Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Snickerdoodle Dandy

Ok so I have had quite a night. It started off with a little baby shower planning for my good friends Abby Cavness. She is having a girl in July!! YAY! I think we are going to have a great shower.

Onto the baking...

I decided to start when I got home at 9pm.

Stupid I know. But I have a birthday lunch at TJ tomorrow and a Lacrosse Board meeting as well. Everyone needs cuppycakes right? right

I just got a new cupcake book by the one and only-- Martha Stewart. (Below is the book)

She makes everything look good AND easy :)

I decided to make the Snickerdoodle cupcake. I wanted to see if it really tasted like the cookie.

Here is the book. AMAZING.

The cupcake batter was relatively easy- basic stuff.
I guess I am an idiot because I didn't read the icing recipe correct...I will get to that later.
Below is the picture of the Snickerdoodle Cupcake. You know you want one. Y-U-M-M-Y.
So now you wanna know how to make them now don't you?
OK here it it...Drum roll please...........
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self rising) sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, plus 1/2 tsp. for dusting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1 1/4 cup sugar, plus 2 tbsp. for dusting
4 large eggs, room temp
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups milk
1. Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin tins.
2. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each incorporated. Beat in vanilla. Reduce to low speed. Add flour in three batches, alternating two additions of milk,and combining after each.
3. Divide evenly among cups, filling cups 3/4 full. Bake about 20 minutes.
So I did all of the stuff above. And the cupcakes turned out beautifully. That's when I screwed up.
The frosting.
I was going to make the 7 minute frosting that goes with it. Super easy right? I got all the ingredients and was getting ready to make it. That's when I saw what I needed, the one thing I didn't have...
A candy thermometer.
So I had to quickly switch gears quickly. So I made the Fluffy Vanilla Frosting.
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp.
1 pound (4 cups) confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Just sift and then whip it all together.
I did all that... I THOUGHT...haha.
It turns out that I only added one cup (or 4- 1/4 cups) confectioners sugar. I was so confused on when it wasn't the right color and tasted a lot like butter still. So I put it into the pastry bag. It was so stiff, so I transferred into a different bag.
That's when I realised what I did wrong. haha. SOOoooo I put it all back in the mixing bowl. I ended up using 3 pastry bags. Stupid, I know.
Matt had fun laughing at me the whole time, watching me freak until I figured it out. Well that's it.
I started them at 8 and didn't finish until 11. Late night but TOTALLY worth it.
They were yummy :)

Yummy Yummy.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Oreo Luvin'

Happy Valentines Day everyone!!! In spirit of the day I decided that I needed to make yet ANOTHER dessert. I have already made cake pops and sugar cookies but those were all done before today.

It's much better making them the day of.

So I made cupcakes, which I am love making, with Oreos (Matt's favorite.) I choose a recipe with cake mix because I didn't know when Matt was getting home and needed to whip them up quickly.

Here is the recipe for Cookies N' Cream Cupcakes:

Mix together:
1 box White Cake Mix
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Crush 18 Oreos and then dump in 1 1/2 cups into the batter.

There it is :)

Take the rest of the Oreos and split them in half and put a half icing side up on the bottom of each liner.

It is SOOOOO much easier to get the batter into the liners with a cookie scoop. Ten times better then a measuring cup which gets messy.
Yesssss for learning something!
Bake in the oven at 350 for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Now for the Cookies and Cream Frosting:

Sift together 1 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
A pinch of salt
Add in a stick of unsalted butter and cream together
Then add:
1/3 cup whipping cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
remaining crushed Oreos

This is the easiest way to fill a piping bag. Place in a glass jar and then fold over the sides.
Very little mess.

There she is.
Frosted cupcake without the Oreo topping.
I didn't use a tip on the bag. I just cut off the end of the bad therefore the Oreos wouldn't get jammed in the tip.

2 Yummy Oreos

I am SOOO ready for dessert. Are you?


You can thank me now for this one.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I Pledge to Leave You In The Dust


I do not like cleaning...AT ALL...but I like a clean house. When my house is dirty, I feel dirty. With all of these snow days I have not been really cleaning because we are just "here" and making messes everywhere.

Dusting used to be my favorite when I was growing up. Super easy right? Not anymore. Dusting has become some god-awful chore now that we have a 90lb. German Shepherd.

It's not just dusting anymore because it's not JUST dust! Totally gross and I have to keep telling myself how much I love my dog every time I dust or vacuum or mop...you see my problem.

I have been using the Pledge below for a while. Something about "Dust and Allergen" got me to try it out a long time ago.

Matt has allergies and so does my dog (does it even mean allergens for a dog?). But I haven't liked it because when I dust it almost leaves a wet appearance. If I clear my coffee table and dust and then put back what was on it, the next time I pick it up there is still that film/wet stuff under it. I also don't like sweeping my hand across and having it on my hand. Ick.

Time for something new obviously.
And here it is. Ta-Da!!

Pledge Multi-Surface. The multi-surface part got me. Their advertisements worked.

I used it all around my house. THE BEST PART: NO RESIDUE- and it still gets rid of 90% allergens. (Smiley face)

Woop Woop!! My wood is clean and looking dry. Love it!

No wonder they won this award.

I think I will still stick to my Windex on glass because I'm partial to that stuff. A little like "My Big Fat Greek Wedding."
OK stupid post I know but sometimes you just have to share stuff like this.
Now I feel better. But if I'm missing out on something even better please let me know.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Make It or Break It

Ok ya'll I have been doing a little research. Just a little....I say this as I have 12 tabs of blogs open on on my browser.

You might say obsessed. Maybe I am and maybe I'm not. I just have fun doing this stuff.

You all might have seen my previous post with the sugar cookies that I made. They suck compared to these. Haha. I mean really; my stuff= beginner, theirs=PRO.

Maybe someday I will be this good. Here is to hoping.

Anyways here is what I have found thus far.

Cookie Blogs!

OK- start with Bake at 350. She made the cookies below. They are amazing. Check her out.

Then go to University of Cookie. Written by Bridget who writes Bake at 350.

This site had tutorial after tutorial on sugar cookies and decorating. I mean step by step kind of stuff in VIDEO form. Can you say "Thank You!."

So Bridget gives us the "how-to" on making her cookies. So yours (and mine) can look like the ones above. How hard can it be?...........

On to the next mecca of cookie decorating.

Amanda writes I Am Baker. She also has a blog on raising her kids called I Am Mommy.

Below are all of her cookies. Can you say "Ah-Mazing!!."

She has a different recipe to her royal icing. This one lacks the use of meringue powder which costs about $14.00 a can. I am Baker also has tutorials as well with step by step pictures. (All of these ladies that I am telling you about write in and give tutorials on University of Cookie.)

She likes rainbows.

When you look up "sugar cookies" in your search engine, you will find Sweetopia as one of the first hits. She also is part of University of Cookie and gives tutorials.
I hate the blogs that just show pictures. They don't tell you how they made anything. Just pictures. Cool. But I want to make that!
Give me the recipe.
If it's good enough for you to post pictures of, then show me what you did. Is it that secret?
That's why I like these ladies. They give you the how-to of making THEIR cookies. No secrets with them!
Love it!
The last picture is one thing that I have learned from all of these blogs.
Royal icing is a Royal Pain. See below.
You have bottles filled with the same color as those that are in the piping bags. A little overkill right? Wrong. Here's what's going on. In the bottles is the thinned icing used for "flooding". In the piping bags is the thick icing used for outlining and decorating. Wowsers.
My shopping list now includes more bottles and more piping tips that are the same small size. (I am not good enough to tell you what size yet...but small will do.)

Again here are the blogs:
University of Cookie- Amazing tutorials from the best ever cookie decorators
I am Baker- The mommy and amazing cookie decorator. I want her style
Sweetopia- More tutorials. Makes it look so easy.
Bake at 350- Founder of University of Cookie
Bake it Pretty- Where you can find all your baking needs.
And there it is. Maybe next weekend I will try these again. I just have to give my kitchen a break. And I need to get back to the gym. This is killing me. ha.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Royal Mess

With all of these snow days we have been having I have had to get creative on ways to keep myself busy. I really don't feel or want to clean the house. Especially with all of the snow I can never keep the floors clean with a 90 lb. dog running through the house after he comes in from the snow. So I got things together to keep me busy. on Wednesday I made cake balls and sugar cookie dough. Yesterday I made the cookies and I decided that I would try making royal icing. I have always wanted to be good at making cookies with royal icing. They are so pretty. I learned how to make the icing from Bake at 350. There is a great tutorial on the site. I also learned that I could use my handy dandy squirt bottles for the icing. YAY.

So here is what you do...

1. Make sure you have time- and by time I mean hours.
2. Make a batch of the thick royal icing. See Bakeat350 for instructions.
3. Fill your bottle with the thick icing. (I used white just because it was easy for my first time)
4. Outline the cookies and then let dry.

5. Make the thin royal icing. See Bakeat350 for instructions. This icing should be the consistency of syrup.
6. Separate out the colors and add food coloring. Fill the bottles. (I chose these 4 colors because again it was easy for a first time. I really don't like these colors together and they got boring quick.)

6. Fill the cookies and use a technique called "flooding" and then use a toothpick to pop the air bubbles and to get the icing all the way to the edge.
7. Decorate!!!

--These cookies were easy to make. Fill the cookie with your base color. Then swirl with other colors (look at the first cookie.) Then using your tooth pick make lines in the cookie and it will make the spider-web look like you see above. You can do this technique for any of the cookies and it really adds detail.

These cookies have the same tooth pick technique like the swirl ones. Just put dots on the cookie after you fill it and then use your tooth pick to make the design that you want.
These were a lot of fun to make BUT there is a lot of stuff that I have learned. Thanks to other blogs out there that give hints on how to perfect this art I think I know a little more. I needed the practice on outlining the cookies and filling. Next time I will use only 2 kinds of cookie cutters and do the same on each cookie AND I won't use white as the outline. At least they taste YUMMY especially after I cleaned the messy kitchen...

Big Girls Have More Fun

I offered to watch Macie on Thursday morning while Marisa went to work for a few hours. Our morning was a lot of fun together as it always is. I made blueberry muffins and she helped put the liners in the pan. Then she just played on the counter while I finished up.
While we were waiting on the muffins to finish baking she had a little snack. What a big girl she is carrying that all around. Don't let this little body fool you, she is actually a little porker. She ate 2 muffins while we sat and watched a movie together. Apollo enjoyed all the crumbs that she left behind.

When we were done eating we played all around the house. But we got sleep and tried to take a nap on the couch and then in the bed. That didn't work out so well so I fell back on food. We had bowl fulls of apple sauce and then we tried graham crackers. They were yummy but more fun to break apart. Mom came around 11:30 and when she left Apollo kept trying to get in one of my baskets that is under one of our end tables. I finally decided to look and see what he wanted. In the basket were 3 of his toys that she had put in the basket. Haha. What a girl she is!

Be Mine

Valentines Day is quickly approaching so I wanted to try the heart shaped cake pops that are in Bakerella's cake pop book. Ours of course are not as "perfect" as hers are but it was also our first time attempting these. There were some things that we learned about this process. We had two different heart shaped cookie cutters. One was a regular heart and the other had ruffled edges all the way around. I would show you pictures but they decided to get crumpled up in the garbage disposal instead. haha. The regular heart made better cake pops. My father-in-law, Travis, had that cookie cutter. He really packed the cake mix into the heart. I on the other hand didn't pack them as tight. Because my heart was ruffled it made the cake pop when dipped look a little messier. I think I will be using the regular heart next time. The cookie cutters can be bough at Hobby Lobby.

The lumpy hearts are mine :(.

A pretty heart.

All of them in the Styrofoam block.

Cake balls were made when we ran out of lolly pop sticks.
I also bought edible markers that you can write/draw on cookies and things. TOTALLY a waste of money. I don't know what kind of mark it is suppose to make on these so I'm not going to be too judgemental. The markers didn't make a clean line. Almost like a marker running out of ink. I also bought fine tip instead of regular tip so I don't know if that had anything to do with it. If someone else has better luck with these markers please let me know. (I bought mine at Walmart). So a good portion of the pops are plain because we didn't want to ruin them by writing on them. Bummer. It was a fun family even through.

Snow Week #2

Snowmagedden #2, Blizzard #2, whatever you would like to call it; we had it. I believe the total inches of snow that Bentonville got was 24 inches. If you look at the pictures below, you can see that we barely have any patio furniture. Our front yard was about the same way. Our shrubs in our flower bed were covered as well. Matt and I have spent the day doing little work. I have made valentine cake pops and made sugar cookies with royal icing. I have even had a morning with Macie. I have posts for all of these so just come back later and you will see those. Let's get back to the snow and Apollo who just loves it.

Shoveling is SO over rated. Why not use our commercial grade leaf blower. Ha. Redneck style.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Going Green

I bet you never knew that going green could taste so good! I found this Key Lime Cupcake recipe on a blog called Buttercream. The lady that runs Buttercream also does some awesome themed parties. She made this cupcake for a summer Luau they were throwing. You should see the pictures of what else she made. MMmmmmmm. BUT I stole her cupcake recipe.

You will need a box of Lime Jello and a box of Betty Crocker Super Moist Lemon cake mix.

Dump in the cake mix and Jello mix (dry) into the mixer. Mix for 30 seconds until combined.
Then add:
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup Key Lime juice
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2-3 drops of green food coloring
Mix and then fill liners 2/3 the way full. Bake on 350 for 17-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

While in the oven, make the cream cheese frosting.

Here is what you need:
1 stick unsalted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
4 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla extract


Put the icing into a decorating bag and choose your tip.

Pipe frosting onto cupcakes and then sprinkle with crushed Graham Crackers.


With all of this cold weather and snow we have been having, I needed something that would make me feel warmer. Key Lime makes me think of the Florida Keys which makes me think of summer time and the warmth of the sun. Just the cupcake by itself was amazing. The smell was delish but the taste...mmmmm. Then I tried one with the frosting and boy of boy. It was hard to explain. Almost a cross between Key Lime pie and cheese cake. So wonderful, light. and tasty, and EASY to make. Thanks you Buttercream for the idea!