April 29, 2008

Who likes cornflakes anyway?: Sweet Maries

I made some square yesterday, that I have always known to be called Sweet Maries, but a couple of searches on recipe websites and Google tells me there's essentially no such thing. Who knew?

Anyway, the inspiration (instigation may be more correct) for these tasty squares was a surplus of plain cornflakes which I bought when we were all suffering from the stomach flu, and which I discovered pretty much no one likes. We've moving on Thursday and the last thing I want to have to pack is a box of cornflakes, so I asked around for recipes and was given this link. They sounded like these things that my cousin has always called Sweet Maries when she brings them to family get togethers, so that's what I'm calling them.

They're really easy, no-bake and made with things I would normally have around the house:

...except that this time I had to go out specifically to buy everything except the white sugar (not pictured) and the cornflakes.

Here's how it went down:

Throw together the peanut butter, sugar and corn syrup in a pot, on the stove.

Heat gently and mix until it looks like really sugary, terrible-for-you peanut butter, then take it off the heat.

Pour the peanut butter mixture into a large bowl, throw in the cornflakes and mix until they're coated evenly.

Ooh, close up.

You'll want to try some at this point. Go ahead, try some... I did and it turned out it wasn't peanut buttery enough, so I added another 1/4 cup or so.

Press it into a pan. I covered the inside of this Pyrex dish with a sheet of plastic wrap so it would be easy to get out. Turned out to be a good idea.

Okay, the recipe gives an exact amount of chocolate to melt for the topping, but what I did was open the package of chocolate and dump in what looked like enough to make a young child really sick and messy.

Pour the chocolate over the top and spread it out evenly. I put mine in the fridge to help the chocolate set, but since the chocolate is chocolate chips, I'm guessing it would set if you didn't put it in the fridge.

This is what mine looked like when they were done.

And putting them in the fridge turned out not to be a great idea. When I tried to cut the block up it pretty much shattered and sent cornflakes flying evvvverywhere. Pretty delish, still. They got the Anders and Trevor seal of a approval, anyway.

3 cups corn flakes, crushed
1 1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup white corn syrup
However many chocolate chips look appropriate

Heat peanut butter, sugar and corn syrup over low heat to melt. Mix with cereal.
Pat into a 8x8 (mine wasn't 8x8) lightly greased pan. (I lined mine with plastic wrap and sprayed it with Pam).
Melt chocolate chips over low heat or in the microwave and spread over top. Cool until firm.

Guten Appetit!
Continue reading...

April 25, 2008

Easy food: pizza and Quaker muffins

The plan for my next baking endeavour was chocolate berry pie, but I haven't got the ingredients for it yet, so instead, the past two real food things I've made have been mostly packaged and easy.

First, Anders and I ate pizza for dinner last night. It's sort of a new dinner we've started enjoying, and it's nice because it's pretty easy.

We buy the crust ready-made with sauce included. Both are of surprising taste-quality.
We buy Molinaro brand:

Since Anders hates cheese more than anything in the world (no joke) and eats meat, we cut the shell in half and make completely separate pizzas.
His toppings usually include some sort of meat (most often bacon, but he's also put on ham, and maybe even hotdog once), pepper (red, orange or yellow), and some times pineapple.
I, on the other hand, like toppings that most other people think are insane. I put on the usual grated mozzarella cheese, then top that with broccoli and green olives. It's a lovely salty taste with a nice amount of crunch in the broccoli.

All in all, a great, mostly healthy dinner:

Second, today I made Quaker brand oatmeal chocolate chip muffins from a mix.

Yes, that is a poster of two girls making out in the background... I live with all boys, don't you know.

After a crummy day today, I was craving a chocolate hit, and while these are oatmeal chocolate chip muffins, most girls will understand that this is just not enough.
So, I had the ingenious idea of adding some unsweetened cocoa to a few of the muffins, before I remembered I live in a student house with four (now three, tomorrow two) boys and there is not a dusting of unsweetened cocoa to be found. Instead I nicked some of Trevor's Nesquick and added that to a few of the muffin cups before they went into the oven.

After baking for a mere 18 minutes, the muffins looked lovely and golden... kind of like this:

And how did the Nesquick ones actually turn out?

Pretty good. Could definitely use more chocolate, still.

Guten Appetit!
Continue reading...

April 24, 2008

Pink lemonade cupcakes

Yesterday I made my attempt at pink lemonade cupcakes, adapting a recipe thebyrds posted some time ago on Bake! Bake! Bake!

First of all, I doubled the recipe to get 12 regular-sized cupcakes. I also changed some ingredient amounts to taste and omitted the food colouring, since the pink lemonade mix made the cupcakes a very pleasing pink on its own. I made my own variation of buttercream frosting, which I have begun to call sour buttercream frosting, and just added some pink lemonade concentrate.

I like the texture of these cupcakes a lot better than the rainbow ones, but they're still sort of dense. They're also not too terrible for you, which is always a bonus.

As much as I wanted to cut down the number of photos I was going to post for these, I liked so many of them. Plus it's a fairly short post, so deeeeeeal.

Naked, fresh out of the oven.

Frosting, waiting for the cupcakes to cool.

Decorated and deliiiish.

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup granulated sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
4 egg whites
3/4 cup thawed frozen pink lemonade concentrate
½ cup milk


Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin pan with liners.
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, egg whites and lemonade concentrate. Alternately whisk in flour mixture and milk, making three additions of flour mixture and two of milk, beating until just smooth.
Scoop batter into liners. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on rack. Top cooled cupcakes with frosting.

Pink Lemonade Buttercream Frosting

3/4 cup softened butter
1 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons sour cream (4 tablespoons or 1/4 cup if it wasn't flavoured with pink lemonade)
2-3 tablespoons pink lemonade concentrate, thawed
Vanilla to taste


Place all ingredients in a bowl and whip with an electric mixer on medium-low. The frosting tends to look slightly strange and lumpy for a while, but will smooth out nicely after a few minutes of whipping.

Guten Appetit!
Continue reading...

April 19, 2008

School's out... time to bake!

On Friday, I finished my last exam for the year and decided it would be an excellent time to start whipping up some food fro the excellent recipes I've been nicking from Bake! Bake! Bake!
Well, I suppose only one is from there.
But, let me take you back a few days before that, to Wednesday. Picture it... you walk into the grocery store and there they are... baskets of strawberries... 2 for $3.00. No joke. Suddenly I found myself rummaging through pallet upon pallet of strawberries, looking for the best two baskets I could find. Of course, I didn't actually decide what I was going to do with them until the day I ended up using them, Friday.
So anyway, Thursday I write an exam, and study the rest of the day for my Friday exam. On Friday I finish my exam, which was supposed to be three hours long, head to Tim Horton's and make it home before the first hour of the allotted time is up. Most of my planning was done then, while I sat on the couch drinking an iced cappuccino, eating a double chocolate muffin and thinking about how I didn't have to think anymore. Sweet relief.
After seeing 29983439834 posts about it on Bake! Bake! Bake!, I decided to make rainbow cupcakes. I also found a recipe for olive oil pie crust that looked like it might actually work (two failed attempts preceded this one), and decided to pick up some peaches to design a peach and strawberry pie. Finally, I figured I'd try something new for dinner and make some lasagna, the idea for which I stole from Restaurant Makeover (<3). Onward to downtown, where I stopped at the kitchen store and bought a pastry cutter/blender, a tiny piping kit and some concentrated gel food colouring. I ended up spending more there than I did on the actual food for the day. After that it was on to the grocery store where I found everything I needed. The walk home was delightful, as the weather has finally decided to be spring-like. Ahhh.

The first order of business when I got home was to make the pie crust:

The key is to freeze the olive oil first. So I popped a bowl full of it into the freezer before I went out. It was a good working consistency by the time I got home from downtown (about 1.5 to 2 hours, but I guess it depends on the freezer).
While that was chilling in the fridge I set to work on the filling:

I had to use tinned peaches because, of course, peaches aren't in season right now. The strawberries are fresh though. To make this I just sliced up the fruit and tossed it in a maple cinnamon glaze. Delish.
This is what it looked like when all was said and done:

I made the crust a little too thick, and the fruit was a bit too juicy, which led to a partially uncooked/soggy crust in some places. The flavour of the crust was great though, and the filling was excellent as well. The best part was knowing that the olive oil pie crust wasn't actively clogging people's arteries as they ate!

Next I made rainbow cupcakes, which were a huge fad on Bake! Bake! Bake! for a little while.

They had quite a nice flavour, but were extreeeemely dense. I will probably never use this white cake recipe again. Eating a cupcake was like eating an entire, really unhealthy meal. Tasty though.
This is what they looked like inside:

I kind of made up the frosting for these, because we didn't have any milk or cream in the house for buttercream. We did, however, have sour cream, since I was using it for the cupcakes.

Finally, I made some lasagna for Anders, Ally and myself. Of course that meant making both meat and vegetarian. And, of course, I did it a little differently than normal. Instead of layering it in a dish the traditional way, I made lasagna rolls. It was later christened "surprise lasagna" following a phone conversation with my sister, in which the description of the dish was a little confused.

This is what my dinner looked like:


Olive Oil Pie Crust

2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
2 ½ cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup ice water
1 tablespoon of vinegar


Place olive oil in the freezer until it solidifies and is of a consistency similar to thick honey, approximately 3 or 4 hours.
Combine flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl and mix. Add remaining ingredients and blend with a pastry blender. Place dough in an air tight container or plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for an hour or so to chill.
Roll ball out to 1/8 inch thickness and fit into a pie plate. Use as you would a regular pie crust.


I got this recipe from DaffodilLane on Flickr.


3 ½ cups peeled, sliced peaches
3 ½ cups washed, hulled and halved strawberries
½ cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons butter
cinnamon to taste
2 unbaked pie crusts


Hull and wash the strawberries, then slice them in half. Wash and peel fresh peaches, or drain tinned pears. Slice peaches into quarters or eighths.
In a pot, heat maple syrup, butter and cinnamon, stirring constantly. Bring the mixture to gentle boil for a few moments and remove from heat. Allow the glaze to cool slightly, and toss with strawberries and pears.
Pour the filling into one of the pie crusts and cover with the other.
Bake at 400° for 15 minutes, and then reduce heat to 325-350° for 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Rainbow Cupcakes

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream


Preheat oven to 350°. Line a standard (12-cup) muffin tin with paper liners. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined. Beat in vanilla.
With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in flour mixture and sour cream in alternating batches, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a cupcake comes out clean and the top is springy to the touch, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely before spreading with frosting.


This is a Martha Stewart recipe, which I took from the Bake! Bake! Bake! community.

3/4 cup softened butter
1 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
Vanilla to taste
Food colouring (optional)


Place all ingredients in a bowl and whip with an electric mixer on medium-low. The frosting tends to look slightly strange and lumpy for a while, but will smooth out nicely after a few minutes of whipping.

And as far as the lasagna goes... well there is no recipe, really. Here's what I did:

I cooked a whole bunch of regular lasagna sheets, grated some cheese (I cut up some emmental for mine, actually), cut up some broccoli and browned some beef (for Anders).
When the pasta was done, Ally and I spread out the sheets on cutting boards, spread sauce over them, sprinkled them with cheese, and bunched some broccoli up at one end of the sheet. Starting at the end where the broccoli was, we rolled the pasta up onto itself and put them in a Pyrex baking dish on their ends.
For Anders, I mixed the beef up with the sauce, then spread that onto the pasta sheets. Before rolling it up I put some wilted spinach in and also baked them on their ends in a Pyrex dish.
They take about 20 minutes in the oven at 350° or so.

That's really all there is to it. Just pick a sauce you like (I used Marinelli, which is our favourite), some toppings you like and roll it all up.

Next, I'm making pink lemonade cupcakes!

Guten Appetit!
Continue reading...

essen, fressen, nicht vergessen...

Here's the deal:
I love cooking, and I love baking. I love doing both these things for other people. My boyfriend is a distance runner and eats a lot, so I always have someone to test new things out on. Plus, I love to eat, so that helps, too! This is why I've decided to make a food blog.
I plan to chronicle the new things I cook or bake, as well as my old favourites.
The original name of this blog was "essen, fressen, nicht vergessen..." This was a phrase my grandfather used with my mother, when she was young, and which she used with me, when I was young. It's really a nonsense phrase. If you wanted to translate it, it would be something like "eat, eat, do not forget," however, "fressen" is the verb "to eat" ascribed to animals.
I've since changed the name to Cathlin cooks... and bakes! or Cathlin cooks... but mostly bakes. Cathlin cooks, for short.
This is where I'll be posting photos, recipes and commentary on the food I make from now on. Some food is directly from recipes, but you'll find that many of my recipes stray, or that I've made them up myself!

Enjoy, and guten Appetit!
Continue reading...