Archive | November, 2011

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

27 Nov

Christmas time is here! As cliche as it is, I really think this is the most wonderful time of the year. People are generally in a better mood, and you get to shop for gifts for your friends and family. Fun times. 🙂 At my house, we’ve had some of our Christmas decorations up for weeks. But….to many people the day after Thanksgiving represents the “official” beginning of the Christmas season. So today I’m showing you my first Christmas dessert of the year! 😀 I didn’t take any pictures while I was in the process of making this cake. I was way too focused on getting the fondant figures finished to bother picking up a camera. Even without stopping to take pictures between rolling out fondant and mixing in food coloring, it took 7 HOURS to finish this cake! Wow. It was very fun, but I was glad to be finished when it was all over and done with. So I only  have pictures of the final product to show you, and here it is! 😀

Random Thought of the Day: The recipe for the taste-alike Samoa cookies was NOT as great as I thought it would be. 😦 They weren’t terrible cookies, but I wasn’t very impressed. But someone told me that Keebler sells a cookie that is a lot like Samoa’s. They’re called “Coconut Dreams” and I was told they are the next best thing (for the rest of the year when Girl Scouts aren’t available!). Anyone ever tried them?

Up Next: Not sure. Probably something else Christmas. 🙂 I may not be making a post next week because I’ll be out of town for my sister’s baby shower! But I’ll be back after that and I’ll be making something else for the holidays. 🙂

 

Key Lie Cake Pops!

20 Nov

I’ve had many people tell me they really like the key lime cake recipe I posted back in May. You can find the recipe for the cake and the icing here, from allrecipes.com.  This weekend, I made this yummy cake recipe into pops for the first time. 🙂 Winning combination. 🙂
I made these for a girl’s birthday party. Of course like all other cake pops, the process starts with baking the cake and then crumbling it up into a bowl.

Then you’ll need to add just enough of the icing to make the cake slightly gooey. You won’t even come close to using the entire amount of icing that the recipe makes. In fact, you don’t even need to make the full batch unless you want to use it for something other than these cake pops. A half batch of it will be more than enough. I didn’t measure exactly how much icing I used, but I’d say somewhere between 1/2 and 3/4 of a cup. Always add the icing in small amounts until you’ve mixed in enough. Roll this mixture into balls and put in the freezer to harden a little.

After you’ve attached lollipop sticks with a little melted white chocolate bark, put them back into the freezer for about 15 more minutes. These need to be firm enough to stay on the stick when you dip them. I used white chocolate bark this time, but I think the milk chocolate bark would also be really good. After dipping them in the coating you can leave as  is, or dress them up a little. I added purple sparkles to these because it is one of the birthday girl’s favorite colors. 🙂 If you do want to add sprinkles be sure to do it right after they are dipped, before the coating dries.

It occured to me after I made these that this would be a good recipe to use when making Christmas tree cakepops. The inside would be green when you bite into it. I think my first graders would like that.

Now here’s the warning I must give about cake pops. I’ve never had an entire batch turn out perfectly. There are always just a few that turn into what I like to call: Cake Pop Casualties.


This happens when the cake pop falls off of its lollipop stick when being dipped into the chocolate. Or sometimes right after it’s been dipped. Of course you must never, ever bring one of these casualties to a birthday girl. It is COMPLETELY RUDE. So the only solution is to eat all of the casualties quickly to avoid leaving any evidence that some of the pops didn’t quite make it. Now that I think about it, these casualties might be the best part about making cakepops. Of course I would never turn some of them into casualties on purpose. 😉 Just throwing that out there.

Next Up: A Christmas creation! Also coming soon, a copy cat recipe for Samoa Girl Scout Cookies. Yuuuuum. Can’t wait to try them.

Random Thought of the Day: In only TWO short days, my husband and I will find out if we are having a boy or a girl!!!!! Leave a comment to make a prediction about what you think we will have. 😀

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

13 Nov

What do I love the most about chocolate chip cookies? It’s really hard to say. It might be that the original, classic chocolate chip cookie makes just about anyone smile. It’s pretty much a fail proof, go-to kind of dessert. But another thing I love is the endless variations. It’s always fun to put a twist on the classic and see where that takes you. A couple of my favorite are cookie bars (which have the flavor of chocolate chip cookies, but more of a brownie-like texture) and pillow cookies (chocolate chip cookies with a brownie piece baked in side).

The really fun thing is that no matter how many recipes you have to put a spin on the chocolate chip cookie, you can always use another one. 🙂 My limit of chocolate chip-type recipes is always one more than my current total. So today I bring you the dark chocolate chip cookie recipe that I found through Bakerella. *As Christmas time gets closer, I think I should add “Meet Bakerella” to my list. I’m certain Santa could make this happen. After all, he probably enjoys all of her cookie recipes as much as I do.*

As with many cookie recipes, the process is pretty simple. Make a flour mixture and a butter/sugar mixture…..and then add them together. This flour mixture also contains baking soda, salt, and cocoa. A wire whisk in the middle of a pile of flour and cocoa is a beautiful site, if you ask me. 🙂

The second mixture is creamed right into the mixing bowl: butter, sugar, and a touch of peanut butter. Then also mix in the eggs and vanilla.

All that’s left to do is combine the two mixtures together…..

…and add the chocolate chips. DARK chocolate chips. Seriously, if that sight alone doesn’t make you want to try this recipe, you can just stop reading this post now. Because it’s probably a lost cause for you and these cookies.

These only have to bake for 10-12 minutes. They don’t expand much, so you can fit quite a few on each baking sheet.

The recipe says to let them cool completely on a wire rack. This is completely optional. They can also be eaten right off of the cookie sheet after only cooling for a couple of minutes (just long enough to not scald your tongue). In fact, it gives you just enough time to pour a nice cold glass of milk. Then go ahead and try the first few cookies while nice and warm. The whole cooling-on-the-rack thing can just be thrown out the window. 😀

Up Next: A new flavor of cake pops. 🙂

Random Thought of the Day: Thanksgiving break means an entire week off from work. And it’s only one measly, little week away. As much as I do enjoy my job (on most days, anyways) this really makes me happy. 😀

Pecan Pie Cupcakes

6 Nov

As I sat down to write this post, I tried to remember where it was that I first heard of Pecan Pie Cupcakes. Honestly, I  have no idea. But I thought they sounded like something I should try. 🙂 The weird thing is that I’m not even a fan of pecan pie. At all. But it sounded like an interesting recipe idea…and Thanksgiving is just around the corner…so I felt that it was something I just HAD to attempt.

I found this recipe online from Taste of the South magazine. I figured if anyone knew how to make something taste like pecan pie, it was probably someone from the South, right? The full recipe can be found here. For some reason making cupcakes from scratch always makes me smile. 🙂 Of course with recipes like this one, you need to start laying out ingredients quite a while before you’re ready to bake. The butter, milk, and eggs all need to come to room temperature first. The pecans also should be toasted before you mix them into the batter.

*Note to self: Pecans are the most expensive ingredient. When “tossing” them in butter to toast them, try not to spill half of them on the floor. No actual tossing is required.

Of course it starts with the usual: sifting of the flour, baking powder, and salt. Then you cream together butter and brown sugar. Yum. 🙂 Then the eggs, flour mixture, and vanilla go in. Once you get the pecans folded in, it looks something like this:

They come out of the oven with a simply gorgeous golden brown color. I was actually surprised at how good they smelled, too. I was thinking I may not like these cupcakes since they are modeled after pecan pie. But smelling them right after taking them out of the oven was quickly changing my mind.

While they were baking, I started working on the icing. Most icing recipes that I use don’t require cooking anything on the stove top, but this one did. For some odd reason, that also sounded promising. I have no idea why boiling brown sugar, water, and salt gave me the idea that this icing would be fantastic. That’s just how my mind works, I guess. 🙂

It’s such a small amount to boil that I actually read back over the directions again to make sure I’d measured correctly. Since there is so little of it all, be careful not to burn it! Butter gets added in, along with powdered sugar and a little milk. Very creamy. 🙂 The smell in my kitchen was started to remind me of butter pecan ice cream.

The recipe from the magazine includes directions for an adorable garnish. But it required baking just enough  pie crust to decorate the top of the cupcakes. I wasn’t buying into that. The extra pecan pieces would work just fine. I did drizzle some melted chocolate over the icing though. I wasn’t about to skip that step. 🙂

My mother in law was the first to taste test this new recipe for me. She said it’s one of the best cupcakes she’s ever had! So I think this will go right into my recipe binder for Thanksgiving time. 🙂 I honestly am unsure about naming them Pecan Pie cupcakes though. Not so sure what makes them like pie, but I think Butter Pecan Cupcakes would be a good name for them. Does this flavor sound like something you’d like to try?

Up Next: Maybe mini pies. (Just not pecan). How cute are those things?

Random Thought of the Day: When do you start putting up Christmas decorations? My husband is outside right now putting up lights. 😀 I love his enthusiasm for this time of the year. 🙂