Monday, August 30, 2010

Hello from Kansas City!!

Hey there! The hubs and I are in Kansas City celebrating our 2 year anniversary! (Which really isn't until September 7th.) We came up early so we could go see She&Him, one of my absolute favorite bands! Great anniversary present! Well, just wanted to stop by and give you a sneak peek of our trip so far. More pictures to come later!


Friday, August 20, 2010

No-Bake Cookies

These are one of my absolute favorite cookies. They are sooo yummy and easy to make!

No-Bake Cookies

2 cups sugar
3 tblsp. cocoa
1 stick butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups quick oats

Roll out tinfoil or parchment paper to cover 2 cookie sheets. Set aside.
Mix sugar, cocoa, butter and milk to medium saucepan and bring to full boil for 1 minute. Take off heat and add peanut butter and vanilla, stir until pb is completely melted. Add oats and mix thoroughly. Drop onto cookie sheets with a cookie dough scoop or a spoon. Let cool and enjoy!

Apple pie pouches and an apple volcano!

Another week of Whipped has gone by. I'm going to be really sad when it's over. It's so much fun! It's really gotten me out of my blogging rut. I am hoping to start posting more than once a week! Anyway, this week's ingredients were red wine, apples and orange juice. Those 3 didn't seem to go together at all at first but then I found something! My Mom and I were looking through some recipe books and we came across apple dumplings, which is basically an apple, cored and peeled, wrapped in a biscuit and filled with a brown sugar mixture. Sounds good huh? Well, my Mom made 2 apple dumplings and I decided to make mine a little differently. I made a sort of apple pie pouch. I think it turned out a little better and definitely easier to eat. We topped them both with an orange glaze.

Apple Pie Pouches with Orange glaze

8 medium apples
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 can of biscuit dough

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Core and peel apples then dice into small pieces. Mix the brown sugar, butter, salt, cinnamon and lemon zest. Roll out half of the biscuits and put equal amounts of the apple pieces into the center of each rolled out biscuit. Top each pile of apples with equal amounts of the brown sugar mixture. Roll out the other biscuits and top each apple mixture with one and roll the edges of the two biscuits together. You can cut little marks into the top of each pouch like you would an apple pie if you like. It turns out pretty cute! Bake for 25 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown.

If you want to make the apple dumplings (aka apple volcanoes) like my Mom did, do the same thing except don't dice the apples just peel and core them. Wrap each apple in a rolled out biscuit and then fill the center with the brown sugar mixture.
Orange Glaze
adapted from Tyler Florence.

2 tblsp. unsalted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2 oranges, zested and juiced

Combine all ingredients and heat in saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken. If it isn't thickening then you can add more powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time. When it begins to thicken, remove from heat and stir until it is slightly cool. Drizzle on top of apple pouches and dumplings.

This week the hubs had something to say about our creations...
"Man, what a pastry!"

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ginger Cinnamon Cupcakes

It is week 2 of Whipped. This week's ingredients I had to choose from were ginger, strawberries and ham. HAM!!? Really?! Ham is the odd man out this week. I just couldn't figure out any way to incorporate it into a recipe! I came to my Mom's house this week to use her kitchen since we are still inbetween homes. Long story...maybe i'll explain it all later, it's a big crazy mess! Anyway, my Mom helped me this week. I love my Mom. She is the best. We've been talking all week about opening a cupcake shop. It really seems like it could work out, in a few years once I save up some money to be able to find a space to open one! It would be an absolute dream come true to open a cupcake bakery! We've even been brainstorming some name ideas...There are some pretty good ones. Let's hope it really happens. :)

Back to Whipped. We decided to go with the ginger and strawberries and make a ginger cinnamon cupcake with strawberry filling and homemade cream cheese frosting. Let me just say...YUM! They turned out awesome! I'd never really used ginger before and I had overexaggerated how spicy I thought it would be. It turned out to be a lot more mild in the cake than I thought. The recipe I used didn't call for cinnamon so we added some because it just seemed to be missing something. I got the idea for the strawberry filling from a magazine I was reading where they made strawberry shortcake cupcakes, they cut the tops of the cupcakes off and filled them with strawberrys and whipped cream. We played with it for a while and finally decided to just cut holes in the cupcakes instead of cutting the tops off to add the strawberry filling then just piped the cream cheese frosting on top and viola!, beautiful ginger cinnamon cupcakes!

Ginger Cinnamon Cupcakes with Strawberry filling and Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted from 101 Cookbooks

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger, optional
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

Prepare cupcake pan with liners
In a small bowl, mix together the flour, ginger, baking powder and salt. Stir in candied ginger, if using.
In a large bowl or mixer, beat together sugar and butter until combined and smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then, add flour mix and milk, alternating between the two.
Spoon batter into prepared liners. Bake for 23 to 28 minutes or until golden brown and tops of cupcakes spring back when lightly touched. Let cool completely then chill for about 30-45 minutes. Once chilled, cut holes out of the middle of the cupcakes only about halfway through each cake. Fill each cake with the strawberry filling (recipe below) and then pipe the frosting (recipe below) over the top of each cupcake then use the rest of the strawberries as garnish.

Strawberry Filling
8-10 strawberries
2 tbsp. sugar

Cut strawberries into very small pieces and stir in sugar.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Combine all ingredients and mix well until smooth. Makes a lot of frosting, so you'll definitely have enough for all the cupcakes.

My husband loved these cupcakes! He is loving this challenge since he gets yummy treats every single week! He is in heaven. Here's my sweetie...

Friday, August 6, 2010

Chocolate Toffee Rice Pudding

It is week 1 of the Whipped Challenge and the 3 random ingredients I had to work with were red onions, toffee and rice. I tried really hard to figure out a way to incorporate all 3 ingredients into a recipe but I just could not think of one thing! I finally decided to just leave out the red onions and go for the toffee and rice. I was a little worried about this recipe because I've never made rice pudding and the only pudding I've ever really made was from a box. So, this was a whole new experience. I searched and searched for the perfect rice pudding recipe and I finally decided to just make my own with the guidance of a few that I had found. For being the first time I've ever made my own recipe I think I did pretty good! This is a great recipe to use if you have leftover rice from the night before.

Chocolate Toffee Rice Pudding

3/4 cup uncooked rice

1 1/4 cup water

1 1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tbsp. butter

2 1/2 tbsp. cocoa

1 egg, beaten

1 tsp. corn starch mixed with 1 tbsp. water

1 cup toffee bits, plain or chocolate dipped, either one will work

Boil the 1 1/4 cup water and add the rice, cook until rice in tender. Or you can use leftover rice if you have some. If using leftover rice, you will need 1 1/2 cups of cooked rice.

In medium saucepan, add together rice, milk, sugar, vanilla, butter, cocoa, egg, corn starch mixture, and 1/2 cup of toffee bits. Set at a low/medium heat and bring to a boil stirring frequently to prevent a film from forming on the bottom of the saucepan. Simmer until mixture begins to thicken, this should take about 20-40 minutes. (It will thicken more as it stands once it is taken off of the heat.) Once it starts thickening, remove from heat and move to refridgerator to chill. You can press a piece of wax paper onto the top of the pudding before you put it into the refridgerator to prevent a film from forming over the top. Once chilled, serve with the rest of the toffee bits sprinkled on top.

I got inspired by the book "Cooking From Above," in case you couldn't tell.
Note: Can also be served while warm, it is just a little more thin than if you chill it.

I did change the recipe a little from the way I made it. I started out adding all my ingredients into a double boiler which did not allow the mixture to thicken correctly. Once I transferred it to a saucepan and just boiled it normally it thickened up very quickly. This is why some of my pictures are of when I was using the double boiler. Don't worry though the saucepan works so much better and is ten times easier anyway.

I really enjoyed this recipe. It reminds me of chocolate gravy that my Mom makes a lot for breakfast with biscuits. It turned out very chocolatey and yummy. The only drawback I found was the texture, the rice adds a little bit of an odd texture to the smooth and creamy pudding. I would definitely make this again though, I think I can get over my texture weirdness. My husband loved it! He ate an entire bowl before it even had a chance to chill!

I can't wait until next week's ingredients!!


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Whipped Challenge

image source: Becoming Lola

The lovely Lola of Becoming Lola has started a baking challenge called Whipped. I am so very excited about it. Each week she uses a random recipe generator to give her 3 secret ingredients that each contestant can choose from to make a dish from. You can use 1 or 2 or even all 3 of the ingredients if you feel daring. The first week's ingredients are rice, red onions and toffee. I'm very excited to post my recipe I am making on here. I just wanted to introduce the challenge really quick. :)