Wednesday, May 29, 2013

wedding cake

Haven't posted in so long! There's so much going on... kids, work, running...life... but here's a cake I did over the weekend! Also posting most of my recent baking adventures to FB!





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Monday, January 21, 2013

butternut squash gnocchi

For about 3 weeks or so...this butternut squash sat on my counter.

Honestly, I tried to give it away. We ended up buying 2-- instead of the one that we needed-- for another recipe, and I am not really a huge fan of butternut.
What to do...?
I was scrolling through recipes when I found this one..
"Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Browned Butter and Fried Sage"
Whoa... browned butter and fried sage...and gnocchi?? Gnocchi is my favorite pasta. AND butter, well how can you go wrong with butter, right?
I wasn't 100% sold on the idea of butternut squash gnocchi..but boy was I WRONG! It turned out pretty tasty. The combination of the butternut, sage, the crispy bacon (excuse me I just drooled a little at the mention of the bacon) and a tad bit of nutmeg...YUM! All these ingredients mixed well together for a really delicous meal.
Try it out for yourself. I can't wait to switch this recipe up with sweet potato's!
 (pretty much my favorite vegetable of all time).
I found this recipe on Eat, Live, Run. Stop on over there to see what's going on... she has some really fabulous recipes.

**As for the gnocchi I added a few extra's to the recipe-- a little bacon..why not? And some nutmeg...a little trick from a friend.

**The gnocchi tasted best immediately after I made it. It's one of those recipes that you want to serve right away, not save to warm up for later (because the gnocchi can get a little hard if overcooked)..which is just fine with me (even if I tried this recipe at 10:30 in the morning!).. Let me just add, that, it did not taste bad...when warmed up...the gnocchi are just softer when they are used right after boiling :)

here's what ya need:
(Slightly adapted from Eat, Live, Run)
 1 large butternut squash
2 1/4 cups of flour (plus extra)
1/2 tsp of salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
3/4 stick of salted butter (I know, why not just add the entire stick?)
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
crumbled bacon (cooked until crispy)
6 fresh sage leaves
1 tablespoon of oil (to toast up the sage)
Freshly grated parm (go with the fresh..so  much better!)

Roasting the squash
preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and slice squash (take out seeds and goop) and roast on a baking sheet(Spray the baking sheet with cooking spray first) for about 30-40 minutes or until very tender. Remove and let cool.
Take cooled squash and puree in a blender or food processor. Put the puree in to a large bowl and add flour, egg, and salt. Mix.  Kneed, on a floured surface, until a dough forms.

Browned Butter:
Take the 3/4 of a stick of butter and brown in a  pan on low/medium heat. Swirl the pan so the butter doesn't burn. Then add the nutmeg.

Fried Sage:
In a small skillet add the olive oil and sage. Toast up until nice and crispy.

Boil water for gnocchi. While your water is getting ready, Take half of the dough and roll out into thin logs. Cut about 1 inch long pieces for the gnocchi. When you water is ready, add the gnocchi, be careful that they don't stick together and just until they float. Scoop out of pot and drain.
Next add your gnocchi to the brown butter, top with crumbled bacon, parm cheese and fried sage.
DELISH!!!



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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Peanut Butter Cookies with a chocolate kiss

Any treat made with the combination of peanut butter and chocolate is usually a huge hit with my husband and son. This recipe is from my mom. It's easy and delicious! A great recipe if you need a quick yummy treat...and it only has 3 ingredients! You probably have all of them in your kitchen right now!!
Here's what ya need:
18 oz of peanut butter (no, not the fat free or low fat kind--- the cookie won't hold together, I've tried it..it's a greasy mess- skippy works best)
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups of suger
Hershey kisses- around 48 (I can't believe that I'm writing this but...take them out of the foil -haha)

Preheat oven to 350
Mix peanut butter, eggs and sugar until ingredients are combined.
Make 1 inch balls and place on cookie sheet or stone. (I love my pizza stone, I think my cookies turn out best when I use it!) This recipe makes about 48 cookies (more or less).

Bake for about 12 minutes. Take out of oven and place a hershey kiss on each dough ball and push down. The dough will crack a little.
Then use a spatula to take off of the cookie sheet and place on a cooling rack :)

EASY!!! :)

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Monday, December 10, 2012

My favorite Royal Icing Recipe and Christmas Cookies

It's that time of year again...Time to get my christmas cookie list going. I think I may be a little behind! Slightly exhausted from last weeks house cookie adventure-- which I used  my cousin Jo's sugar cookie recipe and decorated with my favorite Royal Icing. It was a week long process...they turned out to be way more detailed than I had expected..but well worth the effort. I love a challenge!

Yesterday was a nice slow day of rest..and now it's time to get those christmas cookies started...
My mom passed on the tradition of making a million cookies for christmas and sharing them with friends. My sisters and I knew that once the recipes were out on the counter..the baking was about to begin and we had to stay out of the kitchen. We were allowed to help with one cookie..."Cousin Jo's" sugar cookies. That was pretty much all we were allowed to help with (besides the awesome job of polishing the silver, haha). When the plate of cookies- stacked high in rows- was set out on the kitchen table...we knew it was our time to get to work. We could invite friends to decorate trees, stars, reindeer, and gingerbread people (which as we got older were more anatomically correct than my mom had really wanted.--surprise!~.haha).
I remember every year at Christmas time our teachers couldn't wait to get their basket of cookies. My mom didn't send gifts...she sent a ridiculous amount of homemade cookies. We are not just talking about quick easy cookies, either. My mom went all out. Her cookies were and still are pretty darn amazing- chocolate dipped neopolitan cookies, greek cookies, rum balls... the list goes on forever!! My favorites are definitely the sugar cookies and a cookie called finska pinar. It's a crispy buttery finger length cookie dipped in a mixture of sugar, almonds and cinnamon. Then drizzled with melted chocolate. YUM
This year I'll be making those, plus a few others... definitely going with a caramel nut, some biscotti (another one of my favs), the greek cookies (buttery half moon shaped cookie with a walnut in the middle coated in powdered sugar), sugar cookies and few others that I'll post the recipes for.
What cookies are you baking this year???

If you are looking for an easy Royal Frosting Recipe... here's my favorite! (slightly adapted from sweetopia)  :)
1 bag of powdered sugar (2 lb bag)
3 tablespoons of meringue powder
1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/3- 1/2 cup of water.. to start probably a little more

Put everything into your mixer, start off with a 1/3 cup of water and let mix. You might have to add more water. I usually add as needed.
Let it mix for about ten minutes.
It should look light and fluffy.

Go from there with your colors and add water to get the consistency you need for filling your outlines. :)

Time to get my bake on and get those cookie dough's started!! Check back for my favorite christmas cookie recipes soon! :)
Happy Baking!!

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Friday, August 3, 2012

Cookie dough cake filling

I have a weakness for those mini chocolate chips....So when I was looking around for a new cake filling (for a special cake I'm working on) and found this recipe called for those delicious tiny semi-sweet chocolate morsels, I kinda knew it was going to be a hit.
I can't wait for you to try it out!

Here's what ya need:

Cookie Dough Filling (slightly adapted from bakingjunkie.com)

4 Tbsp salted butter, at room
6 Tbsp packed brown sugar (I used 4 light brown and 2 dark)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup + 2 Tbsp flour
A little under half a can of sweetened condensed milk(recipe calls for 7 oz)
1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips


Cream butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy
Slowly add the flour and evaporated milk. (I used less milk because the first batch I made was too runny for a filling and I didn't want it to leak out of my cake! Hate that!)
Lastly, mix in the chocolate chips!
YUM!!!!

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July

Love making fun cakes! Especially with a little help from my kids. My daughter and I made this a little while ago... it was delicious! And super easy to make.
I hope everyone has a safe and happy 4th of July.




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Monday, May 7, 2012

Swiss Meringue Buttercream


I've always wanted to try out swiss meringue buttercream...but have ALWAYS been scared. The thought of egg whites in frosting made me nervous for some reason...until I made a batch for some special first communion cupcakes this weekend (which ultimately ended up being many batches!!!! Vanilla & Strawberry!). All I can say is that I'm not scared anymore!!! Get your arm muscles ready because there is a ton of whisking involved in this recipe. Hope you're focused..because careful attention is taken during the entire process of making this delicate buttercream. It's well worth it. The texture is different from regular buttercream as well as the taste. My husband thinks it tastes vanilla ice cream!
I had a little swiss meringue left over and decided to try out some ruffles that I have been thinking about for a while! Glad I did! (I ended up making more swiss meringue in the process...well worth it!)
You are going to need alot of eggs for this one!! I'm to blame for the egg shortage in this house... my kids have been reminding me all weekend. ha! ha! (Sorry guys!) I think I went through over 36 eggs!!! CRAZY!
I looked through a bunch of recipes and combined them. This is what worked for me.
Here's what ya need:
4 egg whites
1 1/4 cups of sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla
2 3/4 sticks of unsalted butter (room temp)

Here's how to make it:
First warm up your arms with a nice arm stretch... get ready.
Place a double boiler on the stove (or a heat resistent bowl over a pot of simmering water, in my case because we are not fancy here)
Add the eggs whites, sugar and vanilla to your heat resistant bowl.
Heat the egg mixture, while whisking until it reaches 140 degrees and the sugar is completely combined.
Next carefully transfer to your mixer.
Mix on medium speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature. (mine took about 6 minutes)
Lastly, add the butter 1-2 tablespoons at a time. (I cut the butter into chunks ahead of time)
Mix until the butter is blended in completely. (You might want to scrape down the sides a few times in between)
It should look nice and fluffy once it is done!

Have fun!

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