April 2013 archive
First of all, sorry for the absence the past few days. I’ve been busy with church events and haven’t had the time to devote to baking that I’d like to.
But, I did bake cupcakes for you!
I call these strawberry shortcake flavored because they’re not actually strawberry shortcake- I just slipped in a packet of Duncin Hines frosting creations! Those are super easy ways to not only flavor frosting, but also cookies, cakes, and cupcakes. It’s amazing what one little packet of flavor and coloring can do!
I used the same recipe I used for my funfetti cupcakes with cotton candy frosting- but I left out the sprinkles, and added a flavor packet. I also made the recipe a bit easier by melting the butter- now it can all come together without a mixer!
I was feeling particularly anti- mixer today, and didn’t use a homemade frosting for the cupcakes and just used a can that was sitting in our fridge. I know, shame on me. I just didn’t feel like dealing with the mixer.
These cupcakes got taken to church yesterday morning, and they got gobbled up! Everyone loved them. The usual donuts and bagels got skipped over in favor of these cupcakes.
Try drizzling with a vanilla glaze, or sprinkling with white jimmies for a Neapolitan look!
- 1/2 c butter
- 1 c sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 Tbs vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/3 c milk
- 1 packet Duncan Hines Strawberry Shortcake frosting creations flavoring
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder and set aside.
- In a microwave safe bowl, melt butter in 30-second increments until completely melted. Pour into a large mixing bowl and mix with sugar.
- add eggs and vanilla and mix until just combined. Add half of the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Add the milk and stir, then add the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix in the flavor packet.
- Fill muffin tins about 2/3 full. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted to the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
Let me tell you about these cookies.
With just enough of a crunch
They’re peanut butter-y.
And they’re all around wonderful.
My mother loves Mrs. Fields a lot. It’s kind of ridiculous how much she loves her- one time in first grade she sent me to school dressed as her for “dress like a celebrity day.” No one knew who I was. That’s okay; I was just a little hipster six year-old.
Anyway. Because of that love, my mother has a Mrs. Fields cookbook that has served us well over the years- it even helped me make friends in 9th grade conceptual physics. (It was supposed to be “physics without the math.” It wasn’t any less confusing and I don’t remember anything in that class except that I got in trouble for reading, and it was the one year I had snack time in high school.)
Brian and I spent the day together on Saturday, and we made these cookies. Both Saturday and Sunday we could not stop eating these cookies! My mother doesn’t even like peanut butter, and she loves these cookies.
Adapted from Mrs. Fields Cookie Book
- 2 C all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 c brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 1/4 c white sugar
- 1 c salted butter, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 c creamy peanut butter (or 1 16 oz jar)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- In a medium bowl combine flour, soda, and salt. Mix well with a wire whisk and set aside.
- In a large bowl blend sugars with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add butter and mi to form a grainy paste. Add eggs, peanut butter and vanilla, and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy.
- gradually add the dry ingredients and mix at low speed until just mixed; being careful not to over- mix.
- Chill well; at least 30 minutes-2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees, or 275 if using convect.
- Drop by rounded tablespoons onto a cookie sheet. With a wet fork gently press a crisscross pattern on the top. Bake for 18-22 minutes until cookies are slightly brown around the edges. They may look underdone in the middle; that is okay and is necessary in creating softer cookies. Let stand for a few minutes to firm up; then transfer to a wire rack for cooking.
These cookies are softest and peanut buttery-est on day two, but they’re wonderful even up to a week later!
So the other week I bought Peanut Butter & Co’s White Chocolate Wonderful PB at Target. It was love at first spoonful. I couldn’t get enough, and needless to say, I was kind of upset when I reached the bottom of the jar.
I instantly wanted a way to make my own jar of white chocolate, peanut buttery, goodness. After reading on Sally and Averie’s blogs about how easy it is to make homemade peanut butter, I knew I had a way.
This is so easy- and it only contains two ingredients: white chocolate, and peanuts. And, it takes less than 10 minutes- particularly if you have a good food processor. My food processor is a little bitty baby, and so I had to do it in batches, of about 1 C peanuts and 1/2 C white chocolate which took me about 10 minutes total.
Some notes: I had to stop the food processor a few times and break up a clump that settled down at the bottom. I also had to scrape the sides a few times. From what I’ve read, this really depends on how good your food processor is. Like I said, mine is a baby and I have to amend for that. Nevertheless, this is worth making and should not take more than 10 minutes to do.
You begin by adding your peanuts to the canister of your food processor. Grind them up, but keep blending until they are smooth and liquidy. A good point is until you would consider it peanut butter and would spread it on toast or bread. The, you add your chocolate chips and process until they’re blended and melted in with the peanut butter. Easiest thing ever.
Recipe: (Makes around 2 1/2 c)
- 1 16 oz jar or bag of peanuts
- 1 1/2 c white chocolate chips
- Add 1 cup of peanuts to the canister of your food processor. Blend for about 5 minutes as the peanuts break down until it looks like creamy peanut butter and is semi-liquid; like natural style peanut butter. You make need to stop blending a few times and break up clumps that form.
- Add 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips and blend until melted and mixed into the peanuts. If you have a feed tube for your food processor you can add them through the tube.
- Repeat until the entire jar is used up and transfer into a storage container.
- Posts may become less frequent for the time being- I’ve been banned from the kitchen until I find a job. I have some things queued up, and I’m planning to do some baking today and tomorrow that I’ll be posting.
- Current obsession: Modcloth and all of the shoes on the website. ZOMG. I cry every time I read the prices. Then I go to Anthro, cry more, and then feel better about the Modcloth prices considering they’re cheaper.
- I just need to stop looking at clothes online. It’s terrible for me and my wallet.
- I’ve been on a white chocolate kick lately. From my white hot chocolate to my homemade white chocolate peanut butter (which goes live next week), I can’t get enough of the stuff!
I found this picture on maddieonthings and I identify with it.
I’m obsessed with magical ribbons. I have been since she started making bows… but now I’m counting down the days until I can order.
I’ll be the first to admit, my tastes can be a bit.. eclectic at times.
Friends have described my style as “hipster business casual.”
I like flipping between the top 40 and alternative music stations on my car radio.
I love the show Smash but I hate the main character. (Ew, Karen, you’re such a diva.)
It’s the brink of summer, and I’m craving hot chocolate… but not how heavy Swiss Miss instant can be.
Fortunately, I have this wonderful White Hot Chocolate to satisfy my craving without the heavy feel of milk or dark chocolate! Plus, with the incredibly small yield, I can make this whenever the craving hits without having to worry about storage for extra drinks- and it’s easily multiplied to serve 3 or 4 people. (It’s also a perfect drink for a cozy date night!)
I must be honest, the smaller yield was an oversight- I forgot to check how much milk was needed vs. how much milk we actually had before starting the recipe. Fortunately for me, it turned out to be a good thing.
White Hot Chocolate
Makes two 6 oz servings
- 1/4 heaping cup of finely chopped white chocolate. (I used 3 squares of Ghirardelli White Chocolate Baking Squares.)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- dash of salt
- 1/3 cup hot water (Not boiling)
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- Melt chocolate in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the sugar and water.
- Add the salt and mix with spatula or wooden spoon until everything is mixed together and mixture is slightly foamy. (completely foamy around the edges with a little bit of foam in the middle.)
- Whisk in the milk and stir until mixture is at serving temperature. Do not boil; but there may be some bubbles throughout the mixture.
- Pour into a pyrex measuring cup through a strainer. This is to make sure there aren’t any clumps in the drink.
- Pour into two mugs and serve immediately Garnish with Whipped cream, white chocolate, or marshmallows.
I know, I know. So much apple pie right now. (Okay, like three pie recipes, including this one. Whatever. On my blog, that’s a lot.) I promise you, there’s a reason.
See, when I bake pies, I ususally have some pie crust leftover from trimming the edges of the pie, and there’s often some filling leftover as well. So what do I do with the leftovers? I make mini pies, of course! Before the days of me having a mini pie maker, I baked them in muffin tins. I occasionally do that now, too. I’m missing my pie crust cutter that goes with the pie maker, so I went back to my good old standby of baking them in muffin tins.
Which honestly, is more convenient for a blog, since not everyone has mini pie makers. I just happen to bake a lot of pies, so my parents bought me one for christmas. Anyhow, these are great to make for get togethers, or when you made a pie but have leftover crust and/or filling. You can forgo making a full pie and just make these tarts, but you will be putting in a lot of effort if you do.
Let’s break down the process:
First you’ll roll out the dough. You’ll want to make it a bit thicker than your average pie crust, because once you cut the crusts you’ll be rolling them out further.
Next you cut out circles in the dough. I do this one at a time; you could do them all at once or one at a time- it’s your choice. I used a biscuit cutter that was just under three inches; it was 2 3/4 to be exact. Use a cookie cutter; round glass; whatever is best for you.
Next, you’ll take that circle, and roll it out bigger so it can fill up the muffin tin.
Place it in the muffin tin…
And fill with filling!
Yield varies depending on how much filling and crust you have leftover. With the leftovers from my Colonial Apple Pie (baked in a 9-inch pie tin), I made 6 mini pie tarts; 2 of them had tops.
Bake at 400 for 5-10 minutes, or until crusts are golden brown.
- I’ve become obsessed with the show Orphan Black. Ohmygoodness this show is addicting. BBC/BBCA > Other American Networks. I’m just really confused though because I have no idea where this show is supposed to take place with all of the different accents going on.
- I’ve applied for readmission to my university. Yay schooling and education! I’ve also finally decided on a major/minor combination.
- Finding a job is tough, man. I have two job interviews Monday and Tuesday with a doctors office though to do front desk work, so hopefully everything will go well and I’ll get the job! I’m so nervous!
- I still really, really miss Disney and my internship there.
- But getting to spend time with my friends and boyfriend is wonderful. <3
my dog clearly thinks she’s a cat.
I saw Les Mis with some friends the other night! It was amazing.
The Hippodrome is always lovely. Too bad the neighborhood surrounding it isn’t better; I’d love to spend more time there.
Like most of you, I’m sure, the days (and weeks, apparently) after Easter left me with a plethora of candy sitting around my house. One of my bags of chocolates was a variety of Hershey’s minis; including Milk Chocolate, Krackle’s, Hershey’s Special Dark, and Mr. Goodbars.
Here’s the thing though. I’m not a huge fan of Mr. Goodbars plain. So I set out to bake them into something. The winner? Blondies. I used the same base from Sally’s Baking Addiction that I did for my m&m blondies. I did a few things differently though- specifically, browning the butter, and baking them in an 8×8 pan. These were things I simply didn’t have available to me the last time I made blondies, but boy did they make a difference! I found myself polishing off three or four thick, delicious, buttery and caramel-y blondies. YUM.
Browning the butter was super duper easy. I was wary of it, but now that I’ve done it I want to brown the butter for everything. I finally understand what all the hype is about! All you do is melt the called for amount of butter in a skillet over medium heat, and keep whisking it until you see brown specks appear in the botton of the pan. The butter will be a gorgeous shade of amber, and your kitchen will be filled with a wonderful nutty aroma. Pour the butter into a bowl after this happens so the butter doesn’t burn! The entire process will take around 5-6 minutes.
I topped them off with chopped up mini Mr. Goodbars, but you could use any candy you prefer! The great thing about blondies is that they are a blank slate for ANYTHING you want to mix in. I see myself making many more blondies in the future!
(adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 5-7 chopped mini mr. goodbar candy bars
- Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat; whisking constanty. Remove from heat when butter starts to turn brown, about 5-6 minutes and pour into a large mixing bowl. Mix in brown sugar and let cool to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 350. Spray 8×8 pan with cooking spray and set aside.
- To the cooled butter/sugar mixture, mix in egg and vanilla. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt.
- Pour into 8×8 pan and sprinkle the chopped candy bars on top. Mix in slightly.
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until the top is lightly brown. Allow to cool for at least one hour and slice into squares.
My mother makes the best chocolate chip cookies ever, hands down. I know, I know, everyone says that about their mothers cookies. But my mom’s cookies really are fantastic.
I’m not the only person who says so. My grandfather, her father-in-law, says so. Multiple teachers of mine in junior and senior high said so. Everyone at my church said so. In fact, at bake sales for school and church, people would request her cookies.
I went to a private, K-12 school. My freshman year of high school we had our very first musical, and the woman in charge of refreshments at intermission was new to the school and had never had any of my mom’s cookies. My mom called her, volunteering to make cookies to sell, and the woman said “no, we already have plenty of cookies; you can make brownies though!” Well. At intermission on opening night, people kept coming up and asking specifically for my mother’s cookies by name. The next day mom get’s a call, asking her to make cookies for the remaining shows.
So when all is said and done, my mother does have the best cookies ever. It’s proven by my tiny, 400 person school.
I do some things a little differently than my mother does- mostly because she likes her cookies crispier and crunchier than I like mine, so she doesn’t chill the dough or pull them out when they’re slightly under done and let them firm up on the stovetop like I do. If you do this right, they’ll taste just like raw cookie dough. No lie.
It’s similar to most basic cookie recipes: Butter, sugars, flour, vanilla, leavening agents, eggs, etc. We like to double the amount of brown sugar to white sugar- this makes the cookies softer and more moist, due to the addition of molasses in the brown sugar.
Begin by creaming the sugars, butter, and vanilla in your stand mixer, then add the eggs. Mix together the dry ingredients, and slowly stir them into the wet ingredients. After this you are done with the electric mixer, so make sure to scrape as much dough off of the paddle with a rubber spatula and a knife. Then, with the spatula, mix in the 1 1/2 c of chocolate chips. My mother likes to use 2 cups, but after doing some reading on other food blogs, I discovered that 1.5 c of add-ins was plenty, and having a little less will help bake the cookies thicker. I decreased the amount of chips, and it was still very, very chocolate-chipy.
See? still plenty of chips.
Here’s the recipe:
(yields 2-3 dozen cookies)
- 2 Sticks (1 cup) butter
- 1/2 c sugar
- 1 c brown suger
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 2 1/4 c flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 c chocolate chips
- mix butter, sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time.
- in separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt.
- slowly mix in the flour mixture to wet ingredients, and blend until fully mixed.
- stir in chocolate chips
- let chill for at least 30 minutes.
- drop rounded teaspoon size balls onto a nonstick cookie sheet and bake at 275 on convect or 300 on non-convect until the edges are golden brown.
- pull out of oven and let sit for 3-5 minutes until cookies are firm, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
cookies will keep for 2-3 weeks in a jar or airtight container.
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- It’s been exactly one week and two days since I’ve returned from Florida. I’ve spent that time looking for a job, baking, and spending time with my boyfriend and family.
- I’ve scheduled two interviews for a pretty good job at at a doctor’s office, so that’s cool.
- I’m still looking for another job that I can work here and at school because dude, I need money.
- I saw the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra play Fantasia tonight with Brian and his parents, and it was fantastic.
- I splurged and bought some white chocolate peanut butter today and ohmygoodness it is fantastic and I’m definitely going to be making my own sometime. (and sharing the recipe!) It was $3.99 at Target and I bought Peanut Butter & Co’s White Chocolate Wonderful. I HIGHLY recommend.
- I ordered a bunch of tea from Adagio teas and BOY am I excited! My college roommate (and bff) has a blend from there and it’s fantastic, and I’m excited to try the teas I bought!
Left to right: Hermione Granger, Katniss, Captain Jack, Cinna, Bilbo Brew.
All are by Cara M. and I’m super excited!