Showing posts with label Holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holidays. Show all posts

Monday, February 10, 2014

Frosted Sugar Cookies for Valentines Day

A while ago a frosted sugar cookie recipe was bouncing around on the internet. I try really hard to give a recipe a shot before I modify it but I'm kind of particular about how I make my cookies. I baked them as is and then a couple more times with my modifications. This is now a tried and true, man, woman, and child approved recipe around here. These cookies are easy to make, cute, and totally happy. The frosting has a little tang from the sour cream and perfectly compliments the slightly sandy yet tender cookie texture.

I added one drop of red food coloring to the frosting to make it the lightest pink. With that, a giant red heart sprinkle from the local cake store, and some edible glitter, these were the cutest little valentines cookies- without the painstaking piping that I love but can't work up the will to do most days. I served these to a crowd of men and not one of them whined about the color (and most clamored for more). These would be so easy to modify- add some extracts to the cookies or frosting to change up the flavors. I might have to make a green minty version for St. Patrick's Day!

Frosted Sugar Cookies aka Swig Cookies
from Anne Strawberry

1 cup Butter (plain shortening is fine, I do this for my dairy free husband sometimes although butter is best)
3/4 cup Canola Oil (or whatever oil you prefer)
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
2 tablespoons Milk or Cream (whatever you have on hand)
2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Kosher salt (for table salt use 1/2 teaspoon)
5 cups Flour (as needed- start with 4 1/2)
2 tablespoons Sugar, for flattening the cookies

Cream together the butter, oil, and sugars. Mix in milk, cream, and vanilla until smooth and incorporated. Add dry ingredients and mix gently- adding flour as needed. The texture should be soft but not too wet, just like snickerdoodle or chocolate chip cookie dough. Be careful not to overmix the cookies once the dry ingredients are added or the cookies will be tough. Scoop the cookies onto the cookie sheet with a stainless steel cookie scoop onto a Silpat or parchment lined cookie sheet. Smoosh the cookies down a little bit using a flat bottomed glass or measuring cup dipped in water then sugar (this is optional but will leave a little sugary crust on top and some cute ruffled edges). Bake at 350 for about 8 minutes until the edges barely start to brown. Don't overbake- these will get a little harder as they cool. Frost with sour cream frosting using a butter knife or offset spatula. These will keep at room temperature for a couple days, tightly covered.

Sour Cream Frosting
1/2 cup Butter, softened (one stick)
1/2 cup Sour Cream

2 tablespoons Milk, as needed
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

dash of salt
6 cups of powdered sugar (more or less to achieve desired consistency, this is a baseline)
1 Tablespoon meringue powder (optional but very helpful! you can find this in the cake decorating section at Walmart, Michaels, or Joann's. Or on Amazon of course. It lasts forever and really improves the texture of your frosting.)

 

In a mixer with the whisk attachment, combine the butter and sour cream until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla and salt, and blend.
Next, add the powdered sugar and meringue powder, cover the bowl of the mixer with a dish towel, and turn it on low until everything is combined. Then increase the speed for a minute or so until the frosting is light, fluffy, and delicious. The meringue powder will help set the frosting after it dries so it holds its shape.
If the icing is to dry, add a little more sour cream or some milk.

Variation:
Add 1 T. Lemon or orange zest and substitute juice for the milk to make a tangy citrus frosting
. Alternately, you can flavor with mint extract or almond extract. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Homemade York Peppermint Patties

{printable recipe here}
I'm always fascinated when I make something at home that I previous thought you could only buy from the store. Some things will just never be worth the investment but it's really satisfying to make something with my own two hands, to see everything that goes into it and feel like I am blessing my family (even if my son whines that he has to eat fresh, homemade wheat bread- poor kid). These homemade peppermint patties were a revelation- yummy, easy, even fun to make. And you had better believe giving someone a homemade peppermint patty makes them feel like a million bucks (they will want more than one, though, I promise!)

Besides the satisfaction of making these yourself, you can customize the size, decorations and flavoring. Next time I make these I will make them itty bitty with my smallest cookie scoop. I finally bought a package of 'chocolate dipping tools' (only a couple dollars at Michael's but I think this nice set from Ateco should be in my kitchen soon) and I am confident that will make these even more fun to make. Give them a try for St. Patrick's Day and let me know what you think! You can see more process photos here.

PS Still need St. Patrick's Day ideas? Everyone's favorite chocolate mint brownies are simple and delicious (and you can freeze the extras for later!)


Homemade York Peppermint Patties
from Anne Strawberry
{printable recipe here}
recipe adapted from Sweet Savory Life



Makes 32 patties (note- I would make these half size next time, to yield about 60- use a tiny cookie scoop to get quick and uniform results)

Ingredients:

1 can of condensed milk
5 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted (yes, I skipped that step)
1 tablespoon peppermint extract
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips (milk or white chocolate would be great, too, but I liked the depth of the semisweet contrasting with the sweet filling inside)
3 tablespoons shortening
3-5 drops green food coloring (optional- but I added this for St. Patrick's Day)

Directions:

Add condensed milk, 2 cups of powdered sugar, and peppermint extract to a large mixing bowl. Mix everything on medium speed using the paddle attachment until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Add more powdered sugar, a half cup at a time, until the dough is pliable like firm modeling clay.

Note-  at this point, I kneaded the dough by hand for a couple minutes to get it extra nice and well mixed.

Roll 3/4″ balls of dough between the palms of the hands (I used a small cookie scoop for this step with less than a tablespoon of dough- the smaller patties look neater and are better portions I think). Press each ball down slowly and set the flattened disk on a flat cutting board or plate. Transfer peppermint disks to the freezer for no longer than 30 minutes. While the dough is chilling, temper the chocolate coating.

Place chocolate chips in a microwavable bowl. Melt the chocolate in 30 second increments, making sure to stir after each time until chocolate is smooth. Stir in shortening to thin the chocolate. Remove patties from the freezer.

Place a patty on the tongs of the fork and dip in the chocolate until completely covered. Allow excess chocolate to drip off the patty before setting each one on top of wax or parchment paper. Allow the chocolate coated peppermint patties to completely set up. This can be done quicker by placing the patties in the refrigerator. The peppermint patties are ready when they are dry to the touch. Enjoy!

Note- I melted some candy melts and drizzled them over the top for the finishing touch. After they set, package them up in cellophane bags, tie with a ribbon, and enjoy your easy, delicious, homemade treat!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Red Velvet Cupcakes

 
With red as a favorite color (and pink a close second) I would be remiss if I didn't post anything for Valentine's. My blog reader has exploded with red velvet desserts- cakes, brownies, cookies, even pancakes, and while red velvet is a personal favorite over here (since I chose it for our wedding) I'm still not sure about all the varieties. I love a good red velvet cupcake and every time I make these I get the same comment- "I don't like red velvet cake because it's usually so bitter, but these are amazing!" I've posted my box recipe before and know some people don't like it but the fact of the matter is these cupcakes are delicious and easy and with sick kids and busy schedules, that's just about perfect for me. 

I made these cupcakes last Valentine's for a friend's wedding and I don't think I ever got to posting them. They turned out really cute and fun- I used a million different pink and red Valentine's cupcake wrappers from my collection (I always pick up a few packs on Valentine's clearance- red is a neutral around here and good for everything and I never regret buying these!)

I frost my cupcakes using a large plastic decorating bag (mine is from Ateco) and tip that I picked up at our local cake decorating store, ABC Cake Decorating in Phoenix. So far my biggest problem with them is that I want everything in their store (Edible glitter? Another decorating tip? A few more cookie cutters? Cupcake wrappers? More Americolor gel coloring? How did I just spend $50 and not even buy a cake pan?) They are awesome and I really recommend dropping by their store. You can also buy most of that stuff on Amazon and it's a bit of an initial investment but totally worth it. My $7 piping bag has literally frosted 1000's of cupcakes and it's so much faster than applying the frosting with a knife (not to mention the aesthetics!) Form meets function? Sign me up!

PS This kit looks like a good place to start if you are new to piping cupcakes- my bag is a little bigger but I think this could do a great job and would be easy to learn with.

 
What are you making for your Valentine this week? A tried a true recipe or something new? I've pinned a million recipes to try and am slowly getting there, one recipe at a time. I tried the homemade heart oreos floating around the internet last night and they didn't turn out quite as expected (I think my dough was a little soft for some reason?) Follow up post soon I hope. They were certainly delicious (I made mine chocolate) and need to be shipped out of my house asap.


Red Velvet Cupcakes
from Anne Strawberry
{printable recipe here}
1 cup sour cream (reduced fat is fine)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 ounce red food coloring (one small bottle- I buy mine in bulk at Smart and Final)
1 box German chocolate cake mix (I recommend Betty Crocker)

Preheat the oven to 350.

Combine all ingredients in stand mixer and beat for two minutes until combined. Using a 2-tablespoon scoop, scoop into 24 paper-cup lined muffin tins.

Bake for 21-24 minutes or until cupcakes spring back slightly when touched and a tooth pick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool on racks and frost once completely cooled.

Cream Cheese Frosting

from Anne Strawberry
1 package of cream cheese, softened (I like to use Neufchatel, less fat and I don't notice much difference)
1/2 cup butter, softened (one stick)
2 Tablespoons milk
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or the seeds of one vanilla pod, scraped
dash of salt
6 cups of powdered sugar (more or less to achieve desired consistency, this is a baseline)
1 Tablespoon meringue powder

In a mixer with the whisk attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add in the milk, vanilla, and salt, and blend.

Next, add the powdered sugar and meringue powder, cover the bowl of the mixer with a dish towel, and turn it on low until everything is combined. Then increase the speed for a minute or so until the frosting is light, fluffy, and delicious. The meringue powder will help set the frosting after it dries so it holds its shape.

Variation:
Add 1 T. Lemon or orange zest and substitute juice for the milk to make a tangy citrus frosting 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Valentine's Cupcakes, Brownies, and Sugar Cookies

My blog and I have missed the schedule (albeit, a loose one) that TWD provided. It's busy around here (Baby Strawberry is potty training!) and while I haven't posted much my kitchen has been bustling! I had a baby shower for my girlfriend who is having her first girl (after three boys!) any day now. Pink was a priority and a valentine's theme made it easy (considering all of my serving dishes are red!) These treats are all pretty simple and have a big wow factor with the amazing flavors and little details. I've posted the red velvet cupcakes and mint brownies before- though I've never made the mint brownies pink, that was a new one!  

Red Velvet Cupcakes (they're from a mix, but I promise no one will know)

The cookies (L's in honor of the baby) are Natalie's signature recipe. I'm no decorator but I've improved with her tips. Natalie uses a Wilton Squeeze bottle to pipe the outsides of the cookies (like drawing, nothing to stressful) and then uses another with thinned icing to 'flood' or fill the middle. In-a-hurry-not-so-steady-hands-Anne doesn't do them justice but they were yummy and cute (especially with the edible glitter, I love that stuff!) The best part about the cookies is you can bake off extras and freeze them to decorate and serve another time, all the end product without the stress. Natalie's recipe is pretty full proof- if I can do it- and you don't have fuss much with the dough. She doesn't chill hers, though I do normally, and they come out great every time. Sugar cookies take a lot more practice than cupcakes but the practice is enjoyable and delicious, worth the effort I think!

Note- I used Martha Stewart Alphabet Cookies Cutters I found at Macy's (similar to these here) that have been surprisingly practical- even adult are vain about their names! Smaller, thinner shapes will take less cooking time- watch them carefully!)


Natalie’s Sugar Cookies
from Anne Strawberry
1 cup butter or Crisco (Natalie uses the butter flavored kind, I usually use about 2/3 butter and 1/3 regular shortening)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup sour cream
5-6 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
 
Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, vanilla, and sour cream and beat. Add dry ingredients, being careful not to over mix. Reserve some flour for the counter and dump the almost mixed dough out and shape it as you would pie dough. Divide into two disks, chill for 15 minutes, then roll to ½ inch thickness and cut as desired. Bake at 400 for 8-12 minutes (depending on size of cookies).

Natalie’s Signature Almond Frosting
*note- Natalie uses almond extract and her frosting is so good but I usually sub in vanilla since my tall man is not so adventurous!)
⅓ cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon almond extract
1-2 tablespoons milk

Blend butter and sugar. Stir in vanilla and milk- beat until smooth. Flavor and color as desired. Use plastic condiment bottles to pipe icing onto cookies (thin with milk or warm in microwave to flood centers).

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Chex Mix Neighbor Gifts


Have you made your neighbor gifts yet? Growing up my mom always gave out boxes of white chocolate covered oreos but I haven't gotten into a groove of my own yet. We usually make cookies or something easy to do with the kids. I was really excited when MyBlogSpark contacted me about doing a Check Party Mix-Change as a fresh take on a cookie exchange. Our group made three kinds of Chex Mix from the recipes provided in the party kit and Chex.com (they have a crazy huge list!)
 
Chex Caramel Chocolate Drizzles- I added Chocolate Cheerios and Dried Cherries (yummy!)


Then we drizzled on a bunch of chocolate for added deliciousness (can you tell this one was my favorite?)

 My Tall Man's favorite- half of the Chex is covered in white chocolate, the other in peanut butter chips, tossed together with Reese's Pieces and Cashews (that I should have toasted- but remember, it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful delicious and this went fast anyways!)


Last but now least- Muddy Buddies. I've never made this before but after I read the recipe I had a little Joey from Friends moment (remember with Rachel's Shepherd's Pie Trifle?) Chocolate? Good. Peanut butter? Good. Powdered Sugar? Good. No wonder I've always liked this stuff.

We loved making these different varieties of Chex Mix together and it was a fast, fun, and delicious activity- no stress, hardly any mess, and something for everyone. I have a gift pack to giveaway to one reader courtesy of MyBlogSpark. The winner will recieve a $20 giftcard to buy ingredients and decorations to go with the 2 boxes of Chex Mix cereal, recipes, and takeout containers to share your treats in. To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment letting me know your favorite Christmas neighbor gift to give (or receive!) US Residents only and giveaway will be open until Saturday night.

"Disclosure: The Chex Party Mix-Change product, information, and giveaway have been provided by Chex through MyBlogSpark."Opinions are my own.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! It's really snuck up on me again (I think I say that every year) but we are so excited to have time with family, enjoy the beautiful weather and some of our favorite traditions. This year I'm in charge of bringing the rolls and pie. I'm going to make our favorite easy dinner rolls and try a new-sure-to-be-favorite, Homemade Raspberry Honey Butter. Janet's blog is beyond lovely and you can see her similar roll recipe with careful and gorgeous photos to walk you through the cresent-roll making process if you are a little nervous.

A nice buttery homemade apple pie is my favorite Thanksgiving dessert and you can see my favorite (shown above) here as well as a lot of other pie recipes in my archives. As I told the women at Church at our pie class last month, when it comes to pie, all those great ingredients thrown together with ice cream on top- how bad can that be? I'm going to make our pies today and throw them in the freezer so Turkey Day is as stress free as possible.

Don't miss David Lebovitz's great stress-free baking tips here- there's something for everyone. Have a very happy Thanksgiving- I am so thankful for each of you that stops to say hi or lets me know that one of my recipes made someone feel special! Hugs!

Good for Almost Everything Pie Dough
adapted from Dorie Greenspan

Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks very cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
3/8 cup very cold (frozen is even better) Crisco (plain, not butter flavored), cut into 4 pieces
About 1/2 cup ice water

Put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade; pulse just to combine the ingredients. Drop in the butter and shortening and pulse only until the butter and shortening are cut into the flour. Don't overdo the mixing—what you're aiming for is to have pieces the size of fat green peas and others the size of barley.

Pulsing the machine on and off, add 3 tablespoons of the water—add a little water and pulse once; add some more water and pulse again; and keep going that way. Then use a few long pulses to get the water into the flour. If after a dozen or so pulses, the dough doesn't look evenly moistened or form soft curds, pulse in as much of the remaining water, or even a few drops more, to get a dough that will stick together when pinched. If you've got big pieces of butter, that's fine. The dough is ready and should be scraped out of the work bowl and on to a smooth work surface. (be careful not too add too much water- if the dough looks dry after adding most of the water, pinch it with your hands to check if it's coming together, and finish combining it by hand)

Shape the dough into a disk and wrap it. Refrigerate the dough at least 1 hour before rolling. The dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Fourth!


Fresh Berry Pie (add Blueberry this time around)

Dorie Greenspan's Apple Pie (with a to die for crust)




I hope you're having a great start to the holiday weekend! We are going to have a little 'staycation' ourselves and I'm super excited. Strawberries are $0.77/pound again at Sprouts and the Fourth of the July is the perfect excuse to make any of these bright and festive desserts. We don't have any big traditions besides seeing a movie and going swimming, but I'm thinking I should get working on that (and strawberries should really be involved, or peaches, or maybe watermelon? I love that part of summer!) Do you have any awesome Fourth of July traditions? Speak up!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Deviled Eggs

Hope you had a nice Easter weekend! We had great company, awesome food, even perfect weather! I colored eggs with the kids and my light tile miraculously made it out alright, even if Baby Strawberry sported a bright blue hand for a few days. Only after we finished did someone tell me they always do their eggs outside, why didn't I think of that? They turned out pretty well even though I couldn't find the actual dye kit anywhere (some hot water, a little vinegar, and a squirt of my gel food coloring worked awesome- except the fuchsia came out a little crazy). My little man was so proud of the beautiful eggs and a not too happy that I wanted to mess with them, but deviled eggs were calling. I've never made them before so I scoped out a basic recipe from Rachael Ray. They turned out great (and looked pretty cute cut with my crinkle cutter, thanks for the tip Paula!)

Anne Strawberry Made Deviled Eggs For the First Time
{printable recipe here}
recipe adapted from Rachael Ray

12 large eggs
Ice water
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons mustard
1 pinch cayenne pepper
Salt and black pepper
Paprika, for dusting

In a large pot, arrange the eggs in a single layer and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover and remove from the heat; let stand for 10 minutes. Drain, then cover the eggs with ice water. Let stand until cool to the touch.

Peel the eggs, halve lengthwise and scoop the yolks into a medium bowl, reserving the egg whites. Mash the yolks with the mayonnaise, mustard and cayenne; season with salt and black pepper. Spoon the yolk mixture into the egg white halves and dust with paprika.

Friday, April 22, 2011

By the Book Friday- Parmesan Asparagus for Easter

{printable recipe here}
Can you believe Easter weekend is here? It's snuck up on me again. We are going to have our standard menu- ham (Costco style), potatoes, homemade rolls, and Parmesan asparagus or green beans (whichever is on sale, is that awful?) I usually make something fruity for dessert, like Lemon Curd Cheesecake. This week I tried out a Cherry Pineapple Cobbler thanks to Lucky Leaf Pie Filling. I will post that delicious recipe later today (crossing my fingers!)

The recipe that inspired today's By the Book Friday Post comes from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Family Style. It's no secret that I have a big crush on Ina and she really can't do any wrong in my eyes. I'll admit that I didn't follow the recipe exactly, as she roasts the asparagus and my oven was full at the time (oh, to have a double oven!) So instead, I blanched the asparagus by cooking them for two or three minutes in boiling water, then stopping the cooking by covering them with ice water. Then I crisped them up in a hot skillet with a little butter and olive oil and added the rest of the flavors in Ina's recipe- kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, generous Parmesan cheese, and lemon juice. It just takes a couple minutes and the final product is really fragrant and delicious (even my little man ate these up). And like I said, you can use fresh green beans instead- either makes a delicious spring dinner side dish.

Do you have any Easter favorites that you make every year? I hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend!

Parmesan Asparagus with Lemon from Anne Strawberry
{printable recipe here}
adapted from Ina Garten

2 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus (about 30 large)
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 lemons cut in wedges, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. (note- I blanked them instead, so I boiled a large pan of water to begin).

If the stalks of the asparagus are thick, peel the bottom 1/2 of each. Lay them in a single layer on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and return to the oven for another minute. Serve with lemon wedges.

Variation: Instead of roasting in the oven, I blanched the asparagus for three minutes in salted boiling water. Next, submerge the asparagus in ice water to 'shock' it. Transfer to a skillet warmed over medium high with a couple tablespoons of olive oil or butter and brown for just one or two minutes. Then season and garnish as above, with salt, pepper, sliced Parmesan cheese, and the juice of half a lemon. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

St. Patrick's Mint Brownies

St. Patricks Mint Brownies{printable recipe here}
My favorite frozen yogurt place has St. Patrick's Mint yogurt once a year. It's minty and delicious and tastes as great as 31 Flavors Mint Chocolate Chip, almost. The rest of the time, I remember it and order the peanut butter instead. These classic mint brownies, now dubbed St. Patrick's Mint Brownies in the froyo's honor, blow the delicious, hard to find frozen yogurt out of the water. I start with my favorite brownie mix (or recipe, whatever, but I usually use Betty Crocker Supreme, the kind with the extra chocolate chunks). While they bake, make a simple frosting with mint extract and green food coloring to your liking. Spread melted chocolate and butter on top, chill, and serve. They taste even better cold (is that possible?) Or warm? Either way, I think they are perfect for any holiday. I haven't made a fresh batch yet for tomorrow (Baby Strawberry has a double ear infection so survival is pretty much all that's cooking here!)

A quick note- these would taste amazing right out of the pan, but they look prettiest if you lift the whole thing out, slice the edges, and cut into pieces. I use my big chef's knife. If the brownies are nice and cold and the knife is a little wet they'll turn out a lot prettier than mine did (but we all know patience isn't my forte!)

There's a lot more mint deliciousness around here if you need more ideas for St. Patrick's Day:

St. Patricks Mint Brownies 
St Patrick's Mint Brownies (aka BYU Brownies)
{printable recipe here}
from Anne Strawberry
adapted from Linda Buchanan

One 9 x 13 pan of Brownies, cooked and cooled (I like to line the pan with foil or parchment before I grease it, then I can lift them right out after they cool. Peel off the foil for a nice, neat sheet of chocolate deliciousness).

Mint Frosting:
1/2 Cup Softened Butter
2 Cups Powdered Sugar
2 Tablespoons Milk
1 Teaspoon Pure Peppermint Extract
Green Food Coloring

Cream butter with 1/2 the powdered sugar until well incorporated. Add the remaining sugar and milk until desired consistency is reached (it should be light and nice and spread-able). Add extract and coloring to taste. Spread over cooled brownies and refrigerate.

Chocolate Topping:
1 Cup Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
6 Tablespoons Butter

Make a double boiler but setting a heat proof bowl over an inch or so of simmering water. Slowly melt the butter and chocolate, making sure to remove from heat just before the chocolate is completely melted. Stir until smooth and pour over cooled, frosted brownies. Place in freeze until firm and cut into small pieces.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cranberry Lime Galette & a Giveaway

Cranberry Lime Galette
It's Tuesday and today I have a quick and delicious cran-apple galette. I don't think most people know what a galette is, but it's actually just an open-faced pie. I think it might even be easier than a pie because there's no need to put a pretty crust on top or crimp (I know that bugs some people). Just roll out the dough, put the filling in the center, and fold over the edges. Bake and enjoy. Dorie's pie crust is absolutely amazing- buttery, easy, and delicious. This lime and cranberry combo is new to me but it's really fun and tangy- just make sure you use enough sugar to compensate for the tart, fresh cranberries.

Now for the giveaway. I'm sure you've heard about CSN Stores in the blog world before- where you can buy anything from a suitcase to a rice cooker (that's what I just bought from them this weekend- I'll let you know how I like it once it's here!). This time around I have a $75 store credit to CSN Stores (for US or Canada residents only). Just leave a comment and let me know what your favorite type of pie is- I'll leave the giveaway open until Friday at midnight. I love apple pie (so I put extra in this galette of course). Whatever pie you make for thanksgiving, I would try Dorie's amazing dough and her tip to put a little bit of graham or bread crumbs on the bottom to soak up juice- it makes all the difference.

Good for Almost Everything Pie Dough
adapted from Dorie Greenspan

Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks very cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
3/8 cup very cold (frozen is even better) Crisco (plain, not butter flavored), cut into 4 pieces
About 1/2 cup ice water

Put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade; pulse just to combine the ingredients. Drop in the butter and shortening and pulse only until the butter and shortening are cut into the flour. Don't overdo the mixing—what you're aiming for is to have pieces the size of fat green peas and others the size of barley.

Pulsing the machine on and off, add 3 tablespoons of the water—add a little water and pulse once; add some more water and pulse again; and keep going that way. Then use a few long pulses to get the water into the flour. If after a dozen or so pulses, the dough doesn't look evenly moistened or form soft curds, pulse in as much of the remaining water, or even a few drops more, to get a dough that will stick together when pinched. If you've got big pieces of butter, that's fine. The dough is ready and should be scraped out of the work bowl and on to a smooth work surface. (be careful not too add too much water- if the dough looks dry after adding most of the water, pinch it with your hands to check if it's coming together, and finish combining it by hand)

Shape the dough into a disk and wrap it. Refrigerate the dough at least 1 hour before rolling. The dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween Orange and Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes{Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes- printable recipe here}
{Vanilla Bean Filled Cupcakes- printable recipe here}
Today my son had his first big Halloween party at his cute preschool. He dressed up as a pirate and was so excited- even down to his little drawn on goatee! His teacher asked for volunteers helping in the class room and bringing cupcakes and other treats. I wasn't chosen to make the cupcakes (oh the rejection!) but got to come be a "mom helper" instead. The kids were so cute and excited about every single thing that I'm sure they would have eaten cupcakes made out of dirt as long as they included brightly colored toppings. That said, either of these happy cupcakes would have been perfect for the party! Instead, the vanilla bean cupcakes were destined to go to my husband's work event, where they were happily devoured by a bunch of lawyers. Honestly, the little Disney-clad preschoolers couldn't have appreciated the pastry cream filled vanilla bean cupcakes as much as they adults. I'll save the Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes (in their brightly colored glory) for the littles! Have a safe and happy Halloween, surely filled with candy, costumes, and baked goods!

Halloween Vanilla Bean CupcakesAnne Strawberry's Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
{printable recipe here}
1 cup sour cream (reduced fat is fine)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
seeds scraped from one vanilla bean
1 box betty crocker french vanilla cake mix

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Place atop a baking sheet and set aside.

Combine all ingredients in stand mixer and beat for two minutes until well combined. Using a 2-tablespoon scoop, scoop into muffin tins.

Bake for 21-24 minutes or until cupcakes spring back slightly when touched and a tooth pick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool on racks and frost once completely cooled.


Anne Strawberry's Favorite Frosting

1/2 cup butter, softened (one stick)
1 package of cream cheese, softened (I like to use Neufchatel, less fat and I don't notice much difference)

2 Tablespoons milk
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or the seeds of one vanilla pod, scraped
dash of salt
6 cups of powdered sugar (more or less to achieve desired consistency, this is a baseline)
1 Tablespoon meringue powder

In a mixer with the whisk attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add in the milk, vanilla, and salt, and blend.

Next, add the powdered sugar and meringue powder, cover the bowl of the mixer with a dish towel, and turn it on low until everything is combined. Then increase the speed for a minute or so until the frosting is light, fluffy, and delicious. The meringue powder will help set the frosting after it dries so it holds its shape.

Variation:
Add 1 T. Lemon or orange zest and substitute juice for the milk to make a tangy citrus frosting

For the filling:
Anne Strawberry's Slightly Lightened Pastry Cream
After the cupcakes have cooled, fit a pastry bag with a long, medium tip. Fill with cooled pastry cream and squeeze one or two tablespoons into the center of each cupcake, filling until the top of the cupcake starts to bulge slightly. Frost and decorate the cupcakes and serve.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bastille Day

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(I snapped this pic of la Tour Eiffel two years ago. I think I'm going to make a big print for my bathroom)

Did you know today is Bastille Day? I love the French language, the country, the art, and French food of course (my car allegiance lies with Germany, though, I'll be honest). So, we celebrate French independence day every year. My husband used to laugh but after a few years he figured out I'm serious about this tradition so now he just enjoys the food and helps me clean the kitchen. Most of the recipes came from my beloved Ina (the Barefoot Contessa). I invited my "Frenchie" friends (only people that lived in France/speak French/etc- there's just not room in my house for everyone unfortunately) and they were so nice to bring appetizers, drinks (Orangina!), and more. I realized that I only have 12 sets of silverware and not enough serving spoons. Live and learn. Last year we had kids running around every where so we had a "sans enfants" policy (except for the little tiny ones). It was much smoother this year and I think that will be a permanent rule for Bastille Day!

PhotobucketFirst we had delicious Salmon Mousse made by my beautiful friend Naomi (she's the one in the front left on the pictures below) and Brie and crackers. Yum.

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Next was a spring mixed salad with a traditional vinaigrette, beets, walnuts, and goat cheese topped baguette. I love goat cheese anything. Quinton touched up the dressing with some thyme and it was delicious. He even made the croutons and did all the work for me while I ran around the kitchen like a crazy person trying to get everything ready.

PhotobucketFor our main course I made (with much help from my mom, in the chopping, shopping, and baby sitting areas particularly) Boeuf Bourguignon using Ina's recipe. It was touch and go for a while and I was very grateful it turned out. We ate it over French bread and I wish I had more for leftovers tomorrow.

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I planned to make a berry tart, one of my very favorite desserts, but when I flipped through looking for the pastry cream recipe I caught my eye on this tart. I loved it last time and it didn't let me down tonight, either. I even used 1/2 white whole wheat flour in the crust and you couldn't tell the difference.

PhotobucketSince I'd already bought berries, I served those with my Coeur a la Creme. I made some strawberry coulis and oh wow, I remembered how much I love that stuff! I used Ina's recipe for the coeur and it made enough to fill my mold and make another, so I just used my collander. It sets over night and tastes like the freshest, more delicious dairy you've ever had. It reminds me of no bake cheesecake, ice cream, and whipped cream all tangled up for a great treat. You buy a mold on Amazon and it's a really fun addition to the kitchen (although far from necessary, it makes me happy everytime I use it! They also have minis!)


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I also made crunchy Palmiers to balance out the creamy Coeur- just sugar and puff pastry. The only downside is that they require a very hot oven in my already hot house! They do make my husband very happy, though, so I am going to try to remember to make these more often.

PhotobucketEveryone is too busy eating to properly look at the camera. I even outsourced lots of the picture taking to Kristi when I remembered at all. We were busy and I'm pretty sure everyone ate. I guess that makes this Bastille Day a success!

Anne's New Favorite French Vinaigrette
inspired by Emeril's

2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 onion, grated
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a screw top jar and shake to combine. Serve over spring mix or other greens and enjoy! This dressing will keep in the fridge for a few weeks.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes in a Jar for the 4th

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Happy Fourth everyone! We are spending the weekend with family- it's going to be crazy and fun. We had a BBQ last night with my family and I made these Red Velvet Cupcakes for dessert. I saw these Cupcakes in a Jar a few months ago and couldn't wait to try them out. We had to laugh because the women saw right away that they were cupcakes, just the trifle version. As for my Dad, I asked him if he wanted a regular cupcake or one of these, and he picked this, saying, "I don't want a cupcake, yuck." So we thought we could trick him into eating one of these if we didn't tell him what it was (you do that too, right?) It worked for a minute until he realized it was still a cupcake! These were really cute, though, and simple to make. Just bake a cupcake without a liner and cut it in half after it cools. Layer up cupcakes, frosting, and topping until you like it.

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Because my tall man can't have chocolate, I made a "Lemon Velvet" cupcake. I know it's not at all true to form but it tasted great. Basically, I made my regular doctored cake mix red velvet style, but I used a lemon cake instead. I topped them with blueberries for color and because lemon blueberry is one of my favorite combos. A light, lemony cream cheese frosting on top sealed the deal. Give these a try next time you want to serve cake. Even if the guys didn't care, the presentation really went well with the women! Happy fourth of July- be safe and enjoy it!

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Quick Red Velvet Cupcakes Recipe
My Favorite Frosting Recipe

Monday, April 5, 2010

Quiche (for your leftover ham)

(old picture, sorry! i'll be cooking again soon i hope!)

I hope everyone enjoyed Easter! We had a ham (from Costco, of course) and all the regular, delicious food. It was fun but I felt pretty guilty since my enormous cast keeps me from chopping or washing pretty much anything. My mom was a good sport though and we had a great weekend and tons of ham leftover, too. My two favorite things to make with the extra ham are quiche and refried beans. I throw a piece of the ham into my crockpot with the pinto beans and they come out SO delicious. Really. I don't even "refry" them. For more info on the quiche and pie crust see the original post here and give the pinto beans a try- they're cheap and easy (even easy enough for one handed me!)


Don't forget today's the last day to enter the Giveaway!


Basic Quiche
by LaNell Strobot
*use whatever meat, cheese, and veggies you like- this is a flexible recipe!*

2 Eggs
1/2 Cup of Mayonnaise (no Miracle Whip)
1/2 Cup of Milk
1 Tbsp Cornstarch

1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/2 Cup Shredded Swiss Cheese
1/3 Cup Sliced Green Onion
1 Cup Cubed Ham (I used sliced deli ham in the photo, whatever you have on hand works)

1 9 inch Pie Crust, blind baked for about 15 minutes

Blend eggs, mayo, milk, and starch with a fork in a medium bowl. Once all ingredients are smooth and combined, add the cheese, onion, and ham. Stir to combine and pour into crust.

Baked at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes until the filling starts to firm and brown a little.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

TWD- White Chocolate Gingerbread

I'll admit that this weeks Tuesdays with Dorie choice, Fresh Ginger and Chocolate Gingerbread, found me less than excited. Naturally, the photo in the book is gorgeous and the ingredients sound delicious. However, I'm not too big of a ginger girl, and my husband can't have chocolate. So, I subbed in white chocolate chips in the cake and in the frosting and only used the fresh and powdered ginger. I loved how the flavors came together- like my favorite gingersnap recipe.

We're also, like everyone else, trying to eat healthier at the start of the year. So, I used white whole wheat flour I just got from King Arthur to make the cake "feel" a little healthier. You can't taste the difference and with the color of the spices, I think I'll just use regular whole wheat next time. I think my testers are being desensitized to that wheat-y flavor (mwa hahaha!)

Since my pan was smaller than Dorie specified, I also made six mini bundts in my cathedral pan I just reclaimed from storage (can you believe I've had it almost three years and never used it?) I drizzled a thinned white chocolate ganache on top for a quick finishing touch.

We loved this cake- I couldn't get enough of the texture, it was perfect (even though I accidentally added the dry ingredients all in before I realized I'd forgotten to put in the liquid in alternating batches! My mom said it was like a "good spice cake" (uh, thanks mom?) and my brother couldn't stop asking who that was going to and if he could have more. I think he's getting used to having the food photographed and doled out, poor guy. Thanks Heather for the fun choice- everyone loved it! (Don't forget to stop by for the recipe on her blog!)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Sugar Cookies

Merry Christmas everyone! I've been neglecting my blog and will spare you any excuses. However, I have been baking a lot (big surprise) for the holidays. We like to decorate sugar cookies with our families every Christmas and had a nice time together last night. I made Dorie's sugar cookies again but this time I added more vanilla, rolled them a little thicker, and baked them a little less. My husband said he liked the crunchier ones, and I much preferred this batch. Funny how we are all different. Either way, these were easy and delicious. The dough is irresistable, too. That's my definition of a good cookie, even if rolling the dough and cutting the shapes is less than fun for me. I do love the end results, though.
Every year we have some fun cookies. Last year we had some weird fall themed snowmen after I got out some fall sprinkles on accident (never again!) My mom made these cute little guys. I love that they have collared shirts, haha.

I'm making 100 red velvet cupcakes for the family Christmas party tomorrow (my mom has a really big family...) and can't wait to decorate them with my enormous new frosting tips (I even sprang for the 16 inch bag, wow!) Kristi and I are going to try to decorate them together tomorrow while the kiddies play. Wish us luck!

Soft Sugar Cookies
adapted from Baking by Dorie Greenspan
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons (10 tablespooons) softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat for a minute. Reduce speed to low and add flour slowly, being careful not to over-beat. Divide the dough into half and shape into two disks. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least two hours.

Preheat the over to 350. Line two baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment. Roll out dough onto lightly floured surface to about 3/8 or 1/2 inch thickness and cut cookies out with cutters. Bake for 8 minutes for soft cookies, 10 for crisp. Remove from oven, place onto cooling racks, and frost after cooled.

LaNell's Icing
My mom is always a little more generous with the butter than I am. She made the frosting this year and it was delicious as usual.

1 stick softened butter
1 bag powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3-4 tablespoons milk

Beat butter in mixer until soft. Add about 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time until encorporated. Add vanilla and milk until desired consistency is reached.