Sunday, April 18, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
You can read more about what prompted this declaration here.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
This banana bread recipe, like the blueberry muffin recipe comes from my mother's recipe box. I have no idea where it came from before it was written on an index card, slipped into a plastic sleeve, and placed in that wooden box. It is, however, definitely a keeper. It bakes up nice and high and golden brown every time. It is delicous all by itself or topped with a nice layer of cream cheese.
I had replace 3/4 of a cup of the flour with whole wheat flour because I ran out of all purpose. I think that may have caused the bread not to rise as high as it usually does. It still looks delicious though, don't you think? It smells delicious in my house too. Even though the recipe recommends it, I am not sure if I will be able to wait until morning to slice into this banana bread!
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs (beaten)
3 ripe bananas (mashed)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbls. milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup chopped nuts (I left these out)
Beat oil and sugar together. Add eggs and banana pulp and beat well. Add dry ingredients milk and vanilla. Mix well and stir in nute. Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan. Bake in preheated moderate oven (350 to 375 degrees) for about one hour. Cool well and store overnight before cutting.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Some of my favorite recipes to bake are the ones out of Mom's recipe box. My husband and daughter give rave reviews of this recipe for blueberry muffins. I like to make these as mini muffins; little two bite delights!
The title on this recipe card says it came to Mom from our family friend Sharon Johnson. There are no directions on the card for how to mix the ingredients. I combine the sugar, butter and eggs in the bowl of my mixer and stir the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl before adding them and then adding the milk. The blueberries go in last and are mixed in gently. I usually leave off the sprinkle of sugar that the recipe recommends you finish them with. I find these to be just perfectly sweet without it!
2 cups of flour
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup of butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 cups blueberries
Sprinkle with sugar. 375 degree oven. Bake 25-30 minutes.
Abby Cadabby was by far the most complex fondant figure I have done to date. I learned by trial and error that the more complicated figures need to be made in stages. I ended up doing Abby's head first and then let it dry. I applied her freckles using the purple pen from my Americolor Gourmet Writer set.Her hair was next. You can not see the strands of hair on top of her head in the photo, but those were done by rolling the pink and purple fondant out thinly and individually placing each strand on her head.
The pigtails are pink and purple fondant swirled together. Each piece of the daisy ponytail holders was individually made and put together. I used my fluted pastry wheel to cut strips of fondant to make the ruffles for Abby's dress.
I will spare you the rest of the details. I am not an expert yet, and therefore I'm definitely not qualified to give step by step instructions :) I am learning though. I am finding the fondant figures take patience and creativity.
However, I definitely felt like it was worth the effort when my daugther recognized her favorite characters on the cake and squealed with delight :)
Friday, March 12, 2010
I made Cookie Valentines for Valentine's Day this year and never quite got around to using this pan. It makes such adorable little heart cakes and I did not want to wait another whole year to use it. So I came up with the idea to cover the hearts in green fondant and make them into a shamrock.
See that little mini cake in the background of the picture? I placed my shamrock right on top of it.
Now for the inside of the cake. I chose to use Rose Berenbaum Levy's Chocolate Butter Cake recipe from "The Cake Bible" for this cake. I did not have the dutch process cocoa that the recipe called for on hand so I just used regular baking cocoa. I think the dutch process cocoa would give it a richer chocolate flavor and I will be using it in the future. The texture of the cake was moist with a fine crumb and though it could have used a more chocolatey taste, it was still very good. I gave the Chocolate Butter Cake a crumb coat of classic buttercream before covering it in white fondant.
I recently ran across a recipe for Chocolate Irish Whiskey Cake and I think I will try that if I make another shamrock cake to make it even a little more festive for St. Patty's Day.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
I made Rose's White Velvet Cake recipe. This was the second time trying this cake. The first time I made it as a practice run and we sliced one of the layers immediately. It was delicous and so moist. The notes in Rose's recipe state that the cake is "most perfectly moist" the day same day it is made and she is right. I had to bake the cake a day ahead to decorate it and while it was still good, it was crumblier and not quite as moist a day after baking. This is still hands down THE BEST scratch white cake recipe I have ever made, and I have made quite a few!
"The Cake Bible" taught me a few more tricks that helped me in making this cake. These are probably elementary tips, but I had never used them. While I tend to stick with the old-fashioned way of doing things, in my opinion these short cuts make the baking process easier without sacraficing quality.
1) Baker's Joy spray. Where have you been all my baking life? You make it so unecessary to butter and flour the pan. It is no longer necessary to make sure the butter and flour coat every knook and cranny of the cake pan. You coat the pan thouroughly with your nice even spray. Thank you for letting me do in one easy step what used I used to do in two painful steps. I also love that your slogan is "avoid separation anxiety"... so catchy. I love you. I really, really do!
2) Line the bottom of the cake pan with parchment or wax paper. I am not sure if this was entirely necessary because the Baker's Joy spray did such a good job of coating the pan. It is extra insurance though, and when you have hours of decorating ahead of you some extra insurance that the cake comes out of the pan cleanly the first time is always handy! I sprayed the Baker's Joy both under and on top of my wax paper circle.
3) Magi-Cake Strips Rose recommends these. I have not purchased them yet, but I plan to in the near future. I was skeptical if this technique would make my cake layers rise evenly as promised so I made the DIY version of these using wet paper towels covered with aluminum foil. The homemade version worked and it worked well! Thus a purchase of the real thing is in my foreseeable future.
And so this post ends without pictures because the battery on my camera is too low to take a picture of my Baker's Joy Spray, my foil Magi-Cake Strips were too tattered to save and I somehow did not take a picture of my undecorated White Velvet Cake. I have some festive birthday cakes coming up though and I plan to try out another "Cake Bible" recipe or two. I promise I will not report back to this blog without a picture to share!
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
This recipe is GREAT when using complex cookie cutters. The dough holds its’ shape and won’t spread during baking. Make sure you let your oven preheat for at least 1/2 hour before baking these or any other cookies.
No Fail Sugar Cookies – NFSC
6 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
2 cups unsalted butter
2 cups sugar (white granulated)
2 tsp. vanilla extract or desired flavoring (I like almond myself)
1 tsp. salt
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Mix dry ingredients and add a little at a time to butter mixture. Mix until flour is completely incorporated and the dough comes together.
2. Chill for 1 to 2 hours (or see Hint below)
4. Roll to desired thickness and cut into desired shapes. Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 350
5. degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until just beginning to turn brown around the edges. This recipe
6. can make up to 5-dozen 3" cookies.
HINT: Rolling Out Dough Without the Mess — Rather than wait for your cookie dough to
chill, take the freshly made dough and place a glob between two sheets of parchment paper.
Roll it out to the desired thickness then place the dough and paper on a cookie sheet and pop
it into the refrigerator. Continue rolling out your dough between sheets of paper until you have
used it all. By the time you are finished, the first batch will be completely chilled and ready to
cut. Reroll leftover dough and repeat the process! An added bonus is that you are not adding
any additional flour to your cookies.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Traditional New Orleans King Cake:
2 pkg. (1/4 oz each) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 warm 2% milk
2 egg yolks
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3 1/4 to 3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg beaten
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
2 to 3 tbsp water
green purple and yellow sugars
Happy Mardi Gras!