Blueberry Buttermilk Cake

Halloween is coming up and I haven’t been in the mood to make any Halloweenish type food. I’m not really in the mood to dress up either. I’m against any Halloween costume that makes girls look like their sluts. Halloween isn’t a slutty Holiday, it’s a SCARY Holiday.   Witches, bats, goblins, vampires, etc. It’s sad how all scary Halloween costumes have turned into scary/slutty Halloween costumes these days. I guess you can blame the movie Mean Girls for that?

I’ve been on the search for Halloween treats too and haven’t found any thing cool to make. Last year I thought those witch finger cookies were pretty cool and I made those.  This year all I can come up with is blueberry buttermilk cake. The scary part about this was trying to figure out the measuring.

The first time, I made this, I thought I was a math genius and knew what 7/8 cup was. The batter wound up being REALLY thick and the cake itself lacked in sweetness. I screwed up that’s for sure. I had to google what 7/8 cup was and it ends up being that 1 cup is 8 ounces, so 7/8 cup is 7 ounces. Most liquid measuring cups these days have an oz scale on them somewhere so that was relief.

The second time this cake came out way better. It was moist and flavorful. Never again, will I trust my math skills. I should have known better, since Math was never my favorite class in high school and I was never good at it.If you’re looking for something different with blueberries in it, other than blueberry muffins… you should try this cake. It was very moist and flavorful, and the crunchy sugar top was very good.

Ingredients from Alexandra’s Kitchen

Serves 6-8

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp. lemon zest or more — zest from 1 large lemon
7/8 cup + 1 T. sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
½ cup buttermilk

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cream butter with lemon zest and 7/8 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy.

2. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Meanwhile, toss the blueberries with ¼ cup of flour, then whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt.

3. Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the blueberries.

4. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan (or something similar) with butter or coat with non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan. Sprinkle batter with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 35 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness. If necessary, return pan to oven for a couple of more minutes. (Note: Baking for as long as 10 minutes more might be necessary.) Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Pretzel Dogs

Have you ever made homemade pretzels before? I love going to the Pretzel Maker in the mall and watching them make pretzels.  Not to mention, eating the pretzels too. I noticed while they made their pretzels, they like to dunk the pretzels in clarified butter. No wonder why they’re so good? I was thinking about dunking these in butter, but I never did.

The last time I was at the Pretzel maker, I got these cocktail wieners wrapped in pretzels and they were so good, so I decided to make some of my own at home. Instead of cocktail wieners, I used just regular sized hotdogs. The rest of the pretzel dough, I just made pretzel bites with. Thinking about making a cheese sauce to dunk them in. Just make the recipe below, and before you dunk the pretzels in the baking soda water, wrap the pretzel dough around the hotdog.

Ingredients from Bobby Flay

1 1/2 cups warm water (about 110 F)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast (I used instant)
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled just slightly
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
3 quarts water
3/4 cup baking soda
1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
coarse sea salt

On low speed, mix the water, sugar, yeast, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Add the salt and 4 1/2 cups of the flour and mix on low speed until combined.  Increase the speed to medium (I don’t put my mixer above 2 when kneading dough so I just kept it there) and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough clears the sides of the bowl.  Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a lightly floured surface and knead into a ball with your hands.
Spray a bowl with cooking spray (or oil with with vegetable oil), add the dough and turn to coat.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 F.  Spray two baking sheets liberally with cooking spray.
Bring the water to a boil in a small roasting pan over high heat and add the baking soda.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, about 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 ounces each.  Roll each piece into a long rope measuring about 22 inches.  Cut the dough into one inch pieces to make pretzel bites.  Boil the pretzel bites in the water solution in batches of about 10-15 for 30 seconds.  Remove with a large slotted spoon and place the pretzel bites on the prepared baking sheets, making sure they aren’t touching.  Brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with the salt.  Place into the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown.
Remove to a cooling rack and let rest 5 minutes before eating.