My Foray Into Food Storage

A regular gal learning about Food Storage, Home Cooking, Canning, Gardening, and more!


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Knock-Off Recipe Test: Cafe Rio Beef in a Pressure Cooker

One of my favorite things to make at home! You can do it on the stove in a regular pot or a pressure cooker or in a crockpot. It’s so delicious!

My Foray Into Food Storage

A few years ago, my sisters (who live in Maryland and Utah) were just RAVING about Cafe Rio, especially about their freshly made tortillas and their salads.  Cafe Rio is a “Mexican” (notice the quotes) fast service restaurant similar to Chipotle.  So, while stopping for gas when passing through Utah, I went by a Cafe Rio and ordered a shredded roast beef burrito.  Mind you, I am not usually a “meat” gal.  I usually opt for vegetarian dishes, but I was told that the roast beef was great.  So, I tried it.  It was fine, but not as amazing as everyone said.  At least, that was my initial reaction.  I could only eat half of my burrito (it was huge!), so I saved the rest in the cooler.  When I ate it later, I realized how yummy it truly was!  The roast beef was well flavored and tender…

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Knock-Off Recipe Test: Corner Bakery Cinnamon Creme Cake

Several years ago, my husband and I tried Corner Bakery’s Cinnamon Creme Cake for the first time.  It was delicious!  (And it’s yet another thing I probably shouldn’t eat too often.)  On the rare occasions when we go to Corner Bakery, it’s a challenge to resist the temptation to share a slice of their Cinnamon Creme Cake.

 

Corner Bakery Cinnamon Creme Cake Knock-off recipe

Corner Bakery Cinnamon Creme Cake Knock-off recipe

 

A few months ago, I had some extra sour cream in my fridge and I needed to find a way to use it.  I remembered reading a knock-off recipe for Corner Bakery’s awesome cake, and it used sour cream.  That was definitely the way to go.  I found the bookmarked recipe and got going with it.  I used a bundt pan, and it turned out beautifully!  For taste and texture, I gave it an A!  The shape wasn’t quite the same, because I’d used my bundt pan.

 

So yummy!

So yummy!

 

 

When I had some extra sour cream a couple of weeks ago, I decided to make another cinnamon creme cake, but, this time, I decided to use my angel food cake pan.  The results were not quite as successful, but it was still delicious.  Why didn’t it turn out as well?  I had to leave the house and left my son to take the cake out of the oven.  He checked it as I said, but it wasn’t quite done.  It needed at least another 5 minutes, but it was still very yummy!  I followed the recipe pretty closely, but I made a couple of adjustments.  Here’s my version.  You may find the original recipe here.

 

Corner Bakery Cinnamon Creme Cake Knock-off Recipe

Corner Bakery Cinnamon Creme Cake Knock-off Recipe

 

Corner Bakery Cinnamon Creme Coffee Cake

Adapted from Barbara Bakes’ recipe found here

 

Cinnamon “Creme” Ingredients

1/2 cup sugar

2/3 cup packed brown sugar (or 2/3 cup granulated sugar plus 2 teaspoons molasses.  Learn how to make your own brown sugar here.)

4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 2/3 cups all purpose or cake flour

2 sticks of salted butter, melted

 

Cake Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose or cake flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick of salted butter, softened

1/2 cup Butter flavored Crisco (shortening)

1 1/2 cups sugar

5 eggs (or reconstituted powdered eggs)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 cups sour cream

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease and flour 10 inch bundt or angel food cake pan.  Make sure that these are large pans, not mini ones.  This is a large cake!

Combine all the cinnamon creme ingredients, except for the melted butter.  Mix together until well combined, then pour melted butter over the top.  Stir with a wooden spoon, but do not over mix.  You want this to be in large chunks.

In a separate and larger bowl, combine the butter, shortening, and sugar.  Mix until light and well combined.  Beat in the eggs (or reconstituted powdered eggs, one at a time.  Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix until combined.  Add the salt, baking powder, and baking soda and mix until well combined.  Add the flour and sour cream, alternating ingredients.  Start by adding one cup of flour.  Mix well.  Then add 1 cup of sour cream.  Mix well.  Repeat until all ingredients combined.

Transfer 1/2 of the cake batter to your pan.  Then add 1/2 of the cinnamon creme mixture.  Put the remaining cake batter into pan.  Top with remaining cinnamon creme mixture.  Gently press the cinnamon creme mixture into the cake batter, so it sticks.

Place cake pan into the center of your preheated oven.  Cook for 50 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until done.  When the cake is done, it will pull away from the sides of the pan, and a toothpick will come out clean.  Let cake cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes.  Remove from pan by inverting it onto a rack.  Then invert again onto a serving plate.  Serve and enjoy!

 

And here’s my photo step-by-step.

 

I gathered my ingredients.

I gathered my ingredients.

 

I preheated my oven and greased and floured my pan.

I preheated my oven and greased and floured my pan.

 

I started making the cinnamon creme mixture by adding the sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg to a medium bowl.

I started making the cinnamon creme mixture by adding the sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg to a medium bowl.

 

I mixed the ingredients together.

I mixed the ingredients together.

 

Then, I added the melted butter.  It looked like it wasn't going to come together...

Then, I added the melted butter. It looked like it wasn’t going to come together…

 

But it did!

But it did!

 

Then, I started the cake batter by creaming the sugar, butter, and shortening.

Then, I started the cake batter by creaming the sugar, butter, and shortening.

 

After creaming the sugar and fats, I added the eggs.  I used powdered egg and water.  As directed, I added a bit at a time and mixed well in between.

After creaming the sugar and fats, I added the eggs. I used powdered egg and water. As directed, I added a bit at a time and mixed well in between.

 

Once the eggs were fully incorporated, I added the vanilla and almond extracts.  I only use real extract, never artificial.  The real extract tastes so much better.  It truly does make a difference in your baking.

Once the eggs were fully incorporated, I added the vanilla and almond extracts. I only use real extract, never artificial. The real extract tastes so much better. It truly does make a difference in your baking.

 

Next, I added the salt, baking powder, and baking soda, and mixed until they were fully incorporated into the batter.

Next, I added the salt, baking powder, and baking soda, and mixed until they were fully incorporated into the batter.

 

Then I added 1 cup of flour and mixed well.

Then, I added 1 cup of flour and mixed well.

 

Next, I added 1 cup of sour cream and mixed well.

Next, I added 1 cup of sour cream and mixed well.

 

I repeated this process until all the flour and sour cream were incorporated into the cake batter.

I repeated this process until all the flour and sour cream were incorporated into the cake batter.

 

Next, I put 1/2 of the cake batter into my greased and floured pan.  Then, I put 1/2 of the cinnamon creme mixture on top of the batter.

Next, I put 1/2 of the cake batter into my greased and floured pan. Then, I put 1/2 of the cinnamon creme mixture on top of the batter.

 

I put the remaining cake batter into the pan, directly on top of the first layer of the cinnamon creme mixture.

I put the remaining cake batter into the pan, directly on top of the first layer of the cinnamon creme mixture.

 

Finally, I put the remaining cinnamon creme mixture on top of the batter and gently pressed it into the batter.  The cake went into a 350 degree F oven for about an hour.

Finally, I put the remaining cinnamon creme mixture on top of the batter and gently pressed it into the batter. The cake went into a 350 degree F oven for about an hour.

 

I had my son remove the cake from the oven while I was gone, but it could have used a few more minutes (5-10).  It was still yummy, though!

I had my son remove the cake from the oven while I was gone, but it could have used a few more minutes (5-10). It was still yummy, though!

 

See?  Still delicious!

See? Still delicious!

 

You can really see that this is a bit underdone once I cut the cake.

You can really see that this is a bit underdone once I cut the cake.

 

It should look more like this.

It should look more like this.

 

So, the moral of this story is this: always schedule your appointments carefully so you can be there for the final minutes of baking to ensure the cake is really done when it comes out of the oven.  With that said, the kids still ate the entire cake, and we will definitely make it again.

 

Have you ever made a mistake like me, taking something out too early? 

Was it still salvageable, or was it a disaster?


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Knock-Off Recipe Test: Homemade Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup – Oh Boy!

Wahoo!  This is my 100th post!  I’ve been quite prolific, haven’t I?  Help me celebrate by entering my April giveaway here.

 

My son, A.J., really wanted some ice cream today, but the only ice cream I’d let him have is just plain old vanilla (and no sugar added, too).  He really, really wanted to smother it with some Hershey’s chocolate syrup.  I didn’t have any.  I buy it occasionally (maybe once or twice a year), and when it’s gone, it’s gone.  There’s no telling when I’ll buy it again.  So it’s interesting that he would latch onto the idea of Hershey’s syrup like a dog with a stick.

 

Ice cream with knock-off Hershey's chocolate syrup.

Ice cream with knock-off Hershey’s chocolate syrup.

 

I could have told him, “Tough luck, sweetheart,” but I didn’t.  I decided to be “nice” mom today and turned to my friend, Google, to find a knock-off recipe online.  I found one on food.com (here) and tried it out.  I followed the recipe exactly as written, so I’m not going to post it here.  Feel free to follow the link if you have a hankering for chocolate syrup.

 

It took less than 10 minutes from start to finish, so it was super simple to make.  I was a bit worried after making the syrup, because it was a lot thinner than Hershey’s syrup from the store.  (Next time I’ll simmer it a little longer to let it thicken up.)  But, once I tasted it, I could not tell one lick of difference between it and the original.  I give it an A+ for flavor and a B for similarity in consistency. 

 

Knock-off Hershey's Chocolate Syrup, freshly made.

Knock-off Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup, freshly made.

 

Plus, it’s much less expensive than the Hershey’s syrup I buy at the store which goes for about $3 for a 24 ounce bottle.  It made about 12 ounces of syrup and cost me a grand total of 66 cents!  42 cents for the cocoa, 16 cents for the sugar, 7 cents for the vanilla, and less than 1 cent for both the salt and the water.  So, it costs me $1.32 for 24 ounces of the homemade knock-off Hershey’s syrup.  I’m pretty happy about that!  I can save money AND get my chocolate fix.  Win-win!

 

Sound like something you want to make?   Take a gander at my photo step-by-step to learn how.

 

 

As always, I assembled my ingredients.

As always, I assembled my ingredients.  As one who bakes regularly, I have everything on hand all the time.  Good news for my son who really, really wanted Hershey’s syrup, huh?

 

I measured the water, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt and put them in a saucepan.

I measured the water, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt and put them in a saucepan.

 

I turned the heat on medium-high and began to whisk the ingredients together.

I turned the heat on medium-high and began to whisk the ingredients together.

 

It took a couple of minutes, but soon enough it was smooth.

It took a couple of minutes, but soon enough it was smooth, so I switched to a wooden spoon.

 

As the mixture heated through and as I stirred, the foamy bubbles on top began to disappear.

As the mixture heated through and as I stirred, the foamy bubbles on top began to disappear.

 

Shortly thereafter, the mixture began to boil.  I turned the heat down to medium, so it wouldn't boil over.  I stirred the boiling mixture for one minute.  Then, I turned off the heat.

Shortly thereafter, the mixture began to boil. I turned the heat down to medium, so it wouldn’t boil over. I stirred the boiling mixture for one minute. Then, I turned off the heat.

 

It's beginning to look like chocolate syrup, isn't it?  I let the mixture cool for a few minutes.

It’s beginning to look like chocolate syrup, isn’t it? I let the mixture cool for a few minutes.

 

Finally, I added the real vanilla extract and stirred it into the syrup.

Finally, I added the real vanilla extract and stirred it into the syrup.

 

It's smooth and glossy and smelled so YUMMY!

It’s smooth and glossy and smelled so YUMMY!

 

So yummy, in fact, that I had a little ice cream too!

So yummy, in fact, that I had a little ice cream too!

 

The syrup was still a little warm, so the ice cream started to melt.  But it was OH SO GOOD!

The syrup was still a little warm, so the ice cream started to melt. But it was OH SO GOOD!

 

I put the rest of the syrup into a Mason jar with a lid.  I'm storing it in my fridge, but, with four sons, I don't think it will last long.  It's a good thing it didn't cost me very much money.

I put the rest of the syrup into a Mason jar with a lid. I’m storing it in my fridge, but, with four sons, I don’t think it will last long. It’s a good thing it didn’t cost me very much money.

 

One thing I really loved about making this syrup is that it didn’t require any special equipment.  Just a spoon, a pan, a measuring cup, and a measuring spoon.  Very few dirty dishes + delicious chocolate = happy me.

 

After seeing how easy this is, will you make it?