December 24, 2010

Cupcakes for Starbucks

I admit it... I am a Starbucks addict.  The baristas at "my" Starbucks are the best.  They make me smile every time I walk in the door so I thought I'd turn the tables for once.  I made mini Starbucks "red" cups & snowmen.   They were a hit!  I took them in on Wednesday morning and even today when I went in they came up and thanked me and told me how delicious thye were.   I made double chocolate cupcakes with mini chips inside and topped it with coffee buttercream. 

Merry Christmas !  Have a joyous holiday season!


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December 23, 2010

Christmas Tree Cookies

Sweetopia posted a wonderful video on how to marble royal icing. Her work is amazing!  Marbling is not as hard as it looks.  Take a look & give it a try. You'll love doing it on your own cookies.   After watching her video I decided to whip up a batch of tree cookies & royal icing.  I found this recipe and it was so easy ( no need to chill before rolling).

  • 1 Cup butter, softened, 2 sticks
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. PURE VANILLA EXTRACT
  • 3 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
Preheat oven to 400°. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and the VANILLA, mix until well blended. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder then gradually add to the butter mixture and blend well. Form the dough into a smooth ball. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 1/8 to 1/4 inch. Cut out with cookie cutters and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Fill each cookie sheet with cookies of equal size to ensure even baking. Bake for 6 minutes (a bit longer for thicker cookies), but they shouldn’t brown at all. Remove from cookie sheets and cool on wire racks or waxed paper. Decorate as desired when cool.
Frosting: Wilton Royal Icing

Prep. time: 10 minutes
Cutting time: 30 minutes, depending on size of cookies
Baking time: 6 minutes per sheet
Yield: about 12 dozen (note: my batch made 4 dozen 4" trees)







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December 22, 2010

Whoops.. It looks like Santa is stuck!

I made a couple cupcakes to send to the dispatcher where my husband works. 
I think Santa is my favorite




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Raspberry Pepper Jelly

The other day I was in Sur La Table with my Grams.  We were talking about Christmas Eve munchies & we were looking at the Stonewall Creek jelly's.  We were going to buy their Red Pepper Jelly and then I told her I would try to make some Raspberry Pepper Jelly.   I had berries from the farmers marked  that needed to be used so I went home and went to work.

Note: This was so good on honey wheat pretzel twists & turkey !  Everyone loved it.. I will definitely make this up again.

Raspberry Pepper Jelly

2 tbsp lemon juice
2 baskets of raspberries, about 3 cups
1/2 cup sugar (add more or less to desired taste)
1 green pepper, seeds removed
1 tbsp cornstarch

1. Put the berries in a saucepan with the lemon juice & sugar
2. Bring berries to boil until softened
3. Remove from heat and pour through a mesh strainer.  Using the back of a spoon press the pulp through the strainer. 
4. Return the berry pulp back to the pan and bring to a boil. Add the pepper.  Simmer for about 10 minutes, remove the pepper pieces. Add 1 tsbp dissolved cornstarch to the berries to thicken
5. Chill & serve.

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December 20, 2010

Christmas Mittens


Ususally I try to make several different shaped cookies but this year I decided to just make
MITTENS!
This made me much less frantic & was so much easier.
I used Martha Stewart's recipe for Gingerbread cookie dough (recipe below)

I started by making my royal icing the night before so it would settle and air bubbles would dissapate.
I picked my colors & mixed my royal icing in small solo cups..
Colors by Americolor:  Super Red, Electric Green, Turquoise & Ivory

Once mixed, I covered each with syran wrap, and then stored them in ziploc bags to store in the
refridgerator overnight.


Thinning my icing to about 7 seconds... add small amounts of water, mix and then drop some into the cup & count to 7... and it should disapper. Some say 10, but for me..7 is my magic number

Next the icing went into my Kuhn Rikon bottles. The taller bottle =  not so good for royal icing
the plastic is thicker so it's harder to squeeze. Hopefully Santa will bring me a few more of the squishy bottles (pretty please Santa...I've been a good girl)
cookies outlined

Flooding the cookies

All done





One thing that helped this year was I drew out a plan before I started so I knew what I wanted to do and didn't have to think too much.  Then I divided my cookies on to 4 cookie sheets & went to work on them.

Ingredients

Makes 16 cookies 7" cookies
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup unsulfured molasses
  • Royal Icing
  • Fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling

Directions

  1. Sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder into a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Put butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until fluffy. Mix in spices and salt, then eggs and molasses. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Divide dough into thirds; wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to a 1/4-inch thick. Cut into snowflakes with a 7- inch snowflake-shape cookie cutter. Space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, and refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.
  4. Bake cookies until crisp but not dark, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.
  5. Put icing in a pastry bag fitted with a small plain round tip (such as Ateco #7). Pipe designs on snowflakes; immediately sprinkle with sanding sugar. Let stand 5 minutes; tap off excess sugar. Let icing set completely at room temperature, about 1 hour. Store cookies between layers of parchment in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days.

Merry Christmas!

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December 19, 2010

Zoo Birthday

I really enjoyed making Zoo animals for Rem's 1st Birthday & Christening.   The bright colors pop & the faces came out so sweet.
I used a flower cutter for the orange on the lion









I made a jumbo cupcake with a giraffe for Rem to destroy!



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December 18, 2010

Cupcake Boxes

Every now and then you come across a company that far exceeds your expectations and you can't help but share with others...  I just received my 2nd order from http://www.brpboxshop.com/ and their products & service is outstanding! They have boxes in many colors and the ordering is very easy.. wonderful selection.  My first order was several months ago for (100) 10" x 14" cupcake inserts & (100) 10" x 14" brown cake boxes.  It was shipped (did I mention they always offer FREE shipping, no minimum order?) and I had it on my doorstep in 5 days!  I wasn't sure when I ordered what I would do with 100 boxes but they are dwindling rather fast around here.  Total cost is .72 cents per box plus insert.  Very affordable.

Last week my husband asked me if I would make some cupcakes for a few people that help him throughout the year so I got on BRP's website and saw that they will now sell in quanties of 10.   I ordered (10) 10" x 10" window boxes and (10) 1/2 dozen cupcake inserts.  They arrived yesterday so lats night I baked & today we boxed up cupcakes and went to drop them off.   

1/2 dozen cupcake box

10" x 10" box
Photo courtesy of www.brpboxshop.com

10" x 10" cupcake insert
Photo courtesy of www.brpboxshop.com


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December 17, 2010

Happy 60th Mr. Greene!

 


German Chocolate Cake

adapted from www.dianaskitchen.com
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 ounces sweet baking chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Topping
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 can (3 1/2 ounces) flaked coconut, or about 1 1/3 cups
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Grease and flour two 8-inch baking pans.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, butter, sour cream, eggs, chocolate, milk, and vanilla. Beat with mixer at low speed until blended. Increase mixer to high and beat 2 minutes longer. Spoon batter into prepared pans. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for about 35 minutes, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.
Remove to racks to cool completely.
 
Make topping.
In a saucepan over medium heat, bring evaporated milk, brown sugar, and butter to a full boil; remove from heat. Stir in coconut and pecans. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
When cake is cool, place one layer on cake platter; spoon half of the coconut mixture onto the layer. Top with remaining cake layer and top with remaining topping.


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