(I was going to add pictures, but my daughter has my camera. By the time I get it back, I'll have to make everything from scratch all over again. Maybe pictures later, if I don't forget.)
It's spring break. I should be writing, but I need some time to play, too. I've been playing in the kitchen. These two recipes DO NOT go together. Ew. But both are awesome in their own way.
I promised my 7yo that I would share her cheese spread recipe. 7yo and goat cheese? Weird, yep. She's allergic to cow's milk in all its forms. She's learned to love goat cheese instead. Costco sells some good goat Chevre. My daughter loves their sushi, too, but that's another story. A while back, Costco had a cinnamon-cranberry goat Chevre on sale. My daughter fell in love with it. She keeps begging me to buy it, but it was a seasonal item. So we got creative and made our own version. She tells me it's much better. I have no idea because I found I'm allergic to goat milk. I've never tasted the spread, so you'll have to take her word for it.
The frosting was an experiment that turned out awesome, to quote my 15yo son. The cake, an outdated carrot cake mix, was pretty bleh, but the frosting turned out incredible. I thought about cream cheese frosting, but most of my kids are allergic to milk, not just the youngest. So I played and came up with this. It's kind of a caramel flavor, but not. It would work well on carrot cake, spice cake, yellow cake, or white cake; but not on chocolate cake.
Goat Cheese Spread
1/2 c. goat Chevre cheese, or other soft, mild cheese
2 T. sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. allspice
pinch of cardamom
3 T. dried cranberries, chopped small
1/4 c. finely chopped nuts, optional (my daughter loves cashews, but pecans would work, too. Use the ones from a roasted and salted nut mix for best flavor.)
Mix sugar and spices together in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the cheese. Add the cranberries, then gently smush with a spoon until the mixture is mostly blended. Gentle is the key when working with goat milk or goat cheese. The more you handle it, the stronger the goat flavor gets. Don't use an electric mixer on this one. Just be patient and mash it around with a spoon. It doesn't have to be thoroughly mixed, just enough to swirl everything through the cheese. Put the mix into a tightly covered container and refrigerate for at least two hours to let the flavors blend. Serve it with breads, crackers, or sliced fruit.
Optional: Turn it into bite-size cheese balls. Scoop the cheese into rounded teaspoonfuls. Roll each ball in chopped nuts to coat. Set on a serving platter and serve immediately.
1/2 c. real butter, don't use margarine in this one
1/3 c. brown sugar
2 T. mayonnaise
1 t. vanilla extract
1/4 t. coconut extract
1/4 t. almond extract
3 - 4 c. powdered sugar
3 T. water
Stick the butter in the microwave to soften, but accidentally put it in too long so it comes out half-melted. Scrape it into your stand mixer bowl anyway and add the brown sugar. Cream it for at least three minutes to dissolve the brown sugar as much as possible. Add the mayonnaise and the extracts. Cream for another three minutes. It should be pale brown and very silky at this point. Add 2 c. of the powdered sugar and the water. Cream for, you guessed it, another three minutes. Add enough of the remaining powdered sugar to make a soft frosting. If you get it too stiff, add a little bit more water. Then, cream it again for at least a minute. Creaming the frosting makes it very soft and fluffy as well as dissolving the brown sugar to remove any grittiness.
Frost the cake of your choice, or spread the frosting on graham crackers and eat it immediately. Or just eat it with your fingers. It's that good.