Monday, October 20, 2014

Wicked Easy Garlic Toast


Ok, this is too too easy.  However, there is nothing like garlic bread to jazz up your weeknight dinner.  Simply take some bread, any bread will do, and toast it.  Then rub the warm toast with a peeled raw clove of garlic and then slather with salted butter.  Perfect weeknight garlic toast.  Basically zero effort.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Funday


Happy Sunday!  What are you all up to today?  Dave and I are headed downtown to try and find a place to live.  Hopefully we'll find something good.

My poor pony has managed to get himself an eye infection, so I have been lucky enough to get to go medicate him every night.  There is nothing like a horse barn on a crisp fall evening.  Everything is quiet, with just the sounds of all the horses munching their hay.

Here are some interesting things I read this week:

Apple Fritter Monkey Bread-need I say more?

The cutest pretzel broomsticks!

It's time to put our money where our mouth is.

And in case you missed it, here's what was here earlier this week:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mini Cupcakes

Delicious Sticky Buns

Don't forget, there is still time to enter my giveaway!

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Friday Giveaway!

We decided to sell our house and move into the city.  We are looking for a change of pace and quite a change it will be.  Consequently, I am going from a giant kitchen to probably a very tiny kitchen.

We got an offer a couple weeks ago that we accepted so it's go time in terms of packing up and cleaning out.  Which means good things for you.  I was cleaning out my cupboards and stumbled across 3 cake items still in the wrapper.  If I haven't used them in the last few years, I'm probably not going to use them.  But I thought, maybe, one of you guys could use them.

First item: some cute Valentine's cupcake picks



Next item: a cardboard circus themed cake stand with cake server.  I originally bought it for my nephew's first birthday but ended up making too big of a cake to be supported on the stand.



Finally: set of Wilton pillow pans.  I had lofty dreams of making Cinderella pillow cakes.  But, I never did.  Maybe one of you can now fulfill your own dreams of pillowy cakes.


This giveaway is going to run until next Friday.  One winner and open to U.S. Residents only.   Have a great weekend!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Mini Cupcakes



Yesterday, I committed two cardinal food  sins:

1. I went to the grocery store hungry.  I ran in for some milk and somehow ended up driving home with a big bag of Reese's cups



2. I used canned frosting for these cupcakes.  I KNOW!  But honestly, I was lazy and it was in my cupboard and sometimes, it's important to make life easier on yourself.



Forgive me?  You will once you realize how over the top delicious and incredibly easy these cupcakes are to make.  I got the cupcakes in the oven last night while I was waiting for the pasta water to boil.  Yeah.  Easy like that.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Mini Cupcakes

makes about 20 mini cupcakes

Cupcakes

  • 1 box Jiffy Yellow Cake Mix (this can sometimes be hard to find in the store.  You are more than welcome to use whatever yellow cake mix, just follow the directions on the back of the box)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 20 Reeses miniatures
Line a mini muffin tin with mini cupcake wrappers.  If you don't have mini cupcake wrappers-get some.  The Reese's are going to melt and then stick to the bottom of your pan an pull apart your cupcakes if you don't have cupcake wrappers.  You can buy them here and have them shipped right to your house.  Unwrap Reese's miniatures and place one into the bottom of each cupcake wrapper.

In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, water, and egg.  Scoop about 1 1/2 tablespoons cake batter overtop of the Reese's cup in the bottom of the mini cupcake tin.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.  Allow to cool completely and then frost.  Maybe try not to eat them all while they're cooling but be sure to sample at least one while they are warm.  They are pretty incredible even at this point.

Frosting

  • 1 can chocolate frosting
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
Stir together chocolate frosting and peanut butter.  The good news is the peanut butter thickens up the canned frosting making it easier to pipe.  Fill your piping bag.  I used a Wilton 4B tip.  (Pro tip: don't use a basic round tip with chocolate frosting or you run the risk of your frosting looking like poo).  Pipe swirls, stars, or whatever onto your cuppies.  Garnish with sprinkles, if you so desire.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Delicious Pecan Sticky Buns

pecan, cinnamon rolls, pecan rolls,

Let's see, what is the best way to make cinnamon rolls a little more unhealthy?  I know, add in more butter, more brown sugar, and some pecan.  But whoa baby, those things really snazz them up.  


So when you get a few extra minute, do yourself a favor and whip these babies up.  Then, sit down, take a load off, maybe make yourself some tea, and enjoy.


Pecan Sticky Buns

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk, scalded and then cooled
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups butter
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 1/2-4 cups all purpose flour
  • sugar and cinnamon to add to the inside of the dough
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1 cup brown sugar

Microwave 1/2 cup butter and milk.  Add water and eggs to the mixture and stir.  Feel the bowl, if it is only lukewarm, add the yeast.  Mix in the sugar, salt and flours, taking care to use the flour sparingly.  Knead for a few minutes and allow to rise until doubled.

Once the first proof is over, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Roll dough out into a rectangle.  Melt 1/4 cup butter.  Brush melted butter onto the dough.  Sprinkle the buttered dough generously with the cinnamon/sugar mixture.  I use a mixture that is a little heavier on the sugar than cinnamon, but my husband prefers it opposite.  Roll the dough up and slice into rolls of desired thickness.  Honestly, these rolls are best a bit on the thin side.  I have tried making them fat, but the ratio of dough to filling was not as tasty.

Line a 9 x 13 inch with parchment paper.  Melt final 1/2 cup butter and pour into bottom of pan.  Sprinkle brown sugar over the melted butter.  Sprinkle the pecans over top of the sugar.  Place the rolls on top of the sugar/butter mixture.  Cover and allow to raise for another hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Bake the rolls for 30 minutes or so until the rolls are baked through.  On a rimmed cookie sheet covered in aluminum foil, flip the buns over.  Now the gooey mixture is on top.  Enjoy!  They are especially good warm.

Friday, October 10, 2014

7 Things I Wish I'd Known When I first Started Baking and Decorating Cake


Baking and decorating cake is one of my favorite creative outlets.  It's the time where I get to smash my science brain and my artists brain together for one big sweet pile of deliciousness.  I have been baking and decorating cakes for 5-6 years now and have learned a lot along the way.  Here are some things I wish I had known from the beginning:

such an ugly cake
  • Don't Stress Out, You Will Make Ugly Cake-You will make a hundred ugly cakes.  Drop more icing on the floor than you can stand.  Your icing flowers will flop.  Your icing will turn out the wrong color.  Your writing will be shaky, off-center, and sometimes spelled wrong.  The cake will take a thousand times longer than anticipated and will never look like what you think it's going to.  Just remember two things: it's only cake and it can always be fixed.  This took me so long to realize.  I used to get so stressed out every time something wouldn't go according to plan and I lost the enjoyment of my art (and made my husband afraid to come in the kitchen).
Farm Cake
  • The Difference Between Parchment Paper and Wax Paper-You can bake on parchment paper, you cannot bake on wax paper.  You will have one hot mess on your hands if you forget this tidbit.  Use wax paper for candy making.
Fish Cake
  • Most People Prefer Cake Mix-When I first started making and decorating cakes, I felt a little bit like a fraud because I never made cake from scratch.  I slowly started to make cake from scratch and I was surprised by the reaction I got from family and friends.  They didn't like my scratch cake.  They wanted me to go back to making cake how I used to.  Which is from a cake mix.  Most people grow up eating cake made from cake mix and most bakeries make their cake that way too.  If you like to make your cake from scratch, more power to you.  But if, like me, you would rather spend time decorating instead of sifting flour, make your cake with cake mix and don't beat yourself up about it. Spend your time making your own frosting and creating a masterpiece.
Sock Monkey Cake Topper
  • Baker's Joy Is Your Friend-Always grease the pan.  Just do it.  You will be sad otherwise.  If you don't use Baker's Joy, grease your pan with butter or shortening and dust it with flour or line with parchment.  But for me personally, Baker's Joy has saved me tons of time and always works.

  • You Don't Need All The Gadgets-When I first started decorating cake, I thought that I needed every flower former, petal maker, cake pan and piping tip known to man.  As it turns out, I routinely use pretty much the same small set of tools for every cake.  Also, there is really quite a lot of shit out there that masquerades itself as cake decorating tools.  A basic set of piping tips, an offset spatula, an x-acto knife, and a turntable, along with a set of round and square cake pans will go a long way.  A really long way.  As for educating yourself, the internet is endless and this book is pretty sweet too.  I read it cover to cover at least once a year and learn something new each time.
Ruffle Cake
  • Set The Timer-this is one that I can never seem to get through my thick scull.  I cannot tell you how many burnt, overdone, dry and just plain ruined cakes and cupcakes I have made just because I haven't done the simple task of setting a timer.

work in progress

Measure Your Progress-take pictures.  Seriously.  It might seem silly, but it is so easy when you begin a new creative venture to feel like you are never making any progress.   So take a photo.  You will quickly realize that you are making more progress than you think.

The most important thing to remember, though, is to have fun.  Cake decorating is so much fun and no matter how things turn out, you usually have something pretty sweet.  For more on what I have leaned through trial, error, and a lot of reading, visit my tips and tricks page.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Dessert Nachos


I didn't really know what to call these.  I ended up on Dessert Nachos because you can pull them apart and each cracker is full of chocolaty, caramely, nutty goodness.  My sister, thought, nailed it.  She said they tasted like a combination between a turtle and a Heath bar.  This was literally one of the most delicious and easiest dessert I have ever made.


Look at that gooey goodness.  And total preparation takes less than 20 minutes.  Perfect, just perfect.

Dessert Nachos

adapted slightly from "Sugar Bitches"
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 43 club crackers
  • 1 bag chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped, toasted pecans
In a medium saucepan, melt butter and brown sugar together.  Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes.  

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Seriously, do it.  You will regret it otherwise.  So, like I was saying, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and then line the parchment paper with the club crackers.  Pour the boiling caramel over the crackers.  Bake at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes or until the crackers start floating.

To toast the pecans, spread them over their own rimmed baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 7-10 minutes or until pecans are fragrant.  Those little beasts will burn in a blink of an eye, so be careful.

Pull the pan out of the oven and immediately pour pecans and chocolate chips over the caramel.  Allow to cool and pull apart at the cracker lines.  Enjoy! 

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