Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Butterscotch cupcakes

I have seen this idea on a couple of the websits I visit on a frequent basis, okay, so maybe I visit some of these blogs more often than that..say every day.  I love food blogs, I am a little obsessed okay?  Anyway, people keep hinting that it is fall.  Now, if you live where I do, fall doesn't rear it's head until around Thanksgiving, or sometimes not till after Christmas, so I have a while to go before thinking about my favorite time of the year.  Having said that, I wanted to try out these cupcakes and today was the perfect day to do so.  It is cloudy today, and it looks like it might just rain sometime as well, so I can pretend that it is fall, and butterscotch reminds me of fall..and Harry Potter..so i thought, why not make these lovely's?  So, I did.  And you will be glad that I did!  I found this idea over at the Curvy Carrot, which is a great blog, you should check it out if you haven't already.  I didn't use her recipes provided, but made my own.  They were so good.  I am limited to one, and I savored every single bite!

Pictures will be posted as soon as I can load them in the near future!  Revamping the computer, and I am very slow at it...

Butterscotch Cupcakes.

1 cup unsalted butter, room temp.
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup milk
2 tsp butter extract
2 3/4 cup flour

In a mixer, whip the butter until light and fluffy, add the sugars slowly, and mix until fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time.  Alternate between the flour/baking powder,salt with the milk/butter extract, ending with the flour.  Fill your cupcake liners and bake 350 for 20-24 minutes, or until the cake bounces bake up when lightly pressed by your finger.  Let them cool.

Butterscotch Frosting

1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
1 tsp butter extract
2-3 cups powder sugar

In a pan, heat the heave cream until foam forms on the edges, pour heavy cream over the butterscotch chips.  let sit for 1 minute, stir with a wooden spoon until all the chips are melted and the frosting is smooth. Add the butter and extract.  Place in the freezer to cool for about five minutes or so.  Take out and with a mixer, slowly mix the powder sugar into the frosting and mix until the frosting in smooth and a little stiff.  Frost your cupcakes, and enjoy!  People have putting a butterscotch sauce on top..but after tasting these, I don't think I would add it.  This cupcake is very sweet!  And the added bonus?  Adding the brown sugar to the recipe made these cupcakes moist and delightful!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

You should try this Chicken Salad

So whenever my family gets together for a big event, like a baby shower, baby blessing, baptism and wedding we all ask my Dad to make his chicken salad.  It is yummy and slightly addicting.  I love it.  Usually, this salad is served on buttery croissants, but I have lately sworn off refined sugary foods..(which never fear, does not mean I will not be making anything with sugar or flour..I just won't be eating them..lucky neighbors) Anyway, I have tried to stay away from meat, and have been doing pretty well with that, but every once in a while I want a nice juicy hamburger, or some chicken.  And since I have been training..um, for my first half marathon, I have been craving protein like crazy.  So, while I eat a mostly vegetarian diet, there are times when my body is telling me that I need something more.  Here comes Dad's chicken salad.  It is divine with or without the croissant and it tastes better the next day, and the next day.  Especially if you are the only one in your household who likes Mayo.  I don't know the exact recipe, so adapt the amounts for how many people you wish to feed this scrumptious salad to.  I also added the parsley, because I thought it would compliment the other flavors and I was right!

Paul's Chicken Salad (serves around four people)
3 frozen chicken breast
1 scallion, chopped
finely diced parsley
1/2 red bell pepper, small dices
slivered almonds
about 10-15 red seedless grapes, cut in half
2-4 tbsp mayo..just enough to bind the salad

Preheat oven to 350 and place the frozen chicken breast in a baking sheet, pour water into the pan, just to cover the bottom of the pan, season the chicken with Season Salt, salt and pepper and bake for 1-2 hours, or until the chicken is cooked through.  when the chicken is cooked, dice into bite size pieces and place in a large bowl.  Add the chopped vegetables and the mayo and stir until coated.  Taste. It might need more salt and pepper.  Place, covered, in the refrigerator for at least two hours, or overnight, and then enjoy!  (sorry no pictures, my camera's battery is dead and I need to charge it. Story of this blog, right?)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Roasted Tomato Sauce

It's summer time, and with it comes our garden.  We have tried almost every year we have lived in our home to have a garden.  This is the first year that everything out there seems to be thriving...and let's be honest, I am not use to having a garden I can actually harvest.  We have an over abundance of tomatoes.  They are called Lemon Boys.  They are sweet and almost resemble lemons in shape.  They are begging to be eaten, but I have no clue what to do with them.  So, I thought..UM, sauce is good and I can freeze whatever i don't use!  BRILLIANT! Oh, wait..sauce to me means opening up a jar of Rague, and pouring it over my pasta.  But I think this homemade sauce trumps the jar, just my personal opinion.

I found this recipe over at the Food Network site.  Good old Alton Brown saved my behindy again.

I used about twenty lemon boys, which fit into a standard baking sheet.  This made about a cup of sauce.  So, really, I could have picked my whole garden of tomatoes..

Preheat oven 325.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Slice your tomatoes in half..unless they are larger, and then slice them three ways.  Places slices on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle pepper and salt and bake in the oven for 1 hour.  Check the tomatoes, they shouldn't be done yet. :) Bake for another hour.  Take out of the oven and let cool slightly.  Place in a blender and blend until smooth.  Adjust the seasonings.  I found that the flavor of the tomatoes was enough and didn't add more.  YUM.  Have this over pasta, or use it on toasted bread and mozzarella and basil, enjoy the taste of sun-dried tomatoes without the price!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Granola..take 1

Homemade Granola..adapted from Phemomenon.
In a large bowl, stir together
3 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup raw almonds chopped
1 cup pecans ( I excluded these)
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp light brown sugar
3 Tbsp wheat germ
1 Tbsp flax seeds
2 tsp cinnamon

In a microwave safe bowl combine
1/4 cup honey ( I used a little more, and I used the local honey we get at Dixie Nutrition)
3 Tbsp vegetable oil (I used extra virgin olive oil instead)
2 tsp vanilla
Microwave ingredients for about 1 to 2 minutes, until heated lightly.  Pour over the dry ingredients and stir to coat.  Place on a baking sheet and make sure the granola is spread evenly and in a single layer.  Bake in a preheated oven 300, for 15 minutes.  Take out and stir, bake for another 15 minutes  take out of the oven and let cool  The more you stir the cooling down granola, the more it will separate so if you want a chunkier granola, don't stir it so much! :)  When it is cool you can eat it, or store in a air tight container for about a week.  It won't last that long!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Because of You..

I love when a friend is willing to share a recipe.  I happened to notice that miss Mindy had a lovely idea on her blog about peanut butter cupcakes.  I had to try it.  I have been thinking about making peanut butter cupcakes for a while, I am not a huge fan of peanut butter, so I haven't been too excited about making them..until I saw Mindy's post.  Oh my goodness.  My daughter loved me today, because of these cupcakes.  Mindy put Reese's peanut butter cups in her cupcakes..BRILLIANT lady that she is. (you can find her recipe and the post that inspired me..right here!)

I found a chocolate cake recipe that sounded really promising, (you can find it here) Instead of sour cream I used plain Greek Yogurt.  A handy tip that would have been awesome to know about five years ago..make sure that all your ingredients are at room temperature.  This will help A LOT.  I didn't even know this until um, today?   Ha. So, make your choice of chocolate cake, and when you have filled your cupcake liners, plop a Reese's cup into that.  see, brilliant.   

The peanut butter frosting.  I don't really like cream cheese based frosting.  Mainly because I don't like the tang of the cheese, it's just a personal thing for me.  Plus, I am married to a man who doesn't like cream cheese, sour cream, salad dressing, mayo...so, I just used my buttercream recipe, but did some things different.

Peanut Butter Frosting:

2 cups butter
1 cup peanut butter (Not really sure about this, I just added what was left in the jar)
Powder sugar
Whip Cream

Notice, I didn't put the amounts of powder sugar or whip cream.  Mainly because I went by taste with the sugar, and I used the whip cream to make the frosting spreadable and smooth, so go by looks...(you really can tell a book by it's cover..or rather, a frosting by it's smoothness)  

Fudge Frosting..yep, folks, two frosting...why?  Why NOT?  So yummy, do divine..and it kept with the peanut butter cup theme. Plus, Mindy used peanut butter with chocolate..which dear old Wally did not have, so I had to improvise, right? 

Fudge Frosting: (found at the same sight that I found the chocolate cake..)

1 stick of butter, melted
4 tbsp cocoa powder
powder sugar
whip cream

whisk together the melted butter and cocoa until smooth.  Start adding the powder sugar and whip cream.  I just kept adding both until the frosting looked more like milk chocolate and less like dark.  

Look into my eyes and tell me you love these!   You will.  Unless you don't like Reese's, or chocolate..or in the case of my cute nephew, are deathly allergic.  :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sometimes, I suck at baking

I had this glorious idea for a cupcake. It was going to be beautiful, and delicious. It wasn't. I am usually my biggest fan, I have loved almost every cupcake I have made, until yesterday. These cupcakes had the promise of being something great. Not so much. The batter was actually one of the prettiest batters I have made. The color was a deep lavender, I was excited. First pan in the oven had the looks of light fluffy cakes..and they over flowed. My mistake, each batter acts differently in the oven, some fluff and dome, others raise and then spread..this one, well, it was going all over the place! So, I made sure not to overfill the cupcakes,they were alright. I was going to make a goat cheese frosting, instead of cream cheese..never been a huge cream cheese frosting fan. But the way these  cupcakes were going, they were not deserving of a new frosting. I mean, we all know the frosting is the best part, right? I made buttercream, and tried one. Eh. They weren't the best cupcake out there, the recipe could use some tweaking. The original recipe found at smitten kitchen, used frozen strawberries. I didn't have any, so I used blackberries. They are not very sweet, and the seeds ruined the light crumb of the cake. They were okay. Seriously, but they need some revamping.  Here is the recipe, I would try the strawberry one first. It was actually a fun batter to make, seriously, it had the promise of a truly great cupcake..I don't know if I'll revisit blackberry cupcakes..maybe when my very own bush has produced some, we'll see.  

Pink lady cake..or in my case, the purple oops

4 1/2 cup cake flour
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups puréed blackberries
8 egg whites
2/3 cup milk

Preheat oven 350. In a mixer with the paddle attachment, combine flour, sugar baking powder and salt. Add the butter and berries and mix. In a bowl, add the egg whites, milk and some vanilla (I added vanilla because the berries were really tart) whisk together and slowly add the milk mixture into the flour mixture, scraping down the sides as you go. Fill your cupcake liners. I would use less than you normally would. Bake in the oven for 20-24 minutes. Let Cool and frost. These actually would go well with cream cheese frosting..

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Donuts..the homemade way...

My kids love getting treats at the store.  If we happen to be in our favorite grocery store, they always ask for a donut.  I oblige and usually (though not lately..trying to be good) I get a bar donut with creamy maple buttercream frosting on top.  My kids pick the chocolate glaze donut.  We love donuts.  I have been known to eat like five glazed donut at one sitting..(just once though and that was like ten years ago..really, I am telling the truth).  I wanted to see if I could make my own at home, and to see if homemade was better.  Need I worry?  no.  I made two versions.  One of which I didn't get pictures.  Batteries dead.  Anyway, one was a baked donut. (I ended up frying these) the other was fried.  I liked the idea of a baked donut, but I didn't like the texture.  A donut is suppose to be fluffy, and melt in your mouth..you don't want to chew a donut, right?  I love how Krispy Cremes just melt in your mouth.  So, if you want a healthier version, then head to this blog and check out her baked donuts. Let's be honest though, when I am eating a donut, I'm not thinking about it's health content, or what it will or won't do to my thighs.  Donuts are for indulging in. Glazed and Simple.

Homemade Donuts:
4 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/4 cup lukewarm milk
3 tbsp sugar
6 1/2 tbsp of unsalted butter melted
4 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3 eggs
oil for frying.  I used Olive oil, because that is what I had on hand.   I haven't been buying vegetable oil since reading this book (and ignore the fact that I am making something with sugar and refined flour in it)

Place yeast, sugar and milk in a mixing bowl and whisk until it is foamy.  Add the eggs and butter and mix until just incorporated.  Add 1 cup of flour and mix.  Switch to your dough hook, and add the rest of the flour one cup at a time.  Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead just a few times, maybe six to eight times.  Place your dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a dish towel and place in warm spot and let rise, 45-60 minutes.  Roll out dough to about 1 1/2 inches thick, and cut your circles.  If you don't any fancy round cutters, just use your biggest cup and a pastry tip (these worked great for me!)  Place the shaped donuts on lightly greased baking sheets, cover with dish towels and let rise again for about 30 minutes, or until just risen.  Start heating up your oil.  Meanwhile, make this chocolate glaze if so desired:

Chocolate Glaze: (courtesy of Alton Brown)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup whole milk
1 tbsp corn syrup
2 tsp vanilla
4 ounces chocolate, chopped
2 cups sifted powder sugar

In a pot combine butter, milk, syrup and vanilla.  Heat until butter is melted.  Decrease the heat and add the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.  Take off of heat, place in a bowl over warm water and whisk in powder sugar.  (the warm water will help to keep the glaze smooth and um, glazed.)

Fry your donuts in batches.  Let the donut cool slightly and then dip into the glaze, let the extra glaze run off and then place on a cooling wrack to let the glaze set.  Repeat.  You can also use a sugar glaze or cinnamon sugar.  These were so good.  When I was frying them I thought they were going to be more like scone, which isn't what I was going for..but surprise, once these puppies were cool enough to eat, they had the same texture as a store bought donut, just better!

Salted Caramel Popcorn

If you want a quick and easy treat to wow your family members, or guests, or neighbors..or even strangers, I would suggest this recipe.  My big sis makes a caramel popcorn that is more dry, almost like rub or crumbled caramel.  I like it, but I love gooey caramel corn.  LOVE IT.  (I love a lot of things..if you can't tell)  I asked my Pops how to make gooey, chewy corn so he gave me the recipe, and I make it a lot.  Maybe a little too often.  Try it.  It's sticky and worth the mess!

Caramel Popcorn (adapted from my Pops recipe)
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup dark or light corn syrup
2 bags of microwave popcorn, popped and in a large bowl. (I use the Smart Pop butter) You can also use freshly popped corn, but I have to say, I like the texture of microwaveable popcorn better

In a medium sauce pan, place all the ingredients and cook on medium heat.  The butter, sugar and syrup will start coming together.  Stir it just a little to get the butter really in with the sugar.  Let the caramel cook, it will start to bubble.  I just start testing mine with the good old cold water trick.  (pour a little of your caramel in a small measuring spoon with some cool water, let the caramel sit for a minute to cool and then pick it up and squish between your fingers.  If it's still really runny then let the caramel cook a little longer.  You want it to be at a soft ball stage, so that when you rub it, the caramel can hold it's shape.   That's what you want!  You could cook it a little longer and let the caramel turn more into a hard ball stage, that would be super crunchy, but I am sure would be yummy)  Once the Caramel is at your desired stage, pour it over the popcorn waiting in the bowl.  Use a really long wooden spoon or metal spoon, to stir the caramel and popcorn together.  Make sure to get the bottom of the bowl, the caramel likes to sink.  Pour the popcorn onto a lightly greased baking sheet and spread the mess of corn around into a somewhat even layer.  Let the popcorn/caramel set for a couple of minutes before diving in.  Wait about, five to ten minutes.  And YUM!  Dig in.  (if you are using the sea salt, sprinkle the salt on top of the popcorn once you have it evened out in the pan)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Chocolate Chip Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Chip Buttercream

simple and straightforward really.  Read my post on my new chocolate cupcakes to get the recipe for the cake part.  Just add some chocolate chips to it!  (can you tell that I'm tired and trying really hard to get this post up before I zone out?)  Anyway, my recommendation for these pretty babies, is to chop your chocolate chips.  The batter is pretty light, and I think the chips would sink.  And plus, this also ensures that every bite has some yummy melted chocolate in it.  You can't go wrong with that!  For the frosting, I just used my standard buttercream.  1 cup butter, 2 cups powder sugar..mix until light and fluffy, add some vanilla and milk to make it smooth and add more of the chopped chocolate.  My kids loved these, so did my honey..even though he claims to be sick and tired of cupcakes.  I only ate a half of one!  (trying to stay away from sugar..you know, living here in SU, got to be ready for swimming suits...)  :)

Roasted Parsnip and Red Potatoes with pasta

So, I know this has nothing whatsoever to do with sugar.  Are you shocked?  Wipe yourself off the floor and read this post!  As I have mentioned before, I love the blog, Meet Me in The Kitchen.  She inspires me to make better and tastier food for my family.  I have made her Roasted Butternut Squash with Turkey Bacon and penne pasta..(mouthful..oh so good) I loved this pasta dish.  My kids on the other hand, stared at me like I was crazy when I made the butternut squash.  So, I had to rethink this recipe to make it family approved and I am happy to report, that it was...with one minor exception of Mister L, who kept insisting that he didn't like it and who then proceeded to eat the entire serving I gave him.  Go figure.

Parsnips.  I was a little leery of this vegetable.  What was it exactly?  A very large white carrot?  A long and fat radish?  (Thank you Bountiful Baskets for making my life so adventurous.)  So, it's a vegetable, right?  Which means I can roast it, right?  Which is what I did.  So, here is the recipe, if you want the butternut squash though..just swap out the parsnips and potatoes with the you know, the squash.

Roasted Parsnip and Red Potatoes with Pasta.

2 medium sized Parsnips, diced
3 small to medium Red Potatoes, diced
4 cloves of garlic, either left whole or diced
Olive Oil, about 3 tbsp.
Salt and pepper and any other seasonings to tasted

Preheat oven to 400.  In a bowl, combine your diced vegetables and garlic and drizzle on the Olive Oil.  Season well, and toss to coat.  Place on a lightly sprayed baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until your vegetables are cooked though and lightly browned.

Meanwhile, prepare you pasta.  I used Penne, but any bite sized pasta would work here.  Dice and cook some bacon. I used four strips of bacon, but you can use more or less.  It's the "garnish" of this dish, so you don't want it overpowering the vegetables and sauce.

White Sauce:
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 cup cheese (I used cheddar this time)

In a sauce pan, pour your flour.  Using a whisk, slowly add the milk, whisking to prevent lumps.   Cook on medium heat, and continue to whisk until the sauce has thickened.  Removed from heat and add the cheese, stir until the cheese is melted.

Pour the pasta in a well greased casserole dish, and pour the cheese sauce over the pasta.  Gently toss the pasta and sauce together.  Sprinkle on the roasted vegetables and bacon.  Sprinkle on some cheese to make a nice crust, and bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has melted.

I think this recipe is pretty adaptable.  I have to say, I loved the roasted potatoes with the pasta.  I wasn't a huge fan of the parsnip.  S made a good point and said the parsnip was a little sweet for this dish.  All in all though, this was a great dish to feed my family.  If you would like to see the original recipe, go here

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes

I know I have already posted my favorite cupcake recipe, you can find it here.  But there are a lot of ingredients, and sometimes I am in a hurry, or I'm out of most of the things I need.  Like canned pumpkin, which is really hard to find when it is not Thanksgiving!  So, I have tested a lot of other chocolate cupcakes.  A lot of them involve boiling water and cocoa.  And every time I have made any of these cupcakes, they sink.  SINK.  Way down to the bottom of the cupcake liner.  SINKING is not a good thing to see when you are trying to make fluffy cupcakes.  I am not sure what I have been doing wrong, but something is not happening when I make any of these recipes.  I'm sure they are great for other people, but they have not turned out for me.  Any pointers would be great!  Anyway, I had this idea.  All cupcake recipes are basically the same, right?  It's about adding the right amount of sugar, butter, rising agents, and flour..right?  So, if I have a recipe that works for me every time..Vanilla, why not add to it?  Which is exactly what I did, and I must say, I am very pleased with the results. More than pleased.  This is a go to, works every time type of recipe.

Vanilla/Chocolate Cupcakes

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
(3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, not the dutch processed, if you want to make chocolate)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Cream together the butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes, or until the sugar and butter have been well combined, light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, letting them mix for 30 seconds before adding the next egg.  (if you need to, like I do, scrape your bowl, making sure that all the butter mixture gets well mixed) In a separate bowl, add the dry ingredients (if you are making chocolate cupcakes, add the cocoa).  In a cup, measure out your milk and add the vanilla.  Alternating dry with wet, add to the butter mix. Fill your cupcake liner with batter.  I use an ice cream scoop..and by the way, if you need a great cupcake liner, I found the perfect and cheapest spot to buy them!  You can find them here.  Bake the cupcakes for 22-24 minutes, or until the cupcake bounces back when lightly pressed.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Seven Minutes in heaven..

I have been looking for some new frosting ideas lately.  I'm bored with buttercream (gasp!) so with my trusty Ipad in hand, I looked at all the websites I visit on a fairly regular basis.  And tah-dah!  It was there, almost like it was waiting for me.  SEVEN MINUTE FROSTING.  Dear Martha had a very, very long and involved process for hers.  It would have taken me longer than seven minutes to make.  Plus, she made it so complicated, it drained all desire out of me to try.  And then I found another website..got to love GOOGLE.  And found this very simple, straight forward way of making seven minutes of heaven.  Well, I mean, seven minutes after you make this..because you won't be able to stop licking the spoon, it is that yummy!  I have now made it twice, and each time, I fall head over heavenly heels for this white, glossy, fluffiness.


1 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
2 egg whites
2 tsp. corn syrup
1/3 cup water
1 tsp vanilla

On the stove top, either prepare your double broiler if you have one..or just do what I do, and just place a small pot of water on the stove with a metal mixing bowl on top.  You need to make sure that the water is boiling before you start this frosting..otherwise you will be standing there, whisking a white mess for a lot longer than seven minutes! Just you know, my first mistake. :)  Once the water in your pot is boiling, put your ingredients in the mixing bowl except for the vanilla, and with an electric hand mixer, start mixing the ingredients together over the bowling water.  Set the time for seven minutes and mix on high.  You'll be standing there the entire time, mixing, and mixing, and mixing..the mixture will start to foam, and then it will start to come together, and at around minute three, you'll mixture will start to thicken and turn a lovely white.  Keep mixing until your timer goes off.  Take the bowl off the boiling water, and move it over to your counter.  Add the vanilla and mix until it is well incorporated, about 1 minute.  If you are using a piping bag make sure that is all set up before you start the frosting.  This stuff sets up really quick.  And you are done.  Seven minute heaven.  I'm telling you, this is divine!

Today, I added too much corn syrup..added 1 tbsp instead of 2 tsp..oops, but not really.  The frosting just didn't set up as quickly and did not dry out as fast either.  My son thought I was making the candy, DIVINITY, which is similar to this frosting..(he calls it "vinity")  He licked the the beaters, he licked the spatula, and he licked the bowl clean, so I am guessing he really loves Vinity! And trust me, you will too! Tomorrow, I am sharing my new chocolate cupcake recipe, I am sure you can't wait! 

Monday, April 18, 2011

The rich Eclair

I have been on a baking spree, I am sure you can't tell!  Have I mentioned that I love my baby, the still unnamed, Kitchen Aid?  Is it possible to love an object this much?  Apparently it is, and I am not feeling guilty by this. She is everything I ever wanted out of a kitchen appliance.  We are basking in our honeymoon phase still.

 I have loved a certain pastry for about as long as I can remember.  Mom use to make these little puffs of golden clouds, with cream in the middle..Cream Puffs.  I love them.  I even like the Costco kind that come frozen, which I don't buy because let's face the truth here, I will eat the whole entire container if they were to find themselves here in my house..so no big container of cream puffs.  But even more than cream puffs, I adore eclairs.  I wanted to make some and did.  This is not the first time I have made this pastry.  But it has been a very long time.  I don't ever think about making them, cupcakes and cookies have been on my mind..bet you can't tell that either!   And really for anyone just starting out in the baking arena, I would highly recommend making pate choux.  It is simple and pretty straight forward.  If you want to get super fancy with these, you can make your own pastry creme to sandwich in the pastry, and you can even get fancier and make some chocolate ganache glaze to go on top.  Like so many things baked at home, these taste about 100% better than store bought ones.  And it probably takes less time to make these, than it would to drive to Costco, find them in their maze of a warehouse, stand in the long line at the check out  and even longer line ...so that some stranger can look at your receipt and drive all the way home. chances are you also have the ingredients for these in your pantry right now.TRY these, THEY WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE..or at least, they will make you significant other love you even that much more!  (trust me on this people! I have a previously ornery husband who actually smiled, said Yum and ate more of these babies,and he was happy! *wink*)

Recipe for the Pate Choux:
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup of flour
5 eggs

in a pot over medium heat, stir together the milk, water, sugar and salt.  Heat until boiling.  Turn down the heat and Add the 1 cup of flour and stir until it is well incorporated, and forms a dough.  Place the dough in a mixer fitted the paddle, on medium speed, start adding your eggs, add them one at a time waiting untl each is incorporated, the batter will at first look like it is seperating, just keep adding the eggs, by the last egg it should look wet and more like a thick cake bater. Place your pastry dough in a pastry bag, fitted with a tip (depending on the size you want your eclairs/cream puffs to be) And pipe out the dough on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper..or you could do what I did and spray it nonstick spray.  In the recipe I found online, it said to bake both baking sheets, (you'll get around 20-24 Eclair size) at a time, in a preheated oven set at 375.   Let's just say, next time I will bake them one at a time.  Bake for 20 minutes, rotating half way through the baking process.  You want them to be puffed up and a nice golden color.  Let them cool before you slice them and fill them. See, easy!

On to the filling.  I found this recipe at you know where, Meet Me In the Kitchen.  (I spent two hours looking at her recipe catalog on Saturday.) I changed the recipe just the slightest, instead of using vanilla bean, I used just plain old vanilla extract because that is all I had on hand

Vanilla Pastry Cream:
2 cups whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, (or about 2-3 tsp of extract)
1/4 tsp salt
4 Tbls cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
4 Tbls butter cut into small cubes

In a bowl, whisk together the egg, sugar,and cornstarch.  In a sauce pan, heat the milk, vanilla and salt until it comes to a boil. When the milk has come to a boil, you need to add this to the egg mix, but here's the part that can be a little tricky.  You have to temper the eggs first.  If you poured the whole thing of hot milk into the eggs, you will get scrambled eggs.  You don't want that!  If you slowly add the milk in a steady stream than you won't get that problem.  Once the milk is fully incorporate in the egg mix, you want to add that all back into the pan you used for the milk and cook, whisking until you get the thick consistency that you want. (and let me warn you, you have to whisk and stand right there, baby this sucker, do not walk away even for a second, it might seem like it is taking a while to thicken, you might be tempted to do something else, but don't!  When this cream wants to thicken, it thickens like THAT! *snap*)  Pour the cream in a heat proof bowl, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the cream so that a skin doesn't form, and let it chill in the fridge until you are ready to use it.  I made mine in the morning, and then made the pate choux after church.  Either way, you want to let your cream chill.

Chocolate Glaze..an Eclair would be incomplete without some yummy glaze of chocolate on top.  I used a simple ganache, equal amounts of dark chocolate chips and heavy whipping cream that has been warmed up, not boiling.  Let the warm cream melt the chocolate and then just stir until all the chocolate is melted and it is smooth.

Assemble your Eclairs,  by cutting the pastry in half, piping on the pastry cream and then top it with the other half of the Eclair, (you can add another step, and separate the top and bottom of the eclair-wich and frost the top with the glaze and while you are waiting for the glaze to set, fill the bottom with the cream, or whip cream, or pudding..you get the picture..but I just assembled my eclairs and drizzled the top with the glaze, it still looked good enough to eat!)

You can make these as simple as you like.  I grew up with my mom just filling cream puffs with cool whip, sometimes it was pudding.  You could get super fancy and do even more with these simple pate choux, and fill them with all sorts of yummy goodness.  I actually whipped up some cream and put that on top of the pastry cream and they were super delicious.  TRY THESE TODAY..TRY THESE TODAY.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Homemade Peanut Butter cups..otherwise known as Buckeyes

Buckeyes.  Not a very pretty name for these yummy treats.  I made these clear back in January, but for the life of me could not find the pictures on my computer!  It turns out they were still located on my camera.  So, my memory isn't the greatest any more.  Once you try these you will forgive me, my forgetfulness.  I found these at the blog, smitten kitchen, where you can also find amazing recipes.  Like I have said before, I'm a little obsessed with food blogs..my favorite list is getting a little out of hand!  (add mine to yours..just do it, you know you want too! and please pass on this blog to your friends..:) )  Anyway, my kids devoured these babies in about an hour..no not really, I didn't have enough chocolate to cover all of them, so some went in the freezer and when I was cleaning out the freezer and found these waiting in a lonely ziploc bag, my kids ate them straight from the freezer and then promptly begged me to make more.  It hasn't happened yet.  If you can't tell, I've been busy baking other things.  But these are fun, you don't have to turn on the oven for these..and for those of you out there who know about Cake Pops, i think this recipe would trump them.  (not a huge fan of the cake pops) 

Here it goes..and sorry about the pictures, you know, my skills at the camera are um, GREAT!

1/4 cup(2 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (use your homemade ones if you have any left!)
Salt (just a pinch)
3 cups powder sugar
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
12 ounces chocolate

In a mixer, combine cream cheese and peanut butter, and blend until smooth, add the graham cracker crumbs and mix until combined.  Add the sugar and butter, slowly mix until the sugar is well incorporated into the dough and then turn the speed on your mixer up and mix. The dough will be sturdy and ready to roll into balls.

this is what your dough will look like:

roll into balls.  I just used my hands..that were washed, don't worry! 

next, you want to melt your chocolate, I used a double broiler..(pot of simmering water, place your heatproof bowl on top of the pot and stir your chocolate until it is all melted and smooth)

 dip your peanut butter balls into the chocolate.  I found that using a fork to shake off the excess chocolate work great.  In the smitten kitchen recipe, she left part of the peanut butter showing..thus the eyes..but I wanted these to be covered! More chocolate please!
let the chocolate set about 30 minutes  in the fridge or freezer.  And ta-da!  Buckeyes.  You will need to keep these chilled, but seriously, they won't last very long so I wouldn't worry about it too much! :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Vanilla Cupcakes with Lime-ginger curd, topped with buttercream

While waiting for the pictures I took too download.. A tragic story is about unfold.  I wanted to make a new frosting.  It involved egg whites, sugar, and lots of whisking.  It is my nemesis, and it's name is Swiss buttercream. Martha Stewart introduced us, (curse you Martha) in her lovely cupcake book. It is deceptively simple.  I decided to give it a try today.  It did not work.  It was runny, and a sickly grey color.  I know where my mistakes were, and one day will try and try and try again.  But for now, I'm sticking to the good old American buttercream.  What is not to love about it anyway?  Butter, sugar and yumminess.  And really, why mess with perfection?

On to the my cupcakes.  Once again, I used my go to recipe for vanilla cupcakes.  But I wanted something more.  Being an adult, or at least trying to be one, I wanted something that wasn't too sweet, but that would still have that childhood memories of sweetness to it, if that makes sense.  So, while looking at another one of my favorite food blogs, I became inspired.  And made Lime ginger curd to fill the cupcakes.  here is the recipe (and note to self, I needed to cook the curd just a little longer it wasn't thick enough for what I wanted it to do) this is adapted from the lemon curd recipe found on Meet Me in the Kitchen.

Lime Ginger Curd

3 large eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup lime juice, plus the zest from 4 limes
1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of ground ginger (less if you don't want a lot of ginger taste, more if you like the ginger kick)
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Whisk together eggs, egg yolk, sugar and lime juice and zest.  Place in a sauce pan (nonreactive) cook on medium heat.  You don't want it boiling!  Keep whisking that baby until it becomes thick and coats the back of a spoon.  Which I found to be unnecessary because it was visibly thicker.  Pour into a sieve, and let it rest in a heatproof bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic touches the curd, otherwise you will get a skin on the curd.  Let chill in the refrigerator until it is cold.

Meanwhile, make your vanilla cupcakes and let them cool down.  Using the cone method, instructions found here cut out the middle of the cupcakes, reserve the top part.  Make your buttercream..(1 cup unsalted room temp butter, about 2 cups powder sugar, milk and vanilla...trick to the buttercream, let the butter and sugar whip together until it is light and fluffy.) Assemble your cupcakes.  Fill each cupcake with the lime ginger curd, I used my new pastry tip for that, place the top of the cupcake back on and frost the cupcakes (I used the biggest pastry tip I had for that, decorating was a breeze!) I sprinkled on some sweetened coconut flakes, but you can leave off the coconut..a couple of shavings of dark chocolate would be wonderful on these babies..And here are some actual pictures..I know you guys are shocked! :)

I wasn't sure if the curd needed to be refrigerated, so to be on the safe side, I put mine in the obliging Fridge. Oh my, these were so good.  And it's a good thing I am on a diet and only tried one!  I gave the rest away.  L wanted  blue cupcakes, so I ended up only filling half of the cupcakes with the curd.  I think there was enough curd to fill at least 12, maybe 14 cupcakes.  You would have to double the recipe for 24 cupcakes.  And, a friend requested that I make them for a bake sale..so hopefully I am not the only one who enjoys these cupcakes!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Best S'mores ever (if you aren't by a camp fire that is)

A few days ago, I was browsing through one of my favorite food blogs, and saw this wonderful idea that I have never even dared thought was possible..homemade Honey Graham Crackers.  Oh my.  I will never go back to buying these puppies.  I didn't take a picture..camera dead, and lighting bad.  So, you'll have to use your imagination, or just visit this blog if you want pictures.  Here is the recipe...I made some slight changes to it, because I am an impatient baker, I know, not a good thing sometimes, but hey, you know you love me anyway!

Honey Graham Crackers:
2 1/2 cups plus 2 tbl. all purpose flour
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp kosher salt
7 tbl. unsalted butter, chilled
1/3 cup clover honey
5 tbl milk
2 tbl vanilla extract

In a mixer, or food processor, blend the dry ingredients. (I found that I needed a little more flour than what the recipe called for, maybe about 1/4-1/2 cup extra)  Cut the butter into small cubes and  add to the dry and mix until small crumbs form.  Add the wet ingredients, and mix until dough forms.  Lightly flour plastic wrap, and wrap your dough, let it chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.(the first go around with this dough, I did chill it.  The second time, I did not owing to time, and they worked out just fine)  Flour your rolling surface and roll out the dough in a rectangle, either use a pizza cutter and just cut out the shape of the traditional crackers, or use a cookie cutter and cut out shapes you like. I used a scalloped heart one.  Poke holes in the cracker, use either a tooth pick or a wooden skewer) Preheat oven to 350.  Spray your cookie sheets generously, and place the cookies on them. Bake them for 10-15 minutes. (I actually found that my oven is super hot, so, I only cooked mine for nine minutes, and they turned out great!) You can sprinkle the crackers with cinnamon and sugar right before baking if you want too.

I topped my graham cracker with marshmallow fluff (Mindy...) and broiled it for a couple of minutes or until the marshmallow was toasty brown, and then squished a piece of chocolate on top and ate it in you know, in three delicious bites.  YUM! And because it's raining today, i think I am going to enjoy about six more!  HA!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Girl Scout Samoa's

I look forward to this time of year, when little girls in green vests come to our Walmart and sell Girl Scout cookies. (that sounded a little creepy)  I only buy one flavor, the samoa.  Toasted coconut, caramel, chocolate..oh yeah and a cookie!  Love them.  I enjoy them mostly frozen and on the couch, when my kids are in bed so I don't have to share.  I know, it's kind of mean, but seriously you pay $3.50 for a box of cookies, and that box only contains, what twelve cookies?  So, I am a Samoa hoarder..yep.  I got a brilliant idea to make my own.  I decided not to look up a recipe, but just wing it.  And it actually wasn't too shabby.  Although, these would have been much easier with a third or fourth hand.  So, if you decide to make these, do so with a friend!

This recipe has four separate parts, each is vital to the yumminess of your cookie...in the end, you will be glad you tried.  Right?  Right..here it goes.

Step 1: making your toasted coconut flakes.

In this day and age, we are lucky to live in a society that brings us marvelous things, like marshmallow fluff (that's for you Mindy) and shredded sweetened coconut flakes..have you ever tried to cut a coconut?  Marvelous stores like Walmart (sarcasm here) provided me with these white flakes of sweet nutty-ness.

Preheat your oven to 325.  Place the coconut flakes on a baking sheet, making sure it is an even layer.  Once your oven is heated, bake your coconut flakes until your desired toasting is achieved.  Keep an eye on this, because it will brown quickly.  Take your coconut out of the oven, and put in a bowl, or small casserole dish, otherwise, the hot baking pan will keep toasting your coconut.  When it is cool, crumble the coconut into smaller pieces.  This will help a lot later on. Set aside.

Shortbread cookies:
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

cream your butter until fluffy, about 1 minute.  Add the powdered sugar and cream together for about 2 minutes, or until the mix is light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla and beat until well incorporated (seriously, that word makes me think of Kids Incorporated..) add the flour and mix until just combined.  Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about an hour.  Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly grease two baking sheets, or place parchment paper on the sheets.  Roll out the shortbread on a lightly floured surface and cut out your desired shapes.  In keeping with the theme of Samoa's, I made round shapes, and then cut out the middle.  Place on the baking sheets and let them chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes.  Bake in the oven, one sheet at a time for 8-10 minutes.  I found that if you baked them a little longer, they held up better than the 8 minute ones. Place on a wire rack to cool.

Caramel for dipping..

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup corn syrup

place all three ingredients in a pan over medium heat, let the butter melt.  Wait for the mixture to come to a boil, and then watch, and check the caramel.  I waited until it was a little above the "soft ball" stage.  Take off of heat and start dipping your cookies in the caramel.  This is where an extra pair of hands would come in handy.  My caramel was cooling a lot faster than I was working.  Once the cookie is covered in caramel, place in the reserved coconut flakes, coat and then place on a sheet of wax paper.  Make sure the cookie is well covered in coconut, otherwise, they will stick to your wax paper.  repeat until all your cookies are done. While you are waiting for the caramel to set...(A friend had the brilliant idea to mix the coconut and the caramel together, duh Em, that would have been a lot easier!)

Melt a bag of chocolate chips either in a double broiler, which I prefer, or in the good old man made wonder, the microwave..  Place in a pastry bag and drizzle the chocolate on top of the caramel coconut cookie.  let the chocolate set and enjoy!  Seriously glad my neighbor loves coconut, because apparently, no one in my house does but me, so I suppose I really didn't have to hide them...and can you imagine what these babies would do to my thighs?  :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes

About a month ago, I made cupcakes almost every day for an entire week.  I was in love with my new kitchen aid, she was crying that she needed to be paid attention too, and I couldn't just ignore her. (making cupcakes every day for a week, might be the reason why my special someone is cupcaked out..) I have tried lots of recipes..many many many cupcake recipes. I know, I'm a little crazy when it comes to cupcakes.  It is like a constant ache in my soul if I can't make cupcakes..just kidding, I'm not that crazy, YET.  I have a few recipes that I know are scrumptious, delightful and the best EVER.  I am not kidding. This is one for the money, baby.

 If you love moist cake, this chocolate pumpkin cupcake is for YOU.  This recipe is the one that convinced me that I should only make cakes completely from scratch.  Real butter, sugar, flour, pumpkin, the best chocolate powder you can find..yep.  Very good.  So, I decided I would share.  I found this recipe on MSN when I was checking my email.  I have found similar ones, but they really can't compare to this one.  In the original recipe, it called for nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon.  I have some weird aversion to cinnamon and chocolate, not sure why. but I am scared of cinnamon anything..except toast, which in reality is a heck of a lot of sugar, with some cinnamon on heavily buttered freshly toasted bread...Sorry, tangents..

Here is the best Chocolate Cupcake recipe EVER..(well maybe not EVER, but I do love it... I had to freeze most of the cupcakes from that lovely week, because I was in danger of eating every last one of them and they taste just as good thawed as the day I baked them.)

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake:

2 1/2 cups plus 2 teaspoons all purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons good quality cocoa
1 tablespoon  baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup buttermilk (if you don't have buttermilk, use regular milk, just add a tsp of vinegar and let sit for a minute or two)
1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/8 cups unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 1 /2 cups sugar
5 large eggs

In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and soda.  Sift together well.  Set aside.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree with the buttermilk.  Set aside.  In your mixer with the paddle attachment cream together the softened butter and sugars, 3 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing for 30 seconds each time.  Alternate mixing in the four and buttermilk, ending with the flour.  fill your cupcake liners with batter and bake 20-22 minutes in a preheated oven set at 350.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Sugar Cookies...revised

I love soft sugar cookies.  There is something so heavenly and lovely about biting into a soft, light cookie with a smear of butter cream.  If there is a heaven, and I'm 100% sure there is, then I will be living in eternity eating sugar cookies..dramatic?  You bet, I love sugar cookies. Dare I say even more than I love cupcakes? *gasp* My mother in law introduced me to this recipe, and I have loved making it.  I tried making these using them with butter instead of shortening, my shortening had red sprinkles in it.  I liked the recipe either way.  So, which ever way is your fancy, try it, love it, and thank me later!

Soft Sugar Cookies
1 cup softened butter or shortening
2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 cup milk plus 1 tsp white vinegar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt (which I always forget to add)
5-7 cups all purpose flour

In a small bowl combine milk and vinegar and set aside.  In your mixer using your paddle attachment cream together your butter or shortening and sugar until light and fluffy about 2 to three minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, scrape down sides as needed.  Add in the milk and vanilla and mix until well incorporated   It will look a  little separated at this point, don't worry.  Add in the baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix.  Start adding in the flour one cup at a time.  This dough will be fairly soft still around the fifth cup.  Sprinkle your counter or wherever you plan on cutting out your cookies on generously with flour and place the dough on top.  Start kneading in at least another cup or two of flour, if the dough is too soft.  If you would like, you can chill the dough.  Or you can start rolling out your shapes. Keep the dough on the slightly thicker side, but you can go a little thinner, although i wouldn't suggest too thin unless you want a cracker.

Preheat oven to 350 and lightly spray your baking sheets with cooking spray.  Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes.  I would do less, but I like mine slightly on the doughier side.  Totally up to you.  Another trick I have heard about is to chill your shaped cookies in the fridge for a couple of minutes before baking so that your cookies keep their shape.  I haven't tried that yet, but you can.  I just use round shapes, because I'm not super fancy with frosting.  I like straight up butter cream and a few red hots on my cookies.  Or even candy corn at Halloween. Or just out of the oven, plain and steaming  fresh. WHATEVER FLOATS YOUR SUGAR COOKIE BOAT.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Love at first sight

this is my new love.  She is beautiful.  Her natural beauty shines through the orange, which I love!  If I could paint my house this color, I would!  She has already proven that she will be there for me whenever I need her.  She is steady, and can handle anything I have thrown at her.  She has an honored spot on the kitchen counter, so that everyone can bask in her loveliness.  Now, she just needs a name to honor her by! 

Chocolate Chip Cookies..

Have you ever made chocolate chip cookies from a recipe on the back of the chocolate morsels?  And have you ever been disappointed by the recipe?  I have.  I hated chocolate chip cookies, I hated how flat they turned out, and how crunchy they ended up being.  Who wants a thin, flat, crunchy cookie?  Certainly, not me. I love soft, fluffy cookies.  My dad gave me this recipe years ago, when I first got really interested in baking.  Dad said it's the Mrs Fields Chocolate Chip recipe.  I can't say for sure if it is or not.  I think there are a lot of chocolate chip cookie recipes out there that claim to be Mrs. Fields.  I have never researched this to make sure.  And honestly, where I am just baking them for the fun of it, I'm not going to stress.  :)

Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups packed brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
4 cups all purpose flour
5 cups oatmeal
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

In your mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars.  Add the eggs in one at a time and then add the vanilla.  In a large bowl, combine flour, oatmeal, salt baking powder and baking soda.  Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture slowly until well incorporated.  Fold in 2 packages of your favorite morsels..I like semi-sweet and butterscotch together.  Your batter will end up looking like this:

When you are done mixing, lightly spray your cookie sheets with non stick, or you can use parchment paper, if you want really big cookies, use an ice cream scoop.  I use a tablespoon, and roll them by hand.  Once on the the pan, you will want to lightly press the cookie ball down.  Bake in a preheated oven 350 for 10-12 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.  And enjoy!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Home Made Hamburger Buns

I found this idea here, my current favorite food blog.  I have only tried making bread about six times in the past couple of years.  I liked the Babka bread for something sweet, the Challah bread (a Jewish passover bread) for something new, and I wanted to see if these hamburger buns would live up to the hype on Annie's eats.  Well, they were very tasty and if you have the patience to make home made bread, this was oh so worth the wait!

Homemade Hamburger Buns:

3 tbsp warm milk
1 cup warm water
2 tsp. instant yeast
2 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 tbsp butter, softened

In a bowl with a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the water, milk, yeast, sugar, and egg.  Add the flours and mix well.  Mix in the butter (I had to slightly melt mine, because oops I forgot to take it out of the fridge earlier) Switch to the hook attachment and knead for 6-8 minutes.  I think I only did mine for about five.  Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and wait for at least 1-2 hours.  Once the wait is over, take the dough out, cut out 8 equal parts, and then gently roll into balls.  I just took the pieces and kind of folded it back until I formed a ball.  Her recipe calls for parchment paper or those lovely silicone baking mats, neither of which I had on hand..so I just sprayed the heck out of my baking sheet and sprinkled on corn meal.  Place the balls on the sheet, about 2-3 inches apart.  Gently cover with a lightly oiled piece of plastic wrap and let raise another 1-2 hours.  I was running out of time, so mine only raised for about 45 minutes.  Preheat oven to 400.  Place a metal cake pan filled with water on the bottom rack of your oven.  brush your buns (hee hee) with a egg wash..1 egg, 1 tbsp water whisked together.  Sprinkle on sesame seeds, which I didn't have, so I put poppy seeds on top.  Bake for 15 minutes, rotate your pan half way through cooking.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Verdict, I will be  making these again, in fact, I don't think I would want to go back to the buns bought at the store.  These held up pretty well, and let's face it, it tasted a lot better too.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cherry Limeade Cupcakes

These little babies were inspired by two things: a new food blog I just found this week, found here Annie's Eats, and partly from my husband, who loves Cherry Limeades and was disappointed with the drink the last time we got one, which happened to be my oh so favorite holiday, Valentine's. (note the sarcasm here.) I decided to change up Annie's recipe.  I used my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe ever, which I found on this website.  (by the way, if you want an amazing experience with cupcakes, check that blog out.) I'll post the vanilla recipe on here sometime..

After waiting for the cupcakes to cool, I gathered my ingredients for the butter cream.  My idea was to make two different frosting's each with the unique flavor combo that makes up the Cherry Limeade drink.  So, off to mixing I went.  My favorite butter cream frosting is simply, two sticks of unsalted butter, powder sugar, and whatever flavor you want to add...I know, I need to try new things, but I like simple.  Added lime juice and zest to one part of the frosting, added food coloring, good old Wilton, and mixed until I got the desired consistency I was looking for.  I then made the cherry frosting.  I used the juice from the jar of maraschino cherries..which changes the consistency of your frosting..  I was a little disappointed with this half of the frosting, and am still kicking myself, because I should have just bought the cherry syrup when i saw it at the store earlier this week.  Anyway, my thoughts:

The lime frosting tended to over power the cherry frosting, it ended up tasting mainly like lime, I should just rename the cupcake to Lime Sublime after my favorite Jamba Juice smoothie..but, it still had a pleasing taste, I love lime.  My husband however informed that he was cupcaked out and that the frosting was overpowering.  Maybe I'll revisit this cupcake later and see if I can't revamp it to fit my style more!

A dedication of sorts

 So, welcome to Sugar Lane Eats..where I get to express my love of all things home made, sometimes sweet, sometimes savory and hopefully delicious.

This is just my little spot to jot down recipes I love and to write about why I love them.  One day I might make this place something more, but for now it's for me and any one who happens on by.