Monday, November 21, 2011

T'is the Season of Baking

Christmas is just around the corner...and most of you know what that means. It's time to up the amount of baking going on in my house. Yes, indeed. What good is snow if you can't look at its beauty while sipping on some hot tea and nibbling at a yummy cookie? Exactly, no good at all. The snow is gorgeous! And I love all the Christmas lights going up...but more than all of that, I love standing in my kitchen looking out the window while smelling cookies baking in the oven.

And what kind of cookie is the most Christmasy? Well, a basic sugar cookie of course! The pure white dough and sweet vanilla smell is the definition of Christmas baking. Now, you could argue that something like meringues or peppernuts or shortbread or gingerbread is more Christmas-like, but for me it is a definite win for sugar cookies.

Call me boring, I don't care. Sugar cookies with Royal Icing are theee way to go. Not only at Christmas, but anytime of the year. So easy, yet so delicious at the same time! And the possibilities for decorating are just endless!! Endless, I tell you, with no end.

So to combine my two latest loves of life, colored sugar and cookies with writing. I present to you! My cookies decorated with writing and colored sugar! taadaa!

So the last cookies in this set got a bit messy...but that's alright. I'm still happy with it. Because what good would living and loving be without laughing? It would be therefore, I have included the "laugh" cookie!

These ones were decorated by my friend Amber and exchange student, Brenda! It's so simple but it looks super awesome! Alls I did was outline the cookie, flood it with pour royal icing and then let it harden overnight. The next day, it was just like drawing on a piece of paper! I love my new Wilton Food Markers! I would highly suggest getting some, they're sweet!


And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
                                               -1st Corinthians 13:13

Well....that's all the pictures I got of these cookies. Apparently they're a hot commodity in my house! Haha, not complaining or anything, I do enjoy when peope enjoy my baking.

I hope you're all enjoying the snow and the frigid weather!
Happy Winter to you!
-Sydney <3

Friday, November 18, 2011

Peanut Butter meet Chocolate meet Cupcake

Reece`s Peanut butter cups are theee best food. No matter what anyone of you say to disagree. It`s not my opinion, it`s a fact. Peanut butter and chocolate are just magical. Something happened when peanut butter was invented and now the world is just a better place. And even better than that, when some genius put peanut butter and chocolate together....the world became magical, almost enchanted.

BUT! Just wait, there`s more. One step closer to pure enchantment. Cupcakes with peanut butter and chocolate! Yes, folks, I said that. Such a blessed thing really does exist.

Oh yes, and peanut brittle. A Peanut butter cupcake would just not be complete without peanut brittle. Well, truth be told...I hate peanut brittle. I think it`s gross and disgusting. But I do like how it looks!

So now that we are clear on just how magical these cupcakes are, here is the recipe!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes!
  • 3 ounces chopped chocolate
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
*Pre-heat oven to 350F and line some cupcake tins
*Melt chocolate and cream in a double boiler (or a small pot inside a bigger pot filled with water) until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool
*Mix flour, almonds, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
*Beat butter and sugar until creamy
*Add eggs one at a time.
*Beat in the chocolate mixture and dry ingredients.
*Divide into cupcake tins and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Peanut Brittle
*Well, there is a recipe for this but I didn`t follow it...But i shall explain what I did.
*In a small pot, melt white sugar (about 1/2 cup) until it browns. Make sure the heat is low so the sugar does not burn
*Add some peanuts, I used chopped but whole would work aswell. You don`t want to add too many or it will become t0o thick. But use enough so when you break it there will be peanuts in all the pieces
*Pour the caramalized mixutre onto a lined cookie sheet and let set for about 20 minutes or until hard
*Break into pieces and use to decorate cupcakes.

I just used a chocolate butter cream to ice my cupcakes, but you could use whatever you want.

And there you go, a small piece of magic...that you can create! So help make this world a better place: bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes


Monday, November 07, 2011

The Chocolate Chip Cookie; Remix

Remember when you were a kid and chocolate chip cookies were the best food ever? ....Well maybe that wasn't just when you were a kid. But my point is: Chocolate Chip Cookies are irreplaceable.

And just because I find it totally necessary, I will share some awesome baby pictures of my sister and I.
Chelsea's 1st Birthday
My 2nd Birthday
How cute, right? Well the point was not to show-off how we were as kids, but more to demonstrate that chocolate chip cookies are all the rage, even 17 years ago.

My mom is clearly a professional giant chocolate chip cookie maker, and me..well I'm just an amateur. But nonetheless....I am extremely pleased with my very first cookie pizza. This idea came from the Pillsbury website:  the Jingle Bell Cookie Pizza.

But don't be fooled! I may be an amateur cookie pizza maker...but I'm not new enough to fall for their advertising ploy. Who pays money for pre-made cookie dough? Okay, wait. I admit to doing it a few times....when I really just want to eat the dough and not make cookies. But that's a whole different story not for this post.

BUT! I'm getting distracted. Sorry. This pizza was so simple to make and apparently tasted really good! I, however missed a chance to eat any of it. In hindsight I should have cut a piece for myself before giving it away.... darn it.

Taadaa! It was so easy, I made it into a four-step recipe...It's like a picture book, except not really. But kind of, in a way. AnyWHO, I'm getting distracted again.

So basically, you make a regular chocolate chip cookie recipe and spread the dough on a pizza pan (1), leaving an inch or so around the edges for expansion. After it's fully baked, about 20ish minutes, sprinkle the top with mini marshmellows and smarties(2). Put it back in the oven for a minute or two until the marshmellows start to puff up(3). Finally, drizzle with chocolate (or caramel) sauce(4). Now the key thing is to let it cool off before trying to move it...unless you want a disaster in your kitchen. So let it sit on the pan for atleast on hour before transfering it to a serving dish.

See? Super easy...and yummy!

Good bye, chocolate chip cookie lovers <3

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Sweet & Salty? Chocolate & Bacon!

Bacon: n - meat from the back and sides of a pig, dried, salted, and usually smoked.

Chocolate: n - a preparation of the seeds of cacao, roasted, husked, and ground, often sweetened and flavored, as with vanilla.

Cupcake: n - a small cake, the size of an individual portion, baked in a cup-shaped mold.

Alright, now imagine all three of the aforementioned words combined into one. Bacon Chocolate Cupcakes. Yes, you read that correctly. Bacon in a cupcake. Unbelievable, right?

Now they may appear to be regular chocolate cupcakes but they most definitely are not! Inside are small, minuscule bits of bacon coated in pure milk chocolate. It sounds a bit gross, I know. I was a sceptic at first, but it's unfair to judge a cupcake by it's name. You must try these before you frown at the sound of it. Do it (In a voice from Starsky and Hutch). I promise you won't regret it.

I'm pretty sure you still don't believe me that this is a good combination, but I shall share the recipe anyways. With hope that at least one brave person will try it out.

Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes:
          12 slices of bacon
          1 cup unsalted butter
          1/2 cup cocoa powder
          3/4 cups water
          2 cups sugar
          2 Eggs
          1/2 cup buttermilk
          2 tablespoons Vanilla
          2 cups flour
          1/2 teaspoon baking soda
          1 teaspoon baking powder
          1/4 teaspoon salt
          1 cup chocolate chips

*Fry the you would normally fry bacon
*Let the bacon cool down and cut it into tiny bit-sized pieces
*Melt the chocolate (microwave or on the stove, whatever suits you), once it's melted add the bacon bits to the chocolate and mix until combined.
*Spread the chocolate bacon mixture onto a wax paper-covered cookie sheet and place in the freezer.

*pre-Heat your oven to 350F
*Melt butter in a pot over low heat, whisk in cocoa powder and add water
*In a bowl, mix the sugar, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla together
* Pour in the cocoa mixture, stirring until smooth
*Remove the cookie sheet from the freezer and break the chocolate into small pieces, adding half to the batter
*Bake for 20-ish minutes, until fully baked

Chocolate Frosting
          1/2 cup unsalted butter
          2/3 cups cocoa powder
          3 cups icing sugar
          1/3 cups milk
          1 teaspoon vanilla

*Melt butter in pot over low heat, stir in the cocoa,. Remove from heat
*Alternate between adding the icing sugar and milk
*Add the vanilla, and if you want a thinner consistency add more milk

*Spread or pipe onto cupcakes and sprinkle with the left-over bacon chocolate chips.

And there you have it! A bizarre, yet delicious cupcake that will surprise your a most satisfying way :)

Still not convinced? Make it. Right now. Do it.

Well, that is all I have for you tonight.
Take care y'all,
Sydney <3