A Boy, Boots and a Bike

This past week has been an exciting time for E.  Two very important factors came into play and have changed his world for the better.

The first was finding a new pair of rubber boots on the clearance rack while out shopping.  Do you know how hard it is to find rubber boots in the middle of flip-flop season?!?!?!   Flip-flops and homesteading just don’t seem to mesh unless you like the feel of animal droppings and dirt squishing between your toes.  Haha!  Poor E is definitely NOT a flip-flop kind of guy and had worn out his last pair of boots that he received as a birthday present in January.  So much so that his papa had duct-taped them together just so he could continue wearing them outside.  The problem was that they leaked like crazy so any time he jumped into a mud puddle, he would have to change his socks once entering the house.  (I was washing a LOT of socks!)  Considering we’ve had about 4 inches of rain this week, there are plenty of really good puddles just screaming to be jumped into.

2014-06-27 09.35.39 The second was when E finally gained up enough courage to start riding his bike again.  Around the middle of November, I found a good used bike for free.  This new bike was the next size up from the one E had been using but would soon outgrow.  E did very well riding the new bike last year, but when I tried to get him to ride it once the weather turned nice in the spring, he would run the opposite direction.

After months of working to help him regain his confidence, he finally got on and started pedaling down the road.  Even with a couple of spills when trying to turn, E got right back on the bike. Yay!  Now, in between thunderstorms, he can be found outside riding up and down the road like he’s done it all his life.

I asked him recently what his favorite thing to do outside is, and he replied that it’s riding his bike.  I’ve tried to use all of this to help him learn a valuable lesson in trust.   Just as he is learning to trust us when we warn him about playing in the tall grass because of poisonous snakes, he is learning to trust us when we say that the reward will be worth the hard work and effort.

Oh to be a kid again and zoom around on your first “set of wheels” while enjoying the freedom of no adult responsibilities!

Soft Pretzel vs. Soft Pretzel

This week I have two recipes to report on; however, both are soft pretzels.  I thought it would be fun to experiment with two different recipes to see which one I liked best and had the best overall flavor.

The first recipe was from www.catchmyparty.com which had a lovely blog post on making pretzel dogs.  Of course, the boys were all excited for me to try something new for lunch especially since it involved “hot dogs.” 🙂 10371516_10152528422013115_4512833752584937786_nEveryone was very pleased with the way they tasted.  Mine didn’t turn out looking exactly like the ones from the original creators, but I was pleased with them considering it was the first time to make pretzel dough.  I was just thrilled that they tasted like the ones you get at Sam’s Club or Target.  Seems like all the kids have gotten hooked on the soft pretzels at Sam’s Club since it has become the perfect snack to keep them happy while on our monthly grocery run.  The past several times I’ve had all the kids with me, we’ve ended up at Sam’s Club too early for lunch but perfect timing for a nice snack.  H enjoys getting in on the snacking too since she now has THREE little teeth to chew with. 🙂

The second recipe I tried was actually recommended by one of my cousins.  My favorite part about the recipe from www.smittenkitchen.com (which was adapted from Martha Stewart’s recipe) is that it used less baking soda in the water bath and less sugar in the dough.  Good thing it called for less baking soda because I had just enough left in my cabinet! Whew!  The following is a step-by-step guide to the second recipe.  Both are listed at the bottom of this post.

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STEP 1:  Pour 2 C. warm water, 1 T. sugar and 2 1/4 tsp. (one packet) active dry yeast into your mixing bowl fitted with a dough hook and let sit 10 minutes.

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The yeast should look foamy after the 10 minutes.  If not, start over again!  Your yeast could be too old or your water temperature too hot or too cold.

STEP 2:  Add 1 C. flour to yeast and mix on low until combined.  Add 1 T. salt and 4 C. more flour, and mix until combined, about 30 seconds.  Beat on medium-low until dough pulls away from sides of bowl, about 1 1/2 minutes.  Add another 1/2 C. flour, and knead on low 1 minute more.

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If dough is still wet and sticky, ad 1/2 C. more flour (this will depend on weather conditions); knead until combined, about 30 seconds.

Transfer to a lightly floured board and knead about 10 times, or until smooth.

STEP 3:  Coat a large bowl with oil (or spray liberally with pan spray).  Transfer dough to bowl, turning dough to completely cover all sides.  Cover with a kitchen towel and leave in a warm spot for 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size.

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STEP 4:  Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Lightly spray two baking sheets with cooking spray.  Set aside.  Punch down dough to removed bubbles.  Transfer to a lightly floured board.  Knead once or twice, divide into 16 pieces or 32 if making miniature pretzels, and wrap in plastic.  [To save on plastic wrap and time, I just divided into 8 large pieces and wrapped those in plastic wrap leaving one out to work with.]

2014-06-21 11.47.03Divide your dough piece in half setting one aside.

2014-06-21 11.47.21STEP 5:  Roll one piece of dough at a time into an 18-inch-long strip. [Use a flour-free surface to do the rolling since it will be MUCH easier.]

2014-06-21 11.47.32Make a “U” shape and overlap the top.

2014-06-21 11.47.58Fold the ends down onto opposite sides making the twisted pattern.

2014-06-21 11.48.31Transfer to prepared baking sheet and cover with a kitchen towel.  continue to form pretzels.

2014-06-21 11.54.56Eight should fit on one sheet unless making miniature pretzels in which you will need a third sheet prepared.  Let pretzels rest until they rise slightly, about 15 minutes.

2014-06-21 11.56.38STEP 6:  Fill large, shallow pot with 2 inches of water.  Bring to a boil.  Add 1/2 C. baking soda and 2 T. sugar.  [Step back for this since the baking soda foams like a volcano!]  Reduce to a simmer.

2014-06-21 11.58.35Transfer as many pretzels as you can fit inside your pot/pan and poach 1 minute on each side. [Hint:  Keep them all either bottom-side up or top-side up so you will know which ones you’ve already flipped.]

2014-06-21 12.01.34Use slotted spoon or spatula to transfer pretzels to baking sheet.  Continue until all pretzels are poached.

STEP 7:  Beat 1 large egg with 1 T. water.  Brush pretzels with egg glaze.  Sprinkle with salt.  Bake until golden brown, 12-15 minutes.  Let cool on wire rack or eat warm.  Pretzels are best when eaten the same day, but will keep at room temperature, uncovered, for two days.  Do not store in covered container or they will become soggy.

Serve warm with melted butter and a little more salt (to taste).  DELICIOUS!!!

The biggest difference between the two recipes breaks down as follows:

catchmyparty.com        vs.      smittenkitchen.com

  • darker color   /  medium golden-brown
  • softer    /   too chewy
  • faster steps   /   more rising times
  •                        /   less baking soda needed

Soft Pretzels – by http://www.smittenkitchen.com

2 cups warm water (100°F to 110°F)
1 tablespoon + 2 tablespoons sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons canola or other neutral oil
1/4 cup baking soda
1 large egg
Coarse or pretzel salt

1. Pour warm water and 1 tablespoon sugar into bowl of electric mixer fitted with a dough hook* and stir to combine. Sprinkle with yeast, and let sit 10 minutes; yeast should be foamy.

2. Add 1 cup flour to yeast, and mix on low until combined. Add salt and 4 cups more flour, and mix until combined, about 30 seconds. Beat on medium-low until dough pulls away from sides of bowl, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add another 1/2 cup flour, and knead on low 1 minute more. If dough is still wet and sticky, add 1/2 cup more flour (this will depend on weather conditions); knead until combined, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a lightly floured board, and knead about ten times, or until smooth.

3. Pour oil into a large bowl; swirl to coat sides. Transfer dough to bowl, turning dough to completely cover all sides. Cover with a kitchen towel, and leave in a warm spot for 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in size.

4. Heat oven to 450°F. Lightly spray two baking sheets with cooking spray (parchment paper, ungreased, also works). Set aside. Punch down dough to remove bubbles. Transfer to a lightly floured board. Knead once or twice, divide into 16 pieces (about 2 1/2 ounces each) or 32 if making miniature pretzels, and wrap in plastic.

5. Roll one piece of dough at a time into an 18-inch-long strip. [I find the pretzels much easier to roll on an unfloured board, oddly enough, but see what works for you.] Twist into pretzel shape; transfer to prepared baking sheet. Cover with a kitchen towel. Continue to form pretzels; eight will fit on each sheet (you may need a third sheet if making miniatures). Let pretzels rest until they rise slightly, about 15 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, fill large, shallow pot with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil. Add baking soda (and step back, it foams up quickly) and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Reduce to a simmer; transfer three to four pretzels to water. Poach 1 minute on each side. Use slotted spoon to transfer pretzels to baking sheet. Continue until all pretzels are poached.

7. Beat egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush pretzels with egg glaze. Sprinkle with salt. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on wire rack, or eat warm. Pretzels are best when eaten the same day, but will keep at room temperature, uncovered, for two days. Do not store in covered container or they will become soggy.

Homemade Soft Pretzels – by http://www.catchmypart.com

Ingredients:

pretzel dough

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (110-115F)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter (melted)

topping

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt or pretzel salt (for topping)

poaching liquid

  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda

Directions:

In a large bowl, add 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons of salt, and yeast to 1 1/2 cups of warm water. Let the bowl stand about 5 minutes to allow the yeast to activate. It should bubble. Add the flour and melted butter and mix until completely combined. If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, you can mix on low for 5 minutes. Otherwise, drop the dough on a smooth surface and knead for 7-10 minutes (trust me, it’s not hard). Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for an hour. The dough should roughly double in size. After it the dough has risen, preheat the over to 450F and start boiling the 10 cups of water in a large stock pot. Once you have a rolling boil, add the 2/3 cup baking soda. Prepare a baking sheet with a silpat, or very lightly oiled parchment paper.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into 16 inch ropes. The dough is very elastic, so it will tend to shrink a few inches as soon as you stop rolling it out – that’s normal.

For the traditional pretzels, lower them carefully into the boiling water with a spatula. They will sink initially, but float up to the surface after 15-20 seconds. Let them boil for about 45 seconds then lift them out with a spatula, and move them to the baking sheet. If you are making pretzel bites, you can add 8-10 at a time. I like to use a large slotted spoon to scoop them out.

Brush the egg yolk on the tops of the pretzels, then sprinkle some coarse sea salt over the top (use as much as you’d like). Bake for 10-12 minutes, until you get a nice brown exterior.

The whole thing takes about 1 1/2 hours (because of rising time), and makes 16 traditional pretzels, or 50 pretzel bites.

Beginning of Summer on the Homestead

It’s been a while since I’ve updated you all on our progress here on the ole’ homestead so I thought I would dedicate today’s post to giving you a glimpse into the latest projects and plans we’ve got going on here in Kinnard-ville.

May

While most schools were getting ready to let out for the summer, it seemed like we were actually just beginning.  The plan was to start E in kindergarten this fall, but since he’s been showing a great interest in learning science and reading, we decided to go ahead and start early.  We’ve been staying very relaxed with the schooling schedule and have been speeding along or slowing down as E’s interest grows or diminishes.  If he ends up finishing all the curriculum by fall, we’ll just start him in first grade.  It’s been very nice being able to actually ENJOY doing school together instead of feeling like I’m pulling teeth to get him to do anything.  A and I like to get in on the schooling action too!  Most days when I’m working with E, the two little ones will be either pouring over the iPad working on alphabet or sorting games or sitting at the table coloring or doing puzzles.  When it comes to the iPad, I is turning a little pro!  I’ve even caught him talking (actually articulating specific words – clearly!) when he thought no one was around.  What a stinker!! :-/

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With the hot weather really starting to kick in and with the entire family being outside more to work together, Tim decided to purchase a small pool for the kids to play in while we got projects done around the yard and garden.  Memorial Day was the beginning of the pool fun.

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The end of May was exciting since we received our long-anticipated poultry order.  We ended up with 15 Pearl Keets and 16 Cherry Egger Chicks.  Somehow we were given an extra chick since our order was for only 15.  Not complaining!!  More eggs – yippee! 🙂

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June

Can’t believe June is already half over, but then again it’s been so busy it feels like an entire month has passed.  One of the bigger projects for Tim was taking apart and re-assembling the swing set given to us by a family member who moved to a new house.  The people who bought her house didn’t want the play set since they were bringing their own.  Okay!  This was truly an answered prayer since we had been talking for a while about needing to find a swing set for the kids.  Being a one-vehicle family meant that this summer we wouldn’t have the freedom to go to the park whenever we wanted.  It’s been WONDERFUL having the “park” in our very own yard! 🙂  With the leftover finances for home projects, we eventually would like put a new coating of stain on the entire structure.  I would love to do it now, but there are about a million other projects that take priority over a simple cosmetic fix.

The biggest project on my plate has been to keep the garden alive.  Might not sound like a big deal, but for me it is next to flying a spaceship to the moon.  I have NO green thumb!  In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s as black as black can be.

Tim has been the one to do all the planning and research.  Through all the planning process I watched and listened, but he was the one at the controls.  When he had to go back to working Fridays while his assistant left for maternity leave, it all of a sudden became my responsibility since Tim had no extra free time like before.  GULP!

I’ve been doing all I can to keep the plants alive and to ensure that they are watered every day, weeded (as much as possible) and animals/children kept out.  It was a very big deal when I picked the first red tomato from the vine and used fresh basil I clipped from the plants I’ve been growing in my kitchen window to use in a pot of soup.  SUCCESS!  That day I pretty much felt like I could fit right into Little House on the Prairie. 🙂  I have a long way to go, but at least the plants that did die after the first attempt at planting have been replaced with a second planting that is actually thriving.  We’ve also planted carrots, lettuce and beans and have started planting our peach, apple and pear orchard.  It is yet to be seen if anything will come to fruition with those plants, but I would love for the opportunity to say to my friends and church family, “Harvest is ready!  Bring your buckets and come pick fruit for your families.”  It will be wonderful to have enough food growing on those trees to can applesauce, apple pie filling, sliced peaches and sliced pears to last the year.  What a cost saving!

Tomatoes

Basil

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Squash (smaller plants are from 2nd planting)

Strawberries (Given to us as a small planter from a friend’s garden – they’ve exploded!)

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Watermelon

Cucumbers

Blackberries

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One of the other big projects is to get the path finished with the concrete blocks.  Tim put down black paper to help kill the grass and filled in the low spots with pea gravel so it will be more level.

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Life goes on and we learn more and more about homesteading every day.  The kids are happy and growing and learning right along side us which makes the journey worth so much more.  I still sometimes miss living in the city close to the grocery stores and library as well as friends’ homes, but I am appreciating more and more what an amazing opportunity this is that God has allowed us.  Instead of looking at other homesteads I see online and comparing ours to those well-established places, I have to remind myself that things here are NOT perfect and we don’t have the resources to pour into all the projects we know we need and would like, but we are doing the best we can totally from scratch.  I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished so far!  Not too shabby for two city-dwellers!  Haha!

The biggest thing is watching how I interacts with the different animals.  The fact that he wants to go pet the dog or watch the chicks and keets out in their pen is so far from where he used to be with freezing up and screeching at the top of his lungs because of sensory overload and fear.  He likes to help take care of the animals on the homestead.  In the years to come, I’m sure he will be a tremendous help when we have a flock of goats or even a horse one day.2014-06-19 10.31.06

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Worst Mother Award Goes to…

Either we are the most fortunate parents in the world or the worst when it comes to treating child illnesses inside our home.  When I hear stories from other parents of long sleepless nights staying up with screaming children due to ear infections, I just can’t seem to comprehend what they are talking about.  It’s not like we haven’t had our fair share of ear infections.  Actually quite the opposite!  In the past six months two of my little ones have had ruptured ear drums.  What I can’t understand is that neither one ever made a PEEP!  No crying, no tugging at the offending ear, no NOTHING.

So again we are either extremely blessed or I am the worst mother in the world for not being able to tell that my children are very ill. 😦

Last night I’s left ear started draining like crazy.  I recognized the telltale sign of a ruptured ear drum and called his ENT first thing this morning to have it checked.

After dropping Tim off at the office, all four kids and I headed to the ENT’s office.  With a little bribing beforehand (yes, it works when in a pinch!) we checked in to see the doctor.  Turns out I has a double ear infection with a ruptured left ear drum.  This is the second time in six months that his left ear drum has ruptured.

It’s hard as a mom not to feel this awful weight of guilt on my shoulders because if I had caught it early enough, it would only be infected and NOT ruptured.  I can’t even imagine how much pain he’s been in and never made a sound of complaint other than the typical griping at his brother like normal.

Here he is yesterday while outside playing.  This is his usual look of “I don’t want to do something!”  As a mom I ask myself, “What am I missing?!?!?!”

If you think that look in and of itself would be a clear indicator that he didn’t feel well, here he is just a minute later doing what he wanted to do in the first place – facing away from me playing cars instead of smiling for the camera.  So again, “What am I missing?!?!?!”

Down syndrome has so many different ups and downs to it, but something that many times seems to be a blessing turns into something that makes me want to cry.  I hate that my little boy can’t tell me that he hurts and that he doesn’t even know how to respond to his own pain levels.  As his parents we have to somehow grow even more attentive and observant of his every mood swing or fall because he doesn’t react to discomfort or pain like his siblings.  I’ve heard stories of children with DS who have fallen at school while playing on the playground and go home with broken bones because no one noticed and the children never made a sound.  That’s terrifying to me!!!

Sigh…The journey of learning for all of us continues.  Please pray for little I as his eyes and ears heal from this latest round of infection.  Also pray that Tim and I can grow in wisdom as we endeavor to find a balance of caution and sensibility without smothering I with attention and ignoring our other children’s emotional, spiritual and physical needs.

Parenting is the hardest job I have ever done and also the most rewarding.

Soaked Chocolate Chip Whole-Wheat Pancakes

[A big thanks to Aunt Chris for pointing me in the direction of “soaking” wheat along with this tasty recipe!]

The boys know that when I am going to bake whole-wheat bread the next day, it means they are most likely going to get some chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast.  It’s just easier to do it this way because I only have to pull out my flour mill once in order to have enough fresh ground flour for both the loaves of bread and a batch of pancakes.

What better way is there to have a quick breakfast you don’t have to worry about mixing the next morning because it is already done?  So the night before, in a large bowl, mix your 2 C. wheat flour with 2 C. buttermilk (or 2 T. vinegar and the rest milk to make the 2 C.), and 2 T. honey.  Once thoroughly combined, put a lid on or cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot for 12-24 hours.

The next morning (or whenever you are ready to make the pancakes within the 24-hour period) mix in the rest of the ingredients.  Prepare your griddle by rubbing with a little olive oil or pan spray then heat to approx. 300 degrees.

I like to use a 1/4 measuring cup to get more uniformed pancakes.  Totally OCD of me, I know! 🙂

After pouring the batter on the griddle, sprinkle with the chocolate chips and let cook until golden brown before flipping to cook the other sides.

After removing from the griddle, place on a large platter and cover with a light towel to keep them hot while you cook the remaining batter.

Serve with either coconut oil or butter melted over them and maple syrup.

Since these pancakes aren’t as thick as a regular buttermilk pancake, they are easier to consume.  For instance, my 6-year-old son can inhale 6 of them no trouble at all!  Good thing this recipe stretches and makes approximately 28 pancakes (more or less depending on how thick or thin you make your batter).  FYI – it will also work to clean out your little ones’ digestive systems!  Be prepared for some major diaper blowouts after they eat this breakfast!!  Just goes to prove how effective the soaking method is in breaking down the gluten inside the wheat so the body can digest it better when consumed.  LOTS of great fiber!!!  Sorry if that’s TMI. :-/

Soaked Chocolate Chip Whole-Wheat Pancakes

INGREDIENTS:
2 C. flour
2 C. buttermilk
2 T. honey
2 eggs
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
Mini chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:
Mix flour, buttermilk and honey. Cover and let set in a warm place for 12-24 hours. When ready, add the remaining ingredients and thin to desired consistency with water (or milk). Cook on hot, oiled griddle.  Sprinkle chocolate chips on pancakes before flipping.

Chef in Training

We took a break from the books the other day and focused on getting some things done inside the kitchen.  Since I had to finish making the wheat bread for lunch, E and I decided to make some cinnamon rolls.  He is doing so well being my helper in the kitchen, and I am thrilled watching him learn how to do things on his own more and more.  If nothing else, by the time he graduates from high school, he should be very comfortable working in a kitchen and will know his way around a stove. 🙂  At least he won’t have to fear starving if he marries a girl who doesn’t know how to cook.  Haha!

 

Éclair Cake

The amazing cake also known as “Boston Cream Pie” or “Cream Puffs.”

Sounds very immature of me to say this, but I have been afraid to try my hand at this recipe simply because it always seemed way too intimidating. I mean, Éclairs!  Those light, decadent melt-in-your-mouth bits of heaven that surely must be created by master chefs only because of the incredible dough that magically “puffs” while baking to make these perfect little hollow nests for filling.

Sigh…My mom used to make this cake for special gatherings/parties at our home while growing up, and it always came out perfect.  That’s a huge standard to live up to if you know what I mean.  Mine didn’t come out looking near as perfect as Mom’s, but it still came out tasting AMAZING. Yippee!

My first attempt at the recipe was for this past Memorial Day spent with Tim and the kids and Tim’s mom.  Instead of making the “cake” I simply put dollops of the dough onto a greased cookie sheet to turn into puffy balls.  The kids enjoyed having something they could hold in their little hands and eat without needing a fork or plate.  (Less dishes to wash! Praise the Lord!!)  This second experiment is for a party here at the homestead with several good friends.  The kids are all going to get cookies for dessert, but the adults get to enjoy something a little more sophisticated hence the cake.  Haha!

The great thing about this recipe is that it is actually VERY easy to put together and you don’t have to leave your oven on forever to do it or pull out your KitchenAid for any of the mixing.

To make the dough you will need:

  • 1/2 C. butter
  • 1 C. water
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 C. flour

Melt the butter first before adding the salt and water.

Heat until boiling briskly.

Add 1 C. flour all at once and stir vigorously. (Your arm will get a GOOD workout making this dough!)  Cook and stir until dough is transparent and forms a ball that clings to spoon – about 3-5 minutes.  Cool until lukewarm.

Add 4 eggs one at a time and beat until smooth after adding each egg (or until your arm falls off!).

Pour (I’m using that term lightly here since it’s more like “drop”) into lightly greased tube or bundt pan.

Bake @ 400 for 45 minutes or until free from beads of moisture and firm to touch.

Set aside to cool completely and move on to fixing the filling.

Mix together 2 small packages of French vanilla instant pudding with 3 C. milk.  Do NOT put inside refrigerator since it will thicken too much and be very difficult to pipe into the cake.

Fill either a gallon-size freezer bag or a piping bag and attach whatever large tip you want.  Insert your tip into the top of the cake and gently squeeze pudding into the cake.  You’ll know you have filled enough when you pull back on the tip and pudding starts to seep out of the hole.  Continue doing this around the entire top of the cake surface every couple of inches until all the pudding has been piped into the cake.

Gently remove any excess pudding from the surface of the cake and then place inside the refrigerator.

While the cake is cooling inside the frig, mix together in a small sauce pan:

  • 2 T. butter
  • 1/4 C. water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Cook on low until butter is melted.

Add 2 ounces (1/4 C.) chocolate chips and stir until melted.

Add 2 C. powdered sugar.

Beat until spreading consistency.

Quickly frost cake and then place inside refrigerator until the chocolate hardens all the way.  Cover and replace inside refrigerator until ready to serve.  (FYI – you will need to use an electric knife to slice the cake when ready to serve otherwise you will mash the entire thing when trying to cut into it.  Just so you know. :-))

Éclair Cake – by Toni Fuhrman

DIRECTIONS: 

Dough: 
1 C. boiling water
1/2 C. butter
1/4 tsp. salt

Cover & heat until boiling briskly.  Add 1 C. flour all at once and stir vigorously. Cook and stir until dough is transparent and forms a ball that clings to spoon – about 3-5 minutes. Cool until lukewarm. Add 4 eggs and beat until smooth after adding each egg. Pour into lightly greased tube or bundt pan. Bake @ 400 for 45 minutes or until free from beads of moisture and firm to touch.

*For Cream Puffs, pipe balls or strips onto a greased cookie sheet and bake @ 400 for 25 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch.

Filling:
2 pkg. French vanilla instant pudding (small boxes)
3 C. milk

Stir with electric mixer for 1 minute.

Chocolate Frosting:
¼ C. water
½ tsp. vanilla
2 T. butter
2 oz. chocolate chips, melted
2 C. powered sugar

Heat water and butter. Add vanilla and chocolate. Add sugar and beat until spreading consistency.