Monday, December 23, 2013

Pillsbury Holiday Giveaway (CLOSED)

Remember those ooey gooey dark chocolate caramel pecan brownies I shared with you a couple weeks ago? They were made with a Pillsbury® Dark Chocolate Cake Mix. So easy! Today, Pillsbury® is giving one lucky reader a chance to win a Celebration Starter Kit including all of their new holiday baking mixes and frostings, plus a $100 gift card.

Included in the Celebration Starter Kit is:

Visit Pillsbury on Facebook, and Pillsbury on Pinterest to learn more ideas about how you can Celebrate More with Pillsbury® and their new Holiday line. 

To enter this fabulous giveaway, simply leave me a comment on this blog post telling me what new Pillsbury® product you're most excited to try. That's it! 

One entry per person. Open to U.S. residents only. 

*I was provided with product samples and compensation by Pillsbury®, though the opinions I express here are my own. ©/® The J.M. Smucker Company. Pillsbury is a trademark of The Pillsbury Company, LLC, used under license. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Celebrating 6 Years Of "Lick The Bowl Good" With A Giveaway! (CLOSED)

Every year my blog anniversary comes and goes and I forget about it. I intend to do something special to celebrate the day (November 3rd) and time escapes me, stuff comes up and then the holidays hit and my blog birthday goes unmentioned again. Well this year, to say "thank you for sticking by me!" I have a giveaway for you. I've been blogging for 6 years and so much good has come out of it. I've connected with some amazing people, made and eaten lots of tasty treats and some not so great ones too. I've learned a lot about baking formulas, food styling and photography and I even wrote my own cookbook, gosh darn it! Such an amazing opportunity and accomplishment that was! Would you like to win a signed copy of Lick The Bowl Good

I'll tell you more about the giveaway in a moment, but first let me tell you about this cake, streusel squares to be exact. The recipe comes from Great Cakes by Carole Walter. The Cake Slice Bakers are baking from this new book. This was a good recipe, the cake had a soft tender center, lightly scented with vanilla. The topping was the best part though- those buttery, cinnamon-y crumbs were hard to resist. This would be a great one to share with a crowd or to give as gifts this Christmas. You can even play up the flavorings a bit and use rum, lemon, or almond extracts in the cake. 

Streusel Squares
Recipe from Great Cakes by Carole Walter
via All That's Left Are The Crumbs

Printer Friendly Version

Streusel Topping:
  • ⅓ cup (⅔ stick) unsalted butter
  • 1¼ cups unsifted all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 2¼ cups unsifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk 
  • 1 large egg white

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350⁰F. Butter a 9 x 13 x 2” pan.

To Make The Streusel Topping: Melt the butter, then cool slightly.

Add the flour, sugar and cinnamon all at once and stir with a fork until the mixture forms small crumbs. Take a handful of the crumbs and make a fist to press the mixture into a large clump, and then separate into smaller clusters, at least two or three times the size of the original crumbs.

Repeat until all of the crumbs have been reshaped, then set aside.

To Make The Cake: Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.

Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces and place in the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment to soften on low speed. Increase speed to medium-high and cream until smooth and light in color, about 1½ to 2 minutes.

Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, taking about 6 to 8 minutes to blend it in well, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Add the eggs and additional yolk, 1 at a time at 1-minute intervals, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.Blend in the vanilla.

Reduce mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk, dividing the flour mixture into three parts and the milk into two parts, starting and ending with the flour. Mix just until incorporated after each addition, scraping the sides of the bowl and mix for 10 seconds longer.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with the back of a tablespoon.

Beat the egg white lightly with a fork, and using a pastry brush, spread about half of the beaten egg white over the top of the cake batter. Discard the remainder - the egg white helps the streusel adhere to the top of the cake.

Sprinkle the entire surface of the batter generously with the streusel, gently patting the crumbs into the batter with the palm of your hand; do not press hard.

Center the pan on the rack and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown on top, begins to come away from the sides of the pan, and the streusel is crisp. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out dry.

Remove the cake from the oven and set on a cake rack to cool. When ready to serve, dust the top with powdered sugar and cut into squares.

Can be stored at room temperature for up to 5 days.

The Giveaway! 

1. A Signed Copy of Lick The Bowl Good
2. Red Striped Paper Straws
3. Kitchen Utensils Magnets
4. Magnetic Note Pad
5. Baker's Twine
6. "For You" Baker's Tags
7. Recipe Cards
8. Sticky Notes for Bookmarking Your Favorite Recipes :-)

Giveaway open to U.S. residents only. You have 4 chances to win. Please leave a separate comment per entry. 

Entry #1 (mandatory entry)- Leave me a comment on this blog post telling me about your favorite holiday traditions.

Entry #3- Follow monica_h30 on Instagram

Entry #4- Share this giveaway with your friends and family and help spread the word about Lick The Bowl Good

Please remember, if you enter more than once to leave me separate comments per entry. 

I will select and announce the winner using on Monday, December 30th. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Best of luck and Happy Holidays to you all. Thank you for your generosity and support over the last 6 years. My family and I are thankful for you.

~Monica Holland

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Brownie Points!

When we were kids, my step mom, Olivia, used to make my brother and me caramel brownies. She didn't make them very often and I remember them being really good (they were my brother's favorite) but I thought maybe it was a difficult recipe so they were only made for special occasions. I was wrong! She shared the recipe with me and they could not be simpler to make. I took the liberty to tweak things here and there (that's what I do) because the amounts were a little vague and I like to be specific when it comes to baking. Specific amounts in baking lead to consistent results, am I right? Here we go!

Pillsbury® recently sent me their new seasonal line of cake and cookie mixes just in time for holiday baking. I received Chocolate Peppermint Premium Cookie Mix, Traditional Sugar Premium Cookie Mix, Dark Chocolate Premium Cake Mix as well as Peppermint Frosting and Funfetti Frostings in Rudolph Red and Garland Green. My step mom's recipe for caramel brownies called for German Chocolate cake mix, but I opted for the Dark Chocolate Cake mix for these rich and gooey brownies. To learn more about these products, visit Pillsbury on Facebook, and Pillsbury on Pinterest

Dark Chocolate, semisweet chocolate chips, gooey caramel, crunchy pecans. You know these were good...and decadent! These brownies are for sharing. After making these and being left with an entire pan of brownies, I now understand why my step mom only made these about 1-2 times a year. They are dangerous and so much better than I remembered. I'm typically a "plain jane" brownie person and don't like anything but cocoa in my brownies but these are excellent. Thanks for the recipe and the trip down memory lane Olivia :-) I hope you'll seek out these new Pillsbury® products and make these brownies!

Dark Chocolate Caramel Nut Brownies 
adapted from my step mom, Olivia Luna

  • 14-16 oz. package caramels (50-60 caramels)
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1- 15.25 oz. box Pillsbury Dark Chocolate Premium Cake Mix
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and line it with a sheet of parchment paper, allowing the paper to hang over the edges. Spray the paper once again with non-stick spray and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the caramels and 1/3 cup of evaporated milk. Stir occasionally over medium heat until the caramels melt and the mixture becomes smooth. Turn off heat and allow to cool slightly while you prepare the brownie batter. 

In a large bowl, combine the dry cake mix, melted butter, vanilla extract and the remaining evaporated milk. Mix until well combined. 

Press half of the brownie batter into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 6 minutes. 

Remove the pan from the oven and gently and evenly drizzle the caramel mixture over brownie base. Evenly distribute the chocolate chips and the chopped pecans over the caramel. Crumble the remaining brownie batter evenly over the nuts and chocolate and return back to the oven. 

Bake for an additional 20-22 minutes. It will be hard to tell when it's done because the brownies will be really gooey in the center and don't firm up until they have cooled completely, but don't bake any longer than the recommended time. 

Cool completely until the brownies have reached room temperature. Using the handles of the overlapping parchment paper, lift the brownies out of the pan. Cut the brownies into squares. Store in an airtight container. 

I was provided with product samples and compensation by Pillsbury, though the opinions I express here are my own.

©/® The J.M. Smucker Company. Pillsbury is a trademark of The Pillsbury Company, LLC, used under license.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

"Eat Say Love" Kitchen Prints and Discount Offer

A few weeks ago my blogger friend Cyndi from Tender Tummy showed me this adorable print someone had posted on Instagram. Of course I wanted one! The print is made by Ashley from Eat Say Love on Etsy. I sent a message to her asking if she could  make it "lick the bowl good" and she did. And I love it and it looks great in my kitchen.


If you're interested in getting an adorable kitchen print for yourself, head on over to Eat Say Love and browse around for a bit. Prints are available in 5x7's 8x10's and 11x14's and range in price from $14-$25 and shipping is fast so you can have it before the holidays if you order soon! They make perfect gifts for you or a fellow foodie and if you don't see the color combination you want, send Ashley a message and she can customize it for you.  

Enter code: lickthebowl at checkout to take 15% off your purchase. Hurry, offer expires December 10, 2013

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving 2013!

Here's a simple yet delicious and equally impressive pie I made a couple weeks ago. I found the recipe from Christy at The Girl Who Ate Everything. I read the reviews on Allrecipes and made some tweaks. I also made my own graham cracker crust. A graham cracker crust consists of graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter- three very simple ingredients yet it tastes so much better than the premade store bought crusts. I also added more spice, pumpkin and a little sour cream to the cheesecake part of the pie. This pie was excellent. So good it was gone after one evening and everyone that had some, wanted a second slice. 

This pie does need a little refrigeration time, so make it the night before, or early on the day you want to serve it so it has time to properly chill and firm up. Oh and serve with plenty of sweetened whipped cream! I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. Have a great weekend, and while you're shopping might I remind you that my cookbook, Lick The Bowl Good makes a great gift :-). Look for it in Barnes & Noble book stores and online. 

Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie 

Graham Crust: 
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

For The Crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Stir in the melted butter until thoroughly blended.

Press mixture firmly into a 9-inch pie pan, bringing crumbs evenly up the sides up to the rim.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. While crust is cooling, prepare the filling. 

For The Filling: Reduce the oven to 300 degrees F. 

Beat the cream cheese til creamy and there are no lumps. Then add the sugar and vanilla. Beat until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition. 

Divide the batter evenly into two bowls. Add sour cream to one half and mix until well combined. 

Pour the sour cream/ cream cheese mixture into the bottom of the prepared, cooled crust. Spread it into an even layer. 

Add the pumpkin puree and the pumpkin pie spice to the remaining cream cheese mixture. Blend well and gently pour the pumpkin mixture over the cream cheese layer. 

Bake in a 300 degree oven for 50-55 minutes. The center of the pie may jiggle slightly. Turn the oven off, crack the door open and let cool in the oven for 30 minutes. Refrigerate pie until well chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Apples and Spice

It's almost Thanksgiving, are you all ready? I'm always interested in what people are making. Ham or turkey? Stuffing or dressing? Cranberry sauce- fresh or jellied? Pumpkin or pecan? There are so many different foods, I want a buffet table so I can sample everything! What's on your Thanksgiving menu? Our family does Holiday gatherings pot-luck style so not everyone has to do the work on heir own. Less stress that way. I'm in charge of a side dish and chocolate pecan pies this year. 

I baked my cake in my Autumn Harvest Bundt that my hubby gave me years ago. It's such a pretty pan, but the detail didn't show up as much as I hoped it would. I'm thinking a pound cake would do well in a pan like this, with a light dusting of powdered sugar. 

If you like spice cake, you might like this cake. It was really moist and spicy. A little too spicy for me, if I'm being honest, but if spice is your thing you'll like this. In this applesauce cake was lemon zest too, which was a nice addition. It brightened the flavor and helped cut through the spice. If I made this again, I'd leave out the allspice all together, cut the amount of nutmeg in half and add more chopped apples. The glaze though, was delicious! I could eat the glaze straight out of the bowl with a spoon. Below is the recipe for the cake, as I made it. 

Stay tuned for a holiday pie recipe and a giveaway... coming soon! Click to see the other cakes made by the Cake Slice Bakers.

Apple Sauce Spice Bundt Cake 

  • 2 1/4 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup pecans, lightly toasted finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/3 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 medium sized Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced, about 1 cup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup applesauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. utter a 9" fluted tube pan, dust it lightly with flour and invert over the kitchen sink to tap out excess flour.

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and spices in a triple sifter. Stir in chopped pecans, if using. Set aside.

Place the butter and shortening and lemon zest in large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the beaters or paddle attachment. Beat over medium-high speed until creamy and smooth, about 2 minute. 

Add the granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, taking 3 to 4 minutes to blend it in well. Add the light brown sugar over an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally.

Add the eggs, one at a time until well blended. Reduce speed to medium-low. Add the fresh apple and the vanilla. 

Reduce mixer speed to low. Add the flour/nut mixture alternately in three additions with the applesauce in two additions, starting and ending with the flour. Beat just until incorporated after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Center the pan on the rack and bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until the cake begins to leave the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove from oven. Place the pan on a cake rack to set for 10 to 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto the rack and remove pan. While the cake is still warm you may want to pour Brown Sugar Glaze over the top, letting it drip naturally down the sides. Garnish the top with chopped pecans if you wish.

Brown Sugar Glaze
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the brown sugar over low heat. Then stir in the heavy cream and cook slowly until the mixture comes to a gentle boil. Simmer for 1-2 minutes.

Take the pan off the heat and gradually add the powdered sugar in three additions, whisking until smooth. Add in the vanilla and whisk to combine. 

If the icing is too thick, add another tablespoon of the cream. You want it thin enough to pour but not runny. It sets quickly so get it on the cake as quickly as possible.

My little barefoot donkey on Halloween :-)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Hayden's 2nd Birthday- A Radio Flyer Tricycle Party

My sweet little mischievous boy turned two years old in September. We celebrated with a Radio Flyer red tricycle themed cake and party. I like themed parties but I'm not one to purchase character cups, plates, banners and tablecloths- that's just not my style. So I made a fondant covered tricycle cake, and chose solid red and turquoise accents to bring it all together.  Read on for more details.

I wanted to incorporate some of Hayden's favorite things at his party, which just happened to include cake, cookies, lemonade, milk, hot dogs with ketchup, pretzels and cheese. I made a bunting banner to hang over the table using patterned scrapbook that read "Happy Birthday Hayden". I also set up a lemonade stand and made a bunting for that that said "Lemonade 5 cents" I used this bunting template and Baker's twine to hang it. I loved how they turned out. So much so that I still haven't taken them down :-)

For the buffet I served: 

  1. Hot dogs with mustard and ketchup (served out of a Radio Flyer wagon)
  2. Tortilla chips and pretzels
  3. Veggies with ranch dip
  4. Cheese cubes
  5. Birthday cake (chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream covered in Marshmallow Fondant)
  6. Brown butter and spice rice krispies treats
  7. Fresh fruit cups
  8. Decorated sugar cookies and red and aqua Sixlets
  9. Whole and 2% milk served in glass Frappuccino bottles
  10. Raspberry and regular lemonade
My wonderfully talented friend, Kathia from Pink Little Cake, made the tricycle, cat and star Hayden decorated sugar cookies for me. If you haven't been to her blog, go check her out. She does amazing work. She also made the cute little scalloped tags that I used on Hayden's party favors which included Cheez-its, fruit snacks, raisins, and a drink mix.  My friend Becky from Goods by Gert custom made the letter H for me. I ordered Hayden's "two" shirt from Best Birthday Ever shop on Etsy. Thank you Kathia and Becky!

This was my first time covering a cake in fondant, though I have worked with fondant before. I was a little worried, but in the end it turned out great and the fondant I used was really forgiving. Any mistakes I made, I was able to cover up with a cloud or the green grass. This was really fun to make and this colors were so bright and vibrant. The actual fondant was quite tasty too. 

It was a great day shared with close family and I'm so grateful to have had my Dad and step mom there to celebrate with us along with. Hayden is a truly blessed boy. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Cherpumple Pie-Cake.

I've been meaning to write a blog for several days now and stuff keeps coming up and interfering with my blogging schedule. Hayden turned 2 on September 1st so I will be sharing his birthday cake in my next post. And my blog, Lick The Bowl Good just turned 6 years old on November 3rd. I will be having a fun giveaway for that too, so stay tuned! In the meantime, enjoy this video for Cherpumple Pie Cake. Perfect for Thanksgiving, if you're brave enough to try it! heehee :-)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sunday, October 27, 2013

My First Catered Party and A Spooktacular Halloween Cake

Last week I catered my first party for 40 people. My friend Holly asked if I would make a cake and heavy hors d'oeuvres for her 40th birthday extravaganza. I immediately said "yes!" then began brainstorming recipes and  ideas. Holly said she wanted a Halloween themed chocolate cake and sliders. I pretty much had carte blanche with the menu and decorating and I had so much fun. Here's what I made. 

I made 1). Ham wrapped Asparagus Spears with Boursin Cheese 2). Cream Cheese with Red Pepper Jelly and Spicy Saltine Crackers 3). Sausage, Garlic and Mushroom Pizza Puffs with Herb Red Sauce 4). Pork Tenderloin Medallions on Hawaiian Rolls served with Pesto Mayo.

I also made 7 Layer Dip with a Sour Cream Spiderweb served with corn chips and Sweet and Spicy Smoky Meatballs (that I forgot to take a picture of). And birthday cake!

My friend Holly doesn't actually turn 40 until December but she wanted to celebrate early with a "Happy Hollyween" party. I wanted to play up the "over the hill" theme so I did a graveyard scene and dug an early grave for her. I used Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies and a black edible marker for the tombstones. I used Peeps Marshmallow ghosts, Brach's pumpkins and edible chocolate rocks for decorating. I used melted dark chocolate and Wilton leaf sprinkles to make the tree. I used this Chocolate Cake Recipe, this Vanilla Buttercream Recipe and Chocolate Ganache to make the 2 layer 12-inch cake. It was a success! 

Spicy Saltine Crackers
(recipe given to me by my aunt Melinda)

Printer Friendly Version

  • 1 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 Tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon dill weed
  • 3 Tablespoons dry ranch dressing mix
  • 1 box (4 sleeves) Unsalted tops Saltine crackers
In a measuring cup, combine the oil and seasonings. Mix well.

Place the crackers into a 2 gallon Ziploc bag. Pour the seasoned oil over the crackers and shake vigorously until well coated. Let crackers soak up the seasonings for at least one hour or overnight. Leave them in the sealed bag until ready to serve.

Hope you all have a Happy Halloween!
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