Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Coconut Cake

I had a request for this cake - and I must admit, it was on my list of things to make.  It just looked so nice in the cookbook, and Martha Stewart has never let me down on a recipe so far.  I happily got to work making this cake on a long day of baking.  The cake part is really easy, the whole cake is actually.  A vanilla coconut cake with a marshmallow frosting covered in coconut.  I kind of wish that I made one for myself while I was at it.  If you are a fan of coconut anything I highly suggest you try this. 

I wish I got to make more cakes - it's hard to divide them up among the taste testers - I guess that's why I always make cupcakes and only do cakes if it's a request from someone. 

Coconut Cake
makes one 9" layer cake

3 sticks butter, room temp plus more for pans
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for pans
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup packed sweetened, shredded coconut
2 2/3 cups sugar
4 large whole eggs, plus 4 large egg whites
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
Seven Minute Frosting
Coconut curls or shredded coconut for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter two 9x9x2 inch cake pans; line the bottoms with parchment paper.  Butter parchment paper, and dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside.  Into a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir shredded coconut into the flour mixture until combined; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Add the whole eggs, egg whites and vanilla; beat until fully incorporated.  With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in two parts, alternating with the coconut milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined after each addition.
  3. Divide batter between prepared pans, and smooth with an offset spatula.  Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until cakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 55 minutes.  Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 30 minutes.  Invert cakes onto the rack; peel off the parchment.  Reinvert cakes and let them cool completely, top sides up. 
  4. Using a serrated knife, trim the tops of the cake layers to make level.  Place one layer on a cake plate, and spread top with 1 1/2 cups frosting.  Place other cake layer on top, cut side down.  Using an offset spatula, spread remaining frosting over entire cake, swirling to cover in a decorative fashion.  Sprinkle entire cake with coconut curls or shredded coconut.  Cake can be kept in the refrigerator, covered with a cake dome, for up to 3 days. 
Seven Minute Frosting

1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tbsp light corn syrup
6 large egg whites
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract

In the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine sugar, corn syrup,water and the egg whites.  Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 minutes.
Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat the mixture on high speed until glossy and voluminous, about 5 minutes.  Beat in the vanilla.  Use immediately.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Mint Hot Chocolate

I love Hot Chocolate, always have and always will.  To be more specific, I'm a fan of Hot Chocolate with a ton of marshmallows floating on the top.  I can remember being a kid and sitting at the kitchen counter with my Kermit The Frog mug full of hot chocolate and asking for more marshmallows.  When I buy a Hot Chocolate mix, it's always with marshmallows in it if it's available.  A couple of years ago my Mom found this recipe and we have been hooked ever since.  I share it with everyone since it's so easy and delicious.  I warn you now that you will become addicted and soon no other Hot Chocolate will work for you.  The only thing that could make this more perfect for me would be if I still had that Kermit The Frog mug to drink it from.  Whether you have kids or not, this will quickly become a favorite of yours.  I hope you enjoy it. 

3 large cups of the best
hot chocolate ever
Mint Hot Chocolate
makes 6 regular size cups

12 York Peppermint Patties, unwrapped
2 cups Half and Half
2 cups Milk
pinch of salt

In a medium saucepan, put all 12 peppermint patties and 1 cup of Half and Half; heat over medium heat.  Stir until smooth and all of the peppermint patties have melted.  Add the remaining Half and Half, milk and salt.  Stir and heat until slightly bubbling.  Pour into mugs and top with favorite toppings. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Chocolate-Mint Creams

Flipping through my many cookbooks, I came across this one while I was on the hunt for something easy to make as a thank you for the mailman and garbage pick up men.  I didn't have the mint kisses it calls for, but I figured I could melt some of the peppermint candy cane bits that I have a lot of.  I made the dough and let it chill while I went out and played treat fairy.  When I got home from delivering, I rolled the dough into 1" balls and baked them off.  Things were going so smoothly until this part.  I took the cookies out of the oven and placed a little mound of the peppermint candy cane bits on top of each cookie and returned them to the oven for them to melt.  Except this part never happened.  On top of the cookie should of been a melted swirl of mint goodness and I had just a clump of candy bits, same as when I had put them into the oven.  Fail.

The chips wouldn't melt at all
I gave in - my idea didn't work.  So what's left to do but melt up some chocolate and drizzle it on top so the peppermint part would stay. 

not the prettiest thing
The chocolate set nicely and the peppermint bits stayed in place.  Happy that this worked, I packed them up in cute bags and handed them out.  I would highly suggest sticking to the recipe with this one and not doing what I did.

Chocolate-Mint Creams
makes about 48 cookies

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
6 tbsp butter
1 tbsp water
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 egg
1/2 to 3/4 pound pastel colored cream mint kisses

  1. In a small bowl combine flour and baking soda; set aside.  In a medium saucepan cook and stir brown sugar, butter and water over low heat until butter melts.  Add chocolate pieces; cook and stir until melted.  Pour chocolate mixture into a large bowl; let stand for 10-15 minutes or until cool.
  2. Beat egg into the chocolate mixture.  Stir in flour mixture until combined (dough will be soft).  Cover and chill dough for 1-2 hours or until easy to handle.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Shape dough into 1 inch balls.  Place balls 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpats.  
  4. Bake for 8 minutes.  Remove from oven and immediately top each cookie with a mint kiss.  Return to oven and bake about 2 minutes more or until edges are set.  Swirl the melted mints with a knife to frost cookies.  Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool until mints are firm.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Chocolate Caramels

We all know that 2 of my most favorite things in this world are chocolate and caramel.  And when you put them together, watch out.  It's Rolo season at my parents house right now - they don't last very long between my dad and me.  I saw this recipe and my first thought was I'm going to be in trouble when I make it and love it.  And I was right.  This is like a Riesen candy.  Chocolaty, caramely and chewy. 

hello my new friends!
This is really easy to make, which is a bonus. All you need is 20 minutes of your time and a candy thermometer.  Use a medium size saucepan - it does boil up and takes up most of the pot once it gets going.  Pour it in a pan and let cool fully and then cut into bite sized pieces.  I packaged mine up in fun holiday bags to give out to people in.  Everyone loved it - I'm pretty sure I need to make it again for my parents who didn't get any. 

Chocolate Caramels

Line an 8" square pan with foil and brush with oil.  Melt 2 sticks butter in a saucepan, then add 2 cups sugar, 1 1/4 cups light corn syrup, a 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk and 1/4 cup cocoa powder.  Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer reaches 248 degrees, about 15 minutes.  Pour into prepared pan and let cool.  Cut into squares. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Vanilla-Peppermint Cupcakes

I was on the hunt for a fun, festive cupcake.  I was impressed when I found this one and printed it out immediately.  It comes from Sprinkles Cupcakes so I knew it was going to be good.  I mean a Vanilla-Peppermint Cupcake sounds light and minty.  That's exactly what it is.  A fluffy vanilla peppermint cupcake with a peppermint frosting.  The peppermint doesn't overpower at all, it's a nice balance between the two.  And it gave me a chance to use up some of the peppermint candy bits I had (and still have, I bought 2 bags, a little goes a long way with them). 

I baked them off, let them cool and frosted away.  Topped them off with the candy bits and was good to go. 

festive wrappers too!
Once they were all frosted, I stuck fun holiday toppers in each one (we all know that I can't really decorate).  I can't wait to bring them to my taste testers today.  Heays came home at lunch yesterday and got to bring some back to her coworkers and everyone loved them.  I finally had one last night.  I must say, this cake is pretty damn good.  It's super soft and fluffy and tastes amazing.  The frosting is the perfect mix of peppermint and sweetness.  I will absolutely be making these again.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bailey's Balls

This is my adaptation of Rum Balls.  I made these for the first time over 5 years ago.  I was surprised at how easy they really were, and tasty.  Then I got the idea to switch out the rum for other types of alcohol.  I've found that Kahlua and Bailey's work the best.  And who wouldn't like a fudgy little brownie ball that's been soaked in alcohol?  Perfect for those holiday parties or as a gift.  Once you make these for the first time, you will see that they are that easy and delicious and will be a repeat offender in your baking.  I made them one time for Heays coworkers over a year ago and they still talk about them to this day.  The best part is that you can roll them into whatever colored sugar you want - so they can go with the seasons/holidays.  Being festive, I rolled mine in a mixture of white, green and red. 

festive and delicious
First you make a batch of brownies, let them cool fully.  Then you break them up into chunks, toss it into a bowl, add the alcohol and mix until it comes together and then form into balls, roll in colored sugar and chill. 

balls ready to chill
The size you make them is up to you, but a 1" ball works the best. 

Bailey's Balls
makes 4 dozen

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter, cut into pieces
6 oz semisweet chocolate chips
3 large eggs
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp Baileys, Kahlua or rum
coarse sanding sugar for rolling
Pam cooking spray

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a 12"x17" rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. 
  2. Melt butter and chocolate in a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally.
  3. Whisk together eggs, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a large bowl.  Stir in chocolate mixture, then fold in flour.  Pour batter into prepared baking sheet.  Spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Bake until top is shiny and a cake tester inserted into center comes out with some crumbs attached, about 10 minutes.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. Break up brownie into small pieces; transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  With machine on low, pour in the alcohol and mix until crumbs start to come together to form a ball.
  5. Shape into 1" balls and roll in sanding sugar to coat.  Transfer to a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper; refrigerate, uncovered, until cold, about 2 hours.  Serve chilled or at room temperature.  Balls can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 week. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Peppermint Sugar Cookies

I found a recipe for Peppermint Snowballs and it sounded really good, but I thought I would change it up a bit.  The best part of this is that you can use either store bought sugar cookie dough or make your own (I made my own).  Simple and delicious, and who isn't a fan of that?  Once you have your cookie dough ready, just add some crushed peppermint candies, peppermint extract and confectioners sugar and mix it all together.  Then this is where I went a little different.  I didn't roll them into balls and instead just used my cookie scoop and scooped them out onto the sheets so they would be normal flat cookies.  Once baked and cooled, I made a chocolate ganache and then spread some on top and sprinkled with more peppermint candies.  That sounded much better to me than rolling them in confectioners sugar and topping it off with peppermint candies. 

don't they look tasty?!
These are a great festive holiday cookie.  The fact that they're easy to make is a bonus. I found out that Andes Mints makes a peppermint bit candy - much easier than buying candy canes and crushing them, and they are tasty.   Enjoy!

Peppermint Sugar Cookies
makes about 36 cookies

1 package (18 oz) refrigerated sugar cookie dough, room temperature, or your favorite from scratch sugar cookie recipe
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1/3 cup crushed peppermint candies, plus more for garnishing
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
Chocoalte Ganache
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.
  2. If using store bought dough, cut cookie dough into 8 pieces and place in bowl of electric mixer.  If you're making your own, make the cookies as you normally would.  Once the dough is ready, add the peppermint extract, peppermint candies and confectioners sugar and mix until combined. 
  3. Scoop out dough using either a cookie scoop or a teaspoon and place on prepared sheets.  Space 2" apart and bake until set, about 8-10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool fully on cooling racks.
  4. Once cooled, make the ganache.  Melt 6 tbsp butter, 6 oz semisweet chocolate chips and 2 tsp light corn syrup in microwave safe bowl.  Stir together until smooth and let stand 5-10 minutes or until it thickens slightly.  Spoon a little on top of each cookie and then sprinkle peppermint candies on top. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Egg Nog Cupcakes

My search for an Egg Nog quick bread was going badly, and then I finally found this recipe.  I knew that this would be a winner.  And is it ever.  Soft, fluffy and full of deliciousness.  It is meant to be a loaf or mini loaves, but I figured why not put it into a cupcake?  Just a smaller version - quicker time in the oven, but still turned out amazing.  And it's a quick bread recipe - that means it's so easy.  I mean who doesn't love a good quick bread?

I have a feeling I will be making these again.  I dropped some off to my taste testers and one always dives right in to what I bring her.  I have to say, I do love seeing her try things, her facial expressions are the best.  Needless to say she was a fan of these.  I also left one for each of my sisters to try.  Heays was an instant fan.  Ween agreed - I was told by both of them that these should make a repeat appearance.  You can make these as cupcakes, a loaf or mini loaves.  If you do the loaf/loaves, make sure to grease the pan(s) and bake for 20-25 minutes. 

Egg Nog Cupcakes
makes 24

2 eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups egg nog
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp rum extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
(1) 3.4 oz package instant french vanilla or vanilla pudding
1 cup confectioners sugar
1-2 tbsp egg nog
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake tins with paper liners.  In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg; set aside.  In a large bowl, with an electric mixer beat the eggs.  Add sugar, egg nog, butter, rum and vanilla extracts.  Add the flour mixture and mix well.  
  2. Add the instant pudding and mix well.  Fill each cupcake 2/3 full.  Bake for 15-18 minutes or until tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove and cool completely on wire racks.  
  3. Make glaze to desired consistency - you're looking for a pourable consistency.  Drizzle over tops of each cupcake.  Let glaze set before you store them in containers. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Chocolate Caramel Delights

We all know by now that if I see a recipe that's got chocolate and caramel in it that I'm going to make it - so shock of all shocks here's another one! This was really easy - a chocolate thumbprint cookie with caramel in the middle and then chocolate drizzled over the top of each cookie.  Sounds good right? That's what I thought when I read it. 

Once you make the dough, time for it to chill.  I did the dishes, watched some tv and got things ready for the next part of the cookie.  I don't know why I like it when cookies need to chill, the break part is nice.  The dough is really mushy - so dip your hands in water so it doesn't stick to you.  Once you have rolled the dough into balls, stick your thumb in each one and make an indent.  Bake away - the cookies will need to be indented again once you take them out of the oven.  Then make the caramel and fill each hole and let set.  Once all set - drizzle the chocolate on top and you are good to eat them. 

Chocolate Caramel Delights
makes about 36 cookies

1 egg
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
16 vanilla caramels
3 tbsp whipping cream
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp shortening

  1. In a small bowl combine flour, cocoa powder and salt; set flour mixture aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 30 seconds.  Add sugar; beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.  Beat in egg, milk and vanilla until combined.  Add flour mixture and mix until well combined.  Cover and chill dough about 2 hours or until easy to handle. 
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.  Shape dough into 1" balls.  Place balls 1" apart on cookie sheet and press your thumb into the center of each ball.  Bake for 10 minutes or until edges are firm. 
  4. In a small saucepan heat and stir caramels and whipping cream over low heat until mixture is smooth.  Spoon some melted caramel mixture into indentation of each cookie.  Allow to set.
  5. In a small bowl melt chocolate pieces and shortening in microwave, 30 seconds at a time until melted.  Stir until smooth and then transfer warm mixture to a plastic bag.  Close bag and cut a small part off one of the corners.  Drizzle cookies with chocolate and let set.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Chocolate Almond Sugar Cookies

I'm one who loves cookies with almond extract in them.  You don't see them a lot, and it's usually around the holidays when you do see them.  When I saw this cookie, I knew I had to make it.  And that Ween would love it, chocolate and almond together?!  How could she not?  And let me tell you, she loves them.  So if you're a fan of chocolate and almond together, then this is your perfect cookie. 

These do make a lot of cookies, and are super easy to make (I'm a fan of easy cookies).  They come together quickly and before you know it they're baking away in the oven.  I didn't flatten mine, so they came out in a cute little dome shape.  But if you want to flatten yours, make sure to dip a glass in sugar and gently press the glass on top of each cookie to flatten.  I didn't think that they would of stayed in the shape I scooped them out in.  It very rarely happens and every time a recipe calls to flatten a cookie you really don't need to.  Well with this one you do.  Lesson learned for when I make these again. 

Chocolate Almond Sugar Cookies
makes about 72 cookies

4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
3 tbsp amaretto, coffee liqueur, creme de cacoa or milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.  In a large bowl combine flour and cocoa powder; set flour mixture aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl beat butter and shortening with electric mixer on medium-high speed for 30 seconds.  Add sugar and baking powder.  Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.  Beat in eggs, amaretto and vanilla until combined.  Add flour mixture.  Stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2" apart on prepared sheets.  Flatten each piece of dough with a bottom of a glass dipped in additional sugar.  Bake for 7-9 minutes or until edges are firm.  Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Peppermint Meringues

I was so excited to make these.  I had always wanted to try these out, but was a little unsure about them.  They do take a lot of time, but not a lot of effort.  But once I started I really got into it.  These are easy enough, they just bake a long time - like an hour and 40 minutes long.  So once I got them all piped out on the sheets....

looks awesome, right?
......and into the oven they go for a low and slow bake.  I checked on them halfway through and had my first bit of bad luck - they were turning brown! My oven was acting up again! It hadn't done this since summer.  Not sure what to do I start texting my friend at Lettuce Eat Together with my mini melt down.  They still had like 30 minutes left in the oven and I just left them.  Defeated, I took them out when the timer went off, the white was a light toasted brown.  I put the second batch in hoping it wouldn't happen again - but it did. 

it doesn't look it, but the white part
has really got a tan going on
An hour and 40 minutes later, same thing happened to my second batch.  I was freaking out.  I had them in at the right temperature for the right time.  Clearly I'm not meant to make these in my oven ever again - to my parents next time where they have the nice ovens.  Once I got over the disappointment of the color, I tried are they good.  This gave me some hope and I moved on to making a chocolate ganache to sandwich two cookies together with.  Chocolate and peppermint - who doesn't love that?  I've done this part a thousand times - but sacrifice from the baking gods was hanging in the air all around my kitchen yesterday.  And man, they struck and they struck hard.  My ganache never set.  After waiting 3 hours for it to set, I finally gave up (I had stuck it in the fridge for over an hour and nothing) and added some confectioners sugar to it to make it somewhat thicker.  It worked and I started to pipe them on the backs of cookies to sandwich them together.  Then - disaster.  The ganache just started to slide and melt all over the place and the cookies wouldn't stick together.  By the end, I had chocolate all over myself, the kitchen counter and the sink. 

the prettiest, cleanest part of the
disaster scene
Defeated, I left them on the counter.  I didn't care anymore what happened to them.  I was contemplating throwing them out, but I knew that my sisters wanted to try them.  So I left them there, and every time I went into the kitchen they taunted me, shoving my massive failure in my face.  I finally boxed them up so I wouldn't really have to look at them.  And shock of all shocks, one of my sisters brought them into work with her today.  I apologize to those of you who got them, while tasty, not my best work by far.   So one day soon I will try these again, and hopefully have a better post out of these.  And when I succeed I will post the recipe. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

I love fudge, who doesn't?  Usually it seems like it's a huge pain to make and I don't make it very often.  Until the other day when I found this recipe.  It was all done and in the pan in under 5 minutes.  And the best part - it was really good!  Bonus points to this recipe for being a double whammy of easiness and tasty.  This was the first thing I made in a long day of baking, so I was happily surprised that it was so easy and tasty.  I know that I will be making this again and again. 

Take a saucepan, melt some butter and peanut butter together until smooth, take it off the heat, add chocolate chips, vanilla extract and confectioners sugar and stir until smooth.  Put in a foil lined 8" pan and stick it in the fridge - done.  I'm pretty sure even those who can't bake at all will master this one.  This will make a great gift to someone for the holidays or to bring to a party.  And if you want to make it festive, add whatever sprinkles or sugars to the top of the fudge before you put it in the fridge to set. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge
makes 1 (8") pan

2 sticks butter
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners sugar

  1. Melt butter and peanut butter in a saucepan until smooth.  Take off heat, stir in vanilla extract, chocolate chips and stir until smooth.  Add confectioners sugar and mix well.  
  2. Spread in foil-lined 8" square pan.  Add sprinkles or colored sugars at this point if wanted.  Chill until firm and cut into squares.  

Healthy Holiday Meal by Lettuce Eat Together

My amazing friend at Arubula's Kitchen asked me to do a holiday post for her.  I happily accepted and then asked her to do the same for me.  I've been dying for her to do a post for me since I started this blog, and now was the perfect time for it.  She also just got a brand new site going (everything will be moved over to it)which is amazing, Lettuce Eat Together (love the name of this, and her brother did an amazing job with the site).  Become a fan on Facebook, you wont be disappointed.  So enjoy this amazing Healthy Holiday Meal - and don't forget to take some time out for yourself during this busy part of the year. 

When CB asked me to do a Healthy Holiday Meal I was so honored! Her baking blog is amazing and I am unbelievably proud that she is following such a wonderful talent and dream. Can’t wait till the day I get to walk through her bakery doors and see her treats smiling at me through glass cases. In the meantime I will happily enjoy her baking stories, recipes, and creations and try to recreate them in my own home (or hope a treat package arrives on my doorstep).
A Healthy Holiday Meal. I decided to share one that gives the satisfaction of a naughty one, but is actually nice. Santa would be proud. I am always one to have the awesome smells of dinner simmering through my home as guests arrive, may it be the illusion like carmelized onions that I am actually using later in the week, but smell amazing today, or fresh baked bread, or a low and slow dish that has been braising for hours while I fiddle around my home doing other things then WOWs my guests.
Fennel Salad
Red Wine Pot Roast with Carrots & Onions
Roast Pears in Butterscotch Sauce

Salad Course
Fennel Salad
This is an extremely simple and inexpensive salad to make. Make sure to use great olive oil.
1 large or 2 small bulbs fennel
¼ cup olive oil
Salt pepper
Small chunk parmigiano- reggiano
Cut the green fronds off the fennel. Cut the fennel bulb in half from top to bottom and use a small knife to cut out the core from each half. Slice fennel as thinly as you can with a vegetable slicer or sharp knife.
Just before serving toss fennel with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Arrange on plates and use a vegetable peeler or cheese slicer to shave off several thin slices of Parmesan for each plate.

Red Wine Pot Roast
One 4-5 pound top blade beef roast or other chuck roast
Salt pepper
3 carrots, peeled, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 bay leaves
10 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bottle full bodied red wine
1 onion, chopped
Chicken or beef broth, as needed
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Season the roast with salt and pepper and put in a Dutch oven with lid. Surround the roast with carrots. Roast meat, uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until well browned. Meanwhile, tie bay leaves and thyme together with a string.
Turn heat down to 300 degrees. Pour in wine, add herb bundle. Add onion, cover the pot and bring to a simmer on top of the stove. (if liquid doesn’t come halfway up sides of roast, add broth)
Slide roast into the oven and cook for 90 minutes, until meat is tender.
Strain braising liquid into a measure cup, glass so you can see fat floating on top, and skim fat with a spoon. Pick out carrots and onions, and set aside. Pour the strained braising liquid over the meat and bake uncovered at 400 degrees for about 30 more minutes, basting every 10 minutes with braising liquid, making a shiny glaze that coats the roast.
*While roasting for the last 30 minutes start pears for dessert course
Serve slices of the roast in soup plates surround with braising liquid and vegetables.

Roast Pears with Butterscotch Sauce
4 large underripe pears
6 tablespoons sugar
½ cup butter
½ cup heavy cream
whipped cream
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Peel pears, halve them lengthwise, and cut out the core with a small scoop. Arrange pear halves, flat side up in an ovenproof pan, just large enough to hold them in a single layer. Sprinkle over the sugar and add drops of butter.
*This next step can be done while you are enjoying the entrée course
Roast for about 40 minutes or until the pears are easily penetrated with a knife. Pour in heavy cream and bring to a boil over high heat, immediately remove from heat. Serve the pear halves with the sauce and whipped cream.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Egg Nog French Toast

This sounds so easy - and it is.  And very tasty.  For those of you who drink the Hood brand, they have a recipe on their carton for this, and that's where I got it from.  But after the first time I made it, I made changes (shocking I know).  I get excited when Egg Nog comes out because it means it's french toast time on Sunday mornings, and over the weekend I got to make it. 
Happy Breakfast!
You will be making this all the time once you try it.  The thicker the bread the better, Sourdough works great, but any bread will do.  We use normal white bread all the time, and it's always delicious.  You wont be disappointed at all with this delicious breakfast.

Egg Nog French Toast

2 cups Egg Nog
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a large bowl put Egg Nog and eggs in and mix until eggs are combined.  Add cinnamon and nutmeg to taste, add vanilla and mix well.  Preheat skillet and melt butter in pan when ready.  Dip bread in wet mixture and place in pan.  Cook 2-3 minutes each side. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Gingersnap Crust

Happy Thanksgiving! Yesterday my day was full of baking for today, otherwise this post would of been up last night.  But once I got home from my parents house I was exhausted and didn't have it in me to write this up.  So now it's Thanksgiving morning and here I am in my pjs typing away.  Still need a dessert?  I've got a great one for you!  This smelled amazing while in the oven yesterday, and it was a request from a family friend who is joining us today (she's like family so I loved that she had a request for me). 

Away I went to find a good recipe for this when she couldn't find her version.  I knew it had a gingersnap crust and had maple syrup in it.  I searched and searched and finally found one that was easy and had the ingredients in it that she had told me.  This was the first dessert I made yesterday (my Dad's Pecan Pie was second), so I was so happy to see that this was so easy.  I didn't have to bake the crust and just had to bake it all off in one shot.  Awesome.  Once the crust was nicely packed in the springform pan, away I went on the filling.  Minutes later, the whole thing was going in the oven.  It does take 90 minutes in the oven, so I was happy I had a lot of other things to do while it was baking, and that my parents have 2 ovens in their kitchen.  The aromas that came from the oven while it was baking was almost intoxicating.  It quickly filled the whole house and it truly felt like fall here (it's been unseasonably warm here for this time of year).  Once it was all done - let it cool for 30 minutes and then let it chill in the fridge! How easy is that?!  I will absolutely be making this one again. 

fresh out of the oven - it does deflate
a little once cooled so don't worry

  Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust
makes 1 cake

3 1/4 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs
3 tbsp brown sugar
6 tbsp butter, melted

24 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
4 eggs

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9" springform pan.
  2. Using a fork, combine gingersnaps, brown sugar and melted butter.  Press mixture onto the bottom and 2 inches up the sides of the pan to form the crust.
  3. With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Stir in the pumpkin.  Mix in the cream, maple syrup, cinnamon, allspice and vanilla.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing until smooth.
  4. Pour batter into prepared crust.  Bake in the preheated oven for 90 minutes, or until the center of the cheesecake is set.  Allow to cool in pan for 30 minutes, then cover and chill.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Chocolate Cookie Balls

Sometimes you find recipes in the most random places.  I found this gem in a People Extra magazine that my parents had on their coffee table.  I immediately tore it out knowing that I had to make this.  Anyone can make these - so simple and quick.  And best of all, you only need a few ingredients.  Milk, Oreos, pudding and chocolate candy coating is all you need.

cross view of delicious goodness
I made these at the end of a day of marathon baking, I was so tired and my feet were killing me from standing on them all day and running around getting things.  The only time I think I sat all day was when I was in my car or at physical therapy.  But I knew the end was in site and these wouldn't take long.  I put the milk and pudding in the bowl and mixed.  I kinda freaked out a little when it turned into thick paste.  Thoughts of 'Should I add more milk?' ran through my head.  I told myself to add the crushed Oreos and see what happens.  I didn't need more milk.  The thick pudding mixture coats the cookies nicely.  Then comes the fun part of scooping them out into balls and then freezing them.  It says to freeze them for 10 minutes, I suggest way longer, maybe close to 30.  I only did the 10 minutes and by the time you get to the end of the tray to dip them in chocolate, they start to get smooshy.  30 minutes of freezer time will work perfectly. 
look at all those naked balls of goodness
Once they are frozen, all that's left is to dip them in melted chocolate and then let that chocolate set.  And if you want to get festive you can drizzle some white chocolate on top or put candy sprinkles, go nuts with what you want to top it with.  These wont last long - my sisters and I have snacked on them all night.  Ween had a gem of a comment "these are like chocolate covered oreos, but different" I love when she comments on my baking, she always says honest, direct things.  :)  So go get the supplies you need! These will be an instant hit and will become a staple in your baking artillery. 

Chocolate Cookie Balls
makes 42 servings

1 package (3.9 oz) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding
1/2 cup cold milk
36 Oreo cookies, finely crushed (about 3 cups)
2 bags Chocolate Candy Coating

  1. Beat pudding mix and milk in medium bowl with whisk 2 minutes.  Add cookie crumbs; mix well.  Shape into 42 (1") balls. 
  2. Freeze 10 minutes.  Dip balls in melted chocolate, place in single layer on parchment paper lined baking sheet. 
  3. Refrigerate 20 minutes or until firm.  Drizzle with white chocolate (if doing sprinkles or something like that, apply while chocolate is still wet).

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Caramel Macchiato Scones

My Baking Addiction had posted a link to these Caramel Macchiato Scones from Blue Bonnets and Brownies I knew I had to make them.  I'm a sucker for making anything with caramel in it.  And luckily I still had some Milk Duds just sitting in my cabinet waiting to be used.  All I needed was the creamer, which I needed to get anyways. Feel free to switch out the brand of creamer, I did.

This was an easy scone to make, and who doesn't like that?  And once again, these aren't hard, crumbly scones but nice soft and light scones.  I'm not really a fan of the crumbly ones, I like my breakfast items to be soft and delicious, not hard and tough to chew.  I've found over the many times I've made the Mocha Scones a few tips to make baking these easier.  Freeze the stick of butter over night.  Once you pat out the dough to be cut into shapes, stick it in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up to make it easier to cut.  This is a great scone, easy to make and will please everyone.  Perfect for all those guests we have coming our way this week. 

delicious scones

Friday, November 18, 2011

Glazed Mocha Cookies

I had the best vacation.  I really needed it, and it came at the right time.  I got to see a lot of friends and family, see 2 of my friends who are meant to be together get married and have the most amazing wedding, and have so much fun in the process of all this.  I did get to bake some cookies with one of my cousin's kids (it was really adorable, and tons of fun) so I didn't go all week without baking.  But I did miss it and was happy to get back into the kitchen yesterday. 

Things were going smoothly and I was back in the groove.  I chilled the dough and cleaned everything up.  Sliced the cookies and baked them off.  My last sheet of cookies were in the oven and it came time to take them out.  As I was pulling the sheet out, the parchment paper slipped off.....and so did half of the cookies.  Swears immediately came out of my mouth and while my reflexes were quick, I couldn't save most of them.  Half of them ended up burning on the floor of the oven.  The other half were either smooshed and in strange shapes or perfectly ok.  The baking gods were mad that I took a week off and they were making me pay for it.  It was not a pretty sight to see.  After the mishap, I let the cookies cool and all that was left was to glaze them.  This I couldn't mess up (thankfully I didn't - you never know, it could of happened).  Glaze was all made and into a plastic bag it went and drizzled it on top of each cookie.  I do love this part.  You don't have to be artistic at all for it and it always comes out pretty, which is great for someone like me who can't even draw a straight line.  These were delicious.  I happily packed them up and brought them to my taste testers.  They were happy I was back and baking again.  It was a good welcome home. 


Glazed Mocha Cookies
makes about 22-40 (depending on
how thick you slice the dough)

3 oz semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp espresso coffee powder
1 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp espresso coffee powder
2 tbsp hot water

  1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over barely simmering water.  In a medium bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda and salt.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar at high speed until creamy.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat for 1 minute.  With mixer on low speed, beat in the dry ingredients and melted chocolate.
  3. Divide the dough in two.  Form into two 9x2" logs, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. 
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.  Slice the dough 2/3" thick and place 1" apart on baking sheet. (If you slice thinner, time will be shorter).
  5. Bake until the edges are firm and bottoms are slightly browned, 12-15 minutes.  Cool on baking sheets until the cookies firm slightly, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. 
  6. Make glaze: Mix confectioners sugar and coffee in a small bowl.  Stir in enough hot water to obtain a drizzling consistency.  Drizzle over the cookies and let set. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Egg Nog Coffee Cake Muffins

I searched and searched for a good quick bread recipe for Egg Nog Bread and couldn't find anything.  Frustrated I started to wonder if I took my favorite Coffee Cake recipe and turned it into Egg Nog Coffee Cake.  I had to try this out.  I made the Streusel Topping and set it in the fridge and then went to work on making tweaks on the recipe.  Time to put my plan into action.  I made the batter and tasted it (a must when trying something out) and was happy with it.  Into the tins they went and topped with the topping.  Time for the oven, 13 minutes later they were ready.  I took them out to cool and then made the Egg Nog glaze to go on top.  Once all ready, I tested one out. 

Tasted pretty good if you ask me.  The Egg Nog doesn't come through enough, so I'm going to make another round of these at some point.  But here's my recipe for what I've got so far.  Enjoy.  :)

Egg Nog Coffee Cake Muffins
makes 30

Streusel Topping:
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 1/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp butter, room temp

Whisk together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt; cut in the butter using a pastry blender, your fingertips or two knives until combined but still crumbly.  Refrigerate 30 minutes before using.

2 sticks (1 cup) butter, melted
4 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups Egg Nog

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line muffin tins with paper liners.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg; set aside.
  2. In another large bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla and egg nog.  Whisk in the melted butter.  Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg mixture into the flour mixture until just combined.  Fill cups halfway, put a layer of topping on top then cover with more batter.  Top each muffin with more topping. 
  3. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until the muffins are puffed and golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of one muffin comes out clean, 16-18 minutes.  Transfer to wire racks to cool, then glaze.
  4. Egg Nog Glaze:  Whisk together 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar with 3 tbsp Egg Nog.  Whisk together until smooth; use immediately.  Drizzle glaze over top of each muffin.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mini Double Chocolate Eclairs

Since I made Cream Puffs, the next thing on my list was Eclairs.  I learned my lesson last time with the Pastry Cream that I should make it chocolate instead of keeping it vanilla - the chocolate was gone first and the vanilla ones didn't go as fast as the chocolate ones.  I wanted to make a lot of them so I decided to make them minis instead of full size ones.  I mean really, things that are mini are so cute.  I was going out with my sisters to hear a local band that we are friends with and they were the lucky recipients of these amazing treats. 

I'm happy to report that there were no meltdowns with this.  Pastry cream came out awesome, the mini eclair shells puffed up amazingly and the ganache I dipped them in was great.  These are a great treat, they just take a long time to make.  I started at 8 AM and was done around 1.  You can make the pastry cream the day before, but I wasn't thinking and did it all in one day.  But it was well worth it.  They came out amazing. 

so cute when they're little
And of course I had to try one (couldn't give away bad treats)

I couldn't wait to hand these out to the band.  Two of them knew that goodies were coming their way, but the rest of the band didn't.  All were happy campers when they found out.  I even had some packed up for a couple of lucky people not in the band as well.  Gotta take care of taste testers :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Lemon Drops

This is a great, easy cookie.  I'm a huge fan of cookie recipes that you only need one bowl for everything.  The less dishes the better.  The lemon isn't overpowering at all, it gives you a nice light cookie that you will eat a lot of.  If you are in quick need of a cookie for something, this is it.  The best part is that once they come out of the oven, you put a lemon glaze on top of each cookie and then sprinkle with colored sugars or chopped yellow gum drops. 

I know it's a little early for Christmas colors
but it was all I had
I had made and baked off all of these cookies in under 30 minutes from start to finish.  If I had paid more attention I'm guessing it would be in the 20 minute range.  That easy and quick.  While the first batch of cookies is in the oven I made the lemon glaze and then while I took 2 sheets out and put 1 in I brushed the tops of each cookie with the glaze and then sprinkled with the colored sugar.  The glaze and topping part is great for those of you who have kids who want to help out in the kitchen.  This would work well with lime or orange as well. 

Lemon Drops
makes about 36 cookies

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
4 tsp lemon peel
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 cups all purpose flour
Lemon Glaze
Coarse Sugar
Yellow gum drops, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.  In a large mixing bowl beat butter with electric mixer on medium-high speed for 30 seconds.  Add the sugar, lemon peel, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Beat until combined, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally.  Beat in egg, sour cream and lemon juice until combined.  Add in flour and beat until combined.
  2. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons 3" apart onto prepared cookie sheets.  Bake for 8 minutes or until edges are golden and tops are firm.  Transfer cookies to wire rack.  Brush tops of warm cookies with Lemon Glaze.  Sprinkle with coarse sugar and/or chopped gumdrops.  Let cookies cool.
  3. Lemon Glaze: In a small bowl stir together 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tbsp lemon juice.  

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

My Baking Addiction posted about these and I knew I had to make them.  I printed out the recipe and started making changes to it right away - I can't help myself anymore.  It just happens.  I see something and want to change it to make it my own.  All the recipes I post on here are the original ones from a cookbook or website.  They are amazing as they are, I wouldn't make them if they weren't.  I just make tweaks to them to make them my own.  I highly suggest making these.  I'm still playing around with the frosting, but I have a good idea for next time I make it. 

all warm and frosted
If you aren't a fan of making things with yeast or are intimidated, this one is a great way to start off with.  Activate your yeast, put everything in a bowl and mix away.  It's really that easy.  Let the dough proof and once doubled in size roll it out, put the filling on and roll it up. 

make sure you put your filling closer to the edge than I
did, I had a lot of unused dough because there was no
filling in it
Cut into desired widths and let rise again, then bake away.
all proofed and ready to bake
 My house smelled amazing while these were baking.  So get your feet wet with using yeast and make these.  You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Egg Nog Cookies

Egg Nog is out in stores now, and with that comes the dilemma of making things with egg nog or things with pumpkin.  Yesterday I did both because I couldn't make up my mind.  But these cookies are a favorite of mine.  Extremely easy to make and very tasty.  If you are a fan of egg nog, then stay tuned, I've got great things lined up to appear on here.  These cookies will make many appearances during your holidays. 

fun festive snowflake sprinkles
You will be passing this recipe on for years to come.  The best part is you can make them as festive as you want once frosted.  I put snowflake sprinkles on mine this time, but have done colored sugars and left them with just the frosting on top.  Kids can help with the frosting and making them fun and festive.  I had Heays hand some out at work and everyone loved them, I even got a compliment on the festive sprinkles.  So run out and get some egg nog and make these cookies!!

Egg Nog Cookies
makes about 36 cookies

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup egg nog
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 tbsp egg nog

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.  In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt; set aside.  In a large bowl cream butter and sugar until smooth.  Stir in egg and egg nog.  Add flour mixture and beat until combined. 
  2. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets.  Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Let cool on wire racks.
  3. Make icing: Put confectioners sugar and nutmeg into a small bowl.  Stir in egg nog 1 tbsp at a time until desired consistency.  Spread onto cooled cookies and sprinkle tops with desired colored sugars or sprinkles. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Oreo Swirl Sugar Cookies

Yep - I made an awesome cookie.  Crushed up Oreos with chocolate chips rolled into a sugar cookie?! That's crazy talk!  Evil genius you ask?  I'm going to save that term for something else I have planned to appear on here soon.  These are easy to make as well, and who doesn't love that?!  This recipe will work amazingly well with whatever you want to put inside of it.  I'm thinking that next time I make it I might chop up some candy bars (Tip: things like Kit Kats or anything with a wafer in the middle of it don't work at all in cookies - I've tried, many times.  It never works out well.  The wafer turns into something extremely hard and not tasty).  Halloween candy is now at least 50% off so now's the time to get some right? :) 

chocolate frosting optional
I really enjoyed making these.  I'm happy when I find an easy rolled cookie that works out well.  Once you roll out the dough, sprinkle with chopped Oreos and some chocolate chips......

looks pretty good
.....roll it up and wrap in plastic wrap to chill. 

makes 2 logs :)
Once chilled, time to slice and bake.  Easy!!

Then you can frost them with some melted chocolate or eat them as is!! I did half frosted and half naked.  A little of something for everyone :)  I can't wait to make these with candy bars in them! 

Oreo Swirl Sugar Cookies
makes about 48 cookies

3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup crushed Oreo cookies (about 6 cookies)
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp shortening

  1. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 30 seconds.  Add sugar and baking powder.  Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.  Beat in egg until combined.  Add in flour and beat until combined.  Cover and chill dough about 1 hour or until easy to handle.
  2. Divide dough in half.  Roll half of the dough between pieces of parchment paper into an 8"x7" rectangle.  Sprinkle half of the crushed Oreos and chocolate chips evenly over dough to within 1/4" of the edges.  Beginning with a short side, carefully roll up dough, using the paper to lift and guide the roll.  Moisten edges with water; pinch to seal.  Wrap in plastic wrap.  Repeat with remaining dough and crushed cookies and chocolate chips.  Chill for 4-24 hours or until firm enough to slice.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.  Cut rolls into 1/4" slices.  Place slices 2" apart on prepared sheet.  Bake for 8-9 minutes or until edges are firm.  Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute.  Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.
  4. If desired, in a small heavy saucepan melt chocolate pieces and shortening over low heat, stirring constantly.  Drizzle over cookies; let stand until set. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

YCB Now on Facebook

Hi everyone! YCB now has a page on Facebook -
Like us on there - share stories of what you have made off of here, pictures of things you've made and any requests! 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Homemade Twix - version 2.0

Back in March I made the first version of homemade Twix.  It was a good start, but I felt like there were things that I could improve on.  I had to make it better.  When I started making my own caramel, I knew that this would be the time to improve upon the Twix.  My thought was to take bits and pieces from things and then combine it into one.  I took my favorite shortbread recipe for the base, my caramel recipe, and then a chocolate ganache to top it off.  It sounded perfect - and it almost was. 

I was going to a dinner party at a friends house and I said I would bring dessert (shocking I know) - and this was the perfect reason to try out my idea for new and improved Twix.  I made the shortbread and it turned out awesome.  Once cooled, I made the caramel and let that set.  Then time to finish it.  I made the ganache and poured it over the top and let it set. I go back and check on it an hour later and the chocolate isn't set.  Fail.  I knew right then and there that a ganache on top of the caramel wouldn't set like it should.  I stuck it in the fridge until I had to leave.  So the top was soft, but it was still going to taste good. 

After a great dinner and amazing conversation, it was time for dessert.  The Twix got cut up and handed out and sure enough, chocolate slid off everyone's piece.  But it tasted amazing.  So I'm 2/3 of the way there getting this one right.  Once I make it perfect, recipe will be posted.  So for now, here's a picture of what it looked like.  Notice the chocolate is starting to slide off. 

yay - a food porn shot :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Butterscotch Cupcakes

A couple of weeks ago it was one of my taste testers birthdays.  And I found out that she had a love of Butterscotch when I brought in some Butterscotch cookies for her.  So I searched and searched for a cake recipe for her.  And I finally found one - there were a lot of doctored cake box recipes, which is great, but that's not what I was looking for....I wanted it all from scratch.  Sometimes when I use a box mix I feel like I've cheated and think I could always do better if I did it all from scratch.  I got the recipe off another blog, and for technical errors I'm going to keep the blog unnamed.  Usually I happily promote other people, but this site was just bad - constant pictures for every step which I found extremely annoying and as something not to do to my own site (I mean who really wants to see a picture of me adding in eggs or pouring in sugar?! This site had pictures like that for everything!)  I printed out the recipe and made some notes along the way with what I wanted to change. 

The cake part turned out awesome!  The frosting however - awful.  Well, not true, it tasted amazing!!  It just didn't hold it's shape.  I iced the 2 layer cake and the frosting just slid off.......I had to keep it in the fridge.  I was almost embarrassed to give it to her because it looked like a hot mess.  She didn't care - and instantly tried some.  I told her to keep it in the fridge and that I will fix that frosting the next time I make it. 

Halloween is next week, so why not some fun festive cupcakes?!  I have fun paper liners and the remaining Butterscotch frosting I had left over was sitting in my freezer, taunting me.  I was going to make cupcakes and fix the frosting.  That was my mission yesterday.  I kept the cake recipe the same since I was happy with it.  Then the frosting.......I had a good idea of how to help it be better, hopefully it would work.  I added some confectioners sugar and some milk and whipped it up.  It held it's shape! I happily frosted each cupcake and put a fun pumpkin candy corn on top of each one. 

as decorative as I got
I couldn't find the supplies for what I really wanted to do, so I went with this.  But I'm still not happy with the frosting.  Still tastes great, I just need to tinker with it a little more.  Once it's ready - I will share :)