Saturday, March 1

Wasted Storage Space

I may have mentioned how my kitchen cabinets are so full that I didn't have any extra space for new items. For instance, the Oster standing mixer and food processor from the 60s that I got from Gramma Getchell's house takes up a whole cabinet all on its own. Very frustrating for someone with limited space.

Until I realized I've got a whole area of storage space I'd been wasting.

I was in my laundry room a few days ago when it finally clicked that the cabinets above my washer and dryer don't go all the way to the ceiling like the ones in the kitchen do. There's almost a foot of space up there!

So I moved some of my rarely used items, such as my wok, a serving platter and my cake carrier up there. That opened up almost an entire cabinet!

It isn't necessarily pretty, but it is definitely nice to have. Gramma Getchell's house actually had storage cabinets built in above her kitchen cabinets. You needed a ladder to reach them, but it was nice to have some of the things you only use a couple times a year out of the way. I'll have to remember to have above the cabinet storage installed if I ever build a house.

I also bought a newer fancy gizmo to replace the Oster. Don't get me wrong, the Oster works great and there is definitely something to be said for products that keep working for decades after you buy them (I used the Oster last February to make a King Cake for Mardi Gras), but I really wanted a standing mixer that was small enough to keep on the kitchen counter.

So I bought this:
KitchenAid Standing Mixer

Isn't is beautiful? Lydia and I used it to make gingerbread dough during our baking marathon. I also used it to make cake batter for the New Year's Eve party I went to. I'm looking forward to getting a few of the attachments too, like a food processor.

Fun Fact: My great-grandma has a refrigerator that she and my papaw bought right after World War 2. And it is still running, despite the warranty that ran out in the 50s.

I'll probably try to sell or give away the mixer I got from my gramma's house. While I fully support reusing or re-purposing vintage items, I just don't have the space right now to accommodate a large vintage mixer.

King Cake

1 (16 oz.) container sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. salt
2 (1/4 oz.) envelopes active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees)
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
6 to 6 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsps. ground cinnamon
Purple, Green and Gold sugar sprinkles
Small figurine or image of Child Jesus OR a large coin

  1. Cook first four ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until butter melts. Set aside the mixture to cool slightly.
  2. Stir together the yeast, 1/2 cup warm water and 1 Tbsp. sugar in a 1-cup glass measuring cup and let stand for five minutes or until frothy.
  3. Combine the sour cream mixture and the yeast mixture and add the eggs and two cups of flour. Beat at medium speed with a heavy-duty mixture until smooth.
    • The dough quickly becomes thick and heavy like bread dough. My hand mixer couldn't handle it so I used the bread hook on the Oster standing mixer.
  4. Reduce speed to low and gradually add enough of the remaining flour (4 to 4 1/2 cups) to create a soft dough.
  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Place in a well-greased bowl, turning the dough to grease the top. 
  6. Cover and let the dough rise in a warm (about 85 degrees) place--free from drafts--for one hour or until dough is doubled in size.
  7. Punch down dough and divide in half. Roll out each portion into a 22x12 rectangle.
  8. Spread 1/3 cup softened butter evenly on each rectangle, leaving a one inch border.
  9. Combine the 1/2 cup sugar and the cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over the buttered dough on each rectangle. Then place the Jesus figure or coin on the surface of the dough. 
  10. Roll up each rectangle of dough, jelly-roll fashion, starting on the long side. Place one dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bring the ends of the roll together to form an oval ring, moistening and pinching edges together to seal. Repeat with second dough roll.
    • I put the two pieces together into one large circle rather than making two smaller cakes.
  11. Cover and let rise in a warm place--free from drafts--for 20 to 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
  12. Bake at 375 degrees for 14 to 16 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and cool slightly on pans or wire racks. Drizzle creamy glaze evenly over warm cake.
  13. Decorate the cake with colored sprinkles alternating colors around the cake.
    • I actually used food coloring to color the glaze and then lightly sprinkled the cake with white sugar. A lot of king cakes are overly sugared (in my opinion) and I didn't want to hunt down purple, green and gold sugar sprinkles.
3 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsps. butter, melted
2 Tbsps. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2 to 4 Tbsp. milk
  1. Stir together first four ingredients. 
  2. Stir in 2 Tbsps. milk, adding additional milk 1 tsp. at a time until glaze reaches spreading consistency.
There is also an optional cream cheese filling that can be used as a substitute to the cinnamon/sugar filling. See directions below:

Cream Cheese Filling:
  1. Prepare each 22x12 dough rectangle as directed. Omit the 1/3 cup softened butter and 1 1/2 tsps. cinnamon.
  2. Increase 1/2 cup sugar to 3/4 cup sugar. Combine with two 8 oz. packages of softened cream cheese. Add one egg and 2 tsps. vanilla extract. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. 
  3. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly on each dough rectangle, leaving a one inch border. 
  4. Proceed with recipe as directed.

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