Monday, January 31, 2011

Cookie Dough Truffles

Well while we were away visiting my family in FL, we needed a sitter for our son/dog Roscoe.
Who better to watch him then his aunt and one of our best friends?- Tina!
Tina generously offered to stay at our apartment and take care of Roscoe while we were away in Fl for 8 days.
Not only did she walk, feed, and hug our dog she also baked!...I mean best house sitter ever! Right? (don’t worry Tina..I will not give out your phone number on this site).
When I arrived home from the airport around 10pm or so, I went immediately to the fridge for a snack, before beginning to unpack.
There sat a red bucket. I opened the red bucket and said OMfreakinG!!!... 4 dough balls later..I txted Tina a huge thank you and told her to send me the recipe, so I could share these amazing things with the rest of the world!

Tina's Recipe:

* 1/2 cup butter, softened
* 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
* 1/2 cup semisweet mini chocolate morsels
* 1 cup finely chopped nuts of your choice. ( I like pecans or walnuts)
* 1 container of chocolate coating candy
* 1 container of white chocolate coating candy


In a large bowl cream butter and brown sugar with electric mixer at medium speed until creamy. Add vanilla. Gradually beat in flour and add condensed milk. Add chocolate morsels and nuts, mixing well. Roll into 1-inch balls and place on wax paper on a cookie sheet. Chill for 2 hours. (Since cookie dough is sticky, roll your hands in flour).
Melt chocolate candy in microwave or double boiler. Using two fork, dip cookies balls into candy coating to cover. 
Place back on wax. After coating all your cookie dough balls, drizzle melted white chocolate, with a fork, over the top. It should make a pretty design to make your truffles look sexy. Chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Oatmeal Cookies: 2 ways!

Okay… I promise only 2 more entries from the holidays and then back to reality and what I have currently been making this past month!
Who doesn’t love a good oatmeal cookie? The fact that it can be prepared in so many different ways to everyone’s liking… should make it the universal cookie!
I mean if you took the chocolate chips out of a chocolate chip cookie, then you might as well just make yourself a sugar cookie.
But with oatmeal you can add, raisins, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, nuts, or no nuts, icing, or no icing! The possibilities are endless!
Oatmeal cookies are also uniquely fabulous because it seems that the end product of how each person makes an oatmeal cookie is different.
i.e. crispy, soft, chewy, flat, or chunky, small or big!
If I have totally lost you, I have conveniently baked two examples for you below. One I baked for my aunt pat, who loves cranberries, and the second I baked with my Nana!
Nana and I usually bake the recipe on the back of the oatmeal lid every year, but this year we switched it up a bit and used a new recipe from my mother.

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
Cooking spray or parchment paper

1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with knife. Combine flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg in a bowl.
2. Combine brown sugar, granulated sugar, and butter in a large bowl; beat with mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add vanilla and eggs; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture and cranberries; beat at low speed until combined.
3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls (or I like to use a cookie scoop.) Place balls 2 inches apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray or parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes or until almost firm. Let stand on baking sheets 2 minutes. Remove cookies from baking sheets, and cool completely on wire rack.

Oatmeal Crisps:  
1 c butter, softened
1 c brown sugar, firmly packed
1 c granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 c rolled oats
1/2 c walnuts - optional

Cream butter and sugars.  Add eggs and vanilla, beat well.  Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together.  Add flour mix to butter mix slowly.  Chill dough thoroughly.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Take out of fridge and spoon dough onto ungreased baking sheet.  Place in oven for 10 minutes or until lightly brown.  Place on rack to cool. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Christmas CraCk

On the rough streets of a little town called Ponte Vedra Beach this treat is known as cRaCK!
However the proper name of these addicting little bites is chocolate brittle.

Every Christmas my mother bakes these as if the kitchen is an assembly line.
Perhaps, it is just years of experience, but she whips these suckers out so fast, and in copious amounts.
Every holiday season, she breaks them up, and packages them in a decorative bag or container and hands them out as gifts to her clients, friends, and family.
It seems as though once Nov. 1st  hits, these recipients are already calling and emailing- inquiring as to if and when she will be making her crack this year!?

This crispy piece of chocolate is good to make anytime, not just for the holidays! Since the brittle is kept in the fridge, it last for a very long time..unless eaten up! 

Graham crackers- about 3/4 of a box
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
Chocolate chips- 1 12oz bag and maybe a little more
Chopped walnuts - a cup or so

Preheat oven to 425. Line a cookie sheet with foil.
Line the foil with graham crackers. You may have to cut some to fit the pan.
 In a small saucepan over medium to high heat, melt the butter ad sugar together. stir constantly and let it come to a boil. Boil about 3 minutes and remove from heat.
Pour immediately over the graham crackers and put in oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the whole thing. Let the chips melt for a minute and spread evenly.
Sprinkle chopped nuts over all. Gently press nuts into careful..the chocolate is hot!
Put in freezer or refrigerator until firm. When firm, break into irregular pieces. Keep in refrigerator until ready to serve!

Keep in air tight Ziploc bag in fridge.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cranberry Cake

Hello! Here is a quick entry before I take off for the weekend!

This is made basically the same way as my very first entry: Green Apple Cake.

My mother writes:

All I did was use the Green Apple Cake recipe and substitute cranberries - I also had one stray apple, so I chopped that up to go into it too.

The recipe calls for 3 cups of chopped apples, so I ended up with 1 cup of apple, then I took 1 cup of cranberries and chopped them in the food processor, but I don't think that was necessary and probably wouldn't do it again - then I added another cup or so of cranberries - I think when I measured the cranberries out of the little bag they came in, I ended up with about 20 cranberries left over, so I just threw them in.  And then I added about a cup of chopped walnuts.

When the cake was done, I took about 1/4 cup of rum, 1/4 cup of cranberry juice and 1/4 cup of orange juice and mixed them and poured it over the cake while the cake was still warm and still in the tube pan.  I thought it made the cake a little soggy, but everybody seemed to like it.  Maybe next time I would use less juice, but keep the rum.  And I might turn the cake out and pour it over the bottom, so the top would stay crusty.

**I agree with my mom, this cake was super rummy, and a bit soggy..but if you are looking for a cake with a kick, by all means, add this amount of rum juice to top it off!* Otherwise it is delicious without!!**

But it was good anyway!  My mother had a recipe for cranberry cake that she made every Christmas that was much more complicated - it called for grated orange rind, chopped dates - both time consuming activities - I thought this turned out just as good, with less work!

2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup corn oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350.
Mix Dry ingredients together. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, add sugar, oil, and vanilla. Mix well. Add dry ingredients until blended.
Batter will be pretty thick at this point.    
Fold in cranberries, apple, & walnuts. 
Pour into well greased and floured tube pan. Bake for 45- 60 minutes. Allow to cool in pan.

That's it! Enjoy your weekend! XO

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bridal Shower Cupcakes pt. 2

As you read in part 1 of bridal cupcakes- champagne cupcakes…I made two other flavors for the shower as well.

These two took a bit longer than expected. When starting this baking marathon, I opted to first bake Billy’s vanilla cupcakes, since I have baked them so many times before.
You know to start this "bake-athon" off on the right foot...easy breezy!
Well… that is not what happened.
We still cannot figure out why this happened…I followed the recipe as I always do, plus I was at home using a much nicer oven, than my tiny apartment oven.
But when the timer went DING! I opened the oven and my cupcakes had exploded everywhere!

It is unfortunate that the cupcakes decided to do this when I was in one of my “GO, GO, GO moods”, because I became very upset and distraught with them!..them being the cupcakes!

My mother even had to separate me from my boyfriend and father as I was getting very flustered with the two of them, shouting "Stop it! Stop it! Go away!" as they hovered over me eating the remnants of the exploded cupcakes, and telling me how good they still tasted. Ugh! That is not what I wanted to hear. (this is the G rated version)

This is when I decided to take a break from baking the cupcakes and switch to whipping up the 3 frosting's.

Again, I started with Billy’s Vanilla Buttercream, and as usual it tasted decadent helping cheer me up quite a bit!
Then I began to make a dark chocolate frosting. This inevitably brought me back down to a baking confidence of zero!
The dark chocolate frosting was thin and drippy, more like a ganache for dipping!
Therefore I opened the bottle of champagne to make the sweet cream frosting, but poured myself a tall glass before continuing.
As expected the bubbly helped lighten my mood, and the best icing in the world was created!

I then decided to go back to baking up the cupcakes; beginning this time with the champagne, and next the devils food.
Next I went and searched for Billy’s chocolate buttercream frosting recipe, since my dark chocolate recipe turned out to be worthless!

8 hrs later I was forced to take a break and to make the vanilla cupcakes the morning of the party.

For some reason, the second time around, the vanilla cupcakes turned out as I had originally anticipated.
As I told you in the last entry I placed all the frosting's in the fridge the night before, and took them out to defrost the morning of.
As with the champagne frosting my mother and I attempted to re-whip the other two frosting's.

I attempted to use my frosting tips for the vanilla frosting, but after we had re-whipped them the frosting became too soft and started to melt, as you can see.
By the time I was done decorating the champagne, and the chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting, I had lost my patience and decided just to use my offset spatula to decorate the vanilla cupcakes with the chocolate frosting. Plus the chocolate frosting became too thick after it was whipped up and could not go down the pastry bag. 

Sigh … soooo after 90 cupcakes and lets say 10-12hrs later..was it worth it? Yes! I was so happy to be apart of adding a special touch to the shower for one of my best friends. And the only reason it took so long is because, well...if you're going to do something, you must do it right!

Since this entry is so long, simply click on the highlighted links above for the recipes! Ciao!
<----bridesmaids & bride!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Champagne Cupcakes!!!

What a better way to kick off the new year than with a recipe for champagne cupcakes!
Over the holiday we had a “cupcakes and cocktail” themed bridal shower for our newly engaged friend Meredith. 

I made 3 types of cupcakes, two of which will be shared in pt. 2 of this entry; however the champagne cupcakes were the party favorite.

I did not run into any problems with this batch of cupcakes. As you can see in the picture below they baked perfectly! 

In order to be prepared and ahead of the game I made the frosting the night before, and kept it sealed in the fridge overnight.
Unfortunately the icing was not defrosting as I had hoped the next morning, so I had to re-whip the icing in my mother’s kitchen aid mixer.
As you can see the icing looks a bit frothy/thick due to re-whipping….but this did not interfere with its perfectly sweet taste. 

I wish you could have seen the reactions on some of the guests faces when biting into this cupcake…
The champagne is featured delightfully, but not overwhelmingly.  The texture is nice and light.  And although the frosting may not fit in your New Year’s resolutions, it’s an unbelievably delicious way to begin the year!
These are definitely my best so far, and will be a go-to for any grand celebration to come!

Champagne Cupcakes with Sweet Champagne Buttercream Frosting Recipe
(Cupcake recipe adapted from AllRecipes

Champagne Cupcake Ingredients:
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup butter
1 ½ cups white sugar
¾ cup champagne (the sweeter the better)
6 egg whites

Sweet Champagne Buttercream Frosting:
3 ¼ cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter at room temperature
1 teaspoon of vanilla
3 tablespoons of champagne, at room temperature

To Make Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).  Prepare a cupcake pan with liners.  (This recipe yielded about 24 for me.)
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until very light and fluffy. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together, and then blend into creamed mixture alternately with champagne.
In another large clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whites into batter to lighten it, then fold in remaining egg whites.  Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

To Make the Frosting:
With an electric mixer, beat together sugar and butter. Mix on low until well blended, and then on medium for another two minutes.  Add vanilla and champagne, beating on medium for another minute.
(**I had to nearly double this recipe to have enough to frost all of the cupcakes as pictured above.  If you’re doing a “flatter” frosting style, this recipe should be enough to cover all of the cupcakes!**)