coconut flakes.
  30. Store cake in fridge or slice immediately for instant creamy gratification! Happy cheesecake day!
http://www.wallflourgirl.com/2014/07/30/hawaiian-chantilly-layer-cheesecake-cake-cheesecakeday/

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Salty Oatmeal Cookie Chocolate Bars–and On Being A Wallflower/flour

“Because you saw me when I was invisible.”

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I was thinking about this post last week and Googled that quote, expecting to be smothered by a deluge of cliche love saying sites and poems written by angsty teens with next-to-nil metrical know-how. Instead, I was thrown into a Flashback Friday moment when images like this and this popped up one after another, reminding me of why I liked The Princess Diaries so much in the first place: because who doesn’t feel like they’re an invisible little nobody some days?

I know some people who thrive on being invisible. They would Avada Kedavra the holy hippogriffs out of somebody to own an Invisibility Cloak. (Excuse me, I have Harry Potter on the mind lately–clearly.)

Then there’s me–I need attention and notice like Robin needs Batman, a.k.a. a lot. It would not be inaccurate to say that I am a human dog except much less adorable. (Debatable: I know.)

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I’m not talking about wanting negative attention or experiencing desperate withdrawals in my room’s darkest corner, but there’s no doubt that my parents raised a bouncing baby extrovert. I’m the only one in my family who feeds off human energy the way the monsters in Sailor Moon do: fervidly and unceasingly (seriously, do they never give up?).

What even my closest friends may not know is that I can also be super self-conscious about my hyper-enthusiasm. I’ll laugh if you tell me with a straight face that I am way too excited (because yeah, I am), but if you tell me that in an aw-look-how-cute-it-is-that-she’s-excited or deadpan way chances are I’d like nothing better than to punch you in the face.

Just kidding–I don’t like to get my knuckles dirty. But you’d probably see me skulking around a dark alleyway later that night, all brooding and Edward Cullen-like.

Okay, I wouldn’t. But you get the point.

Ala = super self-conscious ball of physics-defying energy who likes attention.

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Do any of you out there feel the same way? I’ve always just assumed that the road to food bloggerdom is paved with extroverts, because who else would spend half their waking hours publicly documenting the other half of their life, but that’s probably not true. Even as an extrovert, I loved writing because it didn’t require me to be “on” all the time or think of unparalleled witticisms on the spot (by the way, I suck at instant witticisms so if we ever meet in person, you’ll probably want to start the conversation on a particularly slooooow note). I don’t think I’m an awe-inspiring writer or anything, but I most certainly wouldn’t consider myself a natural A-game talker, either.

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I am dreadful at mingling at parties or among large confident groups of people–hence the “wallflower girl” nomenclature–and even when it seems like I am totally in my element, I am probably gauging every facial tick and restless eye twitch for disinterest from my listener. I actually do think of my interactions in terms of the Relationship Meter from the Sims game, which may not be an accurate representation of how relationships work in real life.

And when I’m the only one who’s not holding a drink or laughing along like hurr-hurr-hurr at some dumb humor joke that everyone has managed to find funny, I’d like nothing better than to melt into the wallpaper behind me like that creepy Clay Aiken creature who invisibly watches you in your room and serenades you with the suggestion that he could be your perfect man.

Yeah, I never understood that song either.

Whenever I start to feel particularly Clay Aiken-y, though, I have to remind myself that the total number of people in the room who probably notice my awkwardness is one: me.

Judgy folks will still judge, but being awkward is sort of like being a fart–yes, people notice, but most of the time nobody will say anything and everybody will forget about it, unless you’re a particularly big silent smelly fart, in which case people won’t forget but then again you should’ve known better than to go back for seconds on the refried beans anyway.

If we ever meet in person, these are the types of terrible, not particularly reassuring metaphors toward which you can look forward. Enjoy.

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But let’s go back to where I started when I first wrote this rambling post: invisibility. As far as I know (and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong), there are two types of social invisibles in this world: those who like being invisible, and those who think they are invisible.

One of the reasons I took up baking in the first place was because I wanted the friends and acquaintances in my life to feel noticed. Trust me: it can be difficult, creepy, not to mention imposing to walk up to a lonely wallflower and tell them that they aren’t as invisible as they may think. Do I walk up to the person who just farted and start small talk while pretending to ignore the doomsday fumes enveloping their three-foot bubble?

That’s probably the last thing a farter needs at that mortifyingly awkward moment: company. But if you plop a little bag of home-baked cookie bars with a nice note on their desk for them to find the next day,  it’s a gesture that they’d probably appreciate. That bag of bars says, Hey so this has nothing to do with you farting at the party last night not that I noticed or anything but I just wanted to say that we should be friends, so yay, let’s be friends through cookies.

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A few weeks ago, I was browsing through Facebook and found some posts by a good friend whom I haven’t seen in a long time but who is also one of the kindest, most genuine people I know. From what I read, it sounded like she was having a tough time at her new job–it was one of those nonchalant-but-really-not-nonchalant status updates that wants to be noticed, but is afraid to ask.

“We accept the love we think we deserve,” that wonderful novel-turned-film The Perks of Being a Wallflower reminds us. Apart from my family (and even then, sometimes), I am terrible at accepting love, but I do believe that everyone deserves it, especially when we think that nobody notices how badly we need it. Some people like being invisible, but nobody likes feeling invisible. That night after we chatted, I made these wonderful salted oatmeal cookie bars, packed them up, and shipped them up north the next day.

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Then of course I forgot all about them, until I opened up my Facebook a few days later and found this awesome, surprising message:

What a super surprise! Thank you!!! You, you, you Big Sweetie!”

And then this Facebook status she posted:

“Wow! I came home yesterday, tired and low, when I discovered a package of salty chocolate granola bars made by the amazing Ala, child lit scholar/master chef!! What a wonderful surprise! (You can check out her web page at wallflourgirl.com)

If awkwardness is like farting, then giving is like giving your kid a five-dollar bill at the carnival prize booth–they run off with a greenback and come back with their arms so laden with STUFF (they still give out those giant inflatable hammer toys?!) that you can hardly believe all that came out of a measly slip of paper currency. I read my friend’s message with a huge grin and danced around the room for a few minutes, because giving rocks. And the funny thing about giving to others is that you’re not just letting them know you notice them: chances are, they’ll notice you a little bit more in return, too.

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So that’s the story behind these salty oat bars, which were my first experiment with using coarse sea salt (by the way, I am a total convert now–it’s so cheap! Bought a huge box at the dollar store). My friend loves chocolate so I threw in a few handfuls for good measure, then whipped up a batch of good ol’ chewy chunky oat bars and sprinkled it with a liberal dose of sea salt for good measure.

These bars are the perfect way to show a friend that he or she’s not invisible! They’re a wonderful, addicting mix of salty and slightly sweet, with a perfect balance of chocolate heartiness for care packages. What do you think–is there anyone you can think of who needs a little noticing today?

Ala

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