Thursday, September 29, 2011

Chipits Toffee Crunch Blondies

With a bag of Skor Toffee bits in the pantry and a craving for something sweet, this week I decided to try the recipe on the Skor package.  Here is the simple, fast and delicious recipe for Chipits Toffee Crunch Blondies:

and here are my end result... although not as beautiful as the ones at their site:

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Down the Bunny Hole Cupcakes

For Easter this year I made this recipe twice, once for our family celebration, and again for Easter day when I visited with friends.  The creative idea for these adorable cupcakes is found in the amazing book, Hello Cupcake.

I started with a batch of vanilla and chocolate cupcakes.  With butter cream icing and Wilton icing tip #233 I made the grass on the vanilla cupcakes.  I garnished those with sprinkles and a variety of different Easter Egg candies.  The Bunny butts were chocolate cupcakes iced with canned chocolate frosting and rolled in Oreo cookie crumbs.  The feet are marshmallow peanuts ... well, actually they were supposed to be peanuts but couldn't find white peanuts so I used white bunnies cut in half and softened in the microwave so I could mold them into a foot shape.  The pads of the bunny feet are sunflower seeds I rolled in melted chocolate.  The bunny tail was a mini marshmallow rolled in shredded coconut.  Here's a close up view for you:

They were pretty simple to make and a hit with my friend's children!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Chocolate Hearts with a Twist

When I was thinking of what to make for my Wed evening bible study group a couple weeks ago, I had wanted to try something different, but with time restraints wasn't feeling overly ambitious or confident so I went with the Sweet Heart Cupcakes instead.  What I had wanted to make in fact were heart-shaped chocolate cups.  I would fill them with fresh berries or whatever else I had on hand.

I did in fact get to make these chocolate cups for a dinner party we'd been invited to by good friends.  Instead of berries though (which I didn't have on hand), I decided to fill the cups with butterscotch pudding.  It may sound kind of strange, but it worked.

Making the chocolate cups was pretty simple.  I used dark chocolate moulding wafers and slowly melted them in a glass bowl in my microwave, making sure not to burn the chocolate.  Once the chocolate was runny, I used a small paintbrush (one that I only use for baking!) and painted the chocolate along the insides of heart-shaped silicone muffin cups.  You can also use paper cups I think but since I was making heart-shaped cups I used the silicone which were easy to use and pop the cup out of once hardened.

Once the chocolate cup hardened, I carefully popped it out of the cup making sure not to break the edges while I peeled back the silicone cup.  I only had a couple "casualties" and the cups were ready to fill.

I just used a butterscotch instant pudding as the cup filler and set them in the fridge to set.  I could have put a dollop of whipping cream on top to finish them well but I wasn't thinking clearly I'm sure because I didn't do that.  They were much easier than I thought they'd be and they were really yummy.

In future, I think I would either use these cups for ice cream sundaes or my original thought of fresh berries and whipping cream.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sweet Heart Cupcakes

For Valentine's Day, I made cupcakes for our evening Bible Study group, using the idea found in one of the Hello, Cupcake/What's New Cupcake books.

I went a little overboard (not sure what I was thinking actually) and made two cake mixes worth of cupcakes:  one vanilla cake, the other chocolate cake.  For the chocolate cupcakes, I baked them using heart-shaped silicone cups.  The vanilla cupcakes were baked in "Valentine" mini-cups.

I used Buttercream frosting and piped swirls on some, placing a sweet-heart candy on top, and flat-iced the larger hearts while piping messages on top.  They turned out delicious and because I'd made so many I had plenty to give away to others besides the Bible Study ladies.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Abide Valentine Goodie Bags

Our Abide Team, in preparation for Valentine's Day decided that we would have goodie bags available to the ladies after our time together mid-February.  I offered to bake cookies that we could bag up for the women to take home as a special little treat to know that we (and God) loves them.

Using my usual Sugar Cookie Recipe, I baked cookies in different heart shapes, using the Wilton "Heart Cookie Cutter Set" purchased at the McCall's warehouse.  Once they cooled, I used my Poured Cookie Icing recipe and different variations of "red" food coloring to make reds and pinks, and then flavored each icing using vanilla, peppermint, almond, cherry and raspberry extracts.  I used the basic white colored icing to pipe and accentuate the cookies, while also using red sugar sprinkles to embellish some.  Here were the results:

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cookie Decorating Party

This cold and dreary February Saturday, was full of warmth in my cozy kitchen as 3 friends came over to help decorate the Sugar Cookies I'd made yesterday in preparation for a baby shower they are hosting at church next week.

Using the same Sugar Cookie recipe I always use, and Buttercream Icing, Gabsy, Julie, Michaela and I set out to decorate the baby-themed cookies.  Creativity was running amok as these lovely young women iced their masterpieces.

You have to see Michaela's ingenious creativity on one of the "baby carriage" cookies...

Isn't this amazing?

After a few hours, our mission was complete and we took this picture to document our day.  The ladies were exquisite and for the first time cookie decorating, they did outstanding.  I was highly impressed!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Baking Essentials

Here are some of my "new" favorite baking essentials that have come in super handy this February while I've been baking away.  I used them tonight to bake sugar cookies, in preparation for a cookie decorating date I'm having with some friends from church tomorrow.

First is the big red mat, which is from Tupperware.  This plastic baking mat is super helpful in keeping the counter clean and those big white circles are very helpful when making pastry as it guides you to the proper size for your pie plate.  For cookies, with a little flour added, you have a perfect non-stick surface and you don't have to worry about cutting the counter with the cookie cutters.  Bonus!

The large white tube is my rolling pin.  This big plastic tube works perfectly with the spacers (the other white "sticks" in the picture).  The spacers are used on either side of the dough you're working with to make a uniform thickness for pastry or cookies.  They really help in keeping all the cookies looking the same.  The rolling pin itself can be used with different types of doughs, as well as for rolling fondant icing (which I've yet to do).

These are just a few of the instruments that ease the baking process for me.