Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Matilda Jane Trunk Party Cookies

So I got invited to my first Matilda Jane trunk party last week. I had heard of Matilda Jane, sort of, but didn't really know what it was. Turns out it's super cute girls' clothing (big and little girls!).

I was asked to make themed cookies, so I had to do a little internet research. I found out later that when Matilda Jane releases a collection, if an item sells out they don't replace it. So at least one of the dresses I based my cookies on was not available by the time the party was held. D'OH!

Oh well, I still think they were cute.

This was the "Once Upon a Time" collection for fall, and I really enjoyed the colors. These took me out of my comfort zone, too. I tend to do cookies that are similar in style most of the time. These were definitely not my regular style, but they were fun.

The girl accompanied me to the trunk show, of course, and she had a wonderful time! She is ALL about clothes right now. *sigh* At 8 she is more fashionable than I have ever been.

Well, that's all for now.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Fall Sugar Cookies

Decorated sugar cookies for fall! Leaves, pumpkins, apples, and sunflowers. I saw a couple different versions of the trees on Pinterest and decided to give them a go.

I think the trees sort of pulled them all together.

Well, that's all for now.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

The chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting and ganache that I made last year was so popular that I turned it into cupcakes. Because, honestly, they're easier to deal with sometimes.

Go-to dark chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting and a ganache drizzle. Very tasty, if I do say so myself.

They're best if eaten with a fork. Just being honest.

The cake recipe is here. To make cupcakes, fill cupcake liners 1/2 full and bake in a 375 F oven for about 16 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

Here is the frosting recipe:

Peanut Butter Frosting

1 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy...not natural, sorry)
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 lbs powdered sugar
1/4 - 1/2 cup heavy cream

Mix butter, peanut butter, shortening, salt and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer until well-combined. Add the powdered sugar and mix until incorporated. Add cream until the frosting reaches the desired consistency. Beat for 5 minutes on high speed. Frost cupcakes and top with a drizzle of ganache.


6 oz dark chocolate
6 oz heavy cream

Chop chocolate and put in a stainless steel bowl. Set aside. Heat cream in a heavy saucepan until it just starts to bubble around the edges. Don't boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and whisk gently until the chocolate is completely melted and the cream is fully incorporated. It will take a few minutes. I use a disposable piping bag with just the very tip snipped off to drizzle.

That's all for now.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes

Because who doesn't like a nice orange creamsicle?

Nobody who enjoys summer, that's for sure.

Orange cupcakes with vanilla cream cheese filling and orange cream cheese frosting. Yum! The folks at work seemed to like them. :-)

That's all for now.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Old Fashioned Peach Cobbler - Revisited

Peach cobbler revisited...because this recipe is amazing and deserves to be reposted. I think I even got some pictures that were better than the first time around.

I know that peach season is mostly over, so you'll have to forgive me for posting this so late. I blame the computer; it's having some issues right now. :-(

*Before we get started, I would like to say that I only make this recipe with fresh peaches from the fruit farm (unless I'm using frozen peaches that I froze myself after buying them from the fruit farm). Grocery store peaches just aren't the same. So if you can find some fresh-picked peaches, use them to make this.  You won't regret it.*

Anyhoo, start by mixing peaches, cinnamon, and sugar together in a bowl. Set the bowl aside and let the ingredients mingle for a while.

Next, in a new bowl, take some shortening and some sugar and beat the tar out of them until they're good and fluffy.

Remember when I burned up my hand mixer making petit fours? Yeah, I still haven't replaced it. Now mix the flour, salt and baking powder into the shortening mixture, alternating with the milk, in three additions.

Spread that into the bottom of a nice casserole dish. 8 x 11 is a good size, but your cobbler will be a bit thin. You can (and should) go a little smaller if you can, just so the cobbler is thicker. (8 x 8 or 9 x 9 are way too small, though.)

Now spoon the peaches gently onto the batter.

Beautiful! And here's where you'll think I'm crazy. Boil one cup of water and drop in three tablespoons of cubed butter. Pour the whole thing onto your cobbler.

Trust me, it'll be fine. Now bake it in a 350 F oven for 45-55 minutes, or until it's golden brown and delicious. While it's still warm, serve the cobbler with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and revel in the summery goodness.

You won't regret it, I promise.

Here's the recipe:

Old Fashioned Peach Cobbler

5-6 peaches, peeled and sliced
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger (optional)
1/4 tsp cloves(optional)

1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk

1 cup boiling water
3 Tbs butter, cubed

Mix peaches, sugar and spices and set aside.

Cream shortening and sugar.  Add flour, baking powder and salt, alternately with milk.  Spread mixture into a 8x11 baking dish.

Gently pour peaches evenly over batter.

Drop cubed butter into boiling water.  Pour over peaches.

Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 45-55 minutes or until golden brown and delicious.  Serve warm with ice cream or cream.

Well, that's all for now.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Mommy to Bee Decorated Sugar Cookies

Made for a friend's daughter's baby shower. The theme was Mommy to Bee.

These aren't colors I use regularly, but it was nice to do something different! There was a lot of black and some of the designs were wet-on-wet, so I made the icing with extra meringue powder, just in case. I've heard that extra meringue powder will stop bleeding. (Of course, for my regular royal icing recipe I've halved the amount of meringue powder I use, so really it was just the normal amount.)

But whatever the reason, it worked! There was no bleeding black icing, even with the white polka dots.

All bagged up and ready to go! I really have to start taking pictures before they're in the bags.

I think that's all of them. I'm going to be making more cookies in the next couple weeks, so hopefully I'll actually get them posted to the ol' blog. Maybe.

Well, that's all for now.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Chocolate Peppermint Christmas Cake

Welcome back to the blog! I know it's been a while, but that just seems to be how it is these days. :-)

I'm going to be teaching a baking class at my church in October, and I needed to decide early what I want to bake. We wanted something Christmas-y, since October is now (according to most American retailers) the beginning of the holiday season. After much vacillating, waffling, hemming and hawing, I decided on a chocolate cake with peppermint frosting. Because cake.

I tried really hard to take better pictures this time. I'm pretty sure I failed, but the effort was there, I promise! I even went on the internet to see how other bloggers staged their cakes for photos. I went down to my basement and found a white plate! THAT is dedication right there.

This is the same chocolate cake I always make because, really, it's the best.

Start out by gathering your stuff. Here's some of the stuff you'll need.

The first thing you'll do is to mix some boiling water and cocoa powder in a bowl or large measuring cup and whisk until smooth. Go ahead and let that cool. It will take a LONG time. You could even do this part the day before and put it in the fridge.

Second, mix the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in a bowl and whisk to combine. I never sift; I whisk instead.

Moving right along, cream the butter and sugar for 4-5 minutes. Don't skimp on this part. In fact, now is a good time to get your baking pans ready. Go ahead, the mixer isn't going anywhere.

Grease and flour 2 8-inch round pans. I use homemade cake release, but shortening and flour work just fine, too.

Once the butter and sugar are good and fluffy add the eggs one at a time and blend thoroughly after each. Free tip of the day: Never crack your eggs directly into your mixing bowl. If you have a bad egg your batter will be ruined. Crack the eggs into a separate bowl, then add them to the mixer.

After the eggs are blended, add the vanilla and stir to combine.

Here's where things get a little weird. Take the mixing bowl off of the mixer and grab a nice wooden spoon. Add the flour mixture alternately with the cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with the flour in three batches. Stir by hand after each addition. (I do this because I tend to get a little carried away with the mixer. And cakes do NOT like to be over-mixed. Trust me.)

So it will be flour, cocoa, flour, cocoa, flour. When you're all done it will look like this here:

Stir it a few more times to get rid of the lumps, but don't overdo it. Be sure to get all of the batter from the bottom of the bowl mixed well. Use a rubber spatula if you have to. Now, divide your batter into the two cake pans you prepared while the butter and sugar were creaming.

Tap them firmly on the counter a few times to get the air bubbles to pop. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes and they should look like this:

Let them cool in the pans for 10 minutes, run a knife around the edge and pop them out of the pans and onto a cooling rack.

Once they're completely cool, cut the domes off and get ready to frost! Mmm...frosting...

Because this is a chocolate cake and I'm using white frosting, I went ahead and did a crumb coat. I don't always, just depends on the cake.

See, I even put it on a nice plate! After frosting, crush some candy canes, or, if it's late August, some Starlight mints, and sprinkle them liberally on the cake.

Now cut a big piece and enjoy yourself!

So, what do you think, is this Christmas-y enough? I certainly hope so.

Here's the recipe:

Dark Chocolate Cake

2 cups boiling water
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 1/4 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 Tbs vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F, grease and flour 2 8-inch round cake pans. Set aside. Combine boiling water and cocoa powder. Whisk until smooth. Set aside and allow to cool to at least room temperature. Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, whisk to combine. Set aside.

Cream together sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, for 4-5 minutes or until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the cocoa mixture in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.

Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and bake in a 350 F oven for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Peppermint Frosting

1 cup butter
1 cup shortening
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp peppermint extract (use more or less to taste)
2 lbs powdered sugar
1/4 - 1/2 cup heavy cream
Peppermint candies (crushed) for garnish

Mix butter, shortening, salt and peppermint extract in the bowl of a stand mixer until well-combined. Add the powdered sugar and mix until incorporated. Add cream until the frosting reaches the desired consistency. Beat for 5 minutes on high speed. Frost the cooled cake and garnish with crushed peppermint candies.

Well, that's all for now.