Saturday, February 27, 2010

Boston Cream Cupcakes!

These delicious cupcakes turned out FABULOUS!
They are for a special party..tonight...
for:

Funny...her real name starts with a

Happy Birthday Mom!
Print Page

Friday, February 26, 2010

This week's cake!

 

This cake was so fun to make! The bow is my favorite part! I can't wait to make more bows with different colors, designs and ribbon thickness! This was a white cake, with chocolate ganache filling (love this recipe) and my favorite, ultimate buttercream frosting.
This cake was for a very special birthday!  
More cakes on the way... 


Print Page

Friday, February 19, 2010

i'm smitten over the smitten kitchen

Ode to the Smitten Kitchen-

Well....
I've been blogging searching again..yes... and MY favorite blog that I've been frequently visiting..is the smitten kitchen!! All I can say is A-MAZ-ING!!! No really...
This past weekend my brother in law asked me to make his birthday cake...his request.. CHOCOLATE-CHOCOLATE cake...
hmmm..I thought..I could use my fabulous chocolate cake recipe that EVERYONE raves about...or... this could be the perfect opportunity ...
--the opportunity I've been waiting for-- 
 to try out that recipe Deb, from the smitten kitchen, has posted on her site...

There are no words to properly describe how good this cake was..maybe "heavenly" just touches on it's goodness. Let's just say...my husband..the sweet man that he is...made a few extra grocery store runs for me..for EXTRA chocolate. We counted 4 pounds of chocolate for this cake.

A 3 layer cake FILLED w/ chocolate ganache (which I never thought that I really enjoyed the flavor of..but guess what...the scale in my bedroom that reads 2 extra pounds on it this week..tells me otherwise! SO MUCH FOR MAKING MY GOAL WEIGHT...damn chocolate!!) I always thought that ganache was  hard to make. It's not...well maybe it was just the simplicity of this perfect ganache recipe! I can recite it without even looking at the paper!! OR MAYBE it is because I made it so many times!!!! I didn't realize I was going to need so much!! Silly me!!

1 pound of semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup of heavy cream
2 tbsp of sugar (I used 3)
2 tbsp of corn syrup
1/2 stick of unsalted butter

I wish you could taste this cake... the moist dense chocolate filled w/ that smooth thick ganache... so RICH... SO HEAVENLY!!!

Thank you Deb, from the smitten kitchen, for testing out wonderful recipes in your tiny kitchen...and sharing them with the world.

ps. after the party for my brother in law..my mom asked me if this was the recipe from the "gourmet" magazine! She's quite the baker..and knows her stuff!




Print Page

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lick the spoon chocolate cupcakes!

Remember growing up when it was ok to lick the batter off the spoon??? Remember fighting over who was the one that would get it this time?? Well I remember...a time before it was unsafe to lick the spoon - which it is..and NO I don't let my kids lick the spoon when I am baking!
I tasted this batter and it's lick the spoon worthy..no seriously.. it's hard not too..it's THAT good! I'm not telling you to go and lick the spoon...I wouldn't do that... it's unsafe. But you are going to want to!!!!
I saw this recipe on the joy of cooking and thought I'd try it out..this is 1 of 3 recipes I've tried for chocolate cake..however this one..was specifically for cupcakes.


Chocolate Cupcakes:

Here's what ya need"

 
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup boiling hot water
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sofened unsalted butter
1 cup  sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons madagascar vanilla extract

OVEN 375. (I kept mine at 350 because I have a dark cupcake pan.)
Line your pan w/ cupcake liners coat it well w/ cooking spray.
This made 19 cupcakes for me.

First boil your 1 cup of water and mix it in a bowl with the cocoa. Let it sit until it's room temp.

Next,in a seperate bowl mix your dry ingredients... flour, salt and baking powder.

Then, cream butter and sugar in your mixer. Once it's combined add one egg at a time and then your vanilla.
Now, add your flour mixture, slowly.
Finally, slowly (so the cocoa mixture doesn't fly all over..which happened a little for me! whoops) add your cocoa mixture.

Once you have your batter ready -- I use a ice cream scooper to get the perfect amount of batter for my cupcakes liners. Fill one scoop in the liners and you are all set!

Bake for about 16 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean!

ENJOY! YUM!!!
When co
 


Print Page

Friday, February 12, 2010

My Sweet Escape

I am going to share a little bit about myself today... haha. I am a mom first and foremost...I love too cook and bake, especially(as you can see!)! I  LOVE trying out new recipes. They are like mini challenges in my little kitchen!
There is something about me that you probably don't know! I love to run...it's my sweet escape from my busy life. Of course baking is one outlet for me..and decorating those cute little cookies & cakes... allows me to let my creative side out! BUT running..is an entirely different ballgame.. it allows me to get it all out and leave it on the pavement (or my treadmill belt - whichever! lol).

Just recently, I've eased my way into feeling comfortable enough to call myself a runner. 
I've always wanted to be a runner.
I grew up the "chubby" one in the family. Actually, I can easily say now that I was obese. I hated my body and never really knew what to do about it. My 3 younger sisters were always tiny & petite. And there I was "the fat girl". I say that jokingly, now, because as we got older and I learned healthier habits & lost the weight, I was still always concerned about it. "Does this make me look fat?" Was a common question I'd ask to my sisters...hence.. the nickname "fat girl" came about.
As that girl, I always thought... "I want to be a runner". And "I can't". I think that is why it has been so hard for me to accept that...now, "I can." 
Starting out I could never quite get past the disappointment of not being able to just go out and run. My chest would burn, legs hurt..and I would feel awful for having to stop. I would just give up.  I remember, a few years ago, sharing my "dream goal" with someone  and finding we had a common interest...we started running together. My first run was painful in every way. My chest burned, I couldn't breathe properly, my legs hurt after a few minutes...I had to stop & walk. But this time, I promised myself, I wouldn't stop trying. "I will run." It was a challenge. I will say that over and over... running is a challenge for me. It takes everything that is in me to get out there mentally and physically and do it. I was not born to be a runnner!
When I go out and run or hop on my treadmill it is my sweet escape. It is the one time during my day that is dedicated to "me". I get out there and all my worries go away. With every step, each time my foot pounds down onto the pavement..the wind sweeps all my stressful thoughts away.They melt into thin air.  And when I arrive home...everything seems and feels so much clearer.

I started off running in a few 5k races with that same friend, not to compete with anyone, but myself. The feeling of that natural high, that "I did it, I finished" was all that I needed to keep myself on track and pushing for my goal-- to get better.
Time goes by and people change for whatever the reason, or maybe they stay the same and life just gets in the way... So, I started going out on my runs alone...and sign up for a few longer races...

Last summer, I was asked by my husband's friend, to run a 9 mile race. So, I thought that would be a great "next step"...sure.. I can do that, I would just have to leave one day early from our 2 week vacation on the Cape. It was an adventure driving alone, in traffic all night, and unloading all of our stuff. Then waking up, after 4 hours of sleep.. to 80 degree weather and running 9 miles mostly uphill...haha  BUT the support I had by my husband's friend was AMAZING. He could have finished that race at LEAST an hour before we finished..but he stayed with me..motivating me... letting me walk when I needed to walk...talking me through the entire race.
His support was fabulous all the way up to the end when I was disppointed that it had taken me so long!  Complete, non-competitive, genuine support. (thank you.)

Last October, I travelled to Washington D.C. to meet up with a wonderful (long-time) army-wife friend. I ran in the Army-10 miler race. The longest race I have ever run... and I finished. It was an amazing feeling to cross that finish line. My body ached, my eyes were tearing, I was lightheaded, sweaty... my legs were like jello..but I did it. My time wasn't great... but that is not what I was there for. I was there to finish. To say.. "I can".

This April, I will be running in the More Magazine's Women's Half Marathon, in Central Park, NYC.  My first half marathon... A HUGE CHALLENGE.  I am still trying to keep myself in the "I can" mode. I've been following a training schedule, as if it were my bible. Each week of running pushes my body farther and harder than it's ever been pushed before. There are days that are more difficult than others, runs that don't go as planned...but I am blessed to have a wonderful husband & great kids who support me and cheer me on.  They are always supporting me in every adventure...whether it be baking or running...they are my biggest fans.
I am planning on running one more half marathon this summer with my husband's same "marathon god" friend. He's an amazing runner and great motivator, that I look up to!
I am surrounding myself with great people, who believe in me and are helping me toward each "next goal" and getting closer and closer to knowing..."I can".

SO in honor of all this hard work... I am planning on posting some healthy recipes, including a few gluten free one's (which I LOVE!!!). I will still be posting my regular baking recipes and pictures...but look out for a few of the other one's in between~!
And if you have any recipes that you are looking for or stories about your goals or journies that you'd like to share..please comment!
 I'd love to hear from you!

Check this out! My little story was on athleta chi! 

http://www.athleta.net/chi/2010/03/11/i-am-a-runner/
Print Page

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

PRETZEL RECIPE


Homemade Soft Pretzels

4 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/4 Cup warm water
5 Cups flour
1/2 Cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon canola oil

10 cups hot boiling water
3/4 cups baking soda
salt (or we like cinn. and sugar too!)
1 egg (beat it)


In a your mixer dissolve 1 teaspoon of sugar and the yeast in the warm water.  Let it sit for 5 minutes until the water starts to bubble a bit.  Add salt, 1/2 cup sugar, oil, yeast, and 1 cup of the flour.

Add the rest of the flour 1 cup at a time. The dough turns into a very dense ball. Mix until the dough forms together. (The recipe says to mix for 8 minutes..mine came together pretty quickly)
Let the dough rise for 1 hour.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Punch down the dough & divide it into 12 equal parts.
** Place each piece on a sprayed cookie sheet and let them rest for 10 minutes.




Fill your pot up with 10 cups of water and add the baking soda. Let is come to a full boil.

While the water is heating up, roll each dough piece into a long thin rope. Then twist it into a pretzel shape. 




Put each piece (one at a time) into the boiling water for 30 seconds. (this is important! I think this may be where we messed up last time)

Place on a sprayed cookie sheet and brush the beaten egg over the top. Sprinkle with salt.
Bake for 8 minutes. (mine took a little longer)

****OR you could use cinnamon and sugar after you cook them. (you will need to brush your pretzel with butter then put the cinnamon and sugar on top..so good!)

YUMMY!

Homemade soft pretzels!


The last time I tried out soft pretzels with my helper AJ...it was a disaster... we used the recipe by Alton Brown (who, btw, we love). It flopped..no idea why..but they were gross! Not sure what happened...because the recipe I tried out today..was almost exactly the same as alton brown's!!!

I was blog hopping today and I found this recipe (on jamie cooks it up)...followed it mostly, I only had 4 tsp of yeast left in my fridge..so I had to adjust a few things...
That didn't matter...
because these PRETZELS are FABULOUS!!!
A FABULOUS FIND...for this week.
PREZTEL RECIPE (click here for the recipe)

Here's some picture's of my helpers working away on this snowy day...











Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Valentines!

Here are a few more picture's of some valentine's I've been working on! After this..I PROMISE to get more recipe's up! I just baked a wonderful chocolate cake from a recipe I saw on one of my favorite website's/blog... I'll get to that later!




This frosting is dangerous!
AND the cookie's are next! (Royal Frosting Recipe)






Next...packaging these pretty little treats...my favorite part!
Stumbled upon this site while looking around!!!

What are you making for your valentine's??


Royal Frosting!

Royal Frosting...
For a while I was using confectioner sugar and milk to make my own frosting..I would mix until the consistency was just right for piping.
Until I found a fabulous recipe on the sweetopia website.
I LOVE this website..I hope you stop by and check it out! I think you will fall in love with this talented and amazing artist!

Here's what ya need: (adapted slightly from sweetopia)

Ingredients:
1 cup of warm water (you will eventually need a little more to get to piping consistency)
5 Tablespoons Meringue Powder (i use the wilton brand)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 lb bag confectioner sugar
1/2 teaspoon of clear vanilla (I don't use the clear..but I do use the powdered)

Directions:
Put vanilla, water, meringue powder, cream of tarter and mix. Then gradually add in your sugar...do this slowly...because if you don't...you will have a huge powdered mess all over your kitchen!
Using the paddle attachment put your mixer on low and mix slowly for a full 10 minutes. The icing will look like fluffernutter! I swear!!
If you are going to use it right away, cover the bowl with a dampened towel to prevent crusting and drying.
The rest is up to you! Go ahead and use your food colorings and make rainbow of colors!
Store in an airtight container!!

Print Page

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Teddy Bear Cake

Not only am I working on cookies..for the girl...but I am also working on a teddy bear cake...yes...she is going to that ever so famous "bear" shop to have her party... SO it's all about BEARS!!!!
Here is a little sneak peak of her cake topper! Any suggestions??
(oh...btw...it had to be PINK)


Here is the final cake!!! 

 
  
  

Happy Birthday AJ!!

 


Print Page

Monday, February 1, 2010

Cookies...for my girl

This week has come all too fast. My baby girl is turning 7. How can that be? How did 7 years fly by so fast... one second she's a toddler gabbing away - because I swear she spoke full sentences and could have a coherent conversation with you-- before she even turned one. I don't think she has stopped, since she began.  That's my girl. An intelligent, fun-loving, social butterfly, a green eyed little beauty.
I've been working on some special cookies for her little "friend" party. But along the way...I decided to test out a few more designs. Check them out...let me know what you think!
They are made with that same family recipe I've chatted about. However, this time I used another Royal Frosting Recipe. It worked well! I am a big fan! Would you like to know what it is???? Let me know and I will post it!







"But mommy, I wanted pink bears..."
 



Print Page