Saturday, September 29, 2012

Purple Pumpkin Monster Cookies...and More

These are last years' Halloween cookies.  I was playing around with colors and eyeballs and this is what I came up with.



I think they came out kind of cute.

I was also playing around with the square monster cookies that have been going around.  They were fun.  And no fancy cutters required!


I did these with glaze, and the green especially got a bad case of sugar bloom.  I'm really not sure why.  I've use the same recipe for YEARS, and, suddenly, with no warning, I start getting sugar bloom.  I was frustrated.  And it kept happening.  In fact, I have essentially stopped using glaze because of it.  It's sad, really.




I kind of liked these pumpkins, too.  Just a little bit different.

Anyhoo, I hope you like the cookies. I have not started any Halloween/fall cookies so far this year.  I got the Wilton mad scientist cutter set last year, and I really want to try them out.  Time permitting, I will do that soon.

Enjoy!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Hello Kitty Cake

As I was making this cake, I was talking to the girl about Hello Kitty.  During the course of the conversation, I mentioned something about Hello Kitty being a cat.  She froze.  Her eyes got big.  She exclaimed, "I thought Hello Kitty was a bunny!"

I'm glad we were able to get that straightened out before she got any older.



Top tier is chocolate, bottom is vanilla.  Buttercream filling with marshmallow fondant.  And lots of disco dust.

Tha't all for today! 

Enjoy!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes


OK, so in an effort to stave off the onset of fall, last week I made pink lemonade cupcakes and took them to work.  I'm not really ready for summer to be over.

My cousin posted these on her blog a while back...you can see them here.  Let me just say up-front that she is a much better photographer than I am. 

Because I was taking these to work, I doubled the recipe.  I got 23 cupcakes.  If I make them again, I will fill the cups a little fuller and maybe only make 20 or 21. 

Here's the recipe:

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 egg whites
1/3 cup thawed frozen Pink Lemonade Concentrate
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 or more drops red food coloring
1 tablespoon lemon juice*


Preheat oven to 350 F. Line muffin pan with liners.
  • In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, egg whites and lemonade concentrate. Alternately whisk in flour mixture and buttermilk, making three additions of flour mixture and two of buttermilk, beating until just smooth. Add just enough food coloring to turn the batter a light shade of pink.
  • Scoop batter into liners (fill about three-fourths full). Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until tops of cupcakes spring back when lightly touched. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on rack.
*I used one Tbs in the doubled recipe...they were quite tart.  Yum!

And because I love my icing recipe, I used it, slightly altered for the pink lemonade flavor, instead of the one in the link above:



Icing

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup shortening
1/4 tsp salt
2 pounds powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons thawed frozen Pink Lemonade Concentrate
3 tablespoons heavy cream (or more depending on consistency desired)


  • Combine butter, salt, cream cheese and shortening on low speed until well-blended.
  • Add the sugar and beat until incorporated.
  • Add vanilla and concentrate and beat until incorporated.
  • Add cream 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
  • Beat on med/high speed for 10 minutes until light and fluffy
The cupcakes came out nice and tart.  For you lemon lovers, they are a treat!  If you don't like lemon, don't make these.  Just sayin'.
 
 
 
Enjoy!





Sunday, September 16, 2012

Brownie Pudding Cake! Yay!

 
Behold...Brownie Pudding Cake:
 
 
I know, bad photo.  It was dark and my countertop is yellow.  Enough said.

Anyhoo, I have also heard this called Chocolate Cobbler, but where I come from, it's always been Brownie Pudding Cake.  It's three desserts in one.  What could be more perfect?

It's really easy to make, too.  Start with flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, milk, melted butter, vanilla and chocolate chips.  Mix it all together and spread in an 8x8 banking pan.



Now, whisk together some hot water, more cocoa powder and some vanilla.  Pour it, gently, on top of the batter.  No, really.  Go ahead.  It's ok.



And then you'll have this:


Now very carefully pop it into the oven and bake it until it's done.  My son and I had a nice talk about science once when we made this dessert.  The leavening in the batter will cause it to rise up through the water/cocoa mixture, creating a very yummy sauce on its' way through.


See the sauce, oozing up around the edges?  Yeah, I know.  Terrible photo.  Sorry.

Probably doesn't need to said, but eat it while it's warm.  I highly recommend serving this with ice cream.  You can dust it with a little powdered sugar, too.  But I forgot.

Here's what it looks like after you start serving:


And once more, as it was meant to be, with ice cream:


Here's the full recipe:

Combine:1 1/4 c flour
3/4 c sugar
1/4 c cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Add:3/4 c milk
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla
Stir until smooth.
Add:
1 c semi sweet chocolate chipsSpread into an 8x8 baking dish.

In a separate bowl, whisk together:
3/4 c sugar
1/4 c cocoa
Gradually stir in:1 3/4 c boiling water
1 tsp vanilla
Carefully pour evenly over batter.

Bake @ 350, 30-35 minutes or until a tester/
toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out
clean. Cool 15 minutes.

Makes 8 servings

Hope you try this some time soon.

Enjoy!




Wednesday, September 12, 2012

More Baby Cookies

One of my co-workers is expecting a new little girl.  What better way to celebrate than with cookies?






Well, that's all for now. 

Enjoy!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Biscuits

Since I just posted cornbread, I figured I'd give biscuits equal time. 


Biscuits are really easy to make from scratch.  And pretty quick, too, once you get a system down. I use a recipe adapted from here, and they always come out great.

Start by mixing your dry ingredients in a bowl:


Then cut in the fat.  I use a mix of butter and shortening.  The butter makes them extra tender and gives a little extra flavor. 


Beat the eggs and milk together until well-blended. Here I used regular whole milk, but if I have some on hand, I'll use buttermilk If using buttermilk, add about 1/4 tsp baking soda with the dry ingredients.


Add the wet to the dry and mix until just blended.


Now comes the fun part!  Turn the dough out on to a well-floured surface and knead 20 times.  Now pretend I took a picture of that part.  I forgot because I was busy trying to get gooey bits of biscuit dough off of my hands.

Next, roll the dough out about 3/4 inch thick.



Here's a fun tip: If you want layered biscuits, like the ones you buy in a can, do this:


Then roll it out again.



Grab your trusty, very old, not quite round, wobbly-handled biscuit cutter and cut out some biscuits!


Put them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.


The recipe is supposed to make 12 biscuits, but I always roll them a little too thin, so I get a couple extras. 

Bake for 8-10 minutes at 450 F, or until golden.


Serve with lots of butter and honey or jam.  Or whip up some sausage gravy and ladle on a goodly amount.


Serve with a side of scrambled eggs for an easy (and inexpensive) dinner.

Hope you try these soon!  Here's the full recipe:

Fluffy Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
2/3 cup milk or buttermilk*

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Cut in shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Beat egg with milk; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
Turn onto a well-floured surface; knead 20 times. Roll to 3/4-in. thickness; cut with a floured 2-1/2-in. biscuit cutter. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

*If using buttermilk, add 1/4 tsp baking soda to the dry ingredients.

Enjoy!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cornbread of Awesomeness

What?  You think the post title a little over the top?   Well, before you judge, try this.

Cornbread.  A staple. It's simple, yummy, and goes with lots of things.  Most especially chili.  And since fall is just around the corner (I refuse to give up on summer just yet), it's time to break out the cornbread recipe.



 I have been making this corbread (found here) for many years.  In fact, here's when I last printed it off: 


I'm kind of surprised this copy has been around for so long. I'm generally hard on my recipes.

Anyhoo, soak your cornmeal and milk in a small bowl for no less than 5 minutes, but more if you can.  Whisk it a few times while it's soaking.


 Mix your dry ingredients in a bowl.



Mix the eggs and oil together.


Pay no attention to the pie in the background.

Now, add all of the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk the heck out of it for a few minutes (like, 5).


Seriously.  You won't hurt it.  Now pour it into a 9x13 pyrex.  If you only have metal pans it will work, but it comes out best in glass or pyrex.


Bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown and delicious.




Cut it into squares, put it on a plate, take a bad picture, then slather with grape jam and eat.  You'll have to trust me on the grape jam part.  But you won't be sorry.

Here's the full recipe:


Homesteader Cornbread

1 1/2 cups cornmeal
2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs                  
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). In a small bowl, combine cornmeal and milk; let stand for 5 minutes. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix in the cornmeal mixture, eggs and oil until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean.


Enjoy!

Monday, September 3, 2012

It's A Girl! Cookies

My brother and his wife just added baby #4 to their family!  So I made cookies!  And then I took crummy pictures because we were in a hurry to get out the door!  Go me!


And here are some close-ups:








Vanilla-lemon sugar cookies with vanilla-lemon royal icing.  Quite yummy.

Enjoy!