Monday, September 30, 2013

Baking Monday – Cinnamon Tarts

I was looking for something cinnamon to make for today while also avoiding a trip to the store. I thought that these would be good with cinnamon-sugar filling.

I made a few mistakes with these - forgot to poke holes in top, so they ended up poofing up and having pockets of air inside. They would have been really yummy with shredded apple mixes with the cinnamon sugar.

Jeff said he tried to explain all this to the crowd, but no one was really listening, because they were all busy eating cookies. The pastry is super yummy (the secret is: lots of butter. Way more than I'd usually use in a recipe!) and would be great with all different kinds of filling ... jam, peanut butter, nutella ... and maybe a sprinkle of sugar or icing on top. The recipe made about 18 round tarts. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Fall Cupcakes & Baby Cookies

I had the opportunity to bake for a fall-themed baby shower a few weekends ago. On the menu was two kinds of mini cupcakes, red velvet and pumpkin.

Both had cream cheese frosting, the pumpkin ones with extra cinnamon and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar on top.

I also had the pleasure of being a guest at the shower. The hostesses did such a nice job! Everything was lovely, the table decorations were very sweet.

I also made some onsie cookies as favors ... loved the fall-ish but not too baby-ish colors.

Looking forward to meeting Baby B! 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dino Cookies!

Okay, I know that every new tray of cookies turns into my new favorite, this one is no exception! I love these sweet little dinosaurs!

The candy eyeballs make them totally adorable.

Cookie glaze can sometimes be problematic ... if I use milk, it sometimes gets spotty when it dries, but when I use water, the colors tend to bleed. To prevent bleeding, I try to find ways around mixing high-contrast colors, and my favorite trick is to use the same color piping as icing.

So happy with the way these turned out! I hope the birthday boy enjoyed them, too!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Baking Monday – Mint Chocolate Brownies

Baking Monday is back! Yay!

(This is what goes through my head every time I read "Yay!" Also? My first imbedded animated gif! Hope it's not too distracting!)

Anyhow! I'm back in the kitchen on Mondays! Pool season has started again, and it's time to dig through recipes for some new goodies. Jeff's request: something minty. These brownies are deee-licious. 

A few adjustments: butter instead of shortening, milk instead of heavy cream, and I had to add a little bit of milk to the chocolate/butter glaze, because for some reason, it was (at first) a lumpy mess. I also sprinkled some crushed chocolate cookies on top because (1) I thought they could use something crunchy and (2) they were left over in the pantry from another recipe. 

These were really super good, plus, I can envision doing different flavorings for the middle layer of frosting (specifically, peanut butter!) 

Hello! Happy to be back! 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Baking Monday – Butterfinger Bars

One of the Baking Monday regulars had a milestone birthday last week, and his wife threw him a surprise party. She asked me to make a dessert, mentioning that Butterfingers are his favorite candy bar. I searched for a few recipes and ended up with this one, which is seriously good! And oats make them healthy, right? 

The recipe says to bake in a cookie sheet, which I found to be a little ambiguous, since I use half-sheet pans for cookies. These fit nicely in an 11x17 pan. The dough is sticky, as the recipe states, but I was easily able to spread most of it with a rubber scraper and then used waxed paper to even it out. 

Aside #1: In 7th grade home ec, we were taught to say "rubber scraper" so as not to confuse with "spatula" – the pancake-flipping, cookie removing tool. But I think I'm the only one who still does that. 

Aside #2: The best rubber scrapers are, IMHO: 1. Heat-resistant (good for melting things on the stovetop), 2. One-piece (does not collect gunk where the stick meets the rubber) and 3. Stiff! (I have no patience for floppy spatulas). I have one favorite tool that is all three. They are not easy to find. 

Anyhoo ... to top these bars off, instead of whipping up a batch of frosting, I melted two cups of chocolate chips with about 1/2 cup of peanut butter in the microwave (stirring and spreading with my handy-dandy heat-resistant rubber scraper!) and sprinkled with 16 mini butterfingers, chopped. (Freeze before chopping – it's easier.) Then chill overnight and cut with your pastry scraper (you totally have one ... right?) 

These were very yummy, and even earned a personal thank you from the birthday boy, yay!