Homemade Poptarts, Challenges, & A Love Story.

I met George 10 years ago. Just a couple of kids in freshman French class. George had this way of staring at me from across the room… all year. The one time I attempted to talk to him, I realized that his longing looks came from a place of shyness, as our conversation went something like this- Me: “Hey, you’re in my french class!”, George: “Uh-huh:”. Those are the only words we shared until our senior year in high school. He worked at a local coffee shop that year, and the first time I walked in, he no longer looked like that sweet shy kid that sat across from me, he was all grown up.. And I was smitten. That year I fell in love with the boy in french class, and it was wonderful. But like most high school love stories, life happens. He left for college, there were broken hearts, and our lives took totally different paths. Challenge #1.

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Fast forward 5 years, to a coffee date during my very short lunch hour. Although we had met for coffee a few times in between, this time felt different. There was now a grown man sitting across from me. Both of us had stories of the crazy adventures life had taken us on, which were so far off from one another, but some how our paths still ran back together. Yes, I knew this time was different. This time, I brought him a muffin… a banana almond muffin. This time I was going in for the kill. Fate knew that day. Challenge #2.

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It was around our third date that it was decided that this was exactly where we needed to be. He looked at me that night and said, “maybe this is always where we were supposed to end up”, and I completely agreed. Here’s the catch though; George’s job requires him to leave every 70 days, for 70 days. Absence does so much more than make the heart grow fonder. To say that I have learned to appreciate love, faithfulness, quality time, and simply being able to call the one you love when ever you dang well feel like it, would be an understatement. Challenge #3.

Life is full of challenges. With George, challenges seem more like adventures, and the best kind of adventures. He pushes me in ways that stretch my abilities, and makes me want to be the best that I can be. At the moment, George is away for work, and today he challenged me to making poptarts. The boy can put back poptarts like its no ones business. So this is for him, and I officially have 19 days to perfect the poptart. Challenge #4.

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I look forward to many more “challenges” to come. Thank you George for always pushing my baking abilities, and making me the happiest girl in the world. These are of course a favorite among many, a brown sugar cinnamon poptart. Recipe to come very soon. Enjoy!

New Year, New Blog & Some Pancakes

2013! What?! We say it every year though, “where did this past year go?”. As each year passes, I am slowly realizing that every year is going to go by just a little bit faster. With that being said, I am extremely hopeful to see where this new year takes us! Love & Ganache is ready for some,  HUGE changes. I will keep everyone posted on what that means exactly, but for now, you should really go and make these pancakes. Happy 2013 all, lets make it an amazing year!

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{Sour Cream + Strawberry Pancakes}
 
1 large egg
1 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs sugar
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Butter (for pan)
8 Strawberries, washed and sliced thin

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. You will need this for keeping the pancakes warm while making the others. In a large bowl, whisk together egg, sour cream, vanilla. and sugar.In a separate bowl, mix flour, spices, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Fold in flour mixture to your wet ingredients until just combined.

Heat your skillet to a medium heat. You do not want to burn the outside of your pancake too quickly and not give the middle a chance to cook. Once pancake batter in on your skillet, arrange your strawberries on top. You will know when to flip your cake when it is dry around the edges, and it begins to bubble. Cook for about 5 more min. Place in the warm oven until all are prepared.

Any kind of syrup would be delicious on these, but we went with a ginger syrup, and some powdered sugar. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s yummy sour cream peach pancakes.

Chocolate-Stout Brownies

Chocolate and Beer.. Two of my favorite things. Beer is something I have grown to appreciate more and more over the past few years. And chocolate.. well that has always been a happy addiction. These brownies were definitely different than anything I have made before. My advice to you should you choose to make these bad boys, is to give yourself plenty of time! They took a little while but it was well worth it, I promise. These brownies are very rich, as they have 4 types of chocolate AND the stout. Sounds dreamy, right??

Originally, this recipe was going to made with a very special stout made by a very special family, but much to my dismay, they were all out when I arrived to pick it up. Although I was not able to use their stout, you should still check out and “like” their Facebook page here. They are an awesome family who have been making beer for some time now, and have finally perfected it to share with the rest of the world. Their Copper Ale, “Trail Blazer”, just premiered this last week at the Inland Empire Brewing Company. It was probably the best beer I have ever had. So show them some love!

{Chocolate-Stout Brownies}
Recipe adapted from here
 
1 cup flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 tsp kosher salt
6 tbs unsalted butter, cubed
8 oz dark, bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 bottles of your favorite stout
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
 
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 9 x 13 non-stick baking pan with parchment paper. I do one long piece going across the width of the pan, as it makes them easier to lift out after they have cooled. You can do this how you want though, for example greasing the pan.
Pour both bottles of the stout into a sauce pan. You will be reducing the beer down to 1 1/4 cups. This should take about 15-20 min. Set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, mix together flour, cocoa and salt. Set aside. Next, with a double boiler melt together your butter, dark, and white chocolate. Stir constantly. Remove from heat as soon it is melted and smooth. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar for 3 minutes on high. You will want this mixture to be fluffy. Add melted chocolate mixture.  Mix in flour mixture, and once combined, add the beer and vanilla. Pour into pan, and top with white chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Bake for 20-25 min. Check with tooth pick around 20 minutes to be safe. Let brownies cool completely before cutting. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar, and enjoy!