Sunday, December 20, 2009

Upcoming Christmas Baking

This week, I have plans to bake the following:

1) Mint Brownies (using peppermint patties in the middle)

2) Peanut Butter Blossoms (using red and green sugar sparkles to make them festive)

3) Sugar Cookies (using lots of cookie cutters)

4) Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

5) Mint Chocolate Chip Chunk Cookies

Stay Posted!

Baker's Edge Brownie Pan


Looking for a last minute gift idea for a brownie-lover or baker?  Get them the Baker's Edge Brownie Pan!
When you use this pan, every brownie has lots of edges! You can buy it from their website or places online, like Amazon. I have purchased this in the past for brownie lovers and they have loved it!

Cupcake Ornament

I received this as a gift! It is from Pier One, so run out and buy it! Very cute!


Applesauce Spice Cupcakes


This is another great recipe from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes book.  I highly recommend getting this book if you don't already have it. 
These cupcakes have a hint of each of the spices. The recipe makes 18 cupcakes. 

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups unsweetened apple sauce

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. On a low speed, add applesauce and then the flour mixture, beating until just combined.

Fill each cup 3/4 full with batter. Bake 20 minutes. 

Frost with Brown Sugar, Cream Cheese Frosting:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup packed light-brown sugar

Using electric mixer, mix cream cheese with 1 stick butter and 1 cup light brown sugar on medium speed until smooth. Spread cream cheese frosting on cupcakes. Cupcakes can be refrigerated in airtight containers up to 2 days.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Some Halloween Treats

I made these eyeball cupcakes with an M&M and red icing with a very thin tip for that lovely blood-shot look.

These owl cupcakes were very simple- Oreos, M&Ms, and a candy corn nose.

New and improved Graveyard Cake. This year, I added a candy corn fence and candy corn pumpkins. As always, the Milano cookies make great gravestones and Peeps are cute for the ghosts and pumpkins around the cake.

I love cupcakes so much, I was one for Halloween!



Yup, I was a cupcake for Halloween. My husband, Mike, made me the costume. How did he make it? Well, he used a large plastic beverage pail, and cut out the bottom. We bought it at the local hardware store. Then we took posterboard (sometimes called oaktag) in a bright pink color and folded it accordion-style. To attach it, he used a hot glue gun. The white 'frosting' is a sheet of fake snow that is used in Christmas displays. I bought two large packages and it was wrapped around me and secured with the hot glue gun. The 'sprinkles' are pom-poms which were attached with the hot glue gun. The trick was that the pail had ropes attached to it so it would stay on me, and the 'frosting' hid it. It was slightly uncomfortable, but a lot of fun!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

These Red Velvet Cupcakes were wonderful! The recipe is from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes, which I love! Definitely use the Cream Cheese Icing recipe with it. These cupcakes went so fast, I was unable to get a picture of them! So the photo above is from marthastewart.com.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self rising)
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon red gel-paste food color (The paste is much better than the liquid. I use the Wilton kind.)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cake flour, cocoa and salt. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined.

Add eggs, beating until each is incorporated. Mix in food color and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with 2 additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed for 10 seconds.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature or frozen for up to 2 months, in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3 days in airtight containers. Bring to room temperature before serving. Makes 24 cupcakes.


Cream Cheese Frosting: Makes 4 cups.

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 pound (4 cups) confectioners' sugar

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


Directions:

Beat butter and cream cheese on medium until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce to low and add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, then vanilla. Mix until smooth. If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 3 days in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat on low speed until smooth again.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Cupcakes



I really cannot rave enough about the book Martha Stewart's Cupcakes. There are many amazing recipes in it. This is the first one I have made, and I have a huge list of others I will try. I personally do not eat cheesecake, but these got rave reviews from the many people who I shared them with. I plan on making them again soon!

Here is the recipe, from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes:
42 Oreos (30 whole and 12 coarsely chopped) - I chopped about 20! :)
2 pounds of cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large egges, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup of sour cream
1 pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line 30 standard muffin tins with paper liners. Place 1 whole cookie in the bottom of each lined cup.
2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add sugar, and beat until combined. Beat in vanilla.
3. Drizzle in eggs, a bit at a time, beating to combine and scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in sour cream and salt.
4. Stir in chopped cookies by hand.
5. Divide batter evenly among cookie-filled cups, filling each almost to the top. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until filling is set, about 22 minutes. Cool completely in tins. Refrigerate (in tins so they don't lose shape) for at least 4 hours, or up to overnight. Remove from tins just before serving.

Royal Icing Flowers



This is a great royal icing recipe for making decorations. You can store them for a very long time (a year) in a cool, dry place. I have mine in tupperware in a closet. I made a ton of poinsettias that I can keep until Christmas.

To make 3 cups:
4 cups of confectionary sugar
3 tablespoons of meringue powder
7 tablespoons of warm water
If it is too think, add a little bit of water. Keep it covered when not in use.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Wilton Cake Decorating Course 3, Class 2: Fondant Ribbon Cake

I really wanted to learn about fondant, so I skipped Wilton Course 2, which is mostly about making all different types of flowers out of frosting. In Course 3, I am learning about making several types of flowers out of fondant, as well as covering cakes and making other decorations. So far, I love it and I am having a great time! Here is my first fondant cake. I am giving it to my friend for her birthday tonight.




Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wilton Cake Decorating Course 1, Class 4: Final Rose Cake

Here is my Wilton course 1 final cake. I made six roses for the top. They were really hard to make at first, but I practiced a lot and finally got the hang of it.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Lots of Cupcakes

I was in a colorful mood and made a bunch of different kinds of cupcakes. I used the 3M tip for the swirl. I used mini chocolate chips on some of them because they held better than the bigger chips.
Yummy!


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies- 'The Chewy' vs. 'The Crispy'

There are thousands of chocolate chip cookie recipes, and I really want to find an amazing one to use over and over again. First, I tried a recipe I found on AllRecipes.com. I am nicknaming it 'The Crispy' because I thought it was a little too crispy. They were still good, everyone I served them to liked them a lot, but I knew I could find a better recipe.
I did.
I have read a LOT about 'The Chewy.' I finally made it a few days ago. It is a recipe from Alton Brown. The recipe calls for bread flour, which was a little tricky to find. I'm not sure what stores you have near you, but I found it at Waldbaums. Trader Joe's and Stop & Shop did not carry it.
I will post both recipes so you can make comparisons. You have to try The Chewy! They were SO yummy!!


From Alton Brown- The Chewy

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Melt the butter.

Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.

Pour the melted butter in the mixer's work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Chill the dough, then scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes.

This recipe made about 36 cookies.


From AllRecipes.com- The Crispy

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter along with salt. Stir in flour, chocolate chips, and nuts. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans.
Bake for about 10 minutes, or until edges are nicely browned.

This recipe makes about 48 cookies.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wilton Cake Decorating Course 1, Class 3: Clown Cake


At class 3, we learned how to make roses, faces, and how to pipe a body. Here is my clown cake!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Watermelon Cupcakes

First I made vanilla cupcakes...
Then I frosted them and then dipped them into red sugar sprinkles.

Then I used used Wilton kelly green to color the icing and I piped it around the edge. Then I used a smaller tip to pipe a white ring of icing. Last, I used mini chocolate chips and turned them around and pushed them into the cupcake. They are perfect for a summer BBQ!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

I really enjoyed making these for a party I am going to tonight. My camera isn't working, so these pics are from my computer's camera (so they are not good pictures). I will try to add better pictures another time.
I bought these cones at the grocery store. I was excited that they came in so many colors. I made them by putting the cones in muffin pans and filling the cones directly. I know some people make cupcakes and then put them into the cone. I liked baking them in directly, but a few got messed up while baking. But if you don't mind a few casualties, it is okay.
I had some blue icing left over from a cake I recently made, so I used that for some of the icing. The other icing is a new recipe that I tried, and I have to say, I like it better than icing with shortening as far as taste. But I think for cake decorating, icing with shortening is better.
The icing recipe I used was very simple: 1 stick of butter, 1 pound of confectionery sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla, and two teaspoons of milk.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Wilton Cake Decorating Course 1, Class 2: Rainbow Cake

I had my Wilton cake decorating class last night. It took me quite a while to get ready for it. I had to make several different icings in three different consistencies. I used Wilton food coloring to achieve these colors. I love them!
I baked a double layer chocolate cake. I leveled it off using a knife, and it came out fine. I put some chocolate icing inbetween. I iced the cake before class.
During class, we learned how to transfer a pattern using piping gel. Now I know how to transfer any pattern! We also learned the base of the rose, and some some decorating techniques. I really do learn a lot at these classes. At the end, we had time to decorate our cakes. Mine will be eaten this weekend at a party!

Double layer:

With icing:

The final cake:

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Art

I ordered this Good Housekeeping magazine cover from November 1931 from art.com. Then I had it framed at a local store.

I made this out of scrapbooking paper and some 3D cupcake scrapbooking stickers. Very simple for a little corner in my kitchen!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Wilton Cake Decorating Classes

I started Wilton Cake Decorating Course 1 last Thursday. If you aren't too familiar with Wilton courses, there are 4 courses, each course has 4 classes that are each 2 hours. The 4th course is all about fondant and gum paste. That is what I am most interested in, but I want to take all the courses in order to get the most out of it.
You can take the classes at places like Michaels, AC Moore, Hobby Lobby, and Sur La Table, as well as local craft and candy supply stores. Not all the classes are listed online. I called a few stores to find the best class time that worked for me. The classes are offered monthly, so if it works out, I will take one class every month, and I will be finished the end of October- just in time for Halloween and the start of the holiday season! This possibility has me very excited.
The classes are around $40 each, but there are sometimes deals. For instance, when I signed up, I was only charged $20 and I was told that it was a special July deal.
At the first class, you will mostly learn about what you will be learning and you will learn how to make different icings at different consistencies. We were also taught how to make a double layer cake. You will get the book for course 1 which has tons of information in it. You will get a supply list at the first class. Everything was bought at AC Moore or Michaels. I listed the approximate price for everything without using any coupons. PS- I was told that if you ask nicely when paying, the cashier will let you use as many coupons as you want, and you can print them from the internet.

Here is what I was told to buy:
  • 10 inch cake circles - I bought a 12 pack $7
  • cake turntable- I bought it because I think it will make life easier $14
  • course 1 kit- I bought this. It comes with all the tips you need for course 1, the practice board, two featherweight bags, flower nail, 2 couplers, and a few other things. $25
  • extra couplers- I bought some. They are around 50 cents each.
  • derby clowns- You have to buy these to use in course 1 for the third class. $3
  • Wilton meringue powder- There are many sizes.
  • disposible decorating bags- I always buy them in bulk.
These were recommended that I buy them, and I did:
  • Tool Caddy- I got the empty one with the red top by Wilton. I am an organized person, and it will really help me organize my tips and tools. $20
  • tip # 789- This will help a lot when icing a large cake. $2
  • icing bag ties- 12 pack for $4
  • Wilton clear vanilla extract- I bought it so that my white icing is pure white. $5
  • Wilton icing colors- I bought the 12 pack. I am very excited about these! $16
Things I still may buy:
  • bake easy strips
  • cake easy spray
Other general things that you need:
  • cake container- You will need something to carry your cakes back and forth. I already have several of these.
  • Containers with lids to put your icing in and bring back and forth to class.
  • wax paper
  • toothpicks
  • piping gel
  • zip lock bags and paper towels for clean up
Next week, we have to go to class with a cake baked and several kinds of icing already prepared. We are making the rainbow cake. I think I am going to bake a double layer cake for this.

I will be blogging all about the Wilton classes, so check back!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Banana Chocolate Muffins

I found these on another baking blog, and I just had to make them.

Here is the recipe:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Topping-

  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon cold butter
  • 2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375. Line muffin pan.

2. Combine bananas, sugar, egg, and butter; mix well.

3. Stir in dry ingredients mix until fully combined, be sure not to over mix. Mix in chocolate chips.

4. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.

5. Mix topping ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle over muffins.

6. Bake for 20 minutes.


Friday, July 3, 2009

Fourth of July cupcakes


Graduation Cap Cupcakes- Take 2!

I made graduation cap cupcakes last week, but I was in a rush. I made these today for someone. I am happier with the way they came out. I definitely recommend using a chocolate square of Ghirardelli, which I did this time, instead of a cookie like I did last week.

Cupcake Apron

I love www.etsy.com! They sell incredible handmade things. I need an apron because I have been ruining too many shirts, and I found this great cupcake apron. The seller's website is Boojiboo on Etsy.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Brownie Pops

I used my new Wilton Brownie Pop Mold. I know a lot of reviews were so-so, but I thought it would be something fun to try. I was able to make 24 pops out of a standard brownie recipe. I baked them for 30 minutes. I used cooking spray, and they popped right out of the mold. I put in the stick as soon as I got them out of the oven.
I spread some chocolate icing on the sides and then dipped them in sprinkles and nuts.
Overall, I would say the mold is worth it!




Monday, June 29, 2009

New Baking Toys

My husband got this as a gift because he loves robots, and it is kind of a gift for me, too! It is from William Sonoma Kids. You turn the different parts, so there are 64 possible robots that can be made.

I bought this (Wilton's brownie pops in silicone mold) because it looked really fun to use! I got it at Michaels.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Big Ceramic Cupcake

I picked this up at my local candy store.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Graduation Cap Cupcakes

I made these graduation cap cupcakes for my students very last minute and late at night, so they did not turn out too well. I was planning on making them again the following night for another graduation event, and I bought all the things I needed, but I was unable to do so. My students, who are 10, LOVED them, so that was great! However, if you make them, I suggest using the Ghirardelli chocolates instead. I used Fudge Shoppe Deluxe Grahams cookies, but they were rectangular, so I had to cut them to make them squares. It got messy and didn't look as good. I used a Reeses's Peanut Butter Cup mini. I used colored icing to make the tassel. Another option for the tassel is to use something like Laffy Taffy and cut it or some kind of licorice held with icing or a mini M&M. Colored icing to match the tassel is another cute idea, but like I said, I was in a huge rush!