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Friday, January 28, 2011

Mermaid Cream Cookies

 So, funfetti cake, I love you, I really do. But you disappointed me today. I guess I'm not being fair. I abused you a little bit. I didn't mix you with the ingredients I was supposed to listed the box. I didn't make you into a cake, I made you into cookies, I dyed you green.  I tried to change you. I'm sorry. 
Were you delicious? Yes. But very sweet. And to be honest, I like you in your original form the best.

Same with my cream cheese icing. Why blue? It just somehow seemed magical at the time. I think I was in a child-like mood (which isn't too much out of the ordinary). I love colorful things. This sure "took the cake". I was told these are good by my father, but my husband said when asked "are these as good as the red velvet cream cookies?', responded "no, no no no no no". So there you have it folks.
Also, I burned a baking sheet full of these, so I'd say it was a down-right disaster. Kids might be very impressed by these though!

Mermaid Cream Cookies

All you need is:
1 Box funfetti cake mix
1/2 Cup butter, softened to room temperature
2 Eggs
Extra Sprinkles
Green Food Coloring (about 15 drops)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix ingredients until combined.
Drop spoonfuls of cookie batter onto baking sheet about two inches apart.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Cream Cheese Filling

1/2 Cup butter, softened to room temperature

1 8 oz. Package cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1 1lb. Box of confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp Vanilla
Blue food coloring (about 15 drops)
Blue sprinkles for the icing

In a mixer, cream butter, cream cheese and vanilla. Add Food coloring.
Gradually add sugar and mix until smooth.
Once cookies have cooled, place large amount of filling inside of first cookie, and press second cookie together using your palms until icing reaches edges.
Dust icing on cookie with sprinkles.

Fruity Pebbles Buttered Krispie Treats

So I definitely did not grow up eating these bad boys as a kid. But when I saw them in the store, and took notice that they looked similar to rice krispies, I figured I'd give them a try. Not much to my surprise, I find them delicious. They are definitely much sweeter than my Salted Brown Butter Krispie Treats, but they still taste delicious.
I like butter. I like it a lot. You may have figured this out by now. If not, this is just a reminder.

I chose to use yellow sprinkles. You can use anything you want.

Gooey colorful goodness. Satisfaction.

Fruity Pebbles Buttered Krispie Treats

4 ounces (1/4 pound or 1 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for the pan
1 10-ounce bag marshmallows
6 cups Fruity Pebbles Cereal (about half a 12-ounce box)
Buttered 8-inch square cake pan with 2-inch sides
Sprinkles of your choice
Cookie Cutters

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden
and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Don’t take your eyes off the pot as while you may be impatient for it to start browning, the period between the time the butter begins to take on color and the point where it burns is often less than a minute.
As soon as the butter takes on a nutty color, turn the heat off and stir in the marshmallows. The residual heat from the melted butter should be enough to melt them, but if it is not, turn it back on low until the marshmallows are smooth.
Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the cereal. Quickly spread into prepared pan. I liked to use a piece of waxed or parchment paper that I’ve sprayed with oil to press it firmly and evenly into the edges and corners, though a silicon spatula works almost as well.
Let cool for a few minutes, use cookie cutters to cut out fun shapes. Sprinkle with decorations or just eat as-is. Yum!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ella's Whole Wheat Cinnamon Sugar Pop Tarts

This is honestly my first whole wheat baking experience, and to my surprise, they don't taste half-bad. Actually, let me be honest, they taste pretty damn good. And I'd definitely recommend making these!

What a cool photo right? An egg and milk create a masterpiece photo!

I even used whole wheat flour for the cinnamon filling, imagine that!

Baby-sized pieces for the cute little Ella girl who I nanny for.
Oh. My. Gosh. SO good!

Ella's Whole Wheat Cinnamon Sugar Pop Tarts

Pastry Ingredients:
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pats
1 large egg
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) milk

1 additional large egg (to brush on pastry)

Cinnamon Filling (enough for 9 tarts)
1/2 cup (3 3/4 ounces) brown sugar
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, to taste
4 teaspoons whole wheat flour

Alternate fillings: 9 tablespoons chocolate chips, 9 tablespoons Nutella or other chocolate-hazelnut paste or 9 tablespoons of a delight of your choice, such as salted caramel or a nut paste

Jam Filling
3/4 cup (8 ounces) jam
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water

To make cinnamon filling: Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, and flour.

To make jam filling: Mix the jam with the cornstarch/water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool. Use to fill the pastry tarts.

Make the dough: Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter with your fingers, pastry blender or food processor until pea-sized lumps of butter are still visible, and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. If you’ve used a food processor, transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Whisk the first egg and milk together and stir them into the dough, mixing just until everything is cohesive, kneading briefly on a well-floured counter if necessary.
Divide the dough in half (approximately 8 1/4 ounces each), shape each half into a smooth rectangle, about 3×5 inches. You can roll this out immediately (see Warm Kitchen note below) or wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Assemble the tarts: If the dough has been chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to soften and become workable, about 15 to 30 minutes. Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8″ thick, large enough that you can trim it to an even 9″ x 12″. [You can use a 9" x 13" pan, laid on top, as guidance.] Repeat with the second piece of dough. Set trimmings aside. Cut each piece of dough into thirds – you’ll form nine 3″ x 4″ rectangles.
Beat the additional egg and brush it over the entire surface of the first dough. This will be the “inside” of the tart; the egg is to help glue the lid on. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each rectangle, keeping a bare 1/2-inch perimeter around it. Place a second rectangle of dough atop the first, using your fingertips to press firmly around the pocket of filling, sealing the dough well on all sides. Press the tines of a fork all around the edge of the rectangle. Repeat with remaining tarts.

Gently place the tarts on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the top of each tart multiple times with a fork; you want to make sure steam can escape, or the tarts will become billowy pillows rather than flat toaster pastries. Refrigerate the tarts (they don’t need to be covered) for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350°F.

Bake the tarts: Remove the tarts form the fridge, and bake them for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Cool in pan on rack.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Katie's Candy cup CAKES

I wanted to make these, thinking they would be the cutest thing I've ever seen, not thinking that they would taste great. But they actually taste pretty good (according to my husband and father). I'm sick today, and can't taste much, so blah. But I did get one nice whiff of the cake while it was baking, which made me happy!
Make sure you wait for this cake to cool completely before crumbling it in the bowl.
This is very time consuming. But still fun.
Doesn't this look tasty (cough cough). Ugh. I hate having a cold. I'm congested, coughing, blah. But looking at these pictures makes me happy.

Red velvet cake balls mixed with icing really is as delicious as it sounds!
The first bunch I made, I think I used too much chocolate in the candy mold before putting the ball of cake in. So I would recommend not using too too much.
I loved getting creative decorating these! A girls dream come true.


So, if you’re a first-time cake baller/cupcake popper, you may want to start with a cake mix and ready-made frosting. (These proportions work right for me everytime.) Then, you can try with your favorite cake and frosting recipe once you see how the proportions and texture should come out. Here’s what you do:

Katie's Candy cup CAKES

1 box cake mix (cook as directed on box for 13 X 9 cake)
1 can cream cheese frosting (16 oz.)

1 package chocolate bark (or candy melts for cupcake bottom)
Colored Candy Melts
(for cupcake top)
Candy Cup Mold (like this one)
Sprinkles and m&ms for decoration

After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl. (The texture should be fine/fluffy)

Using the back of a large spoon, mix thoroughly with 1 can cream cheese frosting. (It may be easier to use fingers to mix together, but be warned it will get messy.)

Roll mixture into quarter size balls (make sure they are smaller in diameter than that of your candy mold) and lay on wax paper covered cookie sheet.

Chill in the freezer for a few minutes, until they are slightly firm, not frozen.

Melt chocolate bark and candy melts in microwave per directions on package.

Using a spoon or squeeze bottle, fill each mold cavity with a small amount of chocolate. Sorry, I didn’t think to measure how much. But as soon as you fill the cavity, go ahead and place one of your rolled balls into it. Carefully push it down until the force causes the chocolate to push up and fill in around the sides of the ball. You may have to experiment with a couple to get the right amount. Stop pushing once the chocolate reaches the top edge.

Place the mold tray filled with cupcakes in the freezer for just a few minutes to let the chocolate set. Remove and then gently pull up on the cake ball top to release from candy mold.

Now, holding the bottom of the cupcake, dip the top in another color of melted chocolate.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Red Velvet Cream Cookies

I decided not to make these too large. They spread out and flatten while baking, and I liked the idea of little cream sandwich cookies, so I made them about quarter size.
They are the reddest cookies that I've ever made. Yum. 
Is it cheating to use premade cake mix? I say no. And I'm the boss, so ha.
Cream cheese and butter lineup. I still say the butter wins.

These are incredibly easy to make, and don't take very much time. My husband even helped clean up all the baking sheets and mixing bowls. If you know him, you'd know that he really loved these cookies if he was willing to help clean up. He went on a five minute rant about how amazing they are.

Red Velvet Cream Cookies
All you need is:
1 Box red velvet cake mix*
1/2 Cup butter, softened to room temperature
2 Eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix ingredients until combined.
Drop spoonfuls of cookie batter onto baking sheet about two inches apart.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Cream Cheese Filling

1/2 Cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 8 oz. Package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 1lb. Box of confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
In a mixer, cream butter, cream cheese and vanilla.
Gradually add sugar and mix until smooth.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

To! Die! For! Toffee!

Not much better than toasted almonds.
Wait, that isn't true. Toffee pretty much is the best thing in the world. And is one of my favorite foods on this planet. It's buttery, crunchy, but smooth, and just, delicious.
Of course, butter.
Make sure you don't use a pan too big, or it will spread out, and not get thick enough. And it will burn, and be a mess, and a disaster, and oh wait. Did I forget to mention that this happened to me? I had to start over because I made the mistake of using a pan too big, and it burns very quickly. Please watch your butter/sugar mixture carefully, stir constantly, and remove from heat as soon as it turns the 
correct color.

Oh I love my dogs. So much. Almost as much as toffee (actually, don't tell the toffee, but I love my dogs more).
To! Die! For! Toffee!
1 c. unblanched whole toasted almonds
1 c. butter
1 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. real milk-chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 to 1 c. finely chopped or ground walnuts

Arrange the almonds in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet (or on a Silpat set on a baking sheet) over an area measuring 12×7 inches; set aside.

Combine butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Cook over high heat, stirring constantly with a clean, dry, wooden spoon until butter is melted. Continue cooking and stirring for 5 to 7 minutes or until candy is color of unblanched almonds. Immediately pour candy, without scraping pan, over almonds, covering all nuts. Cool completely.

Meanwhile, melt chocolate in a heavy saucepan over low heat or in the microwave oven for 1 to 2 minutes or until chocolate is soft enough to stir smooth. Make sure to stir often so it does not burn. Spread chocolate mixture over cooled toffee and sprinkled with walnuts. Let cool until chocolate has hardened, then break into serving-size pieces.

Rotisserie Chicken Pot Pie

To start, you should probably know this recipe takes a long time. It has many steps, and if you want it to be really good (and I'm sure you do), you will want to make your own crust.
Yes, I know what you're thinking. Make my own pie crust? Yes, that's right, I said it. You can make your own crust, it's very easy, and I'll tell you how. I promise! 
But, if you really don't feel like making it yourself, buy two small crusts from the store, and use this recipe. I'm sure you'll be slightly happy with the outcome, hehe. 
Actually, I'm sure it will be delicious either way.
The reason I really like making my own crust, is because for this recipe, it fits perfectly in a deep-dish pie plate. And if you make your own crust, you'll have enough dough to fit the plate. I used a rotisserie chicken for this, and it worked out very well.

Katie's Rotisserie Chicken Pot Pie

1 pound of rotisserie chicken, cooked and cut into little pieces
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
2 teaspoons garlic
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup milk (or half and half)
Chicken broth to cover vegetables

Two frozen pie crusts 
two homemade pie crusts, one for top and bottom (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C.)
In a saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, peas, and corn. Add chicken broth to cover and boil for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.

In the saucepan over medium heat, cook butter and garlic until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk (or half and half). Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Pour chicken and vegetable mixture into liquid mixture and stir.

Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Flakey Pie Crust Recipe

4 cups flour
2 tsp salt
1 1/3 cup shortening
ice water (somewhere around 16 Tablespoons, probably, depending on humidity)
Whisk the flour and salt together
Use fingers to pinch shortening and flour mixture together until resembles small clumps
Sprinkle 8ish Tablespoons of ice water over surface and mix lightly and quickly with a fork.
If dough doesn’t stick together, add 1-2 more Tablespoons, mix again. Repeat until dough starts to hold together.
Press the dough together. Divide into 2 balls.
Roll each ball until about 3″ larger than pie pan’s diameter. Fold in qurters.
Cook according to filling recipe.
Once filling is inside of pie, top with remaining crust, attach to lower crust by folding under bottom crust.