Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Peanut Butter Cookie

As I was "Pinning" one day I came across a peanut butter cookie recipe that claimed it was soft and chewy, not crunchy. It was on createdby-diane.com found here. She definitely had my attention and I knew I had to try them. I knew that I was going to try them today, so all through my class at the gym this morning it is all I could think about. If that instructer only knew that while she was killing me with lunges I was thinking of cookies. You know what? I was so distracted with cookie thinking that the class flew by. I think I'm on to something here. I definitely work out so I can eat more cookies. It's justified, don't judge. 
These cookies did not dissapoint. So yummy! 
I decided to make it a little fun for spring with a flower cookie cutter. 

This is just the beginning of the peanut butter cookie recipe. Tune in later this week for another peanut butter goodie.

First the recipe.....
You will need:

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups flour

Beat butter, peanut butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs one an a time, then vanilla. Mix baking powder with flour, then add flour a cup at a time.

Pretty simple right!

Roll the dough into little balls

Press down a bit then press the flower cutter on top, but not all the way through. Unless you want it flower shaped of course.

You can leave it like this or press the cutter down again

Sprinkle on some sugar... Bake at 350 degrees for about 8-10 minutes

Simple and delicious!

Baking from my heart to your kitchen,

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pie

There is a "Little Lady" in the grocery store that never ceases to tempt me with her products. She just sits there with that smile on her face beckoning me to put her box of treats in my cart. She is worse than a girl scout. 
One such treat is the Oatmeal Creme Pie. But then! I saw a recipe to make them at home, I had to try it. Thanks Shelly from cookiesandcups.com! She doesn't know I exist, but I love her blog and recipes.
I must say, these are delicious! 

Here is what you will need:

For the cookie:
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp molasses
2 eggs
1 tsp kosher salt
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
2 tsp baking soda
3 Tbsp boiling water

For the filling:
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp unflavored gelatin (about 1 1/2 packets)
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup water (divided)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
8 oz vegetable shortening

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

I had some homemade Molasses... .oh yeah, that was getting added to the recipe!
Cream the molasses with the butter and sugars....
Add eggs and mix on medium until combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the salt, flour, and baking powder. Add to the creamed mixture. Add the cinnamon and oats. Mix well.

Then comes a not-so-normal cookie step

In a small dish, add the baking soda to the boiling water, it will make a little fizz like a science experiment. I searched around looking for why to do this step. The only thing logical thing I found whas that you want these cookies to flatten a bit so you need to release the "gas" in the soda. I wonder what would happen if you just added the soda? Maybe I will try that sometime.
Meanwhile, stir the mixture into the rest of the batter. Mix well.

The batter will look something like this

Very important to remember: First, line your cookie sheet with parchment.  Second, place them at least two inches apart, I did a rounded teaspoon. 
These cookies will flatten drastically.
Bake until the cookies are golden around the edges, mine took about 9 to 10 minutes.
The cookies will look slightly wet in the middle..just go by the color of the edge.
Let the cookies cool completely on the parchment lined baking sheet and carefully move to a wire rack.
The cookies will be soft and fragile, so be extra careful when moving them!They will be a bit fragile as well, so let them cool completely before removing to cooling rack.

I had to do some trial and error with the cookies. This is what they are supposed to look like. I cooked some too long, made some too big... sigh... all those scraps to eat. I managed to do it though.

Now let's talk about the filling.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/3 cup cold water.
Stir it together and let it stand about 5 minutes.

In a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together the granulated sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup hot water until well blended. Continuing to stir, raise the heat to high and bring to a full boil. Continue boiling for 30 seconds. Immediately remove from the heat. Stir in the gelatin mixture until it dissolves completely.
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the vanilla.
With your mixer on medium speed, beat for 20 seconds. Gradually raise the speed to high and beat until the mixture is stiffened, white, very fluffy, and cooled to barely warm, about 5 minutes.

Mine looked like this.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add your powdered sugar.
Add your shortening and beat until completely smooth.

The consistency is like a giant marshmallow, so plop or pipe onto the cooled cookie immediately or it will be harder to work with the longer it sets.

I tried to pipe it on but it was too gooey, so I plopped instead. Then I put the top cookie on and did a swirling motion to distribute the filling around.

They may not look as uniform and pretty and the store bought kind, but let me tell you, they taste Amazing.

I don't think that "Little Lady" will be tempting me anymore. 
It does take a litte more effort to make them homemade, but it is well worth it. I may tweak the filling a bit, maybe use marshmallow fluff somehow next time, but all in all, these are a keeper.

Baking from my heart to your kitchen,

Monday, February 20, 2012

Snow White Cake and Chocolate Buttercream

No matter how old a girl gets, she wants to be a princess.
I used to dream about being a Disneyland princess. Ok, I still do. I decided I could be Snow White. I already have the dark hair, so with enough makeup and a good bit of red lipstick, I could do it. Don't you snicker at me, you know you are thinking about which one you could be.

The point is, when I was asked to make a Snow White cake, I was thrilled. I didn't want to just make an ordinary one. I researched a bit and found an abstract version of the dress. I am all about the abstract and whimsical! 

Here it is:

Everything is edible except the cake topper. I love giving the kiddos have something they can play with after the cake is gone.

Let's talk about the inside of the cake.
The bottom is a Yellow Cake with Chocolate Fudge Buttercream.
The top is a Butter Cake with Oreo Buttercream
I want to spend some time talking about the Chocolate Fudge Buttercream. I love this stuff and it is fairly easy, because... .well... I cheat a little. You will thank me when you taste it.... trust me.

You will need:

1 cup butter
 1/2 cup shortening
 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
 4 cups confectioners' sugar
 4 tablespoons milk
 1 1/2 cup hot fudge topping
 2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Cream together the butter or margarine with the shortening.

Sift the cocoa with the confectioners' sugar and add to the creamed mixture.

Mix together adding 1 tablespoon at a time of milk to keep mixture smooth. Don't add more than 1/4 cup of milk. 

Now the secret ingredient.....

This stuff is great. Makes the buttercream smooth and fudgey.
Add the hot fudge topping and the vanilla extract. Blend until smooth and creamy.

Yummy... this is great on a plain yellow cake. If you want my favorite yellow cake recipe it is found here. I have tried quite a few and always come back to that one.

This cake is fit for a princess!

I covered and decorated this cake with MMF. I was in love with these butterflies, I wish I would have taken more pictures.... maybe next time. 
Here are some more views of the cake. If you have any questions, please oh please, Ask! I love to talk cake.

Baking from my heart to your kitchen,

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Homemade Marshmallows dipped in Chocolate

I am not completely done with Valentine's Day. My son has a post Valentine's party in his class tonight, so I get another chance to make some goodies.

When thinking about what kids would like, I knew I wanted to make marshmallows. My sons love those things. One of my favorite blogs, CookiesandCups, has a great tutorial on these. You can find it here. I will include the recipe and directions at the end, but if you want pictures of the process please refer to her great tutorial.
I will show you what I did with them.

Here they are just plain.

I used some melted dark and white chocolate and sprinkles.

Dip marshmallow in chocolate

Then roll in sprinkles.

Set out to dry. 

I also dipped some bite sized ones, these should be easier for the kiddos to pop in their mouth.

Yes, you could just go to the store, buy some Marshmallows and dip them, but where is the fun in that? 

Here is what you will need:

3 packages unflavored gelatin ~ I used Knox
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract ~ I used clear vanilla extract, so the marshmallows would be perfectly white
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and allow to sit while you make the syrup.

Meanwhile, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat. With the mixer on low speed slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin. Put the mixer on high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes.

Add the vanilla and mix a few minutes more.

Generously dust an 9 x 13-inch non-metal baking dish with confectioner’s  sugar. Or line with parchment paper and spray. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan, smooth the top and dust with more confectioner s' sugar

Allow to stand uncovered overnight until it dries out.

Turn the marshmallows onto a board and cut them in squares. dust them with more confectioners’ sugar. 

Slice and Enjoy!

Baking from my heart to your kitchen,

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Bark

Happy Valentine's Day!
Let me just share a tidbit of my day with you. Do you mind? I didn't think so.
It was decent weather today so I told my boys to go out back and play. It is a fenced yard so I let them play by themselves out there and I frequently check on them to make sure they are being kind to one another. On one "check" I didn't see them. Hmm? Maybe they are in the dirt and I can't see them, perfectly logical, they are boys after all. Nope. Then I catch a glimpse of an orange jacket OUTSIDE the fence. How did they get out? If you know anything about my boys, one is a runner. By that I mean, he will run out into the street and not look back. Of course I panicked. We don't live on a busy road, but they need to stay in the safety of the fence.
I ran to the front door, pushed my feet halfway into shoes and flew out the door.  I rounded the corner to go around back, I was slightly irritated mind you and not looking where I was going. Suddenly I lost my balance,  there was no recovery. My foot twisted and down I went. I tried to get up, but pain shot through my foot. As I lay in the dirt, I look up to see my boys through the bushes with the "oh no we are caught, but wait why she is laying on the ground" look in their eyes. I tell my son to run in the house and get Daddy. My husband comes out, I know he is trying not to laugh even though he will deny it, helps me up and rounds up the boys. I pathetically hobble in the house feeling a bit deflated. I am sure my neighbors are still laughing about it. 

You know what I had to do... bake of course. My husband said I should put my foot up and stay off it, but we all know that's not going to happen. I needed cookies and chocolate... stat! It is Valentine's Day, a day dedicated to eating chocolate or is it a day dedicated to love. ... However you feel about Valentine's day, an excuse to eat chocolate is always a good day.

If you need a pick me up, here is what you will need:

Chocolate chip cookie dough minus the chips
3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
(It was a new recipe and it didn't dissappoint)

Chocolate chips (I used white and dark)

I have your attention now, don't I.... it gets better

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Make the cookie dough and spread into a lined or greased pan.
A little trick: spread it as good as you can in pan then cook for 5 min, take out the pan and the warm dough will spread out for you alot easier. 
Bake for about 10-12 minutes

Pour chocolate chips over the warm cookie. I used about 2 cups.
I made two pans, one with dark chocolate chips.....

and one with white chocolate chips....
Put back in the oven for about 3 minutes to melt the chips.

Take out of the oven and spread the melted chips over the cookie.

Place the M&M's on top of the warm chocolate. 
Let cool, then I place in the fridge for about an hour to harden.

Then slice, they tend to break up when you slice them, like a bark rather than a bar. There you have it. Sit down and enjoy. I may just put my feet up now. Enjoy your day full of love!

Baking from my heart to your kitchen,

Friday, February 10, 2012

Two-tone cake

Recently I was in search of a unique cake to make a friend of mine for her birthday.  I love when I get to be creative. I searched some of my favorite "idea" sites and came across some cakes made by Aldoska, you can see her gallery here. I fell in love with her cakes. I had to try a version of my own.
I adore how sweet this cake looked and my friend was thrilled with it.

I will show you what I did.

Aw... so pretty.
First you will need to make a cake and frost it.
You will also need to make some marshmallow fondant. You can color it any color, but I obviously used red and pink. Just a side note, if your pink is too pink, like bubblegum pink, you can add a touch of ivory and it will mute it a bit. Best Trick Ever! Adding ivory to any color will mute it a bit.

Cover the whole cake white.
Then cut out half pink and cover. I swerved it a bit for effect, but you don't have to. Then cut out a few strips of red to line down the middle and around the bottom.

Ok, so I got carried away decorating that I didn't take any more picture of the swirl and flower making, but this is where you get creative and make it your own. If you need more help with the swirls or flowers just let me know and I will do them again with pictures.

Here is the other side. To make the smaller dots I used the top of one my larger piping tips, works like a charm. I hope you enjoyed looking at this cake as much as I enjoyed making it!

Baking from my heart to your kitchen,

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

Sometimes a person just needs a little sunshine in their day. Especially those days the rain clouds of life roll in and just pour on you. You don't understand it but you know God has His reasons.You have to stop and remind yourself that every day is a gift no matter how it turns out. So grab your umbrella and start singing in the rain. Oh and make some of these cookies. Serious sunshine for your mouth.
In the words of my nephew about these cookies, "I don't know why, I just have to keep eating these." It's the sunshine people.

Here is what you will need:
(Recipe from Melskitchencafe)

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, from about 1/2 lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheets with silpat liners, parchment or lightly coat with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, egg, lemon zest and juice and mix well, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the dry ingredients (except the powdered sugar) and mix until just combined.

Place the powdered sugar on a large plate or shallow pie dish. Roll tablespoon-size balls of dough in the powdered sugar to coat.

 Place on the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.

Bake the cookies for 9-11 minutes. The cookies will not be browned on the edges but they will have lost a bit of their shininess on top. Don’t overbake! Cool the cookies on a cooling rack and store in an airtight container or eat immediately.
I'm leaning toward the "eat immediately" option.

If you like lemon meringue pie, you will love these cookies.