Monday, April 25, 2011

A Day Late...

Well, I am a day late and a dollar short, but these chicks are too fun to leave until next Easter.  So simple too, a Nutter Butter dipped in yellow Candy Melts with mini chocolate chip eyes and orange piping gel beaks...perfect.  When dipped in white chocolate with chocolate chip eyes, these make fantastic ghosts at Halloween.

Nutter Butter Chicks
Melt Candy Melts according to the directions.  Dip Nutter Butter's into the Candy Melts.  Place on wax paper to dry.  While cookies are still wet, place two chocolate chips for eyes.  Allow to dry for a few hours.  Once dry, using the orange piping gel, pipe a triangle "beak" below the eyes.  Enjoy!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Drywall dust

When I was a kid, my family remodeled the house.  Completely gutted and redid everything.  Of all the cleanup involved in gutting a house, the one thing that my mother always hated the drywall dust.  The thin layer of white powder that coated everything, requiring twice the cleaning because it managed to hang on despite the copious amounts of soap and water.

Making Wilton buttercream icing reminds me of the drywall dust that would be the bane of my mother's existence.  No matter how careful I am, or whether or not I use the guard on the mixer, the powdered sugar always manages to poof all over my kitchen.  I always have to scrub everything twice, because the powdered sugar is so sticky.  But it's worth it.  That extra sweet buttercream is so tasty!

I made this cake for my friend's mom's surprise birthday party.  Buttercream flowers and gumpaste butterflies.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Coconut Cupcakes

I had a special request a few weeks ago at project night for coconut cake. Since I had a few other projects going on at the same time, I ended up making coconut cupcakes instead.  There are so many coconut cake recipes out there that only have coconut frosting, but I was looking for a nicely flavored coconut cake.  I mean really, can you call it a coconut cake if it is just sprinkled with coconut on the outside?  This recipe I found from Martha Stewart, combines both shredded coconut and coconut milk for an amazing coconut flavor without being overwhelming.  Her recommendation is to make a seven minute frosting, but I have always been told that kind of frosting needs to be eaten the same day and I was looking for something that could easily sit overnight.  I chose a cream cheese frosting, using coconut water for a bit of coconut flavor instead of just plain water.

I tried to be ambitious and make my own fresh coconut curls, but I ran out of time.  These cupcakes are topped with store bought, sweetened shredded coconut.  If I were to make them again, I think I would like to try and make some cute pineapple flowers for the top.

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 teaspoons coconut water (or coconut milk) (you may need more or less depending on the consistency you are looking for)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (you can use coconut extract here for extra punch, I don't have any)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Birthday Cake for Foster

I was lucky to be able to make my little cousin Foster's first birthday cake.  The theme of his party was farm animals, so I made a chocolate barn cake with a vanilla cake yard.  I covered the chocolate cake with red fondant and make a roof from brownie bites.  My grass and hair tip came in handy for this cake.  I made a little cow, pony and chicken out of marshmallow fondant.  His smash cake was funfetti with a marshmallow fondant sheep on top.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Daring Baker's March-Meringue Yeasted Coffee Cake

The March 2011 Daring Baker’sChallenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s aFeast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeastedMeringue Coffee Cake.

This coffee cake is absolutely fantastic and super easy to make.  I have never make a coffee cake with meringue on the inside.  The pastry is light and fluffy and the filling rich and nutty.  It goes great with a hot bitter cup of coffee.  I had to make a few changes in the recipe based on my pantry ingredients.  I swapped instant yeast for the active dried yeast and 2 percent milk for whole.

For the yeast coffee cake dough:
4 cups all purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons yeast
¾ cup 2 percent milk
¼ cup water
½ cup unsalted butter
2 large eggs at room temperature

Heat the water, milk, and butter together over medium heat.  Remove from heat when the butter is melted.  Mix together 1 cup flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.  Pour warm mixture over the flour/sugar mixture.  Stir together.  Add eggs in one at a time and stir together.  Gradually add in the remaining flour until the dough is tacky but not sticky.  Knead until fully developed.  I kneaded in my KA mixer for about 5-6 minutes.  Allow to raise for 45-60 minutes or until the dough is about doubled.

For the meringue:
3 large egg whites at room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup sugar

Beat the egg whites until frothy.  Add sugar slowly, one tablespoon at a time.  Beat until stiff peaks form.  Add the vanilla and beat to combine.

For the filling:
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

After the dough is done with its first raise, divide in half and roll each half into a rectangle (I did this on the baking sheet that I was going to use to bake the coffee cake)  Spread the meringue filling onto the dough.  Sprinkle the nut and chocolate filling mixture onto the meringue.  Roll up like a jelly roll and turn dough into a circle.  Pinch together the ends of the dough.  Take a sharp knife and cut small slashes every 6 inches or so into the sides of the ring.  Cover with a clean towel and allow to raise another 45-60 minutes.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Take your egg yolks left over from the meringue and beat until foamy.  Brush egg yolks over the top of the coffee cake ring.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

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