Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

The smell of homemade chocolate chip cookies always takes me back to my childhood.  It makes me think of warm summer afternoons and playing outside with my brother and our neighbors.  Why does it make me think of playing outside?  Because on some afternoons, if we were lucky, my mom would bring out freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies.  And if I was REALLY lucky my mom would have added peanut butter chips to the dough (my favorite!).  The cookies were still warm and gooey with melty chips – ah, baking perfection.  It’s hard to beat chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven…

My mom made chocolate chip cookies using the recipe on the back of the Nestle chocolate chip bag.  And they were good.  So that’s the chocolate chip cookie recipe I always cooked until I met my boyfriend.  Chocolate chip cookies are his absolute favorite dessert.  In fact, it’s the only baked good he ever requests.  The only other time I bake is for parties or birthdays (neither of us have big sweet tooths, but who needs temptation laying around on the the kitchen counter?).  Since chocolate chip cookies are his favorite and the only thing he asks for, I wanted my cookies to be better than good…  I wanted them to be the BEST!

Cookie Platter

So I started trying some new recipes.  Eventually I tried the New York Times’ recipe… and hit the jackpot!  Of course, I didn’t try every recipe out there, but I tried quite a few, and these were so delicious that I was content to stop my search.  They were the best chocolate chip cookies I had ever had, and, more importantly, they were the best he’d ever had.  I’m not sure where exactly the magic comes from in this recipe – maybe the savory bites of coarse-grained sea salt or maybe the dark chocolate chips or maybe it’s something else entirely.  Whatever makes them so delicious, you will love them!  And they’re no harder to make than any other chocolate chip cookie recipe.  So take a break from your usual recipe and give this one a try.  You won’t be disappointed!

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes + 24 hour chill time

Cook Time: 15-20 minutes

Serves: ~30 cookies

Ingredients

1 c. minus 1 tbsp. Cake Flour
5/6 c. Bread Flour
generous 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
3/4 tsp. Baking Powder
3/4 tsp. Coarse Sea Salt
5/8 c. (10 tbsp.) Butter, at room temperature
5/8 c. Brown Sugar
1/2 c. + 1 tbsp. Sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp. Vanilla
10 oz. Dark Chocolate Chips

1.  Sift your flours, baking soda, and baking powder together in a bowl then stir in the salt.

2.  Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the egg then the vanilla, mixing after each addition.

3.  Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually mix in your dry ingredients (I do it in 3 stages) until just blended.  You don’t want to overbeat your dough or the cookies will be tough.

4.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  I don’t know about you guys, but there’s something about the sound of chocolate chips being stirred into cookie dough that I just love…

I like to use Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips.  You could use regular semi-sweet chips or even milk chocolate chips if you prefer, but the darker chocolate tastes great in this recipe (and it’s healthier for you!).

Chocolate Chips

5.  Once the dough is finished, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 24 hours before baking.

I know, I know, but you want your cookies now.  You could bake the cookies right away and they would taste great.  But your patience will be rewarded… I’m telling you from experience, if you wait the 24 hours, they will taste even better!

Chill Dough

6.  Drop the dough onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet (I use a soup spoon) – you want the dough balls a little smaller than golf balls.  Bake at 350° F for 15-20 minutes until the cookies are golden.

Finished cookies

Once the cookies are done, transfer them to a cooling rack and try to wait until the molten chocolate will no longer burn your tongue.  Then dig in!  I love mine when they’re warm and still slightly gooey in the middle with chips that are still liquid when you break them.  These cookies are sure to please even the biggest cookie aficionado.

You can either bake them by the batch, keeping the unused dough in the fridge til you’re ready for more cookies (up to about 5 days), or bake them all at once and store them in an airtight container.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Poppers

In case it isn’t blatantly obvious… I’ve been on a pumpkin kick lately. There are just so many yummy things you can make with it! And as soon as the weather turns cool, I start dreaming of warm fires, mom’s comfort foods, and pumpkins. When I told my sister I was making these, her response was “You’re obsessed!” To which I simply replied “So?”

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These little balls of fall deliciousness lend themselves perfectly to so many occasions – your morning coffee, your next tailgating shindig, a family brunch, etc. They’re best right out of the oven, but if you have any leftover (and that’s a big if) warm them for a bit in the oven or microwave before enjoying.  There are many versions of this recipe online (HWescott blog, Food Network, Martha Stewart, etc.), but I’ve tweaked this one to be, what I think, is the best combination of sweet and spice.

The recipe is very easy and takes about 30 minutes or so to cook both batches and top them. I use a half tablespoon measuring spoon for portion control when filling the mini muffin wells. I almost always end up with 48 little poppers at the end.

To begin, preheat your oven to 350 and grease the wells of a mini muffin tin. Set it aside.

Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to combine. In a larger bowl, combine your wet ingredients. The wet ingredients will look very thin and soupy. No worries… We’re about to fix that. Now dump the dry ingredients into the wet and stir just until combined. You don’t want to overwork the batter.

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Now scoop out batter (I use the 1/2 Tablespoon measuring spoon) into the little wells. Tap the pan on the counter to release any air bubbles, then pop ’em in the oven.

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While your poppers are baking, start preparing your assembly line. Melt 1/2 stick butter in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, combine 1/3 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.

Note: When it comes to Cinnamon Sugar, it is so much cheaper to mix it yourself than to buy premixed at the store. I like to mix up a nice size batch and store it with my spices. Then when I need it for a recipe or topping, it’s ready to go. The perfect ratio of sugar to cinnamon in my opinion is 1/3 cup sugar to 1 tablespoon cinnamon. For this recipe, I start with 1/3 cup of my premixed Cinnamon Sugar and add more to the bowl if needed as I go. You can always add more, but if you start with too much then you waste what’s left. Like my dad always said, “You can always get more, you can’t get less.”

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When your poppers are done baking, let them rest in the pan for a couple minutes.

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Then turn them out onto a cooling rack. I find a mini spoonula is the perfect tool. It tucks down in the well and scoops them up perfectly.

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While your first batch is cooling, fill the tin up again and get your second batch in the oven.

After your poppers are cool enough to touch, brush them with the melted butter…

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then sprinkle them with the Cinnamon Sugar.

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You can just roll them through the butter and topping, but they will absorb A LOT of butter. My 1 1/2 year old was wanting to “hep Mama!” so ours took a bath in the Cinnamon Sugar… and they were super delicious… probably mostly because they were made with Harper love!

When you’re done topping them, I like to let mine rest on paper towels so any excess butter is absorbed by the towels and not by the poppers on the bottom of the pile. Repeat with the second batch, and you’re done! Now it’s time to enjoy some Pumpkin Poppin’ Goodness!

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Pumpkin Poppers

Prep Time: 5 min before baking, 10 afterwards
Bake Time: 10 min per batch

Ingredients

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup milk

Topping:
1/2 stick butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350. Grease the wells of a mini muffin tin and set aside.

Step 2: Combine flour, baking powder, and spices in a small bowl. Whisk to combine.

Step 3: Combine oil, egg, pumpkin, milk, brown sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Add dry mixture to pumpkin mixture and stir just until combined.

Step 4: Scoop batter into greased wells and bake 10-12 min, or until popper springs back when touched in the center.

Step 5: Melt the butter and add to a shallow bowl. In a separate shallow bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon.

Step 6: When the poppers are cool enough to handle, brush them with butter then sprinkle or roll in the Cinnamon Sugar. Place poppers on a paper towel lined dish while finishing.

Serve warm.

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Chewy Monster Bars

Baking for my family (or anyone for that matter) is one of my favorite things to do. About this time of year, I go on a baking spree! I don’t know what it is about the fall that makes me want to break out the sugar and sprinkles! This past weekend I made Pumpkin Bread… so yummy… and now, only two days later, I’m ready to bake again! Have you ever had those Quaker Chewy Chocolate Chip granola bars? They are a favorite in my house; we usually buy the gigantic box at the Sam’s Club. These Chewy Monster Bars are kind of a mix between one of those and a Monster Cookie. It’s square and chewy, with oatmeal and karo syrup like a granola bar, but chocked full of goodies like a Monster Cookie. A few years ago at a Bridal Shower, the sister of the bride made some homemade chewy granola bars. They were de-licious! So I got her recipe and i’ve made them several times since. One day, I was really in the mood for those bars but didn’t have the two kinds of seeds the recipe called for. So I went on an expedition in my pantry, pulling out anything that could go in a granola bar… coconut, chocolate chips, M&M’s, pecans, peanut butter, oats, and walnuts. And thought, “Yep… This should just about replace a couple seeds.” Ha! And the Chewy Monster Bar was born. These bars are so simple to make and are done in under 30 minutes (bake time included!), which makes them perfect for a last minute dessert or contribution to a tailgate party or bake sale. You can also change the ingredients based on your tastes (or food allergies, as the case may be). I usually have one right after pulling them out of the oven, but they hold together better as true “bars” after cooling completely and then being cut. All you need for these bars is a large mixing bowl, a hand mixer, a spatula, and a 9×13 pan. Grease the pan and preheat the oven to 350.

In your bowl, blend together the brown sugar, Karo syrup, butter, vanilla, and peanut butter.

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You don’t have to beat it to death, just get it fairly smooth.20130923-115341.jpg

Now, dump everything else in

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and stir with a spatula.

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I provided measurements, but you can change up which add-ins you want to add in, as well as the amounts. You want to keep the total volume of add-ins about the same, but you could add more chocolate or less nuts, extra coconut and less candy, whatever your little heart desires. Spread into greased 9×13 pan and press! 20130923-115408.jpg

You want to really pack this stuff so the bars will actually stay together. See how tightly packed this is?

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If its too loose while it bakes, it turns out more like granola. Bake 15-20 minutes or until brown around the edges.

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Let cool and cut into bars.

20130927-102753.jpg   Other options for mix-ins: white chocolate chips and chunks, Reese’s pieces, raisins, craisins, macadamia nuts, almonds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds… Basically anything you like in a cookie or granola bar is fair game.

Chewy Monster Bars

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15-20 minutes

Makes: 16-32 bars (depending how you cut them)

Ingredients:

1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup Karo syrup
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups oats
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1/3 cup M&M’s
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup chopped pecans

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9×13 baking dish and set aside.

Step 2: In a large bowl, beat together the brown sugar, peanut butter, Karo syrup, butter, and vanilla.

Step 3: Add all remaining ingredients and stir to evenly distribute everything.

Step 4: Press mixture into prepared pan and bake 15-20 minutes or until the edges are brown and toasty.

Step 5: Cool completely and cut into bars.

Southern Peach Cobbler

Here in the south, there is an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables.  For a lot of people, a few steps out the back door is as far as you need to go.  When we finally move out of this apartment and into our new house, I will be starting my very first garden!  I’m so excited to be able to pick my dinner (or at least part of it) seconds before I cook and eat it.  There’s just something so wholesome and intimate feeling about caring for the food you’re going to eat.  Anyways, back to the cobbler…

Since I like to buy locally grown and harvested food, the season definitely tends to play a huge role in what gets put on the table.  In the summer, watermelons, berries, and peaches are in blissful abundance.  So on our way home from the beach a couple weeks ago, we stopped in Clanton to get some peaches (I highly recommend a stop by Heaton’s if you’re ever traveling I-65).  I bought a bushel!  And apparently, great minds think alike, because my mom went to the farmer’s market while we were gone and bought a ton herself.  We were eating plenty of them, but just couldn’t make it through them before they started to soften… there were sooo many.  So my mind starting racing… what all can I make with peaches?  Sauces… Syrups… Ice Cream… Bread… Waffles… COBBLER.  I actually made two of them this week (in addition to syrup, bread, and ice cream!).

Piece of Cobbler

Cobbler is probably one of the easiest desserts to make – six simple ingredients (plus water) and very little work.  You can use canned pie filling or just plain ole canned peaches to make your life simpler.  But using fresh peaches and cooking them down yourself will seriously make your taste buds jump for joy!  It really isn’t hard and only takes about 12 minutes.  To cook down enough peaches for a 9×13 pan of cobbler, wash, peel, and thinly slice roughly 6 to 8 medium peaches.  To easily slice a peach, stand it up with the stem on top and run a sharp knife just to the right of the stem.  Let your knife find the top of the pit (the giant seed in the middle) and run it down and around the edge.  Repeat on the other three sides then slice your four sections thinly.  You want at least 4 to 5 good cups.  I usually set a measuring cup beside my cutting board and slice the fruit right in the cup, letting it almost overflow before I dump ’em in the pan.  A heavy-bottomed saucepan that is.

raw peaches in a pan

Add 1 cup of sugar and the water to the peaches in the pan and turn the burner to medium low.  Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the mixture starts to simmer.  Then simmer for roughly 1o minutes – you want soft peaches and a thin syrup when you’re done.  Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool while you finish up your cobbler.

Cooked Peaches in Syrup

Place the stick of butter in a 9×13 dish and put in the preheated oven to melt.  When you pull the pan out of then oven, rock the dish side to side to try to evenly distribute the butter.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the remaining sugar and all the flour.  Stir them together to distribute evenly.  Now, slowly pour in the milk while stirring constantly.

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You don’t want any lumps to form.  This is the milky slurry you want after adding all the milk.

thin pastry

Now pour this over the melted butter in the pan, distributing as evenly as you can. But do not stir them together.

pastry on butter

IMPORTANT NOTE: The most important thing about making a cobbler is NOT to stir your layers together.  Yes, I said NO STIRRING.  And yes, it will look a little bit like a hot mess as you place it in the oven.  But what you pull out of the oven 30-45 minutes later is no mess… it’s BE-U-TI-FUL.

Now take your cooked peaches and pour them over the pastry in the pan, again trying to distribute them evenly.  And you guessed it, no stirring.  Put down that ever-tempting spoon!  Trust me.

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Sprinkle the top with cinnamon, more or less depending on your taste.  I’m a pretty big fan of cinnamon so I give it a pretty good sprinkle.

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Now pop in your oven.  Bake for 30-45 minutes or until the pastry is set and golden brown and the peaches are bubbling up around the edges.  Just look at that beautiful baby!  So golden and warm and delicious!

Baked Cobbler

Ideally, you want to let the cobbler sit for a few minutes after taking it out of the oven to allow the peaches to set, creating a pretty piece of cobbler when you cut into it.  But if you’re like my family, the spatula is cutting the first piece before the pan ever touches the pot holder!  Now scoop a giant ball of homemade (or BlueBell) vanilla ice cream next to your cobbler, and rejoice!

Piece of Cobbler

Mmmm…. Mmm.  My taste buds are dancing the jig… jumping for joy… shouting with glee!  It’s the perfect combination for your palate. The warm, soft, pastry on top with those juicy, sticky sweet peaches nestled underneath, and to top it off, the cool, slowly melting ice cream… it’s simply devine!

Now jump up and run on into your kitchen, honey!  And prepare your taste buds for a little dance… A Happy Little Peach Cobbler Dance!

Southern Peach Cobbler

6-8  medium peaches
1/2 cup water
2 cups sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups self rising flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 stick butter
Cinnamon

Step 1:  Preheat the oven to 400°.  Peel and slice your peaches and dump them in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Add to the fruit 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water.  Stir together and place on the stove over medium-low heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to simmer.  Simmer about 10 minutes, continuing to stir occasionally, until the peaches are nice and soft and you’ve made a thin syrup.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Step 2:  Place butter in a 9×13 baking dish and set in the oven just long enough to melt the butter.  Remove from oven and set aside.

Step 3:  In a medium bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup sugar with the flour and stir together.  Slowly pour in the milk, stirring constantly to prevent any lumps from forming.  Pour mixture evenly over the butter in the pan; do NOT stir together.

Step 4: Pour peaches and syrup over the pastry evenly.  Do NOT stir together.  Sprinkle the top with a little cinnamon.  Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until the pastry is set and golden brown and the peaches are bubbling up around the edges.

Step 5:  Allow the cobbler to cool for a few minutes before serving.  Serve with vanilla ice cream.  Cue happy dance.

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Even though she would never admit it, my Mamaw is a fabulous baker! It was so exciting going to her house when I was little because I knew she would always have something warm and yummy waiting for us.  Shoot, it’s still exciting to see her antique cake stand out on the bar, topped with some melt-in-your-mouth sensation.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been going to her house to watch her bake and learn her secrets, since most of what she does, she does by memory – which is simply amazing to me since baking is so scientific.  If you don’t get the right amount of baking powder (your leavening agent), your goodies won’t rise. Without enough eggs, your ingredients won’t bind correctly, creating an irregular and perhaps even chunky result.  But her baked goods are flawlessly executed every single time – without measuring.  Not saying she never measures, but most of the time, nope!  In working with her, I’ve made her stop as she adds ingredients and try to measure them so I can get at least a rough idea.  I hope to learn to “bake without borders” (as I like to call it) like she does, but just in case I forget anything after she’s gone, I want EVERYTHING written down.
Glazed Pound Cake

Cream Cheese pound cake is one of my absolute favorite desserts Mamaw makes.  It’s just so simple and delicious.  The thick, dense cake is perfectly moist and just sweet enough.  Most of the time pound cakes are make in loaf pans and cut into slices like bread.  But Mamaw has always made her pound cakes in Bundt pans – those deep, round pans that have the hole in the middle.  You can certainly use loaf pans for this recipe, but there’s just something so elegant and Southern about a Bundt.  After the cake is done and she’s flipped it over onto her cake stand, she makes a simple glaze from milk, powdered sugar, and a “tad” of almond or vanilla extract.  Her glaze is then poured over the cooled cake and runs down the sides and into the center.  It sort of looks like shimmery little icicles gracing the sides of the cake after it dries.

You can certainly serve it with whipped cream and fresh berries, but we usually eat it all by its self.  It just doesn’t need anything… it’s perfect.

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Cream Cheese Pound Cake Ingredients

2 sticks (1 pound) butter
6 eggs
3 cups granulated sugar
3 cups all purpose or cake flour
1-8 ounce block cream cheese
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt

Vanilla or Almond Glaze

Confectioner’s sugar
Milk
Almond or Vanilla extract

Step 1: Preheat oven to 300°. Grease (I always use Crisco) and flour your Bundt pan.

Greased and Floured Pan

Note: If you are using a non-stick spray, for the love of your bakeware, please choose Bak-Klene (pronounced Bake Clean)! Pam (and other sprays) contains chemicals that polymerise (or basically turn to plastic) when exposed to heat.  This reaction is what causes that horrible sticky residue on your pans that is impossible to get off.  It will eventually build up to the point of ruining said bakeware.  Bak-Klene does not contain this chemical, so in turn does not produce plastic on your pans.  I buy mine at Williams Sonoma.

Step 2: Cream together the butter, cream cheese, granulated sugar, and oil. This is where the magic starts, so don’t short change the love you put into it here. Turn your mixer up to 7 or 8 (on a 9 speed mixer) and let these ingredients get happy together.  Be sure to scrape the sides of your bowl, then mix again, to make sure you haven’t left anything behind.  It should be light and fluffy when you’re done.

Step 3: When you’re satisfied that your mixture is perfectly creamed, add the eggs, one at a time.  The “one at time” part is very important – it allows each egg to be distributed evenly and gives it time to emulsify the fats and liquids.  Before adding each egg, I always crack it in a little glass bowl first (a tip I learned from the fabulous Paula Dean).

Cracked Egg

You want to be sure you’re not adding any shell fragments and that “the chicken was flying right that day,” to quote Miss Paula.

Step 4: Sift your flour, salt, and baking soda into a large bowl.  Measure out your milk.  Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk, starting and ending with dry, until everything is incorporated evenly.  Be sure to stop occasionally and scrape the sides of your bowl.  Lastly, add the vanilla.  It should be thick, smooth, and creamy.

Batter

Step 5: (If you can resist eating the batter with a spoon) Pour the batter into your prepared pan.  The batter will be uneven and have air bubbles in it, like this. Tap your pan lightly on the counter a few times and rock/twist it back and forth in between taps to get out all the air you can and create a level surface, like this.

Smooth Batter in Pan

Now tuck your baby into your preheated oven for a long nap, 1 hour and 55 minutes to be precise.  I check on it around an hour and a half, but it usually takes every minute.  Do not open the over door for at least one hour.

Step 6: When the center doesn’t jiggle when you move the pan and a toothpick comes out clean, remove your cake and set in on the counter to cool for 10-15 minutes.

Cake Rising Out of Pan

You can see in the picture how much this cake bakes up and out of the pan; totally fine and totally normal. After letting it cool for that 10-15 minutes, place a cake stand or plate over the bottom of the cake and invert the pan to release the cake.  If it resists you, use a rubber spatula and gently run it between the pan and cake.  Let the cake cool to room temperature.

Step 7: While your cake is cooling, mix up your glaze.  I usually start with a 1 cup measuring cup, dump enough powdered sugar to fill up about 1/2 the cup, then add milk, a little at a time, until I get the consistency that I want.  You don’t want the glaze to be too runny or it will all run off the cake and pool around the bottom (not that pools of delicious glaze are a bad thing, but it’s not what you’re going for here).  You want it thick enough that it runs ever so slowly down the sides of your cake, but still sits happily on top.  Remember to add just a tad of almond or vanilla extract, and mix well, before drizzling it on your cake.

Glazed Pound Cake

Step 8: Try not to eat the whole cake.

Piece of Cake

Boozy Rum Cake

This little golden cake may not look like much, but it packs a punch of flavor… and alcohol.  This is definitely an adult dessert.  While you cook the alcohol out of the cake, there’s additional uncooked rum in the glaze so you will taste it.  If you don’t like rum, I’m afraid this is not the dessert for you.  If, however, you enjoy rum (like me), you’ll love it!  Not only does it taste great, but it’s incredibly moist.  This cake is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at your next party.

Rum Cake

I was inspired to make rum cake after a recent trip to Kaua’i.  I’d never really made rum cake aside from a rum “ham” cake I made for an It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia party.  Don’t worry, the cake wasn’t flavored like ham.  It was just decorated to look like a ham. If you’ve seen the show, you’ll understand.  But, I digress…

My boyfriend and I went to Kaua’i this spring to get away from the rainy Juneau weather.  As it turns out, the island has its own rum distillery so, of course, we had to check it out.  If you’re headed that way, I highly recommend making a stop at the Koloa Rum Company.  They offer free tastings (we stopped by twice) featuring their 4 types of rum and their Mai Tai mix.  I really enjoyed their spiced rum (which is the type of rum I use to make “Cuba Libres” aka Rum and Cokes) but their dark rum was truly exceptional with notes of vanilla.  The best part of the tasting came at the end when they served bites of their macadamia rum cake (made with their dark rum) topped with their rum fudge sauce.  Wow!  This rum cake, not the free rum, is the reason we decided to go back later on our trip for a second tasting.  The Koloa Rum Company is definitely a must-stop spot if you ever find yourself on Kaua’i.

So, once we got back, I decided to figure out how to make rum cake.  As it turns out, rum cake is easy.  This recipe is not re-inventing the wheel.  It’s essentially your classic dark rum cake recipe that can be found easily on the internet.  It may not be as good as Koloa Rum Company’s rum cake, – it is hard to match perfection – but it’s delicious.  Plus, it freezes well (alcohol is a great preservative after all) so you don’t have to eat the whole batch at once.  I promise this recipe won’t disappoint!

Boozy Rum Cake

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30-60 minutes (depending on your pan)

Serves: 16-24

Ingredients

Cake
1 box Yellow Cake Mix
3.4 oz. box Vanilla Pudding
4 eggs
1/2 c. Milk
1/2 c. Vegetable Oil
1/2 c. Dark Rum (I recommend Myer’s)
Glaze
1/2 c. Butter (1 stick)
1/4 c. Water
1 c. Sugar
1/2 c. Dark Rum (again, I recommend Myer’s)

1.  Combine all cake ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat on high for 2 minutes.

2.  Grease and flour your pan(s).  The original recipe calls for using a Bundt pan, but I didn’t want an entire Bundt cake sitting around.  So, I used 4 mini cake pans (They’re actually individual deep dish pizza pans, thanks Meagan!).

3.  Pour the batter into your greased pan(s).  If you’re making multiple smaller cakes, I recommend using a ladle to divide the batter between pans.

Rum Cake Raw

4.  Bake at 325°F for 30-60 minutes (30 for mini cakes to 60 for a Bundt pan).  The tops should be golden, and an inserted toothpick should come out clean.

Rum Cake Done

5.  Allow the cakes to cool to room temperature on a cooling rack then invert onto a plate or serving tray.

Note: I was freezing some of my cakes so the ones I didn’t plan to eat or give to friends I inverted onto aluminum foil rather than a serving dish.

6.  While your cakes are cooling, make your glaze.  Melt your butter over medium heat.  Once the butter is melted, add your sugar and water.  Bring the mixture to a boil, and boil for 5 minutes while stirring.  Then, remove your pan from the heat, allow the mixture to cool a minute or two, and stir in the rum.

Note: You’re not trying to cook the alcohol out of the rum so make sure not to add the rum to the pot while it’s still on the stove.

Glaze

7.  Use a fork to make holes in the tops of your cake(s) then drizzle with glaze.  If your glaze starts to pool at the bottom of the cake, grab a pastry brush and brush that rummy yumminess back onto the top and sides of the cake(s).

Rum Cake

The rum glaze keeps this cake wonderfully moist.  The flavors will continue to develop as it sits on your counter so it’s often best a couple days after it’s made.  Sometimes I like to top mine with chocolate sauce.  In this case, I was using rum fudge sauce which certainly ups the proof of the cake.  Doesn’t this look de-lish?!  So, if you’re over 21, grab a fork and dig in!!

Rum Cake Slice