Thursday, January 20, 2011

Template Help!

A quick request:  I'm tinkering with my blog design and can't figure out how to get my background pattern to repeat all the way up to the top of the page.  As you can see, it stops a little ways up the header.  Any ideas?  I'm using one of the new Simple templates from Blogger, just in case you were wondering.
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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Golden Cornbread

I have been a big cornbread fan for my entire life.  Until a few years ago, I always just made the recipe on the side of the cornmeal box, and I was pretty happy with it.  I occasionally tried something new, like a recipe from the Little House on the Prairie Cookbook or something with cheese, corn, and green chilies in it, but in general, I just floated along with my box recipe, blissfully unaware.

When we were dating and my husband first made this cornbread for me, I had a very snobby attitude toward it.  Instead of being coarse, slightly on the dry side, and hearty like "real" cornbread, it was fluffy, tender, and sweet.  I was used to choking down leftovers with a huge glass of milk so that I didn't asphyxiate on the dry, sandy crumbs, and I didn't think this moist, cakey cornbread was legit enough.  But after a few months of eating it, I was hooked.  Now I shudder at the thought of the cornbread I used to eat:  dry, crumbly, corny.

Without further ado, my favorite cornbread recipe:  sweet, tender, and lighter-than-air.

Golden Cornbread
makes one 9x13 pan

3 eggs, at room temperature
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup cornmeal
3 cups Bisquick (*if you are of the strictly-from-scratch camp, scroll down to the bottom of the post)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups milk, at room temperature
1 cup sugar

Combine all ingredients in a big bowl, and mix until well blended.  Pour batter into a greased 9x13" pan and bake at 350 degrees.  I swear the baking time always varies a lot.  Start with 30 minutes and work your way up from there.

*If you don't want to use Bisquick, you can make a copycat version from scratch.  This makes more than you will need for the cornbread, but the extras can be stored at room temperature:
4 cups flour
2 Tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup nonfat powdered milk

Combine all ingredients, cutting shortening in with a fork or pastry cutter, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Sweet Melissa Sundays: Hazelnut Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream

I hadn't intended on being absent from this blog for a whole month, but you know how life goes, especially around the holidays!  Family and fun trump blogging anyday.

I'm a few days late in posting my Sweet Melissa Sundays blurb for the week, but I think the picture is pretty enough to make up for it.  This week's recipe from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book by Melissa Murphy was chosen by Candy of Candy Girl:  Hazelnut Raspberry Layer Cake, or in my case, Hazelnut Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream.  Hazelnuts are one of those things I like without loving, so I wasn't jumping at this recipe, but I have a friend who happens to be crazy for hazelnuts and had a birthday last week, so I made cupcakes for her.

The cake batter threw me for a loop; it was basically the consistency of paste until having lots and lots of whipped eggs whites folded into it.  I had my doubts that the cupcakes would turn out, but they were moist and flavorful.  The fresh raspberries in the buttercream made it the most lovely shade of pink.  My only complaint on the frosting is that the buttercream tasted way too buttery; the butter flavor made the delicious raspberry flavor hard to detect.  I think the idea is a sound one, however, and I plan on trying fruit buttercreams in the future with a different base recipe.

Thank you Candy for choosing this truly lovely recipe; it was a big hit with the birthday girl!  If you'd like to try this delicious combination, you can find the recipe HERE.    And to see how the other Sweet Melissa Bakers fared, click HERE.
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